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Sheet Pan Eggplant Parm?? Easy and Cheezy? Oh yea!

Salad…..my favorite comfort food of summer, but anything fresh from the garden and smothered in cheese….now we’re talking! Summer’s bounty of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes give rise to delicious and healthy twists on most loved recipes….like one of my faves, eggplant Parmesan!

This sheet pan eggplant parm is a super easy and flavorful without all the fuss and fat of the original version. Give it a try…..

SHEET PAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN

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 or spray olive oil
  • 3 C. marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or fresh
  • julienned fresh basil, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spread the sliced eggplant in a single layer onto paper towels. Lightly 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 step is optional)
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  
  3. 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.
  4. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the breadcumbs onto the eggplant to evenly coat both sides.
  5. Spray a foil-lined sheet pan with the olive oil.
  6. Place the breaded eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  7. 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 or fresh mozzorella cheese.  
  8. 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! I know it’s been awhile, but I hope to share more regularly!

Enjoy this delicious dish!

Cheers to celebrating summer!

ūüć∑Laura

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Heirloom or Clutter…+ A New Twist on an Old Favorite…Chicken Parmesan as a muffin!

Happy New Year, everyone!! I have a new dilemma to share!

I know it’s really great that there are things so special to you that you want to pass them along to your children and grandchildren‚Ķ.but seriously‚Ķ..you have to think, ‚ÄúWill they want this shit?‚ÄĚ

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Take, for example, the Lenox bird collection, that I know was an expensive bite out of the budget that my husband provided for his mom….I just spent an entire afternoon, matching each bird to the corresponding certificate of authenticity, photographing, and listing them on Ebay. I sold one, but by the time I packed it and shipped it, I lost money.

Kathy, a very close friend of mine offered me $25.00 for all of them so that her husband can use them as target practice for a gun he purchased recently. Tempting. I can’t help but thinking that someone out there appreciates these dust collecting birdies.

Moving Steve‚Äôs mom into an assisted living facility was quite the undertaking, especially as her daughter-in-law….I was given the dubious job of sorting through countless pairs of stockings, some still in the original package, hair ties and bows, denture boxes, and an assortment of long forgotten treasures packed away for safe keeping. Year after year, I would go to the dollar store for holiday bags and have Salina pack up these treasures as gifts, but she didn’t want to part with anything. You really have no idea‚Ķ.So for now, I’m stuck with these birds…lots of them.

My parents, at 89 and 91, have kept those special to them in a super organized way. When I visit, I love how my mom is always trying to give me her things. Although they take great pleasure in sharing, I want my mom and dad to keep and enjoy the memories they bring, rather than taking them away. I also know that the beautiful and valuable belongings of my parents are far from junk and someday will value and cherish the sentiment and memories.

On a return flight from Cancun,¬†I vividly recall the pilot saying, “I hope you enjoyed your vacation and have carefully packed all of your souvenirs that will be at your garage sale someday.” So….note to self….Only buy and keep what gives you pleasure and let it go when it no longer has meaning.

Speaking of giving pleasure, I found this twist on an old favorite. Get ready for this delicious and EASY twist on your favorite Chicken Parmesan recipe!

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ¬Ĺ lbs raw ground chicken breast or turkey.processor and run until ground)
  • 2 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons¬†panko or breadcrumbs
  • ¬ĺ teaspoon¬†dried basil
  • ¬ĺ teaspoon¬†dried thyme
  • ¬ĺ teaspoon¬†oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¬Ĺ a small finely chopped onion
  • ¬ĺ teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon¬†black pepper
  • ¬ĺ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¬ĺ cup pasta sauce
  • ¬ĺ cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: dried parsley, oregano or basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, egg whites, breadcrumbs, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and lightly mix together. Do not over handle.
  3. Form the meat mixture evenly into the 12 cups of your prepared muffin tin. Spread the pasta sauce evenly over the tops of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Top each muffin with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese and then return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish if desired.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by! Whether you are stuck indoors watching the snow, or reading this poolside, I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and these great finds!

Until next time…

Cheers to cherished memories, both old and new!

ūü•āLaura

CELEBRATION + SUNSETS SHOPPING

Those of you who know me know that I am OBSESSED with anything NINJA! Check out the latest!…

Ninja Foodi 1400-Watt Multi Cooker, Pressure Cooker, Steamer & Air Fryer w/ TenderCrisp Technology, Pressure & Crisping Lid, 6.5 Qt Pot (OP301), Black/Gray by Ninja $229.00 + FREE SHIPPING!

Ninja Foodi Complete Cookbook For Beginners: 150 Amazingly Easy and Delicious Recipes to Pressure Cook, Air Fry, Dehydrate, and More with Your Ninja Foodi. 2019 Paperback ‚Äď November 20, 2018 $13.49 or for your Kindle $4.99

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4 PC Instant Pot Accessories Pressure Cooker Ninja Accessories with Egg Bite Mold, and Trivet $25.95 + FREE SHIPPING!

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D I E T is a FOUR LETTER WORD…and other thoughts on health and fitness

WHAT’S FOR DINNER TONIGHT?

THAI STEAK SALAD

thai steak saladThis salad is light with bold flavors! (serves 4)

Combine in a small bowl and set aside:

1/3 C. fresh lime juice
2 T. minced jalapeno
2 t. fish sauce
2 t. minced garlic
2 t. fresh ginger
3 T. canola oil
2 T. Asian sesame oil
Preheat grill to medium high.
Pat dry a 1 lb. flank steak and season with salt and pepper.
Oil the grill
Grill steak, turning once until medium rare, about 6 min.
Transfer to a cutting board, rest for 5 min., then thinly slice across the grain.
In a bowl, combine:

1 ripe mango, cut into small pieces
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
10 oz. romaine lettuce cut in 1 inch pieces
2 T. fresh cilantro.
Toss with enough dressing to coat.
Divide among 4 plates & top with steak.
Drizzle remaining dressing over the steak.
Sprinkle with remaining cilantro & serve.

I’ve decided, that through all of my years of struggling with my weight in hopes of trying not to¬†get fat, that it’s a matter of calories in vs. calories out.¬† Mindless eating and empty calories also top the list. (That includes my not so secret obsession with bbq potato chips:() Taking an active role in maintaining my health through both diet and exercise,¬†and accepting the physical changes that inevitably occur with age, have become a priority for me.¬†exercise-health-quote

The whole concept of diet and exercise comes down to two little words that carry heavy meaning…self image. How we see ourselves and view ourselves, particularly as women, affects our daily lives; literally everything from the way we deal with stress to handling relationships.¬†I vividly recall an episode of the Dr. Oz show where Dr. Oz asked a group of women to look in the mirror and tell him what they saw, not specifically visual. ¬†Each identified something negative about their appearance.¬†Self image is essentially that¬†mirror image reflecting back to us which can be¬†real or distorted, positive or negative. mirror

The accumulation of experiences throughout our lives which affect the way in which we see ourselves, that self-image, can change over time.  Unfortunately, as we get older, our physical appearance changes and our ability to accept those changes and commit to staying young in both heart and mind can make a difference.  Teaching aerobics for over 20 years, has enabled me to see not only the physical effects of exercise, but the emotional impact as well.  I teach a step/sculpt class and in the summertime, I teach an aqua noodle class. The age range in both classes, 20-75, varies as does the attendance, but all will agree: exercise needs to be fun and motivating!

My best advice? JUST MOVE! 

¬†¬†In my classes, it doesn’t matter who is keeping up with my routines,¬†what they are wearing, or how often they come to class. I want them to keep moving! Some of my girls just come to keep track of their steps and typically meet their quota in the hour they are with me. Others enjoy the music and the routines as well as the friendships. Coming into a structured fitness class for the first time can be intimidating. I have been asked everything from, “Do I have to wear makeup?” to “What should I wear?” My answer? “It’s not a fashion show and no one cares. Just come.” And they do.

In my Aqua Noodle class, we are in the shallow end of the pool and are moving constantly in the water, while using the noodle and the resistance of the water for muscle conditioning. It’s hard to believe that we can get such a great workout with little impact on our joints. Many of the girls who strive to track their steps have found this¬†great

                            waterproof fitbit $259.99 from Amazon.

 Have access to a swimming pool?

Get in and jog!

  • ¬†jog in place
  • jog or skip across the pool
  • move backwards and forwards
  • hop on one foot and the other¬†
  • do jumping jacks in the pool
  • play music and twist
  • Have fun and move like no one is watching!

Want more? Buy a

                         POOL NOODLE $14.99 & free shipping from Amazon NO FITNESS CLASSES OR SWIMMING POOL???

                      CRANK UP THE MUSIC AND DANCE!

NO FREE WEIGHTS OR FITNESS EQUIPMENT?

  • GRAB A COUPLE OF SOUP CANS, TUCK YOUR ELBOWS TO YOUR WAIST AND DO BICEP CURLS.

ON DIETING………

Over the years, there have been so many fad diets:

  • South Beach
  • Mediterranean
  • The Zone Diet
  • Atkins Diet
  • Paleo Diet
  • Volumetrics
  • Raw Food Diet
  • Macrobiotic Diet

AND THE WINNER IS……(DRUM ROLLLLLLLL)

WEIGHT WATCHERS!

My daughter, Jodi, ¬†has been an avid Weight Watcher’s follower, and though she no longer attends their meetings, the balanced diet they promote has become a lifestyle.

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Eating in moderation
  • Enjoying the foods you love

Suggestion:

  • Instead of dieting, commit to a healthier lifestyle.
  • Shifting the focus from how you look to feeling good and having more energy.
  • Set yourself up for success by laying out workout clothes, snacking on fresh fruit & veggies, and getting rid of unhealthy snacks in your kitchen…(yep, even the chips!)
  • If you ‘slip,’ tomorrow is another day. Don’t beat yourself up!
  • Be a friend to yourself and pep talks are always appreciated!
  • Know what triggers your eating…boredom, stress? Find a positive way to deal with it by taking a walk, or listening to music.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Web MD suggests “Practicing Mindful Eating.” Eat slowly and give your tummy a chance to let your brain know you’ve had enough.

Thanks for popping in today! Looking forward to hearing from you with ideas, suggestions, or recipe requests!

Cheers!

Laura