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Cheesy Waffles, Coconut Flour Brownies, and Makeup (ʘ_ʘ)

Quickie post this morning because I have to go to TD Bank and deposit my first cheque! Yay for PAYDAY 🙂
On a completely different note, you should run to the store ASAP and pick up some chocolate chips and coconut flour, because these amazing paleo brownies need to be made. I was totally skeptical about coconut flour in brownies (haven’t had much luck with coco flour in the past), but these were spectacular.
Not only were they easy to make, but they also tasted SUPERB. Fudgy yet a bit cakey, and 100% chocolate deliciousness.
Coconut Flour Brownies
Serves: 9 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ heaping cup honey (you can also use 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar)
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8×8 nonstick pan or place parchment paper on it.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Add the chocolate chips, cocoa powder and honey. Stir the mixture until the chocolate chips start to melt, then remove the pan from the heat and stir until the chips are completely melted and the mixture is very smooth. Set aside to cool.
  4. Whisk together the almond milk, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes so that the coconut flour can absorb some of the liquid.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Not really a recipe: 2 eggs + 1 ripe banana in the blender with a pinch of cardamom, cinnamon, 1/4 tsp baking powder, and some salt, then enough coconut flour and almond milk to make pancake-batter texture. Cooked in coconut oil and topped with almond butter and yogurt, these were filling, SO delicious, and hearty.

I made a massive batch of granola to take with me to Toronto. Not sure why I’m posting it now. This granola recipe is the one I always use, but this time I tripled the recipe!

First time making gnocchi was a success! I used fresh gnocchi from Vincenzo’s, the Italian grocery store, and added leftover pumpkin pasta sauce, mushrooms, and zucchini. Cheese on top is pecorino romano!

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Broccoli-cheddar soup was also made and enjoyed alongside avocado toast.

A couple weeks ago, I went from Waterloo to Toronto for my first training session at work. Since my work starts at 10:00, and I left Waterloo at 6:00 AM, I had plenty of time to stop at Lady Marmalade, a brunch restaurant in Toronto. There, I enjoyed these super cheesy spinach waffles with two poached eggs and a tomato-orange sauce. Avocado on top instead of bacon – the perfect touch 🙂

Oh! And a London Fog latte was also chugged. This was amazing!

Toronto is such a bright, diverse, colourful city. The Christmas-ized mall was lovely.

Have you make shakshuka before? This certainly wasn’t the most authentic, but I followed Minimalist Baker’s recipe, made a couple changes, and enjoyed this chickpea rendition. It was especially yummy on top of quinoa with a smattering of nutritional yeast.

1-Pot Chickpea Shakshuka
Serves: 2 cups (3 servings)
Ingredients
  • 1/2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
  • sea salt to taste (depends on whether your diced tomatoes are salted/unsalted)
  • 1 tsp smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch cardamom
  • 1 can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
FOR SERVING optional
  • Lemon wedges
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Quinoa
Instructions
  1. Heat large metal skillet over medium heat. When hot, add oil, pepper, and garlic.
  2. Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, coconut sugar, sea salt, paprika, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper (optional), and cardamom (optional). Stir to combine.
  4. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Scoop 3/4 of the sauce into a blender and blend for a creamier result.
  6. Add chickpeas. Stir to combine. Simmer for 15-20 mins to allow the flavours to develop.
  7. Taste. Adjust seasonings.
  8. Serve with bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, etc. Garnish with lemon juice or spices.
  9. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop until completely warmed through.

Waterloo was SO snowy! Good thing there isn’t a speck of snow in Toronto now.

On my last day in Waterloo, I went to Alexa Baker‘s lovely studio for a photoshoot. She has a great studio in Kitchener, where model Victoria did my makeup and helped me get used to the lights.

Here are some of the photos that emerged! We took the yoga shots today, and the silks photos are from a couple months ago 🙂

In honour of the two weeks that I lived completely alone in Waterloo ( 😥 ), here are some tips for things to do!

Things To Do When Home Alone

  1. Play music really loud
  2. Take a nap
  3. Read a good book
  4. Do a home spa treatment (I made homemade oil + brown sugar + baking soda exfoliator for my legs and feet, which get so dry in the winter!)
  5. Watch a movie
  6. Clean up (sad but I actually did this)
  7. Call a friend
  8. Talk to yourself
  9. Buy food
  10. Make food
  11. Eat the food
  12. Draw something pretty
 Bye for now!
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My First Week in Toronto

Good morning friends!

As some of you might know, I moved to Toronto (downtown, eek!) from Waterloo last week. It was a 2-hour drive in the snow, and now I’m all unpacked and settled. I’ve been working at the Toronto Health Centre as a clinical assistant for about a week now, and I’ve been loving the big city 🙂

A couple days ago I went to Whole Foods out of boredom and couldn’t resist the hot bar. Holy moly, y’all need to go to WF and get the mashed sweet potatoes from their hot bar. Irresistible. I was tempted to go back for more of that sweet potato mash! I also tried cauliflower rice for the first time. It’s yummy. What do you guys think?

An expensive (but oh-so-good) London Fog latte from Dineen, which is around 20 minutes from my house. Beautiful cafe with lovely breakfast baked goods and incredible drinks. This was one of the richest, tastiest tea lattes I’ve ever had. Too bad the SMALL cost me over $4. Whoa.

I also joined a new gym! This is Cirque-Ability in west Toronto. I can’t wait to start practicing here.

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I stopped by Butter Avenue while walking from dance class at the City Dance Corps and accidentally (ok intentionally) bought this creamy white chocolate cheesecake mousse. The bottom layer was filled with crunchy oat bits and raspberries. I died with every bite. AH-mazing. Worth $9? Probably. Would I get this again? Probably.

Another day I had brunch at Le Petit Dejeuner! It’s a Belgian-Canadian brunch spot that’s a hit with the locals. I nommed on these Belgian waffles that came with a poached egg and smoked salmon, as well as some sour-spicy apple slaw. Not a bad breakfast! I loved the mix of savoury, sweet, and salty flavours. That’s maple syrup in the little tin. 🙂

And you know I can’t go anywhere without trying an almond croissant! This is Milano Espresso Bar, where I was lucky to snab an almond croissant straight out of the oven. This London Fog was the biggest I’ve ever had, and every sip was scrumptious. I’m addicted to tea lattes. And croissants.

The St. Lawrence Market is another famous Toronto spot! I browsed the aisles and spoke with some vendors, and had to try one of these famous Portuguese custard tarts. It was creamy, sweet, rich, and really good. I wish I had it heated up, but it was delicious nonetheless.

I actually cooked at home?! Apparently, yes. This was a simple bowl of oats enjoyed with a smashed up sweet potato muffin and tons of peanut butter. I loved it!

Toronto’s big mall is called the Eaton Centre, and it’s massive! Their Christmas decorations are gone now, but it’s still as busy.

Yesterday, went to T&T. Asian markets are a lot of fun to browse.

Lastly, a random salad from Maman, a bakery in Toronto’s financial district. This salad was just okay, but the financier that followed?! One of the best ever. Wish I had a pic!

And that’s it for today! Have a spectacular Tuesday ❤

 

15 Reasons To Cook with Less Meat

  1. I’ll save you the spiel about animal justice and cruelty on factory farms. I am sure you are aware of the deprivation and torture that most animals experience before they reach your plate. This is not my #1 reason, however.
  2. It is better for the environment, helping to reduce pollution while saving energy.
  3. Reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis… the list goes on. Of course, these diseases are not primarily caused by diet (other factors certainly do play a role), but the reduced disease rate is food for thought. The nutrients in fruits and vegetables are excellent for warding off disease and can lead to longevity. In other words, your “five a day” are helping to fight aging! Interesting side note: the world’s longest-living people live in Okinawa, a group of over 150 Japanese islands. Okinawans have the world’s lowest rates of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, and most of them die of natural causes. The average Okinawan woman lives to age 86 (compared to 79 in North America) and the average man to age 78 (72 in North America). A 25-year study was done to examine the Okinawan lifestyle. The results? Okinawans enjoy around seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day, along with seven grain servings, two servings of soy products, and fatty fish several times a week. They also eat few dairy products and a very small amount of meat. Okinawans also season their food with a variety of herbs and spices.
  4. Imagine if all the grains harvested to feed cattle were used to feed the starving people of our planet.
  5. The standard North American diet is high in processed food and low in fruits and vegetables. When you increase the amount of fresh produce consumed, weight loss is a common side effect.
  6. You will be more “regular” – more fibre is good for helping push waste from the body. Meat has minimal fibre!
  7. You will have more room for fresh produce in your diet, nourishing your body with more antioxidants, fiber, and lean protein like chickpeas and lentils. With less meat, you can eat in greater volumes (think of how 500 calories of broccoli is physically more food than 500 calories of beef) – and who doesn’t want to eat more?
  8. Good nutrition means more energy and a clearer mind. When you fuel your body with great ingredients, your body will reward you with liveliness, alertness, and a positive attitude, as well as better thinking. That being said, I am quite familiar with the 2:00 post-lunch slump and have been paying attention to which foods drain my energy.
  9. An estimated 95% of consumed pesticides come from meat, fish, and dairy – and they cannot be eliminated by cooking. I’m also not a fan of the hormones, steroids, and chemicals that are pumped into milk and meat, which is why I try to avoid them when I can.
  10. Colourful meals are so much more Instagram-worthy. Plus, the rich hues in fruits and vegetables indicate the presence naturally-occurring phytochemicals that fight disease and boost immunity.
  11. You’ll save money. Compare the cost of a can of beans to a package of chicken breasts. It all adds up, even if you go meatless a couple meals a week.
  12. I’m a little paranoid about raw meat and eggs. When you omit them, it takes the guesswork out of frying a chicken breast or baking a pork tenderloin. In other words, you can stress less about food-borne illness. Plus, you can lick the bowl of any vegan cookie dough or cake batter without worrying about salmonella from uncooked eggs.
  13. It’s more fulfilling to explore and experiment. There are already thousands of beef burger recipes online – why not play with creating a healthier, but equally tasty, patty out of legumes? Plant-based cooking opened up a whole new world of options for me, as well as countless opportunities to be creative with food.
  14. Without meat, your freezer will have more room for muffins, brownies, ice cream, frozen berries, and other goodies.
  15. It’s easy. These days, it requires zero effort to find delicious and nutritious vegetarian foods, whether you’re browsing the aisles of a grocery store or enjoying dinner at a new restaurant. For instant inspiration, bookstores often have large vegetarian cooking sections and the internet is your friend for culinary advice and incredible recipes. When you’re in a rush, fast casual restaurants and cafes also offer wholesome and creative salads, sandwiches, and entrees.

Of course, my #1 reason: an excuse to eat many more tablespoons of peanut butter. You know… for protein.

What do you think? Do you like meat? Do you like vegetarian meals as well?

The Flying Foodie Kitchen

Welcome to the Flying Foodie Kitchen!

Pantry

  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Low-sodium chicken broth
  • Canned chickpeas
  • Canned black beans
  • Canned pineapple tidbits
  • Canned tuna and/or salmon
  • High-quality bottled pasta sauce

Fridge

  • Peanut, almond, and/or sunflower seed butter
  • Eggs
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Goat cheese
  • Milk
  • Almond milk
  • Ground flaxseeds
  • Hemp hearts
  • Maple syrup
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Firm tofu
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon or trout
  • Garlic puree

Fruits

  • Lemons or limes
  • Kiwis
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Avocadoes
  • Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries (can be frozen)

Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Baby spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Regular boiling or baking potatoes
  • Butternut squash (can be frozen), kabocha squash, spaghetti squash
  • Frozen corn, peas, and edamame

Spices

  • Sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Dried basil
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika

Grains

  • Quick-cooking oats and/or regular old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Whole wheat bread, pitas, tortillas, and/or flatbreads
  • Spelt flour or whole-wheat flour
  • Brown rice
  • Couscous
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Buckwheat (Japanese soba) noodles

Baking

  • Brown sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Semisweet chocolate chips
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Honey
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Pine nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Dates, raisins, dried cranberries
  • Chia seeds

Condiments

  • Sesame oil
  • Chili garlic sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Fish sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Soy sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Coconut milk
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Curry paste: red or green

Resolutions: 2017 Edition

2017 New Years Resolutions

CO-OP WORK GOAL: Work in another country, or a different province.
Steps I need to take: Actively seek jobs outside Ontario and BC, whether they are on the UW job search database or not.
Quote that motivates me: Good things come to those who go out and earn it. 

BEING-AN-ADULT GOAL: Spend 5 minutes each day (time it!) to clean the room. Make bed in the morning.

Steps I need to take: Just do it! It’s worth the clean room.
Quote that motivates me: Motivation comes after you clean. Don’t start with motivation – start with doing.
What I will do to celebrate: Buy a new bedside lamp?

FINANCIAL GOAL: Spend $650/month maximum.
Steps I need to take: Try to limit meals eaten out, purchasing no-name brand items instead of expensive branded items.
Quote that motivates me: Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

HEALTH GOAL: Go to bed at give/take 11:30 each night. Establish an 11:30 to 7:00 schedule.
Steps I need to take: Finish all my things before bed and do not spend too much time reading online or doing useless things on the Internet.
Quote that motivates me: Success isn’t about waking up early or going to sleep late. It’s about being productive while you’re awake.

FOOD GOAL: Make Iowa Girl Eats’ Senegalese Soup, Caramelized Leek and Garlic Mushroom Rice (yum) and black bean burgers.

Steps I need to take: Buy ingredients and just make them! Plan ahead so I have enough time to do so.
What I will do to celebrate: Eat the yumminess.

YOGA and AERIAL SILKS GOAL: Full middle splits, perform in the showcase on Feb. 24 and other showcases in Toronto, learn the windmill, and have solid handstands.

Steps I need to take: Stretch for ~1 hour daily. Practice aerial silks 3-5 times a week and do core work/handstand prep in free time in the evenings.
Quote that motivates me: Aim for progress, not perfection. As you build strength, you start to believe in your own potential. Negative minds don’t give positive lives.

ACADEMIC GOAL: In the summer term, achieve a 95% average.

Steps I need to take: Rewrite notes after each class, and keep my binder organized. Review daily. Make sure I have a solid understanding of key topics. Review with friends and use whiteboards.
Quote that motivates me: Don’t stop until you’re proud. The secret to getting ahead is getting started.
What I will do to celebrate: Shop at Write Stuff for new pens!

HAPPINESS and SELF-CARE GOAL: Take better care of my body.

Steps I need to take: Drink more water, moisturize my skin, exfoliate my feet, and floss!
Quote that motivates me: Floss is like toilet paper. The roll should not last 6 months.
What I will do to celebrate: Use my Body Shop card to buy more lotions and yummy-scented creams

FITNESS GOAL: Do cardio 3-5 times a week, whether it’s a short run in the sun or a quick bike at the school gym.

Steps I need to take: Take spin classes instead of yoga classes when I’m on campus.
Quote that motivates me: The best project you’ll ever work on is YOU.

RANDOM GOAL: Keep journalling every night!

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Friday Friend Features: Cindy Wei

Feeling so grateful and honoured to be featured as a December’s Friday Friend by the lovely Cassie at https://superfitbabe.me. Her site is not only reflective and empowering, but also filled with incredible recipes (Indian food baby… hello), motivational words, and excellent photography. Thank you for the great feature, and wishing everyone a happy New Year’s Eve Eve 🙂

We are WELL at the end of December and by this time, I am WELL into getting ready for the winter quarter in a week. I mean, nobody EVER enjoys returning to the academic stress and crazy workload, right? However, we can all use some more time to lay back and simply enjoy the rest of the holiday vacation, grab a little (or a lot) of tea and coffee and chit-chat with some good friends!

Today I am BEYOND excited to introduce my good friend Cindy of the phenomenal blog Cookies and Chemistry. A student, creative chef and talented yogi, Cindy has been one of my biggest inspirations and closest friends since I’ve started blogging myself, whether through her stunningly presented food photos, her motivational words, her beautiful smile and her infinite positivity. So without further ado, I present my interview with her right here!

  • Okay, here is an icebreaker:…

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