Easy Jamaican Curry Chicken & 5 minute Roti

Every day when I walk through my bustling downtown neighborhood I am overcome by the scents of all sorts of regional cooking – Tibetan, Ethiopian & Indian restaurants in particular – but to me the smell of jerk chicken and Caribbean roti always stands out from the rest when I’m famished after work.

This dinner was inspired by classic summer BBQ chicken and spicy, flavorful Jamaican curry. Enjoy it on its own paired with rice and peas or do what I did and transform it into a simple shortcut “roti” dish. Either way, you won’t be disappointed when these scents fill your kitchen.

Jamaican Curry Chicken

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Marinade:
1 heaping tsp Jamaican curry spice (Grace brand, etc.)
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tbsp plain yogurt (greek, soy or coconut)
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cumin
sea salt and pepper

Directions

Allow 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts to marinate for several hours or overnight.

Grill on medium heat for about 6-8 minutes per side or until cooked through. (If you don’t have a grill, I suggest searing the chicken breast on both sides in a small amount of coconut oil, then baking it at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear)

5 minute “Roti”:

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1 whole wheat or brown rice wrap
1 chopped Jamaican curried chicken breast (see above)
¼ cup mashed sweet potato
¼ cup shredded carrot
2 tbsp plain yogurt – any kind
1 tbsp raisins, chopped
¼ cup green peas or chickpeas (optional)
¼ – ½ cup almond milk

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Fill wrap and lightly grill before serving. Serve with hot pepper sauce, more yogurt or even some mango chutney.

Why am I not eating this again right now? So good.

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WIAW: My first and likely last attempt

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a WIAW it’s pretty self-explanatory. Blogger trend. Take pictures of your eats for 1 day of the week. Not every morsel just main meals and snacks.

Kinda problematic because obviously every body is different, every day is different, yada yada yada. But I write a food and fitness blog so it’s all pretty problematic when you think about it too hard. Grain of salt, people. Here goes…

Breakkinz:A LIBRA solution to the sweet/savoury dilemma

A-SIDE: 2 egg scramble with onions, peppers & mushrooms in a swiss chard wrap

B-SIDE: A cup and half of oats with a chopped peach, soy yogurt, coconut flakes, chia seeds & sunbutter


No decision necessary. Just the way I like it.

LUNCHRidiculously large tupperware full to the brim with kale salad (about half a bunch), shredded beets, zucchini & carrots, sprouts, 1/4 avocado, handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 slice toasted and chopped ezekiel “croutons” & about 1/3 block curried tofu cubes.

Desk snacks

DinnerProtein salad from Fresh – tempeh, chickpeas, quinoa, goji berris & tahini dressing

Evening snacksMany handfuls of sweet potato, beet & yuca terra chips to make up for my lighter-than-average dinner.Chocolate avocado shake for dessert!

Just almond milk, cocoa powder, avocado, maple syrup, ice and a 1/4 scoop of chocolate sunwarrior.

And voila! I certainly won’t make a habit of this since, even as a food blogger, I’d still rather spend my time eatin my food than takin pictures of it…but it was kind of fun just this once 😉

Simple Tempeh Sautée



Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced very thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, minced
  • 1 block tempeh, sliced into very thin squares (mine ended up about 16 cuts lengthwise, 5 widthwise)
  • 1/2 head napa cabbage
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • splash of mirin or sherry
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sautee lightly until they are just transparent (2-3 minutes). Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
2) Add tempeh slices and stir to combine.
3) Brown tempeh slices on both sides being careful not to break them as you turn them.
4) Add carrots, zucchini and cabbage. Stir to combine
5) Pour a splash of mirin or sherry over the veggies and tempeh to deglaze the pan, scraping up the pieces on the bottom as the alcohol cooks off. Then add miso paste and vegetable broth.
6) Allow mixture to simmer, stirring frequently until vegetables are cooked through.

Serving suggestions:

Top with ume plum or rice vinegar, avocado, a drizzle of tahini, a dash of sriracha garlic hot sauce, torn basil leaves and/or a squeeze of lime juice.

Enjoy with steamed brown rice or a side of sweet potato.

Summer, Unplanned.

To me, a dinner party isn’t something you plan for. It’s something that happens naturally amongst friends because conversations (and mid-afternoon libations) are flowing so easily that you can’t bring yourself to leave.

This weekend marked the official start to summer for me because I found myself stumbling into one of those impromptu suppers. I spent much of the afternoon strolling along the beaches the span across Toronto’s east side with a dear friend, climbing rocks and picking blades of grass and generally exploring the world in the same ways have since I was six years old.

After hours of beachside wandering we were thirsty and starving so we stopped into the local grocer’s to pick up some chicken and fresh asparagus for our summer meal.

If this afternoon has set the tone for my summertime adventures, I’m in for a very special season.

When was the last time you went plan-free? Where did your freedom lead you?

 

INSPIRATION & RANDOM ACTS OF NEON

If last week felt like carefree summer in Toronto, this week felt like nose-to-the-grindstone fall. The weather turned grey and drizzly, work got busy and hectic and the city went into a bit of a miniature hibernation. Despite my love for all things hustle bustle, it is often during these downtime days/weekends/weeks that I get the most inspired creatively. Perhaps that’s why I’ve almost exclusively chosen to live in grey, rainy cities (Amsterdam/Halifax/Prague/Oviedo/etc)

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Here’s a little rundown of how I channeled my creative chutzpah this week…

1) DIY PROJECTS: NEON ACCENTS

Vintage Granny Chair + DAYGLOW PIPING

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Neutral Colourblocked Vase + SAFETY ORANGE

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2) SIMPLE, COLOURFUL, BALANCED MEALS

Loaded up on kombucha.

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Oatmeal bowls made for me and my dad (topped his with organic yogurt, mine with extra nuts and berries)

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Lentil hummus and roasted veggie stuffed chard wrap with a pile of squash and sweet potatoes (possibly ate half of these directly off the baking sheet) and a redundant side of greens and chopped apple for crunch.


Baked salmon served on a mountain of roasted veggies (potatoes, squash and brussel sprouts)

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3) YOGA x A MILLION


One of the things I’ve enjoyed so far about my 6 x 6 plan is that it has encouraged me to listen more attentively to what I actually want to do rather than mindlessly following some fitness schedule. Some days this means hauling ass to the gym in the middle of my workday to sweat like. Other days it means leaving the gym behind and going for an evening walk with my bestie and her pup.

This week my body was craving yoga almost every day and I was more than happy to oblige. Of course by early Sunday morning it became clear why I’d spent the week in stretchy/gumby/relaxation mode…

6 x 6 Update

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Monday: 1 hr yoga class
Tuesday: ZILCH. I had no energy all day and couldn’t put my finger on why…
Wednesday: 75 minute super sweaty gym session. Full of beans. Random.
Thursday: 1 hr walk with my pal and her pup.
Friday: 1 hr Hot Hatha Yoga.
Saturday: 30 self-led morning yoga. 30 minutes cardio LIFE (hoofing it back to the city carrying 2 gigantic bags of laundry I did at my dad’s place…cause I’m a grown-up like that)
SUNDAY – MONDAY: Surfin the Crimson Wave (TMI?). But it explained all my wacky energy changes as well as my need for serious yoga/stretching time. Both of these days I put my plan on the back burner and gave my bod the rest it needed.

I did however complete multiple sets of the following circuit workout, which I highly suggest you try:

1) Dip a big piece of banana in almond butter
2) Dip nut buttery banana in vanilla coconut yogurt
3) Dip nut buttery, vanillafied banana in brown rice crispies
4) Douse in cinnamon
5) Nommmmm…..

Repeat this circuit to tummy fatigue.

Does dreary weather inspire you to get productive or does it leave you in a funk? How are you channeling your creative energies this week?

In-a-Hurry Lunch/Dinner/Workouts/Life

I have worked a lot of jobs in my life (barista, waitress, tap dancing instructor, teacher, au pair, web designer, researcher, marketing consultant, etc.) but until this week I had never actually worked in a 9-5 office environment. But bright and early Monday morning I started a dreamy dream job working for an non-profit I really believe in doing work that I love. But the hours behind a desk, the office culture & my ears popping every time I take the elevator? All that will definitely take some adjusting…

This week I was far too busy getting mentally prepared for my new job to do much planning for things like food or fitness but I’ve been just barely getting by by cutting corners wherever possible.

1) Workouts

I’m currently between gym memberships so it’s been all about the outdoor running lately. For cardio I have lovingly found my way back to this pyramid interval run because it is super quick and always leaves me panting. And while I’ve been pretty light on strength training due to my lack of gym access, circuit workouts like this one (jotted down on a random envelope?) are definitely doing the trick.

Repeat this circuit for 10-15 mins for a short and sweet (and by sweet I mean suprisingly hardcore) workout!

2) Dinner/Lunch Combo Prep

 Seriously people, even if you don’t have time to do an epic weekly meal prep on Sunday afternoon, you can always prep your lunch while you make your dinner. Such a simple idea but one that has totally saved my dress-pant-wearing butt this week.

Tonight, for example, I whipped up a quick little dinner of one-pot curried cauliflower & pumpkin stew (topped with some pan fried haddock, basil & lime)

This isn’t a full on recipe but in case you’re interested…

Directions

Sauteed a handful of chopped carrots, a chopped celery stick and 2 cloves of garlic in sesame oil. Once fragrant add 2 cups cubed fresh pumpkin, 2 cups cauliflower & 2 cups of veggie broth  then simmer until all the veggies are very soft and you can lightly mash them with a fork. Finally season to taste with curry powder, soy sauce, ginger and a little squeeze of agave…then top with basil, lime & siracha for the perfect one pot dinner!

And now on to lunch…

Since those ingredients were already out of the fridge and handy I decided I would whip up a second dish that I could use as the base for my lunch tomorrow…

You’re shocked, I know. It’s a kale salad. What can I say? I’m easy to please! This salad is dressed in sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, flax oil & agave then topped with sunflower seeds and chopped carrots. All the ingredients used in the previous recipe just repurposed with lunch in mind! A simple way to save time prepping lunch (or money buying it!)

Do you work in an office? How do you usually prep for the busy week? 

TRENDING: Singapore Streetfood at Hawker Bar

If you live in the west end of Toronto and have a pulse you’ve  probably heard some kind of buzz about Hawker Bar, a new addition to the Ossington strip where you can pull up a salvaged wood stool and enjoy Singapore-style street food at reasonable prices while listening to Little Dragon. I know, I know. I had you at salvaged wood.

We chose to order a bunch of things off the menu and share but I was pleasantly suprised that all the portions were a perfectly reasonable size, so you could also opt for a single $12 dish and be totally satisfied.

As we took our sweet time deciding on the perfect order our server offered us some complimentary ginger tea. They’re still working out their liquor licence so it’s all mocktails and tea for the moment, but this didn’t bother me or my date one bit. I mean…cocktails don’t come in teacups this cute.

After a verbal tennis match of possible sharing combinations me and my ladyfriend decided on the vegan laksa, 2 sides of soy broccoli & the sea bream special (who doesn’t love a whole fish on a plate?).

The laksa was pitch perfect in my books, filled with rice noodles, veggies & puffed tofu flavoured with a rich coconut cream (not too much coriander) and enough spice to break an early evening sweat. The sea bream, however, was what really shone for me. It was flaky and tender inside with crispy skin and paired perfectly with the delicious sweet soy sauce that accompanied it. I also asked for a side of sriracha and was pleasantly suprised with a homemade garlic chili sauce that should really come standard with the dish.

I must admit that unlike some of the Toronto foodie hotspots popping up in Roncesvalles lately (which seem to me to be 70% hype 20% inflated prices & 10% hollandaise) this spot actually lived up. Definitely worth checking out during this brief but precious interrum after the peak of Ossington strip fever but before the Queen West Gentrification/Condo Monster has fully taken hold. Get it while you can.

Hello April!

Spring is really, truly here and I can’t help but get inspired by the pops of colour filling the streets. And no…I don’t mean the tulips on the ground or the premature magnolias blooming in the trees.

Now bikes on trees? There’s something really special…I am totally in love with the idea of this suspended makeshift bike rack.

Not to mention all things neon

And of course I love colour on my plate too. As many colours as I can fit into one bowl is really my ideal scenario…

Where else would I go but my beloved Hibiscus for the dreamiest bowl of rainbow coloured food heaven. (And in case you’re wondering…that’s sweet potato, broccoli, beets & tofu topped with kelp noodles. YU-UHMM!)

Unfortunately my own kitchen is very sparse right now as I am smack dab in the middle of moving week so I’ve been making due with a single pot and a boxed up pantry all week….

NO KITCHEN + INTERMITTENT INTERNET + EPIC PACKING = THE GROUCHY HIPSTER!

But as usual I’m making due amongst the chaos…Tonight’s dinner? Taco salad! Served in a stainless steel mixing bowl of course…


In the (mixing) bowl: 

  • Romaine
  • Sweet Orange Bell Pepper
  • Black Beans
  • “Baked” Sweet Potato (prepared in the microwave)
  • “Scrambled” Egg whites (also prepared in the microwave – 3 minutes or so at 70% power)
  • Chipotle Salsa & Greek Yogurt
Did the trick! 😉

What are your favourite no-cook meals? 

And how do you feel about moving? Do you love the change or hate the hassle?

Healthier Tapas-Style Meatballs

For a lot of North Americans, enjoying a “tapas” or “small-plates” meal means going to a bougie, overpriced restaurant that bullies you into ordering 3 unsatisfying micro-entrees rather than 1 (less expensive) meal-sized one. However, after living in Spain for quite some time, I can assure you that authentic tapas is a lot less fussy…

Tapas began as salty snacks (like olives, potato chips or cured meat) given out for free  at bars to encourage…well…heavy drinking. Nowadays it still serves that purpose, but has expanded into a small but tasty late night meal eaten hours after the Dionesian Feast that is Spanish lunch. Believe me, if you ate the way we did between the hours of 2-4pm (lunchtime where I lived in Oviedo), you wouldn’t have much of an appetite by “dinner hour” either.


Tapas bar culture. Nothing opens until at least midnight and you’re lucky if you find a place to lean. 

When in Spain I definitely encourage you to sample all the delicious deep fried, sodium-laden tapas fare you can get your hands on. But in the meantime…here is a recipe that is similar to the traditional Spanish albondigas, but lightened up by using chicken instead of pork and even adding a little green for good measure. Serve with a side salad and roasted potatoes for a healthier take on albondigas and patatas bravasDon’t skimp on the glass of red wine though…For the antioxidants of course 😉

Tapas-Style Chicken & Spinach Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 package extra lean ground chicken
  • 1/2 package frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
  • 1/2 onion, diced finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1/4 cup egg whites OR 1 whole beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup oat bran (or rolled oats, ground coursely in a coffee grinder)
  • 1 heaping tbsp nutritional yeast (or parmesan)
  • 1 heaping tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 heaping tsp dijon
  • a few dashes of soy sauce/braggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry OR white wine
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients and seasonings for the meatballs in a very large bowl and mix well with your hands until combined.
  2. Scoop meatballs using a 1/4 cup measure (you wont need to fill it all the way) and roll into balls.
  3. Fry meatballs over medium heat in a very large skillet until just browned then set aside until you’ve gone through the whole batch.
  4. Add 1/4 cup or so of cooking sherry or white wine to the bottom of the pan to scrape off any brown bits then add meatballs back to the pan along with 2 cups broth & 1 cup crushed tomatoes.**
  5. Simmer on low for 30-40 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

    **If your pan isn’t big enough you can transfer wine, meatballs, broth and tomatoes into a large pot instead.

Weekend Roundup: Kale Salad to Electro-Goth Dance Parties

Here are a few things that I came to realize this weekend….in no particular order.

1) I only want meals in bowl-form lately.

 Breakfast

1.5 servings rolled oats cooked in soymilk for some extra protein, topped with 1/2 banana and 1/4 cup trail mix

Lunch

2 Whole Eggs Scrambled with Curry Powder, Mushrooms and Spinach. Served over a (buried) sweet potato and topped with 1/4 avocado, 1/4 cup hummus and some more trail mix

Dinner

Kale Caesar Salad from Live Organic Food Bar with Eggplant Bacon, Raw Croutons & Marinated Tempeh

2) Rest days are my new best friend.

The past week or so I have been taking more days off the gym than on because my life has been so hectic and I’ve been doing a lot of walking around the city on my search for a new place to live. Also a lot of anxious fretting…does that count as a workout? Anyways I was pretty sure my first day back this morning was going to be brutal but to my surprise I had much more energy and stamina than usual. I even managed to complete a set of full bridges (also known as full wheel in yoga or sometimes reverse pushups) which is huge for me. A lack of upper body strength made bridges the bane of my existence during my days as a dancer.

[Source]

This little personal success reminded me that giving your body extended time – not just a day but a whole week or two off – to rest and recover might be just what you need to avoid burning out and help you break through your own fitness plateaus.

3) I can still stay out past 2am.

Unlike many folks my age I wake up early. And do things. Things like cooking breakfast, reading the newspaper, moving my body in some way, grocery shopping and (very occasionally) cleaning my house. I get razzed about this all the time but honestly I like my morning routine and lovingly accept myself for the nerdy proto-grandma that I am. But I definitely can’t (nor would I want to) keep this schedule all the time…Sometimes it’s a Saturday night and one of your favourite bands is playing and your friends are out and you just want to dance till an unreasonable hour….


TRUST LP RELEASE PARTY @ WRONGBAR. TORONTO, ON.
[Source: PinkMafia]

STILL GOT IT.