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!

Waffle Makers and the Minimalist Paradox

So last weekend while shopping with Maciej, we happened upon this factory warehouse. While he took a gander at man toys, I headed straight to the back with the dimly lit sign labelled, “Kitchen”. This section is usually where my husband can find me at most department stores … Winners I’m talking to you … heh. Anyway, while browsing the mish-mash of items and reiterating the internal self-control narrative of necessity, I saw something that I have always wanted to try but felt it an unnecessary kitchen appliance. A waffle maker. And not just any waffle maker … a Star Wars waffle maker for $10.

Sorry about the waffle evidence above … I sent this photo to one of my good friends while I was too excited to clean it after use. Anyway, needless to say, I bought it. I figured for $10 I could try it out and if it was not for me or if I did not use it enough to justify the space it takes, I can donate it or give it away to someone who can get more value from it.

Now my husband saw this purchase and rolled his eyes while smiling with an exaggerated sigh (he is a Star Wars fan as well, after all). On the drive home, I discussed how we could have waffles for dinner. After using my verbal imagery to describe waffles stacked with berries, whipped cream, maple syrup, the works, Maciej commented, “that doesn’t sound like dinner” much to my disappointment. Men.

Alright, savoury waffles that need to be vegan and gluten-free? Bring it on. Pinterest here I come. The flavour combo that I found appealing was “Cheese and Chive”; however, cheese is not vegan, and I am not a fan of Daiya – I find the texture unappealing and the taste unconvincing at a higher price point. After some thought, I came up with this delicious hit. These cheezy waffles are the perfect texture and do not contain any dairy! Nope, these are vegetable-based! Seriously! Don’t even get me started on the fantastic creamy egg yolk flavour and texture in the vegan Hollandaize sauce. Furthermore, this recipe is mostly pantry ingredients making it easy to make when your fridge is looking empty before grocery day!

Kudos to my husband for taking a chance at the food photography above! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Who said you couldn’t have waffles for dinner! If you try the recipe, share below!

Vegan Cheddar and Chive Waffles with Savoury Hollandaize Sauce

These cheezy waffles are the perfect texture and not a lick of dairy. They are also gluten-free and vegan! Don't even get me started on the amazing creamy egg yolk flavor and texture in the vegan Hollandaize sauce. Furthermore, this recipe is mostly pantry ingredients making it easy to make when your fridge is looking empty before grocery day! I strongly recommend weighing your ingredients as it is more accurate
Servings: 8 Waffles

Ingredients

Cheezy Chive Waffles

  • 360 g red potatoes peeled and diced (approx. 2 1/2 C)
  • 140 g carrots peeled and diced (approx. 1 C)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 1/2 tbsp water
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp light oil olive oil, grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 C almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C gluten free flour blend
  • 3/4 C cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 C chives I keep freeze-dried chives in my pantry; however, you can use fresh chopped

Hollandaize Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion chopped finely
  • 2 1/2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 C almond milk
  • 1 C water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable boullion powder
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp red miso paste
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric

Instructions

Chezy Chive Waffles

  • Peel and chop the potatoes and the carrots* and place into a medium-size saucepan.
  • Fill the saucepan with water and place on the stove on high. Bring the potatoes and carrots to a boil for 5-7 minutes until tender.
  • While the potatoes and carrots are boiling, add one clove of garlic to a blender and turn on to chop finely.
  • In a small cup, make a flax egg by mixing the ground flax seed and water and letting it sit until ready to use.
  • When the potatoes and carrots are boiled, drain the water and place them into the blend with the garlic clove.
  • Add nutritional yeast, light oil, almond milk and apple cider vinegar to the blender then blend on high for 3 minutes**.
  • Preheat your waffle maker.
  • While the blender is running, mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. That is the gluten free flour, cornmeal, baking powder and chives.
  • When the blender has pureed the cheezey sauce, pour it into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.
  • Add the flax egg and hand mix the batter using a rubber spatula until consistent.
  • When the waffle maker is ready, pour your batter and shut the waffle maker. Most waffle makers have a "ready" light when the waffles are done; however, if not, these waffles take 5-7 minutes to cook***.
  • Remove the waffle from the waffle maker when it is slightly browned and allow the waffle to cool for 3-5 minutes.

Hollandaize Sauce

  • Place a medium-size saucepan on the stove at medium heat and add olive oil.
  • Finely chop garlic and onion and saute until transluscent (not brown).
  • While the onion and garlic are sauteeing, prepare your measuing cup of almond milk.
  • Add the arrowroot starch to the garlic and onion. When it starts to thicken, pour the almond milk a little at a time while quickly stirring so that it forms a gravy-like texture.
  • In your liquid measuring cup, mix the water and vegetable boullion powder together and slowly add the mixture to the cheezy sauce.
  • Whisk in lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso paste, ground mustard and turmeric so that the sauce is well blended.
  • Heat the sauce on medium high until it thickens ****.
  • Pour the sauce into a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  • Top the waffles with this Vegan Hollandaize sauce as well as chopped chives and enjoy!

Notes

* I like to place my pot on my electronic scale and weigh the potatoes and carrots as I go along.
** literally set a time for three minutes, it is essential that the potato and carrot puree into a thick and cheezy sauce.
*** these waffles are quite steamy! Do not be alarmed (like I was when I thought the recipe was a funk). Make sure that you leave the waffle maker to do its thing and don't open it to check on it for at least 5 minutes.
**** you should be able to see the metal at the bottom of your saucepan when you run a rubber spatula over the bottom. You are looking for the consistency of a thick gravy.