When I printed up the Bountiful Basket Volunteer Site Coordinator (VSC) paperwork on Friday night I looked through and was surprised to see that we would only be receiving one yam per basket. When I told my husband, he was equally surprised and we proceeded to have a merry (albeit disrespectful) discussion about what a family of 6 could do with ONE YAM. However, when the boxes of yams were opened at the site the next day, all jokes of individual dollops of mashed yam were cast aside. Oh we of little faith…we should have known Sally and Tanya would not let us down. Instead of the long, thin, small yams we were expecting we discovered HUGE yams quickly deemed by volunteers “giant baby yams”. Not baby because they were small mind you. Baby because these yams are in fact the size of a newborn baby. The whopper in the picture above weighed in at 5 lbs 6 oz (the yam, not the child).
While these ginormous yams were fun, and kept the participants and volunteers smiling all through the cold morning distribution, I will admit I felt a level of culinary intimidation when I hoisted the baby yam out of its basket and placed it on my counter. It then sat, intimidating me for a few days before I finally decided to buckle down and do something with it. And am I ever glad I did. That baby yam turned into a breakfast that the whole family enjoyed. It’s a good thing too because it made a LOT! My Paleo Sweet Potato Pancakes are both delicious and nutritious. In fact, These are so yummy hubby not only ate them, he volunteered to clean up (a chore which included scrubbing the orange-tinted shredder attachment).
I start off by partially baking the yam. I don’t like yam mush so I bake it to where it is “al dente”. This allows me to run it through my Kitchen Aid shredder attachment without making puree. Once it’s all shred it should look like this:
I gently stir in diced onion, coconut flour, spices, and beaten egg. Then I use a measuring cup to form it and gently press it into the hot coconut oil.
Once they’re crispy and brown on both sides pat the pancakes down with a paper towel, serve up, and enjoy!
If you have been a little intimidated by the big yam I recommend popping it in the oven and starting on these delicious Paleo Sweet Potato Pancakes (you may want to have a chore in mind just in case you get appreciative helpers). If crispy, fried, pancakes aren’t your thing (though I don’t know how they could not be) I’ve included links to other recipes that will help you get over the intimidation. Grab that yam and get cooking!
I expected the first Christmas I was married to be peaceful, romantic, and special. I had visions of my honey and I quietly sipping cocoa and exchanging gifts in our cozy little apartment, enjoying just being together, and then taking a leisurely evening trip across town to visit our loved ones and revel in the Christmas of various nieces and nephews (we were in a blissful state of kid-less-ness that I can no longer recall- no matter how hard I try). Much to my chagrin, these newly-wed, Norman Rockwell images were far from our reality. With two sets of divorced parents we found ourselves traveling to no less than 4 different Christmas celebrations. All of which were hosted by well-meaning family members whose sole goal was to out-host our next stop. I will spare you the details of the evening- rest assured it is the stuff movies are made of. Let’s just say by the end of the night we were tired, grumpy, and FULL (seriously- how many servings of glazed ham and au-gratin potatoes can one couple be expected to eat?) We vowed that the next year would be different.
So when November rolled around and hubby gently reminded me that we needed a plan, I set to work. After much negotiation among the families (that included a few offenses, followed by forgiveness and make-up hugs) we worked out a schedule for the big day. Our plan worked and we had a full but joyous day of celebrations. In fact, one of our most loved traditions came out of the plan- the family Christmas Eve breakfast.
What started as a desperate attempt to space out familial obligations, has become a festive holiday tradition that the whole clan enjoys. We eat breakfast, exchange gifts, play a board game, and those who can spare the time head out to the movies. Of course the key to a successful holiday party is the food and I am sure most of you will agree it’s pretty hard to go wrong with breakfast foods. We mix things up a bit each year but have some key dishes that have probably crossed the line from tradition to requirement…it just wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without them. I will warn you- most of these favorites are not healthy or figure-friendly. They are fun, delicious, and comforting. Just the thing a holiday celebration should be.
Dutch Oven Breakfast Casserole is one of those “must-haves”. We like making it in our cast iron Dutch oven (this makes yummy, crispy edges) but really any oven-safe, deep casserole dish will work fine. The great thing about this recipe is it can be made the night before and so all you have to do is pop it in the oven an hour or so before you are ready to serve it up. While using fresh diced potatoes is usually my first choice I have been known to sub frozen, shredded potatoes and even Tator Tots. This Casserole tastes great on its own but is really wonderful topped with homemade salsa.
While the rolls are cooling top them with the orange glaze of your choice. I always seem to have my favorite Orange Vanilla Jam on hand thanks to my great BB citrus add-ons. I thin some of that out with a little water and then brush it on. If you do not want to go to the work of making the jam just mix some orange juice with a little bit of powdered sugar and some vanilla until you get a glazey consistency and brush that on. Then, while the rolls are still warm add dollops of the cream cheese frosting. If you are like me you will need a little extra container of the frosting- like that famous food court favorite but WAY, WAY better!
Virginia’s Festive Fruit Salad is one of those dishes that you will either love or loathe. The family is split on this one but those in the “Love” camp will not let a holiday pass by without it. (I will not sway you in one direction or another by telling you my position on the fruit salad- you’ll just have to try it for yourself)
Rudolph’s Red Smoothies are a fun way to get some fruit into the morning menu and the kiddos absolutely love them. The key to making these really special is to top them with a nice dollop of whipped cream, sprinkle that with cinnamon to get a brown reindeer tint, and then place a halved cherry or red berry in the middle so Rudolph’s nose will shine away. Top it off with two little chocolate or pretzel stick antlers and mini chocolate chip eyes. It’s generally warm enough in Las Vegas to enjoy these smoothies throughout the holidays. If you live in a colder climate this could easily be done with Hot Cocoa.
The family Christmas Eve breakfast is a tradition that we happened to stumble upon but I am so glad that we did. It is one of our most treasured moments each year. I hope that this holiday season will find you making room for the moments that count. Scramble up a casserole, snuggle up to a Rudolph smoothie, and gather the family for a breakfast tradition you will never forget.
One of the exciting things about Bountiful Baskets is the occasional opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables. Once in a while, something really unique and unavailable in my Northern neck of the middle-of-nowhere
woods Great Plains shows up in the basket. Today’s basket was one of those baskets! Papaya. PAPAYA! The only papaya I have ever tried before today is in Dole Tropical Canned Fruit—obviously not the same at all as eating the real, uncanned, fresh fruit. I am SO EXCITED! And my kids are too! Baloo the bear from Disney’s Jungle Book even sang a song mentioning the Papaya (in the Bare Necessities—you don’t need a claw to pick the big pawpaw!)
It is rumored that Christopher Columbus, upon trying a Papaya, called it the “Fruit of the Angels”. And, an amazing fruit it truly is! Aside from tasting heavenly and sweet, this fruit is PACKED with some power-house nutrients—provitamin A carotenoids, B vitamins, Vitamin C, lycopene, dietary minerals, and fiber, as well as many phytochemicals, including phynols (antioxidants). Papayas have a lot of natural pectin, which is useful for making jellies and jams. It is also the only plant that produces papain, an enzyme which helps break down proteins, and is often used as a meat tenderizer. Papayas are low calorie, and high fiber. The papaya seeds are edible and are sometimes used as a substitute for pepper, as they have a bitter but somewhat peppery flavor. The leaves have been made into teas in some parts of the world to help combat malaria and other ailments. And that is just the tip of the iceberg! Truly, a rather spectacular plant, and a spectacular fruit!
For more information about some of the health benefits of the papaya, here are a few links:
WARNING: If you have a latex allergy and are unable to eat avocados and bananas, you should also avoid eating the papaya, as there could be possible allergic reactions.
Here is how you eat it!
Here are some recipes to try, if you want to venture into cooking with the papaya instead of just chowing down on it!
p.s. If you would like a couple more Papaya recipes, Check out today’s (12-1-12) recipe round-ups!
Sandy H shared this recipe on the Bountiful Baskets Recipes Board:
Lanette R graciously shared this recipe on the Bountiful Baskets Recipes board.
I love this versatile recipe! Most tree fruits do well and you can feel free to combine fruits to make it more interesting!