Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers

Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers are a classic American dish that can be customized in a million different ways! Here is a simple, homemade version stuffed with ground beef and melty cheese. These are great as a quick weeknight meal or even an afternoon snack. If you’ve never had stuffed bell peppers before, give these a try! Once you fall in love with these, you can play around with creating some versions of your own. 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 bell peppers, with tops and cores removed. Choose any color! 
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 400°
  • 2. In a small pot, cook rice according to package instructions. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  • 3. Add ground beef and break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Cook until no longer pink, 6 minutes. Then, drain fat. 
  • 4. Return beef mixture to skillet, then stir in cooked rice and diced tomatoes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Let it simmer until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • 5. Place peppers cut side-up in a 9″-x-13″ baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Spoon the beef mixture into each pepper and top with Monterey Jack cheese. Then, cover the baking dish with foil.
  • 6. Bake until peppers are tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is gooey and bubbly, 10 minutes more.
  • 7. Garnish with parsley before serving and enjoy warm!
Relax and Enjoy

Relax and Enjoy

The holiday time is here! You’re probably done (or almost done) with the shopping and wrapping, food planning and preparation, and house cleaning for your guests. Now that the big things are out of the way, take a moment to relax and truly enjoy the season. By being present in the moment, you’ll not only create more memories for yourself, but you’ll enhance the memories of those you love.

Practice mindfulness this season. Being mindful is simply de-cluttering your brain and focusing on the person, project, or scene at hand. Multitasking has been glorified for decades, but is it really that great? Not when it distracts you and causes you to miss out on the feelings and experiences you should enjoy. Before you start a new task, clear your mind and think only about what you’re doing until it’s done. Whether that’s eating a meal (savor each bite and appreciate the person who made it) or playing a game with your child (put down the cell phone and behold the little person you are shaping), being in the moment just feels good!

Give up on the idea of “perfect.” There’s no perfect gift, perfect meal, or perfect holiday. Take the stress away by lowering your personal standards, because, at the end of the day, the only idea of perfect you’re trying to achieve is your own. Let yourself off the hook and laugh at the misshapen snowman cookie, let your toddler tie the gift bow, and pick up dinner from Whole Foods.

Let the little things slide. It’s OK to stay in your pajamas all day. Leave the dinner dishes in the sink until morning. Go for a walk instead of vacuuming the scraps of gift wrap off the living room floor. Many people have time off from work this week, so really take that time to recharge yourself so you can start the new year (and new decade!) with a fresh mind and rested soul. Your family and future self will thank you!

Chewy Gingersnap Cookies

Chewy Gingersnap Cookies

Here is a simple, delicious Christmas cookie recipe to enjoy this Holiday season! These are great for any occasion- cozy nights in, cookie exchanges, dinner parties or just an afternoon of leisurely baking! Traditional gingersnap cookies are more crunchy, so try this soft-baked recipe out for size. Full of rich spices and topped off with sugar, these are full of flavor and sure to please. 

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Mix the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. Then, mix in egg, vanilla, and molasses until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add to wet ingredients until combined. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  4. Once chilled, roll the dough into balls, about a 1.5 tbsp each. Then, roll the dough balls in the granulated sugar and place on a silicone lined baking sheet. Try flattening the dough balls before baking so they cook evenly. 
  5. Bake cookies for 8 to 9 minutes. Keep extra dough cold until ready to bake. For a crispier gingersnap, bake a few minutes longer. 
  6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

Happy Holidays! 

Why Buying is Better

Why Buying is Better

You’ve heard that owning your own home is better than renting, but do you know why?

Top reasons why buying is better than renting:

  • Your monthly payments will likely be lower. When you first purchase your home, your monthly payment might be slightly higher than your current rent, but in the long run, your payments will stay exactly the same for the length of your loan (usually 30 years). With the rate of inflation and corresponding rising rent payments, you’ll save lots of money over time.
  • Your mortgage interest is tax-deductible. At the end of each calendar year, your mortgage company will supply you with a year-end tax statement. This shows how much you’ve paid in interest for the year and you simply enter it as a line item on your Federal tax return. Depending on your interest rate and mortgage payment, it can really make a dent in what you owe the government.
  • You’ll have a valuable asset. Barring any major and unexpected economic downturns, your house will maintain it’s value and likely increase in value over the years. You’ll have a tangible asset that will make for a great return on investment when and if you decide to move.
  • You will build up equity in your home. As your monthly payments go towards reducing the amount of your loan, and the value of your home increases, the difference will be ever-increasing. This is called equity and you can usually borrow money against the equity in your home for a shorter-term loan called a Home Equity Line of Credit. You can use this money to make home improvements and repairs and for an emergency. And the best part is that any interest you pay on this loan is also tax-deductible!
  • You’ll have closer and deeper ties to your community. People who own their homes are more likely to build connections within their communities. They care more about their neighbors and make friendships more often than those who rent, because of the transient nature of renting.
Turkey Cranberry Sliders

Turkey Cranberry Sliders

After Thanksgiving has come and gone, most of us seem to be left with a ton of leftovers. One great way to repurpose extra turkey and cranberry sauce is to turn them into these wonderful Turkey Cranberry Sliders! This recipe is so delicious it may even become a tradition of its’ own. With just a few extra ingredients, you’ll have a great lunch in no time at all. 

Ingredients

  • Package of Hawaiian Rolls (12), or your preferred type of bread
  • 2 cups diced turkey
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 6 slices of swiss cheese (or any kind of cheese)
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tbsp dried minced onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cover a baking pan with foil, then spray with cooking spray.
  3. Remove the rolls from package and slice them in half lengthwise.
  4. Place the bottom halves on the foil-covered pan.
  5. Layer the bread with the turkey, cranberry sauce and cheese. Heat the cranberry sauce so it spreads easily. 
  6. Add the tops of the rolls, then pour melted butter over them.
  7. Cover the pan with foil and let sit for 5-10 minutes. 
  8. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven.
  9. Remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes. 
  10. Serve warm and enjoy!