Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Many people get stressed out with all the extra work that the holidays bring. Not only do you have to do your regular day to day things, but throw in grocery shopping, having a kitchen or house full of people and having to get up early and plan and cook everything so that it hopefully comes out of the oven all at the same time, and you can easily have a meltdown on your hands.

Personally, I love to cook and like we have talked about in some of the previous What’s For Dinner posts, planning ahead is key. It’s hard when you only have four burners and one tiny oven, but it can be done, and it can be fun.

For several years, I was a vegetarian, so I left the cooking of the turkey up to the carnivores. My favorite thing was the sides. Now, I love cooking and eating turkey, but my favorites remain the same. I could eat side dishes all day. Oh wait, I DO eat side dishes all day. However, this can be traumatic on my waistline! So there are a couple of things that I do in order to not feel the post dinner food coma and accompanying guilt.

First, I sign up for a Turkey Trot! I know, it’s sometimes hard to fit in in, but you can put the turkey in the oven and then go off and run. It takes less than an hour for most and you end up feeling invigorated afterward! The other thing I do is that I try to cut down on my butter and sugar intake by doing a few subs to my favorite recipes.

One of my favorite side dishes is sweet potatoes! However, the general recipe is loaded with butter and sugar. Personally I like the taste of the potato and don’t need to cover it up with sugar, so I just go Au natural. Also, I love the flavors of fall, so why not work with what’s available?

Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potatoes
3 Large Sweet Potatoes (or Yams)
1-2 Large Apples
1 cup pecans
4 Tbsp Brummel and Brown spread
2 Tbsp cinnamon
½ -1 cup Craisins
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

Dice up the apples and sweet potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss together thoroughly. Put mixture in 9 x 13 baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, stirring occasionally (3 – 4 times). Remove and enjoy! The apples give it a bit of sweetness without the added sugar.


Another dish I love to make is dessert. One of my favorite recipes is for these pumpkin spice muffins. If you sub part of the sugar with splenda and use Brummel and Brown rather than butter, you have a muffin you can sink your teeth into without feeling the Turkey Day bloat. 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
1 cup Flour
¼ cup Splenda
¼ cup Sugar (or you can use ½ cup sugar only)
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
½  tsp Nutmeg
½  tsp Salt
4 Tbsp Brummel and Brown spread, cut into pieces
1 -1 ¼ cup Pumpkin Puree
½  cup Evaporated Milk
1 Egg
2 tsp Vanilla
½  cup craisins (or raisins)

2 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼  tsp Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in spread with two knives or your fingers until it is fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.

Use a ¼ cup measure to fill 12 muffin tins with batter. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture over the top of each unbaked muffin. Bake for 25 minutes. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before taking out of the tin. If you are like me, you will not listen to this advice and you will take one “ugly” one out for a sample right away. Somebody has to do it. 

Thank you to Good to Know & Unilever Spreads for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Who is the Thanksgiving chef in your family? What is your favorite dish to eat? What is your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?


  1. I'll take some of both, thanks! I have to take a side dish to the neighbor's on Thursday--maybe I'll try this one.

  2. My mom is definitely the Thanksgiving Chef, but we all pitch in. My dad always carves the turkey and everyone brings side dishes to share. This year I am making that carrot salad that I made for Julia Child night. My favorite dish is the stuffing - my mom makes my own for me made with gluten free bread which is super awesome of her!

    I wish I could do a turkey day race, but I will be in the middle of nowhere so my plan is to do 5 miles on my own. If I was going to be in Minneapolis, I would have done the Drumstick Dash which is a 10k and I think Phil would have done it with me. Oh well - maybe next year!

  3. Side dishes = yummy!!!

    I'm doing the local Turkey Trot on Thursday morning and love starting the day seeing friends and being active. It's the best way to start.

  4. I love doing a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning! It's a great way to get up and at 'em bright and early, and it always makes me feel better about eating that second (or third) slice of pumpkin pie.

  5. I love stuffing! It is the best thing ever:) My mom and mother in law usually host Thanksgiving, but I always cook my own turkey a few days later so that we have leftovers:)

  6. Since I don't run anymore, I get on the elliptical for one hour in the morning. If it's nice in Chicago, I might even go for a bike ride. My mom makes the turkey and we bring the sides and the drinks. I eat light on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and eat what I want Thanksgiving and then go back to my light eating on Friday.

  7. Both of those recipes look fantastic, especially the sweet potatoes. I've been craving them like crazy!

  8. The sweet potatoes sound really delicious! I may have to try those.

  9. I bet both of your recipes smell wonderful while cooking.

  10. Yes, please, and do you deliver? Those recipes look wonderful. mmmmm...

  11. Oh my googness I am going to have to make the sweet potatoes, yummy!


Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!