Stuffed Red Pepper Soup

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I consider myself very responsible.

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I’m organized, make to-do lists just to cross things off, am always on time, look both ways before crossing the road, etc. The pillars of responsibility!

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So at my pal’s bachelorette party this weekend, I obvio offered to be a designated driver.

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I didn’t have a car on this trip, so I drove my friend’s. I was also the keeper of one of our AirBNB keys. See, responsibility is my middle name! Everything went well. I didn’t crash my friend’s car and we all got to our destinations safely. I made sure the AirBNB was locked at all times even when we were inside for 5 minutes – I’m sorry, I trust no one. So a safe and lovely time was had by all. I’m in the airport Sunday sipping on a smoothie, reading my book. I’m really just living my best airport life when I get a text asking where I put my friend’s keys. I mentally retrace my steps. I parked and locked the car. I fished out the AirBNB key. We walked in the house. I set the AirBNB key down, but not the car keys. Where would I have put them???? ………..No, no, no, no, no! I open my purse and there they are, neatly placed in a side pocket where my own car keys usually go. The best part is I’m in Baltimore and 900 miles away from my friend and her car at this point. *Face palm*

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Big shouts to Andre at the BWI UPS for helping a girl out and making me feel a lot better by sharing he ships keys every day. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone in this idiotic world.

 

 

Time: 1 hour (prep + cooking) | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of red lentils, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice, uncooked
  • 3 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • 1 tsp. of chili powder
  • 1 tsp. of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. of oregano
  • 1 container of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • Cilantro, for serving
  • Avocado, for serving

How to:

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat
  • Add onion + S+P, cook 3-4 minutes
  • Add garlic, cook another minute
  • Add red peppers, cook 3-4 minutes
  • Add lentils + rice, coat to combine + toast for 2 minutes
  • Add tomato paste + crushed tomatoes + seasonings + S+P, cook another minutes
  • Add vegetable broth, bring to boil, lower heat + simmer for 30 minutes
  • Add spinach + adjust seasonings to taste
  • Serve warm with cilantro + avocado
  • Sit outside in the 100 degree summer weather with your hot bowl of soup + pretend you are at a spa in a really nice sauna allowing all the toxins to sweat out of your body

 

Adapted from here!

 

Open-Faced Pitas with Roasted Eggplant + Red Pepper Spread

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I think it’s time I get a little real with y’all.

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And that’s not even a sarcastic opening this time!!! I realized I’ve never really shared why I started cooking.

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Let us venture back to pre-teen Rachel. Or as I like to refer to her, she who must not be named. Growing up, I was ALWAYS the smallest kid in class. Like, got the kids menu and looked like an 8-year-old boy until I was 17. I don’t recommend this if you’re interested in having self esteem. Puberty rolled around my junior year and I became an average height, but was still skinny and could eat WHATEVER I wanted. I’ve told y’all about how I used to leave school, eat 12 nuggets, fries and a milkshake and THEN eat dinner. Those were the TIMES, man.

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Sophomore year of college came around and I gained the weight we all do at that pivotal time. Nothing crazy, but it looked odd on my small frame. I honestly would have been blissfully ignorant except this was during the rise of social media when it became the vortex of self-pity and comparison we now know and love. I saw pictures of myself and just hated what I saw. I had never felt pretty (have you seen this schnoz?!), but I had always counted on being small. My first world, middle class, not enough problem-having world was rocked! Chicken nugget girl had no idea how to eat healthy, so I started restricting myself. I lost 20 pounds eating a bagel for breakfast, a granola bar for lunch and a little something for dinner. Or as I like to call it, the diet of an idiotic college girl who cared far too much what peeps thought of her. While I eventually began eating more, I continued the unhealthy restrictive habits. It wasn’t until I called my mom crying one afternoon after treating myself to Zaxby’s (wow, what a treat!) and feeling SO guilty, that I realized it was time to make a change. She took me to the grocery store, bought me food and taught me how to bake some chicken breasts. From there, I turned on Food Network and haven’t turned it off in over six years. I watched every single show and tried to learn as much as I could. I would spend my free time searching for recipes and reading about food. I started this blog to document some of the recipes I liked, and here we are. Almost 5 years later and this little space of the Internet is still one of my favorites.

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Thank you for reading along and allowing me to be a lunatic and share some food and look at your food and I promise I eat quadruple the calories I used to – for example, I ate both of these pitas immediately after taking these photos.

 

Time: 1 hour (prep + cooking) | Serves: 4 pitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant, peeled + sliced into 1/2 inch discs
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained .+ rinsed
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 a small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 zucchini, zoodled
  • 2 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • S+P, to taste
  • Pitas, toasted
  • Cilantro, for serving

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Arrange eggplant discs on a lined baking sheet, using 1 tbsp. of olive oil, brush each side + sprinkle with S+P
  • Arrange red peppers on another lined baking sheet
  • Arrange chickpeas on a third lined baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tbsp. of olive oil + some S+P
  • Place all in the oven (peppers + eggplant on the same rack if possible), bake chickpeas for 25 minutes, turning once, eggplant for 30 minutes, turning once, red peppers for 45 minutes, turning once
  • Once cooled, remove the charred skins from the peppers + cut the tops off + remove any seeds
  • In a food processor combine eggplant + red peppers + garlic + remaining olive oil + tomato paste + crushed red pepper + S+P, process until smooth
  • To serve, spread your eggplant + pepper goodness on a pita + top with zoodles + tomatoes + chickpeas + onion + cilantro
  • Fold pita up like a boat + swim it right into the giant hole in your face

 

Spread adapted from my girl, Ina!

Spring Pasta Salad

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I have the music in me.

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In that, it’s trapped inside of me & I can’t help but belt tunes at the top of my lungs at all hours of the day despite sharing walls with neighbors.

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So I’m channeling my energy into a new hobby: I am going to teach myself to play the guitar.

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Turns out it’s like really difficult. I was trying to learn some v basic chords the other day and thought I was going to break my fingers. I went to yoga the next morning and my left hand cramped so badly I almost collapsed. Is this normal? Anyways, I really suck. First, my guitar needs to be tuned. Having less than no experience, I do not know how to fix this on my own. I just keep twisting the knobby things and plucking and I stop when my ears stop bleeding. Second, I think I should chop off my fingernails??? They seem to inhibit me. Third, I need a kewl strap and a microphone stand so I can stand in front of the mirror and strum while performing for myself. This is all I really want to do tbh. Put on concerts for myself and keep the delusion alive that I am jam packed full of hidden talent and at any moment an agent will walk into my bedroom (if this happened, I should prob be concerned for my safety) and whisk me to Hollywood and I will grace the cover of a couple of major magazines and have a sitcom written around my life. I digress.

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If all else fails, I’ll just dramatically bust the guitar and crowd surf off the stage and into my imaginary audience.

 

 

Time: 30 minutes (prep + cooking) | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of pasta
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed + drained
  • 1 english cucumber, sliced thin
  • 6 mini sweet peppers, sliced thin
  • 8 mini multi-colored carrots, sliced thin
  • 3 radishes, peeled + sliced thin
  • 4 cups of arugula
  • 5 tbsp. of olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. of dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. of agave
  • S+P, to taste
  • Hemp seeds, for serving

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Arrange chickpeas on a lined baking sheet, bake 15 minutes
  • Remove from oven + drizzle with 1 tbsp. of olive oil + some S+P, bake another 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente, drain
  • Meanwhile, meanwhile, whisk together remaining olive oil + lemon juice + dijon + agave + S+P
  • To serve, combine arugula + pasta + chickpeas + cucumber + peppers + carrots + radishes + drizzle with vinaigrette
  • Serve chilled or room temp
  • Take a small broom + brush plate contents into mouth to avoid leaving any crumbs behind

 

Adapted from here!