Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Things I've Been Eating -- Brussels Sprouts Creation

So, Thanksgiving was wonderful. I totally missed the ball on getting a holiday-themed recipe up but I figured I could show you the awesomeness of my plate before we're totally in Christmas mode over here. Isn't it lovely? As I was taking pictures of pies my Stepdad leaned over my shoulder and said "guess MY food wasn't photo-worthy?" I like how my blog has become almost an inside joke at my house--"Ashley's taking pictures of her food again... Can we eat yet or are you going to take a picture of it?... Why didn't you take a picture of MY dish?" So silly. I showed him the picture of my plate and he seemed satisfied. Sadly I did not get a picture of his lovely bird, but I assure you, it did look very nice. Tasted good, too.

Cranberry sauce... delicious on next-day turkey sandwiches!

Mom's simple yet gorgeous apple pie

Thanksgiving at my house is generally entirely done by my stepdad. He begins the night before and wakes up at the crack of dawn to get dinner ready. I was happy to have my own kitchen to create my contributions to the table: whiskey cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and bacon (recipe at bottom of post!), and a pumpkin cheesecake.

Terrible picture of my pumpkin cheesecake.
I also made maple whipped cream for the top.
Brussels Sprouts! Scroll to the bottom of this post for the recipe!

In the weeks since, I've been cooking less and eating out more. Not the smartest decision with holiday shopping time looming ahead, I know. However, one such occasion was definitely worth it: My mom's birthday!

We went to Chandler's Restaurant at the Yankee Candle Flagship Store. Sadly, I was in the middle of my cold and feeling pretty gross, but from what I could taste the food was excellent. Plus, it was on a Wednesday which is apparently their "Wine Down Wednesday" where select bottles are half off. I don't think I've EVER gotten such a lovely wine at such a lovely restaurant for only $12! My mom and I share a love of good wine, so this was an awesome coincidence. Wine helps colds, right?

For dinner I got the Grilled Salmon, despite my longing glances at the duck, because I read that salmon is good for getting over a cold. My mom got a lobster roll and clam chowder. I stole a couple of bites of lobster and could tell it wasn't the frozen stuff you often get when you order a lobster roll off-season. This was fresh, meaty chunks of delicious lobster. Really fantastic. It was a lovely dinner and I cannot wait to go back--either for another Mother-Daughter dinner or a fancy date with the boyfriend :)

 This past Saturday I realized that I had the entire day off, and it would be the last day off for a while, so I asked Cory (aka The Boyfriend) if he'd like to take a day trip somewhere. Since I always hear him talk fondly of the years he lived in Salem, I suggested we head East so he could show me his old stomping grounds. When we woke up to snow in Western Mass I was a little concerned, but I bundled up and we trekked across the state to this historic city.

I thought their sign was hilarious.

First stop was the Lobster Shanty, the place he used to work. It is an adorable little bar and restaurant nestled in a cluster of shops off the main road. I was seriously tempted by the $10 lobster special, but since it was early in the day and I didn't want lobster juice all over myself for the rest of the day I opted for the fried shrimp basket. The shrimp tasted fresh--you could tell the fried shrimp was assembled in the kitchen and not pre-made frozen stuff. The fries were excellent as well. Cory swears that The Shanty has the best burger he's ever had, and that's what he ordered. I got a hot cocoa with schnapps from the bar and Cory got the signature Dark and Stormy.

<3 Snow falling, hearts falling, it's all good :)

 I loved meeting his friends and seeing where he used to work. Salem is such a cool little town, and it's nice to see it when it's not flooded with tourists for the Halloween season. However, I do hope to make it back for Halloween next year, because I'm sure they have the spirit of the season! After Salem we made the drive to the Wrenthem outlets and I gushed over EVERYTHING in the Williams Sonoma outlet and got some supplies for Christmas Cookie baking. Then we went to Olive Garden for dinner, because Cory had never been. And, as we all do at OG, we both filled up on breadsticks and salad and had to take most of our dinner home. Oops!

In other news, did I mention I got the role of Alice in my theater group's production of Alice in Wonderland? I am so very excited :) Anyone in Western Mass should check it out when it goes up in February!

Anyways, here's your recipe: my Thanksgiving Day contribution and the only green thing that was on my plate, Brussels Sprouts! These were a serious hit with those brave enough to try it, and I'm sure you can win over some non-believers with this awesome dish. A great side dish, a great main course, it's really delicious.

Thanksgiving Brussels Sprouts
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
, bigger sprouts sliced in half, smaller sprouts whole
1 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste,

1 medium onion
, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
5 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins

Heat one tablespoon olive oil and the butter in a medium sized skillet, use to caramelize onions. Once caramelized, remove onions from pan and set aside.

Cook bacon in same skillet until crispy. Set aside. Use the chicken broth to deglaze the pan and bring to medium-high heat. Add brussels sprouts and cook until tender and the liquid is reduced.

Stir in vinegar, raisins, bacon, and caramelized onions. Serve warm.

 And let's just end with this adorable picture of my cat and my roommate's dog, shall we?

Finn and Baxter, Frenemies Forever <3


  1. Ok 1-yum that looks like a delish Thanksgiving
    2-What a fun trip with the boyfriend!
    3-Congrats on being Alice!!!!
    4-Frenemies Forever hahahaaa

  2. I've been really loving brussel sprouts this fall. These look great! Sounds like you had a nice trip!

  3. YAY!! You're going to be Alice :) Can't wait to see how it goes! That is such a cute shot of the both of you. Great Thanksgiving round up and I'm super jealous of the Williams Sonoma outlet. We only get to be teased by the catalogue. No postage to AUS!!

  4. Love this recipe. And the pic of the pets is so freaking adorable I cannot focus on anything else. lol

  5. Love your photos and the amazing recipe! Congratulations on being Alice!

  6. my dad used to get offended when I didn't take pictures of his food for the blog lol!

    YAY for the boyfriend. He seems like a great guy!

    Mmm brussels. Little bites of heaven!

  7. At one point I was going to move to Salem! I've been wanting to spend Halloween there for ages. Cody's CUTE! And everything looks delish - I am loving on brussels sprouts lately.

  8. So many cute photos!! And I would have totally ordered the lobster at both of those restaurants :) yum! And seriously small world I didn't know you knew Sarah! We totally need to do a meet up in you come visit!! So fun!

    1. Hehe when I suggested that to Sarah she said "No! She's MY friend!" We actually have never met, but I was friends with her exboyfriend's friends and when he posted about her starting a blog we friended each other and became bloggy friends along the way. I think she discovered your blog from my blogroll! :)

  9. oh wow- your mom's pie really is gorgeous!

  10. My hubby would go crazy for those brussel sprouts! Definitely a great holiday side dish!