Chorizo Egg Skillet

A few weeks ago, I was looking for some new brunch ideas to change up the routine. I came across a recipe for shakshuka and decided to give it a try. As I was making it, I kept thinking to myself of ways I could modify it to give it more of a Mexican flare. Shortly after I made shakshuka, I decided to get back into the kitchen to try to recreate what I had in my head. To start with, I decided to add in some soy chorizo for some extra protein and also an extra kick. From there I decided what if I placed the filling over a bed of a corn tortillas to mimic huevos rancheros and then I added some cheese over that. Well, to say the least I ended up completely transforming the “shakshuka” but let me tell you that it may be one of my favorite things I have made to date. I made this for brunch on a day I had one of my friends coming over and it did not disappoint. It’s simpler than you may think so let’s dive into what you will need for this recipe.

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Easy Roasted Potatoes

One of my favorite foods to have for breakfast is potatoes. I’m not talking about the sweet kind either, I’m talking about the good ol’ golden Yukon potato. For whatever reason, potatoes have gotten a bad reputation over the last decade but I am here to tell you that in this household potatoes are an absolute must and household staple. Russet potatoes, golden Yukon, and red potatoes have just as much nutritional value as sweet potatoes do the only difference being the amount of minerals varies by each variety. Each potato has its appropriate use and for the purpose of roasting at a higher heat, I have found that golden potatoes yield the best results. I am working on a comprehensive blog post to outline each use of different types of potatoes but for now, i’m letting you know that golden yukon and/or red potatoes are the best types for roasting in the oven.

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Strawberry Banana Smoothie

As the weather warms up, I find myself having less of an appetite for a solid food meal and leaning more towards smoothies and smoothie bowls. However, I am someone who gets bored fairly quickly so I always try to change up the smoothies in my rotation. I was playing around with a classic recipe the other day but I wanted to add something extra to it to make it more nutritious and a little bit more filling. If I didn’t tell you in the recipe here, you would never know that there’s actually cauliflower in this smoothie! That’s right, you heard me right. This smoothie has frozen riced cauliflower in the mix to add some extra fiber and nutrients into the mix such as Vitamin C, K, and folate just to name a few. I also added in some chia seeds for a source of omega-3 fatty acids and some non-dairy cashew yogurt for probiotics (great for digestion). I used non-dairy yogurt because quite frankly I do not like the taste of dairy yogurt in my smoothies. It leaves a tang to my smoothies that I don’t particularly enjoy so instead I used either almondmilk yogurt or in this case, cashew-based yogurt but of course use whatever you have or prefer. This recipe is incredibly easy and makes enough for 3 or 2 very large servings (about 32 oz.). Feel free to freeze any leftovers into ice cube molds to save for another day. Now let’s get into the specifics of the ingredients.

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Pumpkin Spiced Waffles

Fall has officially arrived and although the weather here in Southern California has been a little on the warm side, that hasn’t stopped me from working on meals that are perfect for the chillier days. I have to admit, not too long ago I actually did not particularly care for pumpkin spice as I typically do not enjoy the flavor of very heavy spices like cinnamon. However, more recently I have started to come around to these flavors and have taken some time to play around with the m in different ways. One of the first recipes I ventured out to make was pumpkin spice pancakes which turned out okay but not great. After making them I created a poll on my Instagram asking if you prefer waffles or pancakes. The answer came back with over 50% voting for waffles so we are starting with that! I really wanted to make these waffles gluten-free since it’s been a while that I made a gluten-free option and also because waffles are typically more on the indulgent side. Although these waffles are superior in their nutrient content than traditional waffles, they still taste very decadent and like a treat.

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Healthier Hashbrowns

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A few weeks ago, I woke up in the mood for some crispy hashbrowns but decided to try a new method since all my previous attempts have been a failure. In the past, I have attempted to make hashbrowns in the skillet but it usually results in using more oil than is healthy and not the right level of crispiness.  So instead, I decided to try it in the waffle maker because if you think about it both sides are being pressed together which helps to keep them together and to get a crisp outside and soft inside. I gave it a try and it was hands down the best decision I have ever made. The result was perfectly crispy hashbrowns that were still nice and fluffy on the inside. The best part about these hashbrowns is that it uses very little oil and also contains carrots which help to lower the starch content of the potatoes while also contributing vitamin C. These have very quickly become a household favorite and one of my go-to breakfasts.  The carrots help to add a slight sweetness as they become crispy and takes these hashbrowns to another level.  They can be made in advance and stored in the freezer and when you’re ready to eat them you can heat them on the skillet for a quick breakfast. Now that you know why these are a better choice, let’s get into what you will need to make them yourself.

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Chilaquiles

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One of my all-time favorite brunch items is chilaquiles because for one it’s an excuse to have tortilla chips for breakfast, and two they are so easy & almost effortless to make. Today I will FINALLY be sharing with you my recipe for the most delicious chilaquiles you have ever tasted. It’s taken me some time to get around to posting this but only because I was finishing up the last of my spring semester. I am happy to say that I completed the final 2 courses I needed in order to apply for my masters! It feels so good to finally say that as I honestly didn’t think I would survive this last semester. Now that I am done with school, for now, I will finally be able to get back to what I love and give Life at the Mesa my full attention. In my absence, I have been working on various recipes so as the weeks go on I have many new exciting recipes to share with you. Anyways, if you made it this far then I’m sure you just want the deets on these amazing chilaquiles so let’s go ahead and jump straight into the recipe.

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Double Chocolate Muffins

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Almost immediately after I posted the recipe for my orange-chia & chocolate chip muffins I started thinking about trying to make double chocolate muffins. A few days after I posted that recipe I got to work on developing this recipe and very rarely does it happen that after the first batch it’s perfect but this recipe was. The first time that I made it, it was an absolute hit from the get-go. I tried this recipe out on members of my study group for Ochem, my friend’s parents/sibling, and of course my loyal guinea pig Adrian who is the greatest partner a girl could ask for. After so much ranting and raving I decided to make another batch just to be sure of the quality and OH MY GOSH. This recipe is incredibly moist, filling, and decadent. If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you would know that there is always a catch with my recipes. I always strive to create healthier versions of classic recipes and this one, in particular, is completely free of refined sugar just as all my recipes on here typically are. As usual, I substituted refined sugar for wholesome and delicious dates. But this recipe is so special because I utilized dates from the community I grew up in. I grew up in a very small agricultural town called Brawley and in making your way to Brawley, there is an even smaller town called Westmorland. It is quite possibly the smallest town in California, but they are well known for their delicious dates. The particular shop I adore is called the Westmorland Date Shake and obviously based on the name, they are known for their amazing date shakes. However, I recently learned that they are now selling their delicious dates online that you can order which is why I am mentioning them for the first time in this blog. Their dates are superior BY FAR to those that can be found in the produce section of the grocery store and can now be conveniently ordered to your home! I mention this because I truly think the quality of their products made all the difference in this recipe. One of the greatest compliments I received for this recipe was “you don’t even need milk” and that is one of the greatest things a baker can be told. So if you’re not already intrigued to try this recipe then let’s discuss the nutritional value of it.

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Orange-Chia & Dark Chocolate Muffins

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Happy Saturday!

I usually don’t post recipes on the weekends because typically they are my only days off from work and school but this week has already been so unlike my typical week I figured why not. I have spent the last week studying EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for all the exams I have coming my way. With that being said, I have been attempting to develop recipes MORE because for me cooking is a way to decompress and to relieve some tension. Nothing makes me happier than experimenting in the kitchen and boy was this recipe an experiment. The inspiration for this recipe started about 3 weeks ago when I was thinking about a cake my mom used to make because it was my grandma’s favorite. The cake is called Williamsburg cake and essentially it is a vanilla cake with orange zest, walnuts, and cream cheese frosting. It is absolutely incredible and one of my all time favorite cakes. Anyways, as I was thinking about it I thought what if I could make that into muffin form and of course without using refined sugar because that’s what I like to do. I love to healthify some of my favorite recipes and while I did that, I also made some tweaks and ended up coming up with a muffin recipe that isn’t exactly similar to my grandma’s favorite cake but they are SOOOO good.

After playing around with different variations I ultimately decided to swap out the walnuts for the more affordable chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, protein, and a variety of micronutrients (ex. magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and manganese). On top of swapping out the nuts, I decided to switch out the all-purpose flour for some whole-wheat flour which adds in the B-vitamins which play a role in the health of our hair, skin, and nails. Last but not least, I decided to throw in some dark chocolate chips because who doesn’t love chocolate and more importantly because dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants which help to fight signs of aging. With all that said, I have to tell you that this recipe is the product of lots of trial and error and about 3 “bad” batches. I spent hours in the kitchen trying to get it right and after the 4th or 5th time I finally got it right. So often prepackaged muffins are loaded with refined sugar which is not horrible from time to time but I wanted to provide you with a recipe that you could have for breakfast, as a snack or even as a dessert that would contribute more than a spike in your blood sugar. The orange packs a punch while the chia seeds give a slight crunch and the dark chocolate is unbelievable in combination with both. All in all these muffins are incredibly moist and will blow your mind. Get ready for the best muffin recipe you’ll ever try, I know that’s a bold statement but that’s how good these muffins are.

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Quick & Easy Smoothie Bowls

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Hi guys!

As you requested, I put together a couple of smoothie bowl ideas and today I wanted to share them with you. Just in the nick of time for summer, these smoothie bowls are refreshing and sure to keep you cool even on the hottest of days. Not only do they taste amazing, but they are also jam-packed with nutrients that make you feel amazing.   Typical smoothie bowls are usually loaded with added sugar but these are not. Just like in my last recipe, all the sources of sugar in these bowls are naturally derived from the fruits themselves, and a very small amount of Medjool dates. As I’ve previously mentioned, an excessive amount of sugar is never good for you as it will give you a burst of energy and leave you crashing later on. So for that reason, we’ve made our own that includes healthy fats, plenty of antioxidants, and some protein to help fill you up. 

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