Monday, March 8, 2010

Stuffed Red Peppers and What I Ate

I started off the morning with my favorite plain instant oatmeal by Arrowhead Mills. I sprinkled some raw turbinado sugar on top and served it with a bowl of leftover melon my mom had sliced up the day before:

Later on in the afternoon I went food shopping at Wild By Nature for some household necessities as well as the ingredients for this weeks' dinners. I hate to go food shopping around lunch time because it makes me even more hungry than usual! When I got home I popped a Gardenburger veggie burger in the microwave and then topped it with peach salsa (I am officially obsessed). I served it up with herb-flavored Mary's crackers and a Babybel cheese wedge:

I had a mini Apple Pie Larabar for snack:

Last night I looked through our kitchen to see what we had before deciding on what to make for dinner. I found a can of organic cannellini beans and for some reason instantly thought to make stuffed peppers. I had never made stuffed peppers before and I seriously cannot tell you how easy they were to make! The ingredients:

4 red bell peppers
1 cup long grain brown rice (follow directions to make 4 cooked cups)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup water
4 cloves garlic
1 zucchini
6 button mushrooms
1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15oz. can cannellini beans
2 tbsp. shredded fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
3 tbsp. Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Boil vegetable stock and water in a pot, add brown rice and let simmer (follow cooking directions on the back of your rice package). Pour 1tbsp. olive oil in a pan and add 4 cloves chopped garlic with finely chopped zucchini and mushrooms. After 5 or so minutes add in the diced tomatoes, beans and basil, stirring to combine all of the vegetables:

Once the rice is ready, pour the rice into the vegetable pan and combine. Preheat your oven to 350 and cut the tops off of the peppers. I just slice the top, pull out the seeds and discard them:

You can use the tops of the peppers as a snack or just put them in a container to add to salads. Grease the bottom of a square oven-safe dish with 1tbsp. olive oil and rub the remaining oil on the peppers. Carefully fill each pepper with 1 cup or so of the rice and vegetables, being sure to leave some in your pan for serving later on. With a spoon, push half of the mozzarella cheese into the center of each pepper.

Place the dish in the 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. In the last 10 or so minutes, place the remaining mozzarella over each pepper. You will know the peppers are ready when they are soft to touch and blistered on the outside.

To serve, divide the remaining rice and vegetable mixture between 4 plates. Carefully lift each pepper out of the dish and place it in the center of the plate, using the rice as a base. Here is my dad serving my mom's plate (note Mona the rooster!):

These peppers were so flavorful and hearty, everyone in my family ate every last bite! For dessert I made Green Monsters in short glasses for everyone with hemp milk, kale, ground flaxseed, frozen bananas and cherries:

(One is missing because my brother, Blake, scooped his up the second I was done pouring!). I had my smoothie with a slice of cinnamon raisin bread that I picked up today. I toasted the bread and then smothered on some Earth's Balance spread:

We very ceremoniously drank our "shakes," as my dad likes to call them, while watching "Food, Inc." I saw Robert Kenner speak at my school about a week and a half ago when I still hadn't seen the film out of fear of never wanting to eat again (OK, like that would actually happen). Anyway, a lot of what I saw in the film I had already heard of or seen through books that I've read and movies I've watched. One thing, however, that completely shocked my parents and I was how in debt farmers are and how much they, along with workers who are used later on in the manufacturing process, are exploited. Like the big brands don't have enough money already!

Kenner told the crowd how he had contacted these big brands, in addition to 90 or so other companies, and no one wanted to talk. He brought up the fact that food is more inexpensive now than it has ever been before, and how this lack of spending is contaminating the earth. I felt so horrible for the woman who worked for Perdue (who explained how expensive it is to purchase and maintain a chicken house), but I was so glad that she let the camera's into her chicken house (which was over-crowded and filled with over-weight, antibiotic-fed chickens).

Seeing this movie made me realize how important it is for the people who write food blogs to offer new, home-cooked recipes that promote amazing, chemical-free brands who care for their employees. Stonyfield is identified as one of these brands in the movie but some of my favorites are Back to Nautre, Organic Valley and Annie's Homegrown. It is also so important to support your local farmers, so check out Local Harvest to locate farmer's markets and to join a Community Supported Agriculture program. You can also take action check at Take Part. Ooook the schpiel is over. Now onto scones.

My dad asked me if I could make him scones to replace the bleached-flour and refined sugar-filled muffins he usually picks up with healthier morning fare. My dad loves pumpkin-flavored things so I was really happy to find that Oh She Glows had this Pumpkin Scuffin recipe. I made 2/3 of the recipe, keeping the amount of flax the same and I didn't top the "scuffins" with chia seeds, but these are packed with nutritionally-delicious things nonetheless. They were so SO easy to make and came out looking great:

That tiny one in the corner was my sample which I dutifully demolished in about 4 seconds flat. These would make a great gift for a pumpkin-lover!

With health,


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