Lizards and Brussels Sprouts Slaw

I’m an animal lover. I really am. I just prefer them to stay in one piece.

Back in my senior year high school, my parents and brothers went on a weekend vacation, and I had stayed home for an extra day since I was planning on visiting some friends in college. As the responsible child, it was my job to feed the pets before I left.

Which included the anoles.

Now, I had grown up with two dogs, two cats, two frogs, and two fish. I was no stranger to animals, nor taking care of them. But lizards were different, especially since I had to feed them live grasshoppers.

Here I was, about to be picked up by friends for the weekend, and it was doing what I had put off until last- the delicate balance of lifting the lid off the lizard tank, scooping up and dropping in the proper number of crickets, and then putting the lid back on fast enough so that nothing got out. As you can guess, I did not succeed.

The second upon lifting the lid and dropped in the bugs, it happened.

A lizard jumped out and jumped at me. Naturally, I yelled, which then scared the bugger off so it jumped for the wall. Realizing that the rest of my family would kill me if I gave the anole free reign of the house, I reached for it.

Funny thing about lizards. They realize that their tails are the most likely thing to be grabbed by predators, so they are equipped with a fail safe.

I yelled even louder when I realized that I was holding in my hand not an entire anole, but just its tail.

It took me the next hour (and help) to finally catch the tailless lizard. And I refused to feed the lizards again.

Don’t Lose a Limb Brussels Sprouts Slaw

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be careful with those fingers and a mandolin!

Ingredients
2 lb Brussels sprouts
3 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled and fat saved for dressing
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/4 c pine nuts
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp Dijon mustard (trader joes makes a great white wine version)
Bacon fat from bacon (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 c apple cider vinegar (depending on how thick you like your dressing)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper

How-to
1. In a large pan, fry up bacon slices. Crumble into a large bowl and reserve fat.
2. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice up Brussels sprouts and place in the large bowl.
3. Add the cranberries, pine nuts, Parmesan, and toss to mix.
4. In a jelly jar, add mustard, bacon fat, olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Shake jar well to combine. Add additional vinegar or olive oil as needed to adjust consistency to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Pour dressing over slaw and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or cover and chill for an hour if you don’t like your slaw as crunchy.

Keeps in the fridge for up to three days.

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Gardens and Brussels Sprouts

I wasn’t your average kid. Then again, you probably assumed that already.

Unlike most kids my age, I love vegetables (except tomatoes, weirdly enough). My parents had a garden behind the garage, and I would sneak out there and munch away. I was a regular rabbit.

According to my mom, I was about 2 years old at the time and it was the middle of summer. I was decked out in my favorite Tweety Bird bathing suit since I had just been having a grand ol’ time in the kiddie pool. I then had sneaked out to the garden.

My mother called my name to take a walk around the block to visit some neighbors, and I appeared by the side door with a huge handful of green beans. We then went on our visit (well, more like my mom talked to my neighbors while I ran around on front yards) and she couldn’t figure out how I constantly appeared to be eating green beans….the handful should have run out ages ago.

It wasn’t until we were heading back to the house that my mother noticed I looked a bit…different. Specifically, the front of my bathing suit looked pretty lumpy.

Mom: “Megan, where on earth are you getting all of these green beans?”

I proudly pulled forward the front of my bathing suit, which revealed my stash of practically a bushel of green beans that I had ever so cleverly decided to pack. AND a delightful rash all over my belly to go along with it (really, they should have seen my grass allergy coming YEARS ago).

While my parents were happy I liked vegetables, they did finally decide that they might need to watch me in the garden from now on.

Disappearing Roasted Brussels Sprouts

unfortunately these are NOT never-ending

Ingredients

  • 1 bag fresh brussels sprouts (I think it’s normally a 1-2 lb bag- approximately $2.99 when not on sale)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut brussels sprouts in half. Remove any wilted or old outer leaves. Toss into an 8x8in glass baking dish (or whatever else you happen to have on hand).
  3. Coat liberally with olive oil spray.
  4. Salt and pepper liberally and dust with garlic powder.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft and golden brown on the outer leaves. You might need to spray additional times with olive oil so they don’t burn (I normally check every 10 minutes or so to make sure that doesn’t happen).