Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal {My #1 FAVE!}

Hola everyone! How is your Tuesday? Mine has been good so far – still tired from working yesterday! Gosh, I am out of shape. Kneeling and pushing toddlers around on chairs is a workout! πŸ˜‰ At least I got my daily dose of skating.

You know that muffins are my kryptonite.
But did you know that I’m also obsessed with blueberries?
Crumbled muffin + blueberries make this oatmeal dangerously delicious.

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O-M-G. This oatmeal is heavenly… I honestly wish I had a bowl right now – it’s 3:09 PM. :O
If only I had berries and muffins around every morning! I’d make this bowl if I did.

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Plain oats, just 1/3 cup of dry rolled oats, are cooked up with milk and water. Added a tsp of flax, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon (BEWARE: I like mine extra cinnamony!) and a pinch of salt.

Dumped into a bowl, already adorned with a spoonful of natural crunchy almond butter.

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By the way, the crumbled muffin is a triple berry muffin from Whole Foods – one of my number one favourites! Also topped with a handful of fresh blueberries. Drizzled with a little honey, this bowl of oatmeal is literally oatmeal perfection.

I don’t make very many bowls of PERFECT oatmeal (take today’s bland bowl with banana and AB, for example), but this bowl was truly mouthwatering. Loved it!

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Oh, and today’s math testS went well! I knew I didn’t get 100%, so I was preeeetty happy to see a 96. My mark in the course actually rounds up to 97% – hooray! πŸ˜€

By the way – we’re having coconut chicken curry tonight for dinner! We’ve got squash, chicken, and much more in there. First time using the coconut milk from Trader Joe’s! I can smell it from the computer room that I’m working in, right now! I can’t wait for dinner… update y’all soon!

Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone.

Trip to America Recap + Goals for the Week

Hi! Happy Sunday night. Today was a great day – deets comin’ up – and it was an awesome end to the week.

As you know, my dad took my sister and I to Bellingham last week. My aunt and grammy also went. We had a great time, and I loved spending the whole day with my family. β™₯

Here are the highlights!

Started off with overnight oats. I use Kath’s recipe with 1/3 cup dry rolled oats, 1/3 cup yogurt, and 1/2 cup milk. I mixed those up with half a tablespoon of chia seeds, a pinch of salt, a dash of cinnamon, and a mashed banana. Then, shake them all together in an almost-empty nut butter jar – and pop in the fridge overnight.

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The next morning – voila – overnight oats. No cooking, no heat, no work at all.

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This was super convenient because we were out the door at 5:30am to beat the border! πŸ˜€

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Of course, I topped it with fresh berries, granola, and a drizzle of that cinnamon-honey that I’m just crazy about!

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The bottom is the best part. :mrgreen: All that sunflower butter! SunButter is so good – the only CON about OOIAJ (overnight oats in a jar)? Not having any more nut butter.

I’m not going to bore you with details about how my sister had to try on every. single. shirt. in Hollister and Abercrombie + Fitch. At least we got to visit Trader Joe’s!

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I loved it there. It’s seriously heaven for a foodie. Everything is super cheap (umm, a dozen eggs for two bucks and a whole organic chicken for twelve!). I wanted to buy everything!

Returned home with two types of granola (shared with aunt Mimi and grandma), some peanut butter pretzels, healthy Ritz peanut butter crackers (two buttery crackers with a PB filling, yum), 6 cans of coconut milk, Harvest Grains Israeli couscous, and TJs sunflower butter! Yes, I managed to walk past the cookie butter WITHOUT putting it in the basket! :O How did that happen?

After TJs, we went to some boring places (boring = no food) and then to Olive Garden.

Wahoo! I started with hot lemon water. It’s like I’m 60 years old at heart or something! πŸ˜‰

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Just like the last time we came to Olive Garden, we stuffed ourselves on soup and salad and breadsticks!

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I ditched the breadsticks, but had a hearty serving of chicken + gnocchi soup. My bowl had no gnocchi. πŸ˜₯ Luckily, it had loads of spinach and I loved how creamy it was. I NEED this recipe!

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My entree was the Lasagna Primavera with Grilled Chicken.
Hand-folded lasagna filled with zucchini, squash and bell peppers. Topped with a tomato-basil sauce, grilled chicken and a creamy parmesan drizzle.

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Last time, I had the ravioli with portobello mushrooms and I had the hardest time deciding if I should order it again, but I’m SO glad I didn’t. The ravioli is incredible, but the lasagna – OMG.

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The grilled chicken was tender and moist, the lasagna soft and chewy, stuffed to the max with a creamy ricotta and veggie filling. Even though I didn’t get any bell peppers (totally detected the zucchini, though!), the inside of the lasagna roll was fantastic. The best part, though, was definitely the SAUCE. Tomato-y, basil-y, with a hint of garlic and parmesan cheese. I’m SO glad the dish was smothered with this sauce. It was incredible.

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Obviously I hated it. Just kidding – I wanted to lick this plate clean! Maybe I did… πŸ˜‰

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Seline had fettuccine alfredo with shrimp and scallops. She had way too many breadsticks! πŸ˜›

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We decided to share a dessert. While I wanted the white chocolate and berry cake, no one would’ve helped me eat it – so we decided to compromise and share a slice of creamy chocolate mousse cake.

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The bottom was like a chocolate brownie,

The top was an airy but rich chocolate mousse,

And teeny-tiny chocolate-covered wafer balls were sprinkled on top.

All drizzled with a rich chocolate sauce.

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I think I ate 1/4 of this baby! It was a true chocolate-lover’s delight (hint: I’m a chocolate lover). :mrgreen:

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Thank you, Olive Garden, for this amazing lunch. I think my buttons burst after this! πŸ˜‰

Anyways… no more photos of our trip to the US. Let’s chaaaaaange the topic – my goals for the week!

Now, usually I write my goals in my journal and check them off as we go, but I really have no other incentive – do you know what I mean? Anyways, there are a lot of things that I hope to do this week, and here they are:

1) Write one SAT practice test and finish both essays.

2) Start glueing (gluing?) stuff to my Leadership project. No more procrastinating!

3) Skate once or twice (I’m not skating so much now because of school and volunteering, plus Mom is so busy with shuttling my sis and I back and forth)

4) Bake something yummers – make either this blueberry coffee cake, these almond banana muffins, or these whole wheat raspberry drop scones. Mom also wants to make the lemon yogurt cake again – substituting the lemon zest for orange zest and adding dried cranberries. Can you say cranberry orange muffin? πŸ˜€

5) Think of a Science Fair idea!

6) Go for a run – come on, just one?

7) Eat salads every day. Bring leftover dinner dishes on top of mixed greens and bring dressing on the side.

8) Finish all French re-dos and hand them in.

9) Do math mindmap after each lesson.

10) Be nice to everyone, arrive at work early, and volunteer. πŸ™‚

β˜… Eat until full and then STOP. Recently, I’ve been eating until stuffed – to the point where I’m about to burst or puke or something. I feel it, and I can SEE it too. It’s building up on my tummy and on my thighs, and I’ll be blunt to myself – it looks bad. I know I need to make some changes in order to see some changes (on the scale). I’ve also been feeling blah lately – no confidence, lethargic, too full, and just BLAH! Overall, I hate it… and this upcoming week is going to be my healthy week.
That is, no mindless snacking, no binges, no dessert when unneccessary, and lotsa fruit and veggies. Eating intuitively is hard!

I will let y’all know at the end of the week how I’ve done with all of these!

It’s 9:30 and I’ve got some homework to organize before school tomorrow. Bye for now!

Lately

Aloha everyone! How was your week?
I hope your week was less hectic than mine. I’m so busy now that I’m starting to work again. That’s 6:00-9:00 twice a week. Add that to loads of volunteering, school, exams, and studying for SATS. All that on top of skating and aerial silks! Did I mention I also have to squeeze in some time to, ummmm… sleep? πŸ˜‰
Yup, I’m BOOKED! My only worry for not getting a volunteer position at the local hospital? That I won’t have enough time to make a committment. I know it’s just a few hours a week, but those hours do matter in the end. However, volunteering at the hospital will be one of my #1 priorities – I will definitely make time for that. πŸ˜€

Ahem! Sorry! Tangent! (trig is on my mind too).

So… the past few days have been good to me. Oh! Yesterday, my mom and I made a DEE-licious lemon yogurt cake from scratch! There’s nothing better than spending a Friday evening baking with Mommy. β™₯ We used this recipe by Whole Foods, and used 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest instead of almond extract (don’t have it). It turned out amazingly well. Anything lemon-flavoured has my approval! The crust that formed on top and on the sides was definitely the best part. This lemon cake didn’t crumble and have that melt-in-your-mouth texture of the lemon pound cake my mom and I made a few months ago. Probably because this recipe ditched a cup of butter and used plain nonfat yogurt instead! Nonetheless, I loved the cake – it was tender yet chewy and not overly sweet. We had to buy a bag of cane sugar just for this recipe, and it was worth it. I guess you could also use granulated sugar, but why? Ours was from TJs. πŸ˜›

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Anyways, here’s a classic Mom dinner from two nights ago.

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We’ve got broccolette sauteed with mushrooms and baby scallops (so good, and they impart a sea-salty taste to the whole dish, LOVE).

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Under that? Onion scrambled eggs with extra pepper! So good. I love getting the big chunks of egg, especially when the insides are still a little runny. O-M-Good.

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Lastly, we have Mom’s classic hong-shao {braised} chicken. Oh-so-tender chicken thighs are simmered for HOURS in a flavourful mixture of soy sauce, garlic, star anise, red chili peppers, and scallions. Mom also adds daikon (white carrot, like we say in Chinese) and regular ‘ole orange carrots. They literally become pillows of soy sauce – they are SO tender, and even better the next day. I loved this meal for leftovers at school! And gosh – check out that toasted sesame. Don’t leave it out! Adds a ton of flavour.

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Served on white rice. I had these three dishes over quinoa for lunch. No pics because I’m forgetful! :mrgreen: But wow, my mom sure can COOK! GO MOM GO!

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The next day, I had oatmeal with blueberries and blackberries. Followed the usual recipe, and topped it with an amazing local cinnamon honey from Costco. After I finished the berries, I topped it all with granola. πŸ™‚

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Lunch was a salad.

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I was inspired by this recipe, by Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats. She inspired me to try spaghetti squash, maple-soy salmon, simple stuff like almond butter, fried trout on a pilaf (15 mins!), healthy wraps, oatmeal with sliced banana, cranberries, and almonds, coconut chicken curry (hey, I could have a bowl of this right now ☺ ), and even Caesar salad! LOVE that girl. What did I eat before I started reading her blog? :O

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Anyways! This salad was super. 50/50 spring mix + spinach topped with blueberries, blackberries, goat cheese, and pecans. Dressing was simple: extra virgin olive oil + balsamic vinegar + Dijon mustard + honey + salt + pepper. I usually just make enough for one serving.

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I had the same thing again for dinner the next day. So yummy! This time, the dressing had half of a microplaned clove of garlic. Usually I don’t eat raw garlic because of the bad breath – but this time it was totally worth it. I may have been breathing fire for a whole night (sorry Seline) but… it was worth it! I wouldn’t do half a clove next time though. It was too spicy!

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The cinnamon-honey and butter roasted pecans that I baked also rocked my socks off. I’ve been eating them for a snack and using them to top my salads/oatmeal/yogurt. I literally JUST walked into my kitchen and grabbed three pecans to nibble on. πŸ™‚ The cinnamon-honey on top is to die for. It goes with the flavour of the pecans perfectly. I followed IGE’s recipe, but made a few teeny changes. What you can (and should) do is microwave cinnamon-honey (or regular honey if ya don’t have any) with butter until melted. Use a 2:1 ratio. If you have 1 tablespoon cinnamon-honey, use 1/2 tablespoon butter, etc. Mix with pecans until coated, spread ’em out on an oiled baking tray and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees until toasty, then remove to a plate to let cool. Make a lot, because these will go FAST!

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One regret – I didn’t add grilled chicken or fish. I was hungry again at 10:00pm, even though I thought this would be enough. Even though I had two three slices of lemon yogurt cake, my tummy was grumbling before bed! 😦

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Does IGE’s salad look like mine? πŸ˜€

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Today’s breakfast was… interesting. I opened the fridge to find that the milk expired TODAY – and I used it. Come on, I was desperate for oatmeal and there is no way in heck I’m using water to cook my beloved rolled oats. So expired milk it was! Turned out really well – I didn’t detect a trace of sourness. Topped with almond butter, those amazing pecans, blueberries, and toasted coconut (skillet).

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In case you’re wondering… it’s 7:00 pm now. I just had a pretty FABULOUS dinner that was seriously pretty incredible. Homemade pizza! I tried to make it like my all-time favourite Mediterranean pizza from Boston Pizza, but it wasn’t even close. What the whole fam made was was basically whole wheat pizza dough from our local bakery, topped with spicy tomato pizza sauce, cheese (mozzarella AND goat cheese!) and some of my fave veggies (mushrooms, etc.!) Sounds totally scrumptious, but I thought it was a little too bread-y. The dough, even though I rolled it out really thin, puffed up quite a bit. I also think the cheese (from Costco, I think it’s Kraft?) was of a terrible quality. The mozzarella, instead of melty on and into the pizza, simply became a blanket. I like my cheese melted into the pizza. I totally want to spill all the deets, but you’ll have to wait and see! Will post about this ‘za soon.

Now, I’m chomping on an amazing dessert. Greek Gods honey yogurt + frreeesssshhhhh blueberries and blackberries + chunks of that lemon yogurt cake that I mentioned above! Sprinkled with chia seeds. Mmmm! Made this dessert a la this recipe. The best bites? Definitely the blueberries. I haven’t had blueberries in way too long! These, from Costco, are my favourite kind – they’re big, super sweet, and hard. I like the hard blueberries the best! I’m still eating this dessert as I type this right now… I wish this could last forever. Go berries + yogurt + crumbled cake!

And… I should really be moving on to my homework now. I can’t wait until tomorrow’s breakfast – I’ll be making healthy pancakes with mashed banana AND berries. OMG! πŸ˜€ (And yes, I am aware that I just ate… and that I’m totally stuffed!)

Last thing: check THESE out! I know I say this a lot, but OMG! Flourless, butterless muffins (that are mostly sweetened naturally!) with a chocolate middle? I have to try this recipe soon. Simply Scratch is one of my favourite bloggers – I’ve made her super tasty chili-garlic roasted broccoli before – read all about it on this post!

Okay! I guess that’s it for now. Bye! Have a wonderful Sunday everyone. πŸ™‚

Strawberry Coconut Pancakes

I went to I-Hop once when I was in grade five, expecting it to be amazing. All my friends had gushed about how much they loved the big pancakes and gourmet waffles. Needless to say, I was totally disappointed.

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Turns out, you can make even BETTER pancakes at home – for a fraction of the price and ten times healthier. Just try these healthy pancake substitutions!

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These are amazing.

So, so amazing.

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They’re smothered in creamy coconut yogurt (try Krema brand, it’s just DIVINE) and fresh strawberries.

Sprinkled with chia seeds.

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Can they get any better?

Oh, yes – maple syrup.

Can’t have maple syrup without my pancakes! πŸ˜‰

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These are just incredible. You must try them at home. Plain yogurt as a substitution for buttermilk really helps. This batch was just as yummy as the honey banana pancakes I had on this weekend!

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These tender, sweet and coconutty pancakes are perfect for any day… try them tomorrow!

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Have a great week everyone!

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I β™₯ Whole Foods

Dare I say… best lunch ever?

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It’s no secret that I adore Whole Foods. Aren’t I lucky to have an awesome Mama who takes me to Whole Foods almost every Pro-D Day! Yeah! πŸ™‚

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The Whole Foods hot bar is loaded with tons of goodies. There is really something there for everyone! There are lots of tofu selections (YUM!) and I’ve even had tempeh. All the ingredients are uber fresh, local, and *mostly* healthy. There are tons of different flavours and textures, and you can get as little or as much of anything as you want. Oh yeah, and the sandwiches! The sandwiches are seriously incredible. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a turkey-apple-brie sandwich from Whole Foods. Gooey, melty cheese and a variety of other fillings – all enveloped by crispy bread. Oh-so-yummy. There are only two drawbacks about going for lunch at Whole Foods.
1) It’s insanely expensive. One bowl that {generously} serves one person = $22? Holy cow.
2) Sometimes the food is cold! I don’t know why, but roasted vegetables just aren’t the same when they’re chilled. 😦

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Okay, third reason:
3) It may be Whole Foods, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Sure, the kale salad and quinoa pilaf are totally nutritious, but what about the macaroni and cheese? Obs and gobs of butter, cheese, and pasta might taste delicious, but just because it’s from WF doesn’t mean it’s low-calorie. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat it, though! It is amazing. Just watch your portions!

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Here we have tons of delicious thingies… let’s start with my Mediterranean corner! I have a spinach pakora, which I’m pretty sure is fried. But it’s a little spicy and has great texture. Topped with hummus and baba ghanoush, an eggplant dip. I also have a falafel patty. Two cubes of marinated feta cheese (OMG) and spicy olive-y Mediterranean relish add flavour. I also added a little scoop of white beans.

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Sweet potato, kale salad, beets, and Greek salad. I also see some tomato chickpeas and herby tomato brown rice! There is also swiss chard with creamy cashew dressing (that’s the green veggie with red stems). I also had a delicious piece of tofu, some parsley noodles, and more tofu on the right hand side. It’s curried tofu, with raisins and almonds. Under that is a big piece of stewed zucchini. So tender!

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In the middle, you see some macaroni and cheese. One of the best parts! WF also makes an incredible smoked mozzarella salad. It’s got penne, spinach, roasted red peppers, and of course, creamy and sharp smoked mozza. Another pasta salad {poppyseed penne pasta salad} has penne and creamy poppyseed dressing, with red onions and more spinach. I love it!

I can also see mashed potatoes and some Thai quinoa salad with carrots. Once, I even had mashed cauliflower at Whole Foods… ummmm, #totallynotpotatoes. Not even close.

What I’ve listed above isn’t everything we ate – thereΒ was TONSΒ more underneath that we can’t see. 😦

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Mom and I also shared a super yummy big chicken and arugula sandwich. That’s crunchy ciabatta bread stuffed with roasted chicken, proscuitto, goat cheese, and mixed greens. The sundried tomato aioli truly makes the sandwich.Β Just like last time!

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Dessert was some sweet petites!

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A raspberry white chocolate cheesecake tart – my favourite! I have one of these every time. They are sweet, and so rich. They’re pretty small, but you won’t need any more. Love the crust, too.Β They are really satisfying. 9.8/10! πŸ˜‰ Yum!

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A chocolate mousse fruit cup – so good! I’m not really into mousse, and those Kinder eggs aren’t my thing. But the berries in creamy chocolate was amazing. I liked this and I’d say… 6/10? I’m picky about my desserts!

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A Nanaimo bar – these are amazing. The middle layer is literally sweetened coconut + powdered sugar. I had only a quarter of this – didn’t need more! 7/10. I would NOT be able to eat the whole thing – it’s much bigger than it looks.

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Love Whole Foods – can’t wait to go again soon! ❀

Have you been to Whole Foods? Do you like it there?

Unusual Dinner w/ Chinese Salad + TJs Shopping List

Hi! How are you all doing? It’s Thursday, but it’s totally the weekend because of Easter. Woohoo! No school tomorrow and no school on Monday – yippee yah yah! Too bad it’s raining like crazy outside now, because I would really like some fresh air. Oh, well… maybe I’ll actually have a productive evening today. I feel like there is so much to do now – how about you?!

These photos are from a delicious dinner we had last week. Not a likely combination, but these three ingredients (prepared separately!) work so well together.

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Maple-soy salmon was the star. Simply mix soy sauce and maple syrup in a big container and plop the trout (yeah, yeah, I call it salmon) inside to marinate. You could also add garlic and black pepper to the marinade, but we usually go the simple lazy route. We usually marinate it for a whole afternoon, but my mom’s friend, who gave us the recipe, marinates hers for TWO DAYS. I find that marinating it for too long makes it lose that delicate fishy flavour that I love so much. As you know, simple salt and pepper trout with lemon is perfectly delicious on its own. Even in a wrap with veggies!

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We also had steamed edamame. Boil some water with salt + star anise (my mom swears it adds flavour, but I don’t taste it). Remove when done and sprinkle with whatevah!

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We always seem to have butternut squash with salmon. Here it is! Tossed with butter, salt, and pepper, then placed in the oven for about 25 minutes. Yum! Funny how I started to like butternut squash in the spring! Just like how I only started eating berries in the fall. I’m a season behind. 😦

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Fluffy white rice under it all. How do some people have a meal without rice? I mean, Cooking Light shows meals that are basically protein + vegetable. Could you eat only a salmon filet with some green beans? I totally can’t! A meal isn’t a meal without rice, right? Thoughts?

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On the side we have a Chinese chicken salad. These are rice noodles – handmade by my mom! I was so impressed. They were chewy and tasted even better than store-bought – plus they had only two ingredients (water is one of them). It’s tossed with strips of cucumber, shredded rotisserie chicken, and strips of pan-fried egg (cooked like an omelet). The mouthwatering sesame dressing was made of sesame paste *AKA tahini*, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, a little sugar, a little salt, soy sauce, minced garlic, homemade chili oil (canola infused with red pepper flakes), and some water to get it to the right consistency. Incredible! We always go heavy on the sauce – it is SO good.

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I really want to try to make this salad for lunch next week. It looks SO good! There’s a reason why Iowa Girl Eats is my all-time favourite blogger. This salad looks incredible. I’ll update you if I try it out, but there are a lot of things we’ll need to buy (goat cheese, wild rice, etc.)

Anyways… did I tell you guys yet? Next week, we’re going to TRADER JOE’S! OMG. I am beyond excited! Here’s my shopping list! I based it on the TJ’s lists of Kath Eats and Iowa Girl Eats. If I lived in the US, I would be at TJ’s every few days for the yummy food! ❀ Can’t wait until Monday!
β€’ Peanut butter pretzels
β€’ Pumpkin butter
β€’ Cookie butter
β€’ Coconut milk
β€’ Pancake/waffle mix
β€’ Salad dressing
β€’ Inner Peas snack
β€’ TJ’s Salted Peanut Butter
β€’ TJ’s Salted Almond Butter
β€’ Salad packs
β€’ Hummus, salsa and CRACKERS
β€’ Paneer curry tikka masala something
β€’ Hot cereal
β€’ Harvest Grains blend (Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, red quinoa)
β€’ Orzo and rice mix
β€’ Goat cheese medallions

I’ll definitely update you all after the TJ’s trip. Lots of homework and emails to reply to. Bye for now!