Farm Art Friday: Old Grain Bins

I find truth and history in old things. The rural art of the farm feels soulful, stark and real, a part of the American landscape, a part of me. Today marks the first of many Farm Art Fridays.

A picture.

A quote.

A memory that stirs and floats to the surface.

Happy Friday to you.

Farm Art: old grain bins, Piggott, Ar

Farm Art: old grain bins, Piggott, Clay County, Arkansas

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life. 

 

“One eye sees, the other feels.”
― Paul Klee

 

 

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

Happy Thursday! In case you haven’t noticed, we are exactly one week away from Thanksgiving. (Just thought I’d throw that into this Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie post.)

Guess what? Williams-Sonoma asked me to help promote Smoothie Week. (Disclosure: As always, recipes and opinions are my own.) The idea behind Williams-Sonoma’s Smoothie Week is to highlight unusual smoothie recipes, maybe those with an ingredient twist or an odd blend. I thought my Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie fit the bill. Not only is it loaded with flavor, it’s an easy way to sneak an amazing amount of healthiness into your day before breakfast. (Hello beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and fiber.)

So here we are facing another holiday season filled with tempting pumpkin spice lattes and sweet potato pie.

Yummy, right?

But we all know those are calorie laden and who needs that? Not me, and probably not you either. Instead, I offer you this substitute—rich and creamy yet low in calories—a perfect holiday treat.

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

My sweet potato pie smoothie is made from local, seasonal ingredients (sweet potato and apple), basic pantry spices (cinnamon and allspice) and an ingredient you might not expect—blackstrap molasses. When you spoon out a teaspoon for this recipe, you will understand the phrase “slow as molasses”. IT IS THICK, that’s for sure, but unlike refined white sugar or corn syrup, blackstrap molasses is a natural sweetener that is actually good for us. This dark, syrupy byproduct made from the crystallization of sucrose is impressively high in vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin B-6 and niacin.

Blackstrap Molasses

Now, let’s get started. First, grab your blender. Here’s mine.

Williams-Sonoma Blender

It may not look very exciting, but the mere fact that I’ve had this Waring blender (purchased at Williams-Sonoma) my entire adult life, makes it pretty special. The blender still works like new, and I use it several times a week.

An excellent blender is a kitchen necessity, don’t you agree? If you’re in the market for a new blender or juicer or smoothie machine, add one of THESE to your Christmas list now, and you’ll probably never need another one, at least that’s been my experience.

Okay, moving along. Gather and measure your ingredients. I always do this no matter what I’m making. This makes me feel organized even when I’m not.

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie - ingredients

I bet you thought we’d never get to the recipe. Here it is.

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

Yield: 2

Serving Size: 8 oz

Calories per serving: approximately 140

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup 2% milk (I used Lactaid)
  • 1/2 cup cooked sweet potato (smashed and cooled)
  • 1/2 medium apple, cubed (I used Honeycrisp)
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 dashes of cinnamon
  • pinch of brown sugar (optional)
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped pecans (optional)

Instructions

  1. Blend together milk, sweet potato, apple, cinnamon, allspice, molasses, and vanilla.
  2. Add ice and blend again until smooth. Taste. Add additional milk or ice for consistency preference. Add pinch of brown sugar if more sweetness is desired.
  3. Serve in your favorite glass and top with chopped pecans and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can add a dollop of whipped cream too.
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Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

Topped with chopped pecans (from our farm) and cinnamon. I was heavy handed on the cinnamon…

 

Two final notes. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, buy some before you begin your holiday baking. I love it not only because it adds richness and an extra depth of flavor to your creations but also because of the tiny vanilla bean specks visible in whatever you are making. Also, I used two dashes of cinnamon in this recipe. I’m not exactly sure how much a dash is but I have a tiny little spoon that says dash. Probably close to 1/8 teaspoon?

Vanilla Bean Paste and the cutest measuring spoons ever.

Seriously, are these not the cutest measuring spoons ever? (A housewarming gift from my friend, Judy!) A smidgen, pinch and dash (top of picture).

 

For a different spin on the presentation, pour your sweet potato smoothie into shot glasses. Shots make every gathering a party!

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie  Shots

 

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.

“Song, song of the south, sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth.” – Alabama, Song of the South

 

 

7 Life Lessons from Charlie Brown

There are many life lessons to be learned from Charlie Brown. For starters, Charlie Brown is certain proof that a little chevron goes a long way.

Seriously, am I the only person who thinks we’ve gone a little overboard on the chevron look? Don’t get me wrong, I do have one zig-zag blouse, and I love it.

But…

Charlie Brown chevron

 

IT IS EVERYWHERE!

And not only that, do you remember when we called the pattern zig-zag because Chevron was known as a gas station? I do. Because I’m oldish.

The fashion of Charlie Brown is only one such lesson. The Peanuts gang taught us many life lessons. Here are my favorites from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. We would all do well to remember them.

7 Life Lessons from Charlie Brown

 

Mark your calendar! Next week, ABC will air A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 26 at 7:00 Central. Yay.

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.

Musical Pairing:

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – Opening

“In the Book of Life, The answers aren’t in the back.”
― Charles M. Schulz