Leftovers Repurposed: Eggplant Lasagna

Seriously Upgraded  Leftovers – Eggplant Lasagna

Written by Kimberly Evans

Leftovers, that magical food that if repurposed right can take itself from one day meals to a whole upgraded second day special! Such was the case in the most recent food utopia with eggplant lasagna.  But to understand what made this dinner so special we must go back a few years (aw hell, 15 years) to understand what happened in the first place.

I have never been a fan of eggplant growing up.  Other than this root vegetable bearing a beautiful purple color i hated it, period.  It was slimy with a tough peel and I get slightly squeamish even divulging that far into details.  But, nonetheless I do like zucchini a relatively close neighbor to this veggies hood.  Since I rub shoulders with a similar food I decided to explore ONE more time eggplant in case my 15 yr. old opinion had changed.

My mom created breaded eggplant using panko breadcrumbs, the other night after she had experienced a great tasting eggplant parmesan at Tufanos an Italian restaurant near us.  She insisted I try some and i begrudgingly did.  It surprised me, it was really tasty! So I eagerly took some home for dinner.

Using fresh Roma tomatoes from m garden I decided to try my hand at making pasta sauce.  Hell, Martha Stewart made it look so simple the other day I figured what’s there to lose.  I created the sauce and layered the eggplant in a small pan with zucchini and some mozzarella cheese.  I baked it, poured the homemade tomato sauce on and it turned out to make on satisfying dinner!  Please enjoy my recipe below and if you have never tried eggplant or have had a disappointing experience with the vegetable i suggest you try one more time.

Below you will find my eggplant lasagna recipe (below it serves 1) and fresh tomato sauce recipe.

Fresh Roma Tomato Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 medium Roma tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Oregano
  • Garlic fresh or powder or a combo of both
  • salt/pepper
  • mushrooms
  • yellow onion
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Boil water and toss in tomatoes until you can see the skin starting to split, remove from heat and blanch tomatoes in a pot of cold water.
  2. Chop fresh basil, oregano, garlic, onion, and mushrooms
  3. Heat sauce pan on low with olive oil, toss in fresh-cut ingredients and stir on low until the onions start to turn a translucent color
  4. Toss in Roma tomatoes and stir together.
  5. Simmer on stove stirring occasionally, you may need to add bits of water throughout depending on how chunky you like your sauce.  Optional: add in frozen or fresh spinach.

Eggplant Lasagna

  1. 1 Eggplant (for my personal slice I used 4 half-inch thick slices and 1/2 a zucchini as that’s all I had left)
  2. 1 egg
  3. Panko Breadcrumbs
  4. Flour
  5. 1 zucchini

Directions:

  1. Slice eggplant into circle slices.
  2. Create egg wash for the eggplant to prep for adding the breadcrumbs:  dip eggplant in egg or egg white, coat in flour and dip in panko breadcrumbs.  Set on baking dish.  Continue to do with the rest of your eggplant serving.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease your baking dish with a non stick spray.
  4. Meantime cut zucchini into slices
  5. on grill pan or frying pan lightly coat with a non-stick spray and toss zucchini on
  6. Saute until cooked and set aside to cool
  7. In your baking pan add one layer of eggplant on the bottom, one layer of zucchini and 1/2-1oz of mozzarella.  Add second layer of eggplant and top with the rest of your portion of mozzarella.
  8. Bake at 375 until eggplant crisps, and cheese is melted.
  9. Top with your fresh pasta sauce and sprinkle on parmesan cheese to finish off.
  10. Enjoy!

here’s a pic of my 1 serving eggplant lasagna:

fresh roma past sauce

Eggplant Lasagna

Best Fitness Tracking Devices: You are what you Beep

English: Polar (TM) pulsometer for fitness. Es...

Let’s talk fitness tracking devices for a moment. Do you use one for monitoring during exercise or even throughout your day? With the ever-changing tech landscape, these fitness devices are getting more and more intelligent to the point that they know you better than you know yourself!

I use a women’s pink polar heart rate monitor which I LOVE! I’ve had it for five years now and actually just replaced the batteries for the first time last month. But I will tell you frankly, heart rate monitors can be quite annoying at times too. Check out the situation below, ever happened to you?

It’s workout day, but you are so not in the mood. You strap on your watch and start working out. 20 minutes into your workout you are hot, irritated and feel like you’ve been working out for an hour. Every dumbbell lift or squat feels like the hardest thing in the world, only to discover upon looking at your heart rate monitor that your monitor has not jumped to over 50% and you’ve only burned a stinking 50 calories. What a jip!

The above is a situation I find myself in at least once a week. Not to mention that I’m 125 lbs so if I want to burn something as simple as 300 calories in an hour I either need to workout above 75% of my heart rate a good majority of the hour or workout for 90 minutes. Neither ideal solutions.

Point being, fitness devices force you to perform at your best. They set expectations for you and if you don’t live up to them they let you know it. What better way to motivate yourself than that? Whats also great is it’s black and white. You can’t fall into that situation that many people do of overestimating how many calories you’ve burned or how hard your working.

As I’ve been doing some research for my next fitness tracker, below are a few of the top monitors I’ve been looking into that won’t break the bank.

Polar FT4o Women’s Heart Rate Monitor Watch – ($100) – This is the new version of my current one. It tracks heart rate letting you know if you are in a fat burning range, total calories burned during workouts, weekly workouts, and lets you know if you are improving your fitness over time.

FitBit Flex – ($100) The best feature about this tracker is that its more flexible than it’s competitors and since you are wearing it 24/7 that’s definitely something to consider. Not to mention its price point it a bit better than the 2 mentioned below. The FitBit syncs up to IOS and Android operating systems. This monitor tracks your sleep patterns, steps and calories. What’s additionally cool is Fitbit’s platform gives plenty ways to analyze your stats.

Jawbone – ($130)- This fitness device comes in multiple colors and is thin like a bracelet. You wear the band all day and all night and it tracks how active or inactive you are, how many steps you’ve walked, calories burned, and even monitors you sleeping pattern letting you know how long it takes you to fall asleep. It also syncs up to your computer or an iphone app.

Nike Fuel Band ($150) – Worn 24/7 this band tracks your calories, steps, and sleep patterns. It also has LED changing colors to show you how your progressing in terms of activity throughout the day. Sync it up with your smart phone and it’ll analyze your day-to-day so you can get a good idea over time when you’re most active/inactive.

Tried out any of these? Swear by one not on the list? I’d love to hear your reviews…

Written by Kimberly Evans

Scrumptiously Healthy Banana Blueberry Bread Recipe

banana blueberry bread

Howdy Honey Crunchers, hope the fourth of july weekend was a blast for everyone filled with food, sun, and fun.  Banana’s are perhaps one of the most addicting fruits (in my perspective).  I love them, seriously can’t have them often enough.  Keeping that in mind, this weekend i had some spare time and thought my oven was way overdue for some delicious baking.

I happened to catch an episode of Giada de Laurentiis cooking show and she was making a blueberry banana bread that looked fantastic!  Only difference with some of the ingredients she was using the nutritionals were not as desirable as i wanted.  So I decided to put my own twist on her recipe and other than cooking it about 5 minutes past the time i should have (shhh) it turned out great.  Below is my version of Giada’s tasty blueberry banana bread.  Go on give it a whirl, you won’t be disappointed.

Honey Crunchers Healthy Blueberry Banana Bread

Ingredients:

2-2.5 ripe bananas

1 cup blueberries (non frozen works better)

1.5 cups of whole wheat flour

2 eggs (I used 1 egg and 1 egg white)

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cooking directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease (I used non stick cooking spray) a loaf pan

2. In one bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon

3. In a second bowl mix eggs, applesauce, vanilla extract, and sugar

4. Mash bananas and combine with blueberries

5. Blend all ingredients together and spread evenly into loaf pan

6.  Pop in over and cook approx 1 hour (monitor with toothpick after 45 minutes)

Let cool for 30-45 minutes, cut yourself a nice big piece, kick your heels up and enjoy your healthy blueberry banana bread!  Want to see her full recipe so you can see which ingredients were swapped here it is:  Giada’s Banana Bread Recipe

Written by Kimberly Evans

Guiltless Grilling Tips for Healthful Living

Sirloin steak of Tajima beef.

With the Fourth of July Celebrations filling up your calendars this week, you will probably have to navigate through a few outdoor parties. This fun summer holiday doesn’t have to be filled with poor food choices, however. Check out these 5 topics for helping you grill healthfully!

Trim that Fat!

  • “Use well-trimmed, lean cuts of meat, such as flank steak or sirloin steak.
  • Heart-healthy olive oil protects leaner foods from drying out during high-heat cooking by helping to hold in natural moisture” (1)

Use a Marinade!

  • “…adding spices, such as thyme, sage, and garlic, can reduce the amount of total HCAs [an agent directly involved in causing cancer, a carcinogen] by 60%…”
  • “Marinating beef in red wine for six hours before grilling decreased the amount of carcinogens—40% fewer than in beef that wasn’t marinated—according to a study by the University of Porto in Portugal.” (2)

Microwave it First?!?

  • Sure enough… “Studies have shown that microwaving meat for two minutes prior to cooking decreased HCAs by 90%. Just remember to throw out the juice—that’s where the HCAs lurk.” (2)

Be Condiment Conscious

  • “Ketchup contains lycopene, a natural cancer fighter. Choose organic options without high fructose corn syrup.
  • Mustard is not only low in calories, but also contains mustard seeds, which help reduce inflammation (this is good for achy joints and heart health).
  • BBQ sauce adds great flavor, but be sure to buy brands with tomatoes, not sugar or high fructose corn syrup, as the first ingredient.” (3)

Healthy Grilling Foods

  •      Protein: chicken breast, lean pork chop, shrimp, salmon
  •      Starches: fingerling potatoes, jicama
  •      Fruit: pineapple ring, peaches
  •      Veggies: corn, eggplant, zucchini

 

Contributing Writer, HoneyCrunched Kate Milde

Sources:

1)  Better Homes & Gardens: http://www.bhg.com/health-family/weight-loss/diets/healthy-grilling-tips/
2) Health.com: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20400685_2,00.html
3) Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dawn-jackson-blatner-rd-cssd-ldn/healthy-grilling_b_862590.html
4) True Lemon: http://www.truelemon.com/live-healthy/slimming-down/287-healthy-grilling-tips.html