Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Great Leaf Debate (with a side of NO SUGAR added sweet potato soup)

Polar vortex how you taunt me! Talk about cold. The most beautiful fall in ages destroyed in an instant.  The orange, yellow and red leaves shivered off the trees. No wind! They just fell to their doom.

The weather here has led to the question of the moment,

Are you a leaf raker....

Or...a leaf blower


OR...a leaf jumper?

I confess to being all three!

Public Service Announcement #1: No matter how you go about attacking leaves, make sure you warm up first. Do stretches so your back won't go out (yep, one of the autumn's most common injuries). Make sure you wear ear plugs if you use a blower. And make sure there is nothing dangerous or odorous in that leaf pile. You're welcome.

Falling leaves and sweet potatoes have always gone together in my book.  And since I'm in the South, sweet potato pie is as much a tradition this time of year as pumpkin pie. Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber and make a luscious end to a meal. Sigh AGAIN. Since I can't find a decent gluten free pie crust, I've been missing sweet potato pie.

That's when I thought back to summer's dessert soups. Cold peach, watermelon, strawberry soups always appeared in my Southern Living magazines and eventually to my table. Where are the winter dessert soups? Pumpkin tends to be more savory. I haven't seen a lot of apple soups either. But sweet potato soup after a meal of ham casserole and salad sounded divine to me.

I found plenty of savory sweet potato soups similar to Jan's Butternut Squash Soup . Made with chicken broth and onions, these soups are perfect for an entree. Dessert means sweet, at least in our house. A friend told me about a soup made with apple cider but I wanted something creamy. Plus, our house is having to watch our sugar consumption.

Public Service Announcement, #2: Do you know how much sugar is added to our processed foods? Do you know sugar acts like cocaine on the brain? But if you cut out sugar, you will get used to less.  For me, this was sweet enough for a dessert. For others, maybe not so much. Back to our regularly scheduled post.  

After a few tries, I think I nailed it. These are ingredients for my Dessert Sweet Potato Soup:

And here's the recipe that is a perfect reward after all that raking.

Sweet Potato Dessert Soup:

Soup ingredients:

1 can sweet potato puree or one very large or two regular sweet potatoes, cooked and pureed with a processor or blender

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, more to taste if needed

Dash nutmeg

Optional: 1/4 cup brown sugar if your family insists on really sweet things but the toppings should also make the soup taste sweeter for sugar addicts.

Add on Toppings:

Diced apples, raisins soaked in orange juice, chopped pecans, mini marshmallows, marshmallow fluff, coconut


Combine all the ingredients in a large sauce pan and whisk over medium heat until heated through.

Stir constantly at low  to medium heat so you don't burn your soup!

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle on toppings.

Note: This is a thick rich soup so serve in small bowls (portion control!) and treated like a sundae with your toppings. 

Bonus alternative:  Add a cup of cooked rice and a half cup raisins to the soup, along with two beaten eggs and bake at 350 until set for sweet potato rice pudding!

Now to the questions of the day, do you use a rake, a leaf blower or have you already moved on to a snow blower? Have you ever had a dessert soup and do you like soup for dessert?      


  1. Oooooh,that soup looks delicious. It's pretty simple also. And those little ladies are so adorable. I have a love hate relationship with leaves. Even as a kid I used to hide in my room when it was time to rake. That didn't go over too well with my four siblings. LOL. And don't tell anyone, but I still don't like to rake leaves. Sigh. Although they are pretty beautiful.

    1. My back agrees! I rake when I have to but make sure I have ear plugs for the blowing. It's a chore fraught with danger.

  2. This looks marvelous... and so nicely presented! Julie, you are a queen of presentation, a skill I've yet to master, but I'd probably have to declutter months of stuff first, and the effort of that around here staves the actuality... so I appreciate yours even more! Kids and leaves... Oh, that's a marriage made in heaven! God love 'em, they're adorable.

    I love sweet potato anything. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Ruthy, I just need to come up and visit you in all the snow and organize for you. Or has one of the kids already tried?

      I was really surprised that ManO appreciated the dressin' up too. Even when we have very low cost meals I try to remind him it would cost far more in a fancy restaurant. Ha!

      Stay warm!

  3. And did you really use the word "entree"????? I'm even more impressed. And Julie, Natasha Kern inspired me to use pecans for a crust for my Pecan/sweet potato pie that the famous Tina Martinelli makes in "His Holiday Family"... Talk about a marriage made in heaven! There's no gluten in nuts, right?

    1. That's right. Pecans are truly a workhorse of a nut! But it seems to be regional for sure.

  4. There aren't many trees around, so I don't have to worry about leaves as much...both a shame and a relief, I suppose. This is a great recipe and I'm looking forward to trying it. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Believe me, my maples shade my house in the summer and I am thankful for them then. I am thankful for them when they turn yellow and red. Raking is another story!

  5. Oh, wow! I'm going for the sweet potato rice pudding! YUM!

    This soup sound so good! And I use Spenda Brown sugar mix to cut down some on carbs. It's really tasty.

    1. Wow. Now that's an ingredient I haven't heard of!

  6. Okay, now I KNOW you live in the south. I've never seen canned sweet potato puree! Pumpkin, yes. And it makes sense that it would be available where so many people love sweet potato pie, but...nope. Never even heard of it before!

    But this soup looks marvelous! I'm saving this recipe for a treat when we have company sometime :)

    Oh, and leaves! I miss them! We live right between the Black Hills and the western prairie. Literally. The hill (it's really a small mountain) just north of our house is covered with trees on its western end, and the rest is covered in grass. We look west, we see tree covered mountains. We look east and we have rolling prairie grasslands as far as we can see.....

    We do have our one tiny cherry tree, but when the wind blows the leaves off of it, they'll be long gone.

    On the other hand, when we lived in northern Indiana, we had eight HUGE maple trees on and surrounding our tiny half-city lot. We had tons of leaves! The children were all little back then, and it was so much fun. We would try to keep ahead of the leaves with rakes, but when there were too many leaves, we had to resort a blower and tarps (blow the leaves onto the tarps and then haul them out to the street).

    The city built huge wire cages that they attached to the business end of front loaders. They'd use these contraptions to push all the leaves into the nearest intersection, and then load them into dump trucks to take them to the compost yard north of town.

    The amount of leaves was phenomenal. Still is!

    And then a month or so later, they'd have to use the same equipment (minus the wire cages) to start the snow removal process.

    Oh, it was so much fun! But even though I miss those days, I wouldn't go back. I love where we are now, even with no leaves to rake :)

    1. Wow, Jan I am agog. I will never complain about my leaf pile again.

  7. I'm a leaf raker. Love it. Especially on a crisp blue sky, white fluffy cloud day. Lately though our snow has arrived before the last of the leaves have fallen and that makes for kind of a mess.

    I'd never heard of canned sweet potatoes either. It would be easy enough to make from scratch I would think. I'm game to try the rice pudding alternative. Still can't wrap my head around a sweet potato being dessert though. :-)

  8. Kav, I thought of all those folks with snow over their leaves. And anything can be dessert if it's sweet enough!

  9. Your picture of the soup is gorgeous, but I've never been a fan of the dessert soups. However, just the thought of sweet potatoes is enough to make my mouth water. I think I'll recheck the grocery list. And we rake AND blow. Some areas of the yard are just hard to reach with a rake.

    1. For me about the dessert soups, it's all about the mood I'm in. And while I might have wanted something creamy,you may notice I added texture!!!


    I use a blower followed by a lawn vacuum that mulches.

    I am all about e-z.

  11. Julie, this sounds delightful! Love the idea of sweet potato soup for dessert.

    Boy, do I ever know what you mean about the sugar. The first week and half I was off of sugar nearly killed me. I was not a fun person to be around. Later, after I'd been off of it a while and I did allow myself to indulge, my eyes were opened to just how addictive it is. Sugar makes you crave more sugar. No wonder I was always looking for something sweet to shove in my mouth.

    As for the leaves, we usually run over them with the lawn mower with the bagger attached. Easier on the back.

    1. I really wish there was a methadone equivalent for sugar! I count it a triumph I couldn't stand the taste of the first real coke Ive had in years.