Drunk Nachos and Life Thoughts

This week has felt like a profound shift for me. After sorting out a variety of life choices, I have finally concluded on a professional pathway that I am happy with, for now.

For well over a decade, I have worked tirelessly towards my professional goals. I was/am a straight-A student with multiple scholarships, and without tooting my own horn, I am an innovative thinker and have been from quite a young age. In fact, work has been the center of my whole life. 

After getting married and looking inward, something changed. I noticed that my professional achievements were not leading me to perceived happiness that I thought I would one day “earn”. Instead, while I accomplished one goal, it always felt like a larger one was already in line for me to tackle with its own substantial and unique challenges to navigate. The number of times I used the phrase “someday” led me closer to the age of 30 all while feeling like a hamster on a wheel.

See, here is the real truth – after saying “someday” for 11 to 12 years, I am not sure how much I believe it anymore. While lost in my profession, I lost touch with my friends; I lost touch with my personal and more intimate goals; I lost touch with my creativity and laughter; and … at the height of my stress … I lost touch with love – not only the type of love I give to my husband, my family and my friends but any shred of love I ever had for myself. Self-love was usually the first to be abandoned.

So this week, I set a clear goal and said “no”. And it was scary as hell.

But if nothing else, I know aside from the hubby who gets all the raw emotion, “Behind every strong and successful woman is a tribe of other strong and successful women who have her back.” I am indebted to them. Overall, I am excited about where my refined focus will take me and how the next year is going to play out as I try to achieve a professional and life balance.

On that note, something else I say “no” to on occasion is cooking dinner. I know! How could that be? But, sometimes I have no desire to cook anything. These days are usually on Friday; however, tomorrow, Maciej and I are headed to Chicago on a road trip so technically today is our Friday. Also, given the stresses from the past ten days, I am wiped. On these days, one of my go-to quick and easy recipes is something I coined as “Drunk Nachos.” While most of my recipes have these exceptionally healthy, plant-based, nutrient-dense profiles, this recipe does not. It’s delicious, easy to throw together from regular ingredients at the grocery store and quick to assemble.


Drunk Nachos

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy, quick, vegan option, vegetarian
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 bag corn chips
  • 1/2 bag Daiya Cheez Shreds Vegetarian: grated mozzarella
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small container button mushrooms quartered
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 1 pkg vegan ground I use Tofurky chorizo flavour ground
  • 1 batch 5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso*
  • 1/4 C salsa
  • 1/4 C hot banana peppers
  • 2 Tbsp plain coconut yogurt
  • 1 avocado diced

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • On a sheet pan, spread out the corn chips and top with Daiya cheez. When preheated, bake the tortilla chips with the cheez until melted (approximately 5 minutes).
  • While the oven is preheating, add olive oil to a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat.
  • add onion and mushrooms to the frying pan with a pinch of salt and let saute for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the roasted red pepper and the vegan ground to the frying pan and saute for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Whip up a batch of the Minimalist Baker 5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso.
  • To assemble: on the sheet pan with the tortilla chips and cheez, add the sauteed vegan ground mixture. On top, pour queso, salsa, hot banana peppers, coconut yogurt and avocado.
  • To serve: I place the entire sheet pan in the middle of the table with small plates and a fork to scoop up the ingredients.

*The 5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso is from Minimalist Baker and is quick and easy to top the nachos with.

This recipe is super versatile. I love to check the international Mexican aisle and find creative add-ins (e.g., cactus, olives etc.)

How about you? Have you ever had to say a scary “no”? What is your easy go-to “lazy” recipe? Share below!

A Good Night’s Sleep? Not This Week … or maybe?

On Sunday I woke up uncomfortable with a pinched nerve in my shoulder blade. Let me tell you; the body can turn on you quickly. Something as simple as a knot in my shoulder blade was completely disabling! It made simple tasks, like trying to check my blind spot while driving, painful.

Like the workaholic I am, I took an Advil and pushed through the pain. Update: this was a big mistake. This morning, I woke up and literally could not move! It was no longer a pinched nerve. Instead, it was three pinched nerves in my shoulder blade and neck! Do you know that episode of Sex and the City where Miranda is laying on her bathroom floor unable to move? Her character resonated with my soul this morning! The pain was unbearable!

So what do I do? I try an Advil again and it is not touching the pain. So like a big grown-up adult woman, I texted my mom to complain. She recommended trying some essential oils – gotta love that hippy. This reminded me that I had a “Deep Muscle Relief” blend. Skeptical, I tried it. Not too shabby. Still in pain but some relief. I threw it in my bag and headed to work. By the time lunch break rolled around, I could not move. Desperate, I pulled up a 10-minute yoga video on the new Deliciously Ella App for iOS and combined the routine with my essential oils. After lots of cracking, groaning and deep breathing, I am feeling much better! I also invested in a new side-sleeper pillow and I am hoping it will ensure that this pain does not last longer than needed. Bonus, it smells like lavender!

The truth is that sometimes you need to do the work and be temporarily uncomfortable before you can relax.

In a less painful version of this lesson, I have gotten into the practice of meal prepping on Sundays so that my work week goes smoothly. This is a game changer for the working gal! I am not one to make a bunch of preportioned packs (I have tried but I find it too much work). Rather, I like to focus on making ingredients using a sheet pan. You would be surprised what you can do with a sheet pan in terms of batch cooking. I have made eggs for breakfast sandwiches for a week using one of these bad boys.

When it comes to tofu, I like it to be crunchy and flavourful for lunches. This way it can be put in a rice bowl, tossed with a salad or eaten as a snack. This recipe for sheet-pan tofu is versatile, low maintenance and will last 5 days in a Tupperware in your fridge!

Are you a batch cooker? Do you have any other flavour combinations? Share below in the comments section!

Crispy Baked Tofu

This recipe for sheet-pan tofu is versatile, low maintenance and will last five days in a Tupperware in your fridge!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 5 Servings

Ingredients

Crispy Tofu

  • 2 Blocks Firm Tofu
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Flavour Options*

  • 2 tbsp jerk seasoning Jerk Tofu
  • 2 tsp of each soy sauce, chilli flakes and tahini Asian Flavour
  • 2 tsp of each nutritional yeast, paprika, chilli powder and cumin TexMex
  • 2 tsp of each garlic powder, onion powder, lemon pepper Lemon Garlic
  • 2 tsp of each cumin, paprika and turmeric Savoury

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Press the two blocks of tofu for 15 minutes**.
  • Standing your tofu up on its edge, slice the tofu in half. Lay it flat then cut the rectangle in half and split each half into 9 squares (2 cuts in each direction). With two block of tofu, you will end up with 72 cubes of tofu.
  • Place all cubes of tofu into a mixing bowl and add oil, cornstarch and one flavour option of choice**.
  • Using a lid or plate, cover the mixing bowl and shake the tofu.
  • Pour the tofu mix onto a sheet pan and make sure that each tofu cube is separated.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and shake/ flip, then bake for 15 more minutes.
  • Allow tofu to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Notes

* Each line of ingredients is one flavour choice. I do not recommend putting all those ingredients into the bowl, LOL! It is wise to mix the flavour spices together before adding it to the tofu.
** I press tofu by wrapping 1 block of firm tofu in a paper towel or two and stacking my cast iron fry pan on top of it with a bunch of cookbooks. It works. You can also buy a tofu press.