Thursday, November 27, 2014

Roasted Root Vegetables with Maple Fig Balamic Marinade

Although the starkness of winter has only just begun, I'm already aching for a farmer's market full of all things green and lively. The bitter cold knocks out most of the vegetables that I truly love so I always try to challenge myself to bring life to the ones I'm not nuts about.

For my Thanksgiving side dish offering, I prepared a spread of roasted root vegetables. Originally, I was going to make a hash with hot sausage and kale added to the roots but then I had a fleeting thought to just simply roast them. This dish is marinaded in a sweet and tangy maple syurp and balasamic vinegar concotion with fresh herbs overnight then roasted at a high temperature. It's a great colorful side for this time of year and the flavors all meld together, giving it a smooth taste. Added bonus? this is a very cheap dish to make!


1 sweet potato
1 russet potato
1 large turnip
1 large sweet onion
1 large yellow squash
3 carrots
1/2 purple onion
Fresh thyme, rosemary and sage

2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 fig balasmic vinegar
3/4 olive oil (I used half garlic oil and half olive)
Fresh cracked black pepper
Kosher salt to taste


  1. Peel and dice the potatoes, onions and turnips. Chop up the yellow squash. Try to make all the pieces even sized - it will help them cook evenly 
  2. Sprinkle with salt then place in a gallon sized freezer bag. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup, oil, vinegar. Finely chop the fresh herbs. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Place the veggies in the bag and pour marinade over top. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Line baking sheets with foil (you may need two depending on size), spead the vegetables evenly. If they seem a little dry, you can spray them with a little cooking spray. 
  7. Roast until slightly caramelized and tender. Depending on your oven, it will take about 45 minutes.



In the wee hours of Thanksgiving Day, what else is one supposed to do besides lay awake and reflect on what they're thankful for this year? It's 3:30am and I've woken with a reflective spirit, quite fitting for a day like today. So, here is what I'm thankful for this year:


This time last year health had shaken the foundation of my family. There is such a mysteriousness centered in illness. It's ying and yang, black and white. One minute everything is fine the next minute no one knows what the minute after that will hold. The waiting, the uncertainty, the emotions; I'd taken health (both of myself and my world) for granted for a long time before last year. Words cannot begin to cover how grateful I am that I have my Mom back in both health and happiness.


Four years ago, this wouldn't have come close to making my list. After finally graduating, and doing so Summa Cum Laude, I now can feel the power of higher education. It's not just about earning more money, scoring a better title to slap on business card or bragging about your school's stats. For me, having the opportunity to go to college was a personal triumph that taught me the power of persistence, discipline and consistency. I am so thankful that I can say that I am the first person in my family to earn a college degree.


I'm just about seven months into my 'real life' and I am thankful for a sense of solidarity. I am thankful that I don't feel like all those 'it's okay to be totally lost in your twenties' articles. I am thankful that my parents raised me to value a day's work. Some days, I've felt completely insane working two jobs. But, damn, how lucky am I to have two jobs where there are so many people more qualified than I am who can't even find one? I'm lucky to have found peace, for the most part, with myself this year, too. You can read more about that here.


"Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go." -Sarah Dessen. At the end of the day, there is nothing in life that I am more thankful for than my family. Each year, different friends disappear, people change, life changes but the one thing that remains a constant is by far the most important. The unwavering support, brutal honesty, deep belly laughs, the rescue calls to Dad, the crying calls to Mom, the 'does this make me look fat' questions to my oh-so-honest sister - that's where it's at.

There are also things I am thankful for which are far less profound and much more mundane but still, I am thankful for them. To name a few: caffeine (my drug of choice), shoes (but more so the feeling that accompanies buying and wearing anything over 3 inches), my kitchen, GPS, weekly check-ins with my Hammy Q, cheap wine, bare feet, thrift stores, Pinterest, people who really piss me off, freedom of speech, my Special Olympics athletes, the color black, the quilts my Mom has crafted me, elastic, fresh blonde, cuss words, cold Chinese takeout, tupperware, modern medicine, dirt and my ole Cobalt.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!