Baked Breaded Eggplant

You KNEW someone in the family did something good when we were having breaded eggplant for dinner. If I could pick one last meal to have it would have to be my mom’s breaded eggplant, breaded chicken breast, and ravioli with cream sauce. Extremely decadent, but one of my favorite meals growing up. Usually, when we were having that for dinner, it meant that either something good happened at my dad’s office, my brother had a championship soccer game, or I brought home a sparkling A on a difficult project. I would help my mom bread all the chicken and eggplant, and steal pieces of the finished fried eggplant before dinner. Yum.

Today I try not to fry foods. We have fried in the house only a couple of times, and I would prefer to keep that number extremely low. The solution? Bake instead of fry!

For dinner tonight I made a very simple classic breaded eggplant- BAKED!

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Baked Breaded Eggplant
Serves 2 as an entree

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant or two Italian eggplants
2 eggs
1 cup skim milk
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat bread crumbs
Kosher salt + pepper to taste
1 tbs canola oil
Nonstick cooking spray, or olive oil

Directions:  
1. Peel the eggplant and slice into very thin rounds. Sprinkle with salt and place between paper towels. Place a heavy object over them to help draw out the bitterness. Leave them like that for at least 30 minutes.
2. Put three shallow bowls in a row. Pour about 2 cups whole wheat flour into the first bowl, the eggs and milk in the second bowl, and about 2 cups of bread crumbs in the third bowl. Beat the eggs and milk together, and add a dash of salt and pepper to each bowl.
3. Dredge an eggplant slice into the flour and tap to remove excess before placing in the egg/milk mixture. Cover completely and, using a fork, lift the eggplant slice out of the mixture and let excess liquid slide off. Place in the bread crumb bowl and cover completely, again tapping excess. Repeat with all eggplant slices.

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Pour 1 tbs canola oil in a baking sheet and add the breaded eggplant slices in a single layer. Spray with cooking spray and place in the oven for 40 minutes, flipping each piece halfway through. Enjoy!

I had the dish you see above with no sauce, plus the salad below:

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Breakfast for lunch… or lunch for lunch.

When I was little my mom always made omelets in arabic bread wrapped up in foil for trips to the beach. It was our lunch, and I never thought it was weird. To me, eggs are a perfectly acceptable lunch food, and I know that is also true in many countries. What are your thoughts on the subject? We are talking about important things here!

To get in some protein and vegetables today I made an omelet with nonstick cooking spray, 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, a huge handful of chopped cooked spinach, and 1 oz of organic shredded mozzarella cheese. It was absolutely delicious. I love high volume meals, and I bet many of you do too. By adding a lot of spinach, not only do I get some great nutrients, I also get a good size lunch!

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In the afternoon I became very hungry and tried to delay it for a little while with some seltzer and hot water. I was finally able to step away from my desk and made myself an Arnold’s Sandwich Thin with about 1 tbs of peanut butter and 1/3 of a banana, sliced thinly. I absolutely love these Sandwich Thins. PB does too. Now when we go to the Wegman’s in Cherry Hill I buy several packs of Sandwich Thins and Flat Out wraps and we keep them in the freezer. The Whole Foods near our house does not carry either brand, and we do not go to Wegman’s very often. I am trying hard to streamline our grocery shopping, but we inevitably have way too many packs of dried fruits, cereals, grains (white rice, brown rice, couscous, basmati rice, orzo, pasta, whole wheat pasta, and the list goes one), and nuts.

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When I moved to Philadelphia I thought I had outgrown this design from Target (they still have it for sale at a great deal). I had the whole set… dinner plates, appetizer plates, mugs, bowls etc. In my post-move high I trashed/donated almost the entire set, except for a few bowls and two mugs. I regret it. I think it is good to hold on to a few fun things from single life, like this set!
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Update on my cut finger: It is extremely awkward to do anything, especially typing, tying shoes, and anything that involves getting my finger wet (which makes it throb oddly).

I am enjoying sharing my meals with you this week, but I have some recipes and restaurants I am itching to share, too!

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Two random tips today:

1. Organize (read: label) and reply to emails as soon as you receive them, when they are fresh in your mind. It will help you feel and stay organized and in control. I never have more than 20 emails in my inbox, and those are the ones that need major action (like planning a party).

2. In the same regard, do your dishes right away! PB had to teach me this one, but now I do all of the cooking pots and pans right away, dry them, and put them away (ok he does it a lot of the time, but when I am home during the day I do it myself). I love not having to worry about scrubbing a pot after lunch because I already did it!

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Yesterday?

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

And a LOVEly Weekend.

Celebrating Mardi Gras

Today is Fat Tuesday.

Is it sad that I am celebrating it by putting chocolate chips in my breakfast?

Life has changed from the days of fun junk foods! Life is so much better now.

[I am blogging my meals this week- every last bite- to show you how I eat and why I eat it.]

This morning I ate a big yogurt BOMBA. Why? I was very hungry and had yogurt on the mind.

Chocolate chips were added in celebration. I had a heavy hand.

I also had more Post Shredded Wheat Vanilla Almond cereal and lots of fresh raspberries.

Raspberries are not in season and I feel guilty buying them, but I bought them anyway.

I measure my portions, did I mention that?

The magic formula: 1 container plain Greek yogurt + 1 serving cereal + 14 g choc chips + 80-100 g raspberries

The result? A perfect breakfast.

Dive right in.
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Yesterday?

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

And a LOVEly Weekend.

Tonight?

Buddy Valastro of TLC’s Cake Boss will answer questions live via Ustream from 7-8PM EST. To RSVP, click here

Vote for the MOD SQUAD cake.

Even though I had eaten a lot…

I still had dinner. After eating some sweet potato fries PB and I headed downstairs to the gym. I ran 3 miles on the dreadmill and then did a few strength exercises + stretched. I am going to make a solid effort to stretch every day.

My finger really, really hurts. I normally don’t complain about cuts and bruises and such, but this cut is extremely awkward. I also cut a bit of the my pointer finger, so two fingers are out of commission. I had trouble tying my sneaker laces and even more trouble putting my hair in a ponytail. And I keep bleeding through bandaids. TMI?

Anyway… PB was so nice and took care of me. Not only did he cook dinner, but he did all of the dishes and cleanup. He took some leftover grilled chicken I had made yesterday and cooked it with onions, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and tomatoes and topped it all off with some mozzarella cheese. He served me a huge dish- I had about half of this with a Flat Out wrap and two or three carrots and pretzels dipped in hummus.

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So that was my first day sharing my meals with you. I thought that I would eat less when taking photos of every food I ate, but it seems as though I ate a lot more than usual today. Some days I am really hungry and never feel satisfied- this was one of those days. I hope tomorrow I have a more normal appetite!

By the way, you can find a lot of my old posts in the tabs above, and my most recent posts in the column on the right. You can also subscribe to receive all new posts directly to your inbox. It is also in the right column.

Lunchtime Salad

I absolutely LOVE salad. I know some people make themselves eat salad, but not me. I grew up eating a basic salad at home after every dinner, and we almost always have a salad with dinner now. Lately, however, I have been having a big salad at lunch, and packing one for PB as well.

(For those just reading now, I am documenting my eats for the next few days to demonstrate how I eat. I will make every effort to also share why I eat what I eat when I eat it)

Today for lunch I took a huge bowl and made a salad containing:

-baby spinach
-radicchio
-butter lettuce
-1/4 avocado
-shredded carrots
-1 serving Wegman’s whole wheat croutons
-1/2 oz dried cranberries
-mung bean sprouts
-1 tbs Annie’s balsamic dressing

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I topped the salad with one fried egg. It seems weird to top a salad with an egg, but it is really delicious.

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I ate the whole huge bowl, and I usually do. I was really hungry, and this salad was very satisfying. When I build a salad I try to make sure I have many different textures, flavors, and nutrients.

A couple of hours later I was getting really hungry and I knew I wanted to go for a run after work, so I had a great afternoon snack. I usually eat Oikos yogurt, but I bought a few containers of Fage the last time I was at the market. Fage, even the 0% (I bought 0% and 2%), is incredibly creamy and delicious. I topped one container of plain Greek yogurt (6 oz) with 1 TLC Roasted Almond Crunch bar, crushed, a few chocolate chips (about 1.5 tbs), a few strawberries, and a few tablespoons of Post’s new Shredded Wheat cereal in the Vanilla Almond flavor.

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The shredded wheat was so good I went back for 2 small handfuls. This was sent to me by Post, and I was really impressed by the flavor. Also, it stayed crunchy in the yogurt, even after 10 minutes.

I also made a little snack plate for PB with celery sticks, Sabra hummus, and one of the Twin Bakery’s new Sunflower Cheez Flatbreads!

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Around 5 I got started on dinner… when I had an accident. I was cutting a potato into french fry form and I cut out a chunk of my finger. It wouldn’t stop bleeding. It stopped after 10 minutes but it is really hard to do anything. Even typing right now is hard! Luckily PB bought me a first aid kit years ago and we have lots of Neosporin and bandaids. Anyway… I made some baked fries and PB and I ate them as snacks.

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I was hungry for everything I have eaten so far today except these potatoes- I ate them simply because they tasted delicious! It is the perfect pre run fuel, perhaps? We will see! I’m off to the gym!

Breakfast today can be found here. Please also don’t forget to vote daily for the MOD SQUAD cake for Kelly’s Cake Off!

The Food Diaries

After losing weight and maintaining for almost two years, I have been focusing on losing a few more lbs (which really means, just getting to a point where I am very comfortable in my body). I have been trying to do so very, very slowly by making good food choices but still enjoying myself. I have lost the few lbs that crept on after our wedding, but I would like to still lose more. This week I will be sharing my meals and snacks with you- pretty much any bite that crosses my mouth- to show you how it is I eat. I have received this question time and time again, and I am ready to answer! I will do my best to explain why I am eating what I am eating when.

Shall we begin?

Last night PB and I had an indulgent dessert, which meant I woke up with little appetite. I know exactly how well I ate the previous day based on my morning hunger:

No appetite = weight gain
Little appetite = maintain
Very hungry = lost weight

I have really found this to be true over time, and I think my body has a tough time metabolizing food at night. While I know a calorie is a calorie, I have found that I can eat a lot of food if it is healthy and I don’t eat too late. If, however, I eat a late healthy meal, or I eat junk during the day, I find I gain weight. It is important to know how your own body works, and that is how mine is.

This morning I woke up and wasn’t very hungry, but I knew that if I didn’t eat breakfast then I wouldn’t have a chance to eat again for a few hours. I am trying to stay really focused at work in the mornings which means no late breakfast! I was also really thirsty, and a smoothie sounded great. Knowing myself, a protein smoothie with nothing to chew would leave me unsatisfied, so I also had a mini Flat Out wrap (the 60 calorie ones) with a smear of peanut butter and a few slices of banana.

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My protein smoothie had 1/2 banana, 1 scoop chocolate protein, and 1 tbs peanut butter. I always measure my peanut butter. I haven’t had powdered protein in a long time, but I know my body needs more protein with all the lifting I have been doing in recent weeks, so I am trying to honor that. This shake turned out to be huge since I added so much ice, so the leftover bit in the blender went to PB, which was probably about 1/4 of it?

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Around 10:30 I was hungry again and had 2 tbs Sabra hummus with a few baby carrots and a few pretzels. Baby carrots are a waste to buy since they are just adult carrots cut up, but these were on sale! I like having mini snacks a couple of times a day between meals. Please note how small this plate is- it fits in the palm of my hand. I eat lots of my meals with small spoons, forks, plates and bowls to make it appear that I am eating a larger portion. I enjoy my meals more that way.

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I posted last night’s post quite late, so here is a link in case you missed it!

A LOVEly Weekend

What a fantastic weekend! PhillyBoy and I are big travelers and are often away on the weekends, so it was really nice to spend some time in Philadelphia for once!

Our weekend:

Friday I picked PB up from work around 7 and we headed straight to Cherry Hill to swim at our new gym!! I really like swimming. I forgot how good it feels to be in the water. After swimming I got a cup of sub-par soup from Panera and brought it to Cheeburger Cheeburger, where PB ate a ONE LB burger! He is “in training” for a boys’ trip to eat really big burgers in a month. Interesting.

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Saturday afternoon PB and I ran with the K portion of our KGH6 running group. There was tons of ice on Kelly Drive but we managed 6 miles. Ever since the DisneyWorld Half Marathon PB and I have both been having knee pain in our right knees, probably due to IT issues. We are both foam-rolling and stretching like crazy, but the pain keeps coming back after runs.

After our little 6 miler we made sure to fuel properly…. with PB’s homemade pizza! He finally made his famous dough again, and I made a 1/2 batch of half whole wheat pizza dough. I love indulging in good pizza, but I have been trying to clean up my diet a bit more. The solution? Half whole wheat dough with sauce and very little cheese. I still enjoy the pizza, but I get to save a few calories by using less cheese. Of course, that point becomes invalid when you eat 1,000 pieces of pizza, but the effort was there. We also made a fabulous salad with 4 types of lettuce, shredded carrots, dried cranberries, avocado, tomato, cucumber, a few croutons, and a lemon olive oil dressing.

Cupid visited early in this house, and PB took me to dinner and a movie! We haven’t had a proper date in a long time, and it was so nice to spend some time out with him. We went to Fork in Philadelphia, which was amazing!! I have heard a lot of good things about Fork, and everyone was right. The service was great, the decor simply beautiful, and the food presentation and taste stellar. We were seated right.next to other couples, so the photos weren’t fantastic. I felt quite awkward whipping out my camera in this nice restaurant.

Dinner at Fork:

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Cocktail!!! This was extremely strong, and I only managed about 1/5 of it.
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A baby lettuce salad with roasted pears. The pear flavor was intense and fabulous.
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PB had the pork chop with whole grain mustard and roasted brussels sprouts with house smoked bacon. The brussels sprouts were almost the best I have ever tasted.

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I had a lobster and sea scallop dish served with a butternut ravioli and toasted pumpkin seeds.
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Dessert was fabulous. We ordered the warm pineapple-hazelnut financier served with vanilla bean gelato and caramel sauce. It was extremely decadent and reminded me of a Middle Eastern dessert my aunt makes. It was the perfect way to end our meal.
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Post dinner surprise? The movies!! We went to see Valentine’s Day, which was cute and just what I expected. I didn’t have high expectations… hence I loved it.

I love being out and about with my husband, but I love doing every day things. Today was all about every day things. PB and I bummed around all morning doing things around the house (ok, I’ll be honest, we sat on the couch and watched TV after doing 1 chore). We both had delicious breakfasts, too!

PB had a KathEats inspired Smoothie In A Bowl (or SIAB). I blended vanilla Oikos yogurt, 1/2 banana, one scoop of peanut butter and a few ice cubes in my trusty blender and then topped it with some fresh raspberries and two Weetabix biscuits. It was delicious!

I was craving oatmeal and made myself a bowl, but for some reason this bowl didn’t fill me up… for the first time ever. Usually I can barely finish the bowl. This had 1/4 cup old fashioned oats made with water and cinnamon, 1/2 banana, a dash of sweetened shredded coconut, and one measured tablespoon of peanut butter.

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We finally got ourselves together and went SWIMMING again! If we had a pool in our building I swear I would swim every single day. I love it so much! I never have any pain, and I always feel great after a good swim. Of course I couldn’t leave it at that, though. I slipped outside the gym and bruised my bum. They hadn’t salted the sidewalks. Ridiculous!

After a bunch of errands we finally headed home for dinner, and I surprised PB with one of his favorite meals: TOFU PAD THAI! Served in one of the fun Zak bowls we were given in New York.

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I had a HUGE salad with lots of vegetables and about 1 oz of grilled chicken. Over the last couple of years I have eaten less and less poultry and beef, and I find that often now I have to disguise the flavor of it in order to eat it. I wonder if I should just give up? Maybe.

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I need to learn how to make my own pad thai sauce, because right now I use a sauce from a jar and mix it with every Asian inspired sauce I have in the house (as in soy sauce, sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, etc. A little bit of everything). That wasn’t from Cupid though, that was really just PB’s dinner. If anyone has a go to pad thai recipe, please send it my way!

Cupid made a heart colored dessert! I made a simple strawberry sauce with 1.5 cups strawberries + 3 tablespoons sugar over low heat until it became syrupy and melty. I split an individual size NY style cheesecake (1/2 for each of us) and paired it with some strawberry sauce and mixed berries. Every single bite was delicious.

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It was a decadent weekend full of love, and I am so thankful to have the life I do. I am happy, and I find something to smile about in every day… PB has a lot to do with that! I am a lucky woman!!!!

And a funny little side note… PB went to work in the blizzard last week, but since his usual method of transportation was down for the day, he walked. He had to wear his snow pants, snowboarding boots (he doesn’t have snow boots) and GOGGLES! It was hilarious to see how wet his jacket and pants were from the walk in the snow. Insanity!

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Need something else to read on your day off work (that I don’t have off)?
The Spotted Pig
Kelly’s Cake Off for a Cause
Video: Kelly’s Cake Off
New York!
A Late Chelsea Market Lunch
PB’s blog

Don’t forget to vote daily for our MOD SQUAD cake! For every vote, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Thank you!

**I received several Ask Me Anything questions several weeks ago about what I eat in a day. Tomorrow I will begin a several day food diary to give a more accurate view of what it is I do eat. Be sure to check back often for my updates!