Archives for February 2015

Clean Eating Stuffed Bell Peppers (But They Are Un-Stuffed!)

I’m a huge fan of un-stuffing stuffed recipes. One of our favorite un-stuffed recipes (coming soon!) is for Un-Stuffed Pork Chops. I’ve also shared a recipe for Bacon, Spinach, & Feta (Un) Stuffed Chicken that I’m now craving. But alas, Jason and I are both trying to eat more healthy and so I’ve been trying many new clean eating recipes. I found this Clean Eating Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe that I thought sounded yummy.

The problem with stuffed peppers is that you end up cutting it all up anyways. I’m all about quick and easy, so I made the clean eating stuffed bell peppers with chopped up bell peppers. It’s now more of a casserole, and is actually very similar to my Ground Beef and Bean Casserole.

If you are looking for a quick and healthy dinner recipe, check out this recipe for clean eating stuffed bell peppers...but they are unstuffed and ready to eat after baking!

This easy to make, delicious, and satisfying clean eating recipe is now a go-to recipe at our house. I love that you can add any veggies to it if you want to change it up. We are thinking fire roasted corn would be yummy, and maybe a jalapeño or two.

Clean Eating Stuffed Bell Peppers (But They Are Un-Stuffed!)

Clean Eating (Un)Stuffed Bell Peppers
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  • 3 large red or green bell peppers
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (optional if you'd like more heat)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce OR 12 oz. jar of your favorite clean salsa
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated cheddar cheese (any cheese will work)
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Chop the bell peppers into 1-inch pieces.
  3. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and peppers with the coconut oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the turkey and cook until just browned.
  5. Add the spices and corn and mix well.
  6. In a 13X9 casserole dish, pour the tomato sauce or salsa into the bottom of the dish.
  7. Add the bell pepper and turkey mixture to the dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
  8. Bake uncovered for approximately 30 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle with fresh, chopped cilantro and serve.

Don’t these clean eating stuffed bell peppers that are really un-stuffed sound good? They are really good, and good for you!

If you are looking for a quick and healthy dinner recipe, check out this recipe for clean eating stuffed bell peppers...but they are unstuffed and ready to eat after baking!

Now here’s the deal, I LOVE cheese. It’s the one thing I can’t do without. Jason on the other hand could live the rest of his life without ever eating cheese again. He asked me to make the recipe without cheese. Crazy! So I only sprinkled cheese on half of the casserole. You can see what it looks like in the picture below.

If you are looking for a quick and healthy dinner recipe, check out this recipe for clean eating stuffed bell peppers...but they are unstuffed and ready to eat after baking!

If you are looking for more healthy recipes, check out my Healthy Eats & Drinks board on Pinterest. I also have some exercise tips and motivation on my Getting My Sexy Back board on Pinterest.

And if you are already eating healthy and have your sexy, or just looking for a super delicious casserole full of calories, I’ve got tons of casserole recipes here and on my board Casseroles on Pinterest.


Would you like to get a recipe featured at Mommy of a Monster? Find how how to do it here.

Celebrating Second Chances

Two years ago today, my brother lost his best friend Mike to a drug overdose. I wrote about his death, and the positive side of death, the day before his funeral to try to provide some comfort to his girlfriend and family.

Two years went by very quickly.

And today as we are remembering and celebrating Mike’s life, my brother is remembering and missing Mike like he would his own brother. He is doing it from a drug rehab facility in San Diego. He has been clean for almost 4 months now, and we are all very proud of him and providing as much support as we can. Mike’s family is too.

If you have never been around an addict, or seen an addict deep into their addiction, let me tell you that it is not easy. It is so hard to watch someone you love hurt themselves over and over again. To throw away everything and not care about anything other than drugs. They lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate. They make promises that they cannot or will not keep. They swear up and down that they do not have a problem. And you just want to bang your head against a wall because they won’t listen, no matter how much you beg and plead. No matter how much you threaten.

The day that my brother hit bottom we thought he was going to die. He hadn’t slept or eaten in days and was talking about crazy things. He thought everybody was out to get him. He thought he was having a heart attack. He was out of control. He was so dehydrated that the hospital couldn’t even get a urine sample to do a drug test to find out what he was on. It was terrifying.

And yet, he didn’t go straight to rehab. He refused. We all knew he needed help, but he is a grown man and we couldn’t force him to go. He was good for a few days, and then went straight back into his personal hell.

Turning away someone that you know isn’t well is one of the hardest things to do. And towards the end of my brother’s downward spiral that is what we all had to do. It’s scary to know once he leaves the safety and security of his family that we didn’t know where he was or what he was doing. You worry about who they are with and what they are doing. We were in a constant state of fear and every time the phone rang, I said a prayer that it wasn’t the phone call telling me he was gone forever. We actually hoped that he would get arrested for something so that at least we would know where he was and that he wasn’t doing drugs.

Addiction affects everybody around the addict. Addiction is a life sucking asshole.

The day my brother finally agreed to go to rehab, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off of our family’s shoulders. It wasn’t easy for him. We were told that he’d be very excited and happy the first few weeks of rehab (after drying out) because being clean after being on drugs for so long is almost like a high in itself. We were also told that at the 2 month mark it would be very hard, and that that’s when many addicts want to leave rehab. That’s what happened, too. But my brother stayed and fought through it. And now at 4 months, though he can’t wait to come home, he says he has never been happier or felt better in his life. He has a new focus on life and new priorities. We are proud of him and hope that he keeps his strength and determination.

So while today we are grieving for Mike, we are also celebrating my brother’s second chance.

I wrote this poem for my brother back in 2008. I never gave it to him, even though I wanted to. So I sent it to him a few days after he went into rehab. I don’t ever write poems, and I have not written one since. But the words swirled around in my head and wouldn’t go away. I hope they mean something to him because they meant a lot to me.

There is light within your darkness
there is hope within your fear
You can break free from the ties that bind
and the devils that stay near

You can destroy your self made hell 
you can leave your self made prison
You can decide which way to steer
the direction that will help your mind clear
It won’t be easy or pain-free 
but you can’t afford to just let it be

There is a catch, a price to pay –
you must let go of your self hate 

You need to find out from where it comes 
why it’s here and why it leers 
into your life 
into your heart 
How it’s gotten so damn smart

It figured out how to make you tick
it figured out how to keep you sick

Because you are no longer you alone
you now have a legacy
Part of you is your beautiful boys  and
as they grow they’ll sense and feel your misery

I will not finish these words I write
because this is not an end
Your journey is far from over
the decisions lie in your hands

Here’s to second chances!

Things To Expect After Becoming A Parent

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how amazing/challenging/crazy motherhood is. I can’t believe how fast time flies by, and how many things I wish we could do over again. Things I never would have thought would make me so happy, sad, wistful, proud, embarrassed…it’s so many emotions. There are lots of things that happen when you become a mom. You love someone like you’ve never loved before. You think (and worry!) about your little bundle of joy constantly. Life changes; in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worst. Sleep becomes a low priority. Your life centers around the baby. You worry about things you’ve never even considered pre-baby. And every day they do something new which you think is the coolest thing ever…until the next day when they do something even cooler.

I started jotting down things (as they happened) and my list keeps growing. These are the things to expect after becoming a mom that I wish someone had told me. I think I started thinking so much about it because my baby brother is expecting a baby in September and we keep teasing him about how much his life is going to change…basically we keep telling him all the crappy stuff! I know, I know…there are so many good things too. But it’s much more fun to tease him about the crappy stuff.

Things To Expect After Becoming A Parent: The Crappy Stuff and The Good Stuff too! Before you become a parent, you have no idea how much your life changes!

My favorite picture of me with my little Ethan (3 months old). I can’t believe he was ever so small!

Things To Expect After Becoming A Parent: The Crappy Stuff

What you don’t know when you become a parent is that you will also become a walking multi-purpose cloth, a jungle gym, and a punching bag.

  • You will have boogers wiped on you. Sometimes on your clothes. Often on furniture, walls, and bedding. And when you least expect it, on your face or hands. Getting vomit and/or poop happens less often, but it will happen.
  • You will also use your clothes to wipe boogers off of kids. It’s not something you plan or want to do, but it does happen.
  • You will sit on the couch and be climbed all over. Your comfort is of no importance. And it won’t just happen on the couch. It will be in bed, in the bathroom, while trying to do just about anything.
  • You will be poked, prodded, pinched, and bitten. And it usually happens when you least expect it.
  • If you think you are a patient person, just wait. The challenge to see just how patient you really are will be challenged on a regular basis. Sometimes minute-by-minute.
  • Like sleep, privacy becomes a thing of the past.
  • You will hide snacks. Because if the kids see that you have one, you’ll have to share. And sometimes you need something just for yourself.
  • You will read the same books over and over (and over) again until you know some of them by heart.
  • You will say ridiculous things that only sound ridiculous to people who don’t have kids.
  • You will become a master of negotiation and compromising…anything to avoid a tantrum or toddler meltdown.

Things To Expect After Becoming A Parent: The Good Stuff

But don’t worry! With the bad also comes good. Things that heavily out number the crap you have to deal with that you never imagined.

  • You will get unconditional love and endless snuggles, hugs, and kisses (until they become teenagers, that is).
  • You will share belly laughs that you will cherish.
  • You will also experience pride that will make your chests swell up when the kids do something awesome.
  • You get to see them grow and become amazing people.
  • You will love showing off your baby and all the cool things that he or she can do.
  • You will enjoy it, even after all the crappy stuff that happens daily, you will still enjoy it.
  • I know there’s so many more things…what would you add to my lists?

What Is Garam Masala?

We are big fans of curry here. I’ve even shared my chicken curry recipe that we make at least every 2 weeks or so. We love it, but we also are looking for new things. So when Jason found a recipe he wanted to try that included garam masala, I figured I’d just hop over to Trader Joe’s to get it. Nope, they didn’t have it. Then I went to the grocery store. Nope, not there either. I didn’t even know what Garam Masala was! So standing in the store I Googled it. That’s when I realized that you can make your own Garam masala because it’s a blend of spices.

What is garam masala? It's a blend of spices that is traditionally used in North Indian and South Asian cuisines. It's also delicious and extremely east to make at home!

What Is Garam Masala?

Well according to Wikipedia, Garam Masala is (from Hindiगरम मसालाgaram (“hot”) and masala (a mixture of spices): is a blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines. It is used alone or with other seasonings. The word garam refers to “heat” in the Ayurvedic sense of the word, meaning “to heat the body” as these spices, in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, elevate body temperature.

Garam Masala is yummy, and it’s also extremely easy to make yourself. Since I wasn’t sure what it was or how to make it, I thought there’s probably other people out there wondering too. So I’m including the recipe for you!

Garam Masala
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  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place the Garam Masala in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.


To save having to wash out the bowl, put all of the ingredients in a Ziploc bag and just shake them up to mix! You can also store them in the bag, just make sure to get any additional air out before sealing.


Couldn’t be easier to make! And if you do a lot of cooking and baking, you probably have those ingredients on hand. From what I understand, there are several different variations to the Garam Masala blend. This is just one variation of the recipe. I also have read that it tastes better when you use fresh ingredients and ground them yourself. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But if you do, I’m impressed!

Now remember that garam masala recipe I mentioned earlier? Stay tuned because I’ll be sharing it soon!

What are some of your favorite recipes using garam masala or curry? Feel free to share…we are always looking for new ones (especially clean eating ones!)


photo credit: Spices for Chana Masala via photopin (license)

Easy Coffee Cake Recipe

Coffee cake. Everybody loves it, right? It’s perfect for with coffee (obviously) and as a quick breakfast. It’s good for brunches and even as dessert. Talk about a multi-tasker! So I wanted to share this easy coffee cake recipe that I found on Just A Pinch. I’ve been making this same recipe for about a year now for three reasons:

(1) It’s SUPER easy and fast to throw together

(2) I bet you have every ingredient in your kitchen already

(3) It is delicious!

This recipe is already Hoage Family Approved, and I love sharing this recipe with others because you’ll probably never find an easy coffee cake recipe this easy to make!

This easy coffee cake recipe is seriously EASY! You probably have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen already. It's great for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.

Easy Coffee Cake Recipe

Easy Coffee Cake Recipe
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  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk (I use low fat)
  • Dark brown sugar, to taste
  • Cinnamon, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Grease a 13x9 pan.
  3. Mix together the butter, sugar, flour and milk until well mixed. It should look like cake batter.
  4. Sprinkle with dark brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. I usually just cover the entire top of the cake with it.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Serve room or at room temperature.

And that’s it! Told you it that this easy coffee cake recipe was really easy! You can serve it with melted butter on top, warm or at room temperature, alone or with some fresh fruit and coffee.

You can check out my Baking and Breakfast boards on Pinterest for more yummy ideas. I also have lots of bread and muffin recipes here too.

This easy coffee cake recipe is seriously EASY! You probably have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen already. It's great for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.


Would you like to get a recipe featured at Mommy of a Monster? Find how how to do it here.