After almost a decade of marriage and two beautiful kids, it goes without saying: romance in a long-term relationship can get a little stale. A little tired. A little dried up. A little…well, non-existent.
Prior to marriage, there was always a constant and steady flow of sentimental moments, tender embraces, romantic interludes, stolen glances and embarrassingly naive, yet genuine demonstrations of young, fresh love.
Then, a few years into our marriage, some unfamiliar and curiously inexplicable (well, at the time) mood infiltrated our home and our relationship. Was it old age? Possibly. Was it kids? Probably. Were we sick of seeing each other’s faces? Maybe. Whatever it was, it negatively impacted our lives; a sentimental moment turned into a ‘practical’ debate about household to-dos and the tender embrace was now a painfully awkward clutch.
It dawned on my husband and I that a certain amount of ‘investment’ was required to sustain a healthy and happy relationship. No longer could we continue to deplete our reservoir of young love. It was time to take action and do something about the doldrums of a marriage we had created.
As part of my efforts to scale up the romantic gestures, I concentrated my efforts on the kitchen. Once a week, I’d break out the fine china, dim the lights, spray on the perfume, tolerate the 5-inch heels and serve my man the biggest, juiciest, most succulent piece of filet mignon (or roast chicken, or t-bone or some other variation of animal protein) with a side of potatoes and maybe, just maybe, some non-starchy vegetable. What better way to demonstrate to my sweetheart the essence of everlasting love by offering him a home cooked meal fit for a macho, hunk of a man?
We would stuff ourselves to the point of no return – literally. All the meat and potatoes we ate slowly digested in our stomachs, bloated us, and made us fall into a deep food-induced coma right on the couch.
Approximately three years ago, my husband took a much needed physical exam. The results of that exam still send shivers up our spines. My husband’s health trajectory was something that of a train wreck. Cholesterol? Abnormally high. Blood pressure? Frightening. Not only were my weekly romantic gestures aiding in the death of my husband, but they also were useless in spurring any new found passion and spark.
I love my husband, but I’ve discovered that I really love more than just the person he is; I am also passionate about his arteries. Since the exam, I’ve made it my mission to showcase my love by making a couple of changes to my wining and dining menu (in addition to our everyday diet). Without too much detail (we are still a work in progress), I’d say it has done wonders for our energy levels, our health and our relationship. By serving meals like this robust, yet flavorful vegetarian enchilada, my husband and I feel less like sunbathing rhino and more like cheetahs on the Serengeti, at full speed (75 mph).
Make this version of the traditional Mexican enchilada for your loved one and I guarantee your partner (and his/her arteries) will love you for it.
1 cup of brown rice
1 zucchini, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 garlic, minced
½ cup of corn
1 cup of black beans and/or kidney beans
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 teaspoon of cumin
½ teaspoon of chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
10-12 small corn tortillas
Enchilada Sauce (you can buy, but I’d recommend making as some recipes, like this one, are quick/simple)
Cheese (optional – for the top)
In a large sauté pan, add the oil, cumin and chili pepper. Fry for about 1-2 minutes on low heat or until the spices become fragrant. Add the onions, carrot and garlic and cook until the onions become translucent. Add the salt and pepper. Then, add the zucchini, beans and corn and cook for 3-5 minutes. Finally, add the rice and cook until all the ingredients are well combined. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Warm the enchilada sauce and add about ½ – 1 cup (depending on how much the rice absorbs the sauce) to your rice mixture. Coat the bottom of a baking dish (about 9×13) with some sauce.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Dip one corn tortilla into the warmed sauce and then scoop about 1/3 cup of the rice mixture into the tortilla. Fold over three times to enclose the rice mixture and place into the baking dish, seam side down. Do this to all of the corn tortillas.
Ladle over 2-3 cups of enchilada sauce and add cheese (optional). Bakes for 15-20 minutes, or until the top of the enchiladas are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!