Blog’s 3rd Birthday!

Turns out, today is my blog’s third birthday! I wish I’d remembered earlier, so I would have done something to celebrate (i.e. make a mug cake?). Regardless, I’m glad to have been blogging here for three years. I can’t believe what started as a simple oatmeal photo gallery has blossomed to become a place where I document everything from favourite recipes to my progress in aerial silks/hoop, acrobatics, and yoga. Along the way, I’ve also garnered a better understanding of who I am, what I stand for, and why I do what I love.

Grateful for all of the fabulous foodie blog friends who inspire me every day. Grateful for all of the lovely souls who comment to share positivity, encouragement, tips, and jokes. You guys always make me smile idiotically while looking at my screen. 🙂

School took me from home in BC to Waterloo, then to Toronto. Summer adventures brought me to St-Eustache, Quebec (2014) to Paris, France (2015) to Kathmandu, Nepal (2016). Everything has been such an adventure, and I’m thrilled to keep updating the blog with my explorations.


Alright! On a completely different note, I’ve been looking to get a membership for either the yoga studio, the local dance school, or both! Any thoughts?

I’ve been documenting all the restaurants I’ve been to, and the ethnic cuisine that they serve. Here are the ones I’ve hit in the 3 months of living in Toronto.

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The newest addition to this list was Karelia Kitchen, a Nordic smokehouse in Roncesvalles. They serve Scandinavian brunch, specializing in Finnish food. I started with the Nordic Fog, a unique twist on the London Fog (an Earl Grey tea latte). This was made with Swedish tea, wildflower honey, and steamed milk.

Potato Pancake
hot smoked trout, beet and horseradish cured
gravlax, poached duck egg.

YUM! My entree was incredibly flavourful, with a variety of tastes, textures, and temperatures. Plus, runny egg was involved. My favourite bites were the beet and horseradish cured gravlax. Sweet, pungent, salty, and perfectly smoky – I’d come back to buy some gravlax for myself!

Dessert was this entire slice of heirloom carrot cake, which was perfectly soft, melt-in-your mouth, and tangy from the cream cheese icing (not too sweet). I could eat this for days.

Dinner that day was simple – toast with avocado and a runny egg cooked inside a pepper and topped with a new Irish cheese that I found at the grocery store. Lighter dinner because of an unpictured delicious dessert that involved granola, muffin, nut butter, and yogurt. The best!

I am in desperate need for new shoes. These blue guys were a hand-me-down from my little sister (I know) and have been around the world and back. I wear them when I go out casually, even if there’s no running/cycling involved. Comfort comes first, right?

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I’ve been loving eggs so much recently, and I have to give credit to buttered toast and that amazing Irish cheese. I feel like I can never have enough buttered toast.

The view from my house at night! I wish you could all see it live, because I’m not sure if photos do it justice.

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That’s it for today, friends!

Cozy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Stew

Absolutely delicious recipe for you guys today!

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This brilliant recipe was created by Angela at Oh She Glows, with some modifications made to suit what I had in the fridge. Doesn’t this look amazing?

It tasted equally yummy.

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Angela served hers with rice, but I loved mine with quinoa, then some brown rice after I ran out of quinoa. I subbed baby spinach for the kale and omitted the turmeric. You guys are going to love this recipe!

Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato, and Red Lentil Stew

Adopted from Oh She Glows

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

For the stew:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups/280 g)
  • 3 to 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups (400 g) peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash
  • 1 large sweet potato (450 g), peeled and diced (2 1/2 cups/340 g)
  • 3 cups (750 mL) low-sodium chicken broth: veggie broth works too
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Baby spinach

Optional accompaniments:

  • Cooked rice
  • Garlic powder and chili powder

Directions:

  1. To a large pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is softened.
  2. Add the squash and sweet potato and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt and continue sautéing for a few minutes longer.
  3. Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with juices), coconut milk, lentils, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  4. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, stir again, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash and potato are fork-tender. Reduce the heat if necessary. Adjust the other seasonings if desired.
  5. Stir in the spinach, and cook for another couple minutes until the greens are wilted.
  6. Scoop some cooked rice onto the bottom of a bowl and then ladle the stew overtop. Garnish with minced cilantro or parsley and a good dusting of garlic and chili powder, if desired.
  7. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, and they freeze beautifully too.

Who says you need grains with stew? This creamy, smoky stew made a lovely accompaniment to avocado toast for a light lunch (which was most certainly followed by a big dessert). 🙂

I can’t think of a better holiday meal to make before we spring into a weekend of festive holiday feasts. Try this!

I hope you enjoy 🙂

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. ✌

10 Ways Food Blogging Ruined My Life

 Welcome to my first post of 2016…
  • Becoming a foodie abolished my inability to realize that I will never be a perfect eater, exerciser, or writer. I’m never going to throw my hair into a perfect messy bun and complete a 5-mile run before dawn, then come home for an organic kale-goji-maca-spirulina (what even IS spirulina?) smoothie. I will never master the art of photography or write flawless blog posts. And that’s okay. It’s fine if I feel sore one day and skip a workout. It’s not a problem if I “accidentally” have two extra scoops of nut butter after my morning oatmeal (this happens regularly!). Food-blogging has helped me understand that the most I can do is my best, and that I should always shoot for the moon knowing that I will land among the stars if I miss.

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Quinoa tossed with roasted zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and white cheddar

 

  • It took away all of my laziness and lack of creativity – because I love playing with food. Honestly, oatmeal artwork seems like a pretty trivial and ridiculous hobby, but it’s so therapeutic. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of devouring a big bowl that’s been decorated in a way that makes you happy. I’ve mentioned this before, but a bowl of cooked rolled oats is essentially a blank canvas for any ingredient you wish: you can let your imagination run wild with oatmeal and do some very, very innovative designs on those oats.

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Green smoothie bowl made with one frozen banana, 2 tbsp peanut butter, almond milk, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, pinch of salt, some cinnamon, and lots of spinach – topped with berries and crushed coconut cashews

 

  • It smashed my fear of travelling alone, or doing things by myself. Because food is the motivation for 99% of my adventures (no kidding here, I went to Paris solely for the croissants), I know that I will never get tired, afraid, or worried along the way. Food is always on my mind and inspires me to be brave and walk just a little further. The craziest thing I’ve ever done for food was probably ride the Metro for two hours in Quebec last summer, then walk for a good half hour just for the shredded duck and fig jam sandwich in Montreal. Totally worth it.

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Whole Foods hot bar buffet lunch: favourites included the chicken tomato stew, smoked mozzarella pasta salad, and mashed yams

 

  • Becoming a foodie took away any shyness and anxiety I had previously, towards interacting with people my age. Knowing about food and being able to talk about it made me a much more outgoing person. Now, when I meet new people, it’s so easy to strike up a conversation and keep it going, especially if one of us has food involved. I just have so, so much to say about food!

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Chocolate-banana oatmeal with crumbled hazelnut chocolate muffin, blackberries, and sunflower butter with crushed coconut cashews

 

  • It vanquished my ability to criticize other people or judge them without knowing them. How can I point out other people’s weaknesses without first analyzing my own? Reading about the lives of other food bloggers has really opened my eyes about countless other factors in their lives: most of the time, it’s not all about food. I’ve learned so much about their underlying fears and problems, and I can relate to so many of them. Now, it’s hard for me to make a negative pre-assessment of someone without understanding their past or celebrating their strengths at the same time.

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Tea time at Aunt Mimi’s: Whole Foods cheesecake, Whole Foods apricot and blueberry coffee cake, with some dark roast coffee with brown sugar and whole milk

 

  • It completely destroyed any desire I had to be average, “okay”, or normal. Why should you be mediocre when you can be innovative? Inspiring?  Encouraging? Original? Food blogging, cooking and baking, and even talking about food have helped me discover my “voice” and passion for health.
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Get-together at family friend’s house: stir-fried vegetables with shrimp, eggs with radish, tofu, pan-fried fish

 

  • It shut down all my frustration and inability to cope with “uh-oh” situations. There isn’t much you can do when the beautifully-ripened avocado turns out to have mushy brown flesh, when you find bugs in your spinach, or when your sister accidentally gobbles up the famous Parisian macaron you were planning to enjoy. Now, I’m realizing these little things are really not the big deal I hyped them up to be at the time. These little things just aren’t worth stressing over.

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Get-together with Dad’s coworkers and their families: fruit, asparagus + scallops, eggs + leeks, stir-fried udon and vegetables, cantaloupe, and purple yam + taro tapioca soup with coconut milk for dessert

 

  • It screwed up any dread or anxiety I felt before addressing adults. Speaking to my elders has always been a forte, but I’ve refined this skill so much that I actually look forward to interviews and answering tricky questions. When I used to volunteer at the Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Coquitlam, it was terrifying to think that I had to spend several hours a week engaging in conversation with sick and injured people aged 70 and above, many with physical and cognitive disabilities. The challenging thing was knowing that I shouldn’t talk to them about clothing (they have to wear hospital gowns), their significant others (may or may not still be with them), their illness or injury (no one wants to talk about this!), or their hospital room (many of them were bitter about their rooms and roommates). Initially, I felt like there was absolutely nothing to chat about with these elderly patients – until I realized that most of them loved sharing stories about their hometowns and the food they enjoyed there. Sometimes, patients told me about their beloved recipes, childhood meals – which, gosh, are SO different from today’s salmon-and-quinoa dinner – cooking hacks, and more. One time, a lady called Maria from Greece described how she made tzatziki based on her grandmother’s recipe. The secrets include a pinch of white pepper and salting and wringing out the grated cucumber to prevent it from diluting the yogurt.

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Curry-yogurt chicken drumstick, quinoa with roasted sweet potato, roasted broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and zucchini // vegan pumpkin spice latte chocolate pudding cake with maple yogurt and crushed coconut cashews

 

  • It drained any chances I had of missing out on getting to know countless supportive and inspirational people, many of whom are dietitians-to-be or share my passion for food. The network of foodies, online and offline, is truly amazing. I wasn’t intending on naming some of them, but now I feel like sharing their wonderful blogs with you guys – please do check out some of my absolute favourite people on the Internet: the supportive and hilarious Stephanie from Mindful Eats and Treats, the sweet, down-to-earth domestic goddess Kate of The Domestikated Life, the sophisticated and talented photographer Jack of Jack’s Balancing Act, the crazy-creative and thoughtful Cassie at SuperFitBabe, and Cora of My Little Tablespoon, who is not only a brilliant writer, but also a recipe queen. You guys inspire me with each and every blog post, and I know that I will always be in store for a treat whenever you publish something new. Thank you for that.

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Carrot cake oatmeal with mashed banana, chia and flax, topped with crumbled banana almond muffin and sunflower butter

 

  • It destroyed my fear of food. Not much else needs to be said here.

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Tofu fried rice with vegetables // spinach and ricotta ravioli with roasted red pepper and parmesan

 

I know that there might be some negative habits and behaviours involved with being a healthy food blogger, but for the most part, they certainly don’t. In fact, the compassionate comments and words of encouragement far outweigh the dark side of being a foodie! Blogging about food and life has encouraged me to gradually mature into the well-rounded and accomplished adult I hope to become, armed with all the skills and assets I need to tackle personal and professional situations in the future.

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Whole wheat pita topped with sweet potato slices, spinach scrambled eggs, goat cheese, and sweet potato aioli // quinoa with butternut squash and tomato sauce, pine nuts, veggies

 

Cheers to the delicious life: a life filled with friendship, laughter, cake, cheese and chocolate.

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Classic Mom dinner: lotus root patties, taro and chicken stew, stir-fried vegetables with sesame

 

50 Things I Learned from my Roommate

What comes with a full heart and a full stomach?

An empty wallet.

Haha. That’s my idea of a joke – and yes, my jokes are always lame and fail to make any sense. But in my defense, it’s partially true! The first week of my winter break, back home in BC, has been nothing less than indulgent, relaxing, and full of laughter and fun moments with family and friends. But a constantly-exploding belly and lots of extra sleep are making me into one happy girl! I’ve done quite a few things on my winter to-do list already, which is satisfying. Well, I’ve done the exciting things. Not the boring ones.

How is your winter holiday so far? Have you done anything memorable with friends and family?

Before I move on to the epic compilation of things my roommate and her boyfriend taught me in the past four months, I wanted to tell you a teeny, kind-of-pointless story about what I did today.

My morning started with a spinach-banana-peanut butter-cocoa-date smoothie, a chickpea blondie, and a relaxing hot yoga class. Then, I met up with my good friends Jia (who my mom calls “Chia”) and Hollie. We’ve known each other for years and were thrilled to reunite and spend the afternoon together. Jia studies English in UBC’s arts program, and Hollie is in Science with a scholarship to SFU. We met up before noon and zipped downtown for some lunch, after a 15-minute walk down Vancouver’s sketchiest street.

The menu at Railtown Café is quite elaborate, at least in my opinion. 🙂 I had a massive internal debate about whether I should order the sandwich or the salad, but ended up with a build-your-own salad which you’ll see in a couple scrolls. Check out their menu and all those delectable salad combinations and sandwich ideas!

By the way, I took photos on my normal camera but was too lazy to upload them for the post, hence the not-so-nice photos below. I snapped these with my phone in a rush to dig in, but anyways, behold the iPhone photos.

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Lesson of the day: it’s a bad idea to order a big drink, a squash-based soup, and a salad topped with about 79 different things.

I had the roasted winter vegetable soup with pumpkin seeds on top, as well as a dark hot chocolate that tasted just like regular hot chocolate. It was a little powdery and grainy in the end, so I wouldn’t recommend the drink. My salad was so deluxe and I’ll write down some of the toppings below:

  • Arugula base
  • Sliced grilled chicken breast – was debating about getting the poached salmon, but their chicken looked really juicy and yummy 🙂
  • Sliced avocado
  • Beets
  • Roasted yams
  • Pesto chickpeas
  • Pesto mozzarella slices
  • Feta cheese
  • Squash chips (the BEST part!)
  • Toasted pumpkin seed vinaigrette

Check out their menu for a ton of salad topping ideas: http://railtowncafe.ca/see-our-menu/

YUM. A lovely combination of freshness, saltiness, texture, acidity, richness, sweetness, and bitterness. I told my friends that I wanted to eat this salad every day for the rest of my life.

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For dessert, I ordered a peanut butter crunch bar and a chocolate-hazelnut muffin. Both were fantastic and we split them mostly 3 ways.

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The muffin was soft, very cinnamon-y, and had great flavor from the hazelnuts. The exterior was perfectly crisp and I would definitely order this tender, delicious muffin again. The peanut butter crunch bar had four distinct layers and was a truly amazing dessert. This peanut butter masterpiece was composed of:

  1. Chewy peanut butter cookie with real peanut chunks embedded throughout (bottom)
  2. Crispy chocolate layer, like a thinner, crispier Rice Crispy with no rice flavor
  3. Peanut butter custard that was not too sweet nor salty
  4. Chocolate ganache, most likely milk chocolate (top)

Peanut butter haters, this thing will convert you.

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We talked lots about our “new” lives in university, and Jia’s busy second year. I was also so happy to hear that my friends are secret readers of the blog 😉 We had some fun and memorable conversations, including this one:

Me: So I have a house-mate. We share a bathroom and kitchen but have our own rooms. She graduated and is now working in the area, so she’s a little older, a LOT more mature, and super nice.

Hollie: Oh yeah! I saw that on your blog.

Jia: She made a pumpkin pie! (she was referring to THIS pumpkin pie, that they made from scratch around Thanksgiving).

Hollie: You’re so lucky. That’s awesome.

And she is absolutely right. 🙂 Madhulika and her boyfriend Arsalan are wonderful and wise people with lots of tricks and tips and life hacks. Here we go!


One more thing before the ultimate list – check this out. My friend shared it on Facebook and I have to agree with quite a few of these points. What do you think?

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Anyways, here is the list:

  1. Drink water slowly. Take little sips as you work to increase absorption.
  2. Make a Linkedin account to network with people as soon as possible.
  3. Broil open-faced sandwiches for melty, bubbly cheese
  4. Spread peanut butter with a spoon and eat it on a napkin to save dishes.
  5. Eat baked salmon with a little pad of butter on top
  6. Paprika and cajun spices work with anything!
  7. Make a big lasagna and freeze individual-sized portions to reheat whenever you need a quick meal
  8. While you’re at it, don’t add too much tomato sauce, or it might overpower the pasta, cheese, and vegetables
  9. Adding some chicken broth to ground chicken makes it nice and saucy
  10. Ground chicken works as a perfect sub for ground beef, for a fraction of the fat and just as much flavour
  11. Goat cheese works with anything. Sandwiches, salads, lasagna – whatever it is, goat cheese can be crumbled on top for maximum deliciousness.
  12. Speaking of goat cheese, you can never have enough. Ever.
  13. Always check the weather before you go out – it can be a beautiful sunny day that’s freezing cold!
  14. Princess Cafe can, and absolutely should, be a weekly thing. Get the curried tuna. And the soup. And the bean salad.
  15. Turn off the lights to conserve energy if you aren’t using them
  16. If you realize you’re full in the middle of your meal, stop, wrap up the leftover food, and save it for another meal rather than stuffing yourself and feeling uncomfortable afterwards
  17. Don’t leave things lying around – watches, cameras, pencil boxes – keep them safe in your room: I’m SO bad with this and always leave little things on the counter
  18. Cutting and chopping veggies ahead of time will save time on busy weekdays
  19. Butternut squash soup is the most filling thing ever
  20. A pinch of cayenne adds zest to anything
  21. The bigger and sharper your knife, the more you’ll enjoy chopping veggies
  22. Marinate and bake chicken breast chunks in rose pasta sauce as a low-sugar substitute for barbecue sauce
  23. Morning showers are really refreshing!
  24. The vegetable water left over from cooking vegetables is actually delicious: carrots make it a little sweet!
  25. Potatoes take freaking forever. Plan ahead!
  26. Washing fluffy towels with your best pants is a bad idea. Lint overload!
  27. When adding spices to food, ALWAYS pour a little palmful of the spice into one palm and use fingers from the other hand to pinch and sprinkle. Then taste as you go!
  28. Check your freezer to make sure you aren’t forgetting about any food you stored in there previously 🙂
  29. Boil sweet potatoes before roasting them. You can check to see when they are ready by sticking a fork inside – if the potato chunk slides down by gravity, you’re ready to bake!
  30. Make a big batch of veggies, chicken, and rice for lots of meals. You’ll be thankful on busy afternoons!
  31. Roast all kinds of squash with the cut side down. That way, the flesh is enclosed and it will steam itself and cook faster
  32. Buy good-quality rainboots and use them for five years rather than picking up a cheaper but non-waterproof pair.
  33. Splurge on a good, high-quality blender.
  34. Don’t try to balance a mixing board on a cutting board – if it falls and knocks over a glass (not your own!) that’s gonna shatter on the ground… that’s bad. Trust me, I know this one from experience.
  35. Add something spicy to mac and cheese! Cayenne or jalapeños are cool… well, never mind, they’re actually hot. Put breadcrumbs on top and bake it.
  36. Speaking of mac and cheese, you don’t even need butter to make a roux. Just cook a mixture of flour and milk before adding cheddar!
  37. There are two types of pumpkins: carving pumpkins and pie pumpkins. The two types of pumpkins can both be used for pie. If you have a carving pumpkin, remember that it is more watery and will require extra cooking time (also, they’re massive).
  38. It’s so much more fun to work out with EARPHONES and music!
  39. If you deal with raw meat or fish, spray down the counter surface afterwards just to be safe.
  40. Make sandwiches on a paper towel so you don’t have to wash another plate
  41. Add coconut milk at the very end of cooking something because coconut flavour will disappear with too much heat. Basically, add some coconut milk when making curries, then add the majority of it at the very end.
  42. Cook spices with a little oil for more flavour
  43. Everything is good with butter, pecans, butternut, and garlic
  44. Wash your dishes while cooking, waiting for things to boil, etc. It makes time go by faster and saves dishwashing time and space afterwards!
  45. Winter boots are so important. Buy ones with good traction!
  46. Do not dump a bunch of pepper on your food.
  47. Wear oven mitts all the time. And don’t touch boiling hot casserole dishes that just emerged from the oven… ouch.
  48. Chicken Cordon Bleu can be made easy with a butter and flour roux mixed with ham, with cooked chicken, chopped pickles and Dijon mustard stirred in. With gruyere or harvarti cheese grated in, top this mixture on sliced baguette and sprinkle with more cheese before broiling. Voila – easy, mess-free, no-roll, easy to cook and eat cordon bleu. Fancy but simple!
  49. Dice your own tomatoes for pasta sauce, and mix them with garlic and caramelized onions, plus spices like thyme and oregano. You can also stir in some ricotta. This pasta sauce is so much better than canned.
  50. If you laugh while drinking tea, you’ll probably spill it on your lap and bedsheets, and make it look like you peed your pants!

Love these!

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I love cheesy things. Literal and figurative cheesy things.

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One more thing – I want to make this Asian noodle bowl and some vegan parmesan cheese. I know how random this is, but I stumbled upon them online and really want to give ’em both a try soon 🙂

That is it for today – I have an EARLY 6:00 AM hot yoga session tomorrow morning as well as a fun spin class, so I’m off to bed. Have a great evening!

Aroma Cafe: A Cozy Corner

Good morning beautiful people!

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I have some quotes to share with you today. These ones really spoke to me and I hope they will inspire you, or at the very least, make you think a little bit. 🙂

  • You can’t start the next chapter if you keep re-reading the last one
  • When nothing goes right, turn left
  • Time heals everything. Give the time some time.
  • If Plan A fails, there are 25 letters left.
  • If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If the egg is broken by an inside force, then life begins. Great things happen from the inside.
  • Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil your present.

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Last week, I had a relaxing lunch for one at Aroma Cafe, which is located on Erb Street in Uptown Waterloo. It’s located in the middle of a beautiful atrium surrounded by other shops.

Their menu is quite elaborate and features things like smoked salmon croissants (made in-house), sweet potato sandwiches, and hormone-free meats in their paninis. They make a fresh soup every morning and serve homemade baked goods. There’s a new salad every day, and the desserts are deluxe and switch regularly. The best part? All their breads are made from scratch in-house!

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I settled down in one corner after ordering the “half” turkey panini with harvarti cheese, tomato, avocado (substituted for bacon), and garlic aioli. Can you believe this is the half-portion? It was ridiculously filling and made with lots of love and care. The soup of the day was zucchini-butternut with herbs.

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My sandwich was warm and toasty. The bread was my favourite part: chewy, warm, and tasted so fresh and homemade.

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Dessert was a gluten-free hazelnut mocha torte. This was fantastic as well. I asked for it to be cut in half so I could save some for later. It was really yummy, and quite rich and dense being gluten-free. The coconut on top added great texture and the chocolate ganache layer was my favourite.

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Time to do some research (on cafes to visit during my 2 weeks in BC!) before helping Mom with dinner and maybe baking some dessert. Hope your Christmas was the merriest and I will update you a couple more times before 2016. 🙂