Snakes and Stew Ideas

Hey guys!

Hope all is well this sunny week ☀️ On my end, everything has been fantastic. Last Saturday, I met my coworkers Rikki and Erin at the zoo. The walk was pretty long, but so rewarding.

The fall scenery was stunning. I’m surprised by the sheer number of trees here in Scarborough. It’s so different from the concrete jungle we call Toronto, but I’m definitely not complaining about this beautiful foliage.

The zoo was awesome. I was pretty disappointed because I paid the $23 entrance fee – but I had a library card that would’ve allowed me to enter for free. 😢 Tragic.

But the animals were neat, and the weather was fantastic for the long walk around the zoo. I loved the bats and snakes.

That day, I enjoyed vegetable biryani that I made previously. I topped the butternut squash and onion biryani rice with crushed cashews and sautéed carrots with red peppers.

Another day, I loved this Thai green curry with butternut squash biryani.

I’ve still been doing lots of learning, teaching, learning, and teaching.

It. Is. So. Much. Fun. It’s like I’m being PAID to go to school. Which is pretty sweet.

Here are some images that I found while searching for amazing fall dinners. Don’t these look amazing?! I’m picking up some ingredients to make a pumpkin lentil stew later this weekend.

The sky during the evening is spectacular around here. It looks like a pastel piece of artwork or some kind of watercolour painting. It was mind-blowing to see in person.

The old classic, my favourite African peanut stew with sweet potatoes. This time, I made couscous instead of rice, and added mushrooms and a baby spinach/kale mix into the stew. Topped with crushed peanuts, as usual. This is my #1 favourite meal prep of the fall, apparently.

Another day, I went to the Scarborough Town Centre, the mall. I had Naan and Kebab again, where I nommed on the best basmati rice, creamy chickpeas (I need this recipe), charred tandoori paneer with zucchini, and fresh salad greens and a side of naan bread. I am head-over-heels in love with this place. Can I have more?!

Dessert? Chocolate almond croissant from Brioche Dorée. I asked them to heat it up for me, and they did, so it was warm but not crispy. I like my croissants crispy instead of soft, which makes them feel oily/flimsy. The chocolate was abundant, however, and the filling was damn delicious. I think you guys know how picky I am about these chocolate almond croissants…

Recently, we started a website as a resource for our students. It’s called Anatomy Academy. It’s still a work in progress.

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Chocolate Day + Scarborough Tour!

My flight back to BC is already booked for December 16th! I can’t wait.

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That being said, I absolutely l-o-v-e it here.

This is my new bedroom. It’s more spacious than I’d expected, and I love all the shelves. These photos were taken on my first night, but now everything is cleaned up and sorted out.

My kitchen looking simple. Not bad for a basement suite!

House!

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On my first night in Scarborough, I had dinner at Fratelli Pizzeria, where I enjoyed the most delicious ravioli I’ve ever had in my life. Portobello mushroom ravioli with rapini and gorgonzola cream sauce, to be exact. Dessert was a homemade tiramisu, which was much larger than it appears in this martini cup.

After this mouthwatering meal, I’ve had to resist the urge to walk to Fratelli (it’s a 15-minute walk from my house) every night. I can’t wait to try their oven-fired pizzas.

Dad and Mom on the left, and my landlord and myself on the right. I locked myself out of my room by closing the door too hard, and she had to come rescue me.

This is my office at Centennial College, where I’m working as an Anatomy and Physiology Tutor.

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon in downtown Toronto (about 40-minute drive or 1 hour + 10-minute bus/subway). I had a snack of spinach and feta borek, which is like a phyllo pastry, and my #1 favourite London Fog – both at Moonbean Café in Kensington Market.

This is my favourite London Fog. Ever.

On Sunday night, I heated up some store-bought cabbage roll and boiled some broccoli, which I then sauteed with salt and pepper. The cabbage roll was really tasty! The meal was followed up with a great dessert that I also purchased from Pusateri’s.

Frittata ❤ With fresh zucchini. Surprisingly, I made this in the rice cooker!

This is my “usual breakfast” – pumpkin puree stirred into oatmeal, with nut butter, chopped prunes, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, and cinnamon. It tastes like fall to me.

Today was National Chocolate Day! This morning, I stirred in 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and added extra honey. This bowl was extra decadent and incredible, especially with that salty sunflower butter.

My new backyard looks like a campground.

On my walk to work. Isn’t this beautiful?

My office again. 🙂

Notes and things:

Plus there’s a Farmer’s Market! I bought curried butternut squash soup, Thai green curry paste, three scones, a zucchini, and a quiche. Can’t wait to feast tonight ❤

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What I Do in a Day

Good morning! Here’s what a typical day in the life of me looks like:

6:30-6:45: wake up, wash my face and brush my teeth, boil water

6:45-7:00: wash dishes from yesterday’s lunch, make the bed, wipe counters and make a cup of tea (English breakfast, most of the time, with a scoop of honey and milk)

7:00-7:30: drink tea while studying

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Will my desk ever be neat?!

7:30-8:30: cook and decorate oatmeal (or eggs/pancakes/other breakfasts!), then eat oatmeal while reading the news, checking social media, and possibly creating a new blog post

8:30-9:00: wash dishes, prepare tomorrow’s backpack, brush my teeth, change clothes and brush hair, then clean my room quickly

9:00-9:30: walk to school, or take the bus if it is cold/rainy

9:30-11:30: lab time! I have a lab for human physiology, where we measure variables like heart rate, blood pressure, and maximal oxygen consumption. We always have lengthy lab write-ups for this course – my last report was 12 pages!

11:30-3:00: classes, including Statistics, Physiology, Biomechanics, Sociology of Physical Activity, English, and French. Not all in the same day, fortunately! I have my lunch in class, and always bring snacks to enjoy. Sometimes, I have to leave class early or show up late, because of mandatory co-op interviews at my school’s career centre.

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Lunch is asparagus-broccoli stir-fry on top of quinoa, with avocado and an oven-baked “falafel pancake”

3:15-4:15: volunteer at the university’s Well-Fit program, which is similar to personal training for patients undergoing cancer treatment. I teach exercises and spot participants as they perform various strengthening and stretching exercises.

4:15-5:30: study with friends at the Starbucks in my school’s health building, where most of my classes are. Sometimes, I study on my own.

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5:30-6:30: French tutorial, where we watch videos and practice conversations

6:30-7:00: study a little, check social media for the 400th time, and microwave my packaged dinner. Eat and be lazy.

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Messages with my sister…

7:00-7:30: take the bus for 7 minutes to the mall bus terminal, then walk for around 20 minutes from the terminal to Brass Butterflies, a pole and aerial studio that I am a member of.

7:30-8:30: Mixed Aerials class! I love this class because there are so many different apparatuses (hoop, trapeze, silks, hammock), and people of all levels. I practice the hoop or the silks, and I feel exhausted after the conditioning.

8:30-9:30: Flight & Flexy class! We stretch and do various exercises for strength and stability.

9:30-10:00: walk for 20ish minutes back to the bus terminal in the mall, then take the bus back home.

10:00-10:30: shower, throw on my pyjamas, make hot chocolate, unpack my backpack, get ready to study

10:30-11:45: study, do assignments/quizzes, or write lab report

11:45-12:00: brush my teeth, quickly prepare tomorrow’s backpack, and sleep!

6.5 hours of glorious sleep, and repeat!

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!

Stretch That Dollar: 20 Money-Saving Techniques for Students

“One of the biggest mistakes young people make is spending money without any pre-planning. You map out your classes for the year, you map out your spring break road trip, you map out your outfit for that party on Friday night. Figure out how much money you have, what’s necessary, what’s a luxury, and then budget how much you need to stay afloat over the year.”

– Canadian Living

As a frugal foodie who also happens to be freaking lazy, these are tips that I’m looking forward to using in the spring semester.

  1. Buy or rent used textbooks
  2. Use library books
  3. Find PDFs of required textbooks
  4. Sell last semester’s textbooks
  5. Eat out once a week only (yikes)
  6. Use coupons for food, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, and more!
  7. Walk or use public transit: this one is a breeze for me because a) I’m a terrible driver, and b) I don’t have a car!
  8. Shop at places where there are student discounts: Waterloo is such a student-oriented city that every single shop will offer student discounts. It’s the best!
  9. Price-compare for groceries: this is something I truly need to work on.
  10. Take shorter showers
  11. Get loyalty points like PC Plus Points: I found myself wondering the other day WHY I don’t have PC Plus Points yet. I grocery-shop at nearly all the PC shops. It’s like I’m giving money away!
  12. Use the school gym
  13. Meal prep!
  14. Sell old clothes, stationery, appliances, etc., that are no longer used
  15. Don’t buy unnecessary school supplies (oh no)
  16. Drink water instead of coffee, juice, etc.
  17. Use Spotify for free music
  18. Avoid buying brand-name items
  19. Set budget goals: Mom! Help!
  20. Do studies/surveys/questionnaires that give you money.

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Finals Over? Do This!

This post is specifically targeted to first-year students in Kinesiology who have just finished final exams. Welcome to your first (and last!) four-month academic hiatus: you won’t be going back to school until mid-September!

Let’s make the best of that time.

  1. Pursue a hobby that you’ve always wanted to start. Get truly passionate about it and start improving. Maybe you’ve always wanted to oil paint – now is the time to take lessons. Perhaps you want to learn how to bake a killer macaron or design your own website (PS: I can give you WordPress tips). Start now, start now, start now! You can possibly even start a club at UW. Take something you are interested in, and move it to the next level.
  2. Polish up that resume! Add a pop of colour. Add modern graphic designs. Update it with your experiences. Make it so well-designed that employers HAVE to take a second look. Your resume should be 2 pages maximum, highlighting only relevant information.
  3. Make a LinkedIn account. Most employers will search up your name, and potentially make their final decision based on your online presence. Use your LinkedIn as an “extended resume”. Show off the courses you’ve taken, the awesome experiences you have, and the things you’re passionate about. You can see mine at www.linkedin.com/in/cindyweikinesiology/
  4. Consider doing some kin-related volunteering. I volunteered at Waterloo Sports Medicine, which gave me great experience for the clinical job that I am doing now. You can volunteer in 2-hour shifts once or twice a week. I also volunteered at KidsAbility, where I helped a teacher lead a class of 8-10 kindergarteners with special needs. One of my favourite summer volunteer jobs was supervising elderly residents at the Parkwood Senior Home. Eventually, they allowed me to lead my own Stretch and Strengthen fitness classes for groups of seniors (age 70+).
  5. Go on vacation with your family. In the rest of your Kinesiology degree, you will not have a 4-month break again. Enjoy it! Do things you love.
  6. Consider applying for the AHS Fun Run coordinating team. It was hard work to organize the Fun Run, but SO worth it – even being at school for 6:30 AM on event day was great. I got to meet so many dedicated upper-year friends.
  7. Chat up a professor (with a polite email!) and ask about research opportunities.
  8. If you are interested in teaching fitness classes like spinning, Zumba, Aquafit, yoga, or barre, consider getting a fitness certification. Search up ‘CanFitPro’ if you’re interested.