Sesame roasted brussels sprouts

Sesame roasted brussels sprouts | Me & The Moose. These Brussels sprouts are crunchy, garlicky, sweet, and salty. Basically, the perfect side dish. #brusselssprouts #roasting #sidedish #kidseatvegetables

OMG Halloween hangover. The ten pounds of candy I ate between opening the bags at 11 am (why? WHY?) and going to bed at 9 pm (which felt like midnight), have done a number on my body. I guess it’s a good sign that I feel like shit? Maybe it shows that I don’t normally eat 10,000 grams of sugar in 10 hours?

Anyhoo, we started the day with a small fit because I wouldn’t let someone eat candy for breakfast, so…that was fun.

Sesame roasted brussels sprouts | Me & The Moose. These Brussels sprouts are crunchy, garlicky, sweet, and salty. Basically, the perfect side dish. #brusselssprouts #roasting #sidedish #kidseatvegetables
Sesame roasted brussels sprouts | Me & The Moose. These Brussels sprouts are crunchy, garlicky, sweet, and salty and a great way to get your kids to eat veggies. #brusselssprouts #roasting #sidedish #kidseatvegetables

One key to weaning my little back to veggies after a sugar binge is to make them extra unctuous and delicious. These brussels fit the bill. High heat makes them mellow and crispy while the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil add layers of salt and fat that lead to really big flavor.

Sesame roasted brussels sprouts | Me & The Moose. These Brussels sprouts are crunchy, garlicky, sweet, and salty and a great way to get your kids to eat veggies. #brusselssprouts #roasting #sidedish #kidseatvegetables

A couple of notes:

  • It’s important to work fast after getting the roasted sprouts out of the oven. Their heat will cook the garlic a bit and without it, the taste can be pretty strong.

  • If you think you’ll have leftovers, sprinkle the sesame seeds on the individual portions, or just the part you’ll eat right away. The seeds can burn when you recrisp the leftovers.

Serve them with a piece of fish, some tofu, some rotisserie chicken, or accompanying any other protein. I also like them next to these noodles for a double dose of veggies. You could actually slap some chicken thighs on another sheet pan and roast them all together if your oven is big enough.

Sesame roasted brussels sprouts | Me & The Moose. These Brussels sprouts are crunchy, garlicky, sweet, and salty and a great way to get your kids to eat veggies. #brusselssprouts #roasting #sidedish #kidseatvegetables
Sesame roasted brussels sprouts | Me & The Moose. These Brussels sprouts are crunchy, garlicky, sweet, and salty and a great way to get your kids to eat veggies. #brusselssprouts #roasting #sidedish #kidseatvegetables

Sesame roasted Brussels sprouts  

1 ¼ lb brussels sprouts, halved (or two 10 oz bags)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (about a 1-inch piece)
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari, divided
1 small garlic clove, minced 
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1½- 2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

 

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a large bowl, combine the veggies, olive oil, 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, and the grated ginger. Mix well. If you see any clumps of ginger, separate them the best you can.

Spread onto a baking sheet and roast for 15-17 minutes (or until you’ve reached peak crispyness, since oven temps vary), stirring once in the middle of cooking.

While the veggies are roasting, mince your garlic and combine it with the remaining 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey.

When the sprouts are roasted, quickly spoon them back into your original bowl. Add the garlic mixture and stir well. Serve immediately.

If reheating this, place the servings you’ll need back into a 425 oven for about 5 minutes (or as long as needed) to re-crisp.

Yield: about 3 cups of sprouts, or 4 servings.

Sesame roasted brussels sprouts | Me & The Moose. These Brussels sprouts are crunchy, garlicky, sweet, and salty and a great way to get your kids to eat veggies. #brusselssprouts #roasting #sidedish #kidseatvegetables
Sesame roasted brussels sprouts | Me & The Moose. These Brussels sprouts are crunchy, garlicky, sweet, and salty and a great way to get your kids to eat veggies. #brusselssprouts #roasting #sidedish #kidseatvegetables

Coconut creamed corn

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Creamed corn isn’t generally considered a “healthy” side. But swap in coconut milk for regular old dairy or a heavy bechamel sauce and you have a much lighter version of this classic that celebrates the beauty of late summer corn.

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This dish also comes together in minutes and is full of herbs and aromatics like garlic, shallot, ginger, lime zest, and basil. Add some quick sauteed shrimp, some grilled or roasted white fish, or a rotisserie chicken and you have a very quick dinner filled with healthy fats and real ingredients. You’re also free of gluten, dairy, sugar, nuts, and soy if you have corn leftovers for tomorrow’s lunchbox.

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Coconut creamed corn

½ tsp coconut oil
2 medium or 3 small garlic cloves, sliced or minced  
1 very large or 2 smaller shallots, sliced or minced
½-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced or shredded
3 large ears corn with kernels removed from the cob (about 2 heaping cups of kernels)
6 Tbsp coconut milk
Heaping ¼ tsp lime zest
15-20 basil leaves, chopped
¼-½ tsp flaky sea salt
Pepper

Heat the coconut oil over a medium flame and when hot, add the sliced or minced shallots. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until the shallots are translucent and starting to brown.

Turn the heat down to medium low and add the sliced or minced garlic. Saute for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. If the onions or garlic brown too quickly, turn down the heat.

Add the minced or shredded ginger and sauté for one more minute.

Add the corn kernels and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and let bubble for one minute until the milk has reduced to more of a sauce than a milk, but don’t let it disappear.

Remove from the heat. Add the lime zest, minced basil, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust according to your taste.

Yield: 3 servings

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Carrot, ginger, and tahini dressing

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Salad! Do your kids eat it? M will inexplicably stuff his face with raw kale sometimes and then turn around and gag on anything leafy or green. The dressing is a factor. Also, if he gets to mix the salad, he is much more likely to eat it. I recommend putting your salad bowl on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any greens that escape (read: all of the greens) and letting the little ones have a go.

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Since M is currently SO PASSIONATE about sushi, we've eaten at A LOT of Japanese restaurants lately. Sometimes that ubiquitous carrot and ginger dressing is a revelation, but more often, it's watery or too acidic. This version is neither of those things. There's a fair amount of liquid and acid in this recipe, but the load of carrots and the little bit of tahini mellows the vinegar just enough and adds a touch of creaminess.

I won't lie: It's a little chunkier than your average salad dressing, but it coats the lettuce beautifully and instead of just being oil, you're sneaking in some extra goodness in what is essentially a condiment. So if your toddler deigns to eat a mouthful, they're eating EVEN MORE VEGETABLES.

Also, this dressing is sweet and tangy, but happens to be free of gluten, dairy, and sugar. And it lasts FOREVER. Pretty sure I'm still eating a batch that I made three weeks ago. But, you know, use your judgment.

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Creamy carrot and ginger tahini dressing

¼ apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp tahini
2 extra large carrots or 4 medium/small carrots
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ white onion
1 large clove garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup olive or avocado oil
salt
pepper

Place all ingredients (except the oil) in a blender or food processor. Start blending and slowly pour in the olive oil while the machine is running. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency. If the mixture feels too watery, add another tablespoon of tahini. If it feels too thick, add one tablespoon of water and blend.

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Vegan carrot and cranberry gingerbread cakes

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I waited until December to officially post anything holiday-related! You're welcome! (Though I couldn't resist Instagramming this last week.) While I love any excuse for an elaborate, calories-be-damned baking project, this month we'll be focusing on nourishing rather than indulging (though I'm sure I'll cave and post SOMETHING rich this season). And here's why:

There are SO MANY BLOGS that have cornered the market on fancy and indulgent holiday treats. And let's face it: Toddlers who are off schedule and also on a sugar crash are not fun to be around. So we're limiting the sweeteners and focusing on the natural variety while also adding in veggies and proteins wherever possible.

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I love this recipe so much, mostly because I love any form of gingerbread and nothing says "Welcome to the holiday season" as much as this warm, spicy combination of molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. We've boosted the nutrition by using a combination of spelt flour and whole wheat flour. The spelt flour has more protein and fiber than regular flour, but mimics white flour in flavor and texture. And whole wheat flour is great because, whole wheat.

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The molasses and spice flavor is also strong, but not overwhelming, so both adults and toddlers can enjoy these bad boys. The maple syrup, carrots, and whole cranberries also add more sweetness and moisture while keeping these vegan. And while the ingredient list isn't exactly short, this recipe is less fussy than some vegan ones because it doesn't require a flax egg or anything exotic. An added bonus to this treat is that it checks a lot of allergy boxes: There are no nuts, dairy, or eggs. And while I haven't tried this with any gluten-free flours, I would assume that any tried-and-true gluten-free mix would work here.

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This recipe baked up perfectly in two 5' x 2' cake pans as well as small bundt pans.

And did I mention that you only need one bowl?

For the topping: I think these are fantastic plain or with a light dusting of powdered sugar. Depending on your needs, I also topped these with a maple cream cheese frosting that was amazing with the cake, but slightly overpowered the gingerbread flavor. I would recommend doing this if you want to bring these to a party and dairy isn't an issue. I haven't personally tried these with the cake, but there are some great coconut whipped toppings on the market and coconut cream whips up into an easy easy dairy-free whipped cream for a vegan option. 

For the decorations here, I made these super easy candied cranberries and used this technique for brushstroke ivy. I've tried making these brushstrokes with chocolate and carob, but I haven't found anything that works as well as regular old candy melts, which unfortunately aren't vegan. Let me know if you find anything else!

Vegan carrot and cranberry gingerbread cakes

½ cup olive oil
½ cup + 2 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup molasses
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups grated carrots
1 ½ cups whole fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup + ¼ cup spelt flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add the shredded carrots and cranberries and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Let sit while you grease your baking tins with olive oil.

If using mini bundt pans, fill all the way to the top. These don’t get a huge amount of rise, so the bundts will stay pretty flat. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

If making mini cakes, fill about ¾ of the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Yield: 12 mini bundt cakes or 5’ x 2’ cakes

 

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Roasted carrot hummus

Roasted carrot hummus | Me & The Moose. Roasted carrots sweeten up this spicy, complex, EASY hummus. #meandthemoose #snackrecipes #hiddenveggies #snacks #roastedcarrots #hummus #homemadehummus #hummusrecipes

This is carrot hummus. I realize that the above photo might lead you to think that it's pumpkin hummus because there are pepitas in a photo of orange mush. I'm pretty tired.

Guys, M is about to transition to a toddler bed and I'm freaking out. In practical terms, I'm terrified that he's going to climb out of his crib and hurt himself. We've caught him several times with a leg over the railing and have stopped him before gravity could do its work. The toddler rail is on its way.

In theoretical terms, I'm not ready for him to be such a big boy. He was only born, like, a month ago, right? In addition to the impending toddler bed, he got "accepted" to preschool this week (in NYC, you have to apply to preschool with the essay writing, interviewing, and astronomical tuition that that implies), and together, those things are too much. 

Roasted carrot hummus | Me & The Moose. Roasted carrots sweeten up this spicy, complex, EASY hummus. #meandthemoose #snackrecipes #hiddenveggies #snacks #roastedcarrots #hummus #homemadehummus #hummusrecipes

In my anxiety spirals, I worry that he's going to wake up in the middle of the night and climb a bookshelf or stick something into an outlet. We've bolted everything to the wall and covered the outlets, but he's crafty and good at circumventing our roadblocks. Ugh. How do you learn to trust a toddler? How do you have a rational conversation with an irrational being? How do you solve a problem like Maria?

I have no answers. (Accept about Maria: Make her a nanny to seven wealthy motherless children and set the Nazis after them. Things turn out okay.) All I can do is control what I can control. In this case, it's finding creative ways to add vegetables to M's diet. 

Roasted carrot hummus | Me & The Moose. Roasted carrots sweeten up this spicy, complex, EASY hummus. #meandthemoose #snackrecipes #hiddenveggies #snacks #roastedcarrots #hummus #homemadehummus #hummusrecipes

This hummus is a spring-y delight. Roasting the carrots makes the hummus ever-so-slightly sweet and the little bit of ginger lightens the whole thing up and calls to mind Easter egg hunts, seders, hay fever, and daffodils--whatever your springtime ritual.

A couple of notes: When roasting, you want some color on the carrots, but are really looking for them to be slightly browned and fork tender. I also like to cut them into about 1/2-inch thick slices so that they cook fairly quickly, but don't get crispy. I like to toss the hot carrots with the spices once they've come out of the oven so that they don't burn during the cooking, but heat up a bit before going into the food processor. Use Hungarian or sweet paprika over smoked paprika and feel free to increase the amount of spice if you want more zing. The amounts I've used are rather mild because I wanted the ginger to star in this show. Don't be shy with the water in this recipe either. I learned by accident that a little extra doesn't hurt.

Roasted carrot hummus | Me & The Moose. Roasted carrots sweeten up this spicy, complex, EASY hummus. #meandthemoose #snackrecipes #hiddenveggies #snacks #roastedcarrots #hummus #homemadehummus #hummusrecipes

Carrot and ginger hummus

1 lb carrots
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
1 15 oz can chickpeas
2 large cloves garlic
¼ cup tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½- 1 cup water
Salt

Preheat oven to 400. Peel and cut carrots into ½-inch thick slices. Combine with olive oil and plenty of salt and roast until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Once roasted, toss with the paprika and turmeric (and more salt if necessary).

Add the carrots and the rest of the ingredients (through the water) to your food processor and pulse until combined, adding water until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: 3 cups, 26 oz

Roasted carrot hummus | Me & The Moose. Roasted carrots sweeten up this spicy, complex, EASY hummus. #meandthemoose #snackrecipes #hiddenveggies #snacks #roastedcarrots #hummus #homemadehummus #hummusrecipes