The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Bea’ category

11 Months old!

Not only did I neglect to take the 9 and 10 month pix, but I also dropped my camera and before Mandy sent a loaner over, I took these w/out being able to see but a general outline/framing of the shot. They’re not that bad I guess!

Spicy Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers – It’s pretty hot out…

why don’t I put the oven on to 375 for an hour or so?

What was I thinking? My friend posted a recipe for quinoa stuffed squash on my Facebook wall (DANG another plug for Zuckerberg! You haven’t won YET, Zuckerberg!) and, having only multi-colored peppers (on sale at Ralph’s for $1 each!) I decided to stuff some peppers. All I thought about was the lightness, the sweet & the crunch. Not the HEAT.

But I digress… these came out AWESOME!!
After being inspired by my friend’s squash version, I did use a recipe from Christie’s Corner to which I made some changes.

Here’s what you need:

and this:

(I always seem to forget at least one ingredient in the ingredients picture!)

First, pre-heat oven to 375.

2 tbsp oil (canola, olive – whatever you have!)
1 onion (finely chopped)
1-2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 cup frozen or 2 ears fresh corn (if fresh, cut off cob)
1/2 cup grated carrots (or whatever you can bear grating!)
3/4 c quinoa
1.5 c vegetable broth
1 c grated cheese (swiss/gruyere if you can find it!)

Heat oil in sauce pan on medium-high heat.

Add chopped onions/celery.

Watch 2 year old rearrange silverware drawer with sticky hands.

When onions & celery are soft & translucent, add spices. It will get pasty & dry-ish so have your can of tomatoes ready to dump in! The original recipe said to use a 28 oz can but I didn’t read the directions so I used a 14.5 or whatever those smaller cans are. Do whatever you want! If you go for more tomatoes, it says to drain them first but I wouldn’t.

NOTE: Do NOT cut your corn off the cob onto a FLAT PLATE unless you feel like washing the kitchen floor afterwards.

Who is holding that corn up?

Add black beans, carrots, corn & 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa.

Now, stir it and if it seems to “dry” i.e. there’s no way in $#@@ that quinoa is going to cook (for those who don’t cook quinoa it is a grain that needs water the way rice does so think about that kind of liquid), add 1.5 cups of veggie broth. If yours has a lot of liquid, hold off on the broth! Mine needed liquid so I added the broth.

If you’ve never cooked quinoa, how do you know when it’s done? Easy – it will have these tiny white “threads” coming out of each grain. You can also taste it and I recommend you do taste it! It should have a pleasing crunchiness. Not to be confused with a bad crunchiness, signaling the need for longer cooking time. The threads look like this:

Now, prep your peppers. The author of Christie’s Corner cuts her peppers sideways so they won’t fall over but I just can’t make that radical move. Instead, I cut just the tips off the bottoms of the peppers to make them flat. See, like this?

Don’t go crazy with this! You don’t want holes in the bottom or your filling will come out. But now that I think about it, who cares? It’ll be good and the filling won’t come out b/c it’s standing up anyway.
See how it stands up:

I didn’t tell you this but you should’ve cut the tops off the peppers first. Don’t cut too close to the stem or it’ll fall out of that pretty ring. Or do. It really doesn’t matter!

Scoop out the seeds/innards & throw into the compost! (If you have a yard & want to start composting – let me know!)

Hold onto the cute little tops!

Now add 1 c grated cheese. I can’t recommend the swiss/gruyere combination cheese enough. The gruyere has so much flavor that you don’t need that much which keeps the dish healthier and the swiss keeps it from being too rich/overpowering. Add salt & pepper to taste & stir really well.

I tasted the filling and didn’t find it spicy enough for my tastebuds but it was plenty spicy for the little monsters. So I separated about 1/3 of the filling into a bowl which I saved for the monsters. To the other 2/3rds (which I intended to stuff the peppers with) I added chopped jar jalapenos. Obviously you can add any kind of heat you like/have! Fresh is great but I am addicted to these hot jalapenos in a jar that I get at Ralph’s. Mezzetta Deli-Sliced HOT Jalapenos. Mmmmmmm…

Now stuff those peppers & put the lids on.

Stand them upright in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake about 25 minutes. Take out of oven, remove lids & add grated cheese to tops of peppers, put back in for 10-15 minutes.

Take out & serve. These would be good with some crusty bread. Maddie ate hers with a spoon with the pepper rings as a side. YUM I can’t believe how much flavor these have and they are a very light yet satisfying dish for the summer.

As a main course – probably 2 peppers per adult. I had a LOT of extra filling but it’s really good the next day too! Enjoy and please comment on my blog if you make this recipe especially if you altered the recipe at all. Thank you!

Carmageddon Hijinks – Earth Wind & Fire Salad


Two weekends ago I made three things and had high hopes of posting all three recipes BUT was unable because of CARMAGEDDON!!!!!!! Well, actually, Beamageddon. Bea started crawling. I’m blaming her for problems with the recipes. And the pictures. Anyway, these were all good hot weather dishes.

Here’s one of our favorites given to me by Joy Armagost who is not only an excellent cook but also an outstanding FARMER. Earth, Wind & Fire Salad is a hearty, fresh & tasty salad. Every time I take it to a cookout or serve it at home I get a lot of compliments.


You’ll need these ingredients for the salad. The only ones you might have trouble finding are the wheat berries. I get them at Whole Foods but they don’t have them at the Ralph’s near our house.

Salad ingredients:
1/2 c wheat berries
1 c wild rice
2 green onions (what we call scallions)
1, 2 or 3 peppers (I used 1 red, 1 yellow & 1 orange for looks!)
1 c edamame (Fresh is best but I had these frozen ones so I used ‘em – boiled in microwave with salt!)

The time-consuming part is making the rice & wheat berries. I simmer them according to package directions on the stove for 45-60 minutes – just keep checking them after 45 mins. I think Joy used a rice cooker which is probably a lot more efficient but I wanted to cook them both at the same time. Also, she is a lot more organized than I am. Btw: you can do this a day before and store in fridge b/c you’ll want them cold for the salad anyway.

Chop up those peppers.

What is that haunting specter? Oh, water on the lens.

There it is AGAIN!! I thought I got it.

Here is one way to cut peppers. I am only slightly embarrassed to admit I learned this from the BEST SOURCE OF EDUCATION IN THE WORLD! – TV. Yes, I saw it on Top Chef. Cut the top off first. It will look like this.
(Who left the flash on??)

After removing the stem I give the tops to Maddie who thinks they are edible flowers. I definitely don’t like to waste the tops no matter what the folks at Top Chef tell me.

Then scoop out the inside.
Dang that flash!

Now chop in relatively thin strips. I like to get rid of all the “white stuff.” And dice.
Check this out.


Which looks better? You know the answer.

How pretty!

Chop scallions any old way!

Add peppers to a large bowl (preferably a salad bowl if you have one handy) and toss with the chilled rice & wheat berries. Keep green onions/scallions separate. They can get slimey! (Yes, I know, I combined them but don’t be like me!)

This is where my photography goes wayyyyyyy downhill. Things got hectic in the kitchen so it’s all downhill from here.

Dressing Ingredients

1 tbsp red chili paste (I believe you could substitute that red rooster sauce if you have it – “Sriracha”)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c sesame seed oil
2 tbsp sherry
1-2 tsp rice vinegar
1/3 c low salt soy sauce

Wisk these ingredients together & taste! Adjust anything you like (i.e. if you like it spicier add more chili paste!)

Omit the chili paste/rooster sauce if you don’t want it spicy.

At the last minute, combine everything! Mmmmmm this is so good!

Between missed photo ops & flash malfunctions, I hope what I DID post inspires you to try this salad! It gets easier & easier to make. Somehow, I neglected to take a pic of the final product.

I DID get this shot though:

If you try this please let us know about any improvements you made in the comment section below! (On blog, not on Facebook so Zuckerberg won’t own it!) Thank you & enjoy!

Earth Wind & Fire Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6

Spicy, colorful, fresh & wholesome salad that will fill you up & wow your guests!
  • ½ c wheatberries
  • 1 c wild rice
  • 2 green onions
  • 1, 2 or 3 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow – not green)
  • 1 c edamame
  • 1 tbsp red chili paste (adjust to taste – can also substitute Rooster (Sriracha) sauce)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ c sesame seed oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 1-2 tsp rice vinegar
  • ⅓ c soy sauce

  1. Chop peppers & scallions.
  2. Cook rice & wheat berries according to package instructions. (These can even be cooked a day ahead & stored in fridge.)
  3. Combine chopped peppers, green onions, rice, wheat berries & edamame in a large bowl.
  4. Combine chili paste, brown sugar, sesame seed oil, sherry, rice vinegar & soy sauce in a small bowl. (This is your dressing!)
  5. Toss salad with as little or as much dressing as you like! If you won’t serve it for a while – hold the green onions out until the last minute.
  6. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Pancakes with Backpack

This afternoon I got smart and put the baby in the backpack when she got ornery.

I still had to work pretty quickly though! I remembered a really good sweet potato pancake recipe I made a longggggg time ago from the Moosewood Cookbook so I decided to make them and I’m glad I did. The ingredients list is VERY simple for these! They’re really tasty AND good for you and you can reheat the next day. I did alter the recipe by adding regular potatoes and I planned to add grated carrots until I realized I didn’t have any. ;)

You can also make them with just the sweet potatoes or yams if that’s all you have…

You’ll need these ingredients:

And some of these:

And this stuff:

Oh yeah and this:

That’s a lemon from my tree. Now, before you detect smugness on my part at having a lemon tree, please realize it’s a dusty old, rooty old, grumpy old neglected lemon tree that yields about 3 lemons per YEAR. So let me enjoy this lemon, will you?

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes or yams
3 small potatoes (I had red potatoes so I threw them in just to use them up!)
1/2 onion
1 cup minced parsley
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/3 c flour
3 eggs (original recipe calls for 4 but I only had 3 and it worked out fine. 2 might even do.)
3-4 t lemon juice (I squeezed in about half a small lemon)
**NOTE: I would add 1 or 2 grated carrots if you have them!**

1. In a large bowl shred potatoes and onion (& carrots if you have ‘em) using food processor or the old fashioned way.

Keep going! Your arm will soon look like this:

Check on the kids every once in a while.

Fill up the compost!

2. Turn on heat in a seasoned skillet, large non-stick frying pan or electric skillet. (Basically, whatever you have!) Heat should be medium/high. If you use an electric skillet about 325 is pretty good.

2. Add flour, salt, lemon juice, pepper & parsley to bowl of shredded taters.

3. Beat eggs & add to potato mixture. Combine thoroughly.

4. Heat oil in skillet.

5. Plop large spoonfuls of the mixture into the skillet. Flatten with a spatula.

6. Fry until brown. Flip and add more oil as necessary.

Serve hot with sour cream, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, apple sauce or anything else that appeals to you!

Bea loves these through her food mill!

Maddie didn’t share her sentiments.

These taste like mashed potatoes but are a lot lighter & would be great served with a fresh green salad!

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