Baked Eggplant Medley

I’m a sucker for eggplant.  Yes, it’s a nightshade veggie but I just love the sweet, soft taste of a freshly baked eggplant.  There’s something about that rich purple skin and those succulent seeds…it almost resembles a creamy texture when baked.

What’s not to love, right? A perfect dish for a chilly, winter night when your body’s yearning for a bit of warmth and ‘healthy’ comfort food.  Why not toss the idea of the heavy, rich comfort foods and create a dish that you feel good about eating and is fun n’ quick to whip up.

My Grandfather and father got me hooked on the ol’ eggplant when I was a kid and I haven’t turned my back since.

But, these days, my body enjoys a freshly baked eggplant and veggie dish instead of the heavy eggplant Parmesan that we made growing up.  My baked eggplant is gluten-free n’ dairy-free, delicious and farm-to-table fresh.

No need for processed bread crumbs.

No need for processed cheese.

Just a lil’ trip to the ol’ farmers market and you’re all set.

Trust me on this one; you won’t miss the ol’ version of eggplant parm.

The combination of chia seeds and flax seeds, both finely ground, make this meal hearty and satisfying.

If you’re going to add in a healthy fat, why not toss in these seeds or a bit of avocado instead of layering on heavy cheese and sauces?

I surely don’t miss the old eggplant parm.

Because this is new; it fits me and my lifestyle and is easy for my stomach to digest.

And that’s what life’s all about right?

Feeling good and feeling good about what we put into our bodies.

So, why not whip up this fresh veggie medley dish tnitey?

I create this dish every once n’ awhile with a few of my other favorite veggies and herbs.

This time around…it was all about the tomatoes, sweet onion, fresh parsley, turmeric, freshly ground white pepper, sea salt, dulse flakes, fresh tomato sauce n’ a sprinkle of both ground chia seeds and ground flax seeds.

And every time, I simply just can’t resist.

Can you?

Baked Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant,
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh tomato sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • Pinch sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dulse flakes (sea vegetable)
  • 2 Tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh curly parsley, roughly chopped
  • Topping: Additional fresh tomato sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a 9 x 9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Slice eggplant into disk-like shapes approximately 1/4″ thick.
  3. Layer eggplant into the bottom of the baking dish; top with tomatoes, onion, scallions, tomato sauce and garlic.  Sprinkle with turmeric, sea salt, pepper, chili powder, dulse flakes, chia seeds and flax seeds. Place into the oven.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and tender.
  5. Remove from oven; garnish with parsley.
  6. Serve warm with additional tomato sauce.
  7. Enjoy!
Advertisements

John Boos, O How I Love Thee…

Honestly, I’ve fallen in love with a cutting board…

The John Boos Cutting Board, that is…and O, how fine it is!

Now, this isn’t just any ol’ cutting board, aside from the fact that it’s incredibly well crafted and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, this John Boos cutting board can handle anything you desire.  The best part? It’s reversible…yes, you’ve heard me correctly, the easy to grip side hand grips allow you to flip the cutting board and start chopping right away on the other side.  I opted for the Maple Board as I think the wood  looks incredibly beautiful on my counter top.  This professional cutting board is cream finished with beeswax and used in many fine restaurants all over the country…now, who wouldn’t love one of these babies in their kitchen?

Today I was hard at work in my tiny kitchen…chopping, dicing, slicing…you name it, I did it!  That’s why good ol’ John Boos came in handy.  I opted for a vegetable stew to warm me up on this chilly December day.

Hearty Chickpea n’ Veggie Stew


Ingredients

  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 cups onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large zucchini, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1′” cubes
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 3/4 cup all natural tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  • In a large stock pot, add onions, olive oil and garlic.  Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and cook, covered, on low heat for 6-7 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  • Enjoy!

Orange-Infused Eggplant with Basil and Greek Yogurt

I’ve always been a huge fan of eggplant…it reminds me of my Pop Pop, my father’s father, who made the most amazing eggplant parm I have ever tasted.  Giving his recipe a bit of a twist minus the gluten and dairy, I decided to whip up this tasty eggplant dish last night after purchasing four beautiful purple eggplants and a fresh orange from my corner farm stand.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium Eggplants
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. White balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Chili powder
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated orange peel
  • Juice from 1 fresh medium orange
  • Greek yogurt
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Slice eggplants lengthwise.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl combine chili powder, orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and olive oil.
  • Brush the olive oil mixture on the eggplants.
  • Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • When eggplants are soft, remove from oven and place on a serving dish with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.
  • Sprinkle with basil, additional sea salt and pepper; serve immediately.

Eating a Rainbow of Colors

aa52dca2d00ac954

By now, we’ve all heard, “Eat your Veggies”, well there’s a whole rainbow out there of amazing produce known as Superfoods.  Incorporating these babies into your daily diet can fight cancer, improve your memory, and keep those nasty colds away.  So, what are these superfoods that everyone is talking about?

Superfoods are fruits and veggies that are full of antioxidants.  It’s easy to incorporate their rainbow variety into your diet; simply mix n’ match various colors for a plate that is not only pleasing to the eye, but your stomach, as well. 

b1a706e4c5a2706e

Yellow and Orange

  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Butternut Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Our yellow and orange fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants that boost our immune systems and provide a nice, big dose of Vitamin C.  Moreover, eating fruits and veggies of these colors help ward off age-related eye disease.  I personally love cooking Butternut Squash and making my Butternut Squash Fries, which can be prepared in minutes and popped into the oven.  Another easy way to incorporate these colors into your diet is combining the above fruits into a smoothie.

    Green

    • Avocados
    • Asparagus
    • Cucumbers
    • Leafy Greens
    • Green Peppers
    • Spinach
    • Broccoli

    These greens help relieve the effects of serious eye ailments such as cataracts and macular degeneration.  Moreover, they help clear the arteries that keep blood flowing to your brain.  My favorite way to incorporate greens into my meals is sauteing spinach and collard greens with garlic and pine nuts.

    Tan and White

    • Parsnips
    • Turnips
    • Cauliflower
    • Onions
    • Mushrooms
    • Bananas
    • Garlic

    These guys  may not have a lotta color to them, however, they pack a serious antioxidant punch with phytonutrients that help protect the heart and fight cancer.  My favorite way to eat the “whites and tans” is to roast parsnips in the oven with a sprinkle of cinnamon and chili powder.

    Blue and Purple

    • Blueberries
    • Raisins
    • Purple Grapes
    • Purple Potatoes
    • Eggplant

    These blue food friends supply us with a healthy dose of antioxidants, which are beneficial for memory and motor function.  I personally love to cook Eggplant Parm–(the gluten free/dairy free way), of course.

    Red

    • Tomatoes
    • Cherries
    • Strawberries
    • Watermelon
    • Radicchio

    Red fruits and veggies contain lycopene and flavonoids are important antioxidants to help fight diseases and various cancers.  Try a rice dish with garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and tomatoes.

    What’s your favorite way to incorporate a rainbow into your daily diet?