Thursday, November 17, 2016

Rosemary Roast Brussels Sprouts

Just a quick post to give you an interesting, quick, and healthy recipe to bring to an upcoming Thanksgiving celebration! Most people overlook Brussels sprouts, with bad memories of their bitter leaves from childhood. Did you know that many bitter vegetables sweeten as you roast them though? While many people think that you need oil to roast vegetables, that's not true! I made a simple glaze of balsamic vinegar, vegetable broth, garlic, and rosemary, which skipped the oil & definitely filled the house with some happy smells as it was cooking. If that's not enough to convince you to try this recipe, may I remind you of the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables, including a correlation with cancer prevention?

Rosemary Roast Brussels Sprouts

4c fresh Brussels sprouts
1 large onion
1c vegetable broth
1/4c balsamic vinegar
2T nutritional yeast
1/2T powdered garlic
1/2T dried rosemary
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Meanwhile, quarter fresh Brussels sprouts, slice the onion, and add both to a mixing bowl.
3. Add vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast, garlic, rosemary, and salt to bowl. Stir to coat the vegetables.
4. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spread vegetables evenly across sheet.
5. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring halfway to ensure homogenous baking. Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2016

As American as Apple Pie

We are a nation of deplorables and nasty women. This is what makes America great. We are a huge country and thus come from a diversity of backgrounds. From our farms, to our universities, to our cities, and our businesses, our differences make us great. For those of you who were "shocked" that Trump won: look around you. We tend to surround ourselves with those who think like us, but you don't have to look far to find someone that's different that you. If diversity and a difference of opinion makes you uncomfortable, that's bigotry too.

Now, perhaps I'm biased. Let me explain where I come from. I am a liberal. Note that I say that I'm a liberal, not a Democrat. I am so far left that I know that this nation will never elect a President that accurately represents my political views. I've decided that I'm ok with that. I believe that safety, food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care are all basic human rights: I am a socialist.

I am also from Allentown, Pennsylvania. My hometown entertains a weird political microenvironment that has accurately predicted the results of every single Presidential election since the Great Depression or something outrageous like that. We have urban poverty, farmers and cornfields, immigrants, high school pregnancies and drop outs, and a suburban middle class that often doesn't take note of (or worse, fears) those who don't see the world the same way they do. As a scientist, it's my job to be observant, and I like to think that I grew up with my eyes open. Like I said, I'm a flaming liberal and my best friend was a conservative. Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't make them wrong.

On to this election...

I will be honest with you. I cried the day after the election. I cried because of what Hillary stood for to me. I cried because our country made a public declaration to me that as a woman, I am still a second-rate citizen.* As long as you are a man, when it comes to leadership, it is more ok to be black than it is to be a woman. But, that wasn't the only issue at stake.

If she had won, how many other hundreds of thousands would have cried instead? Cried because they felt the same frustration of being the backbone of the country and still being told that they are second-rate? Cried because they didn't want more of the same: they wanted their voices heard and they want change.

If we're all honest with ourselves, the frustration is not with each other. Our mutual frustration is a product of a faulty political system. The 2016 Presidential Election presented us with an impossible choice between two flawed candidates. We chose to see the best in the candidate we voted for, which meant that we had to overlook some serious problems. For me, Hillary's presidency would have represented affirmation that women are equals in this country.* Unfortunately, sexism is still a reality and as much as I wanted to believe it, having a woman as president won't make that disappear.

#imstillwithher, but I'm terribly disappointed in the liberal response to this election. We were aghast when in the 3rd debate, Trump said that he wouldn't accept the results if he lost. But suddenly, it's ok for us to protest democracy? Because we are "right"? In observing this election, there has been so much hate. Trump has been spewing hatred and intolerance, but actually his supporters (the ones that are friends with me, at least) have not. Ironically, Hillary was very civil, but Hillary supporters have been calling Trump supporters every nasty and deplorable name in the book. Apparently, this scolding, name-calling, and belittling was supposed to shame Republicans into thinking our way?

Let's go back to what we've identified ourselves as in this election: "deplorables" and "nasty women." Insults thrown at us by the opposite party. We are all an integral part of the web here, people. I'm scared too, but instead of "unfriending" people because they are different, let's stick together. We've been scared before, we've disagreed before, and in the end we are the great nation that we our today. Our differences were what made this country strong: it's time to embrace them. Let's stand together for love and tolerance. It's as American as apple pie.

Yes, I used a filter. Turns out, that even though brown sugar is tastier in the crumble, it's less photogenic.

Easy Apple Crumble Pie


1 1/3c flour
1/2t salt
1/2c chilled butter Crisco (yes, Crisco is vegan. Not healthy, but vegan)
4T ice cold water

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until combined. Roll out and then flip into pie pan. Cut down to size. It's that easy!
(To make this even easier, buy a crust. But a crust made with butter Crisco will really rock your world. Or, to make it gluten free, just skip the crust)

Crumble Filling

4 apples, sliced and cubed. I like to leave the skins on.
1/2c rolled oats
1/4c Earth Balance buttery spread (or vegetable oil)
1/2c brown sugar
1/4c flour (omit if making gluten free)
1T cinnamon

Cube apples. In a separate bowl (or perhaps the one you made your crust in, dish economy!) combine oats, Earth Balance, brown sugar, flour & cinnamon.

Putting it together...

Preheat oven to 400F. Put apples into crust, top with the sugary oats mixture. Create a "shield" with aluminum foil and place it over the crust to prevent it from getting burnt. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until apples are tender. Enjoy one of the great parts of being an American!

*Gross oversimplification of a very complex election. This is a blog post though and if I went into detail on all of the issues I felt were represented, no one would read it.

#keepitkind Comments of love and tolerance only, please.