Friday Finds & an Eggplant Recipe

It’s here, it’s here! I have a busy day in clinic and then it’s off to enjoy another spring-time teaser. Those ‘lilies’ I posted a picture of last weekend are actually daffodils. And that is the extent of my flower knowledge. They’re in full bloom though – and the actual lilies are now coming up too. And before you know it we’re going to be knee deep in mulch and grass clippings. eh….I’ll bring cold beer to the yard man and be on dinner duty instead :). What are you doing this weekend?

Go ahead and check out these Friday Finds. You know you want to. And in case you missed last week’s finds, go check those out too!

  1. -an easy way to learn yourself some cool wine things
  2. 46 & Spruce – the plant amp is sweeeet!
  3. Fitness Blender Upper Body Workout for people who get bored easily
  4. LaraBar – no, this is not an ad and no, I don’t get paid to say this. I’m not that cool. I just really like these. And their ingredient list is nice & short. Two thumbs up for Banana chocolate chip!


Leftovers update: they’re still here! We’ve been having sweet potato sloppy joes, pulled chicken on salads, chicken salad sandwiches, left over porkapolooza, and….

A little twist on the sweet potato sloppy joe recipe I made last weekend. Instead of ground beef, I used ground turkey. Kept everything else the same and then piled it on this eggplant recipe. Delicious!! Hope you’ll try!

Breaded & Baked Eggplant (aka Shake & Bake Eggplant)



  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ~1.5 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasonings (I cheated and used this)


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Add olive oil to a large, non-stick pan over medium heat.

Whisk eggs together in a medium sized shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, mix breadcrumbs and Italian seasonings.

Dip eggplant rounds in the whisked eggs, letting excess drain off before covering in the Italian breadcrumbs. Repeat until all eggplant slices are seasoned, then get those babies in the pan. Flip after 4-5 minutes, and cook for another minute or two. Transfer cooked eggplant to a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown and eggplant is tender.


Serve with mozzarella, tomato sauce, or a balsamic glaze. Or however you want. Let me know what tasty combinations you come up with!

Hope you’ve got exactly the kind of plans you want this weekend – whether that’s an exciting, packed schedule, or a relaxing, empty one. But as always, hope it’s filled with grub, sweat, and….


What Day is Wine Day?

Did you know February 18th was National Wine Drinking Day?  According to there are at least 15 other “un”official wine days a year. The purpose of National Wine Drinking Day is to “spread the love and health benefits of wine”. This day was news to me, but I welcomed the excuse to celebrate at Jefferson and Dave Matthews’ Blenheim Vineyards. And celebrate we did (“for life is short but sweet for certain”).

After we filled up with antioxidant-rich, heart healthy wine, we teetered over to the other side of the health scale …into the world of pork! We brought friends (bacon lovers) from out of town and I have a feeling they will be regulars in the future. At Chef Hartman’s Bbq Exchange, 14 Hogs were smoked between the 2 days – that’s pure piggy madness! Even the desserts were bursting with bacon.

The Magic Shack

Are you feeling like you need to eat vegetables now? I did…

To balance that pig out, here are two healthier recipes for your collection.

First one is from Skinny Taste:

Sloppy Joe Sweet Potatoes


These Skinny Taste recipes never fail to satisfy in my house. This one serves 4 and makes great leftovers!

Zucchini Banana muffins

Yesterday afternoon I made some zucchini banana muffins. I don’t typically seek out Paleo recipes, but when I saw this one it looked like a perfect breakfast or snack.

The original recipe came from Ambitious Kitchen.
I altered it slightly, but it still made 10 muffins.


  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (1 medium banana)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (she calls for cashew butter and slightly more)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 oz soy milk (used this as I did not have another egg; she calls for 2)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda (increased this since I had one less egg)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup quick cooking oats (she calls for 1/2 cup coconut flour- I don’t have this)

Directions were the same. I baked mine for 25 minutes. The final product was a little flat, but I was happy with the taste 🙂 I had one crumbled over plain greek yogurt this morning. I will definitely try to make them again (and follow the recipe exactly, because hers look amazing)!


Now we have a fridge full of leftovers to last us through the week (fingers crossed), including the sweet potato sloppy joes. I also roasted a chicken on Sunday night and made chicken salad (recipe coming soon) to bring for lunches. Hope your week is full of great grub, salty sweats, and lots of cheers!

Friday Finds & a Chicken Recipe

Does this picture look familiar to anyone else? Weekdays = hand washing 18 pieces of tupperware every night. Did I mention how glad I am that it’s Friday?


Anyways, it’s here! What are you looking forward to?

We have February temps in the 70’s and lilies popping up out of the ground already!img_0070

Also, it’s Porkapolooza at the BBQ exchange in Gordonsville this weekend. They describe it as “the most exciting pork feast on earth“. The last time I went was the weekend before we got engaged and I had a stomach flu – so fingers crossed for just as much excitement this year! Don’t worry, I will be sharing all the praiseworthy piggy-ness soon.

To celebrate the weekend, here is a list of fun things I’ve found/read/made over the week.


Smoky Paprika Chipotle Chicken 


  • 2, 5 pound whole chickens
  • 1 Tbsp Victoria Gourmet Smoky Paprika Chipotle Seasoning (we ran out of this, but tried to re-create it with the rest of our seasonings)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • Hickory smoking chips


  1. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Add smoking chips while smoker preheats.
  2. Mix Smoky Paprika Chipotle Seasoning,brown sugar, paprika, cumin, and chili powder together in a small bowl.
  3. Remove innards from chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Rub chickens liberally with seasoning mixture in a large roasting pan or on a large plate.
  5. I tied my chicken legs with twine. If you don’t have any, check out this trick!
  6. Place chickens in smoker and cook for 3-4 hours until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, adding chips to the smoker every 30 – 60 minutes and rotate chickens half-way through.
  7. Let rest for at least 20 minutes after they’re done.dsc_0010

& that’s all I got.

Hope your weekend is filled with great grub, salty sweats, and lots of cheers!

Looking for “it”

If I’m being completely honest, I am not sure of the direction this will take me. I’m not sure of the direction I want this to take me.

For the last 2.5 years, I’ve been searching for my passion. My true calling. ‘It’.
I know one thing’s for sure – I have always been into food. Whether it’s been cooking, baking, nutrition, or writing – it all comes back to food.

Thus the name – Grub Sweat & Cheers. It has been around since 2013 (on a blogger site), but not properly nurtured. As I continue to search for ‘it’, this name has been a constant. It encompasses what I look forward to every day. It is a launchpad for my search.

We have liftoff.

Leftovers Pizza



  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4-ounce packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


Whisk 1 1/3 cups warm water (105 degrees F) and the sugar in a bowl; sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the olive oil.

Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Gradually stir with a wooden spoon to make a rough dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, dusting with more flour if necessary. Form into 2 balls. Brush 2 large bowls with olive oil, add a ball of dough to each and turn to coat with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour, 30 minutes. Roll out and top as desired, or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze up to 1 month.

The rest:

  • asparagus
  • frozen cubed butternut squash
  • carrots
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sparse amounts of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese
  • white sauce (bought this for pizza a few weeks ago)
  • frozen turkey burger

For my butternut squash sauce, I cooked my raw, cubed squash in a dutch oven with about 1/2 – 1 cup of chicken broth until it was soft. Then pureed it in my blender until smooth.

I also roasted the carrots separately (cut into about 1 inch pieces). I tossed them in a little olive oil, pepper, cumin and turmeric (random, but good!). Then roasted on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes in a 400° oven.

Finally … I kept the pizza stone in the oven while the carrots roasted (400° F). Then when the stone was nice and hot, I placed the rolled dough on my stone, spread a little olive oil over it and let it heat up for about 8 minutes. After that, I topped half the pizza with my butternut squash sauce, half white sauce and then it was onto the vegetables, protein, and cheese (pictured above). Popped it back in the oven for ~20-25 minutes. Recipe makes 2 medium-sized pizzas.

I wouldn’t say this is a super quick weeknight meal, but if you make your dough ahead of time (it freezes), you will be in better shape.

And leftovers are the bomb.