We’ve been chopped!!

As in “Chopped” by our cooking judges…

Team G’s judged Ella and I tonight as we played a pretend game of the cooking show Chopped.

Cutest judges ever!

My kids love watching the Food Network when they visit their grandparents, it’s only a given that they love to play it too lol! So tonight when Ella wanted to help me in the kitchen, we had to give the boys a job or I probably wouldn’t have heard the end of it! Judging was the answer. Can’t have too many cooks in the kitchen right?!

The babies

So Ella and I got right down to work. I let her do most of the prepping and she wanted to help marinate the chicken. She went a little shake happy with the garlic powder though, so we were nervous about what our judges would have to say about that…

Gavin kept us on our toes the entire time!! He had us with 10 minutes left on the clock…oh for about an hour…. Longest 10 minutes known to man I think. But it was funny. We were enjoying every minute!

Yum!!

By the way, this zucchini recipe I found on Pinterest of course 😉 I love to incorporate it when I can cause it’s easy and yummy!! Ella also played announcer by giving ingredient and cooking updates along the way.

The green beans are in the pan now and she’s adding some oil…oh and some spices….”

“The zucchini things are coming along nicely!”

I of course had my own sentiments…

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”
W. C. Fields

Loving my new glass 🙂

Well you know what I mean, I didn’t add it to the food tonight, but it sure is nice to sip along the way!

The meal was ever satisfying and the judges actually DID enjoy it!! Here they are eating away at the meal and the artichoke we had to go with it…

So how was it that the judges loved us but still had us chopped? That brings me to the kicker of this story. Never mind that Gavin was messing around by going back and forth between chopped or safe throughout the entire dinner, leaving us totally confused. No it wasn’t that which got us chopped.

So our favorite little green stemmed friend, the artichoke… he decided to show his ugly side tonight. Or buggly side I might say. This long standing, family loving tradition of artichoke eating has NEVER, I repeatNEVER shown this side of himself before. I WAS APPALLED!! I mean was I dreaming when I compared a perfect artichoke to a perfect man.. beautifully compacted in a bit of smooth yet tough exterior, sweet and consistently perfect on the inside with a heart that is to die for?!

Oh wait you mean there is also no such thing as a perfect artichoke either?! Darn, well we learned that the hard way tonight.. the vomiting in my mouth hard way when about halfway into eating one of the chokes, Gavin pointed out some strange black dots clustered around some of the leaves. Right away inspector Mommy was on the case and with a little prodding through the next few layers I discovered what I feared I would.

Ughh, It still makes me shiver as I think about it again. A little white worm sticking out through a couple leaves underneath. Plenty of wormy poops to go around I might add…Just typing it is killing me now because the thought of what we may have eaten is just the most disgusting thing to me. Of course in the moment Mommy had to have her bearings and swiftly toss it in the trash before any major revelation by the kids of what “it” was. All they needed to know was that just as much as we need and love to eat a plant like our trusty artichokes, other insects in this world love it too…

And… gulp…must eat like us…gulp… unfortunately we were sharing ours with another friend tonight. You know I love a natural learning experience, but did it really have to come in the form of a creepy crawly in our food tonight?!! Seriously, I had to chop myself from our little game because if I had known to inspect an artichoke better than I did, we could have avoided this I think. Shame on me!

MOMMY LESSON #405: WHILE CLEANING/PREPARING ARTICHOKE, CHECK FOR ANY LIVING FRIENDS WHO MAY HAVE SET UP HOME FURTHER IN. 

I was totally surprised by this episode tonight and can you imagine that we still were able to finish off the other artichoke?! Well it was already almost done anyway which is about the best part remember?!

IT’S THAT BEAUTIFUL HEART WE ARE ALWAYS AFTER…

An artichoke heart is a work of art…

Yes it is all about the heart!!

And that was our evening, eventful as always! Join us next week on chopped if we can be trusted again to safely inspect our food haha 😉

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The awesome Eggplant

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I was actually wondering if my excessive consumption of eggplant lately would do me any harm. That is seriously how in love I am with this amazing veggie right now. I pretty much could eat one all on my own, if I didn’t remind myself to share…sounds bad but I guess I’m the only one who would eat it anyway. The kids are just starting to take a liking to it now which is great!

Eggplant is one of those things you either love or can’t stand, kind of like brussel sprouts. It’s not something that I ever hated eating, I just hadn’t discovered it’s amazing-ness until the past few years. Eggplant parmesan was always good in my opinion, but a while back I ventured into a recipe found here by the lovely Giada De Laurentiis which hooked me on it! So delish with the pesto and pasta, but lately I’ve devoured this thing in a more simplified state.

.BAKED.

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I think I’ve mastered my favorite recipe for it though finally! Kind of a culmination of the different versions I’ve tried out. Baked Eggplant recipes all kind of begin to look similar so it’s easy to adapt what you prefer as far as taste goes. I actually liked an addition of light parmesan cheese. Adds a little more saltyness. Eggplant can also be kind of tricky to work with because of how spongy it is. It really soaks up oil like no other. But with the delicious method of baking it, you just can’t go without the olive oil!

All you need is:

1 eggplant sliced width wise

garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, olive oil, salt to taste

parmesan cheese.

I line my pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray. I think the foil helps it crisp a bit. The key to not sogging (that’s my term for them getting horribly soggy during one trial) them up is by using a marinade brush to LIGHTLY brush the oil on both sides of all slices. I REPEAT LIGHTLY brush with oil. After the oil, sprinkle with all the seasonings. I’m not using exact measurements, it’s totally something you can eyeball. I do both sides with the seasons but just go easy so it doesn’t over power!! Then bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min or until the edges are a little crisp. Add the cheese and let it melt. Eat and enjoy!! 🙂

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This photo barely made it between bites, it’s THAT good. Or I’m just THAT obsessed.

Could be both…

Either way there are other benefits to reap with this nutrient dense vegetable. It’s great because it fills you up yet it is a low-calorie and a lower carb food. It of course has lot’s of vitamins and minerals, which is great. Also it has phytonutrients which help in releasing icky toxins from the body and contributes to the antioxidant value in it (disease fighting!!). Might I add it is a great source of fiber too.

So in the name of good eating habits, I am going to let myself stay obsessed with the eggplant for now. Just thought I’d share my appreciation of this unique food and possibly inspire a few taste buds while I’m at it!