Best Eggplant Parmesan is with Tomatoes!

I know, eggplant parmesan has marinara sauce. That’s not what this is about.  I get a 1/2 share of a CSA.  It’s a local co-op of farms, and you sign up to get a weekly box of fruits and veggies (and other stuff, if you choose to purchase those shares). I get a 1/2 share, because I am single and the amount I get from that is more than enough.

Last week, we get eggplant, which is such an awesome one to get in season.  They were on the small side, but I really wanted to make eggplant parmesan. Its a great dish, and I can container it for lunch for the week.  I went on pinterest and found this great recipe.

Best Baked Eggplant Parmesan

I LOVE this recipe for so many reasons.

  1. It uses 1/2 panko and 1/2 traditional breadcrumbs, which creates a great mixture
  2. It calls for fresh mozzarella.  This makes it sooooo much better than bagged shredded
  3. It recommends fresh parmesan
  4. It also calls for fresh basil

Because I worried about having enough eggplant, I had to find a way to “beef” it up.  I realized I had gotten beefsteak tomatoes in the CSA too, and the recipe had instructions for breading and baking the eggplant on a sheet in the oven.  It’s really similar to a baked version of a fried green tomato.  Eureka!  I did one sheet full of eggplant, and one sheet of tomatoes.

I also used an oven-roasted marinara that I had made prior, which was also full of CSA veggies.  That recipe is here:

Oven Roasted Marinara

I didn’t have any tomato paste to add, and wished I had, after I tried it over pasta, but when I added it to this dish, it came out glorious. I add a quartered bell pepper and a quartered jalapeño pepper to the veggies I roast. I then add 1-2 cans of tomato paste when I throw everything in the processor.



I will forever make my eggplant parm this way.

Have Taco Bowl, Will Travel

I wanted to go more vegetarian, for my lunches this week.  Taco salads seemed a nice fresh option, so the only challenge was really how to package the parts of the salad. I didn’t want the lettuce getting soggy, and did want to be able to prep everything for the week, at the beginning of the week.

There is very little prep, and the packaging I attempted, seems to be working well.  There is plenty of room to make this vegan or to add meat, so variations are easy to make.

Because there is a recall on romaine, I didn’t want to take a chance on that.  For that reason, I used 1/2 spinach and 1/2 lemon arugula.  That is working well, although I do need to cut it up more. Finely cut romaine would make this wonderful, although the spinach and arugula are laden with nutrients, so I won’t complain too much.  Because everything is pretty much optional and can be substituted with any other suitable ingredients, I will not put optional by any ingredient.

This recipe was aimed at making 4 servings.

On to ingredients:

  • Spinach – 4 cups
  • Lemon Arugula – 4 cups
  • Uncooked rice – 1 cup  (I cook in rice cooker)
  • Black beans – 1 cup
  • Green bell pepper – 1/2 large pepper, diced
  • Black Olives – 1/2 cup, sliced
  • Avacado – 1/2 medium, diced
  • Shredded Mexican cheese – 1/2 cup – 1 cup
  • Salsa – 1/2 cup (desired heat)
  • Sour cream – 1/2 cup (desired light, non-fat or regular)
  • Tortilla chips – about 5-6

Steam rice, and prepare rest, while rice is cooking. Wash, cut and package the spinach and arugula into containers, which will be used as the salad bowl.   In ziplock bags add about 2 tbsp of black beans, 1/4 of the diced green pepper, 1 tbsp of black olives, 1/4 of the avacado, and 1/4 of the cheese. Once the rice is cooked and cooled down, add 1/4 of the rice to each bag.  In a small portion container, spoon about 2 tbsp of salsa, and then about 2 tbsp of sour cream on top of the salsa. Put about 5-6 tortilla chips in a ziplock.

Take 1 salad bowl, fixings bag, salsa and sour cream “dressing” containers, and chips bag, with you. Work, or play, as long as you can keep the items refrigerated they should be fine to go anywhere with you.

Simply dump the fixings bag into the lettuce bowl, and dump the salsa and sour cream on top. Crush the tortilla chips in their bag, and then dump on top. You now have an awesome salad, for lunch or dinner, on the go.

The prep is so easy, you’ll want to make this again and again!

Miso Ramen Lunch Bowls

I post on this blog in a completely random fashion, but since it’s the new year, I decided to post a new “recipe”.  Recipe is in quotes, because you can probably find at least 20 variations of this on Pinterest.  I started there, in an attempt to find what I wanted to make, but then just decided to take some from each and make my own.

My goals, for this meal:

  1. I wanted a miso soup, for my work week lunch meal
  2. I wanted it to have noodles, whether ramen or rice noodles
  3. I wanted it to be portable. Soup is a pain to transport to work.
  4. I wanted the prep to not be an all day endeavor
  5. I wanted the ingredients to be simple enough, that I wouldn’t have to buy 50 ingredients and never use 47 of them again

So, I picked out the ingredients, that I wanted in my soup.  I then figured I could just add hot water at work.  That way, I’m just prepping containers for the week, with all the fillings. The broth can be made right at the end.

First, the ingredients list. You can certainly add and remove, based on what you like.  I also note the 1 switch, that will take this from vegetarian to vegan.

  •  Ramen noodles – pull out the noodles, and ditch the high sodium seasoning packet. I did not use a name brand, but found one in the Asian aisle of Wegmans, which was a little narrower than the name brand squares of dried noodles
  • Eggs – hard boil and shell one for each soup container. To make this recipe vegan, nix the egg, and bake some tofu. I didn’t want to do a lot of cooking, so I didn’t include tofu, but it would be a great addition or substitution
  • Shitake mushrooms – I picked out 2 for each day, in the bulk section, instead of getting a whole container
  • Scallions (green onion) – a small bunch will do
  • Corn – a small can (8.75 oz) is more than enough.
  • Miso paste – I also get this from Wegmans, in the Asian section. It’s in a clear tub.  When I got some for this recipe, I found that there was a red and a white. Seems they are fermented with different things, which give it a corresponding view. It looks like this:
  • Wakame seaweed – Also in the Asian section. In a bag, and looks like dried flakes. It balloons up in water!

See the picks below, to see how I assembled the bowls.  I got ziplock medium bowl shaped containers, which worked really well.  On the bottom of the container, I placed 2 chopped up shitake mushrooms, a hard boiled and peeled egg, 3/4 TBSP of miso paste, 1-2 TBSP of corn, and approximately 1 TBSP of diced/sliced scallions.


Then I placed a piece of wax paper on that, to separate the “wet” ingredients from the “dry” ones.  That is simply the dried noodles and the wakame seaweed.  Keep in mind that the seaweed is an acquired taste.  It also will blow up, and can consume your bowl, if you add too much.

Finally, I used a hot water machine, in the office copy room, to fill up my soup (after removing the wax paper, of course.  Make sure to put the lid back on, and give it a couple of minutes, so the noodles can get noodle-y.  Now that I’ve tried the recipe, I will say that it is pretty great.  The hot water isn’t as hot as I would like. I may need 1 secondary container for microwaving water, so I can get it more thoroughly hot.

Check out all that wakame!

I’m looking forward to having this for my work lunches for the week.  I just need to figure out hotter water, to steep and prepare the soup.  Definitely a keeper.


Buffalo Ranch Chicken Salad – The Lazy Way

I found this recipe on Pinterest:

and thought it sounded fantastic.  Because I had a lot going on, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time with the prep.  I did these swap outs, and it made the whole recipe incredibly simple. The result was fantastic, and there was more than I needed for a week’s worth of lunches.

  • 3 cups chicken breast, shredded or chopped
    • Substitute = 3 cans of chicken in water
  • 1½ cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • ¼ sweet yellow onion, finely diced
    • Substitute = 2 small containers of mirepoix instead of the above veggies
  • ½ cup mayonnaise {homemade if you are Paleo or Whole30}
  • ¼ cup Franks Hot Sauce, original
    • Next time I will add more – It has flavor, but not much heat or kick with this much
  • 1 Tbsp Ranch Seasoning Mix {use this one if you are Paleo or Whole30}

Just follow the recipe, to mix the mayo, redhot and seasoning separately, so it will mix with the chicken and veggies well.

That’s it!

Veganized Tater Tot Beef Enchilada Bake

I found this recipe on Pinterest, for Tater Tot Enchilada Bake , and was able to veganize it pretty easily.  This recipe is incredibly easy, delicious and not hard to make vegan.

Here are my alterations. Note that anything I changed, I put a –> for what the change is.:


  • 1 pound ground beef –> 2 packages of Trader Joe’s Meatless Beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pack taco or fajita seasoning (about 2 teaspoons) –> 1 package of Trader Joe’s taco seasoning (use 1/2 a package first time, as this will make it quite spicy.  You may not want a whole package, if you don’t like a lot of heat).
  • 2 cups tater tots (enough to cover dish)
  • 1 can enchilada sauce –> Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce (1 bottle)
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese (or mozzarella) –> Trader Joe’s Soy mozzarella shreds
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • Scallions or cilantro to garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sautee the 1 onion, in a large skillet.  I do medium chop (using vidalia chopper) with olive oil
  3. Add 2 packages of meatless beef, and break apart, mixing with onions.
  4. Add taco seasoning (start with less, you can always add more) and enchilada sauce
  5. Pour into a greased 9×13 casserole dish
  6. Top with tater tots
  7. Top with cheese shreds, olives and cilantro
  8. Bake for 30-45 min

Enjoy, and share!

Stuffed Peppers a la Me

Here is my promised blog on my first ever stuffed peppers recipe.  I liked how they turned out.  I am a fan of using veggies as a base, rather than as a side or part of the recipe. It is a way of making my recipes healthy and still hearty. That is what Weight Watchers has taught me.

So here is the recipe, as I made it on the WW site.

MY WW Stuffed Pepper Recipe   – It appears Weight Watchers gets rid of recipes, if the members leave.  Opps! Good thing I put it below.

The following are the ingredients.  I don’t list things like seasoning, because that is generally up to your tastes, but I will mention them here.



Set the rice to cook, so you can be prepping everything else in the mean time.
If you don’t add any oil or butter, then make sure to stir once in a while, to ensure it doesn’t over-cook or stick to the pot.  I used brown rice, so it looks dryer. It does also take longer too cook.
Set the chicken to bake in the oven at 350, or until baked (leave oven on for the peppers).
You can use any kind of chicken, marinated or not.  I used Wegman’s mojo, because I had it.  I use my bread pan for baking chicken…
Dice up all ingredients into a bowl.
I use the Vidalia Chopper and it saves so much time! Makes everything perfect size.
Shred the chicken, using 2 forks, pulling in opposite directions.
Mix cooked rice and shredded chicken with rest of diced veggies.
Mix in seasoning such as black pepper, garlic powder, minced garlic, chalula sauce (or any kind of hot sauce), etc.  This is important, because this will decide the over-all flavor of the mix inside your peppers.  You can go sweet, hot, tangy.  I went for a little kick, with some good garlic undertones.
Cut the tops off the peppers and hollow out.
Place in a foil lined pan. (notice I used a spring form pan – yep resourceful!)
Fill the peppers with the filling mix from the bowl.
Top each pepper with 1 Tbsp of feta cheese.
Bake until browned on the top.

You can obviously add more or less of stuff, and use different kinds of rice, veggies etc.  Changing ingredients or amounts of them may change the WW points.  Each stuffed pepper is only 3 PP, but still feels like a good lunch.  2 would be 7, but I don’t know if I could eat 2.  I do think the seasonings and hot sauce really give the dish needed flavor, but everyone likes different flavors, so some experimentation may be in order.

If you try the recipe, let me know what you think!

Happy Woman Baking

Watching Mad Men, and for the fun of it, I am happy, not mad. I have a surplus of bananas and strawberries.  I have never had old bananas and just decided to make bread.  So today, I thought I would.  I looked on WW site, but didn’t find one that was the point range I wanted.  Turns out, there’s a reason.  I didn’t know this until I finished, but it was a good learning experience in cooking.

Found 2 recipes on pinterest:
This one –

And this one –

My final recipe is gone. Once I ended my membership with Weight Watchers, it seems they deleted the link to the recipe I made on their site.

This is how I start – take out all ingredients and line them up – helps me to make sure I have everything!  As I add each ingredient, I put them away.  That way, when I’m done, I don’t have much of any clean up except bowls and measuring/mixing tools.
Strawberries.  If I worked with cutting up strawberries more often, I might just want a huller.  It’s kind of pain to cut out the stems.
This is how I diced up the strawberries.  Just wanted to give a picture.  I didn’t leave them big at all.  I also didn’t want them pureed with the banana, yogurt mixture.
 Dry mix.  Pretty dry.  Pretty straight forward.
 Batter all together and ready to bake!
While it was baking, I used the timer to see if I could get the rest of my stuff done.  Cleaned up the dishes.  I programmed the coffee for 5:00 am, and made my peanut butter dip for the rest of my strawberries.  Here is how easy that is:
 Above are the ingredients.  Plain chobani yogurt, 2 tbsp of peanut butter, and 2 tbsp of confectioner sugar.  This time I also added 1 tsp of cinnamon.
 Doesn’t that look yummy?  No?  Well, we gotta mix it! 😀
 Makes 3 servings.  Package up some strawberries, and you will be excited for your afternoon snack!  2 PP on WW.
 I also packed my breakfast, which I have after the gym at work.  I know, it’s just cereal, but on WW I find that we often get ideas for a way to change up our meals, by what others post.  This is 1 serving (3/4 cup) of Fiber One Honey Squares (2 PP), 1 serving Special K Fruit and Yogurt (3 PP), with 1 cup of skim milk (2 PP).  Totals 7 PP on WW.
 For lunch, I packed a salad.  It is a little pointy, but lots of veggies!  5 PP for the chicken.  I package it separately, so I can microwave it and put it on the salad, hot.  The salad has olives (1PP), 1/8 cup feta (1PP), and 3 tbsp Wegman’s Light Peppercorn Ranch dressing (3PP).  Total of 10 PP.
Ok, folded the laundry and got this blog done.  Here is the final product of the strawberry banana bread.  Very tasty, but turned out at 11 servings, 5 PP each.  A little high for me, as a snack.  Going to bring it in to IT tomorrow.  Those guys will eat it up.
Hoping to get another blog up soon on the abs challenge I started in the Weight Watchers community.  Should be fun!!!

Where to Start When to Finish

It’s 9:00 and I am just eating dinner.  I set this blog up, because I am addicted to blogging, and I needed more space.  As you may have read in the description, I started blogging on Weight Watchers.  In January of 2011, I re-joined their online program, and set a goal to lose 124 lbs.  So far, I have lost 64 of that, and have 60 left to go.  The blog that I built on that site dealt with weight watchers community support, fitness, eating healthy, my struggles and successes of the last year, as well as my personal and professional adventures.

The limits of the WW blog site, started to hit my head, or I started to hit that ceiling.  Don’t get me wrong. Weight Watchers is a great community.  The online site has so many tools and resources.  The blog is just not a complete out and out blog.  There is a limit of 2,000 characters.  Only one picture can be posted per blog, and there is no ability to have an rss feed to the blog.  This makes it too limiting for my taste, as I have gotten more and more into wanting to blog.

Here, I plan to expand on my growing interest in fitness, healthy eating, gardening, my house and it’s ever-promising potential.  Yesterday, I spent the day with friends.  We set up our crock pots at one house.  Some were corned beef and cabbage.  Because corned beef is so high in fat (and salt), I decided to try a new dish.  I call it…

Something with Guinness
2 packages of Turkey kielbasa
2 packages of sauerkraut
1 package baby carrots
1 bunch of celery – chopped
1 lbs baby red potatoes – quartered
1 package of sliced baby bellas
1 can Guinness
Slice and brown the sausage in a pan, with garlic powder and pepper.  Put rest of ingredients in crock pot.  Add sausage.  Let sit overnight (optional).  Turn crock-pot on low for 8 hours.
So good!