BC, I’ve Missed You ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy Nutella Banana Crepes

Serves 1

Crepe INGREDIENTS

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

Topping INGREDIENTS

  • 1 banana, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp Nutella

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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

I also baked up a storm!

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

Blueberry Banana Muffin Tops

Makes 6 large, 12 small

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

I also made these tasty lemon poppyseed muffins.

Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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

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

German Apple Cake

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

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

Have a beautiful week, everyone ❤

Finals ➳ Furniture ➳ Fries ➳ French

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. The last week or so was quite hectic – last Friday was the last day of my final exams. We wrote the exam in the physical activities complex, which is currently being demolished to make way for a brand-new athletic facility.

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After the exams, I started taking photos of furniture to sell. The hardest part was clearing all of my things from the drawers and figuring out whether I wanted to sell, store, or take them home.

I also had to remove some of my beloved photographs and collages from the wall, unfortunately tearing out some paint. At least now I will have a souvenir to take home? I guess this is why I paid deposit. 😦

Things were packed, sold, and stored.

I also had to take these lovely cards from the wall and take pictures of them before I threw them away. I love these cards and wish I could keep them forever.

The room was a disaster once the furniture was moved out of the way. Look at all of the dust and hair! It was highly satisfying to sweep it all up with my dollar store Swiffer. Many trips to the dumpster were also made.

On Friday, all of my furniture was cleaned and a very kind man, his wife, and his brother-in-law came to take the furniture away. They are furnishing an unfurnished house in Waterloo and actually needed all the furniture. Moving was so much easier with some extra hands. Fourth floor, no stairs – no problem!

From left to right:

  1. New high score? Seline would not be proud. Her current score is over 1200!
  2. I posted on Twitter about my moving sale items, which were cross-posted initially on Kijiji. Princess Cafe responded to my tweet. I am going to miss them, too 😥
  3. Can you believe the small dots in this picture are all grey? This one still shakes me. Seeing is believing… until it’s not.
  4. Theatre Arcturus was founded by my new aerial coach, Lindsay. She retweeted me! That made my day.

I saw a hilarious series of finger twisting tricks online and wanted to give it a try. I could only do this easy one, but some of the others were mind-blowing. It would be neat to have double-jointed fingers and be able to freak everyone out.

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So, with all my furniture moved out, including my nice mattress, I’m left with five nights and a whole lot of floor. The first night was pretty uncomfortable and I woke up a few times throughout the night, but last night I felt alright. It was mostly my tailbone that didn’t like being pressed into the ground.

Lunch yesterday was lovely. Went to Timeless Cafe and Bakery with four friends: Christina, Victor, Daniel, and Danielle. I had the open-faced trout melt with parmesan and artichoke soup. Both were amazing, especially the creamy heap of trout salad and sharp cheddar on homemade seed bread. For dessert, we savoured some brown butter cherry loaf, raspberry and white chocolate scone, coconut and chocolate macaron, and a great salted hazelnut chocolate brownie.

Breakfast this morning was scrumptious. I made banana bread a while ago, using Greek yogurt and no honey/maple syrup because I ran out. The bread was a little dry, and not very sweet, so I Frenched it up with 1/2 mashed banana and a whisked egg, then fried it up in butter before topping it all with coconut chips, granola, chopped prunes, peanut butter, and blobs of yogurt. This is my new favourite breakfast!

My walk to a cafe was was wonderful this morning. I’m writing this now in the comfort of Balzac’s, which smells like roasted coffee beans and fresh muffins. I just had the best London Fog tea latte 🙂

This breakfast was so good that I actually had it two days in a row! Have you ever made French toast out of an “untraditional” loaf – like zucchini bread or carrot cake?

Dinner last night had all my favourites. Broccoli and peas sautéed with couscous, sweet potato fries (cayenne, cumin, and cinnamon + S/P make the best seasoning) and garlic aioli, plus garlic-butter salmon.

I could eat this every day! In fact, I will make it again for dinner tonight 🙂

A few days ago, scrambled tofu made an appearance with zucchini, peas, and mushrooms. The poached egg on top turned out very well – I boiled water, turned it down to a simmer, then carefully cracked an egg into swirling water. Then, I removed the pot from the heat, covered it for exactly 4 minutes, and voila, runny poached eggs. Also, that isn’t some plain ‘ol pita – it’s fried up with cheddar inside to make a pseudo grilled cheese!

That’s it for today, and I better get studying. My French final exam is on Tuesday evening and there is a lot of culture and vocabulary that I’ve yet to look at.

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

The Best Vegan Pasta Sauce + Recipe Rewind

It’s Friday, Friday // Gotta get down on Friday // Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend ♫ The weekend part is true, Rebecca Black! Every time I announce that it’s Friday, her song crosses my mind. Just me?

A couple days ago I made a massive batch of enchiladas. The corn tortillas come in packages of eight, so I made eight yummy rolls and enjoyed them on four separate days with avocado and medium spicy salsa. Here’s a little list of what I put in these enchiladas:

  • Baked sweet potato, chopped into cubes
  • 1 can of black beans cooked with 1/4 tsp cumin and 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • Frozen corn
  • Chopped green onions
  • Grated pepper jack cheese

They turned out awesome! I could eat enchiladas all day long.

Pear pancakes were also devoured! These lovely pancakes were made with 1/2 grated pear, 2 tbsp spelt flour and 2 tbsp buckwheat flour, 1 egg, a splash of almond milk, 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp baking soda, with lots of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract. Cooked with coconut oil and topped with peanut butter and yogurt + more cinnamon. These were great on a slow morning!

French Toast was made another day. I always make this vegan French toast recipe when I’m out of eggs but craving sweet, delicious French toast. It uses traditional French toast spices like cinnamon and vanilla, along with coconut milk for creaminess and nutritional yeast for egginess. I love this recipe.

It just never fails! This was filled with pumpkin, peanut butter, and cinnamon. As you can see, creamy yogurt is practically mandatory with any breakfast I create 😉

It was so tasty that I enjoyed the same breakfast two days in a row. You need to check out the recipe and see for yourself! My original recipe uses peanut butter, banana, and chocolate, but a delicious fall spin could involve pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and creamy nut butter. YUM.

I subconsciously had a week plentiful in vegan meals, apparently!

Truth: ran out of eggs and milk, too lazy to go to the store.

Anyways, you need to try out this recipe, too! It’s a vegan mac and cheese recipe made with any type of squash. I used pumpkin puree, but have also made it before using kabocha squash and sweet potato. Pumpkin puree was so convenient and tasted amazing. More mac and peas, please!

Dreamy Squash Mac and Cheese Sauce (Vegan)

Serves 3

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. butter or Earth Balance (vegan butter)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 5-6 tbsp. nutritional yeast (to taste)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, roasted butternut squash, or mashed kabocha squash (boil 10 minutes without skin, then mash well)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • sprinkle cayenne
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • finely-chopped sage (optional)
Directions
  1. Cook onion with butter until caramelized (about 25 minutes).
  2. Whisk all other ingredients together until well combined.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into saucepan. Cook until thickened.
  4. If the sauce is chunky because of the kabocha or cubed butternut, transfer to a blender and blend until fully-combined.
  5. Store in airtight container in the fridge for 7 days. Enjoy with any type of pasta and vegetables.

When I was smaller, I hated carrot cake. I think it was those tiny, chewy, crunchy nuts that turned me off because they would be immersed in a squishy bite of spiced quick bread. Something about having nuts in carrot cake just bugged me, but now I’m neutral about them (same deal for raisins). How about you? Do you like carrot cake “loaded” with stuff, or plain? Anyways, here’s a fun and delicious riff on carrot cake – in breakfast form! Win-win, I tell you.

PS: you need to try this with creamy French cheese-style yogurt. I’m not 100% sure of what the name is – fromage blanc, perhaps? – but it tastes incredible with the spiced carrot cake. Reminiscent of cream cheese icing. Mmmm. Cream cheese icing.

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • sprinkle salt
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed shredded carrots
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • heaping tbsp maple syrup
  • heaping 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp freshly-grated ginger
  • OPTIONAL: raisins or chopped walnuts
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Transfer to a greased casserole dish.
  4. Top with raisins or walnuts if desired.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes until lightly golden on the edge. It will still look a little wet but will become more firm as it cools.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. When it is fully cool, it will become firm enough to slice into squares.
  8. Top with maple syrup, coconut milk, yogurt, or more.

Last but not least, some loaded Mexican-style sweet potatoes. Black beans, corn, scallions, and that yummy red pepper jack!

That’s it for today, everyone!

In Case You Missed It:

  1. New Favourite Vegan Recipes! 3 Yummy Things to Bake ASAP 🙂
  2. Life Lately – November Edition: co-op, curry, sandwiches, pizza
  3. 3 AWESOME Recipes! Zucchini Cake (low-fat), Tofu Hash, Carrot Cake Overnight Oatmeal
  4. Princess Cafe and Sweet Potato Stew
  5. Whole Foods Toronto and Random Eats
  6. Pancakes, Thanksgiving, and Interviews
  7. My Top 10 Favourite Ways to Be More Active
  8. A Day in the Life of a 2nd Year Kinesiology Student

The Cheapest Thing I’ve Ever Made

Good evening, friends! I’m not feeling the best right now. You know the post-dinner end-of-the-week slump where you just want to eat ten scoops of peanut butter and then lie down and sleep for 12 hours?

That’s me right now.

Pancakes one morning! Pics coming up.

Thick and Hearty Paleo Banana Pancakes

Serves 1: makes 2 pancakes

Ingredients
  • 1 small overripe banana, or half large
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp. almond flour
  • 1 tbsp. coconut flour
  • coconut oil for frying
  • desired toppings
Instructions
  1. Mash banana. Add egg, cinnamon, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. Whisk well.
  2. Add almond flour and coconut flour, whisking until combined.
  3. Heat coconut oil over medium-low heat and fry two pancakes. When golden brown, flip and cook the other side. If the pancakes get too brown, lower the heat.
  4. Serve immediately with toppings, and enjoy!

Brown sugar and soy sauce salmon with a rice vinegar marinade. Turned out quite tasty over leftover fried rice.

This breakfast was SO filling! Oats topped with two chopped kiwis, a square of banana bread, yogurt, and granola. Whew.

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PEANUT STEW! This was the cheapest thing EVER. Spinach, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, rice. Does it get any more inexpensive than that?! Also, it was freaking delicious. It was so good that I made two batches in a week, each batch serving three.

In other words, I ate this exact same peanut stew six times in seven days. The toasted peanuts on top are perfection.

Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach
SERVES: 3
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth (I used chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • Brown Rice to serve
  • Peanuts, lightly toasted
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pot. Add onions and saute for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onions are fragrant. Stir in garlic and ginger, continuing to cook for two more minutes.
  2. Stir in pepper, salt, cayenne, and cumin. Start on the low end of the cayenne pepper and add more only if you want it spicier. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes until spices are fragrant.
  3. Next add in sweet potatoes, carrots, veggie broth, and honey. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer over low heat. Stir in peanut butter and let stew cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes are soft, stir in spinach and continue to cook until spinach has wilted. Serve with over brown rice if desired and top with toasted peanuts.

Mac and cheese was devoured. This vegan mac and cheese (which I topped with real dairy cheddar… I know) was made with kabocha squash! Ahhhh-mazing.

Last week I shared some cinnamon bun muffins with you guys! Here is the recipe, copied and pasted from a paleo recipe site. Hence the links to all the ingredients below.

Cinnamon Bun Muffins
Serves: 9 muffins
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. To make the muffins, combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl
  2. In a large bowl blend together oil, agave, eggs, and vanilla
  3. Blend dry ingredients into wet and scoop a scant ¼ cup at a time into lined muffin cups
  4. To make cinnamon topping, combine agave, cinnamon, and oil in a small bowl
  5. Spoon topping onto muffins
  6. Bake muffins for 8-12 minutes at 350°.

Another day, another dessert…

Strawberry Banana Crumble

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • handful berries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 110 mL quick oats (7.5 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice bananas into a bowl. Toss with berries.
  3. Place fruit in baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tsp maple syrup. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Make crumble layer by mixing remaining ingredients (including remaining 2 tsp maple syrup), except coconut oil and cinnamon.
  5. Melt coconut oil in the microwave, then add cinnamon and pour into bowl. Mix all ingredients together.
  6. Once fruit has cooked for 10 minutes, remove baking dish from oven. Spread crumble layer on top. Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes, until top is golden brown.

And mac and cheese, of course.

Vegan squash sauce is irresistible, but you can take it up a notch with extra veggies, caramelized onions, and yup, broiled cheddar on top.

So good.

Quesadilla with avocado, egg, salsa, and cheddar. Classic and so delicious.

This sweet potato and ricotta tart filled with chopped spinach turned out okay.

It looked beautiful, but I think something was missing in terms of flavour. I might add goat cheese, scallions, and mushrooms next time.

Sometimes, messy food can be the most delicious. I probably had egg yolk on every single finger after devouring this tasty sandwich!

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Pancakes were also enjoyed a second time. New recipe!

Oatmeal Ricotta Pancakes

Makes 3 pancakes

Ingredients
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon, to taste
  • 2 tsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. ricotta cheese
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Cover, let batter rest overnight in the fridge to soften oats.
  2. Heat nonstick pan over medium-low heat and cook 3 pancakes. Flip when golden-brown and cook opposite side.
  3. Enjoy with Greek yogurt and other desired toppings. I like berries and maple syrup!

That’s it for today, everyone! Make sure you check out some of my brand-new PAGES: Acro Yoga, Aerial Silks, and Yoga Photo Journal. 🙂 I will update them regularly!

Have an awesome weekend.

PS: did you know that if you click furiously on the words under the TAG section, you can add as many tags as you want?! Now I have 239408 tags for this post…

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! 😀

Banana-Stuffed French Toast {Vegan}

Whoa. Bananas. Chocolate. Nut butter. Is there a better combination in the world? I can’t think of one.

Vegan French toast sounds like a huge oxymoron – and it is. This recipe is eggless, butter-less, and dairy-free. That being said, it is incredibly filling, comforting, and the food equivalent of a gorgeous yet super comfortable winter scarf. Did that even make sense? It sounded good in my head.

This recipe actually came out of pure desperation – I wanted needed French toast. No. I needed a hearty, warm, stuffed French toast sandwich that involves chocolate. Hopefully I’m not the only one who gets breakfast cravings like this one! After looking at a couple vegan French toast recipes, this recipe for a single-serving was blossomed.

So I smashed up a banana, spread some fresh whole wheat bread with crunchy peanut butter (any nut butter would work wonderfully here!), and whisked up some coconut milk with spices and cinnamon to mimic the classic cinnamon-cream-egg batter. Don’t worry, the recipe is coming soon!

More cinnamon was involved here. So addicted.

By the way, do you eat the “head” or “butt” piece of a loaf of bread? I totally do. If you hide it in a sandwich facing inwards, you wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference!

It would be a serious sin to forget the chocolate chips. Don’t leave them out! I’m in love with Ghiradelli’s dark chocolate chips. They melt beautifully.

Ready to go. Let your stuffed sandwich soak up some of that coconutty goodness.

Now fry it up! So easy.

You are gonna love this recipe and I totally encourage you to give it a try!


Healthy Banana-Stuffed French Toast for One (vegan)

Serves 1 lucky person
INGREDIENTS
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (I assume other nondairy milks will work here as well!)
  • t tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp flour (original recipe calls for all-purpose or whole wheat. I used coconut flour so I would assume that any kind of flour would work here).
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (this adds the eggy flavour but can be omitted)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground flax
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter, or any nut butter you like
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips, use dairy-free if needed (optional but recommended for ultimate breakfast deliciousness)
  • 2 slices whole wheat or sprouted bread
  • coconut oil for cooking
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a bowl, mix together coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, flour, nutritional yeast, salt, cinnamon, and flax. Set aside.
  2. Spread 1 tbsp peanut butter on each slice of bread.
  3. Slightly mash banana with a fork, until very chunky. Spread mashed banana on one slice of bread. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired, and chocolate chips if using. Place the other piece of bread on top to make a sandwich.
  4. Heat a nonstick pan to medium heat.
  5. Pour the wet mixture from Step 1 into a plate.
  6. Carefully place the sandwich into the wet mixture on the plate, coating one side with the mixture. Flip it around to coat the other side. If you are using coconut milk and coconut flour, which would thicken the mixture, you might need to use a knife to spread the “batter” onto either side.
  7. Heat coconut oil in the pan. When melted, spread it around.
  8. Place sandwich onto the pan and cook. When one side is golden brown (this took about 3 minutes for me), flip to the other side and continue cooking.
  9. When both sides are golden brown and ready to go, remove from the pan, slice in half, and serve warm with maple syrup, yogurt, honey, ice cream (OMG!), berries, or nuts. Best enjoyed fresh.

Time to devour! You’re gonna need a fork and a knife for this plate of heaven. 🙂

Enjoy and happy Monday!

Question of the day: have you ever tried veganizing a non-vegan meal before? How did that turn out? What kinds of substitutions did you have to make?