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If you think a sweet potato is only good baked in a pie and topped with marshmallows or in the form of sweet potato fries (guilty), this stuffed sweet potato recipe will change your mind. Anyone that knows me will tell you my love obsession with Mexican cuisine. Bursting with those southwestern flavours, this is unlike any sweet potato dish you’ve ever had. It’s healthy, filling, and oh so satisfying.

The filling is a deliciously seasoned combination of corn, black beans, red onions, avocado and salsa, complimenting the light sweetness of the sweet potato beautifully. Admittedly, I’ve made this three days in a row for lunch and there may just be another sweet potato in the oven as I write this…

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Stuffed Southwestern Sweet Potato
[Serves 1]

Ingredients:
1 medium sweet potato
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, diced (optional)
1/4 cup corn
1/4 cup black beans
2 tbsp salsa (I use the freshly made kind from Whole Foods)
1/4 medium avocado, diced
1 tsp fresh lime juice
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
Cilantro leaves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper
2. Pierce sweet potato several times with a fork or small knife and place on baking sheet
3. Bake sweet potato until tender, approximately 45 mins to an hour (depending on the size of your sweet potato)
4. Let cool slightly, then make a slit lengthwise and pull apart to make room for the filling
5. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a pan
6. Add red onion, garlic and jalapeño and sauté for 3-4 minutes
7. Add corn and black beans and stir until heated through
8. Take mixture out on a bowl and add salsa, avocado, lime juice, salt and pepper and stir to combine
9. Spoon mixture into sweet potato and top with hot sauce and cilantro

Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Calories: 345, Total Fat: 12g, Carbs: 54g, Fiber: 12g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 8g, Sodium: 412mg

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gca3
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This Indian-Asian chicken preparation is one of my favourite go-tos. A cross between a stirfry and curry with lots of ginger flavour and a touch of sweetness coming from mango chutney. Requires a little bit of prep but is so easy to put together. Perfect way to end the cold, snowy day we had in Toronto yesterday! I like a lot of gravy so the rice can soak it up but you can reduce the amount of broth and make a more dry preparation as well.

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Ginger Chicken with Almonds
[Serves 4]

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch thick strips
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger plus 1/4 cup julienned fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp oil
4 large scallions, thinly sliced
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mango chutney
3/4 cup chicken broth (use more or less depending on how much gravy you want)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (preferably toasted–I forgot to)

Directions:
1. Toss chicken with ground coriander, grated ginger, garlic, 1 tbsp oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl
2. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or longer/overnight in the fridge)
3. Stir together chutney, broth, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside
4. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in a wok or non-stick pan over medium-high heat
5. Add scallions (white and light green parts) and julienned ginger
6. Stir-fry 30-45 seconds
7. Add chicken and stir-fry until thoroughly cooked
8. Add scallion greens and chutney mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes
9. Sprinkle with almonds and serve over hot rice

Enjoy!

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mogc1
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You know those winter days where you want to eat a big hearty bowl of something delicious but for it to still be healthy so you don’t hate yourself afterwards? Well this dish is pretty perfect for that. Simple to make yet so filling and satisfying. The salty, savoury taste of miso mixed with the citrus from the orange & the herby tarragon makes for a pretty unique flavour combination.

I would’ve preferred to use thighs but my butcher was all out so I used breasts instead. Still turned out great but I’d recommend making it with chicken thighs if you can. You can throw it together on a weeknight without too much fuss & have leftovers for lunch the next day!

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Miso Orange Glazed Chicken with Carrots & Leeks
(adapted from Clean Eating Magazine)
[Serves 4]

Ingredients:
Olive oil cooking spray
4 large carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
2 large leeks, white and green parts, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1⁄2-inch thick
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dried thyme
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
2 lb bone-in chicken, skin removed (8 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts cut in half)
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Juice of 1 large orange
2 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp Sriracha (or other hot sauce)
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F and mist a roasting pan with cooking spray
2. In a large bowl, add carrots, leeks and half of each of the following: oil, garlic, ginger, thyme, pepper and salt. Toss to coat.
3. Spread in a single layer on prepared pan
4. To same bowl, add chicken and remaining half of oil, garlic, ginger, thyme, pepper and salt
5. Mix and place chicken over vegetables
6. Add broth evenly over entire chicken & vegetables
7. Roast on center oven rack for 20 minutes
8. Turn chicken and gently stir vegetables and cook for another 10-15 minutes
9. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine orange juice, miso, honey, Sriracha and tarragon
10. Pour over cooked chicken and vegetables and cook for another 2-3 minutes

Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Calories: 346, Total Fat: 13.5g, Sat. Fat 3g, Carbs: 26g, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 13.5g, Protein: 29g, Sodium: 584mg, Cholesterol: 128mg

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omlette (1)

A little indulgent for everyday (read: copious amounts of cheese), but this omelette makes for a pretty perfect start to a Sunday morning. Hearty and filling, loaded with cremini mushrooms & Havarti cheese with a subtle spicy kick from the jalapeños.

Omlette

Mushroom, Cheese & Jalapeño Omelette
[Serves 1]

Ingredients:
1 tbsp oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup egg whites
2 tbsp milk
1/2 jalapeño, de-seeded & finely diced
1/2 tbsp, chopped cilantro
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
2 slices Havarti cheese

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a medium pan
2. Whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, jalapeños, cilantro, salt & pepper
3. Pour the egg mixture into pan, tilting the pan to spread evenly
4. Let the eggs firm up slightly (about a minute) and the mushrooms on top
5. Cook for another minute or two, until egg mixture holds together
6. Using a spatula, flip the omelette over and cook for another 30 seconds
7. Add sliced cheese to one half on the omelette, and using your spatula flip the other half over
8. Serve immediately

Enjoy!

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My mom has been out of the country for a few weeks now, and the younger bro & I have desperately been missing Mama’s cooking. Even though it wouldn’t come remotely close to the magic she puts in it, I thought I would get her recipe for one of my favourite dishes she makes and try my hand at it. Something about the combination of succulent chicken in a silky spinach gravy is just so comforting to me. This is also the perfect way to sneak in some greens for those who are fussy over the taste. Serve it over rice or with some homemade naan.

Palak Chicken
[Serves 4]

Ingredients:
300g frozen spinach, thawed
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
4-5 cardamom pods (lightly crush with fingers)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp chili powder (adjust depending on your spice preference)
Salt, to taste
12oz boneless chicken, cubed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp minced ginger
1/4 cup tomato paste

Directions:
1. In a small pot, boil the thawed spinach with a little water for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
2. Using a blender, purée the cooked spinach and set aside
3. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil on medium-high heat
4. Add onions and cook until translucent
5. Add cardamom pods, turmeric, chili powder and salt. Stir well
6. Add chicken, garlic, ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink
7. Add tomato paste, and cook for about 5 minutes or until oil starts to separate
8. Reduce heat and add the puréed spinach
9. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes
10. Garnish with coriander and green chilies

Enjoy!

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garlicnaan (1)

I have been itching to try making some homemade naan for a really long time now. My inner Pakistani is actually quite disappointed with how long it’s taken for me to finally come around to making some. However, the first time was quite the success! I looked at tons of recipes and ones that included yogurt just seemed to speak to me. The process although slightly involved was much easier than I thought it would be. And the result? Warm, soft, pillowy goodness.

Garlic Naan

Perfect for sopping up curry like my Pepper Chicken Chettinad or the Palak Chicken Curry I made with it. Naans are traditionally cooked in a tandoor, but obviously not many of us have the luxury of having one around. I just used a baking sheet and the broil setting on my oven to make these, but a pizza stone would work great or even just the stove-top. If you’re a fan of making South Asian food at home, you must add this wonderful recipe to your flatbread arsenal!

Garlic Naan
[Makes 4]

Ingredients:
2 cups bread flour (you can also use all-purpose)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/8 cup hot water (but not boiling)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup greek yogurt

Topping
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
1/8 cup melted butter

Directions:
1. Take a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
2. In a deep mug, dissolve the yeast in the hot water. Add the sugar, and stir it until they are dissolved. Let it rest for about 10 minutes (it should start smelling like bread already!)
3. Once the yeast is foamy and almost double in size, add the warm milk and yogurt
4. Pour wet mixture to the dry ingredients mixture and mix well
5. Using your hands, knead and form into a soft ball (it will feel weird and sticky but that’s how it should feel)
6. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest for at least an hour or until it doubles in volume
7. Punch down the dough lightly and divide it into 4 portions
8. Using your hands (and some loose flour), shape into individual round balls
9. On a well floured surface, use a rolling pin and roll each ball until 1/4 inch thick
10. Heat your oven to broil on 500 degrees
11. Place rolled out dough on a well-greased baking sheet
12. Brush each piece with melted better and top with chopped garlic and cilantro
13. Bake for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown
14. Flip naans over and cook the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes
15. Brush with more butter if desired and serve hot

Enjoy!

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bananabreaddonuts
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I was requested assigned to make dessert for game night at my cousin’s place on Sunday. I normally opt for a layered dessert of some sort on family gatherings, but game night seemed to call for a more…hand-held sweet treat perhaps? Plus, those bananas I bought on last week’s grocery run were desperately calling my name to be used. Ripe bananas on their death bed almost always go into banana bread, but plain ol banana bread didn’t seem exciting enough. Decided to use that as a perfect excuse to go and buy myself a donut pan. And topping these bad boys with a chocolate coconut frosting was most definitely a win. I also decided to make these vegan for the influx of vegan followers I got after my Curried Quinoa Salad was featured on Finding Vegan :).

Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread Donuts
[Makes 12 Donuts]

Ingredients:
Donuts
1 1/4 cup all- purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ripe bananas, pureed
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting
1/3 cup chocolate spread (I used this)
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:
1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
2. Lightly grease a donut pan and set aside
3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt
4. In a separate bowl, whisk banana puree, sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla until smooth
5. Add banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined
6. Spoon batter into a piping bag and pipe into donut pan (gets a little messy doing it without this technique)
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until donuts are golden brown
8. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, before turning onto a rack to cool completely
9. For the frosting, warm milk slightly then mix in chocolate spread and icing sugar until smooth. Let cool
10. Dip donuts into frosting and sprinkle generously with coconut flakes

Enjoy!

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udonsoup
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My favourite way to cook is not following a rigid recipe, but just perusing through my fridge & pantry, see what I have on hand and put something comforting together tasting as I go along. I did just that last night and it resulted in this delicious noodle bowl with a fusion of Japanese and Thai flavours.

Chicken Udon Noodle Soup

Chicken Udon Noodle Bowl
[Serves 4]

Ingredients:
100g udon noodles
4 cups chicken broth
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
2 Thai chili peppers
Juice of 2 limes
Zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 cup unsweetened light coconut milk
8oz boneless chicken breasts, diced
2 cups baby bok choy
Fresh cilantro
Red chili flakes

Directions:
1. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside
2. Bring broth, ginger, thai chilies, lime juice, lime zest and rice vinegar to a boil
3. Reduce heat to medium-low, add chicken and coconut milk
4. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally
5. Add reserved noodles and bok choy, cook stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes
6. Garnish with cilantro and red chili flakes

Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Calories: 232, Total Fat: 5g, Sat. Fat 3g, Carbs: 29g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 12g, Protein: 20g, Sodium: 335mg, Cholesterol: 33mg

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Alas, here we are…the final instalment of my California food adventures series. In case you missed them, here’s Part I, II and III. Did I save the best for last? You know what…I just might have. Irori Sushi in Marina Del Ray was by far the best sushi I have ever eaten in my life. We only had sushi once while we were down in California and boy, did we get lucky discovering this little gem. The interior imitates a traditional Japanese sushi experience, with a no-shoes policy and floor seating.

After a lot of deliberation, I settled on ordering the Yellowtail Sashimi and their signature Irori Roll. It’s honestly difficult for me to even describe how amazing everything was. The flavour combinations were so unique and the fish was incredibly fresh. I haven’t been able to eat any sushi since because I don’t want to ruin my beautiful sushi memories at Irori. My friend ordered the Baked Lobster Roll and the Scallops and both of her dishes were out-of-this-world delicious. I cannot recommend this place enough if you are ever in the Marina Del Ray/Santa Monica area.

Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño, Coriander and Ponzu sauce
Front: Irori Roll — Chunk Tuna, Coriander, Avocado & Crispy Onions. Back: Baked Lobster Roll

Next up? San Diego! Even though it hasn’t really been showcased much in my pictures, I had my fair share of fish tacos while I was down in Cali (even some in Mexico!) and the best ones I had were definitely at L’Auberge Del Mar. A delicious combination of grilled fish, cabbage, pickled onions and spicy aioli with a view overlooking the Pacific Ocean? You can’t go wrong.

Fish Tacos at L'Auberge Del Mar
Chips, Guacamole & Salsa at L'Auberge Del Mar

And lastly, here’s some notable mentions from the rest of the trip:

Custom made chocolate bar from Chocolate Lab at Sweet! Hollywood. I chose a milk chocolate base with a Nutella filling, whole almonds, pretzel pieces and toffee bits.
An assortment of delicious pastries from Porto's Bakery & Cafe in Burbank. L to R: Cream Cheese Roll, Coconut Strudel, Peanut Butter Cookie & Guava Roll. I also had the Guava Smoothie which literally tasted like melted guava candies. SO good.
Nutella & Peanut-butter Crêpe at Krafty Krepes in La Jolla. Do I really need to go into detail with this one?!

Thank you so much for joining me in reminiscing my food journey all over California! What’s the best thing you have ever eaten on vacation? Let me know in the comments!

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Our last day in San Francisco was spent strolling along beautiful Fishermen’s Wharf. Around Pier 39, this beautiful building caught my eye.

Boudin

A whole bakery dedicated to sourdough?! Don’t mind if I do…

The inside was even more captivating! The location on the Wharf is their flagship store with big glass windows where you can see the bakers working their magic. We couldn’t get over this adorable transport system that went from kitchen to counter:

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Aw…look at those little bread baskets go! I picked up some goodies from the store to take home and ordered the Margherita Pizza which was perfectly delicious with an incredible sourdough crust (as expected).

Margherita Pizza from Boudin Bakery & Cafe

You can’t come to San Francisco and not have some chowder, right? And at the Wharf, there’s almost as many chowder places as there are people! Decided to try some at the infamous Crab House and even though I am not a shellfish fan, this chowder had my tastebuds dancing for quite a while.

Crab House

Good thing we did so much walking that day, because I was giddy with excitement over that evening’s dinner plans. We had reservations at Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys! Chef Keller is one of my favourite chefs and I couldn’t be more grateful for an opportunity to eat at his signature restaurant. It was an absolutely wonderful experience with exceptional service and an amazing prix fixe menu. The pictures below aren’t the greatest quality since they’re just quick snaps from my cell phone but I had to share them with you guys!

Top Left: Virgin Mango Guava Cosmopolitan. Left Center: First amuse-bouche compliments of the chef — Chilled Melon Soup & Pine Nut Currant Salad. Bottom Left: Second amuse-bouche — Pumpkin Gratin with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. Top Right: Appetizer Course — Avocado & Frisée Salad with Seared Watermelon, Beets & Golden Panisses. Bottom Right: Second Course — Alaskan Halibut with Black Pepper Butter, Pea Greens, Carrot Emulsion, Pea Soup with Roasted Baby Carrots & Parmesan Cream.
Top: Third Course — Rye Crusted Scottish Salmon with Cabbage Three Ways, Buttered Rye Toast, Radishes, Picked Mustard Seed & Caraway Jus. Bottom Left: Dessert Course — Fleurburger (Lightly Spiced Dark Chocolate Ganache in a Home-made Beignet) with Banana Milkshake & Frozen Fennel Ice Cream. Bottom Right: Assortment of Madeleines and Tarts, compliments of the chef

Coming soon: Part IV of the series where we make our way back to LA and head to San Diego. And in case you missed them, here’s Part I and II.

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