“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Holiday Yums

Welcome to this week's edition of Holidays at the Cafe'. Today is the Holiday Recipe Bazaar--eat up!
Some of my favorite foods are found during the holiday season, though, for the most part, I'm not the one making them. We do the whole potluck Christmas/Thanksgiving thing, and I usually take some little side. Holiday celebrations are an hour and a half drive away, so elaborate meals are easier to leave for others who live closer.

Anyhow, I'm going to share three recipes with you (no pictures--sorry!). One I tried for the very first time this Thanksgiving, and I LOVED it! The other two are, for lack of a better term, "old stand-bys," though not always what I take to celebrations. Enjoy - and I hope you also enjoy the other recipes available today during the Cafe Recipe Bazaar.

First, my "new" one. I found this one at my favorite recipe website, Allrecipes.com, where "Dj" submitted it. Seriously - check it out! I LOVE sweet potatoes, but nobody else in my immediate family will eat them. My only chance of having them (without all that work for ONE person) is at gatherings. Anyhow, I found this recipe and it was a hit (LOL with me and the two other people at our Thanksgiving who would eat sweet potatoes!).

Candied Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes, quartered
  • 1 1/4 cups margarine
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
  • ground cinnamon to taste
  • ground nutmeg to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and boil until slightly underdone, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and peel.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine margarine, brown sugar, 2 cups marshmallows, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows are melted.
  4. Stir potatoes into marshmallow sauce. While stirring mash about half of the potatoes, and break the others into bite-sized chunks. Transfer to prepared dish.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover top evenly with remaining marshmallows. Return to oven and bake until marshmallows are golden brown.

My second recipe is something we try to make at least once, or more often, during the winter. When we first heard about it, my husband and I thought the idea of it was rather odd. Boy, are we glad we didn't go with our first impression. It tastes like warm pumpkin pie in a bowl. (oh, and we're making it for dinner tomorrow night!) It comes from The Meatless Gourmet by Bobbie Hinman.

Spiced Cream of Pumpkin Soup
(makes 6 servings: one cup per serving)

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely copped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (this is from a vegetarian cookbook, so other broth would probably be fine. I believe we have made it with chicken broth before.)
  • 1 one-pound can pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH dried thyme, pepper, and ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup evaporated skim milk

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, and ginger root.
  2. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about five minutes. Add small amounts of water, as necessary, a tablespoon or two at a time, to prevent sticking.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except milk. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 25 minutes.
  5. Remove soup from heat and stir in milk. Remove and discard bay leaves.

The last recipe I'm giving is a WONDERFUL warm crock pot "punch" that is always a hit. It actually is found in the cookbook that was given to us with our crock pot (Called "Rival Crock-Pot Cookbook," I believe!). The original recipe allows for alcohol in it, but we've never used it. We ALWAYS make this every year, and I'll likely be bringing this to our family Christmas celebration this year.

Orange-Cider Punch
makes 2 1/2 quarts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 2 cups apple cider or apple juice (apple cider is better!)
  • 6 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups vodka (LOL have NEVER added liquor, but if that floats your boat! Hehe)
  1. Mix all ingredients except vodka in Crock-Pot; stir well.
  2. Cover and cook on low setting for 4 to 10 hours, or on High setting for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Just before serving, stir in vodka. Serve hot, in punch cups.
I hope you enjoy these recipes--please feel free to come on back if you do and let me know what you thought! Also, don't forget to stop by the Cafe's Holiday Recipe Expo for more holiday recipes!


  1. These sound DELICIOUS, JO! You're making me hungry just reading them.

  2. You have put my keyboard in danger.

    I'm about to drool on it...


  3. Orange-Cider Punch?

    I shall be making that tonight!!!

  4. Okay, that orange cider punch is RIGHT up my alley!!! YUMmers!!!! Okay, I'll be making some for sure! Thank YOU!

  5. Never thought about hot orange punch.. sounds realy good though, as does the pumpkin soup!

  6. That orange cider punch sounds tasty. However, I am sorry, but I too join the rest of your family in detesting sweet potatoes. :)


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