Cupcakes For Dinner! Turkey Zucchini Meatloaf “Cupcakes” With Garlic Thyme Mashed Potato “Frosting”

Who says you can’t have cupcakes for dinner? Cupcakes made of meatloaf are an exception to the rule. Take that, mom! I’m eating “cake” for dinner!


I’ve been so excited to post this recipe! It’s all sorts of amazing baked together in a dozen muffin liners. I came across a photo of meatloaf cupcakes a while back and thought they were the cleverest thing I’d seen. You’ve got a popular classic food combo (meat and potatoes), easy recipe, delicious flavour and genius creativity all in one. If you know someone that doesn’t like sweets, this would be a fun surprise for them. (I smell a good April Fool’s Day prank!)

The beauty of meatloaf “cupcakes” is that you can use whatever meat or meatloaf recipe you like, and “frost” with any mashed potato or mash/purée vegetable you prefer! They reheat well, cook faster than an actual loaf, make for good “leftover lunches” and would be perfect for a potluck or fingerfood-y gathering. They’d be great for kids too, because they’re fun (and you can totally hide extra veggies in the meatloaf for added nutrition).

I used turkey zucchini meatloaf (which is really moist and delish) and topped it with creamy garlic thyme mashed potatoes. Fantastic combo! These “cupcakes” were definitely a hit!


Turkey Zucchini Meatloaf “Cupcakes” With Garlic Thyme Mashed Potato “Frosting”
Makes 12 “cupcakes”
You can pre-make and warm in the oven if it makes life easier…or just make and serve! 🙂

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Homecooking Made Easy Peasy With Prepd: Toronto Launch & Giveaway!

Life, as we know it, is becoming increasingly busy. As a young professional myself, I know that time is something, it seems, we have less and less of. To make time for work, friends, family, studies and all the other little things, it seems the trend is to make sacrifices where it matters most! In what we eat! As fast food and “take-out” meals are becomingly more and more readily available to us, cooking wholesome meals at home is becoming a thing of the past. In a world of reality TV and “top chefs”, we’ve been fooled into thinking that cooking a delicious meal is something best left to the experts.

If you’re a Torontonian, as busy as a bee and guilty of slacking in the kitchen, I’ve found you a solution for making delicious, healthy meals at home without costing you your valuable time. Continue reading

Make Jujube Tea, Not War.

The health benefits of dates have been well-known in China for thousands of years, They are believed to cleanse and enrich the blood, enhance immunity, promote white cell formation, reduce cholesterol and protect the liver, among many other supposed gains. Dates are rich in vitamin C, calcium and iron and are believed to be therapeutic for the elderly as well as growing children and those with anemia. Red dates (hong zao in Chinese) are also known as jujubes. For more on China’s “cure-all” fruit, click here.


I’ve been drinking red date (or jujube) tea since I was a child. It was something my mother would make for my sister and I to keep our little bodies strong. Growing up, I thought of this as some sort of magical mommy-creation. I had no idea how easy it was to make! Continue reading

The Best Kale Recipe: Fritters!


Kale is the new black. (At least I think it kind of still is…) I’ve never seen a leafy green so in-fashion! A few years ago, when I first heard rumours of this new “thing”, everyone was talking about it. “Kale is SO good!”, “Have you tried kale?”, “Superfood!”, “Nutrients!”, “Kale saves lives!”. It was all around me. Kale salad, kale smoothies, kale chips, sauteed kale…everyone in the world, it seemed, was being kale-ified. Of course I had to taste this veggie for myself!

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of veggies including cabbage and brussels sprouts. I always say it looks like huge, curly spinach. It’s a little bit tougher, and some say it has a bit more of a bitter flavour. It has been called a superfood and one of the healthiest foods in the world. It is packed with nutrients and has a ton of health benefits, while also low in calories. Here’s a top 10 list of kale health benefits.

Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. I absolutely love it (although I don’t think there’s a single vegetable that I don’t love). The problem I had with kale was that I didn’t know a lot of kale recipes. I never knew what else I could do with it, other than sauteeing it with garlic or making a salad. I mean, I love kale salad, but there’s got to be other ways to eat this stuff… And I found out that there definitely are! Here is one of my new kale favourites! Delicious kale fritters! Flavourful and full of kale (and spicy if you want). They’re so hard to resist! Continue reading

Wrap & Roll! Learn To Rice-Paper-Wrap Anything And Everything.

I get a lot of requests for easy, quick and healthy recipes. Here’s a recipe that can’t get any easier or quicker, and can be super duper healthy! These were inspired by Vietnamese rice paper spring rolls and can be 100% vegan or vegetarian-friendly if you want them to be. If you’ve ever tried Vietnamese food, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.


Rice paper wraps are my best friend. They’re so quick and easy to use and they don’t cost much at all! Rice paper is like thin, steamed rice crepes that have been dried out into thin, hard, round sheets. You dampen the sheets, one by one, in warm water and you’re ready for wrapping! They get nice and sticky and adhere to themselves to make a gorgeous fresh roll in one step. They’re also much healthier than fried spring rolls. Continue reading

All You Need Is Love…And Taco Nights.

Nothing cures a…well, ANYTHING…better than a taco night! If you’re looking for an easy, quick and fun meal, tacos are a great idea. Meat (or meat alternative), shells, toppings, DONE! They’re quick to make and probably even quicker to eat, if you get as hungry and excited as I do.


Taco nights have always been a guilty pleasure of mine…until I started realizing there was no reason for me to feel guilty. I had the idea, for years, that tacos were unhealthy. Totally not the case! What is a concern is the trans-fats that some store-bought taco shells contain. Many are made using hydrogenated soybean oil. There are ways around this! Some brands are better than others, check out the labels at your grocery store or try visiting your local health food store or organic grocery aisle for healthier options. You can even use soft tortillas or wraps. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Avocado Brownies: A Healthier Brownie Recipe

This is a recipe for the chocolate addicts, the bakers, the health-conscious eaters, the avocado lovers, and my non-gluten-eating friends. Despite the fact that I called these avocado brownies, these are regular brownies, that taste amazing. They’re not green, and the gluten-free aspect doesn’t change the texture or the taste of them. I know sometimes gluten-free baking results in a weird taste or texture you might not be used to, or like. I can assure you. These brownies are yummy!

Confession: I couldn’t wait for mine to cool before devouring…so it didn’t come too nicely out of the pan. (Note the giant holes.) It still tasted the great! 🙂


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Roasted Tomato, Leek, and Fennel Soup

Soup is one of the good things in life. It warms our tummies and our souls. Each hot spoonful eases our minds and comforts us, embracing us with all its deep, rich, flavours. Soup is like a loving hug from the inside out. I’ve come to love all soups, in all the flavours and textures they come in.


This a perfect day to post a soup recipe. I’m sick in bed with my sick-day crew: laptop, Puffs Plus Lotion tissues, and a cup of tea. I came across this recipe a couple weeks ago on deliciousness (re)visited and tried it out last night. It was the perfect recipe to test out while feeling under the weather because it’s simple and doesn’t require too much work (my perma-headache isn’t allowing too much brainwork). Continue reading

A Healthy Alternative To Asian Fish Balls…And Why Your Fish Balls Should Be Homemade.


I love Chinese fish balls (and beef balls, squid balls…all of them). After all, I am part Chinese. How could I not? I’ve grown up eating them in fish ball noodle soup, curried on bamboo skewers, barbecued, in hotpots…Asians use them everywhere! If you’ve been to Hong Kong, curried fish balls are a very popular street food. These stalls can be found all over, they’re sort of the Hong Kong equivalent to hot dog stands. I have to admit though, there’s something creepy about those seafood/meat balls and how rubbery they are. If you’ve ever accidentally dropped a cooked fish ball on the floor and seen how high it bounces off the ground…weird, right? And a lot of the time, they don’t taste very fishy at all. I never really questioned what I was eating, I just ate. I thought I’d do a little investigating on how Asian fish balls were made.

I found out that the bouncier the fish ball, the better. The rubbery bounciness actually has nothing to do with the ingredients of the fish ball. (Thank goodness!) It has to do with how long and hard the fish paste is slapped down repeatedly before being balled. I’ve seen women in Hong Kong marketplaces slamming big balls of fish meat on large wooden chopping blocks. Now I know why. To make their fish balls bounce and spring open upon being eaten!…I guess.

The rest of the answers I found are not so pretty. The whole fish ball fad dates back to to the 50’s in Hong Kong. They were made as a cheap, yet filling, snack food targeted towards the low to middle class population. Most fish balls you buy today are made with cheap fish and full of additives, such as MSG, and fillers. The cheaper fish balls consist of very little fish (sometimes less than 20%) and contain a large proportion of flour. Fish balls are mass produced in factories and made with fish that are not carefully selected. The fish portion of the fish balls is called surimi. What the heck is surimi?

Surimi is an Asian fish-based food product, and a common ingredient in Asian processed foods. I’ll let Wikipedia sum it up:

“Lean meat from fish or land animals is first separated or minced. The meat then is rinsed numerous times to eliminate undesirable odors. The result is beaten and pulverized to form a gelatinous paste. Depending on the desired texture and flavor of the surimi product, the gelatinous paste is mixed with differing proportions of additives such as starch, egg white, salt, vegetable oil, humectants, sorbitol, sugar,soy protein, seasonings, and enhancers such as transglutaminases and monosodium glutamate (MSG). If the surimi is to be packed and frozen, food-grade cryoprotectants are added as preservatives while the meat paste is being mixed. Under most circumstances, surimi is processed immediately into a formed and cured product.”

Surimi is a cheaper way for manufacturers to imitate the flavour and texture of a more expensive product. They take this tasteless gelatinous paste and then add the desired artificial flavour. Not so appetizing. I’ll have a real lobster tail, thanks.

So, on to making your own fish balls at home! I came across this recipe a couple weeks ago and thought it was amazing! I’ve stolen it from The Iron Cheftress, a blog I really like. You should check it out! It’s full of creative and healthy recipes amongst lots of other interesting stuff.

This recipe makes crispy pan-fried fish balls, with a bit of jalapeno spiciness. The best part is, they’re made purely of fish and a lot less carbs then store bought versions. They’re really yummy and would be a great meal or served as an appetizer. However, these are a dry and crispy fish ball, they’re not really meant for soup. I’m going to try making some real Asian-style fish balls in broth soon, but that’ll be a different recipe to share. 🙂

Crispy Fish Balls


  • 1 pound of white fish (I used 2 frozen basa fillets I had in the freezer…a bit less than a pound)
  • 1/3 of a jalapeno pepper (use more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 inch cube of fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of a thick carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic (I’m sure I used more, I always use more with garlic)
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce (optional)
  • Salt (salt is unnecessary to salt frozen fish)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of bran cereal, whole wheat flour, oat flour, whatever flour you’d like (I made these during Passover so I used matzah ball mix and it worked perfectly)

1. Process the fish until it becomes a paste, then transfer to a bowl. I used a food processor, but I’ve seen it done using the back of a chopper knife on a cutting board. (Probably more traditional Asian. If you don’t have a food processor then that will work.)


2. Process jalapeno, carrot, ginger, garlic, and shallot. Add to the bowl of fish paste. (If you don’t have a food processor, you’ll have to samurai chop those veggies to bits.)

3. Mix it all together and season with black pepper (and salt if needed). Roll the fish paste into small bite-sized balls.


4. If you are using bran cereal, grind it up. If not, have whatever flour you’re using in a small bowl. Roll each fish ball in your bran/flour until all sides are coated. I used matzah ball mix (for Passover purposes).

5. Heat a pan on medium heat and spray with cooking oil to keep the fish balls from sticking.

6. Once heated, place all your coated fish balls into the pan and keep rolling them around until they’re nice and crispy and a golden colour. It’s hard to make them a perfect ball. Mine kind of flattened out and became a little angular, and I may have over-browned them a bit…but they were delicious.

7. Serve them right away, with a spicy sauce. While they’re still nice and hot! I served mine with a sweet chili sauce and a horseradish ketchup (kind of like a hot cocktail sauce).


So yummy! Enjoy! xx

For The Love Of Oysters

If you even mention the word oyster, my face lights up. There are not many things in this world that fascinate me as oysters do. I adore them. For any true oyster lover out there, you know how I feel. There’s a tension, a sense of excitement, in the fact that we love these creatures and we can’t stop loving. It’s a strange kind of love, that cannot be explained. Oysters are not just a delicious food, they are a fascinating species! And most people know nothing about them! They date back to prehistoric times, they were around with the dinosaurs. Archaeologists have found large shell piles of oysters and other shellfish that date back to neolithic times. They were efficient at doing what they do, and have been doing it ever since. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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I’ve loved oysters since as far back as I can remember. While other kids could be cheered up by candy or ice cream, my mother would come into my room with a smile and say, “Sorry I got so angry…I picked up some oysters, want to do hot pot tonight?”. I would pretend I was still mad, but was actually so happy inside. Oysters make my day. Up until a couple of years ago, my experiences with oysters only went as far as eating cooked oysters and came mostly from my Asian side of the family. We would have sizzling plates of oysters with green onions, ginger and garlic, oysters at our Chinese hot pot dinners, Chinese deep fried breaded oysters, and the occasional oysters and chips on our road trips to the east coast of Canada. This was enough to keep me happy, but unbeknownst to me I had only uncovered the tip of the oyster iceberg.

hkoystercooked Delicious cooked oyster in Hong Kong, bought fresh at the market and cooked at the seafood restaurant next door. (Sam Shing, Hong Kong.)

Two summers ago, at Oysterfest in Toronto, I had my first raw oyster. It was love at first…slurp. For all the squeamish eaters that have never tried a raw oyster, PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! JUST DO IT ALREADY! I’ve heard all the excuses (my friends know who they are) not to eat them. “They are slimy.” “They are gooey.” “They look like dino boogers.” Raw oysters may not be your cup of tea, but you’ll never know until you try one for yourself. I’ve converted quite a few of my non-oyster-eating friends over this past year. Find an oyster bar near you, bring some friends for back up, and be ready to have your mind blown! (Do it now! Before you change your mind!)

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My first dozen oysters. 🙂


It’s hard to describe the flavour of an oyster, but there is definitely something that sets these creatures apart from all other shellfish. The French poet Léon-Paul Fargue said eating an oyster was “like kissing the sea on the lips.” An oyster takes me to the seashore in a mouthful. They taste of the ocean, like the smell of the sea breeze at low tide. They are more than just a tasty treat, an oyster excites both the palate and the mind. Rowan Jacobsen described it perfectly in an article I read when he said, “The proliferating category of oyster adjectives—cucumber, citrus, melon, copper, smoke—is useful, but doesn’t cut to the core. At some level, it’s not about taste or smell at all. Because an oyster, like a lover, first captures you by bewitching your mind.”


Pick up the half shell, tilt your head back and let the oyster slip into your mouth, along with the liquid that it’s resting in. The oyster’s “liquor” is seawater, and is part of what makes it so delicious. I’ve been told by shuckers how insulting it is to see people dumping the liquid out before they eat their oysters. Shuckers work so hard to keep that in there for you! Oyster etiquette rule #1: Don’t do that. The fresher the oyster the more sea-filled flavour is captured within its shell. The initial saltiness you will taste can range from really salty, to mildly salty or unnoticeable. This is why oysters are usually served with lemon or a mignonette. The acid in the lemon juice or vinegar sort of cancels out the salt. Oysters are like miniature water filters. They feed on the plankton, algae, and other particles floating around them. An adult oyster can filter up to 5 litres of seawater every hour. That’s a lot for such a tiny little thing! That’s why the condition of the water in which the oysters are growing plays such an important role in the survival of the oyster and its flavour/texture. They are what they eat! The tastes of different oysters change with the climates, salinity of the waters, and what they feed on in different places around the world.

One question I’ve been asked a lot is, “Do you just swallow them whole, or do you have to chew them?”. Chew them! (I mean, you don’t HAVE to.) Chewing is where the real body and finish of the oyster comes through. You get to really experience its texture and sweetness. You taste its cool, buttery, salty, seaweedy, flavour. With some oysters you can go through a series of flavours. Some oysters have a flavour that lingers even after you’ve swallowed it, just like wine or whiskey. This is referred to as its finish. Some don’t have much of a finish, and the flavour disappears almost immediately. Flavour is also very dependant on season. A species will taste very different from one season to the next. Oysters fatten up right before the cold winter months. All the stored glycogen makes them extra sweet. Farmers know exactly when to harvest their crop. To farm oysters, farmers actually manipulate the oysters’ environments, moving them from slow moving waters, to waters with more current, waters with higher algae levels, to warmer or colder waters. This all has to do with feeding cycles, seasons, spawning… There’s so much to know about oysters! They’re just such amazing creatures!

Oysters are also good for you! Like most shellfish, they are low in calories and saturated fats. They are full of protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids. Like fish, they can improve your health by providing essential minerals and vitamins such as zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and vitamins A, B6, C, folate, riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and a huge amount of vitamin B 12.

Apart from being one of my favourite treats, oysters provide me with this never-ending amount of learning. There’s way more for you to find out about these shelled beauties than you know. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some great shuckers, farmers, and other individuals involved in the oyster world, and they never run out of stories and fun facts to tell me. Did you know you can tell an oyster’s age by counting the ridges/rings on its shell? Each ring takes about a year to grow (one ring = one year)! An oyster can change its sex from male to female several times in a year. Their reproductive organs contain both eggs and sperm, and so they are technically capable of fertilizing their own eggs. Once the female oyster has been fertilized, she will release millions of eggs into the water. Within six hours these larvae develop. They move around the waters for two or three more weeks before settling into an oyster bed or reef where they will mature within about a year. I took a shucking class a few months ago. It was great! We learned TONS about oysters, learned to shuck, how to handle, and how to store oysters. Best of all, we each got 16 oysters and a shucking knife to take home with us. Learn to shuck! Then you can enjoy your oysters in the comfort of your own home, and save a bit of money! 🙂 But make sure you learn the right way. Shucking can be dangerous. You’re prying a rock-like shell open with a knife. I’ve heard some nasty shucking stories. (Shucking knives stabbing deep enough to hit bone.) Watch the hand that’s holding the oyster!

If you’re looking to do a great shucking class in Toronto (Canada), go to Oyster Boy on Queen Street W. It’s the best oyster bar in the city, and pretty much my second home.

Hopefully I’ll have more oyster posts in the near future and I can go through some of my favourite varieties and recipes! Here’s a fun gallery of oyster photos! I have so many.

Happy shucking! And if you haven’t tried a raw oyster yet, hesitate no more! Hurry on and try one today! xx