30 March 2012

quinoa stuffed peppers

So DH and I recently discovered/re-discovered the amazingness of quinoa- it's hailed as the "future superfood," yet is actually an ancient grain {a bit of irony, hehe}. Anyhoo, it's got omega-3's, all 8 essential amino acids, and protein. It's technically not even a grain (although you use it like one when cooking) but it's really a grass, well actually, a grass seed. It cooks up just like rice, has a slightly nutty flavor, or can be ground into a flour. Oh! And it's naturally gluten free! Score for me ;)

So, now that I've gone over a few of the perks of quinoa, let's get onto the recipe...
loosely based on the {Incredibly Easy Gluten-Free Recipes} cookbook p. 44
makes: 2 large servings or ~4 side servings

  • 2 bell peppers, tops removed, seeded & hollowed out
  • 1/2 c. uncooked quinoa
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 TB butter
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place quinoa in fine-mesh strainer and rinse well. Bring water and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil, and stir in quinoa. Cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer 12-14 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed (like you would with rice).

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and tomato. Cook 7-10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in quinoa, remaining 1/4 tsp salt, and Italian seasoning. Add butter and stir until melted.

3. Arrange peppers in baking dish. Fill peppers with quinoa mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes or until peppers are tender (we did ours until peppers were slightly al dente still).

4. Serve warm. A decent main meal for a vegetarian (aka. me), or if you cut the peppers in half after cooking, it would make ~4 side servings.

NOTES:: You can definitely eat this sans peppers... DH and I liked this so much, we had it again the night after and just skipped the peppers! You could also substitute the peppers with a hollowed out onion, tomato, etc. You could substitute the chopped up veggies with pretty much anything you wanted too!

Cross-posted at the cooking blog {Comestibilis}

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17 March 2012

DIY St Patty's Day mantel tour

Happy Saint Patrick's Day
May the luck of the Irish be with you today and the whole year through :)
So! Now that we've got that out of the way, hehe, let me introduce you to my festive mantel! A lot of the ideas you'll probably see repeated in my mantels throughout the year because they're easy to change up! I'm all for keeping it simple, DIY, and reusable ;) So let's get going with the tour...

  • Fabric Wrapped Balls- I simply cut out 3/4" wide strips of fabric, wrap them around styrofoam balls, and use a straight pin to adhere the fabric to the ball! Repeat until completely covered and bam! Instant decor :) And so easy to change up the fabric for different holidays/seasons.
  • Metal Shamrock- well... it's actually a belt buckle I already had! Love using things for unexpected/unintended purposes :)
  • more fabric wrapped balls....
  • Framed Fabric- another super simple insta-decor piece! I taped the fabric around a 12"x12" piece of thin cardboard and then put it in the frame. So easy! And again, easily changed out for different holidays and seasons :)
  • Fabric Trees- another easy piece. I just pinned strips of fabric around the styrofoam trees, ruffling the fabric as I went. Easy to change out the fabric for the next mantel too!
  • Fabric Wrapped Candle- yet again, super simple. I took leftover pieces of fabric, twisted them, wrapped them around the candle, and taped them in the back. Easy to change up too! For the record, I'm paranoid and would never actually burn this candle with the fabric on there... it might be fine, but I would NOT risk it!! So it's a purely decorative candle for the moment :)
  • Shamrock Banner- another easy decor piece. I cut my The Twinery twine a few inches longer than my mantel, punched out some shamrocks and threaded them onto the twine about every 3 inches or so. Didn't even tie them or adhere them to the twine, they stay all by themselves :)
This area is actually on top of my entertainment center in the living room, but is another festive area I wanted to share ;)

  • Tulle Balls- see them peeking out of the basket there? super simple- I just wrapped a bunch of tulle around three of my fingers, tied a piece of twine around the center of the bundle, cut the loops at the top and bottom, then fluffed up the tulle!
  • Festive Branches- let's not forget the branches! I punched out a few shamrocks, looped them on some wire, and hung them on the branches (kinda like Christmas ornaments!). And I tied some fabric scraps onto a few branches too. Easy to do and easy to change up!
And of course a few green candles in the fireplace. It's a working wood fireplace, but being in the south, we've not yet had occasion to use it! I hope you enjoyed the tour of my mantel!! :) Have a fabulous weekend!

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14 March 2012

Green Monster Smoothie

Green Monster Smoothie
Whew! Sorry it's been a while ya'll!! I've been enjoying having my DH home from his mini-deployment and getting ready for baby's arrival next month ;) Anyhoo, onward to today's post!

Just in time for St. Patty's Day, here's a fabulous "green" healthy drink :) A good mix of sweet and tart, chock full of nutrients! Don't just a book by its cover- looks a bit crazy, but give it a try and you'll find it's quite scrumptious!

Makes: a little over 2 cups of juice
.: ingredients :.
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 large apple (or 2 small apples)
  • 2 cups of fresh kale
  • small piece of fresh ginger (about 1" square)
  • 1 c. cranberry juice

.: directions :.
1) Add cranberry juice, kale, and carrots to the blender and mix into a pulp.
2) Cut up ginger and apple into small slices. Add to blender and blend into a pulp.
3) It'll be a very thick drink, but not quite so thick you'd need a spoon ;)
*Note:: you could also do this recipe using a juicer- you just won't get quite all the nutritional value since you're losing a lot of the fibrous bits.
**Note:: you could pretty much use most any fruits & veggies in this recipe! After much testing, I recommend keeping the carrot/apple base and changing up the other ingredients :)

Just some of the nutritional value....
Vitamin A - 260+% DV (Daily Value)
Vitamin C - 170% DV
Vitamin K - 510% DV
Magnesium - 80% DV
Zinc - 50+%
Vitamin E