Spice World
Click the image to learn more about spices, where they come from, and how we use them every day.

Historically, pomander balls were worn by Europeans in the Middle Ages in hopes of warding off the black plague and other pestilence, and also to cover up the fact that pretty much everyone and everything smelled terrible back then.

Now we know that pomander balls aren’t much good against the plague, but they’re still fun and easy to put together. Plus, they make cheerful decorations that fill the house with a lovely aroma.

Making them is simple. Just poke holes into a firm orange with a toothpick, making any design that you want. Then push whole cloves into the holes, and watch your design come to life. If you want, you can make complementary patterns in the orange skin with the corner of a citrus zester, or roll your pomander in ground spices for extra fragrance.

Hang them with twine in a cool, dark place for about a week. Once they are dried, they are ready to display! You can hang them up, stack them as centerpieces, or even stick them in drawers to keep clothes fresh and nice-smelling.

Bente's Sweet Potato Soufflé
Bente's Sweet Potato Soufflé

A Tuber-ific Holiday Treat

Sweet potatoes are pretty good nestled beneath a fluffy covering of toasted marshmallows, but a more subtle treatment really lets the natural flavor of the potatoes shine. Heifer supporter Bente Humphrey of Orlando, Florida, has a light touch with the brown sugar but goes all in with real butter to make this award-winning soufflé.

For the Base:
  • 3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  •  2 eggs
  • 1/3 stick melted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
For the Topping:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 stick butter
 

Mix all base ingredients well and pour into a greased baking dish. Mix topping ingredients together in separate bowl. Spread over top of casserole, covering the entire dish. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 60 minutes.