Peter Piper’s Pepper Picks

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By Kac Young PhD, ND DCH

If Peter Piper truly picked a peck of peppers, then he had 1/4 of a bushel or 2 US dry gallons. Were they red, green, yellow, orange, purple or all of the above? What did Peter Piper do with his peppers once he picked them? We assume he made a feast for the neighborhood.

He might have chosen to cook Heart Easy stuffed peppers that are low in calories, full of vitamins A and C, folic acid, Vitamin B6 and an excellent source of dietary fiber.

In his red bell peppers, he got bonus lycopene, an important carotenoid that may have helped protect him against prostate and other cancers.

Peter may have already known that bell peppers, adaptable plants that are part of the nightshade family, are fairly hardy and can be grown in a variety of climates. Versatile geographic gems, bell peppers are found in many types of traditional cuisines, from Mexican and European to Chinese and Creole dishes. Delicious many ways, bell peppers can be eaten raw as crudités or in a salad; stuffed and baked; sautéed or stir-fried.

We’ve added some protein and given a new kick for Peter Piper’s Peck of Peppers. Try this recipe and fill your family with goodness and enjoyment of one of nature’s greatest treats.

stuffed pepper with rice and beansHeart Easy ™ Stuffed Peter Piper Peppers with Triple Rice and Beans

Ingredients:

1 Cup red beans soaked in 2 Cups of water overnight and drained

1 Cup of brown rice

1 Cup wild rice

1 Cup coarsely chopped onion

1 packet of condensed low sodium non fat chicken broth dissolved in 3 Cups of water (or 3 Cups of low sodium non fat chicken broth) Do not use the high sodium chicken stock cubes.

16-20 oz. ground turkey breast

2 tsp. cold pressed virgin olive oil

1 16 oz. can chopped tomatoes with basil, drained

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1/2 Cup SoySation ® 3 Cheese blend

4-6 red or green bell peppers, cleaned and tops cut off. (scallop the edges if you wish)

Directions:

recipeskacyoungCombine soaked and plumped beans with dry rices, onion and chicken broth in a large kettle. Bring to boil and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a skillet and brown the ground turkey breast until the pink has disappeared. Break up turkey breast with a potato masher until the texture is fine pieces. Set aside.

When beans and rice are ready, add tomatoes and stir. Add turkey, SoySation®, seasonings and stir. Fill prepared peppers with mixture, place in an oven-proof baking dish and bake at 350˚ for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Tip: Only purchase bell peppers that are free of blemishes, and try to hold out for organically grown varieties.

– Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the Heart Easy Cook Book sound nutritional advice is followed by family favorites that have been turned into heart healthy meals anyone can make and everyone will love.

Saved By The Pepper – Heart Health With a Kick

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By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

greenpeppersI once was a spectator at a Que Es Mas Macho Competition where men and women competed to see who could eat the hottest pepper and survive. Faces turned red, lips burned, foreheads broke out in beads of sweat, but those contestants stalwartly hung in consuming hot and hotter peppers until their ears nearly fell off their heads. One thing for sure is that they helped their hearts that day without even knowing it.

I’m not suggesting you sign up for a hot pepper eating contest, but based on research from the University of Cincinnati, capsaicin – which gives peppers and spices their fiery flavor – is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that helps to prevent the formation of dangerous blood clots in the arteries.

“In follow-up studies, research found that capsaicin broke down blood fats before they could be converted into artery-clogging cholesterol. Plus, it relaxed arteries, cutting the risk in half of damaging blood pressure surges.”

If you haven’t already started your garden this summer, pop over to your local nursery and plant some peppers in your garden, on your deck, balcony or window sill. Start experimenting with fresh peppers in your dishes. If you’re a pepper wimp, begin slowly and work up to the taste, but you will reap huge benefits by adding peppers to your meals. Of course, you can buy them in your grocery store or local farmers market, but growing them is easy, inexpensive and fun. Pick a pepper and put it in the pot then watch your cholesterol float away.

The helpful peppers are habaneros, cayennes and jalapenos. All you need is 1/4 teaspoon of the dried spices, 1 teaspoon of a hot sauce or 1 tablespoon of fresh or pickled hot peppers daily.

Kick it up my friends and have a spicy heart-healthy summer.

– Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the Heart Easy cook book sound nutritional advice is followed by family favorites that have been turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make and everyone will love. Learn more: HeartEasy.com