Deep Ellum Urban Gardens Could Get a Major Boost from a Local Woman's Stuffed Peppers

As an avid runner and cook, Lindsey Cook of Dallas loves to create healthy dishes, like her quinoa and turkey stuffed bell peppers. Easy, versatile and full of deliciousness, Cook was so smitten with the recipe that she entered it in the Aetna Healthy Food Fight contest. From there, the dish was selected as a semi-finalist, and Cook was invited to put her peppers up against other healthy recipes in a contest at the State Fair of Texas, which she won.

And for that, on December 2 Cook will travel to New York City for a cook-off against the other three finalists in the Healthy Food Fight at the ABC Studios in Time Square, where Bobby Flay will be the judge and the prize is $10,000 worth of groceries from Recipe.com. Pretty solid deal for a stuffed pepper.

"The recipe is just something I came up with in my kitchen one night," says Cook. "I wanted to make a stuffed bell pepper that didn't sacrifice flavor, had a bunch of protein, and was healthy. From that my quinoa and turkey stuffed bell pepper was born."

There is also a Healthy Food Fight Fan Favorite, which is chosen through online voting. The winner gets to designate a charity that promotes healthy cooking and nutrition, to which Aetna will donate $10,000. Cook chose the Deep Ellum Urban Gardens (DUG) as her charity.

DUG is a part of the Deep Ellum Community Association, which has purchased a plot of land at the intersection of Canton and Good Latimer with the intent of creating a community garden. DUG has already raised over $13,000 of their $25,000 goal.

"I live very close to Deep Ellum," says Cook, "and I jog through it frequently, so I feel pretty connected to the neighborhood."

Eating well and in moderation is central to Cook's lifestyle, so providing an urban garden for the community was easy.

"I chose the Deep Ellum Urban Garden initiative because it seems like such a deserving group," says Cook. "I want this project to succeed. Aetna gave me the option of choosing from several large, more well-known groups, but going local just felt right to me. Dallas needs something like this."

If Cook wins the Fan Favorite online vote, it pretty much seals the deal for DUG.

To vote for Lindsey Cook, visit Healthy Food Fight.

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