Roasted Maple Curry Brussel Sprouts

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My twin sister is getting married soon. Really soon. Like, September soon.

She’s been engaged for over a year now, but I still don’t think it’s really sunk in for me yet. Jas has lived with me every single day of our lives since we were conceived. Literally That’s 25 years, plus change since our birthday also happens to be in September.

There are 9,131 days in twenty five years. Of those 9,131 days, I don’t think more than 10 (and I mean, 10 maximum) have went by that Jas and I have not seen each other.

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But come September, Jas will be moving out and living elsewhere from me. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s not like she’s moving to another state.  Her house is about twenty minutes away from where we live now. She’s already informed me that she plans to visit here often and that I’m more than welcome to come over to her place, and I believe her.

Still. The closer we get to the actual Big Day, I have to confess the idea of her moving out does feel a little…weird.

It’s definitely gonna be different not having her here all the time. It’ll definitely be an adjustment. But I’m sure it won’t take too long for me to get the hang of it.

I hope.

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On the brighter/less sappy side, I’m REALLY happy for my sister and her fiance. They’ve known each other for over ten years, and I could tell even way back when we were in high school when they were in that “just friends” stage that they were really into each other. They’ve always had a really awesome dynamic that at times, I have even felt myself being a little envious of. I think that the best couples are the couples that first of all, have a lot of fun together, and second, complement each other very well. That’s definitely the case with Jas and her guy.

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They’ve been friends just as long as they’ve been together romantically. They have lots of inside jokes. They like’doing things’ together, but they’re also just as cool with being together and ‘doing nothing’. They’re not similar people personality-wise, but the different elements of their personality work together really well.

They just have a great relationship, and as a sister, I’m really proud of the choice that Jas has made for her life partner.

The main ingredients for this dish kinda remind me of the relationship that Jas has with her fiance, as well as the relationship that I’ve seen with other happy couples.

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Maple syrup and curry powder. I know it’s maybe not exactly an union that may seem to be successful at first. On their own, the ingredients are already pretty strong and assertive: maple syrup with it’s prominent sweetness, and curry powder with it’s pungent spiciness. Kinda polar opposites, right?

Still, I gotta insist that you guys trust me on this: once you combine them together, they really really REALLY work well. The assertiveness of both spices, combined with the slight bitterness from the brussel sprouts creates this harmonious marriage of flavors (pun intended) that I was really very impressed with. It made for a delicious side dish that I’m definitely sticking in my bag of tricks to use repeatedly in the future.

I’ll be taking myself and my sprouts over to the Fiesta Friday #76 party by the way. See you guys there 🙂

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Roasted Maple Curry Brussel Sprouts

Recipe Courtesy of Jess@Cooking is My Sport

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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. fresh Brussel sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp. yellow curry powder

Directions

400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and coat evenly with cooking spray.

Toss Brussel sprouts with olive oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange in a single layer on sheet pan and roast in oven, 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through until sprouts are tender in the center and crisp on the outside.

Meanwhile, combine maple syrup and curry powder in a glass measuring cup. When sprouts are done roasting, drizzle curry maple syrup over them*. Serve.

*You may not want to use all of the syrup, depending on your personal preference of sweetness and spice. 

Maple Chicken

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Have any of you guys ever come across a recipe on television, in a magazine or cookbook and been super excited to try it out, then looked at the ingredients list and did a little sigh inside. Not because you thought that the recipe looked too difficult, but because one (or maybe even more than one) of the ingredients was just a liiiittle bit more pricey than you were willing to pay? That happens to me quite a bit, especially in some of my more ‘swanky’ cookbooks, or also in recipes from the ‘swanky’ chefs.

I did a quick Google search of some of the more common ingredients that I see in recipes that I really want to try, but haven’t as of yet because my wallet is still giving me a resounding “No, Jess!”

  • 1 Gram of Saffron: $8.95 , 2 Grams of Saffron: $13.00, 1 Ounce of Saffron: $58.00 (I get it: a little of this stuff goes a long way, but come ON!)
  • 2 Vanilla Bean Pods: $9.95 (I know that the comparison of vanilla beans to vanilla extract is like comparing cubic zirconia to diamonds. I also know that $9.95 is enough for me to buy two jars of vanilla extract that will last me more than just two uses.)
  • 8 oz. Pine Nuts: $12.63 (No. Just…just no.)

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While for the most part, I’m  willing to remain frugal on certain ingredients, there are others that I’m willing to be more flexible about- it all depends on the day and what kind of mood I’m in, honestly. If I’m caught on a good day, I’ll probably be more willing to splurge. If I’m having a bad day, then Scrooge is my middle name.

Confession alert: I’m one of those idiots that usually buys and settles for the cheap ‘syrup’ from Hungry Jack, Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin when eating her pancakes and waffles. I know, I know. Feel free to pelt me with tomatoes for that one. I deserve it. But here’s the thing: maple syrup- the REAL Grade A and B maple syrup, isn’t cheap where I come from. I’m talking a bare minimum of $10.00 dollars for a 12 oz bottle. And if you want to buy it Organic? An automatic average of $10-$15, and that’s only at the general grocery store. The Better Health store thinks they have the right to charge $20.00. It’s rough out here in these Lansing streets, you guys just don’t know.

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Maybe some of you are thinking: “Well , gosh Jess, isn’t 12 oz enough to eat with waffles/pancakes?” My answer would be, maybe if I lived by myself. But I don’t. I live with a whole house full of other people who happen to share my habit of dousing her pancakes or waffles in puddles of syrup. When there are three other people that are doing this at the table, that 12 oz bottle of maple syrup doesn’t last very long. So typically, I just don’t buy it.

However, I recently had a very good day where I was smiling and feel like a Super Foodie and I happened to come across this recipe when brainstorming what I was going to cook for dinner. Long story short, I suckered myself into buying a $12.00 bottle of maple syrup. On the way home, I consoled myself with the thought that so long as I reserve it for very important recipes (and not just for my pancake/waffle baths), it was a worthwhile investment.

After eating this dish, I strongly second that consolation. And third it. And fourth it.

Real maple syrup is worth the money, if only to make Maple Chicken. I’m Jess(ica) and I approve this message.

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Maple Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Great American Recipes

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  •  6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
  •  1 tbsp vegetable oil
  •  1 tsp paprika
  •  1 tsp salt
  •  1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  •  1/2 tsp ground cumin
  •  1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  •  1/2 tsp. black pepper
  •  2 tbsp maple syrup
  •  1 tbsp. butter, melted

 Directions

 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the vegetable oil.

2. Combine the paprika, salt, cinnamon, cumin, tarragon and pepper in a medium bowl; mix well. Coat the chicken evenly with the paprika mixture and bake for 15 minutes.

3. Combine the maple syrup and butter in a small bowl. Brush half of the mixture evenly over the chicken, return to oven and bake for 5 minutes.

4. Turn the chicken over and brush with the remaining maple syrup mixture. Bake until juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.

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Cranberry Sauce {Thanksgiving Recap}

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It’s the last day of our Thanksgiving Recap and I have a small confession to make: before this year I’ve never even had any kind of cranberry sauce before. We’ve always had it at our Thanksgiving Dinner in the past, it’s just that we had usually got the stuff that came in a can- you know, those gelatinous disc things? Well, those are the reason that I was never felt particularly motivated to try cranberry sauce. Whenever it came my way, I immediately passed it right on down the table without so much as taking even a little bit.

Now guys, beware. I’m about to go on a mini-rant. Maybe you’re a fan of canned cranberry sauce. Maybe your family is like mine and always serve it at Thanksgiving. That’s fine. I don’t want to step on your toes. You’re free to disagree with me. This is just my humble opinion talking here. Then again, since you’re reading my blog, that means you’re entitled to it.

To me, canned cranberry sauce looks just disgusting. Really. I don’t understand how anyone can be motivated to eat that stuff. I mean, it’s called a SAUCE. How can something with the consistency of jello, be called a sauce? Guys,when you take it out of the can, it stands up all.on.its.own! How does that not make you want to hurl? Not only that, have you ever looked at the ingredients in that stuff? High fructose corn syrup is right there at the top of the list, along with who knows what else. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who screen nutrition labels like a hawk. I don’t call foods out as ‘bad’ or ‘good’. I just don’t believe in that. But if I’m gonna eat something that does have HFC in it, I want it to at least LOOK appetizing to me. If cranberry sauce looks like anything to me, I say it looks like some kind of wacky science experiment from Bill Nye the Science Guy, but definitely not something I’m supposed to want to put in my mouth. Blegh.

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Okay. Rant over. I’m cool now. Moving right along. For many years, I shunned cranberry sauce completely, but last and this year were somewhat different. I saw a lot of recipes on other blogs and in magazines featuring sandwiches made from Thanksgiving leftovers with turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce. I thought that they looked pretty good, and really wanted to try one…there was just the matter of that friggin canned cranberry sauce.

I was NOT going to use it. Nope. Wasn’t gonna happen.

However, there still remained the option of making my own…

Well, I never can turn down a challenge, so I went recipe a-hunting. One of the most popular ones for cranberry sauce that I found came from Ree Drummond, aka, The Pioneer Woman. It sounded pretty easy as well as tasty so I went ahead and saved it. Bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, when everyone else was still fast asleep and I was preparing to roast the turkeys, I also threw this together on the stove top.

Holy schnapps, guys. It was a really, really, REALLY tasty!

It only took a lick off my fingertip for me to find out that I actually LOVE homemade cranberry sauce! The maple syrup gives the sauce  an autumn, harvest-y flavor, while the citrus from the orange was a further enhancement to the tartness of the cranberries. It also made my kitchen smell really good. And best of all, the sauce is actually a SAUCE- meaning it doesn’t stand up on it’s own. It was a perfect sweet-element to complement the savory-ness of the turkey, gravy, and dressing. The combination of all those flavors may sound weird, but trust me: they WORK. I’m thrilled that I went ahead and made this. It was so worth it.

Moral of the story: canned cranberry sauce sucks. Homemade cranberry sauce is awesome. It must be a (pre)Christmas miracle… or something.

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Cranberry Sauce

Recipe Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

*One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
*1 cup cranberry juice
*1 cup pure maple syrup
*3 tablespoons orange juice
*1 tablespoon grated orange rind

Directions

1. Wash the bag of cranberries under cool water, and then throw them into a medium saucepan. Pour in the cranberry juice and maple syrup.

2. Add the orange juice and orange rind (you could also do lemon rind and lemon juice – anything citrusy). Stir together and turn the heat on high until it reaches a boil and the berries begin to pop.

3. Turn down the heat to medium-low and continue cooking over the lower heat until the juice is thick, about 10 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat. Allow to cool, and then chill in the fridge until Thanksgiving dinner is ready. It should have a nice jelly-like consistency.

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