Monday, January 27, 2014

Paleo Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers aren't rocket science, but I've never attempted them before. I took a dish I cook often and simply used it as the stuffing to make it easy on myself, but really, you can stuff them with anything.

The results were delicious, but I'm not convinced it's worth the extra cook time to stuff the pepper. My ravenous, gluttonous self typically wouldn't have the patience to execute this on a day that I'm not barricaded inside my apartment for protection from the sad, frozen tundra that is Chicago. Nevertheless, I had the time to try it, so here it went:

  • 2 lbs of ground beef, grass fed, if you're going to be all snobby about it (like I was)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeƱos, only 1 seeded
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced into .5 cubes
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 4 large green peppers, halve lengthwise and seeded
  • Coconut oil
  • Sea salt
  • Seasoning salt
  • Black pepper 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In one large saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 T coconut oil, ground beef, onion, jalapeƱo, seasoning salt and pepper to taste (I probably used 1 T seasoning and 1/2 T pepper). Stir as beef browns.
  • When beef is almost finished browning, add the diced tomato and cook an additional 3-5 min. 
  • Drain pan when finished.
  • Meanwhile in second large saucepan over medium heat combine 2 T coconut oil, sweet potatoes, garlic and sea salt and pepper to taste. Stir occassionally until potatoes are tender.
  • In a large bowl or into one of the saucepans, if large enough, combine contents of both pans and stir well. **(see note at bottom for alternative)
  • Place pepper halves in large microwave safe dish with approximately 1 cup of water. Cover and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes.
  • Arranged pepper halves on cookie sheet and spoon stuffing mixture into each until brimming.
  • Bake for 30-40 min.
  • Allow to cool and serve with salsa, guacamole or your condiment of choice.
**Note: The "stuffing" by itself without the peppers makes a tastey, fairly quick dish that we've eaten many a night coming back from working out and ready to eat like we'd never eat again. For a twist, you can also add a can of tomato sauce into the final mixture and simmer covered for 10 min.

Berka Crocker

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Open Letter to Ventra

Having been in a community manager role for a Fortune 50 insurer for a few years, I've seen some really angry people. The "Hurricane Katrina, annihilated my home and all my worldly possessions and you refuse to pay my claims" kind of angry. Trust me - That's really angry. In managing these communities, I told myself I wouldn't be the person who "likes" an organization's Facebook page simply to complain and troll. Then along came Ventra. You have been "liked." And this is for you.

Cubic Transportation Systems, the CTA's contractor for Ventra, boasts the line "Intelligent Travel Made Real." What a lofty selling proposition from our good friends in San Diego. What's "real" in San Diego?
What is real is that you really need to address all of these issues and more. Really quickly.
Meanwhile, in Ventraland, I liked the Facebook page to find the angriest people I've ever seen. Louder, believe it or not, than "lost all worldly possessions" angry. Irate paying customers voice their service issues or, in many cases, outright rage on deaf ears (eyes?). Ventra used to occasionally respond, but they've since given up, posting happy updates and refusing to acknowledge the pervasive issues:

There is also an app and several Facebook pages and Twitter accounts dedicated to the Ventra failure. And let's not forget the many, many halloween costumes last fall. Do you know what it takes for skanky ladies traipsing around Wrigleyville to dress up in a cardboard box with stiletto heals instead of slutty Little Miss Muppet? Blind anger. That's what.

That is not me. I was a slutty American Gladiator,
who had happily not yet transferred to Ventra.