When I’m Not Studying…

When I’m not studying, I clean my room and make it look neat before I take pictures for you. I promise it’s not normally this clean! 🙂 Especially during finals.

When I’m not studying, I am lucky enough to receive emails from communications managers who ask if they can use my photo on tourism sites! This was so cool. Remember when I posted about Railtown Cafe in this post? One nice lady liked my peanut butter crunch bar photo so much that it was featured on this page for Vancouver’s top desserts. I was so thrilled and kind of freaked out when I saw my name and picture on BC Living’s website. 😀

Check out the link here: http://www.bcliving.ca/food-drink/where-vancouver-chefs-go-for-dessert

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When I’m not studying, I go to the bakery (planning to study – what a joke!), realize it’s going to close in 10 minutes, but order a hot chocolate and a white chocolate brioche anyways… and scarf it all down in minutes.

When I’m not studying, my friend and I (Maddy from Niagara Falls!) did something cool – we went to an exotic animals exhibition in Kitchener. The massive yellow python was my favourite! And that’s a baby kangaroo on the cushion.

Have you ever held a spider before? This tarantula was hairy and tickled my palm. It isn’t as bad as it looks – this guy was so friendly. I was just worried that he’d crawl under my sleeve!

When I’m not studying, I try to study and get distracted because my paper dyes my sweaty fingers. 😦

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Once, I went for sushi with the Mission Nutrition team. 168 Sushi is all-you-can eat. My favourite part was the BBQ oishisushi, the sesame red bean ball, and the red bean ice cream. It was decent, but sushi in Ontario certainly doesn’t even come CLOSE to Vancouver’s sushi scene.

I spend lots of time talking to Seline (my sister) on FaceTime and discussing her schoolwork. Check out her poetry and class schedule for next year!

Speaking of Seline, check out her new blog, Purely Poetic! She plans to share creative and cute poems every week. Go Seline!

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https://purelypoeticblog.wordpress.com

PS: If you want to see more of my weird but wonderful ‘lil sis, you can check out my Paris page (click HERE) for 3 weeks of adventures that we had in the City of Fights Lights. 😉

I also make to-do lists and analyze nutritional stats for recipes just out of curiosity.

When I’m not studying, I label a whole bunch of stuff! You should see my ruler, calculator, computer mouse, cellphone, laptop… they’re all labelled now. I also found out that Princess Cafe shared something that I did! I’m so lucky.

When I’m not studying (and sometimes when I AM – distraction alert!), I receive countless food photos from Mom. She always makes such elaborate meals! If you could order something from this menu, what would you choose?

There’s just too much! I like the variety she brings to dinner. Great job Mommy! 🙂

Apparently Snapchat has a bunch of new features (and some very bizarre face-swapping ones) but I don’t have Snapchat. I get tons of screenshots from Seline, though.

And… I go to Princess. Again. This sandwich was absolutely DIVINE – with cheddar, black bean salsa, spinach, tomato, grilled eggplant, and avocado.

Chocolate praline tart for dessert – just 1/4 for here and the rest packed up to go. 🙂 Although I was tempted to faceplant into the to-go container.

When I’m not studying, I go to Chapters, gawk at all the beautiful notebooks – and try to resist myself from buying them because I have a plethora of notebooks already – and fail because I buy one anyways! This one is my favourite colour, and I love the gold writing and the message. I started a new journal yesterday. 🙂

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Happy Leap Year Day everyone!

Tell me:

  • When you aren’t studying or working, what do you like to do?
  • Do you have a label maker? Do you like it?
  • Do you know anyone born on February 29th? How do they celebrate their birthday? On the 28th or March 1st? :O I’m curious!
  • Am I the only person with a stationery addition?!

 

Stay tuned, because…

PS: I have some AMAZING, SUPER COOL news that I absolutely cannot wait to share with you in the next post. I am so excited about it and I think you will be as well! It’s definitely something very different. See you soon!

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Any guesses? 😉

World’s Easiest Granola

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like granola. Even my sister, a picky-picky eater who won’t touch oats or nut butter, or even SWEET POTATO (gasp) likes granola!

And for a good reason! Let’s look at why granola is so awesome in my book:

  • Crunchy, with great texture
  • A little sweet, with lots of flavour from cinnamon and other spices you like
  • Excellent warm vanilla flavour
  • Involves dried fruits and yummy nuts
  • Can be used to top anything from fruit bowls to yogurt to oatmeal (hot or cold – both work!)
  • You can even add coconut or chocolate chips
  • Can be customized any way you like
  • Is super easy to make
  • Keeps in an airtight container for a month
  • Can even be frozen!
  • Doesn’t cost $10 a bag like it does at the store!

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You’ll need the following ingredients, but feel free to mix and match. The only thing you really need is the base recipe: a sweet syrupy liquid of some kind (honey, agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, etc.), oats (obviously), and some melted liquid fat (coconut oil, olive oil, butter, etc.).

Note that rolled oats MUST be used, otherwise your granola will be small, shatter-y, and probably bake too quickly. I would also say that vanilla and salt are also a must, because salt gives the oats some much-needed flavour while vanilla adds warmth and deliciousness.

Nuts, dried fruit, coconut, chocolate chips… you can add anything you like or have! The recipe is coming at the bottom of this post, so don’t fret 🙂

After whisking the wet ingredients together, you will simply dump all the rolled oats in here and give it a good stir.

Then spread it out on a foil-lined and greased tray.

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Pop this tray into the oven for exactly 22 minutes at 350 degrees, and give it a good stir after 11 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, it will look “undone”, and it won’t be crunchy at all. This is normal. Because you are cooling it on the tray, it will look unfinished but will continue “baking” on the hot tray until it cools. I wouldn’t taste it until it is fully cooled down, or you might be a little disappointed!

So again, make sure you take it out after 22 minutes or risk burning it. 😦

Once it is COMPLETELY cool, pour it into jars! I would wait at least 3-5 hours before putting it into an airtight container. If it is still warm, your granola could end up soggy, which would be really sad and depressing.

Only one warning: this recipe makes three cups, which seems like a LOT, but I promise it will be gone in less than a week 🙂 I couldn’t stop eating straight up handfuls out of this jar! It’s addictive and so freaking delicious. I recommend doubling the recipe so you can have extra on hand, and it won’t go stale if it’s in an airtight container.

Without further ado (is that how you spell it?!), here’s the recipe!


Coconut-Maple Granola

Serves: 3 cups
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 heaping tsp salt (I used fine-grain sea salt)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or other spices that you like
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, butter, or any oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or a little less of any other extract you like
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips or coconut flakes, or 3/4 cup roasted nuts and/or seeds
  • As many dried fruits as you would like: cranberries, raisins, dried apricots, dried blueberries… the list goes on!
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Microwave the oil if it is not already liquid. Whisk in the maple syrup/honey and vanilla.
  3. Add vanilla, cinnamon, salt and whisk until combined.
  4. Pour in the oats.
  5. Mix well, until every oat and nut is lightly coated. Pour the granola onto your prepared pan and use a large spoon to spread it in an even layer.
  6. Bake until golden, about 22 minutes, stirring halfway at 11 minutes. If you would like to add unsweetened shredded coconut, stir it in here. It’s okay if it looks soft after 22 minutes – take it out of the oven and let it cool. The granola will further crisp up as it cools.
  7. Let the granola cool completely, undisturbed, before adding dried fruit (and chocolate chips, if using). Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.

My favourite way to use granola is on top of my morning oatmeal. It adds a toasty bit of crunch to the soft, creamy oatmeal 🙂

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Tell me:

  1. What do you like in your granola?
  2. Do you get addicted to granola and eat it straight out of the jar, by the handful, like I do?!
  3. What are some other places to enjoy granola, other than the standard yogurt bowl? I’ve seen granola on SALADS at cafes in Vancouver, but I don’t think I am brave enough for that 😉

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Happy Wednesday!

The Kingdom of Birds

It was about 7:15 when I woke up on Saturday morning, and I was SO excited! The sun was just starting to rise, my overnight oats were in the fridge, and my friends and I would be off to see Niagara falls in just 45 minutes!

Wee! These overnight oats were yogurt-less because I ran out of yogurt, and were made with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cinnamon, flax, and chia seeds. Topped with a chopped kiwi and lots of homemade coconut-maple granola. It was great! I can’t wait to share the granola recipe with you. I made three cups of granola the other day and we’re down to about one cup now :O

The ride was long and I kept feeling sleepy, but thankfully my friends were ready to talk talk talk.

We were so excited!

Tickets were purchased and the gift shop was browsed.

And this! Isn’t it spectacular?! Magnificent? Glorious? I can’t think of any more words, but the falls were simply so majestic and wonderful to watch. The pictures don’t seem to do it justice – you need to BE there, feeling the mist on your face and listening to the thunder-like sound of the water.

I took lots of selfies, of course, but about 0.1% turned out decent enough for the blog.

We purchased tickets for “Journey Under the Falls”, which meant we could explore the underground tunnels and take a peek at the waterfall from underneath. The cold tunnels reminded me a little of the Catacombs in Paris, sans skeletons.

We actually came out of one tunnel before going back after a little while for a couple more photos. 🙂

This is my friend Maddy! This girl is AMAZING. I can’t even begin to tell you about how talented/smart/thoughtful she is, or how many incredible things she’s done for the community. And she’s also one of the nicest people I know!

Sue Zanne (cool name!) lives in the Village 1 residence with Maddy. It was my first time meeting her, and we had a great time talking about all the Malaysian goodies she enjoyed back home before moving to Waterloo.

We had a fun photoshoot. 🙂 We hit the weather jackpot on this day – 10 degrees (basically summer in Waterloo world).

Then, after more gift-shop browsing, we were off to lunch! Paris Crepes Cafe had great reviews in the area.

The place was cozy and very, very French.

All three of us ordered different crepes:

  • Maddy – La Gourmande (brie, bacon, no tomato)
  • Sue Zanne – La Savoyarde (tomato, egg, proscuitto, swiss cheese)
  • Me – Le Soud-Ouest (duck confit, onion jam, swiss cheese, egg)

Mine was great and reminded me of the crepe I had from Creperie Framboise in Paris. Someone tell me why I love French food so freaking much?!

Desserts were quite varied as well!

Maddy enjoyed one with tons of fruit and Nutella, I savoured a hazelnut-almond praline crepe with praline ice cream and whipped cream, and Sue Zanne loved her espresso chocolate crepe. All the dessert crepes were made fresh and topped with cool, sweet toppings.

Then we went to the Bird Kingdom! The funny thing was that our parking slip got lodged in between the dashboard and the window with the time and date peeking out from a little hole just perfectly. I had to take a photo for you guys! How lucky are we? I wrote a little note for security so we wouldn’t get towed and stranded in Niagara!

Maybe I’ll drop the whole blogger-yoga teacher-dietitian thing and become a worker at the Bird Kingdom. 😉 Seriously, though, this place is incredible.

I could stay here for hours and hours and look at all of these amazing animals. My favourite picture is the one of the lizard!

You know, I thought fish were my favourite animals to watch, but birds are equally fascinating. They all have such unique behaviours.

I wouldn’t want to have birds for a pet, though, but it sure is nice to walk in an aviary. (Did I even use that word correctly?!). Seline, if you are reading this, check out their beaks/bills and try to figure out what they eat in relation to the size and structure of their beaks. It is important to be able to identify the diet of certain birds by analyzing their beaks – Evolution chapter in Biology 11!

The colours were unbelievable. I never thought I would ever get so close to such amazing creatures. They were straight out of a fantasy novel!

99% of the birds were more photogenic than I will ever be. Especially this beauty! Oh my goodness – check out its natural colour!

And the ride there (I think I mentioned earlier) was an hour and forty-five minutes. The ride back was a little longer and we drove during the sunset, which was nice. I was pretty exhausted so it was great to sit down and rest for a while! The ride back was a little longer because of traffic and everything.

Whew! What a cool day. I can’t wait to go on more little day-long adventures like this one. 🙂

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Oatmeal Extravaganza

Let’s look at oats today!

My Valentine’s Day started with this creative bowl: 1/2 a mashed banana cooked with three pureed beets, sunflower butter, chocolate chips (A LOT), shredded coconut, and cashews. I love decorating my oatmeal to be extra special on holidays. Do you remember my Halloween oatmeal?

Chocolate oatmeal made with mashed banana and topped with coconut, yogurt, cashews, and sunflower butter. There were some frozen cherries in here, too. This was meant to be just like a black forest cake. 🙂

I’m not quite sure if this was a failure or a success! I meant to make a bruleed banana oatmeal bake, but there were some technical problems. In other words, Stupid Cindy thought it would be a good idea to use the kettle AND the toaster oven… simultaneously. The power went out and my bake was only half-done, so I just broiled it until the sides were golden brown. Then, Stupid Cindy decided that she didn’t want to eat it inside the glass baking dish, and inverted it onto the plate instead. Being only half-done, half of the oats were still stuck to the dish! Oh well, smothered in crunchy peanut butter and hemp hearts, this was still 100% delicious.

This batch was so good that I made it two days in a row! Banana oatmeal with raspberries, cashews, hemp hearts, and a big blob of sunflower butter. That stuff is addictive and life-changing!

Get your hands on some sunflower butter, my friends! 🙂

More dark chocolate oatmeal with chopped cherries. Do you like adding frozen fruit to your oatmeal?

Plain oatmeal with almond butter and a bunch of fruit on top – raspberries and banana, with some hemp hearts. 🙂

Truly the best breakfast of all time.

Whew, that was a quick post! I’m going to quickly do my dishes and then try to get some work done – though we all know that means look at Buzzfeed, message my friends, FaceTime my mom and sister, and nibble on dessert. Hey, at least my textbook is open? 😉

Thank goodness for reading week!

Tell me in the comments below because I need want to know:

  1. What is a CRAZY oatmeal combination that you’ve done? I’ve done carrot (totally normal in the foodie world but elicits the weirdest expressions from most people, IMO), zucchini, spinach, cheese (all kinds!) and now, beets! How about you?
  2. Would you be interested in reading about what I’m doing in my classes? I am taking 6 courses + a lab, and was wondering if my friends on the blogosphere would be curious  about some of the things I’m learning and doing academically. 🙂
  3. Do you have reading week at school? What did/do/are you doing during reading week?

Cafe Medina: Mediterranean Brunch with a Twist

This is kind of embarrassing. Okay, it’s really embarrassing.

Rachel and I had brunch at Cafe Medina together… eight months ago. Yup, and I didn’t finish writing the post until now. Procrastination at it’s finest. 😉

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I had a square of chocolate-banana cake and some banana smeared with peanut butter. Delicious! I like my bananas topped with cinnamon too.

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Anyways, Medina is a fairly well-known place in downtown Vancouver, and they are famous for their waffles (not made in store) and creative twists on brunch classics.

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  • 604-879-3114
  • 780 Richards St. (between Robson & Georgia) Library District, Vancouver BC V6B 3A4
  • Weekdays (M-F):
    • Regular service from 8am-3pm
  • Weekends and Holidays:
    • Regular service from 9am-3pm
  • Café Medina is operated on a first-come, first-served basis — reservations are not taken and the entire party must be on site before being seated

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We arrived early and waited in line outside before the store opened, and it filled up almost right away.

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We started with hot drinks!

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1Not good 2Okay/Decent 3: Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6Incredible! Must-try and would order again

White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater Hot Chocolate: 5.5/6

  • Very thin layer of foam/froth on top
  • Served on the hotter side of warm. Not lukewarm, but definitely not steaming, or even hot
  • Prominent white chocolate flavour, but not overly sweet
  • Made with whole milk, very creamy
  • Rose flavour was noticeable and quite fragrant
  • I could not taste the pistachios, but I detected some crushed pistachios as I was finishing my drink. They did not add any flavour to the drink

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Lavender Latte: 5/6

  • Latte very well done
  • Fragrant from the lavender
  • Aromatic

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The colours were so vibrant and insanely beautiful. I love the presentation!

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Fricassée Champignon: 2/6
2 Fried Eggs, Sherry Roasted Mushroom Ragout, Spice Roasted Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Seasonal Greens with Grilled Focaccia

  • Topped with julienned radish and green apple

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Runny eggs, spicy rice, mellow and creamy avocado… this dish would be a savoury-breakfast lover’s dream.

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Paella: 2/6
1 Fried Egg, Orzo, Spicy Chorizo, Seasonal Vegetables, Grana Padano, Avocado & Spicy Charred Tomato Salsa

  • Rachel and I wanted to substitute the chorizo for something else (maybe beans?), but this wasn’t possible so we asked for it to be omitted
  • Slightly too spicy for my taste
  • Some more avocado and radishes would be appreciated
  • Grana Padano was hidden and simply broiled on top, the layer could be peeled off
  • I wish the herbs were more flavourful, because all I could taste was spice, salt, and slightly-salty tomato sauce
  • I’m not a big fan of orzo, and pasta in general
  • I was disappointed with the lack of “seasonal vegetables” in this dish – there were only some quartered zucchini chunks and a couple bell peppers thrown in for colour
  • Caramelized onions would be a great addition

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I said goodbye to the waffle bar…

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And then headed home!

Man, I miss my Vancouver friends! 😥 Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day! I have some recipes sitting in the Drafts box that I can’t wait to share with you guys soon!

Homemade Pancake Mix + Banana Ricotta Oatmeal Pancakes

PANCAKES. Why are they so delicious and perfect for breakfast? Let’s count the ways:

  • Can be topped with virtually anything
  • Loaded with protein and healthy fats
  • Enjoyed with maple syrup… yes.
  • Taste great with berries
  • Involve lots of tastes and textures
  • You can eat CAKE for breakfast. Healthy, sin-free CAKE!
  • So freaking easy that you don’t even need a recipe

Okay, I think I’ve justified this enough 😉

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Let’s get cracking! No, literally.

And whisk it up! One egg is perfect.

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Add some ricotta cheese: mine was left over from making a vegetable lasagna. Man, lasagnas with ricotta cheese are so good! I need to pick up the ingredients to make another one during reading week and freeze portions of it for those busy evenings. 🙂

Back to the pancakes! Whisk up the eggs (I think I already said that…) and add a big scoop of ricotta. Just do it to taste because you absolutely cannot go wrong with ricotta.

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A little texture is fine. Add some vanilla extract (about 1/8 tsp) and a little splash of milk or almond milk.

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Throw a banana in there, and mash mash mash! I like my banana slightly chunky.

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You’ll want to add some homemade pancake mix now.

Here’s what you’ll need for the mix:

  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp. cinnamon (to taste)
  • sprinkle of nutmeg (optional)
  • 5 cups spelt flour

You can sift it all if you’d like, but there is really no need. Just whisk all the dry ingredients together and throw ’em all into a jar like this one.

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Add enough of the mix to make a batter-like consistency, then fry the pancakes over medium heat with coconut oil. Flip when you see bubbles. Add toppings…

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PS: nut butter, berries, and hemp hearts/chia seeds and yogurt are my toppings of choice! With maple syrup, of course, but these banana-sweetened pancakes are glorious on their own.

And devour!

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Tell me:

  • Do you like pancakes?
  • Do you usually follow a recipe when you make food, or is it all by intuition? You know, a pinch of this and a dash of that?