Seasonal Food Spotlight: Brussels Sprouts

Similar to kale’s rise to fame, brussels sprouts are now having their turn in the spotlight. Despite their reputation for being repugnant to kids, they can actually be really delicious! I actually didn’t start eating brussels sprouts until grad school when Will introduced me to roasted sprouts – so yummy. The simplest way to prepare these little guys is to halve them, toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for ~35 minutes or until browned. They pair well with feta cheese and balsamic vinegar. Here’s 5 reasons why these sprouts are so healthy for you:

  • One serving (1 cup) has only 38 calories and over 3 grams of fiber.  The extra heart healthy fiber can help lower cholesterol.
  • Brussels sprouts provide up to 120% of your daily need for Vitamin C.
  • They are full of cancer fighting antioxidants like glucosinolate.
  • These sprouts are also a great source of folate.
  • The sulfur compounds in brussels sprouts are reported to help with detoxification processes in the liver.

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To get started on eating this healthy food, here are a few recipes!

10 Link Tuesday: Liven Up Your Veggies

Ok, I admit… not all of the links in my round up today are veggies, but most! Who said veggies are gross anyways? These recipes are sure to prove skeptical vegetable eaters wrong.

smoothie tuesday1. Can’t wait to try out these healthy “fried” brussels sprouts from Carrots ‘n’ Cake.

2. Sometimes I wish I had a mind like Joy the Baker… I would come up with brilliant recipes like these honey chai roasted almonds.

3. There are so many delicious things happening in these mac and cheese stuffed brown sugar balsamic portobellos from How Sweet It Is.

4. Kath Eats Real Food was the first blog I started reading and has been the inspiration for my own blog. I love her food philosophy and whole heartedly agree with her synergy of real food post.

5. Oven roasted is my favorite way to enjoy many vegetables. So, I am excited to spice up my usual olive oil/salt/garlic blend for cauliflower and try Eating Bird Food’s cracklin’ cauliflower!

6. Chocolate zucchini cupcakes with avocado frosting?! Can this count as a serving of vegetables?

7. Aren’t these eggplant pizzas from the Fitnessista so clever?

8. Love pumpkin spice lattes? Why not try making them at home with this recipe from A Beautiful Mess.

9. Will and I are planning on making this palak paneer from Pinch of Yum tomorrow night for dinner. Can’t wait to try it!

10. As soon as fall begins to settle in, I will have to make a batch of this smoky black bean tortilla soup from Nutritionella. Yum!

Oven Roasted Okra

Have you ever had okra? It’s kind of an odd-ball in the vegetable world with it’s slimy/gelatinous inside. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I had never even seen, let alone tried okra before. Then, I moved the Memphis, and I find it everywhere! Typically, in the South, you would fry it up and serve it along with some fried chicken. That’s not really my style.. Since I had gotten into the habit of roasting a lot of my vegetables, I decided to try it with okra too. I loved it! It’s become my favorite way to eat it now. When roasted, it cuts down on a lot of the slime-factor, which can be a big turn off when boiling or sautéing okra.

If you work up the courage to give okra another chance, you should also know that okra is healthy for you too! It has only 33 calories a cup, 66% of the RDA for Vitamin K, 35% RDA for Vitamin C, and 50% RDA for manganese.

I am almost hesitant to share this recipe… it is so simple! The batch pictured below was a mixture of green and purple okra pods we found at the market this past weekend. (That’s why some look so dark in the picture!)

Okra Oven Roasted Okra

Ingredients:

  • 1 Quart Raw Okra Pods
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Smoked Paprika (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse okra pods and trim any excess stem from the ends. Toss in olive oil (~1 tablespoon) until evenly coated.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and paprika.
  4. Bake for 15-25 minutes until outside begins to brown and pods are soft.

Spicy Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Happy weekend! This has been such a whirlwind of a week. Will and I spent part of the week in Albuquerque for his brother Bobby’s wedding on Wednesday. It was much too short of a trip!
Bobbys WeddingThe weather there was absolutely gorgeous. A nice break from the cool, rainy weather we have had lately here in Chicago. I was happy to spend some more time with Will’s family. We live so far from them in Chicago we don’t get to see them often!
Besides the wedding and travels, I also wanted to share this super easy vegetarian entree with you! Stuffed peppers can be so simple to make and a fun way to get some veggies in at dinner. A lot of recipes I have come across in the past use rice as part of the stuffing, but I decided to use cauliflower “rice” instead. I think they turned out great! This also gave me an excuse to finally use some more of the smoked paprika we bought at Trader Joe’s last weekend. It adds a lot of great smoky-spicy flavor to the dish.
Spicy Bell Peppers Spicy Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers
(Makes 2)
Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces tempeh (or ground turkey/beef)
  • 2 large bell peppers.
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 1/4 – 1/2 head of cauliflower, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups shredded)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 anaheim pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 ounces shredded cheddar cheese + a few slices for top of peppers

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the top off of two bell peppers and remove seeds.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saute pan. Add onion, pepper, and garlic. Stir over medium heat until soft and translucent.
  3. Heat shredded cauliflower in a covered bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes on high.
  4. Add cauliflower and spices to onion mixture. Cook 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring continuously. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Stuff peppers with mixture.
  6. Place stuffed peppers upright on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes. Top peppers with slices of cheese after they have baked for about 30 minutes. (You don’t want to put it on at the start as it will brown too much.)

10 Things Tuesday 4/9

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10 Things Tuesday

1. I am looking forward to this #Blogsmarter Twitter Chat on Wednesday at 8PM EST. The leaders are some great bloggers and I can’t wait to hear their advice!
blogsmarter2 2. These One Pan Roasted Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas from Mama Pea’s new cookbook looks scrumptious! I’m a sucker for Mexican food. 🙂

3. I just discovered the hilarity and honesty that is Single Dad Laughing. The post that hooked me was his recap of what qualifies you as the #bestboyfriendever via Instagram. Hilarious!

4. I am excited for this running injury prevention series via Jesica at rUNladylike. I found her blog this week and have really enjoyed reading!

5. I know a lot of the blogs I read talk about watching their guilty pleasure reality shows like Real Housewives and The Bachelor but what about Game of Thrones? Anyone? I never would have thought I would be into it, but Will got me hooked!

6. I experimented with a few new recipes this week, both of which were from bloggers named Kate/Katie – weird! I love utilizing blogs for great new recipes!
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I finally got around to making some larabars at home! I found this recipe at Chocolate Covered Katie. Somehow, we have accumulated 3 containers of cocoa powder, so I made her Hot Fudge Brownie Larabars to try and use some up. They were so good!
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This Roasted Broccoli, Arugula, and Lentil Salad from Cookie + Kate is definitely one that I will be making again! We subbed asiago cheese for the parmesan in this recipe since we had it on hand – it turned out great!
 
7. I am loving the sunshine of late! Almost every afternoon, I’ve been taking Honey for walks in this park by our house. IMG_20130404_1304578. These Roasted Veggie Burgers via The Nut Butter Runner look really good! I’ve been thinking I need to try making some homemade veggie burgers again soon!

9. Did you know you could make pancakes without using flour or bisquick? Whaaat?! I totally didn’t! I am must try these Protein Pancakes via the blog Cotter Crunch soon. Yum!

10. Let me tell you, my brother is a genius when it comes to uncovering great new artists. I was lucky he shared some awesome new music picks with me last week. I am loving this song by CHVRCHES.

Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Weekend Highlights

I think I need a vacation. I just never feel like I am ready for Monday! Oh well. This weekend was pretty similar to last… we need to get back into the habit of reading the Memphis Flyer to see what other fun things are happening in town!
Friday we grabbed a pizza at Memphis Pizza Company (awesome way to carb-load!) then walked across the street to see Ted! 

Mmm… I love my pizza loaded with veggies!

Will had been dying to see this movie – and I admit, it was pretty funny! The best part of it was this middle-aged woman accompanied by a 70+ year old man with a cane who sat right by us. Will and I looked at each other and thought that they must have accidentally come in to the wrong movie. (I mean, Ted was written by the same people who do Family Guy so…) To our surprise though, this older man loved it! He was tapping his cane and cracking up the majority of the movie. Ha!
Saturday I met my running friends for a 10 mile run in Midtown. This was a tough one as Star threw in a 5K time trial in the middle! In other words, we ran 4ish miles at an easy pace, then ran our estimated 5K pace, ie. booked it for 3.1 miles, then finished the 10 miles at our easy pace again. Let me just say, I was exhausted by the time the afternoon came around.
After running, I did my usual pet-sitting shift at the market with Will. My friend Emily even stopped by with her little dog Olive. Such a cutie!This little guy slipped out of his harness when his owners were still signing him in! He seemed to like Will. 🙂

At least a good hour or so of my Saturday afternoon I spent stuck on the phone with Priceline’s customer service. The problem isn’t fixed yet, but hopefully in the next day or so! More on that later. 🙂 Will worked some magic so that I was able to even be able to talk to a person. So kind of him!
Sunday has been pretty low key. I did a nice bike ride on the Greenline this afternoon. I love that Star included the option of a 1-hour cross training session on Sundays instead of a 3 mile run. I have definitely been taking advantage! At the market yesterday, I was on a mission to get the veggies I saw in this post by KathEats so I could replicate the recipe at home. Just eggplant, okra, and cherry tomatoes tossed with olive oil, S+P, and a sprinkle of red pepper. I made them for dinner this evening and they were so delicious and easy!!

I totally wish I had known about this before!!! I bought a lot so I’ll be working on these all week. Yum. 🙂
Now, back to reading the latest book for book club. I’m struggling a little with finishing this one!