Monday, July 26, 2010

Stuffed Red, Yellow and Orange Bells with Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

Look out! HumbleVegan is back in the kitchen!

Not until I was out on my own, fending for myself, did I discover these brilliantly colored “jewels.” Growing up at home, we had stuffed green bells. I always ate what was inside ... and never the bell. It was bland, tasteless and limp. I still don’t like green bells... and that’s good because they really have very little nutritional value compared to the reds, yellows and oranges. These beautiful colors are full of vitamins, sweetness and flavors that far exceed their green, blah, counter parts.

Ok, I was having a craving for stuffed bells. Before becoming Vegan, they were always stuffed with some sort of animal protein and rice...... Looking back.. that was kinda “blah,” too. So, I thought... now that I don’t eat animal protein and not much of a rice eater... “what....could I stuff them with?” Well, I realized the possibilities were endless.

There are so many variations to stuffed bells from quinoa, fresh garlic, pine nuts and broccoli to your favorite Chinese or Asian or Mexican rice recipe. How bout red beans and broken up cornbread? Or sautéed ‘shrooms, onions and cubed potatoes? Macaroni and cheese and steamed spinach for you non-vegans. Make use of all the wonderful fresh spices and herbs, as well as the flavored olive oils. Just dream it up and go for it!

You know I found that a lot of folks boil their bells first, before roasting them in the oven.... never understood why. This only boils out all the nutrients and leaves them colorless and limp. Just stuff ‘em , put them in casserole dishes and into the oven. So SIMPLE! Who wants another pot to wash? Not me!

Just look how bright and colorful these are after coming outta the oven!

Today I stuffed 2 different kinds.... one for hubby Bear and one for me. Serving these up with some oven roasted corn on the cob bathed in garlic and roasted red pepper olive oils... and that’s what’s on our dinner plates tonight!

As ALWAYS..... I DO organic whenever possible.

Here is what you’ll need:

Hubby Bears Stuffed Bell
*about 1 cup of colored shell pasta... cooked (he loves the colored pasta... LOL.. he can be such a little kid!)
*a small can of Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans (he LOVES these and they are the only ones on the market that don’t contain HFCS, transfats or Soy!)
*a couple of bells: cut the tops off and core out the middle

Mix the beans and pasta together and stuff each pepper as full as possible. Place the bells in individual casserole dishes or in one dish. Be sure they don’t fall over while roasting. You can add the rest of the mixture in the casserole dish beside the bell.

Place them in a preheated oven at 375 for about 15 minutes. Don’t worry if the pasta shells on top get a little crispy and brown. It adds a nice flavor and texture to the dish. For you non-vegans out there... now is the time to toss on some of your favorite shredded cheese.

Top with chopped tomato (and egg if you like)

My Stuffed Bell is FULL of flavors and spices... because that’s the way I like my food.
*one small to medium red onion, sliced slightly thin sautéed in a couple of tablespoons of roasted red pepper olive oil with TONS of fresh garlic
*about ¾ cup of your favorite bean, I used EDENS Organic Adzuki beans, but black beans or any other are DEE-lish for sure! Add these to the skillet of onions
*corn cut off a couple of fresh ears added to the skillet
*a couple of bells: cut the tops off and core out the middle

When the skillet mixture is hot and simmering.... remove from heat and add a few sprinkles of the HOT Pepper Sesame oil and mix. Place the bells in individual casserole dishes or in one dish. Be sure they don’t fall over while roasting. Again, you can add the remaining mixture around the pepper in the dish if you like.

Place them in a preheated oven at 375 for about 15 minutes. Mine is topped with chopped cado. But, again, if you are non-vegan.... “cheese it up!”

Oven Roasted Corn
This is one of my all time faves..... and so easy to make. Here ya go:

*as many ears as you want... cleaned and stripped of husk and silk.
*garlic and or roasted red pepper olive oils
*ground pepper

I don’t wrap mine in foil or roast them in their husks. I really love the light brown crust that forms on the corn when roasting “naked” in the oven. Plus, it will roast quicker.

Making sure the ears are nice and dry, brush on the oil of your choice covering the whole ear. Then sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Place on cooking grate. I place my grate inside a cookie sheet to catch the oil that drips off the ear.

Place in preheated oven at 450 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes and it is done!!!

This meal would be fabulous if you added some fresh steamed spinach.... but for tonight.. I am hungry, in a hurry and don’t want to deal with the spinach.

Hope you enjoy these DEEEEEE-lish bells... full of color... full of life.... full of sweetness and full of nutrients!

Until Next Time......


Friday, July 23, 2010

"We Thought We Would Live Forever...."

For most of us....when we were 12, 16, 19, or in our 20's, we didn't think much about the lifestyle decisions we made during those years of innocence and exploration. We didn't look ahead to the future.....say 30 - 40 years down the the consequences of those lifestyle choices. We were more interested in "the here and now" because at those young ages..... What did we think? That we were invincible..... immortal..... We thought we would live forever and never grow old. At that time, "Life" was all about being popular in school, proms, having tons of friends, "the" hair doo, wearing makeup, first boyfriends or girlfriends, the first car, graduation, going off to college, parties, sororities, & fraternities......And maybe that's the way it should be. But, I can't help thinking...."if we could have seen into the future.... and looked at the status of our health....would we've been more mindful of our lifestyle choices.... 30 to 40 years earlier?"

I had a week of very sad news delivered in an email from a long-lost friend and an email from a long-lost cousin both of which I have not seen or spoke to since 1983. These "catch-up correspondence" brought info and news filled with such a deep sadness that I have not felt since my father passed. People my age, which were once very close to me at another time of my life, had died or were dying of lung cancer or heart attacks. These were friends that I hung with in high school in the early 70's. They were all cigarette smokers... even at that young age. Some started in their very early teens and had smoked for 30 to 40 years before finally quitting. But for them, it was too late. The damage done... and with that... they met a very early, agonizing and painful death in their mid to late 50's. I was stunned....speechless ..... and left with heartache. The memories of so long ago were filled with fun, laughter, and youth..... with hope, with great futures ahead for us all and with no cares or worries.

In the same email from my friend, she spoke of a woman, near and dear to me, that is just turning 92. She still drives her car, lives in the same little house of 40 years ago and is in quite good health. As a teen, I always had a great deal of respect for this woman and her lifestyle. She was frugal, mindful of everything...not wasting a thing. She was always kidded about the “iddy-biddy- tiny” glob of leftovers she saved. She always remarked, "This will be my supper tomorrow." She ate like a bird. She was always busy "doing something," very creative and talented. She was an amazing homemaker, mother, grandmother, wife..... And she has out lived her husband and 2 of her 3 children.

Lifestyle choices......... made at very young ages that literally become life or death situations in our mid life years. Had we known the impact on our health and wellness...... Had we known it came down to the difference of living to a “ripe old age” or dying too soon in our mid lives..... Would we have chosen not to smoke? Not to consume alcohol or use drugs? Not to drive recklessly? Not to take dangerous and stupid risks?

These are questions that my friends may have very well asked themselves once they were delivered their fatal diagnosis.

These are questions that we, who are left living, must ask ourselves....Is it too late? Hoping with all hope.....that in making positive healthy lifestyle changes now....will negate the effects of those risky choices we might have made back in our teens and twenties.

Until Next Time......