From growing to eating.

    As summer is winding down and our garden continues to grow, I’m always pondering what to create.  I’ve taken many pictures of our bounty of veggies that I still need to share. 
    My favorite thing that we’ve grown… eggplant!  One of my favorite veggies.  The real trick is how to to prepare it and keep it interesting.  I personally think eggplant parmesan is the best way to enjoy the purple vegetable, but there are so many other fun varieties to try.
    Honestly, I was really surprised that our eggplant even grew at all.  It took a long time to get started and there was a ton of plant and not much vegetable action going on.  Slowly but surely, they started to show themselves.  I’m sure not many of you know this but there are thorns on their vines!  And the vine that connects the actual eggplant is so thick and sturdy that you have to twist it to get it off.  At least that’s what I do. I’m sure you could…cut it?  Oh, and they actually hang from the vines.  I always expected them to rest on the ground.  I just find watching things grow so fascinating!!
    This time around I decided to make a fresh eggplant salad.  Simply components and fresh food.
    You will need:
    • eggplant
    • olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • roasted peppers ( I prefer in a jar)
    • tomato
    • fresh basil
    After slicing the eggplant really thin and drizzling with olive oil, Jay threw it on the grill.  I then layered pieces of tomato, roasted peppers and basil.  Both the tomatoes and the basil were also from the garden.  I drizzled a little more olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and threw in some basil.062
    It was a pretty simple side dish so there wasn’t much measuring going on.  I went more with what I thought looked tasty.  And tasty it was!


    Quinplant Patties

    Have you ever loved a food so much that you’d do anything in order to eat it?  For me, that food is eggplant.  I know it sounds crazy that I could love a vegetable.  Maybe even crazier that I say I would do anything for it. 
    This summer I started having weird food reactions, especially to vegetables.  My mouth would get itchy and sometimes it would hurt.  One time I even felt like my throat was getting tight.  And of course, one of the foods that caused this was eggplant.  So instead of not eating eggplant, I decided to eat it in small quantities.  And make recipes that involved eggplant with other ingredients.  Call me stubborn, I already know it.  It’s just too good to give up. Trust me,  I’m pretty sure you’ll try this recipe and thank my dedication to the beloved purple plant.
    Quinplant Patties
    Yields 3-4 cakes
    1/2 cup of quinoa, prepared according to box
    1 cup eggplant, diced
    1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
    2 Tbs parmesan cheese
    1 egg
    1 red bell pepper
    1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
    1/2 Tbs olive oil
    fresh basil
    salt and pepper to taste
    1.) Line a baking sheet with foil and put eggplant, onion and red pepper on the foil.  Spray with cooking spray and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
    2.) When veggies are finished, allow to cool.  In a bowl, combine quinoa, eggplant, bread crumbs, cheese and egg.  Form into 3-4 patties.
    3.)  In a food processor, combine pepper, onion, olive oil, a few basil leaves, salt and pepper.
    4.) Heat a pan to medium and spray with cooking spray.  Place patties in pan one at a time and cook 5 minutes on each side, or until crispy.
    5.) Remove patties from pan, top with veggie spread, and a piece of basil.



    Have a great weekend!

    Not so bad after all.

    So although I started my day off frustrated, in the end I wound up feeling pretty good.
    I worked at my first location until around 12ish.  While chatting with one of the employees, she mentioned that there was a Whole Foods right around the corner!  And when she said right around the corner, she meant it!  I literally could have walked there :D
    I wandered around the store for a good 10 minutes before I could decide what I wanted.  Definitely foodie heaven!
    I finally decided!  Fire roasted turkey wrap which had lettuce, roasted turkey, roasted peppers and cheddar cheese.
    Because I couldn’t decide between wrap or salad I went with both!  Of course I mixed some salads :) They seriously have the best salad bar ever.  I picked a green bean salad with blue cheese and walnuts, tabouli and a grilled chicken salad.
    Some locally brewed iced tea.
    And a chunk of dark chocolate for dessert!  I took a big bite during lunch and then left the rest in my trunk, not thinking that the 91 degree weather would melt it :(
    Although I missed my lunch buddies, it was relaxing and a good change of pace to eat somewhere else.
    When work was finished I headed to my gym at home.  I actually had some time since I was able to leave from the gym location that is closer to home.  AND I want in the mood to really work hard!
    I did 10 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes running  on the treadmill, 10 minutes back on the elliptical and then finished hard on the treadmill!  It felt great to really push myself and not get bored.  Afterward, I did some lifting, which I haven’t done in so long!  I really want to try to work on toning but sometimes after doing cardio I just want to leave the gym.  So that is something I need to work on.
    I was excited to come home for dinner because I brought some more treats home from WF.
    My favoriteee! Eggplant parm :D and some fresh green beans !
    Doesn’t get any better than that!
    Moral of the story: food makes me happy!  On a more serious note, I think it is important to try to put things in perspective when you are having a bad day.  I know more than anyone that this is hard but it is true that you determine your own happiness.  Of course bad things will happen but it is up to you to decide how you will handle them.  And it does help to do things that cheer you up.
    I’m off to watch Shutter Island with my Dad and enjoy my night.  Goodnight :)