2012 was one of the one of the most rewarding year of my life as I watched my daughter learn to navigate the world on her own pace. Sitting, babbling, crawling, talking, walking and much more…so many milestones to celebrate. Too many smiles and joyous moments as she discovers life on earth.
2012 was also one of the hardest years as I tossed around from general practitioners to neurologist to orthopedic to physical therapist to figure out and put an end to the unusual aches and pains I have been carrying around ever since I went into trauma after my daughter was born. I have always been an active and energetic person. Running and practicing yoga was part of my daily routine even during pregnancy(I had the smoothest pregnancy and natural delivery but an ER episode of postpartum), so naturally, I was heartbroken being unable to get down on the floor with my daughter as quickly as I wanted to or just to go out for a walk without fearing whether I will have the strength to conquer the pain and be back home safe with the little one.
2012, with all its challenges, made me stronger as I discovered new realizations. I’ll be honest. After being in highly competitive, fast paced US corporate world for 10+ years, a tiny part of me worried how I will keep up my fast tracked career alive and how will I be away from work for 5 long months of maternity leave. When the time came for me to join the workforce a year ago, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t missed the 18+ hours work days and traveling around the world at all. As the year progressed, I realized more and more that slowing down a tad on the career side is not the end of the world. Just because my career may have slowed down a bit doesn’t mean my growth as a person and above all as a mother has slowed. The growth is still present with challenges and exciting learning curves. I am not perfect so there is no end to room for improvement as a mother.
2012 was also the year With A Spin was born. I have been looking for a way to connect with others and finding an outlet to express many things I enjoy in life: family, creativity, and food. Though most of my posts in 2012 have been in the eat section, I plan on finding time to write more on the play and love section of the blog in 2013.
So to start the New Year off I chose this delicious grilled eggplant orzo which is quick to put together, tastes great and is healthy too! I am in love with this rice look alike pasta that marries well with whatever it is paired with. I used vegetables on this version to keep it fresh and light but shrimp, grilled chicken, artichoke and other vegetables.
You must be thinking how a starchy pasta dish can be healthy. This dish is loaded with vegetable making it a low calorie but an extra ordinary meal.
A HUGE THANK YOU for stopping by, for your feedback, encouragements and emails. I hope to know you more in 2013.
1 cup(8 oz) whole wheat orzo
1 big or 2 medium eggplant
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), quartered
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, extra for garnishing
¼ cups onion, diced
2-3 red chilies
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt to taste
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
Steps to prepare red chili:
- Dry roast red chilies until fragrant.
- Crush the roasted chilies. Set aside.
Steps to prepare grilled eggplant:
- Clean and vertically cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
- Season 4 pieces of the eggplant with salt, chopped parsley and half the crushed red chili.
- Toss into an indoor grill turning once. Grill each side 3-5 minutes or until tender.
- Dice the remaining pieces of eggplant into ½ inches cube.
Steps to cook orzo:
- Cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, according to package, until tender.
- Drain and rinse.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and garlic. Sauté until golden and fragrant.
- Add quartered tomatoes and diced eggplants. Cook until eggplant is soft.
- Add orzo and toss with vegetables.
- Add remaining crushed red chili, salt and parsley.
- Cook, stirring often, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Steps to assemble grilled eggplant and orzo(optional steps):
- Wrap the grilled eggplant into a cylinder shape. You may use a small toothpick to hold the shape if the eggplant don’t stick with each other well.
- Fill the cylinder with cooked orzo.
- Garnish with parsley and cheese.
i. Sundried tomato can be substituted for fresh plum tomatoes.
ii. Adjust herb and spices according to your taste.
iii. Start cooking the orzo while the eggplants are being grilled to save time
iv. Eggplant grilling time depends on the thickness of the eggplant.
v. Conventional stove can be used to fan fry the eggplants chunks instead of grilling (less healthy option)