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Posted Aug 15 2012 12:21pm

It’s no secret that I love going out to eat.

The worst month of my entire life was probably May of 2009 when I decided to not eat out for an entire 31 days . No happy hours with co-workers…no grabbing lunch to catch-up with friends…no I’m too lazy to make cereal so I’ll order take-out Thai instead. Instead, I had to get up off the couch during a Project Runway marathon on Bravo to pour milk into a bowl.

It took excruciatingly serious effort.

But it was the smartest month of my life! I saved a lot of money and forced myself to get more creative in the kitchen making  black bean burgersyummy junk salads and vegetable curries .

Now, I try to be more cognizant of eating out – how often I do it and where I choose to spend my money. Because there is nothing worse than going to a new restaurant, ordering an entree and the first thing you want to yell to the cafe patrons is, “I could make this at home!”

Case in point: me in a local coffee shop last Wednesday at 1pm.

In between sips of tangerine rooibos tea, I’m dunking fresh tomatoes & cucumbers and fluffy pita bread in heaps of creamy red pepper hummus & tangy feta and totally chowing down on the spiced artichokes. Suddenly, my blogging Jiminy Cricket appears on my shoulder coaxing, “Hello Holly thy Healthy Everythingtarian! You have a blog. You are always looking for blog content. Recreate this at home!” I swat him away and will have nothing of his common sense persuading.

I get home, exhausted after nearly eight hours of computer work at the coffee shop, and before I know it, the local Thai take-out place number has magically appeared on my phone.

The lazy part of me (the overwhelming part of me) wants to immediately hit call.

But I resist, knowing that there are two perfectly purple eggplants in my crisper begging to be made into baba ghanoush, a smoky Arabic spread made with mashed eggplant, tahini, garlic and olive oil. I usually buy Whole Foods’ version, but again that pesky Jiminy Cricket reminds me – I can make this at home! With a just a wee bit of roasting, pureeing and taste-testing.

So I do.

Saving money.

Saving locally-grown eggplants from ending up in the garbage.

And saving heartburn pills that I would undoubtedly need after an extra spicy green curry.

Making baba ghanoush at home? A total win-win.

Baba Ghanoush
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 to 45 minutes

2 medium-sized eggplants
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves of garlic
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper + cumin
salt + pepper, to taste
1/4 cup basil, cilantro OR parsley, finely chopped
pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes + feta, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Poke holes all around both eggplants with a fork. Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are completely soft. Set aside to cool.

Scrape eggplant pulp into a food processor or blender. Add tahini, garlic, lemon, olive oil and spices. Blend until smooth. Transfer into a bowl, and fold in herbs. Season to taste. Serve on a platter with pita, vegetable crudites and feta.

Makes 1 1/2 cups baba ghanoush

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