Monday Randomness ~ Brussels Sprouts Edition

Every once in a while I come across either a food or food trivia that I feel compelled to pass along. It’s been a while though since I did that (maybe the last time was this post about apples on my old photography blog?)

But I have been meaning to share a particular brussels sprouts recipe over at She Feeds Her Family and figured it could be fun to share some random facts about those little balls of mini cabbage.

First, they actually are not mini cabbages. More like a cousin since they’re part of the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. They are a human engineered strain of a wild cabbage.

They can be traced back to the 13th century and are not native to the US. They can be grown just about anywhere with New York, Washington and California the leading growers in the states producing over 32,000 tons of them.

They were introduced to Louisiana in the 1800s by the French. Merci beaucoup!

Great Britain considers brussel sprouts their national vegetable.

They grow on stalks! I think it was last year when I saw an actual brussels sprout stalk for the first time and this fact totally amazed me. Apparently they last longer on the stalk than loose so if you can buy them still attached do it. Plus they look way cooler 😉 In 2000 a US couple grew the world’s tallest stalk measuring in at over nine feet tall! The biggest individual sprout ever grown weighed in at 18lbs and 3oz.

They are incredibly healthy. Sprouts have more vitamin C than oranges and vitamin K is abundant along with other antioxidants and being high in fiber.

A 2019 survey found brussels sprouts to be the fourth most hated vegetable in our country. Most believe this is due to improper cooking technique though. I mean, an overcooked squishy brussel sprout is rather yucky but roasted with apples and bacon? Or pan seared with gnocchi? They are delicious!

But there might actually be a genetic reason someone doesn’t like the little green veggie powerhouse. The gene TAS2R38, which is responsible for tasting the chemical PTC. PTC is how humans taste bitterness so if your family doesn’t love them you guys may have a developed amount of PTC.

I came across a New York Times recipe and when I finally got around to making it it became a family favorite. Actually, it’s been a favorite every time I have made it no matter who I made it for.

Mosey on over and check it out and you will be able to enjoy it’s deliciousness and wow people with all the fun random facts you now know about brussel sprouts.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Look how pretty they are!

Hosta Randomness

Did you know that hosta plants actually flower?

I did not so I was super surprised, and more than a little happy, when the lone hosta plant I bought on impulse started showing signs of flowering a few weeks ago.

Over the last couple of years I have been enjoying some moderate success with my house plants (the ratio of the still alive to oops, I don’t know how I killed that is in my favor) and combined with the results of our flower and veggie beds this year and last have me feeling like a real gardener of sorts.

To be honest, I have no idea what I am doing and I am more than slightly convinced that there is some kind of magic at work with anything horticultural. Basically I am winging it and hoping for the best. And loving every minute of it.

All that to say, I had no idea I would get to enjoy such delicate and sweet smelling blossoms on my potted hosta so naturally I turned to the internets to help fill in my knowledge gap.

Turns out there are over 3000 varieties of hostas spread throughout about 45 different species of the plant.

They’re native to China, Japan, and Korea and came to the United States by way of Europe in the 1800s.

Something else that really surprised me is that they are edible and are actually grown as a vegetable in some Asian cultures. A quick pinterest search yielded some recipes that actually look like they could be tasty. I don’t think I will be in a hurry to add them to my menu anytime soon as I am still trying to make sure it stays in the still alive category but I am definitely interested in the idea of cooking with them. Would you try it?

Because I am me and it’s what I do, you know I had to spend some time taking pictures of the elegant flowers.

The blooms on my plant are a soft white with a hint of pink to them and they also have a pleasant and subtle fragrance.

All in all, they are quickly becoming one of my garden favorites this year.

You can go here to see a few more pictures I took of them that I am sharing on the photo blog. I was really pleased with the dreamy abstract ones I got using the reverse lens method.

Until next time, hosta la vista!

(See what I did there? Man, do I crack myself up!)

All Cracked Up and Other Randomness

I am forty-five years old and until just a couple of months ago I did not know how to properly boil and peel eggs. I am blaming my lack of knowledge and skill on the fact that I like neither boiled or deviled eggs. My sister makes deviled eggs that are, from all accounts, quite tasty which means that family functions and gatherings were covered so I really haven’t seen much need to change my status on the whole issue.

I mean, I’ve boiled eggs before but since I don’t eat them I didn’t really care if the dyed Easter eggs were cooked all the way and didn’t give a thought to how easy they would be to peel.

But Rob recently mentioned that he would like some to take to the church to have on hand for a quick and healthy snack and, it turns out, Sam likes boiled eggs. Not the cooked yolk but the egg white. Anything that boy is willing to eat I am willing to make.

So I  asked my mother about this whole egg business and she shared the secret that her aunt taught her about making the perfect hard boiled egg. No more guessing if it is cooked all the way…no more boiling them for too long and having them crack and burst out of the edges…and easy to peel shells.

(Psssst…I know I am probably about the only person on the planet who has waited almost half a century to learn how to boil an egg but the truth of the matter is that we have friends that we buy fresh yard eggs from and they are just so pretty that I love taking pictures of them and if I just randomly posted pictures of eggs like I did some kind of portrait sessions with them people would quite possibly think I am weird. I am going to ignore the fact that I run the risk of people still thinking I’m weird because I over thought the process of boiling eggs to the point that I just chose to not boil eggs. I am hoping you will be distracted by the prettiness of the eggs to be overly concerned about my egg crush. And who knows? Maybe someone will find these tips helpful.)

So here is the sure fire way to get perfectly boiled eggs according to my *grandaunt.

After adding eggs to a pot, completely cover them with water.
Bring to a full roiling boil and then turn off the heat.
Cover the pot with a lid and let them sit for twenty minutes.
Carefully drain the hot water and then run cold water over the eggs until cool.

As for peeling them I have observed a few things that might be helpful. In my experience the green and brown eggs peel easier than the white eggs. Not sure if there is an scientific reason for this or not but that has been the case for me.

I also discovered that if I crack either end of the egg and not the side I can get an easier peel. Turns out the ends have these little gaps between the egg itself and the shell that helps make sure you are peeling off the thin almost invisible membrane that separates the shell from the egg white.

*Now, as if I haven’t flown my freak flag high enough in this post with odd confessions and weird random stuff, I am going to confess that yes, I did indeed look up the proper way to address various relatives on the family tree because actually having to state a relationship with my mother’s aunt seemed a good excuse to look it up. It also helps that I now know how to properly cite the children of my nieces and nephews. (Please tell me other people have wondered about this because I don’t have any pretty pictures to distract you with on this one 😉

So is it great or grand? I think I have always referred to my parents’ aunts or uncles as my great aunt or uncle but after researching for a minute it turns out that while that is the more commonly used term, the correct term is actually “grand”. Which totally makes since if your mother’s father is your grandfather then his sibling would also be your grand aunt or uncle, right? The term “great” is supposed to be reserved for relationships that are more than one generation away.

So there you have it. The proper way to boil eggs and address your ancestors.

Oh look, it’s another pretty picture of eggs!

Kitchen Randomness

Here are a couple of things I have been pondering on and thought someone might be helped by my thinking out loud. Or at least amused.

First, this is not a cereal.

breakfast cereal brownies in a box

They can box it up and package it however they like but I know a brownie when I eat one. Whatever it is, it’s good though and I will never ever buy it. My waistline would hate me. (For the record, I didn’t buy this box either. My aunt gave it to me the kids. Most chocolate cereal is easy for me to resist…but not this one.) Have you ever tried it?

Nutella is better hazelnut chocolate spread

The second thing I am putting out there is the idea that there is something else as delicious as Nutella. In case you were wondering there isn’t. We tried this because the shelves were completely bare of Nutella and I needed to make the ooey gooey cake for dinner with friends one night. It was fine but does not equal the chocolate hazelnuttty goodness of the real thing. Do yourself a favor and just but the Nutella.

Another thing made me laugh when it happened.

Despite what the two above paragraphs may lead you to believe I am trying to eat healthier.
We are a house that loves hummus and since hummus is just mashed up chick peas I got to wondering if that means
you can count it as a serving of vegetables? Apparently I am not the only person who has ever asked that question. But here’s my question. Who can’t eat half a cup of humus?

So, I am not really sure what to make of this next thing I am going to share but I will say that it’s pretty clear that convenience reigns supreme for the shopping populace and Land O’Lakes is a marketing genius that is the power behind the throne. If any of you do the BOGO offers then you know that a week or so ago LOL (hahaha…get it? I crack myself up sometimes 😉 one pound packs were part of the Publix’s ad. I’ve mentioned before that we use butter and like butter so this made me happy. I scooped up my two and didn’t realize until I got home that one box was slightly different than the other. I have the same amount of butter but instead of four sticks it’s eight half sticks.

That’s right. Somebody has finally wised up and realized the hardship we have faced for generation upon generation in having to cut our own eight tablespoons of butter down to four. Ladies and gentlemen, our labor intensive kitchen burden has now been eased. Never again will anyone have to lift a knife and look for the clearly labeled markings to indicate the half way point on a stick of butter. Never again will the end of a cut off stick of butter suffer the shame and embarrassment of being returned, uncovered and unwanted to the refrigerator beside all the other whole sticks. Or maybe my friend Sarah was right and these are just single serving size?

Yes, I mock and I am sure that there are people somewhere with valid reasons why this is better but it just struck me as kind of silly. But these little fellows sure are cute though, aren’t they?

butter land o'lakes butter half stick

Random Food Thoughts

I was planning to share a recipe, honest. But Rob has been out of town all week (comes home today!) and we actually ended up on facebook at the same time. And I sort of forgot I had the cake in the oven and totally overcooked it. I’ll make it again though in the near future and share it. I bet when it isn’t all dried out it’s really good 🙂

But in the spirit of a food related Monday post I have a few random thoughts on food because of something I’ve either heard about or read.

Heard this on the radio last week and it totally blew my mind. How in the world can there be a shortage of Velveeta? Isn’t that manufactured pretend cheese?

Speaking of cheese. Mac and cheese patties? First we put it on a pizza. Now we’re balling it up and frying it. Is there no end to the desecration?

Also, another weird food marriage that should not have happened:
bar-b-que chicken pot stickers
Why must we westernize everything?

I saw both those recipes recently on pinterest, by the way. Apparently pinterest has a dark side.

As I said a few of these random food thoughts and words not my own but ones I was surprised by. Like the fact that the banana is both a fruit and an herb. It’s considered an herb because the trunk of it’s “tree” actually lacks woody tissue. And get this! The banana is also in the berry category since it is the product of a single seed.

Weird, huh? Who knew bananas were so interesting?

The highest calorie food item in the world is a milkshake. A large chocolate shake from White Castle has 1,680 calories. I am not even going to google the peppermint chocolate chip shake from Chick-Fil-A. I don’t even want to know. But it probably a reason to give thanks that they don’t serve it year round. (Total side note…White Castle was the first fast food restaurant in the US. They opened in 1921. McDonald’s didn’t open their doors until 1948.)

Did you know that honey is the only natural unprocessed food that can last forever if it is stored correctly? Honey stored in vats were found in King Tut’s tomb and were determined edible even though they’d been buried for 2,000. I’m just curious as to who stepped up and said, “Sure I’ll try some of that!” to find out.

Queen Elizabeth is credited with the first gingerbread men. Apparently she had them made to match the likeness of visiting dignitaries. Also, the first cookie cutter ever made was in the shape of a gingerbread man.

Not directly related to a random food fact but still very interesting…prohibition is the mother of kids meals. It seems that when alcohol could no longer be sold proprietors needed to generate another form of revenue. Until that time children were rarely in restaurants. Also interesting to note is that there was a school of thought that pies, pastries and other sweets weren’t healthy for children under ten so rarely were desserts given in the kids meals.

There are over 7000 varieties of rice in the world.

Fig Newton’s were the first mass produced cookie. They’re also named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts.

In 2004 Singapore banned chewing gum. Apparently the problem of how people were disposing of their abc (already been chewed) gum really irritated the government. It was being found under tables, elevators, and even in keyholes. The final straw came when vandals began putting their gum on the doors of the cars on their metro system causing them to malfunction. You now need a doctor’s prescription to chew gum.

There you go. I am one step closer to actually being back into the blog routine I had before the holidays. We’ll see what shows up next Monday.

Randomness

How tragic that the same time our country is suffering with an obesity epidemic we also suffer from a skinny jeans fad.

I’m all about making use of the crock pot. Especially in the fall. But cheesecake? Seriously? I think your cheesecake standards may be too low if this is acceptable. It’s like equating the jello no bake cheesecake with a dreamy slice from the Cheesecake Factory.

Confession: I use google as one giant spell checker.

I bet the same guy who added the extra ‘r’ in February is the same guy that came up with the spelling for Wednesday.~ Will Farrell (not a direct quote mind you…he has a potty mouth.)

I probably should seek professional help when it comes to menu planning and grocery shopping.
Step one~ go through almost every one of the 121 dinner recipes plus the 204 dessert recipes I’ve pinned (don’t judge me…desserts are yummy) and confirm self diagnosis of food ADD.
Step two~ Force myself to get a grip, choose a loose menu to follow for the upcoming week and make a grocery list.
Step three~ go to grocery store and buy items on list and while there edit said list adding in random items I come across that surely I meant to add at home if only I had not been so distracted by all the pinterest recipes
Step four~ return home and put groceries away and immediately begin new list of items that somehow I had not crossed off previous list nor purchased.

If we actually believe John Tesh’s claim of a new and improved life in two minutes or less delivered over the radio then we deserve whatever kind of world we live in.

I watch too much sci-fi. I know this because when I was brushing my teeth and saw gray foam my first thought was not that I had eaten blueberries for breakfast. My first thought was to wonder if I had developed a “trouble” a la Haven style. If I had not come to my senses I probably would have continued down a thought trail worthy of a Fringe or Alphas episode I’m sure.

My kids race to grab quilts and throws each night for bed. It’s not because the quilts are exceptionally comfy (although the green one made by my friend Lori is a house favorite) or because it is exceptionally cold. We live in Florida people. No, it’s because they have discovered that sleeping with the throws or quilts means that making their beds the next morning is an almost non task. Lazy and ingenious. Not sure what that means.