The Best Food Court Meal I’ve Ever Had

Hey, hey, hey! Quick update on everything, now that September is coming to a close.

Yes, I know that many of my previous posts were flashbacks to my short time at home in BC. And as much as I wish I was back in BC, chowing on croissants every morning, I’m actually living in Scarborough, a quiet, academic suburb of Toronto. You might remember the little tour post that I did of my room/bathroom/kitchen and my office at work.

Remember my day at SLXCA in downtown Toronto? On the same day, I went to the Kensington Market, where I stopped at Hibiscus Cafe and devoured this buckwheat crepe with brie, roasted apples, pecans, arugula, and avocado. Super beautiful, yes, but the flavours needed a little something (maybe pepper?).

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Most of my eats at home have been simple, but oh-so-delicious. This quiche was from the farmer’s market, and I’ve been purchasing one little one every week. Truly the best crust I’ve ever had.

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Soups have also been making regular appearances, along with scones.

I found out recently that the uwaterloolife Instagram account featured me! I’ve seen my paragliding photo from Nepal 2016 used in several University of Waterloo Study Abroad advertisements. I was thrilled to see this post, shared with me by a friend, since I don’t have my own Instagram.

Pumpkin seeds, guys! Why did it take me so long to fall in love with them?

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On a tragic note, I finished all my sunflower butter. I suppose that merits another trip to Trader Joe’s once I return to BC? 😏

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Life at the college has been good, too. My students, for the most part, have been incredibly dedicated, well-prepared, and ready to learn and work hard. Thank you ❤

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Check out this stunning stretch that I walk down, each time I go to the Dollarama, Bulk Barn, and Food Basics plaza. Gorgeous, right? I had no idea that Scarborough would be so dramatically different from downtown Toronto.

Dollarama is a lifesaver. I love my soft slippers and the Halloween decorations that I purchased for my office. It’s never too early for Halloween, if you ask me.

Now this! O-M-G (part 1). On Saturday, I visited Scarborough Town Centre, the local mall, where I enjoyed this amazing lunch from Naan&Kebab. You see, I was expecting a greasy, sticky mess with dry, hard pieces of chicken, and perhaps a couple limp leaves.

Nope, nope, nope. What did I get instead?

  • two generously-sized pieces of piping hot, toasted naan bread
  • a large helping of basmati rice cooked in savoury beef broth, mixed with shredded carrots and plenty of plump, juicy raisins
  • six large, tender, flavourful and spiced chunks of chicken
  • a creamy, rich, and spiced just-right chickpea stew
  • romaine lettuce, red cabbage, mixed vegetables, and two types of salsa, with a creamy spiced yogurt on top

For less than $12. I tried to save half for a future meal, but I knew after my first few bites that it wasn’t happening – it was too fresh and tasty, so I happily finished it all. Next time, I’m going to try the paneer version!

Sweet Jesus is pretty much a legend in Toronto. Everyone knows about it, and most people have tried it. Well, on Saturday, I got to see what the hype was all about. I chose the vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream. A generous drizzle of Nutella was artfully drizzled on top of the soft serve, and the entire thing was coated in crunchy chopped pistachios and cornflakes. The soft serve itself reminded me of Costco ice cream. My only complaint is that it was physically hard to eat, simply because of the size of the ice cream compared to the size of the cup. It got pretty messy, but I should have asked for a larger cup, or at least some napkins.

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The same day, I cooked up a vegetarian chili for dinner.

Vegetarian Chili

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 1.5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery (I omitted since I didn’t find any)
  • 1 scant tbsp chili powder
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid, chopped or crushed
  • 10+ oz kidney beans
  • 10+ oz black beans
  • 5+ oz whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil and saute all vegetables with chili powder. Add salt.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, and corn. Season with remaining spices. Stir in pumpkin.
  3. Boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

The chili itself was a winner! These are some of the topping ideas that I’ll be using next time. This time, I kept it simple with some shredded cheddar.

TOPPINGS

  • cheddar cheese (personal favourite)
  • sour cream, creme fraiche, or thick plain yogurt
  • lime
  • avocado
  • cornbread
  • rice

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I saw some kind of list about Top 10 Fall Soups (or something!), and had the urge to create a big pot of chicken and wild rice soup. Since I didn’t want to buy and cook chicken, I subbed in an entire carton of white mushrooms. I really enjoyed this soup, especially on the second day with extra salt.

Creamy Mushroom Wild Rice Soup

Serves 5

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp butter, or oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • shallot
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until tender, about 7 mins. Add mushrooms and shallot.
  3. Stir in garlic clove. Cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add flour until dissolved.
  4. Slowly stir in milk, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently until thickened. Add broth, wild rice, parsley, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a low boil. Reduce to simmer, cook for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaf.
  7. Serve!

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And that’s pretty much it for today! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

My TEA-rrific Obsession

Good Thursday morning! How are you all doing this morning?

My week has been pretty hectic, with four midterms in the next four school days, on top of lab reports, essays, and assignments. The summer semester is a couple weeks shorter than others, so all of the content has been condensed. I started to feel a little behind in my classes a few days ago, having missed several classes for interviews. With co-op interviews, you are not allowed to miss any interview at any cost, or risk getting kicked out of the co-op program. 😥

But, onto something more important and much less stressful – tea!

Sometimes, I think of myself as a “bad” tea drinker, simply because of the fact that I struggle to savour each sip. x-OyjIemMy idea of a good tea is something sweet, milky, and whether or not its organic doesn’t matter to me. Am I the only one?

In April, a good friend from high school send me a Facebook message – she asked if I’d like to try some tea from a subscription package from Amoda Tea (@AmodaTea on Twitter). I don’t know, I thought initially, I’m really not the right person for this. Tea isn’t exactly my forte. Hey, did you know that “forte” is pronounced “fort”, not “fort-ay”? I learned that this morning.

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Back to the tea! Faye, my friend, works with Amoda, which is dedicated to connecting people with superfoods, particularly organic teas and matcha blends. They make beautiful subscription (I just typed prescription… too much time at the clinic!) boxes filled with all kinds of flavours.

My aunt once told me that I should “never drink boring, regular tea.” Her reason? Preservatives. Artificial flavours. Leaching. Added sweeteners. Now, I’m certainly not a health nut – well, not a health nut to the point where everything I ingest must be #lowcarb, #vegan, or #organic. I just like good, preferably-healthy food, you know?

Funny story: I was living in Toronto for my 4-month work term at the Toronto Health Centre at the time Faye messaged me, preparing to move back to Waterloo. When I sent her my address, however, I forgot to add my unit number. I live in a student housing complex with four floors and a dozen units – the tea ended up getting mailed BACK to BC. After about a month of flying, it finally made its way back to Waterloo.

The Monthly Tea Box is priced at $20. Shipping is included in this cost. This is a great price, because you are getting 4 packages x 4 cups of tea each, which will make you 16 glorious mugs of tea; each cup comes down to just $1.25. Compare that to Starbucks, where a venti (large) tea latte will set you back $4.65. If I wanted 16 of those? A shocking $74.40. My #studentbudget doesn’t have room for that, that’s for sure!

Best of all, an Amoda monthly tea box can be purchased as a monthly subscription or a gift subscription, and you can add selected add-ons which I detail below.

The subscription box came with:

  • 4 packages of tea leaves, each package able to make around 4 cups of tea (the teas have different amounts of caffeine, but there is also the option of ordering the ‘Low Caff’, where all teas are designed for light sleepers and are low in caffeine)
  • clear steeping instructionsIMG_8562
  • tasting notes for each tea
  • a cute postcard

Possible add-ons include:

  • $5 tea spoon (I want one!)
  • $5 natural, biodegradable tea filters (25 total)

Let’s get brewing!

Let me tell you all about my favourite of the four teas in the subscription package. I’m a black tea lover, so I found MANASLU from Nepali Tea Traders to be incredibly delicious.

  • made from Nepalese black tea
  • reminded me of the many cups of delicious black tea that I enjoyed while living in Kathmandu, Nepal, over the summer
  • high in caffeine
  • rich scent, with a pure, fresh flavour
  • the name reminds of of a Cirque du Soleil production, but Manaslu is actually one of the top 10 highest mountains in the world (part of the Nepalese Himalayas)

I noticed that I needed a packed heaping 1 tsp of tea leaves to make it flavourful; the package stated “1 heaping tsp”, and I was unsure as to whether or not I should pack it loosely or heavily. I found that 4-5 minutes of brewing time was ideal for my taste, and I liked my tea with a splash of milk and a swirl of honey. I can’t wait to have another mug tomorrow.

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This photo is much better than mine. Aren’t the postcards (and the box) pretty? I haven’t mailed mine out yet.

From their site:

The Amoda Monthly Box is a premium tea subscription box. The Amoda tasting team scours the shelves of independent tea companies across North America to find unique teas, delicious blends and fun flavours. The Monthly Box offer a way to discover the hidden gems of the tea world, support the up-and-coming tea companies and taste the very best they have to offer.

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* Do you have tepidophobia? That’s the fear of a terrible cup of tea. Interestingly, I actually LIKE my tea not-too-hot and not-too-bitter (i.e. I prefer mine with milk and sweetener). Tea purists are probably cringing so much right now.

Hope everyone has a pre-tea spectacular week, and tea lovers – don’t forget to check out Amoda’s website for some serious aesthetics and good deals on tea. Perhaps it’ll put you in that Alice in Wonderland tea party mood, like it did with me! Hypnotic GIFs. I know.

Have a blissful, tea-infused week, everyone!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Swirl Banana Muffins

I can’t believe that there are less than three days until Christmas. This semester seemed to fly by, and the holidays really snuck up on me.

I have a delicious muffin recipe to share with you guys today. It involves powdered peanut butter, chocolate and bananas, so we really can’t go wrong here. I know I shared a recipe just yesterday, but… chocolate.

Mmmm. These froze exceptionally well and made a perfect yogurt/oatmeal topping.

 Give it a try!
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Swirl Banana Muffins
Serves: 9
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 medium bananas, ripe
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ¼ cup milk (I used almond, but coconut, cows, or soy would work)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup spelt flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
  • 3 tablespoons PB2
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Line nine muffin tins with paper/foil liners, or grease a nonstick muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mash bananas with a fork.
  4. Add oil, egg, milk, and vanilla. Whisk well.
  5. Add flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda and stir until just combined.
  6. Add oats and stir.
  7. Melt chocolate chips in microwave safe measuring cup for 30-45 seconds. Stir until smooth.
  8. Cool slightly, then add ½ of batter to measuring cup and stir until combined.
  9. Add PB2 to the remaining batter and mix well.
  10. Scoop 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of PB2 batter and 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of chocolate batter in a lined muffin tin.
  11. Swirl batters together with a toothpick.
  12. Repeat for remaining batter.
  13. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
178 calories, 19g sugar, 3.2g protein
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It’s been frosty recently! The roads have all been iced over.

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And a hot chocolate at Princess Cafe with my friend Lily! This was taken before our final exams ended.

And a potluck dinner enjoyed with fellow volunteers at school. Highlights include that incredible thyme sweet potato hash and great, creamy mac and cheese.

I even bought a new notebook a couple weeks ago, hoping it would motivate me to study.

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SO glad finals are over! Now I don’t need to serve my meals with a side of biochemistry or physiology.

Here’s that quinoa veggie casserole again. I always devour this!

Mmmmm. Perfectly comforting, satisfying, and warm in my belly.

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At home in BC, Mom made my brownie recipe! She said that the family devoured it. Wish I was there to have some. Mom’s baking always looks fantastic.

Relatable.

I found some old Nepal pictures on the Volunteering Solutions Instagram page. I lived in Nepal throughout the month of August and it was a spectacular experience. Blows my mind to think that, six months ago, I was one of those little flying paragliding dots.

Since we’re nearing the end of 2016, it’s almost time to buy a new planner! Planners are my love. I could search for ages for the perfect planner, and have plans to go to Staples this morning to check ’em out.

Hope y’all have the loveliest rest of the week!

Life of Pumpkin Pie

This is going to be a pretty lame post. It’s 8:15 AM and I have class soon! Speaking of classes, I can’t believe that the semester is nearly over. Just another four days to get through before classes are all done… wha?!

Anyways, Volunteering Solutions shared my Nepal paragliding photo as an ad! I thought that was pretty cool.

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And last night, I received my aerial silks photographs that were taken by Alexa Baker at Brass Butterflies. She took some great shots and you can see more on my aerial silks page. Normally the lighting in the studio is pretty horrendous, but Alexa had some cool lights that made the photos look shadowy and professional. 🙂

This is my tentative schedule for January – April, once I move to Toronto for my first co-op. I will be working at the Toronto Health Centre!

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Finals will be over in 18 days. The countdown begins!

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So many ideas for my first work term!

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I’ve still been keeping track of my finances. Last weekend, when I was in Toronto for the case competition, I definitely spent more than I should have. I will need to start saving this month.

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I’ve also been recording everything I’ve been eating. This was for the entire month of November. I did this to get an idea of how many fruits and veggies I eat every day. I knew I wasn’t eating as much veggies as I should, and this definitely helped to confirm. Any ideas on how to incorporate veggies into lunch?

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Here are some great pumpkin (maybe fall would be a better word) recipes that were a HIT to me recently!


The Best Vegan Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate

Serves 1

You’ll need…
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tbsp vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 sprinkle cinnamon
  • 1 sprinkle pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tiny sprinkle salt
Cook all ingredients over medium heat on the stovetop, or in the microwave, until the chocolate chips have melted. Serve hot!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars
Serves: 9
Ingredients
CRUST
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (168 g) almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp (24 g) coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 4-5 Tbsp (60-75 ml) melted coconut oil
FILLING
  • 2 3/4 cups (475 g) pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (48 g) coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp (18 g) coconut flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all crust ingredients together.
  3. Add crust to the parchment-lined baking dish and shake to evenly disperse, then lay down parchment paper on top and use a flat-bottomed object (such as a liquid measuring cup or drinking glass) and pressing down to pack the crust into place, making an even, firmly packed layer.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Whisk all filling ingredients together.
  6. Once the crust is baked, pour the filling into the crust and tap on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour. The filling will still be just a bit jiggly, dark orange in color, and have some cracks on the top – this is normal.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely before loosely covering with plastic wrap or foil and transferring to the refrigerator to fully set for 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.
  8. Once cooled, gently lift bars out of dish and slice into 9 bars. I also sliced the edges off mine for appearance, but this is optional.
  9. Serve with an additional sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin pie spice (optional). Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 3 days, though best when fresh.

One-Bowl Healthy Carrot Muffins

Serves 12
INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • ground ginger or grated ginger (about 1/4 tsp, to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup brown sugar
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk all ingredients except flour.
  3. Carefully add flour, and mix just to combine.
  4. Divide into 12 muffin tins, lined or greased with coconut oil. Bake for 18 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy warm or let cool for another couple of hours. Enjoy!

Before I sign out for today, remember my good blogger friend Rachel?

Today is the very last day for her campaign to raise money for children in Sudan. She is such a generous person, a great photographer, and a thoughtful friend. She is doing this instead of asking for birthday gifts 🙂

Check out her post here and definitely consider donating SOON! https://secure.hope-international.com/registrant/donate.aspx?eventid=209391&langpref=en-CA&Referrer=https%3A%2F%2Foutlook.live.com%2F

And that’s it! Happy December!

From Thanksgiving to Healthy Blueberry “Buttermilk” Pancakes

Happy belated Thanksgiving, my Canadian friends!

I hope you all had an incredible day full of great food, laughter, and special moments with family and friends. I’m writing this as I enjoy my breakfast – whole wheat pita bread with a ton of melted butter, scrambled eggs with cheddar and spinach, and yogurt with peanut butter, raspberries, granola, and some chocolate banana bread. I always tend to go a little overboard with breakfast on days that I don’t have school. Since yesterday was Thanksgiving, students at the University of Waterloo also get Tuesday and Wednesday off to make a full “reading week”. I’m planning to spend the next couple of days just relaxing!

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Mom made a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner that involved bone broth, pumpkin pie from Superstore, two pizzas and Church’s chicken, and a big, beautiful salad. Those crackers look kind of interesting, too.

At my friend Mary’s house, the table was set beautifully. I loved the cornucopia centrepiece and fall-accented tablecloth.

This was my first plate! I definitely had seconds. Moving clockwise from 12:00 – mashed acorn “pepper” squash, roasted turkey breast, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, apple and butternut squash hash, roasted sweet potatoes, raw carrot and green beans, the best celery-bacon-bread stuffing I’ve ever tasted, and strawberry jello with pineapple. The stuffing and squash mashes were incredible. What did you enjoy for Thanksgiving dinner?

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We’re kind of moving back in time here, but a couple days ago I enjoyed chocolate oatmeal with peanut butter and a serving of yogurt with fruit for breakfast.

I had my first Skype interview! It was done in a big room with six cubicles. All the interviewees got to wear headsets with microphones to speak to the hiring managers. My interview was around 30 minutes long, and I loved getting to meet my potential boss and some of her colleagues. It was a cool experience, but I didn’t like how the camera was much higher than the screen. It made “eye contact” a little awkward! Have you ever done a Skype interview?

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to snap photos of my oatmeal on my bed? Pumpkin oats are finally IN now!

Another day I had whole wheat bread with smashed avocado, a delicious filet of spicy salmon, and some roasted brown sugar squash. An amazing lunch!

LASAGNA! ❤ This vegetarian lasagna was made with heaps of zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers, along with a whole box of spinach and fresh ricotta cheese and a ball of mozzarella. I had this two days in a row and froze the rest. YUM.

And pumpkin baked oatmeal was made and enjoyed for a couple days! This recipe serves 2, and you can use either rolled oats or quick oats. I found a vegan recipe since I was out of eggs and was pleased by how tasty this was.

Simple Vegan Pumpin Baked Oatmeal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking dish.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients and mix well. Fold in raisins or nuts, if desired.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

My sister’s best friend, Brianna, delivered a tray full of banana bread and pumpkin sugar cookies to Seline. They loved these, and it inspired me to bake something with the rest of my ripe bananas!

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I made my go-to recipe for chocolate banana squares. I still have a hard time believing this amazing vegan recipe is low-sugar, oil/butter-free, and made with whole wheat flour. Granola was also made, this time using quick oats, maple syrup and coconut oil, and walnuts. I love, love, love this granola recipe.

Some of it was jarred and given to the Zach family (Mary’s family). I told you, we’re going in a weird order today… reverse chronological?!

Needless to say, I had a ton of dishes to wash afterwards, so I enjoyed washing them while watching Mockingjay Part II on my laptop. Have you guys seen that movie? Thoughts? PS: watching something while doing dishes makes it much less of a chore 🙂

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Another day, I thought I would take a nap at 6:00 PM, wake up in an hour, and then cook a delicious salmon filet. I must have been incredibly tired because I didn’t wake up until 9:00 PM, and it was so dark outside! Oops. Instead, I rolled groggily out of bed and felt instantly refreshed once I smelled this simple red curry with eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, and red pepper cooking… in the microwave. I also thanked past Cindy for making this!

A couple days ago, I tried a new recipe for pancakes. I made the following changes:
– halved the recipe
– replaced banana with a whole egg (instead of half an egg)
– greased pan with butter
– added a pinch of salt
– used frozen blueberries
– used oat flour instead of whole oats, since I don’t have a blender
– used just a sprinkle of cinnamon
– enjoyed with maple syrup

Next time, I will add more blueberries since it was easy to flip. I will also add more cinnamon next time.

It tasted like a buttermilk pancake in flavour, but the texture was a bit creamier, gummier, and was fragrant like oats. I loved it and will be making this recipe again. I highly recommend it if you’re a pancake lover like me! Next time, I might also experiment with other fruit like raspberries or even chocolate chips.

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Next time, I will add more blueberries since it was easy to flip. I will also add more cinnamon next time. It tasted like a buttermilk pancake in flavour, but the texture was a bit creamier, gummier, and was fragrant like oats. I loved it and will be making this recipe again. I highly recommend it if you’re a pancake lover like me! Next time, I might also experiment with other fruit like raspberries or even chocolate chips.

Still, absolutely 100% deliciousness.

A different recipe this time, but still using oat flour. I think I may have cooked these too long or over-mixed the batter, because it was quite firm and hard to chew. The flavour was excellent though, so I think the recipe just needs a bit of tweaking.

Last Friday, I went to downtown Toronto for my interview at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The best part of the day was going to Rahier in the morning for an earl grey tea latte and an almond croissant.

I was walking down the street to the hospital when I noticed another bakery – Patisserie LaCigogne, so I HAD to indulge in another croissant. Yup, I had two decadent chocolate almond croissants in less than an hour. It was a sweet day, literally and figuratively.

Mom Meals! Does anything catch your eye here? For me, it’s the MUFFINS and that kabocha soup! It’s crazy how much you can do with kabocha. Here in Waterloo, it’s called “buttercup squash”. I’ve made curries and pancakes out of kabocha, but there are a million other uses that you can read about here. Yes, kabocha pudding is a thing – and leave it to Miss SuperFitBabe to invent that!

I don’t know why I love these photos so much. It’s crazy what good-ish lighting can do for a food shot! I made a red eggplant curry with spinach and served it on quinoa, with lots of peanuts. Yummy.

Dessert was arguably yummier, with raspberries, peanut butter yogurt, granola, and a square of chocolate banana bread.

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More squash and more salmon – I ended up standing over the sink, stuffing squash into my mouth before I had to head out the door! These were ADDICTIVE.

Skies are cool.

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On a different note, I wrote an article a while back about my time in Nepal, and how doing yoga there was different from yoga here in North America. This was for a Yoga Teacher Training assignment, and I was lucky to have my article actually published by both Yoga Today, Yoga Anonymous, and Gaiam! For some reason, I’m super proud of that 🙂

This infographic was neat!

And something punny that I found on Facebook 🙂

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That’s it for today! Hope everyone has a great rest of the week. Can’t believe the weekend is already here!

PS: check out the world’s most random tags that I used for this post 😛

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 🙂