Tag Archives: dinner

Bell Pepper Stuffed with Coconut Rice, Black Beans, and Mango


This is my absolute favorite dinner recipe. Hands down. It uses some of my favorite flavors: Coconut, Lime, Mango, Basil…

Look at them. They're begging to be stuffed.

All nestled in the Crock Pot!

I don’t make stuffed bell peppers very often because I don’t like green peppers and red ones are frequently about $1.50 each around here, which just seems silly. Last time I went to the store they were $0.68 though and I greedily grabbed 4, knowing exactly what their future would be.

The other reason I haven’t made stuffed bell peppers in awhile is because the absolute best way to do so is to cook them in a crock pot. It softens them to a melt in your mouth texture, while keeping the stuffing moist and flavorful. And the problem  with my crock pot is this…

"I'm melting!"

I may have accidentally melted the control part of my crock pot by having it too close to something cooking on the stove. Now it only sometimes turns on when I plug it in. And when it does turn on it only works on one setting. The worst part? I had only had this for about a month when this happened: Andrew bought it for me to replace my old one, which I dropped and shattered the insert of.

I’m accident prone, but I digress. Onto more cheerful topics, like Thai flavored stuffed peppers!

This recipe is adapted lightly from an amazing cookbook called Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. It is one of my favorites, full of simple and delicious things you can throw together in the morning and come home to dinner waiting for you.

Bell Peppers Stuffed with Coconut Rice, Black Beans, and Mango:

*4-6 large bell peppers (I prefer red, which are not only sweeter but also higher in vitamins A and C than green, but you can use whatever color you like), tops sliced off and diced, hollowed out.

*2 cups cooked basmati rice

*1 cup cooked black beans (I threw in a few garbanzos, too, because I needed to use them up)

*1 large red onion

*1 large mango (use Manila or Champagne mangos if you can find them. They are much smoother in texture than regular mangos) —–> for the best way to chop a mango neatly, click here.

*1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut

*1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil (preferably Thai Basil) or cilantro

*1 lime

*1 teaspoon agave nectar (you can use sugar if you dont have agave, or leave it out, but it helps round out the flavors)

*Optional: to give these an extra kick, add 1/2 to 1 minced chili pepper, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot chili powder such as cayenne, or 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce.

*1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil, plus extra for greasing the crock pot or pan.

*salt and pepper to taste


1.Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add the onion and bell pepper. If you are using jalepenos, add them now. Cover and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the rice, coconut, beans, mango, half of the juice from the lime plus a bit of lime zest, agave, basil, and spice if using.

3. Spoon mixture into prepared peppers and arrange upright in a lightly oiled slow cooker. If you have extra rice you can serve it warmed with the peppers or reserve it for another use. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. I haven’t made these in the oven, but if you don’t own a slow cooker or are short on time, I would imagine they could be cooked at 350F for 45- 60 minutes. If anyone tries it, let me know!

Staying Healthy for Busy People


On making time for health:

As I sit at my computer writing this, I have just put the finishing touches on a paper for school and am feeling relieved (I still have to leave early to print in though- no printer here L) The paper has pretty much been my main focus the last few days- though I have many roles and hobbies, I consider school a top priority. I am a full time nursing student and spend about 20 hours a week just at school and my clinical site, not to mention time spent on homework. I work between at least 16 and sometimes up to 26 hours a week as a nurse’s aide. I also have a husband, apartment, and cat that need daily attention!

Most of us are juggling multiple roles in our lives: students, employees, homeowners, spouses, parents (how do you do it?!). With all these responsibilities, good intentions of making time for ourselves and our health can easily go by the wayside.

For me, healthy eating and an active lifestyle are important. They make my body and mind feel good and balance the effects of stress in other areas of my life. When I make healthy meals, I am exercising my creative side and aim for aesthetics along with flavor and nutrition. A healthy dinner is also a relieving break from a homework-a-thon and can be a motivating factor for getting something finished by a certain time.

Here are a few things I do to ensure I can stay healthy when working or going to school all day:

*Pack a lunch the night before. This also saves money! My usual method of doing this is to throw together a “leftover salad” as I’m putting dinner leftovers away. I simply mound some spinach or mixed greens into a container, top it with leftovers (roasted vegetable dishes and stirfrys lend themselves especially well to this- soups, not so much), and take a tiny container of dressing if needed. Throw in a piece of fruit and you have a nutritious and filling lunch! And it takes less than five minutes longer than just putting away leftovers would. When there are no leftovers or I wont have access to a refrigerator, PB&J with some carrot sticks is my go-to.

*Either work out in the morning or bring gym bag. I love morning workouts because they are an energizing start to the day and free up my evenings for relaxing or… homework. And yet… I tend to have a hard time fitting them in. I usually have to be somewhere in the morning between 7 and 9 am, and quite honestly don’t like waking up any earlier than 6:30. I have trouble falling asleep at a decent hour, and tend to favor a full nights sleep over a morning workout. So for me, the key is usually throwing the gym bag in my car. If I go to the gym right after work/school it saves me the time of going home and hassle of going home and back out again and also prevents me from going home and getting occupied with something else.

*Slow cookers! I love my crockpot dearly… unfortunately it was recently left oo close to a burner on the stove and suffered third degree burns… not sure yet if it will be ok L. Slow cookers are great for busy people though, especially when you wont be getting home until late in the evening and know you will be hungry! Some of my favorite things to make in mine are lentil or split pea soups, chilis, and spaghetti sauce. I like to chop some extra vegetables while I prepare dinner the night before, then in the morning before I leave I can just literally throw everything in the pot and have dinner ready when I get back! I also like to make big batches of beans (black beans, pintos, garbanzos, and white beans most commonly). I soak them overnight, cook them in the slow cooker all day, then have them ready for use by dinner time. The ones that I don’t forsee being used within a week get portioned into containers and stored in the freezer- another great time saver when I need it!

*Plan meals for the week before grocery shopping. I don’t always stick to this plan exactly, but it saves me time wandering around the grocery store and ensures I will have ingredients on hand for a weeks worth of healthy meals. I don’t really have a limit on buying seasonal produce, and tend to just buy what looks good and is a good price whether I have a definite plan for it or not. I figure it is good for me to be challenged to include more produce!

*Have a handful of quick meal ideas on hand for busy nights. These are usually things that come together really quickly like a frittata or that have some premade portion like the tortellini salad I made last night. I had dinner ready in less than 30 minutes last night with this simple recipe:

Lemony Artichoke Tortellini Salad

Lemony Artichoke Tortellini Salad:

One 10 oz package refrigerated tortellini (I used pesto filled)

15 oz can artichoke hearts, quartered

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings

1 small zucchini, thinly sliced into half moons

Handful of fresh spinach, torn (optional)

2-4 Tbsp. vegetable broth or cooking water from pasta

2 Tbsp. grated parmesan

2 Tbsp. crumbled chevre

1 small lemon, zested

Salt and pepper to taste


Slice onion first, and heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt. Fill a large pot up with salted water and place on the stove top to begin boiling while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Slice the zucchini and add to the onions, then slice the artichokes and add them to the sauté. The pasta water should be boiling by now, so you can throw the tortellini in and cook according to package directions (should be around 4-6 minutes). During this time, you can zest the lemon and get the cheeses ready.

Once pasta is finished cooking, drain and toss into the pan with the veggies. Add the broth or cooking water if it seems a bit dry. You could add more olive oil if you wanted also. Add the cheeses and about 1 Tbsp. or juice from your zested lemon and toss everything to coat.

Serve topped with lemon zest and additional cheeses if desired. Enjoy!