I love comfort food, and of course Italian food. Hearty home cooked meals were always my specialty, but led to a lot of growing waistlines in our house. I wanted to create a healthy clean version of one fo my favorite dishes, eggplant parmesean. Actually pretty darn easy, but I wanted to add this to the blog to show you that eating healthy and clean doesn’t need to be difficult AND cooking a delicious and beautiful meal doesn’t need to take all day or require a culinary degree!
I like to eat eggplant whenever I can, because I like it! My husband does not, and while he travels on business I load up on this yummy veggie It’s also super nutritious. Eggplant is a good source of fiber, source of Vitamin B and minerals such as magnesium and manganese. Purple eggplant contains a substance called Anthocyanin. Anthocyanins can prevent high blood pressure, hepatosis (disease due to deficiency of vitamin E or selenium), and enhance vision at night.
I like to serve this with a salad on the side, and if you’re feeding a crowd or maybe others who aren’t as into gluten free, organic clean eating type things, you can throw some pasta on the side. I chose to serve a caprese salad on the side because its my favorite, also I had the ingredients on hand and I recently purchased the Blaze Fig and Balsamic Glaze and I am addicted to itI But any side salad will do, or none at all, whatever you want!
This dish is probably the easiest thing I can think of. My version is not dairy free, but you can easily substitute the grated cheese for something like Daiya Mozarella Shreds, they are pretty good too.
Guilt Free Eggplant Parmesean
What You need
- 1 Large Purple Eggplant (you can probably use whatever eggplant you like best)
- Tomato Sauce
- Shredded Cheese, Italian Blend (about 8 oz)
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Fresh Basil for garnish
What you do
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and wipe the baking dish with some olive oil
- Slice the eggplant thickly (about half inch)
- Layer half the sliced eggplant in the dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon some of the tomato sauce evenly over the eggplant and top with half the cheese.
- Create another layer with the rest of the eggplant, season with salt and pepper, cover with sauce and cheese
- Bake about 20 minutes – until eggplant is tender and cheese is melted and browning slightly
- Remove from the oven, garnish with basil serve and EAT!
One of the things I have started doing, in my pursuit of health, is eating an energizing and nutritious breakfast. Not only does it get my metabolism going for the day, but I also started taking vitamin supplements and you have to take them with food (meh). Long gone are the days when breakfast consisted of a diet coke and a cigarette!
Anyway, I always loved oatmeal, but looking for something that packs a bigger nutritional punch, I decided to try a quinoa porridge. One of the best reasons to enjoy quinoa is because it has a high-protein content, which makes it a great cholesterol-free and low-fat source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Also, quinoa is one of few foods that are considered a complete protein, meaning that it contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals. A complete protein contains them in correct proportions for supporting biological functions in the human body.
I found a few recipes (there are tons on Pinterest!) and played around until I was satisfied. This isn’t quite the same consistency of oatmeal, so don’t expect it to be, but the flavor is awesome. I had just made my PMS Crunch mix (aka trail mix with pecans and cranberries) so I was on a toasted nut and dried fruit kick. With quinoa porridge you can really just throw whatever you want on top, or nothing at all, your choice. Any nuts or fruit (fresh and dried) work well.
Pecan Cranberry Quinoa Porridge (serves one)
What you need
- 1/4 cup White quinoa
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Stevia to taste (I just sprinkle a little in, maybe a 1/4 teaspoon?)
- Toasted pecans (or your favorite nut)
- Dried Cranberries (or your favorite fruit)
What to do
- Bring quinoa and almond milk to a boil – don’t got far this can happen quickly and boil over
- Reduce heat to medium low and add coconut oil, cinnamon and stevie
- Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed stirring every now and again, about 15 minutes
- Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite nuts and dried fruit
So last week I was hit with the hormones – which of course led to the desperate need for chocolate and salt…. After reaching out to the other members of the Tone it Up community I tried a bunch of various recipes.
I knew I couldn’t just ignore the craving for chocolate, or chips or salt. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Its not just a craving, its a hormone induced obsession LOL. The suggestions were fantastic, and I thank all those ladies for sharing their tips with me.
One of the first suggestions was trail mix, I made that because I actually had the ingredients on hand – which were whatever I could find in the pantry! I had already toasted up some pecans for an asparagus dish I made (post on that to come!) and I had purchased some dried cranberries for a quinoa porridge (again, another post I will have to write!). I also dig up some coconut chips that I had bought at Trader Joe’s, and some Guittard dark chocolate chips. I threw all that stuff, in roughly equal amounts, into a small container and gave it a shake. Voila, trail mix! I reached in, grabbed a small handful, shoved it into my mouth like I hadn’t seen food in a year, and was shocked. IT WAS SO GOOD. It was just a fantastic mix, toasty, sweet, salty, coconutty and chocolatey goodness in every bite. The perfect PMS snack, in fact I think I might start calling it Becca’s PMS crunch mix.
It was really only enough for one serving, so the next day I mixed up some more and threw in some roasted and salted pumpkin seeds for a little bit more salt (my pecans were not salty). So, basically if you have any nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate throw it in a container and shake it up! I would love to hear what kind of trail mixes you like to make, or what kind of healthy snacks you pick when you just can’t shake the salty or sweet cravings.
I found an interesting recipe for a creamy avocado pasta sauce. Yes, PASTA! Those of us who are wheat free or gluten free can still enjoy the pleasure of pasta, there are plenty of healthy and good tasting alternatives. For this recipe i went with a quinoa pasta from Ancient Grains.
This pasta sauce is rich and creamy, but there is no dairy in it and the avocado and olive oil provide lots of healthy fats. I highly recommend giving this a try, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (i.e. all my measuring cups were dirty) and i think I might have needed a tad more olive oil, because mine came out close to a spread. But a little more olive oil thins it out nicely. This sauce is also somewhat like a pesto, garlic, basil, olive oil. If you were not trying to go dairy free, you could probably throw some parmigiana or pecorino in there too. Feel free to experiment!
I wanted to add a little salad on the side, a big plate of pasta, even if it is wheat free, needs to be broken up a bit with something fresh and maybe even acidic. So on the side i added a caprese salad (not dairy free!) with a fig balsamic glaze.
Creamy Avocado Lemon Sauce (serves 2-3)
What You’ll Need:
- 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
- 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
- 2-3 garlic cloves, to taste
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/4 cup Fresh Basil, (optional)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
What to Do:
- Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
- When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately.
Caprese Salad (serves 2-3)
What you need:
- 2-3 Roma tomatoes (or any tomato you prefer)
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella
- 6-8 Fresh basil leaves
- Blaze Fig & Balsamic Glaze (or your favorite balsamic vinegar)
- Olive Oil
What to do:
- Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella in rounds of approximately the same size.
- Cut basil leaves in half, unless they are pretty small (you want them to be similar size as the mozzarella and tomato slices)
- Layer tomato, mozzarella, and basil three times per plate (or however much you want to eat!)
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze and olive oil (just a little drizzle over the top, don’t soak it!)
Hey everyone, its been quite some time since I’ve posted here. A lot has changed in the last year or so for me, culinarily speaking. Over the last 6 months or so I have decided to eat more healthy, this started off with limiting processed foods. Soon thereafter it evolved
into adding as much organic produce to my shopping list as I could afford. Recently it has evolved into a wheat free, clean, whole and organic diet. By making these changes slowly over time I was able to do away with the junk in my diet, even the stuff I thought was healthy (whole grains anyone? No thanks! Read more here http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/).
I also was able to tame my sweet tooth. That doesn’t mean I gave up sweets, it just means
my definition of sweet has changed. To me a piece of fruit or some good quality dark chocolate does the trick. I no longer find myself craving baked goods either. For me, cookies and cakes were my biggest weakness. I no longer add sugar to much of anything,
not even my tea anymore! And the weird thing, is that it all just sort of evolved on its own. I didn’t wake up one day and say – no more sugar! I just found myself gravitating towards healthy options. I also noticed that as I have cut out the junk from my diet I have become much more adventurous with my food choices For example, my husband took me out for
breakfast a couple weeks ago. Normally I would have gotten something like raspberry white chocolate pancakes and devoured them. But this time I looked for a healthy option. I ended up with a Mediterranean omelet loaded up with olives, garlic, artichoke hearts and a bit of
feta. It was amazing, although I’ve always liked those flavors, its not something I would have ever ordered!
So, the point of this is that The Eating is being revamped, rehabilitated, brought back from
the dead! I plan to blog about my culinary adventures in clean eating, as well as some of the ways that my lifestyle has changed beyond the kitchen just from this initial step. Going green and clean has also led me to start exercising regularly as well as practice mindfulness, incorporating meditation and some Buddhist practices into my world and foster
compassion and empathy for others and our earth, and I hope to share some of these experiences with you.
I have also learned how to cook really amazing and delicious meals, that even my meat and potatoes, pizza loving, hot dog eating husband enjoys. Most of the recipes I make I find scouring Pinterest, you can follow my clean eating pin board here
So I am thrilled to share this new chapter in my life with you. Bon appetit!
Also because of our insane apple picking spree i used up a couple apples making these quick breads. They are super moist and delicious!! This recipe works nicely in a muffin tin, you will probably have to reduce the bake time to 30-40 minutes, but keep an eye on them and bake until a cake tester inserted into center of loaf comes out with moist crumbs attached.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup apple cider
- 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 large coarsely chopped apple. I used Jonah Gold, but anything will work.
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional, i did not use these)
- 2 Tbls. cinnamon and sugar mix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, and the salt, making a well in the center. Set aside. Stir in the liquid ingredients (if the butter is still warm, use it to temper the eggs first or they will scramble and your bread will be nasty) until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Gently stir in the apples and the pecans. Pour the batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of loaf comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not over bake!
Cool the loaf in the pan completely before cutting, otherwise it will fall apart when you cut it. This is delicious serves with a little whip creme or creme fraiche. I didnt try it, but i also imagine it would be good with some creme cheese frosting – try the recipe from the apple butter cupcakes.
Last weekend we went apple picking. As usualy we picked more apples than any normal household could ever consume, ever. So i decided to make some apple butter to use up a good chunk of the apples. Then i found myself with a whole bunch of apple butter…. what to do? So I found these little nuggets of deliciousness while searching online for recipes using apple butter.
Apple Butter Cupcakes
Yield: 12 Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup apple butter (I used this recipe for the apple butter)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.
2. Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.
3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then add egg and beat until well combined.
4. Stir in dry ingredients, then apple butter.
5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool before frosting.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (from Cupcake Project)
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1. Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth and uniform.
2. Add cinnamon and vanilla.
3. Add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.