Roasted Balsamic Eggplant

When we moved into our house we noticed that most of our neighbors are either older than us or already have multiple children, so there wasn’t really anyone we thought we could be friends with easily. They’re all very nice neighbors, but mostly they are in different walks of life than we are. We have had a hard time since moving back to NJ making new friends. Anthony has a few co-workers that he’s friends with, but that’s about it, so we were hoping once we moved to our new house we would be able to make some new friends.

Where we live you are able to walk to a lot of shops, bars and restaurants so it would be nice to have friends to go out with easily! A few weeks ago we got new neighbors right across the street and they’re a young married couple with no kids! We’re so excited. Hopefully we get along well and have people to hang out with on weeknights. We’ve hung out a few times now, so I’m hopeful.

This has nothing to do with eggplant, but this eggplant is delicious! I honestly didn’t think I liked eggplant until having this and I’m still not convinced I like eggplant except for this recipe. It’s definitely worth a try and if you don’t want to turn your oven on, you can grill the eggplant until it’s cooked. If I get any eggplant from my garden I will definitely be making this!

 

Roasted Balsamic Eggplant

Yields – 4 servings

Prep time – 10 minutes

Cook time – 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 2TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices.
  3. Mix your salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and oil in a bowl.
  4. Brush the eggplant with the balsamic vinegar mixture.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes on each side of the eggplant.
  6. Slice into bite sized chunks and eat!
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How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

When we bought our house one of the first things that I knew I wanted to do was make a garden. I have been trying, mostly unsuccessfully, for years to garden in pots and I have dreamed of having a garden. Well my husband made those dreams come true and now I’m just hoping that it works out!

We spent 2 weekends building a raised garden bed and while I know it was a lot of work, I’m just hoping that I get some great plants! I know this isn’t exactly a recipe, but I’m hopeful that it will turn into a lot of different recipes! We’ll see! I’m learning!

Everyone’s raised beds will be different based on how much space you have for our a garden. Our house has a kind of large area that was obviously a garden before, so we made a large raised bed. Ours is 4 feet by 8 feet, just for a reference point. And the reason we had to spend 2 weekends on it was because an animal was eating my plants, so if you don’t have that issue then you don’t need the fence around the garden bed. We had to make ours like Fort Knox and something is still eating my strawberries. Also, we had the people at the hardware store cut our wood for us but if you don’t do that you will need a saw. Make sure you pre-drill all your holes when screwing the wood together. Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the inner diameter of your screws.

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Materials

  • Six 16 inch long 2″-by-4″ planks, four for the corners and two for the cross support
  • Two 4 foot long 2″-by-12″ planks, for the short sides of bed
  • Two 8 foot long 2″-by-12″ planks, for the long sides of bed
  • Two 8 foot long 2″-by-4″ planks, for the long sides of bed
  • Three 4 foot long 2″-by-4″ planks, for the short sides of bed, two for the sides and one for the cross support

 

  • 3 1/2 inch galvanized steel screws, about qty 50
  • plastic for wrapping the wood
  • 1 roll of bird netting, optional
  • 1 roll of metal wire fencing, optional
  • 4 long garden posts, optional
  • 10 short fence posts, optional
  • 20 cubic feet of garden soil
  • 50 small metal U-stakes
  • drill
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • shovel
  • staple gun
  • wire cutters
  • wood clamps
  • zip ties

Directions

  1. You will need to build the bed upside down on a flat surface. Set a 4 foot 2″-by-12″ on its narrow edge and place one 16 inch 2″-by-4″ plank right along the end of the 4 foot board, with the extra 4 inches extending above the 2″-by-12″. Use your wood clamp to keep the 2 pieces of wood in place. Drill 3 screws into the 2″-by-12″ to secure the two pieces of wood together. Repeat this for each corner, attaching one 16 inch 2″-by-4″ plank to both ends of each 4 foot 2″-by-12″.
  2. Place a 4 foot 2″-by-4″ on top of your first 4 foot 2″-by-12″, making sure that all of the sides are even. Secure the 4 foot 2″-by-4″ to both 16 inch 2″-by-4″ planks with two screws each.  Repeat on the other four foot side to create your second layer and make your raised bed higher.
  3. Place one 8 foot 2″-by-12″ on each corner of the 4 foot 2″-by-12″ making sure that is it lined up straight, have your sturdy husband hold it steady. Secure the corner together with five screws. Repeat with the other sides. The 16 inch 2″-by-4″ planks should lie on the inside corners.
  4. Just like with the 4 foot 2″-by-12″, you will need to add the second layer of 8 foot 2″-by-4″ planks by lining them up on top of the 2″-by-12″ planks and then using 3 inch screws to secure the 8 foot 2″-by-4″ to the corner, making sure everything is even. Repeat on all sides to form your second layer.
  5. On both inner 8 foot sides of the bed, secure the two remaining 16 inch 2″-by-4″ planks directly opposite each other. Bisect the bed with the last 4 foot 2″-by-4″ plank, screwing this last plank to both the 16 inch 2″-by-4″ planks and the inner wall of the bed.
  6.  Place your bed in a sunny spot in your yard making sure that the ground is level.
  7. Wrap your garden bed in the plastic to keep it from rotting. Use your staple gun to make sure the plastic stays in place. Keep in mind that when it rains, you do not want the water to collect against any of the wood.
  8. Fill your garden bed with the soil making sure to rake it so it is even. Then moisten the soil.
  9. If you are going to build your fence and put the birds netting over the garden, you will need the roll of fencing, posts and bird netting. We put fence posts around the outside of the garden and then unrolled the fencing around the fence post, securing it to the posts. The fencing should also be staked to the ground.
  10. Then place 4 large fence posts into the garden bed to hold up the bird netting. Hammer them down about 8 inches, until secure. Place the bird netting over the entire garden securing it to the fence posts and fence with zip ties, but be sure to leave an opening that you can secure with a carbineer for you to be able to get in and out of the garden.
  11. Plant your plants and pray it works!
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Swiss Steak

We just got back from Spain yesterday and I’m really trying to get back into a regular routine fast. I took off work today, even though we’re home and I’m so glad I did. I had all these plans before I left of leaving the house spotless so I could come home and just relax, then we both got so sick. We both had a repertory infection and we’re just trying to feel better before the trip, so nothing got done around the house. Today will be spent catching up on things around the house instead of relaxing. Continue reading →

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Anthony went to China for work! I think he had a really nice time, but it has taken him almost a full week to get back on a regular sleep schedule. Then, we’re going to turn around in a few weeks and go to Spain. The poor traveler. I just think it’s amazing he went to China! He brought home all this silk. It’s amazing. Continue reading →

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Brownie Cookies (Dairy Free)

Something is eating my garden! We planted seeds and then a few days later found holes in the soil, like an animal had dug up the seeds and eaten them! It’s been a little over a week now and none of my seeds have sprouted. UGH! We purposefully put a fence around the garden so nothing could get in, but something is giving us a run for our money! Continue reading →

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Cranberry Orange Muffins

We’re going to grow a garden! When we bought this house I really wanted a garden and the house does have a space in the yard for a garden. Our soil has a lot of clay in it though, so we are going to build a raised bed instead of planting right in the ground. Anthony is going to try to build the raised bed himself, so we’ll see how that goes! I think he can do it! Continue reading →

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French Press Latte

Our party went pretty well! We had a lot of fun! We got most of the food prepped beforehand so we just had to put things in the oven to heat, which is good because I was busy entertaining 40 people. My family was such a help at the party too. Anthony’s family is used to throwing big parties, so it definitely was a huge help. I couldn’t have done it without them! Continue reading →

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Honey Balsamic Chicken

We are having a huge housewarming party on Saturday. By huge I mean like 40 people. It has been kind of nice because it is making us finish everything around the house quickly for the party, but also has made us really busy the past few weeks. And don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of things we need to do around the house but it is coming along. Continue reading →

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