Remember me? and some eggplant.

Hello Healthy People!

It has been an extraordinary amount of time since I have posted –and for that I am sorry! I sort of took a hiatus to focus on life post grad, love, work, etc etc.  *cue corny love song*

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Good news: In August I moved back to Virginia to live in the DC metro area… surprisingly one of the healthiest and most active populations in the country! I work here now and have a very balanced and happy life.

capitol

But I found I really missed writing so here I am once again.

ALSO I MISSED SHARING RECIPES.

Here is my version of healthy baked eggplant parmesan with fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes.

eggplant

Ingredients: (I prefer organic, but it’s up to you!)

(1) Fresh Eggplant

Fresh Mozzarella (whole –usually it soaks in water to stay fresh)

One Jar of tomato sauce

(2) tomatoes

1/2 a bag of smoked julienne cut sun dried tomatoes

shredded mozzarella

italian breadcrumbs (whole wheat, or you can make your own!)

(1) egg

1 tbsp of milk

flour

fresh ground salt and pepper

olive oil

Fresh Garlic Cloves

fresh basil

splash of water

FYI this recipe might seem like a pain in the glutes but it is SOOOO worth it!!!

How to prepare:

1.) I began by slicing up the eggplant…you want to try to get the slices about 1/4 inch thick and all about the same size so they cook at the same rate.

2.) Then I have two bowls– one filled with a cup of flour, the other filled with an egg wash which is the egg, milk, splash of water to thin it out and then whisked to mix it all together.

3.) Beside the bowls I have a large plate with the italian seasoned bread crumbs and the pepper and salt.

4.) Dip the eggplant into the flour to begin, on both sides.

5.) Next both sides get dipped into the eggwash

6.) The slice is then put on the italian breadcrumbs and flipped so both sides are covered. Then the pepper and salt are ground on top of each side.

7.) The slices are put onto a baking pan and drizzled all over with olive oil –and put into a broiler.

8.) The amount of time you broil or bake the eggplant in the initial process is up to you. It took me about 10 min each side before the eggplant was golden enough for me to finish the prepping. Golden on both sides is the goal–I even prefer a little brown.

9.) During the broiling process I minced garlic, sliced the tomatoes and mozz, and rinsed the basil.

10.) In my baking casserole dish I drizzled tomato sauce into the bottom with some minced garlic.

11.) I took slices of eggplant (about 6) and covered the bottom of the dish. It’s ok if there is glass of the dish showing.

12.) I topped the slices with a spoonful of sauce, a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella, some garlic, and another slice of eggplant.

13.) On top of the top layer of eggplant I drizzled tomato sauce, sprinkled the sun dried tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, crushed pepper and salt, and a piece of fresh basil.

14.) I put the rest of the sauce in between the eggplant to serve as a sauce on the side of the dish.

14.) Finally I heat the oven the 400 degrees and cooked the eggplant for about 25-30 minutes covered in foil with the shiny side face down.

Then I cleaned up the tremendous amount of flour all over my nike workout shirt and kitchen floor.

 

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Happy eating and exercising,

XOXO

Jess

Coconut Curry Tofu with Veggies, Vegan!

Aloha world.

Since I imagine you like this pondering over the tofu section at the grocery store, similar to how I was before this guide:

Plato, the great philosopher

I found this guide to tofu if you ever questioned which firmness to buy at the grocery store:

This has been my favorite vegan recipe so far! 

Whatdoyaneed?

1 can of UNSWEETENED light coconut milk

1 package of extra firm tofu, drain and cubed

2 “mississippis” of oil (either peanut, olive, etc) drizzled around the pan

1 small onion, chopped

minced garlic

2 tsps of curry powder aka take the lid off and just eyeball how much you want

chop up cilantro and add one tight fistful

seasonings: garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne, turmeric

Veggies: anything youuuu want! I did 1 yellow bell pepper and brocolli

Howdoyoucookit?

Simmer, mhmm smells so good!

Begin by heating the large sauce pan on medium heat putting the oil, garlic and onion in and allowing it to simmer. Next add the can of coconut milk.  YUM.  Every time I say coconut I think of the song “put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up, she put the lime in the coconut called the doctor woke him up said DOCTOR is there nothing I can take, DOCTOR to relieve my belly ache”…not even sure if those are the right lyrics that’s like a decade old song…and now you all just witness my stream of conciousness.

Just ignore the can of bud light in the corner...not mine lol

ANYWAYS.

Allow for the mixture to bubble. Add as many spices as you want. I added the curry and tumeric, salt and cayenne–I like it spicy so I added some hot pepper sesame oil too!

Spice it up!

Add the veggies and put down to a med-low heat and cover. Stir every couple of minutes or so with a whisk or wooden spoon.

Why is tofu so weird looking?

Steam the veggies by covering with a lid….for about 6-8 minutes

steam it up baby!

Taste to make sure it is done before removing it from the stove! Aka it’s hot enough and tastes so good and doesn’t need additional seasonings.

I served it with organic Quinoa! THIS WAS SO GOOD. Seriously. Like a flavorful travel experience in my mouth.

So here’s to happy and healthy eating! Did you remember the fitness challenge of the week? Always use the stairs! Have you been able to defeat that challenge so far? Keep it up!!!!

xoxo,

J

Healthy Quinoa Salad

For years I’ve been hearing about how healthy this “quinoa” stuff is.  I am a big wild rice fan so it took me a while to experiment with this new foreign grain.  Mini uhh balls is basically how I could explain it. Gluten Free and healthy!  It doesn’t have much of a taste but it is great with this dish! I’m excited for all of the recipes I will make with this in the future. I decided to make a salad dish I could bring with me to Virginia Tech this weekend for the Southeastern 2012 Fitness Expo.  I remember last year we worked out A LOT so I wanted to bring healthy snacks and drinks to keep it allll balanced out =)

VT Fitness Expo, Click to check out Website!

So I couldn’t come up with a name for this salad other than quino-whaaat?

Begin by Gathering all of the ingredients:

1.) Quinoa

2.) Tomatoes

3.) Spinach

4.) Basil

5.) Type of White Bean (I chose canellini)

6.) Smoked Sun Dried Tomatoes of course…

Dressing Ingredients:

1.) Minced Garlic

2.) Olive Oil

3.) Balsamic Vinegar

4.) Salt and Pepper

5.) Zest of a small lemon

Dressing


What
now?

1.) Start with putting 2 cups water into a sauce pan adding one cup of quinoa. Get the water to boil then reduce to a simmer and cover (cook 10-15 min more, until water evaporates)

2.) Cut up tomatoes

3.) Put basil leaves and spinach (2 handfuls) into a food processor or in my poor college student case a blender….

4.) In a bowl add tomatoes, and greens.

5.) Drain beans and add them to bowl.

6.) Start to drizzle olive oil and the vinegar around the dish, along with seasoning (always season as you go!)

7.) Add quinoa once it is finished and mix it all together.

8.) Add minced garlic and lemon zest.

9.) Finish with adding sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese if you’d like!

GREAT SNACK/Small meal…it is delicious! I was actually surprised. I think it sitting overnight will be even more flavorful for tomorrow’s full day of working out. Stay tuned in the next couple of days about my experience at the fitness expo!!!  Expo is a great time to learn, workout and critique fitness–so I most definitely intend on sharing my thoughts with you all!

I do think next time I might chop up an onion to create some more flavor and possibly add mini mozzarella balls to accompany the flavors, almost becoming a caprese salad.

HEALTHY AND TASTY!

 

bon appetit!

xoxo

J

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Good morning blogging world! Sorry I missed posting the last two days…school and work caught up to me after the birthday weekend.  Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time? That’s one of the most popular excuses for not eating healthy. But my friends, food can be fast and STILL healthy! It’s all about preparing and planning. When I know I have a difficult or busy week ahead I plan accordingly. One of my favorite quick meals on the run is mini crustless egg white quiches!  I make them Sunday and they usually last me the entire week when I freeze them.

Below will be a recipe I use, however, I’m not a carnivore so you can experiment if you want to add meat…although challenge yourself to eliminate as much meat as you can from your diet. The health benefits of eating more of a Mediterranean style diet have been shown to have an enormous impact on our health (and will be written about in a post soon after this one)!

yum

Ingredients:

1.) Any veggies in your fridge/kitchen…I prefer spinach, broccoli, onions…

2.) 3 Organic Eggs

3.) 3-4 Egg Whites

4.) SUN DRIED TOMATOES (seriously though, a Jess Squared tradition, makes a great addition to any meal)

5.) Non-fat or low fat cheddar cheese

6.) Cooking spray

7.) Seasoning (salt, pepper, caynne)

8.) Non-fat plain organic greek yogurt

Directions:

Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees

Spray the muffin tin really well with non stick cooking spray

Crack the eggs in a bowl and add the egg whites, whisk

Add 1-2 scoops of plain greek yogurt, this serves to give it a little creaminess, very nice addition!

In the egg mixture while whisking add some salt and pepper

Pour just a little bit of the mixture into the tins about 1/3 full

Add the veggies sparingly into each tin

Cover with the egg mixture to fill the tin about 3/4 full

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, quickly open up oven sprinkle cheese and press sun dried tomatoes into the tops of the quiches

Bake for another 7-11 minutes, the tops should be puffed and possibly starting to brown (adjust accordingly)

Place on a wire rack to cool or aluminum foil/wax paper

EAT UP! Or do what I do and put in a freezer ziploc bag and store in freezer once they have cooled. You will be able to heat in the microwave throughout the week for 30 seconds or so, adjust according to preference. Importantly to note the quiches absorb water so you will want to press a paper towel into it to remove the water. Drizzle siracha (spicy thai sauce) onto it for additonal spiciness! Great snack or have 2-3 for a quick meal!

Also, a great hors d’oeuvres option!

Hope it’s egggselent!

Give Stir-Fry a Try!

Spicy Peanut Butter Stir Fry with Tofu

This is my favorite go to recipe I make and can eat for the next couple days. I really like to use Tofu because it soaks up all the flavors and is good for you… but you can substitute meat if you are a carnivore (I just prefer the plants and the fish).

mhmm nutrients

What you’ll need:

1.) Natural Peanut Butter

2.) Veggies

3.) Choice of protein I like Cubed firm tofu

4.) Minced garlic

5.) Siracha or spicy thai paste

6.) Spices: Ginger, crushed red pepper, garlic

7.) Low sodium Soy Sauce

8.) Szechwan Sauce (not necessary)

I begin my taking a large frying pan and heating it at medium to high drizzling a little (seriously…just a little) wok oil, and add some minced garlic. I add a big spoonful of natural peanut butter and allow that to melt taking the heat down to medium.

I have already prepared the broccoli, snow pea pods, peppers, and onions but feel free to choose whichever you’d prefer. I add them to the pan. Then I drizzle soy sauce, and spicy thai sauce (careful here…add more to increase the heat index ow oww), if you’d like to add a little Szechwan go ahead and do so but relatively small amount because it isn’t too healthy, yet spicy and flavorful.

I sprinkle ginger and garlic. Cover with a lid. About 2 minutes later after draining the tofu I add it and lower the heat just a little bit and stir all the veggies in the sauce (and veggies) you have created. About 5 minutes into cooking I put the heat on low and allow it to simmer for about 5 additional minutes (remember to cover the pan so veggies can steam). Remove and set on a burner that is off and allow the sauce to thicken a little bit before serving. Serve plain or with wild brown rice. SO GOOD.

 

My Stir Fry!

Baked Salmon with Citrus and Sun Dried Tomatoes

"Mhmm Nutrients"

Grizzly bears aren’t the only ones who like salmon. This might be one of the best proteins you can possibly eat! When shopping for a salmon “steak” take notice of the signs in the seafood aisle.  Make sure it reads caught wild instead of farmed or with added dyes in order to limit the fat and chemicals in the fish. I always wash any fish or meat before I cook it with a little soap and warm water. Make sure you thoroughly clean (that means with bleach people) anything that the uncooked salmon touches!

You can cut the skin off now, keep it, or peel it off after it bakes in the over which is a little simpler.  Sprinkle salt and pepper (I like using crushed peppercorns and sea salt). Take a piece of aluminum foil and place the salmon into it. Add minced garlic, and drizzle a little olive oil (tsp). Here is where you can get creative, look at your spice rack and add what you think will taste good. I think Dill and Salmon make a great combo, but old bay, rosemary, thyme, parsley etc might taste great too! It’s all about experimenting and seeing what tastes best for you and your family. I drizzled some lemon juice and added two slices on top, covered up the salmon and baked at 375 degrees for about 35-45 minutes. If you really want some extra flavoring instead of using dry seasonings buy fresh stems of dill or rosemary and add them into the foil.

Before the Oven

I decided last minute that I wanted to use the extra smoked sun dried tomatoes I had in the fridge so for the last 10 minutes of the baking time I opened up the salmon really quickly (ouch, it’s hot!) and sprinkled some of them.  Closed it back up and kept it in the oven.

Sun Dried Tomatoes

When you notice the salmon is flaky when touched with a fork, this means it is done. Usually between 40-45 minutes of baking. I also cooked some vegetables and added that as a side dish. If I had wild rice that would have been a great addition! Serve with a glass of white wine or sparkling water and this my friends, becomes a wonderful meal! I recommend Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay because it is my favorite 🙂

Enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

Green Power Smoothie

There is a reason Popeye told you to eat your spinach to get strong, it is good for you! This is my favorite post-workout smoothie. So easy to make and surprisingly tastes so good! The following are ingredients, but feel free to substitute with your own ideas.

2 handfuls of baby spinach (on the bottom of the blender)

1/2cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 scoop of protein powder (try for a low carb one that isn’t infused with a lot of sugar, I like designer whey french vanilla)–As a Vegan you can do a soy protein!!!

Ice Cubes (not too many, I like to add around 6)

frozen banana (1/2 to a full)

Blend and drink so yummy!

Substitutions/additions:

Use Kale with spinach (it’s a little more bitter than spinach), add Flax seeds, oatmeal, mix with peaches and strawberries, use soy milk, add greek yogurt etc! Enjoy 🙂