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My Comfort Food Falling Out

For some reason, we are convinced that with the onset of fall and winter, we should be eating comfort food…delicious, stick to the ribs (and everywhere else)…filling, satisfying, fattening food. Then comes spring and we wonder why our shorts don’t fit and our feet have gone up a half size. 

Try a bowl of shepherds pie laced with buttery mashed potatoes or how about a nice slice of mac and cheese stuffed meatloaf? These are truly amazing. 

So, my question is this: Is it comfort food season, or are we stress eating because it will soon be snowy and cloudy for the next six months??

If I sound like a bah humbug about fall and winter, it’s no accident. That being the case, I have made a diligent attempt to find seasonal recipes that limit the fat but keep the comfort.

And by the way, shortcuts of all kinds in my recipes are more than acceptable. Trader Joe’s is stocked with affordable and organic choices for meal prep goodies. Costco is another great place if you are feeding a large crowd. 

PS…I will absolutely post those amazing comfort food recipes as well. No reason not to…

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH PORT VINAIGRETTE

FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH

  • 1 Butternut Squash, cut in small pieces
  • 8 shallots, peeled, halved
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Sprinkle of onion salt (I like the Trader Joe’s)

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup port wine
  • 1 T. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

FOR THE SALADS

BUILD EACH SALAD WITH

  1. 1 cup spring mix salad greens
  2. Roasted butternut squash and shallots
  3. 2 T. Port Vinaigrette
  4. 2 T. crumbled blue cheese
  5. 2 T. toasted walnut pieces

 

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Toss the butternut squash and shallots in olive oil in a large roasting pan. Lightly sprinkle with onion salt (or sea salt).

Roast in the lower oven for 15 minutes.

Prepare the vinaigrette:

Combine vinegar, honey, port, ginger, and rosemary. Pour this syrup over the roasting squash and return the pan to the oven; roast for 10 more minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer squash and shallots to a bowl.

Pour syrup into a measuring cup and whisk in enough oil to make 11/4 cups vinaigrette, season, and set aside.

 

Build each salad starting with greens.

Top with squash and shallots, and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts.

*If you aren’t a fan of butternut squash, try using pears for a delicious twist. Roast them or use them sliced raw.

Dear Friends,

Sorry it has been so long. Summer has taken me away from my computer but I am back to share.

Always on a search for delicious EASY winners and I am happy to search for ones you are looking for. Email or send a txt.

Cheers to celebrating simple things every day and cherishing friends and loved ones.

🍷 Laura

PS…Check out my latest Trader Joe’s obsessions! Just one click away!

 

Trader Joe’s Seasoning – 21 Salute Seasoning , Chile Lime and Everything but the bagel Seasoning by Trader Joe’s $13.87 + Free shipping!

TRADER JOE'S SEASONING

Not only are these amazing, but I LOVE the way they stack!!

Trader Joes(16 fl oz) Coconut Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Trader Joes by Trader Joe’s $13.49 + Free Shipping!

TRADER JOES COCONUT OIL

Cook with it, mix it with your peanut butter, or use it on your skin! I can’t get enough of this!

Cooking With a Touch of Savory Trader Joes Chile Lime, 21 Salute, Onion Salt and Seasoning Salt (4/pk) by Trader Joe’s $18.80 + FREE SHIPPING!

TRADER JOE'S FOUR SPICES

Trader Joes Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly by Trader Joe’s $9.50 + FREE SHIPPING

TRADER JOE'S SWEET PEPPER JELLY

This is a staple if you entertain! Mix it with cream cheese + serve with crackers for an easy and delicious appetizer!

Trader Joe’s Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 15 by Trader Joe’s $9.48 + FREE SHIPPING!

TRADER JOE'S FACE LOTION WITH SPF 15

Keep this by your sink and wear it every day to help keep those wrinkles away!

Trader Joe’s Nourish All-in-one-facial Cleanser $13.07 + FREE SHIPPING!

TRADER JOE'S FACIAL CLEANSER

LOVE LOVE LOVE this gentle facial cleanser. I even use it to soak my bathing suits after swimming!

All-Clad E7649764 HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free Roaster Cookware, 13-Inch by 16-Inch, Black $79.95 + FREE SHIPPING!

ALL CLAD ROASTING PAN

This is literally, the BEST roasting pan! Large enough for everything and super easy to clean!

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Try These 3 Quick + Easy Healthy Tips!

News Year’s resolutions for me have always centered around diet, exercise and….for those of you who know me….timeliness. This is the first year that not only did I not make a resolution, I didn’t even think to. Maybe my subconscious mind decided that it wasn’t necessary to keep setting myself up for failure, or that my memory was going, or perhaps both, but I’m still committed to these three self inflicted goals.

So here they are….3 simple quick + mindless tips to a healthier and happier you.

TIP 1…..Move.

This is a great tip for the anti-exerciser! Choose 1 commercial on television a day and move your feet side side to sideEXERCISE STEP TOUCHOR

if you have an exercise ball collecting dust in your closet, dust it off, sit it and bounce holding soup cans. (remember to hold the cans close to your body to keep your back in alignment) That’s it!
EXERCISE BOUNCING ON A BALL 2

TIP 2….Make AND take time for YOU.

Take 1 hour a day and do something for yourself. One hour…that’s it! Whether its reading a magazine with your feet up, taking a walk, watching a show on televisions, looking up things on the internet….no matter what it is…take time for you. This time doesn’t need to be regimented every day or even at the same time. That adds to stress. At some point say to yourself…”My time,” and take it.

Personally, my anti stress therapy is an hour walking around Homegoods. I love looking at all of the new dishes, linens and things to decorate my home with. I don’t even need to buy anything (hard to resist) but I just love to look.

This brings us to the all important step…choosing the right foods AND the right way to prepare them.

TIP 3….Making good food choices.

EXERCISE DANCING CARROTS

If you live in an area where I do, we are cooped up in the winter and mindless eating…aka snacking, can be a serious disorder. Essentially snacking isn’t such a bad thing, but just how many carrot and celery sticks can one consume???

I have found that combining tip 2 and tip 3 works for me. Aiming at turning easy + delicious foods into healthy, easy + delicious foods has been a fun and yummy challenge.

Scour the internet and pinterest for healthy foods. Hate broccoli? Find a better way to make it, or skip it and look at something else. I’ve even discovered a healthy version of fettucini alfredo, if that’s possible!

Not a big lover of eggplant, but my Steve certainly is, I recently discovered a clever disguise for one of his favorite dishes on Pinterest…eggplant parmesan. This clever version is super easy and delicious. Slicing the eggplant super thin is the trick….Check it out…

SHEET PAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN

IMG_9859

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1 (25 ounce) jar tomato sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • julienned fresh basil, optional


Instructions

  1. Spread the sliced eggplant in a single layer onto paper towels. Generously salt the eggplant and let it sit for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant, salt the other side, and let sit for another 15 minutes.  Rince the eggplant with water and pat dry with clean paper towels. (This process will draw out the excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplant.  I have seen some skip this step entirely.)
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder in a shallow dish.  In a separate dish, lightly beat the eggs with the water.
  3. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the panko mixture onto the eggplant to evenly coat both sides.
  4. Drizzle a foil-lined sheet pan with the olive oil and spread it around to cover the whole pan.  Place the breaded eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip the slices, then bake for an additional 10 minutes on the other side. Spoon sauce onto each slice and top with shredded cheese.  Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Top with fresh basil right before serving.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by today!

PLEASE feel free to contact me if you are looking for an easy and lighter way to make a favorite dish.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. If there is anything to take away from reading this, I hope that you will remember to be good to yourself.

Cheers and Happy New Year,

Laura

Here are a few of my finds for the New Year! Happy Shopping!

Exercise Stability Ball Chair with Hand Pump Use For CrossFit, Yoga, Balance & Core Strength Training, Non-Slip & Anti-Burst Extra Thick Fitness Ball(Multiple Sizes) $17.99 + Free Shipping

EXERCISE STABILITY BALL

Sivan Health and Fitness Balance Fit Chair with ball and pump $63.49 + FREE SHIPPING

EXERCISE BALL CHAIR

Simply Fit Board – The Abs Legs Core Workout Balance Board with A Twist, As Seen on TV $29.90 + FREE SHIPPING

EXERCISE SIMPLY FIT BOARD

Z By Zella High Waisted Blocked Crop Leggings $24.97

EXERCISE ZELLA CLOTHING