Three Unbelievable Brunch Dishes 👌

Good afternoon! Hope your weekend has been wonderful so far. My week has been absolutely amazing, much better than I could’ve imagined – and I’ll show you why!

First, one of my favourite authors, Victoria Aveyard, came to Canada for her book tour! She visited Chapters Metrotown in Burnaby. Of course, I’m in Australia until the end of June, but my sister Seline had the opportunity to meet the lovely Victoria, get her books signed, and listen to Victoria’s Q&A. Victoria Aveyard is the author of the Red Queen quartet, and her newest book – series finale! – War Storm was released recently.

Also: another massive bowl of chai from Three Monkeys Cafe. I’m addicted.

In case you haven’t noticed, I am on a MISSION to try as many chai lattes as I can. This morning, I hit up Northey Street Farmers Market, an organic market, which is known for a cozy shack called Chai Cafe. There, I had a very enjoyable mug of chai, one of the spicier ones in Brisbane. The owner told me that she adds fresh vanilla beans, turmeric, and a plethora of other spices, to create a recipe she learned in India. This chai was one of the top two I’ve had so far… and by that I mean it’s the second-best. 🙂

The Northey Street Markets are lovely! Quite a bit busier than the other markets, perhaps due to its size, with lots of friendly dogs and children. It’s a very family-friendly place and I wish I came with the intention of grabbing a sandwich and doing some people-watching.

After my walk at the Northey Street Markets, I went to the Green Edge Vegan Market and Grocery Store. I’m on the lookout for some enchilada sauce (without too many additives or preservatives), and after visiting two or three different specialty grocery stores – I still haven’t found any.

From there, I tried to take the 450 to go home, caught the 150 bus instead, and ended up in South Bank! It was a wonderful accident, because I’ve had Pourboy Espresso on my bucket list for the longest time. It was destiny – I had to eat here!

Mainly, Pourboy Espresso has been on my must-visit list because of their famous Belgian hot chocolate, made with Callebaut dark Belgian chocolate and organic milk. I love how it was served in this little kettle with extra chocolate chips. It was flavourful and sweet, but the chocolate and milk were not mixed together very well. The first 1.5 cups were milky, but near the bottom of the kettle, the chocolate was much more concentrated and un-melted.

For my brunch dish, I ordered the cheesy jalapeño waffles, which were topped with mashed avocado, grilled cherry tomatoes, and two poached eggs. I was worried the waffles would be too spicy, since the waitress said they were quite spicy, but it turned out to be okay. I loved the generous scoop of avocado, since I haven’t had avo for a while, and the eggs were poached very nicely. The entire dish was fresh and flavourful, and it was sprinkled with some coarse salt that boosted the taste of everything. Overall, a solid brunch dish that I would recommend!

The table to my right savoured a slice of lemon sour cream pound cake with lemon curd, and it looked delicious. On top of that, my server talked about how much she loved this dessert. For those of you who have read my blog for a while now – you know that I’ve never been a fan of citrus desserts. In fact, I hate lemon. I think orange ruins chocolate. Grapefruit desserts should be called breakfast. I’m all about the nutty desserts. The chocolatey desserts. The richer, the more decadent, the creamier – the better. So, ordering this fresh and fruity LEMON dessert was out of character!

But it was good. Really good. Paired with that lemon curd, this slightly-warm, crumbly, buttery cake with blasts of flavour from the toasted walnuts, this was a fantastic way to end my meal.

“We noticed the lady to our right, munching on this cake and gushing about it,” the man beside me had mentioned, “so we had to order it, too. It’s just a ricochet of lemon pound cake.”

A couple days ago, I spent my morning at Corner Store Cafe. I’ve been to Corner Store Cafe a couple times before. Literally, a couple. The first time, I had a lamb flatbread and a smoothie. The second time, I enjoyed the polenta waffles with smoked salmon and a mug of chai. This time, the chai was calling my name again.

For my main dish, I knew I wanted the mushroom quesadillas. These quesadillas were filled with gorgonzola and stracciatella (Italian buffalo milk) cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and spinach. It was set on a bed of pumpkin puree, and topped with two fried eggs and pebre salsa. According to Wikipedia, pebre salsa is a Chilean condiment made of coriander, chopped onion, olive oil, garlic and ground or pureed spicy aji peppers. The dish was a blast of flavours and textures, incredibly filling, and I was in love with the cheesy centres and doughy tortilla.

For dessert, I wanted to try their daily special – a middle eastern fruit bread pudding topped with sliced fruit, and two scoops of orange marmalade ice cream. This was much bigger than I’d expected, and the giant slabs (yes, there were three slices) of bread were layered with figs, dates, raisins, and bananas.

Every bite was fruity and paired well with the zing of the ice cream. I liked how some parts of the fruit bread were crispy and caramelized, while the middles were creamy and pudding-like.

You can probably imagine, that after a mug of milk tea, a veggie-filled quesadilla with two eggs, and then a massive loaf of bread pudding with two scoops of ice cream – that I was very full. 🙂

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Photos of South Bank, Brisbane! Gotta do the touristy stuff here, too.

  • L: a dessert restaurant in South Bank that I want to try!
  • R: photo from the bathroom of Banneton Bakery that took me right back to my summer in Paris, France. I remember all of these stops, and miss Paris so much. Thinking about my time there always makes me happy – and simultaneously leaves me in disbelief. I can’t believe that the 16 year-old me took my younger sister to live in Paris for a month.

Another amazing brunch happened at Pearl Cafe. I’ve wanted to visit Pearl Cafe for ages, and it’s been at the top of my food bucket list for months. For some reason, I thought it would be far away, but it was only a 30-minute bus ride from home.

Here, I didn’t think twice before ordering the crepe, which was filled with fried egg and spinach. It was such an easy choice because the server told me that the crepe was her favourite item on the menu, and she eats it every single day after her shift. Can’t argue with that! The topping is saffron and radish, with fresh prawns and a zingy marinade. Honestly, a spectacular dish, and it was exceptionally tasty with freshly-cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon. I can see why Pearl Cafe is so popular!

For dessert… you guys. You guys.

“Tea cake”, to me, sounds boring. I just think of some plain old yeast bread, maybe studded with a couple raisins. Pearl Cafe’s tea cake, however, is on another level. This massive slice was buttery, had incredible crumb, and was loaded with caramelized rhubarb. Yes, caramelized rhubarb! Even better, there was a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I devoured every crumb, as usual, and would eat this a million times. I’m already planning my next trip back to Pearl Cafe.

Back to the chai! I stole this paragraph from a popular Brisbane food and travel website called The Urban List:

There’s a lot of chat being thrown around by a bunch of heathens trying to tell me that flavoured sugar powder is a worthy substitute. Where’s the LOVE? Where’s the AUTHENTICITY? Nothing compares to the spicy aroma of a freshly brewed pot of proper chai; you feel that shit in your soul, and Brisbane’s got it on lock.

Couldn’t’ve (had to google how to spell that!) said it better.

Anyways, the award for the #1 chai I’ve had in Brisbane so far goes to… the Baker’s Arms! Their chai is a homemade blend, steeped in organic milk and honey. It was rich, had excellent tea flavour, and had subtle sweetness from the honey. I enjoyed this tea with a side of sunshine, before grabbing a tasty meal next door. My only complaint about this chai is that there wasn’t enough. I can’t wait to go back for this!

No, you aren’t having deja-vu; I posted about this incredible peanut butter hot chocolate on my last blog post. It was so good that I had to go back for another mug. Look at those chocolate shavings! That foamy milk! Those granules of sea salt!

Another place I’m dying to visit, and a quote that hit me yesterday. I haven’t been performing very well on a couple recent exams and essays, and surprisingly, don’t feel too discouraged. It’s a weird feeling because I feel like I should be angry or upset about the grades, but I’m not. Interestingly, I’m not in denial about it either… I’ve just accepted it and feel okay with it. I know I didn’t study as much as I normally do, and my grades reflected that, but I’m trying my best. I don’t know – it’s so strange!

Plus, most of my time has been going to – you guessed it – aerials. 😉 I revamped the page, by the way, so y’all should go check it out.

Couple other things – my friends and I are having lunch at Wordsmiths, a cafe on campus, tomorrow. I’ve starred all the items that I think would be delicious, but I haven’t decided which one I’m going to order. I’m leaning towards the soup of the day, depending what it is, but the baked ricotta (it has pumpkin in it!) and vegetable lasagna also sound delicious. Wish I could find photos for all of them, though.

And… I’m back to studying!

By that, I mean I am going to start now, though I should’ve started days ago.

Bye!

Himalayan Food and Heavy Salads

Good morning, everyone! It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in Brisbane. The weather’s been much for manageable recently. In fact:

The last few weeks, it’s been so hot that…

  • my Polysporin liquefied

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    Eat Street Markets (about an hour from my house) sells these ridiculous-looking donut fries, and I think I need them in my life! The chocolate looks perfectly melty, malty, and I love the combination of textures here. I should start planning my trip to Eat Street just for this!
  • must keep room door open to allow air flow
  • carry sunglasses everywhere
  • I chug more water than I have ever chugged in my entire life
  • I don’t even need to warm up before exercising because I’m alreadywarm
  • I get a tiny sweat pool where I wear my glasses or sunglasses
  • I love lectures because they are in AC-ed rooms
  • my legs stick to chairs and they hurt to peel off
  • I shower twice a day
  • I use ice-cold water which is not even ice cold (like room temperature)
  • 7am is already burning
  • shopping malls are now AC heavens
  • I make my ceiling fan spin so quickly that it’s going to fall offand kill me
  • food scraps are stored in the freezer
  • I put my face in the freezer and take deep breaths
  • if you step barefoot outside, you will get cooked
  • I choose iced smoothies over my favourite hot tea
  • I don’t want to cook
  • I wear whole-body sunscreen all day
  • bus stops need shade covers
  • I am actually desperate to go to the beach, and I dislike beaches
  • I put my water bottle in the freezer

Anyways, on Thursday night I went to a place called MADO Turkish Cuisine. For my main course, I was debating between the veggie casserole, the moussaka (eggplant lasagna), and the eggplant boat. I ended up with the veggie casserole, which wasn’t even a casserole – it was a veggie stew in a clay pot.

For dessert, I enjoyed the kunefe, which is a crispy, chewy, sticky, springy Turkish cheese pastry doused with rosewater syrup and topped with pistachios. A very unique dish with such bright flavours and a unique, indescribable texture. Have you tried kunefe before?

  • vegetable casserole in clay pot, 2 bites salad, rice with peas, 1 piece Turkish bread
  • 1 kunefe

I had this image saved to my phone for a long, long time, because I’ve been planning a trip to Himalayan Cafe for a while. Everyone knows I have a bit of a Nepal/Tibetan obsession, and my infatuation with Nepali food is no exception. Needless to say, I had to make an effort to visit this beautiful place for dinner one day…

And I did! This gorgeously-decorated restaurant reminded me of traditional Nepali homes, complete with floor pillows, lanterns, papyrus menus, and small side dishes full of aromatic lentil stew and beans. One of my favourite parts of the dinner was the pan-fried Sherpa bread, which was spongy, slightly sweet, and topped with savoury tomato sauce and a little cheese.

  • 1 small bowl kidney bean stew, 1 bowl yellow lentil dahl, 1 bowl chickpeas with potatoes, few scoops jasmine rice (took the rest home), apple yogurt with chopped apple, 1 large piece Himalayan tomato paste cheese bread
  • 1 Himalayan chocolate brownie with nuts, 2 scoops ginger and cinnamon ice cream

I’ve been into tracking my health lately, and spent a lot of time choosing my plant on Plant Nanny (a water-drinking app to keep hydrated!) and looking at Fitbits.

Then, I bought my own Fitbit! Mine is the Alta HR (Heart Rate), in black. I’m still figuring it out and haven’t mastered the device, but it’s been a wonderful, motivating tool so far. And, of course, much better than my iPhone’s Health app. I bought it on Saturday and spent a good amount of time exploring one of my favourite parts of Brisbane, the Queen Street Mall.

My Fitbit also tracks the amount of sleep I get, including how much REM, light, and deep sleep I have. I find it pretty accurate, but I’m also one to fall asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow.

On Saturday, I visited the Davies Park Farmers Market. It is, so far, my favourite market in Brisbane. The atmosphere was peaceful and charming, the people were friendly, and there were so many stalls. The produce was very inexpensive, and I loved the diverse spread of ethnic eats.

One vendor at a beautiful shortbread cookie stall recommended the crêpes around the corner, from Pascale’s Crêpes. How could I say no to crepes?

Wow. I am so glad I went for these, because not only were they super cheap and freshly-made by Pascale on the spot, but absolutely delicious. I’m a huge fan of buckwheat crêpes because I love their rich, roasted, grainy flavour and crispy texture. The spinach, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese inside were perfect!

Moments later, I got dessert from Pascale as well. My dessert crêpe was equally delicious, and the combination of vanilla ice cream, Nutella, and sliced banana (YUM) really hit the spot.

  • 1 buckwheat crepe with spinach, cheddar, mushrooms
  • 1 regular crepe with banana, Nutella, 2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Another day, I baked a farmer’s market almond bostock and made a spinach omelet for lunch. I’m such a fan of almond croissants that I find myself forgetting how delicious bostocks are. On a totally different note, the filter on these photos reminds me of Rachel’s photography – her food pics are always sunny and alluring.

  • 2-egg omelet with spinach and Manchego
  • 1/2 almond bostock

For dessert, some fresh berries (also from the market) with yogurt and nuts.

  • 1/2 container strawberries, 2 scoops Greek yogurt, some honey-roasted macadamia nuts and cashews

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I’ve said it many times before, but the UQ campus is just gorgeous. I’m in love with it!

In one of my courses, we spent a lab day identifying and examining different mosquitos. Being a Kinesiology (Exercise Science) major, it was a unique experience, and I definitely learned a lot.

Completely unrelated but exciting news! My sister and I will be travelling to Prince Edward Island (Canada), for the month of July 2018. I will be going there to volunteer at the University of Prince Edward Island, and we thought it would be an awesome opportunity to spend time together after she graduates from high school. Basically, it’s going to be a disastrous-hilarious Paris 2.0.

25 Reasons Why My Sister and I Will Visit Charlottetown, PEI

(I actually wrote this list to convince her, because Seline didn’t want to go to PEI initially. She thinks it’s going to be boring. Hope I will prove her wrong!)

  1. Lighthouses!
  2. Pretty much a vibrant seaside capital city
  3. Beautiful lawns and flowerbeds (like Jardin Luxembourg)
  4. Maritime accents
  5. People are known to be the nicest of Canada
  6. Parks
  7. Boating tours
  8. Incredible ice cream shops
  9. Basilicas, cathedrals
  10. Biggest fireworks in Canada (next to Ottawa)
  11. 500 historic buildings
  12. Flight is much shorter than London
  13. Beautiful harbours
  14. Mild weather, even in the summer (high is about 23)
  15. Modern and urban, yet beautiful old sights
  16. Huge transportation hub
  17. Victorian-era houses
  18. Lots of shows, performances, theatres, musicals
  19. Pretty much the birthplace of Canada (Charlottetown = “birthplace” of Confederation), AND we will be there during Canada Day
  20. Great summer festivals
  21. Golf courses where we can finally accomplish our dream of riding a buggy
  22. Very safe
  23. World-class shopping and restaurants

In my Health Psychology class, I’ve been looking at increasing vegetable intake for people with Chronic Kidney Disease.

I did my presentation last Wednesday, and it was probably the most scared I’ve been since arriving in Australia. I was the second person to present, and the student before me did a spectacular, entertaining, insightful presentation about the health implications of tinnitus. Before my presentation, I could feel my heart pounding! Fortunately, it went pretty well.

Delicious cauliflower rice has also been on the menu, usually alongside falafels and omelets.

  • cauliflower and broccoli rice, saffron rice, zucchini, carrots, tomato, red pepper, 1 falafel, 1 egg omelet with Manchego cheese

The beautiful Brisbane weather has made it super easy for me to walk around, soak up the sunshine, and see new places.

A new discovery: there is a tiny takeaway cafe in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley region called Botanica Real Food. They serve freshly-made salads, up to FIVE types in a medium container. The ladies there really pack it in, so this full-course-meal salad weighed a solid kilogram.

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From left to right:

  • pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums and parsley
  • vegan pesto and pearl couscous salad with red onions and spinach
  • shaved broccoli salad with cashew dressing and dried cranberries
  • chickpea and carrot salad with pickled red onions
  • potato, pea, and dill salad

I actually ended up dividing it into a few meals, served with other mains – like this awesome pumpkin quiche (also from Botanica).

  • pumpkin and red onion ricotta quiche, 1/5 Botanica salad box (broccoli salad with cashew dressing, chickpea and carrot salad, pesto and pearl couscous salad, pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums, potato pea and dill salad)

Packed up for lunch another day.

  • 1/5 Botanica salad box (broccoli salad with cashew dressing, chickpea and carrot salad, pesto and pearl couscous salad, pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums, potato pea and dill salad)
  • 1/4 ricotta and walnut streusel coffee cake, blueberries, Greek yogurt

This is what the inside of Botanica looks like. These photos were taken yesterday… because I went again. They are fresh, delicious, and so addictive!

Yesterday’s salad box was almost the same, with the addition of some cabbage and a freekeh and eggplant pilaf.

Another quiche! I am in love with quiche. Their crust has an amazing whole-grain flavour. I also ate the tastiest chocolate hazelnut dessert from Le Bon Choix, which I bought on my walk home.

Alright! I wish I had more to share, but this post is already long enough.

Have a beautiful and delicious week, everyone ❤

Marché With Rae

Not too long ago, I spent some time with Vancouver blogger friend Rachel. Rachel has been super busy lately, finishing her first year of university, returning from a monthlong trip to Europe, and getting ready for the new school year.

We met up at Le Marché St. Georges, a quaint, homey cafe and market with a fairly extensive coffee bar, patisserie, and brunch/lunch food options.

Side note: for stunning photography and snippets of life, you’ll have to take a look at her Instagram. Otherwise, for mouthwatering food photos (especially ice cream!), visit her foodie Instagram.

Rachel ordered the Crepe of the Day, which featured marinated mushrooms, goat cheese, and arugula, all enveloped by a toasty buckwheat crepe. I had a London Fog, which looked adorable in a 12 oz bowl, followed by the most delicious asparagus and asiago quiche (chard salad on the side).

Despite sitting outside on this hot, hot day, I was completely infatuated by my hot, creamy, crispy quiche. The asparagus was tender, the eggs sharp and flavourful, thanks to the asiago. My favourite part of the quiche was the crust, which tasted fresh, buttery, and flaky – an easy 10/10.

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Of course, no get-together would be complete without dessert!

At Earnest Ice Cream, a Vancouver staple just a few blocks away, we sampled some of their flavours and enjoyed one scoop of espresso flake (Rachel) and cookies and cream (me).

It was hard to decide between cookies and cream, London Fog, oatmeal brown sugar, and some other unique and flavourful options.

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Rich, creamy, just-sweet enough, studded with texture – I’m in love. The quality is absolutely stellar.

My “Winter in BC To-Do List” is already growing. I need this sesame shaved ice in my life!

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Then we parted ways!

Previous meet-ups with Rachel:

  1. The first time we met, we had croissants, coffee, and hummus toast at Matchstick Coffee Roasters (alongside our mothers)
  2. Salad for lunch at Railtown Cafe, followed by incredible Soft Peaks ice cream and shopping at Daiso
  3. Brunch at the trendy Cafe Medina, where we had super unique lattes and shared Mediterannean brunch specials
  4. Incredible vegan brunch and special brownies at Heirloom Vegetarian
  5. Lebanese dinner at Nuba
  6. And now, brunch/lunch at Le Marché St. Georges with ice cream from Earnest 🙂

I miss you already, Rachel! Here’s to many more delicious meals and great conversations. ❤

New Things

A new thing from last week: moving for my first time. I’m scarred.

#sleptonthefloorforfivenights #nevermovingagain

Another new thing: before I left Waterloo, I visited Perimeter Institute with my friends. One of them works at Perimeter, which is an institute for theoretical physics. It’s a beautiful, massive, modern, bright building with a lovely bistro and great desserts. You can bet that I had two desserts + two mugs of tea with milk and honey.

New thing #3: I met up with Vivian, an incredible Schulich Leader and WE Day speaker from UBC. We enjoyed dinner at The Chickpea, a new vegan restaurant on Main Street in Vancouver. I ordered the fried eggplant dish, which was topped with yams, chickpeas, and garlicky tahini. There was a great hummus on the side, along with salad and chickpea fries.

Not including the lovely conversation, dessert was the highlight of my night. This was a vegan carrot cake, super tender and just sweet enough, served with the richest, creamiest vanilla ice cream (vegan, made with coconut milk). L-O-V-E. Honestly I cannot say enough good things about this coconut vanilla ice cream.

Mom made a great dinner a couple days ago – braised chicken with taro. On the side, I made a rolled black sesame and red bean crepe sweetened with brown sugar.

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Indian food! I need some. Where is my palak paneer at?

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A couple days ago, I made pesto pizza on naan flatbread, topped with stir-fried mushrooms.

So yummy! Seline’s had garlic tomato sauce instead of pesto, and some Tex Mex cheese on top. We loved, loved, loved this dinner. 5 stars from me, 4 from Seline 😉

This morning, I savoured some buns that Grandma bought for me. I’m super lucky to have a lovely 奶奶 (granny) who buys me all kinds of buns. Here, we have:

  • cocktail buns filled with sweetened shredded coconut
  • red bean bun
  • taro bun (my #1 favourite because it was soft and perfectly sweetened, with a “bolo” topping)

On another note, another new thing: I went skating yesterday. I grew up doing competitive figure skating, so it completely filled my heart to be back on the ice after three years.

Grandma ❤ Her nails are always on point, as her her hand-knitted sweaters.

Grandma and I had lunch at Pho99, a Vietnamese restaurant where we both enjoyed lemongrass chicken with rice, bone broth soup, and fresh cabbage.

The best new thing! À la Evangeline (check out her new post, by the way – I have hearts in my eyes), I enjoyed a waffle breakfast yesterday. I made the batter with one egg, 1/2 a banana, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp baking soda, and plenty of vanilla and cinnamon. After a few minutes in the waffle maker, my waffle tasted great with nut butter and blueberries. ❤ Have I been converted? Maybe 70% 😉

An oldie, but a goodie – I made some chocolate banana bread. It’s my favourite recipe, which uses applesauce, a small amount of sugar, and no eggs. It tasted wonderful with yogurt, more summery blueberries, and crispy coconut cookies. I had seconds thirds.

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Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone!

BC, I’ve Missed You ❤

I’ve missed having big, fluffy blueberry-studded pancakes topped with the creamiest nut butter and a smattering of more fresh blueberries.

So much, in fact, that I had this breakfast three days in a row. Half a mashed banana in the batter makes quite the difference for texture and subtle sweetness, in my opinion.

I made banana pancakes another morning, bunny-style. Pretty proud of how these turned out, in terms of taste and presentation!

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Seline is a fabulous artist, and she persuaded me to do some doodling with her. We drew the same picture of a goddess character from her favourite anime, Seven Deadly Sins. My rendition is on the left, and hers is on the right.

My mom cooked Hainanese chicken rice another day, which we enjoyed with braised broccoli and carrots.

We played with the aerial silks at the Vancouver Circus School, went to the Kaleidoscope Arts Festival in Coquitlam, and looked over LaFarge Lake.

More delicious Hainanese chicken rice was devoured. This is one of my favourite versions of chicken + rice. I love Chinese bok choy, stir-fried with garlic.

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There is always a plethora of cookies and baked goods in the Wei family home. Here, I have dessert: yogurt with a blueberry-banana muffin top, lemon poppyseed muffin, cream cheese pound cake, and a coconut cookie.

Mom is looking so cute here as she cooks. Seline put a removable tattoo on my wrist, and I think it’s fun to look at.

Mom makes a great winter melon stew with krill, as well as braised chicken drumsticks with taro chunks. I adore taro. Do you like taro? Have you tried it in sweet and savoury dishes?

More dessert: I made an Earl Grey cake on my second day home, and that was super flavourful and crumbly. On the right: cream cheese pound cake turned into French toast for one breakfast, topped with a generous smear of Nutella.

This morning, my breakfast consisted of a large mug of unpictured English Breakfast tea latte, and a big plate of two scrambled eggs, baked treats, a chopped peach, and creamy honey-flavoured yogurt with flaxseeds and blueberries. Breakfast was followed by a little too much nibbling on shortbread cookies.

The family doggie turned nine a few weeks ago, but he is still full of energy. He loves the park!

Yesterday, met up with the grandparents in Burnaby, where we ordered lots of great sushi. My favourite rolls are the Aburi flame-seared ones.

This is completely out of place, as it’s from back in Waterloo – Famoso Pizzeria, where I savoured this great Cavoletti pizza with (get this!) toasted walnuts, chopped dates, honey, crispy prosciutto, brussels sprouts, and gorgonzola. For my side, I chose a salad topped with Caprese ingredients – mozzarella, tomato, and pistachio pesto.

With tiramisu and a scoop of salted caramel gelato. Yummmm. Tiramisu is amongst (among?) my top five favourite desserts.

Rouzao rice is a Taiwanese specialty that my mom cooks once in a while. It’s essentially a stew of ground pork and pork belly, spiced with soy sauce, star anise, onions, and garlic.

A couple nights ago, my family and I went to the Richmond Night Market, where Seline and I shared a carton of takoyaki (deep-fried octopus balls), and I had a bag of sesame bubble waffles and a taiyaki (Korean fish-shaped waffle filled with red bean).

Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on our vacation plans. My family is going to Salt Spring Island in two weeks, so I am very excited about all the activities we’ll be doing.

With a mug of tea, I spend some mornings designing the activities of each day. It’s such a short vacation (~3 days total), but so much to do there.

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I can’t wait to go to a public skating session. Skating is great in the summer, in my opinion.

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Yesterday, I feasted on the most delicious homemade crepe I’ve made. Here’s the super simple recipe:

Easy Nutella Banana Crepes

Serves 1

Crepe INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Topping INGREDIENTS

  • 1 banana, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp Nutella

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk together all crepe ingredients.
  2. Grease pan with butter or coconut oil. Pour batter into large pan and rotate pan in circular motion so batter coats the surface evenly.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, until bottom is cooked. Flip and cook the other side.
  4. Place crepe on a cutting board and generously spread Nutella on the entire crepe. Top with sliced banana, fold, and place on a plate. Decorate with more banana slices.

NOTE: You can place banana slices on the center third of the crepe and then fold the two sides over, or place bananas on 1/4 of the crepe and do two half-folds.

I also baked up a storm!

These lopsided round-ish treats are muffin tops that I found via Evangeline on Nutrition with a Mission, who discovered them on Athletic Avocado. I made a couple small changes here and there:

Blueberry Banana Muffin Tops

Makes 6 large, 12 small

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 packed cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used a mix of brazil nut and cashew nut butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup crushed nuts (I used a mix of roasted nuts from Costco, like cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine almond butter, egg, maple syrup, vanilla, and banana in a bowl. Whisk until well-combined. Add a splash of water or milk if needed.
  4. Add almond flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix in blueberries, and combine.
  5. Mix all topping ingredients together.
  6. Spoon batter into 6 large or 12 smaller muffin tops.
  7. Bake muffin tops for 20 minutes, or until done.

I also made these tasty lemon poppyseed muffins.

Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 tbsp water)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup flour

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease or line a standard muffin tin.
  2. Prepare flax eggs. Allow to rest.
  3. Add applesauce, lemon juice and zest, oil, almond milk, maple syrup, sugar, baking soda, salt, and whisk for one minute. Foaming will occur as the lemon juice reacts with the baking soda.
  4. Add flour, almond meal, and oats. Stir with a spoon until combined. Do not over-mix. If batter appears too thick, add more almond milk. It should be thick and not pourable. Stir in poppy seeds and whisk again.
  5. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 17-22 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool for several minutes in the pan. Remove from tins, and let cool on a cooling rack. Will keep, covered, for several days.

The muffins, and the muffin tops, were both incredible. If you have a day in the kitchen, I highly recommend giving them a shot!

Another recipe I tried, adopted heavily from Allrecipes to reduce sugar (original was 2 cups), and swap 75% of the oil for unsweetened applesauce.

German Apple Cake

Serves one 9×13, can cut into 12 medium-sized pieces

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 heaping cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I used 4 gala apples)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9×13 inch cake pan.
  2. Toss diced apples with a scoop of flour to coat (prevents sinking).
  3. Beat oil and eggs until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add cinnamon, baking soda, then salt.
  5. Add flour, and mix until combined. Fold in the apples.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, until cake tests clean.

Have a beautiful week, everyone ❤

Return of the Pretty Oats

I’ve started making my oatmeal look pretty again!

I guess it’s time to update the Oatmeal page, too.

I recently bought a little carton (is that the right word? Clamshell?) of blackberries on discount, and those little guys made their way into every oatmeal bowl.

Another day I went grocery shopping at Whole Foods and could not resist their hot bar… again.

Fried rice was also made and enjoyed along with the beautiful twinkly view of downtown Toronto. And yes, that’s a sweet potato with yogurt, granola, and peanut butter for dessert – truly a la Cassie!

Tsujiri’s is a Japanese dessert store that specializes in matcha desserts. I had the famous Tsujiri sundae to see what all the hype was about! Creamy, flavourful, and delicate, this sundae was balanced with crunchy rice puffs, chestnut, mocha, and a sakura-blossom cookie. Rachel, if you ever come to Toronto, this is the place for you!

Another day I devoured a chocolate almond croissant while walking around. I originally bought it for a breakfast treat, but it was fresh out of the oven and I couldn’t resist “just one bite” until I was left with just crumbs. This rocked my whole weekend.

This is the atrium, a beautiful mall-office hybrid next to my work building! I come here to drop off the mail once in a while.

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I had some bok choy and other Asian veggies to use up, so they were all sautéed into this quinoa stir-fry with egg, edamame, and mixed veggies. It was delicious with a soy sauce/sesame oil/sriracha/maple syrup sauce.

I’ve been craving banana baked goodies recently and made this batch of healthy squares. Made in the blender with only a few ingredients, these are nutritious, dense, and loaded with amazing banana flavour.

Blender Coconut Flour Banana Squares

Serves: 9 squares

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 pan.
  2. Blend all ingredients well in the blender. Allow batter to sit for 10 mins.
  3. Pour into square pan for 40 minutes, or until top is golden and knife comes out clean.
  4. Remove and cool for 1 hour before cutting. Cut and enjoy!

They also make a delicious oatmeal topping! Don’t be fooled by the pics – I definitely had seconds and thirds of those squares. 🙂

Ice cream was also devoured. This was from Fugo’s, a specialty ice cream shop across the street from my work. Dangerous, I know. This is why I can’t bring my wallet with me to work! This scoop had Skor bits, brownie chunks, and a caramel swirl.

So my biggest revelation this week was that I am actually a gelato girl. This incredible cup was loaded with coconut gelato and black sesame gelato from Millie Creperie/Creamery. I could NOT get enough of this and will be going back ASAP. The coconut one makes me drool just thinking about it. I wish I could show you how flavourful and tasty it is!

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Sweet potato oatmeal topped with a crumbled blueberry buckwheat muffin. YUM!

The view from my place on the 31st floor. Whoa.

After silks another day, I headed to Gloria Cafe for this amazing meal. It was very unlike me to order plain tomato + cheese toast, but this sammie blew my mind. Freshly-baked bread, salt and pepper, slices of tomato, butter, and creamy cheese were whipped into this incredible panini that I’m still daydreaming about. Will definitely be going back to Gloria Cafe for more of this deliciousness. Almond tart for dessert.

Scrambled eggs with spinach and cheddar are so simple, but dead delicious.

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I believe that’s it for the day! Have a gorgeous Wednesday everyone 🙂