Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

One of my friends asked for my Eggplant Parmesan recipe, so I'll share it with everyone....

Eggplant Parmesan

2 medium to large eggplants
eggs about 6
course grind black pepper
olive oil
I jar pasta sauce, your fave, I like Prego
2 large cans diced tomatoes (I like Italian style)
16 oz mozzarella cheese

Peel the eggplant and slice to 1/4 inch thick lengthwise. I do not salt or soak my eggplant. Put a cup or two of flour on a plate and add dill and pepper to taste. In a separate bowl whisk 5 or 6 eggs. Take the sliced eggplant and run it under water to get it wet, shake excess water off lightly. Dip the eggplant in flour first, then eggs, this will allow the eggplant to have less of a thick fried crust, unless you prefer it the other way you can reverse eggs first. If you run out of eggs or flour just add a bit more to your plate or bowl. Place the eggplant slices in a skillet of hot olive oil about 1/4 inch deep. Fry the eggplant on medium until it's golden brown, turn and repeat. Place the eggplant slices on a plate while you continue to fry the rest. I do not drain the oil from them.
Take a jar of pasta sauce and the two large cans of diced tomatoes and mix, add Italian seasoning to taste if you like. Use a 9 x 13 inch dish to layer 1/3 sauce, half the eggplant slices... just cover the surface and overlay slightly if necessary, top with sauce and cheese, repeat, the other half eggplant, more sauce and a good topping of cheese. Spray a sheet of tinfoil with nonstick spray, cover the dish and bake at 350 for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. The eggplant is done when you pierce it with a fork and it is tender.... When I make this next I will post a picture. Enjoy... xooxoxoxxo

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reversible jacket

For my first sewing post I've chosen to put up a garment I created for a Threads contest.  I was a finalist, my reversible garment went down the runway in Vegas.  Garment number 13 on the slideshow...Enjoy....

Winter blues

After the longest night of the year, Winter Solstice which occurred last week, light is starting to return to us. It's not something that's really being felt yet, but by March at the Vernal Equinox, day and night will again be balanced and I believe that's when I start to myself feel a bit more balanced. If you are suffering those winter blues, this is the reason... the change of seasons and lack of light that helps to keep your mind vibrant and happy. So, grab moments of light and positive energy when you can, burn a bit of sage and know that with the birth of the New Year we too are being reborn.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Homemade Calzone

Calzone or Pizza recipe
Here's an easy dough recipe that I use to make Pizza or Calzone.
It's quick, easy and very delicious.

2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. white sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 TBSP. olive oil
1 tsp. salt

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a good size bowl add water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let it sit approximately 10-15 minutes, the yeast should get fluffy and foamy on top. Stir in the rest of the ingredients until everything is mixed nicely. The dough should not be overly sticky or dry, if it is add a bit more water or flour to compensate. Place a towel over the bowl and let the dough rest for about 10-15 minutes.  Lightly sprinkle flour on your preparation surface and roll or stretch the dough into a round shape for pizza or a rectangle for Calzone. I've found that not overworking the dough creates a soft, light dough. Place dough on either a very large pizza round or a cookie sheet. When making a double batch I bake them side by side. Sprinkle with approximately 8-12 oz of mozzarella cheese and any other toppings you like, pepperoni, olives, mushrooms etc. For Calzone pinch the edges of the dough together to seal. Melt half a stick of butter, then brush the butter over the surface of the Calzone and lift half gently and spread butter underneath also. Bake for about 30 minutes, keeping an eye on the dough. When Calzone is golden brown, remove from the oven.
For pizza: Create a sauce of tomato paste and sauce of the desired consistency and add Italian seasoning. Spread on dough before adding toppings.  For Calzone, serve the sauce as a dipping sauce on the side. I double this recipe and divide the dough at the rolling stage.

Lots of one's

One-one, one-one...there you have it a true new beginning.  I'm usually not a person to make resolutions at the New Year as I feel they are a way to set yourself up for failure, but I do take a look at my life and think about what the past year has held and what I would like to accomplish in the new one. This year I really am taking stock of where I am in life. I started college a year and a half ago, set some hard goals for myself and jumped in. With a great amount of fear and stress I may add, very unfamiliar territory indeed. But, I knew it was necessary to adjust in the world.  You see, I've chosen for many years to be a full-time mother, working part time in-between and running a small vintage reproduction clothing business I created, but most of the time dedicating myself solely to my family. I've never regretted that decision, time flies so quickly, really really it does.  When I held my firstborn in my arms 22 years ago I was fresh out of the Navy choosing my child over a career. I never realized how fast he would grow and that he would end up in the military himself as a grown man.  I've three other children besides him and every day know what true blessings I hold in my life.

Now, it's a scary thing to look at your life one day and know that you had better adjust and make some decisions or you won't be prepared for what the future holds because those kids aren't so little anymore. And how do you decide all these things. The degree I'm working for will lead me in a couple of directions and I am sure life circumstance will help me make the right decisions when the time comes.

In the meantime I'm starting classes again in 10 days and plodding away at a fairly rapid pace and holding a 4.0 GPA as best I can. Deans list will do much for your self-esteem. I go back and forth between thinking I should work for that perfect, secure-style marketable type of job to thinking I just want to start a food establishment with all the insecurity that brings.  Therein lies my maternal instinct kicking in wanting to take care of people and make them feel good. I'm the kind of person that will hug you in a heartbeat and I do find it amusing how people respond to hugs, some welcome them with their whole souls open, some give peck on the cheek hugs and some people are fairly mortified, but I'll hug you nonetheless.  The more closed a person is to a hug, the more I know they needed it. I think you really can change someones day with a simple heartfelt hug.

A prime example of this, the school my youngest attends has a crossing guard that works the main intersection down the road. I wave to him everyday while he guides traffic with his big red stop sign so the buses and other vehicles can be safely on their way. I was inside the school not too long ago and saw him there. I said, "Hey are you the crossing guard that works the intersection down the street", he said, "yes" and I gave him a big hug and said "I'm the one in the van that waves to you everyday, you're doing a great job, thank you". He lit up and said "Thank you, you made me feel really good today" and with dual smiles we were both on our way. Just a simple act of kindness can do so much for someone.

 So, this is what I've decided for the New Year... to be as happy as I can, count my blessings everyday, hold my family and friends close and dear to my heart, belly dance more and sew more, try to cry only when really necessary, take deep breaths when peace is replaced with anxiety and keep knocking out that college degree.... Oh and of course lose weight. Happy happy New Year and if I was there with you while you were reading this, I would give you a big hug.