12 Things That I’ve Been Loving Lately

Without any ado, I present to you…

12  Things That I’ve Been Loving Lately

  1. Costco’s butter chicken sauce. Mom and I made it with shrimp, green chickpeas, and frozen butternut squash, served with quinoa for me. Have you ever heard of green chickpeas? They are delicious.
  2. Big Hero 6! Watched yesterday with my family. I cried probably six times. I feel awful because I told so many people that Big Hero 6 looks like a terrible, boring movie – I completely take that back. What an unbelievable film that encourages people to innovate, create, and take interest in science and tech. Did you watch – and enjoy? – Big Hero 6?big-hero-6
  3. Mom’s red bean soup with coconut milk is unbelievable. This is one of the things that I miss the most when I’m living alone in Waterloo. She uses a pressure cooker to cook the dried beans, both of which I don’t have. Do you have a pressure cooker? What do you cook with it?14182411_1472494122767880_1413554153_n
  4. The fact that Dad will be coming to Waterloo with me for 10 days. School starts on Thursday, and I will be arriving in Waterloo on Wednesday evening. He will stay until the following Saturday, to help me with some new appliances and to keep me company. Luckily, I’ll be staying in the same house with the same housemates. Last time Dad visited, we had such a good time exploring Toronto.14233426_1474644905886135_1295075901_o
  5. The fact that today was a baking day that involved challah and brioche. Sadly, the challah barely rose. I think that was due to one of two factors: the water I used to dissolve the yeast might have been hot enough to kill the yeast, OR I added the granulated sugar after the flour rather than before. I have no idea. Either way, the bread tasted eggy (used four yolks and three whole eggs!) and was much denser than it should have been. The quiche, however, was nearly perfect! We used 2 eggs with 1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper, 1/2 tsp each dried oregano, garlic powder, dried basil, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup milk, and a sprinkle of parmesan. 1 zucchini and half of a yellow squash were sautéed and thrown into the egg mixture before the entire quiche was baked at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. An awesome lunch!

    Tragic, I know.

  6. Send My Love by Adele and any Shawn Mendes song (love that guy) – these are ALWAYS on the radio and my sister and I always sing along in the car. Something I suck at: singing. Something I do all the time: singing. Do you like typical radio pop songs?
  7. My dad’s label maker. After finding it stashed in a cabinet, I used up the entire roll of label tape, making a dozen ’CINDY WEI’ labels and labelling every spice in the kitchen. We okay, I got a little carried away… even labelling the milk jar because I’m a very mature young adult. 😉
  8. New milk frother from David’s Tea! I got this one for $12, since my old one from Vincenzo’s in Waterloo isn’t working as well as it did previously.901667dt01var0031014-bi-2.1399
  9. Listening to old Justin Timberlake songs… Summer Love is my favourite because it reminds me of running around the gym to warm up in grade 8. That song, and Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne. Good times! Do you have any songs that make you reminisce your tween years?
  10. I am truly intrigued by the idea of bullet journalling. I recently found an old notebook and will try to start bullet-journalling. It seems like such a quick and easy way to stay organized. I always find myself forgetting dates, deadlines, and appointments. Do you use a physical planner, your phone (or an app), or simply your brain to stay organized for school, work, and life? Below is a photo of the new journal that I started, using a key with ideas ripped straight off of Pinterest. Let’s bet on how long this notebook will stay neat!14191794_1474636475886978_2039715710_o
  11. Zootopia – watched it twice with Seline at home, then again on the airplane ride to Nepal (en français), and once more with Mom at home. It is my #1 favourite animated movie of all time – incredibly meaningful, emotional, and outlines some dark truths about human nature. Such a powerful film about following your ambitions in a real world with real setbacks. Have you watched Zootopia? If so, I’d love to hear your opinions on the movie!zoootpia-box-office-record
  12. Yoga! I haven’t done yoga for a while, since leaving for Nepal a month or so ago. It’s taking me a little time to get back to where I was before, but I keep trying to tell myself that it’s about the journey and not the result. I had a very difficult time going into these two poses. Since I didn’t do yoga today like I was planning to, I did a 10-minute flow in one of the empty bedrooms in our house, experimenting with some of these balancing postures. They are so shaky!

Honourable mention to the fact that the school’s fall recreational fitness schedule is out! Glad to see lots of Zumba, yoga, and cycling, since those are my favourite classes.

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PS: one more thing – check out this picture frame decoration that I made out of Nepalese handmade paper!

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Happy weekend, everyone 🙂

Back to Bloggin’

Hi!

No, I haven’t vanished. I haven’t quit blogging or gotten sick. I haven’t given up on Cookies n’ Chem. 😉 Instead, it’s just been a busy couple of weeks since coming back from Nepal, with volunteering, walks with Mom, and getting my wisdom teeth out.

Mom and I take Arnie to a big Coquitlam trail called Mundy Park. I can’t believe Arnie just turned seven years old! He loves the trail, because he can go off-leash before 10:00 AM. Mom and I like the Perimeter Trail, a 4 km path that takes us around 50 minutes to complete. Sometimes we see massive slugs.

One afternoon, I had lunch at Whole Foods with Mom and Grandma. There is a new Whole Foods that is much closer to where I live – yay! My favourite thing in this bowl was the chickpea tikka masala.

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I’m actually writing this blog post on my new computer! My old laptop just wasn’t doing it’s job. I was lucky to get this new laptop with a special student discount and free Beats headphones 🙂

We baked up a storm the other day: whole wheat apple-flax muffins, flourless honey almond cake, sweet potatoes, and carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting. Oh – and Mom’s favourite cranberry oat cookies with brown sugar. 🙂 Our motto – while the oven’s on, might as well make everything! What is your favourite baked goodie?

Do you remember the time my Mom, sister, and I went to Bandidas Taqueria? My family and I went back another day, surprised to find that the entire restaurant had been renovated! The food, however, was as good as last time. My favourite thing, again, was the cornbread eggs benedict with Mexican ranchero sauce – and sweet potatoes! Yum.

Oh, the mole enchiladas were also scrumptious. Grandma loved her tempeh scramble! Dad ordered coconut bacon and vegan sausage, not knowing both were meatless. He, surprisingly, liked them!

Afterwards, we went to Bakery Sate. I had a hazelnut-filled croissant for dessert. Mom ordered a chocolate-dipped butter cookie, as well as a matcha cookie. We also scored a free matcha, black sesame, and white chocolate mousse cake! I love freebies. Grandma and Grandpa liked this one too, but found it a tad too sweet.

Another day, Rachel and I went to Railtown Cafe where I savoured an arugula salad with all kinds of toppings – avocado green goddess dressing, goat cheese, chickpeas, avocado, beets, and… SQUASH CHIPS. The best.

Afterwards, we enjoyed creamy, organic soft-serve ice cream at Soft Peaks. Mine had a chunk of honeycomb on the side, which tasted like a grainy toffee. There was also some crunchy cereal on the bottom.

One funny thing – I brought a couple leftover pieces of chicken and arugula in a takeout container with me. Rachel and I shopped at an Asian market, and after paying for a couple goodies, I realized my container was gone. I must’ve left it somewhere in the store. 😦

Grandma and I went shopping one day, too. She is so cute and loves Chipotle! Grandma loves chicken in her burrito bowl, so I tried my tofu bowl with half chicken. It was quite flavourful! Chipotle is awesome, but I think these tasty Mexican bowls can be recreated easily at home with the right ingredients. 🙂

Another day, we had a big barbecue dinner! Mom made spicy corn, a mixed green salad with strawberries, garlic bread, chicken wings, cucumbers and hummus, and more. Our guests loved the food, and so did we!

Two cakes were also baked: a decadent three-layer chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and a white chocolate swirl topping, and a creamy peanut butter cup pie topped with chocolate ganache. The PB pie was made with tofu and organic honey bunny grahams. Do you know those bunny cookies?

Before I got my wisdom teeth out, I did lots of headstands. 😦

We brought Mom’s old car to trade…

and swapped it for a new van!

With the new van, we brought Arnie to Buntzen Lake, where he is learning to swim. It’s the cutest thing!

I made homemade almond milk another day. Here’s the recipe!

Homemade Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Milk

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw unsalted almonds, skin on (organic is best)
  • 4 cups pure filtered water
  • 3 pitted Medjool dates, soaked in very hot water to soften and drain (or maple syrup/sweetener of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or one vanilla bean
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • small pinch sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place almonds in a bowl and cover with several inches of pure water. Speak overnight, or for 8-12 hours.
  2. Rinse almonds very well, then mix almonds with 4 cups of water in a blender.
  3. Add vanilla, dates, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Blend until smooth and creamy, for about one or two minutes.
  5. Strain into large bowl with nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Pour slowly and squeeze the bottom of the bag to release the milk. This will take a few minutes.
  6. Discard pulp or keep for another use.
  7. Pour into glass jar or pitcher. Store in the fridge for up to five days. Store in the coldest spot in the fridge (in the back).
  8. Shake well before drinking, and enjoy!

Seline came back from Montreal, Quebec yesterday, and I made a picture frame for her out of cardboard. Seline LOVES marble (ie. she has marble posters, a marble phone case, and a marble notebook) so it seemed fitting that her frame be made of marble paper as well.

That’s it for today! Unfortunately my face is completely swollen now because I had my wisdom teeth out, but glad to be back and ready to post post post.

See you soon!

The Cheapest Thing I’ve Ever Made

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

That’s me right now.

Pancakes one morning! Pics coming up.

Thick and Hearty Paleo Banana Pancakes

Serves 1: makes 2 pancakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another day, another dessert…

Strawberry Banana Crumble

Serves 1

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

And mac and cheese, of course.

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

So good.

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

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

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

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

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Pancakes were also enjoyed a second time. New recipe!

Oatmeal Ricotta Pancakes

Makes 3 pancakes

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

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

Have an awesome weekend.

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

PB Mug Cakes, Yoga, and a Disappointing Cafe Experience

Happy new week, everyone!

I’m starting to fall in love with yoga the more and more I do it! I’ve been going to hot yoga every day since final exams ended and doing a teeny bit of practice by myself in the kitchen. Do you like yoga? What are some of your favourite poses? To you, is yoga more emotional, spiritual, or physical?

One afternoon I took a nice walk around Victoria Park in Kitchener. It’s been a while since I’ve seen rippling lakes and green grass!

Tea latte at Café 22, one of my favourite places in Uptown Waterloo. This was their small London Fog latte, which I highly recommend. So good. And I actually want one right now.

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We recently moved our dining table next to the window, so I get to look out the window and at my laptop while I eat. 🙂 Also, Arsalan (roomie’s BF) came home from Japan recently! He was so kind to give me two beautiful handmade ceramic teacups. Aren’t they pretty? Do you like handmade utensils or kitchenware?

I’ve also been volunteering at the Research Institute of Aging, where Professor Heather Keller, my nutrition professor, leads a team of students to create healthy recipes for seniors. Turns out a MASSIVE percentage of seniors in long-term care homes are malnourished, whether it’s because they don’t like the food, they don’t have an appetite, or they aren’t enjoying the mealtime experience.

Bloggers, I could use your help! Let’s brainstorm some ideas for recipes that are…

  1. Not labour-intensive: it needs to be easy for cooks to prepare
  2. Can be made in bulk
  3. Can be refrigerated or frozen
  4. Not expensive: we have nearly $8 PER DAY, PER PERSON, so that rules out coconut flour, quinoa, etc.
  5. “Traditional”: sorry, no hipster things like green juice, kombucha, kale, etc.
  6. Nut-free, because of allergies
  7. High in nutrients! For example, sweet potatoes instead of regular white potatoes
  8. Easy to chew and swallow: this rules out things like sticky date balls, crunchy nut clusters, etc.

Tricky, right? What are some of your ideas?

PS: our first idea was avocado pudding, but turns out one serving is 3 avocados, which is $9 in total. :O That idea had to be trashed, unfortunately.

Salmon fishcakes! They were simple: 2 eggs, 1 can salmon, and a bunch of spices.

When I didn’t have any baked goods for dessert, I just melted some chocolate and ate it with strawberries for a makeshift fondue.

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Vegan butternut squash pasta with a nutritional yeast sauce and spinach. I actually quite liked this, despite my LOVE for real, creamy cheese.

I bought some [expensive!] strawberries and they didn’t taste that good. 😦

More pasta, this time with brown butter and sage! Idea from a special commenter 🙂

Baked oatmeal…

… enjoyed two days in a row.

Went to My Thai, a restaurant in Uptown Waterloo, with the roomies one day! Arsalan enjoyed vegan pad thai.

Madhulika and I enjoyed the amazing emerald curry with coconut sticky rice.

We shared banana spring rolls for dessert with vanilla ice cream! What a great end to the meal.

Leftover curry sauce turned into a delicious vegetable stir-fry the next day.

And then there was STILL leftover curry sauce, which became vegetable noodles! I was uncomfortably full after this. It doesn’t look like much, but I was stuffed!

Yeah, yeah… more pasta.

I don’t even have the effort to explain how good this was. Please make this.

Best-Ever Peanut Butter Mug Cake

  • 2 tbsp. spelt flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • sprinkle cinnamon (optional)
Whisk together and microwave for 60 to 80 seconds.

This was one of my favourite meals of the week: quinoa with sweet potato, carrots, zucchini, spinach, roasted red peppers, and avocado on top with cayenne pepper and lemon juice. It was surprisingly filling!

More baked oats. Attractive, I know.

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Thoughts on warm salads? I used the last of my goat cheese here. So yummy!

Coconut and pineapple Thai-style fried rice was devoured another day. Seared tofu makes it really satiating, while pineapple provides a punch of flavour.

Roasted and shredded salmon on top of baked broccoli and yukon gold potatoes. They were all tossed with couscous and served with avocado and goat cheese. YUM!

And a simple oatmeal topped with a makeshift “crumble”, which was almond and coconut flour with nut butter, maple syrup, and some coconut oil.

More of the same 🙂

Spicy coconut-peanut noodles with tofu and shredded carrots and zucchini, and seared tofu.

I usually make two servings of whatever I have, so that a) it’s easier to make b) I’ll have another meal the next day.

These are some recent Mom meals: banana muffins, shrimp and chicken pasta, and some Chinese dishes. She also went on a cookie-baking rampage the other day and whipped up a whole table’s worth of COOKIES! What are your favourite dishes cooked by Mom? You know, the ones that simply cannot be replicated?!

This morning I took the bus to Pure Kitchen and Juice Bar after volunteering at the Grand River Hospital. I do patient registration, which is fun until there are 20 people in line, with two “Pats”, a “Jon” and a “Ron” and a “Don”, and a “Kryzhchevish”. My job is to take everyone’s name, record some health information, and call them up when their appointments are ready.

Anyways!

Pure Kitchen is located in the heart of downtown Kitchener. I had REALLY been looking forward to it for a long time, and when I got there, I was even more excited!

For my lunch, I decided on the small grain bowl, which came with brown rice, oven-roasted chicken, roasted sweet potato, chickpeas, spinach, sprouts (literally THREE sprouts, not satisfied), raw seeds, roasted mushrooms, and a spiced cranberry vinaigrette. Am I the only person who doesn’t like cold chicken? How do you guys feel about it?

Disappointment #1: For around the same price, you can have all of the ingredients placed into a whole wheat wrap. I asked for that option, grilled, but they were out of wraps. Um, you are a sandwich + soup cafe. You serve wraps. It’s 12:00, noon – how can you be out of wraps?

Disappointment #2: I asked for the meal to be served in a bowl, but they told me that they only provide these wasteful cardboard-paper box things.

Disappointment #3: Three sprouts in here.

Disappointment #4: Why was this cold? In fact, it was almost freezing. If the menu states “roasted chicken” and “roasted mushrooms” as well as “roasted sweet potato”, customers would assume that they are hot, or at least warm, right?!

Disappointment #5: Four massive leaves of spinach. Massive.

On the bright side, the rice was really good.

These were on the table for samplers, and they weren’t terrible. The green juice was a little bitter, and the granola was sticky, too chewy, and topped with a brown pineapple sorbet thing that never melted. I wouldn’t buy any of these.

I also ordered the Feel Good smoothie, which was made with maca, cacao, banana, almond butter, and almond milk. Sounds amazing, right?

WRONG. The $8 smoothie tasted “burned”. I have no other way of describing it. I couldn’t detect a hint of banana, almond butter, creamy almond milk, or even chocolate. The only flavour I could describe was a BURNED flavour.

Disappointment #where are we… oh #6: The smoothie tasted like a scorched tree branch or piece of firewood that had been blended with a scoop of ice.

I asked for the smoothie to be re-made after having half of it, and the lady did re-make it for me, this time it was so icy and not fully blended.

Disappointment #7: Smoothie #2 was 90% unblended ice.

The best part of the meal was the almond croissant that I enjoyed for dessert. It was truly amazing and almost redeeming. Have you ever had a croissant for dessert? Slightly heated up?! Oh my goodness, it’s gold.

On a totally different note…

How do you guys feel about running? If you’re a runner, what motivates you (ie. what do you THINK about when running?) If you aren’t a runner, what are some of your favourite ways to squeeze in some cardio?

Also, do you have to race to be a runner?

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Alright, that’s it for today! It’s 9:17 PM and I feel like I just ate dinner. Which, I kind of did. I always feel a little guilty for eating dinner after 8:00 PM, but unfortunately, I have commitments, I have things to do, and sometimes, it just isn’t realistic to have a beautifully-made dinner fresh on the table at 6.

Today, it was a lasagna that went from freezer to microwave at 8:30 PM because I got stranded at Goodlife Fitness because it started pouring (and thunderstorm-ing). 😦

Do you feel guilty when you end up eating later? Is there a certain time that you don’t “allow” yourself to eat? Back at home in BC, my mom was ADAMANT that after 6:30, no food allowed. For 18 years of my life, as soon as the clock ticked 6:31, it was “too late to eat”. This mentality really stuck with me and caused eating problems in my life. Thoughts?

PS: I just found out that I can click on all the tags that I want to add to this – I just added about 999 tags to this post, haha! 😀

Lately: Favourite Ways to Add Protein

Hey friends! Good Thursday morning. I hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far. I’ve got a couple of cool new (to me) recipes to share with you while I devour this morning’s bowl of chocolate pear oatmeal.

I baked this almond raspberry cake yesterday, and I’m actually eating a big square of this right now crumbled over my oats. Unlike normal cakes made with dense white flour and refined white sugar, this recipe uses almond meal (ground almonds) and maple syrup/honey.

Can you believe that 1 cup of almond meal has 24 grams of protein? I just googled it and was pretty shocked. I used 1 egg + 1 flax egg because my carton was nearly empty, but if you do use 2 eggs, that pumps up the protein even more.

This cake is super delicious and reminds me of a sturdy, not-overwhelmingly-sweet almond croissant.

Gluten-Free Paleo Almond Cake with Raspberries
Serves: 4
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup almond meal, firmly packed into measuring cups
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp ground flax + 2.5 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Make flax egg by combining flax with water. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. In the same bowl, beat egg, maple, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
  3. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. Whisk well.
  4. Finally, add almond meal. Mix until just combined. Decorate with raspberries if desired.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
  6. I like mine served with a scoop of yogurt. Store in the refrigerator.

Another snack I’ve been having is tea! I usually steep English breakfast tea or Earl Grey tea in boiling water and then add half a cup of milk. The milk adds creaminess, a little sweetness, and 4 grams of satisfying protein. This snack warms me up and fills my belly in the best possible way.

If you’re a tea addict, I highly recommend purchasing a milk frother! It’s a life changer.

Of all the ways to add protein to my diet, nuts would have to be my all-time favourite way. They are epitome of a healthy snack! I always sprinkle toasted walnuts and pecans on my yogurt and oatmeal. They add sweetness, crunch, and, um… nuttiness.

Doesn’t this brownie look amazing? It tasted pretty dang amazing too. Plus… it’s vegan! You would never guess that it’s free of butter and eggs. I encourage you to give this recipe a try, especially if you’re a little fearful of black bean brownies.

Vegan Brownies
Serves: 9 brownies
Ingredients
  • flax eggs (2 Tbsp (14 g) flaxseed meal + 5 Tbsp (75 ml) water)
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) melted vegan butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup (96 g) coconut sugar (or organic cane sugar)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup 48 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup (120 g) spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup (27.5 g) almond meal
  • optional: 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and lightly grease an 8×8-inch (or similar size) baking dish with coconut oil, then line with parchment paper (the oil helps the parchment paper stick to the sides).
  2. Prepare flax eggs in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. To a large mixing bowl add melted vegan butter or coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk thoroughly to combine and start dissolving the coconut sugar.
  4. Add flax eggs and whisk once more until combined. Then add baking powder, sea salt, and cocoa powder and whisk.
  5. Add gluten free flour blend and almond meal and fold with a spatula until just mixed. Then add desired add-ins (optional), such as vegan chocolate chips or nuts.
  6. Add the batter to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer with a rubber spatula. Add a few additional toppings if desired, such as chocolate chips and nuts (optional).
  7. Bake for 22 minutes, or until the edges appear dry and slightly fluffy and the center is no longer wet or sticky.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, preferably 45 minutes – 1 hour (the longer they cool, the less tender they will be). Then gently lift out of pan and use a sharp knife to cut into desired number of squares (I went for 9).
  9. Store completely cooled leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature up to a few days. Will keep in the freezer up to 1 month.

Sometimes I like topping my yogurt with almond butter and crumbled cookie. 1/2 tbsp of almond butter not only tastes amazing but adds a bit more protein to the plate. Also, Greek yogurt is a protein God when it comes to vegetarian snacking. I always go for 2% plain Greek yogurt and sweeten it myself with a little maple syrup and cinnamon.

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What is this odd concoction? I actually had this for breakfast, but it would totally work as a snack as well. I mixed 2 eggs with some applesauce and tried to make pancakes, but they turned into a scramble that I topped with 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt, hemp hearts, and way too much nut butter. This kept me full for HOURS.

Yum! Sliced apple with brie cheese. Brie is probably not the highest protein cheese, but it sure tastes good with gala apple slices. I wish I had some white cheddar for this – yum.

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Last but not least for high-protein snacks – a tasty oatmeal pancake made with egg and topped with nut butter. This recipe was inspired by Kate! https://thedomestikatedlife.com

So for a couple more tips on nuts and stuff like that, check out Nuts.com. You can also take a look at this like to see some nutritious high-protein snacks. It was fun to look at those snack ideas and then put this post together because a) I eat and photograph nuts all the time anyways, and b) they shared this cool graphic with me!

Check it out:

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So, why all the hype about protein? You might already know it as the macronutrient that helps you build muscle, but what else? Here are some of my favourite reasons.

  1. Protein is satisfying and can help to reduce appetite.
  2. It is great for bones.
  3. It promotes heart health.
  4. Protein stabilizes blood sugar levels.
  5. It can also help to improve your mood!
  6. It reduces cravings and the temptation to engage in late-night snacking.
  7. It can boost metabolism and help burn fat.
  8. Protein can help your body repair itself after a tricky workout.
  9. You don’t need too much of it (definitely not as much as the media hypes it up to be)
  10. It can be found in most foods (some are nonintuitive – like peas!)

Now, onto something that is completely unrelated, my crow pose!

And a little flow that I like to do. One of my favourite yoga instructors suggested trying chaturangas on one foot!

It’s been rainy the past couple of days, so I’m really missing this sunny day when I could do yoga in the parking lot in the morning. Still working on that headstand, though. 😛

Check out this recipe for coconut flour banana bread. I made it a couple weeks ago and really like it! Coconut flour is loaded with fibre, and the almond butter adds extra protein (yup). Plus, who doesn’t like banana bread – especially with chocolate chips?

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Banana Squares (gluten-free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8×4 inch or 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine bananas, vanilla and almond butter; mix until well combined, smooth and creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time and mix on medium speed until combined. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add in coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; mix again until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes, then carefully invert, remove bread from pan and place back on wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 12 slices.

Perfect on oatmeal! With peanut butter, of course.

Changing the topic again…

Yay for school being over!

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That means more time to go out to cafes and enjoy sandwiches,

more time for yummy dessert like this coconut cream puff,

and more time to cook veggie pasta with goat cheese, pesto, and parmesan.

It also means more time in the morning to bake… brownies for breakfast? For real.

Brownie Batter Breakfast Bake
Yields: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 2 Tbsp. almond meal
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup milk or almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, to taste
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp mini chocolate chips, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and lightly coat an individual sized ramekin or oven-safe bowl with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients (use 1 tsp chocolate chips). Fold in chocolate chips, reserving a few to sprinkle on the top.
  3. Transfer batter to your greased ramekin, topping with reserved 1 tsp chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on desired consistency.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before adding any additional toppings and digging in!
  5. Serve with yogurt, crushed nuts, and nut butter. Enjoy hot or warm!

More time to decorate my oatmeal…

And maybe not if I’m feeling lazy.

It’s kind of ridiculous how many eggs I’ve devoured in the past week. Eggs + spinach + cheese and whole wheat pita/bread is my favourite quick and easy lunch of all time.

More oats with a side of Physics, taken before the exam. 😛

Quinoa topped with cheddar and a poached egg.

Granola oatmeal, because why not top oats with oats?

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This was roasted sweet potato with quinoa and a delicious salmon in red curry with peas and spinach. Mmmmm dinner dreams.

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I’m so boring with breakfast, I know.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty boring for all my meals.

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Amen.

And again. Wow, I really don’t get sick of the same stuff!

Okay, finally something different! Mashed ripe banana in cocoa oatmeal with almond butter swirl.

Okay, back to boring.

One day I bought a couple desserts to split with the roomies! Our favourite was the vanilla bean cheesecake.

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When you run out of toppings you can improvise with… chocolate.

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C’est tout for today! Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week.