Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Sweet and salty with a bit of crunch, these brussels sprouts are enjoyable to even the hardest critics. This cold-weather vegetable from the cabbage family is often seen as undesirable for having a bitter taste. I believe it all depends on how you cook it though. For those who typically overlook these tiny buds, you may be pleasantly surprised by this combination.

Maple syrup is in abundance where I live in New England, and I love finding ways to incorporate it into my recipes. For a vegetable like brussels sprouts, where a bitter taste may need to be tamed, I knew this natural sweetener would be the perfect addition, along with the tang of balsamic vinegar. Throw in some chopped almonds, or your nut of choice, and it’s reminiscent of my favorite homemade candy, almond roca.

Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

There’s something about roasting vegetables that makes my mouth water. I love the golden brown pieces that are left in the pan, drenched in butter and salt. If I have a vegetable that I’m not sure what to do with, I will typically roast it, knowing it will likely turn out delicious. This is the only way I’ll prepare brussels sprouts from now on!

If you’re tired of soggy boiled brussels sprouts, you may just fall in love with this sweet and salty caramelized version. It only takes minutes to prepare. Also, you may love Kim’s version of Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. Yum!

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side
 
These sweet and salty Brussels sprouts will satisfy even the hardest critic!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed, stemmed, and halved
  • 3 Tbls Coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbls Maple syrup
  • 1 Tbls Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ Cup chopped almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheats your oven to 400 F. Rinse the brussels sprouts, trim the stems, and slice them in half.
  2. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, roast the Brussels sprouts with coconut oil, and salt and pepper, for 20 minutes. Toss them after 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar, and coarsely chop the almonds. Drizzle the maple and balsamic mixture over the brussels sprouts, sprinkle the almonds over them, and roast for 5-7 more minutes.

 

Steamed Artichokes with Three Dipping Sauces

Steamed Artichokes with Three Dipping Sauces

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Ring in spring with this seasonal delicacy! These savory dips, rich in healthy fats and bursting with flavor, are the perfect addition to the lovely spring artichoke. They are a cinch to whip up, and an easy way to jazz up the standard side of melted lemon butter, or mayonniase, typically served with them.

I learned how to eat an artichoke at a very young age and immediately fell in love. I don’t know if it had to do with the actual artichoke itself, or the fact that my mother always served it with a big bowl of melted butter and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Yum! Regardless, I adore the taste and look forward to steaming some up this time every year.

Springtime is peak season for artichokes. These beautiful greenish, purple-hued thistles may appear intimidating at first, but I assure you they are very easy to prepare. A few minutes of prep time allows you to cut the stem off, thorns from the petals, and quickly rinse it for steaming. Place them in a pot with some crushed garlic, lemon slices, and bay leaves, and your kitchen will smell amazing within minutes.

Steamed Artichokes with Three Dipping Sauces

I love the unique way artichokes are eaten. Dip individual petals into your choice of dip and scrape off the “meat” at the tip through clenched teeth. Discard the petal in a scrap bowl and repeat. When you reach the heart of the artichoke (the best part, in my opinion), gently scoop out the fine fuzzy hairs with a spoon or knife, slice it into bite sized pieces, and dip. If you love butter, like I do, you will truly savor every bite.

These three dips are made with basic ingredients that most everyone has available to them, and are simple to assemble with minimal dishes. They can be easily doubled for larger groups.

Steamed Artichokes with Three Dipping Sauces
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side
 
These savory sauces are the perfect compliment to the lovely spring artichoke.
Ingredients
  • 4 Artichokes
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 Lemon slices
  • A sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • For the Parmesan Butter Sauce:
  • 2 Tbls butter, melted
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Pinch of lemon zest
  • 1 Small garlic clove, minced
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • For the Balsamic Mustard Sauce:
  • 2 Tbls balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 Tbls dijon mustard
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • For the Lemon and Herb Butter Sauce:
  • 4 Tbls butter, melted
  • 1 Small garlic clove, minced
  • ⅛ tsp each of dried thyme, oregano and basil
  • 1 Tbls fresh lemon juice
  • A pinch of sea salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the stems off each artichoke, along with ½-1 inch off the top, and trim the prickly thorn off each petal. Rinse them under cool water, gently spreading the leaves open.
  2. Place them upside-down in a pot with about 2 inches of water, the bay leaf, garlic cloves, lemon slices, and salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 25-35 minutes, or until a knife can be easily poked through the artichokes from top to bottom.
  3. While the artichokes are simmering, prepare your dips.
  4. For the Parmesan Butter Sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a small bowl for dipping. Serve warm.
  5. For the Balsamic Mustard Sauce: Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until incorporated.
  6. For the Lemon and Herb Butter Sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a small bowl for dipping. Serve warm.
  7. How to eat: Dip individual petals into your choice of dip and scrape off the “meat” at the tip through clenched teeth. Discard the petal in a bowl and repeat. When you reach the heart of the artichoke (the best part!), gently scoop out the fine fuzzy hairs with a spoon or knife, slice it into bite sized pieces, and dip.

 

Crock-Pot Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Butter

Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Butter : This easy method for making sweet potatoes it fail proof and produces moist potatoes. Top it with a delicious maple cinnamon butter for an especially great side dish!Friends, as I soak in the newborn days, I am thrilled to bring to you some guest posts from fellow bloggers. One of the topics I suggested was to share some of their favorite slow cooker/Crock-Pot recipes. It really was a rather selfish request because, as a mother of a newborn, I knew I’d be using mine a lot more in upcoming days! And really, these type of recipes work well for anyone!

Today Dena shares one of hers. This easy of easiest ways to make sweet potatoes wins me over at once, but the sweet maple cinnamon butter certainly makes the recipes irresistible! I can’t wait to try it. See other slow cooker recipes here: Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes, Slow Cooker Pot Roast (Cook Once, Eat Thrice), Shawarma Whole Chicken in the Crock-Pot  – Kimi 

By Dena, from Back To The Book Nutrition

Warning: Your life is about to get much easier. I’ve discovered yet another simple favorite that can be made in the Crock Pot: Sweet Potatoes! (Did you know you can also make creamy homemade yogurt in the slow cooker?)

This method can be used with russet or other potatoes as well, though cooking times may vary a bit depending on the type of potato (more time for russets or less time for reds, whites, and golds).

Sweet potatoes are simple enough to bake in the oven, but I hate that they occupy the oven for an entire hour right when I’m usually needing it to cook another part of the dinner (Rosemary and Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin, anyone?).

Well, I’ve got a very simple solution, and it uses far less energy, to boot! Toss your washed spuds into the crock pot with a splash of water a few hours before dinner time, then go about the rest of your afternoon enjoying the warm, sweet aroma of sweet potatoes filling your home.
It’s nice – really nice.

You know what else is really nice? Maple Cinnamon Butter.

It’s a delightfully creamy blend of three of my very favorite ingredients. It’s the perfect finishing touch for these sweet potatoes, but is also great for slathering on toast, stirring into oatmeal or other hot cereals, and adding to your coffee (I don’t drink butter coffee myself but I just don’t see how “maple cinnamon butter coffee” wouldn’t be an improvement on the original!).

Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Butter : This easy method for making sweet potatoes it fail proof and produces moist potatoes. Top it with a delicious maple cinnamon butter for an especially great side dish!

 

Crock-Pot Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Butter
 
 
Ingredients
  • 6-8 medium sweet potatoes, washed (no need to dry)
Instructions
  1. Place sweet potatoes in Crock Pot. Add ¼ cup water. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.
  2. I like to use a pastry brush to brush a bit of the water from the crock pot on all sides of the potatoes just before serving. If you're planning on keeping the cooked potatoes warm in the slow cooker for a while before serving them, you may want to occasionally open the lid and give them all a good water brushing to keep their skins nice and soft.
  3. Recipe Notes:
  4. I used a newer, 6 quart Crock-Pot for this recipe. I've noticed that it cooks much more quickly than my older, 4½ qt Crock Pot. If you have a smaller, and/or older version, you may need to extend the cooking time a bit.

Maple Cinnamon Butter
 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup pastured butter (I use salted), softened
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp (a few drops) pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together vigorously until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or chill for a few hours in the fridge if preferred.
  2. Recipe Notes:
  3. This recipe makes just enough for 6-8 sweet potatoes. If you'd like to have extra for other uses (which I highly recommend!), you may want to double the batch. This recipe was adapted from Whole Foods' Maple Cinnamon Butter.

Dena Norton Profile Pic - Copy (244x250)

Dena Norton is a registered dietitian (RD) turned stay at home mom. She and her husband, Rick, have two precious children, ages 5 and 2. She recently released the 2nd edition of her e-book entitled, Nutrition By The Book, and blogs at Back To The Book Nutrition,where she inspires others to enjoy and worship God through nutrition and health. Subscribe to Dena’s blog or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Nori and Sesame Sprinkles

Nori and Sesame Sprinkles - These are delicious sprinkled on rice, on quinoa, salads, and roasted vegetables.

Gently pan toasted and sweetened with coconut sugar, this is one of our favorite ways to get a serving of seaweed in! You can serve it with rice (a traditional way to enjoy it), quinoa, or top green salads, roasted vegetables, cucumber salads, and a lot more too with it. We sometimes enjoy it by the spoonful. In fact, the above batch was eaten with spoons by my daughters earlier today!

In my last post, I shared why it was recommended to me to add seaweed to my diet (and 4 reasons you may want to as well). This has been one of the most enjoyable and easiest ways for sure! It’s based on the product(Amazon links are affiliate) SeaSprinkles, which we love. However, as you may imagine, it is quite a bit cheaper to make your own version, so I do that now most of the time.

Many of you asked about sharing resources for buying seaweed from the Atlantic Ocean (because of concerns about radiation). Buying seaweed from Maine is one great option, and there are many small companies out there. I’d love to hear resources from you to include in the next post!

If you are unable to find nori flakes, you can simply flake nori pieces (or cut them into small pieces). I bought my nori flakes in bulk (it’s no longer available from the company I purchased it from, otherwise I’d link to them), but there are some items on Amazon, including these  nori flakes that the company says they test for all heavy metals, contaminants, and radiation.

Nori and Sesame Sprinkles
 
 
Ingredients
  • Avocado oil (or oil of choice)
  • ⅔ cup nori flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat (if using cast iron, use medium), add enough oil to lightly oil the pan.
  2. Add the nori flakes and sesame seeds to the pan, and stir continually for 2-4 minutes, until the nori and sesame seeds are lightly toasted (make sure you don't burn them!).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut sugar. Let cool and serve, or store in an air-tight container.