Black Friday – Daddy and the Young’uns

Grandpa and Mommy hatched a plan to take Watson to see Coco today (in accidental cosplay, since Watson basically always wants only to wear skeleton clothes). This was a good plan, but it also involved me finding a way to occupy Vivi and Freddy for several hours in suburban New Jersey.

Let me go off on a tangent for a hot second about driving in New Jersey. I’m allowed to do this because I lived here for a decade. I earned this. Anyway, in short, driving in this state is uniformly a nightmare. This is the only place in existence where you can pass within 100 feet of your final destination but still be 2 jughandles, 3 traffic lights, and 10 minutes away. Drivers from here will defend this state against these criticisms, but have no answer for why their purportedly superior system has gained no currency outside of the Garden State’s borders.

So anyway, Vivi and Freddy and I have wound up having a super lo-fi, still very fun afternoon. We walked around Target for a while and marveled at the fact that every department had televisions for sale. Vivi pointed out Santa Claus and Christmas trees and Star Wars. Fred leaned on Vivi for moral and physical support in the cart. Then we picked up a pair of happy meals (not the healthiest, but it’s a nice treat for the kids), and we’ve spent the last hour or so just hanging out in the back of the van being silly and laughing and eating food that’s not great.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that kids aren’t hard to please. If I need to kill a couple of hours, there are worse ways than this. We’re gonna go pick up the rest at the movie theater in a few minutes, and while I’m sure they’ll have had a great time, they also won’t have a couple of cheap happy meal toys, so who’s the real winners?

Vegan Bacon Breadcrumb Roasted Brussels Sprouts

We are late comers to the roasted Brussels sprouts game, and we’ve got to make up for lost time. I never had them growing up because my mom hated them. Jocelyn’s mom had a habit of calling them “little green balls of death,” which you can guess means they weren’t a favorite.

Brussels Sprout Soda: A Bad Taste in My Mouth

One of my only Brussels sprouts experiences before recently was actually not with Brussels sprouts at all. Jones soda makes special holiday packs of sodas that aren’t meant to be drunk so much as endured. A friend brought their Thanksgiving pack into the office for a taste test. The last one on everybody’s list was Brussels sprout soda, and it was without exception the worst drink I have ever tasted. It was so awful that it warned me off of the vegetable itself for over a decade.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts: The Best Taste in My Mouth

But guys, I was so wrong. Once we discovered the power of roasting, we realized we didn’t have to dislike any vegetable anymore. They’re all pretty much delicious when they’re prepared properly. And oh brother, let me tell you, these roasted Brussels sprouts are about as proper as it gets. They’re brown and crispy, and they’re topped with crunchy brown breadcrumbs and salty, smoky vegan bacon. If you’re on the fence about Brussels sprouts, get off of that fence. It’s cold outside. Fences aren’t comfortable to sit on. Rethink your sitting strategy. Also, have some food.

Breadcrumb roasted Brussels sprouts


1 lb quartered Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup lemon dressing
1 Tbsp vegan butter
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegan bacon bits


Toss the sprouts with the lemon dressing. Roast at 450° F until brown. I like them to be super crispy, so I usually leave them in as long as I can. Melt the vegan butter and mix with the breadcrumbs and vegan bacon bits. Broil for 2 minutes, until the breadcrumb mixture is golden brown and you just can’t help but yank them out of the oven and dig in.