Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are spending the day with family or friends enjoying good company and good food.
Today Mr. Q and I are heading out to his mom & step-dad’s house in Wisconsin for a quiet dinner for 4. We have been doing this every year since my in-laws moved back here from New Orleans. After spending so many years far apart on the holidays, we are especially grateful for their company now.
While my sweet potatoes are baking, I took some time to package up some fun goodies that we brought back from our trip for them. I really enjoy packaging gifts. It goes way back to my high school days when I made a little extra spending money at Christmas time by running a gift wrapping booth at my local mall. I always made the most money on Christmas Eve itself when all of the men came dashing in for last minute gifts that needed to be wrapped!
I have honed my gift packaging skills since then. I have to admit, on occasion the wrap is better than the gift inside … shhhh … don’t tell anyone I said that.
For today’s gift for the in-laws, I just started with a plain brown craft paper bag and I dug out some of my fab vintage foreign language books.
I suppose the book purists out there might be appalled, but I regularly dismantle old books for craft projects. I consider it a way to enjoy the beautiful typography and not just leave it tucked away in an old book.
I ripped a page out of the German book that I recently purchased at Carver Junk Co as a base for my design, then I added a copy of an old photo, some Tim Holtz rub-ons, and some washi tape. Some brown satin ribbon and a vintage button top things off. And voila!
I’ve used a paper shredder to shred pages from the French Grammar book to cushion the contents.
Are you wondering what’s in there? Just a few little things … a wooden trivet set from Budapest, some chocolates from Austria and an Advent calendar card showing the Nuremberg Christmas market.
Now that the gift is ready, I must finish making my famous sweet potato casserole so we can hit the road. Despite not having any pictures of it, I’ll share the recipe with you. People rave about this dish every time I bring it somewhere, even the ones who don’t usually like sweet potatoes.
Sweet Potato Bake
- 3 c. cold mashed sweet potatoes (w/out milk or butter)
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1/4 c. butter, softened
- 3 eggs
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/2 c. chopped pecans
- 1/4 c. all purpose flour
- 2 T. cold butter
In a mixing bowl, beat sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, salt and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, pecans and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over potato mixture. Bake, uncovered at 325 for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 8 – 10 servings.
Before I leave you, let me take a minute to say that one more thing I am grateful for on this day of thanksgiving is you! Thank you for all of the kind comments and well wishes that have been sent my way since starting this blog a year ago. I couldn’t do it without you!