Blog’s 3rd Birthday!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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That’s it for today, friends!

The 54th Floor: CANOE Review!

On Saturday, I had a relaxed morning (which involved a haircut!) before heading to Canoe, a restaurant in the Financial District of Toronto. Canoe is located on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower and has over twenty years of serving Toronto.

I decided to go to Canoe, a contemporary Canadian restaurant, because of Winterlicious, a Toronto event that allows anyone to order three courses from a set menu for a fixed price. Canoe’s lunch was $28 for three delicious courses – you’ll see!

While I waited for my 1:15 reservation, I wandered around the lobby, where there was an Inuit art gallery. It was my first time exploring Inuit artwork, and I found it both fascinating and simplistic. The carvings were lovely and vaguely reminded me of the ancient Hindu statues I saw when volunteering in Nepal last summer.

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After a long elevator ride, I arrived at Canoe! There was a glorious view of the CN tower and Lake Ontario. I was lucky to have a seat at the high bar, where I could watch the chefs and servers work together quickly and efficiently. The restaurant itself is decorated stylishly, with copper accents, unique light fixtures, and wood chandeliers.

As for the food, Canoe is inspired by the raw, rich, and diverse lands of Canada. The dishes served here are not only seasonal, but also reflect our country’s history, environment, and culture.

I was greeted with a plate of warm bread. There were two large chunks of pumpkin seed and spelt bread, and two big pieces of potato sourdough. Both breads were incredibly tasty, and the texture was spot-on. I’m not normally one to finish all my bread at a meal, but I devoured the entire basket here!

I was actually lucky enough to speak with Coulson, the chef, as well as Robyn, Canoe’s social media manager. Both were very welcoming, patient, and gracious, and it was truly a pleasure to meet them both. I found the staff to be both friendly and extremely productive (especially considering the fact that it was a Winterlicious Saturday at noon), and before I knew it, I was handed my starter.

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fogo island salt cod rillettes: dill cornichons, roasted dulse mayo + molasses crumble

One server recommended this tasty appetizer to me. After scanning the menu, I was debating between the heirloom squash soup with pesto, toasted fennel oil, and crème fraîche (doesn’t that sound incredible?!) and the radicchio and bibb lettuce salad with smoky onions, daikon, bannock, and a creamy mustard dressing. I was more than happy to order the waiter’s personal favourite, despite never having heard of cod rillettes before.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this dish, which was creamy from the flavoured mayo, crunchy with the dill cornichons (pickles), crisp with the crumbled molasses, and flaky with the cod. This dish encompassed a large variety of flavours and textures, which is a win in my book. The presentation was also exquisite.

foie gras parfait: Niagara grape jelly, walnut butter + pie crust crisp

I am certainly not one to order foie gras, a luxury food made from the fattened liver of a duck or goose. I was lucky, however, that the chef brought me a plate of this starter to try. It was my first time eating foie gras, and I enjoyed the sharp, tangy flavour reminiscent of a strong parmesan cheese. Savoury, rich, with a silky melt-in-your-mouth texture, I was very impressed by this appetizer.

The foie gras was adorned with a smear of walnut butter, jellied grapes and some sweet halved grapes, as well as shards of crispy pie crust. The pie crust added excellent texture, and I loved how each piece shattered in my mouth. The walnuts and jam provided hints of fruitiness and nuttiness to the creamy foie gras, and I took my time to savour each bite of this flavourful dish.

leo’s paccheri pasta: fresh mozzarella, creamed celeriac, fried capers, charred rapini + Tamarack chili oil

I watched the kitchen staff prepare many schnitzels, salmon filets, and beef dishes, but surprisingly, not many people seemed to order the vegetarian pasta. As I sat at the counter, watching kitchen staff carefully create plate after plate of chuck flat and pork schnitzel, I started questioning my choice of ordering the pasta dish.

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Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Chef delivered this main dish with a smile and a great description: smooth paccheri (large tube-shaped pasta), smoky rapini and creamy celeriac, sprinkled with salty crisped capers, and a drizzle of chili oil to add some heat without overwhelming the dish.

Every bite of this dish was divine. The rapini was cooked perfectly, and I loved how there wasn’t too much pasta. Instead, the ratio of toppings-to-pasta was just right. In my experience, this is rare, because restaurants try to bulk up dishes as much as they can with excessive amounts of pasta, then load on a heap of bland sauce. This was certainly not the case at Canoe, where each topping had been carefully-chosen and delicately-placed. The crunchy capers added blasts of flavour, and the crisped breadcrumbs atop the dish provided the right amount of contrast. The capers were actually my favourite part, and I wish there were more. There was a generous amount of freshly-torn mozzarella decorating the dish, adding a velvety texture. Goat cheese would have also been heavenly with the flavours in this dish!

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a serious dessert problem. On Saturday, how was I supposed to choose between toffee pudding, a flourless chocolate cake (with peanut butter and espresso meringue!), and yogurt with honeycomb?

This is what I finally decided on…

sticky toffee pudding: caramel mousseline, seed tuile + Muskoka cranberry compote

… and it was phenomenal. Every bite was a blast of flavour. Sour cranberries. Rich, golden caramel with the perfect velvety texture. Nutty shards of pumpkin seed tuile and whipped vanilla chantilly. The toffee pudding itself was pleasantly sweet, but balanced by the juicy and tangy cranberries. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every bite of this well-balanced dessert.

I was stuffed and super-satisfied after this meal, in the best way possible.

Unrelated to my experience, but Canoe is even having a Valentine’s Day feast! You all need to check out their menu. From salmon with caramelized yogurt, pumpkin, and chestnut chickpea fries to tarts with peanut butter, hazelnut mousse, and honey hazelnuts… drooling. Dessert lovers beware – you have to CHOOSE from a caramel budino, a chocolate tart, and a strawberry-rose cheesecake!

I loved my experience at Canoe and can’t wait for the Summerlicious edition of this post. 🙂

Return of the Pretty Oats

I’ve started making my oatmeal look pretty again!

I guess it’s time to update the Oatmeal page, too.

I recently bought a little carton (is that the right word? Clamshell?) of blackberries on discount, and those little guys made their way into every oatmeal bowl.

Another day I went grocery shopping at Whole Foods and could not resist their hot bar… again.

Fried rice was also made and enjoyed along with the beautiful twinkly view of downtown Toronto. And yes, that’s a sweet potato with yogurt, granola, and peanut butter for dessert – truly a la Cassie!

Tsujiri’s is a Japanese dessert store that specializes in matcha desserts. I had the famous Tsujiri sundae to see what all the hype was about! Creamy, flavourful, and delicate, this sundae was balanced with crunchy rice puffs, chestnut, mocha, and a sakura-blossom cookie. Rachel, if you ever come to Toronto, this is the place for you!

Another day I devoured a chocolate almond croissant while walking around. I originally bought it for a breakfast treat, but it was fresh out of the oven and I couldn’t resist “just one bite” until I was left with just crumbs. This rocked my whole weekend.

This is the atrium, a beautiful mall-office hybrid next to my work building! I come here to drop off the mail once in a while.

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I had some bok choy and other Asian veggies to use up, so they were all sautéed into this quinoa stir-fry with egg, edamame, and mixed veggies. It was delicious with a soy sauce/sesame oil/sriracha/maple syrup sauce.

I’ve been craving banana baked goodies recently and made this batch of healthy squares. Made in the blender with only a few ingredients, these are nutritious, dense, and loaded with amazing banana flavour.

Blender Coconut Flour Banana Squares

Serves: 9 squares

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 pan.
  2. Blend all ingredients well in the blender. Allow batter to sit for 10 mins.
  3. Pour into square pan for 40 minutes, or until top is golden and knife comes out clean.
  4. Remove and cool for 1 hour before cutting. Cut and enjoy!

They also make a delicious oatmeal topping! Don’t be fooled by the pics – I definitely had seconds and thirds of those squares. 🙂

Ice cream was also devoured. This was from Fugo’s, a specialty ice cream shop across the street from my work. Dangerous, I know. This is why I can’t bring my wallet with me to work! This scoop had Skor bits, brownie chunks, and a caramel swirl.

So my biggest revelation this week was that I am actually a gelato girl. This incredible cup was loaded with coconut gelato and black sesame gelato from Millie Creperie/Creamery. I could NOT get enough of this and will be going back ASAP. The coconut one makes me drool just thinking about it. I wish I could show you how flavourful and tasty it is!

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Sweet potato oatmeal topped with a crumbled blueberry buckwheat muffin. YUM!

The view from my place on the 31st floor. Whoa.

After silks another day, I headed to Gloria Cafe for this amazing meal. It was very unlike me to order plain tomato + cheese toast, but this sammie blew my mind. Freshly-baked bread, salt and pepper, slices of tomato, butter, and creamy cheese were whipped into this incredible panini that I’m still daydreaming about. Will definitely be going back to Gloria Cafe for more of this deliciousness. Almond tart for dessert.

Scrambled eggs with spinach and cheddar are so simple, but dead delicious.

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I believe that’s it for the day! Have a gorgeous Wednesday everyone 🙂

The Kingdom of Birds

It was about 7:15 when I woke up on Saturday morning, and I was SO excited! The sun was just starting to rise, my overnight oats were in the fridge, and my friends and I would be off to see Niagara falls in just 45 minutes!

Wee! These overnight oats were yogurt-less because I ran out of yogurt, and were made with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cinnamon, flax, and chia seeds. Topped with a chopped kiwi and lots of homemade coconut-maple granola. It was great! I can’t wait to share the granola recipe with you. I made three cups of granola the other day and we’re down to about one cup now :O

The ride was long and I kept feeling sleepy, but thankfully my friends were ready to talk talk talk.

We were so excited!

Tickets were purchased and the gift shop was browsed.

And this! Isn’t it spectacular?! Magnificent? Glorious? I can’t think of any more words, but the falls were simply so majestic and wonderful to watch. The pictures don’t seem to do it justice – you need to BE there, feeling the mist on your face and listening to the thunder-like sound of the water.

I took lots of selfies, of course, but about 0.1% turned out decent enough for the blog.

We purchased tickets for “Journey Under the Falls”, which meant we could explore the underground tunnels and take a peek at the waterfall from underneath. The cold tunnels reminded me a little of the Catacombs in Paris, sans skeletons.

We actually came out of one tunnel before going back after a little while for a couple more photos. 🙂

This is my friend Maddy! This girl is AMAZING. I can’t even begin to tell you about how talented/smart/thoughtful she is, or how many incredible things she’s done for the community. And she’s also one of the nicest people I know!

Sue Zanne (cool name!) lives in the Village 1 residence with Maddy. It was my first time meeting her, and we had a great time talking about all the Malaysian goodies she enjoyed back home before moving to Waterloo.

We had a fun photoshoot. 🙂 We hit the weather jackpot on this day – 10 degrees (basically summer in Waterloo world).

Then, after more gift-shop browsing, we were off to lunch! Paris Crepes Cafe had great reviews in the area.

The place was cozy and very, very French.

All three of us ordered different crepes:

  • Maddy – La Gourmande (brie, bacon, no tomato)
  • Sue Zanne – La Savoyarde (tomato, egg, proscuitto, swiss cheese)
  • Me – Le Soud-Ouest (duck confit, onion jam, swiss cheese, egg)

Mine was great and reminded me of the crepe I had from Creperie Framboise in Paris. Someone tell me why I love French food so freaking much?!

Desserts were quite varied as well!

Maddy enjoyed one with tons of fruit and Nutella, I savoured a hazelnut-almond praline crepe with praline ice cream and whipped cream, and Sue Zanne loved her espresso chocolate crepe. All the dessert crepes were made fresh and topped with cool, sweet toppings.

Then we went to the Bird Kingdom! The funny thing was that our parking slip got lodged in between the dashboard and the window with the time and date peeking out from a little hole just perfectly. I had to take a photo for you guys! How lucky are we? I wrote a little note for security so we wouldn’t get towed and stranded in Niagara!

Maybe I’ll drop the whole blogger-yoga teacher-dietitian thing and become a worker at the Bird Kingdom. 😉 Seriously, though, this place is incredible.

I could stay here for hours and hours and look at all of these amazing animals. My favourite picture is the one of the lizard!

You know, I thought fish were my favourite animals to watch, but birds are equally fascinating. They all have such unique behaviours.

I wouldn’t want to have birds for a pet, though, but it sure is nice to walk in an aviary. (Did I even use that word correctly?!). Seline, if you are reading this, check out their beaks/bills and try to figure out what they eat in relation to the size and structure of their beaks. It is important to be able to identify the diet of certain birds by analyzing their beaks – Evolution chapter in Biology 11!

The colours were unbelievable. I never thought I would ever get so close to such amazing creatures. They were straight out of a fantasy novel!

99% of the birds were more photogenic than I will ever be. Especially this beauty! Oh my goodness – check out its natural colour!

And the ride there (I think I mentioned earlier) was an hour and forty-five minutes. The ride back was a little longer and we drove during the sunset, which was nice. I was pretty exhausted so it was great to sit down and rest for a while! The ride back was a little longer because of traffic and everything.

Whew! What a cool day. I can’t wait to go on more little day-long adventures like this one. 🙂

Happy Tuesday, everyone!