Apple Brussels Sprout Hash

Sprouty in the Summertime

Summer is here, and you know what that means – I’m back in the kitchen! woohoo! (I just spent way too much time deliberating whether to go with my traditional and standard “woohoo” or mix it up with a “woop woop.” It’s definitely summertime).

To kick off my most favorite of seasons, I decided to do something daring: try Brussels sprouts (again).

I know, I know. I can hear the groans from here. But so many of my favorite veggie food bloggers insist that Brussels sprouts are to die for when prepared properly. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I spent a good year trying different recipes in search of one that would make the adorable little sprout-balls enjoyable, and I did find a couple I could tolerate, until I came across a disastrous sprout experience that swore me off of them for the past 2 years.

Here’s the thing: Brussels sprouts are crazy nutritious, and contain sulforaphane, which has some mad anti-cancer properties – particularly if you steam or stir-fry the sprouts. (Boiling reduces the anti-cancer properties). They also contain a chemical that boosts cellular DNA repair and blocks cancer cell growth.

I’d say that Brussels sprouts are too good to be true, but they’re not! If only we could find ways to make them palatable so that we eat them!

If you’ve put off your search for a tasty Brussels sprout recipe, you can sleep easy tonight, because I found The One. This recipe turns Brussels sprouts into a sweet, tasty side dish. I enjoyed mine alongside a spinach and grilled cheese sandwich (I’m on a sprouted grain bread kick, but that’s a story for another day). It was absolutely delicious. I would not lie to you about such serious things as Brussels sprouts.

If you fancy yourself a Brussels sprouts hater, you just might want to give them one more trip down the aisle. There’s a whole lot of happily ever after going on over here!

You can find the original recipe on Herbivoracious. Here’s my adaptation:

Apple Brussels Sprout Hash

by Shelly

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (2-3 servings)

  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1/3 of a medium onion, diced
  • 1 crisp apple (such as a Pink Lady), cored, and diced (peeling optional)
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, cleaned, trimmed, and quartered
  • 2 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

Melt Earth Balance in a large skillet over medium heat. Dice the onion and add it to the skillet with a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion starts to brown, about 4 minutes.

While the onion cooks, core and dice the apple. Add the diced apple to the skillet. Raise the heat slightly and cook until the apple starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir occasionally.

While the apple cooks, trim and quarter the Brussels sprouts. Add the Brussels sprouts, sage, rosemary, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until sprouts are wilted and well browned, 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Remove from heat and add the vinegar and honey. Stir to coat. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary. Serve hot.

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Lite Brite

What’s That, Johnny Appleseed?

Today’s lesson includes a trip down Cyanide Lane and concludes with a tasty smoothie concoction!

We’ve all heard that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Turns out, there’s something to that. WebMD lists medical uses of apples that include prevention of cancers (particularly lung cancer), treatment of cancer, diabetes, and heart problems, and more. Say what?!

I’ve tried for years to get myself to eat more apples. I like apples. I’m just not a big fan of eating apples. I’ve wasted countless bags of red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith, gala, and local varieties as they’ve gone bad before I could finish them. I successfully finished my first full bag of apples recently, thanks to my Breville Juice Fountain Plus. With my new toy in town (the Vitamix 5200!), I’m hoping to keep the apple streak alive.

The store demo of the Vitamix used a whole apple, but when it came time to make my own smoothies, I couldn’t help thinking there was something wrong with eating the apple seeds. Of course, initial Google searches would have me believe that I’ll die a slow, painful death if I even think about eating an apple seed. There is, however, some truth to the notion.

Apple seeds contain amygdaline, a cyanide and sugar compound that, when digested, forms hydrogen cyanide [source, source]. Consumed in small quantities, the body can detoxify the cyanide and it poses little to no risk. In larger quantities, though, it is lethal (just like in the old murder mysteries). Stories about tell tales that even a cup of apple seeds can kill a man. (Considering there are 4-6 seeds per apple, it would take a LOT of apples to kill a man!). Still, the risk is even higher if the seeds are chewed orĀ pulverizedĀ (like the Vitamix would do!) rather than swallowed whole, as whole seeds are generally passed without being broken down – and the cyanide compound is inside the seed, beneath its hard shell.

As likely as it is that the seeds from an apple a day would not kill me, I’m not a big fan of the idea of ingesting toxins just because my body can and likely will detoxify them. It’s the same reason I prefer organics over conventional produce. While pesticides on produce won’t likely kill me in small quantities, I don’t see the point of making my body work to detoxify the chemicals in pesticides when I don’t have to. The work the body does to detoxify all of these chemicals in the foods we eat and the air we breathe increases inflammation, and chronic inflammation can aggravate the immune system. Studies are beginning to show that inflammation is one of the biggest contributors to a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease [source].

So, why eat apple seeds if I don’t have to? I’ll leave the gambling to the poker table and keep it off my kitchen table.

That is why I slice my apples and remove the seeds before throwing them into the Vitamix.

But nevermind the cyanide and killer toxins – we’ve got a smoothie to devour!

I call this one the “Lite Brite PB Smoothie” because it turns out a less-than-scary bright shade of green and tastes sweet and peanut buttery but not heavy. Put light and bright together, and you have the awesome light-coloring toy of my youth:

Lite Brite

Lite Brite – Source

Once upon a time, a band called the Dyslexic Apaches put a Lite Brite on stage at one of their shows to wish me a happy birthday. It’s one of my top 10 memories of all times.

I digress…

This is a delicious smoothie and packs a great nutritional punch for breakfast or a midday snack! The entire recipe clocks in at 462 calories (one large serving), or can be split into two 8-oz servings for 231 calories each. (Full nutrition info follows the recipe). You can substitute peanut butter for the PB2 powdered peanut butter, but that will increase the calories and fat content.

Let’s get to blending!

PB Lite Brite Green Smoothie

by Shelly Hokanson

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Keywords: blender beverage breakfast vegetarian vegan gluten-free kale pb2 zucchini apple

Ingredients (1-2 servings)

  • 1 small apple, seeded
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1 large handful kale leaves
  • 1/4 of one zucchini, ends removed
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (soymilk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc)
  • 2 tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
  • 2 tsp spirulina or barley grass juice powder, optional
  • 1 cup ice

Instructions

Blend in a high powered blender or Vitamix for 45 seconds. Enjoy!

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Lite Brite PB Smoothie Nutrition

Lite Brite PB Smoothie Nutrition

Breakfast Kickstart Juice

What is sweet and fruity with a boost of super greens? Breakfast kickstart juice!

Morning Kickstart in a Glass

Morning Kickstart in a Glass

This has become my favorite morning juice, sometimes replacing breakfast altogether. Tasty!

Breakfast Kickstart Juice

by Shelly Hokanson

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Keywords: juice beverage smoothie vegetarian vegan kale carrot cabbage pineapple

Ingredients (1 16oz serving or 2 8oz servin)

  • 1/4 of one pineapple
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 Golden Delicious or Royal Gala apples
  • 1 big handful of kale
  • 1 chunk of cabbage (approx 2″ x 2″)

Instructions

Prep

If your juicer is small, cut all ingredients into pieces that will fit into the chute of your juicer. Most juicers can handle unpeeled pineapple, so there’s no need to peel it first.

Juice

Place one apple into the juicer shoot, then the kale, then the second apple. Turn the juicer on and push all food through the shoot.

Then, juice the pineapple, carrots, and cabbage.

Stir and serve over ice.

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Looks Aren’t Everything

We’ve all heard that research shows when food looks and smells good, it is perceived to taste better. If I were trying to sell the idea of juicing on looks alone, this would not be my frontrunner candidate:

Looks aren't everything.

Looks aren't everything.

3 apples, a carrot, a bunch of kale – juiced – and 6 small frozen strawberries, blended in.

It was pretty tasty, though!

What can I say? I’ve reached the bottom of my produce stash. Gotta get to the store!

Yesterday ended up being only a half-juice day. I had forgotten about a celebratory dinner that followed my last meeting with the Arboretum Collaborative fellowship group. It was a fully vegetarian, all-local spread that was just amazing.

Local spread

Local spread

So, for dinner, I had a giant salad made with local arugula and pickled onions with an amazing local apple cider vinaigrette (which I must figure out how to replicate!), an asparagus and smoked gouda quiche made with local Piney River Farm eggs, local potato salad with roasted garlic mayo, and a vanilla bean creme caramel with local peach cider caramel.

I know, right?!

That surely makes up for the ugly (but tasty!) juice I had this morning.

Off to the market to stock up on produce!

Super Juice!

Super Juice

Introducing, Super Juice!

I’ve finally concocted a repeatable, yummy juice for my Breville Juice Fountain Plus. It’s meant to be a “healthy” juice, no doubt, but it manages to be pretty darn tasty, too.

Things to note:

  • I prefer to peel all non-organic fruits and veggies (as applicable).
  • I peel beets no matter what. They taste much less earthy when peeled first!
  • Since lemons are kind of a pain to peel, often I’ll leave them out of the juicer and just use my handheld lemon juicer for the lemon.
  • Zucchini can be substituted for cucumber. I’ve also added broccoli stems, with good results.
Super Juice!

Super Juice!

Super Juice
Recipe Type: Juice
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Serves: 1-2
A healthy way to drink some fruits and veggies!
Ingredients
  • 3 apples (Golden Delicious or other sweet variety recommended)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large stalk celery
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 beet
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 inch chunk ginger
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients to juicer chute and process on high or per manufacturer’s instructions.
Notes

Spinach juices best when stuffed between two larger items in the chute (such as, between two apples).

Cranapple CC Juice

Cranapple CC

Yup, it has a name!

Cranapple CC juice.

I made that up.

Sorry to vanish for a couple weeks on ya’s! I am proud of my successful (albeit unofficial) completion of Vegan MoFo in October, but man – midterms attacked soon thereafter and I’ve been swamped (both student-me and teacher-me). Fear not, though, my pretties; I’ve been snapping photos all along to document the time we’ve missed together and soon you will be all caught up with my kitchen.

I’m still juicing, and getting better at it! I am almost ready to share a recipe that I’ve been repeatedly enjoying for a couple weeks now, but for today, please enjoy this festive Thanksgiving entry:

Cranapple CC juice, starring:

Apple, Cranberry, Cabbage, Carrots

Apple, Cranberry, Cabbage, Carrots

This was some sort of Virginia-native apple species that I have of course since forgotten. It wasn’t quite sweet enough for juicing; I’d recommend golden delicious apples instead.

I absolutely love juicing cabbage – mainly because it makes such awesome purple juice!

Attack of the Cabbage!

Attack of the Cabbage!

This one wasn’t bad at all – just a little bit tart. A sweeter apple would have balanced this juice.

Cranapple CC Juice

Cranapple CC Juice

Bottoms up!

Funnest juice ever!

School Spirit Juice

I had an absolute blast with this juice. Why?

CABBAGE JUICES PURPLE!

GO DUKES!!

I almost threw the whole head of cabbage into the juicer when I saw what an awesome color it turned into. But I digress.

3 Apples, 2 Carrots, 1/2 Lemon, 1 Ginger, 1/4 Cabbage, 1 Bunch Rainbow Chard

3 Apples, 2 Carrots, 1/2 Lemon, 1 Ginger, 1/4 Cabbage, 1 Bunch Rainbow Chard

This was another low-prep juice, thanks to organic ingredients. I did have to peel the lemon, but that was it (other than chopping a head of cabbage into wedges).

Ingredients: 2 carrots, 3 apples (a local Virginia variety – sorry, I forget the name!), 1/2 lemon, 1 hunk of ginger, 1 wedge of cabbage, and a bunch of Rainbow Chard.

Ginger is the secret ingredient here. This is a really sweet juice, but the ginger gives it a kick of spice that is just perfect.

It's a Purple Party!

It's a Purple Party!

This was when I was freaking out. Look at that JMU purple!

Funnest juice ever!

Funnest juice ever!

Come on. Tell me that’s not the funnest looking juice ever.

Sweet with a zing

Sweet with a zing

OK, so it doesn’t look as fun once you mix it up – but I promise, it’s delicious!

Look, Mom - it's green!

Juicy Juice!

Hallelujah! My first “yummmmmm!” juice concoction! This recipe came courtesy of the Top 100 Juices book I picked up the other day.

Oranges, Kiwi, Spinach, and an invisible Apple

Oranges, Kiwi, Spinach, and an invisible Apple

It all started with a couple oranges, a couple kiwi, and a half-full tub of spinach. (There was also an invisible apple – see it?)

This juice was a little more labor intensive, as I had to peel the oranges and kiwi. I’ve never peeled an orange before. I hit up YouTube for instructions, and the first guy demonstrated how to peel it with a fork. Uh – yeah. No. I must not have bionic forks. Fail. The next video I found had a lady demonstrating how to peel an orange with a spoon. I was optimistic, since that’s how I peel kiwi – but no. Fail. Finally, I just dug in and peeled it with my hands. (Imagine that!)

The disastrous remnants

The disastrous remnants

It gets kind of chaotic in here!

Juice Party

Juice Party

But there’s no such thing as a good party without a little chaos. Such fun colors!

Have you ever wondered what the pulp looks like after juicing?

The leftover pulp

The leftover pulp

I hear it can be used in baking, but I haven’t gone that route yet. I’d love to see a cookbook with recipes for fruit and veggie pulp. It seems there’s an untapped niche somewhere in here….

The pulp from the Breville is very dry (which is good – because the juice should be in the jug, not in the pulp!). It feels wasteful throwing the pulp away, so I will soon make a diligent effort to find ways to use it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a way to compost my food scraps at the new place (city living, no land). I’m investigating options. If you have any ideas, please let me know!

At long last…

Look, Mom - it's green!

Look, Mom - it's green!

The most delicious juice I’ve made thus far. Cheers!

1 Apple, 3 Carrots, 1 Beet, and Kale

My Foray into Juicing

It has just been a foray-into kind of weekend over here!

For my birthday, I used a gift card to buy myself a Breville Juice Fountain Plus juicer (thanks, Mom!). Earlier in the week, I watched the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and decided that juicing would be a good way to get myself to consume the fruits and veggies that are less palatable to me, or that I don’t like to prepare based on the hassle (like beets!). I’m not going to try any sort of juice fast or anything like that right now – not while I’m training for this half marathon – but maybe someday. And I already eat 6-9 servings of fruits and veggies a day on most days, and don’t intend to replace that with juice. I figure, juicing will be a good way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet. And more is good!

I loaded up on produce at Whole Foods (huge selection of organics) and got to juicing! First up: an ABC juice.

1 Apple, 3 Carrots, 1 Beet, and Kale

1 Apple, 3 Carrots, 1 Beet, and Kale

Mer, of course, had to help.

Merlin helping with juicing

Merlin helping with juicing

I washed the apple, carrots, beet, and kale (didn’t peel them – though if they were not organic, I would have). Stuck ’em in the juicer one by one, and ended up with about 10 oz of juice. I decided to double the recipe so that I could stick some juice in the fridge for later. (Might as well get a few servings out of the mess!)

The Breville at work.

The Breville at work.

The juicer has 2 speeds – low, for softer fruits/veggies and greens, and high, for harder fruits and veggies. I used high for all but the kale. I’m not positive that I juiced the greens quite right, as they didn’t seem to yield much juice – though I guess that’s typical. I’ll do a bit more reading. As far as kale goes, I think I might prefer eating it as kale chips – so spinach might instead become my go-to in juices.

I love the huge food chute on the juicer. I was able to drop an entire apple in there. It speeds up things to not have to cut and prep all of the produce first. Tossing food down the chute was FUN! And the resulting juice looked like a party!

Juice!

Juice!

The juicer was fairly quiet on the low setting, and – well, not as loud as my blender, but still a bit loud on the high setting. It was much easier to clean up than I anticipated. I had lined the pulp collection container with a plastic bag, so that part of clean-up was a snap. For the remaining parts, I just rinsed them in the sink immediately when I finished, and they all came clean. I figure, it will be a bit like using my food processor – I’ll be able to get away with rinsing/hand-washing for a week or so, then I’ll throw the pieces in the dishwasher. (They’re top-shelf safe).

The moment of truth….

ABC Juice - apples, beet, carrots, kale

ABC Juice - apples, beet, carrots, kale

I sniffed it. (Wine tasting flashback?)

Whoa. It smelled like…. earth.

*Gulp*

“Well,” I thought to myself. “Here goes nothing!”

I took a sip.

Hmm. It definitely tasted better than it smelled. It was a very mild juice – a little earthy (dang beets), but mildly sweet.

Oddly, the more I drank, the more I realized I didn’t mind the earthy taste. I suspect the appreciation would be lost on somebody that didn’t already eat a boatload of veggies every day – but my taste buds were OK with it. By the end of the glass, I was actually enjoying it.

I’m pretty excited about this new juicer! The one minor frustration is that I haven’t been able to find any good books on juicing, even on Amazon. There are a few with good reviews, but they tend to be extremely dated. I’m looking for something current, and something that doesn’t spend half the book preaching about all the diseases that juice will cure. Skip the preaching – I just want facts on the nutrients in the different juice-able fruits and veggies, and recipes for tasty combinations.

And maybe some how-to on prepping produce for juicing. I had a heck of a time figuring out what to do with the beets. I found information that said both the greens and the root are juice-able, but do they mean the leaves? The stems? The greens are supposedly the bitter part. I ended up only using the root. And, about juicing kale – is there a method to getting more juice extracted from it? Some secret trick to handling it as it goes down the chute?

Lots of newbie questions. While I may have to find my own way, it will be a delicious path!

Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Oh Beautiful for Sweet Potatoes

.. for amber waves of grain…

OK, fine. I have no idea what spacious skies and sweet potatoes have in common, except that both make me happy.

The Vegan Month of Food marches on! I whipped (mashed?) up another side dish from my girl Isa – Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Apples. (Again with the apples? Yup. I got a great deal on a big ol’ bag of local Virginia red delicious preciouses!) You can find the recipe in the Appetite for Reduction cook book (preview available on Google Books – Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Apples).

Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples

This one is like having dessert for dinner – but it’s totally allowable! Sweet potatoes are literally one of the best foods you can eat. They’re a nutritional powerhouse – carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, fiber – good stuff! It is not unusual to be able to get over 90% of your daily recommended vitamin A from a helping of sweet potatoes. They have great antioxidant properties, to boot. I could go on and on, but I’ll refrain. Just know that these tasty little tubers will rock your nutritional world.

If you’re looking for a subtly sweet, comfort-food-style side dish that won’t leave you starving for nutrients, turn to my friend, the sweet potato. Sing along, little spuds…

For purple mountain majesties….