Back in BC

Hello! I just got my wisdom tooth out. It was the second tooth that I had removed. My first one came out about two years ago.

Here is a flashback to Prince Edward Island. This was my office at the University of Prince Edward Island, and the dinner that we had on our last day. Seline ate the chicken masala skillet, and I had a lovely summer salad, a piece of pan-fried Atlantic salmon, and a great bowl of chowder. Seline and I shared the cinnamon roll on a skillet, topped with vanilla ice cream, for dessert. This was a great dinner from Fishbones.

This is our bedroom and bathroom, which we will be very sad to leave. We loved living in Charlottetown, and we will miss our lovely room and washroom.

Some final moments in downtown Charlottetown, including pics from our daily walk home. I always feel so connected with the PLACES that we visit, and I don’t want to forget the little mundane details.

Before our flight, Seline and I ate sandwiches. Her sandwich, unpictured, was a pesto chicken ciabatta from Receiver Coffee. I had a turkey and harvarti sandwich on multigrain bread from Leonhard’s Restaurant and Cafe. This great sandwich was loaded with a lot of turkey, mixed greens, and mustard dressing.

Things We Did (and Didn’t) Do in Charlottetown

NEVER GOT TO SEE

  • Papa Joe’s
  • Hopyard Beer Bar (fries, pub food)
  • The Chip Shack
  • Terry Berries 20 Great George St, 11-7 hours

RESTAURANTS WE’VE ALREADY VISITED

  • COWS (ice cream) x6
  • Leonhard’s (breakfast and lunch) x4
  • Himalayan Indian Cuisine x4
  • Dairy Queen x4
  • Small Print Board Game Cafe x3
  • Pilot House x3
  • Brakish x2
  • Piatto Pizzeria
  • Dave’s Lobster Charlottetown
  • John Brown Grille
  • Beanz Espresso Bar and Cafe
  • Fishies on the Roof
  • Lobster on the Wharf
  • Merchantman Fresh Seafood and Oyster Bar (S favourite)
  • Receiver Coffee Co.
  • The Gahan House
  • Terre Rouge (brunch; dinner)
  • The Dining Room at the Culinary Institute
  • Mavor’s
  • La Sazon de Mexico
  • Fishes on the Roof / Fishbones
  • Row House Lobster Co.
  • Kettle Black
  • Water Prince Corner Shop
  • Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar
  • Claddagh Oyster House
  • Cedar’s Eatery
  • Brickhouse Kitchen & Bar (S favourite)
  • RedWater Rustic Grille

We were very happy to see family when we got back home. We were also happy to go to Ikea! We love Ikea.

Arnie didn’t really miss me, but he was really cute.

For the first few days back in BC, we had plenty of errands to run. Often, I ate waffles in the morning and then we’d go to places like Home Depot.

Mom’s cooking is always a delight. The other day, she made corn on the cob with butter, sautéed garlic green beans, scrambled eggs with shrimp, and chicken thighs sautéed with mushrooms and onions.

One of my good friends from UPEI will come to Vancouver soon. We might have vegan high tea in Vancouver together.

I also had time to go skating! It was nice to be back on the ice and skate around in circles. I want to skate for the University of Waterloo varsity figure skating team in September, but I don’t have my doubles any more.

Another couple of great dinners cooked up with family:

  1. Chicken florentine rolls with asparagus, feta, spinach // roasted baby potatoes // garlic and cheddar pita // brown butter sage mushroom quinoa risotto
  2. Chicken with creamy mushroom sauce // homemade cheesy onion bread // sautéed garlic green beans // gratin dauphinoise

Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 200g button mushrooms (white), sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 heaping tbsp all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 600g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1in pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped sage
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil and butter in large frying pan.
  2. Cook mushrooms for 5 minutes until brown.
  3. Add onion. Cook for 2-3 mins until soft.
  4. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Remove vegetables from pan. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.
  6. Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in the pan.
  7. Season flour heavily with salt and pepper. Toss chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
  8. Cook chicken for 8-10 mins, turning, until golden all over.
  9. Add stock, sage, and boil.
  10. Add mushroom mixture. Simmer 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until sauce reduces.
  11. Add cream. Cook 2-3 mins until chicken is cooked and sauce is thick and creamy.

Gratin Dauphinoise

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 tbsp softened butter
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Finely slice potatoes.
  3. Rub 8×8 deep-sided ovenproof dish with butter.
  4. Spread in half the potatoes.
  5. Sprinkle with garlic. Season, and arrange potatoes nicely on top.
  6. Pour in the cream. You should just be able to see the cream coming up around the edges.
  7. Dot the top with remaining butter.
  8. Put dish on large baking sheet.
  9. Cook in centre of the oven for 1 hour, until potatoes are soft, cream has evaporated, and top is golden.
  10. Rest 10 minutes before serving.

This chocolate cake was on my to-bake list for a long time, and we finally made it! It stuck to the pan, but was still really delicious.

Paula Shoyer’s Chocolate Quinoa Cake

Serves 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 130g quinoa, 1.5 cups water (or 2 1/4 cups cooked)
  • melted coconut oil for greasing
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup orange juice from 1 orange
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 300g sugar
  • 80g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 55g bittersweet (70%) chocolate

GLAZE

  • 140g bittersweet (70%) chocolate
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, careful when adding

DIRECTIONS

  1. Boil quinoa and water over medium heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Cover saucepan. Cook quinoa until liquid is absorbed. It should be funny cooked and not crunchy.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle cocoa powder over the greased pan. Shake the pan to remove excess starch.
  4. Place quinoa in a blender. Add orange juice, eggs, vanilla, oil, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Process until mixture is very smooth.
  5. Melt chocolate over a double boiled. Add chocolate to quinoa batter and process until well-mixed. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake 50 mins, or until skewer comes out clean.
  6. Let cake cool 10 mins. Turn it out of the pan onto a wire cooling rack. Let it cool on the rack.
  7. Melt chocolate for glaze in a double boiler. Add oil and vanilla. Whisk well. Let glaze sit 5 mins. Whisk it again. Use silicone spatula to spread the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
  8. Serve at room temperature. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature.

One more new-ish dinner – creamy salmon pasta.

Salmon Pasta

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • dried pasta
  • salt and pepper
  • 3.5 oz heavy cream
  • salmon
  • 1 tbsp chopped capers
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Fry salmon. Break into pieces.
  2. Cook pasta in large pan of salted water.
  3. Mix cream with capers, lemon zest, and dill. Season heavily.
  4. Drain pasta. Reserve 1 ladle of cooking water.
  5. Return pasta to pan with water.
  6. Toss sauce with pasta. Add shredded salmon. Stir enough to mix. Add parmesan cheese.
  7. Serve with more parmesan.

That’s pretty much it for now.

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Have a good rest of the week.

Six Jobs I… Want?

In September, I will be entering my fourth year of a five-year Kinesiology program at the University of Waterloo. In other words, I’m 80% done university. You might be tempted to ask me what I am planning to do after I graduate, and I am asking myself the same question. There is so much I want to do, and I feel daunted by the idea that my next few choices could butterfly into massive differences for my future.

I find myself bouncing back and forth between “I want to go to medical school” and “I’m afraid of the work-life balance that med school entails”. Cheesy but true – I’ve always loved science and helping people, so the idea of med school has appealed to me since I was little.

Now, however, as my friends apply for (and are accepted into!) med school, I’m questioning whether or not it is the best option for me. I have the entire Kaplan set of med school preparation books, so I can study for the entrance exam, the MCAT. In fact, I’ve sat through the 8-hour mock MCAT. But the issue is that I like to cook my own healthy meals. I like to sit down for my meals, uninterrupted, and fully enjoy my food. I like to get enough exercise every day, and to sleep at least seven hours a night. Will med school interfere with that? If it doesn’t, how about residency? I’m also having some doubts about med school because it is a major financial commitment, and I’m worried that I will dislike it or change my mind once it’s too late.

Aside from med school, there is a number of other careers that I am looking into. I’m curious about them and would like to know more, or even better, to dip my toes into these occupations before I make any major decisions.

In no particular order:

  1. Travel Doctor: I can see myself being a travel doctor because I love learning about tropical diseases, especially those known as “neglected tropical infectious diseases”. I think it would be great to meet patients who are planning to go to other countries, and tell them which vaccines they need, and which precautions they should take before their trip. The problem is that I don’t know how to become a travel doctor. Do they specialize in med school? I looked at a Canadian list of specialties and there is nothing about specializing in emporiatrics (travel medicine). I think I might have to do a Masters in Tropical Diseases or International Health before med school, but I’m not sure. I wonder if it would be a “waste” to do a Masters before med school. There are some great Masters programs in London, England, which relate to public health and tropical medicine. I looked into the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, both of which offer world-famous Masters programs in this field. Even Oxford has a cool program on tropical med and international healthcare. But my question is – do I have to do a Masters to become a travel doctor? Or just go to med school? Do med schools allow people to specialize in this? Or, more broadly, what is the “education pathway” to becoming a travel doctor?
  2. Sports Medicine Physician for Artist-Athletes: By “artist-athletes”, I’m referring to people who perform in artistic or aesthetic sports. For example, divers, gymnasts, figure skaters, circus artists, dancers, theatre performers, and cheerleaders. There are many more, but I like this field because I think it is more interesting than working with the general population and seeing a lot of people with low back pain.
  3. University Professor: I worked as a tutor at Centennial College, a Scarborough nursing school, from September 2017 to December 2017. I have always enjoyed tutoring and teaching people. During that time, I realized that I LOVED teaching anatomy and physiology, especially human physiology. I had an excellent time working with dedicated student nurses and helping them with foundational biology. I think being a teacher or professor would suit my personality, because I love talking, teaching, and sharing my knowledge in the form of presentations. I think professors can make a big difference in their students’ lives, as much as a doctor would make a difference in his or her patients’ lives. If I became a professor, I think I would teach human physiology or biology.
  4. Dermatologist, Endocrinologist, Ophthalmologist: If I go to med school and have the opportunity to specialize, I would choose one of these. I’ve heard that dermatology, especially now, is incredibly competitive. One of my friends in BC just started med school with the goal of becoming an ophthalmologist, which I think is cool. I can’t really spell that word, though. For endocrinology, I think it’s interesting because it’s like a puzzle. I learned a lot about hormones in school and when I was working as a tutor, plus I see an endocrinologist for some hormone queries, and I find it a fascinating field. I cannot see myself becoming a surgeon or anything too “intense”.
  5. Physiotherapist for Artist-Athletes: I don’t really want to be a physiotherapist because (a) I learned, when I worked at the Toronto Health Centre, that physiotherapists are quite low on the “medical hierarchy”, and (b) physiotherapy school is now even more competitive and selective than medical school. In my opinion, if I am going to go to an expensive school, compete with thousands of intelligent, hardworking students, why would I do physio school instead of med school? On the other hand, though, there is no MCAT or entrance exam (that I know of). I think being a physiotherapist would help me learn so much about the body and accelerate my training in aerials. That would be a great benefit.
  6. Optometrist: The University of Waterloo is associated with an optometry school, and in fact, many of my courses take place in the Optometry building (or, as my friends and I call it, ‘optom’). In my mind, optometry would allow for a good work-life balance. Someone once told me that I should go into dentistry instead of med school because it pays well, but is “cleaner” and “easier” than med school, but I would certainly prefer optometry to dentistry. I don’t know that much about optometry school. I’m not sure if it is a long program, if it’s clinic-based, or mostly theory-based. I am also curious about their scope of practice and pay in Canada.

In summary… I don’t know. I’m a confused twenty year-old who is probably having a quarter-life crisis right now, but I’m glad I wrote everything out. This will probably be a funny read in another ten or twenty years.

Brackley Beach

I can’t believe we’re already a week into August. This summer is going by so quickly! Last week, my sister and I revisited Brakish, where I enjoyed the arugula salad with feta, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, cucumber, tomato, raw broccoli, barbecued Atlantic salmon, and raspberry vinaigrette. It’s such a fresh, flavourful, delicious salad, and I’m glad I ordered it again. The salmon was perfectly cooked.

There was some salad left over, so I ate it for lunch the next day, alongside a banana-oat muffin smeared with peanut butter, some blackberries, and delicious sweet and salty trail mix. My favourite parts of trail mix are always the cashews and pecans.

Seline and I were so lucky, because we had the opportunity to go to Prince Edward Island’s beautiful Brackley Beach. Brackley is about fifteen minutes from Charlottetown, and “offers miles of pristine sandy beaches and majestic dunes with various nearby attractions to enthrall all guests to the region“. Seline and I enjoyed wading in the water, reading in the sand, and biking around the area.

For dinner, we biked to the Dunes Studio and Gallery, where Seline had lamb shank in Massaman curry, veggies, and rice. I had two appetizers – one massive seafood chowder with chives, and an incredible cashew pesto flatbread with caramelized apples, brie, vodka-infused cranberries, and scallions (incredible). I also ate so much of their daily bread, which was studded with chillies, cheddar, and chives. It tasted perfect when dunked into the creamy broth.

For dessert, we shared the strawberry shortcake and their daily special, the sticky date pudding. The macerated strawberries tasted awesome with whipped cream and biscuit, and as usual, the sticky date pudding was to die for. It was lovely served alongside fresh vanilla ice cream and berries.

Some things:

  1. Looking at the Dunes menu before going – Seline had the third option, the lamb shank
  2. PEI schedule
  3. List of requirements for a cool scholarship that Seline found

Few more things…

  1. I made a virtual poster for the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children
  2. List of things to do in New Glasgow, another area of PEI. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the opportunity to go
  3. Thank-you letter for our landlord

Our beautiful PEI home. Goodbye, lovely house on North River.

Seline and I have an obsession with Leonhard’s Cafe and Restaurant. I normally eat their salmon and avocado eggs benedict, which is absolutely delicious, but since we went later in the afternoon yesterday, I felt like something more lunch-y. I ordered the beet and goat cheese tart, which was topped with candied pecans. This is the most delicious tart I’ve ever eaten.

A completely different note – Sal and I love Small Print Board Game Cafe. Our favourite games are kind of lame: Quoridor, Guess Who Disney Edition (!!), something about funding the expeditions, Word on the Street, and Last Word.

Another day, Seline and I went to Piatto Pizzeria. It reminds me of Famoso Pizzeria in Waterloo, which I’ve been to quite a few times. I think I still like Famoso’s pizzas better, because they are more generous with their toppings. At Piatto, I ordered the arugula salad with gorgonzola, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and balsamic. In terms of pizza, Seline had the barbecue chicken pizza with caramelized onions, and I liked my goat cheese, proscuitto, and pear pizza. It was on the salty side, with the goat cheese and proscuitto, so I wish there was more sweet pear.

For dessert, Sal had vanilla bean ice cream, and I had a mason jar of creamy, flavourful tiramisu.

Another evening, Sal and I dined at the Pilot House. It’s one of our favourite PEI places. This time, she had the chicken gnocchi, and I ate the warm Cajun seafood salad again.

Pear and cream cheese pie with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream for dessert. This pie was great, but I’m not a big pie fan.

Yesterday afternoon, Seline and I went to COWS Creamery for our last dose of delicious Charlottetown ice cream. Seline had a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of chocolate, and I enjoyed my Cow-nadian Moo-ple ice cream (maple with swirls of syrup and crushed maple cookies) and pumpkin patch.

One of my favourite lunches was from Mavor’s Restaurant, where I ordered an award-winning grilled cheese sandwich. It was smeared with pear compote and stuffed with ricotta, cheddar, Gouda, and bacon. The bread was also a superstar – it was potato rosemary bread with plenty of butter. I loved this lunch, as well as the little side salad.

For dessert after lunch, Sal and I shared the chocolate lava cake with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Dinner from Lobster on the Wharf – I had the seafood pot pie with green beans and boiled new baby potatoes with butter and sour cream. Seline had their striploin with mushrooms and onions, plus coleslaw. I also had a lemon-poppyseed salad, which was a little boring.

Dessert was amazing. I’m a huge carrot cake fan, but don’t find good carrot cake very often because I’m a cream cheese icing snob. The cream cheese icing has to be perfect! And this one was. The cake was actually served warm, with the creamy, cheesy icing slightly melted. YUM!

Last but not least, a peaceful lunch at the office, starring peanut butter and banana, croissant, a banana-oat muffin, yogurt, more peanut butter, blackberries, and awesome trail mix.

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Seline and I are flying back to Vancouver (actually, Toronto first, then Vancouver – we have a one-hour layover) TOMORROW! We loved our time in C-town but are excited to come home, too.