Sponge for Dinner

Don’t get me wrong.  This dinner had a lot of potential.  Who wouldn’t like layers upon layers of lasagna noodles, sliced eggplant, mozzarella, creamy ricotta-parmesan-egg mixture, and sweet tomato and basil sauce?  Well, maybe you wouldn’t, but I was looking forward to it.

So I prepped the pasta as I sliced and salted the eggplant to remove the bitterness (then rinsed) and proceeded to make layer upon layer in my baking dish.  After baking the dish in the oven for 45 minutes, it was time for eatin’. 

I cut out a hunk of steaming lasagna from the pan, plated it, and quickly snapped two photos as my hunger wouldn’t allow for anything more.

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First bite composed of carby pasta, salty cheeses, and sweet red sauce.  Yes, that is what I was longing for.  Second bite composed of carby pasta, salty cheeses, sweet red sauce, and *duhn.duhn.duhn*…..SPONGE.

What happened to the beautiful, purple eggplant I put in there?  Unfortunately, it did not dawn on me that a two week old eggplant would not maintain its freshness by being left in the fruit drawer.  Needless to say, dinner was a flop.  Don’t get me wrong; it had lots of potential.

Have you had any cooking failures lately or any successes for that matter?

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No Phone Zone

Late this afternoon as she does on every show, Oprah coerced Lisa Ling, a celebrity reporter, to sign the “No Phone Zone” challenge.  On this day I would need no coercing.  At quarter to five this a.m., Herbie woke me up to let him out.  So as I got out of bed I heard my phone fall off the windowsill (as it does often) due to my tripping on the charger cord.  When I returned from letting the dogs out, I picked up my phone to make sure the phone card didn’t come out of its slot, and check that the alarm was still set on it.  The card did not come out, but sure enough my entire iphone screen was shattered!  Baaaah, I wined a bit and hoped that I would be able to get up without any alarm.  I fell back asleep and panicked an hour later when I awoke and thought I overslept until I quickly ran to the kitchen to find that I was up on time.

I was eager to have breakfast this morning because I did in fact purchase some rolled oats to again make some overnight oats.  I really enjoy the thickness, coldness, and creaminess of the overnight oats.  Late last night before going to bed, I added 1 6 oz. container of non-fat plain Fage, the same amount of plain almond milk. 1/2 cup of rolled oats, a tbsp. of honey, 1 small banana, and a small handful of blueberries.  That sat in the fridge all night and this morning my bowl was overflowing (literally, but I cleaned it up for pics) with the rich, dessert-like breakfast.

Along side I had a cup of hot tea, but actually waited ’til after eating to drink it.  My palate couldn’t get used to the mixing of the unsweetened, hot tea and the sweetened, cold oats.

I was quite full after eating this and felt like it was too much for breakfast.  Next time I may cut the recipe in half.

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Onto lunch at work– a salad and some crackers.

The mix contained baby spinach, carrots, celery, red and yellow cherry tomatoes (yellow cause I had three left in the fridge and wanted to use those up before opening new pack of red), roasted chinese eggplant from the hubby’s garden, strawberries, ounce of feta, and 2 tbsp. light raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

13 Wheat Thin Fiber Selects on the side.

I also had a small piece of honey bun cake (picture not captured) made by the Parent Coop Club for the faculty to enjoy.  They brought some fancy cupcakes that looked like the ones on Cupcake Wars too.  But I thought a small piece of cake might be less calories than one of the cupcakes, which were only chocolate with heaping mounds of icing by the time I got to them so I didn’t want one anyway.  I prefer yellow or white cakes over chocolate.

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When I got home from work was feeling pretty hungry so I ate a couple of snacks.

Carrots and hummus.  Wasa fibercrisp with the new Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco and Chipotle.

I was actually a little disappointed in the new L.C.  It tasted very much like the swiss with a small hint of bacon!?!  No heat came out s one would think with the name being “Chipotle.”

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After a short walk with the dogs, I came home to roast three split chicken breasts.  Two would be used in chicken salad.

As suggested by Ina Garten,  drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted at 350* for 40 minutes.  Cooled and skin discarded from two breasts for chicken salad.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts(roasted and meat removed from bone and shredded)

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup light mayo

1/4 cup light sour cream

1/4 roasted almonds and pecans

1/8 cup of dried cranberries

salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in food processor.  Pulse until mixed completely and desired consistency reached.

Chicken Salad Sammie and Side Salad

Spring mix salad with roasted eggplant, 3 grape tomatoes, < 1/2 oz. feta, light balsamic vinaigrette

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Unfortunately, I was forced to join in on the “No Phone Zone” challenge.  It has only been one day and I feel out of touch with people.  I normally talk to my mom and hubby all evening through texting/phone calls.  I haven’t spoken to either of them.  Well, perhaps, I am not at a complete loss of connecting with people.  I did conjure up a way to connect with Ina Garten, Food Network star.  I channeled  her via Internet to ask her how to roast the chicken breasts. Just kidding.  But I did write a post that hopefully people will look at.  Now,  if only I could come up with a question that readers may want to answer.

Question of the Day: If you could ask one Food Network Star anything, who would it be and what would you ask?

I feel like my students right now with the higher order thinking question.  I’m having trouble answering my own question.  Sheesh!  I have to think about it and I’m getting sleepy.  Good Night!

Poreotics and Pasta To Boot

Rather than head to a near by fast food chain for the ever so popular Egg McMuffin I decided to make my own Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel for breakfast. I cooked one scrambled egg  and fried two slices of turkey bacon. After toasting my Thomas bagel thin I spread a Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese triangle on the bagel. I then topped it with the egg and two pieces of bacon. On side I enjoyed an iced green tea with a shot of milk and stevia.

Nothing Beats the Taste of Homeade Breakfast 🙂

"Bacon's Goooood!" As My Nephew Says

Layers of Deliciousness

After enjoying breakfast, I attempted to get some exercise by way of cutting the grass in the backyard.

Attempt 1 for Some Exercise

Due to the torrential downpours the past few days, the grass was too wet and continuously killed my lawn mower after every loop around the yard. So I decided to wait a while and let the grass dry a bit.

Exercise attempt # 2 took place at the gym. When I got there I found my mom working out. She mentioned that she was going to the mall; I eagerly told her that I wanted to join her so I could spend my birthday money of course. Nevertheless, I was able to get in thirty minutes of cardio on the True Strider Elliptical, but not as much as I intended.

For lunch I took advantage of my free birthday coupon from Tuesday and got a Fruit Fusion Smoothie. It contained peach, pineapple, mango, strawberry, milk powder, and protein powder. No picture was necessary as it looked like a normal pink smoothie and was cold and refreshing on this very hot summer day.

Next stop, Mom and I went to the mall. She was looking for some shirts and I for some work pants. I think I spent more time watching the MTV Celebrity Dancers than actually shopping. Mom was in a store right near the performances, so I told her I was going to see what the loud music was all about. Come to find out it was the Season 5 winners of America’s Best Dance Crew, the Poreotics.

I didn’t know who they were for a while into their performance and then noticed a sign stating who they were. I am fascinated with anything live–singing, acting, dancing, performing. I think it has to do with the fact that I wish I had some special talent and would love to perform, but I don’t think I would be brave enough to get in front of that many people if in fact it ever came down to that. And I don’t really have any exciting talents. 😦 When I was a child, though, friends and family would make me sing for them because they said I had such a beautiful voice. I’m not quite sure what happened to it because now my sister only laughs when I try to sing a tune.

The mall turned out to be a success with a purchase of 6 pairs of pants and a Cafe Au Lait to go from the best coffee shop in New Orleans, Cafe’ Du Monde! You must have fried beignets (hot, fried dough slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside covered in powdered sugar so when you bite and breathe through your nose the powdered sugar gets all over you–so fun) from there if you ever get to New Orleans. The original Cafe’ Du Monde is in downtown New Orleans near Jackson Square and the flea market.  I didn’t get any beignets today, but the coffee was satisfying as usual.

After the mall, I made a final attempt to cut the grass for a couple of reasons.  One, it was high and needed to be cut.  Two, it is supposed to rain all week, AGAIN.  Three, it was more exercise for today.  Attempt # 3 was a success.  Now my smaller dog will actually go to the potty in the back yard.  Oh, and my husband did offer to cut the grass, but I told him I could handle it, so he repainted the garage floor while I finished the grass.

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Finally on to dinner.  The hubby has a garden in the back and when I got home I found some great looking eggplant and one yellow bell pepper on the counter.  Accordingly, I fixed an Italian Eggplant Penne Casserole.

Italian Eggplant Penne Casserole

1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta, cooked accordingly

1 jar tomato basil sauce

1/2 c grated parmesan cheese + some for topping

1 oz. feta cheese (use more if desired, I was using up what I had left)

1/2 c italian style bread crumbs

1 tbsp. canola oil

2 chinese eggplant or 1 american eggplant chopped (chinese from our garden)

1 small bell pepper diced (yellow from the garden)

1 c onion diced

1 egg

1 tbsp. garlic minced

Dried oregano,  dried basil, salt and pepper  to taste

Directions:Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray large casserole dish with non stick cooking spray.  In mixing bowl, combine onion, garlic, bell pepper, eggplant, breadcrumbs, cheeses, egg, oil, and seasonings.  Mix well.  In casserole dish, ladle about 4 tbsp. in the bottom of dish.  Next, add half of cooked pasta; then half of eggplant mixture.  Spread half of remaining tomato sauce over past and eggplant.  Repeat with the rest of the past, eggplant mixture, and sauce.  Sprinkle the top of sauce with parmesan cheese.  Bake covered for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional ten minutes.

Serves 8.  About 365 calories per serving.

Ingredients
Eggplant Mixture
Layering
Pre-Bake
Time to Eat

I was a bit heavy handed with the pepper, so it was a bit too spicy.  But overall it was tasty.

Finally a few bites of this for dessert.

I purchased this at Whole Foods last week.  Someone told my mom about it and I’ve been wanting to try it.  The ENTIRE pint is 128 calories.  That is less calories than 1/2  cup of regular chocolate ice cream.  A 1/2 cup serving of the stuff is only 32 calories.  So eat a 1/2 cup or eat the whole darn thing.  I probably had about half of a cup, but just ate it right out of the pint.  It can’t do too much damage and it tastes great.

Question of the day: If you could have one talent that you don’t already possess, what would it be?

I would want to be able to dance.