Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction


I haven’t written for a while because life threw us for a loop about a month ago.  One day my 4 year old son was his normal energetic self and the next day he’s on the couch with a headache and not enough energy to even sit up.  Our month has been full of doctors visits which, when you live in the middle of nowhere in the mountains, turns into full day or even week long excursions.  Max had a headache, a day of vomiting, constant fatigue, and then eventually he had some double vision and facial nerve palsy.   February, leading into March has consisted of over half a dozen doctors visits, multiple ER’s, CT scans, blood work, MRI, and a lumbar puncture in multiple towns and cities including Crested Butte, Gunnsion, Montrose and Denver.  Grand Junction is about the make the list too.    The best news is that what Max has is not life threatening!  The scary part is that he has papilledema caused by idiopathic intracranial hypertension.   Papilledema is swollen optic nerves which resulted from too much cerebral spinal fluid which caused the intracranial hypertension.  Idiopathic is a fancy word doctors have for “we have no idea why this happened.”   No tumor thank goodness, no virus, and no real trauma, although he had some minor incidences… what toddler doesn’t!   We are still in the “gathering information” stage and have a follow up MRI as well and appointments with the neurologist and ophthalmologist (which is a word that never gets easier for me to spell) and are hoping that this is a one time random occurrence that will not effect his vision.  Max has his energy back and is laughing and playing which is so incredibly wonderful.  Skiing is out for the season but he is thrilled to be back at school a couple days a weeks and playing with friends.

One of the biggest daily challenges is getting him to take his medicine.    I hate that he even has to take pills everyday, but I know that for now he does to reduce the possible build up of fluid in his brain.   Getting that pill into him twice a day is becoming a battle.   So far, I am the winner, but boy does he put up the good fight!   The pharmacist and doctors calls them “sprinkles” because you can open the pill and there are little while pellets or “sprinkles” and they tell parents to just sprinkle it on their yogurt or applesauce as though it’s no big deal.  Really?   Have you met my son? Do you have kids?   You don’t think Max is going to question those white specks in his food?  Really?    If I buy a different type of applesauce than Max is used to that is a shade darker, forrgetaboutit.   Nope.   He won’t go near it.   It is ridiculous but I am pretty sure he got this trait from me and not his father.  Payback time- you know what they say.

If anyone been through this and has tips, I am all ears!  We have been putting it in a marshmallow for the last couple weeks and at first it worked like a charm.  He would complain of a yucky taste in his teeth but I would quickly give him another (medicine free) marshmallow to take the taste away. But he is on to us now.  There is no more lying and saying, ” No sweetie, there is no medicine in there.”   Poor kid isn’t going to believe a word I say if I keep that up.   So we are being Honest Abe about it and explaining why he has to take the meds and that no, this is not something mom and dad are backing down from.   The drama he displays is quite a show and the amount of bribes he has been offered this month is getting ridiculous.  From sweets to toys, uh yuh yuh!   I try to take the healthiest approach to junk so it is Sunspire Sun Drops instead of M&M’s, Yummy Earth lollipops instead of blowpops, and vegan, air puffed, all natural marshmallows to Kraft ones.  But really, besides the absence of harmful food coloring and other more natural ingredients, it’s still junk.    Again, any tips are welcome!   We did offer the medicine in pudding, ice cream and applesauce. Eric even tried to teach him how to swallow a pill…no go.  no sir.  no way.   Marshmallows it is…for now.

I have done some cooking this month but not much documenting.    Here is a very simple recipe.  I sort of feel like I am cheating, but simple is so nice sometimes.  Those who remember the boiled Brussels Sprouts from their childhood might shy away from this but I encourage you to give give the sprouts a chance!   You might be pleasantly surprised.  The reduced balsamic vinegar turns into a rich, thick and sweet sauce.   If you need some more convincing to get your husband to try Brussels Sprouts, after you brown them, put them in a pan on the stove with a half a bottle of beer and reduce them for about 10 minutes.

The Brussels Sprouts could be on their own as a side dish, or you could add them to a salad to make it a little more interesting and super delicious.

Here is this recipe:


1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar

2 Cups Brussels Sprouts

Olive Oil

For the Salad:

Fresh Spinach

1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds

1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.    Cut Brussels in half and drizzle olive oil on top with a sprinkle of celtic sea salt.     Lay them flat on a baking sheet and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until they just start to brown.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan,  pour about a 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar into a small saucepan and reduce for 5-10 minutes.   Watch the pan fairly carefully or you could come back to a very thin layer of caramel like sauce!  The Balsamic will thicken up and you will end up with about half as much liquid as when you started.   Pour 1/4 of the reduction on to the Brussels Sprouts- or all of it if you are adding the Brussels Sprouts to a salad.

In a skillet ( I use a cast iron pan) toast the slivered Almonds.   You want to watch these fairly carefully or they will burn.   The time between not quite done and burnt it about 2 blinks of the eyelash.  Clean the  Spinach and take out  the Pomegranate seeds.   Put the Spinach in a serving bowl and pour about 1/8 cup Olive Oil and the rest of the Reduced Balsamic.   Add the pomegranates, almonds and Brussels and toss.   Enjoy!

8 responses »

  1. Luisa & Eric,

    Great stuff as usual! Looks yummy! Our thoughts are with you guys as you take your tour of the CO medical providers! Sounds like Max is doing great….Chris

  2. Thanks Luisa! Another awesome recipe. Glad to hear that Max is doing better and life is getting back to a little more normalcy. I always give my dog her pills with peanut butter from a spoon. Just an idea. Good luck!

  3. Wow what a roller coaster!! Sounds positive! Look forward to getting together soon!! Can’t wait to try that recipe!!

  4. We are glad Max is back at school too!! I have been on a brussell sprout kick and will definately try your recipe out.Thanks for the post.

  5. Luisa, I am so sorry for all that you have been through! I can only imagine how intense things have been and I am so happy to hear that Max is dong well. When I was younger, my parents and I had medicine fights all the time, there was no really easy way around it. I had sprinkles in my yogurt for years because of my severe asthma. No fun. Sounds like you are doing all that you can.
    YOU are in my prayers & I love your website, keep on writing & cooking!
    XO Michele

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