Bring these Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Squash tossed in a creamy almond butter balsamic for your next gathering–your guests will not be disappointed! Vegan, gluten-free and paleo-friendly.
So before we get to the recipe, I want to take some time and talk to you about FOMO–”fear of missing out”. I’ve been meaning to talk about this for weeks, but I am only just getting to it now… But FOMO has this way of creeping up time and time again, thanks to the highlight reel that is social media. And just the other day something I saw on social media that had me feeling like “Ugh, why can’t I be there?” And with Thanksgiving this week and the winter holidays approaching, this conversation couldn’t come at a better time.
But let me first backtrack a little… Last month I attended a Michigan Blogger Mixer, put on by Foster Coffee Co. I will be honest and say I wasn’t really sure what to expect. At the time I saw the event, there were other “amazing” blogging events happening in big cities around the same time. And I (shamefully) thought “What can this small kind of event (in a small town) really have to offer?”. I had only heard of one of the bloggers on the panel (hey Andrea!), and most were lifestyle bloggers <– read: being a food blog, will I even get anything out of this? Of course that kind of attitude is 100% the wrong approach to pretty much anything in life. Within five minutes into the discussion I quickly realized how wrong I was in my judgement. Nick, one of the founders of Foster Coffee Co. was a wonderful moderator and had a great set of questions for the panelists. Not only that, but people and different businesses from all parts of the community were there, hoping to learn from one another.
Two of the panelists were a couple, who run the blog The Fresh Exchange. To be honest I had actually never heard of them– I don’t typically follow a lot of lifestyle bloggers these days. But hearing their story, and that they had just recently moved back to Michigan, was something I could relate to all too well. “…we missed The Lake” Anyone in Michigan knows how precious our Great Lakes are. You just cannot beat it. They then brought up this notion of “The grass is greener where you water it”. Now if we could all just stop and think about that for a second… We’re all familiar with “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side” scenario… but “the grass is greenest where we water it” takes it one step further. It’s so easy to think “My life–job, house, friends–would be so much better if I was in (insert favorite big city here)”… but would it really be that much better? This goes back to perspective, being grateful, and even having an open mind.
You can’t let the highlight reel of others dictate your perspective on your own life. Don’t compare only to have it get you down. When you start focusing on other people’s lives, you forget how to live your own. You forget to look at what you DO have. You forget to be present. You forget to be grateful, thankful and appreciative. It’s easy to go on each day without stopping to think, “What am I grateful for today?”. But–speaking from experience here–it’s on those days when I do take the time to reflect, I often carry that positive energy on to the next day. Which during the holidays is so so important. This time of year can be stressful for various reasons, but it doesn’t have to be.
Perspective and practicing gratitude can make all the difference in this crazy life…
Okay… was that too much? Are you still with me? I hope so! Because we haven’t even gotten to the food yet 🙂
Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Squash with creamy almond butter balsamic
Last year for Thanksgiving I made a dish very similar to what we have here today–basically roasted brussels sprouts but tossed in my absolute favorite creamy almond butter balsamic dressing, topped with dried cranberries and sliced almonds. This year I thought I’d add some roasted squash and share with you on the blog. It’s basically the perfect side dish to bring for your holiday gathering. It’s pretty, colorful… and with the help of the creamy almond butter balsamic there’s a good chance you’ll convert some B. sprouts haters into full-out fanatics.
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
- 1 TBS pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
- 2 lbs acorn squash* (butternut, or carnival also works)
- 2 lbs brussels sprouts
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- for the dressing:
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup natural almond butter
- 2 TBS pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp stone ground mustard
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 TBS water to thin
- Preheat oven to 375F and grease a large rimmed baking sheet with oil, or line with silicone mat.
- In a small bowl combine maple syrup, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Whisk together and set aside.
- Prepare squash by peeling and scooping out seeds, cut into cubes. Place on baking sheet.
- Prepare brussels sprouts by trimming ends and cutting in half, length wise. Add to baking sheet with the squash, pour on the maple syrup mixture and stir with spatula to combine.
- Roast vegetables for 20 minutes, then stir and roast for another 10-15 minutes, until squash is soft and brussels sprouts are golden.
- While the vegetables are roasting, make the dressing: combine all ingredients into small blender or combine in medium bowl, and whisk vigorously by hand.
- When the vegetables have finished roasting, transfer to serving dish. Add dried cranberries, sliced almonds (reserving some for garnish on top if desired), and dressing. Gently stir to combine, enjoy warm.
-Dish best served warm, refrigerate leftovers
- What are you bringing to Thanksgiving this year?
- I highly encourage you to write down two big things you’re truly grateful for… don’t be afraid to think outside the box 🙂 And if you feel so inclined, share in the comments below! I love hearing from you <3