Good Morning and happy Friday! Yesterday, I posted five of my top picks for the month of October so far….well, this is part 2! There is just so much goodness all around me that I couldn’t narrow it down….
Can I just say that my readers are amazing! I have been blogging just a month now AND I already have 51 of you receiving my posts to your inbox…WOW! Thank you so much for the support! Truly incredible!
To start, a quote I came across this week that I adore:
Quality is never an accident. It’s always the result of high attention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives.
~ William A. Foster
The french are ALL about quality. This is definitely a lesson they have taught me. Quality food, wardrobe, life experiences, people, and thoughts. I love to look at different aspects of my life and challenge myself with the question…”Is this the highest quality?” If not, I am aware that this is an area I can improve. This can refer to relationships in your life, thoughts you have, the food you are eating, the clothes you are wearing. Trust me, I don’t necessarily mean expensive. The point is you should treat yourself to the best you can afford, always.
I am very aware of things that I unabashedly love. France~ yes, food & wine~yes, travel~ yes and the list goes one. I really have learned to savor the aspects in my life that I have created. I live in Southern California. If there is one thing I will constantly look to appreciate in California, it is the natural beauty. There is really nothing better than having both the mountains and the ocean within minutes. I remember taking these photos recently….and feeling an overwhelming sense of happiness. How could you not be at peace with this beauty to look at and take your breath away…
The sky while at the beach… the day was coming to an end…basking in this glory
I mean seriously….this was on a brisk walk at sunset…I always feel so small when I see the ocean. It’s actually a welcomed feeling….I love knowing that the universe is conspiring on my behalf….I love thinking about this earth and knowing there is something so much greater going on… something so much greater than me!
I also have not mentioned yet one of the loves of my life. Here is a little tribute to my buddy, Simba. He is my 3 year old pomeranian that brings me so much joy daily. I now know what it means when people say their dogs are their children. I love this little guy….animals teach us unconditional love. He always shows me he is happy to see me no matter what I look like or what mood I am in.
Oh and I am also feeling appreciative of my mom this month! She is always there for me and takes care of the bundle of joy above when I travel! Thanks Mom!!
Ok, ok so now on to the recipes!
This week I made two meals that were blog worthy. #1- Eggplant Gratin and #2 Steel Cut Oats in the Peanut Butter Jar!
Breakfast & Dinner…naturally let’s start with breakfast…
I felt like including several super foods into one delicious oatmeal. I got creative too! You know when you only have maybe a tsp left of peanut butter and you are about to eat if off the spoon and throw away the jar…well DON’T! I have created this recipe for oats in the peanut butter jar because as you pour the warm oatmeal into the jar it begins to pull the peanut butter from the crevices and add a creamy delicious richness to your oats. I used steel cut oats however, you can also used regular rolled oats.
Oats in the Peanut Butter Jar
1/4 cup steel cut oats (dry)
1 cups water
handful fresh or frozen blackberries
2 tbsp dried cherries
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp vanilla soymilk
Place steel cut oats, water and pinch of salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until cooked and all water is absorbed. Let oats cool.
Combine oats with the rest of the ingredients and pour into peanut butter jar. Warm in the microwave 30 seconds. Voila! Banana instead of blackberries would be wonderful in this….especially with the peanut butter! Delish!
So now onto dinner…I had the most mouth watering home-made gnocchi with caramelized eggplant while I was in Paris. It was phenomenal. Naturally, it left me craving eggplant. This gratin is great for any meal- add a salad. If you want to be really french you could sauté some white fish to go along side.
2 medium eggplant (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
8 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (your favorite jarred pasta sauce….or make your own!)
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously salt your eggplant slices. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and when hot add several slices of eggplant and cook until browned on both sides.Place on paper towels to drain.Repeat until all eggplant slices are cooked. In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. In a greased baking dish, arrange a single layer of eggplant. Sprinkle with parmesan and add 1/2 cup sauce. Add a second layer and sprinkle with parmesan and add remaining sauce. Cover the top surface with ricotta mixture and top with the remaining parmesan. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
I am headed to work and then have a fun weekend planned. Lot’s of R & R will be included….Whatever you are doing enjoy it! Cheers…