It’s Thanksgiving time…time to celebrate, eat too much food, and savor being with family and friends. It can be a challenge to find something healthy and extra-special for the grandkids. We asked food writer and cookbook author, Laurie Burrows Grad, to come to the rescue and give us her favorite Thanksgiving recipe, especially catered to the younger set at the table. Give this dish a whirl!

And then, be sure to check out our “crafty” Thanksgiving ideas…featured below this recipe.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4 to 6


Grandkids will love this healthful version of a French fry.  Sweet potatoes have tons of nutrition and get deliciously caramelized when roasted.  The baking time can vary depending on the thickness of the potatoes.  You can vary the seasoning by your grandkids taste preferences.  Older kids might like the spicier flavor of chipotle powder or Cajun seasoning.  Younger children might like the sweeter pumpkin pie spices.


Bake at 450°F (remember ovens vary). If you like the potatoes crisper, by all means, try 500°F. You can leave the skin on for crispness and more nutrition, but you might want to try them peeled the first time to introduce them to your grandkids.


2          pounds sweet potatoes, about 3 large ones
2-3      tablespoons olive oil
1          tablespoon salt or more to taste
1-2      tablespoons spices and flavorings (paprika, smoked paprika, pumpkin pie spice, Cajun seasonings, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, curry powder, brown sugar etc.)

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.  Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick olive oil cooking spray. (You can reduce the amount of oil by spraying the baking pan).

2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut off the ends.  Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then in half crosswise.  Cut into “steak fries” shaped wedges.  You can also cut them into circles which children might find fun.

3. Place the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and toss with the oil, salt, and seasonings until well coated.

4. Place the sweet potatoes in a single layer, making sure they are not touching.

5. Bake for 15 minutes without touching them.  Using a thin spatula turn the fries on the other side and continue to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes longer until they are crisp.


Notes About Sweet Potatoes:

Americans have been making the mistake of calling sweet potatoes “yams.”  Sweet potatoes and yams are not even related.  They are two different species of root vegetables.  Sweet potatoes come in two varieties.  One has a golden skin with light yellow flesh and is crumbly in texture.  The other has a copper collared skin with orange flesh.  We tend to call the orange-colored variety “yams.”  Yams are actually starchy tubers that have a dark bark-like skin and white, purple-reddish flesh.

Looking for fun crafts to keep the kids occupied while you are cooking away, or while the family is sitting around and catching up with one another? Don’t throw out those old magazines, or any Thanksgiving souvenirs you have accumulated over the years.


Playing Cards That Express “Giving Thanks”


Pull out an old stack of playing cards, and some kid-friendly magazines. Take 26 cards from the deck and using alphabet stickers, put a letter on one side of each card. Cut out pictures of things you and your grandchildren are grateful for and glue the pictures onto the opposite side of each playing card. Find a picture for each letter of the alphabet… D is for dog, E is for elephant, F is for flowers, etc. This is an entertaining activity filled with thoughtfulness, and a wonderful way to share feelings and ideas.

A Thanksgiving Day Hunt

Enjoy and GIve  feathers

Collect colorful feathers, baby pumpkins, stickers, and any Thanksgiving trinkets that make you smile. Hide these items around the house and the yard. Instead of an Easter Egg Hunt, have a Turkey Day Hunt. After the kids have collected their treasures, set up a small arts and crafts area with construction paper, safe scissors, glue sticks, and washable odor-free markers. They can use the feathers to make a headdress, and decorate the baby pumpkins. Of course, be as elaborate as you wish with your art table!