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!

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!

Study Motivation: Finding Joy in Little Things

10 Ways to Find Happiness While Studying

  1. Great-smelling candles or lotions
  2. Notebooks (I just typed nootbokes?) that are cute, colourful, sleek, modern, or whatever YOUR aesthetic is.
  3. An open window
  4. Simple snacks like fruit, nut butter, and yogurt
  5. Finding the right time of day to study. I love mornings, but I might be in the minority with that one!
  6. An energetic study buddy
  7. Big, beautiful study tables or calendars
  8. Essential oils like peppermint or citrus for energy
  9. Plants or some kind of greenery
  10. Relaxing music in the background. I always turn to Celtic music.

Speaking of academics, my sister recently received a $750 award for writing a great essay. She attended a brunch and conference to receive the award.

Meanwhile, I made an enchilada casserole! This was made with green chili sauce, lots of onion and garlic, roasted sweet potato (the best part) and delicious yellow corn tortillas. Broccoli and salsa on the side.

Another day I made a random dinner with couscous, a fried egg, salad with honey mustard dressing and nutritional yeast, and fried garlic broccoli. So good.

Friday afternoon is my Princess Cafe day. On Friday, I had the most delicious panini filled with roasted sweet potato, Sriracha mayo, spinach, black bean salsa, and lots of gooey cheddar cheese. The multigrain bun was perfectly crispy and tasted incredible next to broccoli-potato soup.

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Busy week ahead – happy Monday, everyone!

Shepherd’s π

Very rarely do I meet a brownie recipe that I don’t 100% adore. This was one of those recipes. I followed this recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie, who I am really not a fan of. Gritty, too-chewy, and unpleasantly dense with minimal chocolate flavour, these brownies were certainly not my favourite. Plus, my constructive criticism to her recipe was deleted from her blog. Okay…

Dressed up with some yogurt, nut butter, and granola, these brownies weren’t too awful. 🙂

This frittata-like thing was made with leftover steamed broccoli, chopped into tiny pieces and whisked up with three eggs, salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder with a splash of milk. Then, I cooked it in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat, covered, until the top looked cooked. I added maple goat cheddar on the top, then slid the frittata onto a baking dish for broiling in the oven. The top became perfectly crispy, and tasted fantastic with some avocado toast.

This recipe will be repeated with feta and spinach soon!

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Pancakes! I used this recipe for thick, super hearty pancakes. With hazelnut flour instead of almond flour, these were ultra-flavourful. Delicious with some creamy yogurt and crispy granola.

Cafe Polonez is a Polish restaurant in Roncesvalles in West Toronto. I ate all of the following:

  • 2 potato pancakes
  • 1 cabbage roll stuffed with mushrooms and rice, topped with mushroom gravy
  • 2 cheddar cheese and potato pierogies
  • 2 cottage cheese and potato pierogies
  • lots of sour cream

How do you spell pierogies? This was my first time enjoying Polish food, and I have to say that I’m a big fan. Will definitely be back to Cafe Polonez because I want more of that incredible cabbage roll!

This recipe was made when I realized that I had half a jar of spaghetti sauce to use up.

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • spaghetti sauce (1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 whole peppers, tops cut off.
  • as much cheese as you’d like

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients except peppers.
  2. Stuff peppers with mixture. I alternated between layers of the quinoa mixture and maple goat cheddar.
  3. Bake 30 mins covered. Remove foil.
  4. Increase heat to 400. Bake 20 minutes.

No pictures, sadly. 😦


Shepherd’s pie on Pi Day! March 14, that is.

I roasted three sweet potatoes in the oven for an hour, then pureed them with a splash of milk, salt, and pepper to make this creamy topping. The filling was made with frozen mixed vegetables, chopped mushrooms, and lots of brown lentils.

This is how I made the lentils:

Easy Stovetop Lentils

Makes as much or as little as you’d like – just use 1 part lentils to 2 parts water 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse lentils thoroughly. Pick out shrivelled lentils or debris.
  2. Combine lentils and water. IMPORTANT: here, you can add other flavour-boosters, like a couple of bay leaves or some cloves of garlic. I added some big chunks of onion. Do not add salt here.
  3. Bring to rapid simmer over medium high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to gentle simmer.
  5. Cook 25 minutes.
  6. Salt lentils when they are tender, no longer crunchy. Stir in salt. Taste and add more if needed.
  7. Keep refrigerated for about one week. Add to soups, salads, or other recipes.

Super yummy! Turns out 1 cup of lentils and 3 sweet potatoes will make about 3 servings.

This comforting meal was born when I didn’t have any vegetables on hand. Behold – the sweet potato cauliflower gratin! I made this with one roasted sweet potato, roasted cauliflower, gruyere cheese, tons of crushed butter crackers (like breadcrumbs…ish) and dried basil. Toast was topped with a lot of garlic butter, because garlic bread makes any meal better. 🙂

That’s it for this snowy, windy, Thursday morning!

The Cheapest Thing I’ve Ever Made

Good evening, friends! I’m not feeling the best right now. You know the post-dinner end-of-the-week slump where you just want to eat ten scoops of peanut butter and then lie down and sleep for 12 hours?

That’s me right now.

Pancakes one morning! Pics coming up.

Thick and Hearty Paleo Banana Pancakes

Serves 1: makes 2 pancakes

Ingredients
  • 1 small overripe banana, or half large
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp. almond flour
  • 1 tbsp. coconut flour
  • coconut oil for frying
  • desired toppings
Instructions
  1. Mash banana. Add egg, cinnamon, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. Whisk well.
  2. Add almond flour and coconut flour, whisking until combined.
  3. Heat coconut oil over medium-low heat and fry two pancakes. When golden brown, flip and cook the other side. If the pancakes get too brown, lower the heat.
  4. Serve immediately with toppings, and enjoy!

Brown sugar and soy sauce salmon with a rice vinegar marinade. Turned out quite tasty over leftover fried rice.

This breakfast was SO filling! Oats topped with two chopped kiwis, a square of banana bread, yogurt, and granola. Whew.

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PEANUT STEW! This was the cheapest thing EVER. Spinach, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, rice. Does it get any more inexpensive than that?! Also, it was freaking delicious. It was so good that I made two batches in a week, each batch serving three.

In other words, I ate this exact same peanut stew six times in seven days. The toasted peanuts on top are perfection.

Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach
SERVES: 3
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth (I used chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • Brown Rice to serve
  • Peanuts, lightly toasted
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pot. Add onions and saute for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onions are fragrant. Stir in garlic and ginger, continuing to cook for two more minutes.
  2. Stir in pepper, salt, cayenne, and cumin. Start on the low end of the cayenne pepper and add more only if you want it spicier. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes until spices are fragrant.
  3. Next add in sweet potatoes, carrots, veggie broth, and honey. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer over low heat. Stir in peanut butter and let stew cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes are soft, stir in spinach and continue to cook until spinach has wilted. Serve with over brown rice if desired and top with toasted peanuts.

Mac and cheese was devoured. This vegan mac and cheese (which I topped with real dairy cheddar… I know) was made with kabocha squash! Ahhhh-mazing.

Last week I shared some cinnamon bun muffins with you guys! Here is the recipe, copied and pasted from a paleo recipe site. Hence the links to all the ingredients below.

Cinnamon Bun Muffins
Serves: 9 muffins
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. To make the muffins, combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl
  2. In a large bowl blend together oil, agave, eggs, and vanilla
  3. Blend dry ingredients into wet and scoop a scant ¼ cup at a time into lined muffin cups
  4. To make cinnamon topping, combine agave, cinnamon, and oil in a small bowl
  5. Spoon topping onto muffins
  6. Bake muffins for 8-12 minutes at 350°.

Another day, another dessert…

Strawberry Banana Crumble

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • handful berries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 110 mL quick oats (7.5 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice bananas into a bowl. Toss with berries.
  3. Place fruit in baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tsp maple syrup. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Make crumble layer by mixing remaining ingredients (including remaining 2 tsp maple syrup), except coconut oil and cinnamon.
  5. Melt coconut oil in the microwave, then add cinnamon and pour into bowl. Mix all ingredients together.
  6. Once fruit has cooked for 10 minutes, remove baking dish from oven. Spread crumble layer on top. Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes, until top is golden brown.

And mac and cheese, of course.

Vegan squash sauce is irresistible, but you can take it up a notch with extra veggies, caramelized onions, and yup, broiled cheddar on top.

So good.

Quesadilla with avocado, egg, salsa, and cheddar. Classic and so delicious.

This sweet potato and ricotta tart filled with chopped spinach turned out okay.

It looked beautiful, but I think something was missing in terms of flavour. I might add goat cheese, scallions, and mushrooms next time.

Sometimes, messy food can be the most delicious. I probably had egg yolk on every single finger after devouring this tasty sandwich!

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Pancakes were also enjoyed a second time. New recipe!

Oatmeal Ricotta Pancakes

Makes 3 pancakes

Ingredients
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon, to taste
  • 2 tsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. ricotta cheese
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Cover, let batter rest overnight in the fridge to soften oats.
  2. Heat nonstick pan over medium-low heat and cook 3 pancakes. Flip when golden-brown and cook opposite side.
  3. Enjoy with Greek yogurt and other desired toppings. I like berries and maple syrup!

That’s it for today, everyone! Make sure you check out some of my brand-new PAGES: Acro Yoga, Aerial Silks, and Yoga Photo Journal. 🙂 I will update them regularly!

Have an awesome weekend.

PS: did you know that if you click furiously on the words under the TAG section, you can add as many tags as you want?! Now I have 239408 tags for this post…

Trying New Things

Today’s post is gonna be short and sweet with minimal words and lots of pictures, because it’s 9:50 and I kind of want to leap into my bed and doze off. 🙂 You know those days… right?

Photos from Waterloo Park – a hike that I did with a nice friend who is PRO at spotting frogs and things.

Spent Monday morning at the hospital, where I realized too late that it was Victoria Day and Patient Registration (where I normally volunteer) was closed. It turned out well, though, because I ventured back to the paediatric unit where I used to visit patients – and found the SANDLOT (Seline’s first crush LOL) and played with a cute baby.

I also spent an hour on the aerial silks after a whole YEAR! It came back fairly quickly, and I learned this new move called the cross back straddle. It looks simple but is so. Freaking. Painful. In the waist/hip area!

Acro yoga has been a success so far! We practiced a couple times in Waterloo Park. These beginner poses are so much fun to explore, and quite safe because the flier is usually just a meter above the ground. 🙂

Mom’s cooking and baking. Looks delicious! Check out those super thick and fluffy cookies.

Sunrise –> sunset.

Tuna salad made with Greek yogurt and freshly-grated cheddar and steamed broccoli. Yummy lunch!

A totally new breakfast to me because I’m so addicted to oatmeal and pancakes – these eggy avocado quesadillas were also stuffed with cheese and salsa, then served with two kiwis, yogurt, and granola.

A mug cake that I made with applesauce and cane sugar.

Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

  • 1/4 cup spelt flour or white or Bob’s gf
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar of choice
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk of choice
  • 1/2 tbsp oil or more milk of choice
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips

If using an oven, preheat to 350F. In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Now pour wet into dry, and stir until just evenly combined. Pour into a greased dish or mug. Or two 1/2-cup ramekins. If using the microwave, cook for 1 minute 20 seconds (Microwave times will vary depending on wattage). Or cook in the oven for around 14-15 minutes. Let cool before trying to pop out.

The most random dinner I’ve ever made – a can of tuna, boiled baby potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and spinach with cheddar and a creamy sauce. So tasty, though!

Another mug cake:

Fat-free chocolate mug cake
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (will increase to 2 tbsp next time)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp almond meal
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

Microwave 2 minutes.

Roomie said that this was “not the thing to make if you’re craving chocolate cake. But good for people with grain allergies.” He claimed it wasn’t very sweet and needed chocolate chips mixed in, which I totally agree with.

Perfect avocados make perfect sandwiches. Looks like a breakfast, but it was actually a tasty and messy lunch.

Peanut butter baked oatmeal was one of my favourite breakfasts of the week. This was SO good! Tastes like a cookie, I promise.

Peanut Butter Cookie Baked Oatmeal
Serves 1
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small ramekin.
  2. Whisk all ingredients together well. If you’d like to add any extra ingredients (coconut oil, dried fruit, nuts, sunflower seeds), do so now.
  3. Pour into the prepared ramekin. Bake for 18-22 minutes.
  4. Immediately after taking it out of the oven, make the signature crisscross pattern on top using a knife.

Mishmash of grains and veggies and mashed squash to make “risotto”, topped with pine nuts and nutritional yeast.

I told you, it was so good! I had to repeat.

Dinner at Cafe 22 after aerial silks one evening. This one-woman-night-out really hit the spot. It was nice to have a tasty lunch-like dinner, a milky hazelnut steamer, and some time with my yoga readings.

Yes, avocados were cheap this week.

And I had kabocha, which you’ve seen in lots of pictures already.

Hey foodies, have you ever tried making kabocha pancakes? I mashed it up with the skin and whisked it up with two eggs to make these p-cakes.

More grains, more fish, more kabocha.

An interesting mix of things for breakfast one day 🙂

More fish, more grains. Oh my, I am predictable.

Tried to make a banana swirly rose thing, which didn’t turn out as planned. Still super tasty, though. Sometimes the simplest foods are the most delicious.

Thank you, Past Cindy, for making this lasagna. Thank you, freezer, for keeping this yummy square fresh.

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Baked oats… my love.

An interesting coconut flour chocolate cake. Anyone want the recipe? 😀 It was a little mousse-like and had that black forest cake flavour.

Peanut noodles! Delicious.

Oatmeal. Delicious x2.

Salmon fishcakes! Yum, yum. Also a plum clafoutis that I made out of coconut milk and coconut flour. It was insanely vanilla-y and had the right amount of sweetness. Plus, I freaking love these fishcakes.

Simple Salmon Patties

Makes 6 patties, serves 3
Ingredients
  • 1 can salmon, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup flour, or as needed to hold patties together
  • 2 tbsp. oil (I used avocado oil)
Instructions
  1. Mash salmon and whisk in eggs. Add green onions, seasonings, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice.
  2. Stir in flour, until batter is thick enough to roughly shape.
  3. Heat oil over medium heat. Plop patties into oil and fry each side for around 5 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
  4. Serve and enjoy.

Plum Clafoutis

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Coconut oil for greasing
  • 1/2 ripe plum, sliced
  • 2/3 oz ground almonds
  • 1 tsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 3 oz coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Grease a round dish with coconut oil.
  3. Whisk all ingredients by hand in a bowl.
  4. Pour batter into prepared dish. Arrange plums, cut side up, on top.
  5. Bake 15 minutes until risen and golden brown. Serve hot, warm, or cold.

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And a mess in the kitchen.

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More oats! Yay.

Gelato one afternoon – peanut butter chocolate and maple cookie. Best flavours in the world. Repeat after me: I love gelato. I love gelato. I love gelato.

Beautiful afternoon at the park with friends! Victoria Park is gorgeous. Emily and Mary live in Kitchener, so they don’t technically go “home” for the summer. Well, they are home. Lucky! We spent an afternoon together before Mary got her wisdom teeth out. 😀

That’s it! Have a great rest of the week 🙂