You’ll Fall Head Over Heels For These Chocolate and Coconut Pots De Crème

It isn’t Valentine’s Day without a decadent chocolate dessert, and this chocolate and coconut pots de crème recipe is the epitome of all the things we love most about the rich, sugary-sweet confection. Not only are these romantic treats individually portioned, they’re best made in advance, and also happen to be dairy-free thanks to the creamy coconut milk (always opt for canned coconut milk as the carton variety is diluted with water). No matter who you’re treating – yourself, close friends or that special someone – these desserts are worth the indulgence.

Chocolate and Coconut Pots De Crème

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 4+ hours (includes cooling time)
Servings: 4 large or 6 small

Ingredients:

2 cups full-fat coconut milk, canned
½ cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch fine salt
100 grams quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
Coconut whipped cream, for serving
Dried rose petals, for garnishing

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Boil a pot of water and set aside.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and remove from heat.

3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla extract, coconut extract, nutmeg and salt until well blended.

4. Slowly temper in the coconut mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly.

5. Transfer mixture back to the saucepan and add the chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is fully incorporated.

6. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure a silky custard.

7. Evenly divide custard amongst 4 large (or 6 small) ramekins. Transfer to a baking dish and fill dish with the boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Be careful not to drip any water into the ramekins.

8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the centre of each custard has set. The centre should still have a little jiggle to it. Remove ramekins from the baking dish and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight before serving.

9. Top with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of rose petals before serving.

We’re here to satisfy all your dessert cravings with these 100+ decadent chocolate desserts, fudgy brownie recipes and no-bake vegan chocolate cheesecake hearts.

The Sweetest Homemade Candy Heart Kombucha Gummies

This Valentine’s Day, make some sweets for your sweet! Creating your own gummies at home may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple, and only requires a few ingredients. First, you’ll need to find a silicone heart mould, which you can buy at a kitchen store or online, and then you’re ready to go. Infusing kombucha into gummies is a super creative way to support your gut health, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to devour healthy candy? Since these mini heart-shaped sweets are Valentine’s Day themed, we gave them a pinkish-red hue, so berry or rose flavoured kombucha is key. Once you whip up a batch, you’ll soon realize the world is your gummy oyster, where you can flavour and colour these little gems with a myriad of juices and fruits to your heart’s desire.

Homemade Candy Heart Kombucha Gummies

Prep Time: 40 minutes*
Fridge Time: 1-2 hours
Servings: 165 gummies

*The prep time may take longer depending how many moulds you have, since you may need to work in batches

Ingredients:

2 cups berry-flavoured kombucha
8 Tbsp grass-fed beef gelatin
1 ½ cup chopped strawberries (frozen or fresh)
½ cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup water

Directions:

1. Pour kombucha into a bowl and whisk in the gelatin until combined. Let it stand for 5 minutes.

2. In a blender, blitz the berries, maple syrup, lemon juice and water and pour into a pot.

3. Place the pot on the stove over low heat, then add the kombucha and gelatin mixture until it fully dissolves. Don’t heat too high or you will damage the live bacteria in the kombucha.

4. Use a gummy dropper, syringe or small spoon to pour the liquid into the moulds. Don’t attempt to pour it in with a measuring cup, we did this and it was too messy!

5. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until gummies have hardened. To store, place them in an airtight container for 5 days.

For more desserts that’ll give you major heart-eyes, make a batch of no-bake strawberry “cheesecake” bites, an easy stovetop s’mores dip or one of these sinful chocolate dessert recipes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma with Nigella-Seed Cabbage Slaw

Traditional chicken shawarma is slow cooked on a vertical rotisserie spit (it’s delicious, but not ideal for home cooking). If you’re craving the same tender, Middle Eastern dish that can easily be made in your own kitchen, this is the recipe for you. The chicken is dressed up with warming spices like cinnamon, turmeric and cumin, and pairs perfectly with a light and airy slaw. The slaw is topped with the mighty nigella seed. It may look like a black sesame seed, but it gives off an amazing, nutty flavour that’s a cross between oregano and toasted onion. The slaw can also be made in about 10 minutes flat. How’s that for a quick and easy side dish?

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma with Cabbage Slaw

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours up to overnight
Total Time: 2 to 8 hours
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Chicken Shawarma
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
1 ½ lbs chicken thighs
½ cup veggie or chicken broth
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Cabbage Slaw
2 cups purple cabbage, sliced
2 cups savoy or green cabbage, sliced
2 carrots, grated
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 Tbsp nigella seeds

Directions:

Chicken Shawarma
1. Add the spices in a bowl to combine.

2. Coat the chicken in the spices, ensuring every crevice is marinated.

3. Place the chicken in the slow cooker and pour broth over top. Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 6 hours.

4. When the chicken is done, roughly shred it into uneven pieces. If you want these pieces to be crisp, place them in the broiler for 5 minutes, or quickly saute in a pan with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil.

5. Place the shawarma on (or beside) the cabbage slaw and finish with a sprinkling of roughly chopped parsley.

Cabbage Slaw
1. While the shawarma is cooking, slice up the cabbage slaw. You can shred the cabbage and carrots in a food processor, using the grater attachment, or slice by hand, and use a box grater for the carrots. Both options work well.

2. Place the sliced purple and green cabbage, grated carrots and chopped parsley in a bowl.

3. Combine the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper) in a separate bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage, and toss well. Finish with a sprinkling of nigella seeds on top.

Continue your cooking streak with these satisfying slow-cooker chicken dinners. For something quick, this 30-minute Instant Pot curry dish can do no wrong.

This is How to Make The Perfect Chinese Hot Pot at Home

Chinese hot pot is a broth set on a table meant for sharing, and is a social dining experience where people huddle around a simmering pot of broth with a variety of proteins, veggies, spices and a string of incredibly diverse dipping sauces. In short, you make a personalized dipping sauce, dunk some ingredients into the broth and scoop it out into your bowl. Much like cheese fondue, hot pot is a buffet of mix-and-match ingredients perfect for customized social gatherings.

Depending on the region of China, the broth and chosen protein will vary, with Northern China favouring lamb, and Cantonese hot pot commonly filled with fresh seafood. To make at home, you don’t need to choose a region. It just involves a bit of preparation.

Hot Pot Tips and Tricks

Equipment 101: To keep the broth simmering on the table, you need a portable burner. Whether you choose a butane burner or portable induction stove, look for butane burners in camping stores or online, and be sure to purchase the fuel every few hot pot dinners.

The Right Pot: The ideal pot has a divider in the centre to allow for two different broths (cool, right?) and is often called a shabu-shabu hot pot with divider. I have a wide, shallow pot with a fitted lid that accommodates a selection of protein, vegetables and broth while cooking quickly.

Tool Time: You’ll need chopsticks or forks/small tongs for dipping in the pot and eating. Strainers, spoons and small plates or shallow bowls for eating, and small bowls for dipping sauces. Remember, you are dipping into a communal pot, so you will need separate tools to dip the ingredients, retrieve and eat. No one likes double dippers!

Spice is Nice: Decide on the type of broth you will serve, whether you make your own from scratch or purchase the many flavoured packages offered in Asian grocery stores. Choose from a basic chicken broth with mild flavouring agents i.e. onion, ginger, daikon, or a tomato-based, mushroom-based or spicy broth (it’s called Hot Pot for a reason!).

Ingredient Buffet: The choice of ingredients fit for a hot pot is too long to list, and with no hard and fast rules, it’s a mix-and-match game. You want a little bit of everything, and balance is critical when it comes to vegetables. You want texture, satiating veggies and complementary choices for the remaining ingredients.

Hot Pot Ingredient List

Greens
Hearty and leafy, look for greens that retain texture after cooking like bok choy, watercress, snow pea leaves, Napa cabbage, Chinese spinach, gai lan and green onions.

Root Vegetables
Look for daikon, carrots, small potatoes and either cut into cubes or thinly sliced. For larger pieces, let them simmer in the broth to flavour it, and thinly slice for a slight crunch.

Mushrooms
More than an umami-rich flavour agent, reach for enokis, small cremini or shimeji mushrooms for quick cooking and sliced king oysters for a meaty choice. Add the small mushrooms the last minute of cooking; they’re ready as soon as they start to wilt, and king oysters can handle a longer cooking time.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a staple in many Asian soups and stews. Cut tomatoes into quarters and simmer until softened for the acidity to balance the spice.

Squash
Kabocha squash is my first choice for its bright hue, rich texture and sweetness to balance the stew. Winter melon, also known as bitter melon, is wildly popular in Asia for soups and stews with a mild flavour and absorbs the characteristics of the other ingredients. The skin and seeds must be removed, and while the flesh is firm, it can become mush if overcooked.

Other Vegetables:
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, bean sprouts, corn, green beans.

Dipping Sauces
Often, the hot pot is not the source of big flavours; it’s the personalized dipping sauce that sings and heightens the experience. You drop your protein and vegetables into the broth, or allow them to cook for a few minutes, scoop them out onto a plate or bowl, then sink the protein/veggie into the dipping sauce before eating. Choices of sauces include: Soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese black vinegar, Hoisin sauce, Chinese chili oil and Chinese sesame paste.

Soup Base
The broth is the foundation of any hot pot, and you can make your own with prepared chicken, beef or vegetable broth, then layer with flavour agents such as fresh or dried chilies, fish sauce, Chinese rice wine, garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. The easy solution is to venture out into your local Asian market and look for the many Hot Pot Soup Bases. You will be spoiled for choice: Tomato Broth, Mushroom Broth, Sichuan Pepper Broth, Mild Broth, Spicy Broth, Vegetable Broth.

For a homemade spicy broth, fry dried whole chilies in vegetable oil until they turn red. Scrape into the hot pot with prepared chicken broth with star anise, sliced ginger and chunks of green onions.

Protein
Just about any protein will be utterly delicious in a hot pot. Buy thinly sliced lamb, beef or pork belly (often found frozen in Asian grocery stores) for pure ease of enjoyment. Dip a slice of your chosen protein a few times in the hot pot and, it’s done in about 30 seconds. For chicken, look for chicken cutlets and thinly slice into strips.

Seafood
Shellfish additions are as endless as the sea and promise to add even more flavour to the pot. The current favourite is shrimp, and don’t be afraid to leave the shell and head on. Scallops come in all sizes, oysters should be shucked and can be purchased frozen, shucked. Mussels are sustainable, and you need only to remove the beards and cleaned, clams need a good scrubbing too, and the littlenecks are best for hot pot for their quick cooking time, and they take up little room.

Fish Balls and Fish Cakes
Fish of all varieties when thinly sliced are great in a hot pot. Place salmon, halibut, and bass in the strainer during the cooking process to catch all the flaky pieces.

Fish balls are pressed fish paste, cuttlefish, shrimp and lobster and can be round, square, oval and even come in a variety of colours from white to brown to pink. Look for them in the freezer section of any Asian grocery store, when they’re already cooked and frozen and need a minute or two in the hot pot to thaw. When they float to the surface, they’re ready for dipping.

Tofu
Medium-firm or firm will work, the soft or silken variety won’t survive the jostling dippers from all angles. Fried tofu is pre-cooked and needs only warming.

Noodles
Traditionally, rice noodles are an excellent choice for its quick and clean cooking. Wheat noodles will thicken the broth and leave a cloudy soup.

From a party of two to an elaborate gathering, hot pot is a warming, fun and creative dinner idea, and the most deliciously entertaining.

We’ve also rounded up last-minute party appetizers that are beyond easy. You should also try your hand at this easy, cheesy fondue board for entertaining.

I Went Keto for 3 Months and Got Gout. Here’s What I Wish I’d Known

My friend walks into a bar – glowing, leaner and the happiest I’ve ever seen her in our 12 year friendship. “Keto,” she says, anticipating the ‘What are you doing?’ question, “I basically eat a lot of Caesar salad – I’ve lost 25 pounds.”

We’re in our thirties, and every year it feels like there’s another ring around the trunk. While I’ve picked up rec sports like ball hockey and practice yoga semi-regularly, I’ve never been on a diet and haven’t put any actual effort into slimming down. My friend, Janna, and I have always had similar palates: we love bread, pasta, sandwiches, sauce, potatoes and most comfort foods on the regular. “You should do it,” she said, “You can eat so many things — I feel amazing.”

Why I went keto

As an intersectional-feminist who promotes body positivity, I hate how this story starts. It was one long look into my bathroom mirror after a shower when I cried — unhappy with the aged, unfamiliar woman staring back at me. I decided, at that exact moment, that I was going to try keto, as Janna had done.

So, I started the following Monday. I took the weekend to consult with Dr. Google so I could hunt and gather at the grocery store for my new and very first diet.

The ketogenic diet is attractive to people like me (read: who have the palate of a 13-year-old boy in the 90’s with a love for beige food and grease) because you never have to go hungry or calorie count, and you’re allowed to eat bacon, burgers, butter and other foods typically considered unhealthy. It’s a high fat, moderate protein, zero-sugar, low-carb diet. I don’t even like baked goods or sweets.

But I do like bagels, dumplings, corn and other carbs you’re not allowed on keto. Starchy carbs were off the table — so were fruits (including the melon family, mangoes, pineapple, apples etc.) and even a variety of vegetables had to be limited.

Related: From keto to whole30 to vegan. What is the best healthy diet? 

What a typical day of eating looked like for me

Like Janna, I ended up eating a lot of Caesar salad with chicken on the regular. Breakfast was all about bacon, eggs (cooked in butter), spinach and avocado. On offer at lunch was usually more leafy greens, roast chicken (sometimes hot, other times cold), cheese and nuts. For snacks, I ate more nuts, more cheese, and sometimes I’d even eat raw spinach out of the bin and call them “keto chips”. Blackberries were a green-lit treat, and very dark chocolate is also OK in moderation. I learned to like cream, and sometimes butter, in my keto coffee.

I also learned to drink so much water, and I peed on a keto strip every morning to make sure I was still in a state of ketosis. Being in the state of dietary ketosis is key to the weight loss benefits of the diet — it means your body is no longer fueled by carbs and is instead running on stored fat (hence the high fat part), producing ketones, so your brain still gets the energy it needs. To enter ketosis, I had to deprive my body of carbs (keeping the serving under 20g per day). The process took about three to five days, which is when I got what’s dubbed the keto flu and lost seven pounds by day six.

Some challenges I faced while on keto

I made the mistake of going on a road trip to Michigan within my first weeks of keto. Translation: burgers with lettuce, meat sticks, cheese and nuts were pretty much all I consumed that weekend. My mother commented on my appearance: “It’s working. I can see it in your face.” I was thinning out.

Related: How to develop healthy eating habits that actually last.

They say you stop craving carbs — that never actually happened for me. I didn’t need them, but if I saw my co-worker eating pizza, I knew I’d rather be sinking my teeth into a slice than stabbing at a bowl of cold, raw vegetables.

Keto became a way of life. At post ball hockey drinks, I’d have water and eat a burger in a lettuce bun with celery (no illegal carrots because of the sugar). But I knew this couldn’t go on forever. While editing a story on celebrity diets, I discovered the 80/20 diet and decided to try carb cycling.

Related: What is the flexitarian diet, and why are people doing it?

What I wish I knew when I got gout

Carb cycling and keto may increase the risk of gout. I wish I’d talked to an actual expert and registered nutritionist before I’d participated in a fad diet to explore the potential risks for myself. For this article, I talked to Julie Mancuso, the weight-loss expert and owner of JM Nutrition.

My friends are doing it, my coworkers are doing it — it works great for them, so it’ll work great for me, is something Mancuso hears all the time from first-time dieters. “Even though we have the same composition, we all have a different makeup, and your friend may not have any pre-dispositions to health issues,” she explains.

It turns out gout runs in my family. I was the first female to get it in my known bloodline — a glass ceiling I really didn’t need to break. But after attempting (and failing) carb cycling, drinking wine and building up too much uric acid, I found myself hopping on one foot with the rich man’s disease. I gave myself gout. It was already in my genes and it was triggered by my diet.

“With keto, you actually get most of the calorie consumption from fat,” says Mancuso. “If someone is predisposed to gallstones and you’re eating an abundance of fat — and [the] body can’t keep up with that — that will cause a problem.” Another thing to note is that spinach is very high in oxalate, the number one cause of kidney stones. So, at least I didn’t get gallstones or kidney stones, right?

Related: A nutritionist reveals 10 best natural foods for glowing skin.

How I would do keto differently

The next time I submit to my insecurities and decide to attempt a drastic diet change, I will consult with a nutritionist or dietitian to help me better my relationship with food.

According to Mancuso, there are many healthy and sustainable changes people can make to their diet that will help with weight-loss — people don’t need to jump into keto. But many lean towards diets like keto, including Atkins, Paleo and South Beach, because the results are typically fast, and starting something so strict and seemingly effective can be motivating.

“Our culture is like that — when we want something, we want it now,” says Mancuso, who often works with clients and encourages them to start slowly with new diets. She likes to take the time to assess and provide people with a better understanding with how diets and weight-loss actually work.

“What I don’t like about keto is that it’s very restrictive,” explains Mancuso. “The biggest problem is that people have trouble sustaining this diet… what diet restricts broccoli?”

Related: Nutritionist reveals 10 secrets to keeping energy levels up all day long.

What people should keep in mind if going keto

“Keto works for weight-loss” says Mancuso. “What I like is that it steers people away from eating carbs and sugar.”

She would recommend nutritionally balanced keto — which, according to the weight-loss expert, is moderate protein and plenty of vegetables. If the aim is weight-loss, the sugar has to go, and the carbs have to be cut down. As it turns out, there really aren’t any shortcuts or hacks for leading a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

Feature image courtesy of Getty Images. 

This Jalapeño Popper Dip Will Be Your New Favourite Super Bowl Appetizer

Everything you love in a jalapeño popper is whirred into a cheesy, party-perfect dip. Spicy jalapeños, crispy bacon, cream cheese and a crunchy topping come together for a delicious, ultra-indulgent dip. Serve this up with veggies and tortilla chips at your next party for a crowd-pleasing riff on the new-classic appetizer.

Related: Score a Touchdown with These Vegetarian Finger Foods

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients:
6 strips bacon
2 (250 g) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
3 green onions, minced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Sliced veggies or tortilla chips for serving

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, turning occasionally, until crispy, about 10 min. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and reserve 2 Tbsp bacon grease in a medium heat-safe bowl. Once bacon is cool, chop or crumble into pieces.
3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese until smooth. Gradually mix in mayonnaise until fully combined. To cream cheese and mayonnaise, add Cheddar, jalapenos, green onions and bacon pieces and mix to combine. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly into a 9-inch round ovenproof dish.
4. Stir panko into reserved bacon grease and sprinkle over cream cheese mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until bubbling at the sides. Serve warm with tortilla chips or veggies for dipping.

Make-Ahead: You can make this dip ahead of time (without the panko topping, and prior to baking) and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Warm refrigerated bacon renderings in the microwave until liquefied and stir in panko. Sprinkle cream cheese mixture with panko mixture and bake, adding 5 minutes to the cooking time (40 to 45 minutes instead of 35 to 40 minutes).

Nothing gets a crowd going like a good app, so here are 35 last-minute party appetizers that are beyond easy.

This Beef and Bean Chili Contains an Unsuspecting Secret Ingredient

Chili is the perfect comfort food: it’s delicious in cold weather (or any time), it feeds a crowd, it’s festive during sporting events, it’s spicy and stew-y, and now, it’s chocolatey too! We believe most chilis are missing this key, secret ingredient. Pairing cocoa with an already rich chili only deepens the flavours, adding more sweetness and bitterness, while creating a velvety texture.  

Hearty Beef and Bean Chili with Dark Chocolate

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp sea salt
Few cracks of pepper
1 lb ground beef
1 red or yellow potato, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet potato, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 cup broth
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 ounces (75g) dark chocolate (70% or higher)
⅓ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Place a large pot or dutch oven on the stove, heat to medium, toss in the oil and then sauté the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes.

2. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Toss in the spices and mix around so they get nice and toasted.

3. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with your spoon, so it’s in smaller pieces that can brown. Mix it around so it gets coated in the spices. There’s no need to fully cook it yet, since the beef will cook further when it simmers in a few steps.

4. Toss in the potatoes, broth, diced tomatoes, kidney beans and dark chocolate, and give the whole pot a big stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 35 minutes. Re-season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with fresh cilantro on top.

For more comforting recipes, this winter greens mac & cheese and these slow-cooker ribs with a red wine sauce will save you on the coldest winter days. You can also try these slow-cooker curry recipes.

Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

You’ve heard it before and we will say it again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But the kicker is, your go-to morning meal should feature nutrients to keep you satiated and satisfied (sugar-laden cereals just won’t cut it). Today, we’re sharing three protein-packed oatmeal recipes that promise to keep you full. It’s a healthy – and delicious – start to the year that belongs in your breakfast rotation. And with three exciting variations to choose from, you’ll never get bored.

Winter Citrus Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup orange juice, store-bought or freshly squeezed
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 Tbsp hemp seeds, plus more for topping
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
1/2 tsp orange zest
Orange slices, for topping
Blueberry jam, for topping
Chopped pecans, for topping

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, orange juice, oats, protein powder, hemp seeds and maple syrup.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, salt and orange zest. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of almond milk.

4. Stir in orange slices, blueberry jam, pecans and maple syrup.

Cranberry, Coconut & Chia Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
Fresh cranberries, for topping (can substitute dried)
Flaked coconut, for topping
Roasted almonds, for topping
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, oats, protein powder, chia seeds and maple syrup.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of coconut milk.

4. Stir in cranberries, coconut, almonds and maple syrup.

Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
2 Tbsp honey, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 banana, sliced
2 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 pinch flaked salt, for topping

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, oats, protein powder and honey.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of almond milk.

4. Stir in peanut butter, banana and dark chocolate. Top with flaked salt.

Restore your relationship with breakfast with this vegan apple pie oatmeal bake or these creative chia puddings 3 ways. These 3-ingredient breakfasts will also make mornings a breeze.

The 30-Minute Instant Pot Curry a Nutritionist Makes Every Week

Once a week, I make a large batch of healthy, vegetable- and protein-filled curry in my Instant Pot. It’s a top pick in my house and feeds us for lunch a few days after it’s made. Cozy, adaptable to any dietary preference and made in about 30 minutes (give or take five to 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and the steam to release), it’s a staple in our weekly rotation. And clean up is a breeze!

Along with the chicken curry recipe below, you’ll find ways to switch it up, which I often do, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivore. I also have a few suggestions for my personal favourite part of the curry: the toppings.   

Instant Pot Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry (Adaptable)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 

Ingredients: 

Curry
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, left whole (scroll to bottom for plant-based and pescatarian options)
1 white or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium red new potatoes or 2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1 (14 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
1 (5.5 fl oz) can tomato paste
⅓ cup water or broth
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice, plus more for serving

Toppings and Serving Suggestions
Naan or roti
Cooked white or brown basmati rice
Plain yogurt, raita or cottage cheese
Lime or lemon juice
Fresh cilantro or mint
Mango chutney or sweet chili jam
Raisins
Ghee or butter
Nigella seeds
Toasted chopped cashews
Diced fresh chili or red pepper flakes

Directions: 

1. In your Instant Pot, stir to combine chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, potatoes, garam masala or curry powder, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, coconut milk, tomato paste and water.

2. Seal the lid and sealing switch on top. Cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes (Manual). After the time is up, turn the sealing switch to release the pressure, and then open the lid.

3. Remove chicken, shred or chop and add back to the pot with butter, ghee or coconut oil and lemon juice. Stir everything to combine and serve with any of the suggested toppings and accompaniments.

Tips for Modifying the Recipe:

1. Add more vegetables
Replace the new or Yukon gold potatoes with ½ head cauliflower cut into florets and stir in ½ cup frozen peas or a few handfuls of spinach right before serving (press Sauté to warm through if the frozen peas cool the curry down too much).

2. Make it vegan
Replace the chicken with 1 (19 oz) can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 1 block extra-firm tofu, or ½ large head cauliflower cut into florets.    

3. Make it vegetarian
Replace the chicken with with 1 (19 oz) can drained and rinsed chickpeas and top with a poached or soft-boiled egg. 

4. Make it pescatarian
Replace the chicken with peeled and deveined shrimp, adding only after cooking the curry base and vegetables. Once the pressure is released, press Sauté, add shrimp and cook, stirring often until cooked through, about 2 minutes.  

You’ll want to add this recipe to your roster of healthy Instant Pot meal ideas. And if you’re on a belly-warming recipe kick, try these slow-cooker curries along with The Pioneer Woman’s best soups and stews.

Black Garlic: What It Is, and Why You Need to Cook With It This Year

As Canadians get more adventurous in the kitchen, it’s only natural that they’d be on the lookout for the latest on-trend foods and dishes to try at home. And, with 2020 kicking into high gear, black garlic has continued its steady ascent as one of the most sought-after ingredients in North American cuisine. But if you’re left reeling at the thought of cooking with the inky, blackened cloves – or don’t entirely understand how to incorporate it into your favourite recipes – you’re definitely not alone.

Although not an entirely new concept (Japan, Thailand and South Korea have been extolling the virtues of black garlic for years) this versatile ingredient can be easily swapped in for traditional white garlic in most dishes.

Still not convinced? We break it all down for you – from the what to the how – and offer up some of our favourite garlicky Food Network Canada recipes as mouth-watering examples of where you can introduce this on-trend ingredient into your repertoire.

Related: 12 Hottest Food Trends We’ll Be Devouring in 2020

What is it?

In short, it’s your everyday run-of-the-mill white garlic – albeit gradually aged over a period of weeks. By gently heating entire bulbs in a humidity-controlled environment (think: rice cookers), you wind up with darkened, sticky cloves that quite frankly resemble garlic gone bad. Despite their slightly charred and off-putting appearance, the Maillard reaction (the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that lend browned/aged foods their unmistakable taste) actually deepens their flavours for an entirely different – and elevated – culinary experience.

Related: Mouth-Watering Recipes That Use 10 or More Cloves of Garlic


Get the recipe for Roger Mooking’s 30 Cloves of Garlic Sauce

What does it taste like?

For starters, it doesn’t taste much like traditional garlic. Once blackened, the cloves become earthy and syrupy-sweet in flavour, with additional hints of prunes, balsamic vinegar and black licorice. It’s also softer and has a molasses-like texture, making it easier to spread on crackers or crostini. Something for at-home chefs to consider: due to the loss of its original sharp taste, a larger volume of black garlic is required with any recipe in order to achieve higher taste levels.


Get the recipe for 8-Minute Garlic and Parmesan Pan-Fried Shrimp

How to use it

You can add black garlic to salad dressing or dip recipes, purée them with olive oil, create scrumptious pastes from scratch or rub onto fish or meat before popping your dish in the oven. If you purchase it in powdered form, you can also sprinkle it on pretty much anything your heart (and stomach) desires.

Related: Pinterest Predicts the Top 15 Food Trends for 2020


Learn how to make Everything Garlic Bread Knots

How to make it at home

We’ll be honest: it’s a long, drawn-out process, but if you have the time to spare, the results are well worth the wait. A relatively easy hack is to break out the rice cooker and use the “warm” setting to transform white garlic into black garlic over the span of roughly three to four weeks (or 40 days). You can also use your slow cooker.


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Garlic Parmesan Twists

Where to buy it

Although it might be a little difficult to track down in major grocery chains, specialty stores, like Whole Foods, often carry both whole heads of pre-humidified black garlic and the powdered variety.

Health benefits

Although it’s lower in allicin, the compound that gives traditional garlic many of its health-boosting properties, black garlic is still rich in amino acids and contains double the antioxidants as the white variety. It’s also a great source of vitamins C and D.

For more at-home cooking experiments, check out these 8 Realistic Ways to Stick to Healthy Habits and the 10 Best Foods (and 5 Worst) for Your Mental Health and Wellness.

The Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Menu With 5 Ingredients Per Meal

Have you ever looked at a gorgeous recipe photo and thought, “I’m definitely making that tonight!” only to become way less enthused when the cooking instructions call for 20 ingredients or more? We’ve been there. So, we’re giving you the opposite: a day’s worth of meals with only five ingredients required for each one. Not only are these breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes a cinch to make, they’re winter-proof (meaning they’ll warm you right up while nourishing you in the process). One housekeeping rule: oil, salt and pepper don’t count toward the five ingredients. Okay, that’s it. It’s time to get cooking!

Breakfast: Maple Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Prep Time: 12-15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Serves: 1


Ingredients:
¼ cup quinoa
¾ cup non-dairy milk
¼ – ⅓ cup toasted walnuts or almonds, roughly chopped
¼ cup blueberries (or your favourite fruit of choice)
Splash of maple syrup, to taste

Directions:
1. Place the quinoa and non-dairy milk in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes until fluffy and all the milk is absorbed.
2. Pour the quinoa into a bowl, top with walnuts or almonds, blueberries and a hearty drizzle of maple syrup. Feel free to add more non-dairy milk.
3. You can replace the quinoa with brown rice or oats. If you already have these grains pre-cooked, simply toss them in the saucepan with just a bit of non-dairy milk to heat up.

Lunch: Quickie Grains, Greens & Beans Bowl

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients:
½ cup cooked brown rice or cauliflower rice
½ cup chickpeas
1 cup baby kale, mesclun greens or baby spinach
½ green apple or avocado, sliced
2 Tbsp creamy tahini
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:
1. If you’re using brown rice and it’s not cooked yet, do so according to package instructions. For a grain-free option,  use cauliflower rice.
2. Place the rice or cauliflower on the bottom of a wide bowl or reusable to-go container if you’re taking this lunch with you.
3. Pile the chickpeas together in one area of the bowl.
4. Place the greens in another area of the bowl. Then add the apple or avocado on top to create a picture-perfect meal.
5. Drizzle tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper, then mix. If you’re taking this lunch to-go, you can dress it beforehand or place the dressing components in a container on the side.

Dinner: Sheet Pan Miso Salmon

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
1 bunch broccoli, chopped in florets
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2.5 oz pieces of salmon
Pinch of sea salt and pepper
2 Tbsp white miso
3 tsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Place the broccoli florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Push some florets to the side and place the salmon in the middle of the baking sheet, so the flesh is facing up. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.
4. While the broccoli and salmon are baking, prepare the miso marinade by whisking miso, maple syrup and sesame oil.
5. Take the salmon out of the oven when it’s done (you know it’s done when a fork gently flakes it apart) and immediately brush or spoon the miso marinade over top.

For more easy-breezy recipes, here are our best one-pan dinners with 7 ingredients or less, along with more healthy 5-ingredient lunch ideas and 3-ingredient breakfasts for better mornings.

Cold-Busting Citrus Smoothie That’ll Save You When Sick Season Hits

When flu season strikes, keep your immune system strong with this citrus-infused cold-busting smoothie. This drink is packed with nutrients, and features two anti-inflammatory agents: ginger and turmeric. Citrus in the form of orange and lemon add a punch of vitamin C, which is a necessity this time of year. For a vegan version, simply sub the Greek yogurt with a dairy-free alternative, like cashew or coconut.

Easy Cold-Busting Citrus Smoothie Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1-2

Ingredients:

1 large sliced banana, frozen
¼ cup full-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
½ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
½ Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
¼ tsp ground turmeric
4 ice cubes, or a handful of crushed ice
hemp hearts or chia seeds, to garnish

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Puree until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 60 seconds.

2. If mixture is too thick, add a splash more orange juice and blend.

3. Transfer to glass and garnish with hemp hearts or chia seeds.

Support your immune system with these 25 healing ginger recipes, the best foods to soothe a sore throat and our favourite slow cooker comfort foods.