Eggplant Mozzarella

This is such a satisfying meal for summer. The eggplant is light yet satisfying as it is fried in canola oil, and topped with part-skim mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and served with a side of kale fried in garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

Eggplant Mozzarella

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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1 large eggplant, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
2 eggs beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
canola oil for frying
salt and pepper
16 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 jar of tomato sauce

Dip the eggplant slices in the eggs and coat with the panko. Fry the slices in canola oil filled up to 1/2 inch in the pan. Brown each side of the eggplant until all of them are fried. Drain the eggplant in a dish covered in papertowels. Assemble the eggplant in a row in a baking dish. Cover with sauce and a layer of the cubed mozzarella cheese. Repeat this process with the second layer. Bake in the oven at 425 until cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve with extra tomato sauce.

Better than Almond Joy!

A mid-day hankering for an Almond Joy led me to create this copykat recipe.

I enjoyed every minute of making this as I had to taste both the coconut middle and the chocolate outside coating to make sure the sweetness was just right. Oh the benefits of being the cook.

This is the bottom
After 30 minutes in the freezer I flipped it
Added almonds on top
Poured remainder of the chocolate over the almonds and topped it with course sea salt
I freeze these for whenever I have another hankering for an Almond Joy!

These are Fantastic!

SFE Almond Joy Copykat Recipe

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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Coconut Filling:
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1/4 c. Silk oat/coconut half and half
2 tbsp coconut oil
10 drops liquid stevia
1/4 c. powdered Swerve
1/4 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 oz. Bakers unsweetened dark chocolate baking bar
4 tbsp coconut oil
20 drops liquid stevia
1/4 c. powdered Swerve

Other Ingredients:
Almonds, Sea Salt
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. On low heat, make the coconut filling by adding the coconut, half and half, stevia, Swerve, xantham gum, vanilla together in a saucepan until combined and thickened. Pour into the loaf pan a freeze for 1/2 hour. Make the chocolate by adding the unsweetened chocolate, coconut oil stevia and Swerve into a saucepan on low heat stirring until melted. Take coconut out of the freezer. Pour 1/3 of the chocolate on top of the coconut (this will be the bottom of the bars). Freeze another 15 minutes until chocolate hardens. Press almonds on top of the flipside of the coconut/chocolate in the loaf pan and pour the rest of the chocolate over the top. Sprinkle with course sea salt. Freeze another 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Ranch chicken cheddar soft pretzel!

I literally just made this up with what I had in my freezer

I came home from my walk on Sunday morning and chicken flatbread pizza was calling my name. However, after checking and rechecking my freezer, there was no flatbread to be found. So I had to get creative. Soft pretzels, course salt, chicken, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing, that’s it! This was SO delicious with a broccoli slaw salad, dried cranberries, apples and italian dressing on the side.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies

Here’s a picture of my last bite

Okay y’all, (no, I’m not from the south but just felt like writing that) I was having a hankering for brownies ever since we had Domino’s for family night last Friday and my 18 year old ordered a side of them with our pizza.

Well, I politely declined that sugar-laden dessert that does me no good and opted for some popcorn instead. But day after day, those brownies sat on the counter beckoning me to eat one so I had to make a sugar-free version and came up with this. These are rich, not sweet but very satisfying.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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3/4 c granulated Swerve
3/4 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil (yes, it’s a healthier alternative to canola or vegetable oil)
1/2 c Lily’s dark chocolate chips (I combined 1/4 c Lily’s dark chocolate and 1/4 c Lily’s salted caramel chips)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 and spray an 8 X 8 baking dish with cooking spray or parchment paper. With a wire whisk, combine all of the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, olive oil, water and vanilla, stirring until just moistened. Add chips and pour into baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.

Meatballs and Zucchini!

Piping hot meatballs and tomato sauce poured over zucchini spaghetti

This lighter version of spaghetti and meatballs tastes AMAZING! I was actually thinking about this meal in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. I used my spiralizer to make these zucchini noodles and the video can be seen here.

You really can get creative with meatballs as they can be made in so many ways. Below is an Asian inspired meatball recipe that I like. It is baked instead of fried in oil. For a more traditional meatball recipe, I would encourage you to add what you like/omit what you don’t like to it.

Favorite Meatball Recipe

  • Servings: ?
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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1 lb of ground beef, chicken, or pork
2 tsp soy sauce (adds moisture, flavor and helps bind everything together)
1/2 c. panko
salt and pepper to taste
Handful of chopped scallions
Optional: bunch of chopped cilantro and 1 tbsp chopped ginger

Mix together all of the ingredients and form round meatballs the size of golfballs placing them on an oiled baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425 and bake for 10 minutes until cooked through.

What to do when you’ve turned into the Mother you don’t want to be

I recently read an article written by Lily Kreitinger titled I have turned into my Mother! She wrote how her six-year-old daughter began acting like her “mini-me” and not in a good way. She went on to list the six different mom types that we can become when we regretfully become our mothers but also action items so we can change who we want to be going forward.

Phantom Mom:

You may have had a Phantom Mom if you spent a lot of time in your room while she spent a lot of time in hers and got birthday cards addressed “To Whom it May Concern.” You know when relationships get past the point of no return and find quick ways to bow out when things get too close for comfort.

Action item: Find one or two people you can trust, who can provide the encouragement and support you have been trying to find.

China Doll Mom:

The second type is the China Doll Mom. This mom wants everyone to “turn their frown upside down” because she can’t deal with pain, anger or “bad feelings.” You may have had this kind of mom, if instead of friends you have “pet projects.”

Action item: Find a group of friends with whom you can be yourself. You will find that vulnerability is not scary, and that it is the courageous path for true connection.

Controlling Mom:

The Controlling Mom is very easy to spot. Mother knows best. You’d better stay here in the tower, little Rapunzel, because out there, the world will eat you alive. You may have had a controlling mom if you find yourself volunteering on every committee, juggling work, family and friends’ requests and end up each day exhausted wondering when it will be your turn.

Action item: Find out what you like. Say no to your neighbor when they ask you to babysit. Sing Let It Go at the top of your lungs.

The Trophy Mom:

The Trophy Mom will tackle the coach and pin them to the ground if she feels you have been cheated out of an opportunity to shine at the championship game. You do not dare disappoint her. Ever. How do you deal with Trophy Mom’s voice in your head? With this action item:

Action itemWrite a list of everything that you heard that is a lie. “Failure is not an option.” “Give it your all and make me proud.” “We are not quitters or losers.” Then, write a list of what you know to be true starting with “I am good enough, and I don’t have to be perfect.”

The Still-the-Boss Mom:

My mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, was one of these. She would come into my house, plan a menu for my guests, cook and serve the meal and assign seating at my table. She had a hard time treating her six children as adults. If your mom wants to be the boss, whether she is living or just a voice in your head, follow this action item:

Action item: Find a group of people who recognize your amazing talents and qualities and see you as the amazing adult you are.

The American Express Mom:

The American Express Mom, says it all. You don’t leave home without her. My mom is one of those. I’ve been married for ten years and she still does my laundry when she comes to visit. She expects a phone call every week and wants me to check in when I’m going on vacation, just to make sure I’m safe. Hello, we live 3000 miles apart. What difference does it make if I’m in Minnesota or Hawaii? To detach myself, I had to set hard boundaries for now. I am pretty sure I am banned to enter Mexico and I will soon hear a knock on the door when she sends out a SWAT team to rescue me from the people who have brainwashed me out of her power.

Action item: Set boundaries. Define specific things that you will do and will not do and the same for her. This will likely be hard, but it is worth it.

I love this article because, in the end, Lily admonishes us to try to come to a place where we can understand our mom as she did to us only what she knew how to do. We can forgive her and love her for who she is and not who we want her to be.

To learn more about this topic, read The Mom Factor by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Which type of mom do you most relate to?

Zucchini Spiralizer!

Low carb zucchini noodles replace any kind of noodle in your pasta recipes!

I am so excited about this kitchen gadget that I had to make not only it’s own post but a video, to boot! You know what I’m going to be eating for the rest of the summer!

When I first got this spiralizer I was about ready to throw it into the garbage or at least return it. But then I figured out how to use it. For some reason, I thought it was electric because it had 3 buttons. It turns out that these buttons manually adjust the blades so you can make spaghetti, fettucini or ribbon noodles. I like the spaghetti noodles best. I think they’re actually more like linguini noodles :).

If you’re not pouring something hot on top of them like meatballs and spaghetti sauce, I recommend that you place them in a collander in a sink and pour boiling water over the zucchini noodles so they become “al dente” like pasta.

Definitely recommend this tool for the kitchen. Do you know the possibilities here, folks? Endless possibilities!

Pork Burgers over Zucchini Noodles

Pork Burgers over Zucchini Noodles

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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1 lb ground pork
Handful of chopped scallions
1/2 c panko
1/3 c chopped cilantro
2 tsp soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Zucchini Noodles

Mix the ground pork, scallions, panko, soy sauce, cilantro, salt and pepper together. Make 6 patties. Fry them in a skillet coated with extra virgin olive oil. Cook patties well on both sides. Soften Zucchini noodles by pouring boiling water over the top of them in a strainer.

More Leftovers

Panko Chicken Cutlets leftovers can be freshened up by adding 1 or 2 new items

This meal does not look (or taste) like panko chicken cutlets leftovers because I’ve added a fresh salad and blueberry cake to it. I love to rearrange meal components according to what I’m feeling the need to eat. For this meal I reheated a leftover Panko Chicken Cutlet and added it to a salad with broccoli slaw, apples and italian dressing. I even included some refreshing blueberry cake.

Summer Farro Bowl

Add lime and cilantro for a healthy and satisfying meal

Okay, this summer farro bowl is SO good! It tastes even better than it looks from the picture. I never knew how delicious roasted chick peas were! Oops, I forgot the cilantro. Let me run to the garden and get some…

even better but it was still good without it. I also wanted to add lime but I didn’t have one on hand (oh, the possibilities if I could only grow a lime tree in my backyard).

I think the lime juice would have brought in all the flavors together along with the avocado. I’ll have to try that next time. I think I’ll have seconds.

Summer Farro Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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1 red onion, sliced
1 zucchini squash, chopped
1 can chickpeas
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (I used seasoned salt)
lime wedges
Avocado (optional)
1 cup farro prepared according to package directions
1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon

Drain the chickpeas and empty can onto the baking sheet. Cut onions and zucchini placing them onto the baking sheet. Add Olive Oil and seasoned salt and mix. Preheat oven to 425 and bake for 25 minutes until browned flipping vegetables once midway through the cooking time.
Add 1 1/2 tsp bouillon to the 1 1/2 cups of water used to make the farro.
When vegetables are browned, make individual plates of farro, vegetables, topped with lime, avocado and cilantro. Oh, so delicious and so satisfying.