Sunday, July 8, 2012

Brussel Sprouts....veggie of champions!

Are we the only family out there tuning into all the Olympic trial coverage (I realize that the trials are over, we are still watching reruns of the trials OnDemand)?  We are a swim family, so we are enjoying being able to watch our favorite sport on primetime television.  We have also each picked our favorites for the gymnastics team and have marveled over the incredible times in track & field.  

One thing I have noticed is that the Olympic advertising is also including advertisement of the Paralympics games.  

I have seen this on the commercials on television, but also in corporate advertisement, like this photo I saw at BP the other day.

Olympians and Paralympians pictured together!!!  

I know that I am especially thrilled about this because I am the mom of a disabled swimmer and I am happy for him that he can see that the world values and respects athletes like him.  I am super happy for the Paralympian athletes, because they are finally getting the exposure that they deserve.  But, mostly, I am so happy for America….because honestly, who isn’t motivated to get up off the couch after seeing this…

Sadly, even though the Paralympics are being advertised, they are still not being televised.  Which in my opinion, is an absolute shame.  But you can join us tune in and follow them here.  And join us in hoping and praying that in 4 years that changes and on primetime you can tune in and watch the paralympics.

Like I said, my oldest mini is a disabled/adaptive/handicapped swimmer.  Just don’t call him that to his face because he’ll dunk you like a donut.  And my oldest mini has publicly declared that he is a future Paralympian.  And one thing I never do is bet against my oldest mini.  And even though he technically is not a Paralympian today, I want to share a bit about my oldest mini in hopes that it gives you an idea why Paralympians are so incredible. 

Three years ago, my oldest mini had surgery to surgically lengthen his leg to correct a congenital limb deformity.  This process is excruciatingly painful and heartbreaking because my very active boy was seriously restricted on activity, while in a lot of pain.  During this time, my oldest mini was battling very serious infections that resulted from the surgery.  His surgeon recommended to us that we put him in a chlorinated swimming pool as often as possible to help with the infections.  Within two weeks we had a swimming pool in our backyard and my oldest mini found his true passion. 

And that’s when my oldest mini taught me that the greatest things can be found in the midst of the worst times in life, if you're open to looking. 

So this was my oldest mini before he had his lengthening surgery four years ago (note the very large shoe lift).

And this was my oldest mini in the midst of his leg lengthening surgery three years ago.  

And this was my oldest mini after he had his lengthening surgery three years ago (note the teeny-tiny shoe lift).

And this is my oldest mini today.

As you can see, my oldest mini is right back to where he was three years ago before his lengthening surgery.  (You can probably also tell that my oldest mini loves having his picture taken).  And everyone who loves him is heartbroken for him.  Because he has two options, he either does another lengthening surgery or he has another surgery to stop his strong leg from growing, in hopes that the small leg catches up.  So, he either painfully forces one leg to grow, or he makes the painful decision to stop growing and let the little one catch up.  In the midst of making this decision, my oldest mini undergoes bracing for an hour a day and also does an hour of therapy on his own at home, while seeing 4 therapists each week.  And each month, he sees several doctors for other health issues he has.  

And my oldest minis main concern is “how will this affect my swim training?”  Because he is an athlete and his priority and focus is on his swimming, and all he wants to do is be in the pool.  He has a dream to chase, you know?!?!  So, in that regard, he is like all other Olympian-wannabes.  However, he also finds solace in the water.  He heals in the water.  His spirit thrives in the water.  And, in that regard, he is like all other paralympian-wannabes.  

Paralympians aren’t disabled or handicapped athletes.  They’re athletes. Olympians are regarded as elite athletes and are looked at as role models and celebrities.  In my experience, if you are disabled get two types of reactions from people….sympathy or uncomfortable stares.  And the paralympians are a rare occasion when those athletes get to show their stuff and spectators walk away humbled and inspired.

So, watch the paralympics.  

And, if you're reading this and wondering what the heck this has to do with unprocessed food, I apologize.  But, I haven't updated this blog in a week because I've had a lot on my mind and have writers block, so I thought rather than struggle to come up with a funny story to tell, I would share with you what I have really been thinking about.  So, please pray for my little man.  He will be getting injections into his leg that he is very nervous about.  And please pray for him, his doctors, and parents as he makes his difficult decision.

And, if you really want a recipe...I've got a GREAT one for you!  In fact, this is a favorite of my minis.  If you hate brussel sprouts, please try these and I promise you'll love them!  

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

  • brussel sprouts (lots of 'em, they will be gobbled up!)
  • canola oil
  • sea salt
1.  Preheat oven to 415F.
2.  Cut the brussel sprouts into wedges.
3.  Pour canola oil over brussel sprouts.  Make sure each one is coated with oil.
4.  Spread on a cooking sheet.
5.  Sprinkle with sea salt.
6.  Cook until sprouts are brown.  I stir every 5-7 minutes.  I roast mine at least 20-25 minutes.  I would check frequently though.  We love ours well-done.

Here's a brussel sprout.  We tell our minis they are tiny lettuces.  Because the name brussel sprout seems weird.

Cut into wedges and coated in oil.


I tried making a garlic aioli sauce to serve with my sprouts.   I messed up and added in the ingredients in the wrong order, so my aioli was a disaster.  Good thing my sprouts didn't need any dipping sauce.

Garlic Aioli 


  • 3 egg yolks (for safety reasons, use pasteurized eggs)
  • 1 pint extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
  1. Let all your ingredients come to room temperature before you begin.

  2. In a small glass bowl, mash the garlic and the salt together until they form a paste.

  3. Add the egg yolks and whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Note: You can use an electric hand mixer, stand mixer or even a blender for this.

  4. Now, with the mixer or blender going full speed (or with your arm whisking as hard as it can) add the olive oil very slowly, as little as a drop at a time.

  5. When the emulsion starts to form, you can add the oil more quickly, but keep it at a fairly moderate stream. Adding the oil too fast will break your emulsion.

  6. When the aioli thickens, add a bit more lemon juice to thin it out. Continue adding oil, stopping occasionally to add more lemon if the mixture gets too thick.

  7. Finish the aioli with the remaining lemon juice, both to add a bit of tang as well as to achieve the right consistency.

  8. Store unused aioli in the refrigerator, where it should keep for a day or two.

Eat your brussel sprouts, and perhaps you could do this.....