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!

The Advent of the Smash Bowl

Have you ever been lazy? Unmotivated? Uninspired even?

Yup, that was me with todays dinner. Hence the development of the delicious “Smash Bowl”. What is a Smash Bowl you ask? Well that is simple. It is a healthy median between leftovers and pantry staples that have been hiding from view for months smashed into a bowl of deliciousness that you call “dinner”.

Today on the menu, we have the following:

  1. Leftover scrambled tofu from yesterdays breakfast.
  2. Frozen “Oriental Style” vegetables from The Grocery Outlet.
  3. Rice noodles that have been hiding in my pantry.
  4. Delicious Thai Peanut Sauce made peanut butter, gluten-free soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and water – all eyeballed in the food processor.
  5. Those pickled hot peppers that are almost done at the back of my fridge.

This was one of those meals where I try to reduce food waste and boy, was I surprised! To say it was delicious is an understatement! Maciej and I were in awe of the savoury peanut sauce and the heaping pile of stir-fried veggies on our plates mixed with spicy peppers.

A report I read from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation states that Canada produces 873 pounds per capita of food waste! That being said, I have been guilty of leaving vegetables to die in my fridge – a guilt I have been trying to leverage with soups, smoothies and the development of The Smash Bowl. The beauty is, a smash bowl can be anything that is starting to look sad in your fridge. I have also read about people who partake monthly in “The Pantry Challenge” – something I have been watching for a while and wanting to try! If anyone does the Pantry Challenge, I would love to hear any tips you have for it!

In other news, Maciej and I took a long hike today along the Etobicoke Creek located on the Etobicoke/ Mississauga border. The weather in Toronto has been unpredictable. The sunshine is deceiving as you walk out into the cold wind. You think it is going to be nice; however, I find I need to get my cardio going to really warm up, which is what we did for 8 kilometres … and a minor mud slide! Not as in the environmental phenomenon, no I fell in mud. But some sunshine and fresh air never hurt anyone, even if it is a brisk and messy one.

So what about you? Have you gone outdoors despite this long Canadian winter? Have you been lucky enough in climate to enjoy spring? How do you combat food waste? Have you given it much thought at all? I would love to hear your discussion in the comment section below.