Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Growing up, Brussel sprouts weren’t a staple in our house. In fact, they were only served once. Us four kids weren’t impressed by the bowl of boiled Brussel spouts on the table (nor the accompanying smell) so we entered into negotiations with my parents. My dad – apparently not a fan of mom’s boiled Brussel spouts – agreed to our terms. If our dog (who ate everything) refused to eat one, then we didn’t have to finish the serving on our plate. We whooped with delight when our dog promptly spit out the boiled mini-cabbage and walked away into the other room. It would be 15 years before I ate another Brussel sprout.

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I can’t remember the exactly place I had roasted Brussel sprouts as an adult but I remember being blown away and thinking “THIS is what they’re supposed to taste like?!? Brussel sprouts and lima beans seem to be the punching bag of the vegetable world. Thankfully, the former appear to be sprouting (hi oh!) in popularity and popping up on menus near and far. Rumor has it that Brussels sprouts hail from the land of Belgium – not surprising given it’s namesake. Food historians believe that the Brussel sprout as we know it were likely cultivated in Ancient Rome and considered to be part of the same species as cabbage. French settlers brought them over to Louisiana in the 18th century and they’ve been the chagrin of many United States children ever since.

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Occasionally, our Trader Joe’s will sell Brussel sprouts on the stalk, which is my favorite way to purchase them. However, I picked up this microwavable bag of whole sprouts at Aldi’s the other day. Do NOT microwave them – your kitchen will smell worse than a middle school hallway in June and then you’ll be subjected to eating steamed Brussel sprouts, which is about as much fun as eating boiled cabbage.

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Coffee: A Love Affair

This part of the country experienced record-breaking wind last Friday that resulted in massive power outages across the national capital region over the weekend. Clay was home for the weekend (woohoo) so we were able to ride out the storm together and introduce the children to Monopoly and flashlight tag. Our stove and hot water heater are gas so we were fine – just a little cold because this house doesn’t have a fire place (womp womp). I instagrammed a picture of Clay grinding coffee using a power converter in our 4Runner for our French press on Saturday morning because the absence of electricity wasn’t going to come between us and our coffee.

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{enjoying an Americano on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland}

I admit that I am intrigued by people who don’t drink coffee. It is such an integral part of my morning and afternoon (and occasional evening) routine that I honestly have trouble imaging my life without it. Not only is it my number one source of antioxidants, research shows that multiple cups of coffee a day does far more good than harm. Ensuring that I reap the benefits, I am a simple girl when it comes to my coffee – either black or with a splash of cream and the occasional sprinkle of stevia. No flavored coffee. No artificial creamers or sweeteners (blech…) and I limit my lattes to special treat status. Those who know me know my love affair with coffee and my penchant to lean into my coffee snob reputation. I can’t help it – I love coffee. I love the taste. I love the way it makes me feel. I love the stories behind each region and roast of bean. I love the cultural impact coffee has around the world. And I love how it doesn’t matter what language is spoken or skin color is represented – we can always sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee together. Coffee is a universal language.

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The Wharf – A Mix of New and Old

There are times when Clay and I stroll through Washington DC, weaving in and out of the monuments before hopping on the metro to Eastern Market to grab a bit to eat,  wondering what it would have been like if we were stationed here right out of college. The night he had to rank his top stationing choices during his senior year, I remember sitting next to him on my bed with my laptop, plugging in the possibilities into Map Quest (t’was before Google Maps entered the scene) to see how far they were from Clemson University. Because he’s a whopping 11 months older than me, we planned to do the long-distance dance while I finished my senior year. We’d have a summer wedding, honeymoon in Costa Rica, and then I’d join him at Fort Meade, Maryland – the installation at the top of our list, where I would then put my Political Science and Economics degree to good use in our nation’s capital.

In reality – we ended up scrambling to have a December wedding during the winter break of my senior year, we honeymooned in New York City for three-days because that is the only amount time for which his unit would release him, and I joined him at Fort Drum, New York six months later, after I graduated. It would then take me another six months to find a full-time job quasi-related to my career-field. It was our first experience with, as my friend Sheena so lovingly put in my previous post, the Army showing us that ultimately she’s the boss.

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I realize now that this is quite the long introduction for a post about the District Wharf. Basically – it’s nice to experience the things that we long ago dreamed of doing as newlyweds stationed in this area. Granted, I have yet to work in the district using my undergraduate degree and having two kids means that we don’t attend nearly as many cocktail parties as we did our original scenario, but we get to do things we enjoy and spend our free time exploring a world class city. We’ve been wanting to check out the District Wharf since the grand re-opening in October 2017. The gray and drizzling sky on a Sunday afternoon provided the perfect backdrop to walk around where DC meets the water.

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