I am thankful.

I am thankful for four day vacations.  During which I can spend one day clogging my arteries and the remaining three learning how to figure out what’s wrong with them once I do.  What kind of heart sounds – mid-systolic clicks, diastolic murmurs, holosystolic rumbles – I should be looking for.  What they mean.  And what I can do about them once they’re there.

This is the problem with becoming a doctor. You know too much.


I am thankful for physical therapists who can make my calves feel almost functional again.  Almost human.  Almost not completely broken.

And when they say things like, “Yeah, you’ll probably be able to run again next week.”  I’m thankful even more.


I am thankful for 60 degree days in the middle of November (all you Californians.  Shhh.  Don’t burst my bubble.).  I am thankful for skirt weather. I am thankful for hot pink leggings weather.  Or maybe I’m just thankful for hot pink leggings.  Hard to say.

I am thankful for you.  And you.  Oh yeah, and you guys in the back.  Because without you this whole blogging thing wouldn’t be quite worth doing.  I never realized how much of a sense of belonging this would give me.  And how much I would need you to get me through anatomy tests, bad first dates, pelvic stress fractures, failed microscopy experiments, getting out of bed in the morning. At 6AM.

Really.  Thanks.


I am thankful for my family.

For my dad who does not read my blog EVER but who tells all of his coworkers to read it.  And so if you’re out there coworkers – HI!  (And can you guys believe that he won’t let me make the stuffing.  That he’s insisting on Stovetop.  You need to talk to him about this.  It’s burning me up inside.)

For my mom who does everything for everyone all the time.  And never asks for anything in return.  (Except, of course, for grandchildren.  She asks for those.  Frequently.)

For my sister who drives me crazy, wears her jeans too low, and, at the ripe old age of 14 looks older than I do.  Yes, she keeps me young.

For my brother who listens to me complain, gets annoyed when he searches my blog for his name and realizes that he hasn’t been mentioned for the past five posts, and is one of the few people I know who really and truly gets me.  Without judgment, without reservations.  He just does.  (It’s because we have the same neuroses.  And psychoses.  And eyes.  I know it.)

For my friends. Who love me unconditionally. Even though I stuff them full of cheesecake and nutella frosting far too often for anyone’s good.

And last, but not least.  I’m thankful for picky eaters.  Specifically, those who will be at my parents’ house today.  Who’ll look at this tray of sweet potato and butternut squash mash.  And walk away.  I’m thinking of manning the doors, turning away anyone who seems to have a predilection for the color orange.  More for me, baby.  More.  For.  Me.

All in the name of Thanksgiving, yeah?

Have a good one you guys!


I’m sure all of you already have your menus planned for what is going to go down in, oh, approximately 12 hours depending on which time zone you’re in.  But if you’re looking to spice up that sweet potato dish that you were already planning on making?  Set it apart from all those other sweet potato dishes out there.  Then this is the way to go.  The five-spice powder adds a little extra kick of umami, an undefined sweet-savory flavor, to an otherwise traditional dish.  So subtle that you won’t explicitly notice it.  Other than the fact that you just can’t stop eating it.  And neither can your supposedly sweet potato-hating family members.  (Which is why I’m bouncing them at the door.  Pre-emptive strike.)

Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash with Five-Spice Marshmallows
Serves 12-15, adapted from Food & Wine

5 lb sweet potatoes
1 medium butternut squash
3/4 cup almond milk
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 10.5 oz bag of mini marshmallows
3/4 tsp chinese five-spice powder

1. Preheat your oven to 425.  Prick the sweet potatoes all over and put on a baking sheet.  Cut your butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and place it on a second baking sheet cut side up. Put both baking sheets in the oven and roast until fork tender, about 45-60 minutes.  Let cool slightly.

2. Halve the sweet potatoes and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.  Scoop out the butternut squash flesh and scoop into the same bowl.  Add the milk, butter, and brown sugar and mash until mixed through.  Add salt and black pepper to taste.  Spread into a 9×13-inch baking dish.  Lower the oven to 350.

3. In a medium bowl, toss the marshmallows and the five-spice powder until coated.  Scatter the marshmallows over the sweet potatoes and bake for about 45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are warm and marshmallows have turned golden brown and are lightly puffed.  If you get impatient, put under the broiler once sweet potatoes are warmed through.

I am submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted by Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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77 Responses to Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash with Five-Spice Marshmallows

  1. Enjoy your family, quirky ones included, and friends today! I’d eat your orange food in a heartbeat (no pun) especially with the Five Spice marshmallows.

    Now I’m off to put the finishing touches on our feast.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!


  2. Joanna says:

    I saw this recipe on The Bitten Word and was mesmerized! It looks so delicious! I am not a marshmallow on sweet potatoes gal, but I am very tempted to try this.

    I love picky eaters and “boring eaters” aka meat and potato people. There will be lots at dinner today, so more date and fig stuffing for me!

    Happy Thanksgiving, Joanne!

  3. Lea Ann says:

    Great post Joanne. Now let’s go eat some turkey – Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂 I’m thankful that right now my husband is chopping the onions and not I. 🙂

    This is beautiful BTW!

  5. Raina says:

    Great post! You are too funny! I am thankful for you too! You always make me smile:)

    Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite dishes on Thanksgiving, and you have found a way to make them look even more appealing. These look absolutely delicious.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  6. wish i was at your house for thanksgiving! You are such a fab writer!!! enjoy yourself today and eat yourself silly!!!

  7. gotnomilk says:

    Wish I hadn’t already made my mashed sweets. These look and sound awesome. Bookmarking!

  8. Christy says:

    I am thankful for my new bloggy friends – I hope no one likes your smashed sweet potatoes – but it is so doubtful. I am not a mallow eater but I would perservere through them to get the squash and sweet taters!
    I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  9. Mary says:

    How clever you are, Joanne. This is a fabulous new take on an old favorite. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Blessings…Mary

  10. Amy says:

    I am so thankful for my family and friends, the bounty of food that awaits today, you and your Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash and Marshmallows, and the fact that I am sitting down right now. Happy Thanksgiving Joanne!! Gobble Gobble.

  11. Beth says:

    That looks absolutely wonderful. If I was eating Thanksgiving dinner with your family, you’d have to fight me off to get your share!

  12. We are thankful for you Joanne for bringing a ray of sunshine into our mornings (or whenever we read your blog). Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and save some of those veggies for me (virtually):D

  13. looks delicious and happy thanksgiving joanne..

  14. Victoria says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your awesome sweet potatoes and butternut squash, and of course the *cough* Stovetop stuffing 🙂

  15. Shannon says:

    that looks so delicious!! thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂 i (finally) picked up chinese five spice! happy thanksgiving!!

  16. Simply Life says:

    Oh what a great post – I love it and I’m so thankful I always have your entertaining and informing posts to read! 🙂

  17. I’m thankful for the smile and chuckles that come, while reading your blog and sipping coffee.
    Beautiful side dish. I can actually say that, and mean, now that I stopped hating on butternut squash. Nice.

  18. That Girl says:

    My mom and I were JUST talking about how too many people try to experiment with Thanksgiving by messing with the turkey when they should be focused on the sides. And then I saw this brilliant idea! Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. Hey Jo , Happy Thanksgiving ? !!
    U’ll be at the table or maybe @ MAcy’s , where ever ur , have a sunshine day!!
    I loveee sides but love the roast too:-)
    Ha ha, my mom wants grand children too and lods of them , not that im against that in anyway:-)
    Ha ha , hola Jo’s Bro , here ur mentioned again and we look forward to u being mentioned as muc as u do too:-)
    And more for me too , am sure ur already having a wonderful one , keep the spirit !!
    Love and hugs!

  20. Pam says:

    I’m thankful for recipes like this that I will make later, when everyone is gone. Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. teresa says:

    you’re so adorable! happy thanksgiving, this look absolutely divine!

  22. jen cheung says:

    interesting combination !! never tried this before. happy thanksgiving to you and your family! have fun shopping tmr 🙂

    Have a fabulous long weekend!
    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

  23. Katerina says:

    Have a great Thanksgiving and relaxing holidays Joanne. This is family time. Enjoy it as much as you can. Very sweet recipe.

  24. Hannah says:

    Well, I am constitutionally against putting marshmallows on a “savory” dish, but the butternut/sweet potato mash beneath them sounds wonderful! To each their own; I would be happy digging beneath the mallows, though. 😉

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  25. OohLookBel says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Joanne! We don’t really celebrate it here, but it’s lovely to read all your sentiments via the web. Hmm, sweet potato and marshmallow is another ‘tradition’ we need to consider adopting… =)

  26. I like this sweet potato and butternut squash mash. I’ve made a similar recipe in the past, and I know it doesn’t last. Happy Thanksgiving!

  27. Faith says:

    So sweet, Joanne…and can I just say I’m thankful for you too? Love your blog and your sweet personality…and before I get all girly and start to well up, I’ll just say that your sweet potatoes look spectacular!

  28. RamblingTart says:

    I’m so glad you have a brother who gets you. I do too. 🙂 Don’t they make life so precious? LOVE that you added 5-spice to this! Truly inspired, luv. 🙂

  29. Swathi says:

    Delicious Sweet potato and butternut squash mash. wishing a Happy thanks giving to you and your family

  30. Vivienne says:

    oh this is the sorta dish i can imagine eating in front of tele when its raining outside like right now!
    and really? hot pink leggings? lol.
    haha your family sounds awesome…def a lot of things to be thankful for 🙂

  31. Barbara says:

    Super post, Joanne. Today we can all look back at what we consumed in sheer horror.
    Oh well, we needed the calories to go shopping today!

  32. Indie.Tea says:

    It sounds delicious, great Thanksgiving side too.
    Actually, as a Californian, I’m jealous of YOU. This coldest weekend of the year for us!

  33. I love all of your unique pairings. Five-spice and marshmallows? Brilliant! If only I had seen this before the big day… actually, it’s probably a good thing. I’m still full from all the food I inhaled at yesterday’s feast.

  34. Carolyn says:

    I love the addition of five spice here. I just bought some from Penzey’s and I love it! What a great addition to a sweet potato dish.
    Hope your calves are in good enough shape to run this week! And I got a kick out of knowing what all the artery-clogging foods were going to do to you 😉

  35. grace says:

    it has never, ever occurred to me to toss marshmallows in any type of spice–what a stroke of genius. can you guess which spice my first experimentation will involve? i’ll give you one shot. 🙂

  36. Julie says:

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!!! Glad to hear the legs are feeling better!!! These sweet potatoes look so yummy!! I will be trying soon!!

  37. fun post and your Dad is funny maybe he reads it secretly
    love the addition of 5 spice

  38. Carol says:

    That looks good even to ME, and I’m not big on either sweet potatoes or butternut squash normally!

  39. I have always seen those American marshmallow side-dishes and wanted to try one some day – but this one with the 5-spice is inspired! Looks awesome. Good thing I wasn’t there, I love orange food. But on the plus side, I could have given your mom some grandchildren. Seriously, she can have them. Of course they are about the same age as her children… so she may not want them. Sigh. I’ll just put them on Craigslist.

  40. Very inspired post Joanne; love the thanks you are bestowing on us your readers, and love the one for your dad and mom and brother and sister; my parents dont read my blog either! 🙂
    have a great 4 day rest and enjoy the food and parading in your hot pink leggings or whatever trips you!

  41. This is such a hilarious post:) Loved the ue of five spice. Happy Thanksgiving!

  42. Rachel says:

    Chinese five spice marshmallows!?!? I would be all over this dish if it was on my Thanksgiving table.
    Great post and happy Thanksgiving

  43. 5-spiced marshmallows?! wow…that’s totally creative! I love the idea.

  44. Debinhawaii says:

    Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving and got plenty of these sweet potatoes because they look delicious. I love the addition of the 5-spice on the marshmallows–yum! ;-0

  45. Monet says:

    I so loved hearing your list of what you were thankful for (especially the part of your family…my dad does the SAME thing with my blog) You are precious, and you are special, and these potatoes are making me smile! I wish I had some of this sweet goodness now. Thanks for sharing. Have a blessed weekend!

  46. I love this recipe and reading about everything you are thankful for 🙂

  47. I had never heard of this combination before but now I’ve seen it twice in one week! Must be good! 😀

  48. such a sweet + heartwarming post, my dear. HUGS!

    xo Alison

  49. Elizabeth says:

    Five-spice marshmallows are enchanting! A must try, since I’ve never turned down a sweet potato.

    Joanne, do you take requests from the audience? I made Thomas Keller’s Savory Leek Bread Pudding for T-Day. It’s delish — (heavy cream, milk, butter, challah). I wonder if a lower-fat version is possible. (Or perhaps it tasted so good because of all those fat grams.) You’re the maestro of improvisation and decreasing calories/fat without sacrificing taste. I’d love to see your interpretation some day.

    Thank you for setting a splendid table year round. EWWO is a gustatory group hug!

  50. Love it! Five spice sounds quite intriguing with the sweet marshmallow topping. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and wonderful Thanksgiving leftovers!

  51. Joanne! I hope you had a great thanksgiving… Im grateful for you.. yes YOU! That despite being a blog-star that you are and the hectic schedule that you keep, you always find the time to stop by at my site and you don’t only know how much it makes me smile…

  52. girlichef says:

    Oh, this sounds tasty! I love that five spice…what an amazing contrast that must add to the marshmallows. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful 😀

  53. aipi says:

    Looking at your post, I sat there for a couple of seconds thinking what it would taste like, and I think the flavor profile would be absolutely amazing!
    Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, Joanne..

    US Masala

  54. I’m thankful for food blogs, blogging friends, and of course, great good, and everything else.

  55. Ann says:

    I loved reading about your family. They sound wonderful like you.

  56. LimeCake says:

    Ooh five spice powder must’ve made this extra special. Hope your Thanksgiving was awesome!

  57. Stella says:

    Hey Joanne! You’re so funny-as always. I think I have a sister that wears things too low too (smile). I can’t say that to her either, so I’d have to write it on my blog like you did if I ever wanted to get her attention about it;)
    These sweet potatoes look perfect, and I know they are delicious. I am expert on all things sweet potato… Yeah!

  58. elra says:

    Spiced marshmallows ? that is really a great idea Joanne. I never tried that, must tasted delicious.

  59. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Joanne! I certainly walk past that delicious bowl of sweet potatoes!

  60. Louanne says:

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving, Joanne! This looks so perfect – love sweet potatoes. I’ve been meaning to stop by for days – mea culpa!

  61. well this looks fancy! Love that it has marshmallows in it – too fun!

  62. Joanne – that just looks insane. Here in New Zealand we definitely don’t put marshmallows on top of sweet potato, and I confess that anywhere else that I’ve seen this the idea makes me go “blechhhh”! But spiced marshmallows – now that I’m pretty sure would be great 🙂

    Hope you’ve had a great Thanksgiving weekend.

    Sue 🙂

  63. Danielle says:

    (keeping my mouth shut about the weather…hee hee) Where do you come up with these recipes?! Seasoning marshmallows? Wow…that opens up a whole new world..kinda like seasoned popcorn.

  64. Lori says:

    What a great count-your-blessings post. This dish looks amazing. The five spice powder is so unexpected.

  65. tigerfish says:

    What a festive dessert 😉

  66. Reeni says:

    Aww such a sweet post! I’m thankful for you and your recipes – this would be one of the first things to go on my plate – if you didn’t turn me away! Lovin’ the spicy marshmallows!

  67. Kristen says:

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Hope you got most of these sweet potatoes. Hope your calves feel fully functional soon!

  68. daphne says:

    Spiced mashmellows!? Joanne! U come up with the most interesting but “I want to try it too” things! Hope u r having a wonderful thanksgiving. =)

  69. Five-spice marshmallows sound awesome. What a great holiday dish. Happy belated Thanksgiving!

  70. Chris says:

    I know this one works!

    I made a similar version and cooked them on the grill a few weeks ago: http://www.ourkrazzykitchen.com/2010/10/fire-day-friday-planked-sweet-potatoes.html

    I should have done the marshmallows though.

    I’m thankful for hot pink leggings too, but Alexis won’t let me wear them anymore….

  71. Kim says:

    I love so many things about this post, Joanne. I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment about the blogging community. And I chuckled through your description about your family. I also LOVE these five spice marshmallows.

  72. Beth says:

    I’ve NEVER thought of putting butternut squash and sweet potatoes together even though I love them both… genius! And of course, anything topped with marshmallows is a WIN!

  73. Natalie says:

    definitely one of the best (if not the best) thanksgiving posts I’ve read..as well as thanksgiving recipes i’ve seen!

  74. Dawn says:

    I could eat this as a dessert.

  75. Melody Fury says:

    What a stunning holiday recipe! Would you like to submit it to my contest to win a cookbook? Just wanting to share the holiday cheer (and exposure to your blog) Would love for you to win 🙂 http://ow.ly/3j61M

  76. Kerstin says:

    5 spice marshmallows?!? What a great idea and perfect compliment for the potatoes/squash!

  77. […] Three years ago…Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto, Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash with Five-Spice Marshmallows […]

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