Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes: The Best Sweet Potato Casserole (Gluten Free)

picture from thespruceeats.com

I’m just going to say it… I hate marshmallows. I particularly hate them on sweet potato casserole (I understand I may be lynched for this). But seriously, I am team pecan streusel topping all day long! So if you are a marshmallow fan, you can use the sweet potato part of this recipe and top with marshmallows… but you are seriously missing out.

So I have been told this is the best sweet potato casserole someone has ever had. That made me feel pretty good about myself, not going to lie. So I decided to share it with you all so that you can have it in you arsenal for the upcoming Holiday season!

On top of how delicious it is, it is also gluten free! As I have eaten gluten free I realized a lot of my Holiday favorites were off limits. So this one I just replaced the flour in the topping with a gluten free alternative, and wall-ah! It’s amazing! I hope you love it too.

Let’s get started so you can get this in your mouth ASAP!

The Best Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

What you will need:

For the Mixture:

  • 5 sweet potatoes (small) or 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the Topping:

  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 5 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the sweet potatoes by either baking in oven for approximately 60 minutes OR what I do is use steam bags (which you can purchase) and steam them in the microwave for about 7 minutes. They peal so easily and are very tender! Then once prepared and pealed, mash in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add butter, milk, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon, and mix well.

In another small bowl, combine brown sugar, melted butter, pecans, flour, salt and cinnamon. Mix well until everything is combined.

Spread sweet potato mixture into casserole dish evenly and top with pecan mixture. Then you will want to bake for about 20 minutes until the topping is golden delicious.

This is THE best sweet potato casserole ever and it is gluten free! This will definitely be a new family favorite! Happy homemaking and happy thanksgiving!

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes: The Most Delicious Green Bean Casserole

picture from browneyedbaker.com

So I am not known for many things in life, but one thing I am known for: my green bean casserole. It is a staple this time of year for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. It is so delicious, comforting, and a must have at your dinner table! But what it also is… is so easy!

I thought hard about sharing this recipe because it is kind of like my baby… I am very proud of it. But I would feel guilty from holding this recipe captive any longer! So let’s get started and prepare yourself for foodgasm!

Delicious Green Bean Casserole

What you will need:

  • 3 cans of green beans
  • 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 package of onion dip mix
  • 1/4 cup real bacon bits
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (1/2 for mixture, 1/2 for topping)
  • One large can of crispy fried onions

Dried seasonings:

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together green beans, cream of mushroom soup, onion dip mix, bacon bits, garlic, 1/2 cup of cheese, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix together well! Then add in all of the dry seasonings listed above and mix well again.

In a casserole dish (ceramic, glass, or foil) dump the green bean mix and smooth into an even layer. Top mixture with remaining cheese and fried crispy onions. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately!

If you are doing like I am, I prepared this the night before! If you choose to do this, don’t add the fried onions until before you put it in the oven. They will get soggy in the fridge overnight!

This will be a family favorite and WARNING, you will be asked to bring this from now on! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do! Happy homemaking and Happy Thanksgiving!

Easy Salt Dough Crafts for Kids

With the Holidays coming up, nostalgia and memory-making is at an all time high! Here is a fun and easy craft for you to do with your babies or big kids! A simple at-home recipe for old-fashioned salt dough makes making memories so much easier!

So, this is one of my favorite crafts that I found this year! Having a new baby and going through the Holiday seasons for the first time, I kept wanting ways to make those crafts that scream nostalgia and memories. I found this recipe for salt dough crafts and fell in love!!

Salt dough is soooo easy to make, you most likely already have these ingredients in your home, and it is a fun craft that you can do with your babies, toddlers, or even your big kids! You can make ornaments, picture frames, and pretty much whatever your mind can create!

So a lot of people have begun Christmas decorating already and I will be sharing some Christmas crafts soon! However, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought some cute turkey crafts would be a fun way to bring a little more warmth to your home! Salt dough crafts are also so much more fun and less costly than expensive at-home ceramic kits or cement kits that don’t work and are hard to use (especially with a baby who will not cooperate)!!

So far I have not ran into any issues with baby John letting me use his cute little fingers and toes for memorable craft-making! I have been making so many types of crafts using his hands and feet, and I want to keep everyone of them! I never knew that you would feel guilty for giving one away (cursed mom guilt).

So with such an easy recipe, you can make so many more crafts so you don’t feel like you’re giving a piece of your heart away!

Let’s get started so you can get crafting and memory making!

salt dough thanksgiving crafts

What you will need:

  • ***1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional if you want it to smell a little more like the Holidays)

*** So a small disclaimer that I learned through trial and error. When choosing what flour to use for your salt dough craft, I would HIGHLY recommend using an unenriched flour that does NOT contain any kind of leavening agent (such as baking powder or baking soda). I found if there is a rising agent in the flour your salt dough craft will bubble up and not stay in the shape you make it into. So just a note!

There will be directions for all three of the crafts shown of the turkey hand print, the hand turkey, and the foot print! Choose whatever you like or do your own thing and let me know how it goes!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees (F). [cooking your salt dough at a low heat for a long period of time creates a hardened clay-like substance that lets you keep it forever!!]

In a mixing bowl, measure out your flour, salt, cinnamon (optional), and water. Mix together until it forms into a dough-like ball! (It should be malleable and not sticky – underneath is what it should look like).

Once you have the dough ready, prepare a baking tray with parchment paper and divide the dough into thirds.

Circle turkey hand craft

Take the first third of the salt dough and form it into a smaller ball, taking a rolling pin (or your hand if you don’t have one) to smooth it out into a perfect circle.

Once you’ve smoothed it out to the size and thickness of your liking, then you will want to press your babies/kids hand down, making sure it is deep enough to get the print but not too deep to make the bottom weak. Pull the hand up and you should have a perfect print! (If the first try doesn’t work, just re-roll the dough and try again!)

You can also use the end of a pen to make a hole in the top in case you want to tie a ribbon around it to hang!

Like all of the rest of the salt dough crafts, bake at 250 degrees F for 3 hours (or until all moisture is gone). Let cool and then paint however you desire!!

This is raw, unbaked dough! Final craft will be shown below!

Cut-out hand turkey craft

Take another third of the salt dough and do the same procedure of smoothing out in a circle, pressing your babies/kids hand, and setting aside. This time, rather than pressing so hard to get a good print, just press hard enough to get the general outline of the hand, leaving enough volume of the dough behind.

Then take a knife and cut out the outline of the hand and remove the excess dough from around the cut out. Take a small ball of dough and add it to the bottom of the hand (this is where the turkey’s legs will go). Make sure to use your finger to reconnect the hand to the small square at the bottom so they will bake as one piece.

You will need to bake again at 250 degrees F for 3 hours (or until all the moisture is removed). Once cooled, decorate and have a memory forever!

Pictured is raw craft unbaked! Final craft will be shown below.

Thanksgiving foot salt dough craft

So if you want to just have a keepsake memory craft of your babies/kids foot, this one is for you! You can do this craft any time of the year or for any milestone in your baby’s life (or if you just feel like it).

Take the remaining amount of salt dough and form into more of an oval rather than a circle (this is necessary if your baby has sasquatch sized feet like mine – who is only 7 months old btw).

Press baby’s foot into the dough, making sure it’s pressed in deep enough to get each little toe! (An easy way to achieve this for bigger kids is to set the pan on the floor and let them step on it themselves).

Then bake at 250 degrees F for 3 hours (or until moisture is fully removed) and decorate as you please!

This dough is still raw! Final craft will be pictured below.

Yay crafting!

Now that your salt dough crafts are cooled and decorated, it’s time to set them around your house and let the memory-making begin! I remember growing up loving to look at all of the crafts I made as a kid, so I wanted to do the same for John!

Not to mention, I will now have a forever keepsake that will have his little hands and feet captured for a moment. I am a very nostalgic person, and want these salt dough crafts everywhere around my house for every Holiday!

And when John is older you better believe we will create salt dough ornament crafts together every year!

It’s okay to want to make memories, and easy recipes like this will make that actually seem doable! I hope you find much fun and memory-making from this, and most importantly, happy homemaking!!

finished salt dough crafts:

Yay!!! I love them so much!

Below are some more ideas that I’ve done for this fall!

Acorn Craft
Pumpkin Craft!

I hope you all enjoy this Thanksgiving salt dough craft as much as I always do! Can’t wait to see your keepsakes and memories, happy homemaking!!!