The Best Meal I’ve Ever Made

This eggplant parmesan was quite possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever made. It was a few more steps and a few more ingredients than I usually like to cook with (I like fast and easy recipes), but it was so worth it. I have only had eggplant parmesan maybe twice in my life because I can no longer eat dairy. I learned how to make it when I was living in Italy and it was delicious, but so loaded with cheese that I’ve never tried to re-create it at home. For some reason unknown to me, goat cheese has no impact on how I’m feeling, so I decided to look for a recipe that called for goat cheese and no other dairy products. I found one recipe that was eggplant, red sauce, goat cheese, and parmesan and I tweaked it a little to make this delicious meal.

What you’ll need:

  •  1 large purple eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt to weep eggplant slices
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil for frying
  • 1 jar tomato basil spaghetti sauce (I used an organic brand with few ingredients)
  • 1 small block of goat cheese broken into pieces (crumbled would work too)
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red onion
  • 4-5 fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves

What you’ll do:

  1. Peel skin off eggplant, and slice length-wise so you have thin slices for layering (like lasagna).
  2. Cover the slices with sea salt to remove moisture. Let sit 10-15 minutes and drain water.
  3. Combine the sea salt and flour and blend together with a fork.
  4. Pat dry the eggplant slices with a paper towel.
  5. Warm oil in a large frying pan.
  6. Dip the eggplant in the egg and then in the flour/salt mixture, and place in pan.
  7. Fry on each side until they start to brown (few minutes), and then lay on paper towel.
  8. Saute onions, mushrooms, spinach, and basil in a frying pan and set aside.
  9. In a baking dish, place a layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of eggplant slices, then the sliced tomatoes, spinach mixture, and a few pieces of goat cheese. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the eggplant.Top with sauce, spinach mixture, sliced tomatoes, lots of fresh basil and goat cheese chunks (or crumbles).
  10. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
  11. Cool and cut. Enjoy!What’s the best meal you’ve ever made?

Grilled Citrus Skewers

These were so delicious, and like most of my recipes, SO easy! Although I took the photos, and ate the skewers, I can’t take credit for actually making them. Mom did all the work, but I’ll definitely be making them myself sometime soon. Marinate the shrimp in olive oil, lemon, garlic, fresh basil and salt and pepper for as long as possible in the fridge. Place on skewers with lemon slices, grill a few minutes on each side and enjoy!

For the chicken and pineapple skewers we marinated the chicken in teriyaki sauce, salt, pepper, lemon, garlic, and fresh basil. We arranged them on skewers with shallots and pineapple and placed on the grill. Delish!

I Want a Pet Llama

Look how cute this guy is! We found him on our way home from the lake last weekend. And I want him. Happy Friday!

Photo of The Week

Photo of The Week

Lighting Class Portraits

I recently volunteered to be the “model” for a photography lighting class through Photography My Way. They are a photography company that teaches you everything you want to know about your DSLR camera. I have loved every single class I have taken with them and highly recommend it if you’re new to photography.

I was a student in their lighting class months ago and afterwards still struggled with finding the perfect light for my photos. So I thought if I sat through another class and was able to re-learn lighting from the perspective of the subject, it might help me improve my shots. Well, it did! Being moved around and told where to stand and how to turn my head toward the light really helped me understand the concept better and I’m so glad I did it. Although, I have to say it was pretty uncomfortable having a group of people take TONS of photos of you in a crowded, public place. Not to mention the instructor had everyone take photos of me in horrible light and then in good light so they could see the difference. I am not interested in seeing the photos they took in the horrible light. No thank you.

Here are two of the shots they took in “good light.”

Garden Party

Have you noticed I really love flowers? :) I swear, soon I will go back to posting about something other than flowers.

Monterey

In two weeks I’ll be back visiting one of my favorite places in California. Not many beaches can beat what you find in Monterey! I can’t wait to get back there with two of my oldest friends for a much needed girls weekend while we plan my best friend’s wedding :)

Here are a few photos from my last visit.

Red Cabbage

Who knew cabbage could be so pretty?

I made chinese chicken salad with this particular cabbage. What are some of your favorite cabbage recipes?

Portraits in the Park

I’ve been trying to improve my photography lately so my best friend let me take a few portraits of her in a nearby park. We went right before sunset. The weather was perfect and the light was beautiful. I took about 400 photos of her, but these were my favorites. :) It definitely didn’t hurt that my subject is so beautiful!

I know I have a lot of work to do to get where I would like to be with my photography, but I don’t always know where or how I can improve since I’m such an amateur. So, any suggestions on how I could have improved these shots would be greatly appreciated!