Double Chocolate Beet Brownies

No pictures because I was too busy shoving these decadent chocolate squares into my mouth. Sorry – but enjoy!

Just make them. Trust me. 😉

Double Chocolate Beet Brownies {Grain Free, Gluten Free}

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I omitted since I ran out)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups beet puree (I used 4-5 large beets)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven 350 F.

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in the order listed.

3. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients.

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.

5. Grease an 8 X 8 pan and pour batter into the pan.

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Looks Gross, Tastes GREAT

Hello, friends! I hope you all had the most fantastic Easter weekend. I did, especially when you consider the number of almond croissants that I devoured. You’ll see. 😉

This was my long weekend plan, most of which didn’t play out because the weather was gorgeous and I didn’t want to be cooped up in a yoga studio.

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Almond croissant numero un was at Delysees, where I nibbled on a warm croissant with a dark hot chocolate.

On Sunday, I tried Russian food for the first time. This was a trout coulibiac from The Tempered Room. It was a puff pastry (similar to a wellington) filled with flaked trout, roasted kale, lentils, slices of hard-boiled egg, and quinoa. Definitely not the most authentic, but a delicious, protein-filled healthy twist to a Russian classic.

Let’s be honest, this doesn’t look the greatest. But it tasted AWESOME.

That was devoured alongside a buttery kale and sweet potato scone.

London Fog tea lattes are my favourite, and this was my first time trying the famous Sloane brand of tea. I loved this mug of tea, but thought it was similar to any old supermarket Earl Grey.

Croissant number two. Did I mention this was all in the same day? This chocolate almond croissant was flatter, denser, less flaky, and more buttery.

Another day, I enjoyed a phenomenal brunch at Barque Smokehouse, where I enjoyed cornbread topped with citrus smoked salmon, two poached eggs, and BBQ hollandaise, the crispiest roasted potatoes, and a kale salad with carrots, cabbage, and pear.

Healthy dinner at home involved cauliflower rice and zucchini/yellow zucchini shreds with gruyere cheese.

I can never make the 2 egg + 1 ripe banana pancakes successfully. They always seem to rip or break on me! Even this time, when I added a bit of rolled oats and almond meal to create sturdiness, they tore as I flipped them. Any tips?

Regardless, they tasted fantastic smeared with almond and peanut butter.

Round Two turned out better! I added a bit of quinoa flour this time. I think that contributed to the sturdiness.

Another day, I whisked up four eggs, lots of wilted spinach, and feta cheese. I made it omelette-style, then tossed it into the oven to broil and melt the cheese. This created a filling, delicious, and easy meal that I paired with yogurt and a crumbled date bar.

Saag paneer (spinach + cottage cheese) roti is probably my favourite thing about Toronto so far. This roti from Mother India on Queen West was stuffed with pureed spinach, tender potatoes, and some chunks of paneer cheese. I had a big craving for Indian food after a patient told me about Mother India, and it needed to be satisfied! I loved this roti as much as the one from Gandhi Indian Cuisine. Though Mother India’s roti itself tasted better and was less spicy, Gandhi’s saag paneer roti had bigger chunks of paneer and the spinach looked greener.

It looks gross. I know. But it tasted absolutely incredible.

Can you believe that I have EIGHT more days of work before I’m going back to Waterloo and saying goodbye to Toronto (possibly forever!)?

My sister, Seline, published a book! Her novel is called ‘Journey to Avalon‘ and details the adventures of an awkward, self-proclaimed loser who finds herself with strange powers in the Elemental Academy for the Supernaturally Gifted – and will do anything to go back to her mundane life at home.

I think that’s it for today! I have lots more stuff to show you in the next few days, so stay tuned 😉

Finals Over? Do This!

This post is specifically targeted to first-year students in Kinesiology who have just finished final exams. Welcome to your first (and last!) four-month academic hiatus: you won’t be going back to school until mid-September!

Let’s make the best of that time.

  1. Pursue a hobby that you’ve always wanted to start. Get truly passionate about it and start improving. Maybe you’ve always wanted to oil paint – now is the time to take lessons. Perhaps you want to learn how to bake a killer macaron or design your own website (PS: I can give you WordPress tips). Start now, start now, start now! You can possibly even start a club at UW. Take something you are interested in, and move it to the next level.
  2. Polish up that resume! Add a pop of colour. Add modern graphic designs. Update it with your experiences. Make it so well-designed that employers HAVE to take a second look. Your resume should be 2 pages maximum, highlighting only relevant information.
  3. Make a LinkedIn account. Most employers will search up your name, and potentially make their final decision based on your online presence. Use your LinkedIn as an “extended resume”. Show off the courses you’ve taken, the awesome experiences you have, and the things you’re passionate about. You can see mine at www.linkedin.com/in/cindyweikinesiology/
  4. Consider doing some kin-related volunteering. I volunteered at Waterloo Sports Medicine, which gave me great experience for the clinical job that I am doing now. You can volunteer in 2-hour shifts once or twice a week. I also volunteered at KidsAbility, where I helped a teacher lead a class of 8-10 kindergarteners with special needs. One of my favourite summer volunteer jobs was supervising elderly residents at the Parkwood Senior Home. Eventually, they allowed me to lead my own Stretch and Strengthen fitness classes for groups of seniors (age 70+).
  5. Go on vacation with your family. In the rest of your Kinesiology degree, you will not have a 4-month break again. Enjoy it! Do things you love.
  6. Consider applying for the AHS Fun Run coordinating team. It was hard work to organize the Fun Run, but SO worth it – even being at school for 6:30 AM on event day was great. I got to meet so many dedicated upper-year friends.
  7. Chat up a professor (with a polite email!) and ask about research opportunities.
  8. If you are interested in teaching fitness classes like spinning, Zumba, Aquafit, yoga, or barre, consider getting a fitness certification. Search up ‘CanFitPro’ if you’re interested.

10 Things I Need in a Career

Being in Waterloo’s co-op program taught me a lot. I worked at the Toronto Health Centre, a physiotherapy clinic, for the last four months, and was truly instilled with a sense of what I like (and don’t like!) in my future jobs.

  1. Something medical or healthcare related. I like to make people feel their best.
  2. Being able to care for people who cannot care for themselves. By that, I mean that I do NOT want to serve food as a waitress (because that is something people are able to do). I want to teach things to people who don’t understand certain concepts, organize events that people wouldn’t be able to create, or treat regular citizens in a medical sense.
  3. Regular hours. I need to work from 9:00 to 5:00 every day, with a 30-60 minute break for lunch at around 1:00 (flexible). Weekends off; and 2-4 weeks of vacation each year. No overnight shifts!
  4. The ability to be very independent, so I don’t need to wait on other people.
  5. Encouraging, positive, success-oriented coworkers who inspire me to be the best version of myself.
  6. Being able to move around, so I am only sitting in front of a computer 40-60% of the time. I like to move it, move it!
  7. Long-lasting relationships. I want to be able to see people grow, progress, improve, develop – over the course of a year (or even a decade or two).
  8. Organized and sanitary environment: no poop for me, please.
  9. A variety of tasks to do every day, so I don’t feel bored. I need to see different people, do different things. No dull, monotonous tasks day after day.
  10. Being able to wear my own choice of comfortable (and professional, of course) clothing.

What do you think? Are my “rules” reasonable?

Gratitude

Toronto is truly a funny city. Not in a ‘ha-ha, what a joke’ kind of funny – but an unusual, strange, or peculiar way. What do I mean by that? There was a rainy snowstorm three days ago. Today, we have sun with a high of 22 degrees. What?!

Regardless, this morning the sun was beaming into my apartment and gave me a moment to reflect on what I’m grateful for.

I’m grateful for getting back into yoga!

I’m grateful for being able to live in Toronto in a beautiful, sun-bathed (and messy, because I didn’t bother to clean it before pictures) apartment.

I’m grateful for delicious gelato, like this cup full of pistachio-rosewater and peanut-sesame.

I’m grateful for my 17 year-old sister, Seline, who took a printout of my face to London when she travelled to Europe two weeks ago. Happy National Sibling day!

I’m grateful for having a sister who is so incredibly artistic. From photography to sculpting to oil painting to creative writing to poetry, Seline is a master of it all.

I’m grateful for the Kensington Market in Toronto. Their ice cream is the BOMB. Chocolate Oreo and vegan salted caramel (made with coconut milk) were a few of the choices from Sweet Olenka’s.

I’m grateful for oatmeal.

I’m grateful for living in a multicultural, super diverse part of the city. Yesterday, I enjoyed a cheese empanada, spicy tomato salsa, and a humita (mashed corn with onions and basil) from Jumbo Empanada, a Chilean cafe.

I’m grateful for curry. Thai yellow curry, to be exact! The best healthy, filling make-ahead food that tastes better in the days to come. This stew was loaded with broccoli, butternut squash, mushrooms, and eggplant, and served over quinoa. I actually made this a few days ago, on the same day that Cassie debuted this incredible kabocha and mushroom Thai yellow curry. Foodie minds think alike?

There’s a lot more that I’m grateful for, but I don’t have any photos to show for it at the moment.

What are YOU grateful for?

Purple Waffle

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 2.30.28 PMSeline, my lovely little 17 year-old sister, will be going into Grade 12 in September. These are the courses she chose. Seline wanted to focus on courses in the world of arts, potentially going to law school in the future. Her Grade 12 schedule looks dramatically different from mine. While she is taking courses like economics, law, and Japanese, I studied biology, chemistry, and physics. Good job, Seline!

 

On Tuesday night, I did two yoga classes and went to Platito Filipino Soul Food, a restaurant in Baldwin village. I savoured this dish of fried shrimp, crispy squash, coconut milk sauce, and green beans with a side of steamed rice. The best part of the dish was the creamy, crispy squash – and the worst part was when I fully bit into a massive chunk of raw ginger. I nearly died.

The dessert that followed was absolutely spectacular: an ube (purple yam) waffle topped with ube ice cream, two sticks of a Filipino snack, and shredded macerated coconut. The waiter initially hesitated when I ordered this and asked if I wanted to switch it for the smaller ube cheesecake, meant for one person. He told me that this waffle was meant to serve 2-3 people, but I had to try it!

And of course I demolished the entire thing. Crispy, rich, with the slightest hint of saltiness (just perfect), I loved the combination of textures, flavours, and temperatures in this glorious dish.

Another day, I used leftover spaghetti sauce to make shakshuka. Simply heated up the sauce in a nonstick pan, cracked in two eggs, and covered it up for five minutes while I toasted some bread for avocado toast. I topped the eggs with some parmigiana regiano cheese and it was lovely.

Yesterday, I left work early and went to deKEFIR, a frozen kefir shop in the Bay-Adelaide Centre in the Financial District of Toronto. It was my first time trying frozen kefir (you all know how obsessed I am with good old froyo), and I was pleasantly surprised. A little tart, sweet (though not as smooth and creamy as gelato), with a rich dairy flavour, the kefir itself was fantastic. I had four toppings:

  • Quinoa Qrunch (like puffed rice, but made with quinoa)
  • candied walnuts
  • chopped pineapple
  • crunchy pie crust

The quinoa was my favourite part. This was the regular size and cost $5.30.

A few days ago, I made a Thai yellow curry! I had a package of mix that I whisked into a can of coconut milk, and added chopped butternut squash, broccoli, and mushrooms. This tasted fantastic over a mixture of quinoa and chopped, steamed cauliflower. Thai yellow curry is meant to be made with white potatoes and beef to stand up to the hefty, gingery flavour of the curry, but I really liked how the broccoli soaked up the flavour.

Last time, I shared a recipe for banana chocolate almond flour squares. I’ve been loving these little squares so much! I use them to top my oatmeal, my yogurt, and everything in between. It’s creamy, rich and chocolatey, and has the lovely texture of almond flour. It tastes incredible with peanut butter.

Yum! What could make a better breakfast?

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Aerials season is over! I am going to miss this place.

Mom finally opened the package of masala that I bought in Nepal, 10 months ago. She used the fried rice masala to make rice with eggs and peas. While the flavour was fantastic, she wished she had some chopped beef or chicken to add into the rice. Nice cooking, Mom!

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I think that’s it for today! Not much has been happening recently, except for the sad fact that I have only 15 more days of work left before I go back to Waterloo for school! I am going to miss Toronto, but trying to make the best of it while I’m here.