Shameless Indulgence: Spicy Chicken Quesadillas

Over the weekend, I was incessantly hungry, and so I ate.  A lot.  I don’t know what was with me, but I would eat and then be hungry an hour later no matter what.  So I indulged, and it was glorious.

One such indulgence was this VEGAN Spicy Chicken Quesadilla, made with good old-fashioned commercial store-bought products.

I’m doing a juice cleanse later this week (for a review), so when I’m detoxing like crazy, I’ll know where to point the finger of blame…

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas 006…right here^

Here is how I made it:
1) I sauteed 1/2 a yellow onion (diced), 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1/3 of an orange bell pepper (diced), and 1/2 a jalapeno (minced) in 1 tsp. of coconut oil over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes.  I seasoned it with a little salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne.
2) When the veggies were starting to get slightly tender, I tossed in 6 strips of Beyond Meat southwest style strips (cubed) and browned everything together, another 3 minutes or so.  [Note: this makes enough filling for two quesadillas.]
3) I removed the veggies from the pan and set them aside.  In the same pan, I placed a corn tortilla (I use Trader Joe’s) and topped with about 1/3-1/2 cup Daiya pepperjack style shreds.  I warmed it for a minute until the Daiya started to look slightly melty.
4) I scooped the veggie and “chicken” mixture on top of the Daiya, then covered it with another corn tortilla.  I warmed it another minute, then flipped it and cooked it 1-2 minutes more until the Daiya was totally melted.

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas 002

5) I used a pizza cutter to slice it into four wedges, then topped it with salsa and feasted.

Is it 100% whole foods?  No.  Is it oil-free?  Negative.  I’m okay with this.  Hell, I’ve got a lot more Daiya and Beyond Meat to finish up so I’ll probably make it again (maybe after the cleanse though).  It was delicious.

Now for some real talk.

Sometimes I just need a little vegan junk food in my life.  I don’t have to feel shame when I indulge or when I buy and cook with convenience food.  Instead, I’m choosing to celebrate this weekend’s shameless indulgence by sharing it with all of you!

Food guilt is something I’ve been pondering a lot recently.  Laura recently wrote a post about letting go of food judgment and I think it was one of the things that set my wheels turning.  The trigger for me to finally write my own follow-up to her post was the minute of hesitation I felt today about sharing this not-terribly-healthy, semi-homemade “recipe,” worried about the reactions it would get.

As a food blogger, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and writing about food.  I am perpetually reading other people’s blogs and viewing glimpses of the food they eat and lifestyles they lead through the lens of my computer screen.  In turn, I open up on this forum and share parts of myself, my kitchen, my home, my marriage, with people all over the world.

I never consciously compare myself to others but lately I’ve wondered if it’s possible to not do it at least a little bit on a subconscious level.

We all have to make choices every day that pertain to our diets, our health, our work, our lifestyles.  These choices depend on our individual needs, body composition, constraints on our money and time, and any other number of things.  There is no one perfect model or perfect solution.   What works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

Another blogger isn’t “better” or “worse” than you because he or she uses Daiya in recipes, or doesn’t.  Another blogger isn’t necessarily “healthier” than you because he or she drinks a green smoothie for breakfast every. single. day.  We all should do what works for us as individuals.

It’s also important to keep in mind that what you see on someone’s blog or website is only what they choose to share publicly, and represents a very small portion of who they are.  Just because someone chooses to do, say, a themed week of salads on their blog doesn’t mean that they only eat salads and are somehow more “virtuous” than you.  I mean, maybe they do/are.  Or maybe they’re just picking a theme and sharing some nice recipes.  Either way, it’s not a contest of who is “better” or “healthier.”

I think we need to let go of food guilt and food judgment once and for all.  I don’t exactly have a solution for how to do this, as I’m clearly still working through it myself.  But I’m certainly ready to confront it, and I welcome the dialogue.

Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far!  As always I would be interested to read any of your thoughts in the comments section.