Thursday, January 23, 2014

Burrito Bowls + Healthy Living Update

Laziness is totally a relative thing.

Today, I was too lazy to go to the store. So I made refried beans from scratch.

See how this works?

I've done this before. Last time it was ricotta that I decided to whip up because that was easier than packing up the kids and heading the two blocks over to the grocery store. Very often it's bread that I make for no other reason than that my kitchen is closer than two blocks away. Sigh. Lazy me.

In any event, I made refried beans today! And you know what? They were pretty great. And cheap. And easy.
I followed a recipe I found through Pinterest, and at first I thought the recipe might be wrong - it all just seemed too simple. But hey, it worked! I did leave out the jalapenos, and I added a touch more stock at the end, and I let it cook on med-low for a while longer just to make everything extra soft, but hey, follow this recipe and you too can make refried beans in about the same amount of time it would take you to walk to your nearest grocery store and back! And you don't have to change out of your sweats!

Now where did these refried beans go? Into my delicious bowl of burrito love. Do you ever eat tacos and feel gross afterwards? I always do! Probably because they are sooooooo good when you pile on the cheese, the greasy meat and the sour cream into the huge flour tortilla! And then I eat 3. Or more. Yeah, that's likely why. But have you ever gone to a Mexican restaurant and had their rice and refried beans and realized you were full, but didn't feel gross? Funny how that works...

We've been working on having healthier, lighter meals in our household, that will still fill us up well, and I stumbled across the idea for Burrito Bowls (again, thank you Pinterest). Rice instead of flour tortillas. Beans instead of meat. Chipotle instead of cheese. I could do this! Ah yes, and the recipe also enlightened me about how to kick my rice up a notch. You take the rice, and stir the salsa directly into it!!! If you are not as amazed as I was, well, you just might be smarter than I am. But don't rub it in. Seriously, this was an epiphany for me! I happened to have some cilantro around so I snipped some of that into the rice too, and had this gorgeously aromatic rice base for our burrito bowls! Then came the refried beans, with a generous helping of veggies (we did tomatoes, corn, avocado and lettuce), then my chipotle sauce. There was a link to one from the original Burrito Bowl recipe page, but I had been gifted a jar of Epicure's Citrus Chipotle Ketchup spice blend from a local vendor who said she couldn't use it because she didn't like ketchup - and that's what they told you to put it in. Well, I don't like the idea of chipotle ketchup, but when on earth have I ever really followed a recipe (see refried beans explanation above...) So here's how I rolled with it:

Creamy Chipotle Sauce:
1/4 c. low-fat greek yogurt
1/4 c. fat-free sour cream
juice of half an orange
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. Epicure's Citrus Chipotle Ketchup spice blend (OR 3/4 tbsp. chipotle powder and 3/4 tbsp. chili powder)

This stuff was great on the burrito bowls, and would be awesome on a taco salad!

My family loved the burrito bowls, I loved that they ate everything without complaining, and I also love that I have some of that chipotle dressing left over for lunch tomorrow!

The burrito bowls are really just a cunning way to put more veggies in my body. I've been doing well with my personal eating habits and our family meals have been succeeding at filling us with more than just fats and carbs. Last night we had Vietnamese Pork Vermicelli. I found a great recipe a while back and it remains my go-to. This is one of the few that I follow to the letter - except I triple the amount of veggies I put in each bowl - at least! Sure the sauce has fat, and yes pork isn't the leanest meat, but when your bowl is full of that much lettuce, carrots, fresh herbs and rice noodles, who needs more than a couple small pieces of pork? The umami of the sauce carries so well, it feels like so much more than a salad when you eat it, yet that's very nearly all it is in our household. We've also been upping our protein intake throughout the day, which has me snacking less, and I've started making matcha smoothies with a couple dates, a banana, and almond milk - super yummy. Oh yah, and if you want to drink more water, try putting a drop of therapeutic grade Grapefruit oil in your water! I got mine this week and I've been loving it!

Both Hubby and I have been keeping up with out workouts. Yesterday was the first day I needed a day off thanks to a lovely thing called "Wall Sits". Those were the first thing I'd done that kept kicking my butt the next day. But I went right back to it today, and I'm hoping tomorrow will feel better!

I noticed my knee had been quite touchy still with some of the exercises that I thought were tame enough, so I've had to throw in even more yoga and pilates to my routine. Believe me when I say by nature I am much more of a P90x girl - I love high impact exercises - but my left knee does not. However, that doesn't mean I'm not seeing results. And yoga and pilates, along with targeted knee-strengthening exercises will give me the advantage of forming a long, lean muscle base to build on. In other words, perhaps my thighs will be less thunderous in the not-so-distant future. If you want to check out some great low-impact exercises, check out my Health board on Pinterest!

Anyway, getting more sleep is the next big thing on my Healthy Lifestyle to do list, so I'm signing off!

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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