Simple advice for a better life.

Bulgur stuffed peppers - servingIf you like stuffed peppers, but are looking for a healthier grain, rather than white rice, Brown Rice, Quinoa, or Bulgur, are great substitutions.

Today I will share a recipe I recently tested, and loved, for Stuffed Peppers with Bulgur and ground turkey.

Ever since my Fat Smash Diet experience, I am really paying more attention to my eating style, and into wholesome foods.  I still use white rice, breads and potatoes, but periodically try to alternate with other healthier substitutions .

I also realized that I stuff lots of the foods I prepare, such as cabbage rolls (holubtsi/golabki), chicken breast, Green Peppers, beef, varenyky (pierogi), and many other ones, which I have not posted yet.

I guess it creates a more filling food item, almost like having a whole meal in one, and adds to its presentation.  Don’t you agree?

Bulgur grain

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium peppers (green, red, yellow, or orange)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1 cup Bulgur, uncooked
  • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup chopped onion (one small onion)
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced (2 medium tomatoes)
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (or ¼ tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ tsp. oregano, ground
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 ½ cups water

Bulgur stuffed peppers

Directions:

  1. Put 1 Tbs. of olive oil in a large skillet, warm it up.
  2. Place the ground meat into the skillet, and brown it up (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently for even cooking.
  3. Add the bulgur to the meat, and sauté until browned (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently, to prevent burning (the bulgur wheat makes a lot of crackling sounds, while cooking).
  4. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes tomato sauce, oregano and Worcestershire Sauce.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Add the water, cover the saucepan, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.
  7. Uncover, and mix in 1 cup of Cheddar Cheese, until melted.
  8. Prepare the peppers by, removing the tops and seeds. You can use whole peppers, but I  sliced some of my peppers in half, lengthwise, and used only the bottom half of the red pepper (as these were very long).  Fill a medium pot with water (enough to cover the peppers – about halfway full). Bring to boil.
  9. Place the peppers in boiling water and cook for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from water, and drip off any excess water.
  11. Place peppers in a casserole dish.
  12. Fill with bulgur/meat filling.
  13. Sprinkle the remaining Cheddar Cheese on top of each pepper.
  14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  15. Bake peppers, uncovered, on the middle oven rack, for 20 minutes.
  16. Remove, and  serve.

Enjoy.

TIP: You can easily make a vegetarian version of this recipe, by substituting the meat with veggies (shredded carrots, zucchini, celery, mushroom, etc)

Signs of Spring

Yellow DaffodilsI know many of you still have lots of snow, and feel like Spring is not even on the horizon yet, but have hope…it’s closer than you think.

We had our share of snow, ice, and frigid weather, but we also were blessed with few lovely, warm and sunny days, giving me a chance to take a peak at my garden.

To my surprise, I found some wonderful signs of Spring (No, my Daffodils are NOT blooming yet this year…this picture is just a tease…)

You know how I love to share all my excitement with all of you, so here are some pictures I took today, to prove to you that Spring is “springing”!

Spring 2011 - first sign of spring - Daffodils

These Daffodils are about 2 inches tall now….how exciting

Spring 2011 - first sign of spring - Tulips

Tulips are poking through as well, but I am sure many of them did not survive  the Winter Season, and I will need to plant new ones in the Fall.  For some reason, this is the case with my tulips every year.

Please share any suggestions you might have, why my tulips are not coming back in the Spring.  I think something is eating up the bulbs….

Spring 2011 - first sign of spring - Hyacinths

Here are Hyacinths poking through.  My favorite Spring flower, since their blooms are so beautiful, and very fragrant.

This should definitely give you hope that Spring is just around the corner in your neck of the woods as well.

Go GreenHere I am again with a great tip for you, on Living Green, saving Mother Earth, energy and money.

As previously, I found this tip on ecomii website, and thought it would do us all lots of good to apply their suggestions to our every day, “computer busy” , life.

If you are like me, you work with a computer 8-10 hours at work, and then check your email at home, read the latest news, check out other websites, or work on your own blog post.

I am sure more households now have more than one computer under the same roof, so just think how helpful this suggestion really would be for all of us.

Todays tip: Don’t Snooze on Computer Efficiency

What?
Save energy – and reduce global warming – with your computer’s sleep mode.

How?
Be a responsible technophile. Use sleep mode, and not screensavers, whenever you’re away. The forgetful type? Adjust your power settings to have hibernation kick in sooner.

Why?

Computers are energy hogs, and screensavers are worse. In fact, screensavers use a lot more energy than your computer normally does – two times as much if they are graphically complex.

Did You Know?

A desktop computer left on for a full year would release 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Okay, But How Hard Is It?
As easy as letting your computer nap during lunch

cA while back, I have mentioned that I attended a Pampered Chef party, my daughter was hosting, and bought an onion chopper (yes, another one…).  This is my third onion chopper.  I  do chop lots of onions for my cooking, but that is not the reason for my third onion chopper. I am still searching for an improved version of a chopper, to ease my job.

Today I will share my opinion about all of my current onion choppers, and would love to hear from you, about your favorite onion chopper.

I would also like to know if there is a way to chop onions without crying over them. I love sauteed onions, but I always cry when I chop the raw onions.  I heard many tips on handling onions, without crying, but so far none of them worked for me.

Please share your tips, to make onion chopping a more pleasant experience for me, and for all of our onion chopping readers.

Chopper by Pampered Chef - parts

This is my most current onion chopper by Pampered Chef (also in the top picture).  This chopper is great since, as you can see, it comes apart so nicely, for easy cleaning.  It contains a handy container with a removable bottom, for chopping and collecting the chopped onions.  It is very user friendly, since all you do is repeatedly pounce on the top nob, which makes the blades rotate, and chop the onions placed in the closed bottom container.

You still need to peel the onion, remove the core, and cut it into quarters, at least, for faster chopping.  This chopper is very handy, and does cut down on my “crying on the job”. I highly recommend it.

Onion Chopper- crank operated- fully assembled

Here is one, I received from my sister-in-law (before I bought the Pampered Chef one), and I really like it, because it chops the onions so evenly, actually better than the one above, but it is not very well engineered.

The top section is not attached to the bottom section, so it is kind of awkward to keep on turning the crank to chop the onions, and at the same time try to push down the onions toward the blades, and to hold the two pieces together.  But I love it any way.  Maybe because it was fee, and as the old saying goes, “you should not look a gift horse on his teeth”.

Onion Chopper- crank operatedOnion Chopper- crank operated - semi assembled

Here you have a close up view of the simple construction of the onion chopper.  Notice how freely the blade assembly sits on the bottom container, and the upper part just lo0sly fits over it, rather than snap on tightly.  However, the blades are very sharp, and make the onion chopping job a breeze.  The bottom container collects the chopped onions, and the bottom lid opens up for easy emptying.

Onion Chopper- manual 4 blade Onion Chopper- manual 4 blade - open view

This is my first ever onion chopper. Yes, they used to make a glass jar, rather than all plastic, and the chopping mechanism is similar to the Pampered Chef ‘s, but the blades are much simpler, and smaller, thus do not chop as well as the other two choppers.  One would also pounce the protruding top nob, which pushes the blades down, to do the chopping.  The pumping motion of the handle does not rotate the blades, like in Pampered Chef, so the glass jar needs to be rotated to make sure all the onions are being chopped evenly.  Not the best, but it was better than chopping onions the usual way, on a cutting board, and crying profusely at the same time.

So, here you have it.

Please share your onion chopping stories with us.

TIP: Check out the comments, please. One of my readers suggested to burn a candle, while chopping onions.  I will definitely try this trick.

No bake chocolate oatmeal cookies formed to set on parchment paperMy bloggie friend Susan, posted this wonderful recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal NO-BAKE cookies, on her website, which sounded so easy, and looked so delicious, that I just had to try them.  Wow, these babies were absolutely scrumptious!!

According to Susan, this recipe has been around for a while, and she has been snacking on these on many occasions.

One would say – How can anything as wholesome and simple as Oatmeal, be mixed with something so good as Cocoa Powder, require NO BAKING, and turn out as a yummy cookie?

Well, you will not believe it until you try it yourself, and be pleasantly surprised.

No  bake chocolate oatmeal  cookies - Oatmeal and Cocoa Poweder No  bake chocolate oatmeal  cookies c

Some of my family members never acquired the taste for Oatmeal, but they did not have any problems practically “inhaling” several of these, with a nice tall glass of milk.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 2 cups of sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used Fat Free milk)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), unsalted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (or flavor or your choice)

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and butter.
  2. Mix it all well to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Using medium heat, bring it to boil, and cook for 1 minute (my granddaughter loved counting to 60, to keep time)
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add peanut butter, and vanilla extract.
  6. Mix well with a spoon, until the peanut butter dissolves.
  7. Add oatmeal, and incorporate evenly into the chocolaty mixture.

No bake chocolate oatmeal cookies batter

8.  Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with waxed, or parchment paper.

9.  Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto to lined pan, spacing cookies, so they do not touch.

10.  Cool for at least 30 minutes, to let them set (I placed the pans in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to cool, since

my granddaughter and I could not wait to taste them).

We made  over 30 pieces in the size of regular oatmeal cookies.  They could have been smaller, for less calories per serving, because they are very addicting, like potato chips… you can’t stop at one!

Enjoy.


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