Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

For the past week, I have been apart of a weight loss challenge group.  For the most part, I eat really healthy.  But like everyone can relate to, I have been slacking on my diet and putting on weight.  Now, it wouldn’t be so bad, but not only have I slacked off on my diet, but I have not been working out.  Not eating right and not going to the gym is the recipe to gain weight!

After a friend on Facebook posted her before and after pictures of her weight loss journey, I thought that I would try this out and see if I could get results.  The formula is simple, eat the right type of foods in the right portions and workout.  It’s that simple.  Easy, no.   Life makes it hard.  You have work, kids, and chores.  Things get in your way.  But you have to stick with it.

Going through this challenge has been hard on me because I have not been able to make some of my favorite meals because of being on calorie restriction.   Although one of the first things I am making will be my sweet potato pizza!  While Paleo, it is higher in calories because of the sweet potato and almond flour, but it is great for a post workout meal!  Over the past few days, I have pretty much been eating the same thing over and over again.  Grilled chicken, sauteed or roasted vegetables, an approved carb option, fruit, yogurt, and my protein shake.   But after a while, you want something different.  Which is why tonight I am having quinoa stuffed bell peppers!  It isn’t pizza, but it is super tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 2 bell peppers (red is my favorite bell pepper, but you can pick an color you like)
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (or beef if you prefer)
  • 1/4c chopped onions
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 1/4c yellow or green squash (or both!)
  • 1/4c cooked quinoa
  • 1/3c salsa (the salsa is to flavor your cooked quinoa)
  • 1/4c of your favorite cheese

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.   While your oven is heating, you need to take the tops off of the bell peppers and make sure that all of the seeds are out.   Once the seeds are out, place the bell pepper in a pot of boiling water.   Cook the peppers for 8 minutes.  Make sure about halfway through you rotate the peppers.  Once finished, dump the water out of the peppers and set aside.

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While the peppers are cooking, brown the ground meat (turkey or beef) in a tsp of olive oil.  I like to season the meat with garlic powder, ground pepper, and chipotle pepper.   Once it is ground, put in a bowl to cool while you cook your vegetables.  I like to cook mine in 1 tsp of olive oil.  I cook the onions, celery, and squash until the onions start to caramelize.  Add the spinach in last for 1-2 minutes until it is all wilted.

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Put your vegetables in with the cooked ground meat.

Mix the cooked quinoa with the salsa.  Combine the salsa quinoa with the vegetables and meat.  You can either mix your cheese in the entire mixture, or you can place it on top of the bell pepper mixture.  I like to mix mine in with the ingredients instead of put it on top.

 

Before cooking

Before cooking

 

Once the peppers are stuffed, bake them for 20 minutes.

After baking

After baking

 

Let the pepper cool, cut in half and begin eating!

Yum!

Yum!

 

This also makes a great leftover for lunch the next day!   Hope you enjoy this nutrient packed and gluten free dinner!

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Chocolate Cupcakes

I’m back!  Sorry for being MIA!  I have been busy!  Finished moving in with my boyfriend into his house.  It’s still a mess!  Just because we moved all of my stuff in, doesn’t mean that my stuff is organized.   Actually, the master bedroom is now where all of my furniture is until we renovate the master bedroom and bathroom.  As you could probably tell, this means that we have a lot of things to do around the house before we officially settled.

I did try several new recipes in my absence from blogging……but……they were total failures and I haven’t had time to rework them.   So, to keep your taste buds occupied, I wanted to share with you this tried and true recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes!

I found this recipe through one of the blogs I follow.  The original recipe is for a Chocolate Bundt Cake, but I made these into cupcakes instead for a party.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c unsweetened, full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Put cupcake liners in muffin tin.  I lightly sprayed them with a coconut oil spray.  In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, coconut milk, syrup, and vanilla.  Stir into the dry ingredients.  Pour batter into the cupcake liners in the muffin pan.  I used a 1/2c measuring cup to put the batter into each liner.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Now, if you want to get fancy…..which I did with these cupcakes….I ended up making a caramel sauce to “fill” the cupcakes with.  I ended up using this recipe.  I tried to make the caramel sauce from Life Made Full, but I have yet to perfect it.   But the recipe from A Calculated Whisk, was easy to make and so tasty!  I couldn’t stop eating it, even days later I would find things to put it on so I could have more.  If I can’t get the Paleo caramel to work, this will be my go to caramel sauce.  No more store bought caramel for me!

Look at that beautiful caramel sauce!  Yum!

Look at that beautiful caramel sauce! Yum!

 

Take a cupcake and create a small hole in the center of the cupcake.   I used a potato peeler.

IMG_1749Put a spoonful of caramel into the hole.

After you have filled your cupcakes, you can ice them.  For the party, I did a simple chocolate cream cheese icing.

Frosting:

  • 4 ounces of softened unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla (to taste)

Mix the butter and cream cheese together.  Then add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder in gradually.   Those are just some starting measurements that I gave you.  Depending on how sweet you like your frosting will determine how much of the powdered sugar and cocoa that you put in.  I tend to make mine less sweet.

Once you have the icing to your liking, ice your cupcakes and decorate!

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Our friends at the party couldn’t believe that these were gluten free!  I even let a coworker try one the next day, and he still does not believe that there is no traditional flour in them.  🙂

Hope you enjoy this tasty treat!