Taco Salad with Big Mountain Foods

Saturday, January 15, 2022

It's been a minute since I've shared anything here, especially a recipe! I'll be back another day to share more about what I've been up to, but for now I wanted to share a recipe I made featuring some tasty crumbles from Big Mountain Foods.

I discovered Big Mountain Foods products in the refrigerated section of a grocery store one day. I was intrigued by their products, especially because they were gluten and dairy free. I liked that they contained real ingredients and decided to try them out! I've since enjoyed the Breakfast Bites, Mushroom Bites and Cauli Crumble Veggie Grounds. When the company reached out and offered to send me some of their products to try and create a new recipe with, I was excited to play in the kitchen.

I was gifted a variety of Big Mountain Foods products, but decided to turn the Cauli Crumble Veggie Grounds into a Taco Salad. I love having a big salad with lots of flavourful ingredients for lunch. We've been spending lots of time at home over the last two years, which has meant many meals created in our kitchen. I fall in and out of love with salads, but the key thing is to have lots of flavours, textures and colours to keep them interesting! This salad looks like a bit of a production, but the end result is definitely worth it.

This Taco Salad recipe is gluten free, dairy free and vegan, and features the Big Mountain Foods Cauli Crumble Veggie Grounds

Taco Salad

Serves 2-3
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Big Mountain Foods Cauli Crumble Veggie Grounds
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced (more or less depending on your preference for spice!)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp gluten free tamari
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime, divided
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 heart romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add coconut oil. Add 3/4 of the red onion and jalapeno and saute 4-5 minutes until onions have softened. 
  2. Add cumin, chili powder and Tamari and saute for one minute more. 
  3. Add Cauli Crumble Veggie Grounds to the pan and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any large clumps. 
  4. While the taco crumbles are cooking, make your guacamole. Add avocado, remaining 1/4 of the red onion, cilantro, and dash of garlic powder to a small bowl. Juice the lime and add 1/2 of the juice to the guac. Mash everything together with a fork. Season with salt to taste. 
  5. Assemble your salad by adding lettuce to a two large bowls. Top lettuce with remaining lime juice. Divide cherry tomatoes, corn, green onion, guacamole and taco crumbles amongst the bowls to serve. 
If you're short on time, skip making the guacamole and use sliced avocado. If you have extra time, you could also make a cashew sour cream with soaked cashews, lemon juice and salt for some added creaminess. Feel free to use any other greens in place of romaine. 

Thank you to Big Mountain Foods for sending me some of their products to try out. You can check out their website to find a store near you to purchase their products and check out their Instagram for more delicious recipe inspiration.

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, September 13, 2020


Happy September! I missed writing last week, even though it was the long weekend. I didn't feel up to it and didn't have much to say. Even though these posts have been sort of random, I've really enjoyed the act of writing each week and making it a practice.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and this week marked World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th. After losing my mom to suicide in 1998, suicide, mental health and mental illness have been things that I've talked about pretty openly for much of my life. I've shared many posts on the blog over the years:

It's so interesting to go back and read those thoughts, and also see the evolution of my perspective over time. I have learned more about better language to use around suicide and mental health, and hope to keep learning as time goes on. I posted a reel on Instagram this week about World Suicide Prevention Day, and talked about how I hope going forward we can ensure that the conversations around suicide prevention include more than just a crisis line. It's removing barriers to mental health support, getting rid of the stigma around mental illness, creating safety in asking for help, creating access to community support and so much more. 

It's been more than 20 years since my mom's death and I truly still miss her every day. I have no idea what it would be like to have her in my life now, or what she'd be like in 2020, but I know that there's a Debbie-shaped hole in my life. I'm grateful for the memories I do have, and that I have an opportunity to share her story. 

Let's keep talking, and doing our part to keep these important conversations going. 

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 30, 2020


I can't believe September is just around the corner. It's such a human thing to exclaim that a new month is here and you're surprised, but I think 2020 has made time feel even more strange. Usually the end of the summer would include a visit to the CNE (or getting annoyed about the air show), maybe a visit to someone's cottage or reminiscing on a vacation, but this year doesn't have any of those things. I'm going to look back on the summer of 2020 as a time of immense change, but not a summer that felt particularly "summery".

The first few days of September are going to be memorable, as I'll be having a colonoscopy on Wednesday. I started a new treatment for my Crohn's Disease around this time last year. I've been going for Entyvio infusions every 8 weeks and was supposed to have a colonoscopy in May to see how things were going. That was cancelled due to COVID and I've been in a bit of a holding pattern since then. I did a fecal calprotectin a few weeks ago, and the test showed high levels of inflammation, so my gastro got me booked in for a colonoscopy. I'm trying to stay calm about it all, but I'm not super optimistic. I'll be doing the same prep as last year, so at least that will be a bit easier. It's clearly on my brain as I even had a dream about going into the hospital for a colonoscopy last night. 

I'm due to share a more in depth Crohn's post. Once I get the results, figure out what happens next, and process it all for myself, I'll share more. 

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 23, 2020


Two weeks ago I resigned from my job, and on Thursday I had my last day. 

If you had asked me at the start of 2020 if I thought mid summer I'd be leaving my job at Shopify and starting something new, I probably would have laughed a lot and scoffed at the very notion. But the last few months have brought their fair share of challenges and change. I started to feel like so much was happening to me, and I was no longer in the driver's seat. Deep down in my gut, I knew that I needed to make a bold move and that was really scary.

I've known for a long time that I'm someone who operates more in the feeling/emotional/intuition realm vs. the logical. This is a place I feel pretty comfortable in, and it's served me well in my life. There's a lot of ways that people talk about this inner voice, including intuition, gut feeling, or inner voice. I listened to a great podcast with Glennon Doyle and Liz Moody this weekend where Glennon talked about this very idea. She encouraged listeners to listen to that inner voice and said "we need to stop following other people's maps and trust our inner compass."

I'm grateful that I was in a role that got to carry on throughout COVID-19 and transition to working from home. Working from home was certainly a change, but I was able to carve out a little space to work in our second bedroom. I missed the office, having a regular routine, my co-workers, traveling, planning in person events and so much more. It was announced that we wouldn't be going back to the office in the same way for the foreseeable future and I also changed roles in late April. Everything just felt different and I wasn't certain I was in the right place for the long term. That inner voice became a persistent whisper once summer hit, and I started to ponder the what-ifs of making a change. 

I eased into the idea slowly and took time to explore my options. I made lists. I took walks. I cried. I continued phone therapy. I'm thankful for Paul and my lovely friends who also helped to talk through it all with me. Once I gave my notice there was no turning back. It was empowering to feel like I was reclaiming 2020, and making the right choice for myself going forward.

It's very strange to end a job whilst working from home. There's no in person goodbyes or packing up your desk, dropping off your laptop or leaving the building for the last time. There's no hugs, and limited options for seeing folks in real life to say farewell. I was honoured to receive lots of well wishes, kind words, flowers and cards - some folks even organized a big google hangout with a group of people that I had supported and worked with during my time. I went through the week feeling a whole mix of emotions, and while there were a lot of tears, I didn't doubt my decision; I felt empowered and excited for what comes next.

Tomorrow I start a new role at a new company and the whole thing still feels surreal. I'll be continuing to work from home, but on Friday I got to meet my team in person for a socially distanced lunch and wine tasting. It was pretty special! I'm beyond thrilled for this next chapter. My intuition knew what was up, and I'm so thankful that I listened.

morgan harper nichols
via Morgan Harper Nicols

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 16, 2020


As we're in stage 3 in Toronto, I'm trying to figure out what that means for me. Even though restaurants, movie theatres and gyms have opened their doors, I definitely haven't been first in line to get in. I've been trying to take it day by day, and figure out what makes the most sense for me. I've felt comfortable going to some familiar stores with my mask, sanitizer, and social distancing. I've continued getting my Entyvio treatment every 8 weeks. In the name of self care, I've also gotten 2 massages and felt very comfortable. Both were at Eastwood Wellness Co. which is a beautiful space in the east end and have taken great care when it comes to COVID-19 procedures. Other things, I'm still navigating. 

Paul and I haven't expanded our bubble beyond one another. I've seen a couple of friends for a socially distanced picnic lunch or tea in the park. I'm craving connection with my favourite humans IRL, but trying to do so in a way that feels good for me, feels good for them, and fits into all the rules. This falls into the category of "things you didn't think you'd have to think about" before 2020. 

Some friends reached out wanting to see me this week, and asked for my stance on "socially distanced cocktails". I responded that I would love to see them, but that I was remaining cautious about the places I frequent and generally being near humans. I suggested that maybe we could find a places with an uncrowded, not next to the street patio to visit? Even though I responded honestly and shared some boundaries, it feels difficult to do. These are things I've never really had to consider (outside of maybe when you get a cold in the winter, so you cancel your plans with friends as not to get them sick) In any other year it would be so easy to make plans with friends, without giving any thought to social distancing, mask-wearing or these kinds of rules to keep us safe. And yet, we're here. 

I'd love to get outside the city to see friends in Ottawa, but don't know when I'll feel comfortable taking the train or flying (or what a trip like that would even look like). I don't know when I'll be comfortable eating in a restaurant again. I miss seeing theatre, comedy or heading to the movie theatre, but don't know if that will be in the cards for me anytime soon. I'm grateful for the friend who suggested we could have drinks in her backyard this week - which feels much more comfortable than trying to find a suitable patio. 

Perhaps I'll look back at all of this and think I was being too cautious or worried, but in this moment it feels like the best approach for me. We're all trying to do the best we can. 

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