There’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t crave Mexican food. I could eat tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never tire of it. Even though Mexican food isn’t known for being particularly healthy, I believe everything is OK in moderation. The problem with that: I just can’t control myself! I’ll eat several veggie tacos and an entire bag of tortilla chips and still crave more. And don’t even get me started on the guacamole….
It’s for that very reason that I like to make my own Mexican-style meals when those pesky cravings strike. That way, at least I know all of the ingredients that are going into my food and I’m able to cut out as much of the unhealthy and fatty elements as possible. Yes, I still eat a lot, but it’s a lot of healthy, whole foods.
Since I eat Mexican food so often, variety is key. It was while searching the web for some recipe inspiration that I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe from one of my favorite health-food bloggers. I made a few changes and viola! These delicious Butternut Squash Tostadas were born! Be still my heart…
*Even though I opted to use my fave brown rice tortillas (which are pretty large) you could also use smaller corn tortillas, although I always suggest using organic corn products when possible to avoid anything that has been genetically modified. Either way, you can’t lose.
1 small to medium butternut squash, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tbs. coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. sea salt
pepper, to taste
To make the Avocado Crema
1/2 large avocado or 1 small, pitted and skin removed
1/2 cup almond milk
1 lime, juiced
2 tsp. fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, diced
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika
pinch of sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper
For the tostadas
2 Food For Life Brand brown rice tortillas (or up to 8 small corn tortillas)
1 cup cooked adzuki or black beans, heated*
1/4 cup diced red or white onion
1/3 cup diced red pepper
chopped fresh cilantro, for topping
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the cubed butternut squash in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted coconut oil and seasonings and toss until the squash is evenly coated. Spread the squash out over the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, tossing halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Cook the tortillas while the squash is baking: spread the tortillas apart on an unlined baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the edges begin to turn a golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the tortillas to cool to room temperature. The tortillas will harden as they cool.
To make the avocado crema, add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and pourable. Add more almond milk if necessary to get the crema to the right consistency.
To assemble the tostadas, top tortillas with butternut squash, adzuki/black beans, onion, and red pepper. Top with chopped fresh cilantro and a drizzle of avocado crema.
Serve and enjoy!
*I always prefer to use dried beans that I cook on my own, but canned beans will also work in a pinch.
As much as I love to cook and truly relish my time in the kitchen, there are also times when I want a meal that’s fast and easy, but just as delicious as something that I might have slaved over for hours. I also like meals that I can make for dinner, quickly pack up the leftovers, and take with me for lunch the next day.
When I was in college, I ate Taco Bell all the time. I mean all the time. Back then, I was poor, lazy, and didn’t think much about my health. Now, well, I’m still poor and I still have a tendency to be lazy, but I’m much more concerned about my health. And let’s face it, while Taco Bell is cheap and easy, the greasy, high-fat foods they offer are not the best if you’re watching your waistline or your cholesterol level.
Since today is a special day–Cinco de Mayo–I thought I would come up with a tasty, Taco-Bell-inspired lunch that is made from healthy ingredients, easy to prepare, won’t break the bank: Mexican Ensalada Pizzas. But first, I thought I would share some of my other favorite Mexican dishes:
After feeling sick for the past week, I’m so thankful to be able to say that I’m finally feeling better! Woohoo!
Whatever bug I contracted, it was extremely vicious and completely knocked me off my feet. I spent four full days doing nothing but lounging on the couch and in my bed trying to sleep as much as possible–which might sound like a nice vacation, but I was in too much of a coma to actually enjoy it. Honestly though, I needed the rest. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately and I have a feeling that this was my body’s way of reminding me–of forcing me–to slow down and take better care of myself. I find it easy to forget that while exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods are important, those are only 2 ingredients in the recipe for overall health. Getting proper sleep and avoiding stress are equally important. So, to the bug that thoroughly kicked my butt: you stink, but thank you for helping me calm the heck down.
I would love to be one of those people who shows up ten minutes early for appointments, expertly completes everything in advance, and always seems prepared to take on the world. I’m not one of those people. Not even close. No, I’m the person who shows up right on time (if I’m lucky) and out of breath with toothpaste stains on my cheek, my shirt on inside out, and food stuck to my clothes from the breakfast I ate in the car. Yes, I’m that person. I like to think I’m better than that, but truthfully I’m not. Continue reading →