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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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.

Greek Lemon Potatoes (3)

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Homemade Yogurt

I have some serious rants about yogurt. Things that really just get my goat every time I buy it. We like it for breakfast, I use it in cooking and some baking but is it just me or is it outrageously expensive? I could easily spend $30+ a week on yogurt. I want to say that I do this without batting an eye but that’s just not true. There is a lot of eye-batting at the dairy counter. Plenty of blink-blinking going on! Making yogurt this way costs me $7 for 7-10 days worth! Another thing that causes excessive blinking is the ‘nutritional value’. When was the last time you looked at the nutritional information on your favourite yogurt? I’m usually pretty shocked by the amount of sugar and fat in one of those itty bitty containers. Itty. Bitty.

Which leads me straight into complaint #3 – Is there anybody out there that thinks a 2oz container of yogurt is satisfying? Aside from a 3 year old, that is. I’ve noticed over the years that the sugar content is going up but the servings are getting smaller. Ridiculous! Complaint #4 stems from the part of me that likes to know where my food comes from. I don’t know where the milk came from, what kind of process it went through, how long it sat before being fermented etc. So yeah, then there’s that. But we all know I like the easy things in life. Anything to make life a little more convenient, a little bit more tolerant of my laziness, I’m in. And we certainly know I love my slow cooker. Homemade yogurt has got to be one of the easiest kitchen experiences – EVER. I started off by making this on the stovetop. It’s a great method for small batches but is a smidge more high maintenance in that you really have to monitor the temperature. Make this once and you’ll never have to buy yogurt again. With this recipe you can control where you buy your milk and what you put in the yogurt in the way of flavor; as much or as little sugar as you want, fresh berries, honey – you choose! It’s perfect in every way – you can probably tell I’m passionate about my yogurt.

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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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Crockpot Curried Beef

Fall is coming. It has been such a hot, dry summer in Vancouver – a rarity to be sure! Basically overnight the temperature went from a range of 20-27 degrees celcius straight down to 9 degrees. Bring on the cool nights and solid sleep! I wake up so much more rested in the fall when the temperatures start to dip. When it comes to food though, I immediately start wanting hearty, bold and full dishes. Something simple but with serious flavor. I threw some stewing beef in the crockpot this morning with some from-scratch curry and as I left for work, asked Mike to give it a couple stirs throughout the day. I got a text around noon that said “what is in the crockpot because it smells f**k’n amazing!” I was excited to come home to a complete dinner but when I walked through the door a “woah” escaped my lips and I hoped the whole neighborhood could smell this. It smells crazy good and I couldn’t wait for the rice to be done. Heaven folks, pure curried heaven.

Curried Beef

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Coconut Curry Squash

Ahhh curry. Love of my life. Long lost friend. I feel like curry and I have a lot of making up to do. I grew up in a small town with one restaurant that was only open on and off, depending on current ownership. The closest city was an hour away and even then it didn’t distinguish itself as a happenin’ place in the culinary world. It’s a city very committed to its chain restaurants and independents never seemed to last long. That being said, there wasn’t a lot of ethnic food either. Not that any of that matters because my mother doesn’t like spicy food and my parents’ palate for foreign food never extended beyond the buffet line at the westernized Chinese food place. Naturally I grew up thinking I didn’t like so many things that now, I can’t live without. Sushi, pho, real Chinese and curries to name a couple. Imagine my delight when I discovered the deep complex flavors of my first good curry. It was so involved that I can actually remember exactly where I was! I like this recipe because it only has a few easy ingredients. It cooks up quickly and has enough spice to clear your sinuses (use less if that’s what you prefer) but it’s also super healthy and while I suggest serving it over rice for a complete meal, I really prefer just eating it as is.

Coconut Curry Squash (7)

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Vegan Raw Chocolate Pudding

Hey, I’m not going to lie to you; I like pudding. I think the same goes for most people. It’s delicious! But it isn’t healthy. By any stretch of the imagination. I actually found this pudding more satisfying than regular chocolate pudding. There’s no added sugar. There’s no dairy. It’s all healthy, digestable fats. This is healthy stuff but I can assure you, aside from a slight flavor distinction, you won’t know it’s good for you – and I’m willing to bet good money your kids won’t notice either! That and it better be good for me because I ate it ALL. (don’t judge)

Vegan Chocolate Pudding (2)

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