Friday, June 28, 2013

| Ratatouille |

I have a rustic pleasure that you are gonna L-O-V-E.
If you aren't licking the pan clean, then please call me over and I'll do it for you.
Plant-based and family-friendly, ladies and gentlemen, I give you...


1 eggplant
1 red onion
2 yellow squash
3 small zucchini
10 cloves of garlic
1 28oz. can of salted plum tomatoes
(I used Trader Joe's brand with basil)
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
extra virgin olive oil for sauteing/baking
sea salt + pepper to your liking

Coat the bottom of a 5qt. Dutch Oven with olive oil and add 8 cloves of finely chopped garlic.
Saute on medium heat until slightly browned and aromatic.

In blender, puree the canned tomatoes and add to the pan of garlic. Add 1 tsp. dried
basil, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, and enough sea salt and pepper to your preference.
Let simmer on low for 10-15 min.

While your tomatoes and garlic are getting married, thinly slice the eggplant, onion,
squash, and zucchini. THINK THIN. Layer the slices, alternating vegetables, in a circular
direction right in the tomato sauce that should be hot and bubbly in your Dutch Oven.

Lightly drizzle olive oil over the top of your Italian masterpiece and
sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 tsp. of dried basil and 2 cloves of chopped garlic.

The tricky part: cover with aluminum foil that fits the INSIDE of the pan - allowing the foil
to rest directly on top of the veggies. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove cover for the
final 15 minutes of baking to allow the veggies to crisp a little. Serves 4... or more if served with pasta!

We skipped using classic thyme in our batch of ratatouille simply because we don't like it.
Feel free to add thyme or fresh basil... oregano... go crazy!!! It'll be GONE regardless.
I've never wanted to frame a food picture before this. My Dutch Oven has never looked so elegant!

This recipe was actually inspired by my husband's cousin, Joy!!!
She and her beautiful family have been on their own journey to clean eating
and some of her story is being shared here today!

Q: What was the driving force behind your diet change?
A: Over the holidays I was feeling depressed, down, and not excited about anything.
I had a very close friend tell me I should look into anti-depression medication; she uses it and it helps!
After talking with her, my heart was heavy.

I kept thinking: "I'm 33, there has to be something more I can do before I resort to medication."
I felt God was leading me to search for something better. From there I had several people in my life,
including you, share stories of how food drastically changed some serious health issues in their lives.
So I started researching...

Q: What is your point of view concerning food/diet today and what
changes has it brought to your family, health?

A: I want to be eating things that are healthy for me and my family. I want a balance.
We have become vegan for the most part, but on rare occasions we will eat things that have dairy in it
just because we are in a position where we don't have a choice.

As for how it's changed our health and family: I have noticed that I am not as moody as I used to be -
especially the week before my period! My husband was the first to notice that! Ha go figure!
But I was thankful for that change. I have more clarity and I feel like I am closer to God as I see
Him work in my life in areas I so desperately wanted and needed Him to change. I struggled with
losing my anger with my kids so fast. I feel today (3 months into our diet change) that I can feel and see
myself be slower. Don't get me wrong there are those days that no matter what I do, they push me beyond.
But I have noticed a huge difference since the change.

Q: What advice would you give to others who want to tip-toe into a plant-based/whole foods lifestyle?
A: I would suggest just start by taking out something easy... like crackers! That's where
it started with us. My kids love crackers and anything crunchy!! Instead I started giving them more
fruit and veggies. And I started baking more things instead of buying all the processed foods.

Take one night a week and try a vegan/whole foods meal. If you have kids, try to come up with things you
know they already like and tweak it. My oldest, who is 8, gave us a hard time in the beginning - not willing
to try or she would complain. But now she is eating what we give her and is loving it. We actually will catch
her telling someone how we are vegan and how we make some of the yummiest foods. It blows my mind that
my kids now eat so many different veggies and they love it!! If anything - I have taught them how to eat
healthy even if they indulge in some meat and sugar from time to time with there grandparents.

Q: Favorite resource for clean recipes?
A: I don't know that I have a favorite resource! I just try to give a vegan spin to our favorites.
So I usually will just Google "vegan" (whatever I'm looking for).

Always always always makes my heart happy to hear that others are being
healed and transformed by the food they are putting into their bodies!
Thankful for Joy and the testimony she was willing to share to inspire us all.

Now, go dress up your Dutch Oven and make some ratatouille!

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  1. Okay, that is going on the menu for this week. I have wanted to buy a Dutch over for so long and now I'm doin' it!

    1. you could totally use a normal pan or two to get the job done... i am just partial to the beauty and ease of the Dutch Oven. I LOVE MINE. and soooo easy to clean when cooking plants ONLY!

  2. DEFINITELY trying this lovely lady. Thank you!!!

    1. you're welcome! perfect for yellow squash, right?!


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