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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bell Peppers Stuffed With Moroccan Spiced Couscous

When Kelsey and I were planning this week's menu I stumbled upon a recipe for Italian style stuffed peppers. These scrumptious cheesy meaty rice stuffed peppers were my absolute FAVORITE dish growing up! At first it was hard to see how we could take something decidedly non-vegan and make it vegan challenge friendly. In the end I decide to take the stuffed pepper concept and add a little Moroccan flair. It turned out amazing...almost better than Mom's used to be!

  • 1/4 Cup Diced Onion
  • 2 Cloves Diced Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Box Quick Cooking Couscous
  • 1 Can Vegetable Broth (optional)
  • 1/2 Can Garbanzo Beans
  • 3 Celery Stalks Diced
  • 2 Carrots Diced
  • 1/4 Cup Diced Mushrooms
  • 1/4 Cup Diced Cauliflower
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Curry Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Paprika (plus some to sprinkle on top)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Bell Peppers (cut in half and seeded)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place onion, garlic and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook until the onions begin to caramelize.
  3. Add in the diced vegetables and reduce to medium heat. Note: I used a variety of vegetables in the stuffing because we had the produce on hand, but feel free to experiment and make it your own.
  4. After the vegetables have cooked for about 5 minutes add the tomato paste and spices to vegetable mixture and stir until all the vegetables are well coated. Then reduce heat to low. Note: You don't want to fully cook the veggies because they'll finish cooking in the oven.
  5. In a separate pot prepare couscous as directed on the box. Note: I recommend using vegetable broth to prepare your couscous because it adds another layer of flavor, but if you don't have any on hand water will do.
  6. When the couscous is finished mix it into the vegetables. Voila your stuffing is done!
  7. Place pepper halves into a baking dish and fill with the stuffing. Note: You may have extra stuffing
  8. Sprinkle with paprika and bake until the pepper is cooked - about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Vegan Challenge

For the rest of January WTF is going vegan! We both have our reasons, which we'll share below, and we are very excited to experiment and have fun exploring the vegan world. Expect many S.O.S. calls on our Twitter and Facebook.
While we realize you can eat vegan and still shop at your regular supermarket, we really wanted to give one of our local health food stores a visit. After a friend told us about Earth Fare we had to stop by and with a food philosophy no one can argue against, we knew we were at the right place. We didn't buy all of our weekly groceries there but we picked up a few things that we knew Publix wouldn't have a wide variety of. Our most exciting purchases: red lentils and quinoa, tempeh, black soy beans and a parsnip!

Kelsey's Reasons for Going Vegan
As a former vegetarian, I often toyed with the idea of eating vegan. While I'm not sure I could commit myself to a lifelong vegan diet, it's something I can see myself doing for short periods. The New Year is a perfect time for it because it fits in wonderfully with my 2011 goals. Plus, last week I joined my office's Biggest Loser competition and no one can deny the health benefits of a proper vegan lifestyle.

While I'm not necessarily "in it to win it," I am in it to lose it! I don't exactly have a competitive advantage over those that have more weight to lose but I do need to lose the weight, and what better motivation than stepping on a scale in front of another person weekly? People keep telling me, "You don't need to lose weight! Why are you doing this?" which is flattering and all, but trust me, I could stand to lose a little. At 139.6 lbs and 5 ft. 2 in., I am considered overweight according to my BMI. I know that BMI doesn't cover the whole picture, but I can tell you for sure that muscle isn't a big contributor to my weight. I'd love to be nestled comfortably in the "normal weight" range at 120 lbs., the weight my mom was when she got married.

Paired with my temporary vegan diet will be a rigorous exercise plan full of cardio, toning and yoga.

Megan's Reasons for Going Vegan
There’s something I’ve secretly wanted to do for years now. Since I’m in my last semester I’ve decide to take a leap… I enrolled in a contemporary dance class! In an attempt to live the semester like a dancer I’ve decided I need to recommit myself to the gym and focus on eating healthier. Sure I want to lose a little weight (who doesn’t?), but for me it’s more about proving that I’m capable of doing anything I put my mind to. I want to dance in a controlled and elegant manner, not stumble around the studio. Friday afternoon Kelsey and I were discussing our respective healthy living plans for the New Year and I had an epiphany – We’re going to eat Vegan for the rest of January! To be honest I’m not sure if I realized exactly what I was getting into at first (eek, no coffee creamer!), but I’m really excited to take on this challenge. I’m confident that with Kelsey as my comrade in arms I’ll find ways to make Vegan food that is both healthy and tasty.


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