‘Twas the Night before Finals

‘Twas the night before finals, and all through college,

The students were praying for last-minute knowledge.

They were quite sleepy, but none touched their beds,

While visions of questions danced in their heads.”

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I didn’t write that, by the way – it’s from something I found by googling “night before finals”. 😛

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Today I’m going to be sharing meals with you guys (of course), but also some thoughts and ideas that I’ve been having recently.

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It’s going to be a random, random post, starting with something maybe not so happy.

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This month, I’ve been feeling a whole bunch of emotions with finals looming and 16 days until I’ll be home in BC. I feel so conflicted!

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Two main emotions I’ve felt, though, are loneliness and guilt.

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Lonely when my friends are busy, when my mom is cooking and can’t FaceTime me, when my roommate and her boyfriend aren’t home. I love talking to people and didn’t realize how much we all crave social contact until I started living on my own. It’s really different to live in a completely new place with few people to talk to.

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Guilty when I feel like I’m not living up to my full potential. I’m sure all students know what I mean here – scoring less than perfect on something you could easily do flawlessly. It’s happened to me a couple times recently and sometimes I feel like I’m not learning from my mistakes.

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Guilty when I get home a little too late and have dinner at the far-from-glamourous 8:30.

Guilty when I miss Zumba and have to do a simple, relaxing yoga class instead. Or, even guiltier when I miss both because a tutorial goes overtime.

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I also feel guilty when I let my room become a mess. The ground gets dusty, my blankets unwashed for a couple weeks, and a mound of clothing builds up on my vanity. That’s not supposed to happen – I’m always supposed to keep my house clean, keep my grades sky-high, keep exercising, and keep eating balanced meals.

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I’m trying to take it easy on myself now, and that’s going right into the new year as one of my main goals in 2016.

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My last month in university has been stressful in non-academic ways, too. My light broke and my roommate’s boyfriend lent me his – but that bulb burned out, too. I couldn’t find replacement bulbs anywhere. My printer broke and I ran out of paper. I lost a few kitchen utensils and have been having problems with my phone and laptop.

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Some busy evenings meant simple dinners of toast and eggs.

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But on weekends, I like to renew myself and make something a little more elaborate: here, I have tilapia with lemon and dill, roasted sweet potatoes, and sautéed garlic asparagus with mushrooms.

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Another time, I was inspired by Timeless Cafe and Bakery to make stuffed acorn squash with brie and cranberries. These recipes gave me the idea of adding pumpkin seeds and rice.

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My version turned out awesome and I was so delighted – the roasted brussels sprouts with sweet potato aioli took this over the top.

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I miss my sister a lot. She recently got a job and has been too busy to talk to me on FaceTime. I feel really disappointed sometimes, when she reads my messages and doesn’t respond on Messenger. Thinking about our happy moments, though, always makes me sad and happy simultaneously – Sunshine Coast and Paris were some of the brightest times in my life.

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Supportive and similar-minded bloggers keep me sane, too. Cassie and Stephanie are food goddesses who are both so wise, beautiful, and talented. Check out their pages – you won’t regret it!

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My friend Lily made my day a couple weeks ago with such a kind message. But look at how amazing her cooking is. Looking at her Chinese-style scrambled eggs made me miss Mom’s chive scrambled eggs more than anything.

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The other day, I met my Altitude mentor. Rezi has travelled to Japan, studied in BC, and worked in Africa and Montreal. Now she’s training  and working night shifts at the hospital. We have plans to meet up before I go back to BC, and we’ll be talking about everything from MCATs to volunteer placements.

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I found this on Facebook a while ago and thought it was insanely creative. What a talented writer!

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Mom’s been cooking up a storm back home. Her favourite recipe is my all-time favourite banana muffin recipe, and she makes it all the time for friendly coffee dates. She adds nuts and dried cranberries for a pop of fall flavour.

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Last week, I went to a bookbinding event hosted by Crafts for Charity.

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We had fun making personalized books.

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They look easy and simple, but all the knotting and looping only made my brain knotted and loopy. I did go home with a nicely-binded book though – thanks to Jennifer for doing the last 20% of it when I gave up.

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I asked for polymer clay for Christmas so I can make some of these. I’m thinking of donating them to hospital patients this year, along with some baked goods. That is always so rewarding for me. 🙂

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My class schedule for next semester is out! I like it quite a lot. 🙂 What do you think?

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On Thursday, my group and I did our presentation on the health benefits of milk. Meet Mansi, Yasitha, Kritika, Lily, Armina, Yuchen, and Dennis (from left to right). We had a good time rehearsing, dressing up, and giving our presentation, although the practices were pretty stressful and hard to coordinate. I think I learned so much by going through this, though.

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I’ve been looking at different ways to prepare eggs – I’m going to try stepping away from the usual scramble, frittata, or pancake. Hard-boiled eggs are awesome, and I forgot how easy they are to make. Poached eggs are another story – I’m still not brave enough to try.

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I found this on a vegan website a while ago and it got my brain cogs churning. What do you think?

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These pictures inspired me to pick up a bag of goji berries and pumpkin seeds at the store! This banana “nice cream” looks incredible. I’m going to take full advantage of my blender when I get home so I can whip up this beautiful bowl.

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I have beets in the fridge and can’t wait to make some beet-goat cheese grilled sandwiches. Mmmm. And a random not-so-funny joke that I discovered on Facebook. Science jokes are my favourite, especially chemistry ones, and I swear I’ve heard them all! Do you like chemistry puns?

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I was thinking about what I defined as a healthy eater the other day, and quickly put together this list. What are your thoughts on truly healthy eating? Is it all physical – or is there a mental component?

What Makes a Healthy Eater?

  • To me, a healthy eater is so much more than someone who simply eats a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • A healthy eater tries to find ways to replace salt with flavourful herbs and spices.
  • A healthy eater makes swaps – maple or honey for sugar, avocado or hummus for mayo.
  • A healthy eater understands that she needs to eat when she is hungry or needs a boost of energy (whether that’s for her brain or her body).
  • A healthy eater tries to sit down and enjoy every meal rather than hurrying from one place to another.
  • A healthy eater aims to eat her meals at relatively similar times each day, but doesn’t fret if life doesn’t allow that to happen.
  • A healthy eater eats cake and savours every single bite.
  • A healthy eater doesn’t punish herself with workouts or restrictions.
  • A healthy eater doesn’t follow health fads religiously – she thinks about them and makes her own informed decisions.
  • A healthy eater cooks as much as she can when she has the chance, but loves every bite of food that doesn’t come out of her kitchen.
  • A healthy eater encourages others to eat to feel their best without shaming them or seeming arrogant.
  • A healthy eater remembers to eat during finals weeks.
  • A healthy eater is also someone who honours her meals and respects her hunger.
  • A healthy eater puts friends and family before food.

I think that’s it for today. Today I had an excellent day – a productive meeting with a professor, a two-hour chemistry tutorial, a delicious lunch (below), an English exam, followed by a Zumba class and an hour of flow yoga – then a delicious dinner of fried rice with soup. I am now full and happy and off to grab some chocolate-banana bread (100 calories for a thick, fat, gooey chocolate square!) for dessert. Recipe coming soon 🙂

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Here was today’s lunch: sweet potato hummus, a multigrain pita, yogurt tzatziki sauce, and an incredible filling of frozen –> thawed falafel, chopped beets, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, and quinoa. So super freaking delicious and I could’ve eaten way more! I had an entire pita by the way, which is two servings. 🙂

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That is seriously it for now. I have a final exam tomorrow, and I should really go…

to the cupboard to get my dessert.

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Phone pictures because I just can’t wait to upload my camera photos onto the computer before I show you 🙂

28 thoughts on “‘Twas the Night before Finals

  1. Seriously if you can somehow manage to cook all of these beautiful meals while an undergrad, you’ve got nothing to worry about. As an undergrad I remember nights where a bag of chips from the vending machine was my dinner! 🙂

    And when you worry about eating healthy, I implore you to read over this NPR article (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/04/14/299179468/mind-over-milkshake-how-your-thoughts-fool-your-stomach) about a study from a Columbia student that my Chinese neurologist boss regularly reminds me of. It’s all in your head! If you believe that bag of chips is healthy, then so does your body. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by my blog again 🙂 Thanks! Your support really means so much to me. That article was actually fascinating. I’d be interested to read about reported levels of satiety after the milkshake, too. Thank you for sharing that with me! It really opened my eyes to a new idea. It’s crazy to think that what we eat is so much “eaten” by our eyes and mind, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so impressive how you manage to cook such intricate meals and keep up your blog even through exam season. I know when I was in undergrad I pretty much let all that fall off to the side. I bet you’re looking forward to getting back to BC for the holidays! Good luck with your finals 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you! That really means a lot to me because I do put in a fair amount of effort when it comes to these things. 🙂 You really brightened my day! Yes, I am so super excited. 13 days – the countdown is on!

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      1. During exam time, just the thought of going home for the holidays always gave me so much energy and encouragement. This will be my first time in quite a few years that I will be spending Christmas and New Years away from both Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. Christmas in BC is always so beautiful. Take lots of photos, and have fun! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve actually been in Japan for the last little while! I just got back this morning from an overnight road trip to Aomori (a 9 hour drive one way!), which is beautiful and freezing snow country on the northern tip of Honshu. And, now I’m staying in Ibaraki. It’s been a super crazy and fun visit so far. I’ll be trying to keep my blog up to date now that things have settled down a bit 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Beautiful! I can’t wait to read all about your adventures in Asia. I’ve actually never heard of any of those cities, but they sound beautiful and exotic. I am so excited to see what you’ve been eating and doing in Japan!

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  3. Great post, great food pics, and great writing! The meal with roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potato aioli sounds especially delicious.
    Your schedule for next semester looks very science-y, but you are cookies and CHEM for a reason! 🙂
    That chemistry pun is hilarious. And the vegan pictures are very interesting!
    Hang in there with school and all the feelings- only a few more weeks! YOU CAN DO IT!!! I believe in you!
    xoxoxo Ellie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you! Your comment made me smile 🙂 Baking and science are my two favourite things. Thank you for being so supportive and making me cheerful on this gloomy Tuesday afternoon. Have a lovely week Ellie!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All your food is so awesome. Even you are far away from mom, you can still handle it nicely. You are not only a star student, but also a great organized girl. Well done., my baby.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. wow, this was a really good post, I really enjoyed reading it. Through all of your blog posts the only thing I’ve ever noticed is how committed and involved you are, and you sound like a star student! I don’t think you should ever feel guilty for not having the perfect schedule, things get in the way! That was so nice that you mentioned me, it seriously warmed my heart that you consider me as someone who you feel is supportive, makes me happy 🙂 And by the way, the food you eat seriously looks so good, I have no idea how you fit everything you do in a day and still manage to make such amazing food! You should feel nothing but proud of yourself, honestly!

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    1. Oh, you are so so kind. Your words mean so much to me and I don’t know how you are so incredibly thoughtful and encouraging. Hahaha, thank you! I’m sure we do all the same things –> eat, sleep, study and repeat!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Living a college is the prime time for loneliness to creep in. I feel like we really grow up during that time, because we are forced to spend time with ourselves! I think this a really tough time in general with the colder weather and final grades.
    I don’t want to belittle your feelings of guilt, because they are totally valid, but I will tell you it gets better. The dust on the floor doesn’t even phase you and the messy scrambled eggs on a plate become gourmet. You are already a food artist, no need to prove that! I am praying for less stress and more comfort for you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your words are always so wise. I agree about the weather and this time of year being a little miserable in the first place. The colour of the sky certainly influences my mood more than I want it to.
      Your encouraging comment means so much to me. I read it before bed last night and woke up on such a positive note, even though I had an early-morning exam. Thank you so much for that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. All you can do is your best. And you obviously have the potential to succeed. Don’t let your loneliness and guilt overwhelm you. This is an emotional time of year for everyone … get lots of sleep, eat well, make a schedule to study for your exams and go in there with the expectation of success.

    Have a great holiday season.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is honestly such a wonderful quote: all you can do it your best. And thank you for reminding me that sleep is super important; sleep is one of those things that gets pushed to the side when I am trying to make enough time to do “more important” tasks. Your comment is sooo special to me. I love the idea of going into tests with confidence – I tried that this morning and it really did make a difference. Thank you. 🙂
      I hope you and your family have fantastic holidays as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do as I say not as I do … I didn’t get to bed til after 2:30am last night and had to get up for 7am. On the other hand, I didn’t have to take a test today. Just watch over high school students. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have periodic bouts of stress related insomnia so I ended up reading late on line. PS: Wanted to say that I thought your bound book was lovely … even if you got frustrated and gave up at the end. And the miniature food/donuts etc. are adorable. I used to cross-stitch which takes a LOT of patience. (I also learned to knit, crochet, macrame, embroider, do a bit of soft doll sewing/sculpture and quilt from my teens to about 5 yrs ago when cooking took over my life.)

        Here’s a link to some of my hobbies on my LJ including some of my fandom/card collecting posts.

        http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/tag/hobbies

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