Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to fall meals, I crave comforting foods.

Foods that are easy to put together, but taste like they’ve been cooking all day.

You know  – spaghetti, baked ziti, lasagna, chili … all those delicious, hearty meals. Meals to curl up on the couch with, to watch a movie, read a good book or even for game day (go Browns!). I have also begun to enjoy the occasional meatless meal and find that if done right, vegetarian dishes can be great fall comfort meals. That’s why when Silk challenged me to join their Sideline Meat campaign and come up with a Meatless Monday meal, I was excited to participate. And challenged to find a meal that even B (as you know, he has a self-proclaimed “meat tooth”) would enjoy.

Introducing this eggplant “pasta” dish. It should be no surprise that I’m choosing a zucchini pasta dish. I’m a lover of my zoodler (aka spiralizer) and I love making zoodles. Plus, the Silk adds a somewhat creaminess to the sauce and served over zoodles, it’s nearly guilt-free. Enjoy!

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce-icrashedtheweb

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into one-inch pieces
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • Generous sprinkle of hot pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup almond milk – I used Silk Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized (this is the zoodler I use)
ingredients

ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat a medium to large size pan over medium high heat. When hot, add olive oil, and then add the chopped eggplant. Cook until brown, about 3-4 minutes, and then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add add the shallot and garlic, and continue cooking until the eggplant and the onions are soft, about 3-6 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato and cook for another 3-4 minutes until it starts to get juicy. Add hot pepper flakes generously over the veggies. I like my food spicy so I added a lot – add as much as you feel comfortable with. Feel free to add salt at this time as well.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add the almond milk. Cook until the tomato sauce is a little thick. When everything looks about done, add in the zoodles. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or so, carefully so the zoodles don’t get soggy, and then plate.
  5. Enjoy!
sauce is looking good!

sauce is looking good!

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce

ready to eat!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite fall comfort food?
  • Have you ever cooked with almond milk? What did you make?

Disclosure: While I was not compensated for this post, product was provided to me by Silk. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of WhiteWave and/or Silk.

For more Meatless Monday posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkup below!

Almond Milk Volcano Rice Pudding

Have I mentioned I’m a Meatless Monday blogger? I am! And while I’m not a vegetarian, I do enjoy the occasional meatfree dish.

That’s why when I was provided a package from Lotus Foods with a few different meatless, carbalicious (rice and ramen) yum yums, I was super excited to try them out and share the recipes with you. I had also recently gotten some coupons from Silk and was interested in seeing what I could make from the both – what could I do to combine Silk’s dairy free milk with Lotus Foods package?

goodies from Lotus Foods!

goodies from Lotus Foods!

I’ll have some savory meals coming soon, but first off, I knew I had to try making some rice pudding. My mom always made such good rice pudding growing up. It was creamy, soothing, warm, and so so so delicious. Inspired by memories of her dessert, I bring you Almond Milk Volcano Rice Pudding. Probably a little better for you than the version I had growing up, but still pretty good!

Almond Milk Volcano Rice Pudding

Almond Milk Volcano Rice Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk – I used Silk unsweetened original
  • 1/2 cup rice – I used the Lotus Foods Organic Volcano Rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
the ingredients - so few and so simple! (minus maple syrup. it was camera shy)

the ingredients – so few and so simple! (minus maple syrup. it was camera shy)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Place the almond milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle bubble and lower the heat to simmer.
  2. Add the rice and season it with the cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Stir until the spices are evenly coating the rice and almond milk. Cook for 10 minutes until milk is starting get absorbed.
  3. Pour into an oven-safe pan and cook for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until nearly all of the milk is absorbed. Serve warm or cold, topped with additional cinnamon and maple syrup if you like.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever had volcanic rice? What did you think of it?
  • What’s your favorite rice dish? I need new recipes!
  • Do you have a favorite childhood dessert?

Disclosure: While I was not compensated for this post, product was provided to me by Silk and Lotus Foods. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Lotus Foods or Silk.

For more Meatless Monday posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkup below!

Ladies Craft Beer Society Takes on Pickling (Weekend Update: How to Make Pickles)

This Saturday was our monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society. For those of you who need to catch up, each month I meet with a few lady friends for a few craft beer drinks, and a new craft. (B calls this my witchcraft society … ’nuff said) This month’s craft was pickling! I don’t know if it counts like a craft or not, but it was definitely something I was pumped for.

For you Portlandia fans, here’s what I was thinking about all week:

We had it at the lovely home of Cuoghi – she has a great kitchen and knows how to entertain. I wish I had taken a photo of all the glorious food she prepared – brown butter nectarine bars, two different quiches, homemade hummus, homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert. So. Good. Oh, and some delicious frozen strawberry lemonades  made with the lemon vodka we’d made at a previous LCBS.

frozen vodka strawberry lemonades

ice cream sandwiches

all the igredientsWanna make some delicious pickles? Here’s what you do. First we all made the pickling spice, which was a combination of 1/2 cinnamon stick (crushed), 2 whole cloves (crushed),   2 dried bay leaves,  2 T mustard seeds, 2 T whole coriander seeds, 2 T black peppercorns, 2 t whole allspice,  2 t dill seeds, 2 t caraway seeds and 2 t chili flakes. Combine everything in a jar – easy peasy!

1

Then we made the pickles. She had prepared recipes for both dill and bread & butter, but the dill were more my kind. Here’s what we did:

2

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Here’s what you need:

  • 6-7  kirby or pickling cucumbers
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 3/4 c water
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 T pickling spices (above)
  • 3-4 fresh dill springs or 2 tsp dried
  • optional: 2-3 chopped garlic cloves, chile flakes, sliced jalapeño, you can add another teaspoon of dill seeds if you like them really dilly

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut up cucumbers and put in clean jar.
  2. Add optional items. I made one with garlic and sliced jalapeño and one regular.
  3. In a medium sauce pot, put everything else stir, bring to boil so that salt is dissolved, pour over cucumbers, seal jar.
  4. Let sit out for about an hour, then refrigerate.  They’ll be ready in about 24 hours! Enjoy 🙂
pickling

ladies pickling!

The finished product - spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

The finished product – spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

And that’s it for my weekend update! Coming up next .. a race recap from the half marathon I ran on Sunday. Guess what – another PR!

Meatless Monday!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s something delicious you made or ate this weekend?
  • Have you ever made pickles?
  • What’s something fun you like that’s pickled?

Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken For 2

I’m not a seasonal eater. What do I mean by that? I love soups year round. Chili? In July? Why not?! Ice cream in the winter? Of course! B, on the other hand, is very seasonal. We can’t eat soup in the summer. Crockpot? Stash that away from May-Aug (and sometimes September). BUT sometimes I can sneak in a slow cooker recipe in the summer and convince B it’s still seasonal. I didn’t quite do that with this one (there was no sneaking) BUT he did enjoy it. And would eat it again:) At last! A  crock pot meal that even B enjoys in the summer.

Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken

Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken For 2 (with leftover for lunch)

Makes 2 large dinner servings, with a leftover lunch portion

Slightly modified from Family Food on the Table

Ingredients

  • 2 large, skinless chicken breasts (mine weighed a little more than 1/2 lb)
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, mostly drained and chopped a bit
  • 1 14-oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp red curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

Instructions

  1. Combine everything BUT the fresh basil and quinoa in your slow cooker (chicken breasts through dried Italian seasoning).
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Once finished, use two forks to shred the chicken into large chunks.
  4. Serve warm, with fresh basil and over quinoa. NOTE: There will be a decent amount of liquid left – I liked mine almost soupy and used much of it. If you don’t, use a slotted spoon for removing the meal from the crockpot.
Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken

Sittin in the slow cooker …

Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken

Ready to eat!

Alright, your turn. A few questions for you:

  • Any favorite summery slow cooker recipes? Let me know!
  • What’s the best slow cooker meal or snack you’ve ever had?
  • Are you a seasonal eater?

Friday Five: Celebrating National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day

I just found the most amazing food calendar that tells me dates of the most important holidays – food holidays! And first up is one holiday that I certainly will observe – National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day!!

I wish I had more advance notice, but National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day is Sunday, March 1. So, in early celebration, here are five recipes that I think look AMAZING (disclosure, I’ve made some of them) and the perfect way to celebrate:

1. Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies 

[recipe]

 

2. Reese’s Soft Peanut Butter Cookies 

[recipe]

3. Peanut Butter Brookies

[recipe]

4. Soft Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Butter Frosting

[recipe]

5. Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Caramel Club Bars

[recipe]

For more peanut butter recipes, here are a few on here. Apparently I have a peanut butter addiction because that’s a lot of peanut butter!

Some questions for you:

  • If you had to choose from one of the treats above – which would you want to eat?
  • Do you like peanut butter? Believe it or not, I’ve met people who don’t!
  • Favorite way to enjoy peanut butter? On ice cream. Or a tortilla with honey and granola. Or with carrots. Or as a peanut butter cup! Yum! 

Lemon Blueberry Bread

B and I have gotten a plethora of blueberries the past few weeks in our CSA. Two weeks in a row, therefore, we’ve had extra and I’ve gotten to bake with them! A few weeks ago (and then again this weekend) it was blueberry buttermilk scones. The newest recipe I have to share with you? Lemon blueberry bread!

lemon blueberry bread - i crashed the web

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries carefully tossed in 1/8 c. flour

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a loaf pan (mine was 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch).
  2. Beat together melted butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture. Add ½ of this dry ingredient mixture to the batter. Add in milk and mix in remaining flour mixture.
  4. Using a spatula, carefully fold in lemon zest and blueberries (coated in 1/8 c flour). Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 65-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

This recipe is a keeper. The bread was cakelike, and could be enjoyed for breakfast (as I may have done), as well as dessert. If you like lemony desserts (and I do! My next favorite lemon recipe? These lemon bars.) you’ll like this bread.

 

fresh from the oven

fresh from the oven

 

Whatchamacallit Bars

I recently asked a group of coworkers what their favorite candy was. You know, for scientific research purposes (my study will be coming out in a few years. It’s going to take a while to taste all this candy*). Anyway, one of my colleagues mentioned Whatchamacallit bars as being his favorite. Do you remember those Whatchamacallit bars? You know, they were peanut butter/rice candy bars with caramel and chocolate? I came across this commercial from the 80s to describe the bar (the sad thing is, I was definitely younger than these kids in the commercial when this was airing on TV):

Now do you remember?

Anyway, the bars sounded like a glorified Rice Krispies treat to me. So of course, I had to buy a few, sample them, and make a dessert after them. You know, for science!

whatchamacallit bars - i crashed the web

Whatchamacallit Bars
(AKA Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats with Caramel and Chocolate)

Inspired by this recipe. But not as much work 🙂

Here’s what you need:

  • 7 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 8 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 11-oz bag caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Here’s what you do:

  1. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil and set aside.
  2. Measure out Rice Krispies and pour them into a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over low to medium low heat, melt together marshmallows and butter. Melt until fully combined and fluffy. Add in peanut butter and continue melting. Stir the mixture to avoid burning.
  4. Pour the peanut butter/marshmallow/butter mixture into the Rice Krispies and combine the ingredients well so that Krispies are completely coated.
  5. Once coated, add the Rice Krispies mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the cereal throughout the baking dish and flatten out.
  6. In the same saucepan, add caramel pieces and milk. Heat until melted and combined. Stir so as not to burn the mixture.
  7. Pour melted caramel over Rice Krispies mixture and spread across, creating an evenly distributed top layer.
  8. In the same saucepan (I’m all about reusing my dishes) or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips over low heat. These will burn or change texture if you take too long so continue to stir the mixture until melted. Pour melted chocolate over caramel layer and spread across.
  9. Optional: Find real Whatchamacallit Bars and chop them up into thin slivers. Sprinkle slivered bars across chocolate layer when still wet.
  10. Cool for 30 minutes to one hour before cutting and serving. I put mine in the freezer to speed up the process slightly 🙂 Yes, I’m that impatient.

whatchamacallit bars - i crashed the web

 

look at those layers!

look at those layers!

 

Some questions for you:

  1. What’s your favorite candy bar? Heath bar, duh! 
  2. Favorite candy? (NOT candy bar) Peanut M&Ms, peanut butter M&Ms or Reese’s pieces. 
  3. What’s your favorite variation on Rice Krispies treats? Give me your ideas! These toffee nutella rice krispies treats are pretty good if you’re looking for inspiration. They combined nutella+Heath bar!
  4. Did you remember Whatchamacallits?

 

*Please note: I’m not actually doing a study on candy bars for science. Or baking for science. BUT HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?