Balsamic Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes

On a mission to find new vegetable side dish ideas, and a little inspiration from a pizza date night, I came up with a new fan favorite in our house; Balsamic Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes. This dish is SO easy to make, super healthy, is filling, requires minimal ingredients, and packs tons of flavor…can it get any better than that?

Balsamic Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 medium size eggplant
½ package of cherry tomatoes halved
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
garlic powder
sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut the eggplant into a bunch of round slices and lay flat on a sprayed baking sheet then top with the halved cherry tomatoes
  3. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  4. Brush the mixture on top of the eggplant and tomato slices then sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper
  5. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown
    Serve and Enjoy 🙂

Shredded Kale Salad

During a long weekend trip to Nashville this past fall with Justin, we stumbled upon a restaurant we loved and ended up going to twice while we were there. On their menu they had this amazing shredded kale salad that we couldn’t get enough of ( I know, I know, not typical vacation food – but trust me there were burgers and sweet potato fries consumed after this). I was determined to remember to replicate it when we got home (and after I purchased a food processor). Fast forward to January, after receiving a food processor from my parents for Christmas 🙂 , I finally got around to trying to replicate the recipe and to my delight it was a success and now I want to share it with all of you! This salad is super easy to make, very healthy, and really tastes great too. The shredded of the kale and added dressing really makes the bitter kale flavor you are used to.

Shredded Kale Salad

                                             

Ingredients:

1 bag of kale – take out the big stems
2 tbs of olive oil
¼ cup of toasted slivered almonds
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
lemon
optional: add ¼ cup of dried cranberries or sundried tomato pieces for a little sweet taste

Directions:

  1. Place half the bag of kale into the food processor with a tablespoon of olive oil and pulse until it is finely ground into small pieces.
  2. Add the rest of the kale and additional tablespoon of olive oil and finish the shredding process
  3. Remove all the shredded kale into a big bowl.
  4. Squeeze the juice of a lemon and a small additional drizzle of olive oil and toss.
  5. Add the slivered almonds, parmesan cheese and any additional toppings and mix well.

Serve and Enjoy 🙂

4 Easy Accountability Ideas to Get Back on Track

Have you already gone astray from those healthy new years resolutions?

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Here are four easy ways to get back on track:

  • Food Journal – sometimes having to actually write down what you ate might provide you some more clarity on the decisions you make and even give you some will power to avoid certain foods.
  • Workout Calendar – plan your workouts in advance as if they were important dates or appointments, this will make you more less likely to cancel.
  • Friendly Support – get your friends and family on board! Inform them of your healthy changes and encourage them to join in on the fun; schedule workouts with them or plan to make a healthy meal or share a good recipe.
  • Prioritize Meal Prep – take a few hours out of your Sunday afternoon to cook some healthy foods that you can easily grab throughout the week. This helps to prevent you from making spur of the moment bad decisions when you are in a rush.

Meatless Monday: Spotlight on Beans

Beans are one of the most underrated foods out there. These little things come in many variations are SO nutrient dense! Beans are something that everyone should try to start adding into their diet a few times a week. Here are just some of the nutritional benefits of beans:

  • Great source of Protein (7-10 g per ½ cup)
  • Saturated Fat, Trans Fat and Cholesterol Free form of protein; which reduces risk of heart disease compared to red meat that contains all three
  • Filled with antioxidants and minerals that help lower cancer risk
  • High Fiber content (about 12 g for 1 cup) which is great for aiding digestion
  • Good source of B complex Vitamins which improve liver health, skin, hair, eyes, intestinal wall strength, and muscle health. The B complex vitmains also aid in breaking down fat, carbs and protein.
  • Beans are very low on the glycemic index and are a complex carb which means they take longer to digest keeping you full longer. They are also great for blood sugar management

Here are two easy recipes using beans; either canned or fresh. If you buy canned look for ones that do not contain any added salt. If you buy dried beans make sure to soak them overnight before cooking; this allows the acids to release from the beans making them much easier to digest. These two recipes can stand alone or make great salad toppers! Both take under 20-30 minutes to make and can be made in large batches to meal prep for the whole week.

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Fiesta Bean Salad

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas
1 can black beans
1 orange pepper – cut into small pieces
1 yellow pepper – cut into small pieces
Cherry Tomatoes (1/2 container or 1 cup) – halved
¼- ½ of a red onion (taste preference) – cut into small pieces
½ cup cut cilantro
Dressing: whisk together olive oil & balsamic vinegar with some salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cut all the ingredients and mix together in a large bowl.
Whisk together the dressing in a separate bowl
Drizzle dressing over beans and veggies and mix everything together
Optional: Add some chopped avocado for some extra flavor and fullness

Sweet Potato and Black Bean or Chickpea Patties

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes, roasted and peeled
1 cup black beans or chickpeas
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs red onion, chopped
1/4c cilantro, chopped
1 tbs lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Add all ingredients EXCEPT the black beans into a food processor or hand mix after mashing the sweet potatoes.
STIR in black beans
Refrigerate the mixture for 10-20 minutes
Form into small patties, and cook in nonstick pan with a little olive or coconut oil
4 minutes each side to warm them and crisp the outsides

NOTE: Another variation of this patty recipe is to add in quinoa. You can sub half the amount of beans for quinoa for a different variation of flavor and texture. This allows you to sneak in some whole grains to make this a complete meal!

This article also appears on Women’s iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.