Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Personal Chef

After class last night, I came home to such a treat: dinner was ready and waiting for me, courtesy of my personal chef (aka my crock pot).  To top it off, my apartment smelled ah-mazing - just like when my mom made stuffed peppers when I was growing up, even though she used meat and I made a vegetarian version.  So comforting.

I followed this recipe with a few substitutions. I used a cup of frozen corn instead of a can of corn, I went with brown rice, I used regular paprika because I didn't have smoked paprika, and I added about 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast + 1/3 cup water instead of cheddar cheese.  That ended up being a perfect substitution because I don't like cheese, but the nutritional yeast leant some creaminess to the mixture.  I used a tomato, basil, and mushroom jarred pasta sauce which worked really well, and I especially liked the slices of mushrooms in there. 

I prepped the mixture and stuffed the peppers on Sunday, put them in my crock pot dish and refrigerated over night.  In the morning I added water around the pepper bases and set the crock pot on low for 8 hours. 

For some reason I thought 1/3 cup of water didn't seem like enough, so I eyeballed it, but I should have followed the recipe and only added 1/3 cup of water around the bases because there ended up being more liquid than necessary.  They were pretty fragile due to the extra liquid, but it didn't affect the taste at all.

I served 2 stuffed peppers over some leftover brown rice and pasta sauce and rounded out my meal with a simple spinach salad (spinach, homemade Italian dressing, sliced almonds), and a juicy, delicious plum on the side. 

Sooo good, and really easy to prepare.  And the great thing about this recipe is that it can easily be altered depending on your taste preferences and what you have on hand.  You could substitute another grain like quinoa, couscous, barley, etc. for the rice, and add in whatever veggies you like - I think mushrooms would be great in there, or sauteed spinach, even pieces of bell pepper from the cut-off tops of the peppers (I saved mine to add to salads and other dishes this week). 

Like this whole wheat pita I made for lunch today - it's stuffed with hummus, spinach, bell pepper, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, and shredded carrots.  

Last night I made another snack to take with me while I'm traveling:  Amazeballz!!  I used vanilla Sun Warrior protein powder and agave nectar instead of maple syrup.  No chocolate add-ins since I gave it up for Lent, so I mixed in some dried blueberries, cherries, and goji berries.  Bring on the antioxidants!

I did week 4 of the Fitnessista's winter shape up plan after school today.  It's my second time through the plan, and this is the last week.  I'm going to have to put together a new routine for after spring break.  I just got my tickets to go to Florida in May with my mom, sister, and grandma, so it's officially bikini countdown season!

Now I'm slurping down this protein smoothie.  It has 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1/2 scoop Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder, 5 whole frozen strawberries, 1 frozen banana, 1 T peanut butter, 1 cup rice milk, and 2 ice cubes. 

Not the most appetizing color, but it's tasty.

I got to catch the last bit of the sunset from my apartment this evening.  Although I'm not excited to lose an hour when the time changes this weekend, I can't wait for the days to stay light later!!! 

Lots of work to get done tonight, so I better get to it.  Ciao!

Reader question:  If you could have any meal waiting for you when you got home from a day of work/ school/ errands/ shopping (!), what would it be?

Song of the day:

"Video Games" by Lana del Rey.  I've loved this song since I first heard it, and can listen to it on repeat for quite awhile, but she got a ton of criticism for her performance on Saturday Night Live recently.  I watched it and have to admit it was pretty awkward and she seemed super nervous, but I give her major props for continuing to perform on TV after the SNL debacle.  She was on Jimmy Kimmel last night and gave a much-improved performance, in my opinion.  And I still love the song, regardless.

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