A Food-Filled Weekend Getaway

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I train at C!RCA in Brisbane, which is located on the third floor of a contemporary arts and dance centre. It is a beautiful place, and I’m so honoured to train in the same space as world-famous acrobats.

Good morning! Hope you are all having a spectacular week so far.

 

It is now Tuesday, and I spent the morning in class, then meal-prepping. I made a massive, hearty vegetable stir-fry, and ate it with some random protein from the fridge (a cheesy omelet and falafel). Now, for some blogging before I start studying.

Last night, I went to aerials as usual. I’m currently working on a post for my Schulich Foundation media page on my journey with aerial straps.

But more importantly:

my friend and I spent the weekend at Byron Bay!

I mentioned this on a previous post, but my friend – Grace – and I planned a weekend getaway to Byron Bay, which is approximately two and a half hours from Brisbane. On Friday morning, I enjoyed a delicious homemade chai latte, some yogurt with nuts and banana bread, then packed up my backpack and a gym bag. Next, I cleaned up my room and the bathroom. I love coming home from a trip to a clean, cozy place.

Before I knew it, we were on the shuttle bus on our way to Byron!

Our hostel was the Byron Bay Beach Hostel, which was located conveniently in the city centre. We were fortunate to receive a free upgrade, and ended up with our own bathroom and a queen bed (as opposed to two twin beds and a shared bathroom for the entire floor).

This was my first time staying at a real hostel, and I was very pleasantly surprised. 🙂

After dropping off our things, we headed for lunch at Balcony, an oyster bar. I ordered the three-cheese crab mac and cheese, which was topped with garlicky breadcrumbs and plenty of hearty crab. I loved this meal! You guys know that I love anything served on a sizzling skillet. Our lunch was almost as good as our conversation. Grace is super easy to talk to!

After that, we spent Friday afternoon at Main Beach.

That night, there were two minor disappointments:

  1. There was a major power outage that hit Byron Bay just as we were leaving our dinner restaurant. We ended up walking home in the dark, without streetlights, and sitting around in the hostel without electricity. That night, fortunately, the power came back – and you could hear the cheers of everyone out on the beach town.
  2. Our snorkelling tour was cancelled due to the windy conditions. The water would be too choppy for snorkelling. I was so sad about this! Y’all know from my bucket list that I’ve always, always wanted to go snorkelling or scuba diving.

On the bright side, dinner was exquisite. We went to Treehouse, a twenty-five minute walk from the hostel. The venue was stylized to look like a treehouse, and musicians were performing live music. The atmosphere was truly unique, and I was elated to have had the opportunity to try their renowned pizza. The caramelized onions on top were my favourite part! Dessert, similarly, was divine – definitely one of the Top Five desserts I’ve ever eaten in my life.

  • 1/2 thin-crust pizza with béchamel sauce, garlic, caramelized onions, portobello mushrooms, basil, brie
  • 1/2 caprese salad with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella
  • sticky date pudding topped with chocolate chunks, with homemade vanilla gelato

 

The next day was Saturday, and we were up early for kayaking. Our river kayaking trip was led by two experienced kayakers and nature lovers, who came to pick us up from the Byron Bay visitor centre (close to the hostel). We spent the morning on the water, watching the sun rise, and enjoying the company of Aussie wildlife. I particularly liked learning about the Aboriginal history of this region. It was also refreshing to meet other travellers: a pair from the UK, a group of friends from Sydney, and a new-to-Byron couple.

Thanks to all the excitement of kayaking, my stomach wanted some food! Fortunately, we stopped at a cafe, where we were treated to drinks. I ordered a chai latte (deliciously peppery, made with milk and honey) before we headed back to the city.

For brunch, Grace and I hit up Bayleaf Cafe, a consistent and well-known breakfast/lunch place. They are famous for their meals, which straddle the line between breakfast and lunch.

  • 1/2 mango, banana, berry, acai, coconut cream smoothie
  • sweet potato flatbread topped with kale, roasted beets and carrots, cauliflower puree, 2 garlic fried eggs

Is it breakfast? Is it lunch? Mysteries.

Since our snorkelling trip was cancelled, we had plenty of time to explore. We walked to a number of places, including Tallows Beach, Captain Cook’s Lookout, Fisherman’s Lookout, and more. It was absolutely mesmerizing to watch the crystal-blue waves crash into the rocks, and see the ant-sized surfers ride the waves below. I could’ve stayed here for ages, enjoying the sunshine and warm breeze.

Also, I’m grateful for the selfie stick that Dad bought for me before I came to Australia! It might’ve looked silly, but it sure came in handy.

Next up, we walked over to the lighthouse. The lighthouse of Byron Bay is an absolute must-visit – you can’t come to Byron without walking over to the lighthouse. The lighthouse trail led us to a secluded beach called Little Watego’s Beach, and we also stood at the most easterly point of Australian mainland. That was awesome! And probably the closest I will be to my family for the next few months. :’)

I. Love. Sunsets.

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Another afternoon, another disappointment! I got a phone call that night (and an email shortly after) – our hot air ballooning trip was also cancelled. I was devastated about this, because, well… who doesn’t want to go on a hot air balloon?!

Luckily, we got the refund, but I’d rather be floating over Australia. Funny enough, this is the third time that I’ve planned to go on a hot air balloon. Once in Nepal, again in Cambodia, and now. All three times, it’s been cancelled due to inappropriate weather conditions. Is the universe telling me something?!

Dinner, however, was NOT a disappointment! In fact, it was the dead opposite of a disappointment. It was glorious. I made the reservation for St. Elmo’s Bar and Restaurant, which is known for Spanish tapas.

Grace and I shared the following.

  • seared scallops, charred leek and preserved lemon puree, romesco sauce, migas (I’m a big fan of scallops and loved the flavours, textures, and presentation of this dish.)
  • fried potatoes, salsa brava, garlic aioli, smoked paprika salt (had I been dining alone, I would’ve never ordered the potatoes. I’m glad we did, however, because they were hands-down some of the best potatoes I’ve ever tasted. Flavourful but not salty, these slightly-spicy, garlicky, rich potatoes were unforgettable.)
  • seared local cuttlefish, kipfler potato, olives, orange, mint, smoked paprika, saffron aioli (not a calamari fan, but these were quite soft and tender.)
  • slow-cooked lamb, butter-braised asparagus, homemade Greek yogurt sauce, pistachio dukkah (I haven’t had lamb for ages, but this melt-in-your-mouth dish tasted amazing with St. Elmo’s homemade labneh and contrasted with the crunchy pistachios.)

Finally, dessert:

  • hazelnut chocolate custard tart, vanilla crema catalan sauce, strawberry mousse, crispy hazelnut praline (ate this myself and loved each bite. Would 100% recommend, and order again!)

Before we knew it, it was already time to head back to Brisbane. We slept in (had three and a half hours of sleep the night before!) and had a lazy walk around the shops before settling on Dip Cafe for brunch.

I made quite a few substitutions on the Big Vegetarian Breakfast for an incredible customized brekkie. The smoked salmon was unbelievably tender, and the roast pumpkin extra flavourful. I also loved the creamy ricotta on organic sourdough toast, which was sprinkled with a generous amount of pecans and honey.

  • 1 chai tea latte with milk and honey (the best yet!)
  • 1 large breakfast plate with 3 (?) scrambled eggs, 2 pieces halloumi, smoked salmon, 2 pieces organic sourdough topped with ricotta, pecans, and honey, spiced baked beans, arugula with tomato salsa, roast pumpkins and roast tomatoes with wilted spinach
  • 1 scoop Nutella and peanut butter gelato (unpictured)

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Time to head back home! I fell asleep on the bus on the way back to Brisbane. Despite being the Commonwealth Games, our shuttle bus made it back on schedule.

Before coming to Australia, I never followed the Commonwealth Games. I don’t watch all the events, but follow my favourite athletes, including female Canadian artistic gymnasts. I was thrilled to find out about Daley and Goodfellow’s Commonwealth gold. With his outspoken nature, particularly towards athletic diversity and LGBT+ rights, Tom Daley is easily one of my favourite athletes.

Last night, I headed to a restaurant for dinner since I didn’t want to cook. I finally got to check Mu’ooz off of my restaurant bucket list. Mu’ooz is an Eritrean restaurant and social enterprise. As you may know, I adore supporting restaurants and spas with a good cause. I think it’s essential to support people by providing skills, rather than money – it’s more sustainable.

👆 I could write a dissertation on this.

Anyways! I devoured this meal, which was so spicy that I cried (I’m the world’s biggest spice wimp). The dessert was memorable: crispy freshly-fried Ethiopian donuts made with soy milk, flour, and sugar, with a hint of orange, topped with vanilla ice cream. More ice cream would’ve made this even better, but I was full and satisfied. 🙂

  • spicy Eritrean mushroom and red/green bell pepper stew, 2 large pieces sourdough injera, mixed green salad
  • 4 crispy African donuts, 1 scoop vanilla ice cream

I wish you a delicious rest of the week!

I Walked More Than 20,000 Steps a Day for a Week

Good morning!

I got this idea from Cassie over at Super Fit Babe, who, man, inspires me so much. I was pretty curious about how many steps I could take, and ended up purchasing my own Fitbit. I love it, and find it more reliable and versatile than my cellphone’s health app.

So let’s take a look at my progressively-lazier notes!

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DAY 1 – WEDNESDAY

  • great weather, quite humid, and very sunny
  • walked to the farmer’s market in the city, shopped at the market, then walked home
  • came home to a very distinct tan line!
  • walked home from school in the evening
  • I took two showers today
  • felt limited flexibility in my hip flexors and adductors in yoga today
  • left ankle, the one I sprained as a kid, felt a little ‘off’ (not discomfort or pain, just different – maybe tightness?)

DAY 2 – THURSDAY

  • rained in the morning, didn’t feel like walking in the morning so I did a slow yoga class instead
  • during the yin yoga class, I noticed that I was less flexible in the hips like yesterday
  • rained sporadically in the afternoon, cutting my walk a little shorter
  • walked at a slower pace than normal
  • bottoms of feet were a little sore at the end of the afternoon
  • it was difficult for me to push to 20,000 steps today
  • I wanted to eat all the carbs on Earth today, and did end up having an extra pumpkin and spinach scone, plus a brownie for dessert (amazing)
  • not yet 20,000 at night, so I paced around the house until I reached 20,000 then went to bed

DAY 3 – FRIDAY

  • cleaning in the morning took up a lot of steps
  • felt hungry in the afternoon
  • ate lots of carbs at lunch again, and loved every bite
  • easy to hit 20,000 steps, though the bottoms of my feet were a little sore
  • needed to take sitting breaks during my afternoon outing

DAY 4 – SATURDAY

  • felt energetic today
  • good weather
  • got to roll out my feet with a spiky massage ball at the end of the day, which felt very nice
  • this is the most I’ve walked in a day so far in the challenge
  • didn’t actually feel HUNGRY, but once I started eating, I couldn’t stop eating
  • fell asleep every quickly at night (writing this on Sunday morning)
  • forgot sunscreen in the morning

DAY 5 – SUNDAY

  • woke up at 6:45, feeling pretty energetic
  • great weather just a little windy
  • felt like I had a lot of energy throughout the day and wanted to walk
  • increased pace in the evening since the temperature was just right

DAY 6 – MONDAY

  • ton of energy today
  • very, incredibly hot
  • when I get tired and feet get sore, I walk even faster so that I can get home sooner and relax

DAY 7 – TUESDAY

  • so tired
  • groggy
  • not really that much to say

I like how my notes eventually got shorter and shorter out of laziness.

PROS

  1. I slept really well. Normally, I fall asleep after a few minutes of lying in bed, but this time, I felt like I fell asleep even FASTER. Even if I wasn’t sleepy, my body was overall a good level of ‘tired’, and I needed that sleep. On top of that, I ended up waking up (naturally), later than usual. While I typically roll out of bed around 6:45 or 7:00, I found myself lying in bed until 7:30 or 7:45 most mornings.
  2. Walking is almost meditative. I don’t spend much time (AKA I don’t spend any time) meditating, or doing something simple like visualizing/listening to music. However, when I walked, I got to play some of my favourite tunes and focus on the beat and the lyrics. I think this was quite beneficial for my mental health, as I came back to studying feeling a greater sense of concentration.
  3. I felt refreshed. I loved the feeling of wind in my face, and being able to see the river. Since Brisbane has beautiful pedestrian walkways right next to the Brisbane river, I felt so lucky to get some great scenery while walking.
  4. I got a tan! A pretty bad tan, to be fair, complete with some strange tank-top tan lines, but I’ve always wanted to be a little golden.
  5. Vitamin D from all the sunshine!
  6. Made me appreciate music.
  7. A sense of pride and accomplishment.

CONS

  1. It’s not as easy as it looks!
  2. It is quite time-consuming. I felt as if I didn’t have sufficient time to do other tasks, like
  3. Easy, free, transportation.
  4. Less time and desire to do resistance exercises.
  5. Decreased flexibility in my hips.

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Overall, I enjoyed the walking and learned a bit about my mind and body. Now that classes have resumed, however, I don’t see myself continuously reaching 20,000 steps a day anymore. It was a great experiment to dabble in, and I feel more aware, more conscious, of the mild cardiorespiratory activity that I should take part in, on a regular basis. 

Walk on, everyone!

I Tried Vegemite!

Good morning, everyone! Hope you are all having a fantastic week so far. I’m writing this on a Monday morning, and I have one more week of no school (yay!) before classes pick up again. I’m loving my restful mid-semester break.

I actually have an essay to work on right now. Which is why I’m blogging instead.

On a much more positive note, I am head-over-heels in love with a place called Noosa Chocolate Factory. They make the richest, most chocolate-y hot chocolate using 56% cocoa. It’s a cross between milk chocolate and dark chocolate, so it straddles the line between sweet and bitter. I adore it, and downed two cups last week. With extra chocolate while I was browsing the store.

Recent meals have been healthy and tasty. For lunch yesterday, I ate:

  • 1/5 Botanica salad (potato, pea and dill salad, kale with tomato sumac, grains with seeds, Israeli couscous with pesto, chickpea and carrot with curry dressing)
  • 2/3 spinach goat cheese egg tart
  • 1-egg omelet with provolone
  • 1/2 vegan Lamington from the farmers market (dessert unpictured)
  • 1/2 vegan cookie dough cheesecake from the farmers market (dessert unpictured)
  • 1.5 scoops light Greek yogurt, honey-roasted cashews

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Similar but different: I had two of the spinach and goat cheese egg tarts. I’m really proud because I made them myself. I heat them up on the stovetop instead of the oven, so the bottom gets nice and crispy (okay, burned, because I don’t watch the heat). Either way, this is one of my favourite lunches. I love the salad combo, especially the vegan pesto couscous salad, and it tastes great with the buttery tart shell with spinach and goat cheese.

I’ve been looking at planning a trip for the mid-semester break. Originally, I thought about booking it with a tour, such as Adventure Dudes or something like that, but I ended up finding a friend who was equally interested in travelling to a local beach town called Byron Bay. We ordered bus tickets and reserved spots in a beachside hostel. I’m pretty excited! We leave on Friday morning and come back Sunday afternoon, so I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos.

I really want to visit this cafe, called Anouk, but I don’t know what I’d order! The apple stuffed french toast sounds divine, as does the breakfast masala. Truthfully, I’d be happy ordering any one of these dishes. What would you order from this renowned breakfast place?

These photos are from a place called the Roma Street Parklands. It’s a beautiful botanical garden.

I took so many photos, and loved watching the water dragons and birds. The plantlife (and wildlife!) here in Australia is drastically different from that of North America. It’s almost miraculous how differently flora and fauna react to existing in different biomes. I love it.

Another day, I went shopping in the downtown area of Brisbane. There, I contemplated buying a new tank top, but I already have quite a few shirts. And this was expensive. Why does Lululemon, and other recreational sportswear brands, have to be so pricey? Like, I’m a student. I’m poor. Must be nice to own a couple $150 leggings though. :’)

A couple random snippets of my life:

  • walking beside the river into the main part of the city
  • a note written to me from an Apple store employee who helped me connect my devices to Bluetooth (she gave me recommendations for places/restaurants in Brissy)
  • April 1st joke by Google Maps – Waldo!
  • King George Square at sunset

One day, I visited Sourced Grocer. It’s an organic grocery store and cafe, famous for their simple but delicious brunch dishes. I dined al fresco, which I adore.

Here is my cabbage pancake, which is topped with a smear of goat cheese, heavily roasted garlic broccoli, a poached egg, and parmesan cheese. On the side, I had a slice of sourdough bread with vegemite, and a rye crumpet with honeycomb and whipped butter.

First of all, the crumpet was divine. Perfectly airy, sweet, buttery. I’d eat this one thousand times. The honeycomb was exquisite, and the flies outside agreed. The cabbage pancake was perfect – crispy, yet tender pancake, beautifully-flavoured charred broccoli that added crisp, and creamy cheese. Of course, the egg was also poached to perfection and added lovely flavour to the other ingredients.

But most importantly! The vegemite. I thought:IMG_7922

  • it wasn’t as bad, or as powerful, as I’d expected
  • I’d really braced myself for the worst-possible tasting condiment, so when I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised!
  • I think people might make the mistake of smearing the entire glob onto their toast (like I would with Nutella or peanut butter), which would make it far too potent, but I used plenty of whipped butter and just enough vegemite
  • definitely something that you start off with a little of (like spicy condiments), and build your way up
  • in terms of flavour, it is rich and salty – reminding me somewhat of condensed, thickened soy sauce with a deeper, slightly bitter aftertaste

Afterwards, I had another typical Aussie treat: vanilla ice cream with milo! Milo is a malted powder (like Nestle hot chocolate mix) that you’d mix with milk or water. This came with crunchy milo cereal pieces. Interestingly, this ice cream was made with nitrogen, making it super creamy and gelato-like – which I love. I prefer the texture of gelato to the texture of ice cream any day.

More photos of Brisbane’s astonishing plantlife ❤

I guess that’s it! I’m going to go wash my tea mug – I’m obsessed with chai lattes. I’ve had a chai latte every morning, religiously, for the past two weeks. I actually shared the chai latte recipe on my last blog post if you’re curious. But let me say it again. I. Love. Chai.

Have a delicious week!

One Million Stars

Hi everyone!

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Pearl Cafe breakfast and lunch menu

I hope you are all having an absolutely lovely Easter weekend so far.

Recently, I’ve been very excited about visiting some new restaurants in the area (since we’re on Easter break and the mid-semester reading week!). This restaurant, Pearl Cafe, is one that tops my To-Visit list. I really want to try their homemade angel hair spaghetti with silky eggplant, chilli, and goat cheese. Doesn’t that sound amazing? There are a couple other places that are high up on my list, including Naim (for brunch), Gerard’s Bistro, and Sassafras Canteen.

Here’s the bulletin board at my local yoga studio, Zama Yoga, where I volunteer as a Karma Yogi. That wonderful title just means that I help to vacuum, mop, wrap up garbage, and dust, once a week.

Back home in BC, Arnie is doing well. I have no idea what warranted this photo, but Mom sent it over to me one day. Seline, Mom, and Dad went on a day trip a few days ago to Victoria, where they visited the University of Victoria. Seline is possibly going to UVic next year, so I’m glad they had the opportunity to look around the campus, get a sense of the student life there, and, of course, try one of Victoria’s famed restaurants! They ended up going to Original Joe’s.

Mom sent me these wonderful photos of their meals from Original Joe’s. Seline loved her bacon jalapeño mac and cheese, and Dad enjoyed the chicken tenders. Mom’s bruschetta chicken fettuccine with pesto cream sauce was also very popular amongst the three of them. Though I wish they’d also tried that chocolate fudge brownie ice cream with cookies and cream crust (!!!), they were too full for dessert.

Studying on campus. Sometimes when I have a commitment after school (i.e. aerials, my only commitment LOL), I pack my dinner. This time, it was a delicious hearty Botanica salad mix and some yogurt with blueberries and a muffin.

This looks very fancy, and it was! Because I didn’t make it. 🙂 I got the salad from a vendor at the Jan Powers market, and cooked up an egg with cheese, and fried some of a pumpkin and spinach scone on the side.

Same meal, different day, different filter?

This is One Million Hearts, a super cool exhibit that opened up at King George Square in Brisbane’s city centre. I love this exhibit because of its vibrancy and lovely cause.

I’ve been really into walking recently! I will come back to this with a special post shortly.

And yes, still very much in love with veggies, rice, and halloumi. I could eat this every single day, and I do.

This lovely plate included salads from Botanica, a crushed falafel, and an egg that I cooked up with some grated cheese (I think it was provolone, but I’m onto some Gouda now!). The salads tasted wonderful and very refreshing.

I bought a few tennis balls to roll out some knots, but within half an hour, I broke BOTH of them! This was my first time seeing the inside of a tennis ball, and I guess I was surprised by how fragile they were, and that they were hollow inside.

So I ended up buying a $2 spiky massage ball from Kmart, which is much tougher and has been helping immensely for relieving muscle tension.

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On Saturday last week, I visited a new (to me) part of town called New Farm. New Farm is known for their lovely markets, performances, and cafes. This cafe, called MYLK + KO, is famous for their vegan, vegetarian, and gluten/dairy-free brunch dishes. I started with the cocowhip, topped with tons of peanut butter, cocoa granola, strawberries, and berry coulis.

My main dish was equally beautiful: falafel, a maple pumpkin slice, halloumi, roasted red pepper hummus, tons of grilled veggies, savoury dukkah, and sprouts. One of the best veggie breakfasts I’ve ever had, and it was so fun to photograph.

On a different note, I am now really into chai lattes! After purchasing a box of chai tea bags, I’ve been brewing up the chai religiously every morning. The creaminess of the milk, mixed with gentle spice from the tea bag, and sweetness from the honey is perfection.

Cindy’s Chai Latte

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 chai teabag
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste, to taste
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 tbsp honey

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine water and milk in a saucepan. Simmer until it almost reaches a boy;.
  2. Break open the teabag. Pour the loose tea into the saucepan. If you don’t, the tea will be weak. Whisk and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, giving the tea even longer to brew. Add honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Strain out the tea leaves using a fine kitchen sieve, or even coffee filters/paper towels.

Last night I ate something that was unbelievably delicious – milk chocolate enrobing a perfect piece of feathery light Aussie honeycomb. This was from Noosa chocolatier, and one of the best chocolate things I’ve ever eaten. The chocolate was creamy and rich, contrasting with the airy honeycomb. I can’t wait to go back to Noosa for another.

Finally, a tasty salad mix with a variety of quiches! There’s quite a lot on this colourful plate:

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  • 1/4 pumpkin red onion quiche (Botanica)
  • 1/4 spinach quiche (Botanica)
  • 3/4 spinach goat cheese egg quiche (homemade)
  • 1/4 Botanica salad (coleslaw, sweet potato pesto couscous, carrot quinoa, spinach and rice with pumpkin)

That’s pretty much all for now. Wish I had more to share, but I really have not been doing much recently. I wish you all a beautiful weekend full of delicious eats!

Low-Carb Recipe Ideas

Hey, everyone! Recently I’ve been experimenting with eating less carbs.

Little summary of my normal diet: oatmeal, bread, pancakes, sandwiches, more bread, grilled cheese, potatoes, granola, fancy little desserts, sweet potatoes, couscous, pizza, muffins, garlic bread, more pretty little desserts, rice, rice, rice, rice, more rice.

It’s a lot of carbs.

I mean, it’s great! Who doesn’t love grilled cheese and rice? Since coming to Australia, though, I’ve been trying to change it up a little bit. Rather than purely eliminating rice from my diet, which would be tragic, I’ve been making small changes.

Changes like using 1/2 cauliflower rice and 1/2 regular rice in stir-fries. Or having omelettes with salad on the side, instead of toast. Eating eggs and veggies instead of my typical morning oatmeal. So far, it’s been wonderful. This is absolutely NOT to say that I don’t eat granola or desserts or grilled cheese anymore – I absolutely still do – but making tiny swaps and healthier additions have made me feel more refreshed.

Here’s a little list that I compiled a while ago to kick-start a series of healthier changes! I’ll be honest, some of them would definitely make me feel deprived (eg. only hard-boiled eggs with berries for breakfast?!), so I haven’t tried them all. The bolded ones are my favourites. 🙂

Breakfast

  • breakfast wrap using egg as “tortilla”
  • breakfast enchiladas
  • pepper egg in a hole
  • egg-applesauce pancakes
  • chocolate banana smoothie
  • poached eggs with tomatoes
  • jalapeno popper egg cups
  • Greek yogurt with LOTS of mixed berries
  • vegetable frittata
  • vegetable omelet
  • egg quiche
  • cottage cheese with berries
  • hard-boiled eggs with berries
  • scrambled eggs with vegetables
  • green smoothie
  • cauliflower breakfast hash
  • cauliflower breakfast bake
  • fluffy cauliflower breakfast bake
  • cauliflower hash browns

Lunch and Snack Ideas

  • cucumber salad with shrimp
  • turkey roll ups (fill with cream cheese, peppers, cucumbers, avocado, hummus, and cheese)
  • grilled chicken spinach salad with nuts
  • tuna salad with avocado
  • mixed berries fruit salad
  • broccoli with quinoa and halloumi
  • Greek yogurt
  • taco salad
  • chia pudding
  • cauliflower cheddar mash
  • pizza soup
  • egg salad in a lettuce wrap
  • chocolate mousse
  • trail mix with seeds and dried fruit
  • hard boiled eggs
  • cottage cheese with berries
  • stuffed mushrooms
  • cheese slices with grapes
  • Greek salad
  • vegetarian minestrone soup
  • vegetables with hummus

Dinner Sides (mix and match with mains below)

  • mashed cauliflower
  • cauliflower breadsticks
  • roasted vegetables
  • makeover spinach gratin
  • brussels sprouts gratin

Dinner Protein Mains

  • cheesy meatballs
  • crustless pizza
  • burger with no bun, topped with mushrooms and onions and cheese
  • turkey lettuce wraps
  • turkey spinach meatballs
  • california spicy crab stuffed avocado
  • salmon patties
  • crustless spinach quiche
  • marinated grilled shrimp
  • shrimp stir-fry with vegetables
  • shredded harissa chicken
  • broiled tilapia parmesan
  • Dijon garlic, lemon dill salmon, maple-soy salmon

Dinner Cauliflower Mains

  • cauliflower fried rice
  • cheesy cauliflower bake
  • loaded grilled cauliflower steak
  • cauliflower baked ziti
  • cauliflower shepherd’s pie
  • cauliflower tamale pie
  • pizza cauliflower bake

Dinner Zucchini Mains

  • zucchini enchiladas
  • chicken parmesan stuffed zucchini
  • loaded zucchini skins
  • lasagna stuffed zucchini boats
  • scalloped zucchini
  • zucchini cheesy bread
  • stuffed zucchini
  • zucchini manicotti

Dinner Spaghetti Squash Mains

  • tomato basil spaghetti squash
  • pizza spaghetti squash
  • 4-cheese spaghetti squash
  • spaghetti squash feta egg bake

Dinner Other Veggies

  • broccoli chicken divan
  • tuna melt on a tomato
  • egg roll in a bowl
  • eggplant lasagna
  • taco lettuce cups
  • cheesy butternut squash skillet
  • bell pepper nachos
  • stuffed peppers
  • taco-filled tomatoes

Finally, a list of low-carb veggies that happen to be delicious…

… with cheese, of course.

Low-Carb Vegetables

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • spinach
  • kale
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • swiss chard
  • lettuce
  • cucumber
  • sprouts
  • eggplant
  • green beans
  • lemon
  • peppers
  • spaghetti squash
  • tomatoes
  • celery
  • parsley
  • avocado
  • radish
  • bok choy
  • mushrooms
  • garlic
  • asparagus
  • yellow squash

Himalayan Food and Heavy Salads

Good morning, everyone! It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in Brisbane. The weather’s been much for manageable recently. In fact:

The last few weeks, it’s been so hot that…

  • my Polysporin liquefied

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    Eat Street Markets (about an hour from my house) sells these ridiculous-looking donut fries, and I think I need them in my life! The chocolate looks perfectly melty, malty, and I love the combination of textures here. I should start planning my trip to Eat Street just for this!
  • must keep room door open to allow air flow
  • carry sunglasses everywhere
  • I chug more water than I have ever chugged in my entire life
  • I don’t even need to warm up before exercising because I’m alreadywarm
  • I get a tiny sweat pool where I wear my glasses or sunglasses
  • I love lectures because they are in AC-ed rooms
  • my legs stick to chairs and they hurt to peel off
  • I shower twice a day
  • I use ice-cold water which is not even ice cold (like room temperature)
  • 7am is already burning
  • shopping malls are now AC heavens
  • I make my ceiling fan spin so quickly that it’s going to fall offand kill me
  • food scraps are stored in the freezer
  • I put my face in the freezer and take deep breaths
  • if you step barefoot outside, you will get cooked
  • I choose iced smoothies over my favourite hot tea
  • I don’t want to cook
  • I wear whole-body sunscreen all day
  • bus stops need shade covers
  • I am actually desperate to go to the beach, and I dislike beaches
  • I put my water bottle in the freezer

Anyways, on Thursday night I went to a place called MADO Turkish Cuisine. For my main course, I was debating between the veggie casserole, the moussaka (eggplant lasagna), and the eggplant boat. I ended up with the veggie casserole, which wasn’t even a casserole – it was a veggie stew in a clay pot.

For dessert, I enjoyed the kunefe, which is a crispy, chewy, sticky, springy Turkish cheese pastry doused with rosewater syrup and topped with pistachios. A very unique dish with such bright flavours and a unique, indescribable texture. Have you tried kunefe before?

  • vegetable casserole in clay pot, 2 bites salad, rice with peas, 1 piece Turkish bread
  • 1 kunefe

I had this image saved to my phone for a long, long time, because I’ve been planning a trip to Himalayan Cafe for a while. Everyone knows I have a bit of a Nepal/Tibetan obsession, and my infatuation with Nepali food is no exception. Needless to say, I had to make an effort to visit this beautiful place for dinner one day…

And I did! This gorgeously-decorated restaurant reminded me of traditional Nepali homes, complete with floor pillows, lanterns, papyrus menus, and small side dishes full of aromatic lentil stew and beans. One of my favourite parts of the dinner was the pan-fried Sherpa bread, which was spongy, slightly sweet, and topped with savoury tomato sauce and a little cheese.

  • 1 small bowl kidney bean stew, 1 bowl yellow lentil dahl, 1 bowl chickpeas with potatoes, few scoops jasmine rice (took the rest home), apple yogurt with chopped apple, 1 large piece Himalayan tomato paste cheese bread
  • 1 Himalayan chocolate brownie with nuts, 2 scoops ginger and cinnamon ice cream

I’ve been into tracking my health lately, and spent a lot of time choosing my plant on Plant Nanny (a water-drinking app to keep hydrated!) and looking at Fitbits.

Then, I bought my own Fitbit! Mine is the Alta HR (Heart Rate), in black. I’m still figuring it out and haven’t mastered the device, but it’s been a wonderful, motivating tool so far. And, of course, much better than my iPhone’s Health app. I bought it on Saturday and spent a good amount of time exploring one of my favourite parts of Brisbane, the Queen Street Mall.

My Fitbit also tracks the amount of sleep I get, including how much REM, light, and deep sleep I have. I find it pretty accurate, but I’m also one to fall asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow.

On Saturday, I visited the Davies Park Farmers Market. It is, so far, my favourite market in Brisbane. The atmosphere was peaceful and charming, the people were friendly, and there were so many stalls. The produce was very inexpensive, and I loved the diverse spread of ethnic eats.

One vendor at a beautiful shortbread cookie stall recommended the crêpes around the corner, from Pascale’s Crêpes. How could I say no to crepes?

Wow. I am so glad I went for these, because not only were they super cheap and freshly-made by Pascale on the spot, but absolutely delicious. I’m a huge fan of buckwheat crêpes because I love their rich, roasted, grainy flavour and crispy texture. The spinach, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese inside were perfect!

Moments later, I got dessert from Pascale as well. My dessert crêpe was equally delicious, and the combination of vanilla ice cream, Nutella, and sliced banana (YUM) really hit the spot.

  • 1 buckwheat crepe with spinach, cheddar, mushrooms
  • 1 regular crepe with banana, Nutella, 2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Another day, I baked a farmer’s market almond bostock and made a spinach omelet for lunch. I’m such a fan of almond croissants that I find myself forgetting how delicious bostocks are. On a totally different note, the filter on these photos reminds me of Rachel’s photography – her food pics are always sunny and alluring.

  • 2-egg omelet with spinach and Manchego
  • 1/2 almond bostock

For dessert, some fresh berries (also from the market) with yogurt and nuts.

  • 1/2 container strawberries, 2 scoops Greek yogurt, some honey-roasted macadamia nuts and cashews

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I’ve said it many times before, but the UQ campus is just gorgeous. I’m in love with it!

In one of my courses, we spent a lab day identifying and examining different mosquitos. Being a Kinesiology (Exercise Science) major, it was a unique experience, and I definitely learned a lot.

Completely unrelated but exciting news! My sister and I will be travelling to Prince Edward Island (Canada), for the month of July 2018. I will be going there to volunteer at the University of Prince Edward Island, and we thought it would be an awesome opportunity to spend time together after she graduates from high school. Basically, it’s going to be a disastrous-hilarious Paris 2.0.

25 Reasons Why My Sister and I Will Visit Charlottetown, PEI

(I actually wrote this list to convince her, because Seline didn’t want to go to PEI initially. She thinks it’s going to be boring. Hope I will prove her wrong!)

  1. Lighthouses!
  2. Pretty much a vibrant seaside capital city
  3. Beautiful lawns and flowerbeds (like Jardin Luxembourg)
  4. Maritime accents
  5. People are known to be the nicest of Canada
  6. Parks
  7. Boating tours
  8. Incredible ice cream shops
  9. Basilicas, cathedrals
  10. Biggest fireworks in Canada (next to Ottawa)
  11. 500 historic buildings
  12. Flight is much shorter than London
  13. Beautiful harbours
  14. Mild weather, even in the summer (high is about 23)
  15. Modern and urban, yet beautiful old sights
  16. Huge transportation hub
  17. Victorian-era houses
  18. Lots of shows, performances, theatres, musicals
  19. Pretty much the birthplace of Canada (Charlottetown = “birthplace” of Confederation), AND we will be there during Canada Day
  20. Great summer festivals
  21. Golf courses where we can finally accomplish our dream of riding a buggy
  22. Very safe
  23. World-class shopping and restaurants

In my Health Psychology class, I’ve been looking at increasing vegetable intake for people with Chronic Kidney Disease.

I did my presentation last Wednesday, and it was probably the most scared I’ve been since arriving in Australia. I was the second person to present, and the student before me did a spectacular, entertaining, insightful presentation about the health implications of tinnitus. Before my presentation, I could feel my heart pounding! Fortunately, it went pretty well.

Delicious cauliflower rice has also been on the menu, usually alongside falafels and omelets.

  • cauliflower and broccoli rice, saffron rice, zucchini, carrots, tomato, red pepper, 1 falafel, 1 egg omelet with Manchego cheese

The beautiful Brisbane weather has made it super easy for me to walk around, soak up the sunshine, and see new places.

A new discovery: there is a tiny takeaway cafe in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley region called Botanica Real Food. They serve freshly-made salads, up to FIVE types in a medium container. The ladies there really pack it in, so this full-course-meal salad weighed a solid kilogram.

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From left to right:

  • pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums and parsley
  • vegan pesto and pearl couscous salad with red onions and spinach
  • shaved broccoli salad with cashew dressing and dried cranberries
  • chickpea and carrot salad with pickled red onions
  • potato, pea, and dill salad

I actually ended up dividing it into a few meals, served with other mains – like this awesome pumpkin quiche (also from Botanica).

  • pumpkin and red onion ricotta quiche, 1/5 Botanica salad box (broccoli salad with cashew dressing, chickpea and carrot salad, pesto and pearl couscous salad, pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums, potato pea and dill salad)

Packed up for lunch another day.

  • 1/5 Botanica salad box (broccoli salad with cashew dressing, chickpea and carrot salad, pesto and pearl couscous salad, pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums, potato pea and dill salad)
  • 1/4 ricotta and walnut streusel coffee cake, blueberries, Greek yogurt

This is what the inside of Botanica looks like. These photos were taken yesterday… because I went again. They are fresh, delicious, and so addictive!

Yesterday’s salad box was almost the same, with the addition of some cabbage and a freekeh and eggplant pilaf.

Another quiche! I am in love with quiche. Their crust has an amazing whole-grain flavour. I also ate the tastiest chocolate hazelnut dessert from Le Bon Choix, which I bought on my walk home.

Alright! I wish I had more to share, but this post is already long enough.

Have a beautiful and delicious week, everyone ❤