Creole Stuffed Peppers

Whoa. Talk about letting life stuff get in the way. This recipe is actually from Valentines Day. Better late than never because these were DELICIOUS! 

Creole Stuffed Peppers

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4 large bell peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 jalapeños, cut in half, seeded, and finely sliced

1 cup carrots, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons paprika

3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 teaspoon salt

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

2 15-oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
 

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish with a little olive oil. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.


Cut the peppers in half lengthwise through the stem end. For aesthetic purposes, try to leave the stem intact on one side; if you can't manage it, no love lost. Remove the seeds and membranes. Submerge the peppers in the boiling water and cover. Let them boil for 5 minutes, then drain them immediately and rinse with cold water to cool them down a bit.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, jalapeños, and carrots for about 10 minutes. You want the veggies to brown, especially the carrots. If it looks like they are steaming rather than browning, then raise the heat a bit. Add the garlic about 5 minutes into the cooking process.


Add the bay leaves, the other herbs and spices, and the salt; saute for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and peas, stir and cover, and cook for 10 minutes. If it seems too liquidy then remove the cover and cook long enough to reduce some of the liquid. Mix in the parsley.


Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. The mixture will be hot, so we find it's easier to just remove the herbs while filling the peppers; just be on the lookout for them.

Spoon a little less than 1/2 cup of the veggie mixture into each pepper half. Again, the filling will be hot, so be careful while you are handling it. Place the pepper halves in the casserole dish and bake for about 25 minutes.

 

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courtesy of Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

The Veganomicon

Cooking my way through the...

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In my quest to teach myself to cook healthy and vegan I have decided to cook my way through the Veganomicon cookbook. (Yes, the ENTIRE book.) This is pretty much the Vegan cooking Bible and it has been collecting dust on my bookshelf for a few years.  Waiting for me to take the plunge.  So plunge I will. 

The best thing about this cookbook is that the first 44 pages are nothing but definitions, tips, stocking your pantry, equipment, and how-to's.  Any question you have about anything can be answered in those 44 pages.  

I don't intend to get all Julia and Julia and cook the entire book in order and in a timeframe but I do intend to attempt every recipe. 

You can buy the Veganomicon here.

Wish me luck! 

Life lately

Lately I have been...

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Soaking in sunlight every chance I get.  It has been a harsh midwest winter and I long for warmer weather, bare legs, and outdoor adventures. 

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Teaching myself to cook and bake vegan. Avocado is the secret. Is there really anything better than a perfect avocado? 

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Taking in art. An old friend put together an incredible concept involving a table. Read more about it here.

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Watching as many sunsets as I can. This particular one was from a look out point in a state park next to my new house. 

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Exploring local gems in my new town. I don't think this place has changed a thing since it opened. Neither have the locals.

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Meeting new furry friends that live so close to my new home! Anyone who knows me knows that my idea of a perfect day involves finding new furry friends. 

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Snuggling my little man every second that I can, of course. 

Sunday Baking

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes

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Recently I had a request to try out some vegan recipes and I got really excited. I have been a vegetarian for many years but i've never mastered the discipline to make that jump. Hopefully this can be the start of my transition as I learn to cook and bake without dairy. 

Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups of flour

1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup of chocolate almond milk

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 large avocado, pitted, peeled (I had smaller ones so I used 1 1/2)

1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Frosting

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1 large avocado, pitted, peeled (I had smaller ones so I used 1 1/2)

1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

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1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. In a large bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a medium sized bowl mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar together and let sit for 5 minutes. 

4. In a mixer or blender mix together avocado, coconut oil, milk/cider mixture, and vanilla until smooth. 

5. Add in dry ingredients and mix until smooth. 

6. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out smooth when inserted in center. 

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While The batter bakes prepare the icing, 

1. Heat sugar and coconut oil until melted and soft. 

2. Mix the softened sugar, avocado, salt, cocoa powder, and vanilla together in a mixer or blender until smooth. 

Frost the cupcakes once cooled.

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These were better than any regular cupcake I had ever had or made! And they were definitely vegan approved! 

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Blackberry Pie

Sunday baking on a Wednesday.

 

One of my favorite things in the world is Blackberry Pie. So naturally that is what I decide to bake for my first baking post. I've made many pies in the past so this wasn't a challenge for me but I must say... I am HORRIBLE at making the crust look pretty.  I will have to make many more pie posts so I can perfect that.  

There are many different ways to make a pie crust and I look forward to trying out as many as I can. Here is my basic go to: 

 

2 1/2 cups of flour

2 sticks of cold unsalted butter cut into cubes

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of salt

1/2 cup of cold water

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Puree these together in a food processor until all of the crumbly pieces stick together. (Do you like my professional baker verbiage?)

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Stick your crust(s) in the fridge while you prepare the filling. 

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Filling:

6 cups of fresh Blackberries

1 cup of sugar (more if Blackberries are out of season and tart)

3 tablespoons of corn starch

1/2 of a lemons juice. 

1/2 cup of water. 

 

Mix everything together in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. 

Let filling cool on stovetop for 30 minutes. 

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Once cool pour filling into dish and you can either go ahead and bake without a top crust or you can create a lattice like I did. 


Whip one egg with 2 tablespoons of milk and brush mixture onto top of pie. 


Bake on 425 for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. 

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2014, i'm counting on you.

 

2013 was just one big giant life lesson.  2013 was the year I figured out who I am and what I want.  I learned to not settle. I learned that I am the sole owner of my own happiness.  It was a lot of ups and a whole heck of a lot of downs but here I am. I survived and with just one day left I thought I would declare my 2014 ambitions. 

I only have three. 

 

1.  Be the healthiest me that I can be. I want to live a long life and I want to look damn good when I'm 80.  It's time to start treating my body like the temple that it is. No more excuses. 

 

2. Master a craft. There are things that I am good at. But I want to be AMAZING at something. 2014 will be the year of baking. I vow to start a Sunday feature here documenting a new baking adventure every week. Even if it's a fail adventure. ;)

 

3. Travel. Travel. Travel. I intend to take a solo road trip. Not sure when or where but exploring the unknown on my own has always been on my bucket list.  There will hopefully be a couple Bestie adventures as well. 

 

(image via pinterest)

(image via pinterest)

Happy October

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It's my favorite time of year. It's pouring here in St. Louis and Donnie Darko is on the television, i've got a warm cup of coffee, and my dogs are snuggled up close under our favorite blanket.

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Earlier in the week I tried my hand at home made Pumpkin Donuts.  They turned out great!  This was my first attempt at donuts and I can't wait to try out more recipes. 

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Best fall movie. I have to watch it every year.