The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year to spend with family and friends, enjoying each other’s company — and there is almost always food involved! Food has a magical way of bringing people together in fellowship. However, many of us struggle with the balance of enjoying the many delicious treats and avoiding overindulgence. Having at least one or two healthier alternatives up your sleeve to bring to the next gathering can really help keep the calorie count down and avoid those unwanted pounds we tend to gain during the holidays. I have created a yummy alternative to the sweet potato casserole we all know and love. Enjoy!
5 medium-sized sweet potatoes
¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium-sized, ripe bananas
¼ cup pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup toasted chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce each one a few times with a fork. I like to individually wrap each potato in aluminum foil; it keeps the potato moist and makes for easy clean up! Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool. While the potatoes are baking, chop ¾ cup pecans and place on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven with the sweet potatoes until just toasted. This will take about ten minutes, but watch carefully, as they can burn quickly! Set aside to cool.
Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Scoop the sweet potatoes out of their skins and into a medium bowl. Discard the skins. Whip the potatoes with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the coconut oil, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Whip the mixture until smooth.
Spray an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish. (Look for coconut oil cooking spray, it’s great stuff!) Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pan and smooth with the back of a spoon to make an even layer.
Peel the bananas and place them in a medium bowl. Break apart and mash with a fork. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon. Use your electric mixer to whip until smooth. Stir in the toasted pecans. Add the banana mixture to the top of the sweet potatoes and smooth again. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is bubbly and golden brown. Serve warm.
For more great recipes, tips, and inspiration for a healthy lifestyle, visit this article’s author, Julie Davey, and the other ladies of Simple Truth Ministry at www.simpletruthministry4u.com.