Today was our daughter, Gracie's, 4th Birthday. I can't believe she is four already. Where did 3 go? It just disappeared into sleepless nights and endless days with twin babies.
We had a small birthday party for her over the weekend and spent the last few days telling her the story of her birth. A wonderful, peaceful birth-day, the day of the full moon, and her due date. She arrived in our home just after lunch with a short an easy labor on a beautiful, sunny and unusually warm February day. The cherry blossoms were already in bloom, so fittingly, Lily nicknamed her (before she was born) Cherry Blossom baby (though we had no idea we were having a girl). As Tom was floating newborn Grace in the warm water of our birthing tub my mom called out to Lily, who was also in the birthing tub, "Lily what is the baby's name?" Cherry Blossom, Lily replied. The name stuck around for a while and eventually Lily began to call her Grace.
A lot has happened since becoming pregnant with her. In the Spring of 2004, during my first trimester, Tom found out he was gluten-sensitive rather by accident. He was doing a raw food cleanse for a few weeks and noticed that all of his symptoms disappeared and then returned upon commencing his normal diet. He had a good idea what the culprit was since he was already somewhat familiar with celiac disease and working on finishing his Master's degree in Nutrition. I was happy for him to find relief in his digestive discomfort, which was sometimes extreme, but mad at the same time that he wouldn't and couldn't eat my homemade bread and cinnamon rolls (among others) anymore. I now see this in a lot of people, the anger, and finally the coming to terms with, the issues surrounding eating or not eating gluten.
It has become his crusade in this lifetime - to educate people using the knowledge of science and research to better understand the ramifications of ingesting gluten and the myriad of health problems associated with it. If you haven't had a chance to watch his webinar on gluten you may want to check it out. There is a link on the left column of our blog just below the archives.
And it is my journey to keep on creating great-tasting food that everyone can enjoy, allergy-free or not. Today, for Gracie's birthday, I made her a gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and sugar-free chocolate layer cake. I used a combination of maple syrup and agave nectar to sweeten it and pureed prunes to add moisture, flavor, and extra sweetness. It is not a sugary, guilt-laden cake, but rather a whole foods based cake for those of you who "like to have their cake and eat it too."
Is this something you would be interested in me posting? I know we have a diverse audience. Some of you are on the Elimination Diet, some of you are into eating whole foods, and others are dealing with multiple food allergies. I would love some feedback in what interests you.
Ok, so now on to the Brussels Sprouts...
Little mini-cabbages. A cabbage family vegetable. Super nutritious. Assists in liver detoxification. Very tasty when roasted.
Tom and I eat these about 3 times a week. We fight over the last one in the pan. Our 14 month old twin boys love them. They stuff them into their mouths as fast as they can and then try and try to chew it all up. I peel away the outer leaves and feed them the soft inner parts. For those of you who also have toddlers, Brussels Sprouts can be introduced around 12 months.
If you are on Tom's 28-Day Elimination and Detoxification Diet (and I know a lot of you are) this is a great food to eat during all phases of the diet. You can roast them like we do here.
Why are these little vegetables so amazing?
In Tom's words: "The sulphur compounds have been shown to alter the function of liver enzymes allowing for beneficial metabolism of hormones and other fat-soluble substances that the liver may perceive as toxic. These magical compounds also up-regulate the gene expression of antioxidant compounds in our bodies. Cancer researchers have determined these substances to be so important that they are recommending at least 2 to 3 servings of cruciferous vegetables per week with some suggesting as much as 1 to 2 servings per day (the more per day, the better)."
How to Roast Brussels Sprouts
This is so easy and simple folks. Once you try them, I am sure you will make them again and again like we do!
a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Brussels Sprouts, ends trimmed and sliced in half
sea salt or Herbamare and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place halved Brussels Sprouts into a baking dish and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Turn each of them so the cut side is down.
Roast for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size. I forgot about mine today and left them in for 15 minutes which was a tad too long for these. You will notice in the photo that they are a little browned. Tom and I like them a bit lighter but they were still great.
You can garnish them with a squeeze of lemon and a bit of freshly grated lemon peel is desired, though I usually don't do this now that my boys are eating them (they can't eat citrus right now).
That's it! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!