October | Sky-High Carrot Cake

Hello! Short post today, because I have a couple emails to write and some schoolwork to catch up on. It is really crazy how quickly my courses are progressing, now that I’m in a number of upper-level kinesiology courses. I’ve learned so much in the three-ish weeks of school that we’ve had so far.

  • AWESOME pic that one of my friends shared on FB. Credit to the artist; unfortunately I couldn’t find his or her name. I like this piece because it shows which animals the poses are named for. I particularly like the peacock and the locust.
  • Bubble tea at CoCo is on sale until the end of November, so I will have to make sure my sister and I get some!
  • Mom made Caprese salad at home in BC, because she bought some new balsamic vinegar. It looks so good! I love that combo of flavours.
  • Campus on a sunny afternoon
  • Images from Nutrition in Disguise, one of the research groups that I’m involved with
  • And more…

Seline and I had a meal at Symposium last Sunday. It was my first time at Symposium Cafe, but I’ve heard too many good things about their cake to miss out. I devoured the whole thick slice of SKY-HIGH CARROT CAKE, and Seline had the triple chocolate cake. After this lovely meal, I went to my friend’s house for a potluck.

Symposium Cafe Mediterranean salad with salmon // sky-high carrot cake

Another day, Sal and I went to Red House. Red House is one of my favourite Waterloo spots. They have phenomenal salads, soups, pastas, and entrees. Their desserts are always seasonal, and really unique. This time, I had the butternut squash and coconut soup, followed by fried polenta cubes with a beet and goat cheese salad. For dessert, Seline and I shared two: apple crisp with sharp cheddar ice cream and a unique white chocolate cheesecake with Oreo crust and stewed strawberries and figs.

Ennio’s noodles with gorgonzola sauce, seasonal vegetables, roasted garlic (unpictured, but quite tasty) // bread pudding with Nutella, vanilla ice cream

Hands-down the BEST bread pudding I have ever eaten in my life.

I had a midterm last week, and a few more coming up. A lot of studying needs to be done!

The Halloween showcase at Brass Butterflies aerial studio is coming up, and I have been procrastinating on practicing. I need to get back into working on improving my endurance.

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A quick video from aerials:

And some pics that Seline helped me take for my Instagram. I made an Instagram for my job, because I’m working as a Waterloo Warriors Recreation Ambassador this term. So if you’re reading this, you can follow me too. 😉 _cindywei

Things that scare me but I’m doing them anyways this term:

  • research
  • starting a club
  • presenting in front of lecture halls of first-year students
  • aerial performance
  • skating competition
  • teaching a yoga class

Random meal from recently:

  1. Seline’s steak with potatoes, sautéed green beans, and onions
  2. Veggie bean chili with cheddar and fig goat cheese
  3. Vegetable cheddar enchiladas with roasted delicata squash
  4. Quiche with sautéed green beans

More randomness:

  1. Saw this stunning image of rice paddies on Twitter (or Reddit?), and it made me think of the time that I took a bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara, riding past miles of rice paddies. Absolutely incredible, and even more so in person.
  2. A bitmoji that Seline made for me. It’s now my Twitter pic. I’m really a loser, as you can see.
  3. Seline and I went to Menchies the other day because we had a 2-for-1 discount coupon from the mail. My Menchies bowl included chocolate brownie, cheesecake pieces, peanut butter crisp, a malted chocolate ball, cereal, and more. I’m all about the toppings ^_^
  4. Sometimes, between classes, I find Seline and we spend a few hours relaxing, “studying”, and chatting at an on-campus cafe. The other day, I was SO. TIRED. that I slept with my head right on the table.

We made quite a special meal the other day!

Thai green curry with broccoli, onions, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, yellow bell pepper // rotisserie chicken breast // rice cooked with butter, chicken broth, truffle salt // garlic sautéed green beans

Now, I just have a bunch of recipes for things I baked recently:

Chai-spiced Applesauce Prune Baked Oats

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • drizzle honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 3 chai tea bags
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 15 prunes, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease pan – 8 x 10 up to 10 x 10 are perfect sizes.
  3. Bring milk to a simmer. Cut open tea bags, and allow tea to simmer in the milk for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves.
  4. Mix all ingredients and pour into pan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Oat Bars

  • tasted good, but need to add more condensed milk and a splash of oil to the chocolate filling
  • more butter in the crumble
  • double the crumble next time!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (will increase to 2 cups next time)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (will increase to 1 cup next time)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (will increase to 1 tsp next time)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (will increase to 1 tsp next time)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (will increase to 1/2 tsp next time)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (will increase to 1.5 cups next time)
  • 1/4 cup oil (will increase to 1/2 cup next time)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (will increase to 2 tsp next time)
  • 1 egg (will increase to 2 eggs next time)
  • 2 tbsp quick oats (will increase to 1/4 cup next time)
  • 2 tbsp softened butter (will increase to 1/4 cup next time)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat chocolate chips and milk in 1-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth; set aside. Heat oven to 350°. Line a square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour, oats, the baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl; set aside. Stir brown sugar, oil, vanilla and egg in medium bowl with fork until smooth; stir into flour mixture until blended. Reserve 1/2 cup dough in small bowl for topping.
  3. Pat remaining dough in pan (lightly flour fingers if dough is sticky). Spread chocolate mixture over dough. Add 2 tablespoons oats and the butter to reserved dough; mix with pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Drop small spoonfuls of oat mixture evenly over chocolate mixture.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until top is golden and firm. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. For bars, cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Brownies, inspired by Allrecipes

Makes 36 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups butter
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 heaping tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour large square pans.
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla.
  5. Whisk in cocoa, cinnamon, flour, salt, and baking powder.
  6. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 mins. Do not overcook. Cut.

Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Snack Bread

Serves 12 squares

Blender Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 3 medium bananas, ripe
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • large sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 8×8 square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Blend all ingredients from the “Blender Ingredients” section.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Let cool overnight before cutting, or it will be too tender to hold form. Store cooled leftovers in a covered container for up to several days, though best when fresh. Slice and freeze for longer term storage.

Brackley Beach

I can’t believe we’re already a week into August. This summer is going by so quickly! Last week, my sister and I revisited Brakish, where I enjoyed the arugula salad with feta, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, cucumber, tomato, raw broccoli, barbecued Atlantic salmon, and raspberry vinaigrette. It’s such a fresh, flavourful, delicious salad, and I’m glad I ordered it again. The salmon was perfectly cooked.

There was some salad left over, so I ate it for lunch the next day, alongside a banana-oat muffin smeared with peanut butter, some blackberries, and delicious sweet and salty trail mix. My favourite parts of trail mix are always the cashews and pecans.

Seline and I were so lucky, because we had the opportunity to go to Prince Edward Island’s beautiful Brackley Beach. Brackley is about fifteen minutes from Charlottetown, and “offers miles of pristine sandy beaches and majestic dunes with various nearby attractions to enthrall all guests to the region“. Seline and I enjoyed wading in the water, reading in the sand, and biking around the area.

For dinner, we biked to the Dunes Studio and Gallery, where Seline had lamb shank in Massaman curry, veggies, and rice. I had two appetizers – one massive seafood chowder with chives, and an incredible cashew pesto flatbread with caramelized apples, brie, vodka-infused cranberries, and scallions (incredible). I also ate so much of their daily bread, which was studded with chillies, cheddar, and chives. It tasted perfect when dunked into the creamy broth.

For dessert, we shared the strawberry shortcake and their daily special, the sticky date pudding. The macerated strawberries tasted awesome with whipped cream and biscuit, and as usual, the sticky date pudding was to die for. It was lovely served alongside fresh vanilla ice cream and berries.

Some things:

  1. Looking at the Dunes menu before going – Seline had the third option, the lamb shank
  2. PEI schedule
  3. List of requirements for a cool scholarship that Seline found

Few more things…

  1. I made a virtual poster for the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children
  2. List of things to do in New Glasgow, another area of PEI. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the opportunity to go
  3. Thank-you letter for our landlord

Our beautiful PEI home. Goodbye, lovely house on North River.

Seline and I have an obsession with Leonhard’s Cafe and Restaurant. I normally eat their salmon and avocado eggs benedict, which is absolutely delicious, but since we went later in the afternoon yesterday, I felt like something more lunch-y. I ordered the beet and goat cheese tart, which was topped with candied pecans. This is the most delicious tart I’ve ever eaten.

A completely different note – Sal and I love Small Print Board Game Cafe. Our favourite games are kind of lame: Quoridor, Guess Who Disney Edition (!!), something about funding the expeditions, Word on the Street, and Last Word.

Another day, Seline and I went to Piatto Pizzeria. It reminds me of Famoso Pizzeria in Waterloo, which I’ve been to quite a few times. I think I still like Famoso’s pizzas better, because they are more generous with their toppings. At Piatto, I ordered the arugula salad with gorgonzola, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and balsamic. In terms of pizza, Seline had the barbecue chicken pizza with caramelized onions, and I liked my goat cheese, proscuitto, and pear pizza. It was on the salty side, with the goat cheese and proscuitto, so I wish there was more sweet pear.

For dessert, Sal had vanilla bean ice cream, and I had a mason jar of creamy, flavourful tiramisu.

Another evening, Sal and I dined at the Pilot House. It’s one of our favourite PEI places. This time, she had the chicken gnocchi, and I ate the warm Cajun seafood salad again.

Pear and cream cheese pie with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream for dessert. This pie was great, but I’m not a big pie fan.

Yesterday afternoon, Seline and I went to COWS Creamery for our last dose of delicious Charlottetown ice cream. Seline had a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of chocolate, and I enjoyed my Cow-nadian Moo-ple ice cream (maple with swirls of syrup and crushed maple cookies) and pumpkin patch.

One of my favourite lunches was from Mavor’s Restaurant, where I ordered an award-winning grilled cheese sandwich. It was smeared with pear compote and stuffed with ricotta, cheddar, Gouda, and bacon. The bread was also a superstar – it was potato rosemary bread with plenty of butter. I loved this lunch, as well as the little side salad.

For dessert after lunch, Sal and I shared the chocolate lava cake with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Dinner from Lobster on the Wharf – I had the seafood pot pie with green beans and boiled new baby potatoes with butter and sour cream. Seline had their striploin with mushrooms and onions, plus coleslaw. I also had a lemon-poppyseed salad, which was a little boring.

Dessert was amazing. I’m a huge carrot cake fan, but don’t find good carrot cake very often because I’m a cream cheese icing snob. The cream cheese icing has to be perfect! And this one was. The cake was actually served warm, with the creamy, cheesy icing slightly melted. YUM!

Last but not least, a peaceful lunch at the office, starring peanut butter and banana, croissant, a banana-oat muffin, yogurt, more peanut butter, blackberries, and awesome trail mix.

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Seline and I are flying back to Vancouver (actually, Toronto first, then Vancouver – we have a one-hour layover) TOMORROW! We loved our time in C-town but are excited to come home, too.

CHOWDER FRIES in C-Town

Good morning!

Food-filled post ahead, guys. First of all, my sister and I are going to Cavendish tomorrow! It’s a touristy beach town in northern Prince Edward Island. We’ll be catching a 10:30 AM bus tomorrow and arriving in just over an hour. Both of us are really looking forward to it. I’ll be sure to take lots of photos.

Yesterday, Seline and I went to the Pilot House, where she had a striploin with mushrooms and asparagus. I had the warm seafood salad, with seared Cajun-spiced haddock, salmon, trout, shrimp, and scallops on mixed greens with cucumber, tomato, and lemon. I ate this last week, and had to order the same thing again. It’s so good – especially the goat cheese. Before our entrees, Seline ate a plate of calamari, and I had a cup of seafood chowder with a buttermilk biscuit. THE. BEST.

 

For dessert, we shared a delicious cookie pie topped with two scoops of ice cream and plenty of whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and nuts. Seline is not a dessert person, but she did enjoy this.

 

Couple of other things:

  • Seline stopped coming with me to school. Now, she’s staying at home to do some other things.
  • I chose my courses, but because there’s a time conflict, two of the courses were not added. I’m keeping in touch with my advisor to figure things out.

 

Yesterday, Seline and I went to the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market. One of my favourite vendors makes incredible focaccia bread. I had the maple-pecan focaccia, and Seline enjoyed her caramelized onion focaccia. I also had a pretty good iced London Fog. We chatted in the booths and ate our focaccia. 🙂 It was a really enjoyable morning, because I only work afternoons on Wednesday.

 

This maple-pecan focaccia was unbelievably delicious. The creamy, slightly eggy (?) topping was my favourite part.

 

The next couple of photos are actually from last week, when we were ALSO at the Pilot House. Seline ate the BURGERNATOR, which was stuffed with a big beef patty, deep-fried harvarti, all the normal burger fillings, AND a generous scoop of barbecue pulled pork.

 

I had that incredible warm seafood Cajun salad. Guys… I’d marry this salad.

 

For dessert, we savoured a sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream. Dare I say – one of the best sticky date puddings we’ve eaten so far?

 

A fun day downtown, including: playing chess at The Great George hotel, a historical building. Neither of us can play chess, so this was a disaster.

 

Confederation Landing is a couple blocks from the “main part” of downtown. Seline and I ate COWS Creamery ice cream, looked at the water, and even bought sunglasses. Mine broke, and she didn’t bring a pair.

 

Seline and I are obsessed with this bookstore in downtown Charlottetown. It’s called The Book Emporium. We go at least four nights a week, to read, chat, and look at some new books. Last week, Seline bought three books for the price of two – The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, AND the first book of the Harry Potter series.

Also, we always go to a place called Receiver Coffee Company, where Seline gets iced tea.

 

It looks like we’ve been going downtown and having fun every single day (which is true, because we have), but a large part of my time in PEI is spent at the university, where I have been working on a number of tasks. When I’m not working on UPEI-related research, I’m helping other people with miscellaneous tasks here and there. Check out my office space!

By the way, yesterday, I ate an ENTIRE BAG of that chocolate bark with caramelized nuts. It was heavenly. I just couldn’t stop!

 

Row House Lobster Company was another place that both of us were really looking forward to, and it did NOT disappoint. I had a stunning lobster gnocchi, and Seline had a lovely striploin with sauteed vegetables. We shared a chowder, as usual, and had bread pudding for dessert.

 

On Saturday, I went to the farmer’s market. The Charlottetown Farmer’s Market is in a nice building, and some vendors sell their goods outdoors.

 

I returned from the market with an array of delicious food – croissants, banana walnut bread, blueberry-lemon crumb cake, and a tasty brownie.

 

Another day, Sal and I went to Terre Rouge. This was one of my favourite restaurant experiences in Charlottetown so far – perhaps one of my top three? I had the lobster cannelloni (a word that I can never spell), and Seline ordered the creamy mac and cheese for her entree. We were given a lovely amuse-bouche: strawberry with mint and creamed goat cheese. Then, we shared a seafood chowder with a cheddar biscuit before we ate our entrees.

 

For dessert, I absolutely LOVED this miso gelato with lemon-blueberry cake, cream cheese frosting, caramel sauce, and chocolate ganache.

 

On Sunday, Seline and I did an escape room (TOTALLY a post on its own, right there). Beforehand, we had lunch at Brakish, near the water.

 

We started with a big platter of CHOWDER FRIES! You guys! This is hands-down my favourite fries dish. Ever.

Then, Seline had a grilled chicken wrap, and I ate a barbecue salmon salad with feta, blueberries, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds.

For dessert, I ate up their chocolate mousse with coconut whip.

 

This lovely meal was from Merchantman, where Seline ate crispy chicken tacos and fries. I had the seafood pappardelle with perfectly-seared scallops and mussels. I wish there was more parmesan on this dish, but the scallops were 10/10 perfection. Our dessert was a sticky toffee pudding, and we ordered another scoop of ice cream after.

 

Walking around the waterfront…

 

And that’s it! I’m actually at work, so I will get back to work. Have the best day, and I can’t wait to post more on our Cavendish adventures.

Last Week in Australia

Hello! Happy Canada Day, or happy fourth of July. My sister and I are now in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Eastern Canada), and I am writing this from the University of Prince Edward Island. My sister and I had a fantastic time in Toronto, and then a good night in Charlottetown, so I have even more photos that I’ve yet to upload. Before I show you some of the delicious eats that I enjoyed during my last week of Australia, here is a list of the activities I did, and the cafes I visited, during my four months in Australia.

Me with my landlord; vacuuming the yoga studio for the last time; delicious meal of veggies, halloumi, scrambled eggs, and falafel

List of Things I Did and Ate in Australia

FOOD-RELATED PLACES I VISITED

  • Cat and Fiddle Deli Cafe in Toowong
  • Jocelyn’s Provisions
  • Pearl Cafe
  • Mu’ooz
  • MADO Cafe and Restaurant
  • Fogata Latin Fusion
  • Anouk
  • Tartufo
  • Gauge
  • Crust & Co. Bakery
  • Harveys
  • She Bangs
  • Pourboy Espresso
  • Sourced Grocer
  • Morning After
  • Banneton
  • A Night In India
  • Corner Store Cafe
  • Campos Coffee
  • Bakers Arms
  • Chouquette
  • John Mills Himself
  • Abode Cafe
  • Bunker Coffee
  • Three Monkeys Coffee House
  • Nitrogenie
  • Pawpaw Restaurant
  • The Gunshop Cafe

FUN-RELATED PLACES I VISITED

  • Cultural Centre
  • Gallery of Modern Art
  • Queensland Performing Arts Centre
  • State Library of Queensland
  • Queensland Art Gallery
  • Queensland Museum
  • City Hall Clock Tower
  • Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens
  • City Cat ferry down Brisbane River
  • Roma Street Parkland
  • Museum of Brisbane
  • New Farm Park
  • Brisbane River walk
  • Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre
  • South Bank
  • Milton Sunday Market
  • Jan Powers Farmers Market: Powerhouse Market, City Farmers Market
  • Wheel of Brisbane
  • Streets Beach, Little Stanley Boutiques
  • Davies Park Farmers Market
  • City Botanic Gardens
  • Suncorp Stadium
  • Queen Street Mall
  • Eagle Street Pier
  • Anzac Square
  • City Centre Heritage Trail
  • BrisAsia Festival
  • Avid Reader Bookstore
  • Woolloongabba Antique Centre
  • West End (shopping)
  • Paddington
  • Science Centre
  • Fortitude Valley nooks, like Bakery Lane

Now, here are some of the things that I wanted to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to doing these activities or eating at these restaurants. I suppose that means I’ll have to come back to Australia in the future.

IF I HAD ANOTHER WEEK, I WOULD SEE:

  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • Eat Street Northshore Market
  • Sherwood Arboretum
  • Noosa Heads
  • Mount Coot-tha lookout
  • Story Bridge Adventure Climb
  • Spring Hill Baths
  • Australia Zoo
  • Kangaroo Point Cliffs Walk
  • Brisbane Maritime Museum
  • Moreton Bay snorkelling at Tangalooma wrecks, whale-watching

IF I HAD ANOTHER WEEK, I WOULD EAT:

  • Ecco Bistro
  • Naim
  • Cafe O Mai
  • Wild Canary
  • Lady Marmalade
  • Goodness Gracious
  • GOMA Restaurant
  • Julius Pizzeria
  • Popolo
  • Longtime
  • Merriweather Cafe
  • Marchetti Cafe
  • Double Shot New Farm
  • Gettin’ Place
  • The Yiros Shop
  • Corbette and Claude
  • King Arthur Cafe
  • The Cheese Pleaser
  • Billy Kart Kitchen
  • Flour and Chocolate Patisserie
  • Sassafras Canteen
  • Jam Pantry
  • Gertrude and Mabel
  • Scout Cafe
  • Miss Bliss Whole Foods Restaurant
  • Let Minnow
  • Lokal & Co.

This was one of the last, and most delicious things, I ate at Pearl Cafe. It was a sticky date loaf topped with date buttercream, poached pears, and honeycomb ice cream. It was a dreamy dessert with all the richness and fresh sweetness I could ask for. The ice cream, paired with soft pears and date loaf, was superb.

One weekend morning, I went to the University of Queensland yoga festival, where there were tons of food and clothes vendors, a corner for meditation, and a large outdoors yoga class. The sunny weather was perfect for some zen-time, and I enjoyed watching the yogis with a small cup of Blackdog vegan chai made with soy milk. Then, I said goodbye to the UQ campus!

You guys! How amazing does this look? From Nodo donuts, I enjoyed this homemade brioche bread topped with beet-cured salmon, a soft egg, dill foam, greens, yuzu pearls, and sorrel. The flavours were extraordinary, and it was hands-down the most unique eggs benedict-type meal I’ve ever enjoyed. I wish there was more, because that buttery toasted brioche was heavenly with a smear of brown butter hollandaise, and all the flavourful toppings. I will think about this forever.

I also had a small cup of chai and a delicious baked cheesecake with mixed berries. The crust (gluten-free) is so good, and I dare say it’s better than any gluten-containing crust I could imagine. It has a light nutty flavour that I love.

A lot of lists and schedules were made.

Goodbye, beautiful, beautiful Brisbane! The sunset was glorious one evening, and another day, Seline graduated from high school. The last image is from her commencement, where she received two big awards. The entire family was very proud of her, and she was simultaneously shocked and thrilled.

From Anouk Cafe, I loved their salmon pot pie with herb gremolata and arugula salad. For dessert, I had a buttery apple almond flour cake with sliced almonds on top, and two generous vanilla ice cream scoops. This is my favourite kind of dessert – a little fruity, made with almond meal, warm, and served with plenty of ice cream.

Another day, I had a Pearl Cafe strawberry shortcake cake, which was incredibly buttery and delicious. The strawberry jam, sandwiched between shortcake layers, provided plenty of fruity, summery flavour.

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Campos Coffee for lunch: mushroom risotto with roasted chestnuts and smoked cheese. I don’t have risotto as much as I’d like, because ravioli and gnocchi always seem more appealing, but this was divine. The smoked cheese on top was slightly melted and had such a sharp flavour that paired beautifully with the creamy rice. For dessert, I loved the peanut butter chocolate brownie, which came with raspberry puree, whipped cream, and two scoops of unpictured vanilla ice cream. The peanut butter swirl here was THICK!

One Sunday afternoon, I went to Brisbane’s Art Gallery. It was a beautiful, serene, thought-provoking place with many galleries that I thoroughly enjoyed. These were some of my favourites. The Garden of Narcissus was one of my favourites (it’s the one with the mirrored orbs on the water). According to the Queensland Art Gallery blog: clusters and constellations are formed, reflecting the building’s architecture back onto itself from an infinite number of angles. Not unlike the myth, there is a dreamy yet sinister aspect to the work — it mesmerises at the same time that it forces one to look away. I love how it blends art with architecture.

Lovely meal at home: a mix of salads, including my favourite with roasted cauliflower and date, and some quiche. One of them is a homemade tart with spinach and truffled goat cheese, and the others were purchased from Botanica. I am going to miss their quiche (the crispy, flavourful crust is unbelievable) so much.

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Finally, I had a wonderful time at aerials before I left. When packing for the plane ride, I looked at these two websites, which informed me which healthy things I could bring onto the plane. Very exciting! Then, before I knew it, I was back in Canada. 🙂

Finally, a list that I’ve been working on, ever since I arrived in Australia!

Things I Liked About My Time in Australia

  • Class and campus
    • Play area on campus for children, like a day care, whose parents are in class
    • Cover page scanner for academic submissions
    • Lecture automatically recorded and uploaded to Blackboard
    • UQ Library website has previous course exams for the last five years
    • Classes are smaller, with about 30-50 students
    • Classes are more interactive, with discussions, debates, word banks
    • Professors and other speakers honour Indigenous people, the traditional owners of the land
    • 15 libraries on campus, and many of them are open 24 hours
    • Sleeping pods in the libraries
    • Buildings are numbered, and there are signs that direct you to different buildings
    • Classes are broadcasted on a screen outside the lecture hall, so you can always be sure that you are entering the correct room
    • UQ Nav app so I don’t get lost on campus
    • Professors and other university staff answer their emails very clearly, promptly, politely
    • Many microwaves and kitchenettes
    • Largest, most beautiful campus ever!
    • Many food options on campus, and open from morning until evening (including Chatime)
    • Free ice cream during O-Fest (Orientation Week)
    • All readings are available online; do not need to purchase textbook
  • Transport
    • Excellent bike lanes, bicycle lights, pedestrian areas
    • Slow for SAM (Speeding Awareness Monitors) on small roads with a smiley face
    • Bus times projected on screens
    • Large number of buses that go everywhere
    • Stops are numbered
    • It is very clear which buses go where
    • Bus drivers are kind and interact with passengers
    • People line up to take the bus, rather than crowding around the stop
    • Bus drivers wait until everyone is seated
    • Trains have U-shaped poles, so there is extra room for guide dogs
    • Trains have security and a lot of workers supervising
    • Trains have very cushy, comfortable seats
  • No allergies at all (no sneezing, no runny nose)
  • Because it’s so hot, I sweat a lot and my pimples disappeared
  • Super colourful birds with very vibrant colours
  • Mats at C!RCA training centre are very clean
  • Farmers markets (~15-20 per week?): over 50,000 markets, festivals, and events in Brisbane each year
  • Beautiful river with great bridges and comfortable, safe river walk
  • Foam soap that smells like soap from Princess Café
  • Free outdoor gyms for adults
  • Smaller bananas
  • Kitchens, bathrooms, etc. are more environmentally-friendly
  • Vegan market, many organic/raw/vegan restaurants, and many vegan options available in restaurants/grocery stores
  • Takeout coffee culture, so everyone has little reusable glass coffee cup that they take to cafes (many cafes have Keep Cup discounts)
  • A Night in India has kind waitresses and delicious palak paneer
  • Sun rises very early
  • Accents are occasionally tricky for me to understand, so I have to listen very carefully during lectures instead of zoning out
  • Dining outside is easier and more common, with great patios
  • Many butcher shops in malls, and many of which sell meat pies
  • Casual dress
  • Tips are incorporated into the bill, so tipping is not required
  • Tap water is drinkable, and there are water fountains everywhere
  • Many garbage cans out on the street, so there is little litter
  • People are generally very laidback, friendly
  • Wi-Fi everywhere, even on the bus
  • I have a moveable shower head
  • I live close to restaurants, shopping centres, grocery stores, and a great library
  • Tax is included in prices
  • Many seasonal fresh fruits (eg. Papayas, melons)
  • Tiny asparagus and giant blueberries
  • Farmers markets are typically cheaper than grocery stores
  • Grocery stores have massive yogurt selection
  • Vibrant colours: super blue sky, very green grass
  • Unique and beautiful plant life
  • Keys to home are not fussy; easy to use
  • Live music in the valley at night (great nightlife, and a lot of bars)
  • Time difference makes it quite easy for me to chat with family (they go to sleep around my afternoon/evening), and Mom wakes up before I go to bed
  • Excellent cafes with very unique menus
  • Laundry machine will finish washing clothes in less than 30 minutes
  • Fun vendors and booths everywhere
  • I have my own bathroom
  • Early morning yoga sessions (5:30 AM session, 6:05 AM session, 9:30 AM session)
  • There are bats outside in the evening
  • Lecturers end 30-45 minutes before they are scheduled to finish their lecture
  • At the mall, you can take the shopping carts around the entire mall
    • Shopping carts have store directories, phone slot, cup holder

Things I Disliked About My Time in Australia

  • My hair becomes greasy sooner because of the heat
  • In the rain, it is so loud when the raindrops hit the metal roof
  • Bluetooth issues
  • Lecturers alternate (eg. One class has three lecturers, another has five), with many guest lecturers
  • Difficult to find entrances to buildings on campus
  • Birds are very squawky and loud
  • Rain is spontaneous
  • Cafes do not serve tea lattes (but they do have chai!)
  • Crows may swoop down and bother cyclists, so people wear helmets with zip-ties attached to the holes of the helmet
  • Fruit can be quite expensive from Fruity Capers
  • No standing desks or standing café spots
  • Buses and train rides are expensive
  • O-Fest was not as fun as I’d expected
  • Fitness centre on campus is not free; student price for 1 drop-in pass is $14
  • Bus stops to go to campus are very busy at noon on weekdays
  • During the heat wave, had to shower twice a day from the heat
  • Water tasted mineral-y when I first arrived
  • Saturday store hours are terrible, and most close at 3-4
  • Cafes close early (2-3)
  • Many places closed on Monday
  • Random spider webs can go in your face if you walk under a tree
  • Fan at home clicks loudly
  • Need vehicle to visit cool, beautiful places near Brisbane
  • Ants in the house (very fast and smart), and cockroaches
  • Library closes very early, and is closed on Sunday
  • Some cafes don’t have bathrooms, so need to walk a few houses down to arrive at construction bathroom
  • Gets dark quite early; sun sets around 5:30
  • Some online videos are unavailable in Australia
  • Difficult to find the entrance to train stations
  • SIM card plans are complex
  • Chair at home is not very comfortable or ergonomic
  • Must hail bus drivers

Neutral Differences Between Canada and Australia

  • Most breakfast/brunch/lunch restaurants serve:
    • Milkshakes
    • Smoothies
    • Avocado
    • Halloumi
    • Chai
    • Vegemite toast
    • Sourdough
    • Golden latte (turmeric latte)
    • Beet latte, mermaid latte
    • Chai latte
    • Turkish bread
    • Flower decorations
    • Dukkah
  • Australian Polysporin = Betadine
  • Australian Restoralax = Osmolax
  • Australian Chipotle = Guzman y Gomez (GYG)
  • Australian Bed, Bath, and Beyond = Bed, Bath, and Table
  • Australian Booster Juice = Boost
  • Australian Cobs Bread = Bakers Delight
  • Australian Chapters, Coles, or Indigo = Dymocks
  • Australian Burger King = Hungry Jacks
  • Australian Lays = Smiths
  • Australian Starbucks or Tim Hortons = Merlo’s
  • Australian Rogers or Shaw = Telstra or Optus
  • Australian LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) = BWS (Beer, Wine, Spirits)
  • Australian Goodlife Fitness = 12RND (twelve round) Fitness
  • Steering wheel is on the right side, and people drive on the left side of the road
  • Thursday is the “late night”
  • GPA is out of 6 or 7
  • Very steep hills in some suburbs
  • Must push a button to get on and off a train
  • Wheelchair logo is reversed (mirrored)
  • Eating competitions held at festivals
  • High schools and malls are “outdoors”
  • Toilets have little water in them
  • Grammar-related
    • Use of ’s’ instead of ‘z’ in words (organised, fertilised, analyse)
    • Use of “ae” in words such as faeces, aetiological, paediatrics
    • No oxford comma
    • “ch” or “j” sounds instead of “t” sound (eg. Tuesday, produce, due date)
  • Australian food
    • Lamingtons and Snowdrops
    • Nougat
    • Beef jerky
    • Meat pies
    • Rocky Road
    • Macadamia
    • Tim Tams
    • Arnott’s cookies
    • Eton Mess
    • Hot dogs with white bread instead of a hot dog bun
    • Chicken parmigiana
    • Melting moments
    • Hot cross buns
    • Turkish delight
    • Sticky date pudding
  • School zones and other areas where pedestrians walk are painted
  • Eggs are not refrigerated
  • Playgrounds are shaded with a “roof” because it’s too hot
  • Pools are outdoors
  • Aboriginal names like Indooroopilly, Cooloongatta, Tangalooma, Woolloongabba
  • Tiny outlets can be turned on and off
  • Hole punches have 2 holes instead of 3
  • Many private-practice health practitioners who work out of their homes
  • Clothing-related
    • Spaghetti straps
    • Anello bags
    • School uniforms = dresses with big puffy sleeves for girls, button-ups, hats, white socks, standardized shoes and backpack
    • Colourful peasant blouses
    • Dark denim skirts
    • Flip flops or sandals
    • Bras are okay in public
    • Tote bags
    • Lorna Jane athleticwear
  • No radiators or dehumidifiers
  • Many dinner places have “banquets” which are like set dinners for 2+ people
  • Male and female bathrooms are often separate (i.e. in separate parts of a hallway)
  • Bathroom sink areas and bathroom stall areas are separated by a door
  • Many roundabouts instead of intersections
  • Lots of water dragons and geckoes
  • Separate colleges for boys and girls
  • Gum trees instead of evergreens, firs, or pines
  • Less time to cross the street
  • Sushi is pre-made and sits on the counter, uncut, so people can grab it as an on-the-go snack and eat it like a wrap
  • Walking on the right, standing/waiting on the left of an escalator
  • Some streets are also appear in Ontario: Dovercourt, King, Queen, Ann, Adelaide, Albert, Elizabeth, Edward, Morningside region
  • Traffic lights are black
  • Giant spiders that spin massive webs from tree to tree

Different Words Between Canadian English and Australian English

Canadian English Australian English
Bandaid Plasters
Whole milk Full cream milk
2% milk 98% milk
1% milk 99% milk
Outlet Power point
Duotang Folder (they use folders or clipboards)
Call Ring
Post-secondary students Tertiary students
Hashbrown Potato rosti
Darn, that sucks! Bugger
Period Full stop
A-P-A APA, pronounced “apa”
Hot flashes Hot flushes
Cotton candy Fairy floss
Raisins Sultanas
Exact change Correct money
Store hours Trading hours
Melt, or open-faced sandwich, or grilled-cheese Toastie
Tasting menu Degustation
Great Beauty
Pepper Capsicum
Sorry Soz
Coconut yogurt Coyo
Movator Travelator
Sunglasses Shades, sunnies
Fanny pack Bum bag
Elevator Lift
Pharmacy Chemist
Appetizer Entrée
Entrée Main course
Personal tent Swag
Gas station Servo, petrol station
Pass (passing someone on the road) Overtake
Eraser Rubber, or eraser pronounced ‘e-ray-zer’
Sweater Jumper
Tap (debit or credit card) Pay pass, pay way
Pay with card/machine EFTPOS (Electronic funds transfer at point of sale)
Papaya Pawpay
Kindergarten Kindy
Cafeteria Tuck shop
Area, section, or zone Precinct
Attendance Roll
Prom Formal
Math Maths
Tour Contiki
Umbrella Brolly
I believe, I think I reckon
Disaster, mess Dog’s breakfast
Tank top Singlet
Afternoon Arvo
Candy Lolly
Mosquito Mozzy
Tasmania Tassy
Brisbane Brissy
Meat pie Traveller meat pie, long pie
Drunk driving, or driving under the influence Drink driving
Biscuit Bicky
People on wheelchairs Ambulants
Washroom Toilet
Dropbox Chute
University Uni
Teaching assistant (TA) Tutor
Fries Hot chips, chips
Chips Chips
Hollow position Dish position
Streetcar Tram
Baby stroller Pram
Rent or borrow Hire (yoga mat rental = yoga mat hire)
Flashlight Torchlight
Tattle on you, tell on you Dob on you
Tattletale Dibby-dobber
Duvet Doona
Garbage Rubbish
That’s okay, no problem You’re alright (after receiving apology)
Interested Keen
Friend Mate
Whole grain Whole meal
Plants and animals Flora and fauna
Office hours Consult hours
Flip flops Thongs
How are you doing? How are you going?
Syllabus ECP (electronic course profile)
Sidewalk Footpath
Midterm exams, midterms Midsems
Water fountain Bubbler
Container Punnet
Barbecue Barbie
Curb Kerb
Green onions Eschallots
Ice box, cooler Chilly bin, esky
Hoop Lyra
Silks Tissu
Thrift store Op shop
What would you like? What are you after?
Feta Fetta
Garbage can Bin
The week after classes finish, and before exams begin (study week) Swotvac “study without tutor vacation”
Cup of coffee Cuppa
Bathing suit Togs
Avocado Avo
Cinnamon buns Scrolls
Good (in response to “how are you doing?”) Well (in response to “how are you going?”)
Redneck Bogan

Bites of Life and Things I’ve Been Loving!

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Good morning!

I really wish I had something interesting and thought-provoking to share with you this lovely Monday morning, but I really don’t.

It’s almost winter here in Australia, and the weather is getting noticeably cooler. Fortunately, I can still wear shorts and a t-shirt since we are around the mid-twenties for most of the day. This is my favourite kind of weather – warm and sunny, but not overwhelmingly hot. It’s such a comfortable temperature that I wish it could stay like this year-round.

On Mother’s Day, I had a lovely brunch with my landlords (husband and wife) and her daughter (my housemate). We savoured brunch at a cafe called Café 63 in New Farm. Their menu was very extensive, they had quick service, and it was great to sit out in the patio. I ordered the mashed avocado, multigrain toast, two poached eggs, and smoked salmon. I haven’t had avocado toast in quite a while, so this was incredible. The black pepper and lime juice took the flavours to the next level.

I’ve been neglecting my blog a little bit with only two posts in the last three weeks. It’s because my schoolwork is getting busier. Final exams begin at the start of June, so many of my exams are less than a month away. When I have a lot to do, I genuinely enjoy making to-do lists – the longer the better! – and feel so much satisfaction checking off the tasks.

I haven’t been taking many pictures of my food, mostly because I feel like I eat the same thing every day. It’s always a combination of store-bought salad from Botanica Real Food (check out their Instagram, seriously), alongside some homemade quiche or omelet, and sometimes fried halloumi or bread from the farmer’s market.

Broke my record for steps! In contrast to… sitting on my butt for hours at a time to study.

I love Brisbane! At night it becomes such a colourful, vibrant place when all the bridges light up and illuminate the water. I learned yesterday that swimming and rowing in the Brisbane River is highly advised against, because there are bull sharks in here!

After my term in Australia, then July and August, I will be moving back to Waterloo, this time with my sister! Seline was accepted into the University of Waterloo, so we are very excited about being able to live together. I’ve been choosing my courses, and we have been working together to find a nice and affordable place at a convenient location in Waterloo.

Now, for something completely unrelated to school and housing:

Here’s a list of my favourite side dish salad combinations, inspired by Botanica!

  • potato, peas, dill ⭐FAV
  • brown rice, squash
  • pumpkin with seeds and cumin hummus dressing
  • Israeli couscous with spinach, red onion, sweet potato, pesto dressing ⭐FAV
  • roasted cauliflower with dates and parsley ⭐FAV
  • shredded beet with orange and goat cheese, mint
  • purple cabbage with mayo
  • chickpea, spinach, carrot with creamy curry dressing
  • broccoli slaw with dried cranberries
  • carrot and quinoa
  • currant, quinoa, green/brown lentil, red onion, parsley, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, cabbage
  • roasted potato with capers, dill

My sister asked me for a list of foods rich in B12. Here you go, S!

Food sources of vitamin B12

Meat-based Vitamin B12-Rich Foods

  • fish
  • milk
  • red meat
  • eggs
  • fish (trout, salmon)
  • crab
  • cheese
  • chicken
  • oysters and clams
  • yogurt

Vegan Vitamin B12-Rich Foods

  • almonds
  • soy milk
  • carrots
  • papayas
  • squash
  • sweet potato
  • peppers
  • mangoes
  • avocado
  • melon
  • peaches
  • apricots

Now, for a little note on things that I’ve been loving recently:

  1. Cirque Physio, a website by physiotherapist and circus artist Dr. Jen Crane. She provides all kinds of excellent tips and tricks (that I get on FB!) about recovery, injury prevention, and healthy habits – all targeting aerialists and acrobats.
  2. Along those lines, I downloaded The Artist Athlete Podcast by Shannon McKenna. I’ve never been a big fan of podcasts, but her podcast has featured interviews and conversations with high-level performers, occupational therapists, riggers, and a variety of artists. Her voice is so easy to listen to, and she brings up some excellent points. One of my favourite episodes was one from May 7, where she spoke with Anton Belyakov, a professional hand balancer born into a circus family.

That’s pretty much all I have for today, but I’m going to some great cafes today and tomorrow, and an awesome show that I’m very excited about. Have a great day!

The Longest Essay I’ve Ever Written

Good morning! I hope you had a fantastic weekend and feel rejuvenated for the week ahead.

I had a wonderful weekend, full of aerials, where I started working on something new (to me) – a splits balance. The studio that I train at on the weekend, Vulcana, is beautiful and home to some very kind souls.

Last night, my housemate Jessica very generously donated some backpacks to me! I adore backpacks of all shapes and colours and sizes, and was so thrilled to get some new ones. My old grey one is pretty boring, and I’ve used it for over two years, so I’m excited to start using these new-to-me treasures.

Also in my life recently:

  • using my Staedler pens to write notes all the time – they make my notes so colourful and enticing. I almost want to study when these pens are hanging out on my desk.
  • thinking about starting up running! I love walking, but it isn’t a ‘challenge’ any more. Would be fun to do a bit of running before the weather gets too cool.
  • map of Brisbane and all the suburbs! My favourite suburbs are Fortitude Valley and New Farm, which is where my aerials training studios are – and home to my favourite farmers markets!
  • giant mosquito. Whoa.
  • it’s been a while since I’ve had a good old smoothie! This one was made with banana, chocolate, almond milk, and cinnamon. It was delicious on a hot day, before I ordered a lovely brunch dish of cabbage pancake topped with goat cheese, poached egg, roasted broccoli, and parmesan (unpictured).

This is the Brisbane City botanical garden. It was my first time visiting this particular botanical garden – I’ve been to two others in the area. Although this didn’t have as much plantlife as the other two, I enjoyed the lush green grass and simple ponds.

On a different note, my shoes are finally comfortable! I had some issues with my toe, and after wearing comfortable (read: ugly) shoes for a few months, giving my toe time to heal, I can finally wear my slightly-less-comfortable (but much cuter) shoes. I love this pair and glad that I’m able to walk around in them, completely pain-free!

I saw this online and it really got me thinking. What do I want to do in the future – and is it something I love? Will it be something I’m good at? Is it something the world needs? I’m going to keep thinking about this, and perhaps one day, pen in some of my career choices and see which ones fall into the centre.

IKIGAI

This was the longest essay I’ve written in my life! It is a research essay about kidney disease in Queensland, and potential health-enhancing behaviours that may improve the mortality/morbidity of chronic kidney disease. It took me a little over a month to complete, so I was very satisfied to finally submit it last week.

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Essays were also involved in my biology class. We worked in groups of six, and I thought we did a fantastic job together. I was super pleased with how our report turned out, and how we collaborated.

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Finally, a lovely salad with some vegetable tarts. One tart is broccoli-parmesan, the other mushroom and pesto. I loved both, especially with this glorious colourful salad.

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Last but not least, I finished my box of chai – which means I had 25 chai tea bags in less than a month. Definitely obsessed with that stuff. It’s just perfect with milk and honey.

Of course, I had to make a list of chai to try (I’m sure there’s some pun I can make with this). I hope I can find some of these here in Brisbane!

Must-Try Chai

  • Samovar Masala Chai Black
  • Prana Chai Masala Blend
  • Dona Chai Chai Tea Concentrate
  • Chai Wallahs of Maine Spiced Chai with Assam Black Tea
  • Firepot Nomadic Teas Masala Chai Loose Leaf
  • Bollywood Theater Masala Chai
  • Tipu’s Original Slow Brew Indian Chai
  • Rainbow Chai Spice Mix
  • Pukka Vanilla Chai
  • Madura Seven Spice Chai
  • Nerada Organics Chai
  • Chai Walli chai
  • Gopi Chai
  • Teapigs Chai
  • Twinings Chai Ultra Spice
  • Tazo Chai
  • Organic India Chai Masala

That’s it for today – wishing you a lovely rest of the week.