Tag Archives: food

Inspiration in the Kitchen

29 Nov

My inspiration to blog

My blogging journey started when people would constantly ask me what I was eating as a vegetarian. As I tend to do, I would elaborate in great detail about the meals I was cooking and how easy it was to whip up a dish each night. People were fascinated that I could eat burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, burritos, and stir fry, among many other things, while all of it being completely vegetarian. They wanted the recipes and since I don’t measure ingredients and always change an already-prepared recipe, I had no way to share my passion for healthy cooking to the masses. Plus, I wanted to convey a deeper message than just passing on a recipe, which is why I try to always add a little story or more information on the ingredients in my posts. Since then, I have expanded my blogging world and started writing about other topics that come across my mind. But, vegetarian cooking is where it all really began and it is what inspired me to start a blog. Even though I like to post pictures and I write about running, it still always comes back to the kitchen.

This post is in response to WordPress’ Photo Challenge of what inspires bloggers.

Change It Up: Moroccan Eggplant with Couscous Recipe

12 Nov


Verb: Make or become different.

Noun: The act or instance of making or becoming different.

Change is a word that is part of our everyday vocabulary, yet has developed more meaning over the course of the last four years.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

– President Barack Obama

My friend who ran the Athens half-marathon with me dedicated her race to President Obama because his message inspired her to make drastic changes with her health and life four years ago. The President isn’t the only one who is trying to create such a positive message. When Googled, the first result that comes up for the word “change” is the website for the organization change.org. Their website says:

Empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see.

And they ask “What will you change?” That’s a wonderful question. People complain about their lives in different ways – their job, their relationships, their income, and the list goes on and on. But we all have the ability to change those aspects of our lives, right? That’s the beauty of it all – of this world and this life.

A few months ago as I was getting ready to write down my grocery list for the week, I realized I was tired of making the same old meals and needed…you guessed it…change. I decided that since eggplant had been on sale lately, I’d find an easy recipe with eggplant. I found a few that had the genius idea of steaming the eggplant in the microwave to save on time. Moroccan Eggplant with Couscous was what I created and I wanted to share it on Meatless Monday to help others make a change in their routine and choose a healthier alternative to eating meat. I have made this recipe now a dozen times, each time trying a new ingredient or a new method. This variation seemed to be the biggest hit, but please share if you find another way to make it!

Moroccan Eggplant with Couscous Recipe

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 cup fresh basil (optional)
  • 1 (15 oz) can chick peas, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can no salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes (original recipe), undrained
  • 2 1/4 cups cooked whole wheat pearl couscous
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  1. Combine eggplant and water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and zucchini; sauté 6 minutes or until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add eggplant mixture, chick peas, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, basil, and canned tomatoes to pan; turn down to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add raisins.
  4. Serve over couscous; sprinkle with cheese.
The idea for this dish came from this recipe.

My Undying Love for Candy Corn

30 Oct

October 30 is National Candy Corn Day!

I have an abnormal love for candy corn. I was coming to terms with the fact that not many others like this sweet treat until I read more about candy corn. Wikipedia says:

The top branded retailer of candy corn, Brach’s, sells enough candy corn each year to circle the earth 4.25 times if the kernels were laid end to end.

That’s a lot of candy corn! I was in Publix about a month or so back and saw they had this candy in the front of the store. So, as I was nibbling on it (which then made me sick later because I ate too much of it), I saw this on the bag:

In case you can’t read it, it says “Even though October 30 is National Candy Corn Day, and even though this treat is strongly identified with Halloween, you can enjoy it all year long. Like, right now.”

Wait, what?! There is a National Candy Corn Day?! And I didn’t know about it?! But, why is it the day before Halloween? So. Many. Questions. Of course, I went straight to Google to find some answers about candy corn, and this nifty website came up that talks about the 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Candy Corn. Here’s what this website had to say about the national holiday (side note: the author of this website is not a fan of candy corn):

You don’t have to wait until Oct. 31 to get rid of your annual stock of waxy candy horror. There’s another holiday in October that will allow you to unload your stockpile before the trick-or-treaters start roaming the neighborhoods and egging the houses that give out crummy treats. National Candy Corn Day is traditionally held on Oct. 30, a day that mysteriously started appearing on calendars after it became a Halloween staple. Do we detect a worldwide candy corn conspiracy?

This website had other fun facts about candy corn, including how it’s one of the most hated Halloween candies. However, after more candy corn research, I found conflicting information about the candy’s popularity. The Huffington Post came out with this article just a few days ago saying that candy corn is the most talked about Halloween candy. Candy corn must be saying, “You like me, you really like me!”

Courtesy of Huffington Post

And the news for candy corn keeps getting better – we now have options. Oreo just came out with candy corn cookies! I hate to admit it, but I kind of want to try them (and then run like 5 miles afterwards). I found this clip of Ellen talking about how disgusting we’ve become as a nation with offering this type of food. And as a disclaimer, I know this whole post is dedicated to candy corn, but I very scarcely eat it or any kind of junk food and I do wholeheartedly agree with her opinion.


Ellen isn’t the only comedian who jokes about candy corn, either. Lewis Black does an awesome stand-up bit on it, and it’s hilarious!


Frozen Yogurt Candy Corn

@StudioDIY Takes a new twist on candy corn

Surprisingly, candy corn is deemed as one of the healthier candies (#6 fun fact on 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Candy Corn), but I’m not buying into that foolishness. Sugar is sugar. Since this blog is dedicated to being healthy and enjoying all the good things in life, why not put a healthy twist on my guilty pleasure with candy corn? So, I found this website through the wonderful world of Twitter that shows you how to make frozen yogurt candy corn, which seems like a way healthier alternative. I haven’t tried it yet, but I am definitely going to in the near future. Cheers to a Happy (and healthy) Halloween!


My Heart through a Filtered Lens

17 Oct

Whistle While You Work

15 Oct
Singing Kitchen Utensils

Cool kettle guitar that I found on Trend Hunter’s website

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to cook I go…

When I’m cooking, I usually play some tunes to relax and unwind. I find cooking therapeutic, with the best combination being great music in the background while cooking a fantastic recipe. A pinch of parsley there, a dash of Ray LaMontagne there.

Last night, while I was cooking Sweet Potato Burritos (from a previous post), my music of choice was Iron & Wine’s Shepherd’s Dog album. I also listened to their song Such Great Heights, which will always remind me of my college days, watching Garden State all the time and listening to the soundtrack on repeat. Their melodic tunes with the aroma of Mexican food in the air was a fabulous way to end a great weekend.

When you cook, do you listen to music?  If so, what do you listen to?

Chowing Down with the Motley Crew

8 Oct

I had to share this for Meatless Monday even though I ate this yesterday 🙂

We were a motley crew on our 11 mile training run – one with a bum ankle, one feeling sick and run-down, and another with fatigue. But we finished and were able to enjoy this wonderful, well-deserved brunch at the Highland Bakery in Atlanta. Pictured below is what I got: Tofu Scramble with Soysauge and Oven-Roasted Potatoes, accompanied with a Pumpkin Spice Soy Latte.


Meatless Monday: “Meatballs” and Penne Pasta Recipe

1 Oct

When you’ve got the blues, do you have a go-to dish that serves as comfort food? For me, it’s usually some sort of pasta dish. Recently, it was Meatless Meatballs and Penne Pasta.

When I was making this dish, I couldn’t help but hum the lyrics to That’s Life. Yes, I was feeling gloomy on this particular day. It was stuck in my head while I was measuring spices, so I decided to look up the song and listen to it (side note: I found this cool video that goes along to the music).

My parents always had Frank Sinatra playing in the background at our house when I was growing up, and I loved listening to his soothing voice. I guess the combination of the song and the Italian meal made me feel comforted like I was back under my parent’s roof, being a child with no worries or care.

In case you need some cheering up, here’s a recipe to try out.

Meatless Meatballs and Penne Pasta Recipe


  • 1 lb whole grain penne pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 (9 oz) container of Veggie Patch Meatless Meatballs
  • 2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • a dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 heaping cup squash, diced
  • 1 heaping cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Parmesan grated cheese (optional)
  1. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic until softened, or about 3 minutes.
  2. Add all spices until fragrant, or about 1 minute.
  3. Add red wine vinegar and stir. Add squash, zucchini and red pepper and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes, lower heat to simmer, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add mushrooms, recover the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add meatless meatballs and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes (or longer, if time allows).
  8. Meanwhile, boil water for pasta. Follow instructions on pasta box to cook the penne.
Serve with Parmesan grated cheese (I used soy Parmesan cheese if you want the vegan alternative). I also made side salads with this dish. If you really want to top it all off, make some garlic bread to go along with this dish. I hope this meal brings you as much comfort as it did (and does) for me. Cheers!
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