I copied some recipes this week out of a Vegetarian Times magazine I had borrowed from the library. I love VT's recipes because they're, well, normal. Some veggie recipes are just kind of weird. I guess the same can be said about some meaty recipes, though.
I've been reading a lot lately about the United States food industry and trust me, it's been quite eye-opening. I'm not normally a sensationalist, I consider myself fairly level-headed, and I'm no conspiracy theorist. But I also strongly believe, and I've probably said this before, that we need to be intelligent consumers and advocates for ourselves and our families. Advertising and strong government lobbies have had a heavy hand in what our culture believes about nutrition, for instance, and not strong scientific research. The same could be said about many things, I'm sure. I'm not advocating a life filled with suspicion and fear about every step you take, every pill you pop, every bite you eat. I'm advocating developing a habit of saying, "Huh. I wonder if what they said on the news/what I read in that magazine/what I heard from a coworker really is true. I might investigate that a little bit." Much of what we believe as a culture about health (you need gobs of vitamin C to stay healthy?), weight loss (low carb diets? Seriously?), medicine (don't get me started on the anti-vaccine campaign), and food (why are we as the wealthiest nation in the world also the sickest - highest rates of obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer, to name a few) is based on a touch of sensationalism and not a lot of truth.
I think of it this way: when I go to church, I sit in the pew and listen to my pastor. But I don't believe what he says because, well, he said so. No. I need to know God. I need to hide His Word in my heart (I'm working at it!) and test what I hear against what God Himself says. Just because a book I bought at a Christian bookstore says something doesn't mean it's biblical. There's a lot of stuff out there claiming to be truth but it's not Truth. I need to be committed to learning sound doctrine. What I believe about Christ can't be based on human opinion, because that changes on a daily basis. When I have doubts I need to press even harder into Him and His Word and seek out what is Truth.
If I need to do that in my most important relationship of all, shouldn't that be a template for the rest of my life?
I guess I like Truth. I like truth. Maybe it's partly just my personality. Research is fun. At work, I'm not a fan of doing things simply because that's the way it's been done since dirt was invented...I want to know if that's what's best for the patient and the family. If not, why can't we change? When I encounter someone (and this is something I'm working on, please don't think I'm trying to paint myself as anything other than what I am....someone in desperate need of a Savior every single day) who has a, shall we say, colorful history (see that a lot where I work), what's the story behind this person and why did she end up where she is today? Would I have ended up the same way if I were in her shoes?? And if so, who am I to look down on her? (Like I said, woooorrrrrkiinnnggg on this. Very, very difficult not to roll my eyes and make a snarky remark instead.) And I want to see well to the ways of my household. Is this cleaning product something I want to expose my family to? Does it matter? Do I want to take the chance? Huh. I'll use vinegar and lemons instead - they're cheaper anyway. Is this food that I've prepared healthy? Where did it come from? How are the people who work for that company treated? Who am I supporting? What am I supporting? A little digging here, a little investigating there, a couple of habit tweaks....it's really not that hard, and I think it's kind of fun.
Bottom line is, how can I be a good steward of everything God has given us - my money, my health, my home, and my planet?
Anyway, I originally wanted to share a recipe that won major thumbs-up the other night...and ended up yammering instead. It's for some stuffed peppers, and actually they're supposed to be quinoa stuffed peppers, but I used brown rice instead because it was quicker and cheaper overall. So here's my tweaked recipe (and I made just a half recipe for the two of us):
Quinoa (ahem, *rice*) stuffed peppers
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 ribs celery, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 t)
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (I just thawed in the microwave and left it at that)
2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 c brown rice
1 1/2 c grated cheese, divided
4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed
1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook five minutes, or until soft. Add garlic, saute one minute. Stir in spinach and drained tomatoes. Cook five minutes, or till most of the liquid has evaporated.
2. Stir in black beans and rice. Stir in 1 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.
4. Fill each pepper half with heaping amount of rice mixture and place in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake x1 hour (I baked for 40 minutes at 375, because I was running late, and it turned out fine). Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake a few minutes more.
Yum. It was oh-my-word-alicious!