Thursday Coast Post: Brunch, A Tart, and My Favourite Cheesecake EVER

Hello everyone! Just demolished a bowl of flax-chia oatmeal with caramelized banana, blueberries, and hemp hearts, and I’m going to try to squeeze in this quick blog post before heading off to spin class. In the afternoon, I’ll be getting a haircut and then helping Mom prepare food for our BBQ party with family friends. 🙂 It’s going to be a busy and fun day!

On another note, I just uploaded all recent photos to my computer and updated this post with photos of the casserole we made and enjoyed. It’s down at the bottom of the post and features a recipe, too. 🙂 Who doesn’t love warm, cheesy, and HEALTHY casseroles?

Anyways, this is my fourth Sunshine Coast post. You can read all of the others here, or click on the individual links here – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

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We started the morning by driving to Edie Rae’s Cafe, which is about ten minutes into Powell River. The cafe itself is located inside the Old Courthouse Inn, which is a lovely little hotel with a vintage feel. We were the first people in the brunch place, and the perky waitress was happy to serve us drinks and food. I started with some hot water.

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I didn’t have a hard time deciding what I wanted from the menu – I almost always order eggs benedict when at restaurants for brunch – and today was no different!

Louie’s Smoked Salmon Bene: Two poached eggs, fresh biscuit with herbed cream cheese, smoked lox, Hollandaise, hash browns

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YUM! I’m not a huge fan of potatoes, and hash browns in particular, so I donated most of the taters to my dad. My bene, however, was INCREDIBLE. Rich, flavourful hollandaise sauce, perfectly-cooked eggs with runny yolk, and massive chunks of smoked salmon. They actually smoke their own salmon in-house, and I could definitely taste the difference. This was so, so fresh and didn’t have a “bagged” taste at all. They also whip up their own cream cheese, which is flavoured with herbs. I was so impressed! Everything tasted awesome together, and I absolutely LOVED the biscuit (not a fan of benedicts made with English muffins). 🙂

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Seline decided on a three-egg omelet with her fillings of choice. She thought this was quite yummy and smothered it in ketchup.

Yvonne’s Omelette: Three eggs, choice of 3 toppings (mushrooms, cheese, bacon), hash browns, choice of bread

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Dad ordered the classic breakfast, which came with eggs, bacon, sausage, and two big pancakes, as well as a good serving of hash browns. He raved about the crispy potatoes and loved how they were topped with scallions. Apparently that’s some kind of revolution for him (the fact that you can top potatoes with scallions). The downside to his meal were the sausages, which were cooked for a bit too long and were quite chewy and firm.

Millworkers’ Breakfast: Two eggs any style, 3 bacon, 1 ham, 3 sausage patties, 2 medium buttermilk pancakes, hash browns

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Mom enjoyed her single benny made with avocado and tomatoes. Unfortunately, her avocado was a bit brown on the edges, as if it had been saran-wrapped and then cut straight out of the refrigerator. But the sauce, egg, and biscuit were flawless!

Powell Riviera Bene (half order): Two poached eggs, fresh biscuit, avocado, fried tomato, Hollandaise, hash browns

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Since I gave Dad most of my potatoes, he let me try some of his buttermilk pancake. Bleh! I didn’t like this at all. It tasted like some kind of Bisquick or Aunt Jemima pancake mix. While it was fluffy and airy, there was no buttermilk flavour. Actually, there was no flavour at all here! I much prefer my own banana pancakes or pumpkin pancakes. The blackberry jam was alright. There was nothing memorable about that! And whoa… check out that runny yolk. ❤

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Before heading on another ferry to the Courtenay // Comox region, Mom and I visited the Rocky Mountain Bakery, which has pretty great reviews. I was disappointed though – to see just mediocre croissants and danishes. Mom noted that the cinnamon buns were very expensive.

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We arrived in Courtenay at around 1:30 and drove a little bit to find the Atlas Cafe, where we had lunch. It was super busy at that time, and we had to wait for about half an hour. There was a line up that streamed outside – and quite a few people were here to take out their meals.

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By the time we were finally seated, well after 2:15, I knew I wanted to order the famed goat cheese tart! This plate was truly unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. The crust! THE CRUST! It was so flaky and buttery. I thought egg tart crusts were good until I tried this one. Better than any crust I’ve ever eaten. Anyways, that incredible crust was filled with caramelized onions, sweet potatoes, and flavoured with plenty of herbs. It was surrounded with a tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, pesto oil, and garnished with a handful of mixed greens. The goat cheese was heaped generously between the mixed greens and the filling, and tasted amazing with the crust (YUM!) and slightly acidic tomato coulis.

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GOAT CHEESE TART: sweet chili yams, fennel & caramelized onions with herb oil, tomato coulis & mixed greens

Yams + crust + balsamic + goat cheese + onions = my favourite bite!

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Seline decided on a chicken souvlaki roll. The wrap could be made with a curry wrap or a whole wheat wrap, and Seline chose curry. She also selected the Caesar salad for the side. She really enjoyed her roll because of the garlicky tzatziki, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. I find rolls so difficult to eat because they fall apart and you have to use your hands. I hate gulping down my food super quickly because it’s going to get messy (eg. wraps, hot dogs, burgers, etc).

CHICKEN SOUVLAKI ROLL: sautéed chicken breast, roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, tzatziki & mixed greens with side salad

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Dad had something similar for himself. His curry wrap had chicken breast with peanut sauce and tomatoes. I tried some and enjoyed the peanut sauce with chicken, but found it, again, too messy! I don’t think there were any pieces of grilled eggplant in here, though.

CHICKEN SATAY ROLL: sautéed chicken breast, peanut sauce, grilled eggplant, caramelized onions, tomatoes & mixed greens with side salad

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Time for DESSERT! Seline already knew she wanted the warm brownie with ice cream. She loved how beautifully it was presented and appreciated the fact that we were served TWO scoops of ice cream rather than one, like most places.

HOT FUDGE BROWNIE: a traditional atlas favourite served with toasted almonds and ice cream

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I knew I wanted the chocolate cheesecake. Because, well… it’s chocolate and cheesecake. My two favourites! This was also garnished with a huge chocolate “sheet” (is that what you call it?), whipped cream, and drizzles of chocolate and caramel.

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I kind of fainted after my first bite. This was incredible, you guys! First, you taste the rich ganache, which has such a lovely, deep chocolate flavour. Next up – creamy, slightly tangy chocolate cheesecake. This section was my favourite – rich and chocolatey, yet a little sour from the cream cheese. It had the perfect sweetness, too. The crust was made of almonds and cocoa powder, rather than the usual butter + graham cracker crumbs. So unique, and it went very well with the rest of this chocolatey dessert. I think I ate 3/4 of this slice on my own!

BELGIAN CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE: with chocolate almond crust and chocolate ganache

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If I had to say one negative thing about this dessert, it would be that I wish there was no whipped cream. It simply wasn’t necessary. A fruity compote, on the other hand, or a dollop of creme fraiche, would be perfect. Either way, this was definitely in the TOP THREE desserts I’ve had in my life. And one of the top two of my Sunshine Coast vacation! By the time we finished the dessert and paid, it was around 4:00 in the afternoon. Talk about a late lunch! What is the latest time you’ve ever had lunch?

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While walking around downtown Courtenay, we came to a special Whole Foods Market called Edible Island. It was just like Whole Foods on Cambie Street in Vancouver! Except a lot smaller. A LOT smaller.

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Sweet Surprise Bakery is a famous Courtenay bakery – they sell only gluten free goodies. It was quite late in the afternoon when we arrived, and they were starting to saran-wrap their muffins to close the shop.

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Isn’t it such a lovely little place? With the perky chandelier and cozy decor, I thought Sweet Surprise Bakery was the cutest place ever. It is opened by a mother and her daughter, and they sell nothing but GF treats. Everything looked amazing!

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That’s it for today! Have the tastiest weekend ever. Lots of recipes coming up – stay tuned!

Lazy Lately

Hi guys!

How’s it going? I just had an amazing week in terms of food – lots of nutritious and delicious meals. 🙂 I love it when all my meals just work out, meaning I’m full and satisfied. Sorry for the lack of posts recently – I just feel like there isn’t much to show you!

This is what I ate this week, plus a little analysis of the meal in blue. That includes what I was thinking after the meal, and how I liked it, and also how filling it was.

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And… OMG. Montreal in ONE WEEK! Like I mentioned on this post, I will be leaving for Montreal next Saturday. The flight is five hours, and we will get a free meal on the plane. I think I will bring a Larabar and a homemade banana muffin for the flight, as I would rather not eat plane food.

In other news, this was a great dinner cooked by Mom. Roasted baby potatoes in salt and pepper, steamed broccoli, and sauteed corn and scallions. Plus one filet of super tender trout. I love baby potatoes! I sure will miss Mom’s cooking. Only seven more dinners left to enjoy before I’m off to Quebec.

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Oatmeal for breakfast! Here, simple oats are topped with crumbled triple berry muffin and sliced banana. Aaannnd a big blob of my favourite almond buttah.

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I sure hope I can have muffin at Montreal. I wonder if they are as nice as the muffins here – most muffins I find here are dense, rich, and made with minimal ingredients. There are usually no funky preservatives – just flour, butter, leaveners, fruit, oats, and other simple mix-ins. Who needs a muffin with soybean oil and diglycerides?!

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Mom and I went to Whole Foods earlier this week. We started with a wonderful sandwich – one of my favourites, the big chicken + arugula sandwich. The salty proscuitto with tangy chevre is SO good. Plus, that sundried tomato aioli on herby focaccia?! OMG.

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Then we had some a lot of goodies from the hot bar!

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Roasted veggies, amazing marinated feta cheese, and incredible hummus + baba ghanoush (eggplant dip) on pakoras and falafel. The white beans are really good, too. Oh! The broccoli salad! With sweet and tangy mayonnaise, chewy raisins, and crunchy seeds, the WF broccoli salad is seriously to die for. And that macaroni and cheese. OMG.

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Can I please live at Whole Foods?! 😉

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Oatmeal for breakfast the next day – plain oats topped with almond butter, berries, and a sliced banana. Yum! Oatmeal is really the most filling breakfast I can think of.

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Dessert – crumbled muffin over yogurt with honey-roasted pecans and chia seeds. 🙂

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These photos look almost identical to these, but I had this lunch on two different days. Toasted focaccia topped with creamy smushed avocado and tangy goat cheese eggs, plus some mixed greens. The perfect healthy + easy + quick + delicious lunch!

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Okay, I have this for dessert a lot. More yogurt, this time topped with mixed berries, a little scoop of almond butter, and honey-roasted pecans + walnuts.

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Obviously I cannot get enough! Here, yogurt crowns a bowl of strawberries and crumbled honey almond pear muffin. YUMMO.

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… help guys I think I am addicted. Yog, again, topped with sliced banana and crumbled muffin, plus a big sprinkle of ch-ch-ch-chia.

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I think that is it for now… I know, it’s lame… but I’m busy writing a STORY with my sister! I’m working on most of the written novel part, and she’s doing all of the illustrations. We’ve actually published a book already (I wrote it when I was nine), but this one will hopefully be better. 🙂 I’ll give more deets next time because I have to go help Mom with dinner now.

Happy longest day of the year and see you on my next post!

Already Summer?!

Can you believe we’re already more than a week into June? I definitely can’t. I know I always say this, but this week month has gone by so quickly. Seriously! I feel like we’re still in February. 😉 Oh, and did you check out my new header?! I LOVE it! It’s a simple collage of all my fave photos/meals.

I mentioned this in my last post, but I will be going to Montreal this summer! I was assigned to a city called Saint-Eustache in Quebec. I will be working at a daycare/family-service place with children aged 0-6. I’m really excited! Some of my friends have done summer camps in Montreal, and others work at animal shelters. I think it will be exciting to work with babies, especially since I’m usually volunteering with toddlers and school-age kids. Weee!

I think I also mentioned this last time, but we keep on having teacher strikes. The relationship between the Canadian government and schoolteachers is kind of tense right now. We’re already on our third week of rotating strikes. I hope this doesn’t affect our final exams and report card marks. 😦

Anyways…
I’ve been overeating A LOT recently. It seems like we always have muffins in our house, and if you know me at all – I cannot resist muffins sweet homemade baked goods.
In fact, I just had lunch at 1:00. I wasn’t hungry after a huge breakfast at 9:00 (grapes, cherry-almond oatmeal + yogurt). I started with a nectarine. Then I made a grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar and avocado. After that, I nibbled on some big farmer’s market strawberries and raspberries. After THAT, I had a bowl of yogurt topped with crumbled muffin. I’m SO stuffed now, plus we’re having an early dinner. :/
I think the problem is that there is TOO much good food at our house, and I simply can’t stop eating them. Yogurt, oatmeal, a big loaf of whole wheat bread, avocados, cheese, ravioli (oh, yum), organic cherries, grapes, and nectarines. 4, yes 4, fresh muffins from Matchsticks. Mimi brought them, and they are HUMONGOUS. No one in my family likes muffins, especially the “gourmet-flavoured” ones: lemon-Earl Grey, cranberry-orange, and pear honey-almond. Basically all four muffins are mine – I guess that’s a blessing AND a curse! I really need to rope in my sweet tooth and evaluate my hunger before nibbling.

 

Mom cooked this incredible dinner last weekend: tofu and scallion stir-fry with ginger and garlic, tomato scrambled eggs (I told you how much I love ’em on this post), and curried chicken drumsticks. They were marinated in coconut curry powder + plain yogurt. I LOVED every single component of this dinner!

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Seline’s and mine. I usually skip Mom’s garlicky Caesar salad because the dressing has three cloves of minced garlic – and I had tutor after. :mrgreen:

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Dessert on the same day: crumbled lemon-poppyseed muffin with honey roasted pecans/walnuts, blueberries, and chia seeds on honey Greek yogurt.

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More of that heavenly lemon-poppyseed muffin, this time crumbled on oatmeal with sliced banana, strawberries, raspberries + blueberries, and a big blob of almond butter. Dee-lish. Breakfast is honestly my favourite time of the day, especially when I have lots of oatmeal toppings.

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Lunchy-lunch lunch. I don’t know why I like these photos so much. I’m now obsessed with adding goat cheese to my scrambled eggs. This makes them so creamy and savoury-good. I always make this for a quick + yummy lunch, but really it could work for breakfast, lunch, OR dinner. Super satisfying, and uber-healthy too!

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Love my Mom Dinners. This is wintermelon with krill, garnished with green onions. So simple, yet super satisfying and flavourful. I know it’s not a very pretty dish. 😥 Sorry… I wanted to dig in!

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Beef and broccoli stir-fry with carrots, onions, and mushrooms. We sure have this often! You can check out all of the variations on this search page.

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Fried rice with scallops, bok choy, and egg white. The egg white was leftover from Mom’s Caesar dressing last night (we use only the yolk for that). The dried scallops MAKE this dish. They infuse the whole dish with a rich, seafood-y flavour that I adore. This fried rice was incredible – one of my top 3 favourites ever?!

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All together!

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My bowl. Check out how Mom cuts those carrots! 😀

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‘Nother breakfast. My teeth hurt a lot on this day. I’d just come back from the orthodontist, and I got ze wires tightened. I’m also starting to wear elastics. Needless to say, I had to eat a soft and creamy breakfast. Oats + yogurt to the rescue! This was plain almond-milk oatmeal topped with Greek yogurt, super melty Barney Butter, and a crumbled cranberry-orange muffin. One of my best oatmeal bowls evah! I loved this combo of sweet (oats) + citrusy (muffin) + rice and salty (BB), and tangy (yogurt).

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This lunch was amazing: Whole Foods bread, sliced banana, and tons of peanut butter – all grilled to perfection in coconut oil. I didn’t want this lunch to end!

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And… lastly, a lovely fried rice dinner. Fried rice is sort of the Chinese equivalent of a kitchen sink salad; anything you want to get rid of goes in! Here, we have eggs, cubed chicken breast, mushrooms, cauliflower, green peppers, onions, and scallions. Nothin’ weird about that. 😉 Tons of sesame on top. But honestly, the cauliflower/mushroom/peppers were excellent additions to this fried rice. It was so, so, so good. I had two bowls – the last picture shows my second serving.

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I think that’ll be it for now. I still have some homework to wrap up before going to a post-departure training session with my family at 6:30 (hence the early dinner I mentioned). I can’t wait to show you guys my next post – I have a KILLER salad to show you, as well as some ah-mazing oatmeal concoctions AND a trip to Whole Foods. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday. 🙂

 

Party Party

PARTIES.

I promised I would post about the party on this post, and here it is now. 🙂 I am so excited to share all of these with you guys! We told our guests to arrive at 12:00, and when they did, the food was all prepped so we could just sit down and chow.

By the way, our guests = Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Mimi, Uncle Charles, and of course my family of four.

Now, onto the food!

 

Eggy egg egg salad crackers to start. These were made with chopped hard-boiled eggs and green onions, mixed with a little mayo and a squirt of mustard, plus lemon juice and black peppah. I think I snacked on three while I was making them. These crackers (from Whole Foods) are grainy, wheat-y, and really hearty. I love crunchy crackers. These have an “ancient-grain” taste. I loved it with the sassy, creamy egg salad.

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Uh oh! Ran out of egg salad. These are pita crackers from Trader Joe’s and some rice crackers from Costco.

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Chinese chicken sesame salad. The usual, with sliced “omelette eggs” and cucumbers.

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Spicy seaweed salad, a Chinese dish made by Mom.

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Quinoa salad with mixed greens, feta cheese, and sundried tomatoes. I had this for lunch on this day!

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Pork ribs and lotus root soup. I didn’t have any, but my grandparents RAVED about this!

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Lamb with daikon and tofu. Again, I didn’t have any lamb, but the guests really loved this dish. I guess I’ll have to try it next time!

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Maple-soy salmon. I had one and a half – you’ll see in a minute! Oh, and you can also see maple-soy salmon on ‘dis post.

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Incredibly crispy-creamy rosemary roasted potatoes. These were incredible, but I wish they weren’t so spicy. I went a little heavy on the red chili pepper flakes – oops!

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Maple, brown sugar, and cinnamon roasted butternut squash. This. Was. Divine. I had it leftover in quinoa salads for lunch, and also straight out of the microwave for dinner!

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Bok choy and cloud fungus stir-fry with onions.

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Squid with snap peas, canned Chinese straw mushrooms and carrots, sprinkled with sesame.

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The whole spread!

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This was my portion. YUM!

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A scoop of jasmine rice on the side. Perf for soaking up all of that maple-soy sauce from the trout.

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Serving #2!

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Coffee! This was organic decaf that Aunt Mimi brought. I usually don’t drink coffee, so this was just a splash from her mug + lots of milk. 🙂

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Then we brought out ze cake…

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Whole Foods New York Cheesecake with mango! Yum…

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My serving + Mom’s serving. 🙂

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The one in the green-framed plate is mine. I had seconds! I can NEVER turn down cake, especially if it’s sitting in front of me! But I thought the mango tasted a little artificial. Not in a powdery-fake way, but almost like it was canned (it probably was). A little more fibrous and chewy than usual.

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And I had this for dessert on that day (dinner) as well. Truly a fantastic party. I keep telling Mom that we have to do this again soon!

 

In other news, I am STUFFED right now. Just had a big, big Mom Meal dinner with rice, corn, edamame, cabbage, fungus, fish, oh man. Then I had to try the farmer’s market strawberries (first BC strawbs of 2014!). So I put some yogurt on it. Then I added some muffin… and then went to town with muffins. I had big slivers of all three muffins (from Matchsticks) and I think I had the equivalent of half a medium muffin?! Holy.

Well… there’s school tomorrow and I can’t wait to have oatmeal with muffin on top. Oh, and we also bought mizuna from the farmer’s market! I’m gonna put some with quinoa and bell peppers for my lunch. Can’t wait. Tutor’s coming soon – see ya!

I ♥ Whole Foods

Dare I say… best lunch ever?

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It’s no secret that I adore Whole Foods. Aren’t I lucky to have an awesome Mama who takes me to Whole Foods almost every Pro-D Day! Yeah! 🙂

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The Whole Foods hot bar is loaded with tons of goodies. There is really something there for everyone! There are lots of tofu selections (YUM!) and I’ve even had tempeh. All the ingredients are uber fresh, local, and *mostly* healthy. There are tons of different flavours and textures, and you can get as little or as much of anything as you want. Oh yeah, and the sandwiches! The sandwiches are seriously incredible. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a turkey-apple-brie sandwich from Whole Foods. Gooey, melty cheese and a variety of other fillings – all enveloped by crispy bread. Oh-so-yummy. There are only two drawbacks about going for lunch at Whole Foods.
1) It’s insanely expensive. One bowl that {generously} serves one person = $22? Holy cow.
2) Sometimes the food is cold! I don’t know why, but roasted vegetables just aren’t the same when they’re chilled. 😦

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Okay, third reason:
3) It may be Whole Foods, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Sure, the kale salad and quinoa pilaf are totally nutritious, but what about the macaroni and cheese? Obs and gobs of butter, cheese, and pasta might taste delicious, but just because it’s from WF doesn’t mean it’s low-calorie. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat it, though! It is amazing. Just watch your portions!

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Here we have tons of delicious thingies… let’s start with my Mediterranean corner! I have a spinach pakora, which I’m pretty sure is fried. But it’s a little spicy and has great texture. Topped with hummus and baba ghanoush, an eggplant dip. I also have a falafel patty. Two cubes of marinated feta cheese (OMG) and spicy olive-y Mediterranean relish add flavour. I also added a little scoop of white beans.

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Sweet potato, kale salad, beets, and Greek salad. I also see some tomato chickpeas and herby tomato brown rice! There is also swiss chard with creamy cashew dressing (that’s the green veggie with red stems). I also had a delicious piece of tofu, some parsley noodles, and more tofu on the right hand side. It’s curried tofu, with raisins and almonds. Under that is a big piece of stewed zucchini. So tender!

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In the middle, you see some macaroni and cheese. One of the best parts! WF also makes an incredible smoked mozzarella salad. It’s got penne, spinach, roasted red peppers, and of course, creamy and sharp smoked mozza. Another pasta salad {poppyseed penne pasta salad} has penne and creamy poppyseed dressing, with red onions and more spinach. I love it!

I can also see mashed potatoes and some Thai quinoa salad with carrots. Once, I even had mashed cauliflower at Whole Foods… ummmm, #totallynotpotatoes. Not even close.

What I’ve listed above isn’t everything we ate – there was TONS more underneath that we can’t see. 😦

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Mom and I also shared a super yummy big chicken and arugula sandwich. That’s crunchy ciabatta bread stuffed with roasted chicken, proscuitto, goat cheese, and mixed greens. The sundried tomato aioli truly makes the sandwich. Just like last time!

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Dessert was some sweet petites!

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A raspberry white chocolate cheesecake tart – my favourite! I have one of these every time. They are sweet, and so rich. They’re pretty small, but you won’t need any more. Love the crust, too. They are really satisfying. 9.8/10! 😉 Yum!

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A chocolate mousse fruit cup – so good! I’m not really into mousse, and those Kinder eggs aren’t my thing. But the berries in creamy chocolate was amazing. I liked this and I’d say… 6/10? I’m picky about my desserts!

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A Nanaimo bar – these are amazing. The middle layer is literally sweetened coconut + powdered sugar. I had only a quarter of this – didn’t need more! 7/10. I would NOT be able to eat the whole thing – it’s much bigger than it looks.

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Love Whole Foods – can’t wait to go again soon! ❤

Have you been to Whole Foods? Do you like it there?

Light and Healthy Lunch Ideas

Hi everyone!

I’ve got a special post for you today. Usually I eat lunch at school, and 100% of the time, it’s leftovers from last night. I microwave it at school for about a minute and thirty seconds, so that it’s hot but not too hot, but not warm either… you know? There is always some rice on the bottom, either fat sushi rice or fragrant jasmine rice. On top, I’ll have a couple dinner “side dishes”, like fried trout, sauteed vegetables, squash, stir-fries, braised meat, wintermelon, steamed eggs, whatevah. See this post for a wonderful Mom meal. 🙂

It’s rare that I ever have lunch at home!

On Sundays, as you’ve seen on my weekend posts here and here, I go out for lunch with my family. Like for my favourite pizza! Or sushi, like we have here. I LOVE sushi.

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That leaves Saturday – but on Saturdays, I’ll usually have a small lunch because it’s before aerial silks (I don’t want to feel weighed down). Saturdays I’ll often eat an apple with some kind of dip and scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs work any time of day! If I have spinach at home though, I’ll always have a spinach omelet, which I make with two eggs, white cheddar, and a big handful of baby spinach. Oh yeah, and a ton of black pepper. So good!

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During the spring break – yes, I know, I’m so behind! – I often had rice cakes and tasting platters. Let’s start with rice cakes! Rice cakes are practically calorie-free. THREE of these big, palm-sized (and my palms are huge!) rice cakes are under 50 calories. That’s comparable to raw veggies and flavoured water. Wow! The one that I buy is made without rice (ha!). Instead, it’s filled with other goodies like millet, quinoa, and flax. I really like this one.

Here, I top it with hummus + black pepper, peanut butter + banana slices + cinnamon sprinkle + honey, and almond butter + ground flax seeds + Craisins (dried cranberries) + shredded coconut + maple syrup drizzle. That’s three different toppings. 😛

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Rice cakes might taste a leetle like cardboard, but the toppings really do make up for that. Try some of these topping ideas and let me know what you think!

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Light salads are a great lunch idea. This is just romaine mixed with store-bought Kraft Caesar dressing. I made the croutons myself, out of fresh focaccia bread from the local bakery. Cut into cubes and bake until toasty. I don’t even add olive oil – I don’t think you need it. It still gets crunchy.

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Here I add a pan-fried chicken breast for protein. If salads don’t fill you up, just add a chicken breast! It’s filling and delicious. Simply season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then cook until done over medium-high heat. You might have to cover it. Easy peasy.

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Another light lunch idea is a tasting platter. Inspired by The Vegan Platter from Rumpus Room, I made my own little tasting plate. Here I have grapes, cucumber sticks, carrot sticks, and two types of crackers, all to be dipped in creamy hummus. The grapes were the best part. I got them at Whole Foods, and they’re SO crunchy and sweet! I love the ones that just burst open when you bite down. These crackers are amazing, too. Some of the best I’ve ever had! They do have a grainy/wheat-y/seed-y taste, which I love.

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Crackers are also excellent with egg salad! I make my egg salad with two hard-boiled eggs, a tiny scoop of mayonnaise, some plain/Greek yogurt if I have it, lots of Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and lots of black pepper. I really recommend letting it rest in the fridge for an hour or two for the flavours to develop. After it’s done “marinating”, smear it on crackers, rice cakes (!), bread, or use it to top a salad. Eaten with grapes on another day! The crackers without egg salad have hummus on them.

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There’s a reason why sandwiches are the #1 most popular lunch food. They’re great! When my mom bought a loaf of French bread from the local bakery, I turned it into grilled cheese (made with sharp white cheddar).

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Another variation, shown here, is made with peanut butter, banana slices, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey. Delicious! Sweet or savoury – I can’t decide. Both of these sandwiches were scrumptious. Crispy on the outside and super flavourful inside. Cooked on a skillet in olive oil (grilled cheese) or coconut oil (PB + B sammie). Yum! I want one right now. 🙂

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This is half of a sandwich from Whole Foods, as I mention here. It’s made with turkey, apple, and brie cheese. There are also some mixed greens and tomatoes inside, as well as a smear of canola-mayonnaise. I grilled it for maximum crunch! This sandwich was delicious. I had the other half for dinner, along with some yogurt and berries for dessert.

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I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I liked writing it. 🙂 Have a great weekend, and let me know if you try any of these!

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