Recipe: Red Hot Brussels Sprouts over Rice (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)

Red Hot Brussels Sprouts | Freckled Italian

I know what you’re thinking—another recipe already? I used to post recipes so regularly and then I had a baby and basically stopped cooking every day (and I definitely stopped using my camera). I’ve always loved sharing recipes with you guys on this blog, and you guys seem to love it too! Anytime I ask for post requests, most of you ask for more food. And I am so happy to be getting back into it!

A few months ago I got a utility cart to house all my camera stuff and props and I now really look forward to shooting recipes, where before it was starting to feel like a chore. In 2019 I hope to focus more on food and words, which is a little tagline that kept coming to mind when I was working with Kelly on my new logo and soon-to-be new blog design.

Okay, that’s a lot of non-food related chatter when what I’m really here to talk about today are these spicy Buffalo Brussels sprouts.

Red Hot Brussels Sprouts | Freckled Italian

When Rob and I lived in Minneapolis, there was a restaurant we used to love called Butcher & The Boar. It was definitely more of a special occasion place, so we went to dinner there for our anniversary one year; but we soon learned that they had a happy hour in the beer garden that was much more affordable and just as delicious. On both menus are these super spicy Brussels sprouts tossed in Buffalo sauce and served with homemade Ranch, and they quickly became one of our favorite things to order.

We loved them so much that we started making them ourselves at home, and even five years later they’re still on our meal planning rotation. They’re an awesome side dish, snack, or a great vegetarian lunch or dinner when served over rice with a little crumbled blue cheese on top. If you’re vegan you could skip the blue cheese and swap butter for coconut oil! I love this recipe because you can cook your rice and roast the sprouts ahead of time, and then just whip up the sauce and reheat everything whenever you’re ready to serve it.

Red Hot Brussels Sprouts | Freckled Italian

Ingredients:

  • About a pound of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup Frank’s RedHot sauce

  • Crumbled blue cheese, for serving

  • Chopped green onion, for garnish

  • 2-3 cups of cooked white rice

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375. Transfer quartered Brussels sprouts to a baking sheet and pour olive oil onto them, mixing well with your hands to make sure they’re covered on all sides. Season with salt and pepper and spread everything out so it’s in a single layer.

  2. Roast Brussels sprouts at 375 for 15-20 minutes, giving them a stir and a flip halfway through. (While the sprouts are roasting, you can cook rice according to package directions if you haven’t prepared it yet.)

  3. In a large skillet, heat hot sauce over medium-low heat. Add butter and stir until butter is melted and sauce is smooth. Transfer sprouts to the skillet and toss to combine.

  4. Spoon rice into bowls and top with Buffalo Brussels sprouts. Add bleu cheese, if desired, and a sprinkle of green onion before serving.

You could do this with broccoli, cauliflower, or even some diced chicken if you prefer. Enjoy!

Red Hot Brussels Sprouts | Freckled Italian

Some Things You May Not Know About Me #14

Some Things You May Not Know About Me | Freckled Italian

I have really bad transitional anxiety—anytime there’s a change in my day-to-day life it makes me feel like I could jump out of my skin—even if it’s something that’s going to make things easier for me in the long run, like hiring a babysitter or getting a dog walker. I don’t know if it’s a control thing or what but it’s been a challenge for me and I wish I could just chill out a little more sometimes. Even little things like planning for a trip throw me for a loop.

I can’t stand those little wooden sticks you use to stir your coffee, but I don’t mind the wooden paddle spoon things that sometimes come with a scoop of ice cream.

If I save someone’s phone number, I like having people’s first and last names in my phone.

I still never think I’m doing enough.

I’m currently watching Three Wives One Husband and listening to The Dream and I am completely obsessed with both. If it’s about a cult, I want to hear about it.

I used to run almost every day for a really long time and then I just kind of stopped. We recently got a jogging stroller and Sophie and I take it out for a spin at least 4 times a week now. It feels like a little part of myself fell back into place.

Recipe: Banana Bread Bowl from Build-a-Bowl

Banana Bread Bowl | Freckled Italian

My sweet friend Nicki of From Scratch Fast just came out with an amazing new cookbook called Build-a-Bowl, and she and her publisher were nice enough to send me a copy as a gift! I have really enjoyed flipping through the pages and planning out some meals—everything is gluten-free and super easy and delicious to prep and cook.

The chapter that caught my eye the most, though, was the fruit chapter—maybe it’s because fall is in full swing, but warm grain bowls with delicious fruit and nuts sound so amazing for breakfast right now! I had trouble picking just one to share, but finally decided on the banana bread bowl (next on my list are the apple crisp bowl and pumpkin pie rice pudding)!

Banana Bread Bowls | Freckled Italian

Banana Bread Bowl, from Build-a-Bowl by Nicki Sizemore

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or virgin coconut oil, plus more for serving

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

  • 1 batch cooked brown rice

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

  • Your choice of milk, as needed

  • Coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans, for serving

  • Flaky sea salt, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Using a fork, mash one of the bananas into a purée.

  2. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, for 1 minute. Scrape in the banana purée and coo, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Slide in the rice and flaxseeds, and stir to combine. Pour in enough milk to loosen the mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

  3. Slice the remaining 2 bananas.

  4. Spoon the warm grains into bowls. Top each bowl with a knob of butter, sliced bananas, toasted walnuts, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

I love these recipes because you can prep the grains ahead of time and then whip together everything when you’re ready to serve, which I especially enjoy for breakfast, when I’m not usually in the mood to cook a full meal. These banana bread bowls were seriously so good—I made a big batch of it so I can enjoy one every morning with my coffee for the rest of the week.

Banana Bread Bowl | Freckled Italian

Congrats, Nicki! Everything looks delicious and I can’t wait to cook more!

Banana Bread Bowl | Freckled Italian

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My Four Burners

My Four Burners | Freckled Italian
Imagine it this way. Your life is represented by a stove with four burners on it. Each burner representing one major quadrant of your life.

Burner one represents your family.
Burner two is your friends.
Burner three is your health.
Burner four is your work.

The Four Burners Theory says that “in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful, you have to cut off two.”

Forget success—sometimes I’m just focusing on sanity.

I used to hear about the four burners and identify with the theory, but it never seemed hard to keep everything on the stove—I guess I didn’t have enough pots for that yet. Family, friends, health, and work were single items that could easily be managed, but lately I’ve been thinking about all the pots that try to get some heat from each burner.

Family

When it comes to family for me I guess I have a mom pot, a marriage pot, and a sister/daughter pot. My family definitely does come first, and I think it’s obvious that this past year, the baby has been my #1 priority. However, I’ve gotta say that my marriage is one of the things in my life that I’m most proud of. Rob and I have been together for almost 10 years and we are a really terrific team, if I do say so myself. We started young and we’re still pretty young and I’m just generally really proud of us. It’s been interesting to watch and feel my relationship with Rob turn into the main “family” one, especially now that Sophie is here.

Friends

This may sound sad but I don’t have a ton of friends in California. I’m pretty introverted in real life so I feel very blessed by the number of really close friends I’ve accumulated over the years, and because we’ve moved so much I just don’t ever feel like I need to get out there and make new friends. (You guys should read MWF Seeking BFF [affiliate link] if you haven’t—it goes into some really interesting stuff about how many friendships we can actually maintain). I text and chat with my friends across the country almost every day, but I can definitely go weeks and even months without talking to some of them.

I think what’s most important in my friendships is the ability to be far apart without falling apart, and we’re all busy and all over the place so it’s nice that my closest friends sort of operate that same way. It’s pretty rare that I feel like any of us are falling down on the job, so this burner stays lit pretty easily.

Health

On this burner are exercise and eating well, and for me lately they have been the first to go. Before Sophie I was at the barre studio almost every day, teaching and taking class; and Ender and I ran a few times a week and walked every day. I’m finally getting back into working out every day, but it’s been a pretty constant struggle. If I have 30 minutes of free time it means Sophie is napping and I usually want to work on something or clean something or even just lie down on the couch and take a little break.

I’m prone to migraines if I don’t eat right, and you’d think that would be enough of an incentive to stay away from the things that make me feel sick but sometimes it’s not (read more about my diet and food sensitivities). So to keep the health burner going, sometimes I’ll work out but eat crap, or maybe the other way around (which in my opinion is a lot more effective—you can’t really outrun a bad diet, you know?).

Work

Writing, recipe development and photography, and Pure Barre. I’ve barely cooked anything for the blog since Sophie was born, partly because I powered through hundreds of recipes for my cookbooks the last few years. I tried to start a journal the other day just to jump-start my creative writing juices, but I never really got back to it. I’ve been feeling burnt out for a while because I told myself that I’d be able to keep blogging after having a baby but never really gave myself full time away from everything (I was answering emails from my publisher on my phone in the hospital bed).

Now that it’s been almost a year I’m excited that we actually just hired a part-time nanny to come over two days a week for a few hours, which will be my time to focus on the blog, get started on that food photography course, and maybe teach a few more classes a week at the barre studio.

And finally, there are Things That Should Probably Go Somewhere But Never Seem To Stay Lit: keeping up with my home, reading for pleasure, getting my hair cut more than once a year. Are these pots? Burners? Who knows. I don’t really spend much time on “self care” but I guess that’s where all of them might fit, which is probably why I never stick with them. I guess they could get squeezed in under “health,” but I don’t know.

What pots are you balancing on your burners? What’s the first one that tends to go when things get crazy? What things would you like to make room for on the stove?

Five Things I Never Did Until I Had a Baby

Five Things I Never Did Until I Had a Baby | Freckled Italian

Before I had a kid, I never…

  1. Googled if a baby counts as a passenger in the carpool lane. 

  2. Peeled and cut a grape.

  3. Wished my husband had boobs.

  4. Wondered if a a baby would choke on a chocolate chip or would it just melt? (Not that I’ve ever stuffed chocolate chips into my mouth while holding my sleeping infant and dropped a handful onto their face…that would be ridiculous.)

  5. Used my teeth to trim someone’s nails.

And now, a few from you guys:

  • “Went to the bathroom at EVERY store.”

  • “Peed while wearing a person.”—I relate to this one too much.

  • “Went so long without washing my hair.”—Amen.

  • “Paid so much attention to the color and consistency of poop.”

  • “Realized that men’s bathrooms don’t usually have changing stations…dads change babies too!”—This drives me nuts!

  • “Washed my hands 30 times a day!”

  • “Thought I’d be willing to suck snot from someone else’s nostrils through a short tube.”

  • “Peed with an audience.”

  • “Felt a weird camaraderie and affection for complete and total strangers…i.e. when I see a woman with similar age babies out and about…I know her day is most likely extremely similar to mine.”—I thought about this the other day when I was pushing a shopping cart with Sophie in it through the parking lot; a woman with a newborn looked at me and said “I’m ready for that stage!” and I knew exactly what she meant.

  • “Tic tac toed out of a bedroom trying to avoid the squeaky floorboards!”—Every night.

  • “Scooped poop out of the bathtub with my bare hand.”

Any others? Thanks to everyone who responded to my Instagram Story yesterday! I absolutely loved reading all of your answers.