Science is Real!

Author: Maggie McGovney

After many a debate, I’ve said that I wish I could choose science as my religion.

That’s not to say science belongs in the same category as faith.  The good thing about science is that you don’t need to have faith in it; in fact, it wishes you wouldn’t.  It demands skepticism.  It says, “Please question me.  Please argue with me.  Please be as credulous as you can.  If you find something about me that isn’t right, let everyone know so that we can fix it.”  I want science to count as my religion because of the respect religion gets in our culture.

Contine reading

Chatham skimps on Black History Month for 2016

As February comes to a close, Chatham students can’t help but notice the lack of events celebrating Black History Month.

The month stems from “Negro History Week” that took place in the second week of February, to include the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. It was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a black historian, and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Black community’s in 1940’s West Virginia began celebrating the full month, but it wasn’t until after the events of the 1960’s that the association was asked to officially make it a full celebratory month. In 1976, fifty years after the first celebration, the Association used its influence to institutionalize the shifts from Negro History week to Black History Month.*

Forty years later as Black History Month for 2016 rolls around again, students on Chatham’s campus have begun to question where the celebratory events are. Last school year, Step Afrika! was brought to the campus and there were tickets available to students for the annual Steel City Step Show, a celebration put on by Pitt to recognize historically black Greek letter organizations in Pittsburgh. The year before that, Zapology, a reggae singer, came. Even in the 90’s, legendary leaders such as Coretta Scott King came and spoke in the chapel.

This year has seen a campaign for #blacklivesmatter where students, faculty, and staff were able to give a quote and a photograph that would be put on a poster, online, and around campus. The campaign was also accompanied by the “All Lives Matter vs. Black Lives Matter” discussion being held Monday the 29th.

Chatham’s campaign is in response to the Hashtag movement started in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. The movement picked up again in the summer of 2015 as it became more of a political statement.

Some students of color on campus are concerned that the campaign is turning the hashtag into a fad, and is silencing the work and meaning behind the statement.

Odera Igwe, a black sophomore student, believes that the #blacklivesmatter campaign on campus was started “too late and with extreme hesitance” and lacked education about the movement’s origins.

“Yes, this movement is still happening. However, because of the hesitation, there was no ‘hype.’ It was just thrown together.” Said Igwe. “I still appreciate that it was done, whether it was in honor of black history month or not, but I believe that there should have been a more timely response to [Black Lives Matter] just like anything else that happens in the world and [off] campus. I think because it was so nonchalantly put together, [fewer] people cared, and that is the opposite of what we want.”

Last Week, the Black Student Union (BSU) put on “BSU Week.” It was kicked off with a dinner in Anderson, consisted of deep conversations about privilege and the experience at Chatham for black students, and concluded with the traditional BSU showcase. BSU collaborated with Pyramid Pittsburgh for the final event, which is described as an artistic celebration showcasing black creativity, history, nowstory, pride, peace, and love. All the events were open to the community and had diverse audiences.

However, at the Real Talk about privilege earlier that week, one white student even commented on the limited attendance of Chatham students, especially the students who make up the Predominately White Institution (PWI) that Chatham is.

When asked about the presence of Black History Month on Chatham’s campus, BSU president Lauren Brown said, “For all the years that I’ve been here, if BSU was not around, nothing would be done to celebrate African American History Month.” She went on to say that she can’t recall any dinners, performances, or events put together around Black History Month.

“There’s always something for Hispanic heritage month. They have the churros. Or [for] the Chinese New Year they had a nice lunch at Anderson, as well as [for] Mardi Gras.” Brown continued, “When it comes to African American History Month, if there were no black students here to really mobilize [and] throw any type of event, [there would not be an event] and that really makes me feel some type of way. I feel like there’s a lack of support for African Americans here on Chatham’s campus.”

Brown says she received a message from a friend who was given the opportunity to ask Chatham’s own president, Esther Barazzone, how she was supporting African Americans and other minorities. Brown called the president’s answer a “shame.”

“All she could say [was] ‘oh there’s a black student union, they do a really great job of throwing events’ and that was it. [President Barazzone] had nothing to say outside of that.”

It was also stated in the Real Talk that if the BSU hadn’t approached the dining hall about having the Black History dinner, the meal and the decorations hanging in Anderson that highlight people in black history would have been non-exist. For celebratory months such as Hispanic Heritage Month and Pacific Islander Month, it was mentioned that Student Affairs and Student Activities pulled together funds “without student input or involvement” leaving no excuses for lack of recognition for Black History Month.

Though Black History Month happens once a year, the support of students of color is expected to happen year round. In a time where there are debates on equity, white privilege, police brutality, and how much the lives of black people are valued, Chatham’s support of black students, or lack thereof, is telling.

For students who want to get more involved, BSU holds monthly Real Talks that are open to every race, ethnicity, and nationality. Lauren Brown, BSU president, says the goal is to help “kill curiosities” about black people and culture.

For more information about the Black Student Union and what can be done to show support, please email BSU president Lauren Brown at .


*Credit given to Daryl Michael Scott for ASALH at www.asalh for black history information.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Muddy Waters Oyster Bar review

I have always loved oysters and have always made it quite clear that, if I choose to spend the rest of my life with someone, a qualifier is that they must enjoy drinking martinis and slurping down oysters with me.

I always buy them from Whole Foods and Wholley’s to take home to my parents for the weekend. We shuck them ourselves, but it’s never the same as it is when you get them served at a restaurant with the perfectly cut lemons and shaved ice bed they are laying on. I eat oysters so often that buying an ice shaver might be a good investment.

So, when it was announced that Muddy Waters Oyster Bar was opening right in East Liberty, I was skied and knew it would be the perfect place to take my entire family for a night out on the town.

Unfortunately, I think this restaurant may have had no warm up time and got booked almost immediately after they opened. The service was some of the worst I have had in a while, but the food was delicious, which if any of you know IS THE WORST PREDICAMENT IN THE WORLD.

Muddy Waters is a small restaurant and bar with a modern take on southern rock and roll décor. I came with six adults and two kids, and it wasn’t the worst environment for kids, actually. They were the only children there, but the energy was high, and it was pretty loud so the kid’s screams and overall noise was not a worry at all.

The restaurant itself though has slow service; so if you are trying to get out in a timely manner with your whole family, then this isn’t the place for you. What seemed like the real glaring problem was the fact that all of the wait staff was red eyed, squinty, and a little out of it. I have no clue what the issue could have been…were they sick? No, but really, I get it. I have worked in the restaurant industry all throughout high school and some of college. I understand that it’s stressful and that pot can be a normal part of that lifestyle, but leave it for after hours, please, because I’ve been staring at my empty wine glass for about 30 minutes now.

Their oyster selection was on point with options from both the East Coast and the West Coast. We enjoy West Coast oysters more because they are usually saltier and smaller rather than sweet and really big. The oysters were clean and fresh and presented appropriately with all the necessary accouterments. The menu itself is fun and has something for everyone. Dishes like shrimp and grits, oyster po’boys, and gumbo will feed your craving for deep southern food.

Everything was tasty. I had the shrimp and grits that came with robust prawns with their heads still attached. The grits were creamy and cheesy and all of it came together with a sweet and salty red onion marmalade sauce. Another star was their Crab Boil Reuben which came stacked with pastrami that seemed to be flash boiled in a crab bake and topped with the usual suspects: pickles, sauerkraut, and remoulade.

Unfortunately, not everyone at the table got to eat. My sister ordered their steak and frites, but the order was never given to the chefs in the back and instead of getting her what she ordered ASAP, they said they could make her something else instead if she wanted. Let me just say, if you forget someone’s order, you don’t tell them and make them deal with it. You deal with it and get them the food that they originally ordered in ten minutes or less. You put everything else to the side to get that dish out, and then you give it to them for free and offer a free round of drinks. My sister had to leave before she got any food because the kids were getting tired and it had been about two hours already. They took off her substitute meal that she got to go, but that was it. We didn’t see our waiter for about ten minutes after the chef told my sister he never got that order. I lost my appetite because the entire situation was dealt with terribly and I regret taking my family there.

Muddy Waters has delicious food and a great location, so they will probably do well for a while at least. Don’t go there expecting good service, though. I researched more and saw that other reviewers said the same thing about the slow service.

If you wish to go there, go there with only a couple people and expect to sit for a while. Sitting at the bar may be the best bet if you want your drinks sooner than later as well. I hope that they either all have a serious conversation about fixing their management, or they purge their staff and get better equipped workers. I hope that this restaurant thrives eventually, but I will not be back until I hear that they have made some big changes.

20 Shades of White

Another year, another Oscars Ceremony, and the usual Twitter excitement over nominations progresses. Leonardo DiCaprio secured another nomination, four forgettable movies secured their actors five of the twenty nominations, and everyone is white.

Apparently forgetting that they did this last year and the resultant outrage it generated on the internet, the Oscar Nomination Committee nominated twenty actors and actresses, all of whom are whiter than white paint.  Given that 94 percent of the Academy’s 6,000-plus strong voting committee is white, it should come as little surprise that no non-white actor was nominated for any of the four acting categories this year.

As pointed out in the Economist after the nominations were announced, the probability of back-to-back whiteouts in the Oscar nominations, over a fifteen-year span, is close to one in 100,000 — less than one percent.  Given those odds, it seems highly unlikely that the selections for this year’s nominations were random or based solely on the talent of the actors nominated.  (And given that four of the movies underperformed in profit/budget comparisons, talent and movie enjoyability were not factors in the nomination process.)

Had the nominations been based on the make-up of the Screen Actor’s Guild, more nominations would have been non-white actors.  (Although the number of nominations would still have been astronomically low in comparison.)

In response, numerous black actors have announced that they will be boycotting the Oscars, including Lupita Nyong’o (winner of Best Supporting Actress, 2014, for her role in “12 Years A Slave), Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Spike Lee, Tyrese Gibson, and Snoop Dogg.  Mark Ruffalo (Best Supporting Actor nominee, 2015, for “Spotlight”), has stated that, while he is not boycotting the Oscars as originally stated on his twitter feed, he supports the boycott and the actors participating in the boycott.

Other responses to the whiteout at the Oscars include the revival of last year’s hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite.  The response on Twitter to the nominee whiteout is largely negative, with a few amusing tweets gaining traction, including a comparison of the 20 white-only nominations to different shades of white paint (with little visible difference between the swatches).

On the other side of the coin are responses from white actors, including a memorable and unfortunately real comment from Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling; “It is racist to whites” (referring to the Oscar boycott).  Despite the fact that every single nominee in the actors category for the past two years is white, and that the majority of Oscar winners (and nominees) over the past five years have been white (only three of the 24 Oscars have gone to non-white actors in that time-span), she seems to believe that the boycott due to no POC actors being nominated in any of the categories is racist against white people.

Thankfully, there are two shining spots in this round of Oscar frenzy:  Chris Rock will be hosting the Oscars, and the Oscar nomination committee has already released a statement saying that the rules regarding nominations have been changed to include more diversity in future awards as a result of the overwhelmingly negative backlash.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Whining and dining

It was only sometime ago that a girlfriend and I ended up at the Ace Hotel for what we thought was going to be a regular girls’ night out with a couple of cocktails and the normal chatter about the tortures of tutorial here at Chatham, the joys and woes of relationships, and everything in between.

The building used to be the YMCA in East Liberty but has been renovated into a hotel with a popular bar and restaurant inside of it. The building itself is impressive with extremely high ceilings and dramatically white walls. The drinks here are super fancy, small, and expensive, but those are all sure signs that whatever you are drinking will be delicious, which they were.

So, as my friend and I sat in the lounge area of the bar, a few gentlemen approached us who seemed to know everyone in the entire building and had an obvious influence on the staff waiting on them. We soon came to learn that they were restaurateurs in the local area and had just gotten off work. They soon took it upon themselves to entertain us for the rest of the night with more fancy drinks and ridiculous stories about life in the industry.

I was so excited to be talking to people in the restaurant scene here in Pittsburgh because, obviously, that’s kind of my “thing.” I tried mentioning my own experience with writing and making videos about chefs, restaurants, and food in the area in a futile attempt to make a lasting impression on these professionals.

The scoop was deep — I learned all about new restaurants opening up, which restaurants had new menus, and all kinds of silly gossip on the local chefs. As the night began wrapping up, they insisted we come to one of their restaurants the next weekend so we could try all of the new plates on the menu and join them in some more conversation. I became so caught up listening to the inside scoop on all of the hottest restaurants in Pittsburgh and being impressed by the promises of delicious food that I didn’t even realize what was really happening…

There it was. They wined and dined me, and I insist it wasn’t consensual because I was really under the blind impression that I was networking. We were saying our goodbyes and I realized that neither of them remembered my name or even what my skills were. Should I have had a card on hand to give to them? Would it have made a difference? Probably not.

Although being wined and dined can be a pleasant experience in the right situation, it can also feel degrading and kind of weird. I love eating and drinking and being with good company, but never do I want to be a prop placed at the side of an industry person or placed in a restaurant as a tool of persuasion. I want to be at the same table as these guys literally and figuratively, in the sense that I want to be around these important people in the industry no matter what, but I also want to be respected and seen as a professional.

That’s hard, though. Being 22 and a woman doesn’t always invite the most useful attention which can be discouraging, but I also recognize there is a really nice feeling that comes out of being blown off as some young girl and then proving later that I do have skills.

Moral of the story? If they can’t help you, then you can’t help them. There would never be any follow up wining and dining in the near future between the five of us. Instead, my friend and I would go out and eat a bunch of queso cheese dip, go dancing, and finish the night off with a good sisterhood snuggle in bed while we chatted about spanking patriarchy, creating art people love (or don’t love), and fantasizing about how ridiculous and funny it would be if the tables turned and we were the ones wining and dining them.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Awards show season

It’s awards season and I know many people who like to have viewing parties to watch the Grammys and the Oscars. If any of you follow Foodie on the Half Shell, you know that one of my biggest pet peeves is terrible party snacks. Just don’t even have a party if you aren’t going to have good food, because what is even the point?

I love the idea of classy, fun award show parties where people dress up and drink champagne or whatever they want to drink out of champagne flutes. Even better, the parties where you dress up as your favorite character from one of the nominated movies. I think I would personally pick Leonardo Dicaprio’s character from “The Revenant.” I could just not shower for a few weeks and not use any Chap Stick.

Anyway, here are some recipes to make sure your award show party isn’t a complete failure because all you did was put out a bag of potato chips and some PBR.

Apple Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms:

There’s nothing cuter than a piece of food that you can eat in one bite. Get a package of baby bella mushrooms, some sausage (I like spicy Italian), ½ of an apple, ½ of a white onion, and 2 cloves of minced garlic.

Heat the onion, garlic, and apple in a saute pan until they are caramelized. Transfer to a bowl and mix the uncooked sausage in. Pop out the stem from the mushroom and stuff with the sausage mixture.

Cook in an oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Caramel and Pecan Brie:

Cheese and crackers are a must at any party, but you can really step it up a notch from the usual cheddar and swiss, to a pretty wheel of brie.

You will need a wheel of brie, caramel sauce, and chopped up pecans. Heat the brie in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes. Heat the caramel over the stove until it is easy to drizzle. Take the brie out and cover the top of the brie with the caramel and sprinkle the pecans on top.

Serve with crackers and slices of apples.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus:

This will be the hit of your party. All you need to do is wash and trim your asparagus and wrap them in bacon. If the asparagus is thick, use only a couple, but if you asparagus is very thin use more. Drizzle them in olive oil and add some salt and pepper.

Heat them in an oven at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is nice and crispy.

Champagne Cocktails:

You always see all of the stars with their full glasses of champagne during the awards ceremony, so join them. But add some juices to make it more fun!

Buy some cheap champagne and get creative with the juices you mix with it. Some personal favorites are passion fruit juice, orange juice and peach schnapps, and pomegranate.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Where I’m eating in January

After the holidays, most of us have new goals and ideas about what this New Year will look like for us. Every year I try to pick up a new healthy habit to improve my exercise and eating habits. This year I am keeping a food journal to become more aware of what and how often I am consuming.

That being said, I still need to uphold my reputation as a Pittsburgh food connoisseur so I still need to get out and about and try new restaurants, even if that means not eating an entire plate of Bolognese from Piccolo Forno or Steak and Frites from Park Bruges. It’s a real test of control when going out on the town to eat and knowing you have to have an honest moment at home when you are counting your calories for the night. It’s a humbling experience when you realize that the huge margarita you just drank was 800 calories of pure sugar and you have to WRITE IT DOWN, which makes it all the more real.

    So, where am I eating this month? All kinds of places that will help me not go home 1000 calories deep into fried foods after only one meal.  Enjoy some fresh seafood, lots of seasonal veggies, and maybe a vodka martini every now and then (just don’t drink your calories, guys!).

Everyday Noodles: This little noodle shop is not only super cute and stylish, but they also serve yummy noodle dishes that are reasonably sized portions and fulfill my craving for all things sweet, salty, and crunchy. Their noodles are full of things like bok choy, peanuts, tempura fried chicken and shrimp, and all kinds of other dreamy stuff. All of the noodle dishes are only $9, which is a fantastic deal for the tasty dishes you are getting. This place is perfect for a quick lunch or a simple dinner. BYOB. 242 South Highland Avenue in Shadyside.

Kaya: Always Kaya. I would eat at Kaya every week if I could. Its aesthetic is funky Caribbean flair (that could use some work), but the food is undeniably delicious no matter what. After 20 years they always have a full house and are serving tasty dishes like their Yucatan Hot Bean Dip, Jamaican Green Curry Vegetables, and their grilled salmon salad with green apples and Manchego. There are so many healthy options here, and a lot of fresh seafood options. I sometimes get “New Restaurant Anxiety” meaning I’m afraid I won’t know how the restaurant works, and I’ll order wrong, and they’ll yell at me or laugh at me when I call and try to make a reservation only two weeks in advance.  Kaya is a very comfortable place to be where everyone is nice, and it’s not pretentious at all. 2000 Smallman Street in the Strip.

The Vandal: It is no wonder that this Lawrenceville hot spot is stealing locals’ hearts with their short and sweet menu complete with ever-changing seasonal ingredients. The dishes are comfort food but are plated so elegantly you’d think you were in a high-end restaurant. Meat eater, vegetarian, or vegan, you will find something filling and wholesome here at The Vandal. No need to worry too much about what to order on the menu—it is all delicious. Anybody who is anybody knows how hard The Vandal rocks. BYOB. 4306 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Top 3 Delivery Joints in Pittsburgh

I order out more than I’d like to admit. At this point, I even know the delivery guys’ names. The GrubHub app is my best friend at least once a week.

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh doesn’t have the greatest selection of delivery options. There are about 50 crappy pizza places, a couple vague Asian places, and maybe one Indian restaurant that delivers. Most of the food is pretty bad, or really average. It’s as if they make a restaurant specifically made for delivery and they know we have no options and they’ll make money no matter how bad they are.

Honestly, all of the pizza tastes the same, too. They all get their dough and sauce pre-made from the same food distributor. It drives me crazy that delivery places won’t take more pride in what they do.

Creative and quality food is still desired in a delivery setting. Don’t get me wrong, though, I still pay for the convenience of it all. Because I know we don’t all love to cook at home or go out and get something ourselves, I have made an official “Top 3 Delivery Joints in Pittsburgh” complete with different genres of food and my favorite dishes!

Thai Hana: This restaurant delivers Thai and Japanese food straight to your door. You can enjoy curry dishes, pad Thai, and lots and lots of sushi. They have never been late to deliver food, and they have never messed up one of my orders. One of my favorite dishes to have delivered would be their Spider Roll from their sushi menu. This sushi roll is made with tempura fried soft shell crab, asparagus, and avocado. I pretty much love any sushi that comes with tempura fried anything, though. Thai Hana’s sushi is delicious, and is as good as most places around Pittsburgh. If you are looking for the real deal with grade A fresh fish, this isn’t the place for you, but if you want some tasty sushi with spicy creamy sauce drizzled all over it, then this is your place! Their Basil Fried Rice is also on point, and I would even say possibly the best in the Burgh’s delivery world.

Beta Bites: Beta Bites is my favorite place for “healthy” delivery food. It has Moroccan influences throughout its menu, but also will deliver your usual wings and fries. If the restaurant is a Moroccan restaurant, though, order their Moroccan food. One of my favorite dishes from here is their falafel salad that is served with spinach, real creamy feta, and the usual other salad fixings. Their falafel isn’t the best (it’s a little dry), but it still tastes like falafel and that will do. It comes with five nice sized balls, and is definitely a great amount of food. The BEST dish on their menu is from the “hot bar” part of their menu. Any of the dishes from the hot bar are delicious, but I enjoy the chicken with a side of vegetables, lentils, and rice. This is a lot of food complete with three spiced chicken breasts and scoops of whatever side you pick. Other options for your sides include mac and cheese, and a white bean dish that is native to Morocco. Any of their food is delicious, though, but if it looks like it has Moroccan influences in the description, it is almost guaranteed to be good.

Genoas: Now, what makes Genoas so good is their consistency. They are open all day up until 2 a.m. on the weekdays and 3 a.m. on the weekends. This is perfect when you are hungry at home after a party or a long day. Their food is the usual Italian inspired delivery joint complete with pizzas, subs, and calzones. Their subs are huge, and you really can’t go wrong with a spicy Italian. Their jalapeno poppers are so tasty, and so are their Parmesan and garlic wings.

Athletes and Injuries: Things That Can Be Done to Take Care of Yourself

We cheer for them, we encourage them, we want them to win because they are our athletes.

When it comes to sports, whether it be on the field, on the court, or in the pool, all athletes have one thing in common. Once they push themselves too hard, or are in the wake of an accident, they can get injured. No athlete likes being put on the bench, but it seems as though injury — from something as minor as slight shoulder problems from over rotation in swimming to getting a concussion in soccer and even to spraining or breaking your ankle in basketball or track — is an unavoidable part of being an athlete.  

When faced with an injury, there are several general things an athlete can do — besides not practice — to get back into peak physical condition for their specific sport. The first of many things you can do for standard surface injury such as a bruise, a stub, or just general after practice pain is to visit the trainer. The first of many jobs of the training staff is to make sure that an athlete is feeling their best so that they can do the sport they love. Just walk in, tell them what’s wrong, and most likely it can be solved with some ice, a bit of heat, and rolling/stretching out the area.

If the injury seems like it could be more serious, go to the hospital or your local sports medicine clinic. This can be a great preventative measure so that the injury doesn’t lead to surgery or even worse, not being able to play the sport in question. Many injuries can often be solved with proper care and rehabilitation to the injured area. Most, if not all sports medicine centers can give an athlete an at-home, or in college cases at-school, rehab that can be done over time to improve the injury. While it may seem like a pain to do, it is one of the cases when the end justifies the means. If the injury heals, then the athlete can return to their sport.

So say all else fails and you end up with an injury that results in you being out for most of, if not the whole season. That’s okay. Things happen, and it is more important to recover correctly then to push to hard and make a bad injury worse. At the end of the day, as long as the recovery process goes well and the injury doesn’t prevent you from participating during the next season, then it is worth the time.

So remember athletes, if anything with your body seems to be wrong while practicing, make sure to follow up with it. That way, something small doesn’t turn into something major, and you don’t end up paying for it down the road.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Eating for the season

Many connote the cooler seasons with a lack of fresh produce that is available to eat. Well, that may be true during the sub zero winters that we have been having, but so far we have had a beautiful November and there is still plenty of seasonal and local foods to cook and eat.

It’s important to eat seasonally, because if we buy food that is out of season that means that it is being shipped in from far away. The amount of miles that is between where the food is grown and to where it is eaten or sold is called food miles. A large amount of food miles causes a scary amount of gas emissions into the air, which is bad for the environment.  

Some of my favorite November foods are Brussels sprouts, winter squash, and beets. These may sound like intimidating foods to some, but I can assure you that if you try out the recipes that I created, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Brussels Sprout and Bacon Salad: Heat the oven at 350 degrees. Clean one pound of Brussels sprouts by peeling off the first layer of leaves and cutting the rough bottom off. Cut large Brussels in half and leave smaller ones whole. Toss in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put in ovenproof pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until crispy and dark and green. Crisp up a few slices of bacon and crumble them up. When Brussels are done, toss in a bowl with the bacon crumbles along with a few dashes of balsamic vinegar. Keep this dish delicious by not overdoing it on the oil and vinegar and topping it all off with Parmesan cheese.

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut one large acorn squash in half and clean out the seeds. Then, cut the halves into about one-inch slices, so they should be little half circles. No need to cut off the skin, it is awesomely edible. Now, make a marinade with one tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of soy sauce, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of maple syrup (the real stuff), and some salt and pepper. Rub those slices down with this stuff and bake in an ovenproof pan for about 25 minutes. They should be super tender to the touch.

Beet “Caprese”: You will need two large beets or three smaller ones. Heat up two cups of balsamic vinegar and a quarter cup of sugar in a pot and stir till the sugar is dissolved. Boil beets in water until they are tender and their rough skin slides off easily. When the sugar has dissolved into the vinegar and the beets are tender and have their skins removed, shut off heat to the vinegar mixture and place beets into the pot. Let sit for 30 minutes. If they are not entirely submerged, rotate halfway through. When finished, slice the beets into about quarter inch circles. Layer with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil, and drizzle balsamic reduction on top with a little salt and pepper.