Oven Roasted Garlic Broccoli

I go in stages with food. I’ll find something I love and then I’ll make it in large quantities and eat it every day until I finally get sick of it. Broccoli is currently that food. Growing up my mom would always make broccoli either boiled, or “fresh” from the freezer aisle. While there’s nothing wrong with broccoli in that form, it definitely wasn’t my favorite way of eating it, I wasn’t a huge fan of the mush factor.

Until recently I would usually just eat broccoli raw, but then I decided to experiment with roasting vegetables and broccoli was the most recent attempt, and I’m hooked! I love the crispy bits that come from roasting, and how the broccoli keeps its crunch. My roommate loves it too, I’ve definitely come into the kitchen to find her munching on some freshly roasted broccoli. I don’t blame her, this stuff is delicious!

It took me a while to figure out how to properly roast broccoli though, I experimented with different oven temperatures and have ultimately decided that 425 for about 10-15 minutes is best. It leaves you with the crispiest broccoli possible.

First cut your broccoli florets off the stem. I prefer buying broccoli crowns because they’re cheaper and there’s less stem to throw away.

Chop up some garlic cloves. The more the better! Mmmm garlic!

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Mix your broccoli, garlic and some Avocado Oil (or whatever oil you prefer) in a bowl and then place on a baking sheet. Don’t crowd the baking sheet (as I have been known to do) you’ll get steamed broccoli instead of roasted.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking periodically to make sure your food isn’t burning. It’ll be done once the broccoli is slightly browned and there are delicious crispy bits on the end.

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Enjoy! This is best eaten right away, although I will make it to eat for later as well, if you have it for leftovers it’ll retain its flavor but it’ll lose it’s crispy bits.

 

Oven Roasted Garlic Broccoli

2-3 bunches of Broccoli crowns

3 cloves of garlic chopped

Avocado or Coconut oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.

Cut broccoli florets off of stem and toss in a bowl with oil and chopped garlic until lightly covered

Spread broccoli florets over a baking sheet being careful not to crowd them.

Bake in oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once after about 6 minutes.

Broccoli is done when it is slightly browned and the ends are crispy.

Brussels Sprout Chips

I am not a fan of kale in any shape or form, but I am an adventurous eater and am always willing to give foods a second chance. So when kale chips became THE thing to make and eat. I gave them a shot. I did not think, contrary to popular belief, that they tasted better than or equal to potato chips. I didn’t even think that they tasted different but still good. I thought they possessed every trait of kale that I disliked about it in the first place. I still however liked the idea.

Fast forward to this past spring when I did Whole 30. I was making a lot of brussels sprouts and I didn’t like that every time I cooked them I was throwing away so many leaves. I’m cheap, I don’t like buying vegetables only to throw away perfectly good parts. Then I remembered kale chips and thought making brussels sprout chips can’t be that different. Added bonus? I actually LIKE brussels sprouts.

Well, I love brussels sprout chips, they’re the perfect snack to munch on. Now I am not going to say “OMG THESE ARE BETTER THAN POTATO CHIPS.” This is because I am not a liar. These do not taste like potato chips. I don’t even consider these a substitute. If you want potato chips, then eat potato chips. These taste like crispy brussels sprouts, because they are, and I love them.

Remember when I made brussels sprouts with bacon and I told you to save the outer leaves? Well this is why! I like to save the outer leaves in a plastic bag with a paper towel to help with the moisture. They’ve kept in my fridge for as long as 2 weeks before I’ve cooked chips with them which is good, because I never feel like making these chips when I’m doing a lot of cooking.

Preheat your oven to 400. Drizzle your brussel sprouts with a healthy oil and mix mix mix! I am recently obsessed with Avocado Oil for it’s high smoke point and numerous health benefits, but choose whatever sounds good to you (hint hint these taste amazing with coconut oil too!).

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Arrange as many leaves on a baking sheet as you can, help them to be friends. You do want a single layer so make sure they’re not stuck together. Add whatever seasonings you want, salt, garlic powder, pepper. Whatever makes you happy.

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Put your brussels sprouts into the oven for 10 minutes. DO set a timer. DO NOT tell yourself you will remember to check on them periodically because you are going to be in the kitchen for a long time anyways. If you do this you will remember you wanted to read that interesting article your friend posted on facebook earlier today. So you will go upstairs to check it out on your laptop and then get distracted on Facebook, and start talking to your best friend and OH YEAH I put the brussels sprout chips in the oven 45 minutes ago…..If you do this, you will burn them to a crisp and ruin everything, so Don’t. Do. It.

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They’re done when they look like this! I love dipping these in a little homemade mayonnaise (flavored or plain) but my favorite way is just plain, they’re delicious as is.

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How I Found Out I Love Brussels Sprouts

I have a confession to make. Until two years ago I had never eaten a brussels sprout. My parents hated them and so they were never on the menu in our house. That situation was fine with me. Growing up my friends reminded me how lucky I was that my parents didn’t make me eat brussels sprouts, so I counted my blessings and never even gave the vegetable a chance.

That, is a tragedy! The fact that I dismissed an entire vegetable as something I won’t like because popular culture, and my parents said I won’t means I’ve missed out on deliciousness for years. Granted if I had eaten them earlier I would have probably been subjected to steamed or boiled brussels sprouts, which I hear makes them bitter and gross and the reason they get such a bad rap. I have never eaten them that way, and quite frankly unless someone convinces me otherwise I never will.

My introduction to brussels sprouts came when I visited Miami for a work conference and a coworker took me to a favorite restaurant of his insisting we try the brussels sprouts. I was hesitant, but the brussels sprouts were cooked with bacon, and who doesn’t like bacon? I’ll try anything once, and I was curious to finally find out why they got their negative reputation. Well I never found out because those sprouts were delicious!

Despite becoming a brussels sprout convert I still didn’t even attempt to start cooking them until a few months ago. After careful research I decided roasting or pan frying was the way to go. I tend to prefer pan frying, largely due to how much easier and quicker I think it is.

Recently, I’ve started throwing some bacon in with the sprouts for some added flavor, however, I’ve cooked them without it, gone heavy on the garlic and loved them just as much. I love both ways equally as well.

This recipe yields a lot, so if you want less just halve it. I love cooking large portions of food as it makes it easier for me to eat healthy throughout the week. This is my first recipe I’ve ever written so bare with me and definitely let me know if something doesn’t make sense.

First prep your brussels sprouts by rinsing them, removing the outer leaves, cutting off that icky stem, and quartering them. DON’T THROW AWAY THOSE LEAVES  save them and keep them in the refrigerator for brussels sprout chips, your stomach will thank you later!

Washed and all ready to go!
Washed and all ready to go!
Peeled and quartered.
Peeled and quartered.
Outer leaves. DO NOT THROW AWAY!
Outer leaves. SAVE THESE!

Chop up your bacon and throw it into a pan over medium to medium high heat to begin cooking (confession, I usually can’t help myself and throw in an extra strip or two of bacon)

Mmmm...Bacon!
Mmmm…Bacon!

Once your bacon has browned throw in your brussels sprouts, MIX IT ALL UP and watch the magic happen. If you are so inclined throw in some minced garlic right before you do this. Stir occasionally, BUT NOT TOO MUCH, you want the sprouts to brown, and the only way to do that is to be patient and let them sit.

All mixed up and ready to cook!
All mixed up and ready to cook!

Once they’re done scoop up and ENJOY! (I usually under cook mine a little so I can throw my leftovers in the microwave throughout the week and not end up with a soggy mess, as a result mine are never as brown as they should be.)

Yum! Let them brown even more than this if you're eating them right away.
Yum! Let them brown even more than this if you’re eating them right away.

Not Your Mother’s Brussels Sprouts

4 1/2 cups brussels sprouts cleaned and quartered
4-5 strips of bacon chopped (look for bacon with the least amount of additives, and if you can, no sugar)
2 garlic clove finely chopped (optional, I like it fine without it if I’m using bacon)

Cook bacon over medium high heat stirring often. Once browned put in the garlic and allow to cook for about 30 seconds (careful the garlic doesn’t burn!).

Throw in the brussels sprouts and mix together. Let sprouts sit so they can brown and stir occasionally to prevent burning. Sprouts will be done in about 10-15 minutes or until softer but still firm.

Serve and Enjoy!

 

I Threw Away My Scale!

Scales are the devil’s form of torture. I firmly believe this. There is nothing worse than feeling great about yourself after a successful day, week, month or hour (who hasn’t been guilty of the “AM I SKINNY YET!” an hour into healthy eating.) of eating right and exercise only to have the scale tell you that either your weight hasn’t budged a pound or, even worse, you’ve gained weight.

I know, I know, there are several reasons why your weight can fluctuate (or not fluctuate at all dammit!). A quick Google search can explain away whatever weight gain or stagnation you’re experiencing. Water weight, muscle mass, that time of the month, I just ate five pounds of candy in one sitting. I’ve read it all, and it makes you feel better, until the next time you step on the scale and nothing’s changed.

Sure the scale isn’t all bad, there are times when it seems the stars align and the universe works in your favor and the numbers will magically melt away, and each time you step on feeling optimistic and step off elated and excited ready to conquer the world. For some people this is the relationship they have with scales, they know how their body responds to certain things, they’re honest about their habits and they’re realistic about what to expect. For those individuals the scale is a tool, and a useful one at that. It helps them measure progress and decide what works for their body and what doesn’t. But for others the elation that comes with seeing a lower number (or higher number depending on your goals) can turn into a high that leads to unhealthy habits and behaviors when things don’t go in your favor.

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RIP bathroom scale

I am one of those people. My relationship with the scale started off well enough. I adopted what I thought were healthy practices hoping to lose just one pound a week.  I would step on the scale once a week, every Tuesday morning, bladder empty and definitely naked. I carefully logged every calorie that passed my lips. At first this worked, and I watched as the pounds slipped off week by week, until they stopped and I hit a plateau.

I can hear it right now “Elizabeth! Everyone hits a plateau you shouldn’t let it get you down!” That’s easy to say, I’ve said it myself, but that attitude only goes so far.  When your self-esteem is tied to a fluctuating number then it’s only a matter of time until you’re eating an entire bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups (YUM!) while sitting on the couch watching episode after episode of Gilmore Girls. Oh wait, that’s just me? Never mind then….

This cycle came to a head a month ago. I had just completed my first Whole 30 (Check it out, it’s awesome!) and I felt great! I hadn’t had a headache in a month, and everyone was complimenting me on looking thinner than they could remember. Part of Whole 30’s rules is that you can’t weigh yourself, so I was suffering from withdrawal and I was understandably eager to find out what the results of my hard work were. I mean I had to have lost at least five pounds!

I hadn’t lost five pounds. I hadn’t lost four, three, two or one pounds. My weight didn’t even stay stagnant. My weight had gone up two pounds, and I was devastated. All the positive changes I had made in my life before this (I ran my first 10k a week before this, GO ME!) dissolved to nothing because I placed too much importance on the combination of three digits underneath my feet.

That was a month ago and I am deciding today that it’s all changing. I’ve thrown away my scale, and I’m going to stop tracking every calorie I consume (or feel guilty for being too lazy to track, oops!). My measure of success is going to be how I feel both physically and emotionally. I’ll dedicate my energy to eating whole foods, exercising regularly and developing a positive body image, because everyone should feel beautiful regardless of their size. I’m putting my scales down and laces up