Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts – for Trisca

I didn’t think it was possible to get a 7 year old to fall in love with Brussels sprouts

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I didn’t think it was possible to get a 7 year old to fall in love with Brussels sprouts

I always enjoy a challenge, especially when it comes to finding ways to “sneak” vegetables into a child’s diet so that they eventually grow to love them. Brussels sprouts are tricky to hide though, so I decided to do something daring and opted to instead dress them up with the hopes that two 5 year olds and a 7 year old wouldn’t turn their noses up at them during dinner.

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Although I’d taken courses on Child Nutrition & Cooking at Stamford University, I didn’t have much experience with cooking for children before I moved to Australia to become an Au Pair.  My approach coming into the family was simple though: prepare my regular go-to meals, but  gradually introduce new flavours and spices to their palates by upping the intensity of herbs each time I cooked the dish. When I first arrived, the kids were accustomed to simple steamed vegetables, a starch (steamed potato, rice or pasta) and a baked or pan-fried protein for their dinner every night. A well-rounded nutritious meal, but a little mild in comparison to what I was used to cooking.

The oldest child, Max, was the trickiest to please. His favourite foods included pizza from the restaurant down the street, and “pasta pockets” (pre-packaged cheese tortellinis). When testing out new recipes and presenting them to the kids and getting their opinion on the meal, he was my toughest critic…so when I convinced him to try my Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and he gave me a thumbs up with a huge smile as he shovelled more into his mouth, I was proud.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 300 g Baby Brussels sprouts
  • 4 Fresh or thawed sausage links (pork, chicken, lamb, or meat-free)
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ Medium Spanish onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ Lemon, juiced
  • Herbal salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon herb & garlic seasoning
  • Thyme

 

DIRECTIONS

Steam the Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes, or until tender (you should be able to pierce with a fork all the way through). Remove from heat, and once cooled, slice in half.

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While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, slice the sausages lengthwise, and remove casings. Break into small pieces and roast in a large skillet on stove top. Once browned, add the Brussels sprouts and sauté in the sausage drippings for 2 minutes on medium heat.

Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Sauté the Brussels sprouts with the sausage

Next, add a drizzle of olive oil, diced onions, crushed garlic, lemon juice and a generous splash of balsamic vinegar. Be sure to thoroughly mix everything together in the skillet pan. Add remaining seasonings to desired taste, and reduce heat to a low simmer. Continue cooking until onions are transparent, and Brussels sprouts are browned and slightly charred.

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Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts – the end result

Serve with mixed grains salad or roasted potatoes.

SERVES: 6

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

TOTAL COOKING TIME:  20 minutes

A Year of Reflection

Spending your birthday by yourself is a chance to focus on your goals and appreciate how far you’ve come

In 3 hours I’ll be 27 years old.

It’s so strange to think about where I thought I’d be by now. When I was a kid, I always imagined that I’d be married with 2 kids by the time I turned 25 years old. I suppose I had based this thought around the nuclear families I’d seen on TV, and the stories I’d heard of my grandparents marrying and having children of their own in their early 20’s.

The times however have changed. Now, it seems somewhat out of the ordinary to learn of anyone I know of or grew up with, as getting married and having babies of their own. In a sense, I still feel like so many people my age are still children themselves. Nonetheless, I feel as if for me 30 is just around the corner, and that there’s a push to start getting my life more in order…in terms of relationships, career, and responsibilities.

Looking back, I’ll consider the year I was 26 as a whirlwind adventure. I experienced what feels like a lifetime of ups and downs in a mere 365 days. I took my first solo trip and lived in Nicaragua for the summer, I became a certified Yoga instructor, I spent 3 weeks travelling through Europe, I made new friends, I spent more time with family, I left my job, I impulsively moved to Australia, I re-evaluated relationships , and most importantly I learned more about myself and how to love myself.

Although I’ll be spending my birthday this year 17,000km away from my friends and family, I look forward to turning 27 and to what this year has in store for me. I feel through this past year’s experiences, I’ve gained more wisdom and clarity to be able to truly decide on what I want in life.

Ageing is inevitable, so why not make the most of this short time we have on Earth? 

Perth Beach reflection

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Ideal Breakfast

break·fast // brekfəst

The first meal of the day, generally consumed during the morning (unless you have a bizarre work schedule or really slept in late). The act of “breaking the overnight fast you had while sleeping.”

My father was a firm believer in never letting my sister and I leave the house without a belly full of food. I grew up with breakfast not only being the most important meal of the day, but also the largest. Generally he’d make a feast of eggs, hashbrown potatoes, bacon, & toast, and we weren’t allowed to leave the table until our plates were practically licked clean. We were late for school numerous times because we simply had too much food to eat and couldn’t chew fast enough. Looking back, this helped my metabolism significantly. Think about it: you’re consuming your highest number of calories first thing in the day, meaning you have a full day to work everything off. Breakfast provides you with the energy you need, and for a growing kid that loved to horse around at recess and pretty much ran everywhere instead of walking, this was vital. 

Now that I’m no longer aiming for a growth spurt (physically), I’ve dialed back the amount of food for my weekday breakfasts. I’ve never been much of a morning person, nor do I have someone to scold me and insist I eat before I leave the house for work. Instead, I usually end up bringing my food to the office. And although I have actually tried bringing a full sized breakfast in with me (eggs, toast, and at the time turkey bacon), it’s pretty messy and gets cold quick when I get preoccupied with my work tasks.

My usual workday breakfast will vary depending on the season. During the warmer months, it’s easier to sip on a cool smoothie or chia seed pudding. In the cooler months, I’ll opt for something with complex carbs like oatmeal or a parfait.

Weekends are when I get wild, and go back to my roots. Breakfasts will be massive so that I have the energy to walk 3km to the farmer’s market afterwards for my week’s worth of fresh fruit & veg, walk back home to tend to the gardens, clean the house and then prepare lunch and dinner for the night (and if it’s Sunday, meal prep for the rest of the week).  Pretty much everything finds its way onto my plate on Saturday and Sunday mornings, with the aim of covering at least half of my plate with a combination of fruits and vegetables. Farm-fresh omelets, hashbrown skillets 3 ingredient pancakes, or fruit salad & avocado toast are not only simple to make but delicious and leave you with the fuel you need to start your day.