Sunday, May 31, 2015

Let's eat lentils!

My husband eats a TON of protein. His preferred sources are eggs, egg whites, chicken, and whey protein powder. Now, I don't need as much protein as my very muscle-y husband, but I have come to realize that I don't get enough in my daily diet.

In an effort to try to get more protein, I rediscovered lentils. They are not only a great source of plant-based protein but also have a ton of good-for-you fiber! I found a crockpot recipe that looked good (aka easy and I had a lot of the ingredients on hand), and I tweaked it a little to fit my taste palate. 

It was a hit! Here is the recipe (and feel free to tweak it for your taste buds).


Ingredients:

1 1/2 c green lentils (sort through the lentils and remove any non-lentil particles)
2 sweet potatoes, diced (I left the skins on for maximum nutritional benefit)
2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
3 cups vegetable broth (or you could fill the tomato cans with water three times)
1Tbsp cumin*
1 Tbsp chili powder*
1 Tbsp garlic powder*
1 Tbsp turmeric*
2 tsp coriander*
Ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh cilantro

*I'll be honest - I was very generous with these because I really like this combination of smoky spices.

Directions:

Place all dry jngredients in a lined crockpot (If you are not familiar with crockpot liners, check out the Ziplock aisle at your local grocery store and thank me later when you have a hassle-free clean-up!).
Pour the liquidity to the crockpot to cover the dry ingredients.
Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 1/2 hours.
Spoon into serving bowls, allow to cool, and too with fresh cilantro. (Oh, and my husband enjoyed added a little bit of barbecue sauce on top!)
Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Southwest Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers

Growing up, I looked forward to opportunities to help Mom in the kitchen, and that hasn't changed. A few years ago, Mom and I tried a recipe for stuffed bell peppers. It was delicious!

Recently, I had a craving...

This time, though, I decided to cut the bell peppers in half.


We found that when the bell pepper was used whole (like a bowl), a lot of residual moisture gathered at the bottom and then leaked out when eating, making it a little messy and almost requiring a bowl instead of a plate.


So, after looking around at a few recipes, I pieced together this one, and it worked great!


Southwest Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 5 bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1 can Southwest Corn with Poblano and Red Peppers, drained (alternately, you can use 1 can corn and 1 can diced chiles)
  • 1 can low-sodium black beans, drained
  • 3 chicken breasts, shredded (I like to put the chicken in the crockpot on low for 6 hours - it shreds really well!)
  • 1 16-oz jar salsa
  • Mexican cheese blend, shredded
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix canned ingredients (drained), chicken, and salsa in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Place pepper halves cut side up in a glass baking dish. Stuff each half with the chicken mixture.
  4. Add about 1/4" of water to the bottom of the glass dish.
  5. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle cheese on top of the pepper halves. Bake 10 more minutes uncovered.
  7. Let peppers cool 5 minutes before serving.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

To act or not to act?

Each day is full of decisions, isn't it?

  • Do I get up and go to the gym or not?
  • What clothes am I going to wear?
  • What am I going to eat for breakfast...lunch...(second lunch)...dinner...(post-dinner)?
  • How will I respond to that unkind email from a coworker?
  • What am I going to do about that thing I messed up on at work? Tell somebody? Tell nobody?
  • How am I going to respond to a friend who hurt me?

Along with these tactical as well as serious questions, there are the decisions we make without really thinking about them. 

  • How do I spend my free time?
  • How will I treat those around me?

At church on Sunday, the pastor said something that caught my attention and has been on my mind since then. He said "Our decisions make an impact on the people around us - whether we take action or not." 

Sometimes, we think that by not acting or by not choosing between two difficult, opposing actions we are saving ourselves from being wrong, but we are actually making a decision that will impact those around us. 

For example, let's say you missed something on a report at work and it has a small effect on the bottom line but a potentially big effect on your job status. You think about coming clean and telling your boss...but then you think "What's the big deal - it's not THAT much money, and I'll make sure to catch that next month." 

Little do you know, the "little" mistake you made was one more line item that contributed to a decision to reduce staff at the company. It may have been the tipping point. Multiple people are going to lose their jobs, and you might have been able to stop that from happening by taking action and admitting your fault.

Or let's say there are some personal emails you know you've been putting off responding to and you decide to put them off again - they can wait. Little did you know that the kind words and encouragement you might have included in your response would have made a big difference to your friend who is facing a rough time and needs the support. By deciding not to take action, you missed an opportunity to lift someone up.

It's time to consider:
  • What action at work do you need to own up to, regardless of the impact on you, because you know it is the right thing to do and would avoid endangering the jobs of other employees?
  • What word of encouragement have you put off delivering recently that might make a big difference in someone's life?

It's time to think a little deeper about the actions we do...and don't...take.