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!

Study Motivation: Finding Joy in Little Things

10 Ways to Find Happiness While Studying

  1. Great-smelling candles or lotions
  2. Notebooks (I just typed nootbokes?) that are cute, colourful, sleek, modern, or whatever YOUR aesthetic is.
  3. An open window
  4. Simple snacks like fruit, nut butter, and yogurt
  5. Finding the right time of day to study. I love mornings, but I might be in the minority with that one!
  6. An energetic study buddy
  7. Big, beautiful study tables or calendars
  8. Essential oils like peppermint or citrus for energy
  9. Plants or some kind of greenery
  10. Relaxing music in the background. I always turn to Celtic music.

Speaking of academics, my sister recently received a $750 award for writing a great essay. She attended a brunch and conference to receive the award.

Meanwhile, I made an enchilada casserole! This was made with green chili sauce, lots of onion and garlic, roasted sweet potato (the best part) and delicious yellow corn tortillas. Broccoli and salsa on the side.

Another day I made a random dinner with couscous, a fried egg, salad with honey mustard dressing and nutritional yeast, and fried garlic broccoli. So good.

Friday afternoon is my Princess Cafe day. On Friday, I had the most delicious panini filled with roasted sweet potato, Sriracha mayo, spinach, black bean salsa, and lots of gooey cheddar cheese. The multigrain bun was perfectly crispy and tasted incredible next to broccoli-potato soup.

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Busy week ahead – happy Monday, everyone!

Double Chocolate Beet Brownies

No pictures because I was too busy shoving these decadent chocolate squares into my mouth. Sorry – but enjoy!

Just make them. Trust me. 😉

Double Chocolate Beet Brownies {Grain Free, Gluten Free}

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I omitted since I ran out)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups beet puree (I used 4-5 large beets)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven 350 F.

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in the order listed.

3. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients.

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.

5. Grease an 8 X 8 pan and pour batter into the pan.

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Meals from… February?

Yep, these meals are from over half a year ago! I’ve just never had the chance to share them with you all. Here they are now… better late than never, right? 🙂

In other news, today I had an awesome day that started with berry cheesecake oatmeal! It was made with homemade coconut sugar, almond milk, chia seeds, with quark stirred in. I topped it with fresh blueberries, blackberries, and crumbled lemon-ginger blueberry scone from the farmer’s market. It was DELICIOUS! I will definitely write up the recipe for you guys soon. Brekkie was followed by a circuit class, spin class, then a Zumba class with my good friends Jia and Faye. Lunch was scrambled vegetable eggs with more scone nibbles and some banana + PB. After some errands, I had a 1.5 hour driving class, then cooked a divine dinner – Greek quinoa salad with spinach and beets, topped with grilled salmon, avocado, and feta cheese. With a scoop of tzatziki, it was a dreamy dish. 🙂

Then I had dessert. Of course. A 100-calorie frozen –> thawed mini banana spelt muffin. Smeared with peanut butter. YUM! After I finish this post, Mom and I are going to go for a walk around the lake, and then I’ll do some scrapbooking before going to bed.


Quinoa topped with stir-fried vegetables and sesame seeds, pumpkin soup with spinach and chicken thighs/drumsticks

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Plain banana pancakes topped with maple syrup and peanut butter // cocoa-banana oatmeal with peanut butter blob

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Bok choy fried rice with winter melon and krill stew, shrimp scrambled eggs with tomato and scallions

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Quinoa, corn, and spinach stir-fry topped with feta, roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower, roasted sweet potato

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Elbow macaroni with fried garlic, spinach, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese

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Triple the oatmeal, triple the yumminess: cocoa topped with chocolate banana muffin, pumpkin peanut butter with chocolate muffin, pumpkin with chocolate chips and sunflower butter with maple syrup

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Bow-tie pasta with creamy cheddar sauce, spinach, mushrooms, onions, and parmesan cheese, Caesar salad with croutons and homemade dressing

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Scrambled eggs with zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, and onions, sharp white cheddar

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Crackers with egg salad and kiwi // guacamole, multigrain crackers, cheddar chunks

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Angel hair pasta with spicy tomato sauce, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, roasted peppers, onions, mushrooms, and grilled shrimp with parmesan cheese

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Creamy banana chia oatmeal with banana muffin and chocolate chips

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Spinach scrambled eggs, cheddar

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Pumpkin pancakes, chocolate chips, and maple syrup // leftovers

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Pumpkin oatmeal pancakes with peanut butter and chocolate chips // cocoa-banana oatmeal with black bean brownie crumbled on top, peanut butter

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More pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter // leftover batter cooked as a big omelet with maple syrup

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Green smoothie!

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My favourite-ever fried rice: Thai style! With egg, frozen peas, onions and scallions, ginger and garlic, shrimp, soy sauce, coconut milk. and sesame seeds on top

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Toasted cranberry breakfast pita, scrambled eggs with organic ketchup

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Bok choy fried rice with strips of beef, steamed broccoli with scallion oil, roasted sweet potatoes

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Mushrooms in fried rice are SO good. Have you tried adding mushrooms to fried rice?

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Looks like a well-balanced meal to me 🙂

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Naan bread with egg, spinach, and cheese

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French toast topped with raspberries, hemp hearts, and maple syrup

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My beautiful Mom 🙂

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Sprout and scallion stir-fry, jasmine rice, onion, carrot and beef stir-fry, steamed fish topped with scallions and canola oil ( 😦 )

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Delicious chocolate-banana oatmeal topped with pumpkin muffin, almond butter, shredded coconut

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More addictive naan bread + egg “grilled cheese” sandwiches. With a side of homework!

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That’s all I have to share with you all today!

Today was awesome and tomorrow’s going to be pretty great as well. Yoga at 6:00 AM, breakfast, then a doctor’s appointment at 9:30. I have a really itchy red patch on my neck, and I think it’s mild eczema. It’s not painful or anything, just irritating and not the prettiest! Mom and I are going to shop a bit at the Pomme, an organic food store beside the doctor’s. In the afternoon, my sister and I are doing a gym fitness orientation so we can use the facility for free. 🙂

Hope you all had an excellent start to the week as well, and all the best for the lovely summer days to come!

From Dim Sum to Dill Salmon {Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant}

Good morning everyone! I’ve got a restaurant review to share with you today 🙂 Have you ever been to Fisherman’s Terrace in Richmond? It’s located in Aberdeen Centre, and we visited at 11:00 on Sunday to meet up with Grandpa’s old friends. I brought some healthy vegan pumpkin muffins for my grandparents as well as some report cards to work on for my kids at skating lessons. These muffins were made with butter avocado and sugar banana!

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Looks like a classic dim sum restaurant with the large spinning glass centrepiece in the middle of the table. Aunt Mimi ordered our dishes for the day from their menu. I took a peek at the menu – they sell a “cold marinated chicken feet plate”, “pig stomach”, “cow intestine soup”, and “apple sautéed snails”. Those were just some things my sister and I noticed and discussed. 😛 We actually ended up getting the first three items, though. No snails for us this time, but I can’t wait to try escargot in Paris with Seline this summer!

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This was lobster congee with ginger. I liked the flavour of the slow-cooked rice stew, and so did Seline. The lobster was a bit hard to eat because it was still on the shell. On the right is a piece of charred eggplant topped with a shrimp ball. I loved taste of the blackened eggplant – it was smoky and really tasty.

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Steamed BBQ pork buns were so delicious! Big, fluffy white-flour buns that were softer and squishier than a cloud wrapped around sweet and tangy pork in the most delicious sauce! I really loved this bun. On the right is a fried shrimp and chive cake, which was also very tasty and loaded with chives. I want to recreate this at home!

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More shrimp, this time wrapped in a sticky rice wrapper bun. I also had a piece of pan-fried taro, which I enjoyed as well. That shrimp-chive cake though… yummers.

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This steamed rice wrap was filled with chicken. The rice was really tasty but I found the chicken inside a bit dense and fibrous. Either way, these rice wraps were a hit at the table. Seline loved them, too! Seline’s favourite dish of the day, however, was the fried squid on the right. We ordered two plates and Seline ate most of it, claiming that the Asian calamari was “really, really good”.

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For dessert, we ordered two things: lychee pudding and durian tarts. I was a little reluctant to try durian for the first time, especially after Dad made a deal about how gross it is. Still, I really enjoyed this dessert. The durian taste was prominent, but it wasn’t bad at all. I’m also in love with anything enrobed in flaky puff pastry. 🙂 Cute baby on the right was also sitting with us – he ate his berries while we dined on dim sum.

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Here’s the superb dinner that I really wanted to share with you all – delicious dill salmon! We served it with sautéed corn and leeks with quinoa and steamed vegetables with a scoop of coconut curry hummus from the farmer’s market.

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This recipe is super easy – you’ll need to mix some ingredients, including garlic, dill, salt, pepper, and lemon. Then you’ll add some olive oil, pour it over four salmon filets, and then top them each with half a tablespoon (little cube) of butter for richness and contrast. Here’s the recipe below!

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Baked Dill Salmon

Makes 4 salmon filets

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into four squares
  • 4 salmon filets

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix garlic, dill, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  3. Whisk quickly as you add olive oil to emulsify.
  4. Pour mixture over four filets of salmon.
  5. Top with butter squares.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your filets.

You will love this recipe! It was definitely the star of this dinner. I liked it so much more than the carrots and hummus. 😛 Another great thing about the recipe is that the WHOLE recipe has just a teaspoon of salt. That means each serving has just over a pinch of salt on the fish. Again, cooking with fresh herbs is such a great way to impart huge flavour without adding too much sodium. Here are some other tips to decrease salt in your cooking. 🙂

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Thanks for reading, guys – have a great week and I’m off to hot yoga!

Minimal Monday

Naan bread with egg, blue cheese, spinach. A filling, nutritious, and varied lunch that I feel balances all the food groups and nutrients. 🙂

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Italian-style Mom Dinner: pasta casserole with leftover ground turkey, spinach, broccoli, zucchini and cheddar broiled on top.

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With a side Caesar salad made with homemade dressing and croutons.

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Seconds… and thirds.

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Incredibly creamy banana-cocoa oatmeal topped with almond butter, shredded toasted coconut, hemp hearts.

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Mom Dinner of pan-fried lotus and pork patty, chicken drummette stewed with carrots and turnips, steamed vegetables in scallion oil, steamed egg, brown rice.

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Scallion oil and dried krill make wonderful low-sodium flavour boosters. 🙂 Vermicelli with the root vegetables!

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The bottom of a cranberry-orange muffin from Whole Foods, and a smear of almond butter for dessert – all with a bit of milk.

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Amazing creamy banana oatmeal topped with crumbled cranberry-orange muffin, blackberries, almond butter, hemp hearts, maple syrup drizzle.

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I want a bowl of this right now. 🙂 Blackberries are one of my favourite spring // summer fruit!

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Another naan-omelet lunch – 1 egg and 1 egg white cooked with wilted spinach and cheese inside, wrapped in a soft and fluffy piece of naan bread. Perfection!

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I adore the lighting in the photo on the right – no editing here! Woooo 🙂

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Quinoa sautéed with frozen vegetables and leftover braised root veggies with a baby chicken drumstick on top.

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Snacktime – toast with almond butter, hemp hearts, maple syrup. Tried to find a new place to take photos for better lighting… yeah, no.

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Yes, I know – it’s more leftovers. Brown rice, lotus-pork patty, steamed veggies with scallion oil, chicken drummette (last one, I promise) with braised root veggies, and steamed krill eggs. With a side of scholarship forms!

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Thanks for reading today’s super short and not-very-insightful post. I hope you all have the best day ever!