Life can be crazy. Let me rephrase. Life is crazy. How do we get through it? I like to focus on the things that make me smile. So here are some things that really made me happy recently . . .
Finally our Meyer lemon and Mandarin trees in our front yard is producing fruit! Unfortunately, people seem to be picking them. I wouldn’t care, but we aren’t getting a ton of fruit yet, and it took about 2 years to get to this point. However, when I picked these lemons the smell was overwhelming. I don’t even want to eat them yet! They are way too pretty!
The other thing that made me smile was celebrating my little Sweet Pea’s birthday. Monsieur turned 4 this month. If you love dogs, you get this. If you don’t, too bad.
Every year we get cupcakes from Sprinkles in La Jolla. Sir has food allergies, but he never has a problem with their Dog Cupcake. Of course, we pick up a couple of Human Cupcakes, too! This year we opted for a Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake and a Chocolate Marshmallow Cupcake. They were not our favorites. I find that Sprinkles can be hit or miss. I love the Red Velvet Cupcake. Maybe I should stick with that one?
The last thing that made me happy was a simple recipe I found in Family Circle of all places!
Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers (Family Circle, January 2013)
7 sweet peppers (red, orange and yellow) (**I went with the Costco bag of red peppers, and I only used 6)
1 cup quinoa (**Recipe recommends Bob’s Red Mill whole grain quinoa. Also, I used 1 1/2 cups. I like having leftovers if possible.)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced sweet onion
1 tsp ground cumin (**I put more in. I like cumin.)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dried figs, roughly chopped (**I used prunes. If you are not a fan of either (which is crazy!), opt for dried cherries.)
1/2 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped (**I used walnuts just because I had them on hand.)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Seed and dice one of the peppers (**The recipe notes to seed and dice one of the cooked peppers. I do not like cooking peppers ahead of time for any stuffed pepper recipe. I like the peppers to have a little bit of crunch and life to them.). Slice remaining peppers from stem to bottom; seed.
- In a medium lidded pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil (adjust amount if you are using more quinoa). Stir in quinoa; return to a boil. Cover, reduce to a medium-low and cook 10 minutes. Drain; set aside. (**Sometimes when I cook quinoa, I replace some of the water with chicken stock or orange juice.)
- Return pot to stove; place over medium heat. Add olive oil. Stir in one diced pepper and onion. Cook 5 minutes (**or until they are caramelized and soft). Mix in cumin and cinnamon; cook 1 more minute. Stir in figs, cashews, quinoa, salt and pepper. Fill pepper halves with quinoa mixture and place cut-side up in a 9×13-inch baking dish (**I layered the bottom with parchment so they wouldn’t stick.). Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until peppers are as tender as you like.
I hope you have a good weekend and survive the rain or snow (depending on which coast you are on!)!
Take Care and Happy Eating!