Olé! It’s January!

Happy New Year, loyal readers! Umm… All five of you. It’s so depressing when the holidays are over, isn’t it? But holy shit, I think I gained approximately 42 pounds over the holidays, so it’s good to be back to our regularly scheduled programming, I suppose. So, in light of the fact that all I can currently fit into is stretchy pants, Mr. Ahi Tuna Man and I have decided to cook some healthy stuff for a while. Nothing crazy like tofu or quinoa or anything of a hippie vegetarian nature, don’t worry. Let’s not get nuts here. Although, I will admit that I have eaten both tofu and quinoa in the past, and I suppose they aren’t THAT bad. Especially covered in melted Velveeta and bacon.

Anyhoo…

After the craziness of the holidays, Mr. Ahi Tuna Man and I, after taking an unavoidable hiatus from our usual biweekly lazy Sundays, finally had a lazy Sunday last weekend! And what goes better with a frigid Midwest winter lazy Sunday than some spicy meat in a crock pot, huh? And margaritas. I suppose, in retrospect, maybe margaritas may have defeated the purpose of a healthy meal, but whatever. They were light. Stop judging us.

Here we go, folks!

 Cinco De January-O Crock Pot Carnitas!

 Prep time: 15 minutes, give or take

Cooking time: 8 hours in da pot, then a few minutes of post-pot pork shredding

 Ingredients:

  • 2 – 2-1/2 pound pork shoulder roast (Technically, I think you should probably trim off the fatty parts because they are bad, but I didn’t want to shock my body with lack of fat, so I did not. Trim the fat if you wish, skinny bastards.)
  • Minced garlic
  • Cumin
  • Dry adobo seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 – 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (Or more if you want it WAY spicy so your body will go into inferno mode and burn off the margaritas. That’s what I did. I’m pretty sure it worked. Ok, probably not. It was worth a try, though.)
  • 2 bay leaves

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    Mmm… Meat.

  1.  Fire up a skillet on the stovetop at about medium-high heat, and give the pork roast a good sear on all sides. If you’re like me, you will place the pork on its side and it will fall over repeatedly before you resign yourself to the fact you will probably have to stand and hold it there with tongs. Once it’s got a pretty brown sear on all sides, remove from heat and let it cool until you can rub it without having to go to the ER with first degree pork burns.
  2. Once cool, cut 6 or 7 small holes into the pork roast using a sharp kitchen knife; Poke minced garlic into holes with your fingers. You can make, “TAKE THAT, PORK ROAST!” sounds as you do this if you wish. I did. Also, make sure your fingers are clean. Nobody likes to be poked with dirty fingers. Season with cumin, adobo seasoning, and garlic powder, and rub that puppy like it’s your new porky boyfriend and you’re giving him a birthday massage.
  3. Pour chicken broth into crock pot, then add the chipotles and bay leaves. Throw the pork in the crock pot and cover with lid. Cook on low for 8 hours, periodically flipping the pork roast so all the yummy chipotle flavor will seep into both sides.

    Mmm... Meat.

    Mmm… More meat.

  4. After about 8 hours (Ok, ok… I couldn’t wait the whole 8 hours. I only cooked mine 7. Or 6-1/2. I blame my growling stomach and the scent of chipotle.), remove the pork roast from the crock pot, and fish out the bay leaves if you can find ‘em. Shred the pork with a couple of forks, then dump all the shredded meat back in the pot to mix with all the spicy shit still in there. Let it cook another 10 – 15, then you’re good to make some tacos! Or a big unhealthy pile of spicy meat covered with avocado and cheese and sour cream. Not that I’d ever do that sort of thing. Nope. Not this girl. All healthy, all 2015. Or at least until Friday. Maybe.

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    Pork! Olé!

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Best. Carrot Cake. Ever. (No, seriously. I’m not kidding.)

I once told myself that I would never, ever share my super secret carrot cake recipe with anyone. But I’ve recently decided that good cake is a gift I should not keep to myself. So, here I am. Giving it away for free to the four people who read this blog. You’re welcom10849894_10154937745545551_5509142830723498778_ne.

So, Christmas Eve with Mr. Ahi Tuna Man’s mom was a success! I think. We both had some Fireball and wine in us (I’m aware this does not sound like a good combo, but nothing bad occurred after, so I think it’s all good.), we watched a musical, sang some songs about trolleys, spilled some wine, chatted, and… Then came the best part: The cake. Now, I’ve come across many a restaurant and bakery in my day that have claimed to 1395389_10154937745335551_1396242364424459253_nhave THE best carrot cake ever, and I’ve taken a bite of their poor excuse for carrot cake and spit it back in their faces. Ok, not really. But I definitely made an angry face and stormed out of the establishment in a huff, for sure.

So, here we go, folks! You may have my recipe. Go. Go forth and do some carrot cake goodness.

Best Carrot Cake Ever! (Not That Other Crap People Claim Is The Best)

Prep time: Meh. 30 minutes or so. Depends how fast of a carrot grater you are.

Baking time: 30 – 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 can unsweetened crushed pineapple (8 oz)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (Luckily, I have a handy KitchenAid shredding attachment, otherwise you need to shred the old-fashioned way with a cheese grater. And I’ve lost many a shred of finger this way. I don’t recommend it. I’ve unknowingly turned some of my carrot cake eaters into cannibals. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.)
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I once used corn oil, though, because I had no vegetable oil, and I panicked. But it was still delicious.)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups chopped walnuts (Totally optional. I’ve gone nutless many a time to please the nut allergy crowd.)

10888733_10154937745765551_300662755351063628_nFor the frosting:

Ok, I have a confession. I have a cream cheese frosting recipe. However, as a time saver, since we’ve established I’m lazy, I typically just use 2 tubs of the Duncan Hines Whipped Cream Cheese frosting. I know, I know… I’m not proud. But seriously, I’ve passed it off as made from scratch before. The Pillsbury Whipped works as well. Nobody can tell. And why should I waste my Goddamn time making it from scratch when I can just dump it and spread it? HUH??? STOP JUDGING ME!!!

Let’s just move along, k? Good talk.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a couple 8″ round pans, or a 9×13 rectangular. Whatever floats your boat.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together pineapple, carrots, sugars, oil, and pineapple until well blended.
  3. This is where I’m supposed to tell you to mix the flour and stuff together in a separate bowl and THEN mix it with the pineapple stuff, but I never do. I dump and mix. So do what you want. We all know it ends up together anyway. Like Bo and Hope. Except there’s no theme music. There should be, though.
  4. Stir in your nuts at the end. If you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.
  5. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you baked these in 2 round pans, let them cool before you remove them from the pan. Trust me. I’ve mourned the loss of many a broken carrot cake layer by trying to take it out too soon. Learn from my mistakes, people.
  6. Once cool, frost ’em! If you insist on making cream cheese frosting, I’m sure there are recipes all over the interwebs. But for me, premade works just fine. I ain’t fancy. Do what you want. I ain’t your momma.
  7. Eat one piece.
  8. Send remaining pieces to me.
  9. Thank you.

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Every Day I’m Trufflin’

So, Mr. Ahi Tuna Man and I have now been dating a few months, so we’ll be spending Christmas Eve together, cooking stuff, and I will be forcing him to watch my dumb Christmas musicals, and…

*dramatic pause*

I will be meeting his mother.

*insert screams of terror here*

It’s not that I don’t WANT to meet his mother. I mean, I’m sure she’s a very nice lady, seeing as how she produced such a fine young gentleman (albeit a fogetter of lemons); However, I don’t do well with10612952_10154919530205551_2279490739761308396_n mothers, or with family members in general, particularly ones that don’t drink much and I am unable to make them like me by just getting them intoxicated. I mean, what the hell else do I have? I suppose there’s always my charming personality. And, my secret weapon: You Put Your Toffee In My Chocolate! Truffles.

These suckers are seriously stupidly easy to make, but holy shit, they are chocolate ganache melty deliciousness, and they happen to appear pretty impressive in a lovely ‘Hey Mr. Ahi Tuna Man’s Mom, please like me’ suck up gift basket.

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Let’s hope these work. Pray for me.

You Put Your Toffee In My Chocolate! Truffles

Prep time AND cooking time: Ridiculously fast. Like, 15 minutes. I told you, stupidly easy.

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces dark chocolate (I just used a bag of Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips. And only ate 2. Or 3. Or 6. Whatever.)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bag Heath toffee bits, smashed until they’re little and you can roll truffles in them. Know what I mean? Teeny tiny toffee tidbits. Say that 10 times fast.
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons sea salt
  1. Throw chocolate chips into a medium-sized bowl. Try not to eat them all.
  2. Dump your cream and butter into a small saucepan over low heat on the stove. Let the cream/butter simmer just until it starts to boil, then remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot cream (That sounds kinda dirty, I know.) over your chocolate chips, and let it sit a minute or so until the chocolate starts screaming, “I’M MELTING!!!”. Or until you see it start melting. Whichever comes first. Stir until it’s a delicious-looking bowl of smooth chocolate that you want to put your face in.
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least 5 hours.
  5. Have a couple drinks. Take a nap. Watch some porn. Do some laundry. Take a shower. Do whatever it is you do for 5 hours.
  6. After 5 hours, it’s time to roll some chocolate balls! It’s easiest to do this if you have a melon baller. If you don’t, then I dunno what to tell you. Go find one. Haha! Or I suppose you could just use regular spoons, but it’ll be much more difficult to get them round-like. I prefer the baller route. So, scoop out some chocolate with your baller and put it on a plate or something. Don’t shape it into a ball just yet- we’ll do that later.
  7. After you’ve balled all the balls you can ball and they’re all sitting there nicely on a plate, you can use your hands to shape them into perfect chocolate orbs. Helpful hint: You may want to keep some frozen veggies or something handy to cool your hands down in between chocolate shaping, because hands are hot, and chocolate is melty. I like to give some frozen peas a good squeeze in between rounds to cool my hot hands a little.
  8. Mix the Heath bits and sea salt together in a bowl. Take your perfect chocolate balls and roll ’em and roll ’em in the Heath pieces until they’re all coated and pretty.
  9. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, but they’re best eaten at room temp because they’re sorta gooey and stuff that way.
  10. Hope that Mr. Ahi Tuna Man’s mom likes them.

Side note: You don’t have to use Heath pieces, I just really like them. You can get creative and coat your truffles with cocoa, or crushed peppermints, or nuts, or sprinkles, or smooshed-up Red Hots, or pretzel bits, or… or… Whoa. There’s too many potential coatings. I just blew my own mind.

Gotta go.

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It’s The Greek-in’ Weekend!!

See what I did there with the title? Get it?? I kill me.

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Chunks o’ feta make me happy.

Anyway… Mr. Ahi Tuna Man and I decided this week that maybe we should try to do something a little healthy-ish for our bodies, what with all the pizza and cookie eating we’ve been doing, so I decided, “What the hell, let’s stuff some shit inside some chicken and see what happens.”. I also happen to LOVE anything Greek- Feta, spinach, kalamata olives (I also just love saying ‘kalamata’ because it’s fun. Kalamata. Kalamata.), so I thought to myself, “GREEK STUFFED CHICKEN!! OPA!!”. Then I did some sort of dance I think I saw in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ or something. I dunno. There was some clapping and stomping.

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Help us! We need to be baked! We’re NAKED!!

I would also like to note that this recipe was supposed to include lemon, but SOMEONE (I won’t name names.) (It was Mr. Ahi Tuna Man.) forgot to buy a lemon. And I feel the lemon really would’ve added something here, so I included it in my recipe down there. I’m still trying to recover from the trauma of being lemonless. I need a moment.

Ok, I’m done.

I also whipped up a simple tomato sauce thing, just so my breasts wouldn’t be naked. My chicken breasts, I mean. I only put tomato sauce on my breasts on special occasions.

Here we go!

CHICKEN!! OPA!!

Prep time Fully dependent upon your chopping and breast stuffing expertise. I was a novice. I was stuffing those breasts for a good 12 minutes or so. Ok, some of that was just because it was fun.

Cooking time: 20 – 25 minutes, or until they won’t give you salmonella.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts (big fat ones that you can cut a little pocket into)
  • baby spinach, chopped (I used about half a bag of the fresh stuff. You could probably use frozen, but frankly, I am not a fan of spinach you have to squish water from.)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Kalamata olives, chopped (However many you want. Whatever tickles your pickle.)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • juice from 1 lemon (Don’t let anyone forget your Goddamn lemon!!)

For the sauce:

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (I could only find the giant-ass can of these, but I only used about half.)
  • Dry white wine to taste (I used $4 Chardonnay. Which is way better than Chardonnbee. Hahahaha! I’m sorry.)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients up there, except for the chicken of course (duh), in a bowl.
  3. Cut a little pocket in the side of the chicken breasts and shove that spinach feta stuff right up in there. Stuff it like you mean it. Awwww yeah. Just like that. Secure with toothpicks if you need to, so your breasts won’t leak while baking.
  4. Put ’em in a 9×13 pan, sprinkle with salt & pepper and whatever other various seasonings you wanna, and stick ’em in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until they aren’t pink any more. You know how to cook chicken.
  5. While those are baking, prepare the sauce! Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, toss in the garlic, and cook until the garlic starts to smell yummy.
  6. Dump in your crushed tomatoes, stir those around a little, then add a little white wine, because cooking with booze is fun. Cook that over low – medium heat until it gets kinda bubbly and hot. (Side note: You could probably skip the wine part, but I think white wine gives stuff kind of a smoky delicious flavor. Just do it. Also, you will have leftover wine, and that’s always good. )
  7. Remove your chicken from the oven, let it rest a couple minutes (because Alton Brown says you’re supposed to do that), then slap it on a plate, spoon some sauce on it, and OPA!! Eat it like a Greek. I dunno. I just like saying OPA!!! Gotta go.

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The Oatmeal Scotchie Debacle Of 2014

I learned two things this weekend:

1. Never wear brand new high heeled shoes to meet your Mr. Ahi Tuna Man’s friends for the first time, unless you want to end up walking like a wounded moose before appetizers arrive., AND:

2. Never, EVER, under ANY circumstances, be a lazy asshole and turn your favorite cookies into bar cookies because you don’t want to have to keep getting up from the couch.

 *Sigh*

 Oh, the shame.

 Don’t get me wrong, these suckers are still delicious. Perhaps if I’d not been mildly hung over and wanted to10801740_10154871658760551_4032877476916594889_n take a shortcut to Baked Butterscotch Town (How cool would it be if that was a real place? I’d totally go live there. Especially if Caramel City was right next door. Holy shit. I’d die.) (Moving along now. Tangent.), these would have potentially been the best damn oatmeal butterscotch cookies I’ve made thus far in my 22-ish (Give or take 15 years. Whatever.) years on this earth. We will never know. I learned my lesson. The hard way. But seriously, make these in cookie form, because they are delightful (Yes, I used the word ‘delightful’.), and they taste like home, and comfort, and Baked Butterscotch Town baked good happiness.

 I’m gonna give you the recipe like if I’d  made it the right way, and we’ll just pretend the whole cookie bar thing never happened, k? K.

Now… come closer for a second.

Closer.

Closer.

Ok, too close. Creeper.

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Drinking RumChata while baking is completely optional. Not for me. But for most.

Anyway… Don’t tell anyone, but my secret for perfect cookies is to replace half the butter that’s called for in most cookie recipes with Crisco butter-flavored shortening. Some may say this is gross. Those people would be very wrong and should definitely be kicked in the kneecaps. I find the Crisco gives the cookies light, crispy edges while still maintaining a moist and chewy center. Just trust me on this. If I’m wrong, well, you don’t know where I live, so whatever. Come at me, bro.

But seriously… I cannot emphasize this enough… Make these. In cookie form. Not bar form. Learn from my mistakes, folks.

 Here we go!

Pass The Oats N’ Scotch Cookies:

Prep time: I mixed ’em up the old-fashioned way, mostly because Mr. Ahi Tuna Man has no Kitchenaid mixer. I swear, he’s like some kind of caveman. Anyway, it still only took about 10 minutes to whip this crap up.

Cooking time: 9 – 10 minutes per batch or thereabouts. Don’t burn them. No pressure.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (I like mine all spiced and shit.)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (I don’t like to use margarine, but I suppose you could if you had to. Heathen.)
  • 1 stick butter-flavored shortening
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats (I like the ones with the Quaker man on them.)
  • 1 package butterscotch chips, minus 5 – 6 chips because I ate them
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Mix together your flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. (Actually, sometimes I don’t even do this, I just dump everything in one big bowl and beat the crap out of it. I’m a bad baker. We’ve already established that I’m lazy. Whatever. Move along. Nothing to see here, people.)
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a big-ass bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture (Or just dump n’ mix, like I said up there.). Stir in oats and morsels. If you’re doing this by hand, your arm will really, really hurt by now.
  4. Drop it like it’s hot onto ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake 9 -10 minutes for crisp cookies. You can take them out sooner if you like them soft and chewy, though. Freak.
  6. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Or onto cheap paper towels. That’s what I do. We’re not fancy around here.
  7. Eat all cookies. Do not share.
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Stupid bar cookies. They still looked pretty damn good, though. Right? They’re good. Just not COOKIE good. I shall try again. Mark my words. I AM NOT FINISHED YET!!! And…. Scene.

You Don’t Know Jack About Sweet Potatoes

I’m writing this post-Thanksgiving blog later than I’d intended, mostly because I am just now able to get up from a large-bellied lying down 10352083_10154840203085551_2443959200363158904_nposition, and was able to button my pants. Things got a little ugly Thursday. Delicious, but ugly. Anyway, I cooked so much crap on Thanksgiving that I wasn’t really sure what to blog about, but decided that since my sweet potato casserole pretty much gives me a giant sweet-salty lady food boner every year, I’d go with that. I totally need to start making this more than once a year. It makes me happy.

Yes, I said ‘food boner’ up there. You’ve all had them. Don’t lie.

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Naughty potatoes.

Anyhoo… Seriously, this crap is delicious, and it’s totally the sweet potato casserole that’s almost impossible to screw up. I’ve been out of milk sometimes, out of vanilla sometimes, I don’t measure a single thing I put in it, and still, it always ends up as sweet and salty goodness. Also, it’s sorta fun to put the potatoes in compromising positions, like they’re having a big potato orgy. A potatorgy. Haha! Moving along now… Last year I had the brilliant idea to add bacon to the nutty crumbly shit on top (Because let’s face it, bacon makes everything better.), and this year I decided to throw some Jack Daniels into the mix (Because let’s face it, whiskey makes everything better. Except my dancing skills. Whatever. I’m a maniac. Maniac on the floor.), and as a result, I believe I have now achieved sweet potato casserole perfection.

9768_10154840203010551_2086811359213627466_nNot that I’m tooting my own sweet potato horn.

Ok, I totally am.

TOOT.

So, here you have it, ladies and gents, the recipe/non-recipe for…

Jacked Up Sweet Potato Casserole

Prep time: You’re looking at about an hour+ if you factor in potato-roasting time. But you can do other stuff while those are roasting. Like, your nails, for instance. Or a couple loads of laundry. Or you could get busy.

Cooking time: 30 – 35 minutes

Ingredients (Please note all measurements are approximate, as I pretty much just throw crap in as I go. Serious chef stuff right here, folks.):

For the sweet potato part:

  • Approximately 10 sweet potatoes (REAL sweet potatoes. If you even mention canned yams, you’re goin’ down.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniels

For the crunchy, delicious topping:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (Use whatever nut you’re feeling. Haha! Sorry.)
  • Approximately 8 slices cooked, crispy bacon, crumbled
  • Course sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke some holes in your sweet potatoes, and toss ’em straight on the oven rack until they’re nice and soft and roasty, which should be about an hour, give or take. Side note: I like to put a giant cookie sheet on a rack under the potatoes because the gooey roasting sugar will start to drip out and could potentially cause a near-fire in your oven. Not that I would know. (Another side note: You could really peel and boil the potatoes, too, but I find that robs them of that roasty sweet potato flavor. So just do as I say.)
  2. Once potatoes are roasted, take them out, cut them open, and scoop out the mushy potato middles into a big-ass bowl. Those suckers will be hot, so you may either want to let them cool a bit, use an oven mitt, or just use your husband’s hands. What else is that bastard good for anyway?
  3. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees.
  4. Now, you just dump the rest of the ingredients into the potato mush, and beat it like Michael Jackson intended, until it looks about the consistency of gooey quicksand. You could use a hand mixer, but if your potatoes were properly roasted all the way, they should be soft like buttah (New York accent), and you will not require anything except a giant spoon. 
  5. Once it’s all blended nicely, dump that into an oven-safe pan. Not a tiny one. A big one. Like, 9×13 would be lovely. Then, make your crunchy topping. This is the good part.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour together, then cut in the butter until it’s all crumbly and struesel-like. Then dump in your chopped nuts and stir it all up. Sometimes I like to sprinkle some more cinnamon in here, just because I enjoy cinnamon immensely. But you can do what you want.
  7. Pour the crumblies on top of the sweet potato stuff until it’s all covered up, and the sweet potato is all safely tucked into it’s crumbly buttery blanket for an oven nap. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon and a little coarse sea salt on top.
  8. Bake that puppy for about 30 – 35, until the topping is nice and brown and delicious-looking.
  9. Then, take it out.
  10. And eat it.

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You have now achieved sweet potato perfection.

And that’s a fact, Jack.