Sunday, August 24, 2014

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese & Walnut Salad

I absolutely love getting Beet Salads when I'm out at restaurants but had never tried making one at home before. Since we have been going to the local farmers markets every weekend lately, I have been able to buy the most amazing local beets.

Beets from our local Farmers Market
You can always roast a bunch of beets ahead of time and keep in fridge. Then when you want to make a salad, just take them out and slice them up!

  • 2 Golden Beets
  • 2 Red Beets
  • Bag of Arugula (or Rocket)
  • 2 tbsp of Goat Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • Dressing - Mix the following: Balsamic Vinaigrette (or Apple Cider Vinaigrette), Olive Oil, Honey, clove of Garlic, Salt, Pepper

Roasting Beets:
  1. Cut off top and bottom of beet
  2. Clean beets
  3. Place 1-2 beets in aluminum foil bags
  4. Place all bags on baking tray in oven (place additional foil on tray to prevent beet juice spilling)
  5. Bake for approx 45 min on 350F (will differ with size of beets)
  6. Ready to go with knife easily slides into beet
  7. Let cool 
  8. Slice into bite sized pieces\
  9. Enjoy on arugula with sprinkled walnuts and goat cheese

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thai Red Curry Salmon Patties with Sweet Chili Ginger Sauce

We recently built new bookshelves at our house and now all the cookbooks are right there in front of me! There are two asian cookbooks made by a restaurant on the Sunshine Coast called Spirit House.

New bookshelf made from reclaimed timber
Spirit House is probably my favourite restaurant I've been to here in Australia so far. It is Thai/Indonesian food and in a gorgeous small town setting. Here is the description on the website: "Set in lush tropical gardens nestled around a tranquil pond, at sunset it turns into a magic wonderland which will take your breath away". I definitely concur. A must stop when you are on the Sunshine Coast. You can check out their details here: 

So this recipe was taken from the cookbook and adjusted a little for the ingredients that I had in the house. This cookbook is called "Hot Plate" and features Asian-Inspired Barbecue recipes. If you don't want to make the sauce, just enjoy the patties with some plain natural yogurt and your favourite veggies.


Salmon Cakes
(makes 7-8 small patties)

  • 400 grams fresh salmon, chopped
  • 3 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsps coconut flour
  • 2 tbsps fresh cilantro (coriander), chopped
Sweet Chilli Ginger Sauce (optional)
  • 4 long red chillies
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsps fresh cilantro (coriander)
  • 4 tbsps ginger, shredded
  • 1 cup coconut vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar (we used 3 tbsps palm sugar instead)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
Grilled Coconut Green Veggies
  • 1 head broccoli 
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • sliced almonds to sprinkle on top

Sauce: Pound together the chillies, garlic and cilantro in a mortar and pestle to form a paste. Heat the paste, ginger, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 mins and then add fish sauce. Let cool and place in fridge. Serve once cooled. Sauce will store in fridge indefinitely. 

Patties: Put the salmon, red curry paste, egg, fish sauce, chia and coconut flour in a food processor and mix until it binds together. (I didn't have food processor so I chopped ingredients by hand and mixed everything by hand - turned out nice and chunky) Mix in cilantro. Shape into patties and place on plate. Store in fridge for at least 1 hour. Spray with coconut oil cooking spray (or other) and grill on BBQ a few mins on each side until cooked through. Serve on hot quinoa. 

Veggies: Heat pan with coconut oil. Mix in broccoli and green beans. grill until almost cooked through then add in spinach and grill until heated through. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sweet Potato Pecan Brownies

I didn't believe it. I really didn't think you could make delicious brownies without tons of sugar, butter or dairy. I didn't believe you could use sweet potato and make such an amazing dessert. But here is the proof. An amazing dessert with some healthy ingredients.

I served these last week at a dinner party with some vanilla ice cream and a coconut/chocolate sauce. It was incredible... But even after a few days in the fridge, these are great treat when you have a chocolate craving. 


  • 1 large sweet potato, roasted or steamed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 3 tbsps coconut flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 3 tbsps raw cacao powder
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda or powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans (save some for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips 

  1. Mash roasted or steamed sweet potato and let cool
  2. Preheat oven to 350F (180C)
  3. Combine wet ingredients (sweet potato, eggs, coconut oil, honey, vanilla) and mix well
  4. Add in dry ingredients (flour, cacao powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder and salt) and mix
  5. Add in pecans and chocolate chips
  6. Grease an 8x8 baking dish (or use baking paper to avoid sticking) Another option is to use muffin or mini muffin trays for brownie bites
  7. Use fork to smooth out
  8. Add pecans on top to garnish if desired
  9. Place in oven and bake 30-40 mins or until toothpick inserted in the cener comes out clean (15-18 for muffins)
  10. Cool, cut and serve!

Healthy Turkey Burgers

I have been playing with Turkey Burger and Turkey Meatball recipes for awhile now and I think I have found a pretty good one here! My brother and I made them for my parents last month and they were a big hit. She wrote me asking for the recipe yesterday, so here it is mom!


  • 500g ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 small onion, chopped very small
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp Mrs.Dash
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • salt/pepper
  • Garnish: avocado, tzatziki, grated carrots, pickles (if desired)
  1. Mix chia seeds with 1/4 cup water and let sit 10 minutes. It should form a gel-like substance that will act as the egg for keeping patties together.
  2. Mix all ingredients (except turkey) in large bowl and stir to combine
  3. Add turkey and combine
  4. Form into patties and place in fridge for 1 hour
  5. BBQ until cooked through
  6. Serve with whole wheat thin bun or on it's own with no bun.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Healthier Spaghetti Bolognese

One of my boyfriend's favourite dishes in Spaghetti Bolognese. It is a great comfort food and right now since it is winter in Australia, it's the perfect dish. I made a few changes to the original recipe to make it a little healthier so it's not as heavy or full of fat. The measurements are only approximate so feel free to add or remove as you see fit.

We tried Brown Rice Penne with it this time and it was great. The pasta tastes very similar to normal pasta except it's a little lighter and you don't feel as tired and full after a bowl. You can get it at Bulk Barn in Canada and most health food stores in Australia. Although the healthiest way to go would be to try zucchini pasta or spaghetti squash of course.  Click here for more healthy options.


  • 1 package ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, diced
  • 5 mushrooms, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 extra large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped (save some for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh parmesan cheese (for garnish)
  1. Heat oil in large skillet and add in onions, 1 tsp Italian Seasoning and 1 minced clove of garlic and cook until tender.
  2. Add in ground turkey and cook through.
  3. Add in vegetables and 1 minded clove of garlic.
  4. Add in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Moroccan Sweet Potato, Red Quinoa & Chickpea Salad

Photo borrowed from "Style at Home"
Last night we had our first backyard bbq dinner party since I got back to Australia last weekend. It's mid winter here in Brisbane so I wasn't sure if we could have an outside meal, but we pulled it off! We lit a fire in our patio fire pit and got bundled up in hoodies (they call them jumpers here) and Uggs and sat outside. I originally wanted to do S'mores since they don't know them here in Oz, but the stores don't have Graham crackers or regular marshmallows! Booo.

Backyard BBQ ready for dinner
I wanted to try out a few new salads for the meal, one from Pinterest and one from a "Superfoods" book I received from my boyfriends mom. Here is the final menu, I will post a few more of the recipes in the next few days.

  • Rice crackers with homemade guacamole (avocado, cherry tomatoes, garlic, lime, cilantro, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper)
  • Carrot sticks with homemade curry yogurt dip (plain yogurt, madras curry powder, lemon juice)
  • Moroccan Sweet Potato, Red Quinoa & Chickpea Salad
  • Coconut-roasted pumpkin and cauliflower with chilli, lime and cashews
  • Homemade turkey koftas
  • Homemade lamb and mint koftas 
  • Sweet Potato/Ginger Pecan Brownies with vanilla ice cream, coconut chocolate sauce and toasted coconut (recipe here)

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3⁄4" cubes
  • 1 540-ml can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1⁄2 cup black lentils
  • 1 cup red quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped toasted pecan halves
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves + more for garnish
  • 1⁄4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1⁄3 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

For honey harissa dressing
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp harissa paste or harissa spice
  • 1⁄2 tsp sea salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the honey harissa dressing.

Toss 1⁄4 cup of the dressing with the sweet potatoes and spread out onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Toss another 2 tablespoons of the dressing with the chickpeas and spread out onto another parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.

In a small pot, bring the lentils and 4 cups cold water to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Drain, rinse and place in a large bowl, along with the roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas.

Meanwhile, in another small pot, bring the red quinoa and 4 cups water to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Drain the quinoa and let dry in the sieve for 2 minutes. Add to the sweet potato mixture.

Stir in the green onions, pumpkin seeds, pecans, mint and cranberries. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and toss gently to combine. Place the warm salad on a large serving platter and garnish with the fresh pomegranate seeds and mint leaves. Serve. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Healthy Indian Butter Chicken

Whenever I hear people say Butter Chicken, I can't help but think of a dish that is creamy, filling and very high in fat. (Oh and delicious of course!) I love Indian Food and have always loved Butter Chicken but wanted to try to make a lighter version. I decided to serve it on quinoa instead of rice to add an even healthier twist.

I found this version on Pinterest and wanted to give it a try. Thanks to Jessiker Bakes for the original post. (and her photos are way better!)

Let me know what you think!


  • 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 tsp garam masala (available at grocery store)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp of curry powder
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots,
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet potatoes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup diced eggplant (optional)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 14 oz coconut milk
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces

  1. In a large pan over medium high heat, heat the coconut oil. Add the onions, carrots and sweet potato and sauté for about 5 minutes until translucent.
  2. While this is cooking, mix the 2 teaspoons of the garam masala, ground ginger, chill powder, and the curry powder together. Add this to the sautéed onions and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk tomato paste and the whole wheat flour, stirring for about 15 seconds to incorporate everything.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook together for about 5 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken.
  5. Add the chicken, covering it with the sauce. The chicken will reduce the flavouring of the sauce, so add the remaining garam masala and salt and pepper.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil one more time, and then reduce to medium heat for 8 minutes until the chicken has cooked.
  7. Reduce the heat to simmer when the chicken has cooked, and allow to sit in the sauce for 10 more minutes to allow the flavours to soak into the chicken.
  8. Serve on hot quinoa.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas on Quinoa

The past six weeks has been an amazing and memorable experience. I had some time to spare between when my tourist visa was expired in Australia and when my permanent visa was granted to go back. I decided to spend it in my hometown of London, Canada with my family and friends. 

During this time, my mom was prepping for knee replacement surgery and had been struggling with health related issues for awhile. I decided to stay with them and work out a new food plan to get them on the right track. They weren't too eager for this at first, but after some time they realised that they needed a change and agreed to try my plan out. 

Mom and Dad enjoying a walk in the park prior to knee surgery.
My goal was to lower their fat, sugar, cholesterol, sodium, artificial sweeteners and processed foods and always keep portions small.  I switched them onto healthy breakfasts that included rolled oats, yogurt, fruit and smoothies. Lunch and dinners included tons of vegetables and we took out white rice, white pasta and white bread. We added in things like quinoa, chia seeds, good proteins and drank lots of water. We also ensured that the meats portions we were eating were small and included chicken, turkey and lean red meats instead of higher fat meats like ribs and lamb. 

I taught my dad how to make all these dishes so he could continue the healthy lifestyle after I moved back to Australia. He was an awesome sport and was always eager to learn how to make new dishes and was super positive when trying new things out. I left them with a binder of healthy recipes, most of which we have made together already. 

After 6 weeks, the results of this change in diet have been incredible. My mom has lost 20lbs and my dad has lost over 10lbs. My mom has also lowered her insulin intake for diabetes by about 30% and it is decreasing each day. Their blood pressure is lower and overall they are feeling and looking amazing. I'm SO incredibly proud of what they have done in these 6 weeks. It was ridiculously hard for them to change 20-30 yrs of habits overnight and that is exactly what they did. 

One of our favourite new dishes is called Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas and Quinoa. I adapted it from a great blog called Half Baked Harvest. You can see her recipe here. (her pics are way better than mine) Last week I made it with my dad and I have included some photos from our night of cooking. You can make this dish vegetarian by taking out the chicken and adding more veggies. Enjoy!

  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced (found in mexican section of most stores)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained if using canned)
  • 1 lemon, zest + juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup natural yogurt, for serving if desired
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

  1. In a small bowl toss together the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large high sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet and once hot add the chicken and half of the seasoning mixture to the skillet. Brown the chicken all over until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  3. To the same skillet add a little more olive oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, red pepper, cauliflower and carrots to the skillet, sauté 4-6 minutes. Add the remaining spice mixture and sauté another 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chicken back to the skillet. Stir in the tomato paste, chipotle chile, chicken broth, and chickpeas. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat, and simmer 5-10 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in the cilantro and lemon zest + juice. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  4. To serve, divide the quinoa among bowls or plates.  Add the chicken/chickpea mixture on top. Top with a spoon of yogurt and some cilantro. Enjoy!