The last time I had BRUSSELS SPROUTS was in 2003 right after I was released from the hospital following my first flare-up and diagnosis with Crohn's Disease.
I had always been a picky eater growing up. Though not as picky as some--I had a friend who did not try pizza until fourth grade!--I was very picky when it came to vegetables. I stuck to the trusted, kid-friendly ones such as potatoes and corn, but I also liked fried summer vegetables like squash and okra. I loved raw celery and carrots, and I often tried to eat cooked carrots that were boiled, but, of course, the boiling killed all the flavor, and I ended up not eating them. I liked lettuce and onions on my hamburgers (actually I could eat an onion like an apple), and I liked tomato sauce in things.
And I think that was it when it came to vegetables.
In August 2003, I was started on a low-fiber, low residue diet that required I avoid fried, greasy foods, raw fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, and other items. Slowly, I was allowed to reintroduce the items--and I only rarely had problems until this flare-up--but, at first, I strictly adhered to it. I was allowed to eat fruits and vegetables, but they had to be cooked. As I had been on TPN (total parenteral nutrition) for three weeks, my taste buds, stomach, and such had changed. I felt I needed to retrain them, and inspired by Genesis 1:29, I decided I needed to try things that I had not liked or thought I disliked previously.
I believe that, on the afternoon I was released, my mama and I had dinner at the hospital cafeteria where I tried sautéed mushrooms for the first time. I didn't like mushrooms before I was sick, and we never had them when I was growing up--which may be why I never liked them!--so I thought I would give them a go. (I didn't like them. I still don't. But I am going to give them another go with this little project.)
Before I get to the BRUSSELS SPROUTS, here a few pictures right before I was diagnosed in 2003. I started having initial symptoms about a year before I was hospitalized, in 2002 (ten years ago!), but in the months leading to my diagnosis, I had more and more trouble and turned more and more pale. One thing I remember is that I had a cyst on my face that would not clear up no matter what I tried. I must admit that I did "photoshop" a few of the photos sometime ago because that wasn't something I wanted to remember...
Prom, April 2003, with Tasha and Brandi
I had been to see my gastroenterologist by this time and had had a colonoscopy. They only did colonoscopies through her clinic on Thursdays, I believe, and as a senior in high school, my schedule had been crammed those last months of school. I did not have a colonoscopy until the Thursday before we left on this trip though I believe I first saw Dr. Helen Casteel in March; I think this was just two days after. Following my colonoscopy, I had been put on a Prevacid, an antibiotic for H-Pylori, and two other medications I don't recall. I wasn't quite faithful in taking all of my medicine on the trip. I didn't realize how serious my situation was.
Man, I thought those yellow-shade glasses were sooo cool.
We were trying to dress like twinkies!
We went through Biloxi on our way home to view the damage from recent storms. It was very much changed then, so I can't imagine how it looked after Katrina two years later. (Our family went to Biloxi last May for Erin's wedding, and much has been rebuilt, but you can still see the scars.) I was getting very sick this time; I was running a fever, and my throat was so sore. (I picked up some kind of infection from the ocean, which was made worse by my condition.)
We thought we were getting a picture on the Biloxi sign. After all the trouble it took to climb up there and get Savannah satisfied, we said screw it--we'll take the Gulf Coast!
So I had BRUSSELS SPROUTS for the first time in 2003. In the fall of 2003, I was strictly adhering to my low-fiber, low-residue diet, and I started eating cooked green beans and peas happily. (Well, I wasn't so keen on the peas, but I have started to like them much better of late.) One week I picked up a bag of frozen SPROUTS in a butter sauce. The directions said to steam them in their sauce, so I did. THEY WERE AWFUL! They were mushy and bitter, and I just did not care for the sauce that came with them. I never tried them again.
These ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS are amazing! I seriously cannot wait to make them again. They are crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside and salty but slightly sweet. I love them--I could just pop them in my mouth like mini pretzels or kettle chips. They are also adorable. What I previously thought looked like alien brains now look like these charming little cabbages that I could use to play with my American Girl doll Samantha.
And the best thing is that BRUSSELS SPROUTS are cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli or cauliflower), which are some of the healthiest around!
-Cut off the white stem end from each sprout and remove any yellowed leaves. Then cut each sprout in half. (This makes it easier to roast them as well as eat them.)
-Mix together 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Then add sprouts and toss to coat well.
I originally felt this was a tad bit too much salt, but they really were seasoned perfectly!
-Place sprouts on a nonstick baking sheet. (I would suggest using one that is not stained or one that is too dark. I think they brown/blacken too quickly otherwise, but I didn't want to stain my nice Wilton ones. *lol*) I started by laying them cut side up. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes. I flipped them halfway through the cooking time, but since they browned on the bottom so quickly, I wish I had flipped them more than once. This may not be the case for your oven/pans...or for mine the next time. :)
Here they are in all their glory! I served them with mashed potatoes and this yummy roast my mama made while she was still visiting this last week. It was such a tasty meal! And I really cannot wait to make them again...maybe next week? ;)
And here are a few more pictures of me with Tasha (and Steph and Brandi). These were taken at Tasha's graduation in May 2004, the spring after I was diagnosed. I was still on prednisone and azathioprine at this time, but I think the prednisone may have been tapered at this point. My face is a little rounder than normal in these photos, but it's really not that bad. (You always think its worse in person and when you are growing through it.) As of now, I am down to ten milligrams a day when I started at 30 (40 back in November). My face is still puffy, but I don't think it is as puffy as it was (moonfaced), and my appetite is more normal. My hair, however, is still doing crazy things. As I was on prednisone for a much longer time and at a higher dosage, my face seemed to gain weight and stayed puffy much longer. I could literally feel when it would puff up after I took my medicine. It was a crazy feeling! My friend Brandi in these photos joked that people would see me driving down the street and think I was much heavier than I was...until I stepped out of the vehicle. (The rest of me was a normal size; only my face swelled although some people's hands and feet also swell.) I could show you some more interesting photos from that time--I seriously look like Gwyneth Paltrow from Shallow Hal in the face--but I have never scanned them onto my computer. Probably because they are so frightening...and I wouldn't want them to pop up on our Apple TV!
And I am not trying to make fun of anyone--I just think I look crazy when my face puffs up but the rest of me is normal (or as normal as I can be! *lol*).