Monday, November 4, 2013

basil feta stuffed peppers with garlic tahini sauce

i am pretty proud of this recipe because instead of modifying this recipe, i created it from scratch. in the past, i have made stuffed peppers with a Mexican flair to it, because what goes better with peppers (and life) than Mexican food?

this recipe was inspired by my financial stress (remember this?) and forcing myself to put something together on what was in our kitchen versus finding a recipe and heading to the grocery store to put it together. thanks to Sam's Club, we had few ingredients, but in bulk....

basil feta stuffed peppers with garlic lemon tahini sauce:.

>> 4 peppers
>> 1 cup of quinoa (red or white), cooked
>> 1/2 cup mushrooms
>> 1/2 cup broccoli
>> 3 tomatoes (i used Roma, but obviously any kind would work), diced
>> 1 lb of ground beef
>> 1 cup feta cheese
>> basil (i used dried, but would prefer fresh)
>> 2 cloves of garlic, minced
>> salt and pepper
>> coconut oil (or olive oil)

preheat oven to 300. in a large pan, heat coconut oil and garlic. once the coconut oil is melted, sauté mushrooms, broccoli and tomatoes. in a separate pan, brown the ground beef. add the cooked quinoa and browned meat to the large pan of vegetables, remove from heat. stir until well mixed. add basil, salt and pepper (how much you prefer) and feta cheese. stir until well mixed. while everything is cooking, you will want to prepare the peppers - cut tops off (not too much, just enough to open it up) and 'gut' them. once the quinoa/meat mixture is cooked, stuff each pepper with the mixture and drizzle the top with olive oil to prevent the quinoa from drying out in the oven. place in a pan that allows the peppers to stand up (i used my infamous Pyrex cake pan). bake at 300 for about 30 minutes.

garlic lemon tahini sauce:.

>> 1 clove of garlic, minced
>> 2 tbsp lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
>> 1/3 cup tahini sauce
>> 1/3 cup water

mix well with a fork and put in the fridge to stiffen - should have a yogurt consistency. drizzle over the peppers once you pull them out of the oven. warning: you may want more than that, so you should probably keep extra on your plate.


this recipe made plenty - you could either use it to stuff 6+ peppers or save the leftovers for something else. i used the leftovers to mix in with spaghetti squash a few days later.

i promise the recipes that i post are easy - do not let the 'different' ingredients trick you!

give it a try and let me know what you you think!

always striving for more,
dee b.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

picture perfect:.

how do you define the perfect picture? what you see on TV or in magazines? Facebook? Instagram?  in a world that is getting smaller and smaller thanks to technology and social media, its easy to lose perspective on what is in front of us. through social media, its easy for people to portray their life in a rose-colored lens making the rest of us feel like we should be keeping up - i know i am not the only one who struggles with this.

cleaning is often my time to decompress, to think and reflect. today, while i was cleaning, i reflected on the purpose behind all the things that i do. this week i stressed myself over money (like i frequently do). i had to get a new battery for my car which wasn't part of my 'planned' budget. this planned budget is extremely strict - i plan my budget about 5 paychecks ahead of time (yes, i do already have christmas spending marked in my datebook). i plan my budget with maybe $30 in my checkings to play with the day before payday. when this relatively inexpensive necessity came up, i was stressed, extremely annoyed and almost disappointed in myself when i had to move some money from my savings into my checkings to get me until friday (payday). drew, who is mr. finance (thank god!), often reminds me of the different, positive financial things that i have. that a savings is a safety net for emergencies, like a new car battery, and i am lucky to have one versus relying on a credit card for emergencies.

without divulging too much on my financial situation and frankly, boring you, i'll share a couple quotes with you that help me keep perspective.

if we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

to walk in a place of contentment, there are 2 things you have to do:.
1. focus on the good aspects of what you already have
2. stop thinking about what you don't have

why do i care if my house is clean? why do i care if i get my butt out of bed for 6 am yoga? why do i care if i have a savings and that it grows each month? to be honest, i'm not sure. i know that i have big plans to travel, buy a house and have financial security for myself and family. i know that my health is important to me and working out keeps me sane. i know that i enjoy cooking and take pride in providing healthy, yet tasty meals for drew and i. i know that i am much more relaxed in a clean house. i also know that i add a lot of stress in my life trying to create the 'perfect picture'.

with this, i challenge you (and myself) - create your OWN perfect picture - don't let anyone or anything else, especially Facebook or Instagram, define it for you because in reality, you can't filter life.

always striving for more,
dee b.

Friday, November 1, 2013

.:sugar hangover:.

are you, like MANY other people, feeling hungover from too much candy and sugar? even though it is Friday, i am getting a sluggish feeling from A LOT of people.

well, here are a couple (pumpkin) recipes that will help you continue your fall celebration, but also recover from that wicked sugar crash (or help you fit back into your jeans sooner).

pumpkin protein shake:.

again, this is a recipe that i have seen everywhere - Pinterest (duh!), Chris Freytag, Heidi Powell, etc. i decided to mesh together a few recipes to create something that i would like best and to include ingredients that i had around the house, per usual.

>> 1/4 - 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
>> 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
>> 1/2 scoop Garden of Life Raw Vanilla Chai protein powder - this was a sample packet from Vitamin Shoppe, pretty good!
>> 1/2 scoop Garden of Life Raw Vanilla protein powder (the chai one scared me, so i played it safe)
>> 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
>> 1 tbsp maple syrup
>> 1/2 cup coconut milk
>> 1/2 cup oats
>> 3 ice cubes (i am not a big fan of putting too much ice in my smoothies because 1. i don't like being cold and 2. i would rather have room for more substantial ingredients....)

photo 3.JPGblend!

i am slightly disappointed that i forgot to add almond butter, but peanut or almond butter would work well with this recipe! also, you could obviously substitute your favorite protein powder in for the Garden of Life that i used. i should probably do a post on protein powders and what to look for, but i have 2 different types of protein powder - one for after workouts that really targets repairing and recovering muscle tissue and the Garden of Life that i use in my morning smoothies which is easier to digset. i intended to make this smoothie after yoga sculpt class on wednesday night, but i was in 'hangry' mode. i had also preorded Chipotle, so i couldn't stop myself from tearing into my burrito bowl to make a pumpkin smoothie. let's be serious, i am human.

play around with this recipe and see what you like - there are endless substitutions!

pumpkin granola:.

before i dive into this recipe, i would like to mention that this granola does not explicitly taste like pumpkin, it has pepitas in it, but you will not get a lot of pumpkin flavor (unless you want to)

>> 3 cups rolled oats
>> 1/2 cup pepitas (unhulled pumpkin seeds - ok, bascially pumpkin seeds without the white shell that you dig out of your pumpkins)
>> 1/2 cup slivered almonds
>> 1 cup flaked coconut (or 1/2 cup shredded)
>> 1/2 cup olive oil
>> 1/3 cup maple syrup (agave nectar or honey would work well too!)
>> 2 tsp vanilla extract
>> 1 tsp cinnamon
>> 1/2 tsp nutmeg
>> 1/2 tsp salt
>> 1/2 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
>> 1/4 cup pecan pieces
>> 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
>> a couple shakes of pumpkin spice (depending on how much 'pumpkin' you want to taste)

preheat oven to 300 degrees. in one bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: oats, pepitas, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, salt, ground flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pecan pieces. in another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: olive oil, maple syrup and vanilla. add wet to dry and mix well - you want to make sure it is evenly coated. ideally, you will want to spread it out on a cookie sheet, but some people (me) ruined their cookie sheet in the grill (don't ask) and found that a cake pan will work well too! *be sure to spray the pan* (speaking of spray, i recently discovered the coconut oil spray at Trader Joe's, awesome!) bake at 300 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure it bakes evenly. since i used a Pyrex cake pan, i had to let mine cook longer - i think because it wasn't 'spread out' and needed more time to fully bake. let cool and store! i store mine in mason jars, i feel better when they are sealed nice and tight! plus, i just have a thing with mason jars.
photo 1.JPG

i have tried MANY granola recipes and this is the first one i have found that actually made crispy granola, not soggy stuff that will mold in days. gross. i love mixing my granola in yogurt or eating plain by the spoonfuls.

i hope you enjoy these recipes and use them to help 'reset' over the weekend - speaking of resetting, don't forget to reset your clock this weekend, you do NOT want to be the dork who missed the extra hour of sleep!

always striving for more,
dee b.

recipe was modified from: which was featured on