I recently stumbled upon a really fascinating study in Scientific American which analyzed “Which Character Strengths Are Most Predictive of Well-Being.” Among those traits  included in the survey were pretty highly valued qualities, like “judgment,” “love,” “spirituality,” and “bravery.” But what came out on top? According to the study, the single best predictor of well-being was gratitude.

My Everyday Burrito Bowl // michellearbus.comMy Everyday Burrito Bowl // michellearbus.com My Everyday Burrito Bowl // michellearbus.com

I’ve started realizing the older I get how damn hard it is to maintain gratitude. Surrounded by constant images of a better, flashier life (I’m looking at you, Instagram, Pinterest, design blogs), it’s so easy to feel like our lives are less-than. But it’s all around us in the world too: that friend has a better job, better style, owns a home. There’s a reason some people call it “practicing gratitude” – it’s something that requires conscious effort, day after day. If it was so easy, they’d just call it “achieving gratitude.” So, I’m continuing to strive for that special state, reinforcing those good things, keeping them close – day in, day out.

Today, I’m grateful for burrito bowls. And for someone special to share them with.

My Everyday Burrito Bowl // michellearbus.com My Everyday Burrito Bowl // michellearbus.comMy Everyday Burrito Bowl // michellearbus.com

My everyday burrito bowl
The kale salad and the amazing rice cooking method come from Cookie and Kate. This recipe makes enough for 2 big portions plus some leftovers for 2 smaller lunches

Current cooking music: Transgender Dysphoria Blues – Against Me

Pico de gallo
2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
½ small red onion, chopped finely
Juice of half a lime
¼ cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Lime-y Kale Salad
1 small bunch of kale (I used red kale)
¼ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

Roasted sweet potatoes with black beans
3 medium sized sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups cooked back beans (from a can, strained and rinsed)

For the bowls
2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa (this technique for brown rice has been a gamechanger for me )
1 ripe avocado, chopped
A handful of shredded or crumbled cheese (feta, goat, aged cheddar) (Optional)
Hot sauce of your choice
Optional: to make this more omnivorous, reduce the black beans by half, and add leftover shredded chicken or beef.

Make the pico de gallo: combine the tomatoes, chopped onion and chopped cilantro in a bowl. Mix in the lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste

Make the roasted sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into ½ inch size cubes. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the parchment paper, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil and spices. Spread them in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 mins, tossing occasionally until nice and brown.

While the sweet potatoes roast, make the kale salad: whisk the lime juice, olive oil, cumin and salt together. Pour dressing over kale and massage dressing into kale. Let sit to soften while you prepare everything else.

Once sweet potatoes are done, lift up parchment paper and pour sweet potatoes into a bowl with the black beans and toss together to help season the beans.

Assemble your bowls. Start with the brown rice, then add the kale, the sweet potatoes and black beans, and the pico. Top with shredded cheese (if using), avocado, and a drizzle of hot sauce.