Fresh Thanksgiving Sides

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When European settlers arrived in what's now America in the 16th and 17th centuries, they stumbled upon many unfamiliar foods, cranberry bogs included. They also discovered cornstalks, pumpkins and wild turkeys. We credit the Pilgrims with having the first Thanksgiving feast – an ode to the country’s bounty and the foundation of our giving thanks.

This season, don’t forget to thank a farmer for the hours of labor put in to feed you, me and a good part of our world. I’m proud to have grown up on an Illinois farm with memories of taking grain to the local elevator each fall. I can even remember my father and uncle getting up from the Thanksgiving table after we finished dinner to finish the harvest. I learned dedication to a job and gratefulness for our land’s abundance from helping on the farm.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans

Brussels sprouts look like small leafy green buds that resemble miniature cabbages. The buds – exceptionally rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – offer protection from vitamin A deficiency, bone loss, iron-deficiency anemia, some cardiovascular diseases, and colon and prostate cancers. Brussels sprouts also serve as an excellent source of vitamin C. Together with other antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A and E, it helps protect the body by trapping harmful free radicals.

And if anyone turns up their nose, have them try Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans. This warm salad gets a savory crunch from bacon and pecans along with wonderful flavors from rosemary and shallots.

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