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Thursday, February 3, 2011


Here we are at Thursday once again.  Where do the days go?   I can't believe how quickly my days and weeks go by since I have moved to New England.  I would have thought that being cooped up in the house would make the days drag by; but, the opposite is true.  Maybe since they are going by so quickly that spring will arrive soon.   I can dream, right?

So moving right along, let me update you on Project 2011.  We are still on a quest to eat a more healthy diet here.  I think we are doing a pretty good job.  I have been having my Green Monsters every day and have continued to increase the amount of spinach that I add to them.  They are getting "greener" every day, it seems, and I still do not taste the spinach.  When you add bananas and strawberries and blueberries to the mix, the spinach taste gets lost in there.  My body seems to love the healthy food that I'm giving it for fuel. 

We have been cooking healthy meals at home this past week with only one night that we treated ourselves to Village Pizza.  All in all, I would say that's not too bad.  The scale hasn't been moving for me very much lately.  I find myself down a pound or two one day and back up a pound or two the next.  My clothes, however, are fitting better and I feel good and energetic so I think that's the real test on how this is working for me.  I know that when I feed my body good, healthy food, I feel great.  When I eat fatty, carb-laden food, I feel terrible.  My pants feel tight and my stomach feels upset and I have to take some sort of antacid just to feel better. 

I, also, find that when I eat too much....even if it's healthy food....I don't feel so well either.  I made a wonderful soup the other night with some All Natural Hot Italian Sausage, carrots, celery, peppers, onions, roasted tomatoes, spinach, kale and whole wheat tortellini that was sooo good.  I had a nice bowl of it and decided that I could eat just a little more of it.  Bad decision!  I was absolutely miserable.  You would think that armed with that information that I would ALWAYS make good choices; but, sadly, that is not the case.  Maybe one day, I will learn.

I haven't been taking too many photos of my food lately.  I've been busy getting organized around the house and that feels so good.  I feel much better when things are neat and clean so I've been taking time to stay on that.

I did want to share a new recipe with you that we tried last night.  I've been bookmarking and collecting healthy recipes that I find out in the blogosphere and trying to make new foods to keep things interesting.   David has been really good about trying new things so I want to keep that momentum going as long as he's willing to give them a try.   Making vegetarian meals is one way that I think we can be healthier and that's quite a change for us.  Both of us are serious meat-eaters!

While out reading blogs, I stumbled across a recipe for Eggplant and Mushroom Parmesan that looked so good.  I had bought an eggplant hoping to try a recipe for a healthy Moussaka that I found but when I ran across the Eggplant and Mushroom Parm recipe, the Moussaka took a backseat. 

I found this recipe on Living the Gourmet.  They feature some really yummy food over there so if you haven't checked their website out, you should definitely hop over there and do so.  You can find the recipe for the Eggplant and Mushroom Parm here.  For exact measurements, please see the original recipe.  I have a very small toaster oven that I do my baking in and weird sizes and shapes of baking dishes so I have to adjust the recipes to fit my situation. 

I ended up with too much eggplant for the baking dish and I probably could have prepared more mushrooms so if you want to make this, go check out the experts in the link I provided for you.   I will just give you an idea of how this went together and my final result.

I started out with 1 sliced eggplant.  I sprinkled salt on the slices and let them sit for a bit.  Salt draws some of the moisture out of the eggplant so that they don't become mushy when you cook them.  The recipe doesn't say to do this but since I was breading them and baking them, I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and do this.   I let them sit for about 30 minutes.

While I waited for the eggplant slices to do their thing, I started on the mushrooms.  I cut some white button mushrooms in half. 

 And dipped them in beaten egg....

And into the panko bread crumbs.....

A quick note about the Panko bread crumbs...

I love, love, love Panko.  They are so light and crispy and just taste so good to me.  Generally! 

The original recipe called for "Italian Breadcrumbs" so I set out to find "Italian Panko".   I ended up purchasing and using these....

I won't buy them again.  I found some Italian Panko Crumbs made by Progresso, I think, and compared the ingredients to this can and thought they seemed similar enough.  I had used this brand's plain ones before with good success and in the interest of saving a buck and some change went with this one. 

Bad choice!

I was not happy with the way these tasted.  Next time I will buy the other brand or I will attempt to season my own....which will probably be better anyway.  It turned out okay since they were going into the dish with sauce and cheese; but, it would not have been good if I were just breading chicken or fish.

Moving right along....

Once you get the mushrooms coated with the beaten egg and with the panko, back into the egg they go....

And back into the Panko...

And onto the baking sheet....

And into the oven....

In a perfect world and with a real kitchen, you can adjust this process to be more streamlined.  I had to wait until my mushrooms were done before I could put the eggplant in the oven.  This was very time consuming but still very doable.  Again, you can follow the recipe and instructions on the Living the Gourmet site.  This is just how I made it work in my kitchen.

Once the mushrooms had finished cooking, I took them out of the oven and prepared the eggplant.  By now the salt has been drawing out the moisture of the eggplant slices.  I rinsed the slices and patted them dry. 

It's now time for the double egg bath and the double roll in the Panko crumbs.  I'm sorry that I didn't take photos of this process.  It's messy and I haven't quite gotten the hang of one hand in the wet and one hand in the dry.  I need a third and fourth hand to hold the camera and snap the photo.  You get the idea though. 

Eggplant slices were dipped in beaten egg and then rolled in the panko and then back into the beaten egg and back into the panko.  After that process, onto the baking sheet they go....

And into the oven and they come out looking something like this....

Now it's time to put it all together. 

I started with a single layer of eggplant in the bottom of a baking dish that I sprayed with olive oil.  On top of the eggplant slices, I spooned some of this sauce....

I know it's better to make my own sauce but I didn't have time or the inclination to do that.  This was a very time consuming meal to prepare.  I had this in the cupboard so it got the place of honor as the sauce of choice.

I didn't get pictures of this whole process; but, this is how it went....

On top of the sauce, I placed a layer of sliced mozzarella cheese....

And remember these guys?

I placed a layer of the roasted tomatoes on top of the mozzarella cheese.

Next went a layer of the mushrooms....

And some more sauce.....

Finally, the whole thing was covered in freshly grated romano cheese and more slices of mozzarella.

Once it had baked (a little longer than I had planned!), we ended up with something that looked like this....

I let this cook a little too long as I was busy with some other things.  We like our cheese "well done" anyway so neither of us were too sad with the result.  Feel free to bake yours for less time.  The dark brown circles on the top are very "well done" mozzarella.

Underneath that very well done cheese....

It was really delicious!

This post is linked up to Project 2011 and Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Miz Helen’s Country Cottage



  1. Gosh the dish looks so good. Good for you for staying on track. I am too and I'm enjoying how much better I feel and how much better I sleep.


  2. This looks so good. I love using panko bread crumbs, it gives everything such a good crunch.:)
    thanks for the recipe!

  3. That looks yummy! I happened to make something very similar last night, without the mushrooms. I love mushrooms though and will add them to mine next time.

    Have a nice weekend!

  4. Wow - what an amazing looking dish! Don't know if I'd have your patience in putting it al together though (I would have been eating the mushrooms straight from the oven).

    Well done for staying on track with your healthy lifestyle though. I'm sure that it will be feeling like 2nd nature soon :-)

  5. I do this to zucchini! This is so up my alley! mushrooms and eggplant? ahhhh in love!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  6. Oh my! The mushrooms and eggplant looks delicious! Another recipe I've got to try. I'll have to get some of those Panko bread crumbs. I also agree that eating too much of even good stuff can make one feel horrid. Also, if I don't get protein at lunch time, I'm crashing in late afternoon.

  7. Thanks for sharing this recipe, it sounds amazing!

    I'm the same way with my diet right now. I feel better, my clothes fit better but the scale is barely moving. Slow and steady wins the race I suppose!

  8. Hey cool...I just discovered Panko myself and I love the stuff. And the mozzarella looks perfect to me. Yummy. :D

    Way to go.

  9. Looks like good stuff is happening at your place!

  10. Good for you. I would think its hard to eat healthy and try to unpack and get used to a new place. Sounds like you are doing it in spades! Keep up the good job.
    Have you thought about printing off the recipes you find and making a cookbook for them?

  11. I am drooling literally! Very pretty pictures Candace and I am sure the food was fabulous.

  12. Thank you Candace for trying my recipe and linking to my site. I am especially glad you enjoyed it. Blessings, Catherine

  13. Oh my gosh that looks amazing!!! Now I've got to go eat some breakfast.

  14. Hi Candace,
    My goodness girl...this just looks amazing, I would just love to have a serving or two. Thank you so much for bringing your wonderful Eggplant and Mushroom Parmesan for us to enjoy at Full Plate Thursday. Have a warm and cozy week end and please come back!

  15. OMG - this looks absolutely heavenly - I know that I would absolutely love this dish - yum!
    Sue :-)

  16. I need to take some time and clean/ organize my house, too- the energy is always better when you do that. :) The mushrooms and eggplant look too good! Do not use Japanese Panko - noted. Happy Sunday. :)


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