12-metre Shrimp Tempuras

You guys might have figured out that I am absolutely fascinated by sea creatures. This was a photo I found (on BoredPanda, of all places) that shows a sleeping pod of sperm whales! They also happen to look, according to my roommate’s friend, like giant shrimp tempuras.

Cool facts – it is the large predator with teeth, uses echolocation, and is the second-deepest diving mammal on the planet. Males can reach up to 21 metres in length, and albino sperm whales exist! They are made of cartilage, so their “bones” bend and collapse rather than snap, when they undergo dramatic changes in pressure in their dives. It can retract its eyes and has excellent vision. Sperm whales are very difficult to investigate, because they dive for longer periods of time, and travel quickly in the deep waters. Also, the novel Moby Dick was based on a sperm whale!

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On Friday, I went crazy with the food and ate until my stomach burst. During that time, I devoured an incredibly gooey, cheesy brie grilled cheese with cranberry mayonnaise on two thick slices of rye bread, plus a side of spicy Southern sweet potato soup – and followed that up with peanut butter + cheesecake ice cream at Marble Slab, topped with pretty much every topping. My cup was finished in a snap, but my friend’s became soup!

 

This Sunday is the aerials and pole showcase at my studio. I am not performing this time, but I can’t wait to see all of my friends perform.

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For dinner yesterday, I made a cheesy quinoa casserole with mushrooms, zucchini, red onion, and some frozen mixed vegetables. This tasted great with cheddar on top.

 

I added extra nutritional yeast into the sauce, so it tasted so zingy and sharp in the best way.

 

Chocolatey breakfast quinoa is one of my new favourite breakfasts. I always add a sliced banana and a scoop of nut butter, and serve it with yogurt + coconut chips and a piece of baking (this was an almond flour fig cake). Minus the yogurt, this would make a wonderful vegan breakfast (as the quinoa was cooked in coconut milk).

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On Sunday, I cooked a big batch of peanut stew. It is flavoured with cumin, garlic, ginger, and red onions – how can it not be good? The sauce also included peanut butter, chicken broth, cubed sweet potato and tons of spinach. It tasted wonderful on rice with crushed peanuts on top. I used chicken broth, but it can easily be replaced with vegetable broth (perhaps even water and salt?) for a tasty vegan rendition.

 

Yesterday, there was a thunderstorm and I got stuck in the rain at the bus terminal outside Conestoga Mall. Also, my roommates and I are starting the move-out process, which includes lots of sorting and throwing out.

 

Finally, my roommate’s yummy tomato, cheese, and egg omelet (above) made me want to cook some veggie eggs in the morning, too! Inspired by her, I cooked one egg with garlicky green beans and topped it with grated white cheddar, and served it with buttered pita bread and yogurt with a brownie, granola, and peanut butter. It was good!

 

Found this pretty neat gif, too 🙂

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I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!

Summer Things (Quinoa Overload)

Good Saturday morning, everyone! This semester is a challenging one. It’s called my “2B” semester, and it’s known by all as the semester “2B or not 2B” because it’s kind of that make-it-or-break-it time.

A delicious creamy pumpkin quinoa casserole was made, topped with loads of fontina (new favourite cheese!) and broiled. I loved every bite of this 8×8 pan that I made!

Long lab reports were written… (this isn’t even all of it!). Glad it’s done.

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Memes were made for my sister, Seline 🙂

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I had plenty of great toast. This was a multigrain thick-sliced loaf baked in-store at Vincenzo’s, and it had great crunch and wonderful flavour from all the seeds. I topped half with smashed avocado, and the other half with almond butter and chopped prunes.

I’m really excited for next week, because I made a full food schedule. I’m looking forward to trying a dark chocolate breakfast quinoa recipe, and revisit some old favourites like broccoli casserole and sweet potato spinach stew. A shopping list was also made!

These peanut butter chocolate banana snacking squares are some of my favourite desserts of all time. All-time, I tell you!

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These chocolate muffins were chock-full of ricotta and surprisingly egg-free! The ricotta lent a great, springy texture.

Mom eats so much fruit back home in BC. I miss having fruit bowls all the time, because it’s pretty unfeasible for a university student to eat say, 1/4 an apple with 1/2 a kiwi, 1/2 a banana, and 1/2 a pear. 😦

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Canada Day happened! No, I didn’t go to see the fireworks… but I stayed at home and listened to got annoyed by them all night. Is that close enough?

Another serving of that amazing pumpkin quinoa casserole, with some brownie! I made a massive pan of spectacular brownies, using pureed prunes (soaked in boiling water). They turned out very rich and decadent… and I have two squares left before I’ve eaten an entire 8×8 pan. By myself.

Oats – I mean quinoa! – in a jar with banana slices.

As you can see, I have a lot of quinoa to use up before I move out in mid-August. This was  another quinoa dish, this time mixed with sautéed mushrooms and yellow squash, mixed with a ricotta-plum tomato sauce, and topped with fontina. It tasted great! On the side, some garlicky green beans sautéed with tons of butter. Butter makes everything better 😉

Another day, I whipped up these glorious pancakes! Two eggs and half a sweet potato were whisked with a bit of flour, some baking powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. They always turn out super tender, and a perfect base for nut butter, yogurt, and granola. This was my favourite breakfast of the week.

Here is that quinoa-ricotta-plum tomato casserole again! I have one serving left, which I’ll be having for dinner tonight. The fontina is my favourite part 🙂

Some other things: I have to sell everything on my desk (actually, everything in my room for that matter). Also, my favourite calculator broke, and it was the saddest moment of my life. Friends and I are loving the summer semester, and we live in the same direction so we often walk home from classes together. Also, FaceTime-ing with Seline! She is the best.

Baked oatmeal (my favourite recipe) was made and enjoyed with blueberries, granola, and coconut chips. Almond butter on top of the baked oats. I have another serving of baked oats that I’ll be savouring tomorrow morning with some peanut butter!

Mom and Dad look so cute.

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Another afternoon, I walked to Sobeys to grocery-shop and saw the nicest sunset over Columbia Lake.

Revisiting old photographs – I took this when I visited the Ripley’s Aquarium last year with my dad. It’s o-fish-ially the best non-food photo I’ve ever taken. <– I’m also good at stealing puns and reusing them multiple times.

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One more thing that I found on the internet and completely agree with:

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Hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful rest of the weekend!

Toronto’s Best Ice Cream?

How is it MAY already?

Let’s talk food!

I tried Venezuelan food, from El Arepazo in the Kensington Market, for the first time and loved these arepas stuffed with fried plantains, queso, black beans, avocado, and fresh tomato. Next time, I will add hot sauce!

The London Fog tea latte from Moonbean Cafe in Kensington Market is the #1 tea latte I’ve ever had, hands down. I’m drooling for this mug right now.

Sunset on Sterling road, the magical little street that takes me to Cirque-ability where I practice aerials.

Mmmmm, desserts! I bought these from Thobors. This was:

  • almond paste tart with peach slices
  • chocolate hazelnut mousse cake that tasted like ferrero rocher in a cake form

I went to Pomegranate Restaurant to try Iranian food for my first time on Friday night. This was their famous fish, which involved boneless chicken breast in a stew made of crushed walnuts and pomegranate syrup. I’ve never had anything like this before, and loved it. Though, I wish I had more of the yellow saffron rice.

Dessert was this saffron ice cream, which, sadly, tasted like frozen rose shampoo.

I had the BEST Indian dinner at Banjara! Cassie – look! I had Indian food! This was delicious and featured:

  • vegetable pakora (fried)
  • yellow lentil dahl
  • palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese curry) –> my #1 favourite Indian dish of all time
  • aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry)
  • rice pudding with cardamom, carrots, and cinnamon
  • curry basmati rice

All this… for around $13?!

For dessert, I went crazy for this caramelized peanut butter cookie with two scoops of ice cream: totarn (ube, or purple yam) and one scoop of cinnamon toast. Cinnamon toast ice cream? Purple yam ice cream? If you’ve never had them, you need to try. And also, this peanut butter cookie was mind-blowingly delicious. One of my dessert highlights of my Toronto life.

Life back home in BC… oh, and I finally got new shoes! My toes were starting to peep out of my old ones. These black shoes were on discount from Nordstrom, and are ridiculously comfortable.

A breakfast to remember: banana oats in a cashew butter jar, yogurt, blackberries, and a slice of oat banana bread. YUM!

For the last two/three weeks in Toronto, the only things in my fridge were cheddar cheese and vegetables – and the one thing in my pantry was quinoa. With that, I made vegetable quinoa casseroles about 3-4 times during my last month in Toronto, but I never grow sick of it. This square featured wilted spinach, little carrots and corn, peas, quinoa, and creamy, sharp cheddar.

One bucket list item checked off – I finally went to Maha’s, an Egpytian restaurant, for brunch! It was a Sunday afternoon, so I should have expected a long wait. Ended up waiting from 1:00 to 2:30 before getting into the restaurant, which only seats 24 people. This plate features some Egyptian balady bread, Turkish cheese, a spinach falafel, sliced hard-boiled egg, and creamy beans. The little cup on the right was full of spices and raw cucumber, peppers, and tomato. It was a superb meal that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I wouldn’t wait 1.5 hours for it again.

I followed up that meal with some desserts. Two, to be exact…

  • one chestnut mousse cake with walnut sponge, wrapped in milk chocolate
  • one earl grey tea latte
  • one pistachio and chocolate croissant

After the Egyptian brunch, and the desserts, AND the mug of tea, it was hard to walk because I was so full!

 

Now that summer is on the horizon, I can’t wait to make tasty salads like this one. I have pesto – I just need to buy some arugula, peppers, penne, and cheese/tofu!

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I will miss Toronto’s massive selection of restaurants.

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But I am glad to be back in school!

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Have a delicious week, friends 🙂

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Swirl Banana Muffins

I can’t believe that there are less than three days until Christmas. This semester seemed to fly by, and the holidays really snuck up on me.

I have a delicious muffin recipe to share with you guys today. It involves powdered peanut butter, chocolate and bananas, so we really can’t go wrong here. I know I shared a recipe just yesterday, but… chocolate.

Mmmm. These froze exceptionally well and made a perfect yogurt/oatmeal topping.

 Give it a try!
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Swirl Banana Muffins
Serves: 9
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 medium bananas, ripe
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ¼ cup milk (I used almond, but coconut, cows, or soy would work)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup spelt flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
  • 3 tablespoons PB2
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Line nine muffin tins with paper/foil liners, or grease a nonstick muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mash bananas with a fork.
  4. Add oil, egg, milk, and vanilla. Whisk well.
  5. Add flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda and stir until just combined.
  6. Add oats and stir.
  7. Melt chocolate chips in microwave safe measuring cup for 30-45 seconds. Stir until smooth.
  8. Cool slightly, then add ½ of batter to measuring cup and stir until combined.
  9. Add PB2 to the remaining batter and mix well.
  10. Scoop 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of PB2 batter and 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of chocolate batter in a lined muffin tin.
  11. Swirl batters together with a toothpick.
  12. Repeat for remaining batter.
  13. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
178 calories, 19g sugar, 3.2g protein
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It’s been frosty recently! The roads have all been iced over.

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And a hot chocolate at Princess Cafe with my friend Lily! This was taken before our final exams ended.

And a potluck dinner enjoyed with fellow volunteers at school. Highlights include that incredible thyme sweet potato hash and great, creamy mac and cheese.

I even bought a new notebook a couple weeks ago, hoping it would motivate me to study.

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SO glad finals are over! Now I don’t need to serve my meals with a side of biochemistry or physiology.

Here’s that quinoa veggie casserole again. I always devour this!

Mmmmm. Perfectly comforting, satisfying, and warm in my belly.

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At home in BC, Mom made my brownie recipe! She said that the family devoured it. Wish I was there to have some. Mom’s baking always looks fantastic.

Relatable.

I found some old Nepal pictures on the Volunteering Solutions Instagram page. I lived in Nepal throughout the month of August and it was a spectacular experience. Blows my mind to think that, six months ago, I was one of those little flying paragliding dots.

Since we’re nearing the end of 2016, it’s almost time to buy a new planner! Planners are my love. I could search for ages for the perfect planner, and have plans to go to Staples this morning to check ’em out.

Hope y’all have the loveliest rest of the week!

5 Birthday-Brightening Gestures

Last Tuesday, the 13th, was my birthday! I’m now 19 years old 🙂 It was a pretty bad time to have a birthday, with important final exams happening on the 14th, 16th, and 17th! Thankfully, those exams are all over now.

5 Birthday-Brightening Gestures

  1. My beautiful, talented friend from aerial silks gave me a ride home on Tuesday night. It was 10:00 PM, dark, snowy, and -15 degrees. Even though she lived in the opposite direction (Kitchener), she offered to drive me HOME, instead of the nearby mall. Thank you, Leah!
  2. My friend Lily from school gave me a high-quality, warm, and classic pair of leg warmers from Roots. I love them! I put them on shortly after and couldn’t stop thinking about how comfy they were. Looks like I will be having a warm winter 🙂 If you check out my aerial silks page, you’ll see that I’ve been really loving the leg warmers!
  3. My friend Jasmine made a MEME of me. If you guys know me, you’ll know that I am a meme lover. My life probably revolves around memes. Anyways, she found a hideous picture of me and made a meme out of it. Had me laughing for a good five minutes.
  4. Roommates Madhulika and Arsalan bought me a white chocolate vanilla bean cheesecake from Vincenzo’s, the local Italian grocery store. They knew it’s my favourite cheesecake, and they plated it, put candles in it, and surprised me when I got home. It was so sweet of them (literally) to buy that for me. Look how surprised and happy I was in the picture below. I got home at around 10:00 PM on the Tuesday, and they surprised me the minute I walked in – hence the big winter jacket, messy hair, and sweat on my face 🙂
  5. My 16 year-old sister Seline, in BC, wrote a little poem for me! You can read it here. It’s called Rotations and is quite a unique piece of writing. Seline’s poetry-writing skills are much better than mine. Definitely check out her corner of the internetfor some thought-provoking poetry, incredible images, and muses from a mature high-schooler.

Needless to say, it was a much birthday than my 18th, when I lost my ID AND KEYS the day before my biology final exam. 😉 To be fair, it makes a pretty funny story now that I think about it.

Next up – a hot chocolate recipe! Friends, you need to make this. I’ve done it before with almond milk and Enjoy Life chocolate chips for a vegan version and it is equally delicious.

Favourite Easy Hot Chocolate from Scratch
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 Tbsp semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar, or regular sugar
  • pinch cinnamon, optional
Instructions
  1. Alternatively, add milk to a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once milk is warm, add cocoa powder, chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon and whisk to combine.
  3. Continue cooking on stove top until completely combined and has reached your preferred temperature.
  4. Serve with a blanket, a movie, a group of friends, and in front of a fireplace. Just kidding. If you’re suffering through #finalexams (you know, #studentlife), enjoy the hot cocoa with a side of notebooks, stress, and calculators. 😉

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When I’m studying:
  • Where is my white-out?
  • Let me check my email.
  • How many more days until Christmas?
  • My foot is falling asleep.
  • What time is it?
  • I’m thirsty.
  • Where’s that sheet? I swear it was important.
  • I need to pee.
  • Why can’t I focus?
  • I’m thirsty again.
  • I wonder what Mom is doing.
  • What is that sound?
  • I’m cold.
  • Should I do my laundry?
  • I really want to look at memes.
  • What should I make for dinner?
  • Let me check my email again.
  • What is the minimum mark I need to get on this final to do well in the course?
  • I want to do yoga.
  • I don’t understand this.
  • Can I go another day without washing my hair?
  • It’s kinda cold in the house!
  • Where is my eraser?

My math final exam was on Friday. We are allowed a double-sided “cheat sheet” with ANYTHING we want on it, and this was mine:

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Looking at math makes me shudder now. Linear algebra is the worst because it doesn’t exist in the BC curriculum – so coming to Ontario was a shock because my friends had tons of linear algebra experience.


Creamy Vegetable Quinoa Casserole

Makes 3 Servings
Ingredients
  • as much quinoa as you like, around enough for 3 servings (cooked – rice works as well)
  • as many veggies as you like (I used broccoli, zucchini, frozen peas, and mushrooms)
  • 215 mL milk
  • 1.5 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch cayenne, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, plus a little more to top
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to broil setting.
  2. Stir-fry veggies in butter or oil. I use medium heat.
  3. When soft, add most of the milk.
  4. Whisk flour, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne, nutritional yeast, and Dijon mustard with the remaining milk.
  5. When the milk bubbles, add the milk/flour mixture.
  6. Stir well.
  7. When the mixture thickens, add cheddar. Stir to melt.
  8. Add quinoa. Mix and season.
  9. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted.
For one out of three servings, the SAUCE has 140 calories, 9 grams of protein, and is high in calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, and vitamin B6.

I put crushed crackers on top and broiled it for a super crispy top. It was dreamy.


My birthday cake was this mug cake after lunch! It’s my new favourite recipe, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too 🙂 It’s super fluffy and spongy thanks to the egg.

1-Minute Chocolate Peanut Butter Sponge Cake

Makes: 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water or almond milk

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until well combined. Transfer to a microwave-safe ramekin, mug or bowl.
  2. Microwave for 55 seconds. Remember, microwave power levels very dramatically. The first time making a microwave cake, keep a close eye as to not over-cook the cake.
  3. Serve with extra chocolate chips and a big scoop of peanut butter.

I filled mine with a generous scoop of chocolate chips. It’s the size of a muffin and quite filling! Amazing quick dessert 🙂

Eggs, veggies, and avocado toast are my favourite quickie meal.

Can you tell I have a lot of whole wheat bread at home? PB and banana sandwiches never fail me, especially toasted. Mmmmm.

Yummy cheese and broccoli quesadilla made with a kamut tortilla from the St. Jacob’s Farmers Market…

… and my new hair crush – the fictional Daenerys from Game of Thrones. Being cursed blessed born with straight, flat, plain black hair, I’ve always been super envious of those who have perfect curls and waves. I’m also huge fan of braids. So, I don’t really know why I’m posting these, except for the fact that I. LOVE. Her. Hair.

It’s cold outside! Last Thursday, we had -25 degrees with the wind chill. The snow is also getting higher and higher – check out how it goes over my boots! Uh oh.

My doggie Arnie, a funny pic, and the special poster in my room 🙂

That’s it for today, guys! I have lots of fun stuff planned now that my final exams are over. Can’t wait to get going on finishing that end-of-2016 list of things to do!

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