Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Can someone please tell me I’m not the only person still putting together their Thanksgiving menu?

It’s not a matter of procrastination. In fact, I’ve been planning our menu for weeks. Pumpkin scones, bacon wrapped dates, butternut soup… no, it’s not procrastination. It’s indecisiveness. I want to eat all the good things.

We’re celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and going halfsies on the menu. This is always easiest for us considering we have multiple food allergies to consider. I was given the go-ahead by my new allergist to start reintroducing a few of my weaker-positive foods but they want me to hold off on any wheat items until we can do an in-office food challenge in December. Knowing that the weight of dealing with multiple food allergies may soon be lifted from my shoulders is thrilling. Because really? One allergy is enough for this family.

Anyway, the one item I know I’ll be bringing to our shared table is roasted brussel sprouts. This dish has quickly become a hit and it’s my new go-to for potluck celebrations throughout the holidays. The recipe is so simple! I know some people are initially turned off by the thought of brussel sprouts but I promise that the combination of bacon and roasting changes the flavor from bitter to savory.

Did I mention how clean this recipe is? It’s paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

SONY DSC

Ingredients.

3 pounds brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (nitrate-free is preferred)
1 yellow onion, chopped
salt, pepper, garlic powder as desiredMethod.

In a large skillet, brown the bacon over medium heat until cooked but not crispy, stirring frequently. Remove the bacon and leave the grease. Add in the onion, cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the trimmed brussel sprouts and sauté for about 15 minutes or until the outside begins to brown. Combine the bacon with the brussel sprout mixture and spread evening on a roasting sheet. Cook at 350° for 10-15 minutes.

////////////////////////////////////

Really, does it get simpler?

So, what’s on your Thanksgiving menu?

Are you traveling or sharing your table with friends?

Advertisements

The Easter Chicken.

I love Easter.

The resurrection of Christ. The renewal of spring. The celebration of life.

Josh and I tried to keep the holiday small and intentional which isn’t very easy. The girls enjoyed four (!) different egg hunts and ended up with loads of candy they couldn’t and shouldn’t eat. They both woke this morning asking if we were going to have another egg hunt today which indicates that yes, indeed, we failed and keeping the holiday simple.

easter

Easter seems like a good time to get a nice family picture since everyone is pretty much guaranteed to have clean faces and brushed curls. But springtime in the south means loads and loads of sand gnats swarming your head and eating you alive.

So we’ll settle.

SONY DSC

Sorry kids. Next time, look happier.

We attend a “small” non-denominational, bible-teaching church that has grown exponentially in a relatively short amount of time. Although it still acts as a small church, there are three services each Sunday that each leave the sanctuary overflowing. The church rented out a ballroom in a hotel downtown so the entire church-body could meet together on Easter morning. With seats for 1200, folks were still left to stand in the back. Incredible.

After our no-Santa Christmas, I gave up on the Easter Bunny. You wanna believe the Easter Bunny brings baskets and hides eggs?

Have at it.

Until Emery asks, “Why does the Easter Bunny bring eggs? Chickens lay eggs!”

I know, smart child. It makes no sense.

I hope you had a nice Easter and that spring has (finally) arrived to you.

The holiday hangover.

Does anyone else’s child had a hard time adjusting after the holidays?

Around here, we call it the holiday hangover.

We’re in the thick of it.

The treats, toys and getting spoiled by the grandparents has thrown poor E for a loop. Preschool began again yesterday and she was a absolute wreck afterwards. Everything was a battle – taking of our shoes, eating lunch (which she picked!), getting settled for an afternoon rest took three times longer than normal. And it was more than the typical delays or requests for a few more minutes to play. I’m talking about whining, tears and gibberish.

Gah.

It was a stressful day for B, too.

She got her first head wound.

Man, those suckers, bleed.

SONY DSC

Thank goodness for Strawberry Shortcake bandages and boo-boo bunnies.

Today was a slight improvement.

In my efforts to get B more socialized, we tried a new (to us) music and movement class. At $7, it seemed like a relatively cheap and noncommittal way to meet new people. E loved it. B? Not so much.

She didn’t hate it. She just didn’t know what to make of these crazy people shaking instruments and playing under a parachute. We’ll try it again.

I suppose I have a bit of a holiday hangover, as well. It probably has something to do with being away from home for a while paired with the chilly (for us sissy southerners) weather. But lately I just want to spend our days at home. Cooking, cleaning and playing with the kids sounds like the best way to spend our days.

Have you recovered from the holidays? 

Time Out.

This Momma needs a time out.

And not of the discipline variety. Of course, I probably could use a bit more discipline in my blasé approach to most everything in life.

No, I just need time out of the ordinary, the routine, the expected, the necessary. Time to sit back. To reevaluate. To rest.

This time of year is hectic for everyone. We, by no means, have over-the-top holidays in this house but even our scaled down festivities have my head spinning. There are traditions to keep, people. Bake those cookies! Watch ALL the movies! Sip hot chocolate while looking at Christmas lights and NONOISEFROMTHEBACKSEAT – SILENCE!!!!

I feel like every other thought goes back to yesterday’s unfathomable tragedy at Sandy Hook. We live in such a fallen world. It hurts my heart and in the very bottom of my belly in the worst imaginable way. It makes me want to draw the curtains and never let my babies out of my sight.

It’s supposed to be the hap-happiest season of all. And yet there is so much sadness. The evil in this world doesn’t care. But I need to care. My girls are too young to really understand what’s happening but they do understand when Momma is acting weird.

There is so much in this life that I have to do. So if there is something I don’t want to do, I am not going to do it. Unapologetically. Because there are only so many hours in a day and there are other things that aren’t priorities that should be. Like watching Mary Poppins with my family – who, for the record, could care less if I bake five varieties of cookies this Christmas.

A Thanksgiving menu.

I’ve been meaning to write a long, detailed, photo-heavy post about all of the glorious dishes I plan to make for our Thanksgiving dinner.

But here we are, 4 days before the big turkey day and that post is yet to be written and time is a-tick-tick-tocking away.

I had the best of intentions and that should count for something, right?

So, how about a shorter post with zero pictures and a nice mashup between recipes and links to recipes that are close enough to my favorites?

Good.

I had a baby shower this morning (I swear, I know so many pregnant women!) so J and the girls picked up our heritage turkey from Hunter Cattle at the Forsyth Farmer’s Market. The market itself will be running through the spring but according to my husband, the vendors and selection was fewer courtesy of some inland frost. Regardless, he picked up our 9 pound beaut of a bird and she’s currently making herself comfy in the deep freeze for a few days.

I’ve gone back and forth about having a dairy- and gluten-free Thanksgiving meal. We won’t be traveling for the holiday so I’ll be cooking for just our family of four so it’s possible to do an entire meal with these dietary restrictions. But it’s Thanksgiving and arguably the holiday most associated with food and their traditions.

With the exception of one dish, our meal will be dairy-free because of B’s dairy allergy. But for one day (and the three days following with all of the leftovers), I’m okay with B having a bit of gluten since that isn’t an allergy. We tried a gluten-free dressing (of the stuffing/bread – not salad – variety) last night and while it tasted okay, it wasn’t great. If I’m going to spend hours preparing a meal, I want it to be the real thing. So, gluten is on the table for Thursday.

Here’s our Thanksgiving menu – recipes at the end of the post:

  • TurkeyThis is a great overview of why I prefer heritage and farm-raised turkeys over your typical grocery store Butterball. Know where your meat is coming from. She’ll be oiled and stuffed with all sorts of delicious rosemary and thyme.
  • Mashed potatoes – Made with your typical russet potato, original almond milk and coconut butter. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • Sautéed green beans with almonds – I start with about 3 cups of fresh and snapped green beans. Sauté with coconut oil, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), salt and pepper for a few minutes and then add about 1/2 a cup of vegetable or chicken broth. Cover and let simmer until soft. Remove lid and cook off any remaining liquid before serving. Toss in 1/4 c. slivered almonds.
  • The Dressing – This deserves a formal title because in my holiday lineup, the dressing reigns supreme. Because we cook it outside of the turkey, it’s considered dressing instead of stuffing. While I have you here solidly in the middle of a bullet point and rather tucked away, I have a confession. I’ve lost my husband’s absolute favorite dressing recipe. I made it two years ago and tried to cover my bottom last year by cooking from memory but it wasn’t the same. So I need to do some serious research in the next few days to try to save face. This recipe has the same solid basis but I’ll add thyme and two or three fresh rosemary sprigs. To make it dairy-free, I’ll be subbing coconut butter for the regular butter. I’ll get my bread cubes from the bakery on Tuesday so they’ll have a day or two to stale.
  • Cranberry-nut muffins – this is a recipe (found at the bottom of the post) from J’s childhood and courtesy of his mother. While I wasn’t a fan the first few years we were together, this little fellas have grown on me. The tartness from the cranberries tasted wonderful against the sweetness of the muffin. This recipe is about has fat- and gluten-filled as they come but it IS dairy-free. Small victories!
  • Candied sweet potatoesA traditional way to use the plethora of sweet potatoes we still have courtesy of our CSA.
  • Sour cream lima beans – Don’t let the name fool you; this dish (recipe below) is ah-ma-zing. Delicious! This is one my favorite of Grandma Irene’s recipes. I’m only on the fence about making it because a.) it’s not dairy-free and b.) it makes a 9×13 dish and that’s a lot of buttery, creamy, sweet goodness for just our little family. But it’s so delicious – I can’t resist!

That’s our main menu. I’m still on the fence about dessert. While I love pumpkin pie – who doesn’t?! – B definitely couldn’t partake because of the condensed milk. But, most generic pie crusts are dairy-free to cut costs, so a pie is still an option.  I’m thinking about a yummy, deep-dish, crumb-topped apply pie made with coconut butter, perhaps?

My stomach is rumbling. After writing a post like this, I definitely need to get a post-dinner snack.

What is on your Thanksgiving Day menu? Are you cooking or joining in with family and friends? Traveling or staying home? Who has a delicious and dairy-free dessert recipe to share?

Cranberry-Nut Muffins

– 2 c. flour ( 1 c. whole wheat, 1 c. all-purpose)
– 1 c. sugar
– 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 2 tsp orange zest
– 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ginger
– 1/2 c. Crisco
– 3/4 c. orange juice
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 1 1/2 c. cranberries, chopped
– 1 1/2 c. chopped nuts (original recipe calls for nuts but I prefer pecans)

Combine dry ingredients, nuts and berries. Blend in Crisco. Add liquid ingredients. Either liberally grease muffin tin with additional Crisco or line muffin tin with aluminum liners and fill tin 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. 

Sour Cream Lima Beans

– 1 pound of dry lima beans, cooked per bag’s directions
– 3/4 c. butter
– 3/4 c. brown sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp dry mustard
– 1 tbsp molasses
– 1/2 to 3/4 a pint of sour cream

Cook lima beans per the instructions on the bag. Add the butter to hot beans, let melt. In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, salt and dry mustard. Put beans in a 9×13 baking dish, add brown sugar mixture. Fold in sour cream and gently mix in molasses. Bake uncovered at 350° for 40-60 minutes or until top bubbles and begins to lightly brown. 

Holiday

Apologies for the recent absence. My wonderful sister and her family were visiting so we took a much needed holiday and were busy, busy, busy. Our house was filled to the brim and topped out with four kids 3 years old and under. So when we weren’t running like crazy, we were all sitting in silence in a fun-having hangover.

When you live where others vacation, it’s easy to only see the negative and forget to appreciate what makes it such a great place . Having visitors and getting to play host for a few days is a wonderful way to see things anew, like the tourists do. It will always be miserable being stuck behind a horse-drawn carriage tour with screaming kids in the backseat but at least my belly and arteries were nice and full from dinner at Paula Deen’s Lady & Son’s Restaurant.

Continue reading

Birthdays Come but Once a Year…

…and for good reason. Otherwise, I’m certain I’d be one chubby and lazy lady in no time.

Let me tell y’all how amazing my husband is.

Hub can cook. And he does it well. He makes the most amazing French crepes topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries and real maple syrup. Secondly, he deals with diapers. I know a lot of daddies won’t even change a diaper let alone change, prep and wash cloth diapers. Thirdly, he loves spending time with our kids.

And when a Mother’s Day/Birthday combo comes around, he pulls out all the stops to make sure this Momma has no cooking, cleaning or child-tending to do.

Which is awesome.

Continue reading