A Week in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Good morning everyone. I hope you are all having a lovely week so far. I am certainly having a great week.

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Mom’s homemade banana muffins, to which she added chocolate chips. I wish I could eat some of these muffins – they’re my favourite.

My friend’s mother is the dean of Applied Human Sciences at the University of Prince Edward Island (I told her that I was interested in trying a research job), and she recommended that I speak to a researcher who focuses on physical activity/sedentary behaviour (main focus), food intake, health, responses to exercise, and metabolic risk. That’s why I’m here!

I volunteer an average of seven hours per day. Normally, I start at 9:00 and finish at 4:00, but have a shorter day on Wednesday and a longer day on Thursday. There will be 24 or 25 work days in total, and I will end up with approximately 170-175 volunteer hours. I have been tracking my hours on an Excel document.

 

I’ve only done a few days here so far, but I have been helping to design banners, posters, and a new website for the Active Living Lab. I am also reorganizing the informational sheets for biosafety, standard operating procedures, and emergency response plans. I will be supervising a Breast Cancer Walking Group program every Thursday evening on campus. As you can see, I have been doing a variety of different tasks, and every day is exciting because there are plenty of new things to learn and do.

In our free time, Seline and I like going to the library (I recently read The Clearing by Heather Davis, which was a beautiful tale of two lives in different points in time), walking around downtown, and enjoying the sunshine.

We had lots of COWS ice cream – here, she had the Messie Bessie and the Wowie Cowie. I can’t quite recall what was in both, though I know there were chocolate flakes, toffee, and caramel swirls involved. I had the Peanut Butter Cup-Cup, and a scoop of Moo York Cheesecake. Both were divine! Maybe one of the best ice creams I’ve ever eaten?

Seline and I joke that we’ve been in Prince Edward Island for about a week, but we can already navigate downtown Charlottetown without Google Maps. The downtown area is not as large as the downtown areas of Montreal, Vancouver, or Toronto, but has a special charm that I can’t seem to explain.

The colours here are so vibrant (these pictures are unfiltered!), and I can’t stop snapping pictures of Seline.

We stopped by the Charlottetown Visitor Centre, to take a look at things to do nearby, and Seline picked up this escape room brochure. I booked the escape room for this Sunday, so I’m looking forward to giving it a shot with Seline.

Mmmm, seafood. You guys! I’ve always wanted to come to SIMS Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar, and YAY, we finally did.

  • spicy and creamy seafood pappardelle for Seline (she generously donated all of her mussels to me, and they were unbelievable)
  • lobster rigatoni with garlic-herb crust for me (the massive chunks of lobster in here were top-notch)

For dessert:

  • sticky date pudding topped with a massive scoop of caramel ice cream from COWS creamery, and plenty of luscious toffee sauce

On Saturday (or was this Sunday? I have no idea because I wore the exact same outfit), we went to the Charlottetown Art Museum. There was an exhibit called Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience. It was very powerful and thought-provoking.

One of my favourite exhibits was a video that showed various forms of snow, paired with a voiceover that discussed the role of these different types of snow in Indigenous culture. The museum, overall, was larger and more intriguing than we’d expected, and we liked it a lot. To enter, you can donate however much you want.

  • Me: What do you want to do for dinner today, Sal?
  • Seline: We’ve been planning to cook at home for a week already, so…
  • Me: You’re right. We should cook at home. We have some ingredients in the fridge to use up.
  • Seline: But I kind of want to eat at another restaurant.
  • Me: Me too. I know a place called RedWater Rustic Grille.
  • Seline: But shouldn’t we cook at home?
  • Me: We could, and we probably should…
  • Seline: Let’s just cook at home tomorrow.

Then we walked into RedWater Rustic Grille!

Here, Seline had a steak with garlic mashed potatoes and baked radishes, and I ate two apps instead of an entree. I had the lobster ravioli with beet pasta, and a platter of seared scallops with pancetta. Both appetizers were delicious! To follow, Seline and I shared a gorgeous chocolate torte with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream (we got two extra scoops after!), and a smear of cinnamon chocolate. We inhaled this dessert because it was truly so good – rare in my book, because most of my favourite desserts are a warm/cold combo, while this torte was served cold.

Another day, Sal and I went to Leonhard’s Cafe and Restaurant. I had a chai latte to start, and Seline ordered an iced tea. I debated between the salmon eggs benny and the guacamole eggs benny (seriously, how do you choose between smoked salmon and avocado?), but the kind waitress offered to give me one of each. Served with flavourful crispy potatoes and a fresh garden salad, I enjoyed this brunch so much. For dessert, we shared their famous vanilla roll.

Some random things:

  • UPEI fitness schedule
  • apparently now Seline likes macarons?! I’m very confused about that.
  • I made scrambled eggs with cheddar and spinach one day, cooked in plenty of salted butter, and they were lovely!
  • homemade chai latte, which I will drink more often. I like making chai lattes at home because I can control how much milk/tea leaves/honey go in.

Last night, Sal and I went to a place called Brickhouse Kitchen & Bar, also in downtown Charlottetown. Seline ate the steak frites, which came with beautifully-flavoured Grana Padano garlic fries and chimichurri (garlic and parsley) sauce.

I had a unique dish called the seafood pot pie, which was topped with the tastiest, most comforting biscuit crust. Buried underneath? Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, haddock, and scallops, swimming in a creamy butter sauce. This was one of my favourite meals so far.

For dessert, we shared a pecan pie. The pecan pie was topped with homemade vanilla ice cream and served with a scoop of freshly-whipped cream. Another incredible dessert.

That’s it for now! We still have plenty of places that we want to go to, and hopefully will soon be able to check ’em off our list.

Have a wonderful rest of the week.

Dreamy December

Good morning, everyone!

A beautiful walk one Saturday afternoon led to some great photos by the creek. Scarborough is so hilly and dotted with lovely ponds, streams, and bridges. Everything looks different than it did in September, since the leaves are all gone. It’s so charming and I bet it’s just as beautiful when draped in snow. The biodiversity here in Ontario is subtly different from the plants and wildlife in BC, so I always find the scenery so dreamy and enchanted.

My friend introduced me to this blog, The Girly MD, written by a medical student at the University of Toronto. She is such a role model, and I look up to her hard work and dedication. Her fresh recipes, inspiring affirmations, and honest reflections are so wonderful. In fact, her recent post about self-love motivated me to put on a face mask. Face masks feel great, and I love this tea tree oil one from The Body Shop. It is truly refreshing and deep-cleansing, and my face feels smoother and cool/tingly after I wash it off.

(I haven’t seen my hair curly for years – if I leave it in a bun for a day, lo and behold: CURLS)

Seven more days before I’m done with the Basement Life! 😎 I need windows. At the same time, though, I’m going to miss my current place and all the quiet/privacy that I get with having my own bedroom, bathroom, and “kitchen” (i.e. a sink and a table with a burner). It will be nice, though, when I soon get a table and chair that are more ergonomic since this chair is too high for the table. Or perhaps the table is too low for the chair.

The doors are now decorated! My office is the door with the paper X-ray Santa, and my coworker, Rikki, decorated hers with the gingerbread man. The Math Drop-in centre was designed and created by Erin, who painstakingly cut and taped each triangle. We love our Christmas decorations, and the students think they are pretty cool, too.

This weekend is going to be a cold one. In fact, next week will be really chilly, with a chance of snow. I can’t believe I have seven more days in Scarborough before I go back home to BC. For some reason, I feel like I’m not ready to leave yet – my students aren’t finished their course, and the semester isn’t done until mid-January because of the Ontario college strike.

On a different note, I helped my sister make a flyer for her high school Christmas Spirit Week. I made the one with the red ornaments and gold WordArt, while she painted the real Spirit Week poster below. Seline is the Project Manager in her school’s Student Government team, and I have no idea how she does it all. Did I mention that Seline is also an avid painter, photographer, pianist, and poet?

Here’s a little snapshot of her newest poem, a haiku that she published on her blog (Purely Poetic) a few days ago.

The rivers are stagnant,

and the mountains stand up tall,

in the air of Fall.

And finally, I received my approved Visa for my trip to Brisbane! In mid-February (after my dad, grandfather, and I visit Cambodia in January), I will start a 5-month semester at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Aside from the snakes, spiders, and the daunting endeavour of figuring out Australian currency, I am super excited. I started an Australia page on the blog for the trip, but so far, I only have a few lists.

I had some time to read this morning, and spent some time composing this list of links that I found and enjoyed. I liked putting this list together, and hopefully get the chance to do it more often in the future.

Things I Loved Reading Recently

Hope everyone has a beautiful, cozy weekend. I’m planning to go downtown on Sunday, which may potentially be my last time downtown for a while since I’m going back to BC in a week!

Until next time 💀🎄🍰

🎪 c i r c u s 🎪

“Cindy, what do you do in your free time?”

This question used to be easy to answer. Read. Sketch. Go shopping with friends. Cook and bake (fortunately, this one still holds true).

Throughout high school, I committed every conscious moment to competitive figure skating, whether it be daydreaming about ice dance test days, stretching at home, or scrutinizing the routines of my favourite athletes. When I wasn’t in the science lab, I was gliding, stumbling, and twirling at the ice rink next door, or working as a skating instructor. Starting university in a different province, and leaving my skates in the storage room back home, undoubtedly left a hole in my heart.

Revisiting the rink, my home away from home, for the first time after 2.5 years away

Without skating, my days felt free, yet empty. An alarm clock no longer woke me up at 6:00 AM for morning ice time, I didn’t need to discreetly create skating lesson plans during class, and I didn’t have to lug my skate bag, full of children’s report cards, to and from the rink. At the same time, I missed the commitment, the community, my coach, the thrill of competition, and most importantly, the sense of accomplishment that would surge through me after each successful landing.

My first year of university consisted of sporadic dabbling in various activities: Zumba, Pilates, yoga, even ballet. On a side note, shoutout to the University of Waterloo’s fitness and recreation program for the impressive variety of student budget-friendly activities! First of all, I probably astounded fitness instructors with my dancing skills (nonexistent) and spectacular ability to dance (three beats behind). Zumba took my breath away, literally, in three songs, and I didn’t feel challenged by Pilates or yoga.

I received a yoga teacher training certification that year, in a beautiful Waterloo studio, a 200-hour commitment over the course of ten months. I received my training in Ashtanga yoga, and have since led gentle seated yoga at the local retirement home, and explored yoga-inspired movement with children on the spectrum at KidsAbility. Thanks to my anatomy and physiology courses in Kinesiology, I became more and more confident in teaching scientifically-backed exercises and referring to anatomical terminology for advanced students. I also spent a year with the University of Waterloo’s Acro Yoga club, where people partnered up to perform circus/dance partner acrobatics.

At the same time that I was beginning to experience restlessness, I was saved by a pole dance studio. Last May, a Kitchener pole dancer and businesswoman opened a brand-new pole studio in Waterloo – and she installed aerial rigs. Complete with hoops, a few trapezes, and plenty of silks and hammocks, Brass Butterflies became a new home. The sense of community in the circus world was incredible, and I cannot even begin to name the talented, creative, kind, encouraging, and hilarious people I’ve met, both at Brass Butterflies and Cirque-ability, the Toronto studio where I trained during my co-op term.

While aerials have certainly given me the opportunity to develop strength, coordination, grace, and balance, the most important thing I’ve gleaned from joining the circus was confidence. Courage. I am no longer self-conscious about making mistakes that offer the possibility of looking silly in front of others. I’ve also developed a newfound sense of appreciation for the master circus artists, like the superhuman athletes at Cirque du Soleil.

Up until recently, you have to be born into a circus family, or attend professional circus school, to learn to fly. Now, to the delight of many normal people, recreational circus classes are popping up in most cities for adventurous workout seekers. Perhaps most people try recreational circus classes for a fun workout, but circus has truly become a home, a mentality, a way of life. Plus, it’s always fun to take a break from studying by dropping my schoolwork on the ground, literally. Note that aerials are not a workout that can be DIY-ed, even for former dancers or gymnasts, and safety should always be emphasized. A few weeks ago, paramedics were called to the studio when my classmate broke her wrist after a fall from the silks. Another time, one woman slipped out of the hoop, and later discovered at the Grand River Hospital that she had broken three bones in her neck.

Regardless, for a year, I have been completely infatuated by circus, experimenting with aerial silks, hoop, Spanish web, corde lisse, and even contortion. Understandably, starting aerials in my late teens, my chances of performing professionally are virtually next to zero. My goal, however, is to continue living my dream at dizzying new heights – by becoming a sports medicine physician for Cirque du Soleil, or perhaps Disney on Ice, another lifelong dream.


I’d love to end with this – if you have any questions about skating, yoga or yoga teacher training, or aerial arts, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a Facebook message, or an email at emailcindy@shaw.ca.

And, if you have any circus connections, sports medicine connections, or something that you think might give me a hand, well, you know what to do.

Charcoal Waffles ♡_♡

Mmmm, pizza. It’s been a while since I’ve had truly, truly amazing pizza and this one from Lamanna’s, an Italian bakery and hot table in Scarborough, did not disappoint. Smothered in provolone and mushrooms, the toppings were simple and tasty – but the crust, charred to perfection, was my favourite part.

Dessert? Large gelato with a scoop of pistachio and a scoop of hazelnut (check out that size compared to the little gelato spoon and my water bottle!) – followed by an unpictured lobster tail cream pastry. Talk about an amazing lunch!

Another day, I had lunch at Light Cafe in downtown Toronto, a chic and modern new spot in Baldwin Village.

The truffled mushroom croissant is their specialty, loaded with creamy truffle mayonnaise, sliced tomato, shiitake mushrooms, and lettuce. The croissant was toasted and tasted fresh. Salad was dressed in sesame, and had plenty of fresh tomatoes inside.

The soup was another highlight: rich, creamy, savoury Lobster Bisque!

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For dessert, I had to order the famous Light Cafe dish – black sesame waffles. There were four heart-shaped black sesame waffles, made with charcoal for that incredible colour, a little vial of rich sesame syrup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a scoop of black sesame ice cream. All of it was devoured. 😇

Waffles with ice cream is hands-down one of my favourite desserts of all time, and bonus points for special-flavoured waffles like ube (purple yam, specialty of the Philippines), black sesame, or red bean.

This is one of my favourite photographs from my trip downtown. I love how 50% of it is that urban traffic look with trees in the back, and the other half is a pretty lake with trees, and apartments in the back. The contrast is cool!

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The reason for my Toronto trip? Stock. Up. On. Muffins. Since I don’t go downtown very often, and I won’t be going often anymore since it’s starting to get chilly, I bought plenty of muffins, chopped ’em into thirds or quarters, and stashed them in the freezer. These are some of the muffins I remember:

  • blueberry streusel
  • blueberry bran
  • plain blueberry
  • blueberry scone
  • lemon poppyseed
  • carrot
  • banana chocolate chip
  • mixed berry and oat
  • cornmeal
  • lemon currant scone
  • ginger scone

There were definitely more, but that’s all for the ones I can recall. 😎 Apparently, I seem to like muffins a lot?

Excitement. In the form of a delicious plate of coconut Thai green curry with broccoli, mushrooms, onion, and carrots – and in the form of a new book. Sci-fi isn’t really my genre, but this one, RUSH by Eve Silver, had me intrigued all the way through.

A trip to the library meant I took lots more snapshots of the books that are on my to-be-read list. I can’t wait to take these out and see if they’re good.

On Mid-Autumn Festival, which is like Chinese Thanksgiving, I had an incredible meal at a buffet called Dragon’s Pearl, with friends of my grandfather. I. Love. Buffets. So what did I enjoy this time?

  • yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and gravy
  • steamed ginger and scallion fish
  • Japanese sweet egg, bean curd sushi, other assorted sushi
  • stir-fried vegetables, crispy stir-fried noodles
  • peking duck on a flatbread, with sweet and sour sauce and cucumber
  • creamy crab salad
  • crispy shrimp cakes
  • garlic mussels
  • grilled salmon and plaintains

Dessert was just as delicious.

  • tiramisu
  • green tea cake
  • sweet sesame mochi ball (favourite)
  • regular cheesecake
  • unsweetened cheesecake
  • bread pudding with golden raisins, whipped cream on top (#2 favourite)
  • English trifle
  • kiwi custard tart

Do you like buffets? I’m a sucker for variety, so I adore buffets!

One morning, I had some quiet time to myself in the office so I started designing a new poster for the Integumentary System, which is the system about human skin, hair, and nails.

Totally random note here. This is such a beautiful logo! I like graphic design a lot and want to learn more about designing lettering.

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Speaking of graphic design, I’m creating a PDF doc of Anatomy-related study tips. The entire study guide is written out now, but I’m figuring out how I’d like to design the other pages. What do you think?

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That’s pretty much it for today, guys. Hope you all have the most wonderful rest of the week. 🙂

BC, I’ve Missed You ❤

I’ve missed having big, fluffy blueberry-studded pancakes topped with the creamiest nut butter and a smattering of more fresh blueberries.

So much, in fact, that I had this breakfast three days in a row. Half a mashed banana in the batter makes quite the difference for texture and subtle sweetness, in my opinion.

I made banana pancakes another morning, bunny-style. Pretty proud of how these turned out, in terms of taste and presentation!

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Seline is a fabulous artist, and she persuaded me to do some doodling with her. We drew the same picture of a goddess character from her favourite anime, Seven Deadly Sins. My rendition is on the left, and hers is on the right.

My mom cooked Hainanese chicken rice another day, which we enjoyed with braised broccoli and carrots.

We played with the aerial silks at the Vancouver Circus School, went to the Kaleidoscope Arts Festival in Coquitlam, and looked over LaFarge Lake.

More delicious Hainanese chicken rice was devoured. This is one of my favourite versions of chicken + rice. I love Chinese bok choy, stir-fried with garlic.

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There is always a plethora of cookies and baked goods in the Wei family home. Here, I have dessert: yogurt with a blueberry-banana muffin top, lemon poppyseed muffin, cream cheese pound cake, and a coconut cookie.

Mom is looking so cute here as she cooks. Seline put a removable tattoo on my wrist, and I think it’s fun to look at.

Mom makes a great winter melon stew with krill, as well as braised chicken drumsticks with taro chunks. I adore taro. Do you like taro? Have you tried it in sweet and savoury dishes?

More dessert: I made an Earl Grey cake on my second day home, and that was super flavourful and crumbly. On the right: cream cheese pound cake turned into French toast for one breakfast, topped with a generous smear of Nutella.

This morning, my breakfast consisted of a large mug of unpictured English Breakfast tea latte, and a big plate of two scrambled eggs, baked treats, a chopped peach, and creamy honey-flavoured yogurt with flaxseeds and blueberries. Breakfast was followed by a little too much nibbling on shortbread cookies.

The family doggie turned nine a few weeks ago, but he is still full of energy. He loves the park!

Yesterday, met up with the grandparents in Burnaby, where we ordered lots of great sushi. My favourite rolls are the Aburi flame-seared ones.

This is completely out of place, as it’s from back in Waterloo – Famoso Pizzeria, where I savoured this great Cavoletti pizza with (get this!) toasted walnuts, chopped dates, honey, crispy prosciutto, brussels sprouts, and gorgonzola. For my side, I chose a salad topped with Caprese ingredients – mozzarella, tomato, and pistachio pesto.

With tiramisu and a scoop of salted caramel gelato. Yummmm. Tiramisu is amongst (among?) my top five favourite desserts.

Rouzao rice is a Taiwanese specialty that my mom cooks once in a while. It’s essentially a stew of ground pork and pork belly, spiced with soy sauce, star anise, onions, and garlic.

A couple nights ago, my family and I went to the Richmond Night Market, where Seline and I shared a carton of takoyaki (deep-fried octopus balls), and I had a bag of sesame bubble waffles and a taiyaki (Korean fish-shaped waffle filled with red bean).

Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on our vacation plans. My family is going to Salt Spring Island in two weeks, so I am very excited about all the activities we’ll be doing.

With a mug of tea, I spend some mornings designing the activities of each day. It’s such a short vacation (~3 days total), but so much to do there.

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I can’t wait to go to a public skating session. Skating is great in the summer, in my opinion.

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Yesterday, I feasted on the most delicious homemade crepe I’ve made. Here’s the super simple recipe:

Easy Nutella Banana Crepes

Serves 1

Crepe INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Topping INGREDIENTS

  • 1 banana, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp Nutella

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk together all crepe ingredients.
  2. Grease pan with butter or coconut oil. Pour batter into large pan and rotate pan in circular motion so batter coats the surface evenly.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, until bottom is cooked. Flip and cook the other side.
  4. Place crepe on a cutting board and generously spread Nutella on the entire crepe. Top with sliced banana, fold, and place on a plate. Decorate with more banana slices.

NOTE: You can place banana slices on the center third of the crepe and then fold the two sides over, or place bananas on 1/4 of the crepe and do two half-folds.

I also baked up a storm!

These lopsided round-ish treats are muffin tops that I found via Evangeline on Nutrition with a Mission, who discovered them on Athletic Avocado. I made a couple small changes here and there:

Blueberry Banana Muffin Tops

Makes 6 large, 12 small

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 packed cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used a mix of brazil nut and cashew nut butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup crushed nuts (I used a mix of roasted nuts from Costco, like cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine almond butter, egg, maple syrup, vanilla, and banana in a bowl. Whisk until well-combined. Add a splash of water or milk if needed.
  4. Add almond flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix in blueberries, and combine.
  5. Mix all topping ingredients together.
  6. Spoon batter into 6 large or 12 smaller muffin tops.
  7. Bake muffin tops for 20 minutes, or until done.

I also made these tasty lemon poppyseed muffins.

Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 tbsp water)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup flour

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease or line a standard muffin tin.
  2. Prepare flax eggs. Allow to rest.
  3. Add applesauce, lemon juice and zest, oil, almond milk, maple syrup, sugar, baking soda, salt, and whisk for one minute. Foaming will occur as the lemon juice reacts with the baking soda.
  4. Add flour, almond meal, and oats. Stir with a spoon until combined. Do not over-mix. If batter appears too thick, add more almond milk. It should be thick and not pourable. Stir in poppy seeds and whisk again.
  5. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 17-22 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool for several minutes in the pan. Remove from tins, and let cool on a cooling rack. Will keep, covered, for several days.

The muffins, and the muffin tops, were both incredible. If you have a day in the kitchen, I highly recommend giving them a shot!

Another recipe I tried, adopted heavily from Allrecipes to reduce sugar (original was 2 cups), and swap 75% of the oil for unsweetened applesauce.

German Apple Cake

Serves one 9×13, can cut into 12 medium-sized pieces

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 heaping cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I used 4 gala apples)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9×13 inch cake pan.
  2. Toss diced apples with a scoop of flour to coat (prevents sinking).
  3. Beat oil and eggs until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add cinnamon, baking soda, then salt.
  5. Add flour, and mix until combined. Fold in the apples.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, until cake tests clean.

Have a beautiful week, everyone ❤

Unchronological Order

Good morning, everyone! I hope you are all having the loveliest of mornings. This was a meal of garlicky cheddar broiled pita, scrambled tofu with peas, and sautéed zucchini with mushrooms and peppers. Eaten about a month ago, and I’m just posting this now because I’m terribly disorganized.

These treats are from Vincenzo’s (specialty European grocery store in Waterloo), and I can’t wait for my family to try them. I also bought these and took these pics back in May (whaaaat?) and I’m not sure why I’m just sharing them now.

  • caramel milk chocolate
  • Scottish all-butter shortbread
  • white chocolate cranberry shortbread
  • tiramisu cream milk chocolate
  • 99% dark chocolate for my very health-conscious grandfather
  • French pure butter cookies
  • 3 bags of Italian black truffle chips

During a FaceTime session between my mom and I, she decided it would be a good idea to DRAW a picture of me – this is what I got. :O

Another day, my friends and I went to Menchies for frozen yogurt to celebrate after our Physiology final exam.

My Menchies cup was loaded with:

  • taro frozen yogurt
  • Nutella frozen yogurt
  • Oreo frozen yogurt
  • chocolate frozen yogurt
  • cinnamon toast crunch cereal <– my favourite cereal as a kid, next to Corn Puffs and Reese’s. Multigrain Cheerios and Lucky Charms (only the charms, though, let’s be real) were so good, too. Man, I could write a whole post about different cereals. What was your favourite?
  • peanut butter crackle
  • chocolate crackle
  • cheesecake chunks
  • brownie chunks
  • Nanaimo bar
  • yogurt-covered pretzel
  • peanut butter sauce
  • peanut butter cookie dough <– I need more of this in my life
  • Oreo pieces

And 12 hours before the Menchies, we were studying on campus. I am going to miss Athena and Jasmine so much. 😦

Recently, I’ve been living off of Minimalist Baker recipes. I adapted her chocolate breakfast quinoa bowl and have been loving this breakfast with a banana + lots of peanut butter in the morning. It’s so easy to make, and is wonderful meal prep for the days that you feel like having a variation from oatmeal.

I made two batches over the last 1.5 weeks, and will buy another can of coconut milk later today so I can make another 4 servings!

Rich Chocolate Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked white quinoa
  • 1 can of coconut milk + enough water to make 2 cups total
  • sea salt
  • 3 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse quinoa well. Drain.
  2. Heat saucepan over medium heat. Add rinsed, drained quinoa. Toast for 3 minutes while stirring rapidly to dry up water.
  3. Add coconut milk and water mixture, a pinch of salt, and stir. Boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally. If it stops simmering, increase heat to medium-low. It should be slightly simmering.
  4. When the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, remove from heat and add cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Adjust flavours if needed, adding more water if you prefer a thinner texture.
  6. Eat! Don’t forget to top with chocolate, berries, more milk, or sliced banana. Nut butter is a must for me.
  7. Leftovers keep in the fridge, covered, for 2-3 days.

This morning, I realized that my milk was due to expire soon so I quickly whipped up a giant mug of hot chocolate. This mug was warm, sweet, but not too sweet, comforting, and absolutely delicious despite the hot and sunny weather. I enjoyed it with a chocolate almond croissant that I froze a few months ago. Thank you, past Cindy.

Easiest Hot Chocolate

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREPARATION

    • Whisk together the cocoa, maple, salt, and about 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and honey are dissolved. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it is hot. Stir in the vanilla and serve.
    • If you like it frothy, blend it in the blender or use a milk frother.

Cocoa powder, guys. Apparently every recipe I made this week involves that good stuff. Since I didn’t have any coconut oil, I resorted to this recipe which is entirely free of added fats. The verdict? Not my favourite. I thought it had an odd bread-y texture, which was off-putting for brownies. I wouldn’t make this again. 😦

Fat-Free Vegan Brownies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour (I used spelt)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp flax meal plus 6 tbsp water, whisked together

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Sift all the dry ingredients, including the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In another bowl mix together the maple syrup, water, flaxmeal mixture, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well mixed.
  3. Add the flour-cocoa mixture to this in 3 batches, mixing after each addition using a ladle or spatula. The batter will be thick.
  4. Prepare an 8 X 8-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment. Leave an overhang on each side of the pan so you can easily lift the brownies. Pour the batter in and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool thoroughly. Lift out the brownies using the foil overhang as handles, and cut into squares. Enjoy!

And that’s it for today! I hope y’all have the best rest of the week, and I cannot wait to share some exciting stuff with you. Seriously exciting.

Stay on your toes!

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