Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ricotta Stuffed Eggplant Rolls

Look at that... one thing I never thought I would put on this blog, a dish featuring eggplant. Me and eggplant have a weird relationship. Way-back-when I had prepared an eggplant dish and it didn't really go as planned. It was bitter. And not "let's just add more sauce and it'll be fine" bitter, I'm talking noticeable bitter. At that moment I decided eggplant was not my thing. 
The strange thing is, I never really stopped buying it. Every once and a while an eggplant finds its way into my shopping cart. It's almost as if my stomach thought that by some bizarre miracle it won't just sit in my fridge for a week; I might actually figure out what to do with the damn thing. Alas, the week goes by and that eggplant would make it's way into the safest meal possible: stir-fry.
And then I went out on a limb and made this recipe. It converted me. Since preparing and enjoying far to many servings of this recipe, I have made eggplant on four separate occasions. This recipe ignited my love for eggplant. Ok, love is a strong word... this recipe made me enjoy eating eggplant. Boy have I come a long way!
Ricotta Stuffed Eggplant Rolls
Eggplant gets the umami treatment in this easy to prepare dish. Rich ricotta is rolled inside thinly sliced eggplant and then smothered in tomato sauce and melty mozzarella.

1 large eggplant
1 1/2 cups ricotta
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
1 tbsp garlic & herb seasoning
2 cups pasta sauce
3/4 cup grated mozzarella
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Slice eggplant lengthwise, in widths about 1/2 inch thick. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Roast in oven until eggplant has softened, approximately 5-10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix together ricotta, parmesan, and garlic & herb seasoning.
4. Pour pasta sauce into a baking dish.
5. Remove eggplant from oven and allow to cool. Divide the ricotta mixture between slices of eggplant. Firmly roll eggplant around ricotta mixture and place seam side down in the pasta sauce. Continue until all are rolled.
6. Spoon pasta sauce onto tops of eggplant rolls, and then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
7. Bake in a 350F oven until cheese is melted and sauce is warmed, approximately 15 minutes.
8. Garnish with chopped basil. Serve.

What's your favourite way to prepare eggplant?

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 Casual Items to Wear Every Weekend

Thank goodness it's Friday, right? This week has been a long one. I can feel a head-cold coming on, and I am doing everything in my power to fight it before it hits full force (water, tea, soups, echinacea, you name it!). I am also excited about attending Spark Sessions tomorrow with Jen (another reason to fight this cold). The world of fashion blogging has always piqued my interests, so tomorrow's conference should give me a good behind the scenes glimpse. As for the rest of the weekend? You can find me bundled up with an oversized sweater rocking boyfriend jeans and a toque.

Hope you all have a lovely (casual) weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Easy Crockpot Beef Stew

We might as well face it. It's Fall. It's time to pull out the warm socks, the headbands, and winter coats. Dig out the windshield scrapper, the remote car starters, and prep the winter tires. Bust out the crockpots, roasting pans and dutch ovens. It's time to get cozy.
Of course, Fall wouldn't be Fall without stick-to-your-ribs, fill-you-to-the-brim, make-you-feel-all-warm-and-cozy comfort food. Whether it be a gooey grilled cheese sandwich or a beautifully braised rabbit, comfort meals make the cool Fall days a little more bearable. Take this hearty beef stew for instance... there is nothing more comforting than walking into a kitchen filled with the aromas of a slowly simmering beef stew. Or in my case (since I work from home) slowly having the rich fragrance creep its way into my office during the day... almost luring me to the kitchen to take a peek (or a few bites!).
Easy Crockpot Beef Stew
This beef stew is as easy as "set it and forget it!" Simply toss all your meat, veggies and seasonings into the crockpot and simmer on low all day. By dinner you'll have a fragrant and delicious Fall meal the family will love. Any leftovers can be packaged up and refrigerated, and believe me, this stew is even better the next day!

1 ½ lbs. stewing beef
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
6-8 small new potatoes, quartered or diced
1 package (8oz) sliced crimini mushrooms
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp herbs de provence
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and pepper
2 ½ cups beef stock
3 tbsp flour (optional)

1. Combine beef, onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, mushrooms, tomato paste, garlic, herbs, allspice, salt & pepper and beef stock in crockpot. Give it one big stir to ensure all the seasonings are evenly distributed. Set crockpot to low and cook stew for 6-8 hours.
2. In the last hour of cooking, remove lid and sprinkle in flour. Stir until well combined. This will help to thicken the stew. If you prefer your stew a little runnier, you can omit the flour.
3. Serve hot with a slice of crusty bread for mopping up all the beefy goodness!

For those of you who are looking for a little Fall styling advice, you can head on over to my guest post on the Food Bloggers of Canada blog where I am sharing all my tips & must-have items for styling a Fall table. You won't want to miss it!

Happy comfort food season!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Winter White Accents

Dare I say it? Winter is coming. Although I am not quite ready for the long, chilly days the season brings, I can't help but be fascinated by the beauty it beholds.

Inspired by the crisp, clean look of winter I have started to incorporate some must-have white accents into my home's decor. Little touches of white bring an airiness to a room, opening it up and making it feel inviting. No matter your style - modern, contemporary or even traditional - every room can benefit from a few winter white accents.

Make sure you head on over to my "Winter White Accents" Ideabook on Want to "pin" these pretty pieces? Then check out my Winter White Accents board on Pinterest!