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pesto & eggplant parmesan

Check out the gorgeous flowers my husband came home with today!

What a great guy! 🙂

What is better on a Friday night than a home cooked meal?!  Sure, going out is nice, but you won’t always get something as delicious as this:

Pesto & Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 -2 cups almond flour
  • Italian seasoning mix (or herbs of choice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • homemade Garlic Scrape Pesto (see recipe below)

I pretty much made up this recipe on the spot with what we had on hand.  It isn’t the healthiest version of eggplant parm (for super healthy eggplant parm, you can just bake the eggplant), but I wanted breaded eggplant, so here is my take.  It turned out great!  However, next time I think I would do a few things differently:

  1. Use a thicker tomato sauce
  2. Cook the eggplant for longer pre-baking
  3. Bread the eggplant, then pre-bake it to brown instead of frying (obviously, you need more time for this!)
  4. Use more pesto!!

On to the recipe!  I am going to take you through step by step, so bare with me. 🙂

Start off by slicing your eggplant, keeping all of the slices the same size.

Set up your dipping stations.  Whisk 2 eggs together and pour onto a plate or low bowl.  Scoop the almond flour onto another plate and mix with herbs of choice.

Dip the eggplant slice by slice into the egg,

then into the almond flour mixture.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and warm 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Then, add the first batch of breaded eggplant and ‘fry’ on each side for 2-3 minutes until browned.

Repeat for the next batch.

Once all of your eggplant is ‘fried’, preheat your oven to 350F.  Then, begin to make up your dish.

Start with a layer of diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce).

Add a layer of eggplant, scoop on some pesto, and add 1/2 of the mozzarella.

Add a little tomato sauce, then repeat the steps adding some pesto and ground pepper to the top.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling, then add a few basil leaves for garnish and broil until slightly browned.  (Make sure you watch it closely while broiling, as it browns fast!)

Once it is out of the oven, let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

We enjoyed our eggplant parm with roasted cauliflower and sugar snap peas.

It took about 60 minutes to make everything, but once in a while, that is definitely worth it!

If you try it out and make any tweaks, let me know.

Garlic Scrape Pesto

  • 5 garlic scrapes
  • large handful fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Throw everything into a food processor and blend until smooth.

This was so delicious that I wanted to eat it by the spoonful, but instead I spread it onto some bread.

You can use any pesto you want, but I suggest you give this one a try!

cabbage and apple coleslaw

What a wonderful weekend away!  We spent the weekend chatting with friends, BBQ-ing, hiking, relaxing and soaking in the sun.  It was fabulous!

For a weekend away, I was able to keep my healthy eating style with everything that I brought from home plus a lot of fruit and veggies that we all picked up.  I ate smoothies, salads, veggie burgers, grilled veggies, corn on the cob, more salad, super charge me cookies, etc.  I feel great after a weekend away!

But, back to reality today!

It was a HOT one in Boston today…they say it hit 100°F in some areas.  Yowzers!  To cool off a bit, I started my day with a smoothie, of course.

Chocolate Mango Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • 3/4 scoop Vega protein powder
  • 1 tsp maca
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup filtered water

Absolutely delicious and very refreshing!!

I kept lunch fairly simple as well, mostly due to the lack of fresh produce in our fridge after a weekend away (we picked up our CSA tonight!).

Whole Wheat Wrap with Lettuce, Hummus and Avocado

And, yogurt with fresh blueberries.

Aren’t simple foods the best?!

Mid-afternoon, I snacked on a granola bar that I had picked up at Starbucks last week.

I loved it!  Simple ingredients and raw…

We tried to keep dinner very simple due to the heat.

Cabbage and Apple Coleslaw

This is a very easy recipe.  I used the grater on my food processor to chop everything up, which made it simple!

  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2 small apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 8 oz thick greek yogurt (I used Trader Joe’s Honey Greek Yogurt – full fat)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme

Mix the yogurt, vinegar, oil and thyme until thinned out (use a little extra olive oil if need be), then toss the dressing with the cabbage, carrots, apple, raisins and sunflower seeds.

I spiralized a beet to serve on top of my salad.

Served with cheesy bread. 🙂

Simple, cold dinners on hot nights are definitely the way to go!  This was delicious!  We both loved it.

Have a great (cool) evening.

keep your healthy habits on vacation

…or over a long weekend away!

When on vacation with a group it is sometimes hard to always eat what you want.  Not everyone has the same tastes, you don’t want to spend a lot, etc.

In order to keep from stressing too much about that, I just make sure to bring my own snacks and healthy additions to meals and desserts.  It is much easier to bring food along when you are going on a road trip, but it is definitely still possible to throw some simple things into your suitcase on a plane.

Before the weekend, I made a trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some simple and healthy snacks.

I picked up bananas, almond milk, and a few packets of protein powder to make quick, simple, satisfying and healthy smoothies.  These can be made for a quick meal or for a mid-day snack.

I packed my small Magic Bullet, too!  I just got this blender, but I plan to take it with me regularly on trips now, including on a plane.  It does not take up a lot of room and you could pack protein powders in the cup itself to save room.

Yogurt, bananas and granola can always be eaten for a meal or snack.

Hummus, avocados and crackers (and I will be sure to pick up some veggies when we get down there) for me to bring out to snack on when the bags of chips and other snacks come out.  Hummus and avocados can also be added to salad or veggies to make a meal!

Another simple and easy thing to bring is pre-cooked rice and beans!  Trader Joe’s has a great variety, my favorite being the Black Beluga Lentils and the Brown Rice.  These pre-cooked packets can be heated on the stove or microwave in a couple of minutes and make the perfect addition to any meal.

Other snack items include dried fruit, trail mix, granola bars and peanut butter packets that you can pack and bring anywhere with you.

I also made sure to make some healthier homemade muffins and cookies.

Carrot Banana Muffins (see recipe here)

Blueberry Muffins (see recipe here)

Super Charge Me Cookies (see recipe here)

By bringing my own snacks, I can piece together simple meals if need be.  I feel better about myself and my body feels better when I continue to eat as I normally do.  I want to feel good while on vacation, so a little planning beforehand is well worth the effort.  Plus, once you get into this routine, it takes no extra time to prepare at all!

Yes, this may seem like a lot, and it is because we are taking our car, which means a cooler is available.  If you are flying somewhere, pack some granola bars, dried fruit and protein powder packs in your suitcase for snacks and hit up a grocery store for fruits and veggies once you arrive at your destination.

I also always pack my resistance bands and exercise clothes.

The bands are easy to use for 10-20 minutes each morning for a quick workout along with pushups and situps.  While walking and/or running is a perfect way to explore a new area and a great way to squeeze in some exercise!

Working out and eating well while traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be!  All you need is a little prep and your vacation can be all that you want it to be. 🙂

Happy traveling!

cabbage pizza

I woke up this morning earlier than I had wanted.  You see, I had this plan to sleep in.  Well, I don’t do sleeping in, so when the sun was up, so was I!

Once I was up, I knew I had to start the morning off on the right foot, so I made Brant and I a treat for breakfast – Pancakes!  Not just any pancakes, though.  These were souped up Banana Almond Oatmeal Pancakes.  And, they were yummy.

I followed the recipe exactly from Fitsugar (see recipe here).  Her recipe makes 12 smaller pancakes, but I like my pancakes thick and filling, so I made the pancakes twice as thick.

I am not a big pancake or waffle eater because I always find that they keep me full for about 10 minutes…there is not much substance or protein in a plain pancake, so it makes sense.  However, two of these pancakes with toppings kept me pretty full for the majority of the morning.  It must have been the oatmeal.

They were fluffy, but dense, so if you like light and fluffy pancakes, these definitely aren’t for you.  I topped my pancakes with a little greek yogurt, banana, chopped almonds and maple sugar.

Next time I would add more banana and cinnamon to the batter!

For lunch, I wanted to do something with the cabbage from our CSA, so I searched for a recipe.  I found the perfect recipe for Japanese Pizza on 101cookbooks.com (see recipe here).  I love pizza and this seemed like a really easy and healthy alternative.

I made sure to wash and dry my cabbage thoroughly, since it came straight from the farm.

The recipe called for shredded cabbage, but I was too impatient to chop it all, so I threw it in my food processor.  It was more grated than shredded, but it worked!

I doubled the recipe to make individual pizza’s for Brant and I, which was a perfect amount (I only ate 1/2 of one).  Once the ingredients are all mixed together, you cook the pizza in a pan on the stove.

Flipping the pizza was easier than I thought.  After cooking the pizza for 4-5 minutes on one side, it was time to flip.  I slid the pizza out onto a plate, put another plate on top and flipped!  Then, slide back into the pan to continue to cook.

Once done, I garnished with almonds and cut it up on the cutting board.

Then, served with a few dipping sauces…guacamole hummus and tomato paste.

It was really, really good!  The pizza itself did not have too much flavor, but it is so basic that you could add anything that your heart desires.  The dippers provided more than enough flavor for me, but I like plain things. 🙂

For a lunch dessert, I broke open some chocolate bars that I bought yesterday.  Endangered Species chocolate started selling some new organic dark chocolate, so I picked up one in each flavor.

How good do they sound?!  Of course, I tried a little of each.

It was tough to pick a favorite, but I really liked the Dark Chocolate with Goji Berry, Pecans and Maca!

Have a great Saturday!

downtown

Happy Memorial Day!

I woke up feeling super groggy and with a pounding headache yesterday.  UGH!  I think it was going to bed so much later than normal…and eating dinner so much later.  Nothing a little juice can’t fix!

I swear – fresh squeezed juice helps every time.  It is loaded with antioxidants and helps to give you that boost that you sometimes need in the morning (without drinking coffee!).

In my juice:

  • 2 huge carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 apple
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp spirulina stirred in at the end

I chugged my juice and it helped so much.  I felt alive after drinking it!

What is spirulina?

Spirulina is a blue-green algae.  It is 70% complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need in a perfect balance.  It also contains a high concentration of nutrients and is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, which makes it a great mix-in for smoothies or juices!

After my juice, we sat down to breakfast on the porch!  That is one of my favorite things about spring and summer.  I love eating on the porch!  While everyone else munched on pancakes and bacon that Brant whipped up, I made up a big bowl of Greek yogurt, chia seeds, museli, banana, granola, cacao nibs and a drizzle of honey.

On the side, I had some juicy watermelon.

The perfect summer day breakfast if you ask me (tied with a smoothie, of course!). 🙂

We spent the day walking around downtown and stopped for lunch at B. Good where I got a big Hatchback salad with spinach, arugula, almonds, dried apples, dried cherries and balsamic vinaigrette on the side.  I snagged a few of Brant’s ‘baked’ fries as well.

Then, hit up Emack & Bolio’s for some black raspberry ice cream.

Nothing is better than walking around the city on a warm day with ice cream!

Once home, I headed out for a quick run before dinner.  I needed a pick me up since I was feeling super tired.  I ran for 30 minutes…it just felt great to get out there, even though Castle Island was packed with people.

Post-run snack:

Coconut water and a slice of multigrain with almond butter and apples to hold me over until another late dinner of Mexican!!

We hit up Border Cafe in Harvard Square to show our guests the area.  The place was packed!  I ordered a Sangria which I sipped throughout the meal.

For dinner, I chose the Vegetarian Fajitas with no rice and extra black beans.  Check out my spread!

I made up a plate with one cup of the black beans, all of the veggies and the salsa and guacamole.  I skipped the cheese and white tortillas.  I always forget how much I love mexican until I have it again!

After dinner, we hit up an outdoor bar in Harvard Square – Tory Row.

It was a cute place with the doors and windows opening to a patio.  Lots of hightop tables and very minimal decorations.

I ordered the Lillet Spritzer which was a white dessert wine with seltzer water and a squeeze of lemon.  It was very refreshing on a warm night!

Another long day!  Good thing it’s a Monday holiday today.