Simple Roasted Eggplant Spread (gf, v)

Hello! Happy New Year! And brr. Is it cold where you are? It’s cold cold in St. Louis. To combat the low temps and up oureggplant 3 veggie intake après holiday indulgence, I whipped up this roasted spread to nosh on last night. This spread-slash-dip can be slathered onto hunks of crusty bread, dipped with crackers (we used wholesome and hearty  Mary’s Gone Cracker), spread on a sandwich, dolloped onto soups, tossed with olive oil on pasta or rice, and so on. Great stuff to have around on cold, winter nights and snowbound days.

eggplant 1The roasted peppers and onion give a big flavor kick; you’ll find the spread hard to put down, which is a great thing when it comes to vegetables, amiright? It was all I could do to not eat the whole batch in one sitting. I enjoyed it hot out of the oven, chilled the next day with lunch, on a baked potato the next day, and at room temp as a dip- all delicious and the room temp option makes this wonderful picnic and party fare.  Oscar party fare, perhaps? ‘Tis [almost] the season!

SIMPLE ROASTED EGGPLANT SPREAD

Adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, top discarded
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • minced garlic cloves, to taste (at least 3), or a tablespoon already-roasted garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher alt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/3 tbsp tomato paste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400. Cut the eggplant, red peppers, and red onion into large, 1-inch dice. In a large bowl, toss the veggies with the raw minced garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Turn out onto a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Your kitchen will smell freaking amazing.

imageWhen 45 minutes are up, add the veggie mix, tomato paste, and pre-roasted garlic, if using, to the bowl of a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times until pretty well combined. You want to leave this with some texture, so don’t completely purée it.

The dip was my pre-workout snack before a girl’s night preview of Core3, a new fitness option in St. Louis. Terribly, terribly fun stuff. Core3 blends TRX, RealRyder indoor cycling (the bikes that move laterally), and Surfset indoor surfing. Yes, indoor surfing! My arms, legs, and abs all felt it today and I’m pretty sure I smiled throughout the entire workout. I highly recommend trying Core3- another exhilarating way to beat the bitter winter temps. #cowabunga

January, schmanuary

January, schmanuary


Healthified Caramelized Onion Dip (veg, gf)

You know what I love? I love old-school, high salt, pre-packaged, preservative-heavy onion dip. I enjoy shoveling the dip into my mouth using rippled potato chips. Not a good habit. Not good at all. The same part of my brain that thinks it likes the poisonous, gelatinous dip so much loves candy corn (partially hydrogenated corn syrup chunks), movie theater popcorn (yes, I would like that drizzled with trans fat sauce), and sour gummy worms (these are not food in any way). Also, it’s my eighth birthday. Also, sorry I’m not sorry.

dip

To trick this part of my palate, which was born 20 years ago in the candy aisle of 7-Eleven and is in it for the long haul, I make snacks like this:

HEALTHY CARAMELIZED ONION DIP
Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic or 2 garlic cloves, mincedingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh
  • splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, or crackers for dipping (especially good with Mary’s Gone Crackers)

Directions: 

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and salt and brown, stirring continuously, for 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 more minutes. The onions will turn a lovely dark brown and smell heavenly.

onions caramelized

Stir in the garlic and thyme, raise heat to medium, and cook for another minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add a splash of Worcestershire and allow it to mostly cook off. Stir the onions into the Greek yogurt and allow it to chill for a bit. Serve with veggies and bask in the healthy glow of your matured decision-making skills!


Takeout Fakeout: CBW Steamed Veggie Bowl with Quinoa (v, gf)

Crazy Bowls and Wraps. I love this place. Crazy Bowls is a fast food chain where you can get all kinds of tasty creations, as healthy or unhealthy as you’d like, vegan or full-on carnivore, stuffed into a wrap or served over grains as a bowl with your choice of sauce.  Crazy Bowls is mainly in Missouri and California with a smattering of stores in Illinois, which seemed like a weird combination to me, until I thought of what other amazing thing Missouri and California share: Brad Pitt. That’s right. Let’s take a moment of silence for the sustaining force that is the MO-CA symbiotic relationship. Thank you, universe, for Brad Pitt. And thank you, Crazy Bowls, for inexplicably branching out into Eastern Missouri.

bright and beautiful

bright and beautiful

There’s a Crazy Bowls location with a drive though just a few minutes from my office and it’s where I go on the rare days I go to work lunchless. My order is the same every time I go. Every time. “Hi, may I please have the stir-fried veggie bowl with quinoa, double veggies, Thai sauce, and an extra side of Thai sauce? Thanks.” And the total is always $8.00, which always stings and makes me feel lazy and wasteful since I know how to cook a %&$#@ bowl of veggies for gosh sakes and since I know the bowl would cost about $2.00 to make.

Well, guess what? Today, I broke the witchy spell that veggie bowl had on me! I made my order at home, and way more of it. I know the ingredients by heart and grabbed a pre-made peanut sauce at Whole Foods to simplify the process.

saucesMy homemade bowl absolutely hit the spot and with a healthy bonus- I steamed the veggies instead of stir-frying them. Mind: blown. Have you made your favorite to-go food at home? Was it as satisfying? Here’s mine- let me know what you think!

STEAMED VEGGIE BOWL WITH QUINOA

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 head green cabbage, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1″ squares
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • bottled Thai peanut sauce or homemade sauce, ya showoff
  • Sriracha, for serving
  • optional: 1 cup kale, sliced into ribbons & 1 small zucchini, sliced into half moons (these are in the CBW bowl)

Directions:

You’re going to love this process- so easy and versatile! Chop all veggies. Put the quinoa on according to its package; as the quinoa cooks, set up a large pot and colander for steaming. Bring about 1/2 inch of water to boil in the pot, and add the veggies into the colander, with the carrots on bottom.

carrotsCover and cook about 10 minutes. Fluff the quinoa, spoon about 1/2 cup into bowls, then top with as many veggies as you’d like and some sauce.

eat up!

eat up!

Delicious! Meals like this will keep you young:


Broiled Honey Salmon with Lemon-Dill Tzatziki Sauce (pes, gf)

Having lived without a grill for the past two and a half years, I’ve come to enjoy broiling salmon almost as much as grilling it. I hope to post my favorite grilled salmon recipe here soon, complete with a great rub for fish- as soon as I figure out how to use the grill at our new place.

Image

This is simple and delicious. The sauce is tangy and fresh and compliments the fish perfectly, without adding a bunch of additional empty calories.

BROILED HONEY SALMON WITH LEMON-DILL TZATZIKI SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • a fresh salmon plank piece to feed two (about 8 inches long and 4-5 inches wide, 1-2 inches thick)
  • olive oil (about two tsps)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large lemon
  • 3/4 of a small to medium cucumber, in small dice
  • 4 tbsp fresh dill 
  • 8 oz fat free Greek yogurt Read More