Food

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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For some reason I never think to make stuffed peppers, even though they’re one of the easiest and most versatile things to make on the planet. But inspiration struck on Sunday. I had two cored out peppers left over from a crudités platter I bought on Saturday and it was pretty obvious what I should do with them. Based on the ingredients I had lying around, I decided to do a Mexican version with quinoa as the base. A little corn and onion, some black beans, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro, and voila! A delicious and spontaneous meal that was on the table in about 90 minutes. 

You can stuff peppers with just about anything you want. Rice is popular, as is ground meat, but I personally love the texture of quinoa and think it works great in this recipe. And you can’t get any easier or healthier than canned beans (just make sure you get beans without salt or any other junk). I chose to use black beans in keeping with the Mexican food theme but you could use any kind of bean you like or even a mixture of beans. Anything goes! If you’re looking for a simple and quick recipe that’s big on flavor, give these stuffed peppers a try. 

 

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Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • 4-5 large bell peppers
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 1  14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup chopped red onion
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • A few bunches of fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Wash peppers, cut their tops off, and discard the seeds. Place peppers on a 13×9 baking dish and set aside.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Add quinoa to two cups of water in a pot and bring water to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to low and cover. Let cook for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Add frozen corn to hot quinoa and stir.
  3. Transfer quinoa and corn mixture to a mixing bowl.
  4. Rinse and drain black beans and add to quinoa and corn mixture.
  5. Add the stewed tomatoes with juices. Slice large tomato chunks into smaller pieces.
  6. Add red onion, lime juice, and all the spices and cilantro. Mix well.
  7. Lightly brush outsides of peppers with olive oil and spoon quinoa mixture into each pepper shell until mostly full.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, until peppers are tender.

Note: I’d add avocado to these as a topper but didn’t have any on hand when I made this batch. Although definitely not a necessity, I think avocado would take these peppers to the next level!

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Food

Lentil and Green Pea Veggie Soup

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We had a few blissfully warm days over the past couple of weeks but this weekend the deep freeze returned, and there’s a snowstorm in the forecast for tomorrow. A really big one apparently. Womp womp. We’re exactly a week away from the first day of spring, so let’s hope this is winter’s last hurrah before the temps start climbing for good. I’m so ready for warm weather and sunshine!

When it’s this cold outside I like to warm up with a nourishing bowl of soup. As much as I like salads, I often crave something hot for dinner in the winter and don’t find salads so appealing. I don’t want to forgo all my veggies though and that’s where soup comes in! A hearty veggie soup packs in loads of healthy and fresh ingredients while offering the comfort of a warm dish. This lentil and green pea veggie soup is a family fave that I make all throughout the winter months. It’s filling and flavorful and incredibly easy. Whenever I’m making soup I always double or triple the recipe and make a giant pot so that we can eat it for several nights. You can also freeze it if you want to have some on hand for later, but we always wind up eating it all and don’t have any left over to freeze!

I didn’t measure the quantity but it makes a lot. I’d guess about 12 cups! If you wind up making it and measure it out, let me know.

Lentil & Green Pea Veggie Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1.5 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 cups uncooked green lentils, rinsed thoroughly
    7-8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Add 4 tbsp vegetable broth to an extra large skillet or pot placed on medium heat. Add chopped onion, carrot, celery, sweet potato, and garlic. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender or at least starting to soften.
  2. Add 7 cups of vegetable broth to the pot along with the uncooked lentils. Add the curry powder and turmeric.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. If you notice that you need more liquid, add up to a cup more of veggie broth to thin out the soup.
  4. Add in frozen peas and spinach and stir until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Adapted from the Oh She Glows Curried Lentil Soup recipe

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Food

Everyday Banana Bread

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For some reason I always seem to have overripe bananas lying around. I don’t mind though because overripe bananas make the very best banana bread! It may sound gross but I like to wait until bananas have turned completely black on the outside before I bake with them. At that point, I know they’re bursting with flavor and will infuse any baked good with banana-rich goodness. I had three of these perfectly ripened bananas in the house yesterday and my husband was starting to get repulsed by looking at them, so it was a great excuse to whip up a loaf of my favorite banana bread.

I’m a huge fan of this banana bread recipe because it requires just a handful of healthy ingredients and isn’t loaded with sugar or fat. I can eat a slice for breakfast without feeling like I’m starting my day off with a piece of cake, and that’s not something I can say for most quick breads. I typically top it with a dab of peanut butter but you can add any spread you like, or eat it plain, whatever strikes your fancy!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup of oat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (you can use all all-purpose if you prefer)
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 medium, very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add the first five ingredients to a large bowl and combine.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining three ingredients. If necessary, mash the bananas until mostly blended (some chunks are okay).
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and mix until well combined. The batter will be very thick.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Adapted from Peaceful Dumpling’s Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Food

Hearty Pumpkin Pancakes

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I realize pumpkin craze season is long gone but I had to use up some pumpkin puree and was in the mood for pancakes yesterday, so this recipe combining the two hit the spot. I love that it’s chock full of pumpkin — seriously, a whole 15 oz. can! — and light on oil and sugar, so it’s something I can feel good feeding my family, even if it’s more decadent than our usual breakfast. I’d describe these pancakes as dense and cake-like vs. light and fluffy, but they’re truly delish and have become a fast favorite in my pancake rotation. If you’re looking for something to do with your leftover pumpkin like I was, or simply want to try out a new pancake recipe, give these pumpkin pancakes a try. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Hearty Pumpkin Pancakes
Makes 8-10 large pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, which is loaded with sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Coconut oil for sautéing

Directions

  1. Add the first 4 ingredients to a medium bowl and mix until well combined.
  2. In a second bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Add mixture from the second bowl to the mixture in the first bowl and mix until blended.
  4. Get a large skillet nice and hot by placing over medium heat and add a tablespoon of coconut oil to prevent sticking. Pour pancake batter into the skillet using a measuring cup or spoon, and saute until firm enough to flip (about 3 minutes), then saute on the other side for another few minutes. Repeat until there’s no more batter left, adding more coconut oil to the pan as needed. Top with maple syrup and enjoy!

*Adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen’s Pumpkin Pancakes

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What’s your favorite pancake recipe?

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Food

Healthy Homemade Chocolate Truffles

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Truthfully I’ve never been much of a Valentine’s Day person, single or not. I think it makes single people feel bad and puts pressure on people in relationships to come up with some grand gesture of love on an arbitrary day. That said, I am a chocolate person and can get behind any excuse to eat more of it! With that in mind, I wanted to share a quick, healthy and delicious recipe for homemade chocolate truffles.

My sister discovered this recipe years ago and she makes the truffles every year over the holidays. They’re a big hit! But I think they’re a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day as well. On top of being super easy, the recipe is also healthy and free of junk! It uses just a few wholesome ingredients and is dairy and gluten free–if you’re someone who cares about that. Best of all, they’re seriously tasty. Whip up a batch and give them to a loved one or simply treat yourself!

Healthy Homemade Chocolate Truffles
Makes 12-14 large-sized truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour or almond meal
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients except for coconut to a large bowl and mix well until you have a very firm “dough” (You don’t need an electric mixer. A wooden spoon and good old elbow grease will do!). If mixture isn’t holding together well, add a little more coconut oil.
  2. Form truffles by rolling small amounts of the mixture in your hands.
  3. If using coconut, put coconut in a separate bowl and dip each truffle in the flakes to coat the outside. You could also use crushed peanuts or pistachios, or really anything you like!
  4. Put truffles in the refrigerator to harden. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You can also freeze them for longer-term use.

*Adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s Raw Cacao Truffles recipe

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If you make these, let me know how you like them!

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