Last Week in Scarborough | End of Term Things

Happy Friday!

This week, I had a beautiful dessert… x2 – both were from Delysèes.

  • pistachio eclair with pistachio cream
  • Nutella caramel pillow with chocolate shortbread base

I saw this while looking for more information about the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test), and it was interesting to observe how students in the humanities and mathematics scored higher than those in programs such as life science and biology.

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This week has been absolutely freezing. It was about -20 degrees yesterday, which isn’t terrible without the wind. I’m so glad that I purchased a good, warm, fuzzy scarf earlier in the term!

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The gym at Centennial College is lovely. It is not exceptionally big, but it’s quite homey and the people are so wonderful. I love the staff here!

I have been experimenting with different mat exercises and stretches, but have yet to find a routine.

Other things from lately (L to R):

  • doggie Arnold back home in BC is doing great! I get to see him TOMORROW 🙂
  • I haven’t had access to a blender for a while, so I can’t wait to make all kinds of creamy blended soups
  • this is the Kaplan MCAT study set that my parents purchased for me. It arrived so quickly and I’m looking forward to flipping through and creating a study schedule
  • McDonalds now offers parmesan and garlic fries!
  • excellent list of more powerful words to use in writing
  • kind comment from Mom on my previous post
  • love it when people make recipes that I’ve shared! I must say that her tomato scrambled eggs look much better than mine

It snowed on Monday, and I think it’s all here to stay.

Face masks and writing holiday cards? So therapeutic.

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Last few photos of my room because I peace out of Scarborough. One. More. Sleep. Until I’m back home in BC. My space isn’t normally this clean – it’s an illusion because some inspectors came to see the basement. 😉

I’m in the process of planning and enrolling myself in classes for the winter term, when I’ll be studying at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Yesterday, my coworker and I went out for Korean food with two of our wonderful massage therapy students. We had a delicious meal – it’s been a while since I’ve had Korean food, and I loved how flavourful it was.

  • radish
  • kimchi
  • spicy cabbage
  • vegetable sesame noodles
  • cucumber and seaweed salad
  • sweet and spicy rice cakes
  • marinated eggplant

For my own dish, I had the chicken teriyaki with rice. Purple rice is one of my favourites.

What a memorable, delicious meal to end the week.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday and the greatest weekend!

My Last Time in Downtown Toronto | Delicious Desserts and More!

Happy Monday!

Most people who know me know that I adore Mondays. I think they are an excellent time to reset, bounce back from the weekend, and set new goals and new plans to achieve them. I started my Monday with a great mug of tea and a wonderful bowl of creamy peanut butter oatmeal with banana slices and the richest yogurt. 🙂

Saturday was a bit of a dark and dreary day, so I had plenty of time to type up my work term report. The co-op program at the University of Waterloo requires co-op students to write a 6-8 page reflection every semester. This time, I discussed how my current job (tutoring at Centennial College) differs from my previous job (clinical assistant at the Toronto Health Centre).

I also designed this Studying 101 booklet cover page, which was inspired by blog layouts.

Yesterday, I did a major scraping of the dryer’s lint filter. Holy cow. 🐮 I’m surprised that there were no fires due to this big mountain of lint. Crazy!

  • On the left: my backyard, which, for some unknowing reason, has a picnic bench
  • On the left: the beautiful Trinity-Bellwoods park, which is such an active and fun place (I’d love to live near this neighbourhood in the future)

I’d love to live near Trinity-Bellwoods park because Nadège is nearby. I love this bakery wholeheartedly, and have been here several times. In fact, it was my first destination on my first visit to Toronto. Everything is a winner here.

My next stop was Delysèes, home to some of the most beautiful cakes and pastries I’ve ever seen. Their pistachio croissant is one of my favourite sweet, nutty breakfast baked goods, and their macarons and individual cakes are equally stunning and delicious. The rose one is beautiful, as is the blue gemstone!

And yes, I always spend a little too much money here, thanks to my indecisiveness. Should I get the vanilla-hazelnut or the pistachio? I love hazelnut cream, but pistachio is so good. What should I do… why not just try them both?

Lunch involved some great flatbread from Forno Cultura. This one was called the Rapini, and was topped with charred, smoky rapini, garlic chips, plenty of sauteed onions, and slightly acidic tomato sauce that paired nicely with creamy, rich parmesan. The star of the show, however, was the crispy spiced crust.

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I headed to Butter Avenue for dessert, where I ordered this adorable ube chestnut choux. I’ve seen pictures of this pastry on Butter Avenue’s Twitter and Instagram, and knew I had to try it.

  • the choux pastry was like a crispy cream puff crossed with a Chinese pineapple (bolo) bun, crackly on the outside but fresh, rich, and buttery inside
  • the mashed and sweetened ube (purple sweet potato) enveloped a mountain of delicate chestnut cream, which tasted amazing with the choux
  • deep inside, there was a hazelnut sable, which was hands-down one of the best nut-based cookies I have ever eaten – now, I really want to try baking hazelnut sable
  • the snowman was made of white chocolate, and completely edible

Goodnight, Toronto.

Then I was underground again, being whisked off to Scarborough. 😥 I was exhausted by the time I returned home…

… but not too exhausted to take photos of the goodies I’d purchased! Hazelnut-chocolate sandwich cookies and hot chocolate mix from SOMA Chocolatemaker.

Hazelnut hot chocolate and malted milk hot chocolate that I absolutely cannot wait to dive into. I’ve tried them both before, and they are absolutely scrumptious. Expensive, but it’s chocolate. Justified.

The cakes that I mentioned? The ones I bought from Delysèes? This is what they looked like after a day of prancing around Toronto. Completely deconstructed, but completely edible. I can’t wait to have this Russian chocolate mousse bomb and the salted caramel and Nutella pillow. I also have a tasty, unpictured pistachio éclair hiding in that white box.

That’s pretty much it for today, except one thing – I went to the library yesterday and now have a mini-list of books to check out.

New-to-me books that I want to read:

Have a beautiful week, everyone! I am going to enjoy mine more than usual, since it’s my last week in Scarborough (and Ontario) for a whole year. ❤

Dreamy December

Good morning, everyone!

A beautiful walk one Saturday afternoon led to some great photos by the creek. Scarborough is so hilly and dotted with lovely ponds, streams, and bridges. Everything looks different than it did in September, since the leaves are all gone. It’s so charming and I bet it’s just as beautiful when draped in snow. The biodiversity here in Ontario is subtly different from the plants and wildlife in BC, so I always find the scenery so dreamy and enchanted.

My friend introduced me to this blog, The Girly MD, written by a medical student at the University of Toronto. She is such a role model, and I look up to her hard work and dedication. Her fresh recipes, inspiring affirmations, and honest reflections are so wonderful. In fact, her recent post about self-love motivated me to put on a face mask. Face masks feel great, and I love this tea tree oil one from The Body Shop. It is truly refreshing and deep-cleansing, and my face feels smoother and cool/tingly after I wash it off.

(I haven’t seen my hair curly for years – if I leave it in a bun for a day, lo and behold: CURLS)

Seven more days before I’m done with the Basement Life! 😎 I need windows. At the same time, though, I’m going to miss my current place and all the quiet/privacy that I get with having my own bedroom, bathroom, and “kitchen” (i.e. a sink and a table with a burner). It will be nice, though, when I soon get a table and chair that are more ergonomic since this chair is too high for the table. Or perhaps the table is too low for the chair.

The doors are now decorated! My office is the door with the paper X-ray Santa, and my coworker, Rikki, decorated hers with the gingerbread man. The Math Drop-in centre was designed and created by Erin, who painstakingly cut and taped each triangle. We love our Christmas decorations, and the students think they are pretty cool, too.

This weekend is going to be a cold one. In fact, next week will be really chilly, with a chance of snow. I can’t believe I have seven more days in Scarborough before I go back home to BC. For some reason, I feel like I’m not ready to leave yet – my students aren’t finished their course, and the semester isn’t done until mid-January because of the Ontario college strike.

On a different note, I helped my sister make a flyer for her high school Christmas Spirit Week. I made the one with the red ornaments and gold WordArt, while she painted the real Spirit Week poster below. Seline is the Project Manager in her school’s Student Government team, and I have no idea how she does it all. Did I mention that Seline is also an avid painter, photographer, pianist, and poet?

Here’s a little snapshot of her newest poem, a haiku that she published on her blog (Purely Poetic) a few days ago.

The rivers are stagnant,

and the mountains stand up tall,

in the air of Fall.

And finally, I received my approved Visa for my trip to Brisbane! In mid-February (after my dad, grandfather, and I visit Cambodia in January), I will start a 5-month semester at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Aside from the snakes, spiders, and the daunting endeavour of figuring out Australian currency, I am super excited. I started an Australia page on the blog for the trip, but so far, I only have a few lists.

I had some time to read this morning, and spent some time composing this list of links that I found and enjoyed. I liked putting this list together, and hopefully get the chance to do it more often in the future.

Things I Loved Reading Recently

Hope everyone has a beautiful, cozy weekend. I’m planning to go downtown on Sunday, which may potentially be my last time downtown for a while since I’m going back to BC in a week!

Until next time 💀🎄🍰

Snakes and Stew Ideas

Hey guys!

Hope all is well this sunny week ☀️ On my end, everything has been fantastic. Last Saturday, I met my coworkers Rikki and Erin at the zoo. The walk was pretty long, but so rewarding.

The fall scenery was stunning. I’m surprised by the sheer number of trees here in Scarborough. It’s so different from the concrete jungle we call Toronto, but I’m definitely not complaining about this beautiful foliage.

The zoo was awesome. I was pretty disappointed because I paid the $23 entrance fee – but I had a library card that would’ve allowed me to enter for free. 😢 Tragic.

But the animals were neat, and the weather was fantastic for the long walk around the zoo. I loved the bats and snakes.

That day, I enjoyed vegetable biryani that I made previously. I topped the butternut squash and onion biryani rice with crushed cashews and sautéed carrots with red peppers.

Another day, I loved this Thai green curry with butternut squash biryani.

I’ve still been doing lots of learning, teaching, learning, and teaching.

It. Is. So. Much. Fun. It’s like I’m being PAID to go to school. Which is pretty sweet.

Here are some images that I found while searching for amazing fall dinners. Don’t these look amazing?! I’m picking up some ingredients to make a pumpkin lentil stew later this weekend.

The sky during the evening is spectacular around here. It looks like a pastel piece of artwork or some kind of watercolour painting. It was mind-blowing to see in person.

The old classic, my favourite African peanut stew with sweet potatoes. This time, I made couscous instead of rice, and added mushrooms and a baby spinach/kale mix into the stew. Topped with crushed peanuts, as usual. This is my #1 favourite meal prep of the fall, apparently.

Another day, I went to the Scarborough Town Centre, the mall. I had Naan and Kebab again, where I nommed on the best basmati rice, creamy chickpeas (I need this recipe), charred tandoori paneer with zucchini, and fresh salad greens and a side of naan bread. I am head-over-heels in love with this place. Can I have more?!

Dessert? Chocolate almond croissant from Brioche Dorée. I asked them to heat it up for me, and they did, so it was warm but not crispy. I like my croissants crispy instead of soft, which makes them feel oily/flimsy. The chocolate was abundant, however, and the filling was damn delicious. I think you guys know how picky I am about these chocolate almond croissants…

Recently, we started a website as a resource for our students. It’s called Anatomy Academy. It’s still a work in progress.

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Simple Guide to Nutritional Yeast

What is Nutritional Yeast?

  • a type of inactive yeast
  • flaky, powdery texture
  • has a savoury, cheesy flavour
  • vegan and gluten-free
  • can be found in most health-food stores

Why You Should Try “Nooch”

  • tastes like parmesan cheese, so it’s absolutely delicious
  • loaded with B vitamins
  • contains 6 grams of protein in each quarter cup
  • plenty of zinc and fibre

Creative Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast

  • add it to pasta
  • add to popcorn
  • use in Tex-Mex or Mexican dishes as a sub for cheddar
  • sprinkle some on buttered bread
  • use in lasagna
  • make an Alfredo sauce
  • topping for vegetarian chili
  • use in tofu stir-fries
  • sprinkle on salad
  • use to top salads or breadsticks
  • use in French toast batter to add richness
  • in place of cheddar in vegan broccoli-cheddar soup
  • use to make vegan omelettes or quiche
  • add to mashed cauliflower
  • use it to make cauliflower dishes
  • add to stuffed peppers
  • the easiest mac and cheese ever: 1/2 cup nutritional yeast with 1/4 cup warm water, oil, salt and pepper
  • mix into scrambled eggs for eggy flavour and great yellow hue
  • add to casseroles, whether they have rice or quinoa
  • toss it into the blender with cooked/canned beans, olive oil, and lemon for a great cheesy dip
  • add to burritos
  • sprinkle on shakshuka
  • add to scalloped potatoes
  • blitz to make a mock parmesan
  • mash into baked potato with garlic
  • blend to make creamy cheesy sauce
  • stir into pesto
  • top sautéed vegetables
  • use to top pizza or flatbread
  • use to make vegan hollandaise sauce
  • make a cheese spread with it, then use it for grilled cheese
  • stir it into vegan gravy
  • use to thicken stews, sauces, and soups
  • use in vegan mac and cheese recipes
  • whisked into salad dressing for thickness and unami flavour
  • use in vegan baking, like for savoury biscuits
  • add to scrambled eggs (adds a great sharp flavour, and enhances the yellow hue of your eggs)
  • stir into soups
  • add to curry mix
  • stir into risotto
  • sprinkle on chips, like kale chips
  • stir into sweet treats, like peanut butter cups, to add rich flavour (melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips OR cocoa powder with oil, then layer with a mixture of peanut butter and nutritional yeast, chill to set)
  • sprinkle on top of avocado toast
  • use in tofu cheesecakes, to add cream cheese flavour

✧ Lately ✧

Does anyone have a cool human body project idea?

A walk back home, taking the scenic route. What an interesting place, right? In my opinion, this doesn’t even look like Canada.

A trip to the library = six new (to me) books. I. Can’t. Wait.

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Deliciousness in the form of Thai green curry and biryani rice.

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Vegetable Biryani

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, quartered and cut into 5-cm  segments
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • S+P
  • 2 cups yellow onion
  • 1 chopped jalapeno
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins or currants
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Toss squash, carrots, and bell pepper with 2 tbsp oil, curry powder, and salt.
  2. Roast vegetables until tender when pierced, 20-25 mins.
  3. Warm 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and cumin. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to brown, 6 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until aromatic, 1 minute.
  5. Stir in rice. Cook 1 minute.
  6. Add broth, raisins, and turmeric. Simmer.
  7. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Simmer gently until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 10-12 mins.
  8. Remove from heat. Keep covered until vegetables have finished roasting.
  9. Fold in roasted vegetables and cashews. Season with S+P. Serve.

I went for the most enjoyable walk on Monday evening.

The beach at East Point Park was quite nice. I’m looking forward to a jaunt to Guild Park soon!

Who knew Scarborough could be so pretty?

The sunshine and superb blue skies made a huge difference. This walk really brightened by day, literally and figuratively.

Another day-brightener: I had pizza twice. One slice was ricotta and olive, the other was poached pear with ham and brie. Completely in love with both.

2018 Winter Olympics! Did they come fast or what? The Olympics make me realize that the years go by FAST. I’m looking forward to figure skating! Also, I finished reading the Maze Runner, and now I’ll have to see the movie 🎥

Tonight, I had chili! Topped with cheddar and lime – the best.

Healthy Pumpkin Chili

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup broth
  • 1 large chopped white onion
  • sprinkle garlic powder
  • 2 chopped bell peppers
  • 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime
  • desired toppings

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic powder until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the bell peppers, cook another 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, beans, pumpkin, broth and spices (excluding the lime until the end). Stir until well combined.
  3. Bring to a slight boil, turn down heat and cover to let simmer about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in the fresh lime juice.
  5. Serve with your favorite spices and toppings.

Have a glorious rest of the week, everyone!