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Stuffed Peppers

I had a rare day off today. Not sure about you, but when I have off on a Monday, it just feels really good. Yesterday, I “went off the reservation” with my eating and I felt it today for sure. I decided to re-commit myself to eating the healthy, nourishing food I know my body needs. So, I did what any smart girl would do…I went to the kitchen and got cooking. And today, I whipped up some black bean stuffed peppers. Since I don’t eat meat, but still need protein, I rely on a product called TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein. I know, it sounds weird, but it’s really very good. It doesn’t have much of a flavor (it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it in) and the consistency is a bit like ground meat (but finer). In this recipe, you won’t notice it much at all, but it will be filling to your tummy and give your stuffed peppers the right consistency. TVP is a soy product that is incredibly rich in protein and contains no fat. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Try Bob’s Red Mill brand, I’ve had the most success with this particular brand in recipes.

Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

2 TBSP of olive oil

1 medium onion chopped small

3 cloves of garlic minced

2 cups of finely chopped mushrooms

1 TBSP of chili powder

1 tsp of salt

1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce

1/4 cup of water

1/2 cup of TVP

4 large red bell peppers (remember, you are stuffing them, so get nice big fat ones!)

1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp of maple syrup

Saute the onions in the olive oil for 3 – 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute about about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and the salt. add the TVP and 1 cup of the tomato sauce (reserve the rest) and the water, lower the heat and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

While your mix is simmering, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off your peppers and remove the seeds. Boil the peppers for 5 minutes and drain them.

Combine the beans and maple syrup with the cooked TVP mix. Stuff each pepper with filling and stand them upright in a baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the peppers and bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

And until next time….veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

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Beans, Beans are good for your…

Everything! Beans are packed with protein and fiber and have been shown to help with lowering blood pressure. A single cup of black beans packs 15 grams of fiber and protein.

The fall and winter signals for me a time to get back in the kitchen on Sunday afternoons and cook up a huge pot of something yummy for the week. Below, I’m sharing with you my favorite black been stew. It’s an easy one-pot recipe that meets all the important criteria; it’s quick and easy to prepare, cheap to make, it’s healthy, and most important, it tastes GREAT! It’s also a great stand in for traditional chili, for those non-meat eaters like me. Try taking it to your next tailgate party and let the compliments fly!

Black Bean Stew

1 diced onion

2 sliced carrots

2 15-ounce cans of black beans drained and rinsed

1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes

2 cups of vegetable broth

1 small jar of roasted red peppers (I throw the juice in the pot too for extra flavor)

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of pepper

Dash of hot sauce

Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a pot. Cook the onion and carrot for 5 minutes. Add the black beans, diced tomato, vegetable broth, roasted peppers and seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes. That’s it!

Try serving with tortilla chips and avocado, or a dollop of sour cream and chives, or top with a healthy scoop of guacamole.

Enjoy!

And until next time…veg in, don’t veg out!

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Oops, e54yZUiYCI Did it Again!

Ladies and Gentlemen, yesterday… I ran my seventh half marathon! Not too shabby for someone with arthritis, a bum knee, and a heart condition.

You see, I often tell people I have more determination than brains. And I defintitely have more determination than physical ability. I think I can, so, I do! 

Now, mine is a bit of a cautionary tale. I would never tell anyone to just “stick it out, “suck it up,” or, “go for it” if they aren’t physically able to do something, but every once in a while, it’s nice to challenge yourself; to push yourself to accomplish things you didn’t really think you could.

So what’s on your bucket list? Have you ever wanted to run a race? A 5k? a 10k? A full marathon? Ever want to skydive? Try that boot camp class at the gym? Finally try yoga?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Why do I want to do this?

2. How will I feel when I’m finished? Accomplished? Proud of myself, etc.?

3. Am I physically able to do this?

4. Will my participation negatively affect me or anyone in my immediate circle?

5. What will it cost me to participate? Time? Money?

If you have something on your bucket list that you’ve always wanted to do, figure out why you haven’t done it yet. Maybe now is the time! Set a goal and go for it if you’re able. 

Now, I’m heading off to dip myself in BENGAY.

Until next time, veg in, don’t veg out! 

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Falling for Fall

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m one of those people who complain all summer about how hot it is, and then complain all winter about how cold it is. However, I also want to admit that I do love the change of seasons. I just couldn’t fathom living in a place where the weather is always the same. With the beginning of each new season, I find a different kind of joy that only that season can bring.

In the summer, I enjoy going out without 17 layers of clothing, daylight that lasts into the night, running outside, and chowing down on fresh cherries, strawberries, and watermelon.

Come spring, I look forward to seeing flowers awake from their long winter’s sleep, pushing through the grass and turning their faces towards the sun. I like the fresh air, opening the windows and airing out the house, taking the cat out for a walk on his leash (yes, you read that right!)

When winter comes, I find joy in cooking big pots of comfort food, curling up on the couch under a blanket with a cup of tea, a good book, and a cuddle from the cat sleeping next to me. I enjoy the slower pace that winter seems to bring, and occasionally I even enjoy the random snow day that forces me to stay inside.

And then fall comes and my heart melts. You see, I fall in love every year come autumn. I love the crisp fall air, pumpkins and apples, skirts with fall boots, and my favorite comfy sweaters. I love the smell of cinnamon in the air, love to watch the leaves show off, changing into the most brilliant colors I’ve ever seen. Let’s not forget about football season starting, and Halloween is hands down my favorite holiday.

While most people practice “spring cleaning,” I fall in love with autumn cleaning. I throw open the windows and let the cool air circulate. I reassess my wardrobe, donating items I know I no longer need, and clean the place from top to bottom. It’s also when I clean my body. I’ll often start a cleanse in the fall, giving my system a break. And it’s when I do most of my cooking. 

So, below, I’d like to share with you some easy, healthy, fall recipes that you can add to your fall menus. I hope you enjoy them. And if you make any of them, please post and let me know what you thought.

Veg in, don’t veg out,

Karen

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1 cup of coconut milk (or milk of your choice)

1/2 cup of apple juice

1 banana

1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 cup of ice

Blend and enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

2 1/2 cups of coconut milk (or milk of your choice)

3 TBSP of arrowroot powder

2 TBSP of Sucanat (natural sugar) 

2 TBSP of maple syrup

1 tsp of vanilla 

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

1/8 tsp of nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

5 cups of day-old whole grain bread torn in pieces

2 ripe bananas peeled and sliced

1/4 cup of vegan chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Coat inside of a 2-quart ceramic dish with coconut oil

3. In a large bowl, add all ingredients except bread, bananas, and chocolate chips. Whisk ingredients together until no lumps remain. 

4. Add bread, bananas, and chocolate chips and stir to combine, mashing up the bananas a little and allowing bread to absorb most of the liquid. 

5. Scrape into the greased dish and press down to smooth top. Let sit for 10 minutes so bread can absorb liquid. 

6. Bake uncovered until lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes

Baked Sweet Potato with Maple Oat Topping

Sweet potatoes for breakfast? You betcha!

4 sweet potatoes

1/2 cup of old fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup of raw almonds, chopped

2 TBSP of maple syrup

1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of sea salt

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prick potatoes all over with a fork and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake potatoes until tender, about 45 minutes, and let cool slightly.

2. Meanwhile, combine oats, almonds, syrup, oil, and salt and transfer mixture to a baking sheet, spreading out flat. Bake crumble, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

3. Split sweet potatoes with a knife, top with crumble, add extra maple syrup on top if you need to. Enjoy! 

 

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Smoothie Operator

Happy Fall, Everyone! No doubt everyone has heard of “spring cleaning,” but I like to also do a bit of “fall cleaning,”in fact, I did that to my home over this long holiday weekend. Now, I’m about to do the same thing for my body.

The beginning of a new season is a fabulous time to give your body a little cleansing and rebooting. Juicing is a great way to do this. Juicing gives your body lots of healthy nutrients, and, it’s a great breakfast alternative for those of you that have trouble eating a big meal first thing in the morning.

So, welcome to my second installment of juice and smoothie recipes. I hope you enjoy them! If you try any of them, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

Veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

V8
4 plum tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 small red or orange bell pepper
1/4 small red onion
1 cup of parsley
Juice of 1 lime
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
Dash of salt (optional)
Run all ingredients though a juicer and enjoy. Don’t have a juicer? No problem. Throw everything in the blender and strain the juice before drinking.

Breakfast on the Move
Handful of fresh strawberries
Handful of fresh raspberries
1 cup of rolled oats
1 cut of milk of your choice
Ice
Blend and enjoy!

Kale, Pineapple, and Almond Smoothie
1 cup of almond milk
1 cup of kale
1/2 cup of pineapple juice
1/2 cup of pineapple
1 banana
Ice
Blend and enjoy

Chocolate Covered Blueberry Shake
1 large handful of blueberries
1 cup of spinach
2 TBSP of almond butter, peanut butter, or nut butter of your choice
1 TBSP cacao
Dash of cinnamon
1 cup of water
Scoop of protein powder
Honey to taste
Blend and enjoy! WARNING…this smoothie is not an attractive color (think battleship grey)but I promise…the taste more than makes up for the funky look!

Vanilla Almond Shake
2 cups of coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
1 TBSP of vanilla
1 TBSP of almond butter, peanut butter, or nut butter of your choice
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
Honey to taste
Ice
Blend and enjoy!

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