Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Taking Thanksgiving :: Roasted Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Welp, the Holiday season tis definitely upon us. One such tra-la-la-festive day was our recent beloved Thanksgiving. Turkey, dressing, casseroles, mashed taters, steaming starches, all things pumpkin, and pure indulgence are all elements associated with this holiday...right alongside the pilgrims...

Wearing 'pants that give' is just wise planning and a post-meal food-coma-induced nap is an expected sidebar to ridiculous amounts of football and Lifetime Christmas movies (yes this day makes it officially okay).

Family, friends, and loved ones gather round with hearts of gratitude to break bread together...except THIS girl would have no grain breakage. That's right. I wanted to take Thanksgiving and let it know, just like the rest of my life, that this day of thanks and celebration would not have to revolve around food on food on food #onfood.
Since completing the Paleo challenge in November, I have decided to go into events and holidays with a planned mindset of whether I was going to allow a cheat or not and that's just what I did this time. My mindset for Thanksgiving? I could have it if I wanted at that specific meal, but not before or after and not in excess. So I headed on home to a loving and supportive family. With just our immediate family this year, we went ahead and cut out a few items, including the homemade rolls from heaven and my favorite mama's apple pie. To bypass the mashed potatoes, I whipped up some simple roasted rosemary sweet potatoes and my now well-known-amongst-my-friends roasted bacon brussels sprouts. 
While I did opt to allow myself 2 bites of steaming stuffing and a small scoop of creamy green bean casserole, that was it. I kept the rest of the meal clean and did not feel one bit deprived. Where I would have reached for a second scoop of something (even the clean eats), I sat back and realized I was satisfied and had met the taste bud needs across the board. I never hit the indulgence phases of too stuffed to move or regret. And ya know what? Thanksgiving wasn't any less thanksgiving without all things gluten-filled.

I even whipped out a batch of my favorite Paleo chocolate chip cookies so I could opt for a cleaner route while pumpkin pie and a cheesecake sampler were dished up. Again, I did not feel deprived one bit. The few minutes I thought I'd stray, I just had to mentally LOCK IT UP and I was good.

Moral of the story? I did have a few bites of cheat for Thanksgiving meal but kept it planned and precise and have zero regrets. After all what's not to like? Turkey? Good. Veggies? Gooood. Family time? GOOOOOD. (Please enlighten yourself on that FRIENDS reference because It. Is. Good.)

I have been meaning to share my go-to brussles sprouts method for a while now; and, after making it for several Thanksgiving events this season, it is time to share my ways!

Roasted Bacon Brussels Sprouts::

What I use:
  • Package of Pederson's Uncured Sugar-free bacon
  • Large bag of Brussels Sprouts, chopped (you can often find pre-chopped sprouts in some stores like Trader Joes or Whole Foods as well)
  • A spritz of Avocado Oil or EVOO
  • Salt&Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
Then What:
  1. Oven at 415*, line a lipped baking sheet with foil
  2. Line the bacon out side by side across the tray and bake for about 15-18 minutes, just check for crispiness based on your oven.
  3. While bacon bakes, wash and chop your sprouts. Easiest is to cut in half and place those flat sides down and then chop them lengthwise into about 3 pieces each half. Once you have a rhythm down, it's very simple!
  4.  Remove your baked bacon and set aside, leaving the tray filled with bacon grease. THIS is the secret key ingredient :) Good ole bacon fat (from healthy bacon, of course!)
  5. Spread your chopped brussels out across the grease in as thin and even a layer as possible. Spray with a spritz of your oil of choice to get the tops to roast well and season with a good covering of garlic powder and pepper and a dash of sea salt. 
  6. Bake on the top rack for about 20 minutes, checking and shuffling them at least once. I like to have some crispy texture in there at the end so mine may bake for a little longer.
  7. Crumble bacon into them to serve fresh and flavorful! 
  8. I often make sprouts to use throughout the week (sometimes without the bacon step if I'm in a hurry) and they are great reheated with fried eggs over them for breakfast or alongside a protein at lunchtime!
Bacon on my friends!
Finding Fit,

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