Everyone always asks me if I "cheat on my diet" and If I have foods that would be considered "unhealthy" over the holidays. My answer is always the same- I eat what I want, when I want and I enjoy myself whenever possible. BUT the big difference is I make the food myself with ingredients that I know are safe and healthy. I fully believe there are no bad foods (real food; not food science)- just foods eaten at the wrong times and the wrong amounts. You have to be able to live and enjoy the foods you eat. The less you restrict yourself in the long run the healthier and happier you will be.

Here is a recipe that has been a hit in my household for every major holiday over the past several years at the Algieri Household. 

12 large sweet potatoes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted pecan pieces

3/4 cup dried Craisins
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash the sweet potatoes, scrubbing them well to remove any dirt. With a fork, prick the sweet potatoes in a couple of spots and place them on a sheet pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center goes in easily.

Slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise down the center and push the ends towards the middle so it opens up. Scoop out the insides of the cooked potatoes (careful to keep the skin intact) and place into a large bowl. 

In a large bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together until it's buttery, sweet paste.         Add the salt, pecans, dried fruit and fold into the sweet mash. Add the butter, sugar paste to the sweet mash and mix well.

Stuff the sweet potato skins generously with the sweet mash, buttery-sweet paste combination and return to the oven. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the the potato skins and filling are  crispy. Top with marshmallows and broil for 5-10 minutes at 450 degrees or until marshmallow is lightly browned.

Let cool. Serve. Enjoy!