Nacho Inspired Mexican Burrito Bowl

by Lauren on November 28, 2016

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Sorry for all the bean recipes lately, but I made a big batch of my Easy Slow Cooker Black Beans recently so I’ve been thinking of all the different ways I can use them!

This recipe was inspired by last night’s Grey Cup game. My hubbie was excited to watch, and I wanted to make something similar to what you’d eat while watching football, like nachos, but of course I had to make it healthy.

For me what makes nachos so appealing are the different flavours and the textures; spicy, sweet, savoury, crunchy, and of course cheesey…so I tried to re-create all of those things with this burrito bowl. The best thing about bowls (my new favourite way to eat) is that you just layer on the ingredients, and than mix it all together for a big bowl of delicious flavours and textures. And for Jack, my two-year old, I simply took a few spoonfuls of the meat and bean mixture, some goat cheese and put it in between two whole-wheat tortillas. I pan-fried it for a few minutes to make a super easy quesadilla.

Instead of traditional tortilla chips, I roasted sweet potatoes, which not only adds a healthy carb, but also some sweetness, which I find is so necessary to balance out spices like cumin, paprika and chilli powder. For some crunch, I added red pepper, and instead of sour cream I crumbled on creamy goat cheese and avocado. The result? A delicious nacho inspired Mexican Burrito Bowl that had my hubbie going in for seconds. Oh, and I made this all ahead of time while the kids napped so we came back from our afternoon outing, dinner just had to be assembled and reheated. Enjoy!

Mexican Burrito Bowl
Serves 6

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
4 tbsp. grapeseed oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 package PC Free From ground beef*
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
2-3 cups Easy Slow Cooker Black Beans or 1 can organic black beans
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup salsa
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Pickled hot peppers, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 cup cilantro, minced

Method

Preheat oven to 425 F convection.

Peel and chop sweet potatoes into small cubes. Add to bowl, toss with oil and season with pink salt. Spread onto large baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, flipping after 10 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, chop onion, red pepper and cilantro.

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil on medium low and saute onions for a few minutes. Add ground beef and saute until just cooked, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper, beans, spices and salt and saute for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve. If making ahead of time, allow mixture to cool and refrigerate potatoes and beans in separate containers.

To build your bowls:

Scoop in some sweet potatoes, the bean and beef mixture and than add your toppings: salsa, goat cheese, hot peppers, avocado and cilantro. Enjoy!

*Because I was cooking for my hubbie I added ground beef, but you can totally make this recipe vegetarian.

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Holiday Gift Idea! Try the World Gift Boxes

by Lauren on November 28, 2016

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I was recently approached by Try the World; a company that delivers boxes, which contain gourmet delicacies from around the world on a monthly basis. The first thing I thought when I received the beautiful boxes filled with yummy treats is how perfect this would be as a holiday gift idea!
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They’re perfect for the foodie on your list who loves to cook, or for the friend who makes the same thing all the time, and needs to branch out with flavours and recipes. The contents of each box includes products from different countries, curated by chefs who have spent time in each country. The Italy box for example includes things like truffle zest, hazelnut cream, a mushroom risotto kit and balsamic vinegar. A booklet is included with info on each product and how to use it.

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Interested? For a limited time, you can try the Italy box for FREE when you subscribe to Try the World! Just click on the link below and you’ll be tasting the flavours of Italy in no time!

Try the World for FREE!

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Black Bean and Goat Cheese Dip

by Lauren on November 3, 2016

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe because quite frankly I haven’t had much time to experiment in the kitchen since Max was born in June, but I made my Black Bean and Goat Cheese dip the other day, and realized it’s not up on the blog! I love this dip because you can serve it as an appetizer for a big group or it can eat like a casual meal if you don’t feel like cooking one night.

The base starts with my Easy Slow Cooker Black Beans, which I usually make the day before, and than you just layer it in a casserole dish with salsa, a mix of havarti and goat cheese, and top it off with guacamole (I love the organic pre-made individual Wholly Guacamole Minis from Costco). This dip is a great way to incorporate beans into your diet, which are an awesome source of fibre and iron. It’s so important to make sure kids get enough iron as it’s one of the minerals that play in role in healthy brain development.

Fall is the perfect time of year to pull out your slow cooker and don’t be intimidated at the idea of cooking dried beans. It’s so easy, and they taste so much better than canned. Enjoy!

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Dip

Ingredients

3-4 cups pre-cooked black turtle beans
2 cups salsa of choice (I use a black bean and corn salsa)
1 cup shredded havarti cheese
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup guacamole or 2 packages Wholly Guacamole minis or 1 small avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped pickled hot peppers or jalepenos
Cilantro and green onion for garnish (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a small casserole dish, layer black beans, salsa and cheese and back in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and spread guacamole over the top. Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions.

When I have this dip as a meal, I love pairing it with something sweet like sweet potato fries, roasted butternut squash or on a bed of spaghetti squash. Serve with healthy tortilla chips, baked corn tortillas or whole-wheat pita when serving as an appetizer.

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Vacations Are Always Worth It

by Lauren on October 25, 2016

…at least that’s what I kept telling myself during the long travel days, and times that I was stuck in the condo trying to get my 4-month old to nap instead of lounging by the pool. This past trip to Florida was the first time we travelled with two kids, and even though there were hard times, it was totally worth it. We learned things about ourselves, about each other, it made us tighter as a family, and overall, travelling pushes you, which makes you learn what you’re made of (and this was just Florida!)

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Best. Travel Snack Discovery. Ever. These little suckers taste like banana and chocolate, but they have like 8 different vegetables in them including broccoli and mushrooms. Thank you Air Canada!
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I will never get on another flight without the iPad and Cheddar Bunny crackers.
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Kicking it out before getting on the flight (I didn’t think twice about putting him on the floor of the airport so I could sip my Starbucks and eat my lunch – poor second child. I will bring a bigger blanket next time)img_2492

Jack finally started using the potty on a daily basis! Thank goodness for warm weather and the option to be naked all the time (except for mandatory fireman’s hat while peeing).

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Life with Max on the beach…eating and sleeping…

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One of the best parts of my trip was experiencing life through Jack’s eyes…remembering the joy of swimming in the ocean, getting cozy and warm in a towel, and sitting on your dad’s lap to have a snack.

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Driving 45 minutes to the zoo only to realize that two-year old son doesn’t really notice he’s at the zoo and would rather chase his cousin everywhere. Capturing the moment he saw a real life giraffe for the first time…worth it.
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My goal was to exercise one morning on the beach, but these little beach bums let us do it every morning. Max learned patience and flexibility napping in the stroller for his first nap of the day. Who wouldn’t doze off to the sound of the waves and birds chirping?

I wouldn’t necessarily describe a vacation with two kids relaxing and there were definitely some hard moments, but it made the good moments even better. Someone said to me recently that your kids will never love you as much as they do now, and I remind myself of that everyday. It helps me appreciate them during the good and bad. If you’re scared to travel with your kids, just go for it! It’s worth the week it takes to pack and the exhaustion you’ll feel after the trip.

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Pre, Post-Thanksgiving Prep

October 6, 2016

Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened yet, but in a culture where we do everything quickly and efficiently, let’s prepare for the aftermath of your Thanksgiving feast. Most people wake up on Tuesday feeling bloated, tired and yucky as a result of too many appetizers, mashed potatoes with gravy, dessert and wine. No matter how hard you try, […]

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Life’s Not Always as it Seems on Instagram

October 4, 2016

A friend recently paid me the nicest compliment in an email – “I am loving your Instagram posts…I’m in awe of your exercising, baking, getting-Max-to-sleep-12-hours mothering style. Tell me your secrets!!! ” It felt so good to hear, and while my posts are meant to be informative about healthy food, and inspire others to exercise and […]

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Foods for Healthy, Younger-Looking Skin

September 28, 2016

Being a 34-year old mom of two boys, I feel like I can no longer rely on “my youth” for healthy looking skin. I actually have to put in some effort in order to make my skin look fresh, bright and to prevent fine lines and wrinkles (until I’m old enough to justify a little help […]

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Don’t Let it Slide

September 26, 2016

One of my biggest fears as a mom has nothing to do with my kids. It has to do with me, and my fear of losing the ability to use my brain in other ways than just scheduling drop offs and pick-ups, folding laundry and getting groceries. I graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies […]

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Smart Snacking. Do Good. Love With Food

August 10, 2016

A couple weeks ago I was approached by a company called Love With Food, a snack discovery service that just announced it will begin shipping to Canada on August 2nd, and they wanted me to share the good news. As a nutritionist, I promote the idea of real food and avoid packaged foods as much as possible, but […]

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Lessons I’ve Learned from Baby #2

July 14, 2016

The last 5 weeks is probably the longest I’ve gone without posting a blog since I started writing in 2010. The reason you ask? I had another baby! Maxwell Andrew Follett was born on June 6th, 2016, and wow life is next level busy with a two-year old toddler and a newborn. Every minute in […]

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