Purple Waffle

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yum! What could make a better breakfast?

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

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

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

 

Cozy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Stew

Absolutely delicious recipe for you guys today!

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This brilliant recipe was created by Angela at Oh She Glows, with some modifications made to suit what I had in the fridge. Doesn’t this look amazing?

It tasted equally yummy.

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Angela served hers with rice, but I loved mine with quinoa, then some brown rice after I ran out of quinoa. I subbed baby spinach for the kale and omitted the turmeric. You guys are going to love this recipe!

Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato, and Red Lentil Stew

Adopted from Oh She Glows

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

For the stew:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups/280 g)
  • 3 to 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups (400 g) peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash
  • 1 large sweet potato (450 g), peeled and diced (2 1/2 cups/340 g)
  • 3 cups (750 mL) low-sodium chicken broth: veggie broth works too
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Baby spinach

Optional accompaniments:

  • Cooked rice
  • Garlic powder and chili powder

Directions:

  1. To a large pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is softened.
  2. Add the squash and sweet potato and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt and continue sautéing for a few minutes longer.
  3. Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with juices), coconut milk, lentils, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  4. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, stir again, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash and potato are fork-tender. Reduce the heat if necessary. Adjust the other seasonings if desired.
  5. Stir in the spinach, and cook for another couple minutes until the greens are wilted.
  6. Scoop some cooked rice onto the bottom of a bowl and then ladle the stew overtop. Garnish with minced cilantro or parsley and a good dusting of garlic and chili powder, if desired.
  7. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, and they freeze beautifully too.

Who says you need grains with stew? This creamy, smoky stew made a lovely accompaniment to avocado toast for a light lunch (which was most certainly followed by a big dessert). 🙂

I can’t think of a better holiday meal to make before we spring into a weekend of festive holiday feasts. Try this!

I hope you enjoy 🙂

Lately

As I write this, I am chomping down on the BEST turkey sandwich I’ve ever had. I’m at Princess Cafe for the first time since last spring, and I’m devouring an incredible grilled cheese on Bavarian multigrain bread, filled with pesto, fresh mozzarella, smoked turkey, and grilled eggplant. Oh my goodness.

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I wasn’t intending to come to Princess Cafe because the soup of the day is minestrone, which I am not a huge fan of. But when I heard about the sandwich on Twitter, I knew I had to come after my Sports Psychology class ended at 12:30. So here I am, devouring a  crispy, chewing, nutty, flavourful turkey sandwich stuffed with some of the creamiest mozzarella cheese I’ve ever tasted. Mmmm! A couple bites left but I don’t want this sandwich to end!

Can never go wrong with coconut cream pie, either. I really need to find a recipe for this! Any suggestions?

Things I found on the Internet. I love the elephant-mountain ocean photo. Pictures like that always amaze me, because there’s usually so much more to anything than I can imagine. And the “stay calm” yoga photo… perfect.

One of my favourite quick and healthy comfort meal dinners – sweet potato peanut stew. This stew is made with peanut butter, broth, spinach, and sprinkled with peanuts. I enjoyed this over some nutty wild rice donated from Arsalan (thanks!). It has so much flavour from cumin, garlic, ginger, and caramelized onions.

Mom’s meals lately have been amazing! I love how much variety she always provides. Plus, her meals are super colourful. I haven’t purchased peppers for a while. Also, that steamed fish is totally drool-worthy!

I am part of Mission Nutrition, one of the University of Waterloo’s Peer Health Education teams. We have a couple of teams, like Burst Your Bubble (mental health), Leave the Pack Behind (helping smokers quit) and Hot and Spicy (sexual health). All of the teams are pretty awesome, but I’m biased when I say that I absolutely love being in Mission Nutrition! We took these whiteboard headshots on Monday to promote our Facebook page and to encourage people to follow Mission Nutrition on social media.

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More Mom Meals, in the form of tacos, salad, soup, and a stir-fry with a random hard-boiled egg. This makes me want Mexican food!

Check out these recipes from the Pulses of Canada cookbook. I love cooking with beans because of how simple it is, and these recipes look like a breeze to make and super delicious-o.

Sweet potato stew was reheated another day with some butternut squash soup from Sobeys and a piece of pita bread. This dinner was actually incredibly filling! I adore having dinners with multiple parts. The crunch from the peanuts is my favourite part, and I can’t wait to have this meal again tomorrow (sans soup because I drank the last of it today).

I believe that is it for today! Tomorrow I’m missing a day of classes to go to Toronto (Leaside/Bayview area) to do an interview at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences clinic. I hope that goes well – it would be such a dream to work as a clinical researcher there. 🙂

Off to wash my hair and then doze off. Good night!

 

 

The Biggest Quiche Failure + May and June Schedule

I tried to make a quiche with an almond crust the other day. That didn’t turn out too well, but the filling was scrumptious with wilted arugula, mushrooms, and creamy garlic-herb goat cheese. So basically I had frittata with smooshed almond meal crust on the side. Don’t you just love having mushy garlicky almond crust with your eggs?

#actuallynotthatbad

This quick and easy dinner was a success! I mixed leftover cubed squash with beans, corn, mushrooms, and scallions before baking it with cheddar on top. Served with avocado.

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Whipped banana oatmeal with fresh and amazing blackberries and hearty granola.

Enchiladas never get old to me! This was made with green tomatillo sauce, sweet potatoes, and lots of black beans and old cheddar.

A random stuffed squash with quinoa stir-fry. Weird, I know… but delicious! Have you ever had stuffed squash? I made this acorn squash with butter, spinach, goat cheese, and parmesan. It was super yummy.

Speaking of super yummy, you guys need to give butternut squash mac and cheese a try. This dish was creamy, cheesy, and satisfied by craving for warm comfort food.

Leftovers the next day (yup I ate the whole dish in two servings).

And some tofu curry with eggplant, peppers, spinach, and cashews. Lime wedges, too, which I’m glad I used because they went black and moldy the next day.

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Believe it. More enchiladas. More beans.

And again. Sorry, it was finals week. 😉

Simple oatmeal with a scattering of chocolate chips and crunchy granola. Chopped pear cooked inside.

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A huge batch of granola was made and devoured while FaceTiming Grandma, who lived in the Wei home for a couple weeks after her surgery. Now Grandma’s feeling a lot better and moved from Coquitlam back to her apartment in Burnaby. But it was nice to FaceTime her every day!

Ooey, gooey brie and goat cheese vegetable sandwich with heaps of kale pesto.

Repeat dinner. I promise this is the last of beans you’ll see.

Pink raspberry oats with crushed sunbutter cookie dough ball and cashews.

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Oh sorry, I lied about the beans. THIS is the last you’ll see of them. I swear. Yes, I made about 3 batches of enchiladas in the last month. Oh my.

This dinner looks like one of those “divide your plate like this” pictures. The fish was so freaking good with butter, cayenne, paprika, and garlic. Roasted veggies and rice with a spoonful of Madhulika’s (roommate) Israeli couscous.

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Banana oatmeal with a hearty square of coconut flour banana bread with chocolate chips. See my last post for the recipe!

Microwaved a square of lasagna one night (thawed overnight in the freezer) with some wilted spinach. Who’s got time to cook wash a sink full of dishes? Well, I kind of do. But not during finals week.

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You’re not seeing double and I swear this was a different day 🙂 Different plate, same sandwich. Brie, get in my mouth ASAP.

Another day I made a dish full of quinoa vegetable “mac and cheese”. Loaded with carrots and broccoli, this warming supper was truly delicious and mostly guilt-free. Because, quinoa.

Now that finals are over, I’ve been doing lots of volunteering! Here’s the schedule:

  • MONDAY: 8:00 to 11:00 doing Patient Registration at the Grand River Hospital, afternoon at Waterloo Sports Medicine Physiotherapy (I gave two ultrasounds on my first day – it was super fun!)
  • TUESDAY: Morning at Waterloo Sports Medicine Physiotherapy
  • WEDNESDAY: Morning as a fitness assistant at Parkwood Senior Home, afternoon meeting with Peer Health Education team
  • THURSDAY: Morning at KidsAbility School for autistic children
  • FRIDAY: Morning as a fitness assistant at Parkwood Senior Home
  • Weekends are spent either at Community of Hearts Yoga for Yoga Teacher Training OR relaxing (eat + groceries + eat + yoga + eat).

Soon I will have aerial silks lessons on Thursday evenings! I couldn’t be more excited to get back on the silks after a whole year away. And… acro yoga twice a week! MY FAVOURITE.

Also see how I mostly just volunteer in the mornings? That’s because I like to cook, nap, cook, then do yoga in the afternoons. And eat, of course. 😉

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I put the mat outside my room so I can work on some poses! The side crow is my new challenge. Also, check out my school’s fitness schedule. Isn’t it wonderful!? I can’t wait to try some of the new classes.

That’s it for today…

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What do you think of these?

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Okie, that’s really it. Have a great afternoon, everyone!

10 Ways Food Blogging Ruined My Life

 Welcome to my first post of 2016…
  • Becoming a foodie abolished my inability to realize that I will never be a perfect eater, exerciser, or writer. I’m never going to throw my hair into a perfect messy bun and complete a 5-mile run before dawn, then come home for an organic kale-goji-maca-spirulina (what even IS spirulina?) smoothie. I will never master the art of photography or write flawless blog posts. And that’s okay. It’s fine if I feel sore one day and skip a workout. It’s not a problem if I “accidentally” have two extra scoops of nut butter after my morning oatmeal (this happens regularly!). Food-blogging has helped me understand that the most I can do is my best, and that I should always shoot for the moon knowing that I will land among the stars if I miss.

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Quinoa tossed with roasted zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and white cheddar

 

  • It took away all of my laziness and lack of creativity – because I love playing with food. Honestly, oatmeal artwork seems like a pretty trivial and ridiculous hobby, but it’s so therapeutic. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of devouring a big bowl that’s been decorated in a way that makes you happy. I’ve mentioned this before, but a bowl of cooked rolled oats is essentially a blank canvas for any ingredient you wish: you can let your imagination run wild with oatmeal and do some very, very innovative designs on those oats.

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Green smoothie bowl made with one frozen banana, 2 tbsp peanut butter, almond milk, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, pinch of salt, some cinnamon, and lots of spinach – topped with berries and crushed coconut cashews

 

  • It smashed my fear of travelling alone, or doing things by myself. Because food is the motivation for 99% of my adventures (no kidding here, I went to Paris solely for the croissants), I know that I will never get tired, afraid, or worried along the way. Food is always on my mind and inspires me to be brave and walk just a little further. The craziest thing I’ve ever done for food was probably ride the Metro for two hours in Quebec last summer, then walk for a good half hour just for the shredded duck and fig jam sandwich in Montreal. Totally worth it.

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Whole Foods hot bar buffet lunch: favourites included the chicken tomato stew, smoked mozzarella pasta salad, and mashed yams

 

  • Becoming a foodie took away any shyness and anxiety I had previously, towards interacting with people my age. Knowing about food and being able to talk about it made me a much more outgoing person. Now, when I meet new people, it’s so easy to strike up a conversation and keep it going, especially if one of us has food involved. I just have so, so much to say about food!

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Chocolate-banana oatmeal with crumbled hazelnut chocolate muffin, blackberries, and sunflower butter with crushed coconut cashews

 

  • It vanquished my ability to criticize other people or judge them without knowing them. How can I point out other people’s weaknesses without first analyzing my own? Reading about the lives of other food bloggers has really opened my eyes about countless other factors in their lives: most of the time, it’s not all about food. I’ve learned so much about their underlying fears and problems, and I can relate to so many of them. Now, it’s hard for me to make a negative pre-assessment of someone without understanding their past or celebrating their strengths at the same time.

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Tea time at Aunt Mimi’s: Whole Foods cheesecake, Whole Foods apricot and blueberry coffee cake, with some dark roast coffee with brown sugar and whole milk

 

  • It completely destroyed any desire I had to be average, “okay”, or normal. Why should you be mediocre when you can be innovative? Inspiring?  Encouraging? Original? Food blogging, cooking and baking, and even talking about food have helped me discover my “voice” and passion for health.
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Get-together at family friend’s house: stir-fried vegetables with shrimp, eggs with radish, tofu, pan-fried fish

 

  • It shut down all my frustration and inability to cope with “uh-oh” situations. There isn’t much you can do when the beautifully-ripened avocado turns out to have mushy brown flesh, when you find bugs in your spinach, or when your sister accidentally gobbles up the famous Parisian macaron you were planning to enjoy. Now, I’m realizing these little things are really not the big deal I hyped them up to be at the time. These little things just aren’t worth stressing over.

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Get-together with Dad’s coworkers and their families: fruit, asparagus + scallops, eggs + leeks, stir-fried udon and vegetables, cantaloupe, and purple yam + taro tapioca soup with coconut milk for dessert

 

  • It screwed up any dread or anxiety I felt before addressing adults. Speaking to my elders has always been a forte, but I’ve refined this skill so much that I actually look forward to interviews and answering tricky questions. When I used to volunteer at the Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Coquitlam, it was terrifying to think that I had to spend several hours a week engaging in conversation with sick and injured people aged 70 and above, many with physical and cognitive disabilities. The challenging thing was knowing that I shouldn’t talk to them about clothing (they have to wear hospital gowns), their significant others (may or may not still be with them), their illness or injury (no one wants to talk about this!), or their hospital room (many of them were bitter about their rooms and roommates). Initially, I felt like there was absolutely nothing to chat about with these elderly patients – until I realized that most of them loved sharing stories about their hometowns and the food they enjoyed there. Sometimes, patients told me about their beloved recipes, childhood meals – which, gosh, are SO different from today’s salmon-and-quinoa dinner – cooking hacks, and more. One time, a lady called Maria from Greece described how she made tzatziki based on her grandmother’s recipe. The secrets include a pinch of white pepper and salting and wringing out the grated cucumber to prevent it from diluting the yogurt.

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Curry-yogurt chicken drumstick, quinoa with roasted sweet potato, roasted broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and zucchini // vegan pumpkin spice latte chocolate pudding cake with maple yogurt and crushed coconut cashews

 

  • It drained any chances I had of missing out on getting to know countless supportive and inspirational people, many of whom are dietitians-to-be or share my passion for food. The network of foodies, online and offline, is truly amazing. I wasn’t intending on naming some of them, but now I feel like sharing their wonderful blogs with you guys – please do check out some of my absolute favourite people on the Internet: the supportive and hilarious Stephanie from Mindful Eats and Treats, the sweet, down-to-earth domestic goddess Kate of The Domestikated Life, the sophisticated and talented photographer Jack of Jack’s Balancing Act, the crazy-creative and thoughtful Cassie at SuperFitBabe, and Cora of My Little Tablespoon, who is not only a brilliant writer, but also a recipe queen. You guys inspire me with each and every blog post, and I know that I will always be in store for a treat whenever you publish something new. Thank you for that.

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Carrot cake oatmeal with mashed banana, chia and flax, topped with crumbled banana almond muffin and sunflower butter

 

  • It destroyed my fear of food. Not much else needs to be said here.

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Tofu fried rice with vegetables // spinach and ricotta ravioli with roasted red pepper and parmesan

 

I know that there might be some negative habits and behaviours involved with being a healthy food blogger, but for the most part, they certainly don’t. In fact, the compassionate comments and words of encouragement far outweigh the dark side of being a foodie! Blogging about food and life has encouraged me to gradually mature into the well-rounded and accomplished adult I hope to become, armed with all the skills and assets I need to tackle personal and professional situations in the future.

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Whole wheat pita topped with sweet potato slices, spinach scrambled eggs, goat cheese, and sweet potato aioli // quinoa with butternut squash and tomato sauce, pine nuts, veggies

 

Cheers to the delicious life: a life filled with friendship, laughter, cake, cheese and chocolate.

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Classic Mom dinner: lotus root patties, taro and chicken stew, stir-fried vegetables with sesame

 

50 Things I Learned from my Roommate

What comes with a full heart and a full stomach?

An empty wallet.

Haha. That’s my idea of a joke – and yes, my jokes are always lame and fail to make any sense. But in my defense, it’s partially true! The first week of my winter break, back home in BC, has been nothing less than indulgent, relaxing, and full of laughter and fun moments with family and friends. But a constantly-exploding belly and lots of extra sleep are making me into one happy girl! I’ve done quite a few things on my winter to-do list already, which is satisfying. Well, I’ve done the exciting things. Not the boring ones.

How is your winter holiday so far? Have you done anything memorable with friends and family?

Before I move on to the epic compilation of things my roommate and her boyfriend taught me in the past four months, I wanted to tell you a teeny, kind-of-pointless story about what I did today.

My morning started with a spinach-banana-peanut butter-cocoa-date smoothie, a chickpea blondie, and a relaxing hot yoga class. Then, I met up with my good friends Jia (who my mom calls “Chia”) and Hollie. We’ve known each other for years and were thrilled to reunite and spend the afternoon together. Jia studies English in UBC’s arts program, and Hollie is in Science with a scholarship to SFU. We met up before noon and zipped downtown for some lunch, after a 15-minute walk down Vancouver’s sketchiest street.

The menu at Railtown Café is quite elaborate, at least in my opinion. 🙂 I had a massive internal debate about whether I should order the sandwich or the salad, but ended up with a build-your-own salad which you’ll see in a couple scrolls. Check out their menu and all those delectable salad combinations and sandwich ideas!

By the way, I took photos on my normal camera but was too lazy to upload them for the post, hence the not-so-nice photos below. I snapped these with my phone in a rush to dig in, but anyways, behold the iPhone photos.

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Lesson of the day: it’s a bad idea to order a big drink, a squash-based soup, and a salad topped with about 79 different things.

I had the roasted winter vegetable soup with pumpkin seeds on top, as well as a dark hot chocolate that tasted just like regular hot chocolate. It was a little powdery and grainy in the end, so I wouldn’t recommend the drink. My salad was so deluxe and I’ll write down some of the toppings below:

  • Arugula base
  • Sliced grilled chicken breast – was debating about getting the poached salmon, but their chicken looked really juicy and yummy 🙂
  • Sliced avocado
  • Beets
  • Roasted yams
  • Pesto chickpeas
  • Pesto mozzarella slices
  • Feta cheese
  • Squash chips (the BEST part!)
  • Toasted pumpkin seed vinaigrette

Check out their menu for a ton of salad topping ideas: http://railtowncafe.ca/see-our-menu/

YUM. A lovely combination of freshness, saltiness, texture, acidity, richness, sweetness, and bitterness. I told my friends that I wanted to eat this salad every day for the rest of my life.

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For dessert, I ordered a peanut butter crunch bar and a chocolate-hazelnut muffin. Both were fantastic and we split them mostly 3 ways.

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The muffin was soft, very cinnamon-y, and had great flavor from the hazelnuts. The exterior was perfectly crisp and I would definitely order this tender, delicious muffin again. The peanut butter crunch bar had four distinct layers and was a truly amazing dessert. This peanut butter masterpiece was composed of:

  1. Chewy peanut butter cookie with real peanut chunks embedded throughout (bottom)
  2. Crispy chocolate layer, like a thinner, crispier Rice Crispy with no rice flavor
  3. Peanut butter custard that was not too sweet nor salty
  4. Chocolate ganache, most likely milk chocolate (top)

Peanut butter haters, this thing will convert you.

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We talked lots about our “new” lives in university, and Jia’s busy second year. I was also so happy to hear that my friends are secret readers of the blog 😉 We had some fun and memorable conversations, including this one:

Me: So I have a house-mate. We share a bathroom and kitchen but have our own rooms. She graduated and is now working in the area, so she’s a little older, a LOT more mature, and super nice.

Hollie: Oh yeah! I saw that on your blog.

Jia: She made a pumpkin pie! (she was referring to THIS pumpkin pie, that they made from scratch around Thanksgiving).

Hollie: You’re so lucky. That’s awesome.

And she is absolutely right. 🙂 Madhulika and her boyfriend Arsalan are wonderful and wise people with lots of tricks and tips and life hacks. Here we go!


One more thing before the ultimate list – check this out. My friend shared it on Facebook and I have to agree with quite a few of these points. What do you think?

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Anyways, here is the list:

  1. Drink water slowly. Take little sips as you work to increase absorption.
  2. Make a Linkedin account to network with people as soon as possible.
  3. Broil open-faced sandwiches for melty, bubbly cheese
  4. Spread peanut butter with a spoon and eat it on a napkin to save dishes.
  5. Eat baked salmon with a little pad of butter on top
  6. Paprika and cajun spices work with anything!
  7. Make a big lasagna and freeze individual-sized portions to reheat whenever you need a quick meal
  8. While you’re at it, don’t add too much tomato sauce, or it might overpower the pasta, cheese, and vegetables
  9. Adding some chicken broth to ground chicken makes it nice and saucy
  10. Ground chicken works as a perfect sub for ground beef, for a fraction of the fat and just as much flavour
  11. Goat cheese works with anything. Sandwiches, salads, lasagna – whatever it is, goat cheese can be crumbled on top for maximum deliciousness.
  12. Speaking of goat cheese, you can never have enough. Ever.
  13. Always check the weather before you go out – it can be a beautiful sunny day that’s freezing cold!
  14. Princess Cafe can, and absolutely should, be a weekly thing. Get the curried tuna. And the soup. And the bean salad.
  15. Turn off the lights to conserve energy if you aren’t using them
  16. If you realize you’re full in the middle of your meal, stop, wrap up the leftover food, and save it for another meal rather than stuffing yourself and feeling uncomfortable afterwards
  17. Don’t leave things lying around – watches, cameras, pencil boxes – keep them safe in your room: I’m SO bad with this and always leave little things on the counter
  18. Cutting and chopping veggies ahead of time will save time on busy weekdays
  19. Butternut squash soup is the most filling thing ever
  20. A pinch of cayenne adds zest to anything
  21. The bigger and sharper your knife, the more you’ll enjoy chopping veggies
  22. Marinate and bake chicken breast chunks in rose pasta sauce as a low-sugar substitute for barbecue sauce
  23. Morning showers are really refreshing!
  24. The vegetable water left over from cooking vegetables is actually delicious: carrots make it a little sweet!
  25. Potatoes take freaking forever. Plan ahead!
  26. Washing fluffy towels with your best pants is a bad idea. Lint overload!
  27. When adding spices to food, ALWAYS pour a little palmful of the spice into one palm and use fingers from the other hand to pinch and sprinkle. Then taste as you go!
  28. Check your freezer to make sure you aren’t forgetting about any food you stored in there previously 🙂
  29. Boil sweet potatoes before roasting them. You can check to see when they are ready by sticking a fork inside – if the potato chunk slides down by gravity, you’re ready to bake!
  30. Make a big batch of veggies, chicken, and rice for lots of meals. You’ll be thankful on busy afternoons!
  31. Roast all kinds of squash with the cut side down. That way, the flesh is enclosed and it will steam itself and cook faster
  32. Buy good-quality rainboots and use them for five years rather than picking up a cheaper but non-waterproof pair.
  33. Splurge on a good, high-quality blender.
  34. Don’t try to balance a mixing board on a cutting board – if it falls and knocks over a glass (not your own!) that’s gonna shatter on the ground… that’s bad. Trust me, I know this one from experience.
  35. Add something spicy to mac and cheese! Cayenne or jalapeños are cool… well, never mind, they’re actually hot. Put breadcrumbs on top and bake it.
  36. Speaking of mac and cheese, you don’t even need butter to make a roux. Just cook a mixture of flour and milk before adding cheddar!
  37. There are two types of pumpkins: carving pumpkins and pie pumpkins. The two types of pumpkins can both be used for pie. If you have a carving pumpkin, remember that it is more watery and will require extra cooking time (also, they’re massive).
  38. It’s so much more fun to work out with EARPHONES and music!
  39. If you deal with raw meat or fish, spray down the counter surface afterwards just to be safe.
  40. Make sandwiches on a paper towel so you don’t have to wash another plate
  41. Add coconut milk at the very end of cooking something because coconut flavour will disappear with too much heat. Basically, add some coconut milk when making curries, then add the majority of it at the very end.
  42. Cook spices with a little oil for more flavour
  43. Everything is good with butter, pecans, butternut, and garlic
  44. Wash your dishes while cooking, waiting for things to boil, etc. It makes time go by faster and saves dishwashing time and space afterwards!
  45. Winter boots are so important. Buy ones with good traction!
  46. Do not dump a bunch of pepper on your food.
  47. Wear oven mitts all the time. And don’t touch boiling hot casserole dishes that just emerged from the oven… ouch.
  48. Chicken Cordon Bleu can be made easy with a butter and flour roux mixed with ham, with cooked chicken, chopped pickles and Dijon mustard stirred in. With gruyere or harvarti cheese grated in, top this mixture on sliced baguette and sprinkle with more cheese before broiling. Voila – easy, mess-free, no-roll, easy to cook and eat cordon bleu. Fancy but simple!
  49. Dice your own tomatoes for pasta sauce, and mix them with garlic and caramelized onions, plus spices like thyme and oregano. You can also stir in some ricotta. This pasta sauce is so much better than canned.
  50. If you laugh while drinking tea, you’ll probably spill it on your lap and bedsheets, and make it look like you peed your pants!

Love these!

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I love cheesy things. Literal and figurative cheesy things.

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One more thing – I want to make this Asian noodle bowl and some vegan parmesan cheese. I know how random this is, but I stumbled upon them online and really want to give ’em both a try soon 🙂

That is it for today – I have an EARLY 6:00 AM hot yoga session tomorrow morning as well as a fun spin class, so I’m off to bed. Have a great evening!