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“Have A Nice Cooking Time” (or Belle’s Thanksgiving Feast – Part II)



Today I promised three vegan/gluten-free Thanksgiving sides and I am determined to deliver but first let’s talk about my microwave since you all had to muck through the earlier post of doom, gloom and negativity.

Back in college my mom gave me a cheap white microwave from Wal-Mart. I believe it was a “Magic Chef” brand and was quite likely  leaked crazy microwave juice into my eyes each time I hovered too close to make sure my oatmeal did not explode.  (Why the hell does oatmeal explode like that in the microwave anyways?)

Microwave juice in my eyes or not, this little Magic Chef served me well for many years. It had some delightful features like “frozen vegetables” and “popcorn” buttons and a handy clock that I could never figure out how to set. Most electronics in my house continue to flash the incorrect time till death to we part but not my Magic Chef. When not programmed with the time, this little microwave would scroll the words “HAVE A NICE COOKING TIME” in a classic digital font.

I loved it! A little greeting every time I heated a can of dollar store soup!

At one point my boyfriend thought he would “help” and set the clock. As soon as he left I unplugged and replugged the microwave to set it back to “HAVE A NICE COOKING TIME.” I mean come on, who does not want a microwave that wishes them good times while heating their dinner?

“HAVE A NICE COOKING TIME,” says the microwave.

“Why thank you! You have a nice time cooking!” says the Belle.


Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Arils


Adapted from Appetite for Reduction
Serves 4

Notes: 1.) Isa’s original recipe does not call for pomegranates and uses onions in place of shallots. I love shallots and I recently saw a recipe for a Brussels salad with pomegranates and thought “Hey! Why not toss those in with my Shaved Sprouts for color and a burst of flavor? 2.) I once made this recipe for my very picky mother (sans pomegranates) and she actually liked it… and had seconds! This is HUGE for my mom who is a meat and potato woman through-and-through. Anytime they visit I expose her to some new and “gross” vegetable. Normally she politely tastes it and then pushes the rest to the edge of her plate so the fact that she had seconds is a HUGE testament to the recipe.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot*
6 cloves garlic
1 pound thinly sliced Brussels Sprouts
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pomegranate, arils removed and cleaned*

Isa’s Tip:
To get the Brussels sprouts “shaved” trim the nub on the bottom and slice the sprout in half lengthwise. Then just slice the spouts into thin-as-you-can lengthwise strips. It might take a bit of time but it is a great way to enjoy them.

Preheat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cast iron works best here to get a nice and crispy sprout. Saute the shallot for about 3 minutes until starting to brown. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Add the Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper. Saute for about 7 minutes until the leaves are browned and crisp. Transfer sprouts to a serving bowl and carefully stir in your arils. Enjoy!

Roasted Green Bean Bundles

From Vegetarian Times, December 2012 edition
Serves 8

Notes: 1.) Personally, I think this serves four. I fed four with it and we had no beans left so plan based on how piggy hungry your guests are! 2.) I went to our local co-op and mooched some twine from their butcher for this. You can also order this from Amazon. 3.) The bean bundles looked like this but, you know, tied with twine instead of bacon. If you are into the bacon thing, I hear this is also good, although about as vegan as frying your veggie burger in bacon grease (One of my favorite “Stoned Snacks” back in the day!) 4.) And finally, I did everything but roast the beans in advance. 15 minutes before dinner was to be served I popped them in the oven and they were perfectly done just in time.

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1/2 large red onion, thinly shaved length wise
1 tablespoon garlic-flavored olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Fresh ground pepper & kosher salt
Kitchen or butchers twine


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line baking sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and red onion and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain, then pat.
  3. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, mustard, table salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add beans and onions and toss to coat.
  4. Group beans and onion slices into 8 bundles and tie each bundle with 8-inch piece of kitchen twine. Place bundles tie side down on prepared baking sheet. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until bean ends begin to brown. Flip bundles with tongs so tie side is up and bake another 7 to 10 minutes, or until bean tips are brown. Transfer bundles to a serving plate and garnish with pepper and kosher salt.

Honey Glazed Carrots with Garlic


From Whole Living magazine, November 2012
Serves 6

Notes: 1.) This is amazing. 2.) The heirloom multicolored carrots REALLY make the dish. I found mine at Whole Foods and have seen them at the co-op. Worth the hunt in my opinion, otherwise it should work just as well with small regular carrots. 3.) I did not have whole dried chilies so I used a few pinches of red pepper flakes. 4.) Whole Living does not call to peel the carrots. That skeeved me out so I peeled mine. Your choice. 5.) I made this in advance and gently reheated prior to serving. Just as delicious, if not better, after the flavors hang out together.

1 1/2 pounds small multicolored carrots, trimmed and scrubbed (peeled if you are weirded out like I am)
1 small head garlic, halved width wise
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 dried red chili, halved (or a pinch or two of red pepper flakes)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary


  1. In a large skillet, arrange the carrots and top of the garlic in a single layer and cover with water. Season generously with salt. Bring to a boil , then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove carrots and garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain water and wipe out pan. Heat to medium high  Add oil, honey, chili/red pepper flakes, rosemary and 1 tablespoon water and cook until bubbling. Add carrots and garlic and cook, stirring until coated and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt.

Next week I’ll share my pie recipes with you. One will be vegan/gluten-free and the other will be full of allergens but an amazing Kentucky-treat for our guests!




Post a comment
  1. stupidstork #
    November 9, 2012

    I would like you to send me everything you’ve just described in an envelope.

  2. November 9, 2012

    I am so jealous of your well-wishing microwave. Ours says nothing but the occasional ‘child lock on,’ very annoying because then we have to dig out the manual to fix it.

    I did not like Brussels sprouts the one time I had them, but I’m willing to give them another shot now. I looove roasted green beans, and have been known to have them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Roasted carrots and garlic are the same story. And cauliflower. And now I need some veggies!

  3. November 10, 2012

    What a fun microwave!

    That brussel sprout recipe sounds amazing! I want to go buy some of those right now.

    How do you keep from looking like an axe murderer when messing with pomegranates?

  4. jak #
    November 11, 2012

    i have held off reading your thanksgivin posts until my stomach was “reset” this morning… i think i’m about 2 wks ahead of you and your birdie, and (sorry, bad news ahead), the morning sickness gets worse. only for me (like you sometimes) it’s really evening sickness, and it wrecks my dinner, every night. i can’t even cook. i have no blessed idea in hell how i am supposed to cook thanksgiving dinner for my side of the family IF I CANT EVEN STAND THE F$%^#@$# SMELL OF FOOD.

    so!, i waited until the morning, had a bland breakfast of soy milk and cream of wheat, and just now read your lovely posts. i am not at all vegan… and, i am probably capable of taking sticks of bacon and dipping them into mayo as a snack. that said, I LOVE VEGETABLES and yours look AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! some of the best veg recipes i have ever seen. b sprouts are probably my fav veggie and i think people who dont like them, probably havent had them cooked in a creative way… cast iron skillet fo shizzle… makes them almost sweet when they get a little burnt (i put a little balsamic on mine – cheating – which also adds a little sweetness).

    thanks for the inspiration:) and good luck with your thanksgiving dinner!!!! i think we all wish we were there with you instead of eating dried turkey at our in-laws houses!!!

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