Hasselback Eggplant!

I guess it’s another “Meat Free Monday”! This is a tweaked version of the recipe I see all of the time for Hasselback Eggplant Parmesan. I didn’t want to add bread crumbs because I am low-carb, but I still wanted some bulk. Enter, greens! Spinach and kale to be exact…

Greens

I just wanted to get them slightly wilted, but more importantly, I wanted to load them up with flavor. I added garlic powder, pink Himalayan salt (PHS) and fresh cracked black pepper. After I cooked them to my liking, I added my other filling ingredients…

Filling

So there is a scant tablespoon of parmesan cheese and two tablespoons of ricotta cheese, which I will mix with my cooked and seasoned greens. Then I had to prepare my eggplant…

Hasselbeck Cutting Trick

In order to get those groovy Hasselback slices, we have to make sure that we don’t slice the eggplant all the way through. The best tip I saw was to tape down chopsticks around the eggplant so the knife will stop at the chopstick’s level…

Hasselbeck Cut

It worked! Now, to season the eggplant…

Flavor Layers

I always listen to Rachael Ray’s tip – you must season every layer of food. Eggplant is very bland – you must not skip this step! I seasoned mine with garlic powder, a little PHS and some Italian seasoning. Now I add my next layer…

Provolone

Yummy Provolone cheese! I did the math before I even cut the eggplant – I knew I wanted nine Hasselback slices in each eggplant half, so that would be 18 cheese strips. So, six cuts in three slices of provolone (see, this is where the dweeb comes in). Gotta stuff these…

Cheese Stuff

You can lift the eggplant a little in order to season and stuff each slice. Do it gently so that you don’t break a slice off (I almost did, those three on the end are hanging on by a thread)! Now I add the greens and cheese mixture…

Stuffed

Ooh, baby! This looks great already! But, it needs to be cooked and since I refuse to turn the oven on in the summer, I used the crock pot…

Sauced Crock

I sauced the crock pot with a tiny can of tomato sauce that I seasoned with, once again, garlic powder, PHS and Italian seasoning. Then I put the stuffed eggplants in…

Crock Pot

Aww, don’t they look cute? I put just a splash of the sauce on top of the stuffed eggplant. I wanted it to be about greens and cheese, not tomato.

After two hours on high…

Cooked

YUM! This is what you get! I added some fresh spinach on the side, because I only had that little bit left.

It’s pretty easy to make – you just have to have a little patience when seasoning and stuffing each layer because they are pretty delicate.

Very healthy and delish! Enjoy!

What I Ate…(Meat Free Monday)

…today. Okay, so today was an unintentional “Meat Free Monday”. I saw what I had planned to eat and noticed that it was all vegetarian food. Even the smoothie shop I went to for dinner caters to the vegan/vegetarian population. Cool. I was actually a vegetarian from the age of six, up until the age of 25. I didn’t eat any red meat, and I rarely ate chicken. I was more of a pescatarian now that I think about it. Something changed when I hit 25 though. I don’t know what it was, but I suddenly wanted to eat burgers. I can’t really explain how it happened and I don’t remember the exact meal that broke my 19 year  long stretch. When people ask I usually say, “I just wanted a Big Mac. I had one, and I fell in love!” I don’t know what they want to hear, but it wasn’t some big to-do. It happened over the course of time.

Anyway…What did I eat today?

Breakfast: Raspberry Cocoa Latte and a string cheese…

Latte Ingredients
Latte Ingredients

I use the same formula for my lattes:

  • Almond milk, heated
  • Packet of stevia – one in the cup, one in the pan with the milk
  • A small swig of vanilla in the almond milk, while it’s heating
  • Powdered flavoring – usually 1 to 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

So, that’s how I made today’s latte. Powdered flavoring=Cocoa Powder and I substituted the pack of stevia in the almond milk pan for one raspberry honey stick that I got from the farmers market. That’s it! It was good. The raspberry flavor was slight, that’s probably because it was natural and not filled with sugar.

Breakfast
Big breakfast (heh heh). Honestly though, the lattes are really filling!

Lunch: Feta Dip, Veggies and Olives

Feta Dip

Okay, this was awesome!!! The dip was so easy too…

Feta Dip Recipe
Easy peasy…

Only four ingredients: Feta (half of a small container – I’m really precise – Ha!), cream cheese (about 1/3 of a softened brick), olive oil (about a teaspoon) and garlic powder (depends on your taste, I use a lot)…Simple. One of those back pocket recipes.

Beverages: Seltzer with lime or apple cider vinegar

Drink
…lime-ish squeezy!

I LOVE seltzer! Seriously, I stock up on whatever brand is on sale so I am never without it. Polar is amazing. LaCroix is great, but sometimes I’m not willing to spend that much. Vintage and store brand will do just fine, thanks! I used to have a SodaStream, but it broke a couple of years ago and I’ve yet to get a new one. I should (re-)invest. It would be worth it!

Dinner: Italian Kale…

***Warning: I turn into a bit of a smartass here, I was highly annoyed. Feel free to read this section in Sarcasm…***

Okay. So I had planned to go to a new restaurant in town to get a salad for dinner. And I went, with my cousin…

Blend
“Buddha Bowl” – (unmassaged) Kale, spinach, tomato, sweet potatoes, avocado and a lemon vinaigrette. Intentionally Missing: Corn. Just Plain Missing: black beans

I ordered what was called a “Buddha Bowl” salad. And I got what is seen above. It had everything it said it would, but it was not really a “bowl”, it was more like a plastic carton of produce. I paid $8.00 for a plastic carton of kale that is on sale for .99 a pound at Shop-Rite this week! The kale wasn’t even massaged! I know that sounds like something a snob would say, but massaging kale is a real thing. A real and VERY IMPORTANT thing. It helps break it down so one can chew and digest it easier. Seriously, I took one bite and I nearly choked. I actually need to warn this restaurant – this is a potential hazard. I just was not in the mood to argue tonight, so I just left…

…And, I did what any person who spends $8.00 on a carton of produce does: I took it home to cook it myself!

Kale - Fried
DIY Restaurant – I believe it’s called grocery shopping! 

Yup. I massaged EACH piece of kale (you could HEAR it breaking down as I kneaded), added the contents to a pan with olive oil and garlic powder and…

Kale - Fried - Yum
Repurposed food…

…Yum! Success! I turned this meal around! I sprinkled some parmesan on top, as you can see.

So, there you have it, a full day of vegetarian eats. Pretty clean eats too…Yay!

Happy (early) Farmers Market Week!

So, National Farmers Market Week is August 6-13. I went today…

I love the farmers market! I’m not going to say too much today. I’ll just share a few pictures from the market today. The one in my town is set up every Saturday from 8am to 1pm. Even though it was quite overcast this morning, it was still a nice day to go! Yippie!

Roots and Peppers
Roots & Peppers!
Veggie Basket
I am looking for giant tomatoes, thank you…
Perfect Tomato
Found them!
Eggplant
Eggplant & Zucchini – My dietary staples…
Honey Soap
I like the local non-food items as well…
Honey Sticks Sale
…and I love honey sticks! These are some yum flavors too!
Haul
My haul…Radishes, plums, giant tomato, purple basil and donut peaches…
Honey Sticks
I got a few of the honey sticks too…I don’t remember the flavors. I just know that one is root beer and one is pina colada!

I’m going to post the recipes I come up with, using today’s finds. I have one planned for tonight! Stay tuned…