The One With All The Sides And A Roommate Reunion


During my Senior year of college I was lucky enough to participate in the Disney College Program. In August 2011 I flew down to Orlando with a sizable amount of weather inappropriate “business attire” and the understanding I would spend six months learning about quick service food and beverage. I was paired with a roommate prior to arrival. This was someone I had never met. Whichever of us arrived first would choose our living arrangement. This all seemed nuts. Thankfully, when I arrived to check in the decision had been made for me.

We lived in Vista Way with four other roommates. I left the six month program with incredible memories, insanely awesome training, and two lifelong best friends. One was the previously unknown first roommate, Lizzie. The other, a vivacious southerner, Pon. Lizzie, Pon, and I make it a point to see each other at least once a year. We usually get more which is great.

The most recent visit was last weekend. Pon drove from Nashville late Thursday night for the weekend. She is an incredible chef so our trips are generally food and wine focused. We visited some of my favorites spots around town Saturday but Friday night we cooked at home.

Pon and I are different in so many ways but one of the first that comes to mind is our attitude towards meat. I do not include a lot of meat in my diet whereas I think she has it in every meal. For that reason, when planning our menu, she was quick to say she would produce the main course and I should handle the sides.

To me, roast veggies and squash in Fall months are hard to beat. I kept it simple this time with only my staple favorites, salt/pepper, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Maybe the one side that could beat the roasted veggies, herb roasted mushrooms. These beautiful little bella mushrooms were roasted using my current obsession half ghee, half olive oil. The mixture provides a full flavored, comforting base to the roasted mushrooms. The addition of herbs and garlic only expand on that base.

In addition to the sides I also roasted some cherry tomatoes. Saucy roasted cherry tomatoes with crusty bread are the perfect rustic appetizer for a cozy night in.

Simple Fall Roasted Veggies

simple, delicous, so easy.

  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 20m
  • Total Time: 30m
  • Serves: 3
  • Yield: 3-4 sides


  • 1/2 pound butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 bag broccoli and cauliflower
  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 pinch each salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. buy pre-cut, or cut veggies
  3. toss veggies in oil and top with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
  4. place on pre-sprayed oven sheet pan
  5. roast for 20 minutes, until tender and the broccoli is lightly browned.
  6. enjoy!

Herb Roasted Mushrooms

earthy, comfort food perfection

  • Prep Time: 5m
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 35m


  • 1 container baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon each rosemary, sage, thyme chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. mix together ghee and olive oil
  3. toss mushrooms, garlic, and herbs in the oil/ghee mixture
  4. place on sprayed sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes
  5. enjoy!

You definitely cannot go wrong with these sides. The leftovers are even better!


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