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 😛

i ❤ walkie-talkies

Check out all the great food that Mom’s been making back in BC! Rice casserole, steak with mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and green beans, lemon poppyseed loaves, peanut butter cookies, and more. I miss Mom’s cooking! She always put so much time and thought into these meals, while I throw everything into a pot, cover it with cheese, and hope it’s good.

Saturday, Oct. 1 was the annual Reunion at my school, an event that you might know as Homecoming. I helped to coordinate the Applied Health Sciences Fun Run this year, and we had to be at school at 6:45 AM. It was rainy in the morning, but thankfully by the time runners started filing in, the rain had ceased.

I think the coolest part of the day was getting to wear walkie-talkies! I LOVE walkie-talkies. My sister and I used to play with them all the time, hiding in different closets in the house and phoning each other. Do you like walkie-talkies? Do you have any fun memories of them?

Here are some of the highlights! I was responsible for social media and got to post all of these photos onto the University of Waterloo’s Applied Health Sciences Twitter and Instagram pages. It was actually my first time using Instagram, so I was pretty terrible at it and needed a lot of help finding the “upload” button.

After the runners had food, left, and everything was cleaned up, we took lots of photos at the photo booth. I think we took 10 sets of 4 photos each! Do you like photo booths?

The reception afterwards was catered by Seven Shores Cafe. The food looked amazing and I was lucky to take a couple summer rolls home.

We had to swap our bright yellow Reunion t-shirts for formal attire for the Dean’s reception. We listened to a lot of speeches and took some photos in the new Applied Health Sciences building. This wall is designed to look like a cluster of CELLS! Isn’t that creative?! A cell wall!

In the meantime, I’ve been planning the next couple of years of my academic calendar. My goal is to attain minors in psychology and nutrition, in addition to my kinesiology degree. I’m also hoping to study abroad one semester! I’ve been working with my academic adviser to coordinate all of my courses.

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On a totally different note, I’m now addicted to looking at photos of seals and baby polar bears. Aren’t these cubs adorable? I spammed my dad with photos of them.

Speaking of Dad, he is now in Taiwan! He’s going with Grandpa to visit Grandpa’s siblings and do some financial things. This was Dad’s first meal in Taiwan, and he especially likes the red chewy sugared soybean curds “dou gan”. Have you ever tried Taiwanese food?

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Here are some of the pretty lame meals that I made. Steamed broccoli, baked cayenne salmon with baked sweet potato “chips”, and a breakfast that consisted of toast, broccoli-cheddar omelet, and yogurt with muffin and granola. What have you been eating recently?

That’s it for today, because it’s a busy week ahead with midterms, quizzes, and the ongoing job search…

… any plans for Thanksgiving? 😀

Have a FANTASTIC week, everyone!

Dad Days: Perogies and a Parking Fine

If you guys didn’t know (which I wouldn’t expect you to, because I haven’t posted about it yet) – my dad was here to visit! We flew from Vancouver, BC to Toronto, Ontario on September 7th. School started on the 8th. Dad was here for ten days, and left on Sunday the 17th. Do you remember when he came to visit last time – and we visited a super cool aquarium after having the prettiest croissants ever? Here are some of the things that happened and meals we enjoyed during those nice ten days!

I started one morning with two slices of delicious seedy avocado bread and a cheesy Oka omelet with zucchini and yellow squash.

Dad and I visited Timeless Cafe and Bakery, where I opted for a tasty tempeh plate. There were five slices of tempeh, green beans, and mashed squash with almonds and grapefruit puree. Definitely one of the most interesting restaurant entrees I’ve ever ordered! Dad had chicken and potatoes. For dessert, we split a strawberry shortbread creme brûlée and a chocolate plum tart with vanilla whipped cream and pistachios. The creme brûlée was the highlight of this meal for me!

I baked banana muffins using my all-time favourite recipe, and being the scatterbrained person I am, forgot to take photos of the finished product. So please feast your eyes on these satisfying photos of unbaked banana batter.

Another day I devoured a salmon filet baked with cayenne, paprika, garlic, butter, and lemon. The flavours work so well together, and I have

This was pasta with zucchini and mushrooms. I used rigatoni, and Dad liked this as well!

His version was topped with breaded chicken from Costco, which we heated up in the toaster oven.

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Chocolate-banana oatmeal with a lovely strawberry topping and sunflower butter!

Dad REALLY enjoyed these doughnuts from Costco. There’s Boston Cream, Chocolate, and Creamy Caramel. All of them are stuffed and came in a box of 24 doughnuts! One day, he ate three for breakfast and six for lunch while I was at school. Classic.

Red House, in my opinion, is still one of the best restaurants in Waterloo. I love this place so much! Dad and I enjoyed goat cheese + pancetta perogies, summer squash and sausage pasta with chicken and caramelized onions, butternut squash and cilantro fritters, hummus and pita bread, and a heavenly dessert…

Creamy caramel ice cream with dark chocolate brownie cake. It was amazing!

We also received a parking violation one day! Fortunately, we didn’t get fined because it is our first offence. For some reason, I found this parking ticket absolutely hilarious because we always joke about how we’re never going to get ticketed.

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The new Applied Health Sciences building at my school is a beauty! So glad that Kinesiology students get to use the new building for our exercise labs. The new anatomy (*cough* cadaver) lab is in here, too, which I haven’t seen yet – but I’m sure it’s a big upgrade from being in the basement of the Optometry building last year!

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Having fun isn’t hard when you have 20 amino acid structures/properties to memorize…

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Mom meals! I always find that she makes better food when I’m gone. Hmmm…

C’est ça for today! If you haven’t yet checked out my last post about a super cool event – you should 😉

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 🙂

Flourless Black Bean Chocolate Cake Recipe + Lately

Aaah, yum.

Did the title gross you out a little bit? I mean, it is a chocolate cake made without flour and refined sugar, with a whole can of black beans. The icing, completely dairy-free, is made of whipped coconut cream with a touch of maple and vanilla. There are two kinds of people in the world: ones that will eagerly give this a try and declare that the black beans are completely concealed, and those who refuse to take a bite because of the whole flourless/sugarfree fact.

I’m assuming you are the former. 😉

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Blender recipe alert! I love those. Isn’t it 10x more awesome when a recipe can be made in one container, than, say, three or four? I think the best part of the recipe is that you can decorate it any way you like – I went the simple route and used fresh berries with milk chocolate shavings. I’m thinking some banana slices, and a drizzle of peanut butter, would be incredible too. Or maybe poached pears? Really, the options are endless.

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For the coconut whipped cream, I simply refrigerated a can of coconut milk overnight and beat the CREAM ONLY for a minute or so, until creamy, then added a little maple syrup and vanilla extract. The coconut whipped cream can be refrigerated in a separate container until ready to spread.

Decorated with fresh raspberries and milk chocolate shavings, this was the perfect way to celebrate 2016. You guys are going to love this easy, delicious, and oh-so-nutritious cake. Watch slices just FLY off the table at your next family gathering and think of all the vitamins, minerals, and protein in each cakey, chocolatey bite.


Black Bean Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS
  • 15 oz unseasoned black beans
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease a cake pan or springform pan. We used a 9” pan.
  3. Drain and rinse beans. Shake off the water.
  4. Put all ingredients in the food processor or blender. Beat on high until the beans are completely mashed and the batter is very smooth.
  5. Scrape batter into pan.
  6. Tap on counter to pop the bubbles.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes. Cake is done when the top is round, cracked, and firm. Check to see if a knife comes out clean.
  8. Cool, then cover and refrigerate.
  9. Let the cake sit overnight in the fridge, or at least 8 hours for the best flavour.
  10. Serve the next day with coconut whipped cream, raspberries, and additional coconut, cocoa powder, or chocolate flakes!

Please, take a bite!
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You must be wondering how this guy tastes! I’ll try to describe it:
  • Rich and chocolatey, like the outside of a molten chocolate lava cake
  • Soft and tender, but not fall-apart soft
  • Just sweet enough
  • Great contrast between the rich chocolate and light flavor of the coconut cream
  • Slightly chewy, but melts in your mouth

Just make this ASAP 🙂 We brought this whole cake to a party with three families, and cut it into the tiniest slivers. Everyone finished their slice, and many had seconds. This is a recipe that I will be making again and again!

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What else has been up recently? On Saturday, Dad and I went to Toronto where we (okay, I) indulged on the most beautiful pastries. We also visited the Ripley Aquarium in Toronto’s downtown core. You can check out the post here, which I promise isn’t filled with iPhone photos like this one!
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I was so happy when I received a message from Mom, who recently made my almond cake recipe. Hers looks just like mine!
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And she sent me this. My mom is too cute. 🙂
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At the aforementioned family party where we enjoyed the black bean chocolate cake, there was a kitty called Mitten! Mitten is from Montreal, and he is just like a dog. 🙂
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Before Dad and I came to Ontario, and before we did all the grocery shopping/buying essentials/eating in Waterloo, we had dim sum in Richmond with Aunt Mimi and Uncle Charles. The milk and egg cream buns were my favourite. The yellow goop inside is unexplainably good – like a melted bo lo bao! Liquid gold, I swear. Do you like dim sum?
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I’m not quite sure how to describe these, other than mashed taro surrounding chopped duck meat, rolled in crispy “shreds” and deep-fried. I had a couple of these too, sans the meat inside which I found too chewy. But the crispy exterior was light and had great texture that contrasted with the tender taro. Mmmm.
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Toronto’s Pearson airport is so hard to navigate!
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I mentioned in a previous post that Dad and I had brunch together on our first day in Waterloo. Here’s what I had – a London fog latte (it was overwhelmingly sweet and definitely the creamiest I’ve had – in a not-very-good way) with the smoked salmon scramble. The toast was homemade and so good with wilted spinach, goat cheese, shallots, and egg. I liked their jam, too!
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I bought a scone to enjoy at home, but accidentally ate it all on the car ride to Costco. Oops.
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Breakfast the next day involved toast, almond and peanut butter, sliced banana, and lots of cinnamon.
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Dad and I also had a Mexican dinner – his in the form of unpictured tacos, but I had mine in a quinoa bake topped with avocado, salsa, and plain yogurt as a sub for sour cream. I used ground chicken instead of ground beef, and it was my first time cooking meat by myself! 😀
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I’m trying to remember what I put in here, but I’m pretty sure it was just a mishmash of veggies with goat cheese and cheddar.
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I made a chocolate mug cake another day, which we shared. Such an indulgent dessert that takes just a minute to make and another minute in the microwave.
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We split it 50/50 but Dad doesn’t like warm desserts. 😦 I topped mine with more chocolate (can never have enough, am I right?) and lots of creamy peanut butter. Best. Dessert. Ever.
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Omelet with asparagus, brie (oh, this was so good) and avocado toast topped with truffle salt. A super filling breakfast for a very busy day.
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Another Princess Café knockoff panini sandwich with butternut squash soup. This sammie was filled with sliced apple, brie, mustard, spinach, and some garlic and herb goat cheese.
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It doesn’t get much better than a hot, crispy sandwich filled with creamy, melty cheese.
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Tofu sautéed with veggies and peanut sauce on a bed of quinoa. This plate was inhaled! I would probably even eat uncooked pasta or rotten berries if they were smothered in this peanut sauce. It’s just so good.
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Lastly, a sweet note: yogurt with microwaved apple (chopped apple in the micro for a minute with some water and cinnamon), almond butter, and coconut cashews. Ah, the perfect end to my day.
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I know it was a super quick post today but I am off to a Power Yoga class this morning before a lab (a human CADAVER lab – I’m SO excited! We’re looking at shoulders today. More later!) and another couple of classes in the afternoon.
Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday Coast Post: Muffins Galore and Mushroom Ice Cream

I’m writing this as I eat peanut butter blondies – just had my SIXTH one of the day! Yes, they are THAT good. And now I’m feeling a little guilty, as they are quite rich in calories… at least I did a spin class today? I can just never control myself around healthy, homemade baked goods, especially if they contain my two favourite ingredients: peanut butter and chocolate. Darn!

So here’s my second post in my Sunshine Coast vacation series – you can read the first post (Monday) here. Moving on! On Tuesday morning, I woke up at about 7:30. After cleaning, washing, and changing, I quickly published my prom blog post. Then, at around 8:10, Dad drove me into Sechelt to buy muffins from the famous The Bakery, a coffee shop and bakery known for their incredible muffins and scones.

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On the way, we passed a health food store, Bayview Szechuan Restaurant, and the Golden City Chinese Restaurant. Here’s the Bakery! It was a half hour drive into Sechelt. We also went to the gas station and McDonalds to buy breakfast sandwiches for Dad and Seline. Can you believe they don’t like sweet baked goods in the morning?!

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Here is the Bakery! We didn’t get here until after 9:00. I was starting to get hungry!

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The bakery smelled so yummy, and I was just DYING to try everything – but Dad let me settle on five muffins. Yes, five! But in my defence, I shared with Mom and had some the next day. I was disappointed with the service – the woman at the counter, who was in her late teens or early twenties, was very impatient. Despite the fact that there was no one in line after me, she had such a bored and irritated expression and tone of voice. 😦 For such a sweet coffee shop, you’d expect kind and enthusiastic servers!

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Back to the muffins! We didn’t get home until 9:40, and by then, I was very hungry!

Clockwise from top: Lemon poppyseed muffin, raspberry mango oatmeal muffin, gluten-free apple cinnamon muffin, savoury scone with cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, blueberry scone

Smile, Mom! We dined outside, in our little table on the patio/balcony. I loved eating al fresco because of the lovely bird chirping, warm and gentle wind, and sunshine. We also had quite the view from the resort! I could see the entire marina and most of Madeira Park. It was incredible.

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The muffins were incredible, too! Mom really enjoyed both of the scones. Out of the five, the two scones were her top two favourites. In contrast, I didn’t like the scones as much as the muffins – I rated these as my two least favourite of the five. I wish the savoury scone had some bigger, cheesier chunks, and the blueberry scone had more blueberries. But both had crumbly, buttery textures that are ideal for scones.

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The lemon poppyseed muffin and the raspberry mango oatmeal muffin were my personal favourites – 1st and 2nd place in my book! While Mom enjoyed the lemon poppyseed muffin (she gave it 3rd place), the raspberry mango oatmeal muffin was her least favourite. She said it had too much “filler”, being the raspberries, mango, and oats, but that’s what I enjoyed about it. This muffin would be perfect on a bowl of creamy oatmeal. The lemon poppyseed muffin had great flavour and was much more buttery. It crumbled easily and had the yummiest muffin top!

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The gluten-free apple cinnamon muffin was very unique as well. It didn’t seem gluten-free, but once I knew, I could tell. I’m guessing it contained rice flour and some sort of gum to hold it together. Mom and I both found this muffin okay, but nothing special. I was hoping for some big, tender chunks of apple and a stronger cinnamon flavour. This muffin top was delicious, though, sprinkled with some sort of raw sugar that caramelized when baking.

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The results of our baked goods taste test?

MOM

  1. Blueberry scone
  2. Savoury scone
  3. Lemon Poppyseed muffin
  4. GF Apple Cinnamon muffin
  5. Raspberry Mango Oatmeal muffin

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ME

  1. Raspberry Mango Oatmeal muffin
  2. Lemon Poppyseed muffin
  3. GF Apple Cinnamon muffin
  4. Blueberry scone
  5. Savoury scone

The two muffins below were my favourites! I deem these even better than Whole Foods’ muffins. 🙂 They were even better than just as good as homemade muffins.

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After an hour of kayaking, getting soaked, and taking a quick shower, we headed back down to the marina for lunch. Our resort, the Painted Boat Resort, had it’s own restaurant downstairs.

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Again, we had a beautiful view of Pender Bay, and on the other side, Madeira Park. Being about 1:00, there were surprisingly few people at the Restaurant.

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To start, we had the crispy chicken wings. They were gluten-free and made with a rice flour and cornmeal crust, with a red pepper dip. Dad and Seline thought this appetizer was very unique, and I couldn’t agree more! Chef Steve Boudreau told us that it took him two months to create and perfect. I believe him! Even though I’m not a chicken wings girl, I’m sure they were scrumptious from the way my family raved about these guys.

The calamari, which was served with tzatziki sauce, had a light crust and minimal oil. Mom liked how fresh the seafood was.

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Funny story! I checked the Restaurant’s menu online the day before coming and was SO excited to order their flatbread with arugula, herb pesto, smoked ricotta, and mushrooms. However, it wasn’t on the menu the next day. I asked the waitress, and she invited the chef out onto the patio to speak with us! I told him about how I’d been looking forward to trying the flatbread, and he insisted on making a custom flatbread for us – with any toppings we desired! While they didn’t have smoked ricotta cheese, he made this wonderful flatbread for us – starring regular ricotta, sprouts, and sweet grilled corn. This was delicious – I especially loved the handmade crust.

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Flatbread with roasted wild mushrooms, roasted garlic, sliced beets, sprouts, roasted corn, ricotta cheese

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Mom and I ordered seafood dishes – pasta for her, salad for me. Both were very, very yummy and featured house-smoked salmon. I love how the salmon came in chunks, rather than slices. My salad was very fresh, and the creme fraiche went well with the smoky fish. Mom’s linguini was rich and creamy, contrasting the sharp flavour of the fresh seafood. Both were plated beautifully, and I thought the portions were just right. I devoured my salad and ate lots of Mom’s noodles. Yum!

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SEAFOOD LINGUINI
Local seafood in white wine & fennel cream sauce, fresh herbs & lemon

HOUSE-SMOKED BC SALMON
Roasted beets, frisee salad, crème fraiche, chives, toasted almonds

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Dad and Seline ordered the beef burger and the fish tacos, respectively. Seline thought her tacos were just okay. It was kind of out of character for her to order fish tacos (she’s more of a burger // fish and chips gal). Seline wouldn’t order the tacos again, but ate most of her entree. Dad’s burger was enormous! He asked for bacon to be added and had a hard time devouring this sandwich because it was so, so thick. Both Dad and Seline enjoyed the crispy fries, though they thought the fries were quite normal. Dad was stuffed after his burger. It really was huge!

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FISH TACO
Ocean Wise cod, herb vinaigrette, fennel & onion slaw, avocado

PENDER BEEF BURGER
Tomato, lettuce, red wine onions, served with salad or cut fries

Time for dessert! I really, really, really wanted to order one, or even both, of these. I found them in the online menu and had been looking forward to trying them for ages! Don’t they sound delicious? Brown butter pecan crumble on blueberry cheesecake? Vanilla + strawberries with nutty praline on sweet chocolate mousse? YES! Unfortunately, both of them were temporarily off the menu.

  • CHEESECAKE MASON JAR – Blueberry compote, brown butter pecan crumble
  • WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE – Toasted almond praline, vanilla macerated strawberry

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Chef came out again after we finished our entrees, and recommended the chocolate terrine and mushroom ice cream. The chocolate terrine, he described, was like a mix between a fudge and a dense cake, with the texture and flavour of a brownie – all topped with fresh maple sugar from Quebec. That sounded good, but… mushroom ice cream? We were a little bit skeptical – until he confidently told us, “if you don’t like it, you won’t pay for it.” SOLD!

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE TERRINE – Fresh berries, maple sugar

CANDY CAP MUSHROOM ICE CREAM – “A mushroom festival favourite”

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The verdict? The chocolate terrine was super yummy. Creamy, chocolatey, but not overly sweet. It reminded me of a flourless brownie, with a smoother texture and less “crusty”. It was similar to a rich, dense cake, but not mousse-like at all. The maple sugar went well with the cake, and I loved the sour contrast of the berries and compote. There were also little blobs of cream (I’m guessing it was Greek yogurt, as it was quite sour) that I liked dipping the bites of chocolate into.

As for the mushroom ice cream – WHOA. It was GOOD! I took the first bite, with my family goggling at me, trying to read my expression. The ice cream was so yummy! It had a unique flavour, though not mushroom-like at all. It reminded me somewhat of butterscotch, vanilla, and caramel, with notes of caramelized maple syrup. If you didn’t tell me that it was made of mushrooms, I would have never, EVER guessed. The ice cream, along with the terrine, berries, and cream, were devoured in seconds. What a delicious lunch and dessert!

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After hobbling back to our resort (we were STUFFED!), we rested and did some research. Though our appetites didn’t fully come back by dinnertime, we couldn’t resist sushi takeout!

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Sushi Bar 5517 in Sechelt has great reviews. People claim it is one of the best sushi restaurants in the Sunshine Coast.

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I called in the car right after leaving the resort, so they’d have half an hour to prepare everything by the time we arrived. I was shocked, when we got there, to find that they were STILL working on it! We waited for another ten minutes before finally paying and bringing our sushi back into the car. They made this so slowly and carefully! But in their defence, there were only two sushi chefs and quite a few customers.

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The restaurant itself was loud, a bit crowded (just a narrow space) and surprisingly warm. You’d expect a sushi place to be cool, maybe even breezy, but Sushi 5517 was almost humid! Yeah, it was about 35 degrees outside, but still. Dad said the fish might go bad because it was so warm inside. They did have some fans, though. Why not any air conditioning?

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Going from left to right in the photo above:

Cast Away Roll: avocado, cucumber, radish, carrot with spicy mayo inside, topped with real crab, popcorn shrimp, crunch, tobacco, sweet spicy mayo, BBQ sauce, House sauce

Mango Roll: prawn tempura, scallop, salmon, avocado, mango with soy sheet inside, topped with sweet spicy mayo, mango sauce

California Roll

Lobster Roll: lobster, tempura, avocado, cucumber, crab, with BBQ sauce

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The mango roll was my favourite, followed by the Cast Away roll and the lobster roll. I saved the California rolls for Seline. To be honest, the rolls were nothing special. I’d say they were definitely better than Sushi Garden, Nao Sushi remains my favourite sushi place (I haven’t been to many, obviously!), and I think this is partly because we had to wait half an hour before digging in. By then, the tempura wasn’t as crispy as it should’ve been, and everything became slightly room-temp/warm after sitting in the car. Aw man!

That’s it for today, everyone!


Totally irrelevant but today I totally overate. Mom and I made stuffed sole with dungeness crab and roasted garlic + white cheddar mashed potatoes, with a béchamel sauce on top. Served with quinoa and garlicky sautéed Chinese greens, I loved every bite of my dinner and went back for seconds, thirds, and then FOURTHS. After that, I had FOUR, yep, FOUR squares of chickpea blondies made with peanut butter and chocolate chips. I should’ve had one plate of dinner and then one or two blondies, but I couldn’t control myself. I am now super, super full. 😦 So much for intuitive eating tonight!

On another note, my sister and I will be selling homemade goodies at the farmer’s market next week. Here are some of the ideas we have!

  • labels
  • cards
  • coasters
  • baked goods
  • frames
  • quote cards
  • quilling
  • zipper pouch
  • envelopes
  • folders
  • bookmarks (flowers? quotes?)
  • mobile
  • organizer
  • plant placards
  • pincushion
  • oatmeal recipe cards
  • salad topping cards

I don’t really have much else to say, but I’m glad it’s Sunday night. I love Mondays and how they are a new start to the day.

A new start, a new beginning, a new perspective, and new opportunities – I love new weeks! 🙂