Squashed: Two Busy Weeks

Hi everyone! How are you doing? I hope you’re all having a super delicious week so far.

I had my Chemistry midterm yesterday (don’t you hate it when you THINK you know the answer, or you think you SHOULD know the answer, but just absolutely cannot solve it?!) and have my Biology midterm on Saturday morning. I should really be studying right now, but looking at food pictures is just so tempting!


Recent Eats

Whole wheat toast (this week I’m using Silver Hills Sprouted Bread: The Big 16) topped with avocado, truffle salt and pepper, egg, and brie

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Plus sliced apple with melty almond coconut butter

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Creamy cocoa-banana oatmeal with chocolate chips and peanut butter (speaking of oatmeal, I really have to update that page!)

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Couscous and veggie stir-fry with a fried egg, brie, and avocado

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So easy to make, and really filling and delicious

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Nighttime outside the University of Waterloo. I took these while waiting for the bus after an awesome photography workshop

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Pumpkin oatmeal with pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips on Halloween {inspiration}

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Chickpea coconut curry with butternut squash and peas, roasted cauliflower, quinoa

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Pumpkin oatmeal with sunflower butter and yogurt with cinnamon

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On my bed on a sunny morning

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Quinoa in Thai coconut veggie soup with spinach stirred in, with roasted cauliflower (leftovers)

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Mexican quinoa bake: loaded with black beans, zucchini, peppers, green onions, corn, mushrooms, squash, and lots of cheddar on top

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This made great leftovers!

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A sliced avocado made this a perfect dinner.

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Pumpkin-ricotta pancakes with chocolate chips hidden inside, yogurt blobs

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Leftover chickpea and butternut squash curry with peas, spinach stirred in and served over quinoa

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One of my favourite dinners. Look how soft the squash looks!

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Creamy pumpkin oatmeal topped with pumpkin-apple muffin, chocolate chips, and hemp hearts

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Quinoa with zucchini and mushrooms and peas (in Thai green curry sauce), topped with a fried egg for a light dinner

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Why a light dinner? Because… decadent chocolate cake topped with chocolate chips and peanut butter. I halved this recipe.

Decadent 2-Minute Chocolate Cake for One
  • 2 tbsp spelt flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter for topping
  1. Whisk dry ingredients.
  2. Add wet ingredients.
  3. Whisk until batter is smooth.
  4. Pour into 14 oz microwave-safe mud with straight sides.
  5. Microwave on high for 1 minute and 10 seconds.
  6. Cool for a couple minutes before serving. I inverted mine onto a plate and failed 🙂
  7. Top with peanut butter, and berries/banana/chocolate chips/whipped cream. Enjoy! I liked mine with mini chocolate chips sprinkled on top.

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Creamy chocolate-banana oatmeal topped with nut butter, chocolate chips, hemp hearts

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Princess Cafe sandwich day: this beauty was filled with Harvarti, goat cheese, walnuts, rosemary, and honey. Served with creamy pumpkin soup. iPhone photos because I forgot to take my camera to school with me!

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Beautiful pumpkin oatmeal topped with muffin and chocolate chips, with hemp hearts

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Multi-part dinner of fried salmon, butter-sage mushrooms with parmesan, and zucchini and potato gratin with goat cheese mozzarella, sliced avocado with truffle salt and pepper

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Blueberry banana oatmeal, yogurt and nut butter

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Spinach-ricotta ravioli with spinach, sage, goat cheese, and peas

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Mmmm. This was such a simple and satisfying dinner. Frozen ravioli is so convenient to have on hand.

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More blueberry banana oatmeal, topped with sunflower butter and hemp hearts. I just love this colour!

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Crackers, brie, and goat cheese with grapes for a snack while making lunch

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Cheesy lemon spinach scramble a la Jacklyn, with whole wheat toast and sliced avocado. I love, love, love this egg recipe and will be making it over and over again in the future! Since I’m into sweet breakfasts (read: oatmeal), eggs are already a lunch staple. These are now on my weekly rotation. Thanks Jack! 🙂

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Thai-style fried rice with shrimp, egg, pineapple, peas, scallions, and soy-lime sauce, served with garlicky broccoli

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I enjoyed my dinner with Mom 🙂

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Flourless pumpkin-almond butter bars with chocolate chips, inspired by Ambitious Kitchen’s recipe. I omitted the coconut since I didn’t have any, and replaced the dark chocolate chunks with semisweet mini chocolate chips.

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Flourless Pumpkin Almond Butter Bars with Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup natural almond butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except chocolate. Once ingredients are well combined, fold in half of the dark chocolate.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden brown on the edges. Place pan on wire rack to cool. Once cool, cut into 8 squares. Enjoy!

Terrible photos because I was too excited to dig in. These were eggy, creamy, soft, and so pumpkinny and chocolatey. I’m going to play around with the recipe a little bit because I’d like the texture to be a bit firmer.

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Pumpkin oatmeal with yogurt, addictive maple nuts, and peanut butter

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Scrambled eggs and veggies on avocado toast

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One topped with brie and the other with goat cheese

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Amazing ricotta-tomato pasta with butternut squash and baked with mozzarella cheese on top

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Served with butter-fried sage and lots of parmano cheese

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Leftovers for two more meals, served with broccoli

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Banana oatmeal with almond butter, yogurt, sliced banana and crushed nuts

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Blueberry banana oatmeal with banana, hemp hearts, sunbutter

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Sandwich with grilled zucchini, goat cheese, avocado and pesto, roasted red pepper

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Crispy bread is the best! I wish I had some brie in here, but I found little black spots on one corner of the brie and decided to play it safe.

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Creamy banana oatmeal topped with crumbled pumpkin-apple muffin (recipe in the works!), hemp hearts

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With a big scoop of almond butter and lots of crushed nuts and hemp hearts

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Things from the Internet

Found these on a friend’s Facebook “Likes” page. What do you think?

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This was interesting! I rarely have swiss chard, lentils, or apricots. Need to add some of those into my life. I think I’ll also pick up some raisins at the grocery store this weekend.

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I agree with most of the points here! Do you?

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Back in BC

Mom made my favourite banana muffins, topped with coconut and chocolate chips. She enjoyed hers with some peanut butter. 🙂

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Mom also bought Ladyfingers and made pasta with tomato beef sauce. This was a hit at my house!

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And she made dinner rolls! With yeast! That’s a dreaded word in my vocabulary because I associate it with “time-consuming”, “fungi”, and “can turn out to be a major failure”. I am so impressed, since I could never bake with yeast and come up with these fluffy-looking bread balls. Mom is such a talented baker!

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Mom and Seline have been enjoying lots of chips… and apples 🙂

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More delicious baked goodies that Mom brought to Grandma’s house to share. They look so yummy! How other people make their iPhone photos look amazing I have no idea. I think my mom is so pretty. Who else wakes up looking like this?! ❤

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Bites of Life

Every Sunday morning I volunteer from 9:00 to 12:00 at the Grand River Hospital, which is a 20-minute bus ride from my house. The hospital is massive compared to the hospital I volunteered at in Coquitlam, and it’s 9 stories tall! I work in the children’s inpatient department, where terminally-ill children and kids who are recovering from surgical procedures, stay. I’ve been doing lots of toy cleaning and book-organizing. Last time, I met couldn’t stop gushing over a 3-day old baby!

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I joined the Running Club and did a fantastic 5.3K with the leader Katja. She was so enthusiastic and an incredible runner. I was huffing and puffing after a couple minutes, but she was able to run and converse with another girl (hi Rumi!) without a problem. We did the run in about 35 minutes. I was so proud afterwards (and at the same time, ready to collapse). The weather was beautiful that day!

Katja is also the leader of our school’s Henna Club. She made these incredible rocks and provided fabric paint for other club members to experiment with.

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I made this one, below, inspired by Katja’s stunning rock in the top right hand corner above. This looks so much better from far away. Like, really far away.

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And that inspired me to henna my hairbrush one afternoon! I was so sick of reading about adenylyl cyclase and phospholipase C that I started doodling on this dollar-store brush. It was fun! Then I went to buy groceries. Then cleaned my room. Anything to avoid studying, right? 😀

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I also visited the Women’s Centre at my school for a fun Crafternoon, where I made some new upper-year friends and knitted this little… thing. I don’t know what it is. Maybe a bookmark? My grandma is a MASTER knitter and makes it look easy. It’s so not easy!

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I also bought a shoe tag from the athletics office, which is a pass to do any drop-in fitness classes at my school. I did a FitExpress class, but I’ve also done pilates, cirque yoga, and power yoga in the past. Having a shoe tag is great because I can come in whenever convenient. 🙂 Plus, it was half-price since half the semester is over! Win. I can’t wait to do more classes, since I really like the pilates and yoga teachers.

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Crafts for Charity, as you guys might know, is one of my all-time favourite clubs! We did polymer clay again, and I made this little bottle of stuff (I don’t even know what it is. Looks like candy cane loops?!), a blue macaron that was supposed to go into the bottle (too fat) and a random banana. Love bananas.

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This is probably the most exciting little bit of news! I was selected for the Altitude Mentorship program, for which I am matched up with a medical student who will guide me into the world of paediatrics and maybe help me make some decisions about my future along the way. I am so excited. 🙂 I will also be taking part in the Cascading Mentorship, where I will go to high schools to talk about the program and life as a first-year university student.

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That is it for today, everyone! Whew, what a long post. I always get a little too excited to share my photos with you 🙂 Okay, I’m off to review my monomeric GTPases! Exciting stuff for an exciting evening, right?

How has your week been? Any more plans before the weekend?

1-Bowl Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

One bowl and 15 minutes of work before this goes into the oven. How easy is that?
I love topping my oatmeal with banana bread crumbles. It’s texture heaven!
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Smeared with peanut butter, this made a lovely dessert.
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Give this recipe a try! You won’t believe how moist they turn out. 🙂

1-Bowl Greek Yogurt Banana Bread
Yields: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups flour: I used spelt flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large, overripe bananas (~1 cup mashed)
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional add-ins: ½ cup chocolate chips/raisins/nuts/etc.
 Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and lightly grease a 9 x 5 bread pan.
  2. Mash banana in a large bowl.
  3. Add ALL ingredients EXCEPT spelt flour and whisk very well.
  4. Pour flour into wet ingredients.
  5. Mix lightly and carefully with a rubber spatula or spoon to fold the flour in. Do not overmix. Slightly lumpy batter with flour streaks is okay.
  6. Pour the batter into a loaf pan.
  7. Bake 40-45 minutes, until a knife comes out clean and the sides are golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing to cool completely.
  9. Serve with nut butter, yogurt, crumbled on oatmeal, or plain. Enjoy!

With tons of banana flavour and subtle sweetness from maple and brown sugar, plus warm notes of cinnamon and vanilla, this banana bread tastes like dessert but is healthy enough for breakfast.

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Another incredible dessert – crumbled banana bread on chocolate yogurt (simple Greek yogurt + cocoa powder + maple syrup), with hemp hearts and peanut butter. Oh yum. I could eat this every day!

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You are going to love this recipe. I halved the recipe since I had only one banana, and froze half the loaf so I wouldn’t devour it all in a day or two.

I have so many posts in the making that I cannot wait to show you guys!

Have a wonderful Wednesday and I’m off to write a midterm 🙂

Creative in the Kitchen: 6 Quick, Easy, Customizable Recipes

BREAKFASTS

Nut butter + sliced banana + cinnamon in a sandwich, then toast both sides on the stovetop with coconut oil

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1/3 cup quick oats cooked with 2/3 cup any type of milk, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, chia and flax, and a whole mashed overripe banana. Top with nut butter and crushed nuts

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Make a sandwich with nut butter and banana, dip the sandwich in a mixture of egg + milk + cinnamon + vanilla and fry lightly with coconut oil. Serve with berries and creamy yogurt!

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Delicious with some maple syrup

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Oatmeal cooked with apple and topped with crumbled muffin and yogurt

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Blueberry pancakes topped with banana and maple-almond yogurt, hemp hearts

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Make a simple but sophisticated sandwich by grilling two slices of bread with thin apple slices and brie cheese.

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Breakfast pancakes with yogurt globs, berries, banana

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Add frozen blueberries to oatmeal and top with crushed nuts and nut butter

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Enjoy the end piece of toast with peanut butter, banana slices, and cinnamon

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LUNCHES

Lasagna with broccoli with a special dessert of yogurt + cocoa powder + maple syrup topped with almond butter, blackberries, hemp hearts

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Snack of crackers, brie, and grapes while preparing lunch

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Way-too-cheesy grilled cheese with Dijon mustard, arugula, tons of cheddar, apple

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More lasagna

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Look at all the layers! Squash in here is amazing – I used yellow and green zucchinis

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A lazy Sunday morning meant I had time to make this easy, cheesy quinoa casserole. I cooked mushrooms with garlic and butter before adding a bit more butter and some flour to make a roux. Some milk and chicken broth were added to make a luscious sauce, and then I grated in some extra sharp white cheddar.

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Steamed broccoli and quinoa were tossed in, mixed, topped with cheese, and broiled. The melty, bubbly cheese on top was out of this world.

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Enjoyed my meal with grapes, soup, and neuroscience. Hardest class I’ve ever taken.

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Random ingredients in a sandwich: goat cheese, hummus, arugula

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Cheese and grapes, hummus and crackers, leftover quinoa bake

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Mexican-style quinoa: mix cooked quinoa with corn and scallions, black beans, peppers (roasted are great too!), cheddar, and a scoop of salsa. Top with avocado and fresh lime juice.

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Mmmm this was yummy! I used a mixture of goat cheese and cheddar. The best!

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More lasagna for a quick lunch after yoga. I wasn’t super hungry so had half of a (large!) piece.

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Lunch the next day was unphotographed, but I made a mixture of leftovers – roasted cauliflower and sweet potato, zucchini, goat cheese, and couscous. Made a satisfying “salad” of sorts! Actually, I do have a photo – taken on my iPhone when my camera was “broken”. 😉 You can see a horrible photo of the mixed up salad here.

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Not really food related, but they’re puppies! Seeing these wonderful service dogs at school made me miss my little boy at home. Well, he’s not really little. In terms of age and size. He’s actually six and pretty fat. Still love him though!

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DINNERS

Oooooh guys, this was good! I mixed chopped leftover chicken and goat cheese meatballs with pasta sauce, spinach, and mushrooms, then topped it all with mozzarella and goat cheese to broil.

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One of my favourite dinners! I had seconds and thirds of this. And more bites as I packed it up.

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Cook scallions and corn (I used frozen) and add spinach, then cooked couscous or quinoa. Top with some pan-fried fish (salmon for me!) and drizzle with any sauce or even fresh lemon juice. I had a sweet potato aioli on top!

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Tomato scrambled eggs are a weekly thing for me! Served on couscous with broccoli

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Thai-style peanut sauce noodles with every single veggie in the fridge

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x2. This easy peanut sauce would be good on anything! I’m thinking of making a sunflower butter version.

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More Mexican quinoa bake

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Roasted cauliflower and sauteed garlic zucchini with couscous and maple-soy salmon

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Madhulika’s special chicken lasagna with broccoli. Topped the lasagna with goat cheese!

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Another day, another piece of lasagna.

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And leftovers of that quinoa, mushroom, broccoli cheddar bake! Yummy.

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DESSERTS

Some of this vegan pumpkin “muffin” topped with crushed nuts and peanut butter

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Apple strudel with vanilla ice cream

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This dessert was part of a meal that I enjoyed when meeting the donors and communications team of the Schulich Leaders Scholarship Committee. My first apple strudel! It was quite yummy.

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Yogurt topped with muffin, raspberries, and nut butter

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This is super weird but I needed something sweet so I turned to banana slices, nut butter, and chocolate to make these little “sandwiches”

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Yogurt, muffin, nut butter

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Cocoa powder in yogurt with maple syrup, topped with raspberries, crushed nuts, nut butter. This is a classic Cindy dessert 😛

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A favourite! Pumpkin loaf topped with a piece of hazelnut chocolate and microwaved until melty, with some peanut butter and chopped nuts

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Pumpkin pie! Definitely the most time-consuming of these desserts 😉

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That’s it! Did you eat anything delicious recently?

What I Ate Wednesday

Woke up to a rainy, rainy day. So glad I have nice rainboots to keep my feet dry and warm while walking to the bus stop at eight in the morning!

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Before I left, though, I had a massive bowl of oatmeal made with a whole mashed banana. I love, love, love oats made with an entire banana! They become so creamy and sweet.

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The weather was miserable.

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I came home after my first class ended at 10:00, did some studying, and started making lunch.

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It was one of my best sandwiches yet!

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Yes, I know I say that about every sammie I have 😉

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I enjoyed some broccoli-cheddar soup while making this, then had some pumpkin pie afterwards for something sweet. This sandwich had TONS of zucchini, cheese, and avocado inside and was incredibly filling! That’s an end piece by the way – I inverted it 😉

Do you eat the end piece of a loaf of bread?

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Check this out! This hallway in one building at my school is made entirely of glass whiteboard material so students can draw all over it. Isn’t that great? I’ll have to bring some markers to school one day to try this out!

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I studied with a group of friends, then with another friend to prepare for tomorrow’s midterm before coming home at around 7:00 to make dinner. Roasted cauliflower cooked in the oven while I made Thai green curry with fish and vegetables. Lots of quinoa was devoured, too.

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I’m in love with anything coconutty or drizzled with lime!

Oh, and I enjoyed another slice of pumpkin pie after this. Having that pie in the fridge is dangerous for me because I’m always tempted to snab a piece. :/

Did you eat anything delicious today? Do you get tempted by sweets when they are there in front of you?

PS: I’m still fiddling with my camera trying to figure out why the memory space is all full. I’m terrible with technology! Do you ever have problems with computers, phones, or cameras?