An Outstanding October | Baking and Life

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Breakfast this morning – roasted butternut squash with cinnamon, truffled green beans, 2 scrambled eggs with truffled Gouda, 2 pieces halloumi, roasted brussels sprouts with parmesan // homemade almond milk hot chocolate

This month has been really lovely so far. I am pretty busy with my classes, and have a lot of school work and communication to keep up with. Now that midterms are over, I am happy to have some time to relax and get a head start on studying for the second round of midterms.

Yesterday, I baked chocolate chip banana squares. Since there were five ripe bananas calling my name, I settled on this recipe, which featured five bananas. I adjusted the amounts of flour and added some oats. They turned out AMAZING – I ate two this morning for breakfast after scrambled eggs and veggies. These banana chocolate chip squares are really tender, and satisfy my sweet tooth without being too sweet. I hope you give the recipe a shot!

Five-Banana Chocolate Chip Squares

Inspired by this recipe

Makes 16 squares

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 overripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 heaping tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Put parchment paper on a 9×9 pan.
  2. Place bananas, honey, butter, eggs, and vanilla in a blender. Blend completely and pour into large bowl.
  3. Mix in dry ingredients and chocolate chips.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely. Cut into 16 squares.

When I found myself with an extra baked sweet potato, I took off the skin and pureed it, then used it in this great recipe for sweet potato baked oats. They turned out fantastic, and had so much flavour. I’m having fun modifying this base recipe (1.3 cups oats, 1 cup liquid) to try different things. I recently tried this with pumpkin puree instead of sweet potato puree, and steeped the almond milk in chai tea leaves for a great pumpkin-chai fall baked oatmeal.

Healthy Sweet Potato Baked Oatmeal

4 servings

  • 1 and 1/3 cups quick oats
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup sweet potato puree (1 medium sweet potato)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix all and bake in 8×8 pan for 25 mins at 350 degrees.


One final baking adventure – I had lots of leftover carrots from making Thai green curry, and thought it would be really nice to bake them up into squares. These turned out great – just sweet enough, and loaded with fall flavour. They froze very well.

Apple-Carrot Squares

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 single-serve containers of unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk all wet ingredients.
  3. Whisk all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Whisk wet mixture into dry mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake the loaf for 45 to 50 minutes. Place the pan on a cooling rack, then let the bread cool in the pan. Gently turn the loaf out onto the rack to cool completely.
  6. Store leftover pumpkin bread in an airtight container lined with paper towels for up to 4 days at room temperature or 7 days in the refrigerator. It can be frozen, wrapped tightly and placed in a ziptop bag, for up to 3 months.

Things from recently:

  • trying to get tickets to Corteo, which is coming to Toronto soon
  • shopping lists
  • choreography ideas
  • recipe for chocolate quinoa breakfast bowl, which I have yet to make
  • new Netflix show on figure skating
  • study schedules
  • ways to learn

Seline and I had lunch at Taco Farm one day, and I had a lovely plate of enchiladas with Mexican rice, arugula salad with pineapples, and sour cream. Seline enjoyed her brunch poutine – a lovely dish of chorizo, veggies, and a fried egg.

Afterwards, we spent some quiet study time at Seven Shores Cafe, where I had a great pumpkin spice chai latte and a vegan chocolate chip cranberry muffin. Seven Shores has the best creative baked goods, and I cannot wait to have their sunflower butter cookie. One day…

 

Another day, another brunch – here, Seline and I savoured meals at Sole. I had the vegetable crepe, which was loaded with spinach, kale, mushrooms, and goat cheese, then topped with a vodka spaghetti sauce and zucchini/squash ribbons. The best part? Fresh pastries – banana bread and pumpkin seed muffins – before the meal. I love pastries as you can see.

 

Random things from here and there:

  • spaghetti squash with Thai green curried vegetables
  • Mom’s homemade cranberry chocolate cookies
  • drew some anatomical structures on Seline!

 

Seline and I LOVE Red House, a restaurant in Uptown Waterloo. Here, I had a beautiful turkey sandwich on potato chive bread (butternut squash aioli was to die for) and a bowl of caramelized onion and golden beet soup. For dessert, I enjoyed the deconstructed lemon meringue pie, which had white chocolate mousse, berry compute, sugar cookie – which I believe should’ve been puff pastry – and lemon curd. Seline had the truffled lamb spaghetti.

 

Snapshots from aerial silks recently.

 

Attending a fun conference at the University of Waterloo!

 

And bits and pieces of volunteering, the fall term with cooler weather, and school stuff. Plus EYE MAKEUP (?!) that my sister experimented on me, for my aerial silks showcase performance.

 

Things from my Notes on my computer.

 

And a couple tasty meals.

 

That’s all I have for ya – wish I could share something more exciting, but every day has just been school, home, school, home, etc. Have a lovely rest of the week!

October | Sky-High Carrot Cake

Hello! Short post today, because I have a couple emails to write and some schoolwork to catch up on. It is really crazy how quickly my courses are progressing, now that I’m in a number of upper-level kinesiology courses. I’ve learned so much in the three-ish weeks of school that we’ve had so far.

  • AWESOME pic that one of my friends shared on FB. Credit to the artist; unfortunately I couldn’t find his or her name. I like this piece because it shows which animals the poses are named for. I particularly like the peacock and the locust.
  • Bubble tea at CoCo is on sale until the end of November, so I will have to make sure my sister and I get some!
  • Mom made Caprese salad at home in BC, because she bought some new balsamic vinegar. It looks so good! I love that combo of flavours.
  • Campus on a sunny afternoon
  • Images from Nutrition in Disguise, one of the research groups that I’m involved with
  • And more…

Seline and I had a meal at Symposium last Sunday. It was my first time at Symposium Cafe, but I’ve heard too many good things about their cake to miss out. I devoured the whole thick slice of SKY-HIGH CARROT CAKE, and Seline had the triple chocolate cake. After this lovely meal, I went to my friend’s house for a potluck.

Symposium Cafe Mediterranean salad with salmon // sky-high carrot cake

Another day, Sal and I went to Red House. Red House is one of my favourite Waterloo spots. They have phenomenal salads, soups, pastas, and entrees. Their desserts are always seasonal, and really unique. This time, I had the butternut squash and coconut soup, followed by fried polenta cubes with a beet and goat cheese salad. For dessert, Seline and I shared two: apple crisp with sharp cheddar ice cream and a unique white chocolate cheesecake with Oreo crust and stewed strawberries and figs.

Ennio’s noodles with gorgonzola sauce, seasonal vegetables, roasted garlic (unpictured, but quite tasty) // bread pudding with Nutella, vanilla ice cream

Hands-down the BEST bread pudding I have ever eaten in my life.

I had a midterm last week, and a few more coming up. A lot of studying needs to be done!

The Halloween showcase at Brass Butterflies aerial studio is coming up, and I have been procrastinating on practicing. I need to get back into working on improving my endurance.

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A quick video from aerials:

And some pics that Seline helped me take for my Instagram. I made an Instagram for my job, because I’m working as a Waterloo Warriors Recreation Ambassador this term. So if you’re reading this, you can follow me too. 😉 _cindywei

Things that scare me but I’m doing them anyways this term:

  • research
  • starting a club
  • presenting in front of lecture halls of first-year students
  • aerial performance
  • skating competition
  • teaching a yoga class

Random meal from recently:

  1. Seline’s steak with potatoes, sautéed green beans, and onions
  2. Veggie bean chili with cheddar and fig goat cheese
  3. Vegetable cheddar enchiladas with roasted delicata squash
  4. Quiche with sautéed green beans

More randomness:

  1. Saw this stunning image of rice paddies on Twitter (or Reddit?), and it made me think of the time that I took a bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara, riding past miles of rice paddies. Absolutely incredible, and even more so in person.
  2. A bitmoji that Seline made for me. It’s now my Twitter pic. I’m really a loser, as you can see.
  3. Seline and I went to Menchies the other day because we had a 2-for-1 discount coupon from the mail. My Menchies bowl included chocolate brownie, cheesecake pieces, peanut butter crisp, a malted chocolate ball, cereal, and more. I’m all about the toppings ^_^
  4. Sometimes, between classes, I find Seline and we spend a few hours relaxing, “studying”, and chatting at an on-campus cafe. The other day, I was SO. TIRED. that I slept with my head right on the table.

We made quite a special meal the other day!

Thai green curry with broccoli, onions, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, yellow bell pepper // rotisserie chicken breast // rice cooked with butter, chicken broth, truffle salt // garlic sautéed green beans

Now, I just have a bunch of recipes for things I baked recently:

Chai-spiced Applesauce Prune Baked Oats

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • drizzle honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 3 chai tea bags
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 15 prunes, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease pan – 8 x 10 up to 10 x 10 are perfect sizes.
  3. Bring milk to a simmer. Cut open tea bags, and allow tea to simmer in the milk for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves.
  4. Mix all ingredients and pour into pan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Oat Bars

  • tasted good, but need to add more condensed milk and a splash of oil to the chocolate filling
  • more butter in the crumble
  • double the crumble next time!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (will increase to 2 cups next time)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (will increase to 1 cup next time)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (will increase to 1 tsp next time)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (will increase to 1 tsp next time)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (will increase to 1/2 tsp next time)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (will increase to 1.5 cups next time)
  • 1/4 cup oil (will increase to 1/2 cup next time)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (will increase to 2 tsp next time)
  • 1 egg (will increase to 2 eggs next time)
  • 2 tbsp quick oats (will increase to 1/4 cup next time)
  • 2 tbsp softened butter (will increase to 1/4 cup next time)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat chocolate chips and milk in 1-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth; set aside. Heat oven to 350°. Line a square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour, oats, the baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl; set aside. Stir brown sugar, oil, vanilla and egg in medium bowl with fork until smooth; stir into flour mixture until blended. Reserve 1/2 cup dough in small bowl for topping.
  3. Pat remaining dough in pan (lightly flour fingers if dough is sticky). Spread chocolate mixture over dough. Add 2 tablespoons oats and the butter to reserved dough; mix with pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Drop small spoonfuls of oat mixture evenly over chocolate mixture.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until top is golden and firm. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. For bars, cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Brownies, inspired by Allrecipes

Makes 36 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups butter
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour large square pans.
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla.
  5. Whisk in cocoa, cinnamon, flour, salt, and baking powder.
  6. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 mins. Do not overcook. Cut.

Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Snack Bread

Serves 12 squares

Blender Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 3 medium bananas, ripe
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • large sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 8×8 square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Blend all ingredients from the “Blender Ingredients” section.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Let cool overnight before cutting, or it will be too tender to hold form. Store cooled leftovers in a covered container for up to several days, though best when fresh. Slice and freeze for longer term storage.

Life Back in School

Good afternoon! This week has been a good one, and since I’m back in school, busy. Good thing I like school.

Last night, I made applesauce baked oatmeal that I could bring with me to school as a yummy lunch. I like this recipe because it isn’t too sweet, but has great flavour from the applesauce, cinnamon, and vanilla. I ate this today during lecture, topped with Greek yogurt and PB2.

Applesauce Baked Oatmeal

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • drizzle honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 15 prunes, chopped (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease pan – 8 x 10 up to 10 x 10 are perfect sizes.
  3. Mix all ingredients and pour into pan.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes.

Over the weekend, I went to the MaRS Discovery District in downtown Toronto, where I had fun reuniting with friends from universities across Ontario. I loved the challenges, mini competitions, jobs fair session, and inspiring talks.

 

With all of the University of Waterloo people!

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(Photo credit: Giordano Ciampini)

Few things from recently:

  1. Cute message from Mom
  2. Incredible sunsets from our home on the 18th floor
  3. Seline’s typical dinner: pan-fried chicken breast with Minute Rice
  4. Yoga poses and skating poses that I think are so beautiful

 

Back to skating! I skated a few times last week, early morning. The sessions start at 7:00 and end at 8:30. Afterwards, I like to have a hot tea latte and do schoolwork while eating a snack. This time, I had pumpkin oat bread with yogurt and almond butter. Here is the recipe.

Healthy Pumpkin Oat Bars with Chocolate Chips

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree from a can
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients.
  3. Bake 45 mins.
  4. Serve!

 

I love skating so much, even though my jumps aren’t here any more. It just feels nice to be on the ice.

 

More things from recently:

  1. Seline’s academic schedule for this term
  2. Powerful tweets
  3. University of Waterloo Warriors Recreation app menu
  4. frsh, a vegan restaurant that just opened up at our school’s health building

 

More randy stuff.

 

A great recipe I made some changes to – they turned out firmer than I’d expected, still absolutely delicious when heated up and served with nut butter and/or yogurt. I love this recipe so much, and it doesn’t hurt that you only need ONE bowl.

Chocolate Banana Cake Squares {Vegan}

Serves: 1 9×9 pan

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 CUP HONEY
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1/4 CUP WATER
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TSP LIME JUICE
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • HEAPING ¼ tsp salt
  • Sprinkle cinnamon (optional)
  • ¼ heaping cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 CUP ALL-PURPOSE, 1/2 CUP BUCKWHEAT, 1/4 CUP ALMOND MEAL
  • 1/2 CUP CHOCOLATE CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. LINE 9X9 PAN WITH PARCHMENT PAPER.
  3. BLEND BANANAS WITH WATER AND APPLESAUCE IN A BLENDER. ADD OTHER WET INGREDIENTS AND MIX UNTIL THOROUGHLY COMBINED.
  4. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt just until combined.
  5. MIX IN CHOCOLATE CHIPS.
  6. Pour batter into prepared dish.
  7. Bake for 35-37 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
  8. Let cool, slice in 16 squares, and serve.

Another day last week, I made a massive batch of vegetable chili. This made a TON of tasty, healthy, hearty chili. I love serving chili with sweet potato (roasted) or rice cooked in chicken broth, and of course, freshly-grated cheddar. Fresh lime juice on top also makes a big difference.

Cindy’s Ultimate Pumpkin Veggie Chili

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 small chopped carrots
  • minced garlic
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1 carton mushrooms
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • juice of a lime
  • toppings?
  • SPICES AND HERBS
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil and saute all vegetables with chili powder. Add salt.
  2. Stir in all other ingredients, except lime. Season with remaining spices. Stir in pumpkin.
  3. Boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Stir in lime juice and serve.

Every Wednesday, Seline and I have a sister’s dinner out. This time, we went to Bauer Kitchen. The dessert sweet board was the highlight, including warm chocolate cake with chocolate fondue sauce and chocolate gelato, pear cheesecake, creme brûlée with blueberries, and carrot cake with pistachio sauce. I liked all of it and had no problem eating it all by myself because Seline doesn’t like dessert. 🙂

 

Couple of aerials things! I played around on the hoop for the first time in a very long time yesterday.

 

And reviewed a couple of old skills, like this one, on the silks.

 

That’s it for today since I’ve got a busy weekend!

High Tea, MOVING ACROSS CANADA, and More

I haven’t posted for a long time… I know. It’s because the past couple of weeks have been absolutely hectic, between meeting people, moving back to Ontario, and starting classes again.

TLDR of what I’ve been doing recently:

  1. Constructing Ikea furniture very slowly
  2. Reading
  3. Meeting up with friends, like the time I had high tea with my friend Adele in Kitsilano
  4. Other random stuff?

 

Here are more tidbits of the summer. These things happened after my sister and I came back from Charlottetown, PEI, and shortly after I got my wisdom teeth removed. Some bits of the summer include:

  • going for brunch with family at Café la Foret
  • baked a super creamy, rich New York cheesecake using an Allrecipes recipe
  • plenty of delicious Mom-cooked dinners, including tofu, veggies, and more
  • making iron-on bead magnets with my sister

 

  • delicious cooking from Mom – this time with Korean beef stew, pearl meatballs, and butter chicken with mushrooms
  • walking the dog with Mom
  • baking blueberry almond bread with mom
  • delicious brown sugar waffles with powdered sugar, butter, Nutella, maple syrup
  • stewed eggplant with ground pork on rice
  • lovely soft serve from Soft Peaks, which recently opened near my grandparents’ apartment in Burnaby
  • taro and chicken stew with fried egg and zucchini

 

My grandma found these! I wrote them when I was in the tenth grade, about five years ago. This is when I wrote down everything that I ate, separating them into pages by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner). I think it’s funny because I also RANKED all of the things I ate out of 10, then calculated the weekly and monthly averages.

 

Heirloom Vegetarian is a lovely brunch spot in Vancouver. I went with my family, and I enjoyed a great platter of mushroom hash topped with poached egg and tofu. Mom and I shared two dishes – the other one was a grilled cheese with cauliflower soup. Afterwards, Mom, Dad, and I (sans Seline) shared a tray of four ice creams from Rain or Shine. They were Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Malted Chocolate Honeycomb, Peanut Butter.

 

Another afternoon, Seline and I had high tea with our good friend Adele. It was my first time having high tea, and it was such an enjoyable experience. The place was beautiful, the food was divine, and the company was great.

 

I had two large mugs of London Fog, which Seline drizzled with honey. I ate the vegetarian Grande Adventure, and my favourite savoury bite was the cheese sandwich with apple relish, followed by a tiny sandwich filled with curried egg salad.

 

That same evening, we packed up the car and drove to Aunt Mimi’s home. We went to Mimi’s house because she lives closer to the airport, and she was the one giving us a ride to the airport the next day. This time, Dad, Seline, Grandpa, and I ALL went to Waterloo together.

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Our first meal in Waterloo was Famoso Pizzeria. I had my favourite, which had arugula, gorgonzola, dates, honey, brussels sprouts, and proscuitto. On the side, a Caprese salad.

For the first few nights, we stayed at a lovely AirBnB in Kitchener. The highlight was playing a board game called Blokus.

 

Another day, we dined at Red House. Seline had lamb spaghetti, and I thoroughly enjoyed my summery salad and plantains with queso fresco. For dessert, I had the chocolate tart with whipped ricotta and berries. We did an escape room after this dinner – it was called the Vault. Unfortunately, we didn’t escape in time.

 

Around this time, we got to see the new house. The house was already furnished for one person.

 

We went to the MUSEUM in Kitchener one day, and Seline and I played with this interactive virtual dancing thing.

 

 

Fun moments – delicious dinner of baked cheesy tortellini with veggies from Ennio’s, followed by an incredible dark rum and mascarpone bread pudding with ice cream and Nutella sauce.

Plus cleaning and sleeping on the ground. Which are not fun.

More cleaning, more furniture to construct, and a random waffle topped with whipped peanut butter, honey-roasted granola, and peaches.

 

A couple wonderful meals from Dad and Grandpa’s LAST DAY in Waterloo:

  • L: Timeless London Fog, omelet with roasted cauliflower, black beans, smoked salmon, chipotle lime goat cheese, sweet potato pancake with black beans
  • D: Belmont vegetable crepe with ratatouille filling (eggplant, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash), goat cheese, kale, buckwheat crepe // salted caramel brownie with vanilla creme anglaise, strawberry ice cream, strawberries, gluten-free carrot cake with blueberries, whipped cream, orange glaze

 

Seline and I had a bit more cleaning to do, and we were all done with the apartment. Here it is:

 

We finished cleaning, had an EXCELLENT first day of school (with yummy lunch eaten in the sun), and I celebrated with a giant chocolate chip cookie. I actually got this massive chewy cookie from Proof Kitchen for free as part of my lunch (how sweet is that deal?!), and it was delicious after popping it into the microwave for about 35 secs. Chewy, crisp around the edges, buttery, and exploding with chocolate. Served with a glass of milk.

 

That’s it for today!

A bunch of random things before we end of…

 

Bye!

Back in BC

Hello! I just got my wisdom tooth out. It was the second tooth that I had removed. My first one came out about two years ago.

Here is a flashback to Prince Edward Island. This was my office at the University of Prince Edward Island, and the dinner that we had on our last day. Seline ate the chicken masala skillet, and I had a lovely summer salad, a piece of pan-fried Atlantic salmon, and a great bowl of chowder. Seline and I shared the cinnamon roll on a skillet, topped with vanilla ice cream, for dessert. This was a great dinner from Fishbones.

This is our bedroom and bathroom, which we will be very sad to leave. We loved living in Charlottetown, and we will miss our lovely room and washroom.

Some final moments in downtown Charlottetown, including pics from our daily walk home. I always feel so connected with the PLACES that we visit, and I don’t want to forget the little mundane details.

Before our flight, Seline and I ate sandwiches. Her sandwich, unpictured, was a pesto chicken ciabatta from Receiver Coffee. I had a turkey and harvarti sandwich on multigrain bread from Leonhard’s Restaurant and Cafe. This great sandwich was loaded with a lot of turkey, mixed greens, and mustard dressing.

Things We Did (and Didn’t) Do in Charlottetown

NEVER GOT TO SEE

  • Papa Joe’s
  • Hopyard Beer Bar (fries, pub food)
  • The Chip Shack
  • Terry Berries 20 Great George St, 11-7 hours

RESTAURANTS WE’VE ALREADY VISITED

  • COWS (ice cream) x6
  • Leonhard’s (breakfast and lunch) x4
  • Himalayan Indian Cuisine x4
  • Dairy Queen x4
  • Small Print Board Game Cafe x3
  • Pilot House x3
  • Brakish x2
  • Piatto Pizzeria
  • Dave’s Lobster Charlottetown
  • John Brown Grille
  • Beanz Espresso Bar and Cafe
  • Fishies on the Roof
  • Lobster on the Wharf
  • Merchantman Fresh Seafood and Oyster Bar (S favourite)
  • Receiver Coffee Co.
  • The Gahan House
  • Terre Rouge (brunch; dinner)
  • The Dining Room at the Culinary Institute
  • Mavor’s
  • La Sazon de Mexico
  • Fishes on the Roof / Fishbones
  • Row House Lobster Co.
  • Kettle Black
  • Water Prince Corner Shop
  • Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar
  • Claddagh Oyster House
  • Cedar’s Eatery
  • Brickhouse Kitchen & Bar (S favourite)
  • RedWater Rustic Grille

We were very happy to see family when we got back home. We were also happy to go to Ikea! We love Ikea.

Arnie didn’t really miss me, but he was really cute.

For the first few days back in BC, we had plenty of errands to run. Often, I ate waffles in the morning and then we’d go to places like Home Depot.

Mom’s cooking is always a delight. The other day, she made corn on the cob with butter, sautéed garlic green beans, scrambled eggs with shrimp, and chicken thighs sautéed with mushrooms and onions.

One of my good friends from UPEI will come to Vancouver soon. We might have vegan high tea in Vancouver together.

I also had time to go skating! It was nice to be back on the ice and skate around in circles. I want to skate for the University of Waterloo varsity figure skating team in September, but I don’t have my doubles any more.

Another couple of great dinners cooked up with family:

  1. Chicken florentine rolls with asparagus, feta, spinach // roasted baby potatoes // garlic and cheddar pita // brown butter sage mushroom quinoa risotto
  2. Chicken with creamy mushroom sauce // homemade cheesy onion bread // sautéed garlic green beans // gratin dauphinoise

Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 200g button mushrooms (white), sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 heaping tbsp all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 600g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1in pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped sage
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil and butter in large frying pan.
  2. Cook mushrooms for 5 minutes until brown.
  3. Add onion. Cook for 2-3 mins until soft.
  4. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Remove vegetables from pan. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.
  6. Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in the pan.
  7. Season flour heavily with salt and pepper. Toss chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
  8. Cook chicken for 8-10 mins, turning, until golden all over.
  9. Add stock, sage, and boil.
  10. Add mushroom mixture. Simmer 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until sauce reduces.
  11. Add cream. Cook 2-3 mins until chicken is cooked and sauce is thick and creamy.

Gratin Dauphinoise

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 tbsp softened butter
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Finely slice potatoes.
  3. Rub 8×8 deep-sided ovenproof dish with butter.
  4. Spread in half the potatoes.
  5. Sprinkle with garlic. Season, and arrange potatoes nicely on top.
  6. Pour in the cream. You should just be able to see the cream coming up around the edges.
  7. Dot the top with remaining butter.
  8. Put dish on large baking sheet.
  9. Cook in centre of the oven for 1 hour, until potatoes are soft, cream has evaporated, and top is golden.
  10. Rest 10 minutes before serving.

This chocolate cake was on my to-bake list for a long time, and we finally made it! It stuck to the pan, but was still really delicious.

Paula Shoyer’s Chocolate Quinoa Cake

Serves 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 130g quinoa, 1.5 cups water (or 2 1/4 cups cooked)
  • melted coconut oil for greasing
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup orange juice from 1 orange
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 300g sugar
  • 80g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 55g bittersweet (70%) chocolate

GLAZE

  • 140g bittersweet (70%) chocolate
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, careful when adding

DIRECTIONS

  1. Boil quinoa and water over medium heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Cover saucepan. Cook quinoa until liquid is absorbed. It should be funny cooked and not crunchy.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle cocoa powder over the greased pan. Shake the pan to remove excess starch.
  4. Place quinoa in a blender. Add orange juice, eggs, vanilla, oil, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Process until mixture is very smooth.
  5. Melt chocolate over a double boiled. Add chocolate to quinoa batter and process until well-mixed. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake 50 mins, or until skewer comes out clean.
  6. Let cake cool 10 mins. Turn it out of the pan onto a wire cooling rack. Let it cool on the rack.
  7. Melt chocolate for glaze in a double boiler. Add oil and vanilla. Whisk well. Let glaze sit 5 mins. Whisk it again. Use silicone spatula to spread the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
  8. Serve at room temperature. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature.

One more new-ish dinner – creamy salmon pasta.

Salmon Pasta

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • dried pasta
  • salt and pepper
  • 3.5 oz heavy cream
  • salmon
  • 1 tbsp chopped capers
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Fry salmon. Break into pieces.
  2. Cook pasta in large pan of salted water.
  3. Mix cream with capers, lemon zest, and dill. Season heavily.
  4. Drain pasta. Reserve 1 ladle of cooking water.
  5. Return pasta to pan with water.
  6. Toss sauce with pasta. Add shredded salmon. Stir enough to mix. Add parmesan cheese.
  7. Serve with more parmesan.

That’s pretty much it for now.

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Have a good rest of the week.

Six Jobs I… Want?

In September, I will be entering my fourth year of a five-year Kinesiology program at the University of Waterloo. In other words, I’m 80% done university. You might be tempted to ask me what I am planning to do after I graduate, and I am asking myself the same question. There is so much I want to do, and I feel daunted by the idea that my next few choices could butterfly into massive differences for my future.

I find myself bouncing back and forth between “I want to go to medical school” and “I’m afraid of the work-life balance that med school entails”. Cheesy but true – I’ve always loved science and helping people, so the idea of med school has appealed to me since I was little.

Now, however, as my friends apply for (and are accepted into!) med school, I’m questioning whether or not it is the best option for me. I have the entire Kaplan set of med school preparation books, so I can study for the entrance exam, the MCAT. In fact, I’ve sat through the 8-hour mock MCAT. But the issue is that I like to cook my own healthy meals. I like to sit down for my meals, uninterrupted, and fully enjoy my food. I like to get enough exercise every day, and to sleep at least seven hours a night. Will med school interfere with that? If it doesn’t, how about residency? I’m also having some doubts about med school because it is a major financial commitment, and I’m worried that I will dislike it or change my mind once it’s too late.

Aside from med school, there is a number of other careers that I am looking into. I’m curious about them and would like to know more, or even better, to dip my toes into these occupations before I make any major decisions.

In no particular order:

  1. Travel Doctor: I can see myself being a travel doctor because I love learning about tropical diseases, especially those known as “neglected tropical infectious diseases”. I think it would be great to meet patients who are planning to go to other countries, and tell them which vaccines they need, and which precautions they should take before their trip. The problem is that I don’t know how to become a travel doctor. Do they specialize in med school? I looked at a Canadian list of specialties and there is nothing about specializing in emporiatrics (travel medicine). I think I might have to do a Masters in Tropical Diseases or International Health before med school, but I’m not sure. I wonder if it would be a “waste” to do a Masters before med school. There are some great Masters programs in London, England, which relate to public health and tropical medicine. I looked into the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, both of which offer world-famous Masters programs in this field. Even Oxford has a cool program on tropical med and international healthcare. But my question is – do I have to do a Masters to become a travel doctor? Or just go to med school? Do med schools allow people to specialize in this? Or, more broadly, what is the “education pathway” to becoming a travel doctor?
  2. Sports Medicine Physician for Artist-Athletes: By “artist-athletes”, I’m referring to people who perform in artistic or aesthetic sports. For example, divers, gymnasts, figure skaters, circus artists, dancers, theatre performers, and cheerleaders. There are many more, but I like this field because I think it is more interesting than working with the general population and seeing a lot of people with low back pain.
  3. University Professor: I worked as a tutor at Centennial College, a Scarborough nursing school, from September 2017 to December 2017. I have always enjoyed tutoring and teaching people. During that time, I realized that I LOVED teaching anatomy and physiology, especially human physiology. I had an excellent time working with dedicated student nurses and helping them with foundational biology. I think being a teacher or professor would suit my personality, because I love talking, teaching, and sharing my knowledge in the form of presentations. I think professors can make a big difference in their students’ lives, as much as a doctor would make a difference in his or her patients’ lives. If I became a professor, I think I would teach human physiology or biology.
  4. Dermatologist, Endocrinologist, Ophthalmologist: If I go to med school and have the opportunity to specialize, I would choose one of these. I’ve heard that dermatology, especially now, is incredibly competitive. One of my friends in BC just started med school with the goal of becoming an ophthalmologist, which I think is cool. I can’t really spell that word, though. For endocrinology, I think it’s interesting because it’s like a puzzle. I learned a lot about hormones in school and when I was working as a tutor, plus I see an endocrinologist for some hormone queries, and I find it a fascinating field. I cannot see myself becoming a surgeon or anything too “intense”.
  5. Physiotherapist for Artist-Athletes: I don’t really want to be a physiotherapist because (a) I learned, when I worked at the Toronto Health Centre, that physiotherapists are quite low on the “medical hierarchy”, and (b) physiotherapy school is now even more competitive and selective than medical school. In my opinion, if I am going to go to an expensive school, compete with thousands of intelligent, hardworking students, why would I do physio school instead of med school? On the other hand, though, there is no MCAT or entrance exam (that I know of). I think being a physiotherapist would help me learn so much about the body and accelerate my training in aerials. That would be a great benefit.
  6. Optometrist: The University of Waterloo is associated with an optometry school, and in fact, many of my courses take place in the Optometry building (or, as my friends and I call it, ‘optom’). In my mind, optometry would allow for a good work-life balance. Someone once told me that I should go into dentistry instead of med school because it pays well, but is “cleaner” and “easier” than med school, but I would certainly prefer optometry to dentistry. I don’t know that much about optometry school. I’m not sure if it is a long program, if it’s clinic-based, or mostly theory-based. I am also curious about their scope of practice and pay in Canada.

In summary… I don’t know. I’m a confused twenty year-old who is probably having a quarter-life crisis right now, but I’m glad I wrote everything out. This will probably be a funny read in another ten or twenty years.