Eggplant Bolognese

I will never be a no carb person. I love pasta, in almost all forms, and pasta with a good tomato based sauce can be pure heaven. I had a craving for eggplant this week and decided to combine the two for a nice little meal.

I found a recipe that looked good, was doable with what I had on hand, and would not take up too much time. I didn’t make the recipe exactly as they said – I didn’t have dried basil, and I used one 28 ounce can of tomatoes instead of three 15 ounce cans (yes, I know those are two different amounts – I didn’t care). But otherwise, I did follow the recipe fairly closely.

For the noodles I used lo mien noodles or Chinese egg noodles. I like these more than basic pasta as I think they absorb more sauce than traditional pasta. When I make this again, I’m going to use the same noodles, but I’m going to change the tomatoes to crushed tomatoes as I think it will make the bolognese more saucy. The original recipe has the tomato sauce as more of a topping – it’s good, but I really like sauce.

And, of course, a gratuitous kitty picture.



A Day Off

I had a plan. I had a schedule and then … I decided to take a day off of everything. No school work. No work-work. Just one day to relax and do things that I wanted and just made me happy. It came about in part because every time I went to do reading for school, Gracie or Tigger was laying on what I needed to read.IMG_1356

I hadn’t gotten down to Mom and Dad’s as much as I wanted over the last few months, so it was a nice way to start my day there.  I had spent some time Friday with my cook books, so I had a list of veggies and such that I wanted from the farmer’s market. On that list was also some fresh herbs. I really miss having an herb garden, but I am letting the garden go fallow this year. So … pots. I had pots in the garage and picked up some herbs at the farmer’s market to plant in them. Bob and I went to Home Depot and I got some soil, and a few more plants.

Gracie really liked my idea. She especially liked the catnip I picked up in an attempt to keep Leia from eating my chives and parsley. Leia has been known to eat entire plants of herbs, so this was my hope. Leia has not tried to eat my herbs, but she also isn’t going for the catnip much, but Gracie … Gracie just really got into it.

So after planting my herbs, I actually made an experiment. I saw this recipe for squash and roasted garlic galette. Oh it looked pretty perfect, so I wanted to give it a try. I made a pastry crust, roasted butternut squash and garlic, and put together a pie.

The base has a ricotta and roasted garlic spread with some roasted butternut squash on top. I grated some sheep’s cheese on top and baked it. My only complaint was the crust – it needed to be just a little sweeter, so next time cut the semolina flour and add a teaspoon of sugar. I think that would work well. Because I thought it needed a little green, I served it with the cabbage and apple salad from the night before. It made for a really nice little dinner. IMG_1362

So one day of no school work, no work work and just hanging out at home and having a little fun. It was worth it – even if I am now off to get back on track with my school work.


Chickpea Salad with Apple and Quinoa

The last few months have been a whirl-wind of work and school. When I do get a little down time, the last thing I want to do is log onto the computer. So far I’m doing well managing both work and school, and Bob hasn’t run screaming, so I think I’m balancing everything fairly well. We did get up to Tallahassee for a few days to see Bob’s parents, and I managed to sneak out for an afternoon to see the panhandle side of the family. Little Miss Violet is growing up fast, but is still an absolute delight.

With Spring break here, I’m furiously working on completing a project for school so I have it done when ACT madness ensues in April. It’s slow going (Curriculum is not my favorite topic in education, at least not curriculum development, but I can do it … I just don’t like it). Like anyone doing something they would rather not do, I plan small rewards – bike down to Main Street and have a soda while Bob has a beer, have dessert or watch an episode of Friends (which holds up surprisingly well). I would love to be a little more creative in the kitchen, but reading cookbooks and menu planning and grocery shopping for odd items is just not in the cards right now.


But, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t cooked and I may have found a new favorite lunch dish. My typical cheese and carrots isn’t going anywhere, but this one has a place in the rotation. This is taken from a Plated box we got a few months ago and I just love it, so I made it workable with regular items around the house. (Full disclosure, that only works if you are like me and keep chickpeas and quinoa in the pantry.)

Chickpea Salad with Apple and Quinoa

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I like the mixed quinoa, but any will do)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 lemon, divided
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • spinach (an ounce to more depending on how much you like)
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or less depending on taste) chipotle chili powder (go for the chipotle version for the smokiness)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 container greek yogurt (non fat, low fat, full fat – whatever your taste)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • olive oil
  • water, salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400. Toss the chickpeas in about 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When the oven is hot, roast for about 20 minutes.

Combine quinoa, 1 cup water and some salt into a pot. Bring to a boil and the reduce heat. Allow to cook for ten minutes or so then turn off heat, keep covered and let sit 5-10 minutes more until all the water is absorbed.

In a large bowl, combine the honey, chipotle chili powder, juice of 1/2 lemon and about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix well, season with salt and pepper. Add apple, nuts, cranberries and shallot and mix to coat.

Mix the remaining lemon juice (of 1/2 lemon) with the yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.

When the quinoa and chickpeas are cooked, add them to the bowl with the apple salad. Add feta and toss together. If serving immediately, toss the spinach in also. If not serving immediately, leave the spinach out so it does not get soggy. Serve with a dollop of lemon yogurt dressing and enjoy.


One of my favorite parts of this salad is how nutty and crunchy it is. The apples and the nuts offer some texture and the yogurt dressing doesn’t take away from the chipotle honey that the apples and quinoa are tossed in. It all works together. For easier transport, leave the spinach out, but I like the greens in the salad. If you don’t like yogurt (and I don’t but I do love the dressing) leave it off – there is enough flavor in the rest of the salad to be just fine.

I am hoping to be a little creative this weekend – I gave up cake for Lent, so I’m planning to try a Heath Bar Cake (or my version of such) for Easter Sunday. Not sure what I’m going to make for an actual meal, but I have dessert all planned.