stuffed bell peppers.

This is my new go-to easy, healthy meal!  Seriously easy.  Very healthy.  Tasty, too.

Stuffed peppers are so easy to do.  They’re great because 1 large bell pepper counts as 1/2 to 1/3 of your vegetable needs for the day.  I usually eat 2 stuffed peppers when we have them, so that pretty much meets my vegetable needs in one meal!  Especially if I add other veggies into my stuffed peppers [which I do].

A few fun facts about bell peppers:

  • Excellent source of Vitamin C [more than 100% daily value]
  • Great source of Vitamin A
  • Good source of Vitamin B6
  • Full of carotenoids — which help protect your body against harmful free radicals & help the immune system out!
  • More colors, more nutrients!

More great news:  one of these peppers has less than 200 calories.  So when I eat 2 of these, which really fills me up, I’m having a healthy, vegetable-rich dinner for under 500 calories.

Calorie breakdown:

bell pepper 44 cal

¼ c brown rice 58 cal

¼ c ground turkey w/ taco seasoning 84 cal

¼ c diced tomatoes 8 cal

Total = 194 calories!

I had this awesomely colorful spread of fresh bell peppers from our CSA and had no clue what to do with this many.  Hello stuffed peppers.  And so easy they were to make.

Before you get your peppers going, start browning the ground turkey.  I use ground turkey because it’s heart healthy – lower in fat and all those things that can be problematic for the heart.  It’s a much, much leaner and healthier option than ground beef.  My store sells 85% fat free ground turkey and 99% fat free; make sure to get the 99% fat free.  Add taco seasoning to the turkey once it’s cooked.  This adds a bit of flavor and southwestern flair to the peppers.  Otherwise, they’ll taste pretty bland.
Next, cook your brown rice.

While the rice and turkey are cooking, cut the tops off the peppers and hollow them out.  Remove the seeds and inner membranes so you have plenty of room for your stuffing.

You can cook the peppers before you stuff them, but I prefer to wait until they’re stuffed and then stick them in the oven for a quick cooking and melting of everything together.

Stuff those peppers up!  I like to mix the rice and turkey and fill the bottom half of the pepper with that mixture.  Then I add vegetables on top.  This time I added a bunch of diced tomatoes.  Corn also goes awesome in this.  Put those babies in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Good lookin’ peppers.  We had pepper night and I served these along with some hot jalapeno poppers.

Meanwhile, while I was doing this– little man was doing this…

And apparently going in for his close up…

so excited.

I’m so honored and thrilled that Jessi from Naptime Diaries has let me share about nutrition with her readers.  I’m over at Jessi’s blog talking about nutrition for mamas, especially during pregnancy.

 

COME ON OVER AND READ.

 

You will LOVE Jessi’s blog.  It’s like sitting down to have coffee with a dear friend every time I read a post from her.  She’s so personable and kind-hearted!  I’m so excited for you to get to know her, too!

 

 

 

gettin’ ready for fall.

School has started.  The days are getting shorter.  The weather is getting cooler.

Fall is coming!

In honor of fall’s arrival, I took down our summer wreath today and put up a welcome to fall.

We’re ready!

jack’s first haircut.

One of our biggest adventures yet.  I’ve been putting this off for so long.  I LOVE my son’s hair.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.
It’s soft, flowy, curly, and perfect.  But the time came where it looked out of control and it was bothering Jack some, so it had to get cut.

We tried to take him to a cute little kids salon where they only do kids hair.  There are none of those around here– crazy.  So we just took the plunge.

We went out to eat just before we went to get his hair cut.

Little man was loving the music, loving the whole evening.

It’s a fuzzy picture, but I kept trying to get one last picture of his amazing curls before they were gone.

Then we headed over for the big moment…

He wasn’t sure what to think, and he didn’t really like it.  But he did great!  He sat in his daddy’s lap the whole time and now looks like a little boy.

Then we went to visit my grandparents where Jack put on his usual entertainment show.  And it’s always precious.

Ohh that dimple.  Ohh that big boy hair.  Ohh my heart.

our week in instagram.

I still love Instagram.  It’s such a great way to share what’s going on and to remember the little moments that I don’t have my big camera for.  If you’re on Instagram, follow me– I’m laurengmorgan

I’m linking up with Jeannett at Life Rearranged for her InstaFriday again this week.

So this week…

We had a full week and a fun Labor Day weekend.  Hope you all did, too!  It was so nice to have a low-key, slow-moving LONG weekend.  I think we were spoiled.

We had a fun dinner out with my sister and her boyfriend.  Clearly Jack is the 3rd wheel in this picture.

Tommy’s worked at his job for 10 months now.  It’s about time I paid a visit to the town where he works that’s an hour away.  Hello cooling towers.

Pops new toy.  Looks like Jack’s room at Nan and Pops is no longer just his own.

Mr. Cool.  He’s been wanting to wear his dad’s shades all the time lately.

Late night cuddling on Dada’s lap.  This hardly ever happens.  So sweet.

Our kid loves black beans.  Mouth full of ’em.  He’s a mess.

There’s no one I’d rather be road-tripping with than this guy.  And by road-tripping I mean making the drive that he makes every day to work.  It’s a long way– more props to you, hubs.

My favorite.

Happy weekend!
life rearranged

there’s always something new at the knoxville zoo.

I will probably never forget the song “there’s always something new at the Knoxville zoo.”  I remember it from so many commercials from my childhood.  It’s engrained on this brain, so I sing it to my family now.  They know I’m crazy.

 

We finally took Jack to the zoo.  We have been wanting to forever and finally did it.  We’ll be going back a lot, too- little man loved it.  Although it was pretty obvious that he liked looking at all the kids more than the animals.  Whatever works– it still wore him out.

 

Tommy had to literally hold Jack back from running at every animal.  Kid was excited.

 

It looks here like Tommy is holding Jack up helping him walk but no he’s holding him back from attacking the poor animals.

 

Jack tried to break every petting zoo rule– he ran after the baby chickens, grabbed the horns, pulled on the goats.

 

And after he finished brushing this goat, he used the brush to brush his own hair.  Awesome.  That’s not gross at all.

 

Thankfully he liked washing and drying his hands.  That’s my kind of adventure.

 

The penguins!!!

 

 

 

And a new buddy.

 

 

We had a fun, fun day at the zoo.

 

 

mr. peppers poppers.

I made jalapeno poppers last night.  I have decided that when we have our next party, I will most likely be serving up these jalapeno poppers.  Two reasons why —

1.  They’re delicious

2.  They’re a great party food

 

Nothing says festive like popping something in your mouth that’s so hot you can’t talk to anyone for the rest of the night cause you’re too busy sitting in the corner crying.  Welcome to my home!

 

Here is the real advantage to the jalapeno popper, as I see it in my dietitian eyes.  Dips need a means to get into your mouth, right?  Cracker, bread, chip, pita— whatever it may be.  If a vegetable becomes the means to get the goodness in your mouth, you’re saving calories, fat, and eating a vegetable all at the same time.  Win, win, win in my book.  Y’all, a jalapeno pepper has 6 calories in it.  Six.  So that means when you eat one jalapeno popper [half a pepper] you’re getting 3 calories from the dip-delivering-vehicle vs. 15 calories that are in a tortilla chip.  Lawyered.  [Any How I Met Your Mother Fans??]  And most of us will eat many fewer jalapeno poppers than chips and dip.  Don’t get me wrong, I love chips and dip, too, but today I’m pullin’ for the jalapenos.

 

So on to the recipe…

[I should note this is my “the-dietitian-in-me” jalapeno popper recipe.  They’re not fried and these aren’t even breaded.  I like them breaded, but I ran out of time so we’re just talking straight up pepper and cheese mixture.]

 

 

Wash the jalapenos thoroughly.  You always want to wash your produce really well– especially if you’re eating the outside like we are here.

 

Cut their tops off.   Then you want to cut each pepper in half and remove the seeds and membranes.  I forgot to take a picture of that part.

 

I also forgot to take a picture of my cheese mixture and stuffing of the peppers.  But here they are right after I slid them into the oven.   Please ignore my dirty oven.

 

Hot from the oven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jalapeno Poppers Recipe 

What you need:

–  Jalapeno peppers  [half as many peppers as poppers you want to make] [I used 9 peppers because that’s how many I had on hand]
–  3/4 cup light sour cream
–  1/2 cup to 1 cup shredded cheese [I used cheddar jack because it was what I had on hand.  A Mexican cheese mix would probably be good, too]
–  1/2 tsp cumin
–  dash of cayenne pepper
–  salt & pepper to taste

 

What you do: 

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Wash jalapenos thoroughly.
3.  Cut off tops to jalapenos & then slice each jalapeno in half.
4.  Remove seeds & membranes.
5.  Lay jalapeno pepper shells on lined baking sheet.
6.  Make cheese mixture by combining sour cream and cheese.  [I said 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cheese just so you can adjust it to your preference.  I used about a cup of cheese and thought that was a good combination for us but you may like a little less]
7.  Add cumin, dash of cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper.  Stir together well!  [If you like things really hot you could add some of the jalapeno seeds into this mixture.  We are kind of lame when it comes to hot stuff so I didn’t do this and they were still plenty hot for us.]
8.  Fill each pepper shell with mixture.
9.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese gets a nice golden tone to it.
10.  Remove from oven and enjoy!  Serve with salsa, if you like.

 

Hope you enjoy! 

 

we threw a shower.

Our sweet neighbor-friend from childhood got married in July.  Her parents live across the streets from my parents, so we all grew up together.

My sister and her were like twins when we were little.  And apparently still are to this day since they wore the same dress to the shower.

My lovely sister and the lovely bride. 

We had such a sweet time celebrating the soon-to-be marriage of a great couple.  We wanted things to be simple and went with that for our planning.

What is more simple and beautiful than hydrangeas?

My mother-in-law so graciously let us snip all of these from her yard.  I loved the centerpiece my mom put together with a bunch of hydrangeas.  Simple.  Beautiful.  We had mason jars with hydrangeas in them scattered throughout the house, too.

We made a simple banner to decorate the mantle.

We served simple food- chicken salad croissants, pimento cheese sandwiches, guacamole, fresh fruit salad, water with lemons and limes, and punch.

It’s become quite the tradition on our street to have a “street shower”.  Now that all of us kids are grown-up, it provides a good opportunity to catch up and celebrate with people who have known us most of our lives.

planning ahead to stay ahead.

I have learned 2 things as a mother.

1.  My son is awesome.

2.  Planning ahead is key.

Ok, so I’ve probably learned more than 2 things.  It’s likely that I have.

Point #1:

Point #2:

Planning ahead makes me breathe easier, makes life go smoother, and seriously is worth the extra effort.  I plan my weekly menus ahead of time.  If I don’t, we end up eating out because I freeze like a deer in the headlights at 3:30-4 when I realize I have no clue what I’m doing for dinner.  But if I plan ahead of time, I’m good to go.

I also try to plan ahead for Jack food.  In general, I try not to make a dinner for him and another for us.  It doesn’t always work, but I like for us to all eat the same foods.  But for lunch and snacks, planning ahead for him is KEY!

I spent 5 minutes quartering grapes for Jack, and now there are several containers that I can easily grab out of the fridge when we need them.  It makes it so much easier than rummaging through the fridge for something right in that moment of hungry toddler-ness.

It also helps me to have easy to grab snacks and lunches.  The other day I was able to reach in and pull out these 2 containers, which had black beans in one and fruit in the other, for a nice Jack lunch.  Easy, peasy.

How do you plan ahead?  Does planning ahead work for you?

boomsday.

For all my Knoxville friends, you know the wonders of Boomsday.  Let me take a minute to explain Boomsday to my friends in other parts of the country.

 

Boomsday — happens every year on Labor Day weekend.  This year, 2012, is the 25th anniversary.  Happy Birthday to you, Boomsday!  It is the LARGEST Labor Day fireworks show in the Nation.  The Nation, people.  They shoot the fireworks off a bridge over the river.  There’s food, games, and live entertainment, and it’s free.  And fun.  What could possibly be better than joining some 400,000 of your neighbors to oooohhh and aaaaahhh over the BEST FIREWORKS SHOW ever. period.

 

I have ALWAYS loved Boomsday.  When we were little our dad worked at the hospital that is right on the river, mere feet from the bridge where they shoot off the fireworks.  Employees got to come hang out on the top of the parking garage, bring their families, and get a front-row seat to the show.  They had food, music, the works.  I have glorious memories of this.  There is music on a local radio station that goes with the fireworks, so you really feel it.  Boomsday used to be on Labor Day, so it was even more special when we were younger because we got to stay up super late on a school night to do something super fun.  They’ve since changed it to Sunday night before Labor Day… smart guys.  One year I even watched the fireworks from my hospital room at Children’s Hospital.  That sure was a bright spot during a tough time.

 

Fast forward to college.  Boomsday 2005 was when I first met my husband.  The University of Tennessee campus runs right up the the river, and you can get a great view of the fireworks from the area around the basketball arena and football stadium.  This was the spot where I first met Tommy.  We didn’t necessarily “hit it off” right away, but I was pretty intrigued by him.  A couple of my friends and I went to meet up with my friend, Sarah, who was with her boyfriend, Randy, who was with Tommy and some other guys.  The short version– we met through mutual friends.  We all watched the fireworks, went to eat, and hung out together that night.  Tommy and I didn’t leave with each others’ numbers or a promise to see each other again soon.  But a few months later, we met up again, and have spent our days together ever since.

 

So tonight, as we watch our 8th Boomsday together, we remember this special day.  We’re not ones to keep up with little anniversaries and moments usually, but this one is sweet and it sticks.  I am thankful for that Boomsday back in 2005.  I am thankful for 8 Boomsdays together.  I am so thankful for my husband and that this year, we are sharing our 2nd Boomsday with our little guy.  Maybe next year he’ll be old enough to join in on the fun.

 

I always knew Boomsday was special, and now it holds a very special place in my heart.

 

In 2006– we were such kids! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

These are all from 2006– apparently that was the last time I took Boomsday pictures.

 

 

Happy Boomsday, y’all!