Monday, November 2, 2015

delicious desserts: summer peach cobbler

Quick confession: I've had this post queued up, half-written for months now...

I'll never forget taking a trip one summer to pick peaches when I was a kid. It might sound like a lot to have to "take a trip" to pick peaches, but when you grow up on an island, almost everything other than the grocery store and the post office require a little adventure. We traveled by ferry to Knott's Island and picked the biggest, ripest, juiciest peaches. My cousin and I spent a good part of the afternoon in trees, each trying to pick the best peaches. At the end of the day, when peaches were picked and paid for, we were allowed to eat one. One bite and I remember the peach juice running down my arm and dripping off my elbow. It was a sweet mess.

Peach season is my favorite part of summertime. I love to bake peach pies with graham cracker crusts and crumb toppings. In fact, I already made a big batch of miniature ones for a bake sale earlier this summer. But lately I've been wanting to try something new to me, and that's a peach cobbler. Also super simple, transportable for summer get-togethers and not much prep or baking time. I found a great recipe via Gonna Want Seconds; the recipe below is based on it with my changes.

Summer Peach Cobbler

what you need (fruit):
approx. 6 cups of fresh peaches - peeled and sliced in preferred thickness
2-3 tbs sugar (I used evaporated cane sugar)
2-3 tbs brown sugar (I used light) 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (or just grate some fresh nutmeg over peach slices)
dash of ginger powder
squirt of lemon juice
1 tsp corn starch (to help thicken fruit mixture - can omit)

what you do:

-peel and slice peaches (thick slices or chunks) into a large mixing bowl 
-add all other ingredients, stirring until peach slices are coated with spices and sugar
-pour into glass or ceramic baking dish (8x8 or slightly larger)
-bake the dish of peaches for 10-15 minutes at 375 while preparing cobbler topping (may want to place dish on a foil-lined baking sheet in case of boiling over peach juice)

what you need (topping):
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar (I used evaporated cane sugar)
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used light)  
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 tbs cold, unsalted butter - cut into small pieces
1/2 cup boiling water
2-3 pinches white sugar - additional to above; set aside to sprinkle on top

what you do:
-in a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all topping ingredients except boiling water 
-cut the butter into the mixture with a pastry cutter or blend with fingers until combined and crumbly texture
-pour in the boiling water and stir just until ingredients come together
-take dish of pre-baked peaches out of the oven and top with the dough (spoon on and gently spread out with fingers or spoon; don't aim for smoothed perfection - leave it a little lumpy)
-sprinkle top of dough with sugar
-place dish back on foil-lined pan into the 375 degree oven for another 30-40 minutes, until the top gets a light golden color
-remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving; great alone or with ice cream!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

one step forward, two steps back

Sunday was a discouraging day for truck work. I'm still frustrated and trying to figure out what I want to do I guess. But in short, I went from a fully functioning truck on Saturday to a giant lawn ornament by Sunday [insert WTF here]. I expected a 20-year-old truck to need work, but I wasn't expecting it to turn into what's shaping up to be a full-on restoration project. My excitement of getting the truck has definitely worn away and now I'm feeling more drained than excited. But, if I want a safe and running truck, I'll just have to keep pushing ahead.  

Yup, those should be connected. 
The day started out with kayaking plans, which would have been a 1.5 hour trip just to get there. I have to get rid of this bed liner so I have access to all the spots where I can hook straps into the bed to tie down the kayaks, so that was one problem. Living in an apartment doesn't really give you the freedom to leave a giant piece of plastic laying in your yard or driveway. Maybe the bed liner saved my ass from getting stranded on a highway. I'll just keep thinking that so I don't get mad at a missed kayaking trip and the current state of my truck.

What was supposed to be a quick look at the truck ended up with Ashley under the front end...where there's some loose connection related to the steering (it was the first of many "bad" things so the details are out of my head now). Then pointing out that one of the exhaust pipes had completely rusted off the muffler...which is also totally rusted. Then looking at the front brakes...which will need to be replaced for the truck to pass inspection (along with a new exhaust). But, you don't need to get a truck inspected if it doesn't even start, right? What had been a running truck 24 hours earlier now turns over but won't start.

So. What do you do with a giant hunk of metal that needs lots of new smaller pieces of metal that you don't have ready and waiting to be installed? Rip apart the insides for a deep clean and smaller/simpler repairs.

Seat, out. Carpet flooring, out. Side panels at the front of the cab, out. Panels at the back of the cab, out. Mismatched (I'm talking one new-ish and one random junkyard mismatched) oval speakers crammed in square stock speaker holes, out...and thrown in the trash. And a whole bunch of other little rubber and plastic parts that needed a good scrubbing, out.

I spent a lot of time with the carpet over the clothes line beating out all the dirt and then hosing it down, spraying it with carpet cleaner, scrubbing 20 years of grime out of it and then hosing it some more until the water finally ran clear. By the next night it was dry, spread out on my bedroom floor, covered in baking soda and being vacuumed. One clean shade of gray.

The rust in the cab was another project. The flaking rust was chipped out, and any rusty spots were scrubbed with a scouring pad or a wire brush. Then Ashley painted over all the rusted areas with POR-15 paint.

A bunch of bolts were sprayed for about the 100th time with WD-40, rusty parts were sprayed with POR-15 metal prep and by the time the sun was going down, the lawn ornament was put to bed for the night.

Tonight I scrubbed all the extra little parts from the interior and then read a bunch of Ford truck forums and watched a few YouTube videos to read about similar non-start situations, what the owners tried and what the problem ended up being. There are a lot of small things to try before groaning some more and sinking a little further under a big project. Let's hope one of the small things works.

So that's where I stand now with Blue. I hope this truck is seeing more adventurous terrain than its current parking space sooner than later.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Adventures of Blue

For a long time, I've wanted a truck. They're fun. They get you places cars can't. They haul things cars can't. They represent a lifestyle a car just doesn't.

I may be a city dweller for now, but my lifestyle certainly doesn't fit my location. You won't find me downtown at a trendy bar or restaurant, or going to the museums or big events. Instead, I'm probably shoveling horse manure at the stables a mile from my apartment, or riding at the horse farm out in the country, or fishing, or digging in the dirt or a number of other more rurally-focused activities.

My quest for a truck has been a long one, which started of course with saving money. New truck? Trade in my car? Old truck? Keep my car? I work...a lot. Two jobs, 6 days a week, volunteering on the 7th day. One full-time job, sometimes with overtime. One part-time job sometimes as many as 6 days a week. I didn't have to do that, but I wanted to. I was focused on that goal. When you work hard, you get to play hard too. I can't count the number of times I looked at ads or got in touch with a seller. I was close once, but the seller backed out the day I was supposed to go buy the truck. I swore it was the perfect truck. A friend told me it wasn't...a better one was out there that was meant for me. I said he was wrong, but of course he was right.

Enter, Blue.

Blue's more than just a truck. For the couple of weeks we were in communication before I went to see, drive and pay for Blue, I learned that she served as a living memorial of sorts for the girl I bought her from. She has a special story linked to special memories. Her last owner never intended on selling her, and because of that, didn't want the truck going to just anybody. We learned that we had some things in common, among them, both being horse girls. For both of us, Blue might represent a chance to spread our wings a little.

I'm starting to learn all kinds of things, thanks to owning a truck. Blue has good bones, but needs a little work here and there. YouTube taught me what a distributor cap is and how to replace it. I did that. I never expected to have any kind of mechanical interest or skill.

Pretty soon, Blue will be hauling kayaks and playing in the dirt and driving down to riverbanks to go fishing. I'm excited for the independence and the fun, and the hopefully years of adventure ahead.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Whole30: Week 3 (March 2)

Coming into Week 3, I'm starting to feel annoyed with the Whole30 again. I'm frustrated with what I'm feeling like are excessive limitations on food even when I feel that I'm able to make good choices without the limitations. I'm also having trouble preparing Whole30 lunches. For breakfast, it's easy to get by with fruit or scrambled eggs. But by lunch time, I want something satisfying to hold me over for a few hours. Most of my dinners are one-meal, eat it when it's prepared kind of dishes. Sausage and sauteed vegetables do not sound very appetizing reheated in a microwave at the office. And it is COLD. Eating raw and cold foods is increasingly frustrating when we have days with single digit temperatures and even colder wind chills.

Whole30 or not, planning dinner is never an issue. I'm home, I can cook anything any way I need to, and the food will be hot, freshly prepared and taste good. Planning lunches are a new challenge that I'm struggling with. Before Whole30, I'd bring dinner leftovers or some other option that doesn't really work with Whole30 (like avocado and muenster on a croissant). The Whole30 dinners I've prepared aren't really good for leftovers or reheating. Some foods that would make sense to have for Whole30 lunches I don't like, aren't practical or I'm just sick of. So that's my slump lately. Temperatures eventually got a little closer to our "normal" winter temperatures, so I had salads a few days - romaine and shredded cabbage with blackberries and balsamic vinegar.    

I really needed to go through the fridge before even thinking of doing any shopping this week to take stock of what extra vegetables, fruit and meat I had. And it's become a disaster so it needed to be reorganized. There are little bits of this and that, and if I don't round things up every now and then, a lot will go to waste. 

Nothing new in this department. I think once you figure out what works for you prep-wise, stick to that. How it works with your schedule, what kind of time you need, the timing to keep whatever you're making fresh until you eat or use it. 

As I've been feeling that this Whole30 experience has been becoming less productive for me, I've been in a bit of an early transition week. I've had some meals that were not Whole30, some meals or entire days that were still completely Whole30, and some that were a mix. I had organic half-and-half in my coffee a couple days, and drank it black the others. 

I think a lot of it has to do with timing, but I'm pretty much over Whole30 at this point. I'm irritated that I'm not eating as much satisfying food. My dinner the other night was terrible, and I ended up throwing about half of it in the trash. I didn't have anything else to make, so I made some baked cheese ravioli. If I wasn't doing Whole30, I can guarantee you I would have had a satisfying and well-rounded meal that would not have ended up in the trash or with me eating junk.

I mentioned that I weighed myself at the end of Week 1, and I lost some weight. Recently, I picked up a morning gig at a local barn. I feed and turn out horses from 7-8:30 a.m. and then go home, get ready and head off to my office job for a full work day. I use a Jawbone Up24 and according to it, I average about 1.5 miles of walking in that 1.5 hours at the stables. That's pretty good! Now that I have built-in exercise every day, I feel like I'm on a lot better path to staying fit. It's always been such a struggle piecing together the necessary parts of my day - work, errands and home obligations (cleaning, laundry, etc.), spending time with my dogs and making sure they get out for some exercise - that I often push off going to the gym in order to make time for other obligations. Seriously if I tried to fit it all in, I'd be eating dinner at 9 every night. No thank you.

I feel confident that the first two weeks of Whole30 opened my eyes to some bad habits that I had developed and got me comfortable with making some changes. I didn't feel like I would be seeing much physical change beyond what I saw in Weeks 1 or 2, and I was never expecting this program to be something that, at the end, had me running out to buy a whole new wardrobe two sizes smaller. So in Week 3, I began modifying the Whole30 to make this experience be what I needed it to be for me.

moving forward
I'm certain that if I ever do Whole30 again, it will not be during the winter. Given my daily schedule, it's so much easier to eat raw or cold foods for breakfast and lunch, and prepare a big, hot dinner. That type of eating would be so much better suited to warm weather (and when a lot more produce is in season) than the arctic winter we're experiencing right now.

Programs are built so that they're effective for as many people as possible. It makes sense to modify something with that kind of basic structure to make it fit personal needs. I am pretty sure I have learned what I needed to learn from Whole30. I have seen changes, lost cravings for the "bad" stuff, and have been reminded that moderation is key and that it takes both healthy eating and exercise to stay healthy. Forgive me if you're a Whole30 purist or if I'm not setting a good example, but I'm going to jump forward and start reintroducing some foods. I look at something like my typical stuffed pepper recipe: the peppers are stuffed with a mix of quinoa cooked in vegetable broth, chicken and vegetables with maybe a tablespoon or less of shredded cheese on top. You can't tell me that's not healthy, so the grain and dairy is that recipe aren't even a question for me.    

So it looks like I'm transitioning back into "normal" eating from here. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Whole30: Week 2

So the good news is, I survived Week 1. Some moments I felt like I was barely hanging on. And I'll be honest...there were some cheats early on in Week 2. They came in the form of a handful of pretzels, a bagel with butter, a croissant, and sauteed broccoli with half a serving of white rice from the Chinese restaurant. And I stepped on the scale once. Do I think these things ruined the Whole30 experience for me? Not at all. They might have saved it. I was feeling like shit. Headaches, tired, frustrated with food. It's not behavior worthy of applause, but eating a bite of "bad" food here and there took the edge off and helped me refocus. Also, when something you've gotten your guts used to not having comes back in the picture in full force, you'll probably pay for it. Lesson learned, and a reminder to read about reintroducing foods when I get to the last week of Whole30.

I don't deal well with headaches. Migraines are an occasional issue for me, and I don't like feeling like shit. I understand that this is part of the body's adjustment to the absence of crap food, but suffering through the blah-ness and headaches for so long doesn't seem super healthy to me. If I eat a little bit of a "no" food and make it through the week feeling healthy overall, I'm okay with that. I guess what I'm saying is it's a means to an end. If I had to classify the amount of Whole30 foods I'm eating vs those that are not, it's 95% or more Whole30 compliant. Some of it is purely by innocent mistake. The coconut almond milk I bought has carageenan in it, and the organic vegetable Better Than Bouillon paste I use has a tiny bit of cane sugar and soy sauce in it. Those are such minute infractions and amounts of the "bad" substances compared to something like binge eating junk food.

So how did I plan for this week with all those things considered? Before the end of Week 1, I began planning dinner and lunches for Week 2. So the intention of going full Whole30 is there. I'll go along with the menu and take it one day at a time.  

I did some late week restocking of produce during Week 1, so I had quite a bit left over in the fridge. I made one trip to the co-op and another trip to the regular grocery store and got myself settled for the week. A shopping list is your best friend in order to get in and out of the store with everything you need and also not let yourself wander too far into the danger zone.

Somehow, I feel that I was worse as prepping my meals during Week 2. Maybe because the newness wore off or I was a little less organized?

One of my new favorite side dishes is roasted cauliflower. I felt like I was eating potatoes too often during the first week, and I used to think of potatoes as not a particularly healthy food, so it didn't make sense to me to be eating them so much during a month of exceptionally healthy eating. I like to mix the cauliflower up in a little olive oil, sea salt and garlic, then spread it out on a pan and roast it in the oven for 15 minutes or so at 450 degrees. This week I've also made some new dishes and reworked some normal favorites to work for Whole30. A new dish that was crazy, amazing good were chicken fajitas. An old favorite I reworked is pulled pork (so that the seasonings/roasting juices were okay by Whole30 standards).

I feel like it was at some point toward the end of Week 2 that something finally sunk in: there are so many more flavors than just sweet or salty. Under normal circumstances, I'm fine with both when not overdone, but I think foods tend to be prepared with an overdose of one of these two flavors. There are so many herbs and spices and seasonings to use to create all kinds of savory flavors, which is what you tend to get a lot of with Whole30. That, or no extra flavor at all  - just the pure food flavors of foods like raw veggies and fruit, or simple whole food recipes like guacamole. Just think about all the different ways you can season and prepare chicken, for example. Whole30 is a great exercise in expanding your palette, trying new flavors and learning to appreciate the true flavors of everyday foods that might ordinarily be masked by unnecessary additives.

moving forward
While cheats aren't great, they're surprisingly helping me learn a lot about my eating habits. Things I never really paid attention to before. What was my go-to cheat? Not candy. Not ice cream. Carbs. Definitely something to watch out for when my Whole30 comes to an end. It was also clear to me that if I had something "junky" (one day I brought a handful of multigrain tortilla chips with lunch when I was in a rush...ugh, poor planning/prepping), I'll want to eat it before my healthy food. The easiest solution here is to not have the bad food, which is something to think about in a couple weeks.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Whole30: Week 1

As part of my new year newness, I decided to challenge myself to the Whole30. I didn't buy the book, because honestly, the program creators kind of sound like dicks. So I've read their website, reviewed the downloads, read wrap-ups and advice and interpreted guidelines from others who have completed the challenge, and sat down to plan my meal and make my shopping list.

Something that comes up in every review is addressing the question "is it hard?" and the same answer, along the lines of It's not really hard, it just takes a lot of planning.

So, here's my experience in the first week - no canned answers.

It took me awhile to get myself mentally focused enough to commit to this. I want to eat what I want to eat. Mostly, I don't eat terrible food. But if I want those cheese fries, don't you dare get in my way. I also have the kind of personality that likes to freak out when restrictions are placed. All that said, I decided I'd commit to the first week. See how it goes, and if it was going well, plan for another. I'm battling two mindsets here, because while I don't like to be restricted, I also don't like to give up on a challenge.

So you make the decision to do Whole30. Then what? I printed out a few of the downloads available on the Whole30 website: Program Rules, Shopping List, Meal Planning Template and Guide to Grocery Shopping. I sat down with these and began planning out a week's worth of meals. Planning a week of dinners is nothing new to me, but I don't usually plan out breakfast and lunch. And with restrictions on grain, dairy and sugar intake, you have to get a little more creative. Soy is also a no-no, and that shit shows up in everything. Watch out.

Planning these 21 meals and creating the shopping list afterward took me about 2 hours. Compared to my "normal" eating life, most of the extra thought went into varying my typical side dishes for dinners and coming up with ideas for complete lunches, as well as having a list of acceptable snack foods. I found it helpful to keep a food journal and write down all of my meals and snacks for each day, which serves as a good reference for future planning.

Also, if you don't already compost, you might want to start. You'll have so many fruit and vegetable scraps that it'd be a shame for them to go to waste.

For as massive of a grocery list as you'll have, shopping will surprisingly not take as long as you might expect. You've probably heard about shopping the perimeter of the store for healthier foods, and that's pretty much what you end up doing for Whole30 meal ingredients. Fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs just about cover it. You might venture into the danger zone for a few items like cooking oils, nuts and spices. Put your blinders on and walk fast. The big kicker to shopping is that your total at the check-out line might be more - maybe a lot more - than you're used to spending. I think it partially depends on what kind of food you normally eat. If you're really sticking to the nitty gritty details of Whole30 and getting all the free range meats, definitely expect a higher bill. And with all the produce you'll be buying, if much of it is not in season, you'll be paying extra. That was probably the biggest increase in my spending. I'm usually fine with apples and bananas and maybe even some berries if they're on sale during the winter, but knowing how much I'd have to load up my meals with fruits and veggies, I wanted more variety and in February, that variety has a price.

You will be helping yourself out immensely if you take the time to do small tasks like washing and cutting produce in advance. When you're hungry, you want to eat. Most of your Whole30 foods will be in the fridge, so there's no opening the snack cabinet to grab a salty, crunchy something when you want a quick bite. When you come home from work tired and grumpy, you'll be happy to remember that you've already advanced yourself a couple of steps in the process of making dinner. This step has certainly helped me stay on track. I try to have fruit and vegetables for the next day ready the night before. That means breakfast and lunch all or nearly made and in the fridge ready to go the next morning. There's no running to the deli to grab a sandwich for lunch if you didn't have enough time to make lunch that morning. Keeping yourself successful isn't going to cost you big chunks of time. Plan for maybe 30 minutes of prep work at night, and that should have you ready to go, maybe even including time for prepping the coffee pot (and hallelujah you can drink coffee! I've been taking mine with coconut almond milk, no complaints). If you weren't much of an at-home chef before Whole30, put your apron on because it's going to get messy. I love to cook (obviously), so I love that I'm cooking every single night. There's a satisfaction that comes with planning and preparing a meal, which brings me to...

So, apparently these Whole30 dictators advise to only eat 3 meals a day, except if you work out. After exercise you're allowed a "bonus" meal to help your body recover. Well, This is a rule that I am breaking. The whole (haha) point in doing this is to be successful, right? That said, I eat when I need to. Maybe they've crafted some reason as to why eating just three times a day is best, but I'm not worried about it. If you know what foods you should and shouldn't eat, and understand the proper portioning of those foods, eat them whenever you need to. I've never been super hungry early in the morning, so that combined with time restrictions have me eating a smaller breakfast. I also don't have a lengthy lunch break, so a gigantic lunch isn't really an option either. Instead, I eat 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks a day. Overall I've been eating a much larger quantity of raw foods than usual, thanks to all the fruits and veggies. Since raw foods aren't loaded down with grease and fat, I think our stomachs don't feel as full from them, so you eat more of them to accomplish fullness. My non-expert opinion says that's okay. Half a pint of strawberries for a morning snack? Bring it on.

Measuring progress in the first week is...different. You weigh yourself and take body measurements when you begin the Whole30, and are encouraged not to do either of those until you've completed your 30 days. If you read up on Whole30, especially other people's accounts of their experience, you might be eager to see your loss of pounds and inches. Don't get fixated on that so soon. The first week is probably a lot of adjustment on your body (more or less depending on how you regularly eat). You can measure this by thinking about a few things. Consider digestions, energy level, how well you're planning and eating meals, how your body feels overall with the dietary change, the way you're sleeping, etc. Are you tasting flavors differently than you did with your previous eating habits? You're making big changes, and Whole30 rules are strict. The overall change in eating habits and feeding yourself healthier food is the big picture. So that package of organic bacon you bought has a little bit of sugar? Don't beat yourself up over it. I think the progress bar is full on the first week just by making it to the end.

moving forward
Planning for Week 2 (you haven't gotten the best of me yet, cheese fries), I'm starting with looking at what foods I have left over from my first week of grocery shopping. Best to use those up early in Week 2 so nothing goes to waste. Being familiar with the good foods and the no-nos, I'm comfortable with spending a little time looking up new recipes and maybe trying a few. I also had some recipe ideas I didn't use during the first week, so those are in my arsenal as well. Finally, I can fill in remaining meals with some of my first week favorites, which I know thanks to my food journal. I experienced headaches during the first week, and I'm not sure what to attribute them to. Maybe it's a sign of my body detoxing. It could have been that I wasn't getting portions right or wasn't eating frequently enough. And maybe it was just weather - we did have several rainy days. Whatever the cause, it's something I want to pay attention to in the coming week. I'm hoping that during week two, I'll be less focused on the foods I'm not eating. Let me provide some clarity for the "is it hard?" question. Is eating good and healthy food hard? No, it is not. Is letting go of all the unhealthy but stupidly satisfying foods you used to eat hard? Ohmygodyes. Every day I thought of foods I wanted to eat, whether it was an egg bagel smeared with butter, the red velvet whoopie pies I wanted to make, my favorite Valentine candies I walked by at Target...every day there was some forbidden food on my mind or that I saw or that I smelled and I absolutely wanted to devour it. But I knew I had a goal, and I wanted to stick to it. I hope those thoughts start to go away in the remaining weeks. I will say, if the headaches do not subside, I'm going to have to make some adjustments.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

main meal: stuffed peppers

It's a new year, and while I am not all about resolutions, I am focused on newness. I've been looking through the schedule of classes at my gym and decided to try a new class. I'd considered signing up for personal training but thought maybe some of the more intense classes might be just as good. You need activity as the first step to seeing any progress, after all. So I went to the HIIT class - somewhat nervous of how it would go - and it was good! I knew I would most likely be starving afterward, so I wanted a dinner that was going to fill me up, both with satisfaction and nourishment. I've never made stuffed peppers before. In fact, I've never even eaten stuffed peppers before. I had everything I needed to make them, so I gave it a shot. They were great! I'm really glad I tried a new meal, and I think it's a new favorite (see what I did there?).


what you need:

up to 6 bell peppers (the more colorful, the better)
1/2 cup quinoa
2-4 boneless skinless chicken breast strips
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water or broth (vegetable or chicken)
2-3 large carrots
2-3 stalks of celery
1/2 cup corn (canned or frozen)

what you do:
-prepare quinoa (two parts liquid, one part quinoa) by adding liquid and quinoa to a small pot, bring to boil, cover and lower to simmer until water or broth is completely absorbed
-cut chicken into small pieces and cook through in olive oil in large pan
-prepare vegetables by washing and chopping carrots and celery
-slice around tops of bell peppers, twist and pull out (hopefully with seeds); slice out spongy flesh inside pepper and rinse out any remaining seeds
-after quinoa and chicken have cooked, mix in a large bowl with carrots, celery and corn; add cheese if desired
-fill the peppers with the mixture and mound just above top of pepper; stand upright in a baking dish and sprinkle with cheese
-bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes

Stuffed peppers are a great and easy meal with so many options for the "gut" mixtures - quinoa and veggies, rice and veggies, taco stuffing, chili - so many! While the stuffing makes enough for 6 peppers, I made 3 and froze the rest. It freezes and thaws great! Just take it out of the freezer the night before or early in the morning before making your peppers. I only topped my peppers with cheese, so I don't know how well the stuffing will freeze and thaw with cheese added.

stuffed bell pepper with tostones