PB Mug Cakes, Yoga, and a Disappointing Cafe Experience

Happy new week, everyone!

I’m starting to fall in love with yoga the more and more I do it! I’ve been going to hot yoga every day since final exams ended and doing a teeny bit of practice by myself in the kitchen. Do you like yoga? What are some of your favourite poses? To you, is yoga more emotional, spiritual, or physical?

One afternoon I took a nice walk around Victoria Park in Kitchener. It’s been a while since I’ve seen rippling lakes and green grass!

Tea latte at Café 22, one of my favourite places in Uptown Waterloo. This was their small London Fog latte, which I highly recommend. So good. And I actually want one right now.

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We recently moved our dining table next to the window, so I get to look out the window and at my laptop while I eat. 🙂 Also, Arsalan (roomie’s BF) came home from Japan recently! He was so kind to give me two beautiful handmade ceramic teacups. Aren’t they pretty? Do you like handmade utensils or kitchenware?

I’ve also been volunteering at the Research Institute of Aging, where Professor Heather Keller, my nutrition professor, leads a team of students to create healthy recipes for seniors. Turns out a MASSIVE percentage of seniors in long-term care homes are malnourished, whether it’s because they don’t like the food, they don’t have an appetite, or they aren’t enjoying the mealtime experience.

Bloggers, I could use your help! Let’s brainstorm some ideas for recipes that are…

  1. Not labour-intensive: it needs to be easy for cooks to prepare
  2. Can be made in bulk
  3. Can be refrigerated or frozen
  4. Not expensive: we have nearly $8 PER DAY, PER PERSON, so that rules out coconut flour, quinoa, etc.
  5. “Traditional”: sorry, no hipster things like green juice, kombucha, kale, etc.
  6. Nut-free, because of allergies
  7. High in nutrients! For example, sweet potatoes instead of regular white potatoes
  8. Easy to chew and swallow: this rules out things like sticky date balls, crunchy nut clusters, etc.

Tricky, right? What are some of your ideas?

PS: our first idea was avocado pudding, but turns out one serving is 3 avocados, which is $9 in total. :O That idea had to be trashed, unfortunately.

Salmon fishcakes! They were simple: 2 eggs, 1 can salmon, and a bunch of spices.

When I didn’t have any baked goods for dessert, I just melted some chocolate and ate it with strawberries for a makeshift fondue.

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Vegan butternut squash pasta with a nutritional yeast sauce and spinach. I actually quite liked this, despite my LOVE for real, creamy cheese.

I bought some [expensive!] strawberries and they didn’t taste that good. 😦

More pasta, this time with brown butter and sage! Idea from a special commenter 🙂

Baked oatmeal…

… enjoyed two days in a row.

Went to My Thai, a restaurant in Uptown Waterloo, with the roomies one day! Arsalan enjoyed vegan pad thai.

Madhulika and I enjoyed the amazing emerald curry with coconut sticky rice.

We shared banana spring rolls for dessert with vanilla ice cream! What a great end to the meal.

Leftover curry sauce turned into a delicious vegetable stir-fry the next day.

And then there was STILL leftover curry sauce, which became vegetable noodles! I was uncomfortably full after this. It doesn’t look like much, but I was stuffed!

Yeah, yeah… more pasta.

I don’t even have the effort to explain how good this was. Please make this.

Best-Ever Peanut Butter Mug Cake

  • 2 tbsp. spelt flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • sprinkle cinnamon (optional)
Whisk together and microwave for 60 to 80 seconds.

This was one of my favourite meals of the week: quinoa with sweet potato, carrots, zucchini, spinach, roasted red peppers, and avocado on top with cayenne pepper and lemon juice. It was surprisingly filling!

More baked oats. Attractive, I know.

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Thoughts on warm salads? I used the last of my goat cheese here. So yummy!

Coconut and pineapple Thai-style fried rice was devoured another day. Seared tofu makes it really satiating, while pineapple provides a punch of flavour.

Roasted and shredded salmon on top of baked broccoli and yukon gold potatoes. They were all tossed with couscous and served with avocado and goat cheese. YUM!

And a simple oatmeal topped with a makeshift “crumble”, which was almond and coconut flour with nut butter, maple syrup, and some coconut oil.

More of the same 🙂

Spicy coconut-peanut noodles with tofu and shredded carrots and zucchini, and seared tofu.

I usually make two servings of whatever I have, so that a) it’s easier to make b) I’ll have another meal the next day.

These are some recent Mom meals: banana muffins, shrimp and chicken pasta, and some Chinese dishes. She also went on a cookie-baking rampage the other day and whipped up a whole table’s worth of COOKIES! What are your favourite dishes cooked by Mom? You know, the ones that simply cannot be replicated?!

This morning I took the bus to Pure Kitchen and Juice Bar after volunteering at the Grand River Hospital. I do patient registration, which is fun until there are 20 people in line, with two “Pats”, a “Jon” and a “Ron” and a “Don”, and a “Kryzhchevish”. My job is to take everyone’s name, record some health information, and call them up when their appointments are ready.

Anyways!

Pure Kitchen is located in the heart of downtown Kitchener. I had REALLY been looking forward to it for a long time, and when I got there, I was even more excited!

For my lunch, I decided on the small grain bowl, which came with brown rice, oven-roasted chicken, roasted sweet potato, chickpeas, spinach, sprouts (literally THREE sprouts, not satisfied), raw seeds, roasted mushrooms, and a spiced cranberry vinaigrette. Am I the only person who doesn’t like cold chicken? How do you guys feel about it?

Disappointment #1: For around the same price, you can have all of the ingredients placed into a whole wheat wrap. I asked for that option, grilled, but they were out of wraps. Um, you are a sandwich + soup cafe. You serve wraps. It’s 12:00, noon – how can you be out of wraps?

Disappointment #2: I asked for the meal to be served in a bowl, but they told me that they only provide these wasteful cardboard-paper box things.

Disappointment #3: Three sprouts in here.

Disappointment #4: Why was this cold? In fact, it was almost freezing. If the menu states “roasted chicken” and “roasted mushrooms” as well as “roasted sweet potato”, customers would assume that they are hot, or at least warm, right?!

Disappointment #5: Four massive leaves of spinach. Massive.

On the bright side, the rice was really good.

These were on the table for samplers, and they weren’t terrible. The green juice was a little bitter, and the granola was sticky, too chewy, and topped with a brown pineapple sorbet thing that never melted. I wouldn’t buy any of these.

I also ordered the Feel Good smoothie, which was made with maca, cacao, banana, almond butter, and almond milk. Sounds amazing, right?

WRONG. The $8 smoothie tasted “burned”. I have no other way of describing it. I couldn’t detect a hint of banana, almond butter, creamy almond milk, or even chocolate. The only flavour I could describe was a BURNED flavour.

Disappointment #where are we… oh #6: The smoothie tasted like a scorched tree branch or piece of firewood that had been blended with a scoop of ice.

I asked for the smoothie to be re-made after having half of it, and the lady did re-make it for me, this time it was so icy and not fully blended.

Disappointment #7: Smoothie #2 was 90% unblended ice.

The best part of the meal was the almond croissant that I enjoyed for dessert. It was truly amazing and almost redeeming. Have you ever had a croissant for dessert? Slightly heated up?! Oh my goodness, it’s gold.

On a totally different note…

How do you guys feel about running? If you’re a runner, what motivates you (ie. what do you THINK about when running?) If you aren’t a runner, what are some of your favourite ways to squeeze in some cardio?

Also, do you have to race to be a runner?

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Alright, that’s it for today! It’s 9:17 PM and I feel like I just ate dinner. Which, I kind of did. I always feel a little guilty for eating dinner after 8:00 PM, but unfortunately, I have commitments, I have things to do, and sometimes, it just isn’t realistic to have a beautifully-made dinner fresh on the table at 6.

Today, it was a lasagna that went from freezer to microwave at 8:30 PM because I got stranded at Goodlife Fitness because it started pouring (and thunderstorm-ing). 😦

Do you feel guilty when you end up eating later? Is there a certain time that you don’t “allow” yourself to eat? Back at home in BC, my mom was ADAMANT that after 6:30, no food allowed. For 18 years of my life, as soon as the clock ticked 6:31, it was “too late to eat”. This mentality really stuck with me and caused eating problems in my life. Thoughts?

PS: I just found out that I can click on all the tags that I want to add to this – I just added about 999 tags to this post, haha! 😀

Meanwhile in BC

Mom has been cooking a LOT back home recently!

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Arnie has been cute! Well… not really. We always joke that he looks like a horse now.

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Cute messages from Mom! “Oh no. Oh no.”

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Mom made pasta salad for the homestay students and some cinnamon coffee for herself.

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Seline enjoyed a sushi lunch with her friend Brianna!

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Mom did a little baking without me! Pumpkin muffins and swirled pecan cake from a boxed mix.

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Congee with meat, and two Chinese dinners that Mom cooked. Cooking for one is hard, but imagine cooking for NINE! That’s what my mom has to do every meal of the day.

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Hi Seline! Hey Arnie.

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Breakfast for the students: toast, fruit, eggs, beans. And tortellini with creamy mushroom sauce and chicken noodle soup for Seline!

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Noodles with meat and meatballs and shrimp and egg. Whoa… deluxe. Chips, which Mom has recently been addicted to recently. Check out that tortellini – Costco’s massive packs are THREE in one!

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Mom posts regularly on her Weibo account: this fried rice was made with sausage, chicken, peas, egg, and mushrooms. Seaweed soup in the back!

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Sometimes I get a little homesick, but with messages from Mom and long FaceTime sessions, I don’t feel too lonely. 🙂 Can’t wait to go back home soon!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone 🙂

Paris Desserts

Dessert Gallery

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TOP 5 DESSERTS

5) Chocolate brownie from Chez Sesame

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4) Mille-Feille from Josephine Chez Dumont

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3) TIE between Amorino pistachio gelato with Speculoos gelato // Pozzetto Gianjula and pistachio gelato

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Above: Amorino // Below: Pozzetto

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2) Speculoos cheesecake by Guu desserts (from Auchan supermarket)

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1) Creme brûlée from Bistrot Richelieu: WINNER!

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Almost made the list: financiers from Moisan Bakery and Eric Kayser

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Above: Moisan Bakery // Below: Eric Kayser (mini with nature, chocolate, pistachio, regular-sized pistachio)

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Paris-Brest

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Desserts from Gateaux Thomieux, Bon Marche, Liberte, and Tholoniat: Opera, mille-feuille, chocolate tart, flan, St-Honore, eclair, choux, etc.

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Dinners in Paris

Dinner Gallery

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TOP 5 DINNERS

5) Blanquette de veau (creamy veal stew with carrots, pearl onions, mushrooms)

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4) Baguette, carrot mustard salad, Caprese salad, Compte cheese, steamed Provencale-style fish, steamed broccoli, sautéed vermicelli

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3) Spaghetti with tomato shrimp sauce, mushrooms, Camembert cheese and zucchini stir-fry with krill

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2) Caprese salad, rocket and pine nut salad, baguette, garlic green beans, potato cake, stir-fried bean sprouts, steamed fish with scallions, rice

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1) Taco cups with ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cheddar, cheese plate with grapes, vegetable soup with baguette

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Almost made the list: creamy lobster pasta with tomatoes and basil

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Lunches of Paris

Lunch Gallery

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TOP 5 LUNCHES

5) Babalou 4-cheese pizza with parmesan, rocket, and cherry tomato salad

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4) La Taverne de Menil zucchini galettes with tomato bulgur, salad, sauteed potatoes, oregano yogurt sauce

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3) Cafe Jacquemart-Andre smoked salmon salad with fish eggs and black caviar tomato, steamed potatoes with dill sauce, and vegetable flan

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2) Angelina Chèvre Quiche and salad

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1) Le Bosquet Ravioli Gratin with salad: WINNER!

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Almost made the list: vegetable soup with baguette, seared white fish with tomato, leeks, lemon cream sauce

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Breakfasts of Paris

Breakfast Gallery

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TOP 5 BREAKFASTS

5) Moisan Bakery almond toast

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4) Chocolate Pistachio Escargot

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3) Moisan Bakery chocolate almond croissant

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2) Coquelicot pistachio almond croissant

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1) Almond croissant with Ova-Maltine baguette: WINNER!

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Almost made the list: Ova-Maltine on brioche toast and Carrousel du Pain tasting platter of almond croissant, pain aux raisins, and chausson aux pommel

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