Hey, hey, hey! Quick update on everything, now that September is coming to a close.
Yes, I know that many of my previous posts were flashbacks to my short time at home in BC. And as much as I wish I was back in BC, chowing on croissants every morning, I’m actually living in Scarborough, a quiet, academic suburb of Toronto. You might remember the little tour post that I did of my room/bathroom/kitchen and my office at work.
Remember my day at SLXCA in downtown Toronto? On the same day, I went to the Kensington Market, where I stopped at Hibiscus Cafe and devoured this buckwheat crepe with brie, roasted apples, pecans, arugula, and avocado. Super beautiful, yes, but the flavours needed a little something (maybe pepper?).
Most of my eats at home have been simple, but oh-so-delicious. This quiche was from the farmer’s market, and I’ve been purchasing one little one every week. Truly the best crust I’ve ever had.
Soups have also been making regular appearances, along with scones.
I found out recently that the uwaterloolife Instagram account featured me! I’ve seen my paragliding photo from Nepal 2016 used in several University of Waterloo Study Abroad advertisements. I was thrilled to see this post, shared with me by a friend, since I don’t have my own Instagram.
Pumpkin seeds, guys! Why did it take me so long to fall in love with them?
On a tragic note, I finished all my sunflower butter. I suppose that merits another trip to Trader Joe’s once I return to BC? 😏
Life at the college has been good, too. My students, for the most part, have been incredibly dedicated, well-prepared, and ready to learn and work hard. Thank you ❤
Check out this stunning stretch that I walk down, each time I go to the Dollarama, Bulk Barn, and Food Basics plaza. Gorgeous, right? I had no idea that Scarborough would be so dramatically different from downtown Toronto.
Dollarama is a lifesaver. I love my soft slippers and the Halloween decorations that I purchased for my office. It’s never too early for Halloween, if you ask me.
Now this! O-M-G (part 1). On Saturday, I visited Scarborough Town Centre, the local mall, where I enjoyed this amazing lunch from Naan&Kebab. You see, I was expecting a greasy, sticky mess with dry, hard pieces of chicken, and perhaps a couple limp leaves.
Nope, nope, nope. What did I get instead?
- two generously-sized pieces of piping hot, toasted naan bread
- a large helping of basmati rice cooked in savoury beef broth, mixed with shredded carrots and plenty of plump, juicy raisins
- six large, tender, flavourful and spiced chunks of chicken
- a creamy, rich, and spiced just-right chickpea stew
- romaine lettuce, red cabbage, mixed vegetables, and two types of salsa, with a creamy spiced yogurt on top
For less than $12. I tried to save half for a future meal, but I knew after my first few bites that it wasn’t happening – it was too fresh and tasty, so I happily finished it all. Next time, I’m going to try the paneer version!
Sweet Jesus is pretty much a legend in Toronto. Everyone knows about it, and most people have tried it. Well, on Saturday, I got to see what the hype was all about. I chose the vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream. A generous drizzle of Nutella was artfully drizzled on top of the soft serve, and the entire thing was coated in crunchy chopped pistachios and cornflakes. The soft serve itself reminded me of Costco ice cream. My only complaint is that it was physically hard to eat, simply because of the size of the ice cream compared to the size of the cup. It got pretty messy, but I should have asked for a larger cup, or at least some napkins.
The same day, I cooked up a vegetarian chili for dinner.
- 1.5 tsp oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup chopped carrots
- 1.5 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped celery (I omitted since I didn’t find any)
- 1 scant tbsp chili powder
- 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid, chopped or crushed
- 10+ oz kidney beans
- 10+ oz black beans
- 5+ oz whole kernel corn
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- black pepper
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp dried basil
- Heat oil and saute all vegetables with chili powder. Add salt.
- Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, and corn. Season with remaining spices. Stir in pumpkin.
- Boil, then reduce heat to medium.
- Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
The chili itself was a winner! These are some of the topping ideas that I’ll be using next time. This time, I kept it simple with some shredded cheddar.
- cheddar cheese (personal favourite)
- sour cream, creme fraiche, or thick plain yogurt
I saw some kind of list about Top 10 Fall Soups (or something!), and had the urge to create a big pot of chicken and wild rice soup. Since I didn’t want to buy and cook chicken, I subbed in an entire carton of white mushrooms. I really enjoyed this soup, especially on the second day with extra salt.
Creamy Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
- 3 tbsp butter, or oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced carrot
- white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/4 cup AP flour
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until tender, about 7 mins. Add mushrooms and shallot.
- Stir in garlic clove. Cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add flour until dissolved.
- Slowly stir in milk, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently until thickened. Add broth, wild rice, parsley, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a low boil. Reduce to simmer, cook for 30-40 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf.
And that’s pretty much it for today! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.