Turns out… getting sick when you’re pregnant is awful.

Ahh, the b word… bronchitis. Apparently, not something you want to get when you’re pregnant. It was the day after my baby shower (which was an awesome day – post on that coming soon!) and I started to get a headache as I was sorting through our teeny, tiny baby presents. I chalked it up to fatigue, stopped what I was doing, and climbed into bed. What followed was a fitful night of fever complete with shivering, shaking chills and inexplicable hot spells. The covers were on. Then they were off. I opened the window, closed the window, opened the window and turned on the fan. Heat went on, heat went off. When the sun started to come up, I was a delirious and sweaty pregnant person. Preeeeeeeetty gross.

In the back of my head, I knew this wasn’t an emergency or I would have gone to the ER. Something stopped me from overreacting, but I still needed some guidance and my doctor wasn’t open yet. So, I did what I always tell my pregnant friends not to do: I googled my symptoms. The internet is a whole new world of insane for pregnant women who are sick. I immediately felt myself losing touch with the reasonable person I was just a few minutes prior (that whole “I don’t need to go to the ER” thing) and started thinking things like, “This is it. You’ve gotten some rare form of the flu and have one day left to live.” Of course, my husband was away for a couple of days and that left me to talk to the dog about my newfound anxiety – he’s usually a captive audience, but he just wanted to go back to sleep since I kept him up all night with my feverish activities.

As soon as I could, with my flu fears fueling my crazy mind, I got in to see the doctor. I started going on about how I didn’t want to take any flu meds, and if it was the flu what did it mean for the baby, and what could we do and… he stopped me. He seemed much less concerned than I was about my symptoms (as in, I was convinced I was dying thanks to internet message boards and he knew that this was not the case). He gave me a flu test (which confirmed that I was flu-free), listened to my chest, and rightfully predicted that I was coming down with bronchitis. I left with instructions to rest, hydrate, and call him in a couple of days to update him on how I was feeling.

The next day, right on cue, I began wheezing, coughing, and embarked on almost two weeks of bronchitis hell. Being pregnant complicated matters – making recovery longer, more difficult, and everything in general way more uncomfortable (like coughing when a little person is smushing both your chest and your bladder, at the same time). I proceeded to create what I can only call a nest out of pillows, blankets, and books. I was surrounded by Gatorade bottles, ice packs, Tylenol, Popsicle wrappers, and spent most days watching terrible daytime television. I stayed that way for way too long – seriously, the weather went from the last dregs of winter to the first signs of spring during my convalescence. When I finally felt good enough to emerge, I disinfected everything I had touched for the previous two weeks and slowly, but surely, became a contributing member of society once again.

The silver lining in the entire situation was also what made me a little completely stir-crazy: I had to clear my schedule and “do nothing” for almost two weeks. Even well into the third trimester, I had been thriving on my busy schedule but being sick forced me to cancel everything and settle in for some true rest. I really couldn’t tell you the last time I did that!

Given all the resting I was doing, plus the sleepless nights spent wheezing and coughing, I had a lot of down time to think and reflect. In the home stretch of being pregnant, and on the brink of a major life change, I decided I was grateful for the down time, even if I was feeling really gross.

Soon enough, we’ll be welcoming the baby into our lives – learning a whole new way of balancing out priorities, responsibilities, and obligations. So, for the next few weeks I’m just going to soak it all in. Instead of over-scheduling myself and squeezing those last few activities in before baby, I’m just going to relax, take lots of deep breaths, and enjoy the calm before succumbing to the insanity of having a newborn.

I’ll let you know how that goes 😉

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Midwifery Care in the U.S.

I had to share this post from the Huffington Post about midwifery care in the United States by Mayri Leslie. One of the mentalities about pregnancy that I think our culture could use a change in is instead of thinking about pregnant women as “patients,” they should be thought of as healthy women going through a completely normal phase of their lives. To unnecessarily over-medicalize a low-risk pregnancy can really take the fun out of the entire experience. Plus, take a look at some of these compelling statistics from the article:

The study “Outcomes of Care in Birth Centers: Demonstration of a Durable Model” published in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health provides a good start. The 15,574 low risk, healthy mothers in the study sought care in 79 US birth centers between 2007 and 2010. Their pregnancy, labor and postpartum care was provided by midwives. Eighty-eight percent of the mothers gave birth in the centers, while the remainder transferred to the hospital (less than 2 percent for emergent reasons). Of all the mothers in the study, 94 percent had vaginal births and 6 percent required a cesarean section. There were no maternal deaths and the fetal and newborn mortality rates were comparable to those for hospital born children in a similar low risk set of mothers.

In short… midwives rock! In Connecticut, we are lucky enough to have the Connecticut Childbirth and Women’s Center. If you or someone you know is pregnant and lives in the area, I highly recommend checking them out.

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The weird things strangers say to pregnant women

Pregnancy is crazy when you think about it: for approximately 40 weeks your body becomes a home for another human being that basically might as well have developed out of thin air because scientific facts aside, it is mind-blowing to me that procreation happens the way it does – a tiny sperm and tiny egg meet up and start sprouting bones and organs… what?! Then, over the course of those 40 weeks, this little person shares your meals, your air, your experiences and then one day decides it’s time to leave and expels themselves from your body. Think about it for a minute. It’s seriously science fiction.

But perhaps the strangest pregnancy phenomenon of all has to do with other people – oftentimes strangers or mere acquaintances – who feel that just because you are pregnant, they can walk up to you, word vomit about something that very well may be insulting, and maybe invade your personal space as they try to touch your belly… all without being prompted.

So today I dedicate this post to some of the more uncomfortable and strange things people (who don’t really know me that well) have said or asked over the last 7+ months. Don’t get me wrong – I will happily gab to my girlfriends, friends, and family about most of these topics, and I’ve also had plenty of beautiful and wonderful conversations about pregnancy with strangers and good friends alike. I’ll share those too, but I wouldn’t want to commingle them with these gems.

“You look [pick one: tired/bigger/chesty/enormous/blotchy] today.” 

Surprise! Pregnant bodies look different from non-pregnant bodies. It’s one thing to talk about these changes with girlfriends but it’s a completely different ballpark when a stranger approaches you to provide an unsolicited critique of your pregnant body and state the obvious with the sole purpose of stating the obvious. After all, how often have you walked up to someone you didn’t know and told them that they look “enormous”? That’s right – probably not very often… because that’s not something you say to people you don’t know.

From personal experience, I can confidently say that whether it’s getting dressed in the morning, catching a glimpse of what I look like at 3am during the 15th trip to the bathroom that night, or going back to the store for a bigger bra (yet again)… it’s pretty much impossible to ignore the fact that my belly is growing, my body is working overtime, and my bosom is well, blossoming (nox chronicles – that one’s for you!).

I’m embracing the tired look as well as my new body – after all, rumor has it that your sleep patterns continue to change drastically after a new baby arrives. Plus, it’s been really fun to see my body change and reassuring to know that the baby is growing. To hear someone talk about these changes to your face like they’re a negative is downright obnoxious.

“Congrats… I didn’t know you were trying!” or “That’s great! [pause] Were you trying?”

This is a confusing and awkward thing to say. It’s hard to tell if the person is happy for you, disappointed, or wondering why they weren’t looped into this private information sooner. I’m not sure why it matters so much – what we want you to know is that we are pregnant now… and unless you skipped sex ed and live under a rock, it’s probably unnecessary for me to go into details about how it happened.

“Oh, natural childbirth? Good luck with that. You’ll be begging for drugs.”

Thanks for the… vote of confidence? Every couple is different; I respect everyone’s choices for childbirth no matter what, and ask for the same in return. While our birth plan does not include “begging for drugs” at any point, we are aware that plans and circumstances do change – and don’t worry, we have a Plan B.

Oh, let me tell you about [insert horror story about labor/childbirth here]. But you’ll do great! That totally won’t happen for you. 

I want to hear your birth story – I really do! – but if it’s not a happy story, please don’t share it with me right now. I truly believe all birth stories should be shared at the appropriate time and place – they are incredibly formative experiences for mothers, fathers, and families in general. But walking up to a pregnant woman and sharing all of the details about your/your mom’s/your sister’s/your cousin’s less-than-ideal birth experience without being asked can be jarring for a first-time expectant mother. Personally, I would rather wait until we have a chance to create our own story before getting an unsolicited scare session.

The more we’ve learned through friends and hypnobirthing classes has helped me realize just how abundant negative stories about labor and childbirth are in our culture (especially those that come from Hollywood)! Being exposed to those types of attitudes for so long had really impacted my expectations for our baby’s birth, and it took a while for me to change my outlook.

So to all the strangers out there who are just itching to overshare – next time you think about word vomiting an awkward, offensive, prying or downright rude comment to a pregnant woman/couple… take a step back and think of the million other things you could ask. There are some pretty safe standbys to choose from – like if the baby is a boy or a girl, if there are names picked out, or when the baby is due. To be perfectly honest, I’d rather answer all of those questions over and over again than awkwardly bow out of talking about how we conceived… but thanks (I think?) for asking.

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The Blendtec!

One of my good friends from college started asking me questions not too long ago like, “Do you make smoothies?” and “Are you going to make your own baby food?” I didn’t think the questions were weird or out of the ordinary – he recently said he started eating a really healthy, clean diet so we chatted about food for a bit and mentioned that we should expect a package in the next few days. He told me to call when I got it so he could explain – how mysterious and exciting! He also said, being well informed about the serious case of baby brain* that I’ve been experiencing, “You’re probably going to get the package and forget that we had this conversation but just call me.”

(*Baby brain is real, people! I forget everything, lose my sunglasses every single day, misplace things that are right in front of my face, and put things away in really weird places. I have found that if I don’t write something down, it’s gone from my brain… maybe forever.)

Anyway, when a box arrived a few days later addressed to “Baby Broadbent Headquarters,” I was like, “OMG! What is this? What could it be?! Who sent it?!” I opened it up and saw that it was a Blendtec Total Blender, and my memory started working again. A-ha – it made sense, the questions about smoothies and baby food! I somehow remembered that I was supposed to call Mike and the first thing he said to me was:

ARE YOU BLENDING ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YET? I bought a pound and a half of spinach the other day and it’s all GONE because I’ve BLENDED IT!

This is maybe one of my favorite things that he has ever said.

Now, if you don’t know anything about the Total Blender let me tell you: this thing is no regular blender; it is a beast. Check out Blendtec’s website called Will it Blend? If you don’t have time to watch any of the silly videos just know that the Blendtec CAN and WILL blend/pulverize/demolish things like an iPhone…. so that smoothie you want to make is total child’s play.

My first Blendtec experiment was hummus. It was also 9:00am on Superbowl Sunday but hey, I wanted to make sure we had some healthy eats for the evening – so I apologize to anyone in the neighborhood I disturbed. After reading through the recipe book, complete with tips on how to load this bad boy, I threw in the ingredients, hoped for the best, and hit the button. It was like magic… magical hummus in seconds!

hummus

Don’t mind the mess in the background. Hummus in the making!

Aside from being slightly afraid of the Blendtec at first, I’ve embraced its loud volume and let it do its thing when I’m using it. It truly makes our old blender look like a toy, and I can’t wait to start using this beast for baby food when the time comes! Until then, it’s healthy, yummy foods for mom and baby – one of my recent favorites (inspired by our hypnobirthing instructor, Muneeza) is a raw chocolate smoothie.

A big thank you to Mike and his fiancee Marissa for exposing us to the Blendtec!

blender-cropped

Raw cacoa, banana, coconut, flax seed smoothie before…

... and after!

… and after!

Coconut, Banana, Flax, and Raw Chocolate Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 banana, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp. coconut manna
  • 1 tbsp. coarsely ground flax seeds (with the Blendtec, I am not even grinding them beforehand – just throwing them in whole!)
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Directions

  1. Add ingredients to blender, liquids first. Blend and enjoy! 
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TV Life Lessons

A while back I heard a re-run of the Brian Lehrer show where they had a call-in segment about TV – specifically: “What real-life lessons have you learned from fictional television?” Umm… how did I miss the live call-in for this?! Anyway, I was glad to catch the repeat and decided to post about it now… many months after the fact!

I started to run down, in my head, what I would say if I had called in. I would have wanted to talk for hours about how some of the television gems that I’ve seen have really, truly taught me something, but if I had to choose, my winner would be…

Six Feet Under!

Six Feet Under knocked my socks off. I kicked myself for not watching it sooner – one of my college roommates kept telling me to watch it and I put it off for some unknown reason (probably because death has always been one of those subjects that I’ve avoided, but… anyway). Once I took the plunge, I soon realized that there was not one single episode that disappointed and I fell in love with the Fishers, their family run funeral home, and the life and death that walked through its doors. The writers took such heavy subjects – death, funerals, funeral homes, family dynamics – and looked at them under a beautiful, sometimes disturbing  light. I binge-watched the entire series in just a couple of weeks – after work and between semesters of grad school.

Seeing that much death in such a short amount of time (and portrayed in a sometimes very funny light) gave me a lot to think about. The series taught me to look at death a little more objectively and it helped me realize that I had been looking at death in such a subjective way. And, why wouldn’t I have experienced the loss of family members and friends as subjective? I think that’s just natural and normal. So, to see death, grief, life, and more under an objective microscope (the viewer generally does not know the characters who die) gave me a peek into how others deal with death, even if it was fictional.

To boot, the show had one of the most satisfying series finales that I’ve ever seen. A lot of shows can tie up story lines and leave the characters in a good place, but Six Feet Under brought it one step further and the viewer sees what the future looks like for the Fisher family in a real, matter-of-fact yet emotional way. Here’s one of the quotes that’s stayed with me:

Claire: Oh, I wanna take a picture of everyone.

Nate: You can’t take a picture of this. It’s already gone.

Check out the HBO site for Six Feet Under – all of the episodes are available on HBO GO and won’t let you down.

And, a close second… Modern Family

I couldn’t write this post without referencing one of the best sitcoms on TV – Modern Family. A short clip from one of the recent episodes solidified its place as a runner-up to Six Feet Under on my list. You don’t really need to know much about the show to appreciate the quote from Jay Pritchett (but if you do, watch the clip):

There’s all kinds of milestones in life. The kind you expect to live through – first kiss, birthdays, graduations, and if you’re lucky, a wedding or two. Or even a new addition to the family. Then there’s the kind you never dreamed you’d get to live through again, and that’s the best kind of all.

So… what about you?

It’s no surprise to me that both of these shows share a main theme of family, something near and dear to my heart. So, what were some of the shows that taught you some life lessons?

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Natural Childbirth? Sign me up!

So now that pregnancy has been progressing along, I’ve started to think a lot about labor and birth. I don’t know what labor feels like, I have no reference point for what birthing a baby might feel like. In fact, for the most part, I’ve been regaled by pop culture and other mothers telling their oftentimes unsettling birth stories. Things going wrong at every turn, pain medicines and epidurals, stalled labors and c-sections and in the case of Hollywood – women screaming, lashing out, hating the experience, and begging for drugs.

I had to wonder… does it have to be like that? Would I be like that? Is that typical? It wasn’t until I spoke with my friend who had her first child at a natural birthing center who said, “I had such a lovely birth experience that I honestly can’t wait to do it all over again!”

I found myself saying, “Wait, what? A lovely birth experience? One you would do all over again?” It was both strange, yet utterly refreshing, for me to hear such a positive story about birth. (This was well before I learned I was pregnant, so I tucked that away in my back pocket for when the time came.)

The time did come for us to have a child and my husband and I went to our first prenatal appointment a couple of weeks after finding out that I was pregnant. I was so excited about everything – the appointment itself signified a big milestone of pregnancy and I was ready to ask questions, learn about all of the details, and more. I was so excited about this appointment that even the nurse taking my blood pressure noticed but unfortunately, I left more disappointed than I can remember being in a long, long time.

Nothing bad happened, but nothing good did, either. We were rushed from our “discussion” time with the doctor (where only about 10% of my questions were answered) to the exam, handed a folder of information, and sent on our way. But wait, what about all of my questions? And the things I needed to talk to someone (other than my family and friends) about? And what exactly does the first trimester screening mean? And what do I do when… my list of unanswered questions went on.

I knew right away that I should trust my gut – that feeling of disappointment was not something I wanted to deal with throughout many more prenatal appointments and in the delivery room. Did I want a doctor who seemed disengaged to oversee the birth of my child? No, thank you! I wanted needed to be much more involved in my prenatal care and my thoughts turned to the birthing center my friend had mentioned.

It certainly was  a lot further away – the OB’s office and hospital in town were both about 10 minutes from our home – but from the moment I walked into the birthing center I knew I had found the right place. Even before my first appointment – during a meet and greet with one of the midwives – I felt completely at ease and she answered many of my questions that my OB had failed to address. She spoke with me frankly, treating me like a real person instead of just another patient. I immediately scheduled my first prenatal appointment with them and have been so happy with that decision ever since!

The entire process is a significantly different path than the hospital birth I would have had if I stayed with my OB. As long as pregnancy and labor progress normally, we should have much more control over our experience at the birthing center than we would have at the hospital. All that said, I know it’s possible for complications to arise or risks to come up – and I’ve got backup plans just in case. One of the most attractive things about the birthing center is that it’s right across the street from the hospital – making it very easy to transfer if the need arises. Win-win!

I can’t wait to see how it all goes… but in the meanwhile, I’m doing everything I possibly can to prepare my mind and body… including taking hypnobirthing classes (more on those in another post – I LOVE them!) and keeping my body in shape for the baby now, and also in preparation for what will likely be one of the most physically demanding experiences of my life – birth. And, a major thank you to Ivana Vacation 😉 who turned me on to all of this in the first place! Stay tuned!

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Oh hey, 2013!

The turn of the new year marked two very exciting milestones – the halfway point of my pregnancy and the year my husband and I will add “parent” to our list of respective titles. Something tells me finding better balance with baby will be a challenge in and of itself. Now that the holidays are over, and the weeks are passing quickly, I am kicking into high gear to plan for Baby B as my Type-A personality takes over to tackle two of the biggest hurdles: space and things.

Space

We live in a 2-bedroom cape. I love it! It’s such a cute house and a very manageable size for us to take care of. With both of us working like crazy, we don’t always have a ton of extra time to devote to the house. Only having one spare bedroom meant that we had an obvious choice for a nursery but also that we had to give up what had become the office/guest room/closet/storage/library/place to store crap. So, first things first: we’ve been donating what we don’t need and storing what we don’t use to slowly turn it into a nursery and make space for the things.

Things

Babies don’t take up that much space alone – it’s more like all of the things that come with them – from furniture to strollers to toys, and more. I’ve been mapping out in my head where in the house we are going to put all the baby things. Given that we find ourselves both space-challenged and budget conscience like many other new parents, I have been scrutinizing every product to weed out the must-haves, the nice-to-haves, and the are-you-kidding-me-I-would-never-spend-ANY-money-on-that-contraption-haves to make sure we’re covered, but not completely overloaded, with purchases that are practical from a space and cost perspective.

Shopping as a new mom is a very vulnerable time – you’re pregnant, you’re navigating new territory, you want the best for your child, and maybe you’re a little more emotional than normal (not that I’ve ever teared up in the middle of the baby store just thinking ahead to how exciting it will be to welcome Baby B into the world… or anything). Some of the most important conclusions I’ve drawn while registering for Baby B are:

  1. A lot of baby things are super cute –> super cute baby things are really easy to put on the registry in mass quantities –> super cute baby things are not usually very practical. (Knowing and understanding this didn’t stop me from putting only a couple of these on the list!)
  2. It’s really hard to avoid the marketing ploys that make you feel just a little guilty for not getting something that you would otherwise never purchase. But, having a marketing background both allows me to appreciate all the work that goes into the advertising and most importantly, I am able to remind myself to stick to my list. Just because a company paid to have better product placement on a shelf does not mean that they have a superior product.
  3. I am really thankful for the hours upon hours of time I’ve spent babysitting, nannying, and otherwise learning about children over the years. I owe the families who have employed me big time! Without even realizing it, I racked up years of testing products in real situations like car seats, strollers, diaper pails, and those flipping impossible child-proof human-proof outlet covers. I’ve also been able to think back on what products saved my sanity as a caregiver and I expect all of those experiences to come in handy in the coming years. It’s been more than a second job – it’s been an education in and of itself!

Balancing Space + Things

At the end of the day everyone has to decide what’s best for them and what will work for their own family. For us, skipping out on things like the wipe warmer (neither my husband nor I suffer from long-term psychological trauma caused by our parents using room-temperature wipes) and the baby food processor (which looks suspiciously like our “grown-up” food processor) has meant that not only will we save counter space, but we will also free up money to put towards the items we hope to get more use out of.

We’ll see. Maybe we’re making the right choices, and maybe we’re not – but we’ll find out soon enough and I think learning along the way is half the fun of it all, anyway!

So here’s to 2013 – a year of trial and error, learning, living, and at least someone in our family crying in public – whether it’s me or Baby B 😉

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Today’s school shooting and the importance of mental health

I can’t think of anything else today except for the tiny, innocent victims of the school shooting in Newton, CT.  I’ve found tears come more easily than words as I listen to the news, Obama’s speech, and the press conferences updating everyone on what happened. I can’t fathom any of it – the grief, the pain, the questions, the frustrations and more that family members must be feeling right now. My heart is broken.

As the debate about gun reform laws rears its head again, as it always does after such tragedies, I can’t help but think that mental health is even more important than gun control. Details about the shooter aren’t out yet, but as they become available I would be willing to bet that there were clues along the way that he was suffering. Someone will talk about the behaviors that led them to think that something wasn’t right. Maybe they tried to do something to help, but maybe they didn’t. So, I urge you: if you know someone who you think is suffering, reach out to them. Help them find help. It is our responsibility as friends, siblings, children, and humans.

Don’t know where to start? I suggest checking in with the National Institute of Mental Health – they have a wealth of resources and information on their website alone.

Give your family an extra big hug tonight, and stay safe.

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The Broadbents are having a baby!

We are very excited to announce that we’re having a baby! We’ve been slowly but surely spreading the word (and I’m happy to finally blog about it)! We’ve gotten a lot of questions, so here are some of the top responses:

  • Baby is due in May.
  • No, we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl and we won’t be finding out until he/she arrives!
  • Yes, Cooper (the dog) is very excited.
  • No, I haven’t had any particularly strange cravings or eaten anything really weird.
  • I’m feeling good!
  • So far, we haven’t agreed on a name but we have at least a few months worth of debating left.
  • We found out the morning of September 11th – the only time on that day in many years that I’ve cried tears of joy.

I had a delusional fantasy that I would be of those super active and productive pregnant women who never let being pregnant stop them from doing anything. And I will admit that maybe I even pushed myself a little too hard at the beginning to keep up with what I thought I should be doing.  To make a long story short, I learned the hard way that the days of working like crazy, going from one job to another, and super intense workouts are on pause. Talk about a balancing act… time to re-prioritize!

I’ve decided I can still be productive and not push myself over the edge… it has just taken some getting used to. I scaled back on everything – including the workouts. I’ve made room for more resting and calmer activities like yoga, barre classes, and walking. After pushing myself so much physically over the last few years – from training for triathlons to getting in shape for the wedding and more – I will admit that it’s been kind of nice to step into a slower lane for a little bit (and indulge, guilt-free, in some ridiculous desserts from time to time).

Now that we’re well into this crazy pregnancy journey and our schedule has calmed down from the fall, I will be back in the kitchen whipping up new finds and old favorites and sharing them back on this blog. I’ll also be writing about this new sense of balance we’re working through (and towards) with Baby on the way!

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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I haven’t been doing much experimenting in the kitchen over the last few months – an incredibly busy summer spilled over into fall – which helps to explain the dearth of posts with new recipes. A couple weeks ago we had some friends over for dinner, so I had to get back into the kitchen!

Originally, I thought we should do Mexican since we were having a mix of vegetarians and meat eaters over – we’d be able to give people the option to pick and choose what they wanted. Chris overruled me when he suggested that he make a pot roast instead – the perfect meal for a chilly fall night, and one that I have yet to master. (I have tried and tried and tried to perfect cooking beef, in a form other than “ground,” to no avail. I leave these types of dishes up to him!)

To make sure everyone had something to eat, I decided to whip up some quinoa stuffed peppers to round out the main course. I also decided to stalk Chris while he was making the pot roast so hopefully I could pick up a thing or two. Unfortunately, he kicked me out of the kitchen so I didn’t learn any of his firehouse cooking secrets. (That just ensures that he will always cook these things for me… right?)

Anyway, dinner was a success – we had plenty of food and everyone left full and happy – and the stuffed peppers turned out great!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Vegetarian quinoa stuffed peppers!

I started with this recipe from Vegetarian Times.com – the only modifications I really made were removing a couple of ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (½ cup)
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 3 large carrots, grated (1 ½ cups)
  • 3/4 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided (optional)
  • 4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

Directions

  1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.
  2. Stir in black beans, quinoa, carrots, and 2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.
  4. Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour.
  5. If desired, uncover and sprinkle half of the peppers with the remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned.
  6. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.

 

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