Who Is Anastasia?

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New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear, regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a visual folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown and/or painted by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how overgrown and wild it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ...


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Stacey Torres ART Prints

Stacey Torres ART Prints
A very limited selection of reproductions from my paintings can be found here

April 8, 2012

Louisiana Sweet Potato Bars

The Courier-Times (newspaper) in New Castle, Indiana has an annual contest called the Hoosier Cabinet Cooking Contest. This recipe contest has been around for years, and is open to Henry County's talented cooks of all levels. This year, I was a finalist.

My entry, Louisiana Sweet Potato Bars, earned me fifth place in the dessert category, but it could have easily categorized as a healthy food alternative because of it's wholesome ingredients.

To be honest, I was totally shocked when I received notice that I was a finalist with this particular chosen recipe. I had also entered a recipe for German Chocolate Cheesecake Bars - a far superior and decadent recipe, in my opinion - but the judges thought otherwise, and that was fine with me.
Me sulking after the contest because I had to buy a new oven

I did several dry runs of the recipe, mainly because I like it, and my friends enjoyed being guinea pigs for a while. But then, horrors of horrors! The night before the contents when I was about to pour my batter into the pans, I discovered that my pre-heated oven wasn't heating -- at all! It had given up the ghost on that night -- of all nights. So, at midnight on the eve of the recipe contest, I was at a friend's house baking in an unfamiliar oven (I should have taken heed to the omens when I got a flat tire on a country road earlier that day on the way to buy ingredients ...)

There are many variations of Louisiana Sweet Potato Bars on the Internet, in cookbooks and countless southern homes. I am not sure where mine came from, but I have a few variations that I try from time to time. One of which I will share at the end of this post ... probably would have won if I used it (wink!)

I have been asked over and over again for the recipe, and I was not going to share it until the end of April when the newspaper's supplemental cookbook comes out, but I've decided to follow my "oh-what-the-heck" instinct and share it with you here.

Louisiana Sweet Potato Bars
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pound sweet potatoes, pared and shredded (about 2 cups)
2 cups uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

In large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and allspice.
With a wooden spoon, stir in dry ingredients, sweet potatoes, oats and nuts.
Spread dough in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch greased baking pan.
Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into l l/2-inch bars.
Makes about 36 bar cookies.

For Drop Cookies: Drop dough by heaping tablespoons on lightly greased cookie sheets, and flatten to l/2-inch thickness. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Makes about 36 3-inch cookies.
VARIATION: Soak the shredded sweet potatoes in 1/2 cup of good bourbon for one hour prior to mixing ... This may take a bit of experimentation and tweaking. I suggest practicing this step repeatedly until you get the right flavor ... Oh, come on! Live a Little!


  1. Thanks for your appreciation! I feel very strongly about the plight of our native bees and hope that this blog will help people identify them and want to help save them by growing nectar-rich plants in their gardens.
    Garden centre Greater London

  2. These sound delicious. Would they work with pumpkin do you think?

    1. I so apologize! Three years later, and I'm just now seeing your comment (egg all over my face!) Yes, pumpking would be wonderful! :)


I would love to hear from you regarding this post. Please feel free to leave your comments. All the best, Anastasia a/k/a Stacey

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot
A simple garden meal in the shade. No, it's not my backyard, but it looks identical to the one I grew up with at our home in Queens. Looking for an original pic of it to post soon!

Old Fashioned Tips