From Thanksgiving to Healthy Blueberry “Buttermilk” Pancakes

Happy belated Thanksgiving, my Canadian friends!

I hope you all had an incredible day full of great food, laughter, and special moments with family and friends. I’m writing this as I enjoy my breakfast – whole wheat pita bread with a ton of melted butter, scrambled eggs with cheddar and spinach, and yogurt with peanut butter, raspberries, granola, and some chocolate banana bread. I always tend to go a little overboard with breakfast on days that I don’t have school. Since yesterday was Thanksgiving, students at the University of Waterloo also get Tuesday and Wednesday off to make a full “reading week”. I’m planning to spend the next couple of days just relaxing!

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Mom made a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner that involved bone broth, pumpkin pie from Superstore, two pizzas and Church’s chicken, and a big, beautiful salad. Those crackers look kind of interesting, too.

At my friend Mary’s house, the table was set beautifully. I loved the cornucopia centrepiece and fall-accented tablecloth.

This was my first plate! I definitely had seconds. Moving clockwise from 12:00 – mashed acorn “pepper” squash, roasted turkey breast, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, apple and butternut squash hash, roasted sweet potatoes, raw carrot and green beans, the best celery-bacon-bread stuffing I’ve ever tasted, and strawberry jello with pineapple. The stuffing and squash mashes were incredible. What did you enjoy for Thanksgiving dinner?

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We’re kind of moving back in time here, but a couple days ago I enjoyed chocolate oatmeal with peanut butter and a serving of yogurt with fruit for breakfast.

I had my first Skype interview! It was done in a big room with six cubicles. All the interviewees got to wear headsets with microphones to speak to the hiring managers. My interview was around 30 minutes long, and I loved getting to meet my potential boss and some of her colleagues. It was a cool experience, but I didn’t like how the camera was much higher than the screen. It made “eye contact” a little awkward! Have you ever done a Skype interview?

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to snap photos of my oatmeal on my bed? Pumpkin oats are finally IN now!

Another day I had whole wheat bread with smashed avocado, a delicious filet of spicy salmon, and some roasted brown sugar squash. An amazing lunch!

LASAGNA! ❤ This vegetarian lasagna was made with heaps of zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers, along with a whole box of spinach and fresh ricotta cheese and a ball of mozzarella. I had this two days in a row and froze the rest. YUM.

And pumpkin baked oatmeal was made and enjoyed for a couple days! This recipe serves 2, and you can use either rolled oats or quick oats. I found a vegan recipe since I was out of eggs and was pleased by how tasty this was.

Simple Vegan Pumpin Baked Oatmeal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking dish.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients and mix well. Fold in raisins or nuts, if desired.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

My sister’s best friend, Brianna, delivered a tray full of banana bread and pumpkin sugar cookies to Seline. They loved these, and it inspired me to bake something with the rest of my ripe bananas!

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I made my go-to recipe for chocolate banana squares. I still have a hard time believing this amazing vegan recipe is low-sugar, oil/butter-free, and made with whole wheat flour. Granola was also made, this time using quick oats, maple syrup and coconut oil, and walnuts. I love, love, love this granola recipe.

Some of it was jarred and given to the Zach family (Mary’s family). I told you, we’re going in a weird order today… reverse chronological?!

Needless to say, I had a ton of dishes to wash afterwards, so I enjoyed washing them while watching Mockingjay Part II on my laptop. Have you guys seen that movie? Thoughts? PS: watching something while doing dishes makes it much less of a chore 🙂

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Another day, I thought I would take a nap at 6:00 PM, wake up in an hour, and then cook a delicious salmon filet. I must have been incredibly tired because I didn’t wake up until 9:00 PM, and it was so dark outside! Oops. Instead, I rolled groggily out of bed and felt instantly refreshed once I smelled this simple red curry with eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, and red pepper cooking… in the microwave. I also thanked past Cindy for making this!

A couple days ago, I tried a new recipe for pancakes. I made the following changes:
– halved the recipe
– replaced banana with a whole egg (instead of half an egg)
– greased pan with butter
– added a pinch of salt
– used frozen blueberries
– used oat flour instead of whole oats, since I don’t have a blender
– used just a sprinkle of cinnamon
– enjoyed with maple syrup

Next time, I will add more blueberries since it was easy to flip. I will also add more cinnamon next time.

It tasted like a buttermilk pancake in flavour, but the texture was a bit creamier, gummier, and was fragrant like oats. I loved it and will be making this recipe again. I highly recommend it if you’re a pancake lover like me! Next time, I might also experiment with other fruit like raspberries or even chocolate chips.

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Next time, I will add more blueberries since it was easy to flip. I will also add more cinnamon next time. It tasted like a buttermilk pancake in flavour, but the texture was a bit creamier, gummier, and was fragrant like oats. I loved it and will be making this recipe again. I highly recommend it if you’re a pancake lover like me! Next time, I might also experiment with other fruit like raspberries or even chocolate chips.

Still, absolutely 100% deliciousness.

A different recipe this time, but still using oat flour. I think I may have cooked these too long or over-mixed the batter, because it was quite firm and hard to chew. The flavour was excellent though, so I think the recipe just needs a bit of tweaking.

Last Friday, I went to downtown Toronto for my interview at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The best part of the day was going to Rahier in the morning for an earl grey tea latte and an almond croissant.

I was walking down the street to the hospital when I noticed another bakery – Patisserie LaCigogne, so I HAD to indulge in another croissant. Yup, I had two decadent chocolate almond croissants in less than an hour. It was a sweet day, literally and figuratively.

Mom Meals! Does anything catch your eye here? For me, it’s the MUFFINS and that kabocha soup! It’s crazy how much you can do with kabocha. Here in Waterloo, it’s called “buttercup squash”. I’ve made curries and pancakes out of kabocha, but there are a million other uses that you can read about here. Yes, kabocha pudding is a thing – and leave it to Miss SuperFitBabe to invent that!

I don’t know why I love these photos so much. It’s crazy what good-ish lighting can do for a food shot! I made a red eggplant curry with spinach and served it on quinoa, with lots of peanuts. Yummy.

Dessert was arguably yummier, with raspberries, peanut butter yogurt, granola, and a square of chocolate banana bread.

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More squash and more salmon – I ended up standing over the sink, stuffing squash into my mouth before I had to head out the door! These were ADDICTIVE.

Skies are cool.

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On a different note, I wrote an article a while back about my time in Nepal, and how doing yoga there was different from yoga here in North America. This was for a Yoga Teacher Training assignment, and I was lucky to have my article actually published by both Yoga Today, Yoga Anonymous, and Gaiam! For some reason, I’m super proud of that 🙂

This infographic was neat!

And something punny that I found on Facebook 🙂

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That’s it for today! Hope everyone has a great rest of the week. Can’t believe the weekend is already here!

PS: check out the world’s most random tags that I used for this post 😛

12 Things That I’ve Been Loving Lately

Without any ado, I present to you…

12  Things That I’ve Been Loving Lately

  1. Costco’s butter chicken sauce. Mom and I made it with shrimp, green chickpeas, and frozen butternut squash, served with quinoa for me. Have you ever heard of green chickpeas? They are delicious.
  2. Big Hero 6! Watched yesterday with my family. I cried probably six times. I feel awful because I told so many people that Big Hero 6 looks like a terrible, boring movie – I completely take that back. What an unbelievable film that encourages people to innovate, create, and take interest in science and tech. Did you watch – and enjoy? – Big Hero 6?big-hero-6
  3. Mom’s red bean soup with coconut milk is unbelievable. This is one of the things that I miss the most when I’m living alone in Waterloo. She uses a pressure cooker to cook the dried beans, both of which I don’t have. Do you have a pressure cooker? What do you cook with it?14182411_1472494122767880_1413554153_n
  4. The fact that Dad will be coming to Waterloo with me for 10 days. School starts on Thursday, and I will be arriving in Waterloo on Wednesday evening. He will stay until the following Saturday, to help me with some new appliances and to keep me company. Luckily, I’ll be staying in the same house with the same housemates. Last time Dad visited, we had such a good time exploring Toronto.14233426_1474644905886135_1295075901_o
  5. The fact that today was a baking day that involved challah and brioche. Sadly, the challah barely rose. I think that was due to one of two factors: the water I used to dissolve the yeast might have been hot enough to kill the yeast, OR I added the granulated sugar after the flour rather than before. I have no idea. Either way, the bread tasted eggy (used four yolks and three whole eggs!) and was much denser than it should have been. The quiche, however, was nearly perfect! We used 2 eggs with 1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper, 1/2 tsp each dried oregano, garlic powder, dried basil, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup milk, and a sprinkle of parmesan. 1 zucchini and half of a yellow squash were sautéed and thrown into the egg mixture before the entire quiche was baked at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. An awesome lunch!

    Tragic, I know.

  6. Send My Love by Adele and any Shawn Mendes song (love that guy) – these are ALWAYS on the radio and my sister and I always sing along in the car. Something I suck at: singing. Something I do all the time: singing. Do you like typical radio pop songs?
  7. My dad’s label maker. After finding it stashed in a cabinet, I used up the entire roll of label tape, making a dozen ’CINDY WEI’ labels and labelling every spice in the kitchen. We okay, I got a little carried away… even labelling the milk jar because I’m a very mature young adult. 😉
  8. New milk frother from David’s Tea! I got this one for $12, since my old one from Vincenzo’s in Waterloo isn’t working as well as it did previously.901667dt01var0031014-bi-2.1399
  9. Listening to old Justin Timberlake songs… Summer Love is my favourite because it reminds me of running around the gym to warm up in grade 8. That song, and Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne. Good times! Do you have any songs that make you reminisce your tween years?
  10. I am truly intrigued by the idea of bullet journalling. I recently found an old notebook and will try to start bullet-journalling. It seems like such a quick and easy way to stay organized. I always find myself forgetting dates, deadlines, and appointments. Do you use a physical planner, your phone (or an app), or simply your brain to stay organized for school, work, and life? Below is a photo of the new journal that I started, using a key with ideas ripped straight off of Pinterest. Let’s bet on how long this notebook will stay neat!14191794_1474636475886978_2039715710_o
  11. Zootopia – watched it twice with Seline at home, then again on the airplane ride to Nepal (en français), and once more with Mom at home. It is my #1 favourite animated movie of all time – incredibly meaningful, emotional, and outlines some dark truths about human nature. Such a powerful film about following your ambitions in a real world with real setbacks. Have you watched Zootopia? If so, I’d love to hear your opinions on the movie!zoootpia-box-office-record
  12. Yoga! I haven’t done yoga for a while, since leaving for Nepal a month or so ago. It’s taking me a little time to get back to where I was before, but I keep trying to tell myself that it’s about the journey and not the result. I had a very difficult time going into these two poses. Since I didn’t do yoga today like I was planning to, I did a 10-minute flow in one of the empty bedrooms in our house, experimenting with some of these balancing postures. They are so shaky!

Honourable mention to the fact that the school’s fall recreational fitness schedule is out! Glad to see lots of Zumba, yoga, and cycling, since those are my favourite classes.

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PS: one more thing – check out this picture frame decoration that I made out of Nepalese handmade paper!

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Happy weekend, everyone 🙂

Serendipitous Snippets of Summer

Confession: I had to Google how to spell ‘Serendipitous’ and how to use it properly in a sentence. Hopefully I used it correctly?

On a different note, check out this chocolate cake! I made this heavenly recipe. It’s my family’s favourite. My dad loves how sweet, moist, and decadent it tastes, as well as the creamy and super-chocolatey buttercream frosting. Definitely a once-in-a-while treat, but lots of fun to bake… and eat.

PS: decoration done with a ziploc bag (tiny hole cut out of one corner) and a toothpick used to drag the white chocolate through the buttercream frosting.

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One dinner we enjoyed recently involved salmon steaks, corn, and boiled broccoli + carrots. Seline had mashed potatoes and gravy with hers. This was my first time having a salmon steak – normally we buy the filets from Costco. I made these with butter, lemon, garlic, S+P, and cayenne. Simple and so flavourful!

Yummy flourless almond meal cake that I topped with sliced peach. This cake was devoured (98% by me) in two days. :O

Do you like red bean soup? My mom makes the absolute BEST out of coconut milk and brown sugar. It’s my favourite Chinese dessert.

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A couple days ago, we stopped at Whole Foods after visiting Grandma in Burnaby. There is a new Whole Foods near Brentwood Town Centre. Seline and I each grabbed a takeout box and filled them up with pasta, salad toppings, vegetables, mac and cheese (probably the best thing in the WF hot bar!), potatoes, and more. The tikka masala chickpeas were my favourite part, as was the smoked mozzarella pasta salad and the creamy mashed potatoes. Delicious field greens underneath mixed with house dressing!

Beta5 Chocolates is a place in Vancouver that sells some pretty incredible pastries. I loved every single one of these. Up top, we have an earl grey raspberry cream puff. Going clockwise, there is a dulce de leech cream puff, a chocolate peanut butter eclair with white chocolate garnish, and a creamy vanilla-chocolate-strawberry eclair. Mmmmm.

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This spinach egg bake with smoked cheddar turned out like more of a savoury bread than a frittata, which was what I was going for. It was a bit too dense and flour-y for my liking, so next time I’ll add some more spinach and extra eggs. Roasted delicata squash on the side!

Portuguese kale and white bean soup from Superstore, served with sprouted whole wheat toast topped with grated honey gouda. I bought the packaged soup a couple weeks ago, in preparation for meals sans a wisdom tooth.

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Delicious dessert: the creamiest Greek yogurt with coconut chips (10 points for Costco), crunchy chia nut butter, and fresh strawberries.

Mom made some tasty noodles one day…

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Here they are!

More Mom Meals – tomato scrambled eggs with shrimp is my favourite simple Chinese dish. Mom’s tofu and winter melon stew is also amazing. I’ll miss these tasty Asian meals!

Creamy banana oatmeal topped with my new favourite nut butter and served in the cutest bowl that was handmade in Nepal.

Colourful and tasty lunch comprised of strawberries, kiwi, white peach, peanut butter dip, a spinach egg bread square bake thing, and a slice of sprouted whole wheat bread topped with blue brie cheese, pepper, and honey. The peanut butter dip was made of PB2 (powdered peanut butter), plain yogurt, maple syrup, and cinnamon.

This perfect dinner involved quinoa, maple-soy salmon, and fresh zucchini + summer squash sautéed with garlic. I had seconds thirds on the quinoa!

One evening, we invited some of Seline’s friends over and had a BBQ with another family. Mom cooked up some delicious sesame cold noodles, roasted garlic cauliflower, and we brought out the tiny broccoli egg bites that I made the day before. We also enjoyed some creamy quinoa casserole with sweet potato, corn, and vegetables made with smoked cheddar. I used my favourite mac and cheese “sauce” to mix with the quinoa and veggies.

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Vanilla cake made with real vanilla bean! New obsession. Five vanilla beans for $10 – pretty good deal at our local bakery.

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Stuffed tofu is one of my favourite dinner treats! My sister has a new addiction to bean sprouts. I think they taste really… earthy. Grassy? How do you feel about them?

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B-R-I-O-C-H-E!

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After my dad revealed his deep, true love for toasted brioche bread while we were on a weeklong vacation on Vancouver Island, I decided to tackle the challenge. This buttery, doughy challenge.

After mixing, waiting, rolling, waiting, rising, waiting, brushing, waiting, re-brushing, waiting, and finally baking – there was more waiting to do before we could finally slice in. I made two batches in a week, using two different recipes.

The first batch had an intense buttery flavour and great texture. It also looked better, but took a total of THREE days to complete. The second batch took just a couple hours and made two loaves, but lacked in flavour, had fewer air pockets, and was a bit denser.

Last but not least, here is a sneak peek at a poster that I made out of a sheet of handmade paper (actually, wrapping paper!) from Nepal. It’s a project for my Yoga Teacher Training, called a freedom manifesto. I covered it with cutouts of things that are special to me, like Disney movies, bakeries, my family, places that I grew up in and places I’ve travelled to, and, of course, places that I’m dying to visit.

I also used a metallic gold Sharpie to doodle words and phrases onto foam board to decorate the poster. This will go on my wall in Waterloo! It isn’t 100% done yet 🙂

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Good night, friends!

The Food-tastic Fortnight: A Must-See for Vancouver Foodies!

Happy Friday, friends!

Whew. How did that week go for you? Mine was a blur. I’ve been out and about, and in other words, I’ve returned to Waterloo, Ontario – with my dad! He will be here for 12 days in total. I’m so lucky to have him around for another week! On Monday morning, we rented a car from the local Enterprise, braved the cold a couple hundred times, bought essentials from Costco, had brunch…

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… enjoyed lattes and hot chocolate from Princess Cafe, bought a printer from Staples, and went grocery shopping at Sobeys. Dad stocked up on instant noodles, microwaveable chicken strips and fish strips, nacho chips, and croissants.

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Mom’s been a busy lady back in BC! One day, she made a roast beef with vegetables and served it with mashed potatoes and gravy. This was a popular meal, she reports 🙂 Another day, Mom made sauteed tofu with vegetables, chicken drumsticks, cucumber, and yellow turmeric rice. Dessert was cream puffs with berry, honey, and toasty coconut.

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Mom also hopped onto the baking bandwagon – here, she tried a new recipe for lemon berry muffins. These look so delicious! Wish I could try some, too.

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That’s just what’s been up lately! I didn’t post much during my winter break semi-hiatus, but I have definitely been eating. Here are some of the most memorable meals that I enjoyed out and about in Vancouver.


Lunch at Ajisai Sushi with Mom, Dad, Seline, and Grandma

Waterloo suffers from a serious sushi famine, hence my choice of Japanese food as my first meal off the plane! I originally wanted to enjoy a meal at Kishimoto Sushi on Commercial Drive, but they were closed for lunch. Instead, we lined up in Ajisai Sushi Bar for over half an hour. Poor Seline whose wisdom teeth had just been removed, skipped breakfast as usual and was one grumpy girl.

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The Seafood Salad is a very popular dish. The shrimp was my favourite part – chilled, fresh, with the perfect flavor. Cornflakes were sprinkled on top for texture, but I found this quite bizarre! The sushi was quite tasty as well. We ordered lots of California rolls for Seline!

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We also enjoyed some pressed sushi – salmon and eel, both of which were yummy. There was a hint of wasabi in the rice, which grossed Dad out. But the fish was top-notch and super fresh. The black cod was seared, and one of the most tender filets I’ve ever enjoyed in my life. The charred outsides were crispy and flavourful, but the interior was so soft and melted in my mouth. My family and I loved the black cod so much that we ordered a second one, even before finishing the first.

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Ajisai was great, but wasn’t worth the 30-minute wait. I much prefer Kishimoto Sushi for high-quality sushi and their much better presentation. 🙂


Lunch at Railtown Café with Hollie and Jia

The salad I ordered at Railtown Café was, without a doubt, the best salad I’ve ever eaten in my life. I had a dark hot chocolate and a roasted winter squash soup with that, but none of the sides even came close to the amazing salad.

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Hollie enjoyed the popular chicken club sandwich and a hot chocolate, while Jia nommed on the spinach salad with a peppermint mocha.

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My salad was a foodie’s dream: topped with avocado, sliced grilled chicken, pesto baby mozzarella, beets, feta, squash chips (delicious!), and toasted pumpkin seed vinaigrette over a bed of arugula. I savoured every bite.

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My supposedly “dark” hot chocolate wasn’t very dark, and wasn’t very rich. Keep in mind, though, I do compare every hot chocolate to the rich l’Africaine (basically, a pot of melted chocolate) that my sister and I enjoyed in Angelina’s Tea Salon in Paris. I believe this one was made with water and dark chocolate powder, because the bottom of the cup was a little grainy and powdery. I finished the whole thing, though, and enjoyed it 🙂

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For dessert, we split a peanut butter crunch bar three ways and nibbled at pinches of this hazelnut chocolate muffin, which had an excellent muffin top and great cinnamon flavor. Hazelnut and chocolate was a beautiful flavor combination, and with cinnamon, this muffin was top-notch. The PB crunch bar was too yummy for words, and I kind of need an endless supply of these guys in my life.

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I will absolutely be back, hopefully with someone with a car who can drive us past the sketchy downtown Eastside 😉


Breakfast at Beaucoup Bakery with Mom

I think I have the world’s best Mom. Ever since visiting Beaucoup Bakery late last spring, I couldn’t get this amazing patisserie out of my mind. I honestly think this place creates croissants that rivals the best of Paris, France.

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On the table today: one almond croissant, one apple pie croissant, one hot chocolate for me, and a coffee for Mom. We asked for the croissants to be cut in equal halves so we could both try both. Mom is my food friend with food benefits. Does that make sense? 😉

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My hot chocolate was fairly thick, with a hint of sea salt that cut through the sweet richness of the cocoa powder and milk. It was a little foamy on top and had the cutest, um, heart (?) on top. The hot chocolate was absolutely amazing, but I need more of these croissants ASAP!

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Lunch at Joey with Natasha, Medha, and Sally

I can’t believe it’s been half a year since I’ve seen these girls! We’ve been friends throughout high school and went through so many highs and lows together – from crying in Calculus (seriously… multiple times. Mostly me.), to slicing shark reproductive organs and bouncing their eyeballs on the floor, to making dance videos in a locked bus on a July afternoon (AKA dying of heatstroke). We even spent prom night together. 🙂 Oh, good times.

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L to R: Natasha, Sally, Medha, me! 🙂

This was the Ahi Tuna Sashimi Salad, which my friend Vivian recommended. Vivian works full-time at Joey Coquitlam, where she specializes in desserts. I can’t believe Vivian is my age – she has 50 times the talent when it comes to creating beautiful and delicious food.

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My salad was fresh and much bigger than it looks. The greens were packed in here, there was an entire half avocado, and toppings were hearty with plenty of roasted salted peanuts, tomatoes, mangoes, and crispy noodles. The wasabi sauce was fresh and gave the seared fish lots of zing. I just wish the iceberg lettuce could have been replaced with arugula or spinach, and I found the salad slightly overdressed.

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One of their most famous desserts is the apple pie: hand-rolled pastry crust with caramelized apple, nuts, and maple ice cream. We asked for this to be cut into quarters to share, and that was just the right size. The maple ice cream had a prominent maple syrup flavour, and the buttery crust was the best part. With caramel sauce and melty ice cream on the pastry, this dessert was to die for.

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The chocolate cake was sweet, decadent, and rich to the maximum. This was also split into quarters at the table, and we divided the vanilla ice cream as well. The raspberries provided great contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. The middle was gooey perfection and I’m still drooling just by looking at that picture. Mmmmm.

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Brunch at Wendel’s with Mom, Aunt Mimi, and Uncle Charles

Mimi and Charles have been telling me about Wendel’s for over a year, but since I spent the summer volunteering at the aquarium, visiting the Sunshine Coast with my family, and living in Paris with my sister, we never got the chance to go. They raved so much about the famous French onion soup and coziness of the place that I made this the #1 place to visit during my return to BC.

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Wendel’s is located in Fort Langley, the historic part of town. It’s on such a quaint street that reminds me of uptown Waterloo. Wendel’s is connected to its own little bookstore filled with all sorts of journals, colouring books, and novels. We arrived at 9:00, when it opened, and the seats were practically full already!

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Mom enjoyed a blueberry scone and coffee, and was kind enough to share parts of her scone with me. Warm and buttery, this was one of the best scone’s I’ve had. Charles ordered French onion soup with a turkey sandwich on multigrain bread.

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Mimi’s brunch was also French onion soup, with a grilled cheese with red peppers on multigrain. She shared some of her soup with me, and oh my goodness, I can see why it’s their signature dish. Creamy cheese, rich and dark onions with a flavourful broth, I absolutely loved this dish and will be ordering it next time for sure.

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My brunch dish of choice is almost always eggs benedict. See Case 1, Case 2, and Case 3. Just can’t get enough! Do you guys like eggs benedict for brunch? I ALWAYS order it because poached eggs and Hollandaise are something that intimidate me too much to make at home, and I have a serious soft spot for biscuits and gooey egg yolk. This one had smoked salmon and beautifully poached eggs on English muffin, with potatoes. I wish they served freshly-baked biscuits instead of English muffin for their bennies, but this was still quite yummy.

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Dessert time! Wendel’s has a massive selection of sweet treats, from decadent ones to desserts that are gluten-free and vegan. We ordered four for the four of us, and one of them was the lemon meringue in a jar which was exclusively for Charles. One time, he ate TWO jars in one sitting after lunch – that’s how popular and delicious these sweets are.

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L: Coffee chocolate ganache cake

M: Salted caramel chocolate brownie cheesecake – this was my favourite 🙂

R: Bee sting cake with Bavarian cream, vanilla sponge, honey, coconut and almond topping – the contrast between layers here was incredible. Would also order this again! Would be awesome with a mug of tea or hot chocolate.

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I love Wendel’s, and so did everyone at our table. We are already making plans to return for lunch next time!


Lunch at Heirloom Vegetarian with Rachel

Do you guys know Rachel? She’s a food blogger extraordinaire, and my Vancouver food adventure buddy. We’ve enjoyed brunch together at Matchstick Coffee and Lebanese food at Nuba. I’m sure there’s another place we checked out together, but I can’t seem to remember it now! Anyways, you MUST take a look at Rachel’s blog at http://www.momentswithrae.com and be prepared to be WOWed by her stunning photography and editing skills.

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Heirloom has both a vegetarian menu and a vegan menu, and an extensive list of drinks. I started with the London Fog latte, which was unsweetened and served with a little cup of cane sugar. I was a little disappointed because although we arrived before noon, it wasn’t until 1:00 until our food came. Not a big deal, though, because we got lots of talking done!

Here’s is Rachel’s Heirloom Scramble, with organic Saskatchewan quinoa, green onion, leeks, oven roasted tomato, kale, artichoke hearts, rennet free goat cheese, topped with scrambled free range eggs tofu and salsa verde. She made a couple subs but apparently there were still bits of goat cheese in there. 😦 I tried some of her scrambled tofu and was pleasantly surprised. I have no idea how they got tofu to taste and feel “eggy”, but I’m sure nutritional yeast and turmeric were involved. Yummy!

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I was originally going for the Mushroom Hash, with caramelized onion, arugula, kale, scrambled tofu, bell peppers, and hash browns on a roasted leek puree. Unfortnately, they had just sold out and I settled on the California Hash, which came with organic Saskatchewan quinoa nut fritters, collard greens, yams, bell peppers, and hash browns, on creamy cilantro sauce, topped with seahorse dressing and pea sprouts.

“Settled on” would be the wrong words to describe this. After my first bite, I was completely blown away. Beautifully-cooked vegetables and fresh, flavourful sauce made a filling meal to remember. The quinoa nut fritters were like chewy falafels with a glorious crust, and reminded me of a cross between zucchini fritters from Paris and chickpea falafels from Thrive Energy lab. The green sauce underneath was made of cilantro and walnut, and the yellow spots are a vegan Hollandaise. I demolished this bowl and couldn’t get enough of those fritters, the sauce, and the yams. Mmmmm.

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The dessert of the day was underwhelming for me. It sounded great theoretically: vegan chocolate brownie with dates, walnuts, and almonds, and an avocado chocolate ganache served with berries. We asked for this square to be cut in half so we could share, but it turned out to be extremely filling. The “brownie” part itself was very chewy and firm, and the flavor seemed to be “off”. The avocado chocolate ganache was decent, though, and I was disappointed to see sliced apples on my plate instead of berries. I would not order this again and much, much prefer peanut butter-chocolate chip Larabars or black bean brownies for their texture and flavor.

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Thank you Rachel, for a delicious meal! What is our next destination? 😉


Dinner at The Flying Pig with Mom, Dad, Seline, and Grandpa

Have any of you seen Cirque du Soleil before? I saw one show in Montreal, Quebec in the summer of 2014 and another one right before this lovely dinner at The Flying Pig. Kooza was a funny and mega-entertaining show, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the performers and their incredible stunts. The sounds (live music!), costumes, and pure skill was unbelievable. I can’t even describe how good the show was – both this one, and the one I saw in Montreal. If you haven’t had the chance to watch Cirque du Soleil, I’m begging you to! What the human body can accomplish simply mesmerizes me every time.

Back to the food! Rachel introduced me to The Flying Pig and raved about the brunches she’s enjoyed here, so I knew that we had to stop by after the show. It certainly did not disappoint! My favourite bite was goat cheese + caramelized walnut + beet + arugula, but the seared cod was tender and equally delicious. I’m going to have to try brunch here next time!

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  1. Beet salad with arugula and goat cheese, candied walnuts
  2. Pulled pork poutine
  3. Chicken breast with asparagus and mashed potatoes
  4. Seared cod with spring vegetables

Lunch at Olive Garden Bellingham with Dad, Seline, Uncle Charles and Aunt Mimi

One of the highest-priority things on my “To-Do in BC” list was go to Trader Joe’s! And for one reason only – I wanted a jar of TJ’s SunButter. Thanks, Jack, for getting me totally addicted to the stuff! Sunflower butter is so dang delicious on bananas, in oatmeal, and on yogurt. So we drove to the states, shopped, bought clothes, got my precious jar of SunButter (which, unfortunately, had to STAY in BC because of airplane regulations), and enjoyed a meal at Olive Garden, the usual.

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I started with some chicken and gnocchi soup. Guys, I LOVE gnocchi! Have you tried it before? I’ve only ever had it a couple times from Olive Garden, and once from Wild Rice, and I enjoy ever single chewy, creamy, doughy bite. Next on my must-eat list = sweet potato gnocchi!

Dad had a customizable pasta bowl which included cavatappi pasta, crispy chicken, a spicy meat sauce, and parmesan.

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Mimi and I decided to go halfsies, and I ordered something from their “Lighter Fare” menu. Tilapia with shrimp and a butter, garlic, and white wine sauce with lots of herbs, served with broccoli. Mimi enjoyed the smoked mozzarella manicotti, and we shared. 🙂 The filling in her manicotti was delicious, and I loved my tilapia. The broccoli was really unsatisfying. Chopped into tiny florets and boiled for probably 10+ minutes, this broccoli was mushy hospital food at best. Still, broccoli is broccoli and I ate it all.

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Dessert was redeeming! Apple galette with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. I really enjoyed the flaky, buttery pastry with the cool ice cream. Would definitely order this dessert again 🙂

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Going to TJs, the Bellis Fair mall, and Olive Garden is becoming a yearly tradition for our family! I love it. Do you have any family traditions? 🙂


And, because I have no idea when else to post this – here’s Seline’s favourite recipe for macaroni and cheese. It’s super quick and easy to make, yet decadent and meets all the requirements for comfort food. For added nutrition, try adding some chopped non-hospital-mushy-like broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, asparagus, or mushrooms. You could also go the Whole Foods route and add breadcrumbs to the top, then broiling until they become crispy. Yum!

Seline’s Classic Mac and Cheese

Serves two, or one hungry teenager after school

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz macaroni
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk and ½ cup cream OR ¾ cup half-and-half and ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (can use a mix)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil water, salt heavily, and cook macaroni according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Add flour, salt and pepper. Whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour milk and cream gradually and stir constantly.
  5. Bring mixture to a light boil and cook, stirring constantly.
  6. Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, for ten minutes or until thickened.
  7. Add shredded cheddar cheese and whisk to melt. Simmer until all cheese is melted. Taste the sauce – you can add extra flavourings here: more salt, more pepper, some spices like paprika, garlic, or maybe some Dijon mustard.
  8. Add cooked macaroni noodles to the saucepan. Stir and toss to coat with cheese sauce.

That is definitely it for today, because I have LOTS of work to get done and things to prepare for next week. Dad and I have plans to tour Toronto for two days – tomorrow and Sunday! – so I need to get ahead with schoolwork. This semester is a busy one for me, as I have seven courses: human physiology, physics, psychology (my favourite course, surprisingly), anatomy + anatomy lab, a clinical practice lab, and French. 🙂

I hope your weekend will be filled with great moments and yummy food as well!

Green Eggs and Toast

Hi guys! I’m typing this on our sunny little outdoor patio in the Beach Club Resort of Parksville, Vancouver Island! These are some meals from about a month ago that I haven’t shared with you yet – sorry I’ve been so behind with these! I’ve almost caught up. 🙂

The first meal we have here is coconut chicken curry with frozen peas and spinach, served over bicolour quinoa. Mom bought some red quinoa the other day and mixes it with the white. I can’t really tell the difference between the two types of quinoa – if anything, the red simply has a bit more of a pronounced quinoa flavour. As usual, curry was delicious!

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Lunch another day was Thai soup. We bought this from Costco, and I was really surprised with the ingredient list and local/organic ingredients. This tasted pretty fresh, despite being a bagged soup. It was definitely much better than canned! We cooked it on the stovetop with an added scoop of leftover quinoa and some baby spinach. Topped with croutons just because Mom was nibbling them and raving about how crunchy good they were. 🙂

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This dinner looks like a random mishmash of veggies and protein – and it is! Roasted sweet potatoes and vegetables with a scoop of white quinoa and chive scrambled eggs. The vegetables were made as usual, tossed with olive oil and a bit of salt and freshly-ground black pepper before being popped into the oven for about half an hour. As for the eggs, we grow chives in our backyard and Mom is always adding them to scrambled eggs. They add a whole new dimension of flavour. Have you tried scrambled eggs with herbs?

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Leftover quinoa is truly so versatile! Here, I sauteed leftover quinoa with chopped roasted vegetables (also leftover from last night), added some lemon juice and black pepper, then topped it with grated sharp white cheddar cheese. This meal was SO filling, voluminous, and healthy. The perfect lunch for keeping you going throughout the afternoon!

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Omelets are another go-to lunch in my book. Here, I have a souffle-inspired omelet with pesto, spinach, and white cheddar cheese, served with buttered whole wheat toast. Toast and eggs is such a classic and tasty combination – I feel like I can’t have one without the other. 😛 By the way, I usually opt for one egg + one egg white, and whisk up both egg whites until frothy before dumping one egg yolk back. The reason I typically use one egg yolk rather than two? Because I like my omelets to be extra fluffy, and the rich and dense yolks seem to weigh them down. Luckily, Seline adores Caesar salad and eats egg yolks as often as I choose to wrap up for the fridge.

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A different version of the same meal – here, my omelet is folded in thirds and stuffed with goat cheese. Guys, goat cheese is practically MADE to be sprinkled in omelets. They add a big punch of flavour and become slightly melty cheese pockets. YES!

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The middles of the omelets are always so creamy and luscious. Ideally, this omelet would’ve included sauteed mushrooms, but we were out! 😦

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A substantial snack one afternoon involved toast, peanut butter, and sliced bananas with and hemp hearts. This snack features protein, fat, and complex {good} carbohydrates for lots of “filling-ness” and long-lasting energy. This peanut butter, unfortunately, isn’t my favourite. Nothing beats good old Maranatha in terms of both almond and peanut butter. Hemp hearts add a boost of nutrition here.

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Yep, another omelet! Black pepper and a pinch of sea salt are mandatory. So is butter for your toast!

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Another morning, I tried something totally CRAZY – green eggs! Okay, maybe they need a more appetizing name. How about cheesy pesto pinwheels? 😀 No food colouring here; this was simply two eggs blended with three massive handfuls of baby spinach and a scoop of pesto. I’ll show you!

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Grab a blender and crack two whole eggs in, then add a tiny splash of water (optional). Top it with a scoop of pesto and as much baby spinach (I want to try kale next time!) and whatever seasonings you desire. I went with the simple route: sea salt and black pepper.

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Let it blend until there are no visible green chunks or pieces of spinach. It took me about 30 seconds to a minute to make it completely green. This sort of reminds me of a green smoothie – but smells and tastes savoury. The blender does an amazing job of breaking down the egg, “whisking” it, so the texture is super fluffy and aerated.

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Then, I cooked it over medium-low heat on a buttered nonstick skillet. Since this was such a big skillet, it is very thin and more crepe-like. Add a sprinkle of cheese, if you wish. 🙂 I love Costco’s sharp white cheddar, which I grate myself. The cheese should melt quickly. When the edges of your green eggs start to curl away from the sides of the pan (you may have to turn the heat up a bit), you’re ready to roll it up!

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I find that one or two rubber spatulas and some agile fingers will do the trick. Oh, and buttering the skillet beforehand is a lifesaver. 🙂 If you are careful, using a knife right on the skillet should work – or, you can transfer it onto a cutting board before chopping the cheesy pesto egg roll into bite-sized pieces.

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Your cheddar-pesto pinwheels are ready! I loved mine on top of buttered whole wheat toast.

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Don’t be scared of the colour – I promise you will not taste the spinach at ALL. All you’ll be able to detect are the lovely flavours of egg, cheddar, and garlicky basil pesto. This is the perfect lunch that tastes like a decadent cheese roll – without excessive fat and WITH a boost of nutrients. Try it out!

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Of course, you can be lazy and simply cut it up wrap-style for easy munching. 🙂

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Parmesan, gouda, asiago, goat cheese, or any cheese you can imagine – would work perfectly here. Again, don’t let the colour freak you out! I promise the flavour of the spinach will be completely neutralized, or even covered, by the cheese and pesto.

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Just a regular omelet here – another soufflé-inspired omelet. All you have to do is whisk the eggs until they are super frothy and foamy before stirring the egg yolks in. It’s super easy and fun to cook. 🙂 As for the toast, this brand of whole wheat bread is not my favourite. Villagio bread is much thicker than regular WW bread, but smaller! I’d rather have more bites of a thinner toast. 😛

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This was still a very tasty lunch – even though I should’ve added some veggies.

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Here I used two eggs because I cracked both yolks by mistake. You can really see the difference in the colours – this omelet is much yellower than the one before. This omelet was stuffed with wilted spinach and feta cheese, and served with roasted vegetables.

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I have a couple more posts to share with you until I post the Sunshine Coast vacation food photos – stay tuned and have a lovely weekend 🙂

Prom Princess Meals

Prom was yesterday! I had such a great time with my friends last night – AfterGrad ended at 4:00 AM and I was exhausted. The whole day was incredible, though most of it was spent in the hot sun and in an uncomfortable dress. But the lovely photos were worth it! Started the day with pancakes at 7:00 AM before dashing off to a friend’s house for hair and makeup.

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These pancakes were made using my all-time favourite pancake recipe. After mixing the wet ingredients, I separated the batter into two bowls and mixed cocoa powder into one bowl. That’s why two pancakes are chocolate and the other are plain. 🙂 It’s a great way to add more flavour, colour, and texture into your meal.

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One chocolate and one plain where topped with coconut chips – honestly, I put them on everything now – and another chocolate and another plain were smeared with peanut butter and sprinkled with hemp hearts.

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Yogurt is back! Mom bought a large container of honey Greek yogurt from Costco, which was on discount. I love mixing it with a bit of flax and cinnamon before dolloping it onto my pancakes. They add a bit of coolness, creaminess and tang. If you haven’t tried adding yogurt to pancakes, do it! It’s like the icing on your cake. 🙂

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After hair and makeup, we headed to another friend’s house for snacks and conversation. Before the limo arrived, we enjoyed veggies and dip, chocolate brownies (they reminded me of my black bean brownies!), and…

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sandwiches and wraps from Superstore. I had a spinach wrap with turkey – you’ll see in a bit. 🙂

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There was also a massive platter of sliced meat, cheese, and crackers. I found the gouda and mild cheddar a bit plain and bland, but the aged cheddar (orange one) was super flavourful. The crackers had a nice crispiness and taste as well. I didn’t have any meat, but Dad said they were quite tasty.

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There were also chips! The table was so beautiful with all the food and flowers.

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Another friend, Sally, brought a T&T black forest cake. Unfortunately, we didn’t open it. Looked really yummy, though. Here’s my spinach wrap, stuffed with sliced deli turkey, lots of bell peppers, and a bit of lettuce. I devoured this quick lunch and spent some time with everyone in the beautifully-decorated garden for lots of photos. Then, the limo came at around 3:00 and we piled in!

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My first time in a limousine was SO memorable. We drove off to Queen Elizabeth Park, and later Stanley Park (near the water), where we took about 23480923 more photos.

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This is Natasha, one of my close friends, who looked absolutely gorgeous in her mermaid-inspired white prom dress and vintage Hollywood waves. And isn’t Queen Elizabeth park amazing?

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Dinner was enjoyed at about 7:15 at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. More photos were taken, and by then I had already switched my heels into Fast Flats. :mrgreen:

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The menu featured numerous cold salads and several hot meat and vegetable dishes. This was buffet-style, so I was so worried that I would overeat. Dessert was a buffet as well, which is D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S for me.

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While we waited for our table of ten to be called up, I snapped some photos of our table and the entire dining room.

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There were blue and silver GRAD balloons at every table, as well as neatly-arranged menus and cutlery. All of my friends and classmates looked so elegant in their dresses and suits.

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Sadly, we were one of the last tables to be called up. I was pretty hungry by then, and got a little bit of everything on my plate. Some of my favourite dishes here include the penne pasta with breadcrumbs, the mango and coconut rice salad, and balsamic asparagus with parmesan. The cooked (I just wrote cookied!) zucchini and BBQ salmon were great, too. I thought the chicken breast was very tender. 🙂

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This definitely gave me some “party food inspiration” for our next family get-together. I want to try baking maple BBQ salmon and making coconut rice salad. Yum! I was stuffed after this plate.

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But as I always tell my friends – I have another stomach for dessert! At the dessert table, I snabbed a white chocolate cheesecake square, a fruit tart, and a strawberry shortcake coupe, which I learned is simply a glass container for serving dessert – usually featuring cream and fruit.

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I also stole a bite of chocolate mousse. 🙂 The white chocolate cheesecake was my favourite dessert here – loved the crumbly graham bottom and chocolate coating. YUM. I’m still thinking about this cheesecake right now! 😛 Hopefully I’ll get a chance to recreate this cute little guy before leaving for Paris in the summer. Maybe for a family party or gathering?

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That’s it for now guys! I’m actually typing this on a couch in our beautiful lodge in Sechelt, BC. It’s Day 2 of our vacation and I am super excited to share all of our Sunshine Coast meals and adventures with you guys when I get back! They’ll be up in about two weeks, but I’ll still be posting. 🙂 I hope you all have an incredible week like we are here in the Sunshine Coast!