Easy Ratatouille!

I have a really exciting recipe to share with you guys today! It is fancy enough to make for when you have guests over for dinner, but it is also quick enough to make during the week. It seems really fancy and difficult, but I swear, it is super easy to make, and just as delicious as it looks. It’s more like an almost ratatouille.Eggplant, Squash, Tomato Ratatouille The problem is, I’m not too sure what it’s called. I kind of combined three different recipes. I really wanted to use up some of the delicious vegetables I picked from the garden a couple of days ago.

Vegetables From the Garden

The eggplant, yellow squash, onion, garlic, tomato and herbs were all right from our garden! You can also use zucchini, but we didn’t have any of those left, so I just skipped that ingredient.

To find a recipe I just googled (is that a real word yet?) “eggplant, squash baked dish” and then ratatouille and tian were the most common results. Then I mixed the two together to come up with what I was looking for.

According to Wikipedia:

Ratatouille:   There is much debate on how to make a traditional ratatouille. One method is simply to saute all of the vegetables together. Some cooks, including Julia Child, insist on a layering approach, where the eggplant and the courgette are sautéed separately, while the tomatoes, onion, garlic and bell peppers are made into a sauce. The ratatouille is then layered in a casserole – eggplant, zucchini, tomato/pepper mixture – then baked in an oven.

I guess my dish does sorta look like this…ratatouille-a-la-remy Source

And Vegetable Tian seems to me to be about the same thing, but with cheese on top. The definition says Tian is a mixture of roasted vegetables cooking in a shallow dish, usually with cheese or au gratin. This dish derives its name from the large, round, earthenware cooking pot used in Provence, France.

So enough with food definitions, let’s get to the recipe!

Baked Vegetable Ratatouille
Sliced Vegetable Tian

Baked Vegetable Ratatouille

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

1 hour

Baked Vegetable Ratatouille

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, or 1 Tablespoon dried
  • 1 Tablespoon herbs of your choice- I used basil, thyme, and oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

How it's Done:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the squash, eggplant, and tomato in very thin slices. I used a mandolin for the squash and eggplant. Then in a frying pan heat a Tablespoon of olive oil. Add in chopped onions and sautee until golden brown. Add in chopped garlic for a few minutes. Pour the onion and garlic mixture into the bottom of a 8x8 baking dish, or oval baking dish. Add the rest of the olive oil to the bottom of the pan. Add in half of the herb mixture. Arrange the sliced vegetables in an alternating way over top of the onion and garlic. Top with the rest of the herbs, salt and pepper. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The vegetables should turn soft, but not mushy. Serve with goat cheese or parmesan cheese on top.
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Baked Vegetable TianYum! We served this up with a bit of goat cheese (of course), and a little sprinkle of balsamic vinegar. I also topped mine with a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I was very happily surprised at how easy this was to make. We have always had these vegetables on hand and have been wanting to make ratatouille, but have never done it! Now I know this will be a late summer staple from now on. It is a great way to use up some of the veggies that seem to all come on at once!Ratatouille on a Plate

 Remy I love all of the colors! What dishes/recipes are you making using late summer fruits or vegetables!?

(source)

CrossFit Inspired Workout

This is a adjusted CrossFit workout that we did the other day. It can be done at home and the only equipment you need is a jump rope! If you want to make it a bit more difficult you can put your feet up on the end of your couch or a step stool so that they are elevated for the push ups. At Home CrossFit Workout

10 Piked Push Ups- You’re entire body is piked, hands are directly under your shoulders. When you bend your elbows try to send them straight backward, not out to the side. When you do push ups with your elbows way out sideways you are really hurting and stressing your shoulders. Send the elbows back instead works the arm muscles in a constructive and save way, as well as engaging both the biceps and triceps.

20 Tricep Dips- Hold onto a chair or couch with your fingers pointing towards your body. Curl your legs up, knees should be away from your body and bent about 90 degrees. Slowly lower yourself down and up…that’s one!

30 Burpees- We all know, and loathe these…here are some great tips for making the burpee a bit less horrible.

50 Jump Ropes- Just like you once did on the playground.

Then it’s just repeating the pyramid:

30 Burpees

20 Tricep Dips

10 Piked Push Ups

If you have access to a gym or pull up bar and what the Rx (CrossFit talk for the way the workout was written) version of this workout it is like this!

10 Handstand Push Ups

20 Pull ups

30 Burpees

50 Double Under Jump Ropes- or 100 Single Rope Turns

30 Burpees

20 Pull ups

10 Handstand Push Ups

The same push up rules apply when doing any type of push up, from those on the floor with your knees bent to the handstand push up (of course they are a bit different!). You want to keep your elbows narrow, don’t have wide flappin elbows. We did strict handstand push ups without kipping.

I’m always looking for great at home workouts, if you have a favorite please share! :)

5 Reasons to Plant a Garden and Homemade BLT Recipe

I cannot believe the end of summer is creeping up on us. We picked most of the veggies from our garden so that we could till the soil in and plant a cover crop of triticale for the Winter. We were so lucky to have such a great garden this year! I also can’t believe this is what it looked like at the beginning of the season, because now it looks like a jungle…Beginning Season Gardening We had a great crop of carrots, onions, green peppers, beans, and a crazy crop of jalapenos. The tomatoes didn’t do as well as last year, maybe because it was a pretty soggy summer. And the beets just hate growing in our soil, we have planted them at least 6 times and have yet to get a single beet…sooo maybe we should finally give up on those?! I also grew some eggplants and broccoli for the first time this year! And we had a couple of itty bitty corn plants. My herb garden was amazing, and I’m letting that go a bit longer. I was so excited with everything we grew this year! It is so awesome to be able to grow the food you eat! Veggies in the Wheelbarrow

Of course I always write about how much I love my garden, but here are
Five Reasons to Plant a Garden:

1. Decrease your carbon footprint- the walk from your backyard to the kitchen is as local as you can get, and doesn’t require any petroleum driven vehicles.
2. You have control over the chemicals added to foods in the form of pesticides/herbacides/fungicides. You know exactly what you put on your veggie garden. In our case we just let it go naturally. We only fertilized with manure at the beginning of spring and didn’t use any other treatments. The only real problem we had was with worms eating all of our pumpkins :( well all but two of them.
3. You have complete control over the plants you, well, plant. We tried a couple of different heirloom varieties this year, the tomatoes didn’t do too well, except for the heirloom cherry tomatoes, but the ones that did grow had amazing flavors! We also chose all organic seeds so that we knew the plants we were going to grow were not Genetically-modified-organisms.
4. Save money! The cost of organic seeds is not much more than non-organic. You see the price difference reflected much more in the grocery store, where organic vegetables are priced (usually) much higher than their non-organic counterparts. The amount of vegetables, fruits, and herbs we were able to harvest from our garden this year would have cost hundreds of dollars in the grocery store- especially because they are truly organic, chemical-free, and non-GMO.
5. It doesn’t have to be totally time consuming. Most people think that having a garden is much too difficult for them. There is definitely a ton of prep work that needs to be done, but I find it is mostly in the Spring and early Summer. Prepping the soil, tilling, and buying and planting the seeds really takes the most time. While it is great to keep the weeds under control at the beginning of Summer while the plants are still small, it is ok to let them go for a little while as the season goes on. You can definitely put a lot of work into a garden and make it look immaculate all season long, but you don’t always HAVE to.          Homegrown Fresh Vegetables
…and maybe one more reason! The things you grow taste amazing and it is so satisfying knowing you put in the time and effort to make something delicious! And you can make amazing recipes like this Homemade BLT. The lettuce and tomatoes were right from our garden, and the bacon was from the amazing company, Bostrom Farms right down the road!Homemade BLT Recipe
I like to use the homemade beer bread recipes for the bread, but you can really use any type you prefer. I have been wanting to make a homemade mayo recipe, but haven’t attempted it yet…If you have any suggestions I would appreciate them! For now I like using Smart Balance mayo-like dressing.

Homemade BLT

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

15 minutes

2 Sandwiches

Serving Size: 1 Sandwich

Homemade BLT

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bread (I like homemade beer bread)
  • 1 tomato
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 4 leaves lettuce
  • 2 Tablespoons miracle whip/mayo spread (I like Smart Balance)

How it's Done:

  1. I don't know if you really need a way to do this. Cook the bacon in the oven or in a frying pan, depending on how you like it to turn out. As the bacon cooks, throw the bread in the toaster. Rinse the lettuce and tomato. Slice up the tomato. I like to assemble it like this, spread 1 Tablespoon mayo on one slice of bread, top with tomatoes, bacon, then lettuce, add on the next slice of toast!
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We also tried spreading a bit of goat cheese on the BLT, and it was amazing! Highly recommend it :)

How are you sending off the Summer? Have you ever made your own miracle whip?!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Paleo Cookies

Happppyyyyy Friday!!! Woop Woop! In celebration of the weekend I have been baking up some delicious cookies in the kitchen. And these ones are the winners! They’re kind of like a macaroon mixed with a chocolate chip cookie. Except they have no oil, butter, processed sugar, or flour added. They are vegan, gluten-free, and paleo. But way more important than all of that stuff, they taste de-licious! Actually, they’re almost gone already. Woops. Soo, even though I do CrossFIt I have never really gotten into the whole Paleo thing. Many people rave about it, and I have heard good things, but strict paleo just isn’t for me!Healthy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie RecipeWhat is the Paleo diet? I’m sure almost all of America knows about this “diet” by now, but for those of you that don’t let’s recap. The Paleo, or paleolithic diet is a way of eating like people ate a looong time ago. Not like 1960’s, long time ago, like prehistoric people. Like ah this.Paleo Plan Cheat SheetFor me it is quite unsustainable, and it is extremely difficult to eat paleo if you don’t eat meat. What kind of cave man didn’t eat meet? I would be kicked out of the cave for sure. So that’s the main reason I don’t eat paleo…I might starve to death. The second reason is, well, I like to drink alcohol, there I said it. I feel much better now.  I am definitely NOT paleo perfect, or even close some days. But I wholeheartedly agree with the paleo approach of cutting out processed foods, shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, avoiding chemically laden foods, and eating real foods with a limited number of ingredients- all of which we would have in our own cupboards at home. Those are the “rules” I try to follow.

I love this excerpt by Sarah on Everyday Paleo. “What about vinegar, what about sea salt, what about the occasional use of a bit of raw honey, or baking soda, bananas, carrots, and coconut milk or God forbid red wine in my spaghetti sauce or a shot of tequila on Friday night?? Did cave people have an abundance of this stuff?  Most likely not but they also lacked cars, farmers markets, and Trader Joe’s, and the last time I checked, I do not carry a club, wear antelope hair tunics, or greet my children with an UGH in the morning (unless I haven’t yet had my coffee).  We could argue and debate for hours about how yams are a good source of carbs for post workout recovery meals (and healthy kids should eat them whenever), how baking soda is found in nature by mineral springs and is helpful in regulating blood acidity for endurance athletes, how vinegar probably won’t kill you if you toss some on your salad now and then, or that bananas, although of no real nutritional value, are nice to have around in case you are hankering for something sweet and it’s a better option then – oh I don’t know a donut??”Chocolate Chip Paleo Cookies from the Oven So this coconut cookie recipe is the better option for your sweet tooth craving. Because we all get them, and I’m pretty sure you’re lying if you say you don’t…and I don’t know if I believe that cravings only last ten minutes… I mean, come on. These Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies will satisfy your sweet or chocolate craving, they are delicious, and they are pretty close to being paleo. Yum!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Paleo Cookies

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 6 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

18 minutes

1 1/2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon

Coconut Chocolate Chip Paleo Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut milk, or soy, almond, or any milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup cocoa nibs (optional)

How it's Done:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almond flour, shredded coconut, salt, and baking soda, mix together fully. Create a well in the dry ingredients. Melt coconut oil and honey in the microwave for a few seconds. Pour into the well, add vanilla and mix. Pour in milk and stir until combined. Gently incorporate walnuts and cocoa nibs. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat. Bake for about 12 minutes until slightly browned.
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These cookies come out chewy and delicious with chocolate melting out the sides. They’re messy, but soo good. I even had one with coffee for breakfast this morning (shh..don’t tell!) And my fiance didn’t even know they were healthy, usually he asks first thing, then tries to avoid eating them. This time he dove right in, and loved them enough to take three to work this morning! Score! Healthy cookie that doesn’t taste like it, even to my man with quite the sweet tooth.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Coconut cookies

I have found that using almond flour can get pretty expensive, so I like to make my own. All you need is a high powered blender or food processor (A Ninja Blender is amazing!). Buy unsalted, blanched or dry roasted (not just roasted) almonds in the bulk section of the grocery store, or the baking aisle. They are usually much more affordable there than from the snack/nut aisle, if there is such a thing. Pour them in the blender and pulse for a few minutes. Voila! Be careful not to overblend them, then you will end up with almond butter which is alright too, but I don’t think it would work well for making cookies. The almonds will go through a chunky, then floury stage, you want to stop before they get to the creamy buttery stage.

What do you think of the paleo diet? Have you ever tried eating this way? Have a great weekend!

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