Can we talk for a second about how it’s the middle of October and I was a bit warm in my sweatshirt this past weekend? I know the grass is always greener on the other side and LA is some sort of perfect weather oasis to the rest of the country, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t love the sun. I crave cool weather. My mood is instantly lifted when I wake to see a rainy day. While everyone else wants to curl up and go to sleep, I want to be outside. I never want to go out and do something more than when it’s raining. Weather, the variety that isn’t just sun and more sun, also makes me feel creative. It gets my wheels turning and my artistic juices flowing. So, today when I woke up to see a cloudy sky and a wet path outside, I knew it was going to be a good day. And a good day has to end with a great meal. A great meal that fits the season.
I’ve been struggling lately with recipe inspiration. Possibly, I’m letting myself get too caught up in the inner workings of running a blog and I’m forgetting about what I started it for. I started it to share easy, healthy recipes that anyone could make. These recipes were to be made up of whole foods that make you feel good when you’re done eating, not bloated and filled with grease. Those are the foods that I get excited to cook and that make me happy to eat. That’s where the name The Cheerful Kitchen came from. I need to get back to basics, so to speak, and today I woke in the perfect mood for that with the perfect weather to go along with it.
Stuffed peppers are one of those meals that you don’t see at restaurants and you probably only have ever had them when you were a child sitting at your mom’s dinner table, but I absolutely love them. Deliciously sweet roasted bowls filled with whatever you desire. Who wouldn’t love that?! I’ve made so many versions of stuffed pepper that I can’t even remember them all, but I’m pretty sure that 99% of them, if not all, had a tomato sauce. Something about stuffed peppers says tomato sauce to me. However, I really wanted to make an autumn worthy stuffed pepper today, and tomato sauce just felt all kinds of wrong. I’m really glad I followed my heart on that because these were a little creamy, a lot delicious, and the perfect little cool weather dinner.
Almond meal is a really fantastic ingredient. It’s a pretty new ingredient but has been gaining popularity, for good reason. It is nutty and sweet with a lovely texture that toasts so nicely. I mixed this garlic and almond meal crust with a little panko to give it a guaranteed crunch. Toasty, garlicky perfection sitting right on top of a savory, goat cheesy filling. This dish would be super easy to make vegetarian by amping up the veggies and quinoa and simply omitting the ground turkey.
These quinoa and turkey stuffed peppers were a huge hit in my house. Both my 3 year old and 16 month old gobbled them up, and I couldn’t get enough of that yummy crust.
What makes you feel the most creative? Is it rainy days, like me, or something else? What foods do you get excited to cook? I want to know!