Well, this morning I was a bit grumpy after being woken up by the phone ringing 40 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off (seriously, why do people think it’s OK to call before 9 am? Ever?). I was hoping to get back on a sleep schedule and get 8 solid hours, but could not fall back asleep after the phone woke me up. Boo. I should also add that the dream I had about eating pizza and then remembering I couldn’t have it probably didn’t help my grumpiness. Regardless, the day ended up going pretty well and I had a fair amount of energy once I got out of bed and got my scrambled eggs & pink lady apple in me. My cravings were greatly reduced today, which is not to say that I did not think about candy or chocolate, but the thoughts were less frequent. I also did not have any other thoughts about pizza…not sure where that dream came from.
I have been pretty fortunate so far this summer and have managed to keep my Mondays free, so I was able to check out the yoga stretch class at the rec center at noon. The instructor ended up being one that I don’t like because she is boring and lazy, but that works for a class focused mainly on stretching/relaxing. I got some good stretches in and was able to relax, which is what I need to be doing!
After yoga, I came home and had a quick salad and veggie lunch before I had to head to the doctor. I had frozen all of my chicken and didn’t have time to thaw any, so my salad was the same as yesterday’s, just without the chicken. I also sauteed half of a zucchini (the organic ones at Trader Joe’s are huge right now!), squash, and red onions in olive oil with a little salt and pepper. I think the part I was most excited about was having ice for my water with lunch, haha. I discovered that my wonderful & sweet boyfriend had filled up the trays (something I am always too lazy to do) and put them in the freezer, meaning I got to have cold water, which I like much better than room temperature water! That definitely perked me up a bit.
After my appointment, some dissertation writing, and a snack of macadamia nuts and grapes, I came home to discover that these lovely additions to my kitchen had arrived:
I had not anticipated their arrival today, so I had other dinner plans, but I cannot wait to use my new stuff later this week! For dinner, I planned to make the stuffed bell peppers and guacamole that I originally planned to cook last weekend. It ended up being pretty time consuming, but that was mostly because I did a whole lot of chopping. If you are one of those well-prepared individuals who chops everything after going grocery shopping and you have it ready to go, it is not a time-consuming recipe. I do not pre-chop, so it took me awhile. For the stuffed peppers, I first cut out the tops and cleaned out the inside of the peppers. Then I turned them cut-side down on a plate and microwaved them for 3 minutes to soften them. While the peppers were in the microwave, I cooked the “stuffing”, based off of Jillian Michaels’s recipe (with a few tweaks). Here’s what went in:
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped (the recipe calls for more – I just don’t like mushrooms)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 tsp ground red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 gargantuan TJ’s zucchini, chopped
8 oz diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
Pinch of salt
1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef (cooked in olive oil)
The ingredients are in order of how they are cooked. Basically, I first sauteed the onions, mushrooms, garlic, red pepper, and cumin in olive oil for about 10 minutes, until everything was soft. Then I added in the tomato paste. It can be hard to find natural tomato paste, as I’ve found over the past 9 months. I like to use this stuff:
I find it at Whole Foods, but I’m not sure if they sell it anywhere else. Regardless, I love this brand because it comes in a glass jar (not BPA-lined cans!), is just tomatoes and nothing else, and you can choose crushed, diced, and whole tomatoes. Anyway, once you stir in the tomato paste, you need to stir in the zucchini, diced tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Once that cooks for about 2-3 minutes, stir in the ground beef and you’re ready to stuff the peppers! Once you’ve stuffed them, place them in a roasting pan or even just a cake pan and fill it with 1/2 an inch of water. Cook in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes and voila!
Once I got the peppers in, I made the guacamole to top them off with. I again used Jillian’s recipe, because it is delicious. Here’s what you need:
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup red onion, chopped (I love onions, so I usually add more)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of salt
You can also add chiles or peppers if you want. I forgot to buy some, so I left those out this time. I was also too lazy to cut and peel tomatoes, so I used TJ’s fresh salsa instead (best salsa ever). I doubled this recipe because I had 4 avocadoes that were ripe, so we’ve got a lot of guacamole! Basically, you just want to mix all of the ingredients together. I generally mix everything but the avocadoes and then add those in last. I like my guacamole a little chunky, but I’m sure you could stick it in the food processor if you wanted a more smooth guacamole. (Also – keep in mind that since this stuff is homemade, it will brown quickly. My mom gave me a little tip to make it last longer: put plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole. Not on top of the bowl, but touching the guac. Then pat it down to make sure all of the air is out of it and seal the edges.)
After all that preparation, it was finally time to eat! The food was definitely pretty:
And it was absolutely delicious. Probably the best meal I’ve cooked for Whole30 yet. It was so flavorful and the red pepper in the stuffing added just the right amount of kick to the dish. I was worried it wouldn’t turn out well because I had modified the recipe a bit, but it was wonderful. It was also filling!! I was a happy camper. Mark said it was the best stuffed pepper he’d ever had, but he might be a little biased. 😉
Thus, day 4 is DONE! Cravings have gone down a little, I’m feeling pretty full/satisfied throughout the day, and I’m still not nauseous or achy – woohoo! Now I am very tired, so I will say good night!