Pandas and Roasted Veggies

Intrigued by my post title? Wondering how on earth I will possibly connect these two things? Read on, friends, read on. ;)

So last night I went to Zoo lights with my friends Ashley and Sarah!


Basically, they put cool Christmas lights in the shapes of animals up all over the zoo, and leave some of the indoor exhibits open :) I hadn’t been to the zoo in forever and it felt cool and sneaky to be there at night, heh. Plus, the lights were pretty!


Here’s the three of us :)


Brrr it was COLD!

The main excitement was finally getting to see the PANDAS!! SO CUTE!


The pandas are majorly popular here in DC — four years ago, when a new baby panda was born, it was a huge sensation and there was even a competition to name him! We named him Tai Shan :) He’s now a teenaged bachelor, reveling in said glory by sleeping in his own poop:


Lol. Boys will be boys ;) Sadly he is being sent home to China soon, so I’m really glad I got to see him! We also saw some adorable apes, including one with a little baby riding around on its back!

Anyway, back to food! We went out to dinner last night after the Zoo and there were all sorts of fun roasted veggies on the menu, so I decided tonight’s excitement would be…




On the menu: parsnips, brussels sprouts, and carrots!

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(Potatoes would also have been good, but I didn’t have any!)

I decided to season them in two different ways: half sweet and half savory. And then see which was better :)

First up: sweet!

Maple Cinnamon Roasted Veggies


  • Pure maple syrup
  • cinnamon


And next: savory!

Garlic Herb Roasted Veggies


  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Rosemary
  • Cracked pepper



Preheat oven to 400. Chop desired amount of veggies and divide them into two separate bowls.

To the first bowl, add a drizzle of maple syrup (enough to coat but not drown them), and a few hefty shakes of cinnamon.


Shake/stir the veggies around until evenly coated.

To the second bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil (again, enough to coat but not drown), a few shakes of garlic powder and (lots of) rosemary, and some cracked pepper.


Again, shake/stir the veggies around until evenly coated.

Place  the veggies onto two separate baking trays…


… and pop them into the oven for about 25 minutes.





Once out, try immediately and burn your tongue ;)


The verdict??


I think my favorite was the savory because they were a bit more flavorful, but both were tasty! The maple and cinnamon gave the parsnips in particular a really nice subtly sweet flavor… I bet it would be good on sweet potatoes, too. For the brussels sprouts, I preferred the more intense garlic and herb flavoring. The carrots I could go either way! :) I think normally I’ll stick with savory overall, but it was fun to mix it up.

I used to say I hated brussels sprouts, but I think it’s just cause I always remembered mushy gross bitter ones from the middle school cafeteria. I’m glad I gave them another try! Also, I heart parsnips… but I knew that already. :)

What veggie did you think you hated but recently tried again and liked?

I have an Organic Chem test tomorrow afternoon — our last one before the final exam next week. Argh! I’m getting rather sick of all this studying… must keep reminding myself how close the holiday break is :)



  1. 1

    Like you, I realized that I did, in fact, like Brussels Sprouts in the past year or so.

    What year did you graduate from Dickinson? One of my best friends went there. She graduated in 2000.

    Oh how funny! I graduated in 2004. So I was a freshman when she was a senior I guess?? -Anne

  2. 2

    I used to think sweet potatoes were as bad as regular potatoes–boy was I wrong!
    And I love maple syrup on my brussels sprouts, especially a little more at the end on the plate :-)

  3. 3

    Yay zoolights! It was so much fun. Cold…yes…but still fun.
    I love to sauteed brussels sprouts in pancetta. you can never go wrong with veggies and pig :)

  4. 4

    I still think brussels sprouts are gross :) But I do like artichokes now and I used to not :D YAY!
    Umm bear in poop-classic post, love it!

    Mmmm artichokes. Lol and we were dying laughing over the panda in poop ;) We actually thought he was DEAD at first since he was so still!!! We almost cried. But then his stomach moved :) xoxo – A

  5. 5

    Love this post!

    I absolutely love brussel sprouts, but the first time I suggested making them for dinner to my now husband, he looked at me like I had suggested chopped dog for dinner. I think a lot of people have bad memories of brussel sprouts for whatever reason, and then are surprised by how delicious they can be– now, he requests them every week! They’re his favorite!

    Love the zoo lights– cute!

    I know, exactly! I feel like there was some sort of nation-wide “we hate brussels sprouts” campaign launched when we were little or something. Practically everyone I know used to hate them (I think they did)! What’s your favorite way to cook them? -Anne

  6. 6

    Super jealous you went to zoolights – that would be so cool to see! Those pandas are so lazy though!! I wish they would do more than sleep :O).

  7. 7

    Recently tried Brussel Sprouts on a whim after years of NEVER AGAIN!!!
    As a child I hated when my mom made these…i would swallow whole just to get it over with….now….i could buy them in bales….
    BTW…love the blog! read it everyday!

    Thanks, Gigi! :) – Anne

  8. 8

    I used to think I hate cooked carrots. I realized that I just hate BOILED carrots, but roasted – MMMMMMM!

  9. 9
    Allison W. says

    I made brussel sprouts for the 1st time on Sunday, I roasted them after coating with olive oil, garlic powder, s&p, and some dijon mustard. Once they were done, I dipped them in a little more dijon. GREAT flavors!

    Yum I’ll have to try that! I love anything with dijon mustard :) -Anne

  10. 10

    I used to feel the same way about brussel sprouts. Now, with lots of garlic and EVOO, I actually really like ’em!

  11. 11

    That looks great I’ll have to try it! I looove brussel sprouts. My roommate just bought a toaster oven so now I can do a lot more cooking here. We used to only have the stovetop. I made a mix mosh of different kinds of roasted mushrooms with it yesterday. China has like 8,783 kinds of mushrooms haha.

    So I’m coming down to DC in April so I must see you! Let’s plan something fun…miss you!

    OMG You’re coming to DC?!?!? YES! Emailing you now :) xoxo -A

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