Category Archives: Lunch

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Buttercup Squash and Cranberries with Toasted Breadcrumbs

We were lucky enough in Vermont to escape the wrath of Hurricane Sandy; however, my heart goes out to all of those affected by the superstorm. Having grown up on the Connecticut shoreline, family members and friends have been in my thoughts constantly.  My parents fared well, but if you’ve met my dad, you know they were ready. Others in my hometown were not so lucky. The day after the storm, on my way to work, I saw a rainbow. I stopped to snap a pic and sent it to my mom, with the caption “a good omen.” Peoples support for one another this past week has been astounding, and has shown what the human spirit is truly capable of.
On another non-related note… Mark and I filed for domestic partnership and it was approved by the state of Vermont this week. Oh to be financially interdependent! How romantic!
Saturday night we met Mark’s parents for dinner at the Home Hill Inn.
It’s an old inn on the Connecticut river, with a restaurant that focuses on the use of local ingredients. Mark’s parents brought gifts: cheesy kielbasa for Mark and a stalk of brussels sprouts, from their garden, for me. Thanks for the dinner and gifts!
Naturally I had to find something to do with the brussels sprouts, so for lunch yesterday I had brussels sprouts with buttercup squash, cranberries and toasted breadcrumbs. Buttercup squash was new to me; I’ve been seeing it at the store and finally gave it a try. It’s a sweet, dry squash, with orange flesh and green skin. It tastes kind of like a sweet potato.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Buttercup Squash and Cranberries with Toasted Breadcrumbs 
1/2 lb of brussels sprouts
1 buttercup squash, peeled and cubed (you could sub any other winter squash
1/4 cup of cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of mustard
2 teaspoons of maple syrup
Black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried garlic
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
3 tablespoons of whole wheat or gluten-free breadcrumbs
Cooking spray or oil for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all ingredients through red pepper flakes, tossing to coat. Spread out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Once browned and cooked through, add cranberries and divide evenly between 4 ramekins. Divide bread crumbs evenly over the top of the ramekins and spray with a little cooking spray or drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Return to oven for 5 minutes, turning the broiler on for the last minute to brown the breadcrumbs. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

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Filed under Dinner, Lunch, Salads

the Seneca 7 and Spring Rolls

Since I last blogged, in mid April, a lot has happened and life has been a little crazy.

I went on a field trip to the heart of coaltown, PA for a depressing Geochemistry Fieldtrip to study acid mine drainage… their water runs orange from all of the pollution.

It was my birthday so Mark took me to the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants around, and the Ithaca Farmers Market… I was a happy birthday girl!

Then yesterday, Team Lava Tigers took on the Seneca 7, a 77.7 mile relay race around Seneca Lake. How it works is you get 7 runners and each runner has 3 legs of the race to run and you rotate through your roster, passing off an “official” slap bracelet. The 7 of us held strong at 7:59/mile pace and finished in 10 hours and 21 minutes, putting us in 41st place out of 150 teams… not too shabby!

Stephen, Katie, Emma, Me, Mark, Amil and Will

We did however go through 4 cars… 1st mine, which didn’t start when we climbed in at 6:30 am. So we switched to my teammate, Emma’s, which got us to mile 45, before black smoke erupted from under the hood. So the next two runners, Mark and Katie bummed rides to their exchange points while Emma’s parents drove to our rescue. They got Amil, our next runner, to the next exchange point just as Katie crested the hill… perfect timing. Then they drove us ahead to our next two exchange points. Then Will’s girlfriend Rachel met us to transport us to the final 3 exchange points while Emma’s parents went back to meet the tow truck.

Even with all the craziness, we had a blast and ended our senior year on a great note. I am also super proud of what I accomplished. I ran 11 miles, crested a 350 ft vertical climb coming out of Watkins Glen and showed real mental toughness. This means so much more to me because I have very severe asthma and was born with underdeveloped lungs… every year since I can remember I have failed the lung functioning test, which measures the amount and speed or flow of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. Doctors are shocked when the find out I can run more than half a mile. Training meant not only building up my leg strength but my lung strength as well. I’ll admit it was hard when my lungs gave out before my legs some training days but I kept my asthma in check all day yesterday. This race showed me that I do not have to be defined by my asthma. Some days, I can’t help but wonder what kind of athlete of would be if I was blessed with fully functioning lungs… but after yesterday I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve wanted to make spring rolls for the past few years. So I bought some rice paper the other day at the store. I did some reading about making spring rolls and learned a few tips and tricks. First things first, prep all your veggies. Another key thing is to use cold water to soak the rice paper and to only leave it in the water for about 5 seconds. It’s also best if you wrap a cutting board in a clean dish towel and use that to do your rolling. I also made a little assembly line for the whole process. You could add cooked shrimp or meat if you want to.

Spring Rolls (makes 6)

6 rice paper rounds

20 baby carrots, cut into match sticks

3/4 of a bell pepper, cut into match sticks

3 cups of spinach (or butter lettuce or whatever you like)

1/2 and avocado, sliced thin

Set up you station and assembly line. I put the rice paper next to a plate of cold water, then the cutting board wrapped in a towel and the plate of fillings. Then I cleared a place to put the finished rolls. Dip one rice paper round into the water for 4-5 seconds, then remove it and let the excess water drain back onto the plate. Place it on the towel and place 3/4 of a cup worth of filling in the center, but slightly more towards the bottom of the rice paper circle. Fold in the sides and roll the roll away from you making sure to tuck the paper in snuggly as you go, and press it lightly to seal. Move it to the side and repeat. It helps if you line the filling up neatly, parallel to the long side of the roll before you roll it up.


We served ours with a sauce made of peanut butter, coconut milk, hosin, soy sauce, garlic and chinese five spice… but plain old soy sauce works too.

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Fluffy Omelets

This weekend I went to Mark’s parent’s house. Not sure if you are feeling the heat wave, but it has been like the living in the Sahara desert for the past few days. Mark and I went for a 3 mile run on Saturday afternoon, in about 98 degree heat. I felt surprisingly good, but I was sweating buckets. When we got back, we went for a quick dip in the Deerfield River to cool off. I made us some omelets for a late lunch. Mark has recently discovered that he actually likes eggs, so we’ve been eating a fair amount of them lately. Not sure if you know this but eggs are back on the good for you list. I don’t really buy into the good or bad for you deal but I do support “all things in moderation”.  I went all out for these omelets, whipping up the whites to make them super light and fluffy. It’s time consuming but totally worth it if you have the time. Also, when separating the eggs (yoke from white), I recommend cutting out a yolk or two, you still get all the flavor of the yoke but less of the cholesterol (and calories). After you whip up the eggs, gently fold the yolks into the whites and spoon the mixture into your pan. I also like to broil the tops of mine so the top side gets golden brown as well. We sautéed some veggies in one pan and some turkey kielbasa in another (for Mark’s omelet), to keep mine vegetarian.


Fluffy Omelets

Makes 2 omelets

4 eggs, separated (I used only 3 of the yolks)

¼- ½ tsp cream of tartar

4 tbs of oil

½ bell pepper sliced or diced

¼ medium onion sliced or diced

½ tomato, diced

2-4 oz of precooked turkey kielbasa (optional, I’m not sure how much Mark ended up dicing up)


To separate the eggs you need 2 bowls, one large and one small, crack the egg over the large bowl and try to get as much of the white in the bowl, while keeping the yolk in one of the shell halves. Transfer the yolk back and forth between the two shell halves, over the big bowl… trying to get as much of the white into the bowl as possible… try really hard not to break the yolk. Place the yolk in the smaller bowl and repeat with the remaining eggs. I just tossed out the last yolk. If you drop a yolk into the big bowl, try to scoop it out carefully with a spoon, without breaking it.


Whip the whites on high with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, add in the cream of tartar and whip to incorporate it. Then add in yolks and carefully fold them into the whites with a rubber spatula. Do this very gently so that all of the air you whipped in does not come out. Once combined, spoon into a frying pan heated over medium heat and coated with cooking spray or a bit of oil.

We made 2 separate omelets, in order to customize our toppings. Let the omelets cook for about 5 mins until the underside is brown and the top is firm. While they cook, sauté the veggies (and meat) in some olive oil. (I did not sauté the tomatoes, I let the broiler cook them). Arrange veggies over the top of the firmed omelets.

Place the omelet about 4-6 inches below a preheated broiler. This will take only a minute, as soon as the tops start to brown pull them out. They can burn very quickly because the boiler can get really, really hot. Also the handle of the pan may get hot, so use caution.

Remove the omelet from the pan. Dress the omelet up how you’d like… I opted for black pepper on top and ketchup on the side. Mark doused his with black pepper and sriracha … he likes his spice.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch