I ate sweet potatoes and yams as a kid.
And liked them.
Really. Liked them.
As long as it was 1) on Thanksgiving
2) as long as they were covered in massive amounts of puffy marshmallows.
Which means I ate only marshmallows for Thanksgiving dinner. After trying– desperately– to wipe off with the stubborn streaks of orange before any got to my mouth.
Ah. Such a classic move.
No wonder I’ve always loved Thanksgiving.
They’re still my favorite, through the whole winter season. I still remember the day that I realized that it was just as easy to skip the marshmallows and still make them taste gooey and warm and sweet, but all #realfood style.
Hint: roasting them is the trick, so all the natural sugars get caramelized.
But, the bigger goal?
To bring the love back into the holiday with things you can feel great (not guilty) about eating yourself, and great about serving to the ones you love most.
Because that’s what the holiday season is all about, or should be about– feeling good, being reminded of the things that really matter in life and being with people you love.
Not about a 41 day, free-for-all binge through the new year.
FACT: That does not feel good. We’ve all tried it. Stop the madness.
But by cleaning up and upgrading some classic dishes to better quality food, you can save your indulgences for your favorite desserts, fun holiday cocktails, or wine (which, hello, is way more fun in my opinion).
Or whatever things you love to get down with this time of year.
Let’s get this Thanksgiving love fest going.
What are your personal favorite classic Thanksgiving dishes? What ones do you want to see re-made? Be sure to leave a comment or two below so we can all help each other out.
Twice Baked Yams With Pecan Crumble:
Notes: These can be made individually, as demonstrated below, or by mashing all of the roasted potatoes with the coconut milk and spices in a separate bowl and baked as a casserole type dish instead. It all depends on how many people you have coming to dinner. Both ways can be made in advance, which is awesome. This recipe serves double duty as a great Fall breakfast as well. For kids, another little drizzle of pure maple syrup makes it all more appealing like pancakes.
4-6 red garnet or jewel yams, sliced lengthwise and ends removed
1 8 oz can coconut milk (14.5 ml) (the regular kind, not the “light” version)
4 tablespoons coconut oil
Maple Spiced Pecan Topping: see recipe here
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Place halved yams on the baking sheet and rub each with a small amount of olive oil. Place in oven for 45 mins-1 hour, until they can be easily poked with a fork.
Make Maple Spiced Pecans in the meantime, and let cool.
Carefully scoop (if you plan to re-stuff) out the flesh of each potato and mash slightly. Add coconut milk to a small bowl and whisk around to combine. Add coconut milk and coconut oil to the mashed yams- and continue to mix well.
Sprinkle with cinnamon (add chili powder for more of a kick). Add filling back into potato shells (optional), or add the mixture to a serving bowl or baking dish. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.
Serve warm. Keeps great in the fridge for 5-6 days– perfect for a hearty breakfast, sweet or savory snack, or a great make-ahead Thanksgiving dish if you have oven space scarcity that day.
Love this recipe? You’d love the cookbook then too, or the Simply Real Health Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection (with over 70 easy, healthy upgrades to the dishes we all love!)