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I have never really been one for eggplant. Like. At. All. However, my roommates and I signed up to join a CSA with a local farmer –who appropriately goes by Farmer Mike –and as a result I’ve been forced to cook with vegetables that I would never pick out of my own accord while grocery shopping. And I have to say, so far, it’s been pretty great. Farmer Mike has been providing us with plenty of eggplant lately, and I thought it was time that I actually use the vegetable in a meal. So I opened up my handy dandy cookbook, aka Pinterest, and searched eggplant recipes until I landed on this one. It was simple, the pictures looked divine, and best of all, the ingredient list (and cooking time) was short. And let me tell you guys, it was absolutely amazing. My only regret is that I only made enough for one meal!

Recipe adapted from Maza

Ingredients (makes 6 servings, so I cut the recipe in half)

1 large eggplant
3 large tomatoes, to match the diameter of the eggplant
Crumbled feta
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Juice of half lemon
2 garlic cloves
½ extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut of the eggplant crosswise into ½ inch thick rounds. Lightly season them with salt and leave them for 30 minutes on a side to let water to come out of the eggplant.
  2. Once ready drizzle some olive oil on top of each slice and grill them on a lightly oiled grill rack for 2 -3 minutes each side. (I broiled mine in my oven for  4-5 minutes)
  3. Blend the basil leaves with 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt in an immersion blender until smooth.
  4. Cut the tomatoes crosswise to ¼ inch thick rounds.
  5. Lightly oil the baking pan. Arrange 4 eggplant rounds side by side. Spread ½ tablespoon of the basil-garlic mixture on top of each one, then generously sprinkle feta crumbs. Top each with tomato rings. Add another layer of eggplant, basil spread, feta and tomato rounds and top with the rest of the crumbled feta. (I also did not double up on eggplant and tomatoes).
  6. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  7. Drizzle some olive oil on top of each stack and bake for 15 minutes.

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You all know by now, I love a recipe that is easy to whip up, and that has room for some substitutions and/or additions. One of my absolute favorite food bloggers is Beth of Budget Bytes; which is where today’s mouth-watering recipe is adapted from. Beth’s blog showcases meals, that are not only delicious, but also budget-friendly. And trust me, I am no chef extraordinaire, but every one of her recipes that I have tried, have been fabulous. The other night, I was in the mood for something on the lighter side, but more importantly, for something quick. Little did I know how filling this was, and the best part, is you can add any vegetable or herbs, you happen to have on hand. While the recipe didn’t call for it, I had some broccoli, and green bell peppers, which I ended up just throwing in there. And I topped mine with garlic scapes, but feel free to toss on any herbs that you may have lying around; there is plenty of room for creativity with this dish.

Ingredients

Some frozen spinach, thawed
a pinch of garlic powder
Red pepper flakes (depending on how much you like spicy)
Salt and pepper
1 medium Roma tomato
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp cream or half and half
¼ cup shredded cheese (a creamy cheese works best, I used Havarti)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a casserole or pie dish with non-stick spray or with butter. Thaw the spinach and squeeze out most of the moisture (I didn’t have much time, so I used the microwave to defrost).
  2. Cut the tomato into chunks and place them in the bottom of the casserole dish (I also removed the watering middle section of the tomato to avoid a runny dish).
  3. Sprinkle the spinach over the tomato.
  4. Season the tomato and spinach with the garlic powder, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper.
  5. Crack the eggs on top of the spinach and tomato. Drizzle the cream over everything in the dish, then top with the shredded cheese. Bake the dish in the oven for 8-12 minutes, or until the whites are opaque, but still soft and moist (they should jiggle slightly when you shake the dish). The exact cooking time will depend on the size and shape of your dish, so begin checking at around 8 minutes.iPhone 041 iPhone 044  iPhone 047   iPhone 050

quinoa salad

From about 6:15 a.m. Thursday morning to Sunday, I had the pleasure of being in Dover, Delaware for the music festival Firefly. I was lucky enough to attend with some amazing ladies, and there were some spectacular bands playing, so needless to say I had a great time. However, as we camped for 4 days, our eating habits were not the healthiest, so when I came home -after showering, and sleeping -my next priority was to counteract the several days of crappy food intake I had had with a good ol’ salad cleanse. And when I say cleanse, I really mean salad for 2 meals, because let’s be honest, I like food way too much to survive longer than that. The first is a quinoa salad (adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod) and the second is just iceberg lettuce mixed with a lot of goodies (adapted from Bev Cooks). I’ll be posting some pictures of my trip in the near future, though I am sad to admit that I did not take nearly as many as I should have, and the ones I did take are not as great as I wished they would be- but better to have a great time with less than perfect documentation than vice versa right? Hope you are all having a wonderful Tuesday!

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Let me start off by saying, I am not a baker in any sense of the word. Even with straight from the box cookies or brownies, I’ve always just felt like baking was something that required a domesticity that I didn’t have. But, since graduating college, and living on my own (not including my 4 roommates) I’ve been trying to slowly branch out into the world of baking. Enter this awesome and super simple banana bread recipe from In Mama Steph’s Kitchen. Seriously those of you who try this out will not be disappointed, unless my roommates (and their respective significant others), my boss, coworker, and I all have horrible taste.

Ingredients

½ cup butter (usually half a stick), at room temperature, plus more for the pan

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 ½ cups of plain flour (I used white)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 very ripe bananas, 1 cup mashed

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a pan, and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until combined. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine. (I also added a tsp of cinnamon for an extra flavor.) Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.
  4. Enjoy!

I topped mine with Nutella, because really what doesn’t taste better with Nutella, and it was truly magical.

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Easy Fried Rice Recipe

The day I realized cooking fried rice was a simple task was arguable one of the better days of my life. Like most people, I love eating out, and I always justify it by telling myself that I can’t make the complex dishes found in my favorite restaurants. While for the most part that’s very true, there is at least one exception to this -friend rice. This recipe is super easy to follow and requires very little ingredients. I opted not to include meat in the dish, but adding it does not change the recipe; simply prepare the meat however you’d like it, and add it when mixing in the rice with the rest of the ingredients. This was courtesy of Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats, definitely check out her blog for more finger-licking good eats!

Ingredients: (2-3 servings)
1.5 cups rice (I used long grain brown rice)
1/2 cup frozen carrots and peas
2 green onions & 1/4 cup onion chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg
2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

Whisk egg with 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a small dish then set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add frozen mixed vegetables and green onions. Stir fry until tender, about 2 minutes, then add onion and garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Push vegetables to the side of the skillet then add egg and sesame oil mixture into the center and scramble.

Add rice, and soy sauce to skillet then toss well to combine.

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Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted ChickenJuicing has become rather trendy this past year. As I’ve watched friend after friend do this cleanse, I assumed it was just a matter of time before I too jumped on the bandwagon. Now I’m not so sure. As you know, post wisdom teeth removal, the patient is on a strict liquid and soft food diet. Because of my slight complication, I basically ate nothing but ice cream, apple sauce, mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, and the occasional mashed potatoes for a solid week and I have never been more miserable. This led me to conclude that unless it’s medically mandated, I just don’t think I can forgo actual food for a smoothie for longer than one day. But as I suffered through my (temporary) dietary restriction, I could not stop thinking about a delicious chicken recipe I made a couple weeks earlier. The recipe came from Georgia of The Comfort of Cooking – a great food blog with easy recipes, clear instructions, and mouthwatering pictures. This recipe was not only easy to follow, but it was probably one of the most delicious things I have ever made, AND I already had most of the ingredients. As I was cooking for one, I halved the recipe, but it still turned out wonderfully!Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken

Ingredients (6 servings)

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 whole lemons, one juiced and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and one sliced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
10-12 pieces (about 4 1/2 lbs.) bone-in chicken parts (thighs and legs are best), pat dry
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or fresh chopped
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, or fresh chopped
Chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley), for garnish, optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, Italian seasoning, paprika, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.

Place Chicken in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Place parts skin side up and spread them out evenly in the pan. Pour olive oil mixture all over chicken, turning pieces to coat all sides. (It’s even better if you marinate the chicken in the olive oil mixture for a couple hours or overnight, but this is not required.)

Arrange slices of lemon, orange, and onion around and under the chicken; then sprinkle all over generously with thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

Bake uncovered for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked and juices run clear. Garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs if desired.