Smothered Quinoa Burritos

Today, you cannot turn anywhere without being told to eat less meat and eat more plant based protein. In these times, the mind has to be creative so the body doesn’t loose its favorite things. What is an easy way to do this? Quinoa! Replacing meat with quinoa is a great way to save a few bucks and steel full after your meal!

Last year, I published a video on how to make quinoa tacos but I wanted to take it one step further. So, the next best thing to a taco? A burrito.. and not just any burrito but a “wet” smothered burrito. Could it be considered enchiladas? EHHHH, maybe? But for today, they are going to be called smothered burritos!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can add whatever ingredients that you want; just be careful not to over stuff because then you are unable to properly role (it is an art, afterall!).

Smothered Quinoa Burritos (4-5)

1 small can enchilada sauce (green or red)

1/4 cup cooked quinoa

1 can of refried beans

1/2 cup of shredded cheese

1/4 cup diced green onion

1 chopped jalapeño

4-5 large flour taco shells

Taco seasoning, pepper, salt, pepper, chili flakes, garlic powder, and onion powder.

Preheat oven to 400

Cook quinoa until done, add as much seasoning as you would like from list above with a pinch of water (so quinoa isn’t too dry), set aside.

Pour ~1/4 to 1/2 c of enchilada sauce in a baking pan and spray with non stick

Each taco shell: smear a spoon full of refined beans across the shell, add a pinch of shredded cheese, add 1-2 spoonfuls of quinoa then top with a pinch of green onions and a few chopped jalapeños. Roll in to a tight burrito and lay in pan. Continue for the next three.

Top the burritos with enchilada sauce and the remainder of cheese, you can add jalapeños to the top too.

Bake at 400 for 15 mins or until the cheese has melted.

Remove from oven and top with green onions.

These are the classic example of the longer it sits the better it gets – the burritos can be enjoyed for up to 4 days after cooking.

If anything, this shows that it pays to switch up your recipes every once in a while! You never know what great discovery is waiting in your cupboard. xx

 

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Loaded Veggie Chili

If you live in the Midwest and you hear chili you think of a big ol’ bowl of beans, meat and tomatoes. I have turned that classic recipe on its head. This is a great way to sneak in a bunch of veggies and replace the meat with quinoa. The original cost of meat (~$5.00/LB) covers all of the veggies you will be adding to this dish, with a little extra left over to keep in your pocket.

Loaded Veggie Chili

1 bag shredded carrots

2 sweet potatoes, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces

1 yellow onion

1 red pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 cloves of garlic

1 can black beans, drained

1 can chopped tomatoes, in their juices

1/2 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 chili seasoning pack

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

4 tablespoons pepper

1 tablespoon cumin

Pinch of chili flakes

Pinch of hot sauce

Salt, to taste

Pumpkin seeds (optional as topping)

In a large pot add the potatoes, onions, carrots and red peppers. Cook until peppers and onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add in garlic, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper continue to cook until the cinnamon is fragrant (1-2 minutes). Once your spices are all warmed up  add in your black beans, tomatoes quinoa, hot sauce, chili seasoning pack and water. Give it a big stir then cover. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until the quinoa and sweet potatoes are cooked through. Keep an eye on the pot and add more water if needed.

Once the chili is ready, prepare a bowl for yourself and top with pumpkin seeds!  xx

PS: Defiantly a vegetarian dish….and 99% sure its vegan…Vegans? Any help here?

Vegtable chili

Minty Melon

I was running around the market yesterday trying to decide what to make for a BBQ  when my craving for a really good minty mojito HIT! Mind you it was after 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday which is technically 5:00 p.m. during the week so it was only natural…right? The only problem is that I am currently dealing with stomach issues and have to avoid alcohol (and caffeine, and chocolate, and tomatoes, and spicy food) so I was quickly forced to forgot about the beautiful, refreshing drink and went on my merry way.

For the BBQ, I was in charge of two side and my mushroom burgers (great alternative to beef burgers for all my vegetarians and vegans!). As I was walking past a large watermelon the wheels began to turn. Mint…Watermelon…a little sugar….YES! I decided then and there that one of my dishes would be a cool, minty (water)melon ‘salad’.

Minty Melon 

3 cups cubed watermelon

Hand full of mint

1.5 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon honey

Juice of a whole lime

Pinch of salt

Add all of your ingredients, excluding the watermelon, into a food processor. Pulse 8-10 times until you get a thin sauce (hint, hint: you want to be able to see the mint leaves!). Once your sauce is ready, set in the refrigerator to chill (at least one hour).

Place your watermelon into a large serving bowl and toss gently with your mint sauce. Cover and return to refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.

This is the perfect dish for a BBQ or as a poolside snack! xx

Minty melon

Boxed lemon beauty

I think(?) summer has official hit Toronto so I figured it was time to clean out my cupboards! During my cleaning I stumbled upon a box of Lemon Cake mix. I keep 1-2 cake mixes around to make quick cake bars (usually when I find out that guest will be coming over, at the last minute!) I was taught you have to feed guest whenever they come over, no matter how small the offering is. #GrowingUpInTheMidwest

I did not feel like making cake bars of of this box and right away my mind turned to the beautiful, juicy blackberries I picked up from the market on Saturday! That was it I was going to make blackberry lemon cake!

Blackberry lemon cake 

1 box of lemon cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 and 1/3 cup water

1 cup blackberries

Preheat your over to 350

In a mixer add your wet ingredients and mix for about 30 seconds, until everything is combined. Slowly add in your cake mix while the mixer is on. (I swear! This is the secrecy to any moist cake, loaf, muffin, etc.). Once your batter is ready, fold in about 1/4 cup of blackberries .

Spray a cake or pie pan with non-stick spray and scatter your remaining blackberries at the bottom of the pan. (You can add as many as you would like!) I like to spread them around so that every cake piece has a few blackberries. Pour your batter over the blackberry filled pan and put in the oven, bake for 50-60 mins.

Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes. After that, cover it up with aluminum foil. I let the cake sit over night or a few hours before serving so that is complete cools.

When you go to serve it you can sprinkle powered sugar or top with additional blackberries.

The great thing about this recipe is that it universal and you can change out the fruit or cake flavor:

Other cake and fruit combos (the possibilities are endless)

  • Chocolate cake with raspberries
  • Lemon cake with blueberries
  • Vanilla cake with strawberries

This is the perfect cake for anytime of the year but I find it extra delicious in the summer when there are BBQs, life celebrations and sunshine! xx

blackberry cake

Pumpkin: a craving you just can’t kick!

Here I am with summer around the corner (birds chirping, puppy potty training, girls in ‘festival clothing’) and yet I have had the strongest craving for something pumpkin. I sat and home and thought to myself what should I make? A pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin squares? That night I found myself at the grocery store gleaming over the wonderful surprise that stores keep pumpkin puree on the shelves all year round. Time to tackle this craving. I got my puree and was out the door, it was time for me to get home and make my pumpkin loaf. 
 
I have said it before and I will say it again – remember – pumpkin puree does not have your ‘PSL’ taste. This taste is going to come from your pumpkin pie spice, so if you do not have that seasoning stop reading and go to the store to buy some. 
 
Pumpkin Loaf 
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
2 eggs 
1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ – 1 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
 
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Bowl #1: add all of the dry ingredients to this bowl; flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice spices. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. 
 
Bowl #2 (make sure this bowl is larger as you will be adding the dry ingredients to it*) mix together the 2 eggs, the oil, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Once the liquid ingredients are mixed slowly add in the dry ingredients about ¼ cup at time. Do not over-mix this! Give it a 5 second mix each time you add a in your dry mixture. 
*Very helpful if you have a mixer to do this, but hand mixing is just fine (just fold ingredients together gently) 
 
Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and pour your batter in. Place the pumpkin seeds on top of bread (I covered the top of mine), gently pressing down so that the seeds are touching the batter. Bake for 45- 50 minutes or until your knife comes out clean.
 
I let my loaf cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Once slightly cooled, I placed it on a cutting board and sliced away! 
 
Left over pumpkin? No problem! Whenever I have leftover pumpkin puree I add it to my oatmeal (EXTRA, EXTRA! RECIPE BELOW). 
1 bowl of plain quick cook oats
Pinch of salt 
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice 
Pinch of cinnamon
2 spoonful’s of pumpkin
1 spoonful of maple syrup (if you are feeling naughty)
Place your oats, salt, pumpkin pie space and cinnamon into a bowl and cook according to package directions. Once your oats have cooked add pumpkin (and maple) into your bowl. Once this is complete, you have the perfect little breakfast or snack!
 
This pumpkin loaf recipe is so simple, honestly the hardest part is not over mixing the batter (and even that is an easy task!). I hope you take some time a test out this loaf and share it with friends / family / co-workers. It will make you a rockstar in their eyes! xx
pumpkin loaf.JPG
 

 

Hosting on a 20 somethings budget

As we leave our parents nest and venture out into the world, the next step (after finding a place and a solid income) is hosting friends and/or family! Sure you are not going to be able to afford a table scape like your mother or know the best wines to pair with your bag of chips, but (like anything) the more you host the better you will become at it. 

Below are some recipes that I shared on my YouTube video about hosting.

Homemade flavored water (1.5L jugs, each)

water

Cucumber Mint

1 large cucumber skinned and sliced into half inch pieces

Half a container of mint 

  1. Take the mint leaves and give them a good spanking, it wakes up the flavors and wonderful aromas.
  2. Place the leaves at the bottom of the jug and add your cucumber.
  3. Once all the ingredients are in the jug, put on your lid and give them a good toss.
  4. After you do this, fill the jug with water and let sit in the fridge for no less than 2 hours. 

Grapefruit Mint 

1 large grapefruit skinned and sliced into half moon pieces

Half a container of mint

  1.  Take the mint leaves and give them a good spanking, it wakes up the flavors and wonderful aromas.
  2. Place the leaves at the bottom of the jug and add your grapefruit.
  3. Once all the ingredients are in the jug, put on your lid and give them a good toss.
  4. After you do this, fill the jug with water and let sit in the fridge for no less than 2 hours.

Kale balls

Kale balls

4 handfuls of Kale (put into a strainer)

2 tablespoons of garlic 

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Parmesan cheese 

2 eggs 

1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes

2 tablespoons onion power

Salt and Pepper

  1. In a large pot, boil water with a pinch of salt. Once it comes it a roaring boil, pour over the kale a cup at a time (massage the kale after each cup of water is poured, this helps loosen it up a bit). 
  2. Once you have gotten the kale to a point that is is soft but still have its texture, dab it off with a washcloth and add to a large bowl. 
  3. In a little bowl, break the eggs adding a pinch of salt and pepper, set aside 
  4. Add your garlic, red chili flakes and onion powder to the kale
  5. Slowly mix in your eggs
  6. Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  7. Slowly add in the breadcrumbs – this you have to eye ball, watching the mixture starting to form (do not add breadcrumbs in all at one because you cannot take them out!)
  8. Once you have reached your desired consistency let sit for 5 mins
  9. Rolls the into golf ball sized rounds and place on greased baking sheet
  10. Place in refrigerator to help set, around 20-30 mins. 
  11. Pop in the oven at 350 for 20 mins. You want to make sure that they are cooked through, if not after the 20 mins keep going in 5 min intervals. 
  12. Place hot balls in a bowl and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese!

Mushroom and onion bread topper 

mushrooms

1 container of fresh sliced mushrooms, sliced into fourths 

Half of a red onion

1 tablespoon fresh garlic

Salt and Pepper 

Pinch of chili flakes 

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a pan on medium heat and cook your onions until slightly translucent
  2. Add your mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Stir ingredients and let cook for 20 mins, stirring every 5 mins.
  3. Remove from heat once your mushrooms have softened. Eat right away or put in the refrigerator and serve up later. 

So invite some friends over, make some kale balls and enjoy life one cucumber-mint water at a time. xx

Baby Kale Pesto Salad

Inspiration takes many different forms in this wonderful world. I recently tried a pesto dressing from my local grocery store and it blew my mind. How did I never think to make pesto into a dressing? I have used it on chicken and for pastas but salad had never crossed my mind until that day.

This is a great, refreshing for a special occasion or for your next meal prep of lunches. The only thing I would suggest is not making this too far in advance (maybe like a day or two). Pesto is heavy and I have found that it can make the salad soggy if you leave it in the fridge for too long….oopsy.

Baby Kale Pesto Salad

1/4 cup pesto mixing in a drizzle in olive oil until it makes a vinaigrette

1 bundle of baby kale, washed

1/2 cup cranberries

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1/4 cup quinoa

Place all of the ingredients into a salad bowl, slowly adding dressing and tossing until everything is lightly covered.  For your presentation, top the salad added additional cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese.  Set little bowl on the side with any leftover dressing you might have. You never know who the closet pesto lovers are amongst you!

If you have any leftover ingredients consider making this into a quinoa dish – flavors will be insane a few days in.

This dish tastes as good as it looks. xx

pesto salad