Crunchy Chocolate-Dipped Granola Bars

Hello, friends! Is anyone else in shock that it’s already July? I can’t believe it. June sort of flew by in a blur of midterms (I had TEN already, and one more to go before final exams start in the last week of July. I wish I were kidding). There was also plenty of great food consumed during the month of June – check out this great arugula salad with grilled halloumi, pesto pasta, and sautéed veggies.

One afternoon, I had a horrible headache and thought my head was going to explode! It was terrible; I’m normally not someone who gets headaches at all and feel so sorry for people who have regular migraines 😥

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One afternoon, I went to Aroma Cafe. I’ve been there a few times before, and their soup and sandwich combination is always such a treat. This time, their soup was creamy cauliflower, and was definitely one of the Top 5 soups I’ve ever enjoyed. Creamy, rich, mushroom-y, with a touch of sweetness, this perfectly velvet-textured soup was unforgettable. My sandwich was turkey and harvarti with roasted red peppers and avocado on homemade sourdough.

For dessert, the owner of the cafe, a lovely woman called Kiki, made taiyaki, a sweet fish-shaped waffle filled with red bean. It’s a traditional Korean street food. I’ve never been to Korea, but I think Kiki nailed this recipe! It was such an enjoyable dessert. Next time, I want to buy some to take home and enjoy with ice cream!

Speaking of desserts, say hello to my new favourite. I made this recipe twice in a week, and enjoyed every single square myself. As you can see, I am pretty selfish when it comes to good food, especially desserts 😉

These taste the best straight out of the fridge, with a scoop of yogurt or some fruit. They are chewy, just-sweet enough, with a touch of saltiness, and great crunch from the nuts and richness from the nut butter binder.

Make these as soon as possible. I promise you won’t regret it! Oh, and don’t leave out the chocolate dip.

Crunchy Chocolate-Dipped Granola Bars

Makes 1 8×8 pan

Ingredients

GRANOLA BARS

  • 1 cup (90 g) quick oats
  • 1/3 cup (30 g) pecans
  • 1/4 cup (28 g) flax
  • 2/3 cup (49 g) shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup (about 5) chopped prunes
  • 2 Tbsp (32 g) nut butter
  • 2 heaping Tbsp (45 g) melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 heaping cup (60 ml) maple syrup

FOR TOPPING

  • 1/2 heaping cup (60 g) chocolate chips
  • 1 heaping Tbsp (15 g) coconut oil

Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and arrange oats and pecans on a bare baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly toasted. They shouldn’t be browned, just slightly toasted for more flavor. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F (162 C). The second time I made this recipe, I skipped this step, and it turned out fantastic as well.

2.In the meantime, add flaxseed, coconut, and salt to a large mixing bowl and stir. Set aside.

3.Once oats and pecans are toasted, add to the mixing bowl along with chopped prunes. Loosely stir to combine and set aside.

4.Add nut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Then remove from heat and immediately add to the oats.

5.Mix thoroughly, ensuring that the prunes and the sunflower butter mixture are evenly dispersed and coating all of the dry ingredients.

6.Add the mixture to a parchment-lined 8×8-inch baking pan and spread into an even layer. Then top with another layer of parchment paper and press down with something flat – such as a measuring cup – to press into an even, uniform layer.

7.Bake at 325 degrees F (162 C) for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan. Transfer to the freezer to speed cooling time.

8.Once cooled, lift out of the pan and slice into desired number of bars. I cut them into 16 squares, but I ended up eating two squares each time anyways. Maybe try 8 or 9 instead?

9.Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a small mixing bowl over a double boiler on the stovetop. Dip squares in chocolate and set on parchment paper to harden. Place in freezer. Once bars have dried/cooled, store in the fridge.

I hope all my fellow Canadians had a wonderful long weekend!

Life.

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 1.08.40 PM.pngDo you like poetry? Quick promo, friends! Did y’all know that my crazy, studious, funny, awesome 17 year-old sister writes a blog, too? Hers is called Purely Poetic, and she writes all about mythical lands, strange sensations, and weird-but-wonderful worlds. Seline has a way with words, and is quite talented when it comes to writing creatively. Paired with some incredible aesthetics, I think you will love her writing. Take a look by clicking on this link, which will open up in another tab.

On another note, Mother’s Day was last weekend, and I was more than happy to wish a special day to my one and only mom. ❤ She is such a resilient, compassionate, caring person.

I had oatmeal this morning with an overripe banana, cocoa powder, tons of sunflower butter, and granola with hemp hearts to top.

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Yesterday night’s dinner was fresh pasta from the market, cooked with a pumpkin sauce and market asparagus with frozen peas. Parmesan on top!

The same sauce paired gloriously with fresh gnocchi. I love gnocchi. In fact, I think it is my #1 favourite pasta. What’s yours?

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For lunch yesterday, I met up with some friends to enjoy a meal at Cafe Pyrus. Every semester, the Schulich Leaders Foundation sponsors a get-together, and this time one of my friends recommended this vegan cafe in downtown Kitchener. I savoured every sip of my vanilla steamer, and loved the Angry Vegan sandwich: a panini with Daiya, caramelized onion, spinach, tomato, and a great garlicky aioli. Broccoli soup of the day was tasty, too.

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I wish I was back in Toronto so I could see this aerials showcase, starring my friends. 😥 They all look so beautiful in this shot.

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Eggs, broccoli, cheese, yogurt, fruit, granola – what better breakfast can you ask for?

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Loved this dinner that I enjoyed two nights in a row: baked herb salmon, broccoli, and a side of schoolwork.

I went to Freshii last weekend for this deluxe salad, which was loaded with brown rice (it was essentially a grain bowl), beets, carrots, corn, mushrooms, beans, aged cheddar and feta cheese, crispy wonton strips, spinach, and a spicy yogurt sauce. Loved this!

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Pancakes are another love, of course: this tasted awesome smeared with peanut butter and sunflower butter.

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A tasty lunch featured eggs and frozen almond croissant from Thobors.

Met with my friends at The Works, where I had a big turkey burger with great toppings! I love arugula on my burgers.

Meal prep, which involved a mediocre quinoa pesto chickpea salad and subpar cucumbers.

Chocolate baked oatmeal always exceeds my expectations. This tasted incredible with yogurt and granola… plus peanut butter. Always, peanut butter.

Baked sweet potato, beans and corn, cheddar, avocado, salsa. I need to buy more sweet potatoes this week. They are so versatile.

These are Seline’s drawings. Her artwork never fails to impress me. She did these spontaneously, somehow… with just a pencil and an old notebook!

Her oil paintings are equally wonderful. The waterfall painting is one of my favourites that she’s done. I cannot believe that she is self-taught, and has only been painting for two years.

Yay for cookies! Make this recipe, friends. I adopted the recipe slightly from Oh She Glows, and it is brilliant. And vegan. 😉 I made it with some arm power and a handheld whisk. You don’t need an electric beater for this. You won’t regret it – I baked ’em up and all ten were gone in 4-5 days. I was the only one eating them.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 large cookies

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (see note)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1.5 cups oat flour
  • 1-2 teaspoons non-dairy milk (only if needed to moisten batter)
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flax and water and set aside for a few minutes so it can thicken up. Whisk the flax egg again once thickened.
  2. Add the rest of the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flax egg (coconut oil, sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, cane sugar, and vanilla). Beat the ingredients until combined and smooth.
  3. Now, beat in the dry ingredients, one by one, as you go down the ingredient list (baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, oat flour). If your dough is a bit dry, add a teaspoon (or two) of non-dairy milk and beat the mixture again. The dough should be moist enough to form balls without cracking, but not super sticky.
  4. Beat the chocolate into the batter or simply stir by hand.
  5. Shape balls of dough (about the size of a golf ball or 2 heaping tablespoons) and place on the baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Gently press down on each ball with your hand to form a disc (it should be 1/2-inch thick or so). Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes until the cookies are spread out nicely.
  7. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 7 minutes or so and then transfer to a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.

One more recipe! This one was a killer dessert that satisfied every cakey craving.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MICROWAVE MUG CAKE
 Serves: 1
INGREDIENTS
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon butter extract (optional)**
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
  1. Spray a microwavable mug with cooking spray and then mix together oat flour, baking powder, salt, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and butter extract (if using). The batter should be somewhat thick, but not dry. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons more of almond milk as needed for consistency. Stir in mini chocolate chips and sprinkle a few over the top, if desired.
  2. Microwave on high for about 1 minute and 25 seconds. Take out of the microwave and if desired transfer to a plate. Enjoy!

Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!

Whole Foods & A Yoga Rave?!

Last Wednesday night involved going to the yoga studio for yoga teacher training after dinner, where we had a Groove dance party with flashing finger lights. It was very different to explore freestyle movement in this way. I felt a little self-conscious when dancing and wished that there was more instruction (like Zumba) or more structure (like traditional yoga).

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I mentioned that I had an interview at the Toronto Health Centre! For this interview, I had to go to downtown Toronto. After my interview, I did a short 20-minute walk to the nearest Whole Foods, because, let’s be real, I had serious WF withdrawal. Oh, and I got to visit Uncle Tetsu’s, a famous Japanese cheesecake shop where I purchased a cheesecake and a honey madeleine.

I enjoyed my dinner at the Whole Foods hot bar. I wish they had the nice blue bowls that the WF in Vancouver uses. Mac and cheese was as good as usual. I noticed that the Toronto WF has more meat-based options, like pulled pork, chili, and other meaty dishes.

Then I dug into this incredible cheesecake. YES. It tasted like a cloud. <– best description for Japanese cheesecake.

Have you ever tried Jap cheesecake? Do you like it?

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Another day, I asked Mom to draw a picture of me, and this was the result!

She’s not wrong.

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Hot oats in a peanut butter jar with crumbled chocolate cake on top. Because it was the day of my biochemistry midterm. You gotta do what you gotta do?!

Check out this recipe!

Mexican Sweet Potatoes

Serves 2 as a main course
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • fresh lime juice
  • green onion, or additional toppings if desired
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet.
  3. Poke holes in each potato using a fork. Place on baking sheet and roast for 45-75 minutes, depending on the size of each. When flesh is tender and you can easily slide a knife through, you’re done. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add chili powder, cumin, and black beans. Cook for another minute. Add salt, pepper, and lime.
  5. Slice each potato in half. Score flesh in a crisscross pattern. Gently mash flesh with a fork to fluff. Sprinkle on sea salt and pepper to season. Layer on black beans. Garnish with green onion, pinch each of chili powder and cumin, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Raspberries are no longer in season, but still ah-mazing with yogurt, chocolate cake, and nut butter. This is my favourite dessert!

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You must try this! Better than a pumpkin spice latte, I promise.

Actually, I don’t promise because I’ve never tried a PSL!

Dreamy Cinnamon Pumpkin Nut Butter

  • Coconut oil
  • Peanut or almond butter
  • Maple syrup
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Optional: ground cinnamon (I 100% recommend this! Okay, maybe it’s not optional.)
  • Optional: ground ginger
  • Optional: pumpkin pie spice
Microwave to melt. Stir together. Enjoy with apple slices, on toast, in oatmeal, on a spoon, or straight up on a finger. Not that I would know how that tastes or anything. 😉

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More of those baked sweet potatoes. They are delicious!

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Starbucks English breakfast tea latte that was so hot it killed 90% of my tongue cells. Took two days to recover!

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Lunch at Princess cafe involved a turkey sandwich with pesto, goat cheese, garlic mayo, and roasted red pepper. The soup was roasted beet and rosemary. I loved it!

Of course, I had to get the usual coconut cream pie 🙂 It’s my favourite thing at Princess Cafe! Although I do have a lot of favourites.

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Dear Past Cindy, thank you for making lasagna and freezing a bunch of pieces for future dinners.

Dear Past Cindy, thanks for making overnight oatmeal as a quick and tasty lunch that fills you up. Also, thanks SELINE for pointing out that cinnamon apparently looks like mold?

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Terrible lighting, delicious food. You can never go wrong with black beans, rice, and avocado!

Frozen and microwaved berries were dolled up with some yogurt and crumbled muffin, and avocado toast.

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Quiet night of studying at Princess Cafe. This soup was creamy curried cauliflower, and the sandwich involved eggplant and cabbage.

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I love, love, love these chocolate peanut butter banana squares. It’s a vegan recipe, too. This makes an awesome snack (if you have buddies who will let you know if you’ve got chocolate on your teeth). 🙂

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Let’s play Decode My Sister’s Teacher’s Writing! What on earth does this say? I think I have it figured out, but it took Seline and I a couple days. What do you think it says?

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That’s it for today! I’ve got a couple sweet posts in the making, including a bucket list and a super yummy (I just typed super sexy…) tofu hash.

Peace. ✌

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! 😀

De-Stressing April

Is it April already? My brain and my calendar are telling me yes, but my eyes (and, apparently, the weather gods of Waterloo) are saying NO.

I can’t believe we’re into the spring and have highs of ZERO with about 15 cm of snow outside. Exactly what I wanted during finals season. 😥

Gratefulness, Cindy, gratefulness!

On a much happier note, Saturday + Sunday were my first days of yoga teacher training. You’ve seen me do yoga before, and maybe you read my big spiel about why I want to become a yoga instructor – but now it’s actually REAL.

From 9:00 to 4:00 every other weekend with Waterloo’s yoga QUEEN, Asia Nelson, the mastermind behind Pranalife Yoga. And I finally got to wear that blue-green T-shirt that I got a couple weeks ago! Wearing my favourite colour makes me so happy.

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We did some legal stuff, contracts, and agreements, and spent some time doing a standing sequence on Sunday. We’ve also been discussing a LOT of anatomy, which is good review since I’m taking a couple anatomy courses right now. You’d think that Asia was a Kinesiology major by the way she describes anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. Wow!

Only downside was my sore butt sit bones ischial tuberosities after sitting on the hard studio floor for 6 hours. I kept on shifting from my knees to my butt and sitting in all different positions on the pillow. It was kind of like sitting through 3 elementary school assemblies in a row! We did get to take walks/mini naps during break times, though. 🙂

And we had to take the classic traditional first-day selfie. No idea how this lady managed to fit 20 people into one shot. She’s a goddess, I tell you.

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Sometimes I feel like I’ve been absolutely everywhere, but that is probably the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself. Have you tried using My Travel Map on Facebook? Really opened my eyes – the world is MASSIVE and there is so much more that I have to see!

I’ve been to Disneyworld and Disneyland in California and Florida (as a kiddo) and lived in Taiwan and China for a couple weeks. Two summers ago, I lived in Quebec and spent last summer with my sister in France (BEST. SUMMER. EVER). We’ve also visited the lovely Sunshine Coast before I moved to Waterloo, Ontario. This summer I’ll be able to add to this map because I will be living in Nepal!

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Delicious, dessert-like oatmeal (my love) – recipe coming in just a couple scrolls. Is this divine or what?

Breakfast for dinner really hits the spot sometimes. Two mediocre whole wheat thins (bleh, I like “thicker” carbs), reheated sweet potatoes, and a super cheesy spinach and mushroom omelet.

Here’s that oatmeal recipe! Pear, dates, and coconut milk make an exquisite combination that is quite fancy in my opinion! Chia and flax are totally optional, so leave ’em out if you don’t have them. Salt is a must, in my opinion because it enhances the natural oat-y flavour and makes the sweetness of cinnamon and vanilla pop.


Coconut Pear Oatmeal

Serves 1
INGREDIENTS
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 date chopped small
  • 1 scoop coconut milk, optional
  • 1/2 pear, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp chia
  • 1 tsp flax
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine oats, almond milk, chopped date, salt, chia, flax, and cinnamon in a pot over medium heat. Cook until thickened.
  2. Stir in pear cubes and coconut milk.
  3. Cook until desired consistency.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Serve with toppings!

For some reason, some chocolate banana bars appeared on top of my oats! I have no idea how they got there, but they didn’t last long 😉

Fresh lasagna… from the freezer. Totally good. I don’t think there’s anything better than a microwave dinner that you KNOW is good for you – even though it’s made with cheese, carbs, and layers of deliciousness. Steamed broccoli and parmesan is my new favourite side.

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Baked oatmeal, a spin off of THIS HEAVENLY BANANA BAKED OATMEAL RECIPE (sorry for the caps – just too excited about it!) with bananas, with blueberries – devoured on a busy morning. Tastes like a big muffin. 🙂

Quick but nutritious lunch that involved butternut squash soup and more of those plain whole wheat thin buns topped with egg, spinach, and cheddar.

Oatmeal pizza cookie! Wait, what? Yes, you just read those three words in a sentence. And it turned out pretty well, so I’m gonna share the recipe with you.

The icing is definitely the best part (as for all cakes/cupcakes/bars), but the base is nutritious, flavourful, and easy to make. This was a fun breakfast because I love switching things up! Oh – and don’t miss the crushed nuts on top. Adds lots more texture!


Super simple and definitely one of those things that you can make many of, and then freeze!

Oatmeal Blueberry Breakfast Pizza Cookie

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 flax egg: 1 tbsp ground flax with 1.5 tbsp water, let sit for 5 mins
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp yogurt (I used Greek)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • pinch cinnamon
  • splash vanilla
  • maple syrup to taste
  • 1 banana
  • crushed nuts, berries, or any toppings you desire.
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheet with foil and sprinkle with oat flour.
  2. Make flax egg.
  3. Add maple, applesauce, and vanilla. Whisk well.
  4. Add cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add flour and mix. Roll into a ball. Wet your hands beforehand to prevent sticking.
  6. Press the dough ball into a circle.
  7. Bake for 18-ish minutes.
  8. While baking, mix yogurt, PB, cinnamon, vanilla, and maple for topping. Slice banana.
  9. Decorate pizza cookie with toppings.
  10. Enjoy!

Have a bite! The texture is a little hard to describe. It’s chewy, yet has crispiness and denseness. Like a real pizza or a tasty salad, it’s the toppings that make the “vehicle” so delicious. If you’re ever feeling brave, this is the recipe to try!

Hummus on pita with an omelet… again.

I don’t know how many times I have to eat curry in a month. You probably see photos of my curry in every post, whether that’s an indian curry or a Thai-style green/red curry.

Apple almond pancakes made another appearance. This is now one of the only recipes I use – super simple, absolutely delicious, and crazy healthy. The blueberry syrup is simply maple + frozen blueberries popped into the microwave until it becomes compote-like. And hemp hearts always add a bit of that magical look, right?

Inspired to practice some yoga at home when the sun was still out and it looked like spring!

And more on another day. I’m still working on holding my crow pose for a couple more breaths, and I hope to get my feet down on the wheel pose. That’s always a pose that I have to practice after lots of stretching – backbends, like Asia taught us, can be risky. Now I’ll definitely be more careful about this and ask myself WHY I want to do the wheel so badly. Am I gonna launch out of bed in a wheel shape? Would I grab something off the floor by bending backwards? No. So why risk injuring one of the most precious parts of the body – just because it looks cool and feels satisfying? Do I WANT to be able to do a perfect wheel or a flying compass – at the expense of needing a hip replacement or suffering from a slipped disk in the future? Is it worth it? I don’t know.

Sorry. Rant over.

Check this out! TOTALLY relevant for April, which happens to be de-stress month and the glorious month of final exams. Take a look at this infographic. Do you take naps? How do you feel about them? I personally don’t, because I know that a 20-minute nap will turn into a 2-hour nap, which will inevitably lead to me staying up even LATER that night.

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One more thing – Monday was our last day of classes! This selfie was taken with our beloved French teacher. I’m going to miss having her as my prof because she was always so enthusiastic and great at explaining + simplifying things. (PS: just realized she totally looks like a student. Leslie the French teacher is the one on the very left!)

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That’s it for today! Have a great week 🙂

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