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That’s a big hunk of meat!

Posted by Allison on February 25, 2010

You know our move to Germany has done quite a number on our waistlines.  We are so much smaller than we were just a few short months ago.  If you would have told me that we were going to be SIZES smaller in less than I year I would have laughed at you.  With the stress of moving house, changing jobs and all that entails I would have bet that we put ON weight.  But that didn’t even remotely happen.  As you all know from the pictures of the shrinking violet known and Scott and my recent pics we are significantly smaller than we used to be.  Here’s the problem we eat (and drink) a ridiculous amount.  Seriously, the caloric intake over here is off the charts.  The pretzels and fresh croissants alone that we pack away in a week are beyond astronomical.  If we were to move to a place where we weren’t walking all this weight that has melted on us would rapidly reappear.  Sad but true.  and honest.  We walk MILES a day and that is what has diminished our backsides.  So I’ve decided in quite a unilateral decision making process that I’m going to change our eating habits.  Now I’ve done this before, I’ve been a vegetarian for almost a year, I’ve been a vegan for a month or two back in the 90’s.  I’ve done low fat and low carb and NOTHING sticks with me unless there is real honest to goodness food involved.  I get all crazy and militant about my eating choices and end up crashing and burning within months.  So that’s not about this….what this is about is making a small change, something for my families over all health that isn’t that much of a big deal.  It doesn’t take a lot of planning and it’s not something so drastic that it’ll make much of a difference.  Except in my head.  We are going meatless one night a week.   Seriously we eat WAY too much meat.  I have no idea when it became important to have a big slab of meat on our plates EVERY night but it’s silly.  And it’s unhealthy….so it’s done.  Once a week we will eat a meatless meal.  And i’m going to try not for that just to mean pasta with tomato sauce.  Maybe this will lead to something more, like a seafood only night, or two meatless nights a week but for now, this is it.  I feel good about it, I’m hoping to explore some new cool recipes.  I’ll share them with you here.

Today is Allison’s Eggplant Parmisan adapted from The Food Networks recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium sized eggplant peel and cut into think 1/2 inch rounds
  • course salt
  • breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • dash pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • splash of milk
  • jar of spagetti sauce any kind any flavor (or make your own, I never seem to have the time)
  • lasagna sheets (REAL ones not the crap we usually buy in north america I love Barilla
  • a couple cups of cheese, I used different mixes every time or you can use straight parmesan but it MUST be real and preferably freshly grated.

DIRECTIONS

The first and most important step of working with eggplant is to peel, slice and SALT the eggplant.  I lay mine out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle very liberally with course salt.  Leave it to “weep” for an hour and then rinse off all the salt, then blot dry. This gets the bitter taste out of the eggplant and has changed me from liking eggplant to LOVING eggplant.

Next, I usually do an assembly line thing with the eggplant to reduce the amount of mess at the end.  I fill three shallow bowls, first one with flour, second one with the beaten eggs and milk and the third with the bread crumbs, pepper, oregano.  I start a nonstick fry pan with enough EVOO to completely cover the bottom and come up 1/2 the eggplant.  Heat it up and start the dredge, egg, breadcrumb, fry.

You want the eggplant to brown lightly just over a minute per side but it’s harder with EVOO than veggie oil so watch it closely. Small batches until you’ve finished all the eggplant.

I like to experiment with baking stuff and lately have been making this dish in a Butlers casserole that I LOVE.   I pour some sauce on the bottom and then start layering eggplant, lasagna sheets and cheese until it’s full.  Cover and bake slow for a few hours or if you’re in a hurry you can bake it at 350 for an 45 minutes and your good….but it’s better longer and at a slightly lower temp.  This is seriously a no fail recipe with many variations.  I’m sure there is a uber healthy way to bring down the calories but this is by FAR my favorite eggplant recipe.  Kids will eat this up!  Really the only down side is if you end up with extra fried eggplant pieces it’s impossible NOT to eat them.  This exact recipe can be done with zucchini by the way….but I love this one more….

Ready to go in the oven…

Oh by the way this is my bag of cheesy goodness!

I walked over to the little Italian store (about 200 meters from my door) and my favorite Italian lady grated some Parmesan for me!  Okay for 2 Euro I got this HUGE bag of parm….I love this place.

When I walk out the front of my place and look down the street it looks like this…the white 2 story on the corner is the Italian store.

Here we are across the street from the Italian store….

From the other side looking at my little Italian store.

So then I went inside and asked if I could take some pictures of her.  She was THRILLED and took off her glasses, tried to fluff up her hair and posed.  She is HILARIOUS!

She doesn’t speak English, I don’t speak German but we have such a good time each time I go there.  She’s a total Italian lady, always making me try new things.  Gave me shit for buying the parmesan somewhere else last time….she’s a hoot!

9 Responses to “That’s a big hunk of meat!”

  1. Allison, are those mini bottles of jauger (sp) on the counter?! Whoa, toto we’re not in UTAH anymore 😉

    I will have to try that recipe, it looks delicious!!

  2. Lourie said

    Moving is the key. And yes we all need to simply eat healthier. It’s okay to have the fun stuff sometimes.

  3. Kristinma said

    Thumbs UP!

  4. becks said

    oh YUM! I love ur idea of a meatless night. Im having a meatless night tomorrow..homemade pizza! I should walk more though.

  5. Meems said

    I often looking at this web site (http://www.uexpress.com/7daymenuplanner/) for ideas for dinner, and they have a meatless meal once a week. I like the idea. My husband would eat meat for every meal if he could, but I only want it a few times a week.

  6. Rhona said

    The dish sounds great! I am thinking that once I move to my own place (my family are flaming carnivores), I will try eating vegetarian style 6 days a week and endulge in meat one day.
    Your pictures made me so nostalgic for Germany. I LOVED my time there and seeing all the quaint houses and store houses makes me feel happy and sad at the same time. I too lost a bit of weight while I lived there for the scan 3 months. I did a lot of walking also and ate a hell of a lot but the combination was great. Imagine, eating what you want when you want and still losing weight all by walking a bit….which is just natural in that environment? It was bliss. Keep having fun on my behalf. 🙂

  7. lynda said

    I agree… it is the walking that makes the difference. I have really had to cut back on eating this winter because I am not walking as much (bit of a wuss… don’t like the wet or the cold) so it felt great this week to finally walk back and forth to do my grocery shopping again.

    That little Italian store looks like it was the inspiration for the one on Lindenstrasse (the soap opera on ARD 18:40 Sunday Nights)We don’t have one of those here..

    I was just thinking that I would like to do something with eggplant this week… will give your recipe a try.

    • Allison said

      Lynda, the only reason I walk is because we don’t have a car. It’s forced us into this lifestyle and I couldn’t be happier. I’m taking this lifestyle with me for ever. I’ll never be able to really cut down on the treats so it’s a self preservation thing for my fat ass.

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