Feb 272014
Loaded Falafel Burger

These easy Loaded Falafel Burger with Roasted Vegetables use fresh roasted veggies along with premade burgers to save time on a busy weeknight.

Could there be anything better than eggplant, tomato and onion all roasted and caramelized? I think not.

Falafel Burgers

I give no apologies when it comes to dinner on busy weeknights.

Meals from scratch are best, but when it comes to getting home after a busy day and wanting to take a few shortcuts, I’m all for it. One of the cleanest burgers I’ve found is Sunshine Burger, and the falafel is delicious!

Here are the ingredients:

Organic cooked brown rice, organic cooked chick peas, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic cooked yellow split peas, organic Tahini (organic ground toasted sesame seeds), organic cumin, organic garlic, organic parsley, sea salt.

These are definitely something you can feel save feeding your whole family.

I don’t talk a lot about my personal life on my blog – I lean more towards chatting about the actual recipe and the benefits, but I’ll share a little of what has been going on and why I’ll be doing a fair amount of clean semi-homemade recipes instead of from scratch. Since leaving my corporate job in August life has been a whirlwind. Mornings (still) start by 5AM and I get right down to business. I’m a morning person though. I like to be sleeping by 9:30 or 10PM. I work for a few hours on events with Native Sun, my blog or my business. At around 7AM I get my daughter up to get ready and take her to school then head right to my workout to start my day. This has never been an “if I can make it” thing. No exceptions to working out! I head home and then it is off to meetings at Native Sun or business meetings. I absolutely love being out of the cubicle and in a self-directed environment. Sometimes I walk out of a meeting at 2:00 and into the sunshine wanting to yell – I’m FREE! I pick my daughter up from school and help her with her homework and sometimes take her paddle boarding on the river. Then after she goes to bed, many times it is back on the computer to take a training course, do an on-line business presentation or two or catch up on anything else. Self-development is another must. I never. stop. learning. We all are students, and if we don’t continue to learn, grow and change we cannot move forward. No, I don’t have time to watch much TV any more, but the old saying is so true – if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. After losing my Dad in May, I vowed that on my last two minutes of life I would look back with pride. I would not wonder what if. I will know that I did everything in my power to achieve my goals and dreams. I am not special. I am not unique. I simply made a decision to wake up and say to myself – I want more. It was a choice.  Though I have failed many times, and I will fail many times more, I look at each failure as an opportunity to learn. In the past two years I have learned more about people, how to listen and how much I enjoy helping others than the previous 34 years of life. I have found that through helping others, I naturally move closer to my goals and dreams.  On the days I think to myself – how am I going to do this? Am I deserving of making this work? I then think about all the successful people out there – many of them came from a world of hardship and rose to greatness. We all have 24 hours in a day. It is what we do with that time that sets us apart.

Plus, now you have this delicious sandwich to save you time.

Is there anything you would love to accomplish in your life? Are you moving towards it? If not, what might be holding you back?

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4
Printable Recipe


1 eggplant, sliced
1 roma tomato, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
4 falafel burgers, such as sunshine burger
4 Organic thin style sandwich buns
1/4 cup prepared hummus

Yogurt Sauce (Optional – use extra hummus if omitting)
1 container plain non-dairy yogurt (preferably Greek style)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove minced garlic


1. Preheat oven to 350F; spray two baking sheets with oil or cooking spray; top with eggplant, tomato and onion slices; drizzle 1 Tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper; roast 25 minutes, turning vegetables half way through cook time.

2. In a small bowl, mix yogurt sauce ingredients if using.

3. Heat falafel burgers to package directions; toast thin buns. Spread bottom thin bun with 1 Tbsp hummus; top with one burger, 1/4 of the roasted vegetables and 2 Tbsp yogurt sauce; add top slice of thin bun and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 434.4
Total Fat 21.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 638.1 mg
Potassium 206.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 53.0 g
Dietary Fiber 13.6 g
Sugars 7.7 g
Protein 19.7 g

Vitamin A 0.4 %
Vitamin B-12 3.8 %
Vitamin B-6 6.4 %
Vitamin C 8.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.4 %
Calcium 16.9 %
Copper 5.8 %
Folate 5.8 %
Iron 24.0 %
Magnesium 5.4 %
Manganese 11.4 %
Niacin 1.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.3 %
Phosphorus 9.5 %
Riboflavin 6.5 %
Selenium 1.4 %
Thiamin 5.3 %
Zinc 2.6 %

*Percent Daily Values for Loaded Falafel Burger are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Sep 092013
EASY Vegan Eggplant "Parm"

EASY Vegan Eggplant “Parm”

 Wednesday is a big day.

Easy Vegan and Gluten Free Eggplant Parm

Easy Vegan and Gluten Free Eggplant Parm

I’m goin’ back to school!

What will I be taking?

Classes towards my certificate in plant based nutrition with Cornell!

Here is the info on it….

“A powerful science-based approach to nutrition that can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity and improve your quality of life.”

“”You are what you eat.” We’re all familiar with this oft-quoted adage. Today, thanks to an emerging body of research on plant-based nutrition, we’re better able than ever to understand how diet affects both the development and treatment of disease. This powerful, research-based approach is shifting the healthcare paradigm.

This certification program consists of three two-week courses that provide you with a holistic view of proper nutrition and its relationship with health and disease. Learn the basis for dietary causes of chronic degenerative diseases, and clinical solutions for reducing risk. Uncover practical applications of a whole-food, plant-based diet and the positive effect it could have on our health care systems and society. All nutrition courses in this program are based on the breakthrough work that Cornell Professor Emeritus T. Colin Campbell has developed during his 40+ years experience in experimental research and 20 years in public policy. This work was popularized in the best-selling book, The China Study.”

I am SO excited and plan to do a review of my experience and sharing the info with you all – my dear readers.

Hot Rocks Seasoning

Hot Rocks Seasoning

I don’t expect there to be many changes to my recipe choices or style – but I do hope that the information will enrich the content of this blog and I plan to include what I learn in my cooking classes and the programs I want to start with kids.

Garlic Joy Marinara

Garlic Joy Marinara

This recipe is a creation inspired by my upcoming classes.  Rich with eggplant and tomato – I can’t seem to get enough tomato sauce or marinara lately! But after my return from my week long camping trip in the Keys last week I just didn’t have it in me to make up a pot of my own sauce – so for this recipe I broke out my most treasured jarred sauce – Garlic Joy Marinara!

My daughter and I made this recipe together and we sheepishly polished off a serving and a half and she ate the rest for lunch the next day.  It was that good.  The eggplant came out so delicious that we could have just eaten this seasoned breadcrumb crusted delicacy without the sauce but we were sure glad we waited!

EASY Vegan and Gluten Free Eggplant "Parm"

EASY Vegan and Gluten Free Eggplant “Parm”

Out-Of-This-World Easy Eggplant “Parm”

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


3 Japanese Eggplant
1 cup gluten free breadcrumb (or regular if GF not needed)
Olive Oil spray
1 tsp seasoning mixture such as “Hot Rocks” (mixture of salt, pepper, herbs and crushed red pepper)
2 cups good quality marinara
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella non-dairy cheese


1. Preheat broiler to high; slice eggplant into 1/4 inch strips; spray olive oil on both sides of each pieces; dredge both sides in breadcrumb; season eggplant with 1 tsp seasoning mixture; broil 5-7 minutes per side or until crispy.

2. Preheat oven to 375F;. In a 8×8 baking dish (or I used a small round baking dish) layer 1/4 cup marinara; 1/2 the eggplant, 3/4 cup marinara, 1/2 the eggplant and the final cup of marinara; top with cheese; bake 25 minutes or until heated through.

ESTIMATED Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 216.7
Total Fat 9.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 735.5 mg
Potassium 299.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30.1 g
Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
Sugars 11.8 g
Protein 4.4 g

Vitamin A 32.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 6.0 %
Vitamin C 4.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.6 %
Calcium 5.3 %
Copper 3.9 %
Folate 6.6 %
Iron 13.8 %
Magnesium 5.0 %
Manganese 10.2 %
Niacin 4.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.5 %
Phosphorus 3.1 %
Riboflavin 2.8 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 4.8 %
Zinc 1.4 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Jul 112013
Mouth-Watering Roasted Eggplant Sandwich

 I sat down on the blue, outside patio bench at Seafood Sams in Sandwich and opened my sandwich wrapper.  Everyone around me turned and stared.

Mouth-Watering Roasted Eggplant Sandwich

Mouth-Watering Roasted Eggplant Sandwich

For one, because I had brought my own food into Seafood Sams (the home of gross fried seafood), and secondly because my sandwich from the ever-so-charming Corner Store in Chatham, Mass was making everyone’s mouth water.

I had learned from past experience that sneaking food in this particular venue is a must if everyone is adamant that we visit.  There is simply nothing on the menu I’m excited to spend my money on (I realize this is rather tacky but I was discreet, I promise).

As for my sandwich – grilled eggplant, marinated tomatoes, hummus, kalamata olives and gorgeous multigrain bread pressed into a panini (hold the feta). What is NOT to love? In fact, I went back the next day and got the SAME sandwich and my daughter got a gluten free and vegan burrito with black beans, fresh salsa, and roasted potatoes on a Food For Life rice tortilla. YUM!

In honor of the Corner Store I few home to Florida and the first recipe I re-created was a light version of the grilled eggplant sammie (for those of us that can’t make it to Chatham, Mass every day.)

Corner Store….you rock! Thank you for having vegan and gluten free options.  Here’s to you!

**This recipe actually started out as a grilled eggplant, but when I glanced at the porch after preheating the grill and noticed the black smoke emanating from the back of it, I thought “should I call the fire department first or try to put it out first?” I quickly filled a pot with water, took a deep breath and ran out to the porch. As I lifted the lid there were flames about three feet high. I backed up and threw the pot of water on it and ran back into the house to breathe. 

Hence the reason for the roasted eggplant and reason #101 that eating meat sucks! My hubby had cooked chicken wings while I was out of town and the grease from them flamed up the dang grill. I promise people – grilling tofu doesn’t have the same hazards.

For those of you that didn’t catch my facebook post – here are a few snapshots from my Cape Cod trip where we were visiting friends and family. I grew up in MASS!

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

Breakfast with Cara, Ben and Baby Rosie!

Breakfast with Cara, Ben and Baby Rosie!

For the grand finale – Mouth-Watering Roasted Eggplant & Marinated Tomato Sandwich!

Mouth-Watering Roasted Eggplant Sandwich

Mouth-Watering Roasted Eggplant Sandwich

 Roasted Eggplant & Marinated Tomato Sandwich

Inspired by the Corner Store, Chatham Mass
Serves 4
Vegan (use Gluten Free bread for gluten free sandwich)
Printable Recipe



4 small tomatoes such as plum tomatoes
1/3 cup your favorite Annie’s Dressing, such as Balsamic Vinaigrette**
1 eggplant
2 Tbsp olive oil**
Coarse sea salt & fresh ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup white wine
8 slices of handmade multigrain bread
1/2 cup pre-made hummus
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced


1. Slice tomatoes and place in container; pour dressing and cover and marinate for 2 hours or over night.

2. Preheat oven to 400F; slice eggplant; rub 1 Tbsp oil into baking pan; add eggplant; brush tops with 1 Tbsp olive oil; sprinkle coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder; place eggplant in oven and cook 15 minutes; flip and pour white wine over eggplant evenly; roast an additional 15 minutes; remove from oven and set aside.

3. Toast bread; spread 2 Tbsp hummus on each of 4 slices of toast; top with two slices of roasted eggplant; top with 4 slices of  marinated tomato; sprinkle additional salt and pepper; add 1/2 cup fresh spinach and top with a few olive slices if using and remaining slices of bread. Slice sandwich into two sections and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 328.8
Total Fat 15.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 456.6 mg
Potassium 595.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.8 g
Dietary Fiber 14.3 g
Sugars 3.6 g
Protein 18.8 g

Vitamin A 38.3 %
Vitamin B-6 12.9 %
Vitamin C 21.2 %
Vitamin E 4.9 %
Calcium 8.0 %
Copper 15.3 %
Folate 22.6 %
Iron 10.3 %
Magnesium 15.2 %
Manganese 32.7 %
Niacin 11.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.5 %
Phosphorus 10.8 %
Riboflavin 11.4 %
Selenium 2.3 %
Thiamin 11.7 %
Zinc 6.0 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Enjoy this Mouth-Watering Roasted Eggplant & Marinated Tomato Sandwich!

Aug 242012
Eggplant Leek Soup recipe at the bottom!


There were a few things about growing up in Massachusetts that I wouldn’t trade the world for.
Cape Cod
I got to bring my baby there back in 2009.  Yikes – my hair was not at its best that day, but my daughter sure looked psyched.
I think I was about 8 lbs heavier then than I am now
(thank you to my plant based diet and Mila!).
 The marsh – Sandwich Cape Cod that I used to jump off this bridge at high tide in the summers.
 My mom’s best friend Martha.
Mom, My daughter and Martha
After having tons of pregnancy problems prior to having my daughter, including a loss at 8 months pregnant with my first baby and two miscarriages, I made a “Vision Board”.  I pasted a photo of a healthy baby girl and a picture of a baby in Cape Cod.  I dreamed of bringing her back home to Cape Cod to visit.
Both came true!
 Martha got to meet her in 2009!
We flew up to visit when my daughter was 10 months old and stayed at her cottage on the Cape where she lives in the summer and in Louisiana in the winter.
Each morning while visiting I would push my daughter in her stroller on the short walk to the ocean in the cool morning air.  I love the weathered shingles, hydrangea and smell of the salty sea.


I’m so thankful for my best friend Jenny; she is the one of the only friends I keep in touch with, other than on facebook, from my childhood.
You  have already met her in this post, remember?  She came down for a visit in July.
 The house I grew up in. It looks WAY different.  Someone came in and bought it and made major renovations adding the front entryway there and the whole addition above the garage and we had a glorious garden off to the right.
It used to be “the white house with yellow shutters”.
Number 9……
The house I grew up in.
 ……and Jenny’s house was number 4, so we could run to each other’s house to play.
 I’ll admit I don’t miss the long, cold winters, but there were many memories I treasure and experiences I’m so thankful for.
It was Jenny that told me about this recipe. Martha makes it in huge batches and freezes it.
I can see why it’s Jenny’s favorite soup…..eggplant, garlic, onion, leeks and red wine give this soup a hearty texture and flavor but it’s actually super light!
I guestimated at the serving size but this makes a lot.
For those of you Mila lovers out there, this is PERFECT to stir Mila into. Simply stir 2 Tbsp into your bowl of warm soup.
What is Mila?
Mila is an organically grown, non-genetically modified blend of chia seed that is cold pressed and sliced to make it more bio-available. 
It is RAW, GLUTEN FREE, AND VEGAN, perfect for cooking and baking.
It is super high in OMEGA 3s – equal to 6 to 10 fish oil pills per serving.  
A single serving also has FIVE GRAMS OF FIBER, more antioxidants than blueberries, more iron than spinach and many more benefits.
This little seed has anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for brain function, energy, elimination, sleep and the best part?  It’s a FOOD!
Eggplant Leek Soup
Inspired by my mom’s best friend Martha
Serves 8 – 10
Vegan, Gluten Free


2 Tbsp avocado oil, or oil of choice
1 large leek, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 onions sliced
2 lg. for 4 small eggplants diced, skin on
1Tbsp chopped garlic, (about 4 lg cloves)
1 can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
1/2 Tbsp salt, or to taste
1 dash red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp Earth Balance Butter
3/4 cup red wine
3 cans vegetable broth
1Tbsp fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 T cocoa power
Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp Mila per serving


1. Preheat a pan over medium high heat.  Add 2 Tbsp oil; sauté leeks, onions, eggplants and bell pepper until softened, about 7 minutes; add garlic, saute an additional 2 minutes; add all ingredients except cocoa powder, Earth Balance butter and lemon juice; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add butter and cocoa powder; cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes; stir in lemon juice; purée until smooth.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 162.4
Total Fat 6.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 862.8 mg
Potassium 542.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.5 g
Sugars 3.4 g
Protein 3.0 g

Vitamin A 19.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 16.5 %
Vitamin C 44.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.0 %
Calcium 5.4 %
Copper 10.2 %
Folate 15.4 %
Iron 10.6 %
Magnesium 11.0 %
Manganese 31.5 %
Niacin 6.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.1 %
Phosphorus 7.3 %
Riboflavin 5.4 %
Selenium 2.0 %
Thiamin 9.0 %
Zinc 3.0 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

With 2 Tbsp Mila
Calories 232
Fat 10g
Chol 0.0mg
Sodium 862.8mg
Fiber 10.5g
Protein 6g

Jun 132012
Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I review a vegan dish paired with two different wines from Broadbent Selections.

This is the camping edition where I did the wine tasting along with my parents and my friend Justine while camping near Savannah last weekend.

Several years ago I made a caponataover spaghetti squash and have been meaning to recreate it because it’s one of my favorites.  Thankfully, I finally got around to it because everyone had a lot to say about it.  With the various flavors and textures it makes a delicious and interesting meal. 

To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.  For this dish we combine spicy red pepper flakes, cinnamon, cocoa, fresh mint, balsamic reduction and tomato sauce. 

Spy Valley Riesling, 2011, New Zealand and Warwick Estate Pinotage, 2009, South Africa 

Spy Valley Riesling, 2011, New Zealand

Spy Valley wines are crafted by the Johnson Estate, a family owned winery located in Marlborough, New Zealand. It is one of the youngest wineries I have reviewed – founded in 1993. Overlooking the vines are two huge, white domes; this facility gathers information on satellite communications for the US and New Zealand – hence the name, Spy Valley.

I have reviewed the Sauvignon Blanc twice in the past; in fact, the first time I tried it at a Bite Club event I was solely a fan of red and wondered if their wine might turn me into a white wine lover! The second review was just as delicious – rated a YUM in a previous Wine Down Wednesday post.
The notes from the Spy Valley website state that this wine is fermented in steel tanks to give it  a citrusy floral flavor – intense lime, green apple and floral aromas. “The palate is vibrant and elegant with racy acid in a dry style.” 
Warwick Estate Pinotage, 2009, South Africa
From 1791 through 1902 Warwick Wine Estate in South Africa was originally known as ‘De Goede Sukses’, the Good Success farm. It was later renamed Warwick after being purchased by Colonel Alexander Gordon of the Warwickshire regiment. In the 60’s the winery traded hands again when it was purchased by Norma Ratcliffe and her husband Stan. After initially selling the grapes wholesale to other wineries, Norma studied the art of winemaking and began producing her own wine in 1984.

I previously reviewed the Warwick, First Lady Cabernet with a rating of Damn that’s Good.  The Pinotage was by far the most interesting of the tastings I have done. See below on both our notes and the change with the pairing.

The winemakers notes on the Pinotage state “The wine has a deep and intense garnet colour. The nose shows ripe cassis, cedar wood and dark chocolate flavours. The palate is full round with ripe subtle tannins.”

Here is the rating info.

Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.

Rating Scale

Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 The Dish

Me – rating of YUM. I LOVE the layers of flavors in this dish– spicy red pepper, aromatic herbs, sweet raisins, touch of salt, balsamic and tomato reduction.
Justine – rating of YUM. Justine enjoyed the balance of fresh mint, balsamic, sweet raisins and pine nuts. She thought there should be more sauce for the salad greens.
Mom – rating of nice. Mom thought it was too spicy, she isn’t a fan of heat, but liked the flavor and the meatiness of the eggplant.
Dad – rating of ho-hum. He thought it needed more salt. (I had left most of the salt out as my parents tend to dislike saltiness. It looks like that was a bad idea in this case.) Dad does not like the fresh mint and mix of cinnamon, sweet raisins and cocoa. He liked the pine nuts. He thought there should be more sauce for the salad greens.

Category #2 The Wines

Spy Valley Riesling

Me – rating of Damn that’s Good – I tasted fresh pear. It is light and drinkable. Perfect for a campout. I like the pear/lemon color.
Justine – rating of Damn that’s Good – Justine tasted bright citrus. She said it was very refreshing and wants to order two bottles.
Mom – rating of Damn that’s Good – Mom liked the clean and refreshing body. She liked the level of sweetness – semi dry.
Dad – rating of YUM – Dad gave a “Mmmm!” but then after a few sips thought it was a bit too sweet.

Warwick Pinotage

Me – rating of Nice. Wow the pinotage has a lot more body….chewy. Flavors of chocolate.  It definitely had a long finish.
Justine – rating of Nice. Tasted licorice and thought it had lots of body.
Mom – rating of Nice. Mom said she thought it was spicy and got drier and drier as the glass went on.
Dad – rating of Ho Hum. Dad thought it was heavy and thick. It left an aftertaste.

Category #3 The Pairing

Spy Valley Pairing

Me – rating of YUM. This one is refreshing with the heat of the spice.
Justine – rating of Damn that’s Good. Justine thought it brought out the sweetness of the raisins and loves sweetness.
Mom – rating of YUM. Mom thought it cooled down the spiciness.
Dad – rating of Ho Hum. Dad thought the semi-dry was too sweet with this dish.

Warwick Pairing

Me – rating of YUM – Damn that’s Good. This is crazy but the Warwick is AWESOME with the balsamic reduction and the meaty eggplant.
Justine – rating of Nice. Justine said she still liked the Spy Valley. This one was ok but still a bit heavy for her.
Mom – rating of YUM. Mom thought it was really interesting how well the spicy wine went with the dish and almost seemed to bring the spiciness of it down a notch.
Dad – rating of YUM – Damn that’s Good. Dad said the wine really paired well with the dish. It became more juicy than dry.
**I will note that we continued “tasting” this wine with the dish and ended up polishing it off.

Where to buy
All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.

Sautéed Eggplant Caponata Salad

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free


Spice Mixture
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like heat -can be omitted completely)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp coarse salt

1/8 cup Organic Tomato Pasta Sauce (for more sauce use 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar (for more sauce use 1/2 cup)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil spray
1 small Vidalia onion, sliced
4 Japanese eggplant, sliced
2 Tbsp raisins
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) pine nuts
1/4 cup Fresh Mint
1 head fresh romaine, chopped


1. Mix the spice mixture in a small bowl and set aside.  Mix the sauce mixture in a second small bowl, set aside.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray; sauté onion about five minutes, or until translucent. (You may need to deglaze pan a few times with some water, broth or white wine to prevent sticking.)

2. Add eggplant and raisins; sprinkle with seasoning mixture and toss well, sautéing about a minute; add sauce mixture, reduce heat and cover, cook 30-40 minutes, stirring every now and then, or until eggplant is soft and cooked through.

3. Divide romaine over four plates; top with 1/4 eggplant mixture, toss well.  Top with 1 tbsp pine nuts and sprinkle of fresh mint.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 127.5
Total Fat 6.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Cholesterol 0.6 mg
Sodium 385.1 mg
Potassium 291.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 12.5 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Sugars 5.5 g
Protein 2.9 g

Vitamin A 33.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 4.0 %
Vitamin C 28.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.1 %
Calcium 4.3 %
Copper 8.4 %
Folate 21.4 %
Iron 10.2 %
Magnesium 7.5 %
Manganese 59.5 %
Niacin 3.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.5 %
Phosphorus 8.8 %
Riboflavin 5.1 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 7.0 %
Zinc 5.2 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Jun 112012
KYV Eggplants, Heirloom Tomatos, Peppers and Cucumbers
Oxidative Stress is becoming a big buzzword nowadays – but what exactly is it?  Oxidative stress is the imbalance of our bodies oxidizing at a greater rate than its ability to detoxify. Something we’re all familiar with is the oxidation of an apple or avocado when we cut it – that is why the flesh turns brown when it comes in contact with the air.

What worsens the oxidative stress in our bodies is the presence of free radicals, according to Dr Weil, author of Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being (Knopf, 2005), they are “electronically unstable atoms or molecules capable of stripping electrons from any other molecules they meet in an effort to achieve stability. In their wake they create even more unstable molecules that then attack their neighbors in domino-like chain reactions.

By the time a free radical chain fizzles out, it may have ripped through vital componentsof cells like a tornado, causing extensive damage, similar to that caused by ionizing radiation.

What we eat, our lack of exercise, radiation and pollution all contribute to the presence of these free radicals. Studies show that this stress, in turn leads to a host of diseases such as Alzheimer’s to Lou Gherigs – the disease my grandfather had.
My grandfather was a testament to the power of REAL FOOD. Typically someone with ALS will live around five years. My grandmother, following a macrobiotic diet, kept him alive into his mid seventies-he was diagnosed in his 50s.
So what do we do about this? Eat antioxidants!

Antioxidants combat oxidative stress by neutralizing these free radicals and helping the body repair the damage.

A food that we all know contains lots of antioxidants is berries, top on the list at Mayo Clinic, along with sweet potatoes, oats, cinnamon and walnuts.

What has even more antioxidants than berries and the whole reason I’ve been doing more research?

Mila.  As I have been getting more and more questions and interest surrounding this food I have spent a significant amount of time doing the research on its benefits and how to incorporate it, deliciously, into our diets.
Try some for yourself! Click here.

In this month’s issue of Cooking Light there were several eggplant recipes that caught my eye as I had gotten two with my farm share. I love anything with tahini and beans so this sounded like the perfect recipe.  Instead of egg I used Mila to create the binding and add Omega 3s to a vegan dish.

Even though the ingredient list is long, I was not disappointed.  I loved the bean flavorful bean mixture inside the eggplant and the warm, nutty sauce on top.  The relish added a cool finish to the dish. Mixing raw and cooked ingredients creates lots of interesting textures. I definitely rate this one highly-next time I may even use the stuffing in another vegetable since it’s so versatile!

Vegan Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant withTahini Sauce and Tomato Relish

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


Tahini sauce:
3 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced

2 eggplants (about 12 ounces or 340 grams each)
Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh gluten free breadcrumbs (or regular)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 Tbsp Mila + 6 Tbsp water (in place of two large eggs – feel free to use if you have those on hand or have a seed allergy and are not eating vegan).
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans (chickpeas can also be used)


1 cup chopped seeded tomato
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


1. To prepare sauce, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 475°.

3. To prepare eggplant, slice the eggplants in half lengthwise; score cut sides with a crosshatch pattern. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475° for 7 minutes or until slightly tender and browned. Remove from oven; carefully scoop out pulp, leaving a 3/4-inch shell. Reserve pulp for another use. Season cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

4. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, and remaining ingredients (through pinto beans or
chickpeas) in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon 1/2 cup pinto (or chickpea) mixture into each eggplant shell. Bake at 475° for 25 minutes or until eggplant halves are tender and pinto mixture is lightly browned.

5. To prepare relish, combine the tomato and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir to combine.

6. Place 1 eggplant half on each of 4 plates. Top each half with 1/4 cup relish and 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 341.6
Total Fat 12.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 712.8 mg
Potassium 1,070.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.4 g
Dietary Fiber 16.8 g
Sugars 1.6 g
Protein 14.0 g
Vitamin A 16.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 19.8 %
Vitamin C 38.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.3 %
Calcium 13.3 %
Copper 29.6 %
Folate 61.9 %
Iron 28.5 %
Magnesium 28.4 %
Manganese 53.3 %
Niacin 11.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 9.2 %
Phosphorus 33.9 %
Riboflavin 13.4 %
Selenium 12.3 %
Thiamin 30.2 %
Zinc 14.0 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Sep 042011
Happy Labor Day weekend!  I have just the appetizer for you.

Roasted Eggplant Guacamole

The idea for this came from my birthday dinner at a restaurant called Cantina Laredo where one of their appetizers is to make guacamole at your table. It’s so simple, but I am enchanted with fresh foods being prepared right in front of me at my table.

When I got home I wanted to do a guacamole remake but I only had one avocado and tons of eggplant.  A lovely friend at work brings in bags full of Japanese eggplant for me to roast up, just picked from her father in law’s garden.

This version came out great.  It isn’t as heavy or rich as traditional guacamole but has all the flavor and was a great way to use up the eggplant.

Roasted Eggplant Guacamole
Vegan, Gluten free

8 Japanese eggplant or 2 standard eggplant
1/2 avocado
Juice 1 lime
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup quartered grape tomatoes
Salt and garlic powder, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; roast whole eggplant about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until eggplant is soft.  Let cool, cut off top and slice lengthwise.  Scrape out pulp with a spoon.

2. Place eggplant pulp, avocado, lime, salt and garlic powder in a high speed blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Stir in jalapeno, onion, cilantro and tomatoes.  Re-season if necessary.
Nutrition Facts
1 Recipe
Amount Per Recipe
Calories 469.7
Total Fat 13.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 171.7 mg
Potassium 793.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 83.1 g
Dietary Fiber 33.3 g
Sugars 38.7 g
Protein 16.0 g

Vitamin A 14.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 23.8 %
Vitamin C 62.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.3 %
Calcium 3.7 %
Copper 13.9 %
Folate 28.2 %
Iron 6.6 %
Magnesium 11.5 %
Manganese 17.5 %
Niacin 12.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 16.1 %
Phosphorus 9.7 %
Riboflavin 11.2 %
Selenium 1.6 %
Thiamin 11.3 %
Zinc 5.8 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Sep 202010
Hi all!  I’m back from camping in one piece.  We had a great time and I took tons of photos that I have yet to download as I’m in the process of changing over computers.  Hubby got me a new one for my birthday!  So bear with me in the process of trying to find all my software disks etc.
A co-worker recently brought some fresh eggplant in to work and said her father in law grows them on his back porch and had so many he was going to throw them away! 
The horror! 
 I waited a goodly amount of time to make sure there would be no other takers for these little purple beauties and then I nabbed the whole bunch.  I came up with this recipe on a whim the other night and have been eating some each day.  The reduced balsamic almost becomes a thick sauce and it’s so good I pretty much lick the plate after it’s gone.
I’m almost embarrassed to call this a recipe.
It’s got only three ingredients (not including salt and pepper) but aren’t those the best kind of recipes? 
Eggplant with Caramelized Balsamic Reduction
and White Wine
Serves 4
4 Chinese eggplants, stem trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
Coarse salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, to taste
1/3 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
Splash of semi-dry white wine
1. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.
2. Season both sides of the eggplant with salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste.
3.  Add the eggplant to the pan, cut side up.  Cook for 5-6 minutes.
4.  Flip eggplant and pour in balsamic vinegar and splash of wine.  Cook until balsamic vinegar reduces and cut side of eggplant beging to caramelize, about 6 minutes.
Jul 152010

Here is the grilled veggie recipe I mentioned in my earlier post, 5 Answers for 5 Questions. Lately when I have had left over veggies and a bit of pasta sauce left in a jar I simply grill the veggies up, place them on a pan and pour the pasta sauce over.  I sprinkle a little goat cheese and back on the grill the pan goes to make for a perfect light dinner.

That way I can have some ice cream for dessert.

Simple Grilled Veggie Dinner


1 eggplant, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
1 green pepper, seeded and cut in half
4 Campari tomatoes
Cooking spray
Coarse ground salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Garlic powder
1/3 jar pasta sauce (or however much you like)
4 ounces goat cheese


1. Preheat grill to medium high. 

2. Spray vegetables with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper.

3.  Place vegetables on grill and cook for about 5 minutes per side.  Put grilled veggies on a baking pan and top with pasta sauce and goat cheese.  Return to grill for an additional 5 minutes.


Oct 252009

Remember those small purple eggplant from my last post that I bought from the St. Augustine Farmers Market? 

They transformed into the most amazing light lunch paired with some fresh organic basil I picked up there as well, a small amount of whole milk mozzarella and some roasted pumpkin seeds hot and crispy right out of the oven. 

This was an impromptu lunch so I am estimating the measurements…no matter…any amount of each ingredient you add in will be scrumptious. 

Fall Farmers Market Lunch

Fall Farmers Market Lunch

 Serves 1
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
1 small bunch of fresh basil
2 Campari tomatoes
6 mini eggplant (regular would be just as tasty)
1 ounce of fresh vegan mozzarella or cashew cheese
Palm full of freshly roasted, seasoned pumpkin seeds
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil spray
1. Preheat your grill or George Foreman Grill.
2. Slice the tops off the small eggplant and slice each in half lengthwise.  In a small bowl spray them with EVOO spray and sprinkle them with garlic salt and pepper.  Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds.  Add the tomatoes to the same bowl and toss everything to coat.
3. Place the eggplants and tomato on the grill, cut side down, and close the lid.  Grill for about five to seven minutes.
4. While veggies are grilling, cut mozzarella into cubes and de-stem the basil leaves.
5.  In a small bowl add the roasted vegetables, basil and pumpkin seeds.  Gently mix.