Eggplant Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

This salad is amazing!

I picked up a special issue of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine last week at Borders. If you live near a Borders bookstore I’m sure you know that they are going out of business. Going out of business = sales!  I stopped in quick to check out the sales and found that all magazines were 40% off. Sawwweeet. I stocked up on magazines, from cooking, to crafts, to beauty and even the unmentionable ones for my hubby. That’s right, I’m a good wife.

This recipe was one of many that included roasted eggplant. Check out this issue available to the end of August for others!

Ingredients

  • 3 medium eggplant
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice
  • chickpeas
  • feta cheese
  • mint

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

First, slice the eggplant into 1-inch pieces.

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Toss in olive oil, salt, pepper and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 475 for 20-30 minutes.

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While eggplant is cooking, drain and rinse chickpeas good. Then combine 3 tbsp. of lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of olive oil and salt and pepper.

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Mint, waiting to be chopped and added in

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Remove the eggplant from the oven

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Add eggplant, (rinsed) chickpeas, feta and chopped mint into large bowl.

Toss and enjoy!

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The Great Fundraising Act

Yesterday I witnessed (and took part of) a great act of bloggers, many strangers, coming together to help a fellow blogger. The Great Fundraising Act or #TGFA as it was known on Twitter will go down in history.

Janetha from Meals and Moves put together an online auction to raise money to help with medical expenses for Susan from The Great Balancing Act.  Susan was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Read more about how they became friends here. They were interviewed by Fitness Magazine who wrote this great article. Janetha was hoping to raise  at least a couple thousand dollars. She blew her expectations out of the water and with the auction and direct donations she raised about $26,432!!! How awesome is that?!

There were many donations from individual bloggers. If it was one baked good they were known for to autographed copies of their books. Then there were the donations from companies.  Chobani donated one 1 year supply of yogurt at first which was huge and I think the most popular item bloggers were after. But when they saw the $$ people were bidding, they donated ANOTHER year supply to the second highest bidder. Very cool of them! We can’t forget the other large donations from Larabar (also donating 2 packages to 2 top bidders!) , Popchips (1 year supply!), Annie’s, Bob’s Red Mill, Cabot, and Stonyfield Farms amongst others who brought in tons of bids and lots of $$.  What can I say, we are healthy living bloggers and these are obviously a few of our favorite products!

I thank Janetha for putting together such a wonderful fundraiser and I wish Susan best of luck during these hard times. I think you have many guardian blogger angels watching over you…

 

Those who wander

Today feels like the first day I’ve had off in forever.  My job is (thankfully) not the least bit stressful, but I still appreciate a day to myself!

I started out this morning with a nice big mug of iced coffee.

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I’m seriously addicted. Do they make iced coffee anonymous meetings? It’s not such a good thing that I work in a mall where Starbucks is a quick trip up the escalator. That reminds me, I really need to take advantage of their Starbucks card. I’d be a triple platinum member (if that even exists) by now if I’d remember to load my card months ago when I began this job.  Anywhoo, I finally think I have a good at home mix. It needs a little tweaking, but it helps with my fix for iced coffee and also helps my checking account!

I had the day to myself. Lately I’ve been using one of my days off to wander. Those who wander….. shop! I’ve had a need to go to Marshalls and TJ Maxx recently. I love to peruse the isles looking for a good deal and keeping an eye out for that once in a lifetime find. I can always count on finding a new mug, plate or bowl that would be great to use here. That is when I remember to take pictures of my food. I’m working on that.

Target. Do I need to say more? I’ve loved Target since the day they opened the very first one in Albany.  I guess you could say it was love at first shop! I go to Target for everything and anything. I use Target to catch up with my best friend once a week over a cup of Starbucks (surprised?) while we shop. I use Target to de-stress. Seriously! My previous job caused me a lot of stress a lot of the time. I would head straight to Target after work for some retail therapy. I know, I’m brilliant. Today wasn’t one of those days. I actually had a reason I was stopping and already knew what I was buying.  Target shopping is no fun this way, fyi. I was on a mission for a new vacuum. I’ve been looking for a small, lite vacuum that would handle pet hair good, plus had the nozzle attachment. I found the Dirt Devil lite at Target. It’s lite, it’s turquoise (but you also had your choice of black or pink!) and it was only $39.99. This bad boy rocks!

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Please ignore the dirty filter. But hey, that shows you how good it worked!

Days off, iced coffee, Target and new vacuums. I guess sometimes it’s the little things that make you happy Smile

And on this farm

there was …… vegetables!!

I finally made it to the farmers market this morning. I’ve been itching to go, but for one reason or another I haven’t had the chance yet this year. There is one market on the waterfront which I went to all of last year. Today I ventured to another close by which was on my way to work at a place called The Crossings. It’s a large park with paved paths to walk, swing sets for kids and a nice big pond for the ducks. Perfect location for a smaller farmers market.

I arrived just a little after 9am and a few vendors were just finishing setting up.

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I made a couple laps scoping out what vendors were here.  I wasn’t looking for anything special today, I was just happy to finally be here!

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Some locally grown fresh fruit.

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BEAUTIFUL floral bouquets. I’m really kicking myself I didn’t grab one of these today!

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Then I came across the jackpot of greens!

All the green caught my attention and called my name. I already had picked up a huge head of Kale at another farm. HUGE head for $2. Awesome! When I was walking to this stand, I heard the word Kale and then Tuscan Kale, Red Kale AND White Kale! JACKPOT!

I’ve had Tuscan Kale before, or as I refer to it as Dinosaur Kale. But I never heard of Red Kale or White Kale! I immediately said I’ll take one of each!! Come to find out they only brought one small bin of white and it was sold out already Sad smile  But I did come home with my first bunch of red!

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Look how pretty! I kind of became obsessed photographing it and these 2 pictures were my favorite.

I never have cooked with Red Kale before and wanted to do something more than make kale chips. Stay tuned this week for ways to use Red Kale…. to be continued.

It’s a scorcher!

Yesterday, here in Albany, NY we hit 99 degrees with a heat index of 110. Yikes! Last night at 10pm when I was on my way home from work, 87 degrees with heat index of 97.

I could never be more thankful for central air.

This is what we woke up to this morning. Photo taken around 9:30 AM.

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I made myself a simple (and light) breakfast. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful sun outside to take some pics, but decided against it today. The heat at least would have kept my coffee warm, not too sure how the Greek Yogurt would have made out!

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Like the blue mug? It’s a reusable travel mug that comes with a rubber top. I’ve eyed these for a while now and picked this one up at Marshall’s for $3! Today I switched it up to hot coffee. Yes it may be 90+ degrees outside but inside is another story. Though I ALWAYS want iced coffee, that will be my treat later at work Winking smile

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Vanilla Chobani topped with PB & J granola. Yum!

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Granola is a new brand I found at The Fresh Market, Julie Anne’s  This was peanut butter granola with chunks of dried strawberries, aka jelly. I’m happy I decided to go with this flavor. It’s different and unique to the traditional granola’s I would normally buy.

What is your favorite granola brand and flavor?

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Today I discovered new sushi I love …. a lot! I always seem to pick up Philadelphia roll unless I’m at a sushi restaurant, then I explore a bit.

On the way to work I stopped by The Fresh Market. I needed some fresh coffee and wanted a light day of food to bring with me to work since it’s so gosh darn hot out. I decided on sushi and came across these.

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Spicy Avocado Inari

I wasn’t so sure to what exactly Inari is but it tasted so good! Come to find out it’s usually made of tofu skin or fried bean curd. I compare it too a soggy eggroll but tastes much better. Inside is filled with white rice, small pieces of avocado and topped with a spicy sauce. Perfect.

To wash it down I came across this new soda, made of Agave.

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OOgave Root Beer for me today. I like the idea of using Agave and it was nice and refreshing. I’d definitely buy again. Check them out here!

Keeping up with it

How do you do it? How do you keep up with it? Keep up with blogging that is!

I’m still new to blogging, learning as I go. One thing I can’t seem to do is blog at least once a day, or even every other day. I tried  my hardest to make it my July resolution to blog daily and you guessed it, that didn’t last long.  I logged into WordPress finally today and my last post was JULY 4th?!?! Uh how did that happen? It’s July 20th. Where did the time go!?

I thought of maybe setting up a specific blogging area. A space for when I am ready to write a blog, I sit down and blog. Right now I’m working off a netbook and a notebook. I thought having the netbook would allow me to blog more, especially when I’m at work or away from home. That was wishful thinking.

Any ideas and experience you could share with  me and other newer bloggers would be greatly appreciated. This can include photography also! I’m dabbling with my new SLR camera, I have so much to learn!  Do you know about any books, classes, courses you would suggest? Or maybe you just want to teach me yourself Open-mouthed smile

Red, white and blue

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Happy July 4th everyone! I hope you all wore your red ,white and blue today, saw some fireworks, bbq’d and celebrated. My celebration did include my red white and blue attire; blue top with white cut out starts covering the back, with white linen (clown pants- they were huge) and red flip flops. Comfy and cute.. Oh did I mention I had to work the entire day! It was ok , we didn’t really have plans but I would have loved to spend time with friends and family.

We really kept it low key this year. It would have been nice to see sparkly fireworks but unfortunately we saw none. Our last apartment could walk out front and sit on the sidewalk with our neighbors and all watch the big local show. It was perfect. We made the best of it and after work, we had a bbq. Nothing like a hot dog and burger on the grill, with mac salad and corn on the cob to scream SUMMER! That was a perfect day for me……

Funday

I think I created a new word/day of the week, Funday. Oh wait, didn’t the Bangles first use that word in Manic Monday? hrmm Well that’s exactly what Sunday was. It was Funday! As I mentioned yesterday, we were heading over to our friends to hang out for the day and that’s exactly what we did! It was pretty crappy the first part of the day so we hung out inside, chatting and drinking away. Who us? never!

We started out with a bucket of Margaritas made with the good shit! We had a bottle of Cabo Wabo Tequila which we received for Christmas years ago never got into since we are not huge Tequila drinkers. Today on the other hand you would have questioned that.

Jake getting some nice slushy out of the bucket. Notice the time on the clock…..

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I started to get creative (or at least tried too) with my new SLR Camera.

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Lou really managed to get creative with her Mikes twisted Hard Blueberry Iced tea with FRESH blueberries added inside!

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I think they came out pretty cool!

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From there we all started to crash, especially me with a bad headache. Rest was needed mid afternoon while the boys played some video games.

I used some of this time to have a special photo shoot with Peach, one of their cats.

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ROAR!

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My Favorite! (below)

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Dinner was yum! Plenty of food for the 4 of us. Chicken, corn on the cob (grilled) and 3 different summer salads. Perfect! Then my strawberry shortcake of course for dessert.

By the end of dinner, the weather finally let up and the skies were turning blue before they went dark. This meant we could finally get out and start a big bonfire. Always our favorite thing to do, so relaxing.

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Lou and I making the most of it

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Since it was so hot and sticky out earlier in the day….. the mosquitos were awful. Even covered in bug spray and having a citronella candle near by did nothing for the warriors after about 30 minutes or so. Brad and I must taste good cause we were being ate alive! That was that for us. It was close to 10pm by now, the effects of alcohol wore off and we were all Brad and I were ready for bed. Every party has a pooper……

 

 

 

 

Sticky Icky

What a gross day it is outside today., ick. It’s my day off and we have plans to hang out and bbq with our good friends and it’s a craptastic day, go figure. It’s cloudy, rainy and soooooo grossly humid. Bleh. Hopefully the showers will go away and some sun will poke through so we can get some time outside…. and maybe go down to the river for a little swimming!

I have not done any cooking of really any sorts in such a long time since we’ve been staying at my in-laws. It’s either dinner with them or quick lunch/dinner at work. Boring. I’m not planning on doing much cooking today, our friends have that covered, BUT I’m in charge of munchies and dessert. I didn’t have much time to get tooo creative but I’m happy to say dessert is going to be strawberry shortcake.

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Wait, not THAT Strawberry Shortcake! But this….

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YUM! It’s been sooo long since I’ve had such a fresh dessert which can be so sticky icky yummy. I’m off to go chop some strawberries and get myself showered and ready to enjoy a good day with good friends. Happy almost 4th!