Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Garlic

Ripe, colorful, sweet cherry tomatoes. Fresh, strong, pungent garlic. One of the things I miss about living in Victoria is the massive rosemary bush in my garden. That thing had a mind of its own and would mutate every time it rained. I would regularly cut it, post an ad on Craigslist and give bags of it away. Fresh rosemary all year round … I miss that and I’m looking forward to the day I can have an out of control rosemary bush again. Among other things! I love this recipe because it uses all fresh ingredients but it’s also so versatile. It can be used in pretty much anything. I often use it in casseroles, like a spaghetti squash casserole. It’s great as a simple addition to pasta or you can puree the tomatoes and garlic together and add them to a basic marinara. There is a face-punch of flavor, no matter how you use it. But fair warning: your house will smell irresistible!

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Coconut Cream Yogurt

Hi. I haven’t seen you guys in a while! It’s been a rough few months for me and I’m finally starting to get my stuff back together. My dad succumbed to cancer in July, somewhat unexpectedly so I took a month off of work to help mom sort things out. After that, I had no energy, too hot, too tired, too sad to focus on cooking and taking pictures and writing these posts up for you. At the beginning of August though, I hooked myself up with two personal trainers and I feel like my life is on a different track. A path that I could always see off in the distance but could never get to, one that I constantly thought about but could never pull the energy out of the depths for. So, I’ve been going to the gym. And I’ve been given a meal plan. And since August I’ve lost 16 pounds and in the last month I’ve lost 12.75 inches! It’s moments like this that I’m so grateful for this blog because if it weren’t for this and these recipes and all of the work I’ve put into learning how to cook healthy meals, a meal plan would be so much harder! My plan, for now, is gluten free and dairy free. I was already 90% there so I didn’t find this too difficult. This recipe helped me step over the roadblock I had with my homemade yogurt. My trainer was letting me still use the dairy yogurt but that’s all I was allowed to have. I wanted to eliminate it entirely and do the best that I can with this exercise ‘thing’. This recipe makes two servings so I have to make it more often but it takes less than 5 minutes to prep, a night in the oven and we’re done. It’s slightly more expensive but totally worth it as far as I’m concerned – I’m happy to have a sugar free, preservative free vegan yogurt for my morning snack. I’m still in love with the dairy yogurt though and hopefully I’ll be able to incorporate it back into my diet in small doses.

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Citrus Coffee Marinated Chicken

I wasn’t looking for a new chicken recipe yesterday. I had every intention of making my original Roasted Chicken recipe but when I started prepping everything, it turned into something totally different. I made something up, it sounded weird with a side of ‘could be good?’. I had a huge almost 7 pound chicken that was about to get freezer burn. I had some left over coffee from that morning’s fix. And I also had oranges. So I whipped up this little ditty with the hopes that it didn’t taste as weird as it sounded. Well, it smelled incredible. That’s a good sign right? My oven has some sort of weird magic it does where it cooks a 7 pound chicken in just under an hour. So, please keep that in mind if you use this on a whole chicken – your oven probably isn’t magic. This marinade would be just as great as a marinade for chicken pieces or maybe even pork chops! By the way … it was yummy. Super tender, not too citrusy, couldn’t pick out the coffee specifically. Delicious.
Citrus Coffee Marinated Chicken (16)

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Pork Tenderloin Paprikash

It’s absolutely no secret that I love pork tenderloin. The texture and flavor of it couldn’t be more perfect. It’s so tender, it cooks so quickly and it’s really not finnicky. You could easily use chicken breast or chicken thighs to make this if pork isn’t your thing. Actually, chicken is traditional but I had pork tenderloin I needed to use. So paprikash is a traditional Hungarian stew made using a paprika roux base. Don’t think stew stew though, this recipe does not take long to make at all – less than 30 minutes in total, and its ingredients are really quite simple. I prefer my paprikash chunky, I like the texture, some prefer to puree the sauce before adding the meat component, so I’ll let you decide which direction you want to take it. Either way you go – it’s a meal that I’m confident you’ll consistently go to during the week, the kids will love it. I want to know what you think of this one!

Pork Tenderloin Paprikash (16)

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No Bake PB Drop Cookies

Simple. That’s the only way to describe these. Actually that’s not true. One can also call them delicious. Mike prefer to call them ‘amazeballs’. I shared them at work (what was I thinking?!) Everyone loved them which is a good sign! But it means there were less cookies for me *sad face* But I’ve been even sadder ever since they disappeared. I was away from home for a few days, eating out, eating really poorly and aside from vegetables, all I could think of was these damn cookies. They take 5-10 minutes to prepare. An hour to cool and 5 more minutes to drop onto a pan. They taste like delicious little protein cookies but with better texture and dare I say even tastier! The oats lend a little crunch to them, the coconut gives them flavor depth and more texture and the honey is just perfectly sweet but not over powering. There is no added sugar (honey is the only sugar!) and if I had children, I would feel more than comfortable giving them these as a treat. Hell, they could even make them themselves! Well … with maybe a little supervision. What wasn’t simple about this recipe though, was what to call them! 

Chocolate PB Drop Cookies (13)

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Easy Butter Chicken

I feel like I could eat Butter Chicken every day of my life for the rest of my life. It honestly wouldn’t bother me because it’s so flavorful and delicious. There’s a picture of Butter Chicken beside the word ‘satisfaction’ in my personal dictionary. I won’t turn it down, even if it’s being used unconventionally. For example, the Schnitzel House in Abbotsford has a Butter Chicken Schnitzel and it’s yummy! I just went standard procedure with this, but I’m totally not disappointed and I trust that you won’t be either. Being a dish that’s really straight forward to make, it’s perfect for any day of the week and fast enough to be a good solution for an after work meal. Pair it with a simple basmati rice and dinner is served! Be forewarned though that even though this is a healthified version, it’s still pretty packed with fat. I take comfort in knowing what the ingredients are contributing to the fat content though and 12 WW points isn’t that outrageous for something that would really satisfy any of my cravings and make me continue to feel like I can do this weight loss thing. There are no surprise ingredients in this – just pure deliciousness!

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Greek Lemon Potatoes

If I had these potatoes and then never ate potatoes again, I’d probably die happy. These are the potatoes I dream about and if I’m going out for Greek food, it’s only because of these. Not that I don’t like everything else! But dreams need to be fulfilled ya know? Creamy and lemony and savory, this recipe is the closest I’ve ever had outside of a restaurant. And they couldn’t be easier to make! A little bit of marinating, an hour in the oven and you’re done. This recipe gives a new twist on side dishes, great for having people over, or if you just want something different from roasted or mashed potatoes.

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Chicken Phở

I crave phở like I crave sushi. Not often but every once in a while I just need some strong flavourful broth. I’ve had bad phở and I’ve had awesome phở and for me, it’s usually about the broth. Sometimes it’s too sweet, sometimes too fish-saucey and others give me the perfect balance of flavor depth. I don’t get very brave with tripe and what-not and stick to what I know with thin-sliced raw beef or chicken. The last restaurant bought phở I had was not very impressive. The beef slices were all stuck together in one big clump, hard to pull apart and mushy. Blech! It’s a good thing it’s cheap or I’d have a hard time spending money on it. Phở is one of those dishes that people don’t typically make at home because it’s ‘a labor of love’ and thus I had never even considered attempting it. So, naturally, I was a bit floored when I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. It’s actually quite simple, doesn’t have a million, complicated and inaccessible ingredients. The ingredients that you do need are super inexpensive and aside from the chicken I think I spent a total of $4 on this meal. It is time consuming though. All in all, it takes probably 3.5 hours to make but there certainly isn’t a lot of effort involved. Just a lot of simmering. I would consider this a perfect recipe for new and practicing cooks and the results are more than worth the time! I actually got so darn excited making it that I forgot to add basil and lime!

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Sweet & Spicy Cashew Chicken

This recipe is from the Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook. A friend photocopied it and gave it to me and it’s taken me a good year and a half to get around to making it. Quite unfortunate really because it’s incredibly delicious and surprisingly low in fat! I tried it out on friends last night and I think it was a winner. It’s absolutely packed with flavor and I think you’d be hard pressed to distinguish this dish from one in a restaurant! I served it over steamed Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) and Bok Choy although the picture shows it over rice.

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Rutabaga Honey Cake

Last year I received a rutabaga in my CSA box (Community Supported Agriculture) Rutabaga was certainly one of those vegetables that reminds my adult self how much my childhood self despised them. They’re kind of flavorless but have a distinct earthy, tangy smell when cooked. Distinct like celery, without smelling like celery. I wanted to use it in a way that wasn’t a stir-fry, boiling or basically just eating it. *ick* So a quick google search netted me a version of this recipe. It was already a gluten free recipe, so that was cool. I made it then promptly died and went to heaven. I haven’t made it since, though I often think about it. My last CSA box had a huge rutabaga in it. I could easily make 4 of these cakes, so I opted for doubling the recipe. I hate wasting food! I didn’t have brown rice flour on hand so I used gluten free all purpose and coconut flour instead. I think it made the rutabaga stand out a bit more and still tasted delicious. I’m pretty confident in saying you can probably use any flour you have available to you, inluding wheat flour, but keep in mind the density and textures will change with each flour variation.
Rutabaga Honey Cake (15)

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