Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

There are a few foods that I claim not to like... even though I've never had them. Brussels sprouts has been at the top of that list for many years. I've heard Paul talk highly about them (and even recall him eating them for a snack when we visited his parents for Christmas). One thing I adore about my husband is how he eats whatever I make-- even if he doesn't like some of the ingredients i.e. tomatoes and green beans.  Since he's always eating what I want, I decided to go out on a limb and try fixing up some of these weird tiny cabbages on his behalf. To ensure the whole meal wasn't a bust, I picked a recipe with a staple that I'm mildly addicted to: sweet potatoes. The recipe was meant to be served as a side but I didn't want leftovers so we ate it as the main dish.

The verdict: Simple to make and actually tasty! I was prepared to gag throughout dinner but I truly liked it. I will say, it's best hot. The more it cooled the more I began to think"... maybe this is a little weird." Even Vince said, "Hey, I like this, Mom!" 

We won't eat this all the time, but when I'm feeling wild I'll throw it into the meal rotation for sure.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
Yield: Serves 6-8
Recipe by The Food Charlatan
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1 large sweet potato (1 pound)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed (I used 2 cloves minced garlic)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • fresh thyme, to garnish
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Trim your Brussels by cutting off the little brown end. If there are any yellow leaves, pull them off. Cut any large ones in half. Add to a large bowl.
  3. Peel your sweet potato and chop into 1-2 inch pieces. Add to the large bowl.
  4. Smash 2 cloves of garlic and add it to the bowl.
  5. Pour 1/3 cup olive oil over the vegetables.
  6. Add cumin, garlic salt, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to coat.
  7. (Line a large sheet pan with foil if you want super easy cleanup)
  8. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the sheet pan and rub it all over the pan (or foil) with your hand. Or you could spray it really well with nonstick spray.
  9. Pour the veggies onto the pan.
  10. Roast at 400 for about 40-45 minutes. The veggies are done when they are brown and a fork slides into them easily.
  11. Place the veggies in a serving bowl and toss with 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme if you want. Eat hot!
The garlic is there to add flavor, not necessarily to be eaten, although I do think it's quite tasty.
If you want to reheat these, take them out of the oven and let cool. (Skip adding the red wine vinegar.) Store in a tupperware in the fridge for up to 2 days. When you are ready to eat, spread the veggies on a greased pan and roast at 400 for about 5-10 minutes until you can hear them sizzling and they are hot. Remove from the oven, add a little red wine vinegar, and serve!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Break 2016

Following our grand Thanksgiving vacation I had a hard time getting into the Christmas Spirit. I forbade myself to make cookies until just before Christmas Day, often forgot to turn on the holiday tunes, was stressed about Andrew's sleeping schedule, etc. It wasn't until Christmas Break started that I really got into my holiday groove. No more waking up to hurry Vince off to school, holiday leave so Paul could be home, visits from friends & family, cookies, fudge, egg nog, and Christmas movies every night. Now THAT is what I was waiting for!

 Christmas Puzzling with Heather. Andrew did most of it ;)

 Vince got a new toy at his school Christmas party. Kate promptly tried to grab it from him and it wound up in her hair. Almost had to resort to giving her bangs. 

Took a leaf from Rachael's book and celebrated the Winter Solstice with a candlelit dinner.
Selfie Stick to the rescue!

 On December 23 we went to the ballpark and drove around looking at all of the light displays. Followed by a visit to Santa Clause! They wouldn't let us snag a picture without paying so we'll just use our memory to recall how cute Kate was sitting on his big lap. At first she wouldn't make eye contact, then it was shifty eyes, followed by sweet smiles and excitement. She asked for a doll. Vince asked for video game. He was nervous to sit on Santa's lap but Kate already being there gave him the courage to overcome stranger danger. They each were gifted candy canes as they hopped off his lap and then we enjoyed hot cocoa together (Vince insisted that it was Cocoa, not Hot Chocolate).


Holiday baking really gives me the Christmas feels. I can't let this season go by without making my mom's 7 layer cookies and my Grandma Griffioen's Fudge. A new family favorite is Rachael's M&M cookie recipe. We made all of these goodies in record time and proceeded to give them all away (insert hangry sobbing here). The most memorable part of goodie making was seeing Vince and Kate eat the fudge batter from the bowl. Whenever my dad made fudge we would beg to lick the beaters and the bowl. I loved seeing my kiddos make memories similar to mine.

Christmas Eve is where it gets really awesome. Am I right? Snow on the ground, no responsibilities, family gathered together, good food, our Fiesta (thanks to Christie's delicious tamales!), new jammies, cuddles by the tree, watching A Christmas Carol (only the George C Scott version will do), and most importantly-- reflecting on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

The magic is so real here. But the sleep is even more real! Haha! We had to wake up these sleepy heads at 8 am so we could make it to church on time. Since we didn't have enough time for presents, we let the kids open their stockings. After our lovely church service we returned home to find Nana and Grandpa had already arrived! We got settled and then opened presents. The best reaction of the day was Vincent when he opened his Optimus Prime Toy, "THIS IS WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED!"   Boo yeah! Kate showed an obvious preference to the marbles we got her. Christmas was definitely a success!

After gifts my mom whipped up the most satisfying Christmas Dinner. I didn't have to lift a finger (which may have been the best gift of all). The rest of the day was perfectly lazy. We watched It's a Wonderful Life, did a puzzle, skyped with Grandma and Grandpa Brallier, played games, ate the rest of the tamales, watched Andrew "open" his gifts, and played with new toys. What fun it has been having them here for Christmas Day 2 years in a row. 

It was a Merry Christmas indeed!