Better Than Butternut: Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash

Have you tried delicata squash before? It’s my new favourite. I bought it from the farmers market at St. Jacobs a while ago and devised this amazing side dish. It was supposed to be served for two meals, but I nibbled off half the tray before it even made it on my plate.

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Delicata tastes like a mix between a sweet potato, a butternut, and a very flavourful yellow zucchini, in my opinion. It’s sweet, so tender, and not stringy or fibrous. Totally delicious! And so easy to prepare. I scraped out the seeds until I had two squash “boats”, and then sliced those into half-moons.

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The shape of these guys makes me happy 🙂

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Toss with…

  • A big pad of melted butter or coconut oil
  • Light brown sugar
  • Pinch each of cinnamon, salt, and pepper
  • Drizzle of maple syrup

And bake until it caramelizes slightly and reaches your desired softness. I checked mine a couple times at the half-hour mark and did a little more than that.

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I served mine with some rotisserie chicken, quinoa, and steamed broccoli with sweet potato aioli drizzle. Try topping the squash with some chopped pecans. It really takes it to the next level!

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Have a beautiful day everyone 🙂

Wild Rice Restaurant Review + An Uninvited Guest?!

Good morning everyone! How are you all doing? I just enjoyed a bowl of oatmeal (updated my oatmeal page, by the way!) topped with cherries, caramelized banana, hemp hearts, cashews and an incredible sour cherry buckwheat scone from Purebread Bakery in Vancouver. In less than half an hour, I’ll be doing a Circuit class, followed by 45 minutes of indoor cycling, AKA spin class, and then an hour or so of hatha yoga. In the afternoon, I have a driving lesson and will be making summer rolls for dinner! So excited. :mrgreen:

Anyways, my sister and I had lunch together – just the two of us, after an hour of aerial silks – at Wild Rice Restaurant in New West. It’s by the River Market in the Quay, near the river. We had quite the view!

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The restaurant itself is:

  • modern and clean
  • decorated with balloons, lights, and paintings
  • sunny with plenty of windows
  • has plenty of seating, including a spacious patio
  • COOKING: fresh, local, organic (no heat lamps, no hormones, no microwaves)
  • Gluten-free, vegan options on regular menu

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We chose to sit indoors because it was a bit windy. After much deliberation (coconut shrimp? Vegan butter “chicken” with tofu?), I decided I was in the mood for something light and fresh, and ordered their house salad.

House Salad with chicken: mixed greens, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, cucumber, radish and candied pecans, mirin soy vinaigrette

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This salad was pretty yummy! There was a massive pile of greens, which I am 99% sure came from Costco, and every leaf was coated in a slightly sour, salty dressing made with soy sauce and ginger. There was a pile of cherry tomato compote, sliced radishes, and candied pecans scattered on top. I found the pecans absolutely delicious with the greens and dressing, but unfortunately, I had only five pieces or so on my salad. 😦 The chicken, which was hormone-free, was sautéed perfectly with a nice, seared crust on the outside. I like how Wild Rice uses both chicken breast and chicken thigh pieces to top salads.

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Seline had chicken tenders with fries. She loved the slightly-spicy aioli dip. We enjoyed a couple pieces of flatbread as well. Seline said they were like “Americanized green onion pancakes from Taiwan”. I liked the garlicky oil on top, and the bread was so tender! I dipped some in her aioli. 🙂 Yum!

Panko Chicken Tenders & Fries: hand filleted boneless breast, smoked paprika, parsley
Flatbread: grilled, brushed with garlic oil

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Our meal was humungous! I barely finished my salad (there was a HEAP of greens here!) and really enjoyed the chicken and pecans. Still, we had room for dessert!

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Chocolate Cake: cocoa sauce and vanilla ice cream
Oh my goodness. This dessert was like heaven on a plate. It was like a big square of black bean brownie (though a tad sweeter and more cake-like) topped with cold ice cream. There was also a chocolate sauce on top, and a raspberry coulis. This was similar to the molten chocolate lava cake from Cactus Club, but to be honest, I much prefer this one! You get sweetness and rich flavour from the cake, cut by the sour raspberry puree. The cake was warm, and with the cool ice cream, was just divine.

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Seline and I devoured this in less than a minute, and we fought over who got the last bite. 🙂

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Chocolate Cake: cocoa sauce and vanilla ice cream
Sticky Toffee Pudding: served traditionally with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream
The following week, we came with our parents! Seline and I raved about Wild Rice for the longest time, and finally convinced Mom and Dad to come eat with us at this lovely, delicious, yet underrated restaurant. This time, I DEVOURED the coconut shrimp (truly the best coconut shrimp dish I’ve ever had – including curry!), which came with rice. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera so I can’t show you the plate of HEAVEN that I ate.
Anyways! For dessert, we HAD to order the chocolate cake again! This time, I also wanted to try the sticky toffee pudding. Unlike Earls, this toffee pudding was chocolate-less. Instead, there was a wonderful butterscotch sauce (like the one I had on the galette at Coastal Cookery in the Sunshine Coast). The cake itself was soft, moist, and sweetened with tender chopped dates. Date desserts are one of my favourite sweets, and I really enjoyed this warm cake with the chilled vanilla ice cream. The perfect end to a yummy lunch!

After a trip to Costco a couple weeks ago, I enjoyed a rotisserie chicken drumstick with a spinach, apricot, and blackberry salad with crispy chickpeas and poppyseed dressing. This lunch was just okay – not my favourite.

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Roasted vegetables with Israeli couscous. Not my favourite grain – quinoa still holds the crown for that category.

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Quinoa stir-fry with leftover roasted vegetables, topped with feta cheese and crispy chickpeas

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Roasted potato wedges // chicken and onion stir-fry with asparagus // roasted vegetables

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My plate, with a little chicken, veggies, and ginger-turmeric rice

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Mixed green salad with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, roasted pecans, feta cheese, and poppyseed dressing

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EW! Guess what I found in my spinach? This little guy was quite the uninvited guest. But I guess he wanted some yummy salad, too?

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Oh yeah! There was some quinoa in here, too. I love Brianna’s salad dressing (this one was from Whole Foods).

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The bites with a little berry, a little feta, and a big candied pecan were the best. 🙂

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Do you like salad? Normally, I’m not the biggest salad person because I prefer veggies to be warm and tender, preferably with some sauce or flavouring. Salads, which are cold and, well, raw, aren’t typically part of my weekly meal rotation. Yummy meal salads, like this one or this one, however, are so much fun to eat at restaurants because you get to try new ingredients. 🙂

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That’s it for now! Have a great day, guys. Stay tuned for my next Coast Post – it’s going to feature THE most delicious cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. 😉

Cactus Club Dinner

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend – mine was filled with lots of sunshine, sleep, and smiles. The best kind of weekend! Especially since it involved lots of oatmeal and pancakes. I can’t wait to share this post with you guys today…

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On Wednesday, my mom and I attended the Coquitlam Foundation Awards Banquet. Located in the Evergreen Cultural Centre and hosted by prominent members of the Coquitlam Foundation, this banquet was very informative and rewarding. There were some snacks provided by Thrifty Foods, but I already had dinner and was wearing my retainer. :mrgreen: Too bad!

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The day after that, Thursday, my friends from the Eagle Ridge Hospital joined me on the patio of Cactus Club for a lovely year-end dinner. Lesson learned today – if you think 12 people are going to show up, but you aren’t sure, book a reservation for 14! We had to move tables around and squish together to make it work out, but luckily it did 🙂

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My sister, Seline, came as well. She enjoyed three mini bacon cheeseburgers and claimed they were “pretty good and very filling”. I ordered the Raincoast Greens salad after a long internal debate – I also wanted the pesto chicken quesadillas (which, by the way, my good friend Denna enjoyed).

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I’m so glad I ordered this salad! I swapped the chicken breast for a piece of grilled salmon. This salad was a true meal, topped with a beautifully-sliced avocado, hard-boiled egg, spicy pecans, chopped tomatoes and peppers, and big chunks of feta cheese. The lemon-thyme dressing was delicious, too.

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My salad was almost too yummy for words! The salmon was perfectly-cooked, as usual. I found the pecans a little too spicy for my palate, but they contrasted well with the rich and salty feta.

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I wish I could grill salmon like this at home! I finished all the goodie goodie toppings and left just a couple leaves on my plate. This was such a filling salad! :/

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Okay, okay, I had to have dessert. The curse of a sweet tooth! Seline and I decided to order a molten chocolate lava cake with raspberry coulis and Tahitian vanilla ice cream. I wish we had a bit more ice cream, because the warm and chocolatey cake was extremely rich and required some more cool creaminess.

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Initially, I was debating between the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and this one, but we’re so glad we ordered it – even though the cheesecake was created by Mr. Rob Feenie and looked scrumptious. But how can I say something bad about chocolate? 🙂

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If you want to see some more photos of my beloved friends at the Eagle Ridge Hospital, please click this link here to see photos of our banquet. 🙂 You can also see the two other times I’ve been to Cactus Club HERE and HERE.

Thanks for reading this post today – I’ve got a little bit of research to do and some SUPER EXCITING NEWS that I’ll be sharing in my next post (hint: it’s about summer plans!). Will update you all soon! Have a lovely week. 🙂

It’s Snowing!

Okay, so it’s not really snowing. But it is in my bowl! By the way, this post was thisclose to being named ’50 Shades of Oatmeal’. It’s always so hard to title these posts. In other news…

check out this incredible bowl of oatmeal – yes, I’m sure there are oats under this mess – with all the toppings. Crumbled pumpkin muffin, pecans, peanut butter, chia seeds, and shredded coconut that didn’t want to sprink-OOPS.

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Please ignore that binder with chemistry homework in the background – sometimes I’m honestly too lazy to move everything to take a pretty photo. I don’t know how other bloggers do it, because I just want to dig in! Here’s what the scene actually looks like, with the mess in the kitchen and all kinds of nibbles on the table.

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I had a similar bowl the next day – pumpkin oatmeal cooked with cinnamon and flax, topped with peanut butter, hemp hearts, pecans, and chocolate chips. 🙂

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Why, oh why must oatmeal be so heavenly? The nut butter and muffin are my favourite parts and I always get seconds on the toppings 🙂

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ANOTHER bowl of pumpkin oatmeal on the right – this time topped with coconut, chia, and pecans. Huge scoop of peanut butter + maple syrup on top!

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This bowl, AKA Pumpkin Oatmeal Take Four, is super thick because it was once baked pumpkin oatmeal. I simply heated up the baked oats in a saucepan with extra almond milk. This texture was different in a good way – I really enjoyed this bowl, which is topped with PB, hemp hearts, and maple syrup.

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I’m surprised I’m not orange, because this was ANOTHER pumpkin oatmeal breakfast. Baked, as mentioned above. You can read the recipe HERE. I highly recommend it! I topped this guy with pecans, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and maple syrup. Nut butter is buried somewhere down there too, of course. 😛

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More baked oatmeal! Are you getting sick of oats yet?

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This was my banana baked oatmeal topped with PB, hemp hearts and maple syrup, alongside two scrambled eggs, sliced banana, and ketchup for zee eggs. This breakfast had a little bit of everything and I absolutely loved it!

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Want to see something different? Okay, these aren’t pumpkin or banana oats, but my favourite chocolate oatmeal. 🙂 This was so, super yummy topped with crumbled banana muffin and peanut butter. I always make my cocoa oatmeal with one super-ripe mashed banana, which really adds to the creaminess and sweetness. I don’t make this with any sugar (other than the mashed ripe banana), so it really isn’t as sweet/dessert-like as it seems.

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A similar but different bowl the next day topped with more PB and shredded coconut. Whenever I have cocoa oatmeal, I never want the bowl to end!

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Another day I tried to make baked peanut butter cookie oatmeal, and I stuck a chocolate kiss on top. This baked oatmeal recipe for one was not super tasty in my opinion, so I won’t be sharing the recipe. I still liked it though – the crispy texture on top was so unique. But I think the flavours need to be played around with. Or maybe I just really miss that blob of peanut butter on top. 😉

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That’s all I have for you today – have a delicious long Easter weekend everyone! 🙂

The Most Beautiful Thing on Earth…

Are probably food-related, in my world! Like this bowl of pumpkin oatmeal topped with peanut butter, cinnamon, and chopped pecans.

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That white background? This is what it actually looked like! AKA a piece of scrap paper.

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Had scrambled eggs another day, with spinach and topped with my favourite white cheddar cheese. This was yummy on top of rice and the perfect blend of all the food groups.

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I seriously loved this dinner: shrimp pasta with zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach. Cooked in the best buttery, garlicky oil and topped with parmesan cheese. One of my new #1 dinners of all time!

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I had the leftovers for lunch the next day. And did I mention that I LOVE penne?

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Strange-ish dinner – scrambled eggs with spinach and feta cheese with roasted sweet potato.

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I don’t think words can explain how much I love sweet potatoes! Especially when they’re roasted and caramelized.

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And one of my favourite breakfasts of all time: fudgy chocolate-banana oatmeal topped with peanut butter.

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I didn’t need muffin or granola or fruit or nuts on this bowl – plain and simple was perfect. With my books and binder in the background! Beautiful, I know.

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Mom dinner here! Wow, haven’t posted a Mom dinner for quite a while. This plate features ‘ou bing’, a pattie made of ground pork, scallions, rice, and lotus root. Sounds strange, but it is really, really tasty. 🙂

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With some sauteed krill and cabbage, tofu with scallion oil, rouzao rice, and half a hard-boiled egg.

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This made a delicious next-day lunch as well. I love Mom Meals!

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Almost even more than I love grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

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These are just so delicious! Cooked in coconut oil as usual.

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Scrambled eggs with spinach (obviously I can’t get enough of this!) with spicy pepper jack cheese underneath. Focaccia bread from Inno bakery is one of the best breads I’ve ever had.

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I love melty, spicy cheese. 🙂

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I sure love a lot of things!

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This was another Mom Meal. Shrimp and broccoli stir-fry, quinoa, caramelized sweet potato, and a corn + edamame sautee.

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So, so, so delicious. Go Mom!

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I tried hot yoga this morning with Mom! It wasn’t too bad. I’ve done a two-hour session before, and this one was much better (1 hour lesson, cooler room, easier moves) and I actually enjoyed it a lot! Will try to squeeze this into my schedule at least once a month. Mom liked it as well, for the first twenty minutes! What a tough workout.

Tomorrow I’ll hopefully be going to Bandidas Taquerias with Mom and Seline for brunch. I am so excited! Peace out everyone ☺