White Eggplant Ratatouille over Baked Polenta

The white eggplant I had has been "burning a hole in my pocket" so I was so excited to finally use and taste it! Here it is after I peeled it and right before chopping. It just looks cool.

  • 1 medium white eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of part-skim ricotta
  • dried basil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • fresh ground red pepper
  • garlic powder
  • sea salt
  • Trader Joes pre-cooked organic polenta
To start, place eggplant and zucchini in a colander and season with salt, let sit in sink or over a plate for about 15 mins. Pat dry with a paper towel. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice polenta and place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with PAM. Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 25-30 mins.

Heat oil in skillet over medium to medium high heat and add onion, garlic, carrots, red pepper, zucchini, and eggplant. Cook until veggies are all slightly tender. (around 15 mins) Add all seasonings to taste. (i like mine spicier, so I added more black and red pepper)Bottom of pan should have beautiful brown bits from the veggies. Add wine to deglaze pan. I made sure to refill my glass after adding to the pan... After scraping up all brown bits a.k.a. "flavor" - add tomato sauce. Mix together and cook another 5 mins. Then, add the ricotta... ...and mix until it looks creamy and delicious. Make sure to taste and add seasonings as needed. Serve ratatouille over baked polenta and ENJOY!Overall, I thought this dish was absolutely delicious and filling with a ton of flavor. White eggplant was very easy to work with and seemed firmer to me, although I dont have much experience with regular eggplant, so who knows. It definitely has a nutty flavor that added a great dimension to this dish. This would be great served over pasta as well, but I think the polenta went perfectly!

Before making this great dinner, I went for a 35 min run around the park and down by the water with Oscar. It is the best feeling when a run feels easy - I dont want to lose this feeling! Afterwards, I came back and did some abs and upper body lifting. It felt great.

I am about to settle in for a new episode of Biggest Loser and have Skinny Cow Chocolate Fudge Cone....YUM. Hope everyone has a great night!


Just Call Me Slacker Suzie

I have been seriously slacking in the picture department. I hope to pick back up tonight when I whip up something magical with my white eggplant!

The last 24 hours or so of food hasn't been very exciting - so you haven't missed much. Yesterday, I ate oatmeal for breakfast, pecan pie larabar for a snack, ab & fj on wheat for lunch. A sweet pear and yogurt in the afternoon. Then an orange later on with some leftover sweet potato fries for an early dinner/pre-run snack.

Dinner was supplied by Mamma Lucia in Columbia: A fresh garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette and whole wheat penne with zucchini and a light marinara. It was buy one pasta, get one for $3.99 night. what a deal and the food was delicious.

I hated eating out when I just went grocery shopping and have a ton to make, but it was necessary since we made an emergency outing to Road Runner Sports in Columbia. If there is one in your area and you are looking for a pair of running shoes. They have this awesome set up where you run on a treadmill in their store while they video tape your feet and it goes into this computer program. Then, based on the way your feet hit the treadmill, they can suggest the best type of shoe for you. Very cool!

So, the reason we made a quick run to RRS is because when Kevin and I started out on our first run of the week - disaster struck. He was limping. It was his foot and knee combined. Instead of pressing on - we decided to go straight to the shoe store and get a new pair - he is overdue and with the marathon in less than 2 weeks - he needs to get them, break then in, and not get injured! I hope this works. I don't need anything else contributing to my stress dreams. ;)

I am also very excited about the secret blogger ingredient this week - Butternut Squash - courtesy of Eating Bender. I have the perfect recipe to make that I made last fall and it turned out great...my plan is to make that on wednesday night!



Stress Dreams and Yogurt

So last night was the first (probably many more to come) of my stress dreams leading up to the Baltimore Marathon. I haven't run a marathon in 3 years, so it is a little nerve racking - even though I have completed 3 before. These stress dreams like to pop up as the big race/event is getting closer just to make sure I don't do any of the silly things that happen during the dream, on the actual race day.

In this dream, I was running all around the city trying to find someone to watch my dog during the race or take him home - because for whatever the reason, I had brought him with me to the start. My parents were there and they offered to take him back to my house, since their portion of the relay started later. But then once the marathon started - my dog ran up to me and I had to leave the race to run back to my house (3-4 miles) to drop him off. So I was feeling really stressed about the fact I would have to try and find Kevin and join back up with the race. And my legs were extremely tired from sprinting the extra mileage. Then I woke up. whew - thank goodness that wasn't real!

On another note - today is a glorious Monday (yeah right) and I am currently eating Rachel's Pink Grapefruit Lychee yogurt with Honey Almond Flax GoLean Crunch cereal mixed in. The kicker is that I am eating this with a plastic KNIFE. ughh. I had to work out of a different office today and I could only find a plastic knife. So, now, I have a few yogurt stains on my black pants from trying to take big bites and I still haven't finished the yogurt...15 mins later. It is hard work.

Hope everyone else is having a good monday!



Sunday (9.28.2008) - Go Skins!

This afternoon was a great one for any redskin fans out there! We beat Dallas!! I ended up napping for about 3 hours today after a long walk with Oscar in the park - that hungover must have been delayed slightly. :) The nap and football game postponed my trip to the grocery store until after the game because I couldnt tear myself away. Have to savor this win!!

During the game I had two beers (bud light) and Kevin whipped up some pork/vegetable gyoza as a snack. Close up view of the deliciousness...
After getting back from the store - I made my Mom's Salsa which is a variation of this recipe.

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 6 green onions
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • 2 small cloves garlic chopped
  • fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 2 squeezes of cilantro paste (they were all out of the fresh stuff at the store)
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sea salt
  • chalula hot sauce
  • cayenne pepper
Basically, I chopped and threw all this into the food processor and VOILA - fresh salsa! I added the seasonings to taste since I like mine a little spicier - probably could have used 2 jalapenos. It was extremely fresh and delicious! How beautiful is that color?! (this picture doesnt do it justice)Served with some corn tortilla chips...perfect.
Dinner was sauteed jalapeno chicken sausage with red peppers, onions, and yellow mustard on whole wheat potato rolls with baked sweet potato fries from TJs. YUM.Ready to settle in and relax before the workweek starts tomorrow! Good night!


Weekend Recap

I am playing catch up again, but I wasnt good at taking pictures of everything so this wont be as long! Friday night, I whipped up Annie's shells and cheese with some steamed broccoli. I also threw in a garlic & herb laughing cow cheese wedge for extra flavor - it made it so creamy and tasty!Saturday morning - we woke up to a rainy mess, but wanted to get the run out of the way, so Kevin and I headed out for a 12 mile city run. Oscar came along for the first 2 miles which was a loop around Patterson Park. During this loop, the skies decided to open up on us and it started pouring. The rain was dripping into my eyes and nose and I was miserable. I seriously considered bagging the entire run, but I had friends coming into town and wanted to relax that night!

So after we dropped Oscar off, I changed shirts and we pressed on. The rain was on and off the entire run, but not pouring, so it actually felt good. We ran down along the inner harbor and over into federal hill and back. I couldnt believe our time when we finished - 1:53 - for 12 miles!!! But then, I was skeptical - we have been pretty consistently running around 10 - 10:30min miles for our longer runs, so I went back and checked the course I had mapped out for us and realized I made a mistake. We ran a little under 11 miles - OOPS. So, while we didnt get the 12 miles in - I still feel like it was a good run.

For lunch on Saturday, kevin and I went down to Fins in Canton and grabbed our favorite chicken caesar wraps for lunch - yum. This restaurant recently changed names and owners, but their menu is the same, so we were happy to see the chicken caesar wrap wasnt changed!

I had two friends from college coming into town saturday night (one from NJ and another from WVa) to celebrate Jen's 30th birthday. We started off at Pazo Restaurant, which is this cool tapas restaurant in Harbor East. I was to busy catching up with them and enjoying the AMAZING food to remember to take pictures of everything. I ordered a jorgito, which was a tropical mango-coconut martini. It was so refreshing and light.

For food, we just ordered a bunch of the tapas and shared everything. Our tapas included:

  • Empanadas: spiced veal & pork in pastry salsa verde
  • Braised Lamb Shoulder: chickpea “polenta”, lamb jus
  • Crispy Calamari: lime salt, chili, cilantro & aioli
  • Pizza Cristina: buffalo mozzarella, tomato & basil
  • Malloreddus Pasta: hand-made saffron "gnocchi" with tomato, garlic, basil & roasted eggplant
  • Buffalo Mozzarella with mushrooms (cant find the description on the online menu)
  • Valdeon: (Léon-cow & goat) creamy, sharp, complex
They were all AMAZING. We ordered another plate of the empanadas because they tasted soo good and only came with 2 of them! Here is a picture of us after dinner, full, but not stuffed - ready to head out to federal hill for some bar hopping. We had alot of fun!Around 8am this morning, I woke up and made myself a bowl of Honey Almond Flax GoLean Crunch with peaches and skim milk. Didnt feel hungover at all, which is a good thing - I have learned how to taper off the drinking as the night goes on. ha.At 11am - Kevin whipped up some special brunch tacos that had egg whites, red peppers, onions, jalapeno chicken sausage and asiago cheese stuffed inside a grilled corn tortilla. He seasoned the tortillas with lots of black pepper which gave them an extra kick!Since my legs arent really sore today, we may try to do a bike ride or throw the football around in the park. I also need to head to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients to make my mom's homemade salsa and I want to make some turkey chili! Then it is redskins/cowboys game at 4:15 - GO SKINS!



Owner Treats

This morning started with a brisk walk in the park for Oscar where we met up with one of his dog walking pals. (i broke out the hooded sweatshirts - love it) He ran up and was playing with this one dog like he had known her forever, so us owners figured out they walk together because of the notes we get from the dog walker! Stopped by high grounds on the my way to work for a delicious skinny caramel latte.

Breakfast was made at work - a bowl of oatmeal mixed with hot water, raisins, almonds, almond butter, and pumpkin butter. delish! Mid-morning snack was a key lime pie larabar - this is my 2nd favorite to coconut creme pie and I think it is the unsweetened coconut that i love - it makes the bars moister. (sorry there are no pics!)

Lunch was provided by Buon Giorno - my favorite lunch spot. Today, I couldnt resist getting a slice of cheese pizza because it truly is my all-time favorite. Very thin and chewy crust. It is seriously heaven. I paired it with a garden salad and their tangy house balsamic dressing on the side.This afternoon, I mixed a container of 0% fage with Honey Almond Flax GoLean Crunch and a very ripe peach. But, this time, the peach was too ripe and it didnt taste as sweet.

About to head to the vet for Oscar's yearly appt - he is going to hate me, but I love going to this place because on top of providing dog treats - they provide owner treats! Yes, they bake fresh cookies in the waiting room for pet owners - how amazing is that? I was sold on this place as soon as I found that out! For any locals - Eastern Animal Hospital - go there - they bake fresh cookies!!! :)

Check out a picture of some local produce my sister gave me last night - very excited to try the white eggplant!Kevin and I have a 12-mile run tomorrow AM and then I am going out with some friends to celebrate a birthday! Should be fun!


Toffee Bark

So last night after work, I headed over to my sister's house to babysit the kids while she and her husband went to an OFFICE premiere party! The kids and I had a great dinner of rotisserie chicken and steamed broccoli topped with shredded cheddar. But, the best part of the meal was dessert! She has made this toffee bark stuff to take with them to the party, but left us a plate to munch on. This recipe is very simple, and addicting, so I thought I would share!

Toffee Bark
  • Saltine crackers
  • 3/4 c butter
  • 3/4 c. sugar (brown or regular) *she used white, but others have made it with brown sugar
  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
  • chopped nuts (any type will work!)
Layer large baking sheet with foil, then with saltines, touching each other. Cook butter and sugar on stove top in saucepan until mixture is thick and boils, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until it turns a caramel color. Pour over saltines. Bake in 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. When chocolate is shiny, spread out with dinner knife. (If the chocolate isnt melting - just throw it back into the oven for a little bit) Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Place in freezer for about 30 mins. Remove from freezer and lift out foil. Break into bite size pieces.
Enjoy and try not eating all of this in one sitting. I couldnt stop going back to the fridge for just another "small" piece. Because as everyone knows, when you eat 100 small pieces, it is LESS than eating a few big pieces. :)



Smoothie Start

This morning, I started off with a peach/strawberry/banana smoothie and a slice of ww toast with almond butter and grandmom's homemade fig jam.

For the smoothie, I threw the following into my blender:

  • 1 frozen strawberry chobani yogurt (i have had this in there forever - finally used it!)
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 very ripe peach
  • splash of skim milk

It turned out great! But, for some reason, I was hungry when I got to work and found a sugar free rice pudding in the fridge that I had brought a few days ago and never ate. I really cant taste much difference between the sugar free and regular rice pudding.

Later this morning - I also scarfed down a coconut creme pie larabar.

I brought some leftover channa masala with naan bread and peanut tofu for lunch and I cant wait because i am already hungry again! Back to work!



Standard Fare

Tonight, Kevin, Oscar and I went for a run around the city. Unfortunately, around 2 miles, kevin's foot started to hurt. The side of his foot has been hurting since the 20 miler this past weekend, so we decided to just walk it home and ice the foot. It could be his shoes because the ones he has are a little old - so he may try to get a new pair and break them in over the next couple weeks. Hopefully this is enough time and nothing is seriously wrong. This is his first marathon, so I am really along for the ride and just being there while he accomplishes this goal is the priority. This is the second time I will be running the Baltimore marathon, but will be my 4th marathon overall. The first time I ran Baltimore was in 2004 and I got my PR for a marathon! 4:27 - which beats Oprah and Katie Holmes marathon times, so I am proud of that. ha. I am still aiming for P Diddy's 4:14 marathon time in the future!

Now back to food! While making my standard, go-to dinner, I snacked on some more tortilla chips and whole foods black bean dip.

Dinner was baked coconut crusted tilapia with steamed brussels sprouts. To add some flavor to these sprouts, I added 2 small cloves of garlic (minced), a tablespoon of light whipped butter, 2 capfuls of apple cider vinegar, and a bunch of fresh pepper. This is a such a simple meal that I am always in the mood for - filling, healthy and delicious. (and yes, I took a little bite out of the fish before the picture - i couldnt wait!)Oh - I also had a glass of skinny chocolate milk! Skim milk with sugar free chocolate syrup. YUM.Off to sleep world.


Stolen Breakfast (9.24.2008)

So today's breakfast was stolen from Erin over at caretoeat.net. I toasted 2 whole wheat eggo waffles and then placed a spoonful of 0% fage on each. This was topped with a sliced banana and drizzled with sugar-free maple syrup. My syrup is pretty runny, so it is all over my plate! It was absolutely delicious except I realized that I forgot to add cinnamon! next time...because i will be having this again! (oh and please disregard my old, chipped plate - i need new ones badly!)

On the way to work, I stopped by High Ground to pick up my favorite: medium, skinny, caramel latte.
Mid-morning snack was a coconut creme pie larabar - these are my all-time favorite so far!
For lunch, my team went out for a co-worker's last day.. We went to Niko Japanese Restaurant in Ellicott City. I had never heard of it or been there, but they had a great sushi buffet. The chefs were standing at the bar rolling the sushi and then placing it out on trays for us to choose from. There were a TON of choices and the rolls were pretty small which made it easy to try a bunch. They also brought everyone a miso soup which was very tasty.

I was too shy to break out my camera, but know I had a few of the following rolls: cucumber, avocado, california, spicy california, shrimp tempura, crab, and spicy tuna. They tasted great, but my only complaint is that they had a little too much rice on the outside without a lot of the filling. Either way, I will definitely be back!

Afternoon snack was some luscious lemon yogurt with Honey Almond Flax cereal and another ripe peach. Same as the last two days, but I cant get enough!
These peaches are so ripe that I have to put them in a baggie or else it would get all over everything. I came home from work and ate a piece of the baked peanut tofu out of the fridge. It was gone before I remembered to snap a picture. I like it cold!

I am about to take oscar for a run in the park and then want to do some lifting. I have to get out there soon - it is getting dark earlier now! Hope everyone is having a great evening - be back later!



Whole Foods Dinner

For dinner tonight, I headed up to The Brewer's Art with all intentions of having a relaxing meal at the bar while Kevin was working. But when I got there, they were swamped. So, I decided that instead of wait for a place to sit and eat (and probably not get to hang out with Kevin all that much), I would go to Whole Foods and then come home and watch The Biggest Loser! (did I really just type that?)

I picked up a bunch of coconut creme pie larabars since I was having dreams about them, a few things of Fage, a frozen Tandoor Chef meal, and black bean dip with tortilla chips. They had the bean dip sitting out and I sampled it a few hundred times before deciding to buy a container.

So as soon as I got home, I had some tortilla chips with black bean dip. After trying to take an appetizing picture of the dip, I decided it isnt possible and thought I would just take a picture of the container - so here it is! :)Afterwards, I heated up the Channa Masala I picked up along with a piece of naan with some light whipped butter. I topped it with a little 0% fage (greek yogurt) to make it creamier. This was delicious and so filling! I actually only ate half of this, so I have some leftover for another day.Still havent felt hungry for something sweet and it is almost 10pm, so no dessert for me tonight.

I have to share these pictures because (I think) my dog is so funny. He is nothing like me in that he doesnt get excited about food. I guess I wouldnt either if it was the same thing every day, but I do put some special stuff in there every now and then. When he was a puppy, I would have to hand feed him to get him to eat. Maybe I contributed to the problem, but anyways, now I sometimes have to find creative ways to get him interested in the food.

He's thinking - what are you setting up?
hmm...tempting...ok, you got me.good night!


Catonsville Gourmet

For lunch this afternoon, I ventured about 10 mins away from my office to try a new place, Catonsville Gourmet. It is located on main street in Catonsville and had lots of parking behind the building, which is a MUST in that area of Catonsville. Since I just wanted to grab my lunch and come back to eat while I work, I called and ordered ahead of time. After checking out the menu online, I decided on the Veggie Sandwich because I felt like I needed some vegetables.
Once I arrived, I perused the small market that sells a bunch of different fresh seafood, meats, pre-packaged side dishes, homemade sauces, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. I am so glad I stopped in here because i will definitely be going back to take advantage of some of this fresh seafood. The scallops and shrimp were HUGE. I would also love to try the lobster mac & cheese - how sinful does that sound?!
Now on to the sandwich. It came with a veggie patty, red and green peppers, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers and a Wasabi aioli on toasted wheat bread. On the side were homemade chips and sweet pickles. Everything was extremely fresh and the veggie burger was grilled which gave it some extra good flavor. There was just enough aioli for me to taste a hint of the wasabi kick, but it wasnt overpowering. I loved this sandwich and I know it is going to be added to my list of items I crave. The homemade chips were crisp and delicious without being oily, so I ate the majority of those too.
Close-up view:
Afternoon snack was a new kind of yogurt for me that I found at Safeway the other day. It is called Rachel's. I tried the Exotic Pomegranate Blueberry flavor. Wow - this stuff was great! excuse me...wickedly delicious. I added another very ripe peach in order to re-create the yogurt peachy juice from yesterday and also threw in some Honey Almond Flax GoLean Crunch. This is the best mixture! I am currently obsessed.After work, I headed out for a run and I did 4.35 miles (according the America's Running Routes). Ran the first 2 miles around the park with Oscar and then I had to drop him off because I was dragging him. I decided to run down to Blockbuster and return SuperBad to finish out the run. It was a relaxing run and my legs felt strong.

I am heading up to The Brewer's Art in Mt. Vernon, an area in Baltimore to have some dinner with my boyfriend. He has been working there part-time for awhile to make some extra cash and I havent been in yet, so I want to go in and try out some of the food because he wont be working there in another 2 weeks! His full-time business world job is needing his full attention in this last quarter of the year.


Mid-Day Post (Tuesday 9.23.2008)

I have been posting a full day's recap later in the day, but today, my camera battery died (again), so I took pictures with my phone and emailed them to myself which made it easy to do it here at work! ...on my time...during lunch...so i am still productive for 8 hours a day. (just in case my boss is reading) ;)

This morning started with a chilly walk in the park with Oscar - I wore flipflops, shorts and a t-shirt and was freezing! but i love that. fall is great.

Breakfast was warming bowl of oatmeal.
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 T pumpkin butter
  • 2 T dried cranberries
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 T almond butter
  • pinch of salt

This was a delicious new combo for fall!

Mid-Morning snack was a banana cookie larabar. I like this flavor, but I cant get the coconut creme pie flavor out of my head - it was just so good and because i only ate half - i want one that is all mine! May have to make a whole foods run tonight!

I brought leftover mushy brown rice and veggies for lunch, but I may run out and grab a good salad or sandwich because i don't think i can stomach it. Will be back later! Hope everyone is having a good day!



Back to the Grind...

Now that my experiment with the "Michael Phelps" diet is over, it's time to get back into my routine. ;)

This morning's breakfast was one of my favorites, huevos rancheros. A mix of green chiles, eggs and babybel cheese inside two corn tortillas.I stopped on the way to work and picked up a hot, skim vanilla latte with one splenda - it was delicious. Mid-morning snack was a chocolate coconut larabar. This wasnt my favorite - i need to get some more of the coconut creme pie flavor.Lunch was leftover spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and tomato sauce. It was still good from last week, but my taste buds weren't really in the mood, so I ate about half of this at lunch. Check out that huge piece of garlic from the sauce - i threw that out so people at work didn't have fire breath on them during meetings.
Dessert was a piece of whole wheat potato toast with almond butter and pumpkin butter. I love this. Very exciting picture of the slice of bread - ha, hope you enjoy it. and here is the almond butter and pumpkin butter that went on the bread. Afternoon snack was my best yogurt combination yet. I mixed honey flavored Oikos greek yogurt with Honey Almond Flax GoLean Crunch (is this new? b/c it was the first time i had seen it) and a very ripe peach from the produce stand yesterday. The peach was so ripe that the skin basically fell off as I was slicing it, and it was extremely juicy, so it made this peachy, yogurt sauce that was to die for.When I got home from work tonight, I took Oscar for a walk in the park and then came home to do some upper body lifting and abs. I did the following:

  • 3 sets of 20 regular sit-ups
  • 3 sets of 15 modified push-ups
  • 3 sets of 10 side shoulder raises
  • 3 sets of 10 front shoulder raises
  • 3 sets of 15 triceps extensions
  • 3 sets of 20 bicycle crunches
  • 3 sets of vertical leg crunches
  • 3 sets of 15 bicep curls
It felt good to do some lifting since I have been slacking in that department.

While making dinner, I was snacking on some wasabi peas and blowing my nose because these were clearing out my senses.
Dinner tonight was brown rice with sauteed zucchini, squash, broccoli, onions and garlic. Unfortunately I have never had the best luck cooking brown rice and I overcooked it. I think it is because I have always undercooked it, so I went a little overboard and it was mushy. I used some of the marinade from the tofu below to season up the rice and veggies. I ate a bowl of it that was just OK - would have been better if the rice was cooked properly.I also made an attempt to bake some tofu. I have been wanting to do this after reading about it for awhile in food blog land. I found a recipe for a peanut sauce marinade and decided to go for it since I had basically everything in the recipe. I cooked it at 400 degrees for about 45 mins and it turned out pretty good. But after I ate a piece, I decided to put it back in the oven for another 10 mins to try and get it really crispy. I think it turned out well and loved how the chopped peanuts from the marinade got all caramelized on top.Dessert was a rice pudding with raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon/sugar mixture. These rice pudding packs are the best and only 90 calories!I am off to do some dishes because i made a mess in the kitchen and then settle in to watch the HILLs. :)


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