Restaurant Spotlight: El Burrito Mercado

If there ever was a place I would consider a ‘hidden gem’ in the twin cities area, it’s El Burrito Mercado.

It’s literally hidden. In the middle of nowhere St. Paul, Minnesota. You couldn’t find this place without a solid GPS, that’s for sure. It took me going there 3 times to finally remember the route, which is saying a lot because I’m pretty good at directions 😉

Once you get there, it’s all about the food. It’s a market (hence ‘mercado’) with the tiniest restaurant on the side. It’s pretty much cafeteria style, but they have a sit down restaurant around the corner. I’ve yet to eat at the restaurant portion because why would I want to wait long for my food when I can drop in and get a plate of tacos or tamales in 5 minutes flat?

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That’s the beauty of this place. You get great quality, fresh food in the time it takes you to order a Whopper at BK. The fast service definitely makes up for the 30 minute drive across the city.

Let’s talk about the food. The menu is semi-small but it’s not lacking great options to choose from. They have everything from sopes (thick open face tacos) to tortas and tacos and huarache (oblong corn dough cooked on the griddle then topped with meat). They have anywhere from 5-9 different kinds of meat, depending on the day. My absolute favorite item on their menu is the tamales though. They’re tender and flavorful and everything I love about Mexico. Nothing beats the taste of fresh corn dough.

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When it comes to Mexican food, I’m a firm believer in CORN tortillas. FLOUR tortillas are a joke in my book. Nothing should be put on a flour tortilla, not even cheese filled quesadillas. At El Burrito (we’re on a first name basis) they even serve their quesadillas on corn tortillas (picture above, along with their AMAZING tamales).

I can’t mention this place without talking about their breakfast menu. First of all, what Mexican place do you know that serves a killer breakfast? Maybe I’m a bit bias because they serve their tamales for breakfast, but I just can’t get over the fact that I can get a tamale, meat, two sides and tortillas for under $8. Crazy!! The Twinny swears by their breakfast chilaquiles with eggs, but I can’t not get tamales when I go.

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Other food worth mentioning are their massive burritos and enchiladas (pictured at the top). I mean everything on their menu is destined to be killer since they have great meat options and they’re using corn tortillas. That’s a recipe for a solid restaurant! Plus I can go to the market on the other side, and pick up some plantains for lunch the next day 🙂


Frittata for One, Please

What do you do when you’re swimming in sweet potatoes, but sick of the same old recipe of roasting them?

You spiralize them and throw them into a pan of ghee and add eggs!

So simple, yet so delicious.

I have a bit of rant today just because it’s been brewing in my mind lately, but I don’t understand people who don’t know how to cook. Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up watching Food Network and idolizing Ina Garten, but I just don’t understand how someone can’t read a recipe and make something edible out of it. I feel like recipes are pretty self-explanatory. Am I wrong?! This frittata took no talent to throw together unless you consider sautéing a vegetable talent… or maybe preheating an oven is hard for people… I will never understand.

Okay, I’m done with that but at least I give you a frittata recipe in return for listening to me!


Veggie Frittata

2 eggs
2 tbsp coconut milk
1 sweet potato, spiralized
2 handfuls arugula
1/2 tbsp ghee
salt & pepper

// Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk eggs with coconut milk.
Sauté sweet potato in a small pan with ghee until slightly tender, then add the arugula.
Once the arugula has wilted, add the egg mixture.
Let cook on the stove for a couple minutes until the sides have set, then put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the top has set.

Consider yourself a cook now 😉


Coconut Flour Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (dairy, grain, sugar-free, paleo)

Lately I’ve had this urge to bake EVERYTHING I SEE. The only thing that’s stopping me is my inability to stop eating my baked goods 5 seconds out of the oven. Rachel’s willpower = NONE. Then something changed. I woke up Sunday morning without an appetite. I thought, now is the perfect time to make something delicious that will last long enough for at least my roommates to snag a few bites.

You see, I love sharing my food and enlightening people on how good paleo recipes can be. I get a lot of weird looks for things I eat or make, but that’s just because they don’t know what it is. My roommates had never heard of coconut or tapioca flour, but as soon as they tried these cinnamon rolls, all weary notions were out the window.

Honestly though, these cinnamon rolls could make a believer out of anyone! THEY’RE SOOOO GOOD!

The texture isn’t dry and cakey like most coconut flour recipes. The rolls are super moist, chewy and oh so gooey! I dare you to stop yourself from eating just one, like me (though I had another for “dessert”).

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (Recipe adapted from The Spunky Coconut)

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup tapioca or arrowroot flour
2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
2 tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients:
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I used 1/2 pumpkin & 1/2 mashed banana for sweetness)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut sugar (I used less than 1/4 because I used the banana)

// Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk dry ingredients together. It’s very important so that the psyllium husk doesn’t clump up.
Combine wet ingredients in a bowl.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix really well using an electric mixer.
Press the dough out into a rectangle on parchment paper until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, and sprinkle with flour.
Spread filling evenly over dough.


Roll up dough and cut into 8 pieces.
Place the rolls in a pan, spreading them out.
Bake for 30 minutes, and let them set for about 10 minutes before eating.

I enjoyed them hot and straight outta the fridge 🙂



Not Grandma’s Egg “Salad”

Ya know how I was complaining about the insane amount of eggs I’ve been eating lately (here) well this recipe is the reason!

I always have a bowl of hard boiled eggs chillin’ in my fridge if I come home from class starving (all the time), or I’m snacking out of boredom, which definitely happens more than I would like to admit…

But how can you feel bad when you’re snacking on eggs, which are one of the most complete sources of protein and have all the healthy fats you need to stay full?

Then enter even more healthy fats in my most favorite form (besides coconut oil because I can drink that stuff), the Avocado.

The mighty super food!

This recipe is fantastic to have sitting in you fridge because it can be used as dip for veggies, like carrots or celery, or just eat it plain over arugula and spinach. If you’re me, you enjoy it most when it’s fresh outta the container, while standing at the fridge with a spoon! Basically it can be eaten in any way and with anything your heart desires and boy is it filling. One batch will have you full for hourssssss!!


Avocado Egg Salad

3 hard boiled eggs
1/2 of an avocado
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of salt

// Mash eggs and avocado together, and then add the lemon and salt.

So creamy and delicious you won’t be able to stop eating it 🙂

Coconut Flour Pancakes (with Gelatin)

I’m always on the quest for the best coconut flour recipes. It’s my go-to flour when it comes to baking because I try to stay away from nuts, so ta-ta almond flour. When I came across this recipe I just had to try, and it helped that I had all the ingredients on hand to whip up in my hungover state.


I’ve posted this coconut flour recipe.

And this almond flour recipe for pancakes.

But today I bring you my new favorite!

The addition of the gelatin makes them very moist and fluffy which is sometimes hard to do with coconut flour, plus gelatin has tons of health benefits. After spending a large majority of my weekend indulging in some not so ‘paleo’ foods I was really in need of some extra gut healing in the form of pancakes, ya know?


Coconut Flour Pancakes with Gelatin (recipe adapted from Empowered Sustenance)
Serves 1

2 eggs
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tbsp gelatin (I use this)
1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Ghee for cooking

// Whisk the coconut flour and gelatin in a small bowl.
Add the eggs and coconut oil and whisk well.
Pour in the coconut milk and cinnamon and whisk until super fluffy.
Let the batter sit for 10 minutes for coconut flour to absorb some of the liquid.
Heat a pan over medium heat and add ghee to pan.
Pour heaping tablespoons into the pan and cook until center and edges look opaque, then flip and cook another 2 minutes.
Makes about 6 small pancakes.


No Bake Protein Bars (grain, sugar, dairy free, paleo)

Hellooooo Fall. I’m not adjusting to the drop in temperature in Minnesota very well, so I’m spending a lot of time cozied up in my apartment either cooking or just lounging with a cup of tea and my thoughts.

One thought that came to my mind is, how do I cut down my egg consumption? I generally eat around 4 eggs a day which can be a bit excessive, so I was thinking of some new portable ways to get protein in me while I’m running from class and work.

The first month of school I had been eating Epic bars as my breakfast with a banana, but as soon as those bars go back to full price at Whole Foods, I bail. I’m not too happy to spend $3 on a not very substantial breakfast, but the $2 when on sale was more appealing. My stash ran out, so I turned to hard boiled eggs, but when my dinner is usually fried or poached eggs and veggies, I got sick of the egg world.

Enter the wonderful protein bar.

I usually put hemp protein powder in my smoothies, but most days I can’t take a smoothie with me to class, so I needed something I could throw in my bag for later, but it had to utilize my protein powder. I found this recipe on one of my favorite paleo blogs, and changed it a bit for my liking. They’re also no bake which makes them easy to whip up and freeze for a quick breakfast or snack.


No Bake Apple Pie Protein Bars (recipe adapted from The Big Man’s World)

1 1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup protein powder ( I used this hemp protein)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup pumpkin seed butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce (I used my crockpot recipe)
1/4 cup coconut milk

// Put all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Melt the pumpkin seed butter and maple syrup in the microwave until very soft.
Combine all ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix well.
Add more coconut milk if too dry.
Push into a parchment lined baking pan or loaf pan for thicker bars.

Portion into individually wrapped bars and freeze until class time or snack time!


Crockpot Applesauce (Fall in a bowl)

I never knew how deep my love for applesauce was until I made it myself.

After returning with pounds and pounds of apples from a weekend at home with my parents; I knew there was no way I could eat 30 apples before they went bad, and baking a bunch of apple pies wasn’t really gonna help my waistline.

Applesauce it is, and I can tell you after eating half of the crockpot already, this stuff is making all my Fall dreams come true. It still has texture from some of the apples that didn’t completely melt, but the addition of the cinnamon and vanilla after it’s cooking is where the real magic happens. Sitting down with a bowl of warm cinnamon applesauce is one of the greatest things about Fall (or life in general). Especially when the air is crisp and you’re watching Scream Queens (so bad, but so good) all day.

I highly suggest you hit up your nearest orchard this weekend and pick up as many apples as your little arms can carry, and gently toss them in your crockpot. The smell alone makes it worth it!


Crockpot Applesauce

15 apples, chopped
1/2 cup water
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

// Throw apples and water in the crockpot and put on low for 6 hours.
Use a potato masher to mash the apples once done.
Remove from crockpot and add lemon, cinnamon and vanilla.

Bring entire crockpot bowl to the couch and eat away 😉

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