I love nachos. Who doesn’t? I’ve made various incarnations of nachos in the past: Greek Nachos (ground pork on top of pita chips with tzatziki and feta), shredded chicken nachos on baby bell peppers instead of tortilla chips, and the really delicious Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Nachos over on Recipe for History at Blazing Caribou Studios.
But recently I’d been seeing these gorgeous Sicilian eggplant at the Farmers’ Market right out front of my day job and I couldn’t pass up using such striking local produce in a delicious meal! It was a 90+ degree day but since I only had to set the oven to 250 degrees, it wasn’t so bad.
The first step was making eggplant “chips”. I cut off the stem end and sliced the tubby eggplants into 1/8th inch slices. The benefit of Sicilian eggplant is their shape: all the slices you make will be pretty close in size. You want the slices to be sturdy enough when cooked to withstand the hearty toppings but not so thick that they never quite turn into chips.
I sprayed two large baking racks with vegetable oil cooking spray and laid the slices out on top, spraying the tops of them with additional cooking spray. Then I set both racks in a 250 degree oven and waited. And waited. And waited. After 90 minutes I lowered the oven even further, to 170 degrees, and let them back another 30 minutes. What came out of that low and slow oven were sturdy eggplant chips with a slight bendiness: a bit like the texture of dried apples. Turns out it was the perfect platform for the heavy toppings that often accompany nachos. You will not pick these up, take a bit and have the chip disintegrate and lose your toppings all over your lap!
I topped mine with seasoned ground beef, shredded cheddar, black olives, pickled jalapenos, shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Each “chip” held up to being smothered in toppings but gave between the teeth without being tough. Will it replace crunchy pita or tortilla chips? Nah. But is eggplant a way healthier and low calorie substitute to grain based chips. They held up well to a couple of minutes in the broiler to melt the cheese without burning, too. I will definitely make these again!
Firm eggplant slices perfect for topping with nacho stuff!
Hello my lovely readers! My hiatus has lasted quite a bit longer than I anticipated, but I needed it. I’ve taken some time to sit down, reflect, and really evaluate what I want this blog to be. I truly do want to continue talking about healthy living, but over the last year or so I’ve pulled back from sharing personal things due to the ending of a relationship and learning to live alone. Cooking for one person can be much harder than cooking for two, and I’ve been working on adjusting to that and learning new ways of time management.
Things will be a little different around here from now on. I’m going to increase the amount of personal entries and mental health talk while continuing to write recipes and talk exercise. I’m going to stop worrying about what new readers want to read and I’m going to write what I want to write. I’ll probably talk more about makeup, too, since I love it so much. This blog is going to be about ME. I think I need that.
You’ll also notice I’ve updated the look of the site. It was starting to feel really dated and I really needed a fresh, new look. I’ll be tweaking it some more to make it a bit more functional but I’m really liking the new neutral theme.
I haven’t fully recovered my zest for blogging, but I can feel it coming. I’m thinking about new recipes, I just need to make sure I don’t pressure myself to perform too much and get myself back into the state where it feels like a chore. This is a form of self care for me, and I hope you’ll come along on this ride. There’s going to be a lot more mental health talk around here, because that’s a part of being measured, and it’s a part of ME.
I’ve been wanting to do my own A Measured Life podcast for years now, and I’ve learned a lot about writing and recording shows in the last year. I’m going to be working on a solo AML show: short, easy to digest episodes that focus on a topic related to living a more measured life. Each episode will be about food, fitness, frugality and feeling good. I’m writing episodes and the only big step now is figuring out hosting services. I can (and WILL) do this!
I’m learning a lot about myself these days, which is a good thing for sure.
I’m really bad at asking for space. There will be this voice in my head telling me how lovely it would be to have some quiet time where I don’t have to interact with anyone, where I can accomplish chores that are piling up or sit down and write out my feelings and process them. But my lizard brain, the deep rooted instinctual part of the brain that controls the fight or flight function, tells me that if I take distance from those I care about, they’ll be unhappy or decide I’m not worth the wait. I become clingy and desperate in these times, and I sacrifice my mental health to spend time with those I love. This might seem like a selfless good thing, the act of ignoring my own feelings for those I care about, but in truth it’s ridiculously selfish.
This week I’ve been ignoring those signs right and left. I’ve been feeling the weight of depression seeping into my bones and instead of doing what’s best for me (pulling back and allowing myself time to reflect on why these feelings have cropped up) I force social interactions or distract myself with a cell phone game or my favorite tv show. In these times, I need to listen to the voice in my brain that tells me to turn off all media (tv, radio, cell phone) and sit down and WRITE IT OUT. I won’t be gone forever, probably just a couple of hours at most, and my friends and loved ones will still be there for me when I get back. And if they aren’t… well… then they weren’t great friends to begin with.
The other state I sometimes find myself in is this melancholy that blankets me when I have a day with limited social interaction. It’s usually a weekend day filled with chores and cooking with no one else around except via text. I find I tend to avoid superficial social interactions on these days: I do my chores in a state of feeling entirely isolated from the other people buying groceries or browsing at Target. I shy away from looking into strangers’ faces and try to be as invisible as possible.
I haven’t quite figured out the best way to cope with these days: I feel needy and want attention and reassurance but I doubt that this would actually fix the issue. Perhaps the best idea in this case is to do something productive where I can succeed and feel a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes I get struck by the idea that I have no true purpose in life: that the fact that I’m a 37 year old woman single woman with no kids and no real career means I’m living for nothing. That’s fatalistic thinking, though. I DO have a purpose. My ultimate purpose is to share what I’ve learned about myself with the world in hopes that someone else will get something positive from it. To help someone somewhere, maybe someone I’ve never met, feel less alone in this world. To help someone learn more about themselves and to grow.
I’m working through a depression right now, but I’m taking the necessary steps for self care. Self care is so important, and I have a habit of getting involved in things, things that make me happy. And when I’m happy it’s hard to recognize that I’m stressed and need to step back. That it’s okay to not stay elated 24/7. That the lows that follow the good times are okay.
I’m going to spend this time working on me, and personal projects, and try to find joy and pleasure in these things again. The fact that I’m even here is a huge step in the right direction. I hope enough of you are still here that we can grow together as I roll AML over into a new (and hopefully improved) phase of life.
I’d love to hear from you, some words of encouragement will go a long way right now.
Tata for now!