When I decided to throw a Clean Eating Cocktail Party, one immediate goal I had was to include all kinds of healthy food bloggers. We bloggers tend to close ourselves into niche communities like gluten free, vegan, paleo, etc., but I believe that us food-lovers can call learn from each other, even if we can’t or don’t all eat the same ingredients. Besides, I’d rather throw a party where there is something for everyone to eat! And, perhaps, something for everyone to learn.

One blogger-turned-friend that I’ve learned a lot from over the past few years is Carolyn of All Day I Dream About Food. I always admire Carolyon’s recipes, admittedly because they often cater to my sweet tooth. Of course, there are many sweet geniuses out there, but what sets Carolyn apart from the pack is her low-carb, mostly gluten-free, natural ingredient set. Carolyn is a diabetic, and her creative use of nut flours, healthy fats, and natural sugar alternatives reflect that. Of course, Carolyn’s blog is also packed with easy, savory recipes, full of lean meats, colorful vegetables and exotic spices which quickly dispel any notions that diabetic meals are either tasteless or difficult to prepare.

In honor of Carolyn’s friendship and all she has taught me, I am proud to recognize World Diabetes Day today, November 14th, 2012. And even more importantly, to be a part of Carolyn’s personal campaign, uniting food bloggers with delicious, diabetic-friendly recipes, and providing our readers with important information and fun giveaways.

Diabetes is more common than you might think, affecting more than 8% of Americans and 1 in 400 children and adolescents in the United States.* And although there are various risk factors, ranging from family history, ethnic background, weight, blood pressure, etc**, everyone with diabetes is dealing with the same inability to process insulin and is at risk for scary complications like nervous system damage, kidney disease, and blindness – among others.

*http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/
**http://diabetes.webmd.com/risk-factors-for-diabetes

As a food blogger and health enthusiast, I hope to make a difference by spreading the message that this is a real problem facing many people, and doing what I enjoy best: cooking. Today I’m sharing a very simple recipe that is naturally sugar-free and simple to make, yet will leave your tastebuds singing! I’m pairing velvety roasted eggplant with a smokey, savory cashew cream for a twist on a Middle Eastern favorite. Garlicky yogurt sauce is a traditional accompaniment, but I wanted to give this dish a vegan spin and pack in lots of healthy heart-protecting fats too. Not to mention, the flavor is phenomenal.

And do you remember I said giveaways? Of course you do!

To satisfy your sweet tooth, I am giving away a gift pack from the makers of Swerve, a zero-calorie, all-natural sweetener perfect for baking diabetic-friendly (or, just waistline-friendly!) goodies. Their granulated sweetener is great for cakes and cupcakes, while the confectioners style is perfect for whipping into creamy frosting. You’ll also get a whole bunch of fun kitchen items to add to your collection. The sweetness of Swerve comes from natural erythritol, which I have used plenty of times in my kitchen. Entry details are below, following the recipe.

And if you want to go big too, please stop by Carolyn’s blog to learn more about diabetes, and enter to win a pretty blue KitchenAid mixer!

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Eggplant with Roasted Garlic Cashew Cream

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Velvety roasted eggplant with a garlicky cashew cream sauce spiked with lemon and cumin.

Ingredients:

2 medium eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head of garlic
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pomegranate seeds
chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; mist with cooking spray. Using a paring knife, score a diagonal pattern on the cut side of the eggplant halves. Arrange the eggplants, cut side-up, on the baking sheet. Brush generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cut a second, small square of foil. Slice about 1/2" off the top of the garlic head, exposing the tops of the cloves. Place the garlic, cut side-up, on the foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap tightly and place on the baking sheet with the eggplant. Roast for 45-50 minutes, until eggplant is lightly browned and tender. Remove and let cool.

In a high speed blender combine cashews and water and process until smooth. Unwrap the garlic and squeeze the cloves out, adding them to the blender. Add lemon juice and cumin and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

Spoon some of the sauce over each eggplant and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and cilantro. Serve at room temperature.

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com

To enter the giveaway for a Swerve gift pack, simply leave a comment telling me your favorite low-sugar, simple recipe. For additional entries, do any of the following, and come back leaving a separate comment telling me you did so:

  • Pin this recipe to Pinterest
  • Tweet about this recipe, mentioning #worlddiabetes and @carascravings (For example: @carascravings is celebrating #worlddiabetes with a  yummy #glutenfree and #vegan eggplant recipe & #giveaway! http://bitly.com/YdniBx)
  • Visit Carolyon’s World Diabetes Day post and tell me something that you learned

No purchase necessary. Giveaway will close on Sunday, November 18th at 11:59pm EST, at which point a winner will be chosen at random. Winner will be contacted by email and have three days to respond, at which point an alternate winner will be chosen.