Mexican Sweet Potato Skillet Hash

Do any of you remember that episode of The O.C. where Seth asks Sandy what he and Kirsten have in common, and Sandy replies “Uhhhh…. you”?

That’s like me and JZ. We have very little in common in terms of interests. He likes Metallica and Alice in Chains; I like The Shins and Elliott Smith. He likes coding and techy stuff; I like cooking. He likes going to rock festivals; I like going to food festivals.

This Mexican sweet potato skillet hash and fried egg topped with melted mozzarella cheese is a hearty vegetarian breakfast or brunch!

Our interests in terms of food are diverging too. He’s much more of a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy, whereas I (as you can probably tell from my blog) like eating more plants and less meat. So coming up with meals for the two of us means needing to find the middle ground.

I’ve found that middle ground with hearty vegetarian dishes that make you forget that they don’t contain meat. Eggs and cheese are the key ingredients here – they add that comfort food factor without needing any meat, leaving us both happy and satisfied.

A prime example is this Mexican sweet potato skillet hash. I was actually taken aback after I made this dish on a whim and got extremely positive feedback from JZ. I wasn’t expecting him to praise it with so much gusto – but I can see why he did. With crispy sweet potatoes coated in Mexican spices, a fried egg (or two) in the centre, and a layer of melted mozzarella cheese on top everything, it’s vegetarian comfort food at its finest!

This Mexican sweet potato skillet hash and fried egg topped with melted mozzarella cheese is a hearty vegetarian breakfast or brunch!

Mexican Sweet Potato Skillet Hash
 
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Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Yield: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 1 small sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ small onion, diced
  • ¼ red pepper, diced
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Couple pinches of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3-4 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. In a steamer (or in a mesh strainer placed over a pot of boiling water), cook your diced sweet potato for about 10-15 minutes, or until soft all the way through.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet and add your onions and red pepper. Cook for a few minutes until soft, then add the sweet potato, spices, and salt. Continue to cook until sweet potato gets crispy on the outside. Then spread everything evenly in the skillet and crack an egg in the centre. Cook on the stove top until the egg white is almost cooked through, then top with the shredded mozzarella and place under the broiler until it is melted.
  3. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

This Mexican sweet potato skillet hash and fried egg topped with melted mozzarella cheese is a hearty vegetarian breakfast or brunch!

Do you cook for someone with different tastes than your own? How do you find the middle ground?

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10 ways to save money on groceries

One of the most common things I hear as a dietitian (right up there with “Tell me what I should eat to be healthy” and “I bet you’re super healthy, aren’t you?”) is “It’s too expensive to eat healthily”.

This one kills me because it’s so untrue!

I mean, yes it will be pricey if you’re spending your money on $12 bags of goji berries and $20 packages of maca powder, but you don’t need these foods to be healthy. Good old whole foods work just fine.

And these foods can absolutely be cheaper than the alternatives (ie. takeout or processed foods), especially when you’re armed with the right tips and advice. As a grocery store dietitian I’m right in the middle of the action, so today I want to share with you some of my best unique tips to save money on your groceries:

10 ways to cut down on your grocery bill and still eat healthily!

1. Buy bouillon cubes instead of buying liquid stock. For less than the price of one carton of liquid stock, you can get several cubes that can make around 3 cups of stock each. Also, they come in salt free, vegan, and organic varieties!

2. Beans are a fairly inexpensive protein, but if you prefer to buy the kind in BPA-free cans, they can be triple the cost! A cheaper option would be to buy dried beans instead of canned. If you don’t know how to cook dried beans, this is a really helpful guide to show you how!

10 ways to save money on groceries (and still eat healthily!)

3. Buy whole heads instead of lettuce or bunches of greens instead of the pre-chopped kinds – you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck! Wash and chop them up as soon as you get home to save yourself from having to do it later.

4. Ditch the bottled salad dressings. Make your own instead from ingredients that you already have at home like oil, vinegars, and herbs. Check out this Food Network collection of 50 homemade salad dressing recipes!

10 ways to save money on groceries (and still eat healthily!)

5. If it’s a product you use a lot, buy the bigger size. That’s almost always a better deal than buying the smaller size. To be sure, you can check the price tag on the shelf – it usually tells you the price per 100 g (in a smaller font underneath the price) so that it makes comparing the cost of two different products easier.

6. Opt for the items that are less convenient, for example: plain meat versus pre-marinated meat, unprepared shrimp versus deveined and shelled shrimp, blocks of cheese versus individually wrapped cheese strings, whole carrots versus baby carrots, a 1 kg bag of oats versus a package of single serving oatmeal sachets, a tub of Greek yogurt versus a pack of single serving containers. Companies almost always charge for added convenience!

7. Buy frozen herb cubes instead of fresh herbs. Or grow your own herbs in the summers – the price of one herb plant is about the same as buying a bunch at the grocery store. But the plant will last you all summer and into the fall, unlike a bunch of herbs.

8. Become an oatmeal lover! One serving of plain oats from a 1 kg package is about $0.09 per serving, whereas one serving of Cheerios from a Family Size box is about $0.33 per serving.

10 ways to save money on groceries (and still eat healthily!)

9. Make friends with cheap vegetables, like cabbage and carrots. A head of cabbage is usually around $1.99 or even cheaper when it is in season, and it will last you for ages (like seriously, ages). Likewise carrots can be extremely cheap when you buy them in the 3 lb bags. Also, cool tidbit: Some grocery stores will soon be offering “ugly” produce (misshapen fruits and veggies that are still totally edible) for a discount.

10. Buy your grains, spices, dried fruit, and flours from the bulk foods section in your grocery store. It’s amazing how much more expensive these products are when they’re packaged compared to in bulk! This is also a great way to ensure your products are fresher, since you can buy smaller amounts that you will actually use in a reasonable amount of time.

This wraps up my ten tips for this post, but now I’d like to hear yours!

What are your tips for saving money on groceries?

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Black Bean and Mango Quinoa Salad

Disclaimer: This post was written as a part of the GoodLife Fitness Ambassador program. All opinions expressed are my own.

So how about a job update, eh?

Well, I am loving it. It’s exactly what I’ve always said I want to do ever since entering the dietetic profession: combine nutrition with cooking. I just love that this job takes such a food focus because like I always say: we eat food, not nutrients. People need practical, realistic tips for buying and cooking healthy food in order to eat healthily. So I’m thrilled to be in a job where I can help people do that!

Life is busy though. My days at work right now are filled with planning, meetings, and more planning (and they’ll soon be filled with cooking classes, grocery store tours, and nutrition sessions!). I also have a 45 minute commute to work on most days of the week (I work out of two grocery stores in two different cities), making my work day more like 9.5 hours rather than 8. And when you add  regular 6 am workouts at GoodLife Fitness with my boyfriend, you can see why I have little free time left!

Black Bean and Mango Quinoa Salad (Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Nut Free)

Needless to say, food prep has been a life saver. I tend to spend several hours in the kitchen on one of my days off cooking up enough food to cover lunches and dinners for the week. When I was browsing for lunch ideas the other day I remembered this black bean and mango quinoa salad that I posted here years ago. That was in the dinosaur years of this blog though, so I decided to dust off the recipe and polish it up for reposting.

This salad has renewed itself as one of my favourite recipes. It has that sweet and salty combination going on with the mango and feta, which I just love (please ignore the fact that there is no feta in these pictures – I forgot to add it and was far too lazy to do a reshoot)! Also I’m really digging its summer vibes. It would be perfect for summer picnics and barbecues. Ahhh just saying that is making me anxious. Summer, hurry up and get here sooner please?

Black Bean and Mango Quinoa Salad (Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Nut Free)

Black Bean and Mango Quinoa Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Yield: 3-4 servings
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup dry quinoa
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • ½ barely ripe mango, diced
  • ⅔ cup diced cucumber
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 5-6 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ⅛ tsp salt or more to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve, then combine with 1.5 cups cold water in a small pot with a lid. Bring to a boil then simmer covered for about 12-15 minutes. Once it's done, fluff with a fork and let cool completely (at least 1 hour).
  2. Combine the quinoa with the black beans, mango, cucumber, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and feta cheese.
  3. In a small dish whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and salt. Add to the quinoa salad and stir well before serving.

Black Bean and Mango Quinoa Salad (Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Nut Free)

What is something you used to make all the time that you haven’t made in a while?

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