High Tea, MOVING ACROSS CANADA, and More

I haven’t posted for a long time… I know. It’s because the past couple of weeks have been absolutely hectic, between meeting people, moving back to Ontario, and starting classes again.

TLDR of what I’ve been doing recently:

  1. Constructing Ikea furniture very slowly
  2. Reading
  3. Meeting up with friends, like the time I had high tea with my friend Adele in Kitsilano
  4. Other random stuff?

 

Here are more tidbits of the summer. These things happened after my sister and I came back from Charlottetown, PEI, and shortly after I got my wisdom teeth removed. Some bits of the summer include:

  • going for brunch with family at Café la Foret
  • baked a super creamy, rich New York cheesecake using an Allrecipes recipe
  • plenty of delicious Mom-cooked dinners, including tofu, veggies, and more
  • making iron-on bead magnets with my sister

 

  • delicious cooking from Mom – this time with Korean beef stew, pearl meatballs, and butter chicken with mushrooms
  • walking the dog with Mom
  • baking blueberry almond bread with mom
  • delicious brown sugar waffles with powdered sugar, butter, Nutella, maple syrup
  • stewed eggplant with ground pork on rice
  • lovely soft serve from Soft Peaks, which recently opened near my grandparents’ apartment in Burnaby
  • taro and chicken stew with fried egg and zucchini

 

My grandma found these! I wrote them when I was in the tenth grade, about five years ago. This is when I wrote down everything that I ate, separating them into pages by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner). I think it’s funny because I also RANKED all of the things I ate out of 10, then calculated the weekly and monthly averages.

 

Heirloom Vegetarian is a lovely brunch spot in Vancouver. I went with my family, and I enjoyed a great platter of mushroom hash topped with poached egg and tofu. Mom and I shared two dishes – the other one was a grilled cheese with cauliflower soup. Afterwards, Mom, Dad, and I (sans Seline) shared a tray of four ice creams from Rain or Shine. They were Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Malted Chocolate Honeycomb, Peanut Butter.

 

Another afternoon, Seline and I had high tea with our good friend Adele. It was my first time having high tea, and it was such an enjoyable experience. The place was beautiful, the food was divine, and the company was great.

 

I had two large mugs of London Fog, which Seline drizzled with honey. I ate the vegetarian Grande Adventure, and my favourite savoury bite was the cheese sandwich with apple relish, followed by a tiny sandwich filled with curried egg salad.

 

That same evening, we packed up the car and drove to Aunt Mimi’s home. We went to Mimi’s house because she lives closer to the airport, and she was the one giving us a ride to the airport the next day. This time, Dad, Seline, Grandpa, and I ALL went to Waterloo together.

IMG_2906

Our first meal in Waterloo was Famoso Pizzeria. I had my favourite, which had arugula, gorgonzola, dates, honey, brussels sprouts, and proscuitto. On the side, a Caprese salad.

For the first few nights, we stayed at a lovely AirBnB in Kitchener. The highlight was playing a board game called Blokus.

 

Another day, we dined at Red House. Seline had lamb spaghetti, and I thoroughly enjoyed my summery salad and plantains with queso fresco. For dessert, I had the chocolate tart with whipped ricotta and berries. We did an escape room after this dinner – it was called the Vault. Unfortunately, we didn’t escape in time.

 

Around this time, we got to see the new house. The house was already furnished for one person.

 

We went to the MUSEUM in Kitchener one day, and Seline and I played with this interactive virtual dancing thing.

 

 

Fun moments – delicious dinner of baked cheesy tortellini with veggies from Ennio’s, followed by an incredible dark rum and mascarpone bread pudding with ice cream and Nutella sauce.

Plus cleaning and sleeping on the ground. Which are not fun.

More cleaning, more furniture to construct, and a random waffle topped with whipped peanut butter, honey-roasted granola, and peaches.

 

A couple wonderful meals from Dad and Grandpa’s LAST DAY in Waterloo:

  • L: Timeless London Fog, omelet with roasted cauliflower, black beans, smoked salmon, chipotle lime goat cheese, sweet potato pancake with black beans
  • D: Belmont vegetable crepe with ratatouille filling (eggplant, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash), goat cheese, kale, buckwheat crepe // salted caramel brownie with vanilla creme anglaise, strawberry ice cream, strawberries, gluten-free carrot cake with blueberries, whipped cream, orange glaze

 

Seline and I had a bit more cleaning to do, and we were all done with the apartment. Here it is:

 

We finished cleaning, had an EXCELLENT first day of school (with yummy lunch eaten in the sun), and I celebrated with a giant chocolate chip cookie. I actually got this massive chewy cookie from Proof Kitchen for free as part of my lunch (how sweet is that deal?!), and it was delicious after popping it into the microwave for about 35 secs. Chewy, crisp around the edges, buttery, and exploding with chocolate. Served with a glass of milk.

 

That’s it for today!

A bunch of random things before we end of…

 

Bye!

More Incredible Brunch Meals + Desserts

FullSizeRender
Incredible sunset. This looks like a painting! I saw this sunset as I was heading home from class.

Good afternoon! I really haven’t blogged in a while; it’s because I have had a couple final exams, a final assignment, and just one more final exam before I am done. Today is June 17, and I am going back to Canada on the 26th. I can’t believe I only have NINE days left in Australia – we’re into the single digits now. Wow.

Anyways, hope you are all having a lovely day so far. Here are some snapshots of the wonderful week I’ve had, starting with a delicious almond croissant from Crust & Co., and a homemade chai latte. It was a great breakfast, and after a few classes, I had lunch with my friends from a social work class. I had the pumpkin soup, which came with a thick slab of bread (unpictured), and it really satisfied all my winter soup cravings.

I spend more time looking at lists of cafes, menus, and Zomato reviews than I do studying, and one cafe really stood out to me as a must-visit place. I knew I wanted to go to Nodo for a long time, but it wasn’t until I found out that their sweet potato waffle would soon leave the menu that I instantly booked it over there!

Here is that waffle that I so badly wanted to try. It was spectacular! The waffle itself was a sweet potato waffle, and it was topped with all kinds of mushrooms, crispy sage, brown butter, a zingy hollandaise, two poached eggs, and an excellent crumble (which I later found out was a toasted pecan crumble).

All of my favourite flavours – sweet potato, eggs, BROWN BUTTER, pecans, SAGE! – all in one excellent, excellent dish. I wish this could be on the menu forever, but I am looking forward to seeing what they will have on the winter menu. How awesome does this look?

For dessert, I couldn’t decide between the chocolate caramel donut and the pumpkin cheesecake, so of course I ordered both. I took the donut to-go, since the server told me it’d keep better, and I ate the pumpkin cheesecake on the spot. It was everything I look for in a cheesecake: creamy (not stiff, ew, I hate stiff or crumbly cheesecakes), dense, flavourful, spiced beautifully with cinnamon and nutmeg, with an excellent white chocolate frosting. I’m a crust connoisseur (who apparently can’t spell connoisseur without Googling it) and this one was a solid 10/10. And, I think it was gluten-free!

I will be really sad to say goodbye to all of my friends, classmates, and coaches here. The yoga studio that I work at is now looking for someone to take over my cleaning job!

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 12.14.38 PM

Next cafe on the bucket list is called Goodness Gracious. I am really excited to try these:

  • turmeric latte
  • treat from dessert cabinet
  • PB choc banana smoothie/blueberry vanilla coconut smoothie/strawberry cream cheese vanilla shortcake smoothie
  • tofu moussaka with scrambled turmeric tofu, eggplant, lentils, pumpkin hummus, cashew cream, sumac OR veggie toast with kale, broccolini, heirloom tomato, artichoke, kalenaise, sunflower seeds, poached eggs, charcoal sourdough
  • Side dishes: (can add avocado, salmon, tofu scramble, pulled ham, sweet potato quinoa hash)

I also found out about this new place called Hello Mister Frankie, which is famous for puffles. They are puffy waffles, like Taiwanese/Hong Kong style bubble waffles. I haven’t had the opportunity to go yet, but when I do, it’s going to be the honey and truffle puffle with vanilla and fig soft serve… and a lot of toppings. What would you order?

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 7.46.12 PM

I need to clear out some time to go to this place, called Bitter Suite, for their hot chocolate. They make peanut butter hot chocolate, and it is apparently out of this world.

One afternoon when I had planned to study, I went to the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. A fine way to procrastinate. All of the artwork was unique, thought-provoking, and admirable. When I look at modern/contemporary artwork, I almost instantly need to read the description because I get a little bit confused, and need an explanation. These artists are so skilled, and it really opened my eyes to the world of contemporary art.

Oooh this was amazing! I had avocado toast from Anouk, which was topped with sesame seeds (this made a massive flavour difference), rocket and quinoa with red onions, whipped feta, and romesco sauce. Next time, I’ll add a fried egg to this. The whipped feta had great flavour, and the texture was so cool. This was a great, simple, light, fresh dish that I’d order again in a heartbeat.

For dessert – freshly-baked almond pear loaf with vanilla ice cream. Served warm, this dessert was near perfection. I love the richness that almond meal brings to any dessert.

As you can see, I’ve been having a lot of brunch and not a lot of… study time. 😉

This awesome plate was from PawPaw Cafe: potato hash cakes, fried halloumi, smoked salmon, beetroot relish, turmeric hummus, poached eggs, mashed avocado, lime, and plenty of dukkah. Normally, this isn’t a dish I would order because I don’t like potatoes that much, but this was so flavourful and really delicious. They gave me SO much smoked salmon, and all of the flavours meshed together beautifully. I particularly loved the light sweetness of the beetroot relish with the zing of the turmeric hummus.

For dessert, I had my eye on the caramelized banana with sticky date pudding and vanilla ice cream, but sadly, they only make that at dinner time. Instead, I had the coconut chocolate ice cream with a Ferrero Rocher raw bar and crushed hazelnuts and a raw chocolate sauce. This was raw and vegan! I would have never guessed, and actually enjoyed the coconut flavour.

Riverside walks. I’m really going to miss this, when I go back to Canada.

Pearl Cafe is one of my Brisbane favourites. I savoured their avocado toast one morning, which was topped with whipped goat cheese, sliced avocado, blobs of pureed beet, sprouts, and a poached egg on sourdough. I wish the bread was toasted, though!

Mmmmm – ricotta cake with so many chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream. The buttery, crumbly, light texture of this cake, paired with the richness of the chocolate, was absolutely divine. This is probably what angels eat in heaven.

This great lunch was from Abode Cafe. It’s called the Dulcie, and consists of two thick slices of sourdough bread, ham, Gruyere cheese, and mango chutney. It’s been a while since I’ve had a grilled cheese, and it was calling my name! I loved every bite of this buttery, cheese-filled delight.

For dessert, I had their freshly-baked chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, and a beautiful piece of art – their hot chocolate. All served with a side of studying, but let’s be honest, I didn’t really study. How can you focus on disease pathways and clinical spectrums when there is fresh hot chocolate, a warm brownie, and ice cream in front of you?

It totally looks like I’ve been eating at cafes every day, and that’s because… I have. Kind of. I still cook a lot at home, like this plate which had an omelet with truffled gouda (my new favourite cheese), Italian herb smoked salmon, and a mix of grain salads.

Lovely little chai from Morning After Cafe…

preceded this broccoli breakfast bowl, which included farro, red onions, two awesome poached eggs, pita bread, green beans, and hummus.

I couldn’t leave without trying their legendary gluten-free cookie sandwich. The inside was peanut butter buttercream, and it was served with vanilla ice cream. The sweetness of the ice cream, and slight saltiness of the nut butter, paired beautifully with the chewy, crispy, crackly chocolate cookie. I want this every day.

Finally, a quote I found online. Any thoughts?

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 10.49.42 PM

One more thing! I had this phenomenal brunch on Friday – potato hash cakes, smoked salmon, yogurt lemon-herb sauce, two poached eggs. I ate this at Baker’s Arms Cafe, after a lovely pot of my favourite chai in Brisbane.

Dessert at Pearl Cafe (just across the street from Baker’s Arms) again – almond frangipane tart with caramelized rhubarb and vanilla ice cream. You can never get enough vanilla ice cream.

The river that I’m gonna miss a lot.

And a little bucket list for places to go before I peace out of Brisbane!

Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

BUCKET LIST

  • CITY
    • Bonsai Botanika mini quiche or sourdough with poached eggs, smoked salmon, sour cream, apple, ricotta, honey mustard, fresh herbs, hot chocolate
    • The Cheese Pleaser 4 cheese toastie
    • Dello Mano chili hot chocolate (7-5 M-Th, 7-7:30 Fri, 9-5 weekends)
  • WEST END
    • Gunshop Cafe gnocchi
  • PADDINGTON
    • Anouk homemade chai, corn beignets, ice cream with brownie
  • NEW FARM/VALLEY/TENERIFE
    • Bitter Suite peanut butter hot chocolate (if unavailable, get wet honey chai tea plunger), poached eggs on toast and add spinach, smoked salmon, crushed avocado + La Macelleria gelato
    • Hello Mister Frankie Puffle: honey + truffle puffle, vanilla and fig soft serve, red bean, peanut and sesame crunch, sachima, tim tam (12.7 total) —> closed Sunday
    • Ginger and Rose (open soon)
  • OTHER
    • The Menagerie hot chocolate + Scout Cafe brekkie bagel with fried egg, smoked salmon/halloumi/avocado, cheddar, rocket, housemate relish, fresh tomato, aioli + Sisco BCL to get muffins or hot chocolate
    • chai from Lewin Street Store
    • Lady Marmalade chai tea infused with milk OR hot chocolate on coconut milk, LM Gringo Waffle (chilli cheese cornbread waffle topped with savoury mince, minced chorizo, black beans, fontina, sour cream, fried egg)
    • chai from Wray Organic + Flour and Chocolate (vanilla slice)
    • RESTAURANT 1 hour + 4 min walk or 26 min train: Goodness Gracious (near Sherwood Arboretum and Corinda library): turmeric latte, treat from dessert cabinet, PB choc banana smoothie/blueberry vanilla coconut smoothie/strawberry cream cheese vanilla shortcake smoothie, tofu moussaka with scrambled turmeric tofu, eggplant, lentils, pumpkin hummus, cashew cream, sumac OR veggie toast with kale, broccolini, heirloom tomato, artichoke, kalenaise, sunflower seeds, poached eggs, charcoal sourdough (can add avocado, salmon, tofu scramble, pulled ham, sweet potato quinoa hash)
  • GABBA
    • RESTAURANT PawPaw Cafe roti canai dinner, sticky date pudding with salted caramel ice cream and grilled banana

Stupidly Delicious

Good morning guys! I hope everyone is having a beautiful day. It struck me yesterday that this Friday is going to be December. I can’t believe it. Looking at my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions, I feel like it hasn’t been that long since I last created these yearlong goals. Time really flies.

IMG_1983

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • sprinkle cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup raisins

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Toast spices for 30 seconds, stirring the whole time.
  2. Add onion and scallions and 1/3 cup water. Cook 5 mins, until onion and scallions are soft and translucent.
  3. Whisk in coconut milk and remaining 2/3 cup water. Boil.
  4. Add sweet potatoes. Decrease heat to med-low. Cover. Simmer rapidly for 10-15 mins, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add raisins. Simmer uncovered for 5 mins, or until sweet potatoes break down into the sauce. Stir frequently. Remove from heat.
  6. Scoop curry into bowls and serve with brown rice and lime wedges if desired.

I spent some time over the weekend creating a new resume format for my sister, Seline. She chose the colour and style, so I just helped to put it all together.

 

For myself, I’ve been working on a Personal Statement for a co-op contest, as well as revising my own resume.

 

Last week, I had some delicious meals from Whole Foods. This bowl included barbeque smoked meat, mac and cheese, a cauliflower meatball, and more.

 

Few things from recently:

  • Did you guys know I’m interested in true crime and criminal psychology? My sister and I have been watching a lot of Unsolved Mysteries on YouTube.
  • On Sunday I had a great time, thanks to this detailed agenda – you’ll see in a moment!
  • Shopping lists
  • I made a 2048 tile! I must be the only person who still plays 2048…

 

I went to BakerBots Bakery on Sunday, where I bought this incredible pumpkin tart that I devoured yesterday. This buttery shortbread crust was filled with creamy, sweet, cinnamon-y pumpkin and topped with the fluffiest whipped cream, crispy glazed pumpkin seeds, and a homemade pumpkin cream puff.

IMG_2122

I also had a cinnamon bun! This cinnamon bun was from BakerBots as well. When I was in line to buy some pastries and ice cream, the girl in front of me insisted that I try their cinnamon buns. I must have looked very indecisive (they had such a large spread of treats!) because she told me, without hesitation, that I “have to try their cinnamon buns. They’re delicious. Stupidly delicious. Seriously, stupidly delicious.” I’m not a huge cinnamon bun fan, since I prefer cakes and muffins, but you can only see so many delicious scones and cinnamon buns from Cora’s site (which, Cora, if you’re reading this – I bought a donut and a muffin from Through Being Cool yesterday!). So I had to get a cinnamon bun.

And she was absolutely right. Stupidly delicious. Can I eat ten of these right now?

 

My office at work is now decorated for Christmas. I tried to make it anatomy-themed. Check out all the photos saved on my phone for inspiration!

 

Another incredible dessert: this banana eclair from Roselle. It was filled with white chocolate cream, vanilla chantilly, and rum-glazed bananas. I really loved how the eclair itself was crisp and light, rather than soft, mushy, and heavy.

 

My friend and I went to the Christmas market in Toronto. It was great to catch up on the cold, blustery Sunday and see all the lovely vendors and Christmas decorations.

 

I. Love. Christmas. From the lights to the carols to the fluffy scarves and the hot chocolate, I wish everyone could have that warm fuzziness of Christmas year-round.

IMG_2078

Ooooh, guys. Look at this. I’m freaking out. Let me just explain this deliciousness in point form:

  • Chewy (with crispy edges) peanut butter cookie with caramelized peanuts and chunks of peanut brittle
  • Ube ice cream (Japanese/Filipino sweet potato)
  • Toffee swirl ice cream with chunks of toffee

I devoured this in a heartbeat. Hands-down one of my Top 3 All-Time Favourite Desserts.

 

I also loved this brunch at Karelia Kitchen, where I munched on purple cornmeal pancakes, a poached duck egg, smoked salmon, and the best beet-cured gravlax.

 

That was all post-silks!

 

And these are some much simpler, but delicious nonetheless, meals from home. 🙂

 

I hope everyone has a festive week ⭐️

When You Double The Butter

This post was hiding in my DRAFTS folder for four months! Does that ever happen to you guys? You write a post, keep it in Drafts to update another day, then completely forget about it until months later?

Probably just me. 🙈

Anyways… I executed the world’s greatest baking failure.

20952150_1881768011840487_1186655257_o

See that butter up there? It’s twice as much as I should have used. 😮

Chocolate Nutella Cookies Recipe

Makes 72 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, room temp (NOT 1.5 cups, NOT 340 g)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (150 g)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (150 g)
  • 1 cup Nutella (280 g)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (148 g)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (31 g)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix into the butter mixture on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the bottom and sides at least once to ensure even mixing.

Add chocolate chips and hazelnuts, chill 10 min: Fold in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts and refrigerate the dough for ten minutes.

Spoon onto lined cookie sheets and bake: Spoon tablespoon-sized drops of dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on the sheets for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

They looked pretty good going in, if anything, a little too soft. They came out an absolute disaster. Completely inedible. I learned, I learned. Baking really is a chemistry. Where there’s a whisk, there’s a way, I suppose, until you use 1.5 cups of butter.

IMG_9479

Lunch another day: spinach and feta omelet with cherries, plus baked treats, yogurt, and coconut cookies. These coconut thins are my favourite, and many many more were devoured.

IMG_9475

Back when I was on my waffle kick! These were so yummy, and there was much more yogurt devoured post-photo.

Another day, Mom made chive scrambled eggs (chives from the backyard), pearl meatballs (pork, green onions, and water chestnuts, rolled in sticky rice before steaming), and fried fish. All three dishes tasted great!

I loved these “red velvet” waffles another day. I made them in the blender: beets and a mashed banana, with lots of cocoa powder, before topping them with the creamiest nut butter and hemp hearts.

This was a German apple cake slice with yogurt, and a party meal that we enjoyed at my mom’s friend’s house.

Almond cake, created by my mom. The whipped cream topping was great!

20961198_1884095924941029_499486548_o

Blueberry Almond Layer Cake with Whipped Cream

Serves 16

Cake INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups almond meal, firmly packed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 and 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping and Cream INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups whipped cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • blueberries to decorate
  • chopped nuts, if desired, to decorate

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease two round pans with coconut oil, dust with almond meal, and place a piece of parchment paper on the base.
  3. Beat egg, maple syrup or honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk well.
  5. Finally, add almond meal. Mix until just combined.
  6. Separate evenly into two round pans.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, or more if needed.
  8. Remove from oven. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then place on cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. For the whipped cream, freeze bowl and mixer for 15 minutes. Whipped cream should be cold too, fresh from the fridge. Place all ingredients into chilled bowl and whip until the peaks are firm.
  10. When the cake is cooled completely, cut into two layers and spread with whipped cream, then “ice” around the outside. Decorate with blueberries, chocolate shavings, other fruit, nuts, or more.

Once, Seline and I went to Wild Rice, a gluten-free and restaurant where I enjoyed turmeric rice topped with prawns and bok choy in a garlic-coconut reduction. The sauce was otherworldly.

Seline’s crispy chicken cubes were also tasty.

20961258_2049864581706354_730305605_o

We had that meal at the Fraser River quay in New Westminster, after silks.

The quay is so, so beautiful in the sunshine.

This is a new variation that Seline and I were working on.

Our summer garden flowers are at the peak of their blossom.

Our morning walks are always so enjoyable.

New book that I’m [mostly] in love with. I finished it a while ago, and have so much to say. Has anyone read this and would like to discuss?!

Over the weekend, my family went to the Korean market, where my mom purchased $80 worth of meat (all cuts!), in addition to kimchi, fish balls, and Korean pancakes. The red bean pancakes are my favourite.

Another day, we had a fanciful Mom Dinner with all sorts of fresh dishes.

And for dessert, aunt Mimi and uncle Charles brought a chocolate mousse cake from Whole Foods.

I had all kinds of Chinese buns for breakfast that day, and the taro was my favourite, followed by red bean and chestnut.

Have a beautiful Sunday, everyone!

Unchronological Order

Good morning, everyone! I hope you are all having the loveliest of mornings. This was a meal of garlicky cheddar broiled pita, scrambled tofu with peas, and sautéed zucchini with mushrooms and peppers. Eaten about a month ago, and I’m just posting this now because I’m terribly disorganized.

These treats are from Vincenzo’s (specialty European grocery store in Waterloo), and I can’t wait for my family to try them. I also bought these and took these pics back in May (whaaaat?) and I’m not sure why I’m just sharing them now.

  • caramel milk chocolate
  • Scottish all-butter shortbread
  • white chocolate cranberry shortbread
  • tiramisu cream milk chocolate
  • 99% dark chocolate for my very health-conscious grandfather
  • French pure butter cookies
  • 3 bags of Italian black truffle chips

During a FaceTime session between my mom and I, she decided it would be a good idea to DRAW a picture of me – this is what I got. :O

Another day, my friends and I went to Menchies for frozen yogurt to celebrate after our Physiology final exam.

My Menchies cup was loaded with:

  • taro frozen yogurt
  • Nutella frozen yogurt
  • Oreo frozen yogurt
  • chocolate frozen yogurt
  • cinnamon toast crunch cereal <– my favourite cereal as a kid, next to Corn Puffs and Reese’s. Multigrain Cheerios and Lucky Charms (only the charms, though, let’s be real) were so good, too. Man, I could write a whole post about different cereals. What was your favourite?
  • peanut butter crackle
  • chocolate crackle
  • cheesecake chunks
  • brownie chunks
  • Nanaimo bar
  • yogurt-covered pretzel
  • peanut butter sauce
  • peanut butter cookie dough <– I need more of this in my life
  • Oreo pieces

And 12 hours before the Menchies, we were studying on campus. I am going to miss Athena and Jasmine so much. 😦

Recently, I’ve been living off of Minimalist Baker recipes. I adapted her chocolate breakfast quinoa bowl and have been loving this breakfast with a banana + lots of peanut butter in the morning. It’s so easy to make, and is wonderful meal prep for the days that you feel like having a variation from oatmeal.

I made two batches over the last 1.5 weeks, and will buy another can of coconut milk later today so I can make another 4 servings!

Rich Chocolate Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked white quinoa
  • 1 can of coconut milk + enough water to make 2 cups total
  • sea salt
  • 3 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse quinoa well. Drain.
  2. Heat saucepan over medium heat. Add rinsed, drained quinoa. Toast for 3 minutes while stirring rapidly to dry up water.
  3. Add coconut milk and water mixture, a pinch of salt, and stir. Boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally. If it stops simmering, increase heat to medium-low. It should be slightly simmering.
  4. When the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, remove from heat and add cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Adjust flavours if needed, adding more water if you prefer a thinner texture.
  6. Eat! Don’t forget to top with chocolate, berries, more milk, or sliced banana. Nut butter is a must for me.
  7. Leftovers keep in the fridge, covered, for 2-3 days.

This morning, I realized that my milk was due to expire soon so I quickly whipped up a giant mug of hot chocolate. This mug was warm, sweet, but not too sweet, comforting, and absolutely delicious despite the hot and sunny weather. I enjoyed it with a chocolate almond croissant that I froze a few months ago. Thank you, past Cindy.

Easiest Hot Chocolate

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREPARATION

    • Whisk together the cocoa, maple, salt, and about 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and honey are dissolved. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it is hot. Stir in the vanilla and serve.
    • If you like it frothy, blend it in the blender or use a milk frother.

Cocoa powder, guys. Apparently every recipe I made this week involves that good stuff. Since I didn’t have any coconut oil, I resorted to this recipe which is entirely free of added fats. The verdict? Not my favourite. I thought it had an odd bread-y texture, which was off-putting for brownies. I wouldn’t make this again. 😦

Fat-Free Vegan Brownies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour (I used spelt)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp flax meal plus 6 tbsp water, whisked together

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Sift all the dry ingredients, including the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In another bowl mix together the maple syrup, water, flaxmeal mixture, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well mixed.
  3. Add the flour-cocoa mixture to this in 3 batches, mixing after each addition using a ladle or spatula. The batter will be thick.
  4. Prepare an 8 X 8-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment. Leave an overhang on each side of the pan so you can easily lift the brownies. Pour the batter in and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool thoroughly. Lift out the brownies using the foil overhang as handles, and cut into squares. Enjoy!

And that’s it for today! I hope y’all have the best rest of the week, and I cannot wait to share some exciting stuff with you. Seriously exciting.

Stay on your toes!

IMG_9348.PNG

Life.

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 1.08.40 PM.pngDo you like poetry? Quick promo, friends! Did y’all know that my crazy, studious, funny, awesome 17 year-old sister writes a blog, too? Hers is called Purely Poetic, and she writes all about mythical lands, strange sensations, and weird-but-wonderful worlds. Seline has a way with words, and is quite talented when it comes to writing creatively. Paired with some incredible aesthetics, I think you will love her writing. Take a look by clicking on this link, which will open up in another tab.

On another note, Mother’s Day was last weekend, and I was more than happy to wish a special day to my one and only mom. ❤ She is such a resilient, compassionate, caring person.

I had oatmeal this morning with an overripe banana, cocoa powder, tons of sunflower butter, and granola with hemp hearts to top.

IMG_8320

Yesterday night’s dinner was fresh pasta from the market, cooked with a pumpkin sauce and market asparagus with frozen peas. Parmesan on top!

The same sauce paired gloriously with fresh gnocchi. I love gnocchi. In fact, I think it is my #1 favourite pasta. What’s yours?

IMG_8286

For lunch yesterday, I met up with some friends to enjoy a meal at Cafe Pyrus. Every semester, the Schulich Leaders Foundation sponsors a get-together, and this time one of my friends recommended this vegan cafe in downtown Kitchener. I savoured every sip of my vanilla steamer, and loved the Angry Vegan sandwich: a panini with Daiya, caramelized onion, spinach, tomato, and a great garlicky aioli. Broccoli soup of the day was tasty, too.

IMG_8310

I wish I was back in Toronto so I could see this aerials showcase, starring my friends. 😥 They all look so beautiful in this shot.

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 6.10.05 PM

Eggs, broccoli, cheese, yogurt, fruit, granola – what better breakfast can you ask for?

IMG_8282

Loved this dinner that I enjoyed two nights in a row: baked herb salmon, broccoli, and a side of schoolwork.

I went to Freshii last weekend for this deluxe salad, which was loaded with brown rice (it was essentially a grain bowl), beets, carrots, corn, mushrooms, beans, aged cheddar and feta cheese, crispy wonton strips, spinach, and a spicy yogurt sauce. Loved this!

IMG_8251

Pancakes are another love, of course: this tasted awesome smeared with peanut butter and sunflower butter.

IMG_8247

A tasty lunch featured eggs and frozen almond croissant from Thobors.

Met with my friends at The Works, where I had a big turkey burger with great toppings! I love arugula on my burgers.

Meal prep, which involved a mediocre quinoa pesto chickpea salad and subpar cucumbers.

Chocolate baked oatmeal always exceeds my expectations. This tasted incredible with yogurt and granola… plus peanut butter. Always, peanut butter.

Baked sweet potato, beans and corn, cheddar, avocado, salsa. I need to buy more sweet potatoes this week. They are so versatile.

These are Seline’s drawings. Her artwork never fails to impress me. She did these spontaneously, somehow… with just a pencil and an old notebook!

Her oil paintings are equally wonderful. The waterfall painting is one of my favourites that she’s done. I cannot believe that she is self-taught, and has only been painting for two years.

Yay for cookies! Make this recipe, friends. I adopted the recipe slightly from Oh She Glows, and it is brilliant. And vegan. 😉 I made it with some arm power and a handheld whisk. You don’t need an electric beater for this. You won’t regret it – I baked ’em up and all ten were gone in 4-5 days. I was the only one eating them.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 large cookies

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (see note)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1.5 cups oat flour
  • 1-2 teaspoons non-dairy milk (only if needed to moisten batter)
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flax and water and set aside for a few minutes so it can thicken up. Whisk the flax egg again once thickened.
  2. Add the rest of the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flax egg (coconut oil, sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, cane sugar, and vanilla). Beat the ingredients until combined and smooth.
  3. Now, beat in the dry ingredients, one by one, as you go down the ingredient list (baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, oat flour). If your dough is a bit dry, add a teaspoon (or two) of non-dairy milk and beat the mixture again. The dough should be moist enough to form balls without cracking, but not super sticky.
  4. Beat the chocolate into the batter or simply stir by hand.
  5. Shape balls of dough (about the size of a golf ball or 2 heaping tablespoons) and place on the baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Gently press down on each ball with your hand to form a disc (it should be 1/2-inch thick or so). Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes until the cookies are spread out nicely.
  7. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 7 minutes or so and then transfer to a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.

One more recipe! This one was a killer dessert that satisfied every cakey craving.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MICROWAVE MUG CAKE
 Serves: 1
INGREDIENTS
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon butter extract (optional)**
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
  1. Spray a microwavable mug with cooking spray and then mix together oat flour, baking powder, salt, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and butter extract (if using). The batter should be somewhat thick, but not dry. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons more of almond milk as needed for consistency. Stir in mini chocolate chips and sprinkle a few over the top, if desired.
  2. Microwave on high for about 1 minute and 25 seconds. Take out of the microwave and if desired transfer to a plate. Enjoy!

Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!