December Things | Coupons, Lobster, Turkey Marinade

Happy holidays, friends! ❄️

According to over 63,000 votes on Google Surveys, these are voters’ favourite parts of Christmas:

  • 3% carolling
  • 14% Christmas decorations
  • 9% Christmas dinner
  • 6% Christmas movies
  • 9% Christmas music
  • 24% presents
  • 7% Santa Claus
  • 28% time with family and friends

What do you think?

This holiday, I’ve been home for a week so far and have had so much deliciousness. First up, a tasty plate of Hainanese chicken rice, a fried egg, sauteed asparagus, and seared tofu with green onions. Mom is an amazing chef.

Another day, I loved chocolate oatmeal with crunchy peanut butter, along with the richest honey Greek yogurt and blackberries.

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Mom’s Taiwanese dishes are lovely. I loved this rouzao rice (minced pork rice) with stir-fried broccoli and carrots.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet up with the super intelligent, articulate, hardworking, and food-loving SHANNA YEUNG! I had such a fangirl moment when my mom and I saw her parking her car and coming over. Shanna suggested Kinemi Kitchen, a quiet Italian restaurant in a Vancouver strip mall. While unassuming from the outside, Kinemi Kitchen smelled amazing and served up the best cheesy baked lobster I’ve ever had, atop a bed of linguine and veggies in garlicky rosé sauce and parmesan,

We also had dessert: taro Nutella bubble tea sans bubbles and red bean cheesecake bubble tea – also sans bubbles. Before I knew it, I was on my way home!

Mom and I did some baking shortly after:

Chocolate Cheesecake

Serves one 9” pan (16 servings)

INGREDIENTS

  • 18 to 24 Oreo cookies or graham crackers, crushed finely (1.5 cups)
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, optional (I didn’t use this)
  • 2 to 6 tbsp melted butter (depends on how much cookie you use)
  • 3 8-oz packages softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips, melted  in a double boiler and cooled
  • sprinkle of cinnamon, optional
  • 1/2 espresso powder, optional
  • 3 large eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine cookie crumbs, icing sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9” springform pan.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, or until you smell a strong chocolate aroma.
  4. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt.
  5. Add chocolate. Mix well.
  6. Add eggs one at a time. Mix on low speed until just blended.
  7. Add optional cinnamon and espresso powder, if desired.
  8. Pour over crust.
  9. Bake 55 mins, or until centre is set. Turn off the oven. Crack the door open several inches. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove.
  10. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen the cake.
  11. Cool before removing the rim.
  12. Refrigerate cheesecake for four hours.
  13. Serve with berries (raspberries are awesome), caramel sauce, and whipped cream.

The day before, I had the opportunity to speak at my high school about travelling, co-op, volunteer work, and life in university. It was a wonderful experience, and neat to see all the hopeful, excited grade twelve students.

On a completely different note, I emailed a bunch of companies during the fall (to ask for free samples) and recently made a compilation of all the companies that responded to me with coupons. These were all mailed to my house.

Basically, what I’m saying is: if you have free time, or no life like I do, email these companies and get some free coupons. Mom and I ended up getting juice, maple syrup, bread, three boxes of tea, nut butter, two large containers of hummus, and frozen chicken and cheese taquitos – for just over $1.00.

Operation Coupon

  • Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery $1 off (x5 coupons)
  • Tetley CARE Lemon Ginger tea bag
  • Tetley Ayurvedic Balance Herbal tea bag
  • Tetley free herbal iced tea
  • Tetley herbal iced tea save $1 (x2 coupons)
  • Ozery Bakery $1 off (x3 coupons)
  • Ozery Bakery one free package of any product (max value $5)
  • Ocean Spray save 50 cents
  • Quaker, Aunt Jemima, Rice-A-Roni $2 coupon
  • Maple Lodge Farms $1 (x2 coupons)
  • Nature save 50 cents (x5 coupons)
  • Hain Celestial $1 off (x2 coupons)
  • Earth Balance $1 off (x2 coupons)
  • El Monterey Free product (max value $16.99)
  • El Monterey save $1 (x3 coupons)
  • Welch’s save 50 cents (x2 coupons)
  • TAZO free box of filter bag tea or tea latte concentrate (max value $5.99) x2 coupons
  • Sabra hummus free product (max value $5.99) x2 coupons
  • Smucker’s save 55 cents (x2 coupons)
  • Clover Leaf tuna snacks save 50 cents (x3 coupons)
  • Eden or Sobaya $1 off (x3 coupons)
  • Splenda $1 off (x2 coupons)
  • Twinning free box of tea, any size (max value $9.99)
  • Organic Meadow save 75 cents (x3 coupons)

That’s pretty much it for today. It’s Christmas Eve already, so I’m going to help with Mom’s turkey cooking. Here is what she used to make the turkey really flavourful.

Mom’s Special Turkey Seasonings

  • olive oil
  • butter
  • soy sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • lemon juice from a fresh lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • poultry seasoning
  • Montreal chicken seasoning
  • dried oregano
  • dried parsley
  • dried thyme
  • dried rosemary
  • dried basil
  • paprika

Food, Face Mask, Flying Home

My last few days in Scarborough were snowy. Very snowy and up to -30 degrees at night.

On my last day of work, the team went to a restaurant called The Local, which is run by hospitality and cooking/pastry students at Centennial College. Here, the students learn to make sauce, stocks, bread, and more, while serving the public. It’s a special place with a connected cafe, open to everyone, and nothing is made from a box. In fact, all the ingredients is fresh, seasonal, local, and homemade. For example, the signature burger uses a homemade burger and bun – and homemade ketchup and a homemade pickle!

Below: plate one with creamy dill trout, Mediterranean pizza, Latin cheese puff, goddess salad, Asian green salad, rice with black beans

The menu switches up every three weeks. According to their news report, “choices are influenced by Scarborough and the school’s multicultural environment”, so everything is globally-inspired.

Below: plate two with Jamaican jerk chicken, more creamy dill trout, and spiced rice with black beans

Other cool things: there is free parking for community members who stop by for lunch/dinner, and there is no tipping! Food is served buffet-style, and there are always plenty of veggie options.

Below: dessert of white chocolate mousse with berries, salted caramel apple crumble, and raspberry chocolate mousse cake

Packing went much smoother than I’d expected, since I had fewer things. Before I knew it, both suitcases were packed and I was on my way home.

That night, I had plenty of extra oats and yogurt to use up, and I did.

“Chock full of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and probiotics (the healthy bacteria that aid digestion), there’s no doubt yogurt provides delicious benefits for your insides. But it can also do beauty wonders for your outsides as well, namely for your skin. Yogurt contains lactic acid that dissolves dead skin cells. This gentle exfoliation not only helps to create a natural glow and prevent breakouts, but works to diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles. When topically applied to the skin, a velvety yogurt face mask will help moisturize, fight acne, prevent premature aging, relieve sunburn, and reduce discoloration. It’s an all-around beauty multi-tasker.”

  • Honey: Softens and moisturizes skin, rich in antioxidants which prevent free radical damage. Reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Oatmeal: Great exfoliant. Nourishes skin and removes excess sebum and dirt from deep within skin pores.

This made me feel super fresh.

Yogurt Face Mask

  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp oats
  • OPTIONAL:
    • cinnamon
    • nutmeg
    • olive oil
    • mashed strawberries
    • lemon juice
    • mashed avocado
    • cocoa powder
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. Wash your face, making sure hair is tied away from the face (or use headband).
  3. Optional: do a facial steam to open pores.
  4. Smooth yogurt all over face and neck. Use a thick coat.
  5. Keep on for 15 minutes, then rinse off, gently, with warm water.
  6. Splash cold water on your face to close pores.
  7. Pat dry with a soft towel.
  8. Moisturize.

How gorgeous is this? Flying over the Rocky Mountains is always such an honour, especially in the midmorning. Canada has so much to offer ❤

Exciting news: I purchased all my MCAT books and created a big study plan. I have 225 days until the MCAT that I’m planning to write on the first day of September. Let’s get studying! WOO!

Last Week in Scarborough | End of Term Things

Happy Friday!

This week, I had a beautiful dessert… x2 – both were from Delysèes.

  • pistachio eclair with pistachio cream
  • Nutella caramel pillow with chocolate shortbread base

I saw this while looking for more information about the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test), and it was interesting to observe how students in the humanities and mathematics scored higher than those in programs such as life science and biology.

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This week has been absolutely freezing. It was about -20 degrees yesterday, which isn’t terrible without the wind. I’m so glad that I purchased a good, warm, fuzzy scarf earlier in the term!

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The gym at Centennial College is lovely. It is not exceptionally big, but it’s quite homey and the people are so wonderful. I love the staff here!

I have been experimenting with different mat exercises and stretches, but have yet to find a routine.

Other things from lately (L to R):

  • doggie Arnold back home in BC is doing great! I get to see him TOMORROW 🙂
  • I haven’t had access to a blender for a while, so I can’t wait to make all kinds of creamy blended soups
  • this is the Kaplan MCAT study set that my parents purchased for me. It arrived so quickly and I’m looking forward to flipping through and creating a study schedule
  • McDonalds now offers parmesan and garlic fries!
  • excellent list of more powerful words to use in writing
  • kind comment from Mom on my previous post
  • love it when people make recipes that I’ve shared! I must say that her tomato scrambled eggs look much better than mine

It snowed on Monday, and I think it’s all here to stay.

Face masks and writing holiday cards? So therapeutic.

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Last few photos of my room because I peace out of Scarborough. One. More. Sleep. Until I’m back home in BC. My space isn’t normally this clean – it’s an illusion because some inspectors came to see the basement. 😉

I’m in the process of planning and enrolling myself in classes for the winter term, when I’ll be studying at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Yesterday, my coworker and I went out for Korean food with two of our wonderful massage therapy students. We had a delicious meal – it’s been a while since I’ve had Korean food, and I loved how flavourful it was.

  • radish
  • kimchi
  • spicy cabbage
  • vegetable sesame noodles
  • cucumber and seaweed salad
  • sweet and spicy rice cakes
  • marinated eggplant

For my own dish, I had the chicken teriyaki with rice. Purple rice is one of my favourites.

What a memorable, delicious meal to end the week.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday and the greatest weekend!

Simple Guide to Nutritional Yeast

What is Nutritional Yeast?

  • a type of inactive yeast
  • flaky, powdery texture
  • has a savoury, cheesy flavour
  • vegan and gluten-free
  • can be found in most health-food stores

Why You Should Try “Nooch”

  • tastes like parmesan cheese, so it’s absolutely delicious
  • loaded with B vitamins
  • contains 6 grams of protein in each quarter cup
  • plenty of zinc and fibre

Creative Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast

  • add it to pasta
  • add to popcorn
  • use in Tex-Mex or Mexican dishes as a sub for cheddar
  • sprinkle some on buttered bread
  • use in lasagna
  • make an Alfredo sauce
  • topping for vegetarian chili
  • use in tofu stir-fries
  • sprinkle on salad
  • use to top salads or breadsticks
  • use in French toast batter to add richness
  • in place of cheddar in vegan broccoli-cheddar soup
  • use to make vegan omelettes or quiche
  • add to mashed cauliflower
  • use it to make cauliflower dishes
  • add to stuffed peppers
  • the easiest mac and cheese ever: 1/2 cup nutritional yeast with 1/4 cup warm water, oil, salt and pepper
  • mix into scrambled eggs for eggy flavour and great yellow hue
  • add to casseroles, whether they have rice or quinoa
  • toss it into the blender with cooked/canned beans, olive oil, and lemon for a great cheesy dip
  • add to burritos
  • sprinkle on shakshuka
  • add to scalloped potatoes
  • blitz to make a mock parmesan
  • mash into baked potato with garlic
  • blend to make creamy cheesy sauce
  • stir into pesto
  • top sautéed vegetables
  • use to top pizza or flatbread
  • use to make vegan hollandaise sauce
  • make a cheese spread with it, then use it for grilled cheese
  • stir it into vegan gravy
  • use to thicken stews, sauces, and soups
  • use in vegan mac and cheese recipes
  • whisked into salad dressing for thickness and unami flavour
  • use in vegan baking, like for savoury biscuits
  • add to scrambled eggs (adds a great sharp flavour, and enhances the yellow hue of your eggs)
  • stir into soups
  • add to curry mix
  • stir into risotto
  • sprinkle on chips, like kale chips
  • stir into sweet treats, like peanut butter cups, to add rich flavour (melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips OR cocoa powder with oil, then layer with a mixture of peanut butter and nutritional yeast, chill to set)
  • sprinkle on top of avocado toast
  • use in tofu cheesecakes, to add cream cheese flavour

✧ Lately ✧

Does anyone have a cool human body project idea?

A walk back home, taking the scenic route. What an interesting place, right? In my opinion, this doesn’t even look like Canada.

A trip to the library = six new (to me) books. I. Can’t. Wait.

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Deliciousness in the form of Thai green curry and biryani rice.

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Vegetable Biryani

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, quartered and cut into 5-cm  segments
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • S+P
  • 2 cups yellow onion
  • 1 chopped jalapeno
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins or currants
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Toss squash, carrots, and bell pepper with 2 tbsp oil, curry powder, and salt.
  2. Roast vegetables until tender when pierced, 20-25 mins.
  3. Warm 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and cumin. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to brown, 6 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until aromatic, 1 minute.
  5. Stir in rice. Cook 1 minute.
  6. Add broth, raisins, and turmeric. Simmer.
  7. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Simmer gently until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 10-12 mins.
  8. Remove from heat. Keep covered until vegetables have finished roasting.
  9. Fold in roasted vegetables and cashews. Season with S+P. Serve.

I went for the most enjoyable walk on Monday evening.

The beach at East Point Park was quite nice. I’m looking forward to a jaunt to Guild Park soon!

Who knew Scarborough could be so pretty?

The sunshine and superb blue skies made a huge difference. This walk really brightened by day, literally and figuratively.

Another day-brightener: I had pizza twice. One slice was ricotta and olive, the other was poached pear with ham and brie. Completely in love with both.

2018 Winter Olympics! Did they come fast or what? The Olympics make me realize that the years go by FAST. I’m looking forward to figure skating! Also, I finished reading the Maze Runner, and now I’ll have to see the movie 🎥

Tonight, I had chili! Topped with cheddar and lime – the best.

Healthy Pumpkin Chili

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup broth
  • 1 large chopped white onion
  • sprinkle garlic powder
  • 2 chopped bell peppers
  • 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime
  • desired toppings

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic powder until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the bell peppers, cook another 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, beans, pumpkin, broth and spices (excluding the lime until the end). Stir until well combined.
  3. Bring to a slight boil, turn down heat and cover to let simmer about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in the fresh lime juice.
  5. Serve with your favorite spices and toppings.

Have a glorious rest of the week, everyone!

Charcoal Waffles ♡_♡

Mmmm, pizza. It’s been a while since I’ve had truly, truly amazing pizza and this one from Lamanna’s, an Italian bakery and hot table in Scarborough, did not disappoint. Smothered in provolone and mushrooms, the toppings were simple and tasty – but the crust, charred to perfection, was my favourite part.

Dessert? Large gelato with a scoop of pistachio and a scoop of hazelnut (check out that size compared to the little gelato spoon and my water bottle!) – followed by an unpictured lobster tail cream pastry. Talk about an amazing lunch!

Another day, I had lunch at Light Cafe in downtown Toronto, a chic and modern new spot in Baldwin Village.

The truffled mushroom croissant is their specialty, loaded with creamy truffle mayonnaise, sliced tomato, shiitake mushrooms, and lettuce. The croissant was toasted and tasted fresh. Salad was dressed in sesame, and had plenty of fresh tomatoes inside.

The soup was another highlight: rich, creamy, savoury Lobster Bisque!

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For dessert, I had to order the famous Light Cafe dish – black sesame waffles. There were four heart-shaped black sesame waffles, made with charcoal for that incredible colour, a little vial of rich sesame syrup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a scoop of black sesame ice cream. All of it was devoured. 😇

Waffles with ice cream is hands-down one of my favourite desserts of all time, and bonus points for special-flavoured waffles like ube (purple yam, specialty of the Philippines), black sesame, or red bean.

This is one of my favourite photographs from my trip downtown. I love how 50% of it is that urban traffic look with trees in the back, and the other half is a pretty lake with trees, and apartments in the back. The contrast is cool!

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The reason for my Toronto trip? Stock. Up. On. Muffins. Since I don’t go downtown very often, and I won’t be going often anymore since it’s starting to get chilly, I bought plenty of muffins, chopped ’em into thirds or quarters, and stashed them in the freezer. These are some of the muffins I remember:

  • blueberry streusel
  • blueberry bran
  • plain blueberry
  • blueberry scone
  • lemon poppyseed
  • carrot
  • banana chocolate chip
  • mixed berry and oat
  • cornmeal
  • lemon currant scone
  • ginger scone

There were definitely more, but that’s all for the ones I can recall. 😎 Apparently, I seem to like muffins a lot?

Excitement. In the form of a delicious plate of coconut Thai green curry with broccoli, mushrooms, onion, and carrots – and in the form of a new book. Sci-fi isn’t really my genre, but this one, RUSH by Eve Silver, had me intrigued all the way through.

A trip to the library meant I took lots more snapshots of the books that are on my to-be-read list. I can’t wait to take these out and see if they’re good.

On Mid-Autumn Festival, which is like Chinese Thanksgiving, I had an incredible meal at a buffet called Dragon’s Pearl, with friends of my grandfather. I. Love. Buffets. So what did I enjoy this time?

  • yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and gravy
  • steamed ginger and scallion fish
  • Japanese sweet egg, bean curd sushi, other assorted sushi
  • stir-fried vegetables, crispy stir-fried noodles
  • peking duck on a flatbread, with sweet and sour sauce and cucumber
  • creamy crab salad
  • crispy shrimp cakes
  • garlic mussels
  • grilled salmon and plaintains

Dessert was just as delicious.

  • tiramisu
  • green tea cake
  • sweet sesame mochi ball (favourite)
  • regular cheesecake
  • unsweetened cheesecake
  • bread pudding with golden raisins, whipped cream on top (#2 favourite)
  • English trifle
  • kiwi custard tart

Do you like buffets? I’m a sucker for variety, so I adore buffets!

One morning, I had some quiet time to myself in the office so I started designing a new poster for the Integumentary System, which is the system about human skin, hair, and nails.

Totally random note here. This is such a beautiful logo! I like graphic design a lot and want to learn more about designing lettering.

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Speaking of graphic design, I’m creating a PDF doc of Anatomy-related study tips. The entire study guide is written out now, but I’m figuring out how I’d like to design the other pages. What do you think?

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That’s pretty much it for today, guys. Hope you all have the most wonderful rest of the week. 🙂