Tag Archives: steel valley

Sausage, Goat Cheese + Arugula Stuffed Peppers

19 Jun

Growing up, my mom made stuffed peppers pretty often.  Hers were usually whole bell peppers, stuffed with rice, ground beef, and some kind of tomato sauce.  They were so much a part of our regular rotation that I absolutely hated them.  They were always overcooked or undercooked, never an enjoyable texture.  I think I actually hated bell peppers for a long time because of that particular meal.  It got to the point that I would just empty the pepper of its stuffing and discard it completely.

Oh, I’ve tried to get on board.  I’ve only made stuffed peppers a handful of times as an adult and they just never turned out great.  Until now.  For me, I can say that halving the pepper lengthwise and using the peppers as boats instead of urns makes all the difference.  That and an amazing low-carb stuffing.

Sausage-Goat-Cheese-Arugula-Stuffed-Peppers-NEW


Sausage, Goat Cheese, & Arugula Stuffed Peppers (original recipe from Cook Like A Champion)

  • 2 medium bell peppers
  • half an onion, diced
  • 2/3 lb. hot Italian sausage (use whatever sausage you want!), no casing
  • 2 oz. soft goat cheese
  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Parmesan Reggiano to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400*F and sautee onion in about 1 T. olive oil until translucent.  Then, add the sausage and cook until browned and crumbly.  While the sausage is cooking, slice the bell peppers in half lengthwise to remove stems and seeds.

Stuffed-Peppers-Empty

When the sausage is browned, add the goat cheese and arugula.  Mix until the goat cheese is combined and the arugula has wilted.

Stuffed-Peppers-Goat-Cheese

stuffed-peppers-arugula

I didn’t add any salt or pepper until the arugula is wilted and I can taste the actual mixture.  Here is where you can season it to your taste!  I used fresh ground pepper, sea salt, and some crushed red pepper flakes because I like a little heat.

stuffed-peppers-sausage-stuffing-mixture

Once seasonsed, spoon the mixture into the bell pepper boats and top with the smallest amount of Parmesan Reggiano.

stuffed-peppers-filled

I baked mine for about 18 minutes – until the peppers were soft, not mushy and not crunchy!

Sausage-Goat-Cheese-Arugula-Stuffed-Pepper-2


Yes in every single way.  The only reason I see to eat low-carb dinner is to save room for the most important carb.

Oh and before we move on, I just wanted to share how amazing a one pot dish is for clean-up:

one-pot-dinner-kitchen

sweet nothingness

Since I have the absolute best customers in the world, I got this piece of majestic art as a tip earlier in the week!  I knew I had to get it extra cold and save it for the hottest, muggiest day of the week – which was most definitely yesterday.

white-sky-brew-gentlement-chai-wheat


(Disclaimer: No, I wasn’t prompted to blog about this or even mention it!)

Um….wow.  Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  White Sky Chai Wheat beer from The Brew Gentlemen.  This beer is everything I hoped a beer could ever be.  The chai undertones are phenomenal, all clovey and gingery and cardamomy (hello, fall in my mouth) and the taste is just incredibly smooth.  This may be the best beer I’ve ever had in my entire life.  Sorry, North Country Brewing but you’ve been bested by Braddock’s newest brewers:  The Brew Gentlemen.  I 100% intend on heading over there for a full report!  I don’t care how many beers I have to try, I will do what I have to for you guys!  Oh, to be young and have a higher alcohol tolerance again.

5 Thing Friday

11 Apr

All week I’ve been reading about cool things and this is where I dump them:

1.  Beers Of The Burgh Festival – This weekend is the inaugural Beers of the Burgh Festival, which will be held in Lawrenceville and showcases over 30 local craft brewers.  General admission is sold out, but you can still purchase VIP tickets!

 

2.  40 Towns Create Land Bank – I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS FOR A LONG TIME.  Finally.  Finally some action on blighted properties in my community.  If you aren’t aware of what happens when a region is dependent on a single industry (ahem, steel) and then all the industry packs up and leaves:  blight.  Empty, rotting houses and overgrown brush in abandoned lots, riddled with garbage.  An analysis done by local municipalities found that:

“20,077 vacant lots and 7,158 parcels with blighted structures that cost local governments more than $10.7 million a year in direct municipal services, such as police, fire and code enforcement. They also account for nearly $8.7 million in lost annual tax revenue. But the biggest drain was on neighboring non-blighted properties, which the report found suffered a total loss of between $218 million and $247 million in property values.”

Some Pittsburgh neighborhoods were hit harder than others, but the creation of this land bank is huge!  To me, it may mean that we are finally able to combat blight and attract a more stable tax base to effected areas.  Some people oppose these types of strategies because it gives government control over private property.  I, on the other hand, stare at abandoned buildings all day long.  In my opinion, if you aren’t able or willing to fix up your janky property then you shouldn’t have it to begin with.  The boroughs’ hands are tied because the properties ultimately belong to someone – and many times those people can’t be found or don’t want to be found.  The borough has to deal with the problems associated with the property but can’t actually do anything about it.  A land bank would allow municipalities to generate tax income, sell properties, attract new property developers, and to improve the overall aesthetic of a neighborhood.    That is HUGE for boroughs like Homestead and Braddock.

 

3.  16 Ways To Kick Plastic – This is a quick read but it’s got some great ideas on how to use less plastic.  My 2 favorite ones are: 1) Just say no to disposable straws, carry a few BPA-free reusable ones with you 2) Bring your own doggy-bag container when you go to a restaurant.

 

4.  Cyclocable Bike Lifts In Pittsburgh?! – This is basically exactly what I need to become an avid adequate let’s just go with cyclist.  If it’s good enough for Norway, it’s good enough for me.  DON’T JUDGE ME PEOPLE.  THOSE HILLS ARE NO JOKE.  Somehow I doubt that even Bill Peduto could make this one happen.

 

5.  Check out this list of 42 Flowers You Can Eat…I can’t see myself throwing chrysanthimums on my salad but hey the list also includes herbs and spices.  If I’m every stranded in the wilderness somewhere (LIKE FRICK PARK because my God I get all turned around on those trails), I will be able to survive.  Or maybe someday I will be go all rogue with my cooking and makes virgin tear soup with hibiscus garnish.  Ew.

 

Laziness Long Overdue

9 Dec

Swear, I think we are addicted to playing Settlers of Catan.  It’s actually getting to the point that our games are really quick because we play it so much.  I blame my brain’s preoccupation for the shocking lack of pictures taken over the weekend!

My weekend was very relaxing.  On Saturday, I had off at Changin’ Time, but was on-call for my other job.  Around 10AM, we were trying to track down the source for all kinds of noise outside and remembered that the Steel Valley Christmas Parade was lining up in front of our house for the parade that started at 12PM.  Best seats in the house!

svchristmasparade13

I see many different kinds of people walking in my neighborhood (and I will keep it at that!), but Civil War reenactors have got to be the most random! We took in the parade from our porch, drinking hot tea and waving to the peeps.

Christina’s 4th grade basketball team had their very first game of the seasons on Saturday afternoon in Monroeville.  They don’t keep score in this jumpstart league (that starts in 5th grade), however the family on the bleachers usually know how many baskets were made.  If they had been keeping score we would’ve lost but, hopefully the team got our first game jitters out and have some better luck next weekend!  I spent the rest of the day under a warm blanket, crawling out to do laundry and clean the house occasionally.

The  weather took a turn for the worse on Sunday, so Christina decided to err on the side of caution and cancel basketball practice.  We did brave the storm on Sunday afternoon to attend a Christening party for one of Christina’s cousins.  It’s always so nice to spend time catching up with family, especially with cousins who haven’t been home in a while! 🙂  Luckily, we get to see them again next weekend at the family Christmas party before they head back to Washington state.

I feel like I spent a lot of weekend quality time with Big Booty Judy, who seems to have developed a hankering for cuddles since we lost Hallie:

princessliberty

It was exactly the kind of weekend that I needed: lazy and low key!  I woke up this morning feeling rejuvenated!  Recharged! Ready to get all of the Christmas things done!  Honestly, I haven’t done a lick of Christmas shopping or decorating but I did pull out my decorations earlier and we are hoping to get a tree this week.

Questions Of The Day:

  • What are your goals for the week?
  •  Are you ready for the holidays or not yet?

Stranger Things Have Happened

11 Oct

Well, I did it.

After weeks of complaining and inactivity, I finally just forced myself out of bed early and did it.

CLH.AthleticClubMember

I re-joined the Athletic Club at the Carnegie Library of Homestead.

I’ve all ready had 3 people ask me if I’m crazy.  See, my community has a less than stellar reputation because of high crime rates in recent decades, pockets of low income populations, and stunted economic development.  I find this reputation to be unwarranted and unfair.  I love it here.  I live, work, and play in this area and I have never once felt scared or threatened by anyone.  Except for this one lady who sucker punched me in the face during a road rage incident.  I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble but, there is crime in even the wealthiest community.  There are junkies running dry everywhere people.  But I’ve done a lot of research into gyms in my area, comparing the pros and cons that go along with each.  I’ll get to what went into my decision in a second.

First, let me show you the place.  The Athletic Club takes up the second floor and the basement at the Carnegie Library of Homestead, which is nestled in an idyllic historical pocket of Homestead.

CarnegieLibrary

CarnegieLibrary3

CarnegieLibrary4

Those wooden doors will take you into the actual library, but if you head upstairs you will see this door:

CLH.AthleticClub

I’ve been in a bit of a rush the last 2 mornings due to other things going on, so I didn’t take the time to take photos inside.  I will make sure to give you guys an inside look/tour over the next few days!

So, why the Athletic Club at the Carnegie Library?

1.  Proximity.  The library is almost exactly 1 mile away from my house.  Christina has the car?  No problem.  I can just walk over there!  The next closest gyms were 4.5 miles away (LA Fitness)  and 5.5 miles away (Fitness 247).

2.  Price.  The AC is $35 a month.  So, for $420 a year (it actually goes down to $300 if you pay the year in advance) I get access to a fully equipped gym, a heated swimming pool, a 6 hoop basketball court, an indoor track, and unlimited classes.  LA Fitness would have been $459 with $99 down.  Fitness 247 has a special right now for $300/year if paid in full – $348 if paid monthly – but like I said, its 10.5 miles round trip.  No contract, no initiation fee, nothing like that.

3.  Amenities.  No, there isn’t a tanning bed included in my membership, but I am fine with that.  There is a newly renovated heated pool, though, which none of the other gyms can offer.  There is a big room with cardio and weight machines, another room with just free weights, and like I said before – a giant basketball court with 6 hoops and an indoor track above it.  There is non-metered parking all over the place.  I like that it’s not busy.  I’m going to get my sweat on and get out, not to have social hour.  In the morning, there are maybe 4 people in their 20s-30s and 2-3 elderly people working out.  It is glorious.

4.  Pride.  The Carnegie Library of Homestead, includes not only the athletic club but also a gorgeous music hall, is a non-profit.  I respect that the facility is there for the right reasons and has remained open for the betterment of the community since 1898.  That’s 109 years of being continuously open and helping keep our community to prosper.  She’s seen a lot of shit go down, too.  The economic prosperity that Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills brought, and the devastation that came when those mills closed.  Two world wars, the Great Depression, and now the modern day recession, throughout the years mourning when neighboring libraries closing their doors due to lack of funding.  Andrew Carnegie himself founded the library and designed it to overlook his steel mill site.  He was quoted as saying:

“The building has rightfully in the center as the focus ‘The Library’– Music Hall upon the right and the Working Man’s Club upon the left. These three foundations from which healing waters are to flow for the Instruction, Entertainment and Happiness of the people. Recreation of the working man has an important bearing upon his character and development as his hours of work.”

You know that the nerd in me couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be a part of this region’s living history.  You can keep your LA Fitnesses and your tanning and your overpriced saunas.  I am happy right here in the Steel Valley, supporting my community while I work to better myself.

Speaking of, it felt really really good get back on the treadmill.  I am waaaaay out of shape at this point.  I have spent the better part of a month eating complete crap and moving very little.  I feel like I’m starting back at square one, but that’s okay.  Momentum is better than inertia!  Right now, I’m being realistic about my goals and just working on building my base back up 30 minutes at a time.

Yesterday (Thursday), I warmed up with a 15 minute power walk, jogged at my usual pace for 10, and then did a 5 minute cool down.  Built up a nice sweat, stretched out, and went home with no shin splints or leg issues.  So today I shifted to a 10 minute power walk warm-up, a 15 minute jog, and a 5 minute cool down.

Proof!

Proof!

If you do something 21 times consecutively it becomes a habit, right?  19 more workouts to go!  With this gym membership also comes the opportunity to integrate real strength training and free weights into my program.  Access to the pool and other equipment gives me a variety of cardio options if I ever need a break from running.  I am considering taking a few of the classes that they offer, schedule permitting!  I’ve been taking a really good multivitamin I bought down at Vitamin Shoppe and I have a few other changes I want to make.  For example, I need to take stretching so much more seriously than I do now, especially considering my history of shin issues. I’ve been following Housewife Glamour‘s stretching routine and it’s awesome:

IMG_0980

Sum Up Sun…err…Monday

22 Jul

Sometimes I make things up, maybe just to amuse myself.  Like that time I said I would be “pre-training for my upcoming 10K while on vacation.”  Riiiiiight.  Sure you will, Michelle.

neneEyeRoll

What I did do was drink a lot of beer and think about what was going to happen when I got home.  Turns out, what happened when I got home was:  Lord Baby Jesus tested me.  He said “Bet you wish you got a few miles under your belt in not-so-humid NY state, dummy!”  And then He pointed a chubby little finger at Pittsburgh and there was ’round-the-cloth 100% humidity and 90 degree temps.  Sorry guys, I take full responsibility.

babyjesus

This week I ran.  I got up at 6:00-6:30 AM (AM means morning, remember!?) and I ran.  And even at 6:30 AM there was so much moisture in the air that I honestly felt it bearing down on me.  And I ran anyway.  I ran slooooooooow.  Slower than when I started running the first time.  And I walked.  I walked so much you’d think I was coming off an injury.  But, dammit, I pushed through and I ran because I knew the humidity had to break.  And when it did, running would seem easier.  And then, the humidity broke.  And running seemed easier.

Monday: Woke up at 6:27 am only because my phone started ringing.  Christina, who may or may not have still been asleep said something to the effect of: “Don’t all ready quit, babe.”  I lay there a few more minutes and then begrudgingly rolled my lazy self out of bed and put on my running clothes.  She’s usually right.  Afterwards, my core was sore like I had spent the morning at the batting cages.  And oh boy, did my quads ache.

Tuesday: I took Tuesday as my rest day (I had originally scheduled Tuesdays as rest days because I had to be at work bright and early, but that doesn’t apply anymore).  My muscles were still so sore.  When this happens, you can randomly find me in stretching positions throughout the day.  If my life was a reality show, this is where I would insert a montage of me in random positions in random places.  But, I don’t have cameras following me all day so just imagine me using the world as my barre.

Wednesday: Wednesday was a shorter run than I had wanted to complete, but I chose to listen to my body: the humidity and the aching muscles were telling me to take it easy.  Not being an overly dramatic fat girl here, cooling centers were packed all over the city and there has been a heat advisory all week long.  Knowing that I was going to have to pull a long day in the sweltering hot facility, I made the decision that was best for me.

Thursday: Thursday I had 30 minute cross training on the books, so I did what any chubby girl would do in 100% humidity: walked.  I actually walked for 43 minutes, clocking 2.38 miles.

Friday:  On Friday morning, the humidity unforgivingly down to 65% and I knew I had to try and push myself.  In an attempt to not be thwarted, I decided to switch up my route and drove down to the new portion of the Great Allegheny Passage at the Waterfront.  Best decision I’ve made all week.

GAPTrail.2

The trail is new so it’s in great shape and newly paved.  Best two things:  its much flatter than the uneven city sidewalks I’ve been frequenting AND a tall fence on the one side offered shade the entire way.  Loved it.  I stuck with my training plan and did a solid 2 miles, at my fastest pace of the week.

GAPTrail.1

In this direction, I could run the entire way to The Point, in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh.  If I turned around and ran the other way I could Forrest Gump it all the way to Washington D.C.  You can read more about the Great Allegheny Passage here.

Saturday: Saturday was supposed to be a cross-training day, but after one very very very long day at Changin’ Time I opted to relax.  Don’t want to burn out!  I also didn’t want to give myself any reason to punk out on my long run scheduled for Sunday.

Sunday:  I had built myself up for Sunday, the anxiety was building for days.  Why am I always a nervous wreck?  No clue.  I wasn’t sure the weather would cooperate, I wasn’t sure my body would cooperate, I wasn’t sure of anything.  It’s not like I’m able to roll of bed, put my shoes on and head out the door either.  I have to get up, let the dogs out, let the dogs back in, give the little one food and water, open Changin’ Time by 8:00 a.m. and by that time I’m just all flustered.  In fact, I forgot to go to the bathroom on Sunday morning, so for the first half of my run I was thinking about how awesome it would be to come across a bathroom.  Or how horrible it would be to poop my pants.  Anyway, I parked down at the Waterfront near Lowe’s theater and picked up the GAP trail behind Mitchell’s Fish Market.  I ran all the way to the Carrie Furnaces, where I knew there would be a bathroom to use, and then turned around and ran back.  I paused my workout and instead of hitting “resume,” I hit “save.”  I was completely irritated at myself.  I like things to be orderly, dammit.  Needless to say, I was not mentally in a good place on Sunday.  I was bored with the trail, which seemed to drag on in a straight line with nothing fun to look at.  I felt like I was walking a lot more than I should’ve been because of the humidity and being a fat mess.  But honestly, when I combined the two legs of my run into one, the numbers were nothing to be ashamed of: 2.71 miles (I had 2.5 on the books) at 13:23 pace with a negative split! I’ve got to learn to not be so hard on myself.  And go to the bathroom before I leave the house.

I like keeping track of my improvement each week.  Seeing these numbers get better is hugely motivating for me, like carrots on a stick.  Except I’m not a donkey.  Although donkeys most definitely run faster than me.

This week’s stats are next week’s carrots:

This week I clocked 8.21 miles.

My fastest pace was 13:20.

My furthest distance was 2.71 miles.

%d bloggers like this: