Lately ✿

The last smidge of summer was filled with bittersweet (mostly sweet – literally) moments.

Exhibit A: this dessert plate that featured chocolate banana “ice cream” à la Tom Daley, peanut butter tofu pie, and chocolate almond banana bread (on my Recipe page) with coconut yogurt and nut butter. Mmmmm.

Tofu haters – I promise you won’t taste the tofu. This is a super satisfying dessert that’ll be sure to cure any sweet-salty cravings. One of my all-time favourite recipes, and it’s a hit with guests, too!

Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Makes 8 slices

NOTE: requires chilling coconut milk overnight, requires 30 minutes out of freezer before serving

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • 1.5 to 1.75 cups of crushed graham crackers (about 10-12 crackers)
  • 4.5 tbsp melted coconut oil, or more if needed

Pie

  • 12 oz silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter (125 g)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 14 oz can of full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight so the liquid and cream separate (do not shake)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • salt, if needed

Topping

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (175 g)
  • 1/3 cup milk (almond, dairy, or coconut are fine)
  • roasted salted peanuts, chopped, if desired for decoration

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Lightly oil glass pie pan.
  3. Process graham crackers until you achieve a fine meal. A little texture is okay. Add melted coconut oil and pulse to combine.
  4. Press the crust into the pan and push down to flatten.
  5. Bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.
  6. Add tofu, peanut butter, maple/honey to a blender. Blend until smooth. Scrape down sides as needed. Add more maple/honey for added sweetness, or more salt if the peanut butter is not salted enough.
  7. Scoop out the cream from the coconut milk can. Whip into whipped cream in a large, chilled mixing bowl. Add vanilla.
  8. Fold peanut butter-tofu mixture into whipped coconut cream.
  9. Pour filling over cooled crust. Freeze to chill. After one hour, prepare ganache.
  10. Add chocolate chips to a bowl. Heat milk to a simmer. Pour over chocolate chips. Do not touch for 5 minutes, to allow it to melt.
  11. Stir gently with spoon until a smooth ganache forms. If it doesn’t melt, heat it in microwave for 10 seconds until smooth.
  12. Spoon over top of pie. Spread evenly with knife. Work quickly. I drizzled mine on, then swirled with a knife.
  13. Top with peanuts, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze to set.
  14. 20-30 minutes before serving, remove from freezer and serve.

The last bit of summer was filled with Mom’s incredible cooking. This is my favourite type of fried rice, which is made with dried and rehydrated scallops, green onions, egg white, and more. Shiitake mushroom chicken broth, too. Isn’t that a colourful salad on the side?

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This was my last meal in Coquitlam, BC, so Mom made all my favourites! Tomato scrambled eggs with shrimp, red bean pancakes with sesame seeds, broccoli-carrot stir-fry with mushrooms and cloud ears, and leftover scallop fried rice.

Something similar, but this was on a totally different day: peri peri chicken, the same tomato scrambled eggs, stir-fried veggies (this time with chestnut) and plain rice.

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I love Mom’s cooking so much. More of those red bean sesame pancakes, along with cauliflower and not-too-spicy mapo tofu for my pathetic spice-wimp taste buds.

This meal, actually, was followed by an MRI to screen my pituitary gland. Lying completely motionless inside the little pod (for ~50 minutes) was eerie and unsettling, yet strangely meditative. Except for the needle, it was a neat experience.

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Another day, Mom and I made spaghetti bolognese with fresh ground beef, mixed it with al dente shells, and layered/topped it with an entire log of mozzarella cheese.

Served with garlicky green beans, this dish was a massive hit in the Wei home! I credit that incredible fresh mozzarella.

This summer, I challenged myself to bake a whole bunch of things. Most of the “whole bunch of things” never got baked because of busyness laziness, but these flaky feta-chive scones did! I think you’ll like them as much as my family did.

Flaky, Buttery Feta Chive Biscuits

Makes approx. 12 small scones

Recipe inspired by Joy the Baker

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (360 g)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes (170 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp very cold water
  • 3/4 cup cold sour cream, or cold plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup chopped chives
  • 3/4 cup large crumbles of feta cheese
  • 1 beaten egg for egg wash, with a splash of milk if needed
  • coarse sea salt, cracked black pepper, and paprika for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place rack in centre/upper third of oven.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  4. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and black pepper. Use two knives/forks, or a pastry cutter to cut in the cold butter, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Dough should have buttery pea-sized chunks throughout.
  5. In another bowl, lightly beat egg, sour cream, and water, with a fork.
  6. Add wet mixture into flour mixture all at once. Stir enough to make soft, shaggy dough. Use fork to scrape from bottom to top of dough.
  7. Add chives and feta.
  8. Dump mixture on a clean counter to knead dough together. Mixture should come together in 10-15 kneads.
  9. Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds, using biscuit cutter. You can also roll the dough into a rectangular shape, and cut the biscuits into triangular shapes. Reshape and roll dough to create more biscuits with excess scraps. Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, black pepper, and smoky paprika.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm. Biscuits are best eaten on the day they are made, but will last up to two days.

We froze some of them!

These prune blondies were also whipped up. My mom enjoyed them, and I really liked the chewy texture that reminded me of glutinous rice.

Prune Blondies

Makes 12 blondies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes, softened in 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (150 g)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp mixed nuts, toasted/chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In blender, combine prunes and water. Process until smooth. Add brown sugar, oil, egg, honey, and vanilla. Set aside.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry. Fold with a spatula until just combined, then pour batter into prepared pan. Top with nuts.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, then cool in the pan on a wire rack before cutting/serving.

I also made a large list of books that I can’t wait to get my hands on (some of them, for the second time). Have you read any of them?

Books to Read

  • Boo
  • The Female of the Species
  • Unnatural Deeds
  • With Malice
  • And the Trees Crept In
  • A Mother’s Reckoning
  • What Happened to Ivy
  • Red Rain
  • Burning
  • The Cellar
  • Confessions About Colton
  • Run
  • The Letter
  • Her Fearful Symmetry
  • The Hour I First Believed
  • The Little Friend
  • My Name is Memory
  • Mystic River
  • She’s Come Undone *
  • We Were the Mulvaneys
  • White Oleander *
  • The Shipping News
  • Change of Heart
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
  • The Book of Ruth
  • Mystic River
  • Black and Blue
  • Everything I Never Told You
  • Visitation Street
  • The Vanishing Season
  • Elsewhere
  • The Afterlife (cool)
  • Shine
  • Before I Die
  • Where I Want to Be (cool)
  • Falling Into Place (cool)
  • The Age of Miracles
  • The Virgin Suicides
  • The Giver
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  • Eat When You Feel Sad
  • To the Lighthouse
  • 300 Million
  • 1 Dead in Attic
  • An Invisible Sign of my Own

Seline, my sister, also wrote a special poem inspired by the stunning rocky hills on Salt Spring Island. She actually has her own poetry blog, which, by the way, looks a lot prettier than my unplanned collages of unfiltered (i.e. ugly) iPhone photos.

Rocks

The rocky path

Illuminated by a simple

Ray of sun

No one beside

In front

or

Behind

As I glide down the hill,

wood chips sticking in my shoes.

I trot

down

the trail.

I jump

Left

to

Right,

Hopping from one rock,

to another.

Finally reaching my destination

on top of

the rock

for all to see.

And that’s it, everyone! Have a glorious rest of the week.

Looks Gross, Tastes GREAT

Hello, friends! I hope you all had the most fantastic Easter weekend. I did, especially when you consider the number of almond croissants that I devoured. You’ll see. 😉

This was my long weekend plan, most of which didn’t play out because the weather was gorgeous and I didn’t want to be cooped up in a yoga studio.

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Almond croissant numero un was at Delysees, where I nibbled on a warm croissant with a dark hot chocolate.

On Sunday, I tried Russian food for the first time. This was a trout coulibiac from The Tempered Room. It was a puff pastry (similar to a wellington) filled with flaked trout, roasted kale, lentils, slices of hard-boiled egg, and quinoa. Definitely not the most authentic, but a delicious, protein-filled healthy twist to a Russian classic.

Let’s be honest, this doesn’t look the greatest. But it tasted AWESOME.

That was devoured alongside a buttery kale and sweet potato scone.

London Fog tea lattes are my favourite, and this was my first time trying the famous Sloane brand of tea. I loved this mug of tea, but thought it was similar to any old supermarket Earl Grey.

Croissant number two. Did I mention this was all in the same day? This chocolate almond croissant was flatter, denser, less flaky, and more buttery.

Another day, I enjoyed a phenomenal brunch at Barque Smokehouse, where I enjoyed cornbread topped with citrus smoked salmon, two poached eggs, and BBQ hollandaise, the crispiest roasted potatoes, and a kale salad with carrots, cabbage, and pear.

Healthy dinner at home involved cauliflower rice and zucchini/yellow zucchini shreds with gruyere cheese.

I can never make the 2 egg + 1 ripe banana pancakes successfully. They always seem to rip or break on me! Even this time, when I added a bit of rolled oats and almond meal to create sturdiness, they tore as I flipped them. Any tips?

Regardless, they tasted fantastic smeared with almond and peanut butter.

Round Two turned out better! I added a bit of quinoa flour this time. I think that contributed to the sturdiness.

Another day, I whisked up four eggs, lots of wilted spinach, and feta cheese. I made it omelette-style, then tossed it into the oven to broil and melt the cheese. This created a filling, delicious, and easy meal that I paired with yogurt and a crumbled date bar.

Saag paneer (spinach + cottage cheese) roti is probably my favourite thing about Toronto so far. This roti from Mother India on Queen West was stuffed with pureed spinach, tender potatoes, and some chunks of paneer cheese. I had a big craving for Indian food after a patient told me about Mother India, and it needed to be satisfied! I loved this roti as much as the one from Gandhi Indian Cuisine. Though Mother India’s roti itself tasted better and was less spicy, Gandhi’s saag paneer roti had bigger chunks of paneer and the spinach looked greener.

It looks gross. I know. But it tasted absolutely incredible.

Can you believe that I have EIGHT more days of work before I’m going back to Waterloo and saying goodbye to Toronto (possibly forever!)?

My sister, Seline, published a book! Her novel is called ‘Journey to Avalon‘ and details the adventures of an awkward, self-proclaimed loser who finds herself with strange powers in the Elemental Academy for the Supernaturally Gifted – and will do anything to go back to her mundane life at home.

I think that’s it for today! I have lots more stuff to show you in the next few days, so stay tuned 😉

Pow Wow!

Over the weekend, I discovered this super simple recipe for creamy black bean soup. Thanks, Allrecipes! Spicy, rich, and full of black beans, this recipe is a keeper. I served mine with a simple buttery, cheesy grilled cheese.

Black Bean Soup

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can black beans (15 oz), rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water with salt
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • lime juice, as much as you’d like
  • cayenne pepper, as much as you’d like

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine half the beans, broth, salsa, garlic, and cumin. Blend until fairly smooth. Add the rest of the beans.
  2. Heat in saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly reheated. Stir in lime and cayenne pepper.
  3. Ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings.

I’ve been into quinoa porridge recently, blending up a whole overripe banana with some milk and cocoa powder, then cooking it up with cooked quinoa and topping it with peanut butter. The PB becomes gloriously melty, and tastes awesome with yogurt and granola.

I also created the BEST banana chocolate almond cake! Pictures to come, but here’s the recipe. This will be made again soon!

Banana Chocolate Almond Cake

Makes an 8×8 pan. I cut mine into 16.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place all ingredients except flour in a blender.
  3. Mash bananas. Whisk in eggs. Beat well, then add oil and syrup or honey.
  4. Add dry ingredients and use a whisk to stir until fully combined.
  5. Grease baking pan with oil or line with parchment.
  6. Bake 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely before tilting out of the pan.

Toronto is such a lovely city. I walked around the touristy Nathan Philips square on Sunday, when there was lots of sunshine.

On the same day, I had a tasty brunch at the Pow Wow Cafe in Kensington Market. The Pow Wow Cafe serves indigenous food. I had a fry bread (literally deep-fried dough) topped with two poached eggs, smoked salmon, goat cheese, and dill sauce. Potatoes, fruit, and a fresh beet salad on the side.

After that, I stuffed my face with frozen greek yogurt from Grk Ygrt, also in the Kensington Market. While this concoction with Callebaut white chocolate, toasted coconut, and peach preserve was tasty, this was the “mini” size which cost over $5. It was called the Maui Wowie!

Finally, I made a simple pasta with leftover sliced carrots, mushrooms, and spinach, with a creamy tomato vodka sauce and topped with feta cheese. Cleaning the fridge and the pantry!

That is really all I have to say for this foggy Tuesday morning. Have a lovely week, friends 🙂

 

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! 😀

Spaghetti Squash Egg Boat

“You look tired AF.” – My friend after seeing me this morning.

Yup, that pretty much sums up the weekend + the start of this week for me! I’ve been pushing sleep off my list of top priorities to make room for finishing assignments, doing extra yoga and cycling, and FaceTiming Seline to fangirl over things. Mostly the last one, by the way.

Hey, did you know that if you FaceTime for 3+ hours, your battery will go right from 100% to 0%? Learned from experience… at least four times over the weekend.

Do you like edible boats or real boats? 😀 This picture was from my family’s trip to the Sunshine Coast, and I recently dug it up from a folder in my computer. Isn’t it an awesome shot? This was right outside our resort, The Painted Boat. I miss the Sunshine Coast!

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Mom’s actually in the middle of planning another trip to the Sunshine Coast. I am so excited to experience more Beautiful British Columbia this August.

Back to those edible boats! These spaghetti squash boats are flavourful, healthy, and really easy to make.

All you have to do is bake up a spaghetti squash, shred the noodles out, and then mix the “noodles” with salsa. I used roasted garlic salsa from Vincenzo’s, and that was just spicy enough and so flavourful. Then, pop an egg into the mix, top with feta, and bake until the egg is cooked.

Mmmm. I served mine with some steamed broccoli and truffle salt.

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Runny egg is my favourite! Even if you overbake it slightly, the dish is still delicious. I know this from experience, too 😉

I might never go back to regular pasta!

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Voila! Oh – and the best part? Look at the number of ingredients you’ll need here. Crazy!


4-ingredient Egg & Spinach Spaghetti Squash Boats

Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup salsa (I used roasted garlic salsa)
  • as much feta cheese as you’d like
Instructions
  1. Cut the squash.
  2. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Rub with oil (any is okay, I used canola) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place facedown in a tray covered with foil and pour water into the tray.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the back of the squash can be pierced.
  6. Remove and let cool slightly.
  7. Scrape down the sides from left to right, loosening the spaghetti noodles.
  8. Scoop the noodles into another bowl and toss the noodles with salsa.
  9. Place the noodles back into the squash boat.
  10. Make a small dent for the egg.
  11. Crack your egg in, and sprinkle with feta cheese and black pepper.
  12. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until the egg white is completely white.
  13. Remove, let cool for 5 minutes, and dig in!

And that’s it! Easy, delicious, and super nutritious. Give this a try! Plus, it’s always fun to eat out of an edible bowl. 🙂

You are going to love this recipe! Tell me in the comments below whether or not you enjoyed it, or what changes you would make.

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Let’s have another great week full of delicious eats, hopefully more sleep, and more hilarious FaceTime moments.

Friday Coast Post: Goats on the Roof

Good afternoon everyone! I had a pretty awesome day so far (minus the road test, which I’ll write about in just a minute). I met up with the lovely Rachel @ Moments with Rae at around 8:00 for breakfast at Cafe Medina, which we both enjoyed. I’ll be posting the review sometime in the future. Then, Mom and I borrowed some books at the library, and I took Arnie for a walk before having lunch. Then it was time to drive. 🙂

So… I failed my road test! Everything was going so perfectly well for the first HALF HOUR (entire test = 35 minutes). I did every shoulder check, signalled every time, maintained perfect speed and steered with control. I even did the best parking I’ve ever done. Ever. Seriously. Then, right when we were heading back to ICBC, literally just as we were turning left into the ICBC parking lot, I panicked on the yellow light and turned on the red light. I knew right away that I did a dangerous action, and of course I failed instantly. DARN!


Now, onto a more positive note – this is one of the final posts of my Sunshine Coast series. You can read the other posts by clicking on the date you’d like to see: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. The Saturday post is in the works, I promise!

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We arrived at 8:10 on Friday morning: Lefty’s Restaurant in Parksville. The place was dimly-lit and had a hip, but rugged, relaxing atmosphere. We noted that the service was pretty slow, but at least the waitress was very welcoming and enthusiastic.

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Classic breakfast with multigrain toast, bacon, eggs, potatoes and ketchup, grapefruit slice

This was Dad’s. He thought his meal was simple and pretty basic. There was nothing special about his eggs, potatoes, or bacon, and he was a little disappointed that Lefty’s doesn’t offer white bread (they only have sourdough and multigrain). Dad loved the raspberry jam though, which reminded him of the strawberry jam he had often as a child in Taiwan.

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Sesame bagel with butter and jam

Mom wanted something a little lighter, so she opted for the sesame bagel. This came with homemade raspberry jam and some whipped butter.

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1/2 spinach-feta omelet with red onions, multigrain toast with homemade raspberry jam, potatoes and orange slice

Seline and I weren’t terribly hungry, so we decided to share a spinach-feta omelet. They actually sliced the omelet in two, gave each of us a slice of toast and a large helping of potatoes. They were even kind enough to split the dish onto two separate plates, which I appreciated!

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This was more than enough for me. I loved the slightly charred feta cheese here, as well as the extra zing from the red onions. Seline gave Lefty’s a 2 out of 5, Mom deemed it a 4, and Dad rated them 3.5. What do you think?

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In the morning, we shopped at Thrifty Foods, visited the Cheeseworks Factory, and walked around Milner Gardens and Woodlands. Funny moment: I mentioned, totally randomly as we hiked, that owls are essentially “flying cats” because they eat mice, have creepy (sorry, cat people!) eyes, and are pretty intimidating! Without batting an eye, Mom replied, “that’s because owls are part of the cat family. They just have wings.” We couldn’t stop laughing!

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Southwestern Flair Fish Taco: Spiced Halibut and Salmon, Roasted Tomato Pineapple Chutney, Chipotle Aioli, Tortilla, Cabbage & Carrot Slaw

Since we got two free entrees as part of our BC Ferries vacation package, Seline ordered the fish and chips (two pieces). She thought this was cooked very well and actually gave the Pacific Prime Restaurant a generous 3.7. However, she noted that the waiter was somewhat unprofessional and did not come to give us refills. He also lacked the enthusiasm and knowledge that we were looking for.

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The Beach Club Deluxe Burger: 6 oz. of Ground Chuck Loaded with our Special Blend of Herbs and Spices, Fall Greenery, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle Red Onion, Beach Club Special Sauce on a Brioche Kaiser

Dad’s entree was the burger, which he thought was delicious! A 4 out of 5, in his opinion.

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Grilled Nectarine and Rainbow Beet Salad: Slices of Grilled Nectarine, Beet Confit, Summer Greenery Leaves, Citrus Pomegranate Emulsion and Roasted and Salted Pistachio Nuts

Mom and I shared the salad, which I added a piece of grilled salmon to. Unfortunately, I found the salad overdressed, with not enough pistachios. I also think the salmon was cooked unevenly – the middle was essentially raw while the outsides tough and chewy. This meal was definitely a miss for me.

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After visiting the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in the afternoon, where we saw rescued bears, owls, eagles, hawks, and a beautiful wild deer, we drove down to the famous Coombs for an Italian dinner. I was also excited to see the famous goats on the roof! Cuckoo Trattoria and Pizzeria is, without a doubt, the most famous restaurants in Coombs. It is also incredibly popular – we had to eat at 5:00 because there were so many reservations.

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I was so happy that we scored a large, sunny patio seat.

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Italian herbed lemonade: fresh basil, mint and rosemary

I thought I hated lemonade. Seriously, I did. Until I tried this. It was lemony and extremely fresh, without a super sour taste. The herbs infused it with zest, and the overall drink was so, so unique. Perfect for cooling down on the warm evening! Oh! Weird thing – Cuckoo didn’t offer water. You had to pay to buy bottled water, which we found strange.

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Our server brought us a big bread basket, and I happily nibbled on some whole wheat, rye, and the salted thyme focaccia. The bruschetta was quite tasty as well, though the garlic flavour was a little overwhelming. Basil, tomatoes, and bread are practically best friends! Seline liked the focaccia a lot.

Freshly-baked bread with bruschetta and whipped butter

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Risotto Piemontese: local wild Chanterelles and Porcini mushrooms slowly braised with rich beef stock and Parmesan cheese for a traditional Piedmont Risotto drizzled with Truffle oil

This was my first time trying risotto, and I have to say I’m not 100% a fan. The flavour was incredible, cooked in beef stock and cheese. The truffle oil had great taste as well, but it was the texture of the rice that I didn’t like. Yes, I know it’s al dente with a bit of “raw” and “uncooked” pasta in the middle – that’s authentic! – but it didn’t work for me. Dad agreed. He felt like this was totally undercooked, and I know what he meant. The centres of every grain of rice were still quite powdery and hard. The grains were very toothsome, but again, the flavour was AWESOME. I’m going to have to try to make some kind of mushroom soup inspired by this dish.

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All cheese bianca: special blend of mozzarella, aged gouda, asiago, gorgonzola, parmesan and quark cheese, make this the ultimate in stringy cheesiness

I liked this a lot. The creamy blobs of cheese (I believe it’s quark?) were my favourite part, along with the pungent blue. The crust was thin, crispy, and made with plain white flour. The pizza was charred on the bottom, which is just how I like it. And the toppings… talk about cheesy! This was definitely the cheesiest cheese pizza I’ve ever had. After accidentally eating a bite of blue, Seline spat it out and declared that blue cheese tasted like how cow manure smells. :O We visited the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks that day, which probably explains why she had the scent of cow poop in her head. But still! I guess blue cheese isn’t for everyone!

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This really WAS the “ultimate in stringy cheesiness”! Look at those mozzarella lines!

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Conchiglioni: homemade fresh pasta shells stuffed with organic spinach, fresh ricotta and Asiago cheese, baked in creamy tomato basil sauce

I died when I tried this dish. The sauce was perfection and I need to know how they made it! Creamy, but not overly rich. There was an evident tomato flavour, but it wasn’t too sour or acidic. The texture was slightly thinner than regular alfredo sauce, and was flavoured with basil and Italian herbs. Sprinkled with freshly-ground black pepper and grated parmesan, these shells were amazing. My favourite part, aside from the heavenly sauce, was the ricotta middle. Ricotta is one of my fave cheeses (okay, along with maybe 50 others) and it went so well with spinach and sharp Asiago here. I want to eat this again!

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Seline ate only the pizza (after picking off the blue cheese), while Mom, Dad, and I devoured the risotto and conchiglioni (how on Earth do you pronounce that word?!).

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We couldn’t finish all of this and placed some into a plastic container to take home. Funny story – it was placed carefully into our cooler, where it stayed for 2 full days without tipping over and spilling. Then, right as we were parking into OUR OWN DRIVEWAY, at HOME, the cooler fell over and water splashed into my beloved risotto. Noooooooo!

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I ate three of these, which took a LOT of self-control because honestly, I could’ve eaten five or six without even trying. It was incredibly hard to stop at three! I mean, look at that creamy, fluffy ricotta and herbed tomato sauce!

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The desserts here made me drool a little bit – from the chef’s tiramisu to the forest berry cake, I wanted to try every single one! But we had to save room for ice cream!

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I didn’t end up having any ice cream. I tried the Nanaimo Bar Brownie ice cream and the chocolate hazelnut, but was not really impressed with either one. I decided not to order one at all, especially after the server informed me that they weren’t made in-house (like Rain or Shine ice cream in Vancouver) – but rather imported by Island Farms. So not worth it, in my opinion. 😛

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There were really goats on the roof here! They trampled around and went into their own wooden hut. It was so bizarre to literally see goats. On the roof of a market.

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At Goats on the Roof, a market, we bought some nectarines and a lemon-blueberry muffin that I ate for breakfast the next day. You’ll see it in my next post!

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Not much else to say here! I’m going to have a little snack (maybe some natural popcorn and berries) while making dinner. Then, I’ll be heading to a hot yoga class and getting ready for my Shadow Shift at the Vancouver Aquarium tomorrow. Have an excellent evening, everyone 🙂