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.

BC, I’ve Missed You ❤

I’ve missed having big, fluffy blueberry-studded pancakes topped with the creamiest nut butter and a smattering of more fresh blueberries.

So much, in fact, that I had this breakfast three days in a row. Half a mashed banana in the batter makes quite the difference for texture and subtle sweetness, in my opinion.

I made banana pancakes another morning, bunny-style. Pretty proud of how these turned out, in terms of taste and presentation!

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Seline is a fabulous artist, and she persuaded me to do some doodling with her. We drew the same picture of a goddess character from her favourite anime, Seven Deadly Sins. My rendition is on the left, and hers is on the right.

My mom cooked Hainanese chicken rice another day, which we enjoyed with braised broccoli and carrots.

We played with the aerial silks at the Vancouver Circus School, went to the Kaleidoscope Arts Festival in Coquitlam, and looked over LaFarge Lake.

More delicious Hainanese chicken rice was devoured. This is one of my favourite versions of chicken + rice. I love Chinese bok choy, stir-fried with garlic.

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There is always a plethora of cookies and baked goods in the Wei family home. Here, I have dessert: yogurt with a blueberry-banana muffin top, lemon poppyseed muffin, cream cheese pound cake, and a coconut cookie.

Mom is looking so cute here as she cooks. Seline put a removable tattoo on my wrist, and I think it’s fun to look at.

Mom makes a great winter melon stew with krill, as well as braised chicken drumsticks with taro chunks. I adore taro. Do you like taro? Have you tried it in sweet and savoury dishes?

More dessert: I made an Earl Grey cake on my second day home, and that was super flavourful and crumbly. On the right: cream cheese pound cake turned into French toast for one breakfast, topped with a generous smear of Nutella.

This morning, my breakfast consisted of a large mug of unpictured English Breakfast tea latte, and a big plate of two scrambled eggs, baked treats, a chopped peach, and creamy honey-flavoured yogurt with flaxseeds and blueberries. Breakfast was followed by a little too much nibbling on shortbread cookies.

The family doggie turned nine a few weeks ago, but he is still full of energy. He loves the park!

Yesterday, met up with the grandparents in Burnaby, where we ordered lots of great sushi. My favourite rolls are the Aburi flame-seared ones.

This is completely out of place, as it’s from back in Waterloo – Famoso Pizzeria, where I savoured this great Cavoletti pizza with (get this!) toasted walnuts, chopped dates, honey, crispy prosciutto, brussels sprouts, and gorgonzola. For my side, I chose a salad topped with Caprese ingredients – mozzarella, tomato, and pistachio pesto.

With tiramisu and a scoop of salted caramel gelato. Yummmm. Tiramisu is amongst (among?) my top five favourite desserts.

Rouzao rice is a Taiwanese specialty that my mom cooks once in a while. It’s essentially a stew of ground pork and pork belly, spiced with soy sauce, star anise, onions, and garlic.

A couple nights ago, my family and I went to the Richmond Night Market, where Seline and I shared a carton of takoyaki (deep-fried octopus balls), and I had a bag of sesame bubble waffles and a taiyaki (Korean fish-shaped waffle filled with red bean).

Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on our vacation plans. My family is going to Salt Spring Island in two weeks, so I am very excited about all the activities we’ll be doing.

With a mug of tea, I spend some mornings designing the activities of each day. It’s such a short vacation (~3 days total), but so much to do there.

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I can’t wait to go to a public skating session. Skating is great in the summer, in my opinion.

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Yesterday, I feasted on the most delicious homemade crepe I’ve made. Here’s the super simple recipe:

Easy Nutella Banana Crepes

Serves 1

Crepe INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Topping INGREDIENTS

  • 1 banana, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp Nutella

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk together all crepe ingredients.
  2. Grease pan with butter or coconut oil. Pour batter into large pan and rotate pan in circular motion so batter coats the surface evenly.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, until bottom is cooked. Flip and cook the other side.
  4. Place crepe on a cutting board and generously spread Nutella on the entire crepe. Top with sliced banana, fold, and place on a plate. Decorate with more banana slices.

NOTE: You can place banana slices on the center third of the crepe and then fold the two sides over, or place bananas on 1/4 of the crepe and do two half-folds.

I also baked up a storm!

These lopsided round-ish treats are muffin tops that I found via Evangeline on Nutrition with a Mission, who discovered them on Athletic Avocado. I made a couple small changes here and there:

Blueberry Banana Muffin Tops

Makes 6 large, 12 small

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 packed cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used a mix of brazil nut and cashew nut butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup crushed nuts (I used a mix of roasted nuts from Costco, like cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine almond butter, egg, maple syrup, vanilla, and banana in a bowl. Whisk until well-combined. Add a splash of water or milk if needed.
  4. Add almond flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix in blueberries, and combine.
  5. Mix all topping ingredients together.
  6. Spoon batter into 6 large or 12 smaller muffin tops.
  7. Bake muffin tops for 20 minutes, or until done.

I also made these tasty lemon poppyseed muffins.

Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 tbsp water)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup flour

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease or line a standard muffin tin.
  2. Prepare flax eggs. Allow to rest.
  3. Add applesauce, lemon juice and zest, oil, almond milk, maple syrup, sugar, baking soda, salt, and whisk for one minute. Foaming will occur as the lemon juice reacts with the baking soda.
  4. Add flour, almond meal, and oats. Stir with a spoon until combined. Do not over-mix. If batter appears too thick, add more almond milk. It should be thick and not pourable. Stir in poppy seeds and whisk again.
  5. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 17-22 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool for several minutes in the pan. Remove from tins, and let cool on a cooling rack. Will keep, covered, for several days.

The muffins, and the muffin tops, were both incredible. If you have a day in the kitchen, I highly recommend giving them a shot!

Another recipe I tried, adopted heavily from Allrecipes to reduce sugar (original was 2 cups), and swap 75% of the oil for unsweetened applesauce.

German Apple Cake

Serves one 9×13, can cut into 12 medium-sized pieces

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 heaping cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I used 4 gala apples)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9×13 inch cake pan.
  2. Toss diced apples with a scoop of flour to coat (prevents sinking).
  3. Beat oil and eggs until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add cinnamon, baking soda, then salt.
  5. Add flour, and mix until combined. Fold in the apples.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, until cake tests clean.

Have a beautiful week, everyone ❤

Monday Coast Post: The Wrong Cafe?!

First post in my Sunshine Coast vacation series – WOO! Before I show you some of the eats I enjoyed last week, I wanted to show you what I’ve been doing recently. 🙂 Most of the time, I’m not incredibly motivated to exercise, but this week I’ve been determined to move around a bit more every day. Here is what I’ve been participating in at my local gym for the past several days.

MONDAY

  1. Beginner Circuit (45 mins)
  2. Spin class (45 mins)
  3. Yin Yoga (1 hour)
TUESDAY
  1. Hot yoga (1 hour)
  2. Spin class (45 mins)
  3. Express BootCamp (45 mins)
WEDNESDAY
  1. Spin class (1 hour)
  2. Hatha yoga (1 hour and 15 mins)
  3. Hot Fit Yoga Sweat (1 hour)

THURSDAY

  1. Spin class (45 mins)
  2. Hatha yoga (1 hour)
  3. Hot Power Yoga (1 hour)

FRIDAY

  1. Spin class (45 mins)

Alright, let’s move on to the food! This was dinner before we left for the Sunshine Coast on Monday morning. So this was dinner on Sunday night – a perfectly-cooked Mom Meal.

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Chive scrambled eggs, black cloud ear fungus stir-fry with leeks, sautéed zucchini, winter melon stew with krill, roasted vegetables (broccoli, carrots, zucchini, brussels sprouts), and pan-fried tofu with scallions. Yummy! Check out the char on that brussels sprout.

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Monday morning’s breakfast: creamy banana oatmeal (made with almond milk), topped with halved cherries from the farmer’s market, hemp hearts, and coconut chips.

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We had two super extremely overripe bananas (yep, they were completely black!) on the counter, and I didn’t want to throw them away since we were leaving on vacation. So, on Monday morning, I woke up a little earlier than usual to whip up a batch of yummy muffins before we left. I had to halve the recipe because we had only two bananas, and the batter worked perfectly to make 12 adorable mini muffins. I had one after my oatmeal, with some peanut butter. The recipe is below, and you can find more of my muffin recipes here.

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We were almost out of brown sugar, and since we had some crushed coconut chips from the bottom of the bag, I threw the last of those into the blender to make coconut sugar. This worked very well and gave the banana muffins just enough sweetness. The original recipe called for a cup, which is about 200 grams – 100 grams if halved – but I found that 60g of coconut sugar was perfect. These muffins are naturally sweet from the bananas (if using overripe ones!) and don’t need much sugar.

Even better – each mini muffin is around 100 calories and features 2 grams each of fibre and protein for satiety. They are also high in potassium and include healthy fats. These muffins are also rich in selenium and magnesium. With some peanut butter for maximum deliciousness, these muffins are the perfect on-the-go snack! You can also freeze them in ziplock bags and microwave (or let thaw) before enjoying. 🙂


Half-Batch Banana Muffins

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup flour (120g) – I used spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (100g) – I used 60g coconut sugar made with coconut chips in the blender
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips – I omitted because we ran out
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, etc.) – OPTIONAL, I omitted
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Butter a muffin tin (makes 12 mini muffins, or 6 regular-sized muffins).
  3. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Mash bananas in another bowl. Stir sugar into bananas, and add coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix carefully until just combined. Do not overmix. Streaks or lumps of flour are perfectly fine.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips or nuts into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  7. Spoon batter into muffin tins. They should be 90% full.
  8. Tap the muffins on the counter to remove air bubbles.
  9. Bake until a knife or toothpick comes out clean – about 20 minutes, more if needed. Cool for 10 minutes before removing muffins.
  10. Serve warm, or at room temperature. I like mine crumbled on yogurt or with peanut butter.

And our road trip began! Well, right after I dropped off my hair donation at the post office – I love shoulder-length hair because it doesn’t get in my face when jumping, running, or doing yoga! After getting lost by going through the wrong exit, we found the ferry terminal. My sister and I had a great time searching the gift shop, the sundeck, and okay, pretending we were on the Titanic. 🙂

The ferry arrived in Langdale at 12:50, and we drove into Gibsons for lunch. Before we visited the Gumboot Cafe, our lunch destination, I asked if we could stop at Wheatberries Bakery to take a look at their fresh and organic baked goodies.
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There were lots of cookies and bags of granola, all made in-house. They also serve hot and cold drinks, as well as light meals, like sandwiches.
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There was quite a selection of muffins and scones, but since we arrived at around 1:00, most of them had already been taken. That raspberry dark chocolate scone looks really tasty. I think I’m going to healthify this recipe and use fresh raspberries + chopped chocolate sometime this week! They also had coconut carrot muffins, which sound delicious as well. Actually, all of the baked goods at Wheatberries looked absolutely incredible!
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A large selection of cookies, breakfast sandwiches and wraps, croissants, buns, and brownies were arranged neatly in the display case. I wanted to nibble on every single bar and brownie. 🙂
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Here are their menus! I wish I had bought a muffin or scone, but unfortunately, Seline was in a rush to leave because she hates bakeries. Whenever we visit places I like, she whines and whines and complains about how boring it is and how much she wants to leave. 😦 Rachel and Cassie, this is why I wish I could go on vacation with you guys! We’d stand in front of the counter for a long time together, deciding which muffins to purchase.
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Then, we headed to the Gumboot Cafe for lunch. I wrote on this post, before leaving for the Sunshine Coast, that I really wanted to visit the Gumboot Cafe. The reason for that? Their INCREDIBLE menu. Take a look! From the tofu Buddha bowl to their roasted mushroom and kale pinwheel, I knew I wanted almost everything on the menu. I was also super excited to try the truffled kale pesto penne and Thai green curry prawns – and how could I forget their famous chocolate quinoa cake? Gumboot also claims that local food is used whenever possible, and they grow produce and herbs in their own greenhouse. As you can see, I was really, really looking forward to our lunch at Gumboot (and also the first meal of our vacay!).
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The first to catch my eye? The glass display case of baked goods. Some of these house-baked goodies include peanut butter balls, chocolate truffle bars, gluten-free chocolate cherry bars, and even black bean brownies. I know… almost $4.00 for a square? Made of economical black beans?! Maybe I should charge people to view my recipe. 😉
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Then, I took a look at their menu – and did a double take. Wait, what? Where was the super salad? The gluten-free carrot cake? Baked brie?
This was their menu. That’s it. I was majorly disappointed, especially because it was past noon – so I couldn’t order a breakfast dish. With literally TWO choices for sandwiches and salads, I was completely astonished. How could the real-life menu be so different from the online menu?
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Seline and Dad both opted for the pizza. There was ONE type of pizza – cheese with pepperoni on traditional, housemate crust. Seline claimed that her pizza was satisfying, but she wouldn’t return to Gumboot. She rated the cafe 2.5 out of 5. Dad, who enjoyed the pizza as well, said the cafe itself had quite a unique atmosphere. He deemed his pizza “ordinary” and rated Gumboot 3.5/5.
Mom ordered the baguette sandwich, which was stuffed with pesto and sliced tomato. For an additional $3.75, you could add soup or salad. Mom wasn’t too hungry and decided to stick with just the baguette. I tried some ate half of her lunch and thought the bread was very airy and had a flavourful crust. It was toasted nicely, and I loved the generous slices of brie. There was nothing special about the pesto in here, and I wish they’d added some shredded chicken. I just thought it was missing a little something! Mom agreed that her sandwich was yummy, overall.
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For myself, I ordered the spanakopita with tzatziki and the Tom Yum (Thai) soup with chickpeas. I was originally debating between this, the quinoa cake with miso tahini sauce, and the spinach pakoras, but the lady behind the counter insisted that this was her favourite.
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My verdict? I thought both were just okay. My Tom Yum soup tasted very, very similar to Costco’s Thai curry soup, but with more “filler” – namely, carrots, tomatoes, and onions. It had pretty good flavour, but I was disappointed with the TWO chickpeas I found in here. I love chickpeas and was a sad camper when I found only two little guys in there. As for my spanakopita, it tasted like a Chinese shao-bing from T&T! That was my first impression. Okay, it was better, obviously because it contains feta (feta makes everything beta!) – but the phyllo crust and slightly bitter spinach were reminiscent of the savoury Asian pastry. I wasn’t a huge fan of my spanakopita, which was also disappointing, but Mom liked it a lot. We swapped dishes halfway through, which is why I had most of her baguette sammie. 🙂
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For dessert, we decided to order the tiramisu cheesecake. The man who plated this told me that their baked goods are made every couple of days, so this was only one or two days old at the max. Although I’d much rather have it be baked this morning, I guess a day or two (covered up and refrigerated) are acceptable. Dad thought this was GREAT tiramisu, but it took him a while to get over the fact that it wasn’t a tiramisu cake, nor was it a cheesecake – but rather, a hybrid. Mom liked it because there was quite an intense coffee flavour. I thought this was tasty, and a good palate cleanser after the garlicky tzatziki and spanakopita, but not very memorable. In fact, I wouldn’t order this again.
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After checking into hour resort at 4:00 (it was an hour drive from Gibsons to Madeira Park. We passed Sechelt and several other major towns). After arriving at the Painted Boat Resort, I found out some bad news – we visited the WRONG PLACE for lunch! The menu I’d seen was for the Gumboot Restaurant – not the Gumboot Cafe, which explains the lack of burgers, sandwiches, and salads. I was so devastated! The worst part? The right place, the Gumboot Restaurant, was only a couple blocks down – on the same street! After I got over the tragedy of the day, Mom and I visited the local IGA, as we were planning to buy breakfast – but I did a bit of research and suddenly got an idea. 😉 That put me into a good mood! You’ll see tomorrow in my Tuesday post.
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For dinner, we headed to the Old Boot Eatery, an Italian restaurant in Sechelt. It took a good 30 minutes to drive here, and it was up a winding, curvy, twisted coastline road.
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The inside of the restaurant was old-fashioned but clean. Our waitress was very enthusiastic and attentive – we enjoyed talking to her about our plans for the vacation, and of course, about the food! It was about 7:00, but fairly quiet in the restaurant considering it was a Monday evening.
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Mom and I started with hot water with lime, and we ordered the Red Hot Chicken Wings for an appetizer. They were served with carrot and celery sticks, as well as a house-made blue cheese dip. I didn’t have any because I wanted to save my stomach for the entree, but Seline liked them. Mom enjoyed nibbling on the bones, and Dad claimed this was too spicy and NOT what he was expecting. He doesn’t like Franks-style drummettes or sour blue cheese.
Red Hot Chicken Wings with house-made blue cheese dip
Seline ordered the daily special: The Seafood Feature.
Jumbo prawns, shrimp, bacon, peppers, zucchini, onions, spinach in a cream sauce, topped with cheddar and tomato
Seline thought her meal was great. She finished all the pasta and prawns, but left most of the veggies in her plate. She rated her meal, and the restaurant, a solid 3.5 out of 5. You’ll see in the upcoming posts – she is PICKY!
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I chose the Meat Feature and asked for the sausage to be replaced with jumbo prawns. 🙂
Sausage jumbo prawns, onions, mushrooms, artichokes, sun-dried tomato in a spicy rose sauce topped with feta
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Mom and Dad shared a creamy pasta dish from the regular menu. Theirs was named the Shrimp and Cream. Both my parents loved their dish, saying it was “very good” and “much better than Italian food in Vancouver”. Though he was a little disappointed with the tiny shrimp (he was expecting jumbo prawns!), Dad pointed out that the Old Boot was very generous with the sauce, which he enjoyed. He likes a higher sauce-to-pasta/veggie/protein ratio. Mom liked how flavourful everything was. Mom deemed the Old Boot a 4.5, while Dad gave his meal a 4.2 out of 5.
Fettuccini with hand peeled shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, garlic and cream sauce
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 I found my dish to be too salty. The chefs didn’t add a pinch too much salt to the sauce, nor was the pasta water over salted – the ingredients that comprised my meal were simply saltier than most. With artichokes. sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and prawns, which are all naturally briny, I found my pasta dish too salty for my taste. The sauce, a “spicy” rose, was not spicy, which is good because I’m a spice wimp! Everything was quite rich.
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 I added a big sprinkle of parmesan cheese before digging in, which was probably not the best idea – parm is quite a salty cheese! On vacation, I’m not one to be super picky about what I’m eating. After all, vacation is time to relax and spend time with those you love! But at home, I try my best to decrease the sodium in my diet. 🙂 It’s all about balance!
We devoured our meals (minus a couple chicken wings that we packed up).
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Now, on a totally unrelated note, here are some of the things I’m dying to cook/bake this summer. These recipes, which have been floating around on the Internet for just about forever, have been bookmarked for the longest time. Most of them have been stuffed away in my Favourites folder, and I recently dug them up. I am SO determined to try all of these before I leave for Paris in August!
SUMMER FOODIE BUCKET LIST
  • Chocolate PB Banana Shake (1 banana, 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp vanilla) – I made this for a snack yesterday and added flax + chia, Greek yogurt, 4 leaves of kale, two handfuls of spinach, and two tablespoons of cocoa powder instead of one. Yummy!
  • Cheesy tuna vegetable pasta bake
  • Blueberry cobbler oatmeal: oats, almond milk, yogurt, light brown sugar and honey drizzle, cinnamon, blueberries, pecans – had this breakfast this morning, minus the yogurt (didn’t have any) and skipped the honey. Blueberries, pecans, coconut chips, and crumbled homemade blueberry spelt muffin were DELICIOUS on creamy banana oatmeal!
  • Caramelized onion and spinach EVOO quick bread with feta: http://www.cookincanuck.com/2010/05/caramelized-onion-spinach-olive-oil/
  • Parmesan-crusted salmon
  • Skillet shrimp with orzo, feta, asparagus (with garlic, red chili flakes, S+P, chopped fresh basil, lemon juice, EVOO)
  • Kale salad with sweet potato, chickpeas, avocado and miso tahini dressing: http://www.shelikesfood.com/1/post/2015/05/kale-salad-with-sweet-potato-chickpeas-avocado-with-a-tahini-miso-dressing.html
  • Mexican chicken and black bean quinoa bake with roasted peppers, salsa, avocado, and sour cream
  • Roasted shrimp pasta with lemon cream sauce
  • Quinoa stuffed zucchini boats
  • IGE artichoke pasta
  • Quinoa-stuffed peppers
  • Salmon Quinoa Cakes: http://aggieskitchen.com/2014/03/31/20-minute-meal-salmon-quinoa-cakes/
  • Roasted zucchini tuna melts
  • Quiche!
  • Raspberry cheesecake brownie bars
  • Savoury scones – pesto spinach
  • Chocolate quinoa cake
  • Nutella-stuffed brown butter and sea salt chocolate chip cookies (ambitious kitchen)
  • Sweet potato oatmeal / pancakes
  • Bean and sweet potato burrito / hash
  • Pear oatmeal
  • Hot chocolate cookies (chocolate covered Katie)
  • Pumpkin scones
  • One pot chicken, rice, veggie fajita bowl: http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/one-pot-chicken-rice-veggie-fajita-bowls/

That’s it for now, everyone! Mom and I just had a MASSIVE baking session. We are having a party tomorrow, and I whipped up blueberry scones, pecan-raisin cookies, flourless peanut butter chickpea blondies, and red velvet beet cupcakes with beet frosting. 🙂 Can’t wait to try them tomorrow!

Nah, just kidding. I already had two of everything. 😉 Have a yummy weekend everyone and stay tuned for tomorrow’s Sunshine Coast post!

Happy Food

What’s your happy food?

You know, foods that make you happy no matter how down you are.  Know what I mean? Sometimes food just brightens up your day… right? Mine are banana muffins, eggs, creative sandwiches, and Qoola frozen yogurt! ❤

My dad likes chocolate chip pancakes made with plain white flour, white sugar, and butter 🙂

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I made some for him one Friday morning, topped with maple syrup and a nice square of butter.

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At the same time, Mom and I enjoyed baked pumpkin oatmeal for breakfast! With Kirkland’s extra thick, salty peanut butter. Have I mentioned how much I miss Costco’s old coconut oil peanut butter? This one, simply peanuts + salt, is just not the same. 😥

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I also added a scoop of chocolate chia pudding on top. It’s super easy to make. Please just disregard the awful lighting in these photos – I know they’re terrible. 😦

Start with some chia seeds – we buy ours in bulk from Costco.

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Add some peanut butter and cocoa powder. We buy both of these from Costco, and they’re great. I love how silky the cocoa powder is. Plus, there’s no sugar added so I love using it for chocolate oatmeal.

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Some pitted dates and a pinch of salt:

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Then add vanilla extract and milk (almond milk is my favourite for this) and stir it up to combine. It’ll be hard to stir, but it doesn’t really matter because we’ll be blending it up. Let sit for the chia to puff up and absorb the liquid, then blend and serve. 🙂 Amazing!

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It’s so good, and good for you too! I like it most on pancakes and oatmeal – plus straight out of the jar for dessert. It gives me lots of energy for aerial silks, which is a pretty sweet bonus!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Creamy Chia Pudding {gluten-free, vegan // yields 2 servings}

  • 1 cup milk (I like unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • TOPPINGS: coconut, more chia, almonds, crushed nuts, peanut butter, granola (YUM), chocolate chips, banana slices, cinnamon, berries, etc.

Mix all ingredients and let sit for 2 hours to overnight. When ready to eat, place in blender and blend on HIGH until they are all combined and creamy. You may need to scrape the edges. Pour into a jar and let chill in fridge before eating. Enjoy with toppings!

Based on this recipe by Edible Perspective. 🙂


Mom loves peanut butter, too. I added chocolate chips in my pumpkin oatmeal!

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Around noon we headed to Whole Foods! This place is my #1 favourite place ever. Okay, maybe next to Disneyworld and Montreal. 😉

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Highlights of this hot bar lunch include roasted sweet potatoes, smoked mozzarella pasta salad, and shredded chicken in salsa verde. We also shared a turkey apple brie sandwich. These are the best!

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Dessert was a big tiramisu cake, also from Whole Foods. This tasted super fresh and I loved the creamy, fluffy mascarpone layers.

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Here are the ingredients if you were curious:

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Then I looked it straight in the eye (?) and devoured it with the help of Mom 🙂

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Thank you Mom, for such a fab, filling lunch. I was stuffed but I can’t wait to go back again… and again…

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for an awesome recipe that I am working on. Have a sunny week!

Taki’s Taverna + Baked Greek Chicken Recipe

I love Greek food!  So, so much.  Seriously.

It’s one of my favourite cuisines, next to Japanese (sushi ❤ ), Thai (WHOA just got a craving for coconut mussel soup and roti with peanut sauce), Mexican, Italian, and… basically everything but Chinese. 😉 OH! How could I forget French food? :O

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This was Taki’s Taverna, where my awesome friend Yuki and I went after a tricky English 12 provincial exam. This was also after finals in both Chemistry and Biology, so we needed a refresher! 🙂

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We started with pita bread. Yuki discovered this restaurant and drove us downtown. It was so fun! Taki’s is really cozy and beautifully decorated. A nice lady served us and recommended some great dishes. It’s quieter (MUCH quieter) than Stepho’s, which is also next door on Davie Street.

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Yuki had the recommended daily special, which featured shrimp in tomato sauce with feta cheese and herbs.  <– I seriously have to find a recipe for that!  Remember the time I had the same thing at Casa Grecque in Quebec?

I had the salmon skewers, and both of our meals came with Greek salad, the best herby, pillowy Greek rice, lemony potatoes, and stewed carrots. I loved the tzatziki that my salmon was served with!

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I was so hungry that I dug in right away. The fish was perfectly cooked, and the rice, potatoes, and carrots were perfection! 🙂 Thank you, Taki’s, for such a fantastic, filling meal. This was one of the best Greek restaurants I’ve been to by far.

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Dessert from a Scandinavian (… I think) place next door. I forgot the name of the little place! 😦 Yuki enjoyed their tiramisu – and she shared some with me – and a raspberry tea. I think it was raspberry! I can’t remember and I’m not really a tea person. 😛

I couldn’t decide which cake to get, so I ordered three. :mrgreen: One chocolate mousse, one ‘dalmation’ (with coconut, chocolate, and vanilla), and one vanilla-walnut. I had about half of each and was super, super full afterwards. YUM!

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The day after, I was determined to make a Greek-style dinner for my family! My rendition featured naan bread (I know, I know, it isn’t Greek, but we didn’t have pita bread!), chopped avocado + cucumber + grape tomatoes to make Greek salad, roasted potatoes, a yogurt baked chicken drumsticks, and homemade tzatziki sauce with extra garlic.

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I made the chicken according to Budget Bytes’s Greek Marinated Chicken recipe, which was pretty tasty. I think next time I’ll play with the spices/garlic a bit to adjust it to our family’s tastes, but it wasn’t a bad recipe at all. I actually really liked it! Seline did too, especially with the garlic. Here’s how we made it:


Garlicky Baked Greek Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (regular, not extra virgin)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 scant tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 chicken pieces – 2 drumsticks and 2 thighs
  • small handful of parsley – we wanted to use this, but didn’t have any and it was still great. You can omit the parsley 🙂
 Instructions
  1. Combine yogurt, olive oil, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.
  2. If using parsley, chop a small handful into the marinade.
  3. Add chicken pieces to the bowl and stir to coat very well.
  4. Cover bowl and let chicken marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  5. Cook the chicken on a grill OR preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Place chicken in medium-sized casserole dish and bake for 55 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

The tzatziki was made spontaneously and to taste. A nice Greek lady at the hospital told me her recipe, and I tried to make it according to what she told me. Our tzatziki had grated cucumbers, sea salt, lemon juice, garlic, and white pepper – all stirred into plain Greek yogurt.
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Roasted potatoes and naan bread rounded out the meal. Yum!
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I can’t wait to try making Greek salmon skewers or those awesome boiled lemony potatoes. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a relaxing week with lots of sunshine. 🙂