Allergic to… Spices?!

Super short post today because I need to work on something for work. Recently…

  • infographic created by the University of Queensland, about a med student’s typical schedule
  • forms of self-care
  • North Rustico things to do
  • extracurriculars that I will and might get involved with during Fall 2018
  • list of places that I loved in Montreal – recommendations for my coworker, who will be in Montreal for Osheaga, a music festival
  • Mom is selling a bunch of things

A Bitmoji that Seline made… of me! Wearing my usual white t-shirt, black shorts, and thinking about cake and tea.

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The other day, I made the tastiest snack – a thick slice of toast topped with peanut butter, caramelized nut chocolate bark, and blackberries. This was such a great snack.

Breakfast from the farmer’s market: focaccia topped with pecans and maple syrup. It’s the best yeast bread I’ve ever eaten.

More of the same stuff – toast, PB, banana, and a side of yogurt with blackberries and chocolate caramelized nut bark. Really delicious.

Dinner from Merchantman Restaurant – Seline and I enjoyed a great meal with steak and Caesar salad, with seafood linguine and sticky date pudding. I ate the entire sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream, all by myself. It was so memorable and tasty.

I think Seline is allergic to spices?! We ate at Himalayan Cuisine, where she had the butter chicken and I ate spinach palak paneer. We shared rice and naan. Interestingly, her throat felt itchy, swollen, and there were likely no NUTS or KIWI (her normal allergens) in the food.

For dessert, I had a mug of chai and some gulab jamun. Gulab jamun, according to Wikipedia, is a “milk-solid-based South Asian sweet, originating in the Indian subcontinent, notably popular in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as well as Myanmar.”

Another day, we played board games at Small Print Board Game Cafe (we like HIVE and WORD ON THE STREET), and had dinner at Water and Prince lobster pound. I ate a lobster roll with potato salad, and Seline had a bowl of clam chowder. I also had a cup of clam chowder, and I ate both of our biscuits. For dessert, chocolate torte cheesecake. ❤

On Saturday, we watched the Young Company dance show and ate at La Sazon de Mexico. I had the green enchiladas with vegetables, rice, and refried beans. Seline ate the cheesy chicken quesadilla.

After lunch, we had Chatime bubble tea and walked around the park. We saw Victoria Park and walked into Dead Man’s Pond, a small pond rumored to be bottomless, with spooky legends surrounding its name & spotted salamanders. Interesting tale:

Apparently, Dead Man’s Pond is the gate way to the residing place of a great, but vengeful, Indian Spirit. Sometimes, the spirit would take offense at those who invaded the solitude of his pond. Rising from the deep, he would grasp all who swam in the water or even wondered close to the shore. Pulling them down to where the denizen so the deep lurked in waiting, he would steal their very souls, before spewing the body back up to act as a warning to others to stay far from the shores of the pond.

A second version deals with treasure. Seekers had determined that pirates put into shore just at the point of land that is Victoria Park, and buried their riches in the woods. Years later the site was founded, and treasure hunters began to dig a huge hole in hopes of finding the chest of gold. When they got down so deep the sky was just a pinprick above them, the side of their hole suddenly burst and water poured in the Gulf. Storytellers state that this was the curse of the pirates working to protect the treasure.

There is another version which may be a little more believable. In the early days of settlement on the Island, the Governor threw a gala New Year’s Eve ball. A woodcutter, a poor, but honest and trustworthy man, loaded his sleigh with the best burning wood and drove it to the Governor’s house to ensure the warmth for the revelers. The Governor, grateful for the thoughtfulness of the woodcutter, gave him an extra stipend of gold as an award. Unfortunately, he was murdered and robbed for this gold and his body was thrown in Dead Man’s Pond.

Dinnertime! Seline and I ate at the Lucy Maud Culinary Institute of Holland College, where we had an amuse-bouche to start. There was a sliver of scallop, cilantro, and proscuitto.

Then, we nibbled on plenty of fresh focaccia with cultured butter. For our entrees, Seline had the chicken stuffed with spinach, and potato gratin. I ate the brown butter hollandaise arctic char with crushed hazelnuts. Both entrees were superb.

For dessert, we shared the glazed chocolate cake with ice cream, coffee soil, meringue, and toffee, and a fresh strawberry shortcake.

The next day, we went up north to Rustico. For lunch, we ate at a beachside eatery called Blue Mussel Cafe, where Seline had a haddock “burger” (really, a sandwich), with roasted potatoes on the side.

I ate the creamy bubbly seafood bake – a delightful bowl of seafood tossed in a decadent butter sauce and smothered in cheese. A fresh farmer’s salad on the side, with candied pecans and beets.

For dessert, I kind of wanted the peanut butter ice cream cake, but I’m so glad I ended up choosing the chocolate potato cake. It was served warm with ice cream and whipped cream – this was so delicious.

Few more things…

And other lunches that I’ve eaten at work. Toast with PB and banana, along with yogurt, fruit, and trail mix, are my go-to’s. Another day, I ate a lobster quiche with microwaved sautéed veggies.

And that’s it for today!

Have a beautiful rest of the day. 🙂

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!

Black Garlic Dessert Bread?!

Good morning, everyone! Today’s a crazy rainy day, and the next few days in Brisbane aren’t looking much better. It’s 24 degrees, and just pouring. We have thunderstorms planned for the next few days – until next Thursday. What a disappointment!

Anyways, this week was my first week of school, and I loved it. Here you can see the schedule that I had for the first week. I had to dip out of a lot of yoga/fitness classes because I didn’t feel like going. Getting there is always half the battle! And, unfortunately, I sometimes lose that battle.Schedule (13)In light of all the events that have happened over the last couple of weeks over in the US, this tweet really stood out to me. What powerful words. I’ve been following the incredibly articulate, thoughtful, patriotic, and compassionate students of Stoneman Douglas High School since the event, and every day I am impressed by the momentum they’ve gained. What an incredible group of young leaders.

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Here are some of my class notes! I am taking four courses this semester, and they are:

  1. BIOL3009: Arthropods and Human Health
  2. SOCY2179: Sex, Drugs, and Disease
  3. SWSP2211: Individual Development and Health Care
  4. PSYC3132: Health Psychology

I don’t know if I have a favourite yet, because they all differ from each other quite a bit. I am trying to link the courses together as I work through the material. For instance, in Individual Development (a Sociology course), we discuss marginalized populations and how people in third-world countries are susceptible to diseases such as malaria. Then, in my Arthropods course, we discuss the mechanisms behind malaria, and how exactly it is transmitted.

I am getting a personal trainer! I felt that it was more “worth it” to get a 10-class personal training class rather than a fitness pass. Starting Tuesday, I’ll be working with a lovely woman called Amy to meet some fitness goals. On the right side, you’ll see my academic to-do list. I’ve only been in school for a week and there’s already plenty to be done! I love it.

I don’t have much stuff in my room, so it isn’t too hard to keep it tidy.

L: Here is one of my lecture classrooms. I really like it because it isn’t extraordinarily big. The entire classroom will seat about forty students, so I think that’s just right.

R: Toowong Village is the local mall. I love this place!

Some eats:

  • broccoli, cauliflower rice, squash, tomatoes, red pepper, cheddar and gruyere, 1 fried egg, 4 pieces fried halloumi

And again:

  • cauliflower rice, squash, 6 pieces fried halloumi

Some things that I really want to make include crepes with brie, apple, and turkey (or flatbreads, using the same ingredients), stuffed peppers, or spaghetti squash with veggies and cheese.

I did end up making something like that, using a hearty whole grain bun from Baker’s Delight, creamy brie, and some sliced turkey.

  • 1 medium cucumber, truffle dip, smoked salmon dip
  • 1 whole wheat grain bun, 4 medium slices turkey, 1/2 triangle of brie

Deliciousness – one for dessert, and one for breakfast. I recently discovered how tasty it is to crumble up a LARABAR and serve it on yogurt. Love this!

  • plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 peanut butter LARABAR, 2 squares nougat chocolate
  • plain Greek yogurt, 2 peaches, 1/2 peanut butter LARABAR

One afternoon, I visited a restaurant called Gauge. When I looked at the menu previously, I was 99% sure that I wanted the cavatelli, cashew cream, zucchini, black garlic dish. However, upon speaking to one of the kind waitresses, who recommended the pan-fried mahi-mahi with caramelized cream, tomato, and dill, I changed my mind. This was good, but not worth $32. I was also surprised by the very long wait (surprising, because I normally dine alone so food comes to me quite quickly) of approximately 40 minutes and the little serving size. Was expecting… a little more for $32 – at least some bread or greens on the side.

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For dessert, I had a very unique dish: the black garlic bread with brown butter, burnt vanilla. It sounds weird. It was weird. I’ll try my best to describe this:

  • First of all, I’ve never tasted ANYTHING quite like this. It was like the time that I tried mushroom ice cream at the Sunshine Coast – I didn’t have any expectations, but was full of curiosity.
  • This had the texture of banana bread, but a little less ‘crumbly’. As if it were a banana bread crossed with a yeast bread. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to crumble this between my fingers – I’d have to tear it. Perhaps the texture was like a banana bread made with oil rather than butter.
  • The flavour was sweet, but not overwhelmingly sweet. Of course, I had the rich brown butter on the side. The cake itself was a bit like a toffee or date cake in flavour, with rich notes of garlic.
  • The garlic flavour didn’t really shine through until after each bite, when you get a garlicky aftertaste. Black garlic, to me, tastes just like regular garlic.
  • Definitely an interesting experience. Do I regret ordering it? Not at all. I finished every crumb on the plate, and kind of wanted more. But would I order it next time? No.

I had the opportunity to attend a cool convention called the Mind Body Spirit convention, where there were hundreds of vendors selling things like essential oils, yoga mats, yoga attire, turmeric, vegan treats, and so much more. I saw lots of unique things like pumpkin seed meal, and vegan coconut-cashew ice cream (which I got a delicious sample of). It was a lovely experience, though most of the products were too expensive. Yoga mat for $150? No… I’ll stick to my $5 mat, thank you.

Brisbane is so lovely. Every time I come to the South Bank and West End area, I am bewildered by the beautiful buildings and sunshine. It’s so nice to live near a river.

Another day, another yogurt snack. I love these! This time, it was a chopped pear on Greek yogurt with a crumbled peanut butter LARABAR.

Also, I just realized later this week we’ll be in March. WHAT!?

For dinner one day, I went to A Night in India (they do takeout as well, but I’m so glad I didn’t do takeout because I wouldn’t have had the DESSERT), where I devoured a bowl of palak paneer. Palak paneer is hands-down my favourite Indian dish, ever. I love it. The spices, the creamy-but-firm cheese, the rich sauce and the spinach. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life! Alongside – some saffron rice and a big garlic and cheese naan. This dinner was one of the highlights of my week.

Dessert, of course, was just as stunning. Get this, my friends: a chocolate haven cake on a sizzling pan (literally, the chocolate was sizzling). Oozing with milk chocolate from TWO layers, which became warm and gooey on the sizzling pan, and topped with dark chocolate ganache. Vanilla bean ice cream on the side. As I was eating this, I was so mindful to savour every bite, and I’m pretty sure I went to heaven?! This was unbelievable. Easily one of the top three desserts I have ever eaten. It was amazing, and words just don’t do it justice.

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Finally, a huge spider web I saw (!) and my new, updated class schedule. This is the one I’ll be sticking to, from now on, because it includes lectures and tutorials.

That is… pretty much it for today, friends ❤ I hope you all have a lovely, lovely rest of the week.

Goodbye, Waterloo

On Wednesday (3 days ago), I flew out of Toronto and came back home to BC.

My last few meals in Ontario were absolutely delicious.

Good times were spent with my friends (this is Kianna, my friend from aerial silks) – and we had a great lunch at Solé Seafood Bar.

Complimentary bread, tomato and blue cheese noodles, spinach and feta flatbread – both of which I shared with my friend Lara. Kianna had the shrimp scampi.

For dessert, we had a dark chocolate tart with creme fraiche and berry coulis.

One day, I cooked Gordon Ramsay scrambled eggs, which turned out irresistibly creamy. They did take a little extra effort to make, and I prefer my spinach + cheddar eggs.

Meal plans were created:

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I liked my sweet potato fries, salmon, with broccoli couscous. The garlic aioli was my favourite part.

Pancakes are always a dreamy breakfast. Chopped prunes on top!

Almond Flour Pancakes

Serves 6 pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk dry ingredients together.
  2. Beat together liquid ingredients. Whisk wet into dry.
  3. Allow batter to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat up pan to medium-high. Cook pancakes until tops are bubbly, edges are dry, and bottoms golden brown. Flip over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Serve hot with butter.

Have a lovely rest of the day, friends!

2B or not 2B

My phone lock screen was my school schedule, but it’s been ten weeks so I don’t think I should be using the schedule anymore. My memory isn’t that bad… I hope. This semester, my 2B semester, is pretty insane.

New wallpaper = Mom’s buttered toast.

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A new ice cream truck opened in Uptown Waterloo (ice cream in uptown FINALLY!), so I had to stop by to try some! I had a scoop of Grammy’s Cupboard (vanilla with cookie dough, peanut butter cups, and brownie chunks – OMFG I know), and one scoop of chocolate caramel swirl with cashews. This tasted amazing, was a bit on the sweeter side, but I don’t think I would buy it again, considering the 2 half-scoops (= 1 full) was $5.00.

 

Here’s what it looks like! The person who served me was very gracious and kind.

 

Before the hearty ice cream, I had a glorious meal at Princess Cafe. The sandwich was my all-time favourite: grilled cheese with harvarti, goat cheese, walnuts, rosemary butter, and honey. The soup of the day was vegan tomato ale, which I was extremely skeptical about, but it tasted incredible. I am officially a fan of tomato soup! I enjoyed every drop of the soup and savoured every bite of the rich, crispy, cheesy, crusty sandwich.

 

For breakfast (don’t ask me why I am moving in reverse chronological order) – I enjoyed a bowl of plain oatmeal topped with a banana and tons of peanut butter. Yes, there is more underneath the massive scoop. Hemp hearts and cinnamon also made an appearance.

 

Then, the oats became granola, the bowl became a jar, and my nice messy desk at home became the bus stop bench on a sunny day. That sounded kind of poetic… or maybe I just have very low standards for poetry. This was so yummy – PB on anything!

 

Jars, because they save my lazy butt from washing dishes 😉

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So colourful! The natural lighting at the window makes for some lovely photos of my lunch and snacks. I wish I could say that I made those falafel, but I didn’t – everything else is homemade!

 

This frittata was also homemade, and I can’t wait to make another one. Eggs, spinach, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and garlic goat cheese came together to make a tasty breakfast that I enjoyed with a nectarine and some yogurt with granola.

 

I’m cleaning out my room and found these pictures that I drew two years ago! Drawing is so much fun. I used to love drawing so much, but now have no time to draw waste all my time doing other things.

 

Have an incredible week, friends!

It’s Oak-y

Aren’t these oak tree leaf-shaped sticky notes the cutest? I found them at Hanji, a Korean stationery/card/gift store on Queen Street West in Toronto. I love them!

My life recently has consisted of lots of oatmeal and bananas. I think my body is 20% oatmeal. I love adding a side of yogurt to my oatmeal to add a boost of protein and some chilled creaminess to the warm, sticky oats.

With overripe bananas I made this recipe! It came out of the oven beautifully puffed, and then sank down. Fortunately, the taste is still on point.

Simple Oat Banana Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium overripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup cashew butter (or any other nut/seed butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
  • splash water or milk (dairy milk or nut milk)
  • chocolate chips, coconut, nuts/seeds, or any other filler or toppings you like

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a bread pan with parchment paper, so there is some overhang for easy removal.
  2. Place all ingredients in blender and blend at medium-high speed, until everything is broken down. Fold in chocolate chips or any other filler you’d like. I left mine plain this time.
  3. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Spread out, and top with more toppings if desired.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
  5. Remove when the loaf is completely cool. Store in an airtight container for 5 days, or freeze.

NOTE: I can’t wait to try this recipe soon using peanut butter and swirling in some jam! This recipe is sweetened using only the two bananas. If you like, add 1/4 cup honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, or coconut sugar to the blender for additional sweetness. If you do not have a blender or food processor, you can also whisk this by hand, using 1/2 cup of packed oat flour.


Another day, I enjoyed leftovers of the trout coulibiac from the Tempered Room.

Check out my spring/summer schedule, friends! I can’t wait to be headed back to school, even though I love working.

Schedule 2

On Saturday night, I went to Fresh on Spadina for a healthy salad bowl dinner. This bowl was a baby size, but was still massive and incredibly filling. I also had this purple smoothie made with banana, coconut milk, blueberries, and apple. The tempeh on this salad was super soft, and I loved the sweet potato and “3*6*9” dressing made with tahini, maple syrup, and lemon juice.

I wish I had more to show/tell you today, but that’s it!

Have a glorious rest of the week 🙂