October | Sky-High Carrot Cake

Hello! Short post today, because I have a couple emails to write and some schoolwork to catch up on. It is really crazy how quickly my courses are progressing, now that I’m in a number of upper-level kinesiology courses. I’ve learned so much in the three-ish weeks of school that we’ve had so far.

  • AWESOME pic that one of my friends shared on FB. Credit to the artist; unfortunately I couldn’t find his or her name. I like this piece because it shows which animals the poses are named for. I particularly like the peacock and the locust.
  • Bubble tea at CoCo is on sale until the end of November, so I will have to make sure my sister and I get some!
  • Mom made Caprese salad at home in BC, because she bought some new balsamic vinegar. It looks so good! I love that combo of flavours.
  • Campus on a sunny afternoon
  • Images from Nutrition in Disguise, one of the research groups that I’m involved with
  • And more…

Seline and I had a meal at Symposium last Sunday. It was my first time at Symposium Cafe, but I’ve heard too many good things about their cake to miss out. I devoured the whole thick slice of SKY-HIGH CARROT CAKE, and Seline had the triple chocolate cake. After this lovely meal, I went to my friend’s house for a potluck.

Symposium Cafe Mediterranean salad with salmon // sky-high carrot cake

Another day, Sal and I went to Red House. Red House is one of my favourite Waterloo spots. They have phenomenal salads, soups, pastas, and entrees. Their desserts are always seasonal, and really unique. This time, I had the butternut squash and coconut soup, followed by fried polenta cubes with a beet and goat cheese salad. For dessert, Seline and I shared two: apple crisp with sharp cheddar ice cream and a unique white chocolate cheesecake with Oreo crust and stewed strawberries and figs.

Ennio’s noodles with gorgonzola sauce, seasonal vegetables, roasted garlic (unpictured, but quite tasty) // bread pudding with Nutella, vanilla ice cream

Hands-down the BEST bread pudding I have ever eaten in my life.

I had a midterm last week, and a few more coming up. A lot of studying needs to be done!

The Halloween showcase at Brass Butterflies aerial studio is coming up, and I have been procrastinating on practicing. I need to get back into working on improving my endurance.

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A quick video from aerials:

And some pics that Seline helped me take for my Instagram. I made an Instagram for my job, because I’m working as a Waterloo Warriors Recreation Ambassador this term. So if you’re reading this, you can follow me too. 😉 _cindywei

Things that scare me but I’m doing them anyways this term:

  • research
  • starting a club
  • presenting in front of lecture halls of first-year students
  • aerial performance
  • skating competition
  • teaching a yoga class

Random meal from recently:

  1. Seline’s steak with potatoes, sautéed green beans, and onions
  2. Veggie bean chili with cheddar and fig goat cheese
  3. Vegetable cheddar enchiladas with roasted delicata squash
  4. Quiche with sautéed green beans

More randomness:

  1. Saw this stunning image of rice paddies on Twitter (or Reddit?), and it made me think of the time that I took a bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara, riding past miles of rice paddies. Absolutely incredible, and even more so in person.
  2. A bitmoji that Seline made for me. It’s now my Twitter pic. I’m really a loser, as you can see.
  3. Seline and I went to Menchies the other day because we had a 2-for-1 discount coupon from the mail. My Menchies bowl included chocolate brownie, cheesecake pieces, peanut butter crisp, a malted chocolate ball, cereal, and more. I’m all about the toppings ^_^
  4. Sometimes, between classes, I find Seline and we spend a few hours relaxing, “studying”, and chatting at an on-campus cafe. The other day, I was SO. TIRED. that I slept with my head right on the table.

We made quite a special meal the other day!

Thai green curry with broccoli, onions, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, yellow bell pepper // rotisserie chicken breast // rice cooked with butter, chicken broth, truffle salt // garlic sautéed green beans

Now, I just have a bunch of recipes for things I baked recently:

Chai-spiced Applesauce Prune Baked Oats

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • drizzle honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 3 chai tea bags
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 15 prunes, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease pan – 8 x 10 up to 10 x 10 are perfect sizes.
  3. Bring milk to a simmer. Cut open tea bags, and allow tea to simmer in the milk for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves.
  4. Mix all ingredients and pour into pan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Oat Bars

  • tasted good, but need to add more condensed milk and a splash of oil to the chocolate filling
  • more butter in the crumble
  • double the crumble next time!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (will increase to 2 cups next time)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (will increase to 1 cup next time)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (will increase to 1 tsp next time)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (will increase to 1 tsp next time)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (will increase to 1/2 tsp next time)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (will increase to 1.5 cups next time)
  • 1/4 cup oil (will increase to 1/2 cup next time)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (will increase to 2 tsp next time)
  • 1 egg (will increase to 2 eggs next time)
  • 2 tbsp quick oats (will increase to 1/4 cup next time)
  • 2 tbsp softened butter (will increase to 1/4 cup next time)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat chocolate chips and milk in 1-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth; set aside. Heat oven to 350°. Line a square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour, oats, the baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl; set aside. Stir brown sugar, oil, vanilla and egg in medium bowl with fork until smooth; stir into flour mixture until blended. Reserve 1/2 cup dough in small bowl for topping.
  3. Pat remaining dough in pan (lightly flour fingers if dough is sticky). Spread chocolate mixture over dough. Add 2 tablespoons oats and the butter to reserved dough; mix with pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Drop small spoonfuls of oat mixture evenly over chocolate mixture.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until top is golden and firm. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. For bars, cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Brownies, inspired by Allrecipes

Makes 36 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups butter
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour large square pans.
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla.
  5. Whisk in cocoa, cinnamon, flour, salt, and baking powder.
  6. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 mins. Do not overcook. Cut.

Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Snack Bread

Serves 12 squares

Blender Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 3 medium bananas, ripe
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • large sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 8×8 square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Blend all ingredients from the “Blender Ingredients” section.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Let cool overnight before cutting, or it will be too tender to hold form. Store cooled leftovers in a covered container for up to several days, though best when fresh. Slice and freeze for longer term storage.

High Tea, MOVING ACROSS CANADA, and More

I haven’t posted for a long time… I know. It’s because the past couple of weeks have been absolutely hectic, between meeting people, moving back to Ontario, and starting classes again.

TLDR of what I’ve been doing recently:

  1. Constructing Ikea furniture very slowly
  2. Reading
  3. Meeting up with friends, like the time I had high tea with my friend Adele in Kitsilano
  4. Other random stuff?

 

Here are more tidbits of the summer. These things happened after my sister and I came back from Charlottetown, PEI, and shortly after I got my wisdom teeth removed. Some bits of the summer include:

  • going for brunch with family at Café la Foret
  • baked a super creamy, rich New York cheesecake using an Allrecipes recipe
  • plenty of delicious Mom-cooked dinners, including tofu, veggies, and more
  • making iron-on bead magnets with my sister

 

  • delicious cooking from Mom – this time with Korean beef stew, pearl meatballs, and butter chicken with mushrooms
  • walking the dog with Mom
  • baking blueberry almond bread with mom
  • delicious brown sugar waffles with powdered sugar, butter, Nutella, maple syrup
  • stewed eggplant with ground pork on rice
  • lovely soft serve from Soft Peaks, which recently opened near my grandparents’ apartment in Burnaby
  • taro and chicken stew with fried egg and zucchini

 

My grandma found these! I wrote them when I was in the tenth grade, about five years ago. This is when I wrote down everything that I ate, separating them into pages by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner). I think it’s funny because I also RANKED all of the things I ate out of 10, then calculated the weekly and monthly averages.

 

Heirloom Vegetarian is a lovely brunch spot in Vancouver. I went with my family, and I enjoyed a great platter of mushroom hash topped with poached egg and tofu. Mom and I shared two dishes – the other one was a grilled cheese with cauliflower soup. Afterwards, Mom, Dad, and I (sans Seline) shared a tray of four ice creams from Rain or Shine. They were Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Malted Chocolate Honeycomb, Peanut Butter.

 

Another afternoon, Seline and I had high tea with our good friend Adele. It was my first time having high tea, and it was such an enjoyable experience. The place was beautiful, the food was divine, and the company was great.

 

I had two large mugs of London Fog, which Seline drizzled with honey. I ate the vegetarian Grande Adventure, and my favourite savoury bite was the cheese sandwich with apple relish, followed by a tiny sandwich filled with curried egg salad.

 

That same evening, we packed up the car and drove to Aunt Mimi’s home. We went to Mimi’s house because she lives closer to the airport, and she was the one giving us a ride to the airport the next day. This time, Dad, Seline, Grandpa, and I ALL went to Waterloo together.

IMG_2906

Our first meal in Waterloo was Famoso Pizzeria. I had my favourite, which had arugula, gorgonzola, dates, honey, brussels sprouts, and proscuitto. On the side, a Caprese salad.

For the first few nights, we stayed at a lovely AirBnB in Kitchener. The highlight was playing a board game called Blokus.

 

Another day, we dined at Red House. Seline had lamb spaghetti, and I thoroughly enjoyed my summery salad and plantains with queso fresco. For dessert, I had the chocolate tart with whipped ricotta and berries. We did an escape room after this dinner – it was called the Vault. Unfortunately, we didn’t escape in time.

 

Around this time, we got to see the new house. The house was already furnished for one person.

 

We went to the MUSEUM in Kitchener one day, and Seline and I played with this interactive virtual dancing thing.

 

 

Fun moments – delicious dinner of baked cheesy tortellini with veggies from Ennio’s, followed by an incredible dark rum and mascarpone bread pudding with ice cream and Nutella sauce.

Plus cleaning and sleeping on the ground. Which are not fun.

More cleaning, more furniture to construct, and a random waffle topped with whipped peanut butter, honey-roasted granola, and peaches.

 

A couple wonderful meals from Dad and Grandpa’s LAST DAY in Waterloo:

  • L: Timeless London Fog, omelet with roasted cauliflower, black beans, smoked salmon, chipotle lime goat cheese, sweet potato pancake with black beans
  • D: Belmont vegetable crepe with ratatouille filling (eggplant, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash), goat cheese, kale, buckwheat crepe // salted caramel brownie with vanilla creme anglaise, strawberry ice cream, strawberries, gluten-free carrot cake with blueberries, whipped cream, orange glaze

 

Seline and I had a bit more cleaning to do, and we were all done with the apartment. Here it is:

 

We finished cleaning, had an EXCELLENT first day of school (with yummy lunch eaten in the sun), and I celebrated with a giant chocolate chip cookie. I actually got this massive chewy cookie from Proof Kitchen for free as part of my lunch (how sweet is that deal?!), and it was delicious after popping it into the microwave for about 35 secs. Chewy, crisp around the edges, buttery, and exploding with chocolate. Served with a glass of milk.

 

That’s it for today!

A bunch of random things before we end of…

 

Bye!

One Million Stars

Hi everyone!

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Pearl Cafe breakfast and lunch menu

I hope you are all having an absolutely lovely Easter weekend so far.

Recently, I’ve been very excited about visiting some new restaurants in the area (since we’re on Easter break and the mid-semester reading week!). This restaurant, Pearl Cafe, is one that tops my To-Visit list. I really want to try their homemade angel hair spaghetti with silky eggplant, chilli, and goat cheese. Doesn’t that sound amazing? There are a couple other places that are high up on my list, including Naim (for brunch), Gerard’s Bistro, and Sassafras Canteen.

Here’s the bulletin board at my local yoga studio, Zama Yoga, where I volunteer as a Karma Yogi. That wonderful title just means that I help to vacuum, mop, wrap up garbage, and dust, once a week.

Back home in BC, Arnie is doing well. I have no idea what warranted this photo, but Mom sent it over to me one day. Seline, Mom, and Dad went on a day trip a few days ago to Victoria, where they visited the University of Victoria. Seline is possibly going to UVic next year, so I’m glad they had the opportunity to look around the campus, get a sense of the student life there, and, of course, try one of Victoria’s famed restaurants! They ended up going to Original Joe’s.

Mom sent me these wonderful photos of their meals from Original Joe’s. Seline loved her bacon jalapeño mac and cheese, and Dad enjoyed the chicken tenders. Mom’s bruschetta chicken fettuccine with pesto cream sauce was also very popular amongst the three of them. Though I wish they’d also tried that chocolate fudge brownie ice cream with cookies and cream crust (!!!), they were too full for dessert.

Studying on campus. Sometimes when I have a commitment after school (i.e. aerials, my only commitment LOL), I pack my dinner. This time, it was a delicious hearty Botanica salad mix and some yogurt with blueberries and a muffin.

This looks very fancy, and it was! Because I didn’t make it. 🙂 I got the salad from a vendor at the Jan Powers market, and cooked up an egg with cheese, and fried some of a pumpkin and spinach scone on the side.

Same meal, different day, different filter?

This is One Million Hearts, a super cool exhibit that opened up at King George Square in Brisbane’s city centre. I love this exhibit because of its vibrancy and lovely cause.

I’ve been really into walking recently! I will come back to this with a special post shortly.

And yes, still very much in love with veggies, rice, and halloumi. I could eat this every single day, and I do.

This lovely plate included salads from Botanica, a crushed falafel, and an egg that I cooked up with some grated cheese (I think it was provolone, but I’m onto some Gouda now!). The salads tasted wonderful and very refreshing.

I bought a few tennis balls to roll out some knots, but within half an hour, I broke BOTH of them! This was my first time seeing the inside of a tennis ball, and I guess I was surprised by how fragile they were, and that they were hollow inside.

So I ended up buying a $2 spiky massage ball from Kmart, which is much tougher and has been helping immensely for relieving muscle tension.

spiky-ball-exercises

On Saturday last week, I visited a new (to me) part of town called New Farm. New Farm is known for their lovely markets, performances, and cafes. This cafe, called MYLK + KO, is famous for their vegan, vegetarian, and gluten/dairy-free brunch dishes. I started with the cocowhip, topped with tons of peanut butter, cocoa granola, strawberries, and berry coulis.

My main dish was equally beautiful: falafel, a maple pumpkin slice, halloumi, roasted red pepper hummus, tons of grilled veggies, savoury dukkah, and sprouts. One of the best veggie breakfasts I’ve ever had, and it was so fun to photograph.

On a different note, I am now really into chai lattes! After purchasing a box of chai tea bags, I’ve been brewing up the chai religiously every morning. The creaminess of the milk, mixed with gentle spice from the tea bag, and sweetness from the honey is perfection.

Cindy’s Chai Latte

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 chai teabag
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste, to taste
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 tbsp honey

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine water and milk in a saucepan. Simmer until it almost reaches a boy;.
  2. Break open the teabag. Pour the loose tea into the saucepan. If you don’t, the tea will be weak. Whisk and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, giving the tea even longer to brew. Add honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Strain out the tea leaves using a fine kitchen sieve, or even coffee filters/paper towels.

Last night I ate something that was unbelievably delicious – milk chocolate enrobing a perfect piece of feathery light Aussie honeycomb. This was from Noosa chocolatier, and one of the best chocolate things I’ve ever eaten. The chocolate was creamy and rich, contrasting with the airy honeycomb. I can’t wait to go back to Noosa for another.

Finally, a tasty salad mix with a variety of quiches! There’s quite a lot on this colourful plate:

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  • 1/4 pumpkin red onion quiche (Botanica)
  • 1/4 spinach quiche (Botanica)
  • 3/4 spinach goat cheese egg quiche (homemade)
  • 1/4 Botanica salad (coleslaw, sweet potato pesto couscous, carrot quinoa, spinach and rice with pumpkin)

That’s pretty much all for now. Wish I had more to share, but I really have not been doing much recently. I wish you all a beautiful weekend full of delicious eats!

Low-Carb Recipe Ideas

Hey, everyone! Recently I’ve been experimenting with eating less carbs.

Little summary of my normal diet: oatmeal, bread, pancakes, sandwiches, more bread, grilled cheese, potatoes, granola, fancy little desserts, sweet potatoes, couscous, pizza, muffins, garlic bread, more pretty little desserts, rice, rice, rice, rice, more rice.

It’s a lot of carbs.

I mean, it’s great! Who doesn’t love grilled cheese and rice? Since coming to Australia, though, I’ve been trying to change it up a little bit. Rather than purely eliminating rice from my diet, which would be tragic, I’ve been making small changes.

Changes like using 1/2 cauliflower rice and 1/2 regular rice in stir-fries. Or having omelettes with salad on the side, instead of toast. Eating eggs and veggies instead of my typical morning oatmeal. So far, it’s been wonderful. This is absolutely NOT to say that I don’t eat granola or desserts or grilled cheese anymore – I absolutely still do – but making tiny swaps and healthier additions have made me feel more refreshed.

Here’s a little list that I compiled a while ago to kick-start a series of healthier changes! I’ll be honest, some of them would definitely make me feel deprived (eg. only hard-boiled eggs with berries for breakfast?!), so I haven’t tried them all. The bolded ones are my favourites. 🙂

Breakfast

  • breakfast wrap using egg as “tortilla”
  • breakfast enchiladas
  • pepper egg in a hole
  • egg-applesauce pancakes
  • chocolate banana smoothie
  • poached eggs with tomatoes
  • jalapeno popper egg cups
  • Greek yogurt with LOTS of mixed berries
  • vegetable frittata
  • vegetable omelet
  • egg quiche
  • cottage cheese with berries
  • hard-boiled eggs with berries
  • scrambled eggs with vegetables
  • green smoothie
  • cauliflower breakfast hash
  • cauliflower breakfast bake
  • fluffy cauliflower breakfast bake
  • cauliflower hash browns

Lunch and Snack Ideas

  • cucumber salad with shrimp
  • turkey roll ups (fill with cream cheese, peppers, cucumbers, avocado, hummus, and cheese)
  • grilled chicken spinach salad with nuts
  • tuna salad with avocado
  • mixed berries fruit salad
  • broccoli with quinoa and halloumi
  • Greek yogurt
  • taco salad
  • chia pudding
  • cauliflower cheddar mash
  • pizza soup
  • egg salad in a lettuce wrap
  • chocolate mousse
  • trail mix with seeds and dried fruit
  • hard boiled eggs
  • cottage cheese with berries
  • stuffed mushrooms
  • cheese slices with grapes
  • Greek salad
  • vegetarian minestrone soup
  • vegetables with hummus

Dinner Sides (mix and match with mains below)

  • mashed cauliflower
  • cauliflower breadsticks
  • roasted vegetables
  • makeover spinach gratin
  • brussels sprouts gratin

Dinner Protein Mains

  • cheesy meatballs
  • crustless pizza
  • burger with no bun, topped with mushrooms and onions and cheese
  • turkey lettuce wraps
  • turkey spinach meatballs
  • california spicy crab stuffed avocado
  • salmon patties
  • crustless spinach quiche
  • marinated grilled shrimp
  • shrimp stir-fry with vegetables
  • shredded harissa chicken
  • broiled tilapia parmesan
  • Dijon garlic, lemon dill salmon, maple-soy salmon

Dinner Cauliflower Mains

  • cauliflower fried rice
  • cheesy cauliflower bake
  • loaded grilled cauliflower steak
  • cauliflower baked ziti
  • cauliflower shepherd’s pie
  • cauliflower tamale pie
  • pizza cauliflower bake

Dinner Zucchini Mains

  • zucchini enchiladas
  • chicken parmesan stuffed zucchini
  • loaded zucchini skins
  • lasagna stuffed zucchini boats
  • scalloped zucchini
  • zucchini cheesy bread
  • stuffed zucchini
  • zucchini manicotti

Dinner Spaghetti Squash Mains

  • tomato basil spaghetti squash
  • pizza spaghetti squash
  • 4-cheese spaghetti squash
  • spaghetti squash feta egg bake

Dinner Other Veggies

  • broccoli chicken divan
  • tuna melt on a tomato
  • egg roll in a bowl
  • eggplant lasagna
  • taco lettuce cups
  • cheesy butternut squash skillet
  • bell pepper nachos
  • stuffed peppers
  • taco-filled tomatoes

Finally, a list of low-carb veggies that happen to be delicious…

… with cheese, of course.

Low-Carb Vegetables

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • spinach
  • kale
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • swiss chard
  • lettuce
  • cucumber
  • sprouts
  • eggplant
  • green beans
  • lemon
  • peppers
  • spaghetti squash
  • tomatoes
  • celery
  • parsley
  • avocado
  • radish
  • bok choy
  • mushrooms
  • garlic
  • asparagus
  • yellow squash

Himalayan Food and Heavy Salads

Good morning, everyone! It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in Brisbane. The weather’s been much for manageable recently. In fact:

The last few weeks, it’s been so hot that…

  • my Polysporin liquefied

    IMG_7499
    Eat Street Markets (about an hour from my house) sells these ridiculous-looking donut fries, and I think I need them in my life! The chocolate looks perfectly melty, malty, and I love the combination of textures here. I should start planning my trip to Eat Street just for this!
  • must keep room door open to allow air flow
  • carry sunglasses everywhere
  • I chug more water than I have ever chugged in my entire life
  • I don’t even need to warm up before exercising because I’m alreadywarm
  • I get a tiny sweat pool where I wear my glasses or sunglasses
  • I love lectures because they are in AC-ed rooms
  • my legs stick to chairs and they hurt to peel off
  • I shower twice a day
  • I use ice-cold water which is not even ice cold (like room temperature)
  • 7am is already burning
  • shopping malls are now AC heavens
  • I make my ceiling fan spin so quickly that it’s going to fall offand kill me
  • food scraps are stored in the freezer
  • I put my face in the freezer and take deep breaths
  • if you step barefoot outside, you will get cooked
  • I choose iced smoothies over my favourite hot tea
  • I don’t want to cook
  • I wear whole-body sunscreen all day
  • bus stops need shade covers
  • I am actually desperate to go to the beach, and I dislike beaches
  • I put my water bottle in the freezer

Anyways, on Thursday night I went to a place called MADO Turkish Cuisine. For my main course, I was debating between the veggie casserole, the moussaka (eggplant lasagna), and the eggplant boat. I ended up with the veggie casserole, which wasn’t even a casserole – it was a veggie stew in a clay pot.

For dessert, I enjoyed the kunefe, which is a crispy, chewy, sticky, springy Turkish cheese pastry doused with rosewater syrup and topped with pistachios. A very unique dish with such bright flavours and a unique, indescribable texture. Have you tried kunefe before?

  • vegetable casserole in clay pot, 2 bites salad, rice with peas, 1 piece Turkish bread
  • 1 kunefe

I had this image saved to my phone for a long, long time, because I’ve been planning a trip to Himalayan Cafe for a while. Everyone knows I have a bit of a Nepal/Tibetan obsession, and my infatuation with Nepali food is no exception. Needless to say, I had to make an effort to visit this beautiful place for dinner one day…

And I did! This gorgeously-decorated restaurant reminded me of traditional Nepali homes, complete with floor pillows, lanterns, papyrus menus, and small side dishes full of aromatic lentil stew and beans. One of my favourite parts of the dinner was the pan-fried Sherpa bread, which was spongy, slightly sweet, and topped with savoury tomato sauce and a little cheese.

  • 1 small bowl kidney bean stew, 1 bowl yellow lentil dahl, 1 bowl chickpeas with potatoes, few scoops jasmine rice (took the rest home), apple yogurt with chopped apple, 1 large piece Himalayan tomato paste cheese bread
  • 1 Himalayan chocolate brownie with nuts, 2 scoops ginger and cinnamon ice cream

I’ve been into tracking my health lately, and spent a lot of time choosing my plant on Plant Nanny (a water-drinking app to keep hydrated!) and looking at Fitbits.

Then, I bought my own Fitbit! Mine is the Alta HR (Heart Rate), in black. I’m still figuring it out and haven’t mastered the device, but it’s been a wonderful, motivating tool so far. And, of course, much better than my iPhone’s Health app. I bought it on Saturday and spent a good amount of time exploring one of my favourite parts of Brisbane, the Queen Street Mall.

My Fitbit also tracks the amount of sleep I get, including how much REM, light, and deep sleep I have. I find it pretty accurate, but I’m also one to fall asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow.

On Saturday, I visited the Davies Park Farmers Market. It is, so far, my favourite market in Brisbane. The atmosphere was peaceful and charming, the people were friendly, and there were so many stalls. The produce was very inexpensive, and I loved the diverse spread of ethnic eats.

One vendor at a beautiful shortbread cookie stall recommended the crêpes around the corner, from Pascale’s Crêpes. How could I say no to crepes?

Wow. I am so glad I went for these, because not only were they super cheap and freshly-made by Pascale on the spot, but absolutely delicious. I’m a huge fan of buckwheat crêpes because I love their rich, roasted, grainy flavour and crispy texture. The spinach, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese inside were perfect!

Moments later, I got dessert from Pascale as well. My dessert crêpe was equally delicious, and the combination of vanilla ice cream, Nutella, and sliced banana (YUM) really hit the spot.

  • 1 buckwheat crepe with spinach, cheddar, mushrooms
  • 1 regular crepe with banana, Nutella, 2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Another day, I baked a farmer’s market almond bostock and made a spinach omelet for lunch. I’m such a fan of almond croissants that I find myself forgetting how delicious bostocks are. On a totally different note, the filter on these photos reminds me of Rachel’s photography – her food pics are always sunny and alluring.

  • 2-egg omelet with spinach and Manchego
  • 1/2 almond bostock

For dessert, some fresh berries (also from the market) with yogurt and nuts.

  • 1/2 container strawberries, 2 scoops Greek yogurt, some honey-roasted macadamia nuts and cashews

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I’ve said it many times before, but the UQ campus is just gorgeous. I’m in love with it!

In one of my courses, we spent a lab day identifying and examining different mosquitos. Being a Kinesiology (Exercise Science) major, it was a unique experience, and I definitely learned a lot.

Completely unrelated but exciting news! My sister and I will be travelling to Prince Edward Island (Canada), for the month of July 2018. I will be going there to volunteer at the University of Prince Edward Island, and we thought it would be an awesome opportunity to spend time together after she graduates from high school. Basically, it’s going to be a disastrous-hilarious Paris 2.0.

25 Reasons Why My Sister and I Will Visit Charlottetown, PEI

(I actually wrote this list to convince her, because Seline didn’t want to go to PEI initially. She thinks it’s going to be boring. Hope I will prove her wrong!)

  1. Lighthouses!
  2. Pretty much a vibrant seaside capital city
  3. Beautiful lawns and flowerbeds (like Jardin Luxembourg)
  4. Maritime accents
  5. People are known to be the nicest of Canada
  6. Parks
  7. Boating tours
  8. Incredible ice cream shops
  9. Basilicas, cathedrals
  10. Biggest fireworks in Canada (next to Ottawa)
  11. 500 historic buildings
  12. Flight is much shorter than London
  13. Beautiful harbours
  14. Mild weather, even in the summer (high is about 23)
  15. Modern and urban, yet beautiful old sights
  16. Huge transportation hub
  17. Victorian-era houses
  18. Lots of shows, performances, theatres, musicals
  19. Pretty much the birthplace of Canada (Charlottetown = “birthplace” of Confederation), AND we will be there during Canada Day
  20. Great summer festivals
  21. Golf courses where we can finally accomplish our dream of riding a buggy
  22. Very safe
  23. World-class shopping and restaurants

In my Health Psychology class, I’ve been looking at increasing vegetable intake for people with Chronic Kidney Disease.

I did my presentation last Wednesday, and it was probably the most scared I’ve been since arriving in Australia. I was the second person to present, and the student before me did a spectacular, entertaining, insightful presentation about the health implications of tinnitus. Before my presentation, I could feel my heart pounding! Fortunately, it went pretty well.

Delicious cauliflower rice has also been on the menu, usually alongside falafels and omelets.

  • cauliflower and broccoli rice, saffron rice, zucchini, carrots, tomato, red pepper, 1 falafel, 1 egg omelet with Manchego cheese

The beautiful Brisbane weather has made it super easy for me to walk around, soak up the sunshine, and see new places.

A new discovery: there is a tiny takeaway cafe in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley region called Botanica Real Food. They serve freshly-made salads, up to FIVE types in a medium container. The ladies there really pack it in, so this full-course-meal salad weighed a solid kilogram.

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From left to right:

  • pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums and parsley
  • vegan pesto and pearl couscous salad with red onions and spinach
  • shaved broccoli salad with cashew dressing and dried cranberries
  • chickpea and carrot salad with pickled red onions
  • potato, pea, and dill salad

I actually ended up dividing it into a few meals, served with other mains – like this awesome pumpkin quiche (also from Botanica).

  • pumpkin and red onion ricotta quiche, 1/5 Botanica salad box (broccoli salad with cashew dressing, chickpea and carrot salad, pesto and pearl couscous salad, pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums, potato pea and dill salad)

Packed up for lunch another day.

  • 1/5 Botanica salad box (broccoli salad with cashew dressing, chickpea and carrot salad, pesto and pearl couscous salad, pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums, potato pea and dill salad)
  • 1/4 ricotta and walnut streusel coffee cake, blueberries, Greek yogurt

This is what the inside of Botanica looks like. These photos were taken yesterday… because I went again. They are fresh, delicious, and so addictive!

Yesterday’s salad box was almost the same, with the addition of some cabbage and a freekeh and eggplant pilaf.

Another quiche! I am in love with quiche. Their crust has an amazing whole-grain flavour. I also ate the tastiest chocolate hazelnut dessert from Le Bon Choix, which I bought on my walk home.

Alright! I wish I had more to share, but this post is already long enough.

Have a beautiful and delicious week, everyone ❤

Menus and Stuff

Good Monday morning, everyone ❤ Last week was one busy week, and this week will be equally packed with classes, presentations, and more. Here’s what I ate recently.

Omelet with peppers, asparagus, tomato, Provolone cheese (a new favourite).

Dinner at Fogata Latin Cuisine. I don’t always get appetizers, but when I do, it’s cheese bread. Brazilian cheese puffs are a little chewy like mochi, with a springy texture and good savouriness from the cheddar.

  • 6 pieces Brazilian cheese bread
  • 1 stuffed pepper with couscous and pulled pork, cassava puree, parsnip chips, radishes and sprouts
  • Pavé (large Brazilian tiramisu cake) with caramel sauce, cookies and cream ice cream, whipped cream (uncomfortably full after this big meal, not happy and not confident. Ice cream was good portion but dessert cake was just too large.)

Another day, another omelet, this time served with cauliflower rice and spinach.

Working at the library on an early Monday morning 🙂

I found myself in a post by the University of Waterloo for International Women’s Day! This was pretty cool.

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Life around campus at the University of Queensland. One day, I am definitely going to try one of their famed pizzas. The one I want to try is the vegetarian four seasons, which means the four quarters of the pizza have different toppings. It sounds so good!

I went to the Milton Farmer’s Market on one Sunday morning. It was truly a beautiful day. Next time I go to the market, I want to try the mini Dutch pancakes. There was also a mushroom vendor who was cooking up some mushroom dishes, and it smelled divine!

I’m still in love with cauliflower rice, veggies, and halloumi. I decided not to buy halloumi yesterday, though, considering I’d been chomping on halloumi like a fiend for the last month.

Another day, I had yogurt with raspberries and macadamia nuts (roasted with honey), plus chocolate coconut roughs. This was following a great lunch of cauliflower rice with spinach, topped with carrot pancakes.

Menus for places that I want to go! Okay, I did go to Fogata Latin Cuisine already. But next on my list are Mu’ooz, an Eritrean restaurant, and Abode Cafe, which is famous for their ham and cheese toastie (The Dulcie). Golden sourdough, mango sauce, Gruyère – this sounds incredible.

Another day, I picked up some tarts from the farmers market and devoured them alongside a veggie mix. This was so, so good. I love Portuguese tarts and the flakiness of their crust; plus, these fillings were so fresh. They went perfectly with the simple veggies.

  • 1 Portuguese chicken and herb pastry, 1 Portuguese goat cheese, walnut and honey pastry, cauliflower and broccoli rice, saffron rice, zucchini, carrots, tomato, red pepper, Manchego cheese

I’ve been experimenting with different filters. They all take on a slightly different look depending on how much light is coming into my room, depending on the time of day. Which one is best?

One assignment that I am working on is about pureed vegetables in baked goods, as an increased veggie intake, among other things, will improve the health of people with chronic kidney disease (hence the kidneys in the background). This is for my health psychology class, where we look at various theories for health interventions.

Last but not least, my weekend plans. I ended up taking a long walk instead of going to Perrin Park’s fitness program, and skipping a few bakeries on Sunday because I purchased way too many at Chouquette (ate them all yesterday without taking pics!). On the right? One of my sister’s best roasts. She always cracks me up. Another 99 days until I reunite with my favourite loser.

That’s pretty much… it… for today. I wish I had something better, cooler, more exciting. But I don’t. Have a beautiful week ✌️