Brussels Sprouts, Sausage, and Onions with Mustard

Look at me, acting like some sort of food blogger leading up to Thanksgiving. I can’t decide if this is the best time to post recipes, because people are seeking them out as they plan their menus, or the worst, because everyone is overwhelmed with recipe posts via the blogs they read.

Oh well. This is really about me wanting to be able to bookmark this recipe on my Make It Again board. I might post another one tomorrow too, the pear and squash soup I’m bringing as our contribution to Thanksgiving dinner (along with the dish below). Each time I remember to look at that board I spot old favorites perfect for the particular season I’m experiencing. Like this coconut curry lentil dish with spinach that I plan on making once I’ve recovered from my post-Thanksgiving food coma.

The thing I love most about this dish is the combination of flavors. The aspect I love second-best is that you can prep your ingredients as you go, roasting your Brussels sprouts while dicing your onion, chopping your sausage while browning your onions.

mustsard side dish thanksgiving brussels sprouts mustard

-1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
– 2 tsp bacon fat
-1 sweet onion, diced
– 1/4 lb sausage links, chopped
– 2 tbsp honey mustard
– 2 tbsp white wine
-1 tbsp balsamic glaze
– Hard cheese, like Parmesan
– salt and pepper

*Butter can be substituted for the bacon fat. Water or stock can be substituted for the white wine.

1. Preheat over to 375 degrees. Prep brussels sprouts while oven warms.
2. Drizzle brussels sprouts with 1 tsp melted bacon fat, salt, pepper and put in oven to roast.
3. Melt remaining teaspoon bacon fat in pan while chopping the onion. Add onion to pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let carmelize.
4. Chop sausage. Pull brussels sprouts out of oven when outside leaves are a very dark brown ( set those off to the side and eat them like chips, they’re addictive!). Add sprouts to onion mixture when onion is turning soft and golden.
5. Cook onion and sprouts mixture for about 10 minutes more, then add sausage.
6. Cook until sausage starts to brown, then add honey mustard, wine, and balsamic. Cook down for 3-5 minutes. Grate cheese over the top, salt and pepper to taste, and stir it all together. Delicious hot and also just before it reaches room temperature.

Recipe Mastery: Beef Stew

I want to be a terrific cook and baker, but as I keep reminding That Husband, it’s going to take me a few years to get there. I’ve had a few successes, but more often than that some part of my attempt at a fabulous dinner is a fail. I rarely make the same thing again, and TH has been telling me for years to focus in on a few recipes and stop jumping around so much. The probablem with my approach is that whenever we have people over I agonize, make huge mistakes, and feel embarrassed when dinner is served because things didn’t go quite right.


And so I’m embarking on my recipe mastery project. I’m going to pick classic dishes (think pot roast or chicken curry) and attempt the same dish once a week until I’ve found a recipe that turns out stellar results three times in a row. Once I’m conquer one dish, I’ll move on to the next. I thought I could create a blog series out of it by putting up an initial post asking for recipe ideas, and then putting up a recipe post once I’ve found the perfect fit.

My first pick is beef stew. I made this one on Sunday, and we want to try something else because neither of us really liked the mushrooms. Do you have a favorite beef stew recipe? Link to it below and I’ll work my way through your suggestions until I find the perfect fit.

Once A Month Mom Cooking and Freezer Stocking

I know I’ve done several sponsored reviews lately, so I want to clarify that this is me writing a post about something I paid for and chose to do voluntarily. The people at Once A Month Mom have no idea who I am (other than the two payments I’ve sent their way over the past 6 months!) and I am writing this only because I know it’s something a lot of people are curious about and I wanted to share my experience! Just a note, in this post I frequently refer to Whole Foods grocery store and the Whole Foods menu from Once a Month Mom (OAMM). I tried to clarify each time, but I didn’t want people feeling confused!

A glimpse of my freezer filled with Whole Foods and Paleo menu items before baby comes.  All made entirely from scratch!

It’s 5:11pm on a Monday as I sit down to write this post. Can you hold on a minute while I go get a made-from-scratch Chicken Pot Pie in the oven?




5:15pm and I’m back! And that includes yet another trip to the restroom (I’ve lost count of the number of trips I take on a daily basis at this point in my pregnancy). That short interval for preparing dinner is why I love freezer meal cooking. I know there are all sorts of pins floating around Pinterest that describe how to DIY this process, but I didn’t want to spend my time making grocery lists or calculating chopping amounts. That’s why I love the Once A Month Mom site. They feature menus filled with breakfast/lunch/dinner items made with seasonal ingredients to fit all sorts of diets including Whole Foods, Paleo, Vegetarian, and Gluten/Dairy Free. So far I’ve done two different menus, the Whole Foods menu in September, and the Paleo menu in January.

Want to know why you should give them your money? Because other than the chopping/cooking/wrapping, all of the work is done for you. They put out new menus with new recipes each month, they test out all of the recipes several times to figure out how to best adapt them for the freezer, and each of the menus includes Recipe Cards (with initial cooking instructions, freezing/wrapping instructions, and defrosting/reheating instructions), a Grocery List, Instructions (this feature is indispensable  as they’ve broken down the best order to make all of the recipes in), and Labels. All of these are created using spreadsheets and you plug in the number of people you want to cook for, and all of the recipe cards, instructions, chopping lists, grocery lists, etc, are updated with the correct amounts. You pay $8 for this and save yourself hours of time.

I have known about this for a long time but chose to wait until we had a larger kitchen and a bigger freezer to store it all in. You can find posts where women have made it work in small freezers, but I have a lot more counter space here in Palo Alto than we did in our apartment in Hyde Park, Chicago. We also were able to find a used stand-alone freezer to keep in the garage.


I think the question I get most frequently about this is “What does it cost?”. I’ll tell you what I paid for both rounds that I did, but keep a few things in mind. First, I live in Palo Alto which is a pretty expensive area of the country to be in. So maybe it will cost less for you. Second, I like to buy organic fruits/vegetables and “happy” meat. I was a bit more budget conscious with the second menu (the Paleo one) and decided to buy non-organic vegetables at Sprouts grocery store so the price was a bit lower, but with the first menu I bought almost everything from Whole Foods grocery store and the Farmer’s Market. Third, the cost will vary based on what you already have in your kitchen/pantry. I did the Whole Foods menu right after we moved and had to buy incredibly basic stuff like flour and olive oil because we didn’t have it on hand. Continue reading

Settling In (and a Few Recipes I Loved)

We’ve been in Palo Alto for a week now, and we’re almost entirely unpacked which means I can finally take a deep breath and attack other areas of my life that have been put on hold for weeks and months over our crazy summer. The amount of shopping I need to do is insane (including things like a couch and something to clean the toilets with, you know silly non-essential extras).

I’m feeling worlds better in my second trimester, but at the end of each day I find myself exhausted. 8pm comes, we work on getting T1 to bed, and by the time I usually would sit down at the computer all I want to do is climb into bed and play Bejeweled. I don’t know that blog posts are going to be as frequent as they were in the past. I do have almost a dozen things I want to write about, including half-marathon training/running, TH’s graduation, my school experience and graduation, my paper on Female Mormon Bloggers, potty training, and how I can meet my neighbors to find some playmates for T1 and mom friends for me.

In the meantime, two favorite pictures from the summer. The first is obviously right after my graduation ceremony. Thanks to Aubrey of Every Little Moment Photography for doing family photos for us after my convocation. She took them, I edited them (and I’ll share the rest soon!).

The second is T1 taking a breather after chasing me around my in-law’s backyard during our last trip to Poland.

One of the things I missed most this summer was my time in the kitchen. During my time at school I was so sick that heating up and eating a frozen burrito was overwhelming, and in Poland my in-laws take care of us all day every day. Now that I’m feeling better I’m combing my Pinterest boards for recipes to try. Here are a few I think you should make as well:

Eggs in Clouds

I thought these were best when the yolks were runny.

Avocado Banana Bread

I did have a little bit of trouble with this bread, but I think that’s because it needed to cook a little bit longer (I left the house and had TH take it out of the oven). It was really moist and the flavor was great!

Curried Coconut Chicken Salad

The chicken mixture keeps well in the fridge for a few days so you can stuff pita bread with the leftovers or continue eating it as a salad.

Summer Vegetable Tian

Mmmmm, this is one I’ll be making over and over until the summer vegetables are gone from the farmer’s market. We ate it with whole wheat noodles mixed with a creamy lemon-dill sauce.

Slow-Cooker Asian Pork With Snow Peas, Red Peppers, and Soba Noodles

I tend to choose recipes that are a bit involved and that don’t reheat well, and this one was neither (hooray!). The pork was incredibly easy to make, the peanuts took seconds to roast, and the noodles and vegetables required little more than a quick boil. For me the best part was enjoying the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Eggplant and Goat-Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Tarragon Sauce

Oh goodness me, this is the kind of dish I would pay good money for at a restaurant. It took me several hours from creation to dining to cleaning-up but I’m not sure if that’s an indication of anything since I’m notoriously slow in the kitchen (anyone know of a speed cooking class I can take in the Bay Area?). First you start the tomato sauce and let it simmer for just shy of 30 minutes (I would double the amount of tomato sauce and use it for leftovers if I were you). The eggplant slices are breaded and fried, goat cheese is sandwiched between then, and then they are put in the oven long enough for the goat cheese to melt.

Nutty Cocoa Cookies

This weird low-carb low-meat diet I’m attempting is tough for several reasons, but the thing I struggle with the most is snacks and dessert. These little cookies, which I’ve named Nutty Cocoa Cookies function as both of those things for me. They’re a bit salty, rich, and sweet (but not too sweet). And I can keep them in the freezer and pull out a few at a time when I’m feeling snacky.

They aren’t really cookies in the traditional sense, but let’s not dwell on that fact okay? I need to feel like my diet doesn’t feel like deprivation, and you can’t feel deprived when you are eating cookies. Right?

These are adapted from a four ingredient recipe I found at Whole Family Fare. My recipe has six ingredients because I added cocoa and salt.

First, whir your almonds around in the food processor until they are are ground up. I know they’re done when they just start to get moist (you want them to be ground really fine or it affects the texture of the cookie and isn’t as good).

That right there is my Blendtec with the Twister Jar attachment.  I personally like my Blendtec a lot more than the Vitamix (which my mom has) but I think either is a great choice.

Add in cocoa, vanilla, peanut butter, and salt. Blend a bit more. If your peanut butter is dry (ours is the natural kind and when TH mixed it up he added extra oil and made it really soupy) add coconut oil. You’ll definitely need coconut oil if you grind your peanuts from scratch (if you do that, grind your peanuts first, remove from the processor, then do the almonds).

The last thing I add is the dates. I like adding them last because sometimes they don’t get ground up all the way and then you get nice juicy date bits in your cookie balls. Find the medjool variety if you can. They cost more but all the foodies say it’s worth it.

Once it’s all ground together you should have a mass that looks a little bit like this. If yours is looking dry, add some coconut oil or peanut butter.
Continue reading