February 7th, 2014
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I am tired of wearing layers of clothing.
Black and grey, grey and black.  Thin T-shirts under sweaters, sweaters over sweaters, vests over sweaters, socks inside socks, scarves over turtlenecks.  I think you are getting the picture of what it takes to stay warm when a polar vortex is happening.  I am more than ready to chuck my winter coat and boots and break out my fun clothes, my jammin’ summer clothes.
But the calendar tells me otherwise.  For now, I must go with warmth because snow and ice and brisk winds will still be hanging out in my area of the world at least for another month.
Besides the bulkiness and weight of the layers of clothes, the other downside of dressing like this is that you feel like you can indulge in comfort food since no one can see you in anything that’s form fitting.  I try to remind myself that the food decisions I make today in the cold of February will determine how much I will have to diet in the warmth of April but the calendar’s clinical numbers just don’t seem to intimidate me.
My healing solution is to get off the sugar wagon and go for healthy, fresh foods that are tasty, yet low in fat, and no one does that better than Ina Garten, foodie and home entertainment expert extraordinaire who is also known as the Emmy Award winning host of the Food Network program, Barefoot Contessa.
Ina’s style is easy and uncomplicated and so are her recipes.  I share with you today Ina’s Roasted Eggplant Spread which she says is “not only good, it is good for you.”  Ina also says in her Barefoot Contessa cookbook that this recipe has “almost no fat for customers who like to save their calories for dessert.”  She’s so smart!
We all are trying to work more veggies into our diets and this is one way of doing it.  Ina recommends serving this with hummus, pita bread, Greek olives, feta cheese and stuffed grape leaves.  Check out Ina’s recipe and I think you will agree that it’s perfect served hot or cold:
Ina Garten’s Roasted Eggplant Spread Photo: Melanie Acevedo

Roasted Eggplant Spread (Serves 6 to 8 ) I medium eggplant, peeled 2 red bell peppers, seeded 1 red onion, peeled 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 tablespoons good olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 tablespoon tomato paste Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes.  Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread them on a baking sheet.  Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.  Cool slightly. Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend.  Taste for salt and pepper.

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