When I was a little girl, there was no way I’d be giving thanks for the little green balls of mush my dear mother would put on my plate.
I would have to sit at the table forever, trying to choke down those disgusting blobs of leaves. I love my mother dearly, but the woman did not know how to cook Brussels sprouts.
As an adult, I learned how to cook Brussels sprouts, and now I can’t get enough of them. And, thankfully, my children grew up knowing how delicious these nutritious vegetables are when you cook them properly.
In fact, I can almost guarantee you that if you learn how to cook Brussels sprouts just right, they will become a new family favorite.
Why do I care so much that you eat these tiny little cabbage-like veggies?
Well, because Brussels sprouts are superhero cruciferous veggies, which lower our risk of developing many types of cancers, as well as our bad cholesterol levels. They’re also full of fiber, vitamins and folate.
With Thanksgiving coming up, I challenge you to put a dish of Brussels sprouts on your dinner table, and trust that it will impress everyone and turn you all into Brussels sprout fans. But no worries! I’m going to give you the recipe I use to impress my non-Brussels sprout loving dinner guests.
But before we get to your recipe, it’s time for your Trick:
Before you start cooking, remove the outer leaves and cut off the stems from your sprouts. Cut your tiny cabbages into halves (or quarters for the big ones), and let them chill out on the counter for about five minutes before you do anything else with them. This step gives their cancer prevention properties a boost.
And your Tip:
Brussels sprouts do not need much cooking time. Overcooking these little guys is the reason they end up smelling like rotten eggs and tasting gross. Steam Brussels sprouts for no longer than five minutes!
And your Recipe:
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Red Onion
Turn the heat on under a skillet (use one with a lid) to medium–high heat. Add olive oil and butter to your pan, and let that fat get good and hot.
Chop a red onion and add it to the hot pan, then toss in the Brussels sprouts. Give them a toss, and then turn the heat down to medium-low. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Give the Brussels sprouts and diced onion another toss and then snip in your strips of leftover bacon with your kitchen shears into the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let it steam for about five minutes.
By: Leanne Ely
There are two types of grocery store shoppers in the world. There are those who navigate the exterior of the market, list in hand, confidently reaching for fresh ripe produce, organic meats, probiotic dairy items and other healthy exotic ingredients. They stand at the check out, proud of the items they’ve selected, ignoring the strategically placed candy bars next to the magazines.
Then, there are the shoppers who spend a great deal of time in the freezer section, focusing on convenience and price over nutrition. Those carts are full of packaged foods, “fat-free” this and “sugar-free” that . . . foods full of GMOs and empty calories. There might be some apples, carrots or potatoes, but above that, these carts are generally sparse of produce.
When convenience shoppers find themselves behind healthy shoppers at the check out, they may have shopping cart envy. They might wish they knew what half of those healthy items are and what they would do with them if they had the courage to buy them. They may also be aware that their own cart is being quietly judged by the healthy shopper in line behind them.
Yes, there are generally two types of shoppers, though they may be at various extremes of this convenience vs. healthy spectrum. If you find yourself suffering from cart envy and are trying to get yourself closer to being that healthy shopper, first of all, hats off to you. You should be proud of yourself for wanting to buy healthier foods for you and your family because you recognize that the convenience foods are not contributing to your well being.
If you want to be the one making other shoppers envious of your cart, just go ahead and make the decision to cut out the packages. When you commit to preparing your family’s meals from scratch, you naturally have to bulk up on fresh ingredients because you will no longer be able to rely on those processed foods.
We make eating like this EASY with our brand new Dinner Answers. (Lucky for you, our Dinner Answers membership is on sale right now!) Everyone in the store will be envying your shopping cart!
By: Leanne Ely
Tis the season for visions of candy canes and sugar plums and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. But how many of us have actually roasted chestnuts? Have you ever eaten a chestnut?
Many cultures enjoy chestnuts as a valued source of nutrition. Chestnuts have been harvested for centuries in Japan, China, Korea, Europe and the Mediterranean. Greeks put chestnuts above almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in terms of quality. So, why don’t we eat more chestnuts here in North America?
Chestnuts can be roasted (but please use an oven-it’s safer than an open fire) or cooked in soups and stews.
So, what’s so great about chestnuts?
Fiber. There is more fiber in a serving of chestnuts (3 grams per 100 gram serving) than there is in a serving of walnuts, pecans or pistachios.
Fatty acids. Chestnuts are full of linoleic acid and other essential fatty acids like palmitic and oleic acid, which are great for heart health.
Nutrients. Chestnuts contain potassium, magnesium, copper and high levels of Vitamin C. They also have lots of amino acids and antioxidants.
Chestnuts aren’t only nutritious, but they also have a pleasant taste.
So, how do you eat chestnuts?
Well. First, you take your chestnuts and cut an X on the flat side with a very sharp paring knife.
When the nuts are all scored with their X, pop them on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes in a 425 degree oven. This will make the X open a bit and the skins will peel easily off of your chestnuts. At this point, you can use them in soups or side dishes, but if you want to actually roast the chestnuts, keep them in the oven for another 20 minutes.
Peel the chestnuts while they’re still warm. Once they cool, the skins are difficult to remove.
I like chestnuts sautéed with Brussels sprouts and bacon. Mmmm!
While they do contain lots of nutrients, chestnuts are pretty starchy. They’re actually used in many cultures more as a vegetable (think potato substitute), so use them sparingly.
Do you enjoy eating chestnuts?
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By: Leanne Ely
It’s citrus season in the Untied States-that time of year when you can find those little citrus sweeties all over the grocery store. Tangerines are in season from November through April.
There are three major types of tangerines that we tend to find here in the western hemisphere: tangerines (tangerine is a type of tangerine), mandarins, and tangelos. These cute little fruit are smaller than oranges, and they also tend to be easier to peel because the peels are much looser, so they make a wonderful snack. Kids love them and, really, who doesn’t?
You start finding tangerines around Thanksgiving. The most common tangerine varieties we find here are Dancy and Fairchild.
Mandarins are known for their exquisite sweet flavor and their light orange color. Satsuma, Clementine, Royal and Honey are the most commonly found varieties of mandarin in the US.
Tangelos are very juicy and have quite a mild flavor. A hybrid between a tangerine and a grapefruit, tangelos aren’t as sweet as the other types of tangerines.
There’s a lot of nutrition packed into these small orange fruits.
A single tangerine contains:
1 gram of protein
2 grams of fiber
45% of the Vitamin C you need for the day
6% of your RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) of Vitamin A
4% of your RDA of calcium, magnesium and potassium
2% of your RDA of manganese, copper, phosphorus and zinc
Tangerines also contain notable amounts of: Vitamin B6, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin and riboflavin.
So much goodness in these yummy little guys!
I love tangerine segments in green salads and they’re divine in coleslaw (really!), but don’t forget to pop out the seeds!
PS–Looking back on 2015, it’s clear you had some favorite mealtime solutions that you loved above all. Well good news, I’ve brought my favorite sales from this year back out for a limited time! You can get one, or all of them, for 10% off the sale price. But you have to act fast! Get yours now
By: Leanne Ely
Nutmeg comes from the seed of the nutmeg tree, which is native to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. These egg-shaped nutmeg seeds have a beautiful, lacy reddish covering and that covering is where another spice called mace comes from. Who knew? It’s no wonder nutmeg and mace are such complimentary flavors.
Nutmeg is a staple in holiday cooking, found in traditional favorites like eggnog, gingerbread and pumpkin pie and grated over festive cocktails.
But there’s more to this egg-shaped spice than its familiar woody scent and complex flavor.
Once upon a time, nutmeg was used only by the most wealthy Europeans-everyone who could afford it had their own nutmeg grater.
Nutmeg was worth its weight in gold in these times and was believed to prevent the bubonic plague.
We don’t worry too much about the plague these days, but nutmeg can still benefit our health.
Nutmeg contains manganese and copper, which keep our skeletons healthy and strong. Copper boosts immunity while manganese helps our bodies to synthesize sex hormones.
Nutmeg seeds also contain chemicals that may fight the growth of cancer cells.
To get the most nutrition from your nutmeg, purchase the seeds and grate them with a microplane or a very fine grater at the time you’re using the spice. That way, the nutmeg stays much fresher than it does in its pre-ground state.
Nutmeg can be used to flavor smoothies, baked goods, Greek yogurt and so on and so forth. You can even grate some nutmeg in your coffee for a tasty holiday treat.
But you would be cautioned against taking in too much nutmeg. It contains Myristica oil, and this spice was once used as a psychoactive drug, causing the user to have hallucinatory effects when taken in large quantities! Myristica oil poisoning can also cause chest pain, sore stomach and confusion, and anyone with Myristica oil poisoning should get to the hospital asap.
Now that you know nutmeg is so good for you in small doses, I have to tell you a bit about this spice’s dark and bloody history.
Spice trading was big business in the Middle Ages. England and Holland once battled for control of Southeast Asia’s spice-producing islands, including the small nutmeg-covered islands called Run and Ai. According to historians, tens of thousands of the original inhabitants of the Spice Islands were killed by the Dutch with the survivors being enslaved in the nutmeg groves.
The British handed over Run in 1667 in exchange for what was considered a useless far off island known as New Amsterdam or, as we know it today, Manhattan. (Who do you think got the better deal?!)
The British attacked the Dutch-controlled islands again in the 1800s and controlled the Spice Islands long enough to remove nutmeg seedlings and plant them in other places around the world under British control.
Eventually, the price of nutmeg started coming down and even members of the middle-class could afford to use the spice in holiday baked goods and curries.
Isn’t that just a wild history?
I hope you appreciate that nutmeg you have in your cupboard just a little bit more now!
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