Life Back in School

Good afternoon! This week has been a good one, and since I’m back in school, busy. Good thing I like school.

Last night, I made applesauce baked oatmeal that I could bring with me to school as a yummy lunch. I like this recipe because it isn’t too sweet, but has great flavour from the applesauce, cinnamon, and vanilla. I ate this today during lecture, topped with Greek yogurt and PB2.

Applesauce Baked Oatmeal

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • drizzle honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 15 prunes, chopped (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease pan – 8 x 10 up to 10 x 10 are perfect sizes.
  3. Mix all ingredients and pour into pan.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes.

Over the weekend, I went to the MaRS Discovery District in downtown Toronto, where I had fun reuniting with friends from universities across Ontario. I loved the challenges, mini competitions, jobs fair session, and inspiring talks.

 

With all of the University of Waterloo people!

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(Photo credit: Giordano Ciampini)

Few things from recently:

  1. Cute message from Mom
  2. Incredible sunsets from our home on the 18th floor
  3. Seline’s typical dinner: pan-fried chicken breast with Minute Rice
  4. Yoga poses and skating poses that I think are so beautiful

 

Back to skating! I skated a few times last week, early morning. The sessions start at 7:00 and end at 8:30. Afterwards, I like to have a hot tea latte and do schoolwork while eating a snack. This time, I had pumpkin oat bread with yogurt and almond butter. Here is the recipe.

Healthy Pumpkin Oat Bars with Chocolate Chips

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree from a can
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients.
  3. Bake 45 mins.
  4. Serve!

 

I love skating so much, even though my jumps aren’t here any more. It just feels nice to be on the ice.

 

More things from recently:

  1. Seline’s academic schedule for this term
  2. Powerful tweets
  3. University of Waterloo Warriors Recreation app menu
  4. frsh, a vegan restaurant that just opened up at our school’s health building

 

More randy stuff.

 

A great recipe I made some changes to – they turned out firmer than I’d expected, still absolutely delicious when heated up and served with nut butter and/or yogurt. I love this recipe so much, and it doesn’t hurt that you only need ONE bowl.

Chocolate Banana Cake Squares {Vegan}

Serves: 1 9×9 pan

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 CUP HONEY
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1/4 CUP WATER
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TSP LIME JUICE
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • HEAPING ¼ tsp salt
  • Sprinkle cinnamon (optional)
  • ¼ heaping cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 CUP ALL-PURPOSE, 1/2 CUP BUCKWHEAT, 1/4 CUP ALMOND MEAL
  • 1/2 CUP CHOCOLATE CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. LINE 9X9 PAN WITH PARCHMENT PAPER.
  3. BLEND BANANAS WITH WATER AND APPLESAUCE IN A BLENDER. ADD OTHER WET INGREDIENTS AND MIX UNTIL THOROUGHLY COMBINED.
  4. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt just until combined.
  5. MIX IN CHOCOLATE CHIPS.
  6. Pour batter into prepared dish.
  7. Bake for 35-37 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
  8. Let cool, slice in 16 squares, and serve.

Another day last week, I made a massive batch of vegetable chili. This made a TON of tasty, healthy, hearty chili. I love serving chili with sweet potato (roasted) or rice cooked in chicken broth, and of course, freshly-grated cheddar. Fresh lime juice on top also makes a big difference.

Cindy’s Ultimate Pumpkin Veggie Chili

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 small chopped carrots
  • minced garlic
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1 carton mushrooms
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • juice of a lime
  • toppings?
  • SPICES AND HERBS
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil and saute all vegetables with chili powder. Add salt.
  2. Stir in all other ingredients, except lime. Season with remaining spices. Stir in pumpkin.
  3. Boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Stir in lime juice and serve.

Every Wednesday, Seline and I have a sister’s dinner out. This time, we went to Bauer Kitchen. The dessert sweet board was the highlight, including warm chocolate cake with chocolate fondue sauce and chocolate gelato, pear cheesecake, creme brûlée with blueberries, and carrot cake with pistachio sauce. I liked all of it and had no problem eating it all by myself because Seline doesn’t like dessert. 🙂

 

Couple of aerials things! I played around on the hoop for the first time in a very long time yesterday.

 

And reviewed a couple of old skills, like this one, on the silks.

 

That’s it for today since I’ve got a busy weekend!

✧ Lately ✧

Does anyone have a cool human body project idea?

A walk back home, taking the scenic route. What an interesting place, right? In my opinion, this doesn’t even look like Canada.

A trip to the library = six new (to me) books. I. Can’t. Wait.

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Deliciousness in the form of Thai green curry and biryani rice.

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Vegetable Biryani

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, quartered and cut into 5-cm  segments
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • S+P
  • 2 cups yellow onion
  • 1 chopped jalapeno
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins or currants
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Toss squash, carrots, and bell pepper with 2 tbsp oil, curry powder, and salt.
  2. Roast vegetables until tender when pierced, 20-25 mins.
  3. Warm 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and cumin. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to brown, 6 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until aromatic, 1 minute.
  5. Stir in rice. Cook 1 minute.
  6. Add broth, raisins, and turmeric. Simmer.
  7. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Simmer gently until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 10-12 mins.
  8. Remove from heat. Keep covered until vegetables have finished roasting.
  9. Fold in roasted vegetables and cashews. Season with S+P. Serve.

I went for the most enjoyable walk on Monday evening.

The beach at East Point Park was quite nice. I’m looking forward to a jaunt to Guild Park soon!

Who knew Scarborough could be so pretty?

The sunshine and superb blue skies made a huge difference. This walk really brightened by day, literally and figuratively.

Another day-brightener: I had pizza twice. One slice was ricotta and olive, the other was poached pear with ham and brie. Completely in love with both.

2018 Winter Olympics! Did they come fast or what? The Olympics make me realize that the years go by FAST. I’m looking forward to figure skating! Also, I finished reading the Maze Runner, and now I’ll have to see the movie 🎥

Tonight, I had chili! Topped with cheddar and lime – the best.

Healthy Pumpkin Chili

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup broth
  • 1 large chopped white onion
  • sprinkle garlic powder
  • 2 chopped bell peppers
  • 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime
  • desired toppings

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic powder until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the bell peppers, cook another 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, beans, pumpkin, broth and spices (excluding the lime until the end). Stir until well combined.
  3. Bring to a slight boil, turn down heat and cover to let simmer about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in the fresh lime juice.
  5. Serve with your favorite spices and toppings.

Have a glorious rest of the week, everyone!

The Best Food Court Meal I’ve Ever Had

Hey, hey, hey! Quick update on everything, now that September is coming to a close.

Yes, I know that many of my previous posts were flashbacks to my short time at home in BC. And as much as I wish I was back in BC, chowing on croissants every morning, I’m actually living in Scarborough, a quiet, academic suburb of Toronto. You might remember the little tour post that I did of my room/bathroom/kitchen and my office at work.

Remember my day at SLXCA in downtown Toronto? On the same day, I went to the Kensington Market, where I stopped at Hibiscus Cafe and devoured this buckwheat crepe with brie, roasted apples, pecans, arugula, and avocado. Super beautiful, yes, but the flavours needed a little something (maybe pepper?).

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Most of my eats at home have been simple, but oh-so-delicious. This quiche was from the farmer’s market, and I’ve been purchasing one little one every week. Truly the best crust I’ve ever had.

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Soups have also been making regular appearances, along with scones.

I found out recently that the uwaterloolife Instagram account featured me! I’ve seen my paragliding photo from Nepal 2016 used in several University of Waterloo Study Abroad advertisements. I was thrilled to see this post, shared with me by a friend, since I don’t have my own Instagram.

Pumpkin seeds, guys! Why did it take me so long to fall in love with them?

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On a tragic note, I finished all my sunflower butter. I suppose that merits another trip to Trader Joe’s once I return to BC? 😏

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Life at the college has been good, too. My students, for the most part, have been incredibly dedicated, well-prepared, and ready to learn and work hard. Thank you ❤

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Check out this stunning stretch that I walk down, each time I go to the Dollarama, Bulk Barn, and Food Basics plaza. Gorgeous, right? I had no idea that Scarborough would be so dramatically different from downtown Toronto.

Dollarama is a lifesaver. I love my soft slippers and the Halloween decorations that I purchased for my office. It’s never too early for Halloween, if you ask me.

Now this! O-M-G (part 1). On Saturday, I visited Scarborough Town Centre, the local mall, where I enjoyed this amazing lunch from Naan&Kebab. You see, I was expecting a greasy, sticky mess with dry, hard pieces of chicken, and perhaps a couple limp leaves.

Nope, nope, nope. What did I get instead?

  • two generously-sized pieces of piping hot, toasted naan bread
  • a large helping of basmati rice cooked in savoury beef broth, mixed with shredded carrots and plenty of plump, juicy raisins
  • six large, tender, flavourful and spiced chunks of chicken
  • a creamy, rich, and spiced just-right chickpea stew
  • romaine lettuce, red cabbage, mixed vegetables, and two types of salsa, with a creamy spiced yogurt on top

For less than $12. I tried to save half for a future meal, but I knew after my first few bites that it wasn’t happening – it was too fresh and tasty, so I happily finished it all. Next time, I’m going to try the paneer version!

Sweet Jesus is pretty much a legend in Toronto. Everyone knows about it, and most people have tried it. Well, on Saturday, I got to see what the hype was all about. I chose the vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream. A generous drizzle of Nutella was artfully drizzled on top of the soft serve, and the entire thing was coated in crunchy chopped pistachios and cornflakes. The soft serve itself reminded me of Costco ice cream. My only complaint is that it was physically hard to eat, simply because of the size of the ice cream compared to the size of the cup. It got pretty messy, but I should have asked for a larger cup, or at least some napkins.

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The same day, I cooked up a vegetarian chili for dinner.

Vegetarian Chili

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 1.5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery (I omitted since I didn’t find any)
  • 1 scant tbsp chili powder
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid, chopped or crushed
  • 10+ oz kidney beans
  • 10+ oz black beans
  • 5+ oz whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil and saute all vegetables with chili powder. Add salt.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, and corn. Season with remaining spices. Stir in pumpkin.
  3. Boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

The chili itself was a winner! These are some of the topping ideas that I’ll be using next time. This time, I kept it simple with some shredded cheddar.

TOPPINGS

  • cheddar cheese (personal favourite)
  • sour cream, creme fraiche, or thick plain yogurt
  • lime
  • avocado
  • cornbread
  • rice

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I saw some kind of list about Top 10 Fall Soups (or something!), and had the urge to create a big pot of chicken and wild rice soup. Since I didn’t want to buy and cook chicken, I subbed in an entire carton of white mushrooms. I really enjoyed this soup, especially on the second day with extra salt.

Creamy Mushroom Wild Rice Soup

Serves 5

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp butter, or oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • shallot
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until tender, about 7 mins. Add mushrooms and shallot.
  3. Stir in garlic clove. Cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add flour until dissolved.
  4. Slowly stir in milk, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently until thickened. Add broth, wild rice, parsley, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a low boil. Reduce to simmer, cook for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaf.
  7. Serve!

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And that’s pretty much it for today! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Whole Foods & A Yoga Rave?!

Last Wednesday night involved going to the yoga studio for yoga teacher training after dinner, where we had a Groove dance party with flashing finger lights. It was very different to explore freestyle movement in this way. I felt a little self-conscious when dancing and wished that there was more instruction (like Zumba) or more structure (like traditional yoga).

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I mentioned that I had an interview at the Toronto Health Centre! For this interview, I had to go to downtown Toronto. After my interview, I did a short 20-minute walk to the nearest Whole Foods, because, let’s be real, I had serious WF withdrawal. Oh, and I got to visit Uncle Tetsu’s, a famous Japanese cheesecake shop where I purchased a cheesecake and a honey madeleine.

I enjoyed my dinner at the Whole Foods hot bar. I wish they had the nice blue bowls that the WF in Vancouver uses. Mac and cheese was as good as usual. I noticed that the Toronto WF has more meat-based options, like pulled pork, chili, and other meaty dishes.

Then I dug into this incredible cheesecake. YES. It tasted like a cloud. <– best description for Japanese cheesecake.

Have you ever tried Jap cheesecake? Do you like it?

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Another day, I asked Mom to draw a picture of me, and this was the result!

She’s not wrong.

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Hot oats in a peanut butter jar with crumbled chocolate cake on top. Because it was the day of my biochemistry midterm. You gotta do what you gotta do?!

Check out this recipe!

Mexican Sweet Potatoes

Serves 2 as a main course
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • fresh lime juice
  • green onion, or additional toppings if desired
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet.
  3. Poke holes in each potato using a fork. Place on baking sheet and roast for 45-75 minutes, depending on the size of each. When flesh is tender and you can easily slide a knife through, you’re done. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add chili powder, cumin, and black beans. Cook for another minute. Add salt, pepper, and lime.
  5. Slice each potato in half. Score flesh in a crisscross pattern. Gently mash flesh with a fork to fluff. Sprinkle on sea salt and pepper to season. Layer on black beans. Garnish with green onion, pinch each of chili powder and cumin, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Raspberries are no longer in season, but still ah-mazing with yogurt, chocolate cake, and nut butter. This is my favourite dessert!

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You must try this! Better than a pumpkin spice latte, I promise.

Actually, I don’t promise because I’ve never tried a PSL!

Dreamy Cinnamon Pumpkin Nut Butter

  • Coconut oil
  • Peanut or almond butter
  • Maple syrup
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Optional: ground cinnamon (I 100% recommend this! Okay, maybe it’s not optional.)
  • Optional: ground ginger
  • Optional: pumpkin pie spice
Microwave to melt. Stir together. Enjoy with apple slices, on toast, in oatmeal, on a spoon, or straight up on a finger. Not that I would know how that tastes or anything. 😉

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More of those baked sweet potatoes. They are delicious!

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Starbucks English breakfast tea latte that was so hot it killed 90% of my tongue cells. Took two days to recover!

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Lunch at Princess cafe involved a turkey sandwich with pesto, goat cheese, garlic mayo, and roasted red pepper. The soup was roasted beet and rosemary. I loved it!

Of course, I had to get the usual coconut cream pie 🙂 It’s my favourite thing at Princess Cafe! Although I do have a lot of favourites.

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Dear Past Cindy, thank you for making lasagna and freezing a bunch of pieces for future dinners.

Dear Past Cindy, thanks for making overnight oatmeal as a quick and tasty lunch that fills you up. Also, thanks SELINE for pointing out that cinnamon apparently looks like mold?

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Terrible lighting, delicious food. You can never go wrong with black beans, rice, and avocado!

Frozen and microwaved berries were dolled up with some yogurt and crumbled muffin, and avocado toast.

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Quiet night of studying at Princess Cafe. This soup was creamy curried cauliflower, and the sandwich involved eggplant and cabbage.

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I love, love, love these chocolate peanut butter banana squares. It’s a vegan recipe, too. This makes an awesome snack (if you have buddies who will let you know if you’ve got chocolate on your teeth). 🙂

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Let’s play Decode My Sister’s Teacher’s Writing! What on earth does this say? I think I have it figured out, but it took Seline and I a couple days. What do you think it says?

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That’s it for today! I’ve got a couple sweet posts in the making, including a bucket list and a super yummy (I just typed super sexy…) tofu hash.

Peace. ✌

A Day in Photos (◡‿◡✿)

Here’s a typical school day!

7:00: wake up, hit snooze, wake up again, get out of bed. Wash my face, brush teeth, and wash dishes left over from last night.

Make lunch – peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich, almond butter with banana, and water.

Eat my morning oatmeal: pumpkin oats this time, with a crumbled almond blueberry cake and tons of almond butter.

It’s not too cold by the time I walk to school. My classes start at either 8:30 or 9:30, so I typically leave the house at around 8:00 or 9:00. Campus looks so nice when it’s all frosty!

Labs, notes, and worksheets to practice.

After class, my friends and I often get together to study. This board in an empty classroom quickly became covered in our Biochemistry notes. We had our midterm a couple days ago, and all of the glycolysis (making energy) and gluconeogenesis (making sugar) pathways were difficult to memorize.

Dinner around 7:00 was leftover sweet potato chili that I burned in my pot, brown rice, and some grated cheddar cheese. Plus a side of more glycolysis.

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Dessert came soon after: peanut butter on a chocolate-banana brownie cake square. I shared the recipe last time! It’s a vegan recipe and absolutely amazing.

Sometimes I have to prepare for upcoming interviews. I had one on Thursday for a senior home with several locations across Ontario. The job search is going pretty well, and I’ll have more details on that in a future post! For this interview, I prepared by printing out some of the posters that I created for a senior home volunteer position that I held over the summer.

And then I check out some more recipes and make some modifications (blue). You’ll see these recipes soon – I can’t wait!

And that’s it! Normally I’m off to bed at around 11:30, depending on whether or not I have to wake up early the next day.