A Joke and Some Quotes

I started the week with a delicious tagine. Sort of… deconstructed because my pot wasn’t big enough.

Moroccan Chickpea Tagine

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 pack baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup couscous
  • drizzle honey

OPTIONAL VEGGIES

  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • green bell pepper
  • eggplant

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion. Cook until soft.
  2. Add garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and cook until fragrant. 1 minute is enough.
  3. Add tomatoes and juice.
  4. Add chickpeas, cauliflower, raisins, 1/2 cup water, and boil.
  5. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender and liquid has thickened – 15 to 20 mins. Add some honey.
  6. Fold spinach. Cook until wilted – another 1 or 2 mins.
  7. Place couscous in a large bowl. Add 1 cup water. Cover, let sit for 5 mins. Fluff with fork and serve with stew.

Another day, I had a tasty dinner at Scaddabush with my coworkers. I enjoyed the Zucca ravioli: butternut squash ravioli with butter-fried sage, breadcrumbs, and a garlicky, creamy sauce with plenty of black pepper and parmesan. I also loved my appetizer, which was buttered garlic bread with fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, crushed toasted hazelnuts, and honey. Amazing.

Since I’m tutoring at Centennial College, I have the opportunity to create a website. This is what we have so far. Pretty fun endeavour! The site is called Anatomy Academy, and it has all the worksheets that the students use to practice for anatomy and physiology.

I spent Sunday in downtown Toronto, where I savoured this incredible platter of smoked salmon, beet-cured gravlax, and purple cornmeal pancakes. The poached duck egg and chives were the cherry on top. The Scandinavian flavours in this delicious Karelia Kitchen brunch classic were unforgettable.

Carrot cake could not be missed. Absolute perfection. 👌

I walked down Bloor, which is becoming one of my favourite streets. Little Korea is always fun to explore, and I loved this stationery store where I picked up a few pens for Seline. My sister, Seline, is now working on a new blog called Canvas Atlas. It’s a fantastic portfolio; she’s a very talented with oil painting, photography, sketching, and other artistic endeavours. I wish I could create art the way she does.

Some quotes that I found on the net. I really like these ones.

Quotes

  • “Be decisive. Right or Wrong, make a decision. The road of life if paved with flat squirrels that couldn’t make a decision.”
  • “At the end of the game the King and the Pawn go into the same box.”
  • “Give a man a mask and he will show you his true self.”
  • “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
  • “If good things lasted forever, how would we realize how precious they are?”
  • “Climb the mountain to see the world, not so that the world can see you.”
  • “You cannot choose what happens to you, but you have total control over how you react to it.”
  • “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

One of my students brought me this slice of homemade banana bread. It was so tasty, and I loved every bite. Banana bread is truly one of my faves in any way, shape, or form.

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Another day, I went to Bake Code, a Taiwanese bakery in the York Mills area. There, I bought a taro knot (delicious) which I ate with Thai green curry, topped with crushed cashews.

The broccoli-cheddar quiche that I made was also very, very yummy with mushroom soup.

Shopping list – all the green words are things that I’m going to use to make some Christmas-inspired treats when the time comes around. It’s never to early to prep for Christmas, in my opinion. 😉

Mom Meals in BC looking good!

Dinner from Whole Foods, as well as a croissant that I attempted to bake. D’you think this looks a little… overbaked? Maybe a little 😉

(Don’t worry, I still ate it – the filling and inner layers, at least – and t’was delicious nonetheless)

This is the view of Toronto from 50 km away. Toronto is the beautiful, futuristic-looking city in the back. I got these photos from BlogTO (i.e. I don’t have the photography skills to do stuff like this).

Beautiful book from the library by the inspirational, talented, articulate Malala. I love reading about girls my age who use their voices to create positive ripples in the world. Go, Malala, go! ❤

I. Need. More. Books. And more gym time.

Another day, I visited the Toronto Pan Am Centre. Wish I brought my bathing suit; this gym is stunning but also pricey. Would have been super fun for a drop-in session or two.

Gorgeous skies on my walks home.

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My schedule is packed recently, which is what I like. Purple boxes and light blue boxes are bookings by students.

On a side note: Christmas decorations!

Things from the net 🙂

THIS. JOKE. GUYS.

A Chinese family moved into my town. There was a pair of twins: a boy called Ving and a girl called Ling. I became food friends with Ving. I learned that Ving HATED his name, and he wanted to change it to Lee, like Bruce Lee. I really wanted him to change his name to Lee. Ving decided to change his name, even though Ling disagreed. They went to town hall, and he filled out his name change sheet. He looked very conflicted.

Finally, Ving decided not to change his name. He asked the receptionist to cancel the request. I was disappointed. The receptionist said there would be a cancellation fee, and handed the fee receipt to Ling.

I said, “don’t stop, be Lee, Ving. Hold on to that fee, Ling.”


On a completely different, non-pun related note, check out this amazing stew-soup that I made. You will love it. Every bite was tasty!

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Curried Lentil Pumpkin Soup

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • small yellow onion, diced
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 7.5 oz pumpkin puree (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder (mild or hot)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • cayenne, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch coriander
  • pinch cumin
  • honey, if desired
  • pumpkin seeds to garnish
  • lime to taste, or for garnish
  • coconut milk (little bit to thicken and add creaminess)

Mix-Ins to Add When Sautéing (add them with the onions)

  • chopped carrot
  • tiny cauliflower florets
  • baby spinach or kale
  • celery
  • tomato
  • couscous

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Sauté onion, garlic, and ginger in large pot with oil, until onions are soft and transparent. Add desired vegetables. I tossed in some chopped carrot and celery.
  2. Add pumpkin puree, red lentils, broth, and curry powder. Add other desired spices. Stir to combine.
  3. Place a lid on the pot and turn up the heat to medium high. Boil.
  4. Turn the heat down again. Simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 20 mins, lentils should be soft and the soup thickened. Add coconut milk. Stir in any kale or spinach. I added baby spinach at the end to wilt.
  5. Season well. Serve with lime and pumpkin seeds on top.

That’s it for today, everyone. Have a beautiful rest of the week ❤

Charcoal Waffles ♡_♡

Mmmm, pizza. It’s been a while since I’ve had truly, truly amazing pizza and this one from Lamanna’s, an Italian bakery and hot table in Scarborough, did not disappoint. Smothered in provolone and mushrooms, the toppings were simple and tasty – but the crust, charred to perfection, was my favourite part.

Dessert? Large gelato with a scoop of pistachio and a scoop of hazelnut (check out that size compared to the little gelato spoon and my water bottle!) – followed by an unpictured lobster tail cream pastry. Talk about an amazing lunch!

Another day, I had lunch at Light Cafe in downtown Toronto, a chic and modern new spot in Baldwin Village.

The truffled mushroom croissant is their specialty, loaded with creamy truffle mayonnaise, sliced tomato, shiitake mushrooms, and lettuce. The croissant was toasted and tasted fresh. Salad was dressed in sesame, and had plenty of fresh tomatoes inside.

The soup was another highlight: rich, creamy, savoury Lobster Bisque!

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For dessert, I had to order the famous Light Cafe dish – black sesame waffles. There were four heart-shaped black sesame waffles, made with charcoal for that incredible colour, a little vial of rich sesame syrup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a scoop of black sesame ice cream. All of it was devoured. 😇

Waffles with ice cream is hands-down one of my favourite desserts of all time, and bonus points for special-flavoured waffles like ube (purple yam, specialty of the Philippines), black sesame, or red bean.

This is one of my favourite photographs from my trip downtown. I love how 50% of it is that urban traffic look with trees in the back, and the other half is a pretty lake with trees, and apartments in the back. The contrast is cool!

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The reason for my Toronto trip? Stock. Up. On. Muffins. Since I don’t go downtown very often, and I won’t be going often anymore since it’s starting to get chilly, I bought plenty of muffins, chopped ’em into thirds or quarters, and stashed them in the freezer. These are some of the muffins I remember:

  • blueberry streusel
  • blueberry bran
  • plain blueberry
  • blueberry scone
  • lemon poppyseed
  • carrot
  • banana chocolate chip
  • mixed berry and oat
  • cornmeal
  • lemon currant scone
  • ginger scone

There were definitely more, but that’s all for the ones I can recall. 😎 Apparently, I seem to like muffins a lot?

Excitement. In the form of a delicious plate of coconut Thai green curry with broccoli, mushrooms, onion, and carrots – and in the form of a new book. Sci-fi isn’t really my genre, but this one, RUSH by Eve Silver, had me intrigued all the way through.

A trip to the library meant I took lots more snapshots of the books that are on my to-be-read list. I can’t wait to take these out and see if they’re good.

On Mid-Autumn Festival, which is like Chinese Thanksgiving, I had an incredible meal at a buffet called Dragon’s Pearl, with friends of my grandfather. I. Love. Buffets. So what did I enjoy this time?

  • yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and gravy
  • steamed ginger and scallion fish
  • Japanese sweet egg, bean curd sushi, other assorted sushi
  • stir-fried vegetables, crispy stir-fried noodles
  • peking duck on a flatbread, with sweet and sour sauce and cucumber
  • creamy crab salad
  • crispy shrimp cakes
  • garlic mussels
  • grilled salmon and plaintains

Dessert was just as delicious.

  • tiramisu
  • green tea cake
  • sweet sesame mochi ball (favourite)
  • regular cheesecake
  • unsweetened cheesecake
  • bread pudding with golden raisins, whipped cream on top (#2 favourite)
  • English trifle
  • kiwi custard tart

Do you like buffets? I’m a sucker for variety, so I adore buffets!

One morning, I had some quiet time to myself in the office so I started designing a new poster for the Integumentary System, which is the system about human skin, hair, and nails.

Totally random note here. This is such a beautiful logo! I like graphic design a lot and want to learn more about designing lettering.

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Speaking of graphic design, I’m creating a PDF doc of Anatomy-related study tips. The entire study guide is written out now, but I’m figuring out how I’d like to design the other pages. What do you think?

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That’s pretty much it for today, guys. Hope you all have the most wonderful rest of the week. 🙂

The Best Food Court Meal I’ve Ever Had

Hey, hey, hey! Quick update on everything, now that September is coming to a close.

Yes, I know that many of my previous posts were flashbacks to my short time at home in BC. And as much as I wish I was back in BC, chowing on croissants every morning, I’m actually living in Scarborough, a quiet, academic suburb of Toronto. You might remember the little tour post that I did of my room/bathroom/kitchen and my office at work.

Remember my day at SLXCA in downtown Toronto? On the same day, I went to the Kensington Market, where I stopped at Hibiscus Cafe and devoured this buckwheat crepe with brie, roasted apples, pecans, arugula, and avocado. Super beautiful, yes, but the flavours needed a little something (maybe pepper?).

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Most of my eats at home have been simple, but oh-so-delicious. This quiche was from the farmer’s market, and I’ve been purchasing one little one every week. Truly the best crust I’ve ever had.

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Soups have also been making regular appearances, along with scones.

I found out recently that the uwaterloolife Instagram account featured me! I’ve seen my paragliding photo from Nepal 2016 used in several University of Waterloo Study Abroad advertisements. I was thrilled to see this post, shared with me by a friend, since I don’t have my own Instagram.

Pumpkin seeds, guys! Why did it take me so long to fall in love with them?

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On a tragic note, I finished all my sunflower butter. I suppose that merits another trip to Trader Joe’s once I return to BC? 😏

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Life at the college has been good, too. My students, for the most part, have been incredibly dedicated, well-prepared, and ready to learn and work hard. Thank you ❤

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Check out this stunning stretch that I walk down, each time I go to the Dollarama, Bulk Barn, and Food Basics plaza. Gorgeous, right? I had no idea that Scarborough would be so dramatically different from downtown Toronto.

Dollarama is a lifesaver. I love my soft slippers and the Halloween decorations that I purchased for my office. It’s never too early for Halloween, if you ask me.

Now this! O-M-G (part 1). On Saturday, I visited Scarborough Town Centre, the local mall, where I enjoyed this amazing lunch from Naan&Kebab. You see, I was expecting a greasy, sticky mess with dry, hard pieces of chicken, and perhaps a couple limp leaves.

Nope, nope, nope. What did I get instead?

  • two generously-sized pieces of piping hot, toasted naan bread
  • a large helping of basmati rice cooked in savoury beef broth, mixed with shredded carrots and plenty of plump, juicy raisins
  • six large, tender, flavourful and spiced chunks of chicken
  • a creamy, rich, and spiced just-right chickpea stew
  • romaine lettuce, red cabbage, mixed vegetables, and two types of salsa, with a creamy spiced yogurt on top

For less than $12. I tried to save half for a future meal, but I knew after my first few bites that it wasn’t happening – it was too fresh and tasty, so I happily finished it all. Next time, I’m going to try the paneer version!

Sweet Jesus is pretty much a legend in Toronto. Everyone knows about it, and most people have tried it. Well, on Saturday, I got to see what the hype was all about. I chose the vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream. A generous drizzle of Nutella was artfully drizzled on top of the soft serve, and the entire thing was coated in crunchy chopped pistachios and cornflakes. The soft serve itself reminded me of Costco ice cream. My only complaint is that it was physically hard to eat, simply because of the size of the ice cream compared to the size of the cup. It got pretty messy, but I should have asked for a larger cup, or at least some napkins.

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The same day, I cooked up a vegetarian chili for dinner.

Vegetarian Chili

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 1.5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery (I omitted since I didn’t find any)
  • 1 scant tbsp chili powder
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid, chopped or crushed
  • 10+ oz kidney beans
  • 10+ oz black beans
  • 5+ oz whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil and saute all vegetables with chili powder. Add salt.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, and corn. Season with remaining spices. Stir in pumpkin.
  3. Boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

The chili itself was a winner! These are some of the topping ideas that I’ll be using next time. This time, I kept it simple with some shredded cheddar.

TOPPINGS

  • cheddar cheese (personal favourite)
  • sour cream, creme fraiche, or thick plain yogurt
  • lime
  • avocado
  • cornbread
  • rice

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I saw some kind of list about Top 10 Fall Soups (or something!), and had the urge to create a big pot of chicken and wild rice soup. Since I didn’t want to buy and cook chicken, I subbed in an entire carton of white mushrooms. I really enjoyed this soup, especially on the second day with extra salt.

Creamy Mushroom Wild Rice Soup

Serves 5

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp butter, or oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • shallot
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until tender, about 7 mins. Add mushrooms and shallot.
  3. Stir in garlic clove. Cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add flour until dissolved.
  4. Slowly stir in milk, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently until thickened. Add broth, wild rice, parsley, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a low boil. Reduce to simmer, cook for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaf.
  7. Serve!

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And that’s pretty much it for today! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

12-metre Shrimp Tempuras

You guys might have figured out that I am absolutely fascinated by sea creatures. This was a photo I found (on BoredPanda, of all places) that shows a sleeping pod of sperm whales! They also happen to look, according to my roommate’s friend, like giant shrimp tempuras.

Cool facts – it is the large predator with teeth, uses echolocation, and is the second-deepest diving mammal on the planet. Males can reach up to 21 metres in length, and albino sperm whales exist! They are made of cartilage, so their “bones” bend and collapse rather than snap, when they undergo dramatic changes in pressure in their dives. It can retract its eyes and has excellent vision. Sperm whales are very difficult to investigate, because they dive for longer periods of time, and travel quickly in the deep waters. Also, the novel Moby Dick was based on a sperm whale!

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On Friday, I went crazy with the food and ate until my stomach burst. During that time, I devoured an incredibly gooey, cheesy brie grilled cheese with cranberry mayonnaise on two thick slices of rye bread, plus a side of spicy Southern sweet potato soup – and followed that up with peanut butter + cheesecake ice cream at Marble Slab, topped with pretty much every topping. My cup was finished in a snap, but my friend’s became soup!

 

This Sunday is the aerials and pole showcase at my studio. I am not performing this time, but I can’t wait to see all of my friends perform.

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For dinner yesterday, I made a cheesy quinoa casserole with mushrooms, zucchini, red onion, and some frozen mixed vegetables. This tasted great with cheddar on top.

 

I added extra nutritional yeast into the sauce, so it tasted so zingy and sharp in the best way.

 

Chocolatey breakfast quinoa is one of my new favourite breakfasts. I always add a sliced banana and a scoop of nut butter, and serve it with yogurt + coconut chips and a piece of baking (this was an almond flour fig cake). Minus the yogurt, this would make a wonderful vegan breakfast (as the quinoa was cooked in coconut milk).

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On Sunday, I cooked a big batch of peanut stew. It is flavoured with cumin, garlic, ginger, and red onions – how can it not be good? The sauce also included peanut butter, chicken broth, cubed sweet potato and tons of spinach. It tasted wonderful on rice with crushed peanuts on top. I used chicken broth, but it can easily be replaced with vegetable broth (perhaps even water and salt?) for a tasty vegan rendition.

 

Yesterday, there was a thunderstorm and I got stuck in the rain at the bus terminal outside Conestoga Mall. Also, my roommates and I are starting the move-out process, which includes lots of sorting and throwing out.

 

Finally, my roommate’s yummy tomato, cheese, and egg omelet (above) made me want to cook some veggie eggs in the morning, too! Inspired by her, I cooked one egg with garlicky green beans and topped it with grated white cheddar, and served it with buttered pita bread and yogurt with a brownie, granola, and peanut butter. It was good!

 

Found this pretty neat gif, too 🙂

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I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!

2B or not 2B

My phone lock screen was my school schedule, but it’s been ten weeks so I don’t think I should be using the schedule anymore. My memory isn’t that bad… I hope. This semester, my 2B semester, is pretty insane.

New wallpaper = Mom’s buttered toast.

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A new ice cream truck opened in Uptown Waterloo (ice cream in uptown FINALLY!), so I had to stop by to try some! I had a scoop of Grammy’s Cupboard (vanilla with cookie dough, peanut butter cups, and brownie chunks – OMFG I know), and one scoop of chocolate caramel swirl with cashews. This tasted amazing, was a bit on the sweeter side, but I don’t think I would buy it again, considering the 2 half-scoops (= 1 full) was $5.00.

 

Here’s what it looks like! The person who served me was very gracious and kind.

 

Before the hearty ice cream, I had a glorious meal at Princess Cafe. The sandwich was my all-time favourite: grilled cheese with harvarti, goat cheese, walnuts, rosemary butter, and honey. The soup of the day was vegan tomato ale, which I was extremely skeptical about, but it tasted incredible. I am officially a fan of tomato soup! I enjoyed every drop of the soup and savoured every bite of the rich, crispy, cheesy, crusty sandwich.

 

For breakfast (don’t ask me why I am moving in reverse chronological order) – I enjoyed a bowl of plain oatmeal topped with a banana and tons of peanut butter. Yes, there is more underneath the massive scoop. Hemp hearts and cinnamon also made an appearance.

 

Then, the oats became granola, the bowl became a jar, and my nice messy desk at home became the bus stop bench on a sunny day. That sounded kind of poetic… or maybe I just have very low standards for poetry. This was so yummy – PB on anything!

 

Jars, because they save my lazy butt from washing dishes 😉

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So colourful! The natural lighting at the window makes for some lovely photos of my lunch and snacks. I wish I could say that I made those falafel, but I didn’t – everything else is homemade!

 

This frittata was also homemade, and I can’t wait to make another one. Eggs, spinach, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and garlic goat cheese came together to make a tasty breakfast that I enjoyed with a nectarine and some yogurt with granola.

 

I’m cleaning out my room and found these pictures that I drew two years ago! Drawing is so much fun. I used to love drawing so much, but now have no time to draw waste all my time doing other things.

 

Have an incredible week, friends!

Study Motivation: Finding Joy in Little Things

10 Ways to Find Happiness While Studying

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

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

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

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

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

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Busy week ahead – happy Monday, everyone!