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 😉

Meals of May and June

BREAKFASTS

Pumpkin pancakes topped with berries, hemp hearts, and maple syrup

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Leftovers before yoga class, topped with more of the same 🙂

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Oatmeal with crumbled date-nut muffin, berries, and hemp hearts

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French toast (light before yoga class), topped with nectarine and hemp hearts. Plus a drizzle of maple 🙂

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Egg + banana pancake with berries and banana, and a handful of chocolate chips, hemp hearts, and maple syrup

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More oatmeal with berries, crumbled date-nut muffin, hemp hearts

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And more pumpkin pancakes. This time with just blueberries, blackberries, maple and hemp hearts

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Pumpkin oatmeal topped with crumbled banana muffin, sliced banana, berries and hemp hearts

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Buttermilk (lemon juice + almond milk) pancakes with hemp hearts, raspberries, maple syrup

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LUNCHES

Pesto souffle omelet with spinach and brie, whole wheat toast

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This brie, from the farmer’s market, melts like a dream!

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More omelet – this time with cheddar!

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Mexican quinoa bowl with black beans and corn, avocado, salsa, and white cheddar

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Omelet with spinach, smoked salmon, and avocado with whole wheat toast

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Whole wheat toast topped with mashed avocado, scrambled egg, smoked salmon, with lemon juice and S+P

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Scrambled spinach eggs on toast smeared with mashed avocado

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Vegetable sticks, cherries, multigrain crackers topped with Laughing Cow cream cheese and smoked salmon with black pepper // Asiago Pepper scone from the farmer’s market

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Spinach and cheddar omelet with Asiago Pepper scone!

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Very oddly creamy scrambled eggs on whole wheat toast, black pepper

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Souffle omelet with cheddar and chopped leftover roasted broccoli

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Mexican stir-fry with chopped peppers, scallions, white cheddar and chopped avocado, salsa stirred in // grapes

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Spinach and brie omelet with sliced avocado on top

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DINNERS

Steamed edamame, taro + chicken breast stir-fry, mixed vegetables, tofu in Thai green coconut curry sauce

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Seconds! This time with brown rice.

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Dinner at Whole Foods: pasta salad, quinoa salad, veggies with dressing, beans, rice, cheese, etc. // Mom’s container of oranges, kiwi, and chopped apple

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Coconut curry with chickpeas, chicken breast, spinach, cauliflower on brown rice

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Quinoa with curried vegetables (above), maple-soy salmon, cabbage stir-fry, onion and carrot stir-fry

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Roasted whole carrots // quinoa mixed with curried eggplant, edamame, spinach, chickpeas, and chicken breast {leftovers}

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Party dinner: braised carrots with noodles, roasted vegetables, quinoa salad, pasta with smoked salmon and scallions

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Baby quinoa frittatas (made in muffin tin) with smoked salmon, cheddar, shredded zucchini // steamed broccoli with yam and chipotle hummus

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Salmon and egg fried rice with bok choy and frozen mixed vegetables

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Quinoa mixed with stewed tomatoes, fried egg, chopped pearl meatballs, roasted vegetables

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Pan-fried mackerel, quinoa, cabbage stew, corn and scallion sauté

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Roasted broccoli topped with a fried egg, parmesan cheese

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Roasted vegetables on quinoa with guacamole

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Leftover salmon fried rice with roasted vegetables

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Curried chickpeas with spinach, brown rice, winter melon stew with krill, cauliflower

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Curried chickpeas, zucchini, broccoli

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Quinoa with tomatoes and eggs, roasted carrots

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Turkey bolognese sauce mixed with quinoa, sliced kale, and peppers, topped with aged gouda

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SNACKS and STUFF

Multigrain crackers, brie, peach

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Farmer’s market haul: gouda, strawberries, yam and chipotle hummus

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Frozen banana “ice cream” with cocoa powder, topped with hemp hearts

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Chopped cucumbers, roasted red pepper hummus topped with black pepper, multigrain crackers

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Miracle Belgian Waffles

Are you a waffle person? Maybe I should start this blog post with a disclaimer – I am really NOT a waffle girl. I much prefer brownies, pancakes, muffins, cakes, and other sweet baked goods. And I’m going to apologize in advance for this short post :/

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Miracle Belgian Waffle is located near Coquitlam Centre. My mom and I came here to meet up with a McGill alumni, Miss Vicky. Before I forget, it was absolutely awesome to meet Vicky – she was so encouraging and offered very valuable advice. I loved getting to know her. 🙂

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Anyways, Miracle Belgian Waffles has a reasonable-sized menu with several different options. The restaurant was noisy and not as large as I’d expected. Because they were pressing the waffles on the spot, the restaurant smelled quite oily.

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I decided on the Berry Good waffle, replacing whipped cream with a sliced banana. I opted for a Brussels waffle, which is lighter, crispier, and has an airier crumb. Liege waffles, on the other hand, are thick, dense, and have chunks of sugar dispersed within the batter.

Vicky ordered the Mochaholic Brussels waffle. This was topped with tons of ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Both of our waffles were sprinkled with powdered sugar. I would’ve asked for no powdered sugar if I knew – I don’t think confectioner’s sugar adds flavour or texture.

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Without whipped cream, ice cream, or chocolate, I felt like my waffle was a pretty decent snack. We ate this around 4:00, some hours after a light lunch, and it held me over until we had dinner at around 7:00 – even without much protein. This was pretty awesome because I got a serving of berries and a whole banana. Oh, and it had a bit of honey drizzled on top. The first couple waffle bites were amazingly crispy and light, but the fruit seemed to weigh it down after some time.

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Overall, I’d say that these “fancy waffles” are nothing special. The first couple bites are incredible, but after the fourth gulp – they become a bit soggy and the flavour becomes more bland. I wouldn’t recommend visiting a special waffle restaurant at all, as much as I love sweets and fruit. These were good, but certainly not great.

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Dinner was Italian-themed – braised beef ravioli from Costco with marinara sauce, tons of spinach, and parmesan cheese, and an orzo and asparagus salad with feta cheese cubes and chopped chicken breast.

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This ravioli isn’t my favourite – I like spinach and ricotta, butternut squash, and mushroom and cheese better. The marinara sauce was a bit sour, maybe because I added too much. But the asparagus and orzo salad was tasty and fresh. I liked the bites with feta! The dressing for this salad was made simply with olive oil and lemon juice, plus salt and pepper. I had leftovers for a delicious and easy lunch the next day. Seconds on the right!

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Earlier that day, Seline had a Caesar salad for lunch. She can now make her own dressing from an egg yolk, mustard, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic, and olive oil. I think this is the only way Seline will eat veggies!

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Dinner the next day was Chinese – sautéed chicken breast with asparagus and carrots, brown rice, tofu with soy sauce and scallions, and stewed Chinese cabbage with shiitake mushrooms.

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Mom’s tofu has great flavour because she pan-fries it with scallions, soy sauce, and crushed ginger. The veggie and chicken stir-fry was fresh and enjoyable as well. 🙂

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You know how much I adore sweet oatmeal, but sometimes I want to branch out and try new things. This time, I had savoury oatmeal topped with crumbled kale-pesto muffin from Matchstick Coffee (thanks Mimi!), chopped, wilted spinach cooked inside, halved cherry tomatoes from Grandma’s friend, and a runny fried egg. With a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and freshly-grated black pepper, I expected this breakfast to be mind-blowing.

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It wasn’t. Oatmeal cooked in water isn’t as filling or flavourful as if we’d cooked it with milk or almond milk. I really, truly don’t like raw tomatoes, and the delicious runny egg yolk was gone too quickly. Plus, I could barely taste the cheese. This meal was not my favourite – I didn’t even finish it. 😦

Re-did my oatmeal page so you should take another look. Sorry for not posting in a bit – I’ve got quite a bit on my plate right now (summer plans, ceremonies, university, interviews, ADFKLGAKF) but I’ve got something awesome planned to share with you all! Have a great week everyone 🙂

Around the World

Good afternoon everyone! How are you all? Hope you’re having a great, great day so far…

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What are your favourite non-American cuisines? Most people say sushi or Italian, but one of my favourites is Malaysian. My family and I had a fantastic meal at Tamarind Hill, a quiet hidden gem of a restaurant.

The photo on the left is mussels in a coconut broth with tomatoes. I didn’t care for the mussels (I can’t get over their rubbery texture), but the coconut broth is to die for. It had tomatoes and scallions inside. I wish I could recreate this soup but it was too good! I think the salty, seafood-y mussel taste permeated the whole coconut soup. Mmmm! This was an appetizer… and I had all of the soup. Sorry, family! I dunked my roti (pan-fried golden bready thing) in it. Roti tastes like green onion pancakes, if you’ve ever had one. They’re flaky and chewy but also slightly sweet. Loved it – especially dipped in peanut satay sauce. Oh, yum.

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The deep-fried pepper squid wasn’t my thing. I just don’t like deep fried food! But my family raved. On the right was my dish – coconut curried chicken with green beans, stewed vegetables, and turmeric rice!

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I. FREAKING. LOVE. THIS. I know, I love basically everything edible. But this was super good. Like, addictive good. I-need-rehab-good. The chicken was perfectly cooked, the vegetables super tender, and the rice extra flavourful with all those healthy Malaysian spices. My favourite bite? Steamed eggplant + chicken + rice. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE eggplant? Especially when it’s cooked until melt-in-your-mouth soft and becomes a pillow of coconut milk. OMG. I just had dinner and I kind of want a bowl of this right now.

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Then we all shared a deep-fried banana split. Deep-fried bananas are uber popular in southeast Asia and this dessert knocked it out of the park. Especially good with the vanilla ice cream (this ice cream is still king, though) and salty crushed peanuts. Are you drooling yet? Anyways, Tamarind Hill and Thomas Haas are my two new favourite foodie places!  Is it a coincidence that both have the initials T.H.? :O

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Whole Foods! I swear this place is my life. I wish I could live there… well, I kind of already do.

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As usual, Mom and I shared a huge bowl from the hot bar. Here we had sesame kale, mac and cheese, roasted veggies, Argentina pork, and way more. My favourites here were the curried cauliflower, tender stewed beef, and the Indian sweet potato. Holy crumpets. The sweet potatoes were INCREDIBLE and I seriously regret taking just one. It was so, so good. Love it when it’s creamy and sweet on the inside but have lotsa spicy flavour outside.

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J’aime beaucoup la nourriture italienne, aussi! 🙂 This was at The Old Spaghetti Factory in New West, after an aerial silks lesson.

Seline and Dad both had creamy clam chowder soup with bacon and potatoes. I had a spinach salad with Granny Smith apples and almonds for my appetizer.

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Mom had the minestrone soup, with lots of yummy beans, and Grandma had the French onion soup. She didn’t really like the cheese (#asianproblems) and claimed it was too rubbery. 😦

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Seline’s fried chicken breast with linguine and parmesan, plus Mom’s lasagna! I had a lot of her lasagna. Do you guys find that the tomato sauce in lasagna is slightly sweet? Yes? No? Just me? Okay.

Oh, and my favourite part of dishes like this? The burned outside rim of the plate. The scorched tomatoey, cheesy bits are seriously delicious.

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My dish was the manicotti! Y’all know that I adore manicotti. My motto? If it’s on the menu… I’m ordering it! This one was perfectly creamy and ricotta-y with flecks of spinach and a great tomato sauce. Plus cheese. Never enough cheese. :mrgreen:

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Ended the meal with spumoni ice cream. Seriously, what is the green stuff? I mean, the brown is chocolate and the white is vanilla. What on EARTH is the green stuff? I expected pistachio or mint but tasted bubblegum, but not quite. Strange! It’s called spumoni ice cream, and I looked it up – but I still have no idea what this stuff is. If you know, comment below because I’m dying of curiosity.

That’s it for now!

BTW, WordPress has changed! It’s now SO much easier for me to post because I don’t have to keep switching from Visual to Text to see the bolded words, the inserted links and photos, etc. Plus, love this new font. 🙂 Go WordPress!

Mom Dinners Galore

Hi everyone! How was your week? I hope life has been great for you this summer. Like I mentioned in my last post, summer’s on here in BC! Well… that’s in terms of school. We were burdened with heavy rain ALL DAY today, and just before dinner, we had thunder and lightning! :O Hopefully the upcoming week will have beautiful weather, because we are planning another trip to the Sandbar (seafood restaurant) in Granville Island.

Below you’ll see a chart of my recent meals and a short analysis. I have no idea why I did this – obviously I am REALLY bored this summer – but I wanted to share it anyways. Pictures of these meals are coming!

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I wanted to share a lot of old Mom Meals in this post. Our schedules have been jumbled up recently with other activities, so I actually haven’t had a Mom Meal for a while. Looking at old photos of home-cooked meals makes me so happy. 🙂

This is quinoa topped with tomato scrambled eggs (and sesame), and steamed cauliflower sauteed with ground pork and scallions. I LOVE both of these dishes. Chicken drumstick on the side… yum. I like drumsticks and thighs so much better than chicken breasts, which I find a little too dry. Dark meat is so juicy – I love it!

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This is rouzao rice, a traditional Taiwanese dish made with ground pork, soy sauce, and lots of aromatic spices like star anise and cinnamon. Mom also adds some hard-boiled tea eggs. I had a big scoop of this on top of white jasmine rice, next to some buttered corn on the cob, Chinese chicken salad with sesame dressing, and shrimp + vegetable stir-fry. This was actually a party dinner, much like this party brunch, where we have lots of food options.

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Fried rice! Again, I am in love with my mom’s fried rice. This was made with cubed trout, mixed vegetables, scallions and onions, and fluffy jasmine rice. Have you ever tried trout or salmon in fried rice?! It’s amazing. Some simple steamed broccoli on the side.

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Italian food is definitely one of my top three favourite cuisines, and I think Mom does a great job cooking it. Here we have shells topped with vegetable bolognese sauce and parmesan cheese, plus a super tasty side of roasted broccoli with garlic. The garlic gets really crispy – like garlic chips. I love ’em!

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Look at how the spinach peeks out of the side. I like to stir a little spinach or kale into the tomato sauce. The flavour mellows out and is covered by the sweet-ish and tangy tomato sauce. I have the same meal (almost) here, with noodles instead… and no broccoli. 😥

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Lots of protein in this dinner: beef and asparagus stir-fry with onions and mushrooms, pork ribs with braised carrots and daikon, and steamed edamame on rice.

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This here is Thai fried rice with shrimp and egg, garnished with peanuts. Thai fried rice, in the Wei family, is essentially the same as regular fried rice… but we add lots of minced garlic and ginger, cubed pineapple, extra onions and scallions, plus a splash of coconut milk. Oh! And we cook it in coconut oil instead of olive oil. I don’t think I will ever go back to regular fried rice! The peas are really sweet and yummy. The sweet caramelized pineapple is the best part. Love how a splash of soy sauce and a drizzle of lime take fried rice to the next level, too. Thai fried rice is so, so fragrant and ultra-flavourful. The creamy eggs, slightly coconutty rice, and crunchy chopped peanuts are to die for!

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Served with sauteed vegetables on the side. Black cloud ear fungus, bok choy, mushrooms, and carrots, stir-fried with a little soy sauce and garlic, then topped with sesame. Really tasty with the special fried rice.

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More ribs here: this time braised with carrots, firm tofu (dougan), baby shiitake mushrooms, and daikon. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these baby shiitakes. They are so juicy and… brothy? I love the rich, savoury mushroom flavour. They are great when braised in soy sauce and spices.

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We also have some broccoli sauteed with onions and scallops. These little scallops are so buttery and soft. Lastly, we’ve got a fried egg and a big scoop of jasmine rice. Of course, everything is sprinkled with sesame. I really like these photos!

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For now, that’s all I have to show you! :mrgreen: I hope you enjoyed these healthy home-cooked meals by my mom.

Recently I’ve been looking at good restaurants in Montreal, and I am so excited to go… only 12 more days until the flight. Woopeee! See you in my next post, and I hope you have a not-so-manic Monday. 😉