Day 6- Clean Eating Cleanse: Stuffed Green Peppers

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What?  No post yesterday?  I know, I’m sorry!  Yesterday was an absolute whirlwind, and I did not stop moving until about 11 o’ clock last night.  It was a kitchen scrub-down kind of day, so I mainly juiced yesterday and focused on the cleaning to be done.  I did get in a solid 3 mile run though, so not too shabby!

Tonight however, I did get into the kitchen to make a little magic!  I diced all my veggies and, after nearly losing a thumb, got down to business and cranked out some KILLER stuffed green peppers! Just to be clear, this wasn’t “mama’s home cooking” stuffed green peppers.  I don’t know how your mama made it, but mine threw in plenty of beef, cream of mushroom soup, and white rice.  I don’t think I have any of those ingredients in my kitchen right now.  I’m on a CLEAN EATING CLEANSE for crying out loud!  I did the next best thing, though.  Quinoa, cooked in homemade vegetable broth.  Garlic, onions, celery, and chopped kale.  Plenty of cumin and just a teeny bit of nutritional yeast.  Oh yeah, now we’re in business.  Tasty AND clean-eating approved!

Side note* It makes things a hell of a lot easier if you prep your veggies in advance!

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Stuffed Green Peppers (makes 10 servings)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes cut in half + ½ cup vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • A few healthy shakes of cayenne pepper (only if you want it spicy!)
  • ¾ cups quinoa, dry
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 5 green peppers, sliced lengthwise & seeds removed

Cook your quinoa in the vegetable broth and set aside.

Sauté the onion, garlic, and celery for about 5 minutes, and then throw your diced tomatoes and spices into the mix.

Add in your kale, and stir until kale is wilted.  Then throw your nutritional yeast, quinoa & black beans into the mix! Simmer for 10 minutes.  (At this point, if the whole mixture seems a little dry, add an extra quarter cup of vegetable broth to the mixture.)

Preheat the oven to 350 while your mixture is simmering.  It is at this point that you want to add the 3 vine-ripened tomatoes and ½ cup vegetable broth to your Ninja (or blender) and puree the mixture.  Pour contents out onto baking sheet and spread around evenly.

Your pot on the oven should be done simmering by now. Remove from heat and begin stuffing your peppers!  Fill each pepper with a heaping amount of the quinoa/veggie mixture.  I filled 5 peppers (10 halves) with this amount.  Place each pepper onto the baking sheet, on top of the tomato puree.

Bake for 50 minutes.

Enjoy the hell out of your amazing dinner and be proud you made it from scratch!

Not only was my dinner tonight totally healthy (seriously, name ONE thing in this recipe that isn’t good for you!), it was made using all locally harvested ingredients! Minus the canned black beans. It truly was a win-win situation tonight in my kitchen, and the veggie scraps were all thrown into Joey, my trusty juicer, along with a couple apples, to create the perfect cleansing juice!  Now, some of you are probably wondering why the hell am I making 10 servings of this meal when I live alone!  Well, one possibility is that I was extremely hungry… okay, even I couldn’t eat that much, no matter how ravenous I was.  So the only logical explanation is… yep, you guessed it!  I’m freezing the leftover peppers in individual serving sizes so I can have a quick and easy meal on-the-go whenever I want!  Winner winner chicken vegan dinner!

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Green Juice made from kitchen leftovers:
1/2 tomato
2 stalks celery
3 small apples
1 cucumber
1/3 zucchini
2″ ginger
1/2 lemon
3 kale leaves

I would absolutely recommend a clean eating challenge to anyone looking to look good, feel healthy, and just totally RADIATE awesomeness!  I can’t tell you how great I feel, and how empowered I am by cooking from scratch!  Making something out of nothing is a thing of beauty, and it’s just so dang satisfying!  I will admit, tomorrow will be a tricky day since I will be on the road straight after work heading for Toledo.  Eating clean on the road is hard, and fast food or even eating out in general is not my favorite activity.  I may do a post from the road, though, so be on the lookout!

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Day 4- Clean Eating Cleanse: Roasted Cabbage and Fresh Salad

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I have to say, one thing I love about a fridge stocked with whole foods is the versatility I have with meals.  Combinations, portion sizes, and prep time are all totally in my control.  Sometimes, I get home and I’m ready to take on that intimidating new ethnic recipe I’ve wanted to try.  Other times, I want to branch out on my own and do a little experimentation.  And other other times like tonight, I just want something fast, light, and satisfying. Cooking from scratch means the fridge is always full, and the possibilities are truly endless.  While I did plan on tackling a particularly interesting recipe tonight, I came home from work mentally exhausted, and was able to throw together a dinner that was much more suited to my mood. 

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Roasted cabbage is something literally ANYONE can cook.  All I did was pre-heat the oven to 375 and toss a couple hunks of cabbage in.  I lightly drizzled some olive oil, and completed the dish with some garlic and onion powder, pepper, and basil.  Pop those suckers in the oven for a half hour and you’re in business!

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I also threw together a salad with produce from my trip to the farmer’s market last Sunday.  Chopped romaine, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, & pepitas with a little balsamic drizzled on.  That’s the stuff.

All in all, dinner took about a 20 minutes to prep (the cabbage obviously took a little longer than that to cook, but prep time was super short!).  Yes, my salad WAS prepared in a pot.  I just threw all my dishes in the dishwasher and had to improvise!  Still tasted amazing though! 

I know foods I post sometimes have lengthy prep times, or seem complicated to reproduce, but hopefully today’s post proves to you that eating a clean, unprocessed diet can be both healthy AND simple! Food is either as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, and tonight I ate a clean, vegan, totally unprocessed meal that I was able to enjoy less than 40 minutes after walking in the door after a long, crazy day of work. 

What healthy meals do you prepare when you’re short on time?

Day 2- Clean Eating Cleanse: Banana Shake + Green Juice

Let’s hear it for Day 2 of the Clean Eating Cleanse!  Things are going great!  I started the day off right with a mug of hot lemon water and a solid half hour of yoga.  I swear, that combo is better than coffee.  It never fails to leave me energized, invigorated, and ready to get the day started! Breakfast was out of this world.  I made a banana-oat smoothie, one of my go-to recipes.  Only 3 ingredients!

bananaoatshake

  • 3 bananas, sliced & frozen
  • ¾ cup water (or almond milk if you prefer)
  • ½ cup oats

Blend and enjoy!

What I love about this breakfast recipe is that it is so simple, and yet so satisfying!  It’s become a favorite of mine, and has become very popular with friends and other followers I have recommended it to.  Packed with protein and carbohydrates, this ice cream-like concoction seems more like dessert than a satisfying breakfast.  Seeing as I work in a job which requires a decent amount of physical labor, you can believe me when I tell you that it filled me up and carried me through my morning’s work demands.

Sticking with my goal to substitute one meal per day with a fresh juice, I brought a tasty green juice to work with me as my lunch.  I love not having to pack a lunch in the mornings, and instead just throw a jar of juice into my bag and know I’m good to go!  I like to eat lunch in a lounge with free-roaming cats meandering around, and little Emma found her way over to me and my juice.  I guess even cats love my juicing!

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Fresh vegetable juice is so full of micronutrients, I can almost feel the rush of nutrition as my body absorbs it!  Kale is, well, a superfood, and I can say I really do feel amazing after eating it or juicing it!

Dinner was a water-based vegetable soup full of carrots, onions, turnips, garlic, celery, and lentils.  SO deliciously filling, and with fresh rosemary and thyme from my herb garden, my apartment smelled AMAZING.  Yeah, you’re welcome neighbors!

Once I let this dinner digest a bit, it’ll be back to the kitchen to prep veggies for tomorrow’s meals.  I can’t wait to share more great juicing and recipe finds with you all! Tomorrow may be a bit more of a struggle since I won’t have work to occupy me; I’ll probably be eyeing the Earth Balance and Vegenaise like no other in my fridge.  I can do this, though!  Honestly, I’m really excited for another banana breakfast shake tomorrow morning!

 

Stay clean, stay healthy!  Happy juicing!

 

 

Enjoying Workouts

Yesterday was an amazing Sunday.  I had a dance lesson with Ethan, saw the Dark Knight Rises, and went on a Khol’s shopping spree to get some new clothes that actually fit me!  I was like, hellooooo size 5, let’s be friends again.  I know it’s been a while, but I’m back! Seeing my progress visually has been the biggest motivator for me.  I see the scale, and it says I’ve gained a few pounds back since the juice fast, but my clothes continue to swallow me, so I just stopped paying attention to the number on that stupid scale and started looking in the mirror.  And I look damn good.

We got home yesterday, and I was itching for a run, so being the wonderful man he is, Ethan told me he would have dinner waiting for me when I got back.  2 miles later I had run a new personal best for the mile (9:15!) and Ethan was putting the finishing touches on sundried tomato risotto and pita.

Tell me how this man is not amazing?  Yes, there was cheese on this , and I realize that cheese is NOT vegan, but honestly, the man slaved over a hot stove to make risotto and pita with herbs and vegetables from the garden, so how could I resist?  It was absolutely amazing, and I wished he had made a double batch!

This morning, Ethan got up with me and we went for a run in the woods.  I’m so proud of him for putting the effort in and exercising with me.  He really is trying to be more active, and I love him so much for it! We made it 1.95 miles, then walked the rest of the way home.  I hope I can get him up and outside again soon!  Once you a person starts exercising on a regular basis, it becomes less of a chore and more of a hobby, which is what healthy habits should be! I love looking at my Nike+ account and seeing the graph showing me I ran 5 times last week.  I think to myself, Do I really want to sit on the couch right now, or do I want to sit on the couch an hour from now looking at my running stats?  Running wins the battle 80% of the time!