Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter wonderland

This is what December in central Indiana is supposed to look like: blanketed in white, perfect snow. We sure got it this week!

In the last four days, two storms have dropped a total of about 12 inches of snow on my neighborhood. The first consisted of heavy, thick snow that the family across the street used to make an impressive igloo/fort. The second fell last night in big, fluffy, light flakes that settled gently on everything, with no wind to disturb it.

Not long after daybreak this morning, I took my camera out for a little trip around the yard. Few people were stirring, and the snow plows hadn't come through yet—so the neighborhood was beautiful, still, and the muffled quiet that we only experience with the insulation of snow.

A perfect winter wonderland!

Come January 2, though, I'll be ready for it to be 75°F and sunny again!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Eat your Brussels sprouts

As a child (okay, and as a teenager, too), I was one of those kids whose picky-eater tendencies give parents migraines.

We had to pick restaurants that served chicken nuggets or spaghetti—and they had to allow me to have the sauce on the side, in case it didn't taste like Prego.

I carried a Subway cold-cut sandwich into a Chinese restaurant on more than one occasion.

I ate a plain bagel and cream cheese for lunch every. single. day of fourth grade.

When I started college, I decided that I needed to learn how to like salad. Because it's one food that you can find at just about any restaurant, so it would ensure that I could eat out with friends.

So today, when I tell you this next statement, you understand how significant it is:

I love Brussels sprouts!

Many people are scarred by unfortunate experiences with these miniature cabbages. They tell sad tales of slimy, smelly, overcooked vegetables they were force-fed as a child. And I don't doubt that it happened. I don't have anything like that to relate—I just avoided vegetables in general. Thankfully, I now adore vegetables and am becoming a much more adventurous eater.

If you share a similar abhorrence, I ask you to give these beautiful vegetables one more chance—because if you roast these babies, they become sweet and crispy. No slime to be found.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 t each Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano
1/4 t dried Garlic
(or your favorite blend of herbs)
Grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.

Cut dry/hard stem ends (usually 1/4") off each sprout, and remove any wilted outer leaves. Slice each sprout in half, or quarters if they're as large as a golf ball. You want them to all be about the same size, so they'll cook in the same amount of time. 

Place cut sprouts in a gallon zip-top bag. Pour in olive oil and add herbs. Seal bag and toss/tumble the sprouts inside, ensuring all get coated with the oil and herbs. 

Dump bag of sprouts onto cookie sheet and spread out in an even single layer.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and toss the sprouts. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until the edges brown and become crispy. A fork should easily slide into the core of a sprout.

Serve, sprinkling with parmesan cheese.