Blackened Salmon and Crispy Canadian Kale Bowls

Can you believe we are into another week of June, why do summer months always melt away before our eyes!? I’ve been ridiculously busy as my husband and I made the official leap into adulthood and FINALLY bought our first home… ahhh! With the insanity pursuing and a never ending to do list looming over, healthy and quick dinners are the key to keep me level headed and on top of it all. As you can probably tell with my latest posts on Instagram and Facebook, I have a slight, okay massive, obsession with glorified nutrient packed bowls of wholesomeness. Continuing on with my ode to Canada for it’s upcoming big bash birthday, I am putting the spotlight on our community grown produce and supporting our local vendors! So what’s hearty, nutritious, a super food and most importantly… grows in and tastes better with a touch of Canadian frost? The fabulous kale! You guys have got to try my Blackened Salmon and Crispy Canadian Kale Bowls, it is ready in under 30 minutes, get’s you outside to grill and hits all the check marks on the delicious, balanced and nourishing aspects, and look how pretty it is! 

With all the hype surrounding kale lately, I think we are all aware by now that kale is truly an immensely nutrient baring and versatile vegetable, the king of green leafy vegetables I’d say! Kale comes in many assortments, from deep tuscan green, curly leafed, baby, even purple, the list goes on, all unique and delicious in their own ways. I see kale as being the perfect Canadian vegetable as you can grow it from early Spring into late fall, it doesn’t need a lot of attention, in fact, it gets sweeter with a touch of frost, I don’t think we could ask for anything more foolproof in our Albertan gardens, eh? I have to say, my straight up favorite kale is from a local Albertan grower, Gull Valley Greenhouses, located in the Calgary Farmer’s Market. They sell massive bags of green curly leaf kale where the leaves are soft with a subtle sweetness, while still providing that nutty leafy kale profile, mmm. I go through two bags a week of this stuff, at least! I also have kale in my garden and it’s my least demanding vegetable, no fuss!

I’ve had kale prepared in countless ways, in my salads, smoothies, sauteed, baked… I thought it was time to change the tempo and try it on the grill, oh goodness, we’ve all been missing out! I was grilling up some gorgeous salmon with my blackening seasoning and thought, why not blacken my kale as well? I ran into the house, grabbed a giant leaf of kale, tossed it in lime and a touch of oil and massaged it with my blackening seasoning and threw it on the top rack of the grill, closed that lid and hoped for the best! About 10 minutes later I had a crispy, fragrant and stunning leaf of kale that tasted even better than I could have imagined! What else can I blacken I asked myself!? Sweet potatoes! Well, you get the point, I tossed it all in my flavor packed blackening seasoning (that seriously tastes incredible on everything) and threw it all in a bowl, topped off with fresh ribbons of silky zucchini, sweet red tomatoes for some acidity (and the red splash of color for Canada!), as well as avocado (a clear must) and called it dinner!

Blackened and grilling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dinner bowl is simple yet hits you with so many enticing and spicy flavor profiles, the salmon has a crispy blackened layer and then melts in your mouth, the kale is crunchy and reminiscent of a large chip! The blackened sweet potatoes are creamy on the inside with golden brown skin and we all need more avocado in our life… so throw that on top, you guys, we have got ourselves, Blacked Salmon and Crispy Kale Canadian Bowls of goodness for din din! Join me in my dinner bowl infatuation, you’ll understand why I can’t stop! Go grab your kale or try growing it yourself this season, you have plenty of time to harvest this magnificent super food. Check out the recipe and let me know what you think, sorry if you run out of bowls… Have a beautiful week everyone! XOXO

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Celebrating Canada with Banana Rhubarb Date Muffins

We’ve made it half way through our week everyone! With the gorgeous forecasts we’ve been having means some local vegetables are sprouting and ready for us to enjoy! Since we are nearing Canada’s 150th Birthday, I want to dedicate this month’s blogs and recipes to Canada, pay homage to our bountiful country and the gorgeous produce we yield. First up and ready for harvest is the ever so versatile, vibrant and delicious rhubarb stalk. So keeping with the season and celebrating Canada, I made for you some Banana Rhubarb Date Muffins that will have your taste-buds rejoicing with every bite.

Did you know rhubarb is actually a vegetable, it grows reliably (maybe even a little too much) and is a hearty staple in Alberta gardens? You can harvest it starting in the Spring all the way through the summer and early months of fall, yum, rhubarb all summer long! But don’t eat or juice those leaves, they are slightly toxic! I have to be forthright, I really didn’t bother much with rhubarb until recently, I always saw it as a “stuff into pie only” kinda item, until I started to come to the realization that this hearty vegetable is so versatile, so I got innovative in the kitchen! I have created strawberry rhubarb compotes to stuff my buckwheat crepes with, devoured rhubarb infused oats, made a rhubarb dijon vinaigrette, used it as an addition to my smoothies and now I’ll share with ya all my tasty Banana Rhubarb Date Muffin recipe that turned out heavenly, it would be a shame not too share. This recipe is as easy as it gets when it comes to baking… throw all ingredients together, except that rhubarb, mix well, then fold in rhubarb and bake!  I am ecstatic to share with you a video tutorial on how easy these are, now on my Facebook account as well! I had a blast making this video, more videos to come in the near future!

These Banana Rhubarb Date Muffins are not your typical sugar and butter packed muffins, they are exceptionally better and guess what, gluten and refined sugar-free! Made with quick oats, some bananas and dates that lend a natural sweetness with the tart and fresh rhubarb that cuts through that with its tang. I love pumpkin in virtually anything… who doesn’t need the extra fiber and it makes these muffins extra moist, so I threw that in as well. With hints of cinnamon, cardamom and topped with oat flakes soaked in vanilla, need I say more? I have this obsession with baking things in mini size, I’m not sure why… they are adorable and the perfect pop in the mouth muffin, I also have the mentality, oh it’s so little, I can have another 🙂 They make for a pretty superb breakfast with fruit and yogurt, a handy on the go snack, healthy for the kids and a quick grab for those pre or post work outs on a busy day.

So thank you Alberta for the perfect rhubarb climate and an abundance of gorgeous red stalks all summer long! You will see them all over grocery stores and markets, go support your local vendor and buy a stalk or two. If you do succumb to these delectable mini Banana Rhubarb Date Muffins, I’d love to hear your feedback, snap a shot of the masterpiece and tag @apinchofnurse on Instagram or Facebook! Thank you everyone for your love and support always, much love xoxo.

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Two In One – Jicama Mexican Slaw & Shrimp Tacos!

Hola on this gorgeous day! You guys, all these recipes keep coming to me after experiencing Mexican cuisine and overwhelming my head (and grocery bill!). I’ve tried and tested quite a few of my recipe creations and this two in one idea of Jicama Mexican slaw turned into shrimp tacos were a home run, I must share with you this deliciousness and bring to your home some Mehicooo influence! A creation fitting for Taco Tuesday I’d say, a fresh Mexican Jicama Mango Slaw with a light Sweet Chili Lime Dressing, which makes for an impeccable base for a darn tasty Shrimp Taco with Jicama Mango Chili Lime Slaw. I love two in one, versatile dishes so darn much, creates two dishes for the week in one preparation, packs well for lunches and a perfect vibrant and light dish for all those upcoming gatherings and BBQ’s!

While in Mexico, every meal, buffet, market, side street served up Jicama (pronounced hee-cama), it is a Mexican root vegetable native to Mexico, a large light brown bulb, after one bite, I couldn’t believe I had been walking past this in the grocery store all my life. Jicama is similar to a turnip of sorts but has a much sweeter flavor, comparable to a mild apple, it has a tough peel which needs to be removed and a gorgeous crisp white flesh. It seriously is such a fresh and tasty snack, usually served simply, sliced into sticks with a dusting of salt, chili powder and a squeeze of lime juice, I had a plate a day! You can find it in almost any grocery store! I love slaws of any variety and had a light bulb moment, Jicama would make a far better slaw base than boring cabbage! Keeping the integrity of the Mexican simplicity in flavors, I brought together Jicama, ripe juicy mango, crisp red pepper, fresh cucumber, sweet carrots and a handful of fragrant cilantro for the slaw, delicious! The fresh Sweet Chili Lime dressing is a simple marinade of lime juice, chili powder, honey, garlic, salt, pepper, avocado oil and diced jalapeno! This Mexican Jicama Mango Slaw is a breeze to make, serve as a side, top with your favorite protein or enjoy my favorite way… shrimp TACO style!

Well, my lovely, spunky spin teacher always reminds me of Taco Tuesdays on Tuesdays and uses it (yells at us) as inspiration to get through a sweaty class… I’ve adapted naturally to this sort of persuasion through food (healthy food!) while dying on the bike. So let’s honor Taco Tuesday and treat ourselves to these well deserved, delicious, Shrimp Tacos with Jicama Mango Chili Lime Slaw. I was chowing down on the slaw one night and then BBQ’ed a skewer of Chili Lime Shrimp and threw it on top, then it dawned on me, why not have fun with my food and create a shrimp taco, lightened up with lettuce as the boat instead of tortilla, how Mexican of me… 🙂 So, I had some gorgeous butter leaf lettuce waiting to be filled with Jicama Mango Slaw, succulent shrimp and topped off with my favorites, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro and red onion. That’s the beauty of tacos, you get to play around with toppings and flavors to create your perfect little taco, mmmm. So simple yet looks like a Mexican fiesta on a plate! All in one preparation, make the slaw as well as extra Sweet Chili Lime Dressing to marinade your shrimp in, dinner under 30 minutes is served!

I hope I’ve inspired you and diversified your kitchen recipes on this Taco Tuesday! Thank you for everyone’s ongoing, incredible support of my creations and the feedback I receive everyday is invaluable. SO, why not make some shrimp tacos for you and the fam tonight! Also, a FYI, my husbands believes that food from the sea is not for him, I made these tacos for him the exact same way but added steak strips with the same Sweet Chili Lime marinade, he said it “was better than Mexico”! Go get your taco on! XOXO

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Travel Time – Exploring Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Happy Monday everyone, a beautiful start to a new week and almost into June, unreal! I have been working hard on Travel Time, my travel blog section and have for you my adventures while exploring Isla Mujeres, Mexico, while on a recent trip to Cancun. The island was a truly unique and stunning experience that I suggest everyone get a taste of if you are heading that way! From thrilling modes of transportation, turtles, quaint town centers, shopping galore, endless delicious guacamole and secluded beaches… this island is not to be missed! Check out my post here on the ins and outs of this authentic and magical island, the island of goddesses!

Isla Mujeres, Mexico – The Island of Goddesses

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Mexican Style Chimichurri Grilled Shrimp

Long weekends rock, especially May Long here in Canada, camping commences, spring is in full bloom, and grills are a blazin’! Let’s get grilling my Mexican Style Chimichurri Grilled Shrimp this long weekend, it’s undeniably mouth-watering and freshly inspired by my recent jaunt in cuisine cultivated Mexico! I was exhilarated by Mexico’s vibrant food scene and distinct flavors, the unique market’s, fresh and wholesome produce, beautiful seafood, indigenous spices and ingredients. These items ignited a need to create a sauce that embodied their flavor culture through my eyes!

Everyday, even if it was dining at the resort’s buffet or meandering the streets and restaurants of Mexico and its island’s, I was exposed to their vastness of gorgeous produce as well as perfectly balanced and layered bold spice profiles. It quickly became apparent that seafood is abundant and fresh on the coasts, staples such as corn, beans, rice, avocados, tomatoes, squash and melt in your mouth tropical fruit was plentiful! The variety and multitude of preparation in chilies were inventive and the countless palatable spices had my taste buds dancing with every bite. For me the combination of fresh herbs and avocado over seafood was a combination I couldn’t get enough of, I had to create a sauce that embodied it all!

The concept of a Chimichurri sauce with a Mexican make over was exactly how I wanted to showcase the vibrant and earthy Mexican food culture in a dish. I mean who doesn’t love sauces! Chimichurri is traditionally an Argentinian sauce that pairs well with meats, I decided to amp it up with some Mexican flair.  This Mexican Style Chimichurri sauce is packed with fresh herbs, tangy acids, creamy avocados, spicy jalapeno, it truly compliments pretty much everything you smother it on… trust me, I explored it on many ingredients! From fresh seafood, to vegetables, chicken and steak, this sauce offers a real punch to anything you try it on. I have a major love affair with succulent, sweet shrimp (ask those that watched me mow down on shrimp in Mexico :)) and thought this bold and spicy sauce would pair beautifully well with shrimp, yep, sure did!

You guys, I have literally been basting all my meals in this Mexican Style Chimichurri, the outstanding part of this recipe is it takes no time at all to whip up, it keeps so well in an air tight container and flavors are even more elevated after a few days! It has been keeping my Mexican flavors and cuisine withdrawal symptoms under control I’d say, not to mention makes for a damn tasty and quick meal every time. I simply marinade anything I’m craving (of recent, Mexican Chimichurri eggplant and shrimp was my choice for dinner) in this mucho Mexican Chimichurri and the grill also enhances those flavors, lending a smokey hue!

I hope I delivered a little bit of Mexico to your May long weekend grilling plans, the perfect sauce to pack in that camping cooler! Happy May Long everyone, stay safe and pop those delicious Mexican Style Chimichurri Grilled Shrimp in your mouth! Let me know what you think of the recipe and showcase your creations by tagging your photos on Instagram @apinchofnurse. Watch for a soon to come travel blog post on my recommendations and ventures through Isla Mujeres, Mexico!

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Grill Em Up – Jalapeno Corn Chicken Burgers

Afternoon everyone! Hope your weekend has been jam-packed with adventure and hopefully delicious meals that were grilled up on that BBQ, since the sun came out to play yesterday. A slightly gloomy start to our Sunday, but who are we kidding , Canadians are notorious for using that BBQ as soon as a walk able path via snow boots can be shoveled through the snow to reach the BBQ… well I do anyways. Although, I find it preferable when you can entertain in the sanctuary of your backyard, kick back, have a drinkaroo or two, all while grilling up damn delicious Jalapeno Corn Chicken Burgers!

I find from time to time chicken can get slightly boring and recipes are monotonous, throw that flavorless chicken to the side and welcome into your life these super easy, moist, flavor packed and ready for summer, Jalapeno Corn Chicken Burgers! I was craving a juicy bite of a healthy burger, I created these sweet with heat chicken patties and it undeniably hit the spot! Within 10 minutes you can have your ground chicken mixed up with a medley of fresh jalapeno and lime, juicy sweet corn, fragrant cilantro and that perfect spice blend of chili powder , cumin, paprika and chipotle. These burgers deliver a serious flavor bomb, no boring ass chicken here!

I made a batch and had them for dinner, lunch than dinner… I was seriously impressed with their versatility and deliciousness even after being re-heated! I am optimistic that I have inspired you and created half your weeks dinner and lunch ideas, you’re welcome! I experimented with a fully loaded lettuce style burger, stacked with creamy avocado, grilled red onion, fresh tomato with a side of delectable Chili Lime Beets, I dove right in, crazy tasty! Then for lunch I whipped up a quick avocado, tomato, cucumber salad with a Jalapeno Corn Chicken Burger on the side or try the traditional patty between a bun with your fav toppings. You really can’t go wrong and yes, the recipe is also up for the Chili Lime Beet Chips!

I’m obsessed with beets and my BBQ, so I thought… let’s unify these two glorious things! BAM, Chili Lime Beet Chips with a smoky hue and a lovely crisp, a perfect compliment to that Jalapeno Corn Chicken Burger, served as a lettuce slider with a side of chips, not to mention a much healthier alternative than fries or regular fried chips. They did not last long, seriously obsessed and addicted! Just a FYI, the Calgary Farmer’s Market has gorgeous bags of golden and red beets right now, you may want to pick some of these beauties up.

Have I got you wanting to fire up that BBQ now? Get on it and indulge on my healthy and delicious chicken burger and beet chips tonight! Hope you all have a lovely rest of your Sunday and week ahead and let’s coax that sunshine out! XOXO

 

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Flamin’ Roasted Tomato Vegetable Soup

How is everyone’s Easter Monday coming along? Well, it’s game day here in Calgary as most of you know, our Calgary Flames hockey team are bringing the third playoff game home to the Saddledome! In support of our boys and an urgent needed win, I have surely created a good luck, red flamin’, Roasted Tomato Vegetable Soup!

Who doesn’t love a creamy, bright, flavorful tomato soup, especially one that sports our hockey teams colors, hah!? Some tomato soups can be bland and watery, it’s those that give tomato soup a bad reputation I’d say, let’s turn that around with my tomato soup! My Roasted Tomato Vegetable Soup is so fitting for Spring, packed with fresh and flavorful vegetables, heightened by roasting them and adding fresh savory spices. I have enjoyed it for lunch for three days now and it makes an effortless lazy dinner option, served with perhaps your favorite grilled cheese sandwich? I mean tomato soups are meant for dunking while watching the Flames win!

This recipe is pretty foolproof, chop chop, throw on a pan, roast, simmer and blend, if only it was actually created in seconds… but truly, let your oven do the work here then you just need to bring it all together in harmony. Don’t forget that roasted garlic, yummmm. Roasted garlic is seriously outstanding and brings a caramelized garlic flavor to the soup, check out the recipe on how to make a head of roasted garlic! I baked some fresh chia and buckwheat bread, smothered with fresh avocado, then drenched in my Roasted Tomato Vegetable Soup, OMG, that’s all I have to say! I made my husband a cheddar and green apple grilled cheese sandwich with his tomato soup, if that’s more your food language!

Let’s cheer on our Calgary Flames with my Flamin’ Roasted Tomato Vegetable Soup tonight! Let’s roast those ducks, Go Flames Go!

 

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Spiced Apple Carrot Cake for an Easter Treat!

Happy happy Friday of a long Easter weekend to you all! I realize I’m cutting it close here posting an Easter inspired recipe, but I needed this Spiced Apple Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Infused Greek Yogurt topping to be perfection for all you and perhaps it can make a presence at your family Easter dinner!? I adore carrot cake, it’s my absolute personal favorite, so I’ve been a busy bee creating a healthier version that wasn’t packed with sugar or butter, well I’d say I’ve delivered with my gluten-free and refined sugar-free, Spiced Apple Carrot Cake, it’s freakin incredible!

My mom makes a mean carrot cake, so I thank her for showing my palate what a yummy carrot cake should taste like, big shoes to fill, I had quite the task trying to develop a healthier version and retaining all that goodness! I seriously tried quite a few combos and batches before I could say I was truly thrilled about the end product. Also my husband, AKA, #1 food test subject, inhaled half the cake in joy, I knew it was the one (the cake, and my husband too, I suppose :))

I prefer a denser carrot cake that hit you in the face with balanced warm spices and where with every bite you get a delightful surprise of crunch and an explosion of flavor. I actually think that is why I adore carrot cake so much, you never know what every forkful will deliver with all the mixing’s and infusion of spices, mmm. My cake is made with a gluten-free and nutrient rich base of oat flour and garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour, a multitude of warming spices, of course carrots and I decided to experiment with the addition of yummy tart green apples into the blend, this was the trick! It brought another beautiful flavor dimension to this cake as well as moisture. My favorite mix in combinations ended up being dried pineapple, walnuts and raisins, but you can get wild and creative here, kinda like Marble Slab, carrot cake version… !

Now, you simply can’t have carrot cake without some sort of creamy topping, that is unacceptable. I wanted to keep this fresh and lite to stay balanced with my Spiced Apple Carrot Cake, so I developed a Maple Cinnamon Infused Yogurt Cream to smother on top! It’s simple and much healthier than sugary cream cheese icing, so you can apply a little more! In a bowl simply whip together Skyr plain yogurt (or any thick plan greek yogurt), maple syrup, cinnamon and a touch of lemon juice and you have got yourself a finger licking good cream to throw on top of that cake!

My Spiced Apple Carrot Cake will be making an appearance at my family Easter dinner this weekend, I’ll keep you posted on what my family has to say regarding my healthy carrot cake! Let me know what you think of the recipe if you decide to make it a guest at your Easter or family gathering! Happy long weekend, sending lots of love! XOXO

 

 

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Moroccan White Bean Stew For Rainy Days

Good morning all! Rainy and grey Sunday’s make me just want to curl up with my bowl of savory, Moroccan White Bean Stew and maybe throw in some Netflix or a good book, don’t you agree? How typical of Calgary… one day I’m outside grilling and basking in the sun, the next I’m back to comfort stews, watching the rain trickle down the windows. I’m not complaining though, there is something tranquil and beautiful about drizzling rain, soon bringing life and lush greenery our way. Oh and now you have a healthy and yummy vegetarian stew recipe to create and curl up with as well!

I have mentioned before the life changing and unbelievable impact that Morocco had on me and my culinary inspiration. My palate was introduced to a whole new world of flavors and cooking techniques that I find myself referring back too for many recipes. With bold and fresh spices and stunning colorful cookware being sold on every corner, it was difficult to not get lost and immersed in the food culture (FYI, I regret deeply not hauling a tagine back to Canada!) This Moroccan White Bean Stew is my healthy play on the radiant traditional Moroccan Loubia White Bean Stew, that I experienced while in Morocco.

The silky white beans bring a balanced richness to this vegetarian dish and the smokiness of the paprika and warmth of cumin keeps your spoon diving in for more. I can’t get enough of bursting and slightly browned roasted tomatoes, they deliver a whole different dimension to this dish, so I had to incorporate! A gorgeous market find this week was some exquisite purple kale, I knew it would finish this stew off perfectly, I mean green kale will do… but really, look how stunning that purple kale is you guys!

So I think you are in need of and deserve a lazy Sunday stew day, kick back with a large bowl of my White Bean Moroccan Stew and take in the beauty and freshness that the rain can bring. Take advantage of the rest of this weekend and enjoy! XOXO

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Asparagus Wrapped With Crispy Miso Eggplant

Happy first week of April everyone! So I think (actually, I know) I’ve created something positively out of this world, I know, I’m humble on every aspect today…:) I promised to showcase asparagus in a variety of recipes and I’m still on that asparagus high, but I wanted a salty, satisfying, pub style, finger food deliciousness to munch on… then it hit me! Why not try emulate a healthy play on tempura/bacon wrapped asparagus, is that even doable? YEP, sure is! I combined my inspiration from Japanese staples and seasonal produce to create the perfect finger food, Asparagus Wrapped in Crispy Miso Eggplant.

I get many recipe ideas in my kooky head, usually at 3 AM I might add and I have to jot it down immediately, my husband thinks I’m nuts as I’m madly scribbling something in the early morn… he’s used to it now. Where I was going with that, oh yes, was not all my ideas work or there is a lot of trial and error…. but these magnificent Miso Eggplant Wrapped Spears were faultless the second I pulled them from the hot oven and popped one in my mouth! I am always thrilled when that occurs, these are truly a scrumptious, easy peezy and healthy finger food option!

This recipe was clearly cultivated by my culinary experiences in Japan, immediately miso marinade jumped into my head! Miso is such a staple in the seasoning of their food and has such an amazing tangy, distinct, savory and salty flavor, I knew I wanted to create a miso marinade for that silky eggplant, then wrap that deliciousness around nothing else but those fresh asparagus spears! The second they began to roast, I was reminded of familiar smells that I experienced in the many Izakaya’s (Japanese style pub/taverns) that serve a variety of grilled meats and vegetables, all with a cup of sake to wash it all down with!

Simply dip that eggplant, wrap and roast! The eggplant get’s golden and crispy around the juicy asparagus, the bold miso, garlic, sesame and ginger flavors hit your palate and you keep wanting more. They are a great snack or perfect for a unique appetizer that surely will have your guests pleasantly bewildered, even those carnivores (I swear). My husband is neither an asparagus nor eggplant lover and I made him (I asked him nicely) sample one, then before I knew it, half my photography plate was eaten up! Try em out, let me know what you think, tag a pic on Instagram (@apinchofnurse) or Facebook, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

See Monday’s aren’t so bad when you have my Asparagus Wrapped in Miso Eggplant recipe you need to try out this week right?! XOXO

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