Sweet Potato Muffin Experiment

I had two organic sweet potatoes sitting on my counter just waiting to be used. My family is not a huge fan of sweet potatoes for a multitude of reasons – it’s annoying. I didn’t want these to go to waste. It’s another snow day here as well and I thought muffins with a blend of spices and sweet rich undertones might be delicious. Cue the experiment.

Sweet Potato Muffin Experiment


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed, steamed and mashed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used olive because it’s what I had – canola or vegetable would work)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups liquid honey
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare jumbo muffin trays (lightly oil or line with parchment or muffin cups.)
  2. Peel your sweet potatoes and cut into 1″ cubes. Steam or boil until soft.
  3. While your sweet potatoes are cooking, measure and whisk together your wet ingredients. Set aside.
  4. Measure and sift your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  5. When your sweet potatoes are soft, remove them from heat and mash. Allow them to cool slightly.
  6. Slowly add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula. Mix well.
  7. Add your sweet potato mash to your mix. Mix well.
  8. Spoon evenly into prepared muffin top trays.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the top of a muffin comes out clean.
Fresh from the oven…

After preparing, I taste tested. The recipe that inspired these called for almost 2 cups of sugar… no, thank you! I think you could increase the honey to 1 cup if desired. I was personally okay with the level of sweetness and fresh out of the oven they were delicious with a pat of butter. They could, however, definitely use a bit more spice – so flavour away to your heart’s content. The additional spice is not included in the recipe. Next time I’ll add extra cinnamon with the spice blend. Overall, these muffins are a satisfactory, subtly flavoured cold-weather treat. Delicious for breakfast or lunch when winter is blasting away, served with an almond milk chai latte. Your house will smell amazing!

Note: I used jumbo muffin pans (similar to these) in my experiment and they yielded 11 good sized muffins (12 if I had divided my mix evenly.) That being said, it would be simple enough to bake in a bundt pan, loaf pan (or 2), or regular muffin tray. Just adjust your baking time accordingly. (More for bundt or loaves, probably less for smaller muffins.)

Thinking Outside The Box

If you live anywhere along the Great Lakes corridor, you were probably blasted with the ice storm. Slippery roads, mix of ice pellets and wet snow, yucky travel conditions. No one was surprised when they cancelled the buses for an inclement weather day yesterday… once again! (I feel like this is a record for January/February. Kaleb’s ski club keeps getting cancelled too – boo to that!)

My kids were home again. Emails and texts went around with leadership at one of my admin contracts regarding programs and meetings today – they were all postponed. I made the decision to work from home. Fortunately, I can tackle some of my essential commitments from the comfort of my couch and it also affords some time to dive into some of the research projects that get pushed to the side. (If you’d like to do a survey on what parents and caregivers look for in a playgroup for toddlers and preschoolers, click here.)

I called a pause to TV watching in the living room because I can only handle so much Spongebob before my irritability rises and my productivity plummets. Besides, the TV watcher had a speech to prepare. We worked side-by-side, laptops in hand, both investing in our projects. We broke for lunch. Then the contractor asked the boys to unpack the new vanity which took all of three minutes and me constantly reminding them to avoid scratching the vanity with their pocket knives, please and thank you.

The Box / 24 Home

We were left with a box. A big, beautiful box. A box in slight shambles and needing some TLC. The 11-year-old has transformed it into a hut of sorts – hinged windows, level on each side, double doors, and a shower mat as the flooring. It’s covered in green painters tape (whatever works) and is currently sitting in the middle of my living room. The construction alone (including things velcroed to the interior walls and ceiling) kept him occupied for hours. And I am thrilled. I am thrilled that he hasn’t outgrown the wonder of imagination. I am thrilled that a cardboard box still provides hours of entertainment. I am thrilled that he gets caught in the excitement of creativity.

I am, however, less than thrilled that I may have agreed to a 24-hour-box-fort-challenge (What? Something he learned on YouTube?) “Mom, you can fill up my water bottle and bring me snacks.” “If I put it the right way, I can still see the TV.” (Apparently, we’re not quite victorious over the screen yet…) “There’s enough room that I can have a pillow and blanket.” “I guess I can leave the box to pee.” (Oh, thank goodness! My relief knows no bounds.) As long as it leaves my living room, he can kill time in his box as long as he’d like to.

Here’s to big boxes and big ideas. Here’s to tape and pocket knives. Here’s to creativity and imagination. Here’s to thinking outside the box or, sometimes, being different enough and confident enough to even stay in it!

Snow Day Sanity

We’ve had three snow days – AKA inclement weather days – in the last week and a bit. I’ll admit that with the drama of yesterday, when I heard bus transport was canceled again, the thought of having them underfoot made me quiver.

Fortunately, we’ve had heat and hydro and haven’t been truly snowed in. One day the roads were a bit slick. We weren’t truly stuck at home, but who wants to head out when the weather is icky?!

Since my boys started at this school, in JK and Grade 1, they’ve been bussed. There was a period of time that I would drive in as I helped with the breakfast program and they would bus home. Our policy has always been that if the bus is cancelled, they can stay home.

This has been easier for us than for others due to the flexibility of being self-employed with tasks I could do from home. Childcare has not been an issue. Boredom, however, can be a big one.

So how do we bust the snow day boredom? We become a bit more lenient with the screen time with movies, game systems, and YouTube. Not wanting to zombify the boys, however, we try to balance the electronics with other activities.

Here are some of our tried and true boredom busters:

  • Puzzles – the bigger, the better!
  • Board games
  • Books (they don’t love this one, but I still make them do it.)
  • Play outside or go explore in the woods (weather permitting)
  • Baking
  • Chores (another one they don’t love!)
  • Lego (not as popular anymore)
  • Cooking shows or wildlife shows (yes, it’s screentime but it isn’t superheroes or Spongebob.)
  • crafts or painting

I don’t think parents need to entertain their children every second of the day and boredom is great for spurring creative. I don’t see a problem with offering a list of suggestions though and spending some time interacting and making memories.

What are your go-to snowy day activities? What activities do you enjoy doing together? How do you survive snow day madness?

Monday, Fun-day!

If you live anywhere in the Great Lakes area, generally speaking, you’ve probably been hit with the cold snap of the year. (I’m not exactly sure how far this crazy cold extended through North America, but I know that the GTA is cold!) School buses were cancelled last night in anticipation of the extreme weather and beasties were running outside to do their business as fast as they can. I *thought* I had pre-heated my car this morning (hello, remote start!), but it turns out my battery was protesting as much as my kids. (Even if I had won the battle to drive them to school on my way to work, Mother Nature had other plans.)

Now… what’s one day off of school? Well, let me remind you that we’ve had sick days, PA days, and now an inclement weather day. I love the slight sleep-in, but oh my word, I need the routine of regular school days. I love my boys dearly, but they know how to push my buttons!

I worked from the comfort of my kitchen table and eventually my couch. I got things done! The kids agreed if they stayed home from school, they would pitch in around the house (before we knew that I had no way of getting them there.) They got things done. We got things done… then it was a battle to pry them away from screens for the rest of the day.

Our youngest, 11 years old, has been watching cooking shows – Top Chef, Chopped, Nailed It, and SugarRush. These binges always result in his wanting to explore his culinary talents, until he gets bored, at least. Today, he decided he wanted to bake a cake. Good in theory, but I said I wasn’t doing it for him – I would guide him through the recipe, but the work was up to him. Also, I was supposed to do groceries today, and the staples cupboard was pretty bare – we didn’t even have milk.

He pulled out my well-worn BHG cookbook – my go-to for some basic recipes. (It looks something like this… maybe not the same edition?!) He found a chocolate cake recipe and decided this would be his ambitious trial for the day. Man, that kid knocked my socks off. He read through the recipe, pulled out the ingredients, measured and mixed, and put them in the oven. I helped him identify when they were ready to pull out, but he did the bulk of the work with a few learn-by-example steps along the way.

He’s a very opinionated boy – especially when he’s being creative. He wanted a butterscotch filling. So I managed to make a butterscotch pudding to use between layers of the two rounds. First time for me! He also required chocolate icing and wanted to melt down a mix of chocolate & butterscotch chips left over from our Christmas baking to drizzle on top. When it was all put together, I was seriously impressed – for a first attempt at baking a cake – and a layer cake at that – he rocked it!

It was a little dry, but I still cannot believe how well he did. It’s not the prettiest cake in the world, but it’s edible and yummy! A little slice goes a long way. So amidst the chaos of a mad Monday, we made some more memories, practised some life skills, and managed not to freeze any body parts off! (Also, I never lost my cool…) All in all, I’d consider that success… and seeing his confidence sore? It might have had me beaming in pride!