From Thanksgiving to Healthy Blueberry “Buttermilk” Pancakes

Happy belated Thanksgiving, my Canadian friends!

I hope you all had an incredible day full of great food, laughter, and special moments with family and friends. I’m writing this as I enjoy my breakfast – whole wheat pita bread with a ton of melted butter, scrambled eggs with cheddar and spinach, and yogurt with peanut butter, raspberries, granola, and some chocolate banana bread. I always tend to go a little overboard with breakfast on days that I don’t have school. Since yesterday was Thanksgiving, students at the University of Waterloo also get Tuesday and Wednesday off to make a full “reading week”. I’m planning to spend the next couple of days just relaxing!

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Mom made a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner that involved bone broth, pumpkin pie from Superstore, two pizzas and Church’s chicken, and a big, beautiful salad. Those crackers look kind of interesting, too.

At my friend Mary’s house, the table was set beautifully. I loved the cornucopia centrepiece and fall-accented tablecloth.

This was my first plate! I definitely had seconds. Moving clockwise from 12:00 – mashed acorn “pepper” squash, roasted turkey breast, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, apple and butternut squash hash, roasted sweet potatoes, raw carrot and green beans, the best celery-bacon-bread stuffing I’ve ever tasted, and strawberry jello with pineapple. The stuffing and squash mashes were incredible. What did you enjoy for Thanksgiving dinner?

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We’re kind of moving back in time here, but a couple days ago I enjoyed chocolate oatmeal with peanut butter and a serving of yogurt with fruit for breakfast.

I had my first Skype interview! It was done in a big room with six cubicles. All the interviewees got to wear headsets with microphones to speak to the hiring managers. My interview was around 30 minutes long, and I loved getting to meet my potential boss and some of her colleagues. It was a cool experience, but I didn’t like how the camera was much higher than the screen. It made “eye contact” a little awkward! Have you ever done a Skype interview?

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to snap photos of my oatmeal on my bed? Pumpkin oats are finally IN now!

Another day I had whole wheat bread with smashed avocado, a delicious filet of spicy salmon, and some roasted brown sugar squash. An amazing lunch!

LASAGNA! ❤ This vegetarian lasagna was made with heaps of zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers, along with a whole box of spinach and fresh ricotta cheese and a ball of mozzarella. I had this two days in a row and froze the rest. YUM.

And pumpkin baked oatmeal was made and enjoyed for a couple days! This recipe serves 2, and you can use either rolled oats or quick oats. I found a vegan recipe since I was out of eggs and was pleased by how tasty this was.

Simple Vegan Pumpin Baked Oatmeal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking dish.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients and mix well. Fold in raisins or nuts, if desired.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

My sister’s best friend, Brianna, delivered a tray full of banana bread and pumpkin sugar cookies to Seline. They loved these, and it inspired me to bake something with the rest of my ripe bananas!

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I made my go-to recipe for chocolate banana squares. I still have a hard time believing this amazing vegan recipe is low-sugar, oil/butter-free, and made with whole wheat flour. Granola was also made, this time using quick oats, maple syrup and coconut oil, and walnuts. I love, love, love this granola recipe.

Some of it was jarred and given to the Zach family (Mary’s family). I told you, we’re going in a weird order today… reverse chronological?!

Needless to say, I had a ton of dishes to wash afterwards, so I enjoyed washing them while watching Mockingjay Part II on my laptop. Have you guys seen that movie? Thoughts? PS: watching something while doing dishes makes it much less of a chore 🙂

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Another day, I thought I would take a nap at 6:00 PM, wake up in an hour, and then cook a delicious salmon filet. I must have been incredibly tired because I didn’t wake up until 9:00 PM, and it was so dark outside! Oops. Instead, I rolled groggily out of bed and felt instantly refreshed once I smelled this simple red curry with eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, and red pepper cooking… in the microwave. I also thanked past Cindy for making this!

A couple days ago, I tried a new recipe for pancakes. I made the following changes:
– halved the recipe
– replaced banana with a whole egg (instead of half an egg)
– greased pan with butter
– added a pinch of salt
– used frozen blueberries
– used oat flour instead of whole oats, since I don’t have a blender
– used just a sprinkle of cinnamon
– enjoyed with maple syrup

Next time, I will add more blueberries since it was easy to flip. I will also add more cinnamon next time.

It tasted like a buttermilk pancake in flavour, but the texture was a bit creamier, gummier, and was fragrant like oats. I loved it and will be making this recipe again. I highly recommend it if you’re a pancake lover like me! Next time, I might also experiment with other fruit like raspberries or even chocolate chips.

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Next time, I will add more blueberries since it was easy to flip. I will also add more cinnamon next time. It tasted like a buttermilk pancake in flavour, but the texture was a bit creamier, gummier, and was fragrant like oats. I loved it and will be making this recipe again. I highly recommend it if you’re a pancake lover like me! Next time, I might also experiment with other fruit like raspberries or even chocolate chips.

Still, absolutely 100% deliciousness.

A different recipe this time, but still using oat flour. I think I may have cooked these too long or over-mixed the batter, because it was quite firm and hard to chew. The flavour was excellent though, so I think the recipe just needs a bit of tweaking.

Last Friday, I went to downtown Toronto for my interview at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The best part of the day was going to Rahier in the morning for an earl grey tea latte and an almond croissant.

I was walking down the street to the hospital when I noticed another bakery – Patisserie LaCigogne, so I HAD to indulge in another croissant. Yup, I had two decadent chocolate almond croissants in less than an hour. It was a sweet day, literally and figuratively.

Mom Meals! Does anything catch your eye here? For me, it’s the MUFFINS and that kabocha soup! It’s crazy how much you can do with kabocha. Here in Waterloo, it’s called “buttercup squash”. I’ve made curries and pancakes out of kabocha, but there are a million other uses that you can read about here. Yes, kabocha pudding is a thing – and leave it to Miss SuperFitBabe to invent that!

I don’t know why I love these photos so much. It’s crazy what good-ish lighting can do for a food shot! I made a red eggplant curry with spinach and served it on quinoa, with lots of peanuts. Yummy.

Dessert was arguably yummier, with raspberries, peanut butter yogurt, granola, and a square of chocolate banana bread.

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More squash and more salmon – I ended up standing over the sink, stuffing squash into my mouth before I had to head out the door! These were ADDICTIVE.

Skies are cool.

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On a different note, I wrote an article a while back about my time in Nepal, and how doing yoga there was different from yoga here in North America. This was for a Yoga Teacher Training assignment, and I was lucky to have my article actually published by both Yoga Today, Yoga Anonymous, and Gaiam! For some reason, I’m super proud of that 🙂

This infographic was neat!

And something punny that I found on Facebook 🙂

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That’s it for today! Hope everyone has a great rest of the week. Can’t believe the weekend is already here!

PS: check out the world’s most random tags that I used for this post 😛

10 Foods I Eat Every Day

Good morning friends! One more midterm before reading week – and one quick post before I head off to class!

Voila, some things I need to eat… every. Single. Day.

  • Yogurt: Not only is yogurt so freaking delicious, it’s versatile and boasts protein, calcium, and gut-enhancing probiotics. I like plain 2% Greek yogurt, which I sweeten up with some maple syrup. Yogurt is one of my favourite oatmeal-toppers, but I also plop scoops of the good stuff on pancakes or top it with berries, nut butter, and chocolate for a filling dessert.
  • Nut butter: Every single day. I can’t think of a single day that passes when nut butter doesn’t get consumed by me! In my four months at Waterloo, I devoured four jars of almond butter, three jars of peanut butter, a jar of sunflower butter, and a jar of cookie butter. Yep, that’s basically a jar every two weeks! But I typically have two or three open jars, which can sometimes lead to massive taste tests. You know, four muffins with four different nut butters. Pretty dangerous but so tasty. Nut butter is my binge food! I guess it could be worse, but I’m known to have at least 3 tablespoons of nut butter a day J How about you? How much nut butter do you consume in a day?
  • Banana: They don’t need to be washed, cut, de-seeded, or unwaxed. They’re sweet and delicious and the perfect breakfast topping. Plus, they can be frozen for killer PB milkshake green smoothies or left overripe for banana bread. Who needs a fussy apple a day when you can have a banana every day? That’s just my logic because I hate scraping the wax off my apples. Do you un-wax your apples? Are you an apple person or a banana person?
  • Spinach: Not only is spinach super nutrient dense, it’s also super easy to cook. I always rinse a handful and toss it into eggs (scrambled, omelet, or even frittatas), curries, pasta sauce, stews, soups, quinoa, stir-fries, the list goes on. Spinach has to be the best no-fuss superfood in the world.
  • Squash or sweet potato: I add frozen butternut squash to everything from stir-fries to curries to salads. Sweet potato is perfect roasted up and used as a topper or a delicious side dish. I just can’t get enough squash or sweet potato anywhere! I love squash soup, too.
  • Cheese: My favourites are goat cheese, cheddar, and brie – in that order! I’m also a huge fan of feta, Camembert, and Compte. I put cheese on everything from eggs to quinoa to pasta to casseroles. And grilled sandwiches, of course!
  • Quinoa: Every Sunday, I cook a big batch of quinoa with water, chicken broth, or vegetable broth (usually water), and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge to use all week. Quinoa is great in stir-fries or as a replacement for pasta in casseroles. It’s also really yummy with falafel, hummus, cucumbers, beets, and tzatziki. Sometime, I want to try making quinoa patties!
  • Eggs: I have eggs every day, whether that’s in the form of an omelet, scrambled eggs, a frittata, poached, in fried rice, in my protein-loaded pancakes… the list goes on! Eggs are so versatile and taste fantastic with all kinds of cheese and vegetables.
  • Oatmeal: no explanation needed here… right? 😉
  • Berries: I usually buy half a pint of berries every weekend and rotate between blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, but raspberries are my favourite by far. I put them on my yogurt and my oatmeal, and they make a fantastic pancake topper too! What kinds of berries do you like the most?

And of course… dessert! Cocoa and chocolate are favourites. You already knew that. 😉

Since this is such a picture-heavy post, I might as well throw some more photos in here to finish it up 😛

I miss my high school friends so much! Do you have any tips for staying in touch with old friends even though you live across the country from each other?

C’est fini! Tell me in the comments – what are 10 things you eat every single day? 🙂 Or, if you want, what are some things you WANT to eat every single day?

PS: Mine would be toasted almond croissants with dark hot chocolate. 🙂

1-Bowl Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

One bowl and 15 minutes of work before this goes into the oven. How easy is that?
I love topping my oatmeal with banana bread crumbles. It’s texture heaven!
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Smeared with peanut butter, this made a lovely dessert.
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Give this recipe a try! You won’t believe how moist they turn out. 🙂

1-Bowl Greek Yogurt Banana Bread
Yields: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups flour: I used spelt flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large, overripe bananas (~1 cup mashed)
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional add-ins: ½ cup chocolate chips/raisins/nuts/etc.
 Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and lightly grease a 9 x 5 bread pan.
  2. Mash banana in a large bowl.
  3. Add ALL ingredients EXCEPT spelt flour and whisk very well.
  4. Pour flour into wet ingredients.
  5. Mix lightly and carefully with a rubber spatula or spoon to fold the flour in. Do not overmix. Slightly lumpy batter with flour streaks is okay.
  6. Pour the batter into a loaf pan.
  7. Bake 40-45 minutes, until a knife comes out clean and the sides are golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing to cool completely.
  9. Serve with nut butter, yogurt, crumbled on oatmeal, or plain. Enjoy!

With tons of banana flavour and subtle sweetness from maple and brown sugar, plus warm notes of cinnamon and vanilla, this banana bread tastes like dessert but is healthy enough for breakfast.

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Another incredible dessert – crumbled banana bread on chocolate yogurt (simple Greek yogurt + cocoa powder + maple syrup), with hemp hearts and peanut butter. Oh yum. I could eat this every day!

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You are going to love this recipe. I halved the recipe since I had only one banana, and froze half the loaf so I wouldn’t devour it all in a day or two.

I have so many posts in the making that I cannot wait to show you guys!

Have a wonderful Wednesday and I’m off to write a midterm 🙂

Creative in the Kitchen: 6 Quick, Easy, Customizable Recipes

BREAKFASTS

Nut butter + sliced banana + cinnamon in a sandwich, then toast both sides on the stovetop with coconut oil

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1/3 cup quick oats cooked with 2/3 cup any type of milk, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, chia and flax, and a whole mashed overripe banana. Top with nut butter and crushed nuts

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Make a sandwich with nut butter and banana, dip the sandwich in a mixture of egg + milk + cinnamon + vanilla and fry lightly with coconut oil. Serve with berries and creamy yogurt!

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Delicious with some maple syrup

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Oatmeal cooked with apple and topped with crumbled muffin and yogurt

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Blueberry pancakes topped with banana and maple-almond yogurt, hemp hearts

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Make a simple but sophisticated sandwich by grilling two slices of bread with thin apple slices and brie cheese.

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Breakfast pancakes with yogurt globs, berries, banana

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Add frozen blueberries to oatmeal and top with crushed nuts and nut butter

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Enjoy the end piece of toast with peanut butter, banana slices, and cinnamon

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LUNCHES

Lasagna with broccoli with a special dessert of yogurt + cocoa powder + maple syrup topped with almond butter, blackberries, hemp hearts

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Snack of crackers, brie, and grapes while preparing lunch

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Way-too-cheesy grilled cheese with Dijon mustard, arugula, tons of cheddar, apple

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More lasagna

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Look at all the layers! Squash in here is amazing – I used yellow and green zucchinis

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A lazy Sunday morning meant I had time to make this easy, cheesy quinoa casserole. I cooked mushrooms with garlic and butter before adding a bit more butter and some flour to make a roux. Some milk and chicken broth were added to make a luscious sauce, and then I grated in some extra sharp white cheddar.

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Steamed broccoli and quinoa were tossed in, mixed, topped with cheese, and broiled. The melty, bubbly cheese on top was out of this world.

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Enjoyed my meal with grapes, soup, and neuroscience. Hardest class I’ve ever taken.

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Random ingredients in a sandwich: goat cheese, hummus, arugula

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Cheese and grapes, hummus and crackers, leftover quinoa bake

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Mexican-style quinoa: mix cooked quinoa with corn and scallions, black beans, peppers (roasted are great too!), cheddar, and a scoop of salsa. Top with avocado and fresh lime juice.

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Mmmm this was yummy! I used a mixture of goat cheese and cheddar. The best!

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More lasagna for a quick lunch after yoga. I wasn’t super hungry so had half of a (large!) piece.

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Lunch the next day was unphotographed, but I made a mixture of leftovers – roasted cauliflower and sweet potato, zucchini, goat cheese, and couscous. Made a satisfying “salad” of sorts! Actually, I do have a photo – taken on my iPhone when my camera was “broken”. 😉 You can see a horrible photo of the mixed up salad here.

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Not really food related, but they’re puppies! Seeing these wonderful service dogs at school made me miss my little boy at home. Well, he’s not really little. In terms of age and size. He’s actually six and pretty fat. Still love him though!

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DINNERS

Oooooh guys, this was good! I mixed chopped leftover chicken and goat cheese meatballs with pasta sauce, spinach, and mushrooms, then topped it all with mozzarella and goat cheese to broil.

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One of my favourite dinners! I had seconds and thirds of this. And more bites as I packed it up.

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Cook scallions and corn (I used frozen) and add spinach, then cooked couscous or quinoa. Top with some pan-fried fish (salmon for me!) and drizzle with any sauce or even fresh lemon juice. I had a sweet potato aioli on top!

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Tomato scrambled eggs are a weekly thing for me! Served on couscous with broccoli

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Thai-style peanut sauce noodles with every single veggie in the fridge

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x2. This easy peanut sauce would be good on anything! I’m thinking of making a sunflower butter version.

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More Mexican quinoa bake

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Roasted cauliflower and sauteed garlic zucchini with couscous and maple-soy salmon

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Madhulika’s special chicken lasagna with broccoli. Topped the lasagna with goat cheese!

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Another day, another piece of lasagna.

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And leftovers of that quinoa, mushroom, broccoli cheddar bake! Yummy.

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DESSERTS

Some of this vegan pumpkin “muffin” topped with crushed nuts and peanut butter

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Apple strudel with vanilla ice cream

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This dessert was part of a meal that I enjoyed when meeting the donors and communications team of the Schulich Leaders Scholarship Committee. My first apple strudel! It was quite yummy.

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Yogurt topped with muffin, raspberries, and nut butter

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This is super weird but I needed something sweet so I turned to banana slices, nut butter, and chocolate to make these little “sandwiches”

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Yogurt, muffin, nut butter

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Cocoa powder in yogurt with maple syrup, topped with raspberries, crushed nuts, nut butter. This is a classic Cindy dessert 😛

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A favourite! Pumpkin loaf topped with a piece of hazelnut chocolate and microwaved until melty, with some peanut butter and chopped nuts

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Pumpkin pie! Definitely the most time-consuming of these desserts 😉

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That’s it! Did you eat anything delicious recently?

Amazing High Speed Photography + Life Lately

Hi everyone! How is your weekend so far?

I went to my school’s photography workshop this evening, where we spent two hours crouched in front of a tank of water, snapping photos of random things being dropped inside. Photography Club is tons of fun. I like it almost as much as Crafts for Charity, which I am super excited about as well 🙂 In the photography lesson, I learned so many new words.

Aside: getting into a new field always seems to involve learning a new “language”! While my kinesiology classmates and I could converse using words like “supination”, “gastrocnemius”, and “plantarflexion” – I need to switch to Bio language when discussing “snRNPs” and osmoregulators” with my bio study group. Now I’m learning a new language with photography, and it’s great! 🙂

Thankfully my camera is working now. The memory card was full a couple days ago, but it was all fixed by Wednesday. I used my iPhone for pics on those two days. Turns out I just had to format my memory card on the camera.

At Photo Club, it was fun to see my friends, including the lovely Maddy from the Schulich Leaders Dinner earlier this year. 🙂


Apples

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Alien figurines

PicMonkey Collage

Tomatoes

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Amethyst

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Cute bird figurine

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Lime

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Random Thoughts

I finally, finally bought a new binder today. Seems like the most trivial thing in the world, but I really needed one since the old one was ripped and torn and practically fell apart. I ended up breaking it, literally, and tossing the pieces in the garbage. Thank goodness I new have a shiny new binder – it motivates me to study. 🙂 Kind of.

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The Goosebumps movie, guys. It’s out.

It’s real.

The real movie. For Goosebumps.

Seline and I have been waiting for this for, without exaggerating, a decade. I can’t believe a movie was actually made from these old 90’s books! I thought we were the only people who read them. And don’t even get me started on Fear Street. We spent half of our trip to Paris playing 20 Questions with Fear Street CHARACTERS. Insane.

It’s actually pretty embarrassing to share online that I am, at this age, R.L. Stine’s biggest fan. My sister and I have read every single book in the series about 87 times each and our obsession started in when I was in grade two. We’re still in love with the series. They just don’t get old! This is almost as embarrassing as last year’s addiction to National Treasure. Oh my goodness. Speaking of that movie, I can’t wait to watch it when I go back to BC this winter! Less than two months to go…

Seline, if you’re reading this, we’re gonna go to theatres to see this. I don’t care if I hate movies and crowded theatres and I don’t care if you think books are better than movies – we need to watch this together! 😀

Have you ever read a Goosebumps novel? How about the Fear Street series by RL Stine?

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This girl is such an inspiration. I love her cheerfulness and enthusiasm 🙂 If I weren’t so addicted to yoga, I’d be trying out her fun moves at home.

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Halloween! I want some of this pumpkin oatmeal. Doesn’t it look cute with the little jack-o-lantern face? My oats tomorrow are definitely going to look like this – with chocolate chips instead of whatever they used here 😉

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Speaking of pumpkin oatmeal, did you see the 100% from-scratch pumpkin pie my roomies and I baked the other day? If you haven’t, be sure to check out the recipe HERE.

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This made me smile today 🙂

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I’m tired now and it’s time for bed. Can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow – what should I make? 🙂

Good night!

What I Ate Wednesday

Woke up to a rainy, rainy day. So glad I have nice rainboots to keep my feet dry and warm while walking to the bus stop at eight in the morning!

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Before I left, though, I had a massive bowl of oatmeal made with a whole mashed banana. I love, love, love oats made with an entire banana! They become so creamy and sweet.

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The weather was miserable.

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I came home after my first class ended at 10:00, did some studying, and started making lunch.

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It was one of my best sandwiches yet!

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Yes, I know I say that about every sammie I have 😉

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I enjoyed some broccoli-cheddar soup while making this, then had some pumpkin pie afterwards for something sweet. This sandwich had TONS of zucchini, cheese, and avocado inside and was incredibly filling! That’s an end piece by the way – I inverted it 😉

Do you eat the end piece of a loaf of bread?

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Check this out! This hallway in one building at my school is made entirely of glass whiteboard material so students can draw all over it. Isn’t that great? I’ll have to bring some markers to school one day to try this out!

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I studied with a group of friends, then with another friend to prepare for tomorrow’s midterm before coming home at around 7:00 to make dinner. Roasted cauliflower cooked in the oven while I made Thai green curry with fish and vegetables. Lots of quinoa was devoured, too.

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I’m in love with anything coconutty or drizzled with lime!

Oh, and I enjoyed another slice of pumpkin pie after this. Having that pie in the fridge is dangerous for me because I’m always tempted to snab a piece. :/

Did you eat anything delicious today? Do you get tempted by sweets when they are there in front of you?

PS: I’m still fiddling with my camera trying to figure out why the memory space is all full. I’m terrible with technology! Do you ever have problems with computers, phones, or cameras?