Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Love and Stuffed Eggplant


It is MAY!!! Can you believe it? I can't.

The weather has been pretty fabulous as of late... 

Except for the last 2 days where we have had some crazy rain.

I don't know what it is about extreme weather but it just makes me want to cook.

Okay, rain is not that extreme but given the crazy winter we just had, I think we can all agree that sunshine and warmth is all we want.

But alas, Love and Grub is here to save you with some DELICIOUS food to take your mind off the weather (and whatever way more important things you have going on in your life) for just a moment.


This was SO GOOD. I am actually pretty impressed with myself. 

I can't take all the credit for this one. I found a variation of this recipe on Pinterest, but I adjusted it based on the ingredients I had. 

I will say this:
 it is a lot of eggplant to eat when you stuff it.

So unless you are huge on eggplants, I would suggest making this dish and eating the stuffed component. However, if eggplant is one of your fave go-to veggies, then go for it! 

Also, it looks so pretty when you stuff the eggplant.



There are many ways to go about this recipe and it is delicious in every way!

I LOVE chickpeas. They are delicious, healthy and a great way to add some protein to a vegetarian meal. I usually add some into my salads but I've never really used it in a hot dish. 

Now, all I want to do is use it in hot dishes.

So, I give you...Stuffed Eggplant!



Ingredients

1 pack chopped mushrooms
2 stalks of kale
1 large eggplant
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup couscous
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

I also used half a zucchini I had left over and the next time I made this I used a yellow squash. 

Use what veggies you like or have! But I will say, this combo is pretty fantastic.





Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

As you can see by the pictures, I have stuffed the eggplant in a few ways. 

 I started by cutting the eggplant into 3 pieces. For the bottom of the eggplant and the middle section, I scoop around the middle. For the end piece that is towards the top, I cut it in half length wise. This gave me 4 pieces of eggplant to stuff.

Scoop the middle of the eggplant out. This may be a little tough, so you can use a knife but be careful to leave some of the eggplant skin. Save the eggplant that you scoop, chop it up and set to the side.





Put the eggplant "bottoms" or "skins" on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and put in the over for 30-40 minutes until the eggplant is cooked.

Stuffing

While the eggplant bakes, start to cook your veggies. 

Heat a pan with some olive oil and begin cooking the mushrooms. 

After about 5-7 minutes, add the squash/zucchini and then the eggplant.

While the veggies are cooking, start cooking the couscous. Start by boiling the vegetable broth. Once it is at a boil, add the couscous and remove from heat and cover it. It should be done within 5 minutes.


Once you notice the veggies are close to done, add the kale and let it wilt. Add the garlic at this time. Don't forget to add salt and pepper to taste!

Last, add the chickpeas and the couscous to the veggie mix.

By this point, your eggplant should be done in the oven.



Go ahead and stuff your eggplants! Add some feta as garnish. Plus, this brings some saltiness to this savory, delicious dish!

I also drizzled this with a little balsamic glaze, because 
1. I love balsamic glaze
2. It looks really pretty


As always, hope you enjoy!

Lots of LOVE,

Eva


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Love and Spaghetti Squash

I have seen and heard about spaghetti squash TONS but never thought to actually try it. 
Steve suggested it last week and wow, am I glad he did!

Game. Changer.

 It is SO easy, healthy and SO GOOD. 

It is perfect for all sorts of occasions and situations.

Are you Jewish and it's Passover? This is KOSHER!
Do you have celiac disease/gluten intolerance? This is GLUTEN FREE!
It's also diabetes friendly, vegetarian and absolutely delicious.

Oh and did I mention it is SO easy? Because all you have to do is pop that bad boy in the oven and forget about it.

Well, you also have to make the sauce/toppings/whatever you eat it with...but at least the squash part is out of the way so you can focus on the added yumminess.

Easy clean up, too. If you haven't tried any of my recipes, I am telling you, this is the one to start with.




Ok, I'm done convincing you that this is an awesome recipe. 
You'll just have to try it yourself and then you will understand. 

I am personally on a 'pasta with a little butter and grated parm' kick so I thought I would go the same route with this recipe. 

I (obviously) added some veggies to the mix but you can make this with any pasta sauce you like. 

The recipe I have is a great way to eat a ton of veggies and still feel like you're eating one of your favorite comfort foods. 

I also made this for some family members so for that, I ended up using two spaghetti squashes. When it was just for me and Steve, I used 1 and it was way more than enough. 

Not seen in the photo are two ESSENTIAL ingredients: 
fresh garlic and grated parmesan cheese. 

The following recipe is enough for about 2-3 people, with some leftovers.




Ingredients

1 (large) spaghetti squash
1 pack of mushrooms, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1/2 yellow squash, chopped
1-2 broccoli crowns, broken up
2 cups kale
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
salt and pepper
grated parmesan (as little or as much you like)

For the SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the squash in half. Clean out all the seeds and connecting strands.

Lightly oil a baking pan/sheet with some olive oil.

Place the squash flat side down onto the oil so that the tops are covered in the oil, then turn them over so the scooped out side is facing up. 

Sprinkle with a little salt. Throw it in the oven for about 35 minutes.

When it is done, carefully remove it from the oven. 

Using a fork, begin to run through the squash. You'll start to notice the squash coming apart like SPAGHETTI. 



It should look a little something like this.

While this is baking, you can work on the veggie toppings.

For the VEGGIE TOPPING

Start by warming up your pan and adding a little olive oil.

After chopping the mushrooms, begin to cook those on medium heat. 
Then chop and add the yellow 
squash and zucchini. 




Add the broccoli after that. It'll cook faster than the mushroom and zucchini/squash. 

 Once those are almost done, add the kale and minced garlic. 
Kale, especially baby kale, wilts very similar to spinach.

Don't forget to add salt and pepper to taste! 

You can add a LITTLE butter towards the end which adds a little extra goodness. Yes, even I add a little butter sometimes.


 

Serve it as such, with the veggies on top and with (lots of) parmesan cheese! 



Simple and delicious. Can't beat that!

Hope you enjoy!

Lots of LOVE,

Eva



Monday, April 7, 2014

Love and Avocado-Banana Muffins

I have been thinking a lot lately about what healthy means and what people tend to associate with being healthy. 

It's important for us to begin to move away from the idea that being healthy = being thin/skinny. Being healthy is about what you put into your body, how you treat your body and although weight is part of it, it isn't the whole part. 

Ultimately, making food from scratch is one of the healthiest ways to eat. Depending on the ingredients you use, the food will likely still be less processed and filled with less preservatives than what you buy in the store and you can control what you put into it.
 Plus, you can find ways to use healthier substitutes and make the food even better for you! 

I have never been much of a baker but a few months ago, we had some bananas that were a little too ripe. I decided to try my first, from-scratch baking endeavor and made some pretty delicious banana muffins. 



Using my existing banana muffin recipe, I thought I would try some substitutions I've heard of to make my muffins healthier. I also have a recipe for avocado blueberry muffins so I tried to incorporate the ingredients used in that as well. In this recipe, we cut down on the sugar and fat by using a healthier fat (avocado) and some apple sauce, while cutting the sugar a little bit. 

Sometimes food tastes buttery, decadent and it just tastes like something that should be a treat. 

Other times, food just tastes like fuel, which isn't to say that these aren't tasty. 
These muffins blend the two to provide some delicious, healthy food in a bite size. 
I also topped these with some crunchy peanut butter which adds more goodness! 

Using a mini-muffin tin, these will make about 30 mini muffins.





Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 ripe avocado, seeded and peeled
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple sauce
tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 ripe bananas
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. 

Mash the avocado and add sugar, apple sauce, vanilla extract, oil and egg in a mixing bowl. 

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas really well. The riper they are, the better because the natural sweetness comes out. Add this to the mixing bowl with the walnuts. The walnuts add some texture to this recipe!

Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir until completely smooth. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins.

Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minute, until baked through all the way. 




Top with a little crunchy peanut butter and sprinkle a little cinnamon! 

These little guys can be eaten as a snack, or a small addition to your breakfast! 

Eat as you desire and  as always, I hope you enjoy!

Lots of LOVE,

Eva


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Love and Breakfast Tacos

Well, it has been quite a while since I've posted. It has been a crazy few weeks, filled with a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of exams and assignments. But, it is April and Spring is finally on it's way! 

 I haven't had the chance to try too many new things in the kitchen as of late but have some ideas and new ingredients at home so look out for exciting things coming your way.

Onto the breakfast tacos...



My view on breakfast has changed over the years but ultimately I've settled on this...
 It is imperative to eat something in the morning, just something to give your blood sugar and metabolism a kick first thing. However, sometimes you wake up and you are just not hungry. It happens to me all the time.

On days like this, it can be hard to sit down and have a serious breakfast. I'll usually grab a banana or something. The important thing is to PLAN AHEAD. 

If you are going to be home for a few hours, no big deal. You have access to food so when you finally do work up an appetite, you can eat something more substantial. But if you are going to be away from home, it is important to pack something with you or just try to eat a little something filling and nutritious that will you give you the energy you need. I used to religiously eat banana and peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast. I would pack it and take it with me to work (back in the day when I had a normal day job) and by the time I got there, I was ready to eat. Especially because I am one those people that can be ready in 15 minutes if that means I can sleep an extra half hour so I didn't always have the time to sit and eat breakfast.

Eating a healthy breakfast improves brain function, gives you the energy you need first thing in the morning, and actually has shown to have benefits on weight.

Ever been so hungry that you completely overate because you just felt so famished? Yea, it happens to all of us. That is why it is important to eat a good, filling meal every few hours so you can eat adequately to fill you up. Once you hit the point where you are absolutely STARVING, it becomes that much harder to eat good portion sizes. 

It is no surprise that tacos are big in this household. This recipe isn't exactly a difficult one or anything revolutionary, but it is an easy way to eat something a little different than your usual yogurt or cereal for breakfast and get some goodness in you. Or you can eat it for lunch, dinner, whenever you feel like eating these yummy things!

This makes about 1 serving size.




Ingredients: 
2 corn tortillas
2 eggs
1/2 of an Avocado
1 tbsp salsa
1 vegetarian sausage (optional)


I eat pretty light so I used one full egg and one egg white. If you want to make it a little lighter, you can use both egg whites or conversely, you can use both full eggs. Up to you! It doesn't make a huge difference.

Cook your eggs how you like it. I usually fry a little and scramble it in the pan. Split it up into two so you can divide it into the tacos. You can also add a little cheese if you'd like for your tacos. I used one slice of american and split it between the two.

Sometimes, I like to add a little something extra. I personally really like vegetarian sausage once in a while. The ones I used are from Trader Joe's and are really good! I also like Morning Star's sausage. I just microwave one of those, cut it up and add it to my pan with the eggs.

Once the eggs are cooking, warm up your tortillas in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. Add a thin layer of salsa on each tortilla, then top with the cooked eggs and sausage. Top with avocado! Add a little kosher salt to the avocado...it's a game changer. Some hot sauce is good with this too, if you like it a little spicy!




Pile it up and as always, ENJOY!

Stay tuned for more yummy goodness to come this month!

Lots of LOVE,

Eva