Crispy Eggplant + Orange Salad

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Shopping is an activity I detest.

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Unless I’m with my mother and she’s paying, of course.

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But honestly moms just have this innate skill that the Lord infuses in them the moment they conceive. They can choose clothes for their daughter that said daughter would never pick out herself and they turn out to be the daughter’s very favorite clothes.

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I’m simply lost without her shopping guidance. I spent three hours shopping for a dress this weekend. Three hours of my life I could have spent doing 1.8 million other things like bingeing a show, reading a book, exploring a new hobby, learning a new language, working on my excel spreadsheet of America’s top airports, etc. I went to NO JOKE 11 stores. Everything was either a frumpy sack on me or $300. I needed Susan there to dig through the sale bins & pull out the gem among the rocks. And isn’t it the MOST typical that I was shopping v specifically for a dress, so the world conspired against me to put nothing but adorable sweaters in my path? It’s cruel and unusual!

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So, the next best thing – I made her online shop for me & ordered a dress she picked out. Boom.

 

 

Time: 1 hour (prep + cooking) | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups of arugula
  • 1 eggplant, peeled + cut into cubes
  • 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. of flax meal
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1/4 cup of basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  • 1 orange, cut into lil pieces
  • 1/2 cup of kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • S+P, to taste

How to:

  • Place eggplant cubes in a colander + sprinkle with some S, coating on the lil cubes – let water release + drain for about 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a food processor, combine spinach + 1 cup of aurugla + basil + pumpkin seeds + nutritional yeast + garlic + S+P, process on low + slowly add in 1/2 cup of olive oil until well combined, refrigerate until ready to serve
  • Add flax meal + 1/2 cup of warm water to a bowl, set aside for a few minutes + add breadcrumbs to another bowl, add red pepper + some S+P to it
  • Pat dry the eggplant cubes, then a few cubes at a time, dip into flax egg bowl + then breadcrumbs, place on a lined baking sheet
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, tossing once in the middle of cooking
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a lil skillet over medium heat
  • Add shallot + S+P, cook for 4-5 minutes
  • To serve, arrange some arugula on a plate + top with eggplant + quinoa + orange + olives + shallots + pesto
  • Get a bite of every lil component on your fork + do the same for your sweetie + wrap your arms around each other like you would with champagne + then feed each other until your arms fall asleep

Pesto Cauliflower with Butter Beans + Blistered Tomatoes

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I think I had my first hot flash.

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At 28. Is that even possible?

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Farewell, cruel world. I’m out.

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I’m getting ready for bed two nights ago and all of a sudden I am overcome with heat. Like I can feel my scalp get hot and start to dampen. My cheeks flush. I feel like I am going to burst out of my skin. I accuse Garrett of turning off the air and/or poisoning me. I’m like running around the house trying to figure out what is happening to make me so hot. Air is working, fan is on, everything is normal. It’s me. I’m just boiling from the inside out. These are just as terrible as Diane Keaton has always told us. I’m sorry, I simply won’t survive anymore of these. I hope someone is working on a menopause pill that allows us to bypass these symptoms. I only calmed down after ripping off all my clothes and standing in front of the oscillating fan for 20 minutes while contemplating aging and my mortality. It was a dark day.

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I’ve tried to since convince myself it was just the summer heat and I’m a delicate southern belle who must be fanned and tended to with iced teas and fresh hankies to dab at my sweaty brow.

 

Time: 1 hour (prep + cooking) | Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 can of butter beans, rinsed + drained
  • 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, rinsed + halved
  • 1 cup of basil
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp. of garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • S+P, to taste

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a food processor, combine basil + spinach + walnuts + nutritional yeast + 1 tbsp. of garlic + lemon juice + S+P
  • Process while drizzling in 1/3 cup of olive oil until smooth
  • Thin with a little water if necessary
  • In a bowl, toss cauliflower with half of the pesto
  • Arrange on a lined baking sheet
  • Bake 30-35 minutes, tossing once, until browned to your desire
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat
  • Add beans + S+P, cook 3-4 minutes
  • Add sundried tomatoes + crushed red pepper, cook another 2-3 minutes
  • Remove from pan
  • Add tomatoes to hot skillet with S+P, cook 4-5 minutes
  • To serve, arrange some cauli on a plate + top with beans + tomatoes + remaining pesto
  • On your plate, create a cauli road for you to traipse down with your scarecrow friend + find magical adventure + fun

Rainbow Carrot + Asparagus Tart

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How can I ever accurately express the impact Celine Dion has had on my life?

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I suppose I’d have to go back to the beginning. When a six-year-old Rachel sat in the movie theatre after her first screening of Titanic and the credits rolled. Something inside of me just clicked.

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My Heart Will Go On became the first in what would become a collection of ballads I would memorize and sing at all hours of the day staring at myself in the mirror performing in a melodramatic fashion.

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And now, in less than one year, I will see my idol in person. I will breathe her angelic air and hear her golden voice live. Because my mother knows me to my core, she was determined to get these tickets. She joined a Celine fan club to get early access to tickets and on the morning they went on sale, she was prepared to fight the masses with two cell phones, an iPad and a laptop. After we lost out on Adele tickets in 2016, she was not taking any chances! After about 73 failed attempts, she gets them. 8 tickets for me, her and 6 of my BFFs. It’s not until after she’s paid she realizes she accidentally bought us VIP tickets. Like, OK, do I smell a meet and greet in my future?!?!! After further research, we discover the 8 VIP tickets we purchased give us 8 commemorative lanyards and 1 CD. A single CD. For the 8 of us to share. We’ll be creating a rotation schedule so everyone gets equal amount of time with the disc.

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And we are also all going to channel different Celines for our wardrobe and makeup, so we or may not go viral.

 

 

Time:  1.5 hours (prep + cooking) | Serves: 1 tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 puff pastry
  • 4 rainbow carrots
  • 1/2 a bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup of basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic
  • 1 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • S+P, to taste

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Thaw puff pastry for 40 minutes
  • Arrange carrots + asparagus on two lined baking sheets
  • Drizzle each with 1 tbsp. of olive oil + some S+P
  • Roast 20 minutes, tossing once in the middle, remove the asparagus, cook carrots a couple more minutes
  • Meanwhile combine basil + walnuts + nutritional yeast + garlic + lemon juice + S+P in a food processor, process on low + add in remaining olive oil
  • Spray a baking sheet with oil + place puff pastry on sheet
  • Spread pesto on thawed puff pastry, leaving edges plain
  • Cut carrots in half, length wise + place them + asparagus on top of the tart in whatever order your heart desires
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until crisp to your desire
  • Cut in quarters + serve warm
  • Take a quarter in your hand + crunch it up over your tilted mouth letting the crumblies fill your pie hole