Month: January 2016

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers is a dish that I tweak each and every time I make it, but after last night’s addition of quinoa I may have found the ultimate winner.  It was super simple and tasted even better as tonight’s leftovers.  These peppers are also special because they 12540556_10107736213976994_1793732967332977404_nincorporate influences from my mom, mom-in-law, and myself.  Give them a try and I think you’ll be equally impressed!

A couple variations to consider:

  • For a tasty vegetarian version, omit the ground beef all together and double the amount of quinoa.
  • For a more moderate take on the original version of rice and beef stuffed peppers, cook a box of quinoa and brown rice mix that can be found in your grocer’s rice/couscous aisle instead of straight quinoa.
  • For a more filling option, double the amount of quinoa to three cups, and use the extra 1 1/2 cups as a bed for your finished peppers to rest on.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is a quick and easy take on our family favorite
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 bell peppers
  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1½ cups jarred salsa
  • ⅓ cup mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a small skillet and drain any excess grease.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions.
  4. Wash both peppers, remove the stems and seeds and cut each in half lengthwise so that you have four halves total.
  5. Add salsa to the ground beef and simmer on low until quinoa finishes cooking.
  6. Stir quinoa into the beef/salsa mixture.
  7. Lay each pepper half in a 9x9 glass dish and add the beef/quinoa/salsa stuffing to each.
  8. Cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  9. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees and add a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese to each pepper.
  10. Bake peppers for another 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and browns slightly.


Mission Possible: New Year’s Motto

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Tis the season for resolutions and if you are feeling burned out and uninspired by the traditional litany of: workout more, read more, eat less, etc., I welcome you to join me in a different approach to 2016. I’ve spent some time thinking about what habits, words, and mindsets I want to prioritize in the upcoming year and decided to create a personal motto/mission statement to keep myself focused and accountable.   In 2016 my alliterative mission is to be: productive, passionate, poised, prayerful, and present.

Productive: I easily fall into the trap of procrastination – my house is never cleaner than when I have 90 student essays to grade and I usually find the time to create an extra long blog post when dishes or laundry are stacked and waiting for attention. 

Passionate:  I love being a teacher, but I often find myself dwelling on the annoyances of my daily tasks…such as *ahem* grading 90 student essays.  I am restarting Seamless by Angie Smith and today’s lesson focused upon why God made the Israelites wander for 40 years in the desert before they were able to approach the promised land.  Moses’ followers were experiencing some serious highs and lows when it came to their gratitude and grumbling about the gifts and tests that God placed before them.  If complaining about eating only bread and wandering aimlessly in a hot, arid climate wasn’t looked upon with sympathy, I have a strong feeling that complaints about grading are pretty annoying to the Almighty too.  I’ve also been trying to get into a blogging rhythm for longer than I want to admit; in 2016 I want to truly dedicate myself to Smitten Mitten Living and hopefully achieve my vision. 

Poised:  Believe me this has nothing to do with standing up straight or gliding gracefully in high heels.  To this day I still remember one of the best compliments of my life from a boy who would become a good friend for years to come.  I fell into a great group of friends – two years my senior – when I was a sophomore in college.  When Brian discovered I was only 19, he uttered these memorable words, “wow, you carry yourself really well.”  I know that I’ve always acted older than my years, but having a relative stranger view it as a positive attribute makes me wonder if I would still get that compliment today.  I worry that I’m more jaded and likely to be negative, and I want my words, actions, and moods to reflect more of my gratitude for the wonderful life I am leading. 

Prayerful:  I’m just going to say it….I am an ADD Christian.  I often repeat the same requests, let my mind wander to unrelated tasks (such as… the 90 ungraded student essays that should be returned Monday), and fail to pray in the moment.  In 2016 I want to be more mindful of God’s hand in my daily life and pray to him so that our relationship is enriched.  I am hoping to follow this template initially until I find my own way.  I came across this acronym and hope it will guide me until a more natural rhythm of my own develops: P = praise God’s work, R = repent of my sins, A = ask for God to work in areas of need, and Yield = be quiet and let God’s presence provide guidance. 

Present:  When I watch TV I also play on Facebook, when I am talking on the phone the TV is usually on, when I drive I think my to do list…you get the idea.  This pattern leads me to not only shortchange my interactions with those around me, but I also notice that my mood is more cloudy when I check social media too much or watch TV rather than read at night.  By being mindful of who or what is in front of me at any given moment I hope to appreciate and recognize all of the amazing opportunities that I encounter each day.  

Thus, I pledge to be productive, passionate, poised, prayerful and present this year.

If you are suffering from a bad case of resolution writer’s block like I was these last few days, I hope you can also find your mission for 2016 and enjoy a happy and healthy new year.