God’s other book: Backyard bouquet

How sweet! This week, when I brought my husband home from a grueling 9-day hospital stay, God greeted us with flowers. In fact, God seemed to have turned our entire yard into one giant bouquet.

As Pete begins a lengthy recovery process, we’ve been able to feast our eyes on (from top to bottom) crabapple blossoms, irises, golden stars, redbud blossoms, lungwort, pink and white dogwood blossoms, mystery flowers (LOL!), tulips, violets, azaleas and … the ever-present dandelions.

What’s even more lovely: The flowers are all perennials, so I didn’t have to do a bit of work to enjoy this lavish display of eye candy.

Recipe: Loaded Brussels sprouts

When it comes to my daily quota of vegetable servings, a couple of my favorite restaurants have definitely succeeded in getting Brussels sprouts onto my plate.

Since I’m ALWAYS looking for ways to make veggies more enticing, I have of course sought to duplicate these delicious gussied-up sprouts at home.

As I’ve experimented, I’ve discovered a couple of secrets to making the Brussels spouts turn out crisp and caramelized rather then soggy.

First, bake at a high-enough temperature (I set my oven at 450 degrees). Second, add a small amount of cornstarch to the mixture I use to coat the sprouts.

After much tinkering with possible ingredients, I’ve finally succeeded in creating a reasonable facsimile of the delicious entree served at my favorite eateries.

Even better, the recipe is fairly easy, at least the way I make it.

Unfortunately, the “loaded” version of this recipe is not exactly calorie-free. Sorry!

But even if I leave off the bacon, french fried onion rings and sriracha mayo (or include only one of these as a garnish), the basic sprouts baked with the coating mixture are still pretty yummy.

In the plain version, most of the fat and calories come from the olive oil, which is a “good” fat, so I don’t worry about the calorie and fat content as much.

This recipe makes about 4 servings.


  • 1-pound package frozen halved Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 slices crisp bacon, crumbled (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons french fried onion rings (optional)
  • Sriracha mayo to taste (optional)


Cook the bacon until crisp. Crumble and set aside.

Rinse frozen Brussels sprouts in warm water to thaw slightly and remove ice crystals. Drain and place in plastic container with a lid.

Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, honey and cornstarch and blend well. Drizzle the mixture over the Brussels Sprouts, place the lid on the container and shake gently to thoroughly coat the Brussels Spouts.

Spread Brussels sprouts in a single layer on large cookie sheet

Bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp, flipping sprouts with a metal spatula every 10 minutes or so.

When Brussels sprouts are nearly browned, top with french fried onion rings and bake about 5 more minutes until onion rings are browned and crisp.

Sprinkle bacon bits evenly over Brussels sprouts and drizzle sriracha mayo over the top of everything.

If you want to reduce the fat and calorie content, use only one of the last three ingredients. Still totally yummy!

Nutrition information

Loaded version

Serving size: 3/4 cup | Calories: 240 | Carbohydrates: 11 g | Protein: 5 g | Fat: 18 g | Saturated Fat: 3.5 g | Cholesterol: 7 mg | Sodium: 256 mg | Potassium: 280 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 3.5 g | Vitamin A: 0% | Vitamin C: 0% | Calcium: 22% | Iron: .5%

Plain version (without last three ingredients)

Serving size: 3/4 cup | Calories: 135 | Carbohydrates: 9 g | Protein: 3 g | Fat: 9 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 44 mg | Potassium: 280 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 3.5 g | Vitamin A: 0% | Vitamin C: 0% | Calcium: 22% | Iron: .5%