Easy Lunch: Healthier Burrito Bowls

Whether it’s wrapped up in a warm tortilla or naked in a bowl, I love a good burrito. Growing up in Arizona, I think I was spoiled with the authentic Mexican food all around. It seems like Chipotle may be the closest thing I can get to fresh, flavorful Mexican food around here in the Midwest. Don’t quote me on that, though. I’m still on the hunt!

Lately, I have been making my own burrito bowls to bring to work for lunch. I make my version a little bit differently than the traditional combination by substituting brown rice and ground turkey for white rice and beef. This burrito bowl would be truly gourmet if I made my own fresh salsa, roasted the corn on the cob versus buying it frozen, and topped the bowl with bright green cilantro or creamy guacamole. These things wouldn’t necessarily be hard, but they just add a little bit of extra time. You choose where you want to fall on the scale when you’re making yours.

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I love that this lunch can truly rotate with what you have in the fridge. Feel like using quinoa instead of rice? Go for it! Have leftover chicken from dinner? Swap that for your meat. Want to add onions, peppers or jalapeños? Spice it up! Also, make a few at once – it will save you time later and makes the most sense since you already have all the ingredients out. Once lunch rolls around, I just stick this in the microwave and stir it up. The cheese gets melty and the salsa is the perfect sauce to bind it all together.


What’s going in your burrito bowl this week?

Love food. Love self. Love life.


Snapshots from My Apartment


When I committed to moving to Indianapolis for my job, one of the most exciting things to me was the task of decorating my apartment. I created Pinterest boards, looked at galleries of apartment tours on blogs and researched bargain finds online. I wanted to have my apartment perfect within the first month of moving in, but quickly realized that was impossible unless I wanted to spend all my savings and rush into choosing things without living in the space. My roommate and I blended our styles and have created a little home here in Indy. Three months later, we still have two huge blank walls (gallery wall, TBD) and a patio without furniture, but there are so many little areas I love around the apartment.


My favorite part of our apartment is my bedroom. Because I travel so often for work, I wanted to create a space that would be an oasis when I return. White on white on white with my sheets, duvet and curtains makes me feel like I’m in a cloud when I wake up. The accent colors came from my favorite poster I bought while studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain. I like to describe the color palette champagne and rose because of the neutral tans and pink. My nightstand is home to some latest reads and my dresser has lots of personality with my necklace collection, my UE Boom speaker that I use to pump me up with jams every morning and the canvas with my Gourmet Gab motto that my friend Kira made for me for my birthday.


My two favorite things about the living room are the adorable starfish chair we found at Homegoods, paired with the cozy blanket in the red accent color. Next to our TV sits our very obedient and low maintenance (ceramic) pet dog named Chorizo. Danielle has always wanted a bulldog, but because we are gone so often we resorted to this statue version. Isn’t he the cutest?


We were so happy to get an updated kitchen with granite and stainless steel appliances for the reason rent price we pay! I love making my morning coffee on the weekends in this classic French Press. It makes some of the best coffee and doesn’t take up any counter space like a coffee maker would.


Our kitchen is a little Valentine’s Day themed by accident. Danielle’s aunt gave us a bunch of red kitchen items (which we are so grateful for!) and I, of course, had to bring my baby pink Kitchen Aid mixer. We make it work and the colors really brighten up the dark granite and dark cabinets. For the first time living on our own, we are okay with things looking a little bit mismatched!


Bar carts are so trendy right now, so I always thought it would be fun to have one, but not unless it really fell into place on a low budget. One spontaneous evening at Target with friends, I happened to find this gold bamboo looking end table for a quarter of the original price! Thank you clearance section! It fit perfectly in the corner of our dining room next to our black table and oversized mirror. We are still pulling everything together on it, but it has become a great place to store our glasses and bottles since our cabinet space is limited.


We are still pulling everything together on the bar cart, but it has become a great place to store our glasses and bottles since our cabinet space is limited. The gold accent ties in with these adorable burlap and gold polka dot tablecloths Danielle’s mom found for us. We have big plans for entertaining friends when we are both in town, so the dining room and bar cart will be a great place to get the party started!


I have learned a lot about patience and budgeting in the first three months here. I love coming home to our cozy place, but also can’t wait to see it evolve over the next year. We probably won’t be staying in this apartment for more than a few years, so our pieces have to be movable and transformable wherever each of us goes next. It has been a blast using creativity to settle in and make Indy a new home away from home.

Love food. Love self. Love life.


Seattle Girls Weekend


I recently had the revelation that friendship, like travel, gets better with age. I have known Bridie and Jenn since fourth grade – that’s more than 10 years! We decided to meet up for a weekend in Seattle where Bridie just moved to explore, eat great food, drink some local brews, and mostly, catch up. These girls know almost every quirk and characteristic about me, but they still keep me around! Our friendship has continued to grow and get richer, even when we’re all in different cities.

That’s kind of how I feel with travel. You capture and experience cities differently as you get older. I traveled to Seattle my freshman year of college, but going back five years later made me see things in a new lens. One of the things that resonated with me the most is I could go to the middle of nowhere, but being there with great friends who would be up anything would make it an absolute blast. This second time to Seattle with my best girlfriends was all the more memorable simply because of their personalities.


Pike Place Market remains one of my favorite spots to visit. I could roam around staring at the vendors, produce stands and flowers for hours. If I had unlimited money (and lived in the city), I would sample my way through every food option and buy a bouquet of fresh flowers every week. When the girls and I got to the Market, we first made a stop at the famous Gum Wall for the experience and trademark photo. The wall both weirds me out and fascinates me every time! When you make your way upstairs into the shops, you’ll catch the famous fish throwing area. Those guys are such a blast to watch! Then, the rest of the market is all yours to explore. My favorite produce stop is Sosio’s Fruit & Produce. They offered us samples of these “OMG Peaches” that truly make you say “Oh my gosh!” I also picked up a handful of fresh lychee to make lychee infused vodka. Such a random purchase, but I had never seen fresh lychee for sale before so I had to get some. It was literally $2!! Details to come on how the infused vodka turned out.


After an evening of going out in the Capital Hill neighborhood, we needed a beach day to…ahem…recover. We checked out some really cool spots, but my favorite had to be The Unicorn. It felt like a Britney Spears music video for Circus and had a list of the coolest cocktails. Saturday morning, the sun was shining so we packed our bags and headed to Golden Gardens Beach. Who knew that Seattle had such blue and sandy beaches? Not me! Seattle’s summer weather is the best time to explore places like this. After working up an appetite tanning (haha), we roamed to the Ballard neighborhood for food and drinks. I could have walked up and down the streets all afternoon! We had fish and chips at Market Arms and then went to the Ballard Beer Company to try some local brews and chat with friends. My favorite thing was their really cool decor on the walls and their stack of games. We sat and played cards while we enjoyed our beer.


The weekend went by way too fast and I had to leave early on Sunday morning, but there are still so many things I would love to explore in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Next time, I’m hoping for some outdoors adventure to see the stunning greenery and maybe even go chasing waterfalls. Seeing Bridie and Jenn while visiting the city for a second time was the perfect addition to my summer. I’m grateful for their friendship and the ability to travel to cities, both new and familiar.

Love food. Love self. Love life.


Chicken, Dill and Blue Cheese Salad


After my last three months of work, I have a new appreciation for packed lunches. When I first started work, I had this idea that I would bring these effortless, gourmet meals to work everyday to challenge my culinary creativity and also save me money from going out to grab a bite all the time. What I found is the last thing I want to do in the morning when I’m rushing is make a mess in the kitchen and assemble my lunch. In the evenings after I have already cooked dinner I don’t want to turn on the stove or oven again and cook something. The perfect in between for my lunch preparation has become making a hearty and flavorful salad the night before. While I sip some wine and potentially even multitask prepping dinner, I will throw together this salad (or even make a batch of a few) to have ready for work the following morning.


Try this with the last of fresh summer produce and adapt for fall favorites. Here’s what I include… First, add a layer of canned chicken to your container. You could certainly make your own in a big batch with chicken breast, but I also love Costco’s version for those times I’m in a pinch. Then sprinkle any cheese you have on hand. I’m really into blue cheese lately, but feta would also be great. Then, half or quarter some beautiful cherry tomatoes. You could also use heirlooms from the farmer’s market or any red, ripe tomatoes you grab from the store.



Cucumbers and dill are a match made in heaven. I slice and then quarter cucumber to toss in next and then chop a nice handful of fresh dill. Use both of these later for a cucumber salad! Don’t forget to take a sip of your wine while you’re prepping.

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For color, I love adding bright orange carrots. I buy a bag of these pre-washed, pre-cut carrots on the weekends and use for salads all week. They also can get easily tossed into stir fry or chopped up and incorporated to a veggie pasta.


Dressing can be anything you have on hand. Sometimes I’ll bring a bottle of a red wine or balsamic vinaigrette to the office to leave in our fridge. There’s no sense it bringing one back and forth everyday! Other times, I’ll squeeze some fresh lemon and drizzle olive oil, balsamic and S&P over the salad toppings before I add the lettuce. This will prevent the lettuce from getting soggy and will actually add flavor to the veggies and chicken. Your greens can range from a spring mix, to fresh romaine to kale or spinach!



Just like that you have a hearty salad ready for the next morning. You can grab and go on your way to work, and I promise you will have some very impressed co-workers. I would love to hear what else you add to your make-ahead salads? Hard boiled eggs? Avocado? Quinoa? Comment below and share any photos with me on Snapchat (gourmetgab) or tag me on Instagram (gourmet_gab)!

Love food. Love self. Love life.



How often do you get hangry?


I’ve been using the word for years, but it wasn’t until recently I realized how often being “hangry” was occurring in my weekly life. At the end of the work day when I can’t help but think about the dinner I’m going to make the second I walk into the door. When I’m on my way to the gym and get the pains of hunger, but decide to push through a workout and am thinking about food the whole time. When I don’t eat a snack before a late dinner with girlfriends and am tapping my leg a million miles an hour waiting for my food to be delivered at the restaurant.

Do you ever get this feeling? When you go too long without eating and become hungry, impatient, irritable and lastly, angry. Voila! You have reached not-so-pleasant stage of hanger. While you would assume the lack of nutrients and heightened sense of impatience would be negative, apparently we are scientifically more likely to be productive while hangry. This fascinating article from The Daily Beast says, “Hyper-focused and with our adrenal glands squirting out cortisol by the minute, we seize the day because when pushed to the state of famine….”  We instinctually capitalize on the feelings of a rumbling stomach because our brain triggers us to accomplish a task. This must describe why whenever I’m out shopping, I would rather just push through my to-do list than go home, eat, and go back out. In fact, as I’m writing this post right now, my stomach feels so empty, but I am too in the zone to go get a snack.

If we have the ability to avoid this state of being, why don’t we? We have grocery stores the size of a department store. Now even clothing stores and craft stores line food and candy strategically down the check-out rows for you to grab quickly. Women carry purses the size of a duffle bag, but yet we don’t keep any food in them. I have now learned the trick to always keep a small granola bar of baggie of nuts and raisins in my purse so at any given moment, I can save the people around me from my hungry-alter-ego and eat before I loose it. I bring popcorn to work so I can satisfy a craving and focus on work without hating everything about my life. After this research though, maybe I’ll let myself struggle in a state of hanger for a little while to check off my to-do list at work before reaching for a snack.

Do you find yourself experiencing the feeling of “hanger” often? Or do you avoid being hungry at all costs? Do you even think it’s possible to be more productive when you’re hungry? I would love to hear.

Love food. Love self. Love life.