Holy Cannoli

Mattachioni is an Italian restaurant in the Junction. I ordered this tasty pizza for one, which had the crispiest, doughiest, freshest-tasting crust I’ve had. It was topped with fresh mozzarella, stracciatella (like burrata), basil, arugula, and marinated tomato. It was a “pizza bianca”, which means that instead of tomato sauce, it was dressed with a mild white sauce.

Dessert was two pieces of this cannoli. It was my first time trying cannoli, and I’m in love. Crisp, cookie-like, with a citrusy sweet ricotta filling, these were hearty and the perfect way to end my meal.

Is this true or what?

I found these charts quite helpful, especially the one about marinating times. How about you? Do you like infographics like this one?

My class schedule is out! Yay! These are my courses for the spring/summer term, which goes from May 1 to mid-August. I really like my schedule, especially the Friday 😉

I’m so excited about this roti that I can’t type anymore. Creamy, spinach-y, and loaded with flavour. Saag paneer (spinach and paneer cheese) is my all-time favourite indian dish. This was so filling and I was dying halfway through but powered through the whole thing. Worth it!

My grandma is the most thoughtful, content, candid, and funny person I know. I was lucky to FaceTime with her on Saturday afternoon.

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 6.32.55 PM

 

Some recent meals cooked by Mom back home in BC.

And two quinoa flour recipes! Again, I don’t have any pictures (Best Food Blogger of 2017… I know) because I love baking after dinner. And sadly, there’s never any natural light by then!

Quinoa Flour Banana Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2/3 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large overripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional but recommended

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Place all ingredients except quinoa flour in blender. Blend well.
  3. Add quinoa flour and mix to combine. Add chocolate chips. Stir.
  4. Spread batter into pan.
  5. Bake 55 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool and enjoy!

Healthy Quinoa Flour Carrot Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated carrots

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and/or line pan with coconut oil.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (almond flour to sea salt)
  3. Mix wet ingredients together (melted coconut oil to grated carrots). Mix until smooth.
  4. Add dry to wet, whisking after each addition.
  5. Pour batter in prepared pan, tapping on the counter to release air bubbles.
  6. Bake 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool 20 mins. Flip over and release when cool. Cool completely before slicing.

That’s it! I have an 8-page report due TOMORROW and I’ve only written one, so I should go now!

Blog’s 3rd Birthday!

Turns out, today is my blog’s third birthday! I wish I’d remembered earlier, so I would have done something to celebrate (i.e. make a mug cake?). Regardless, I’m glad to have been blogging here for three years. I can’t believe what started as a simple oatmeal photo gallery has blossomed to become a place where I document everything from favourite recipes to my progress in aerial silks/hoop, acrobatics, and yoga. Along the way, I’ve also garnered a better understanding of who I am, what I stand for, and why I do what I love.

Grateful for all of the fabulous foodie blog friends who inspire me every day. Grateful for all of the lovely souls who comment to share positivity, encouragement, tips, and jokes. You guys always make me smile idiotically while looking at my screen. 🙂

School took me from home in BC to Waterloo, then to Toronto. Summer adventures brought me to St-Eustache, Quebec (2014) to Paris, France (2015) to Kathmandu, Nepal (2016). Everything has been such an adventure, and I’m thrilled to keep updating the blog with my explorations.


Alright! On a completely different note, I’ve been looking to get a membership for either the yoga studio, the local dance school, or both! Any thoughts?

I’ve been documenting all the restaurants I’ve been to, and the ethnic cuisine that they serve. Here are the ones I’ve hit in the 3 months of living in Toronto.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 10.31.32 PM

The newest addition to this list was Karelia Kitchen, a Nordic smokehouse in Roncesvalles. They serve Scandinavian brunch, specializing in Finnish food. I started with the Nordic Fog, a unique twist on the London Fog (an Earl Grey tea latte). This was made with Swedish tea, wildflower honey, and steamed milk.

Potato Pancake
hot smoked trout, beet and horseradish cured
gravlax, poached duck egg.

YUM! My entree was incredibly flavourful, with a variety of tastes, textures, and temperatures. Plus, runny egg was involved. My favourite bites were the beet and horseradish cured gravlax. Sweet, pungent, salty, and perfectly smoky – I’d come back to buy some gravlax for myself!

Dessert was this entire slice of heirloom carrot cake, which was perfectly soft, melt-in-your mouth, and tangy from the cream cheese icing (not too sweet). I could eat this for days.

Dinner that day was simple – toast with avocado and a runny egg cooked inside a pepper and topped with a new Irish cheese that I found at the grocery store. Lighter dinner because of an unpictured delicious dessert that involved granola, muffin, nut butter, and yogurt. The best!

I am in desperate need for new shoes. These blue guys were a hand-me-down from my little sister (I know) and have been around the world and back. I wear them when I go out casually, even if there’s no running/cycling involved. Comfort comes first, right?

17431738_1685911014768763_531225863_o

I’ve been loving eggs so much recently, and I have to give credit to buttered toast and that amazing Irish cheese. I feel like I can never have enough buttered toast.

The view from my house at night! I wish you could all see it live, because I’m not sure if photos do it justice.

17407657_1685910638102134_290313925_o

That’s it for today, friends!

Goals and Green Oats

On Saturday, I lounged around the house all day before heading to Tabülè, a Lebanese restaurant in Midtown Toronto. There are two locations – one on Queen Street, and one on Yonge Street. They serve lunch from their dinner menu on Saturdays and Sundays.

My entree was the eggplant dish, which was absolutely divine. The eggplant reminded me of tempura, being lightly crispy on the outside but steaming hot and creamy inside. The tahini dressing was lemony and full of sesame flavour, and the lentil-rice base was hearty and flavourful.

Eggplant Vegetarian Plate
drizzled with taheena on a bed of müjaddara and topped with fresh pomegranate seeds

I’ve always loved eggplant, but this dish takes the cake for the #1 eggplant dish I’ve ever had.

17408485_1683111978382000_1196963466_o

Dessert was equally impressive. The waitress recommended the custard, and I was happy to try it. On the side, I had two scoops of gelato (smaller than I’d expected): one vanilla halva, the other pistachio. The Künafa Ashta blew my mind. Warm, lightly-sweetened custard with tiny curds and a rich milky flavour, topped with crisp “threads” and a honey-like syrup and crushed pistachios. This dessert was certainly one to remember. A must-try if ever visit Tabülè.

Künafa Ashta
filo layered with custard and topped off with rose water syrup

Oatmeal has been in my bowl every morning. I like having a side of yogurt with granola.

These eggs were cooked in the last little bit of my spaghetti sauce and topped with smoked Gruyere cheese. Like a lazy girl’s shakshuka! The runny egg yolks tasted awesome with avocado toast.

St. Patrick’s day on Friday was celebrated with green oatmeal! I know it doesn’t look appetizing. It didn’t smell appetizing either, when it was cooking – I was preparing myself for the worst as I stirred some quick oats into the pureed spinach and banana. Fortunately, this breakfast was actually JUST AS TASTY as my usual banana oatmeals. I couldn’t detect the spinach at all.

Toronto’s Reference Library is an incredible place. Like a museum!

I love pancakes! Where did my pictures go?

Raspberry Oat Pancakes

Serves 1 (2 pancakes)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup quick or rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 medium ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • coconut oil or butter, for greasing
  • raspberries, to decorate the top (I used frozen, unthawed)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until very smooth. If the batter is too thick, add a splash of milk. If the batter is too watery, add a little flour (or extra oats) to thicken. I used a bit of coconut flour, which is extremely absorbent.
  2. Set batter aside to thicken for a few minutes.
  3. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with butter or coconut oil. Drop batter onto skillet. Place raspberries on top. Cook until bubbles appear, then flip and cook until both sides are golden brown. This recipe makes 2 pancakes.

On a completely different note, let’s talk GOALS.

I took a peek at my calendar. It is Sunday, March 19th as I write this, and I have 8 practices left before I am no longer eligible to practice at Cirque-Ability. On an unrelated note, can you believe it’s already mid/late-March? Where did January go? What happened to February? What did I do for the first three weeks of March?

Anyways. 8 practices left. That rounds to a little over 15 hours of aerials left in this month. I should have done this before, but I am going to set some goals and update at the beginning of April.

  • Silks goal: feel solid doing a ginger-isadora, and be confident in a helicopter-flag. Plan a routine to do, and run through it until it is memorized and comfortable.  Film myself doing all tricks from Levels I to IV. Straight leg inverts in the air (a small beat is okay).
  • Hoop goal: learn all Level II tricks, and do a Level II routine. Do a pullover without cheating. I just finished Level I and feel comfortable doing a Level I routine. Do a solid knee hang backbend with straight arms.
  • Acro goal: do a good roundoff, and hold a handstand for 5 seconds.
  • Other goal: register for a 1-month unlimited membership at the gym and at the yoga studio YogaTree on Bay/Dundas. Register for aerials classes at Brass Butterflies, Waterloo for May-August. Register for a one-month membership at the City Dance Corps.
  • Goals’ goal: set April goals for flexibility and conditioning. Take ‘before’ photos for flexibility and determine number of max repetitions for strength at the beginning of April.

Back to the food! New recipe for you guys. This was created when I realized I didn’t have 2 cups of hazelnut flour… I had 3/4 cup. Sad.

Pantry-Clearing Raspberry Cake

Serves 16

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup hazelnut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • toppings: chocolate chips, berries, coconut, etc. as desired

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 320°F degrees. Grease 8×8 pan and line with parchment.
  2. Whisk all ingredients together.
  3. Pour into pan and top with desired toppings. I used frozen raspberries.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
  6. Enjoy!

If this cake is cut into 16 squares, each piece will have under 190 calories, 5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fibre, and 6 grams of sugar.


Cool link for you: scrambled eggs around the world!

Speaking of around the world, I’ve been visiting lots of restaurants and cafes around Toronto that serve food from different countries. It’s been great! I can’t wait to go to Rol San, a Chinese dim sum place.

Do you like dim sum? What would you order from their menu?

a07479e4759c9b8b724d304fc2ccadb2

This is what I’d have:

  • 2: steamed BBQ pork buns
  • 3: steamed custard buns
  • 24: pan fried pancakes
  • 27: fried eggplant
  • 38: puff BBQ pork pastry
  • 40: deep fried taro puffs with pork
  • 41: coconut red bean cake
  • 42: sesame paste ball
  • 43: baked milk tart
  • 50: deep fried pumpkin with yolk, cashew, sweet potato
  • 53: homemade steamed rice rolls

Okay, happy Monday!

Shepherd’s π

Very rarely do I meet a brownie recipe that I don’t 100% adore. This was one of those recipes. I followed this recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie, who I am really not a fan of. Gritty, too-chewy, and unpleasantly dense with minimal chocolate flavour, these brownies were certainly not my favourite. Plus, my constructive criticism to her recipe was deleted from her blog. Okay…

Dressed up with some yogurt, nut butter, and granola, these brownies weren’t too awful. 🙂

This frittata-like thing was made with leftover steamed broccoli, chopped into tiny pieces and whisked up with three eggs, salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder with a splash of milk. Then, I cooked it in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat, covered, until the top looked cooked. I added maple goat cheddar on the top, then slid the frittata onto a baking dish for broiling in the oven. The top became perfectly crispy, and tasted fantastic with some avocado toast.

This recipe will be repeated with feta and spinach soon!

17237060_1675830745776790_1388446314_o

Pancakes! I used this recipe for thick, super hearty pancakes. With hazelnut flour instead of almond flour, these were ultra-flavourful. Delicious with some creamy yogurt and crispy granola.

Cafe Polonez is a Polish restaurant in Roncesvalles in West Toronto. I ate all of the following:

  • 2 potato pancakes
  • 1 cabbage roll stuffed with mushrooms and rice, topped with mushroom gravy
  • 2 cheddar cheese and potato pierogies
  • 2 cottage cheese and potato pierogies
  • lots of sour cream

How do you spell pierogies? This was my first time enjoying Polish food, and I have to say that I’m a big fan. Will definitely be back to Cafe Polonez because I want more of that incredible cabbage roll!

This recipe was made when I realized that I had half a jar of spaghetti sauce to use up.

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • spaghetti sauce (1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 whole peppers, tops cut off.
  • as much cheese as you’d like

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients except peppers.
  2. Stuff peppers with mixture. I alternated between layers of the quinoa mixture and maple goat cheddar.
  3. Bake 30 mins covered. Remove foil.
  4. Increase heat to 400. Bake 20 minutes.

No pictures, sadly. 😦


Shepherd’s pie on Pi Day! March 14, that is.

I roasted three sweet potatoes in the oven for an hour, then pureed them with a splash of milk, salt, and pepper to make this creamy topping. The filling was made with frozen mixed vegetables, chopped mushrooms, and lots of brown lentils.

This is how I made the lentils:

Easy Stovetop Lentils

Makes as much or as little as you’d like – just use 1 part lentils to 2 parts water 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse lentils thoroughly. Pick out shrivelled lentils or debris.
  2. Combine lentils and water. IMPORTANT: here, you can add other flavour-boosters, like a couple of bay leaves or some cloves of garlic. I added some big chunks of onion. Do not add salt here.
  3. Bring to rapid simmer over medium high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to gentle simmer.
  5. Cook 25 minutes.
  6. Salt lentils when they are tender, no longer crunchy. Stir in salt. Taste and add more if needed.
  7. Keep refrigerated for about one week. Add to soups, salads, or other recipes.

Super yummy! Turns out 1 cup of lentils and 3 sweet potatoes will make about 3 servings.

This comforting meal was born when I didn’t have any vegetables on hand. Behold – the sweet potato cauliflower gratin! I made this with one roasted sweet potato, roasted cauliflower, gruyere cheese, tons of crushed butter crackers (like breadcrumbs…ish) and dried basil. Toast was topped with a lot of garlic butter, because garlic bread makes any meal better. 🙂

That’s it for this snowy, windy, Thursday morning!

Uncoordinated Fingers

This morning, I woke up with a sniffly, runny nose and a craving for a soothing and warm drink. Enter this amazing latte, with super-healthy-and-hip turmeric, sweet honey, and warming spices like ginger and cinnamon. You’ll love this drink, friends.

Turmeric Latte (Golden Milk)

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch ginger (I used the stuff in a tube)
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Blend in a blender until fully combined.
  2. Heat on the stovetop until desired temperature. Serve and enjoy.

Another morning, a blog post by Cora at My Little Tablespoon reminded me that I could use quinoa flour to make a breakfast bake! I made a couple of small tweaks, but regardless, her recipe did not disappoint. The sunflower butter on top was the perfect touch, and on the side I enjoyed yogurt with sliced banana.

Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bake

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 Tbsp quick oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • sprinkle salt

Instructions

  1. Combine flax and water and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly grease a small ramekin.
  3. Place all ingredients in blender, and blend until well combined.
  4. Pour into ramekin and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Top with chocolate chips and serve! I liked mine with sunflower butter, yogurt, and banana.

On Sunday, I visited an Ethiopian restaurant called Lalibela. The entire time I ate this, I was desperate for a fork and knife! My uncoordinated fingers had a rough time tearing and scooping. My favourite part of this meal was the collard greens and the orange puree, which tasted like chickpeas and a smoky spice that I can’t put my finger on.

The restaurant itself was quite ornate! Have you tried Ethiopian food before?

That night, I made baked salmon, hoping to try something different from my usual maple and soy combination. This week’s baked salmon was made with:

  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • small handful dill, torn up
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch cayenne

Marinated for about 15 minutes, then baked for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Perfect!

Really good gelato from G for Gelato in Toronto. One scoop of coffee-chocolate almond Rufino, and one scoop of Mediterranean pistachio-walnut. This made my night!

This newish recipe is a riff from one of my favourite almond cakes. I subbed the almond meal for delicious (albeit expensive) hazelnut meal, and it turned into a glorious treat that I just can’t get enough of. Begging you to get your hands on some hazelnut flour, and try this!

Flourless Raspberry Hazelnut Cake

Serves 9

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups hazelnut meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • frozen raspberries, to taste
  • chocolate chips, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Whisk eggs. Add all ingredients except raspberries and chocolate chips. Whisk well.
  3. Pour into greased baking pan.
  4. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes. Cool completely, then cut and serve.

The view from my 31st floor apartment room is incredible.

Chickpea blondies were also made and devoured. I followed my usual recipe, swapping the nut butter for a cashew-peanut butter blend and adding extra chocolate chips. I’m not joking, nor am I embarrassed, when I say that I ate this entire 8×8 square in less than a week. Try it and you’ll see! No bean taste, I promise.

I haven’t done yoga in too long :O

Funny Yoga Quotes!

  1. Yoga. Because punching people is frowned upon.
  2. “If you fall, I’ll be there.” – mat
  3. Go from a human being doing yoga to a human being yoga.
  4. Namas’cray: The craziness in me recognizes and honours the craziness in you.
  5. Balance is when you eat salads and do yoga, then eat cupcakes and sleep.
  6. WARNING: Yoga has been known to cause health and happiness.
  7. Life is better when you bend.
  8. Bend so you don’t break.
  9. To relieve stress, I do yoga. Just kidding, I eat chocolate in my yoga pants.
  10. Yoga is Simon Says and nap time. 🙂

I think that’s it for today, mes amis! Have a lovely, spring-forwarded week.

So. Many. Baked. Goods.

Good morning!

I organized an Open House at the Toronto Health Centre, where we received tons of food donations, including:

  • 12 cupcakes and 12 cookies from Almond Butterfly
  • 6 loaf cakes from Harbord Bakery
  • 36 cookies from Phipps Bakery
  • 30 scones from St. John’s Bakery
  • 36 cookies from St. John’s Bakery
  • 200 cheese tarts from Fugo Desserts
  • 3 hours of tea samples from David’s Tea
  • 100 cups of coffee from Druxy’s Deli

The turnout was fantastic, and we now have many new patients and 42 new contacts.

These oat pancakes turned out beautifully. These were made in-the-moment, where I added a pinch of this and a little of that. I don’t exactly have a recipe, but I will share one soon. Looking forward to trying this recipe with chocolate chips and frozen raspberries.

Spinach scrambled eggs with cheese eventually became scrambled tofu! Recipe was shared in my last post.

A couple of lovely places in the downtown Toronto area.

These enchiladas were made and devoured. Black beans, corn, sweet peppers and cheese with creamy corn tortillas and a green chili verde sauce tasted awesome with mild tomato salsa and some salt-and-peppered avocado.

Simple toast with nut butter and banana, and the much-needed morning yogurt!

I watched CIRKOPOLIS on Saturday! 😀

Cirkopolis was unbelievable. I had very high expectations since I’ve seen Cirque du Soleil a couple of times, but Cirkopolis was FUNNY, “intimate” (only 12 performers in the troupe!), inspiring, beautifully-designed with a great use of colour, and thoroughly entertaining. The show got better and better, and the pole act was favourite. It’s 85 minutes with no intermission: 7:30 to 8:55. I had expected it to be dance-y and theatrical, but it was very circus-like. There was even a pretty unique aerial apparatus that I can only describe as an “aerial drying rack”. I loved the show 100% and I wish you could all see it.

That’s it for this morning – heading to work soon. Have the best rest of the week!