A few weeks ago when we talked waffles, I mentioned that my opinionated 3 year old was a dietitian’s nightmare. (If you missed that recipe, it’s a must see! Click here.) He has few foods that will pass his lips including all foods green. But I keep offering. And for now he keeps declining but at least he’s becoming more polite about it “No thank you mommy, not today.”
After all with toddlers/preschoolers and eating we know it has NOTHING to do with the food, and EVERYTHING to do with CONTROL.
So when I see a patient in his young 70’s that reports he doesn’t like most fruits and vegetables I cringe. Really? Only corn and potatoes? Maybe iceberg lettuce? Canned green beans? I want to weep for these people. Oh the goodness they are missing out on.
These people always intrigue me. And I must admit are very easy to stereotype. I can tell you their list of diagnoses will include hypertension, heart disease and for some diabetes. Their BMI’s are over 28 and carry their fat in their bellies vs their butts. And almost all of them will tell me the last time they tried sad, nasty vegetable was either in the service or their first year of marriage.
So is this about carried over control issues or more along the lines that some of the tastiest vegetables were ruined in preparation?
For me, it is the Brussels sprout. When I was first introduced and for subsequent years following the Brussels sprout was presented as a dull, faded green ball of mush oversteamed by my mother who just clearly didn’t know better. If we were lucky, she would whip up her homemade vibrant yellow American cheese sauce that camouflaged the vegetable thinking it was something delectable.
God bless my sister into helping me get through those dinners with ideas of how to consume such a disaster so I was able to leave the table before the kitchen lights were turned off. Although no matter how much gravy, mashed potatoes, nose holding happened, the napkin won and I was sent off to bed.
Fast forward twenty years and I meet my future husband who adores home cooked meals and you guessed it … Brussels sprouts “they’re my favorite!” (Ugh. Are you kidding me?)
So what does one do when they’re in their late twenties looking for love? You make Brussels sprouts. With a smile.
My first go ahead for these tiny balls were steamed just right that oh my goodness they were palatable. No mush. No dull, green color. This gave me courage to pursue adding Brussels sprouts as a side to even more dishes and nurture a relationship that ended up in marriage.
This also gave me the courage to bring a Brussels sprout side dish to a family gathering with the hopes of winning over the anti vegetable brother in law into a sprout lover.
Bacon needs no introduction. It’s a rare person that doesn’t enjoy the smell or taste of bacon (unless of course you prefer no meat at all).
So when I came across this recipe from Cooking Light, I instantly knew I was going to make it. I’ve adapted the recipe below to the changes that I’ve made but the original recipe can be found and printed off here.
3 slices center-cut bacon
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup sliced shallot (about 1 large)
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until bacon is fairly crispy. Remove the bacon from pan with a slotted spoon, pat dry on a paper towel and break into pieces when cooled. Reserve for the end. (Try not to eat the pieces when cooking)
- Carefully add a heavy drizzle of olive oil to the hot pan. Stir in shallots and garlic, sauté 2-3 minutes until begin to brown, stirring frequently. Add Brussels sprouts and sauté an additional 5 minutes until sprouts are browned on cut side down. Add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until the broth mostly evaporates and the sprouts are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and cover to steam vegetables until desired tenderness if prefer a softer Brussels sprout. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked bacon, season with salt and pepper if necessary (personally I’ve never had to do this).
Voila! Brussels sprouts are ready and love is on the way!! And of course, they’re carb free! Win!
Now I have to know, was there a vegetable you swore off when you were younger but now is your favorite?? What changed?
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