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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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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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Happy 2014! How’s everyone doing with their healthy eating resolutions? I for one, cherish every last minute under my warm, cozy comforter before bracing out in this mind-numbingly cold weather. So waking up a bit early to prep lunch for the workday has been fairly unattainable these days.

Luckily, I’ve discovered the perfect make-ahead lunch: the mason jar salad. Gorgeous layers of greens, veggies and protein in a portable and convenient package! The possibilities are endless with these, but here’s my favourite combination of the moment.

Super Simple Salad with Honey Lime Cilantro Dressing

Super Simple Salad with Honey Lime Cilantro Dressing
[Serves 1]

Ingredients:
1-2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2-3 roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium-sized cucumber, diced
1/2 mango, diced

Honey Lime Cilantro Dressing:
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tsp raw honey
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt, a pinch
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Starting with lettuce, layer all the salad ingredients in a mason jar
2. For the dressing, stir together lime zest lime juice, honey, cilantro leaves, salt and pepper
3. Slowly drizzle olive oil into mixture while whisking
4. Store dressing and salad separately in the refrigerator until ready to use

Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Calories: 326, Total Fat: 5g, Sat. Fat 7g, Carbs: 67g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 37g, Protein: 9g, Sodium: 398mg

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cqs2
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I got hit with the dreaded Facebook timeline yesterday. My cousin warned me that all posts become public so I should go through my profile and delete what I may not want the world seeing. I scrolled all the way down and started making my way up. Some posts made me cringe, some brought a smile to my face—oh the memories that are retained by having your life up on a social platform for the last 7 years. Then I came across October 31, 2006 and time stopped for a minute. I remember the day like it was yesterday. My first time having avocados.

Yes, I was introduced to avocados quite late in life and it was all thanks to my dear friend Calla Lee. She took me to a deli at our university campus and ordered me an avocado sandwich. Who knew two slices of bread with some green mush in the middle could taste so amazing?! My love affair with avocados has been going strong since. All I could think about after reading that post was avocados (and Calla—I do dearly miss Calla). I went to work and thought about avocados all day. I had a 15 minute conversation with my boss about avocados. We even looked up grocery stores near work so I could get me some avocados for dinner.

I’m surprised I was able to restrain myself from cutting the avocado open and just have the whole thing by itself. I’m glad I did though…because it resulted in this quinoa salad. And it was delicious.

Curried Quinoa Salad
[Serves 2]

Ingredients:
1/2 cup quinoa
1 tsp coconut oil (olive oil works too)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup corn
3/4 cup black beans
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
4 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1-2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
Salt, to taste

Directions:
1. Rinse quinoa well
2. Place 1 cup water and quinoa in a saucepan over medium-high heat
3. Bring to a simmer, then cover and let cook for 15 minutes
4. Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and set aside
5. Heat oil in a pan
6. Add onions and garlic, saute for 2 minutes
7. Add green pepper and corn, let caramelize for 5-7 minutes
8. In a bowl add beans, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, cooked quinoa and vegetable mixture
9. Make a dressing with the lime juice, curry powder, chili powder and salt
10. Drizzle over salad and mix well

Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Calories: 392, Total Fat: 12g, Sat. Fat 3.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4.8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.7g, Carbs: 64g, Fiber: 16g, Sugars: 5.5g, Protein: 14g, Sodium: 520mg, Cholesterol: 0mg

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As promised, here is the accompanying beverage to our pineapple featured entrée from yesterday. Get those taste buds whisked away to the tropics. All for under a 100 calories!

Guilt Free Pina Colada
(adapted from Clean Eating Magazine)
[Serves 2]

Ingredients:
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup coconut water
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 tsp raw honey
1 cup crushed ice

Directions:
1. In a blender, mix all ingredients until well combined
2. Pour into glasses rimmed with lime juice and toasted coconut

Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Calories: 98, Total Fat: 3g, Sat. Fat 3g, Carbs: 20g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 12g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 135mg, Cholesterol: 0mg

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