Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich on Herbed Ciabatta Bread

I don't know why, but for some reason I'm all about eggplant when I'm at the store, but then dread actually cooking it once I get home. Even though it's not that hard to cook, usually it just ends up sitting in the hospice section of my vegetable drawer, along with a couple of rooting carrots and a few wilted celery sticks, until covered with brown spots. In fact, I'd already had this eggplant in my refrigerator for several days by the time I made this recipe, because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with it. But I was NOT going to let this one die a lonely death in the fridge, dang it! Not like the others. But what to make?? I thought about roasting it somehow, or grilling it maybe. Then I decided I wanted to do something with a kind of eggplant Parmesan vibe. I had picked up some really yummy looking ciabatta bread and a new pasta sauce I wanted to try out on another shopping trip, so I put it all together with some mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, and created this delicious brainchild.

I'm sure it's probably not the first time it's been done, but it was super delicious. I'm also very proud of myself for not letting this eggplant bite the dust. RIP previous eggplants. Hopefully you've been made into something yummy in eggplant heaven.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Egg, Spinach & Parm Flatbread

Who's ready for brunch? Me when I made these this past weekend! And hopefully you after reading how super easy and yummy these are. I guarantee they are eggactly what you're looking for...eggstra tasty...eggstraordinarily delicious? Okay that's all I've got.

Puns aside, I kind of get stuck in a rut sometimes with breakfast. I end up eating the same thing pretty much all week long, especially since I've started doing meal prep more. It gets a little boring, so on the weekends, when everything is a bit more leisurely and relaxed, I like to switch it up a bit and try something new (unless my husband is cooking, then I like to sit and do nothing).

This past weekend I decided to try a spin off of the ole egg sandwich classic. I used flatbread instead of English muffins, added spinach (because for some reason we have a Costco sized bag of spinach for just two people??), and topped it off with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Yum! The buttery, toasted flatbread combined with the egg and Parmesan was perfect; plus, it actually ended up being easy enough for a weekday rotation! I'll definitely be making this again soon - perhaps with sauteed mushrooms or grape tomatoes next time! Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below :)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Asian Tofu Chopped Salad

I would like to start this post off by saying, "who the heck knew that a head of cabbage has so much cabbage in it?" I usually just buy a pre-made type of Asian salad with similar flavors, which requires no chopping of cabbage, but decided recently that I wanted to try to make it myself. After making a huge salad AND a cabbage based soup (not part of this post), I still have so much left over! If you have any cool cabbage recipes, send them my way, please.

Aside from my cabbage surplus problem, this salad is now one of my favorites. I'm always looking for easy and healthy recipes that can be made ahead of time for lunches during the week, and this one is perfect. Most salads get all limp and yucky while waiting for their turn, but this one has some really hearty ingredients that make it perfect for meal prep. Simply add your favorite Asian style dressing the morning of, let marinade for a couple of hours, and you're good to go for lunchtime!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Vegetarian Friendly PB&J Smores

One thing that was hard to give up when I first became vegetarian was all of the candy I could no longer eat because of the gelatin used. This meant no more gummy bears, no more jello, no more fruit chews, and no more marshmallows, which was the worst part. Marshmallows were once one of my go-to treats when I had a sweet tooth. I loved making smores, eating the heads off the little peeps at Easter, and generally just snacking on them here and there when I wanted something sweet. They were pretty much always in my house - how could they not be vegetarian?? I was indignant! I didn't like it! But there was nothing I could do about it, and so I resigned myself to a life of mallow abstinence. That is, until I discovered that there actually are vegetarian marshmallows out there. Cue cheers! I was so happy! Of course I immediately ran to the store, bounding down the baking aisle with glee. I could almost taste the fluffy, gooey sweetness. But, to my dismay, they weren't there, and neither were they lining the shelves of any other grocery store in probably a five mile radius. My dreams were crushed, but at least I took solace in the fact that they existed and that some day I could order them online if I really wanted to.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Beer Battered Artichoke Tacos with Lime Crema

We eat a lot of tacos in our house. Like, a lot. Usually we go with the ole black beans and veggie combo because it's super quick, healthy, and delicious, but I've been getting a little bored of the same ole same lately. I've actually been wanting to make this recipe for probably over a year now, but wasn't quite sure how it would turn out. I got cold feet and kept putting it off - I guess mainly because I wasn't super confident in my frying skills. However, high off the success of the last couple of fried recipes (holla at those cauliflower poppers!), I decided it was time to go for it. I found a really easy recipe for beer battered fish tacos that I adapted for my vegetarian ways (see links below), added a little green salsa and avocado, topped with a little lime crema and an extra squeeze of lime, and they turned out so good! An added plus is that they really didn't take all that long from start to finish like some frying recipes do. Try it and let me know what you think!

On a side note before we get started, I've been trying to grow my readership and would really love feedback! If you try any of my recipes, have ideas about what you would like to see me cook, or even have questions about how to adapt something to make it vegetarian, please leave a comment! It would help me out so much to know if you're enjoying my recipes and ideas.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Orzo Topped with Greek Style Roasted Veggies and Feta

Another day, another roasted veggie recipe! It really does make things easier with a little one around. Once everything is in the pan, I can just toss it in the oven and forget about it for the next 25 minutes - no stirring, mixing, or flipping required! Plus I can roast more than I need and reheat throughout the week when I'm feeling tired and not at all like cooking.

Honestly, I'm always surprised by how good it turns out as well. I don't have to do a dang thing to it, and there it is all steamy and aromatic, caramelized bits hiding on the bottom, and veggies that just want to melt in your mouth. Plus there are just about a million different flavor combos you can throw together. This time I opted for a Greek twist with the feta, red onion, and oregano. I paired it with orzo, which I've never actually made before (I know that seems unbelievable considering how much I love pasta) and topped it with a little extra feta. As we say in my house, "it's always betta with feta." Or, in this case, "it's always betta with extra feta."

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Roasted Veggie Lasagna with Creamy Pesto Sauce

Have you ever made something so delicious that you thought you may never be able to top it? Like you might as well hang up your apron and call it a day? This was that recipe for me. Legitimately, this might be the best thing I've ever made; and it's the kind of recipe I get really excited to share with you, because I know it's really good. My husband even said he wished people could taste it through their screen, which is high praise coming from my own little food critic.

When I first started working out this recipe, I decided that I wanted to do something a little different. I knew I wanted to use a creamy pesto sauce instead of the standard marinara, but I also didn't want to leave out tomatoes completely, plus I really wanted to have something at least a little green in there. Fast forward through several Pinterest inspiration scrollings and I decided to try adding some yummy roasted veggies to the mix. I used a recipe I've been making a lot lately (see info below), which served to really balance out all of the creamy goodness going on, and it turned out to be the perfect compliment. I'm absolutely sure you'll love it, and I hope you'll share in the comments below if you do! Let's get started.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mixed Greens Topped with Roasted Yams, Feta, and Kalamata Olives

Since having a baby 4 months ago, I have been trying very hard to eat healthy and lose the extra baby weight, Superbowl indulgences aside. I've made a lot of progress so far (28 lbs down!), but, if I'm going to be honest, it's much, much harder than I anticipated. I've fluctuated with my weight over the years, so I'm no stranger to having to lose it, but the added stress and lack of time with having a new baby really makes it more challenging than it's ever been. When I do have a minute to eat something, if it's not already prepared and ready to go, or something that can be made without much effort or commitment - forget it. Suddenly the bread on the counter looks good enough, and the number on the scale stays the same.

One thing that has helped is having healthy food in the house and lots of options for salads. They are easy to throw together, or make ahead of time, and lots of options mean I don't get bored. One of my faves right now is this yummy concoction of mixed greens, roasted yams, feta, and kalamata olives. I top it with my favorite vinaigrette, and that's all there is to it! I'll tell you how I roast the yams to perfection, so you can make one of these yummy salads too. Whether you're trying to lose baby weight, eat healthier, or just like yams and salad, I know this will be a hit.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cauliflower Poppers 3 Ways: Buffalo, Honey BBQ, & Cheesy Jalapeño

Ah, the super bowl. The best snack-eating, commercial-watching, couch-potato-ing day of the year! Oh yeah, and the football too. I'm not a huge sports fan, if you couldn't tell, but I mean no disrespect. There absolutely is something electric about game day that draws even the non sports-watchers in. For me, there is a certain level of excitement and camaraderie about it that I miss from watching games with my dad growing up. If nothing else, it's fun to hang out with good friends, eat yummy snacks, and pretend to be part of the sports community for a day. This year I'll be eating these delicious cauliflower poppers and rooting for whichever team my dad is rooting for - it's my little nod to him - love you, dad! I hope you'll give these a try and let me know what you think!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Roasted Veggie Chimichangas

Chimichangas!!! Mmmmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about these. I had the idea last night as I was roasting some fajita style veggies and wondering what I wanted to do with them (besides the obvious fajita use). I don't usually fry things, mainly because I don't want the added fat, but these chimichangas just sounded sooooo yummy. Plus I had all the stuff to make them, which is a rare feat! I decided to go for it, but I used whole wheat tortillas to make them healthy...oh who am I kidding? Let's just call it a cheat day :)

I ended up combining my favorite roasted veggies, vegetarian refried beans, lime juice, cilantro, and ooey-gooey cheddar cheese; stuffing them inside whole wheat tortillas; and then pan frying them to golden brown perfection. I finished them off with another squeeze of lime, and a healthy dollop of sour cream flavored with garlic and chives. It. Was. So. Good. I already can't wait to make these again, and, as an added bonus, I had lots of roasted veggies left over to use for other things. The wheels are already turning.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Winter Fruit and Nut Oatmeal

I don't know about where you are right now, but it's definitely oatmeal whether in my neck of the woods - cold and stormy, with seemingly no end in sight. And while the rain pours down and the wind whips through the trees, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a blanket and a hot cup of tea, and watch movies all day. Of course, my almost-four-month-old has other ideas. No leisurely watching movies and lounging around for this tired mommy. But I am still in need of a little cozy, so that's where the oatmeal fits in.

I've always been a huge fan of oatmeal, especially during the cold winter months, and there are so many things you can do with it. I love to add fruit like apples, bananas, and berries; different kinds of nuts; and sometimes I'll toss in flax or chia seeds. It always makes me feel really healthy and fueled for the day. I call this particular concoction my "forage porridge" because it stemmed from literally throwing into the pot what I could find left over in the fruit drawer. I had never put pears in oatmeal before, but it was so good, and now I don't like to make it without them. Depending on how long you cook it, the pear kind of becomes one with the oatmeal and adds a great consistency, along with adding a lot of volume to really fill you up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Roasted Yams & Orange Slices with Ginger, Garlic, and Honey

I've been mentally chewing on this recipe for a while now. I knew I wanted to do something with yams and oranges ever since my mom told me that she secretly adds a splash of orange juice to her candied yams at Thanksgiving - sorry for spilling the beans, mom! Her candied yams are usually the highlight of the Thanksgiving meal for me, so I knew it would be a winning combo from the start. What I didn't know was what the heck else to add. I bought the yams and oranges and watched as they sat in sadness day after day until finally I knew I needed to use them or lose them. In the end I decided to add ginger and garlic to spice things up a bit, and drizzled the whole thing with honey to kick up the natural sweetness of the yams and oranges. It turned out looking gorgeous and tasting even better. The sweet caramelization of the yams and honey mixed with pungent orange, ginger, and garlic flavors were spot on. Next time I might try adding some red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, or some cardamom for another layer of spice, or maybe I'll just leave it as is. It was pretty darn good.