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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spending Less and Feeling full!

I forgot how much less I spent at the grocery store when we stopped eating meat and processed foods.  Thank goodness we are back on track with our healthy lifestyle and of course a healthy budget :)  Not to mention we all seem to have more energy, and are in much better moods.  We still find ourselves at a crossroads when it comes to the types of dishes and recipes, but that is okay.  I understand even in the world of vegetables people have different tastes.
The myth that it is too expensive to eat healthy is just that: a myth.  If you stop buying all the processed food like chips, hamburger helper, frozen meals, cookies, etc. and the meat and dairy products then add in the fresh fruits and vegetables you will save so much money.  How can that be you ask?  A large bag of chips is $1.99 but a large bag of apples is $4.00, so there is no way eating healthier is cheaper.  All I can say is just try it!
It is fact that whole foods are much more filling than processed foods.  So if you eat a large bag of chips to get full, and all I eat is one apple how many bags of chips will you need to buy to equal my bag of approximately 12 apples?  Exactly!  I have saved money just on this one item!  Imagine how much you will save on a cart full of groceries! But, how on earth can eating one apple fill you up?  Just try it!  There are no words for me to say that will prove it...  eat an apple,  a bag of carrots, or even celery then wait 10-15 minutes and see if you are still hungry. You are going to find when you eat real earth foods you will eat less not because you don’t like it, but simply because you are full!  Can you imagine how much you will save on your bill each trip?!
And….. for those of you who do the shopping it is so much easier!  You really only have to go to one section of the store and you are done!

So here is the meal for Day 2.  I am again pulling from my new cookbook Veganomicon which I have found to be very educational.  It was a hit with the adults, but no bueno for the hijos.  This dish has a spicy flair to it and can be served over, grits, polenta, or even pasta.  I have seen some blogs where they did not serve it over anything but with a side of greens.  The flavors and aroma were outstanding in my opinion.  We will definitely make this again, but I think I will add more garlic next!   I think the kids had a hard time with the grits, and maybe the size of the vegetables.  I think if I diced the onions there may have not been so much resistance!  Don’t be afraid of the time; most of this is the eggplant in the oven.

Tomato and Roasted Eggplant Stew with Chickpeas

Serves 6

Time : 1 hour and 10 minutes


* 1/4 cup olive oil

* 2 large eggplants ( 3 pounds )

* 1 bulb garlic

* 2 red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed

* 1 white onion, sliced into thin half moons

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* 1/2 cup white wine or veggie broth

* 2 tsp dried tarragon

* 1 tsp dried thyme

* 1 tsp ground coriander

* 1/2 tsp paprika

* 1 tsp salt

* Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

* 2 bay leaves

* 1 ( 28 ounce ) can whole peeled tomatoes

* 1 ( 15 ounce ) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas


1. Arrange two oven racks so that one is in the upper third and the other is in the lower third. You're probably not going to be able to fit both of your pans on one rack. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Quarter the eggplant lengthwise and slice across into 3/4 inch slices.

2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with baking parchment and brush the parchment with the olive oil. Lay the eggplant slices on the baking sheets and brush or spray the tops with olive oil. Leave a little room on one pan for the peppers. Brush the outsides of the peppers with olive oil and place them, cut side down, on the pan. (The parchment is not necessary for the cooking process.  It is only a step you can take if you do not like ugly pans! )

Remove the papery skins from the garlic bulb (as much skin as will come off easily). Place the garlic on one of the pans as well. Place the pans in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.

3. Remove the pans from the oven. Place the red pepper in a paper or plastic bag and close up the bag (so that the pepper skins steam off). Flip the eggplant pieces and brush a little oil on any pieces that look dry (they should be fairly browned, albeit unevenly).

4. Return the eggplant to the oven for an additional 15 minutes and remove the garlic, setting it aside to cool. The garlic should have been in for 40 minutes, but if you did the eggplant flipping with lighting speed, give the garlic a few more minutes to bake.

5. On the stove top, preheat a soup pot over medium-high heat.  Sauté the onions in 1 Tb of olive oil for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. The eggplant should be ready while the onion is browning, so remove the eggplant from the oven and set it aside (if you are running out of counter space, use tongs to transfer the eggplant to a bowl).

6. Add the garlic to the onions and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the white wine and herbs and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tearing up each tomato with your hands before adding to the pot, and add the remaining tomato juice from the can.

Add the eggplant to the pot and mix well. Don't be afraid of crushing the eggplant; in fact it's good if it gets a little crushed.

7. Remove the peppers from the bag and peel away the skin. If for some reason the skin won't peel, don't sweat it. Chop the peppers into bite-size pieces and add to the soup pot along with the chickpeas. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8. To prepare the garlic, wet your hands (to avoid sticking) and squeeze each roasted garlic clove into the soup pot. Mix well, turn off the heat, and let the stew sit for as long as you can stand to let the flavors to develop!

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