Fall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce

October 13, 2016

Fall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring Well

Two years ago yesterday, Scott and I pulled up to an empty apartment in Denver with our moving truck. You can read more on our crazy story of how that came to be here, but today I’m going to mention something I haven’t before. Along with that move came something else, something I wasn’t sure existed and ended up changing my life. I was sick. Not an I don’t feel well and need to take a pill for 2 weeks kind of sick. A real sickness where something inside of me was eating away at my health. I began losing wait, my hair was thinning, the stomach pains grew more severe, and the dizziness began. Two weeks after moving to Denver I hit publish here on Faring Well for the first time. In the midst of the increased nausea, fatigue, pain, exhaustion, and my thinning frame – I kept my head held high in this space and wrote and cooked as if nothing was wrong.

Eight months later, countless doctors visits, blood tests, and treatments done, I finally stumbled into a naturopath’s office who actually listened to me. She helped me narrow down the possibilities to a vicious parasite, something no western medicine doctors had previously considered (surprisingly). My red and white blood cell counts were so low she advised me to wear a mask whenever I left the house. I shrugged off that last part, feeling as though I had made it this far without an infection, and decided to embrace the parasite cleanse (and picked up some iron supplements too). A month later to the day, I woke up and for the first time didn’t feel progressively weaker. This decrease in strength was something I had experienced for so long that the absence of it brought me to tears. The following day I hopped on a plane and headed to NYC for the Saveur Blog Awards, positively beaming. Something, anything, had shown to have an effect on my illness.

I began to feel stronger day by day, and after several months could see the color coming back to my skin and my hair growing out a bit thicker at the roots. I also started to gain weight, something I struggle with mentally as you know from a previous post. But I kept at it, trying to put my health first and figure out how to more fully equip my body’s defense system against parasites, amongst other things. Here I am a year after beginning recovery. I hit my healthy goal weight a few months back, and now having surpassed that goal, I’m on the flip side – trying to figure out how to slow my body from still gaining weight, healthily. It’s been almost four weeks since my last run due to the slow healing of the pinched nerve in my lower back, and I’ve begun to have other digestive issues and allergic reactions to foods that never bothered me before. Sigh.

(Side note: I’m seeing a new doctor here in California who found another parasite and has ordered several other tests. I am in the midst of doing them now alongside taking a few homeopathic remedies that were prescribed. Fingers crossed!)

But if you can wrap your head around this all with me and come full circle, I’m actually sitting here writing this post with my heart full of joy. Despite my struggle with this new-to-me body at times, with the weight gain and chopping off of my long (and once healthy) hair, this bout with sickness and injury has lead to such wonderful discovery. A re-uniting with food, and how it heals and brings excitment into my life. A challenge to discover new ways to exercise and push my body like I had’t considered before. A new flow, a new normal (or no normal). I’m able to see the limitations I put on myself in the past. How I chose to run and only run because I new it would make me thin. Now it no longer does, I’ve plateaued and have to seek other forms of exercise (which has been tough, but also very fun). I look forward to running again soon – but for the joy of it, and as just one of the many forms of exercise I hope to do in order to stay healthy.

The last big limitation revealed to me is in the realm of food. As a food blogger you would think I have a very exciting “eating life”. But to the contrary, with the mental limitations I put on myself (many of these being valid due to physical upsets different foods have brought me) I’ve eaten a very bland and predictable diet. With the occasional bite of something created for the blog from time to time to sooth a craving and test my work. Granted I have wanted to sink my teeth into every recipe I make on repeat, but I was scared. Scared of what my body might do with more than just a bite or small portion. Scared of how my body might look. Constantly passing the plate to my husband to finish for me. But today, friends, I’m confessing this to you and saying NO MORE. Food is nourishment. It is exciting, it is fueling, and it is healing. Today I sit down and eat the food I prepare, by making sure that I create something I can eat without consequence. I am teary-eyed thinking of how I have enjoyed the nourishment and happiness that comes from exploring foods that make me feel incredible the past few days. This is how I use to be – before the sickness, before the bland repetitiveness formulated out of fear.

I have more to say on this all, but need to stop here for today. In the end, this is a cheery post I am writing to you. My sweet readers who melted my heart the other week with your comments and uplifting messages. For any of you suffering from illness, whether it be mental or physical, here is me giving you a hug today and lifting you up. May your struggles reveal a gift, specific to you, as mine have done for me recently. And hear this: even in the midst of pain, in the midst of healing when you are still hurting, you can see the glimmer of light in it all. Even if it is at times dim. I have, and still do, experience light and dark moments throughout this healing process. But the light are beginning to outweigh the dark. On the outside I always radiate happiness, but on the inside a battle ensues. I’ve let the dark win for too long, and am taking back my body and mind – one hour at a time. I’m excited to share with you the meals that come from this major life shift, starting with this one today. See the notes attached to the recipe below for more details, and be well folks. – xx


Ps. I started a new mini series called “kitchen scraps” if you missed it, see the first and second posts so far. And you can watch me make my new favorite bulletproof golden milk on Nom today at 12pm PST too if you’d like to tune in!

Fall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring WellFall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring WellFall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring WellFall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring WellFall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring WellFall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring WellFall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring WellFall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring WellFall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring WellFall Roasted Veg + Creamy Balsamic & Sage Hemp Sauce by Faring Well


FALL ROASTED VEG + CREAMY BALSAMIC & SAGE HEMP SAUCE
Makes 2 snacking servings of vegetables, and 4 servings of sauce.

vegetable roast
12 to 14 brussel sprouts
1 small delicata squash
1 6-inch sun choke
avocado oil (spray or regular)
sea salt

creamy balsamic & sage hemp sauce
1/3 cup raw hemp seeds
1/3 cup filtered water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 large, fresh sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 small garlic clove, or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Fill a saucepan on the stove with an inch of water. Place a steamer basket in the pot and cover. Bring to a boil while you trim and slice the brussel sprouts in half. Place the sprouts in the basket, cover, and reduce heat to medium-high to keep the water simmering. Let steam for 5 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Trim the ends of the delicata squash and slice in half. Use a large metal spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice each half of squash into 1/2 inch thick  pieces and place on the baking sheet, evenly spaced.

Scrub the sunchoke under running water to remove any dirt, and pat dry. Slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick pieces using a mandolin or very sharp knife. Evenly space on the baking sheet as well.

Now add the steamed brussel sprouts to she sheet in the remaining space, squeezing as many in as you can (and popping a few in your mouth as you go for a little snack).

Lightly spray the vegetables with this avocado oil (or lightly drizzle with oil of your choice, toss, and re-space again on the sheet). Sprinkle the vegetables with sea salt, and pop them in the oven. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes without flipping or stirring. The edges of the squash and sunchoke should be golden, and the brussels’ slightly crisped.

Place the ingredients for the hemp sauce in a high speed blender. Blend on low, increasing to high and letting run for 10 seconds (or longer if using a standard blender). The sauce should be creamy and smooth.

Serve the roasted vegetables warm from the oven with a side of sauce for dipping, or drizzled on top. Extra sauce can be stored in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for up to one week.


NOTE: Thanks to my sweet friend Jeannette from @shutthekaleup, I have discovered a way to love roasted brussel sprouts (YAY). The secret she taught me was to give them a quick steam before roasting! It truly gives the sprouts the most wonderful texture. Sunchokes are another vegetable I have fallen for this week. They remind me of parsnips in both flavor and texture, and cook up like little potato rounds. Lastly, what would a fall roast be without my favorite delicata squash. It’s subtle sweetness and creamy baked consistency balances out the other two vegetables perfectly. And this sauce – this sauce! If nothing else, give it a whirl and be prepared for your taste buds to throw a little autumn party.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag photos you post of my recipes with #FWmakers so I can see!

  • Jessica @Nourished by Nutrition October 13, 2016 at 4:14 am

    “On the outside I always radiate happiness, but on the inside a battle ensues. I’ve let the dark win for too long, and am taking back by body and mind – one hour at a time.” —THIS IS EVERYTHING. I’m so grateful for your realness and our friendship. All your words that pour straight from your heart are a push for me in the right direction. You are a blessing in so many ways and I’m so thankful for this positive, encouraging, but most of all REAL space you’ve created here. Remember everyday you can chose health and nourishment, and you can always finds support here.

    Now, about these veggies. Bravo! I’m so happy you found a way to enjoy brussels sprouts. I’m torn between my love for them and eggplant when roasted. I’ve been making a sauce for my roasted with Hope hummus, acv, and a touch of honey and dijon, then top everything off with hemp seeds. But making a sauce out of hemp seeds sounds amazing! Big hugs to you this week! I hope we can chat soon. xx, Jess

  • Lea October 13, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Oh I’m so glad for you! I know you are not in the meat eaters camp, but I wonder if you could reconsider bone broth from organic, lovingly & vegetarian raised animals? Christa Orecchio at thewholejourney.com (there in CA!) has so much info on the how healing it is, far more than any other food group can boast. Either way, your body, your choice, and I so respect how you’re choosing to face these things head . You have some serious grit girl! Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Melo October 13, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Hi Jessie,

    Again, I’m amazed by your brave spirit!
    As someone who has suffered from two stomach ulcers, and whose stomach is consequently permanently damaged, I know a thing or two about the struggles you mention here… I’m so happy you’ve found doctors who’ve been able to guide you to recovery, and that your strength and, yes, wisdom is making the most of it! It really is an inspiration to me, when I think about the darker days I’ve faced in my own recovery, and the new condition I’ve recently been diagnosed with and that imposes a treatment heavy with side-effects, notably affecting my body shape… On my good days, I can wrap my head around it and deploy a variety of activities that help me feel better, but reading posts like this one helps a lot on not-so-good days. So, not only bravo, but also a big thank you…

    All the best,

    xxx

    Melo

  • Shanna | Kiss My Bowl October 13, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Jessie,

    You are an incredible, beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing this vulnerability, for not only owning YOUR truth but for letting all of us in on it also. As with so many people, the struggle with what to eat, how to eat it and so forth is real – yet so many of us deny it. Illness, of any kind, is so unspoken these days and I applaud and support you in your bravery and your recovery.
    I’m so happy that you’ve found a naturopath and a good doctor to help you along this journey, the simple relief of having someone you jive with in your corner is a big deal. Again, you are brilliant. THANK YOU! The more of us who are upfront and honest about what we really do when our screens are shut off, how we really feel about food and the food systems the stronger everyone will become.
    Sending you so much love and so much warmth xoxox

  • Rachel @ Baking Up Bliss October 13, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Oh my this post is life changing. I feel that I understand somewhat what you’re going through. For about a year, I struggled with anorexia, luckily, it was not so severe that I got to and extremely unhealthy weight, but I was definitely less that normal or right for my body. Now, this year, I have been trying so hard to recover and I have gained a lot of weight. I am not by any means overweight or unhealthy, but coming from a mindset that I need to be stick-thin, it is so hard to feel comfortable in my body again. When I read your last post on the subject, I couldn’t stop thinking about what you wrote about putting health over body image. I try to remember it every day. Thank you so much for all of your lovely posts, I know you can make it! Lots of love xoxo

  • Marta e Mimma | Naturalmente buono October 13, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Oh, dear Jessie, you and your posts. When I read your posts it’s like if I can let all of my feelings and struggles out with you. As I already mentioned into the first post about your story, I also struggled with anorexia when I was fifteen. I lost an enormous amount of weight in about 6 months. I had to be hospitalized, but I fought with all my strength not to be and to recover myself all by myself. Now it’s been 3 years that I’m “recovered” but I won’t lie to you: it isn’t always that easy, and I bet you know it. I often end up eating too many veggies just to fill myself (= stomach aches as I’m also struggling with IBS) and, even if I always eat everything I post on my blog, I still find difficult to eat sweet stuff and I go a little crazy when there’s a lot of oil on my plate. But I’m going to face this. But I’m proud to say that I do not restrict on food anymore, even if I’m sick, I know food is my fuel and, honestly, I’m not able anymore to skip a meal. It’s not always easy to accept my body, but I’m doing my best to love it as much as I can. So, everything I can tell is the most sincere “THANK YOU”. You’re such a wonderful girl.

  • Lauren October 13, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    I LIVE for Brussels sprout season! Steaming them is my go-to method (followed by a liberal spoonful of whole grain mustard and a pinch of salt :P) but steaming then roasting is pretty genius and I’ll have to try that next time. If it helps you feel less afraid, I have sunk my teeth into a good handful of the recipes you have posted here without a single negative consequence. You’re on the right path, girl. I just know it!

  • danielle | rooting the sun October 13, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    jessie, your feelings here are so incredibly appreciated. having the courage, patience, and strength to share your story in this space is huge. you’ve been so open and honest and i give you all the warmth to enjoy the happiness that you feel welling up within you now. some roads are really long and sometimes the scenery is haunting, bland, or blurry. cheers to your beautiful energy and being able to enjoy new roads, with bright colors. this dish is a celebration and so is life. major love lady. xo

  • Nicky October 14, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Have they given you black walnut for parasite? That’s an old remedy but stop taking it after its gone.

  • Emily | Gather & Dine October 17, 2016 at 8:21 am

    What a tough road you’ve been on, Jessie. Big high fives for persevering and navigating through all of the ups and downs. Truly, you are so admirable. Thanks again for opening up. One would never know the struggle behind all of your gorgeous photos of incredible food. Delicata is probably my all time fave squash and what a gorgeous fall platter you’ve created with those brussels and sage sauce. A good sauce makes such a difference! Here’s to eating for nourishment, to knowing that you’re beautiful just the way you are, and to continued healing and strength. love and prayers for you. xo

  • Dina October 19, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    So much of what you wrote here is all too familiar to me, Jessie. While I haven’t the health issues you have suffered through, with the exception of some really awful headaches, the rest of the story is all so familiar to me. The body images that we have been brought up to admire and aspire to are completely unrealistic and unhealthy but, since we women are only recently beginning to fight back, it’s going to take a lot of support from one another to win this battle for ourselves and for the younger generations. I remember the confusion I would feel when the clothing manufacturers starting messing with the sizing standards. One year I was wearing one size and the next year, although I’d not lost any weight, purchasing from the same manufacturer, I was wearing two sizes smaller. That’s just one example of the mind games we’ve been subjected to by a powerful fashion industry trying to sell us more and more and more of what we really don’t need and, making us feel inadequate along the way. I could go on but I’ll stop here and, instead, add my voice to those above who commend you for your honesty and sharing. xo