ten-minute stir fry

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ingredients: garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, cooked rice, brown mushrooms, spinach, eggplant, eggs, sesame seeds, fresh basil, ginger, sea salt, and black pepper.

chop up the garlic and sauté in sesame oil. crack the eggs into the pan (season with salt and pepper) and chop up the mushrooms and eggplant while the garlic and eggs are cooking in the pan. add the mushrooms and eggplant into the pan, then add the cooked riced, and cover in soy sauce (and a little more sesame oil). chop up some ginger and fresh basil, and add into the pan. add the spinach in and watch it shrink down. season with salt and pepper, take off the heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

i’m pretty sure this post took me longer to write up than making this dish for dinner tonight.

cauliflower rice and a 12 week challenge

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ingredients: cauliflower, lime, green onions, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

put the cauliflower in a food processor until it has the right grainy texture (not for too long, so it doesn’t get mushy). chop up the garlic and green onions, sauté in a pan with olive oil; add the cauliflower, stir around for a bit until it looks ready then place in a bowl. chop up the cilantro, add it to the newly made cauliflower rice; squeeze fresh lime all over the dish, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a protein like chicken.

this is the meal i had right before i took my “after” picture for the 12 week challenge at work (spoiler alert: i didn’t win).

the only reason i even entered the competition was because the company paid the entry fee, and it happened to coincide with me actually wanting to get back into shape anyway. i was hit with the “enough is enough, i feel gross, unhealthy, and fat, and it’s time to do something about it” feeling that i haven’t felt in a few years. i hid my body in loose-fitting clothes all the time, and convinced myself that everything was okay because guys still found me attractive. well, there was one problem with that… i didn’t find myself attractive.

so, i committed to making a change. one that was sustainable with my lifestyle though and didn’t force me to give up all the things i enjoyed about life (aka huge bowls of homemade pasta and wine). i monitored my calorie intake and joined an expensive gym (so i’d force myself to go, to get my money’s worth) that is conveniently located in-between home and work and has classes that fit in with my schedule (side-note: studeo 55 is one of the best gyms i’ve ever joined).

the struggle is far from over, even though i’ve made a lot of progress. i do feel healthier, stronger, and more confident with my body, which is a huge step for me. i’ve realized it’s all about balance, and finding something that works for you and your body. my method and routine works perfectly for me, but might not be for everyone.

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the day before nightingale opened

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i got the privilege of trying david hawksworth’s new restaurant, nightingale, the day before it officially opened to the public… for $10.  we literally ordered almost everything off the menu. 28 dishes between four people (and the fourth person showed up a little after dish 18).

my personal favourites: the san marzano pizza with buffalo mozzarella (apparently it took two years to perfect the crust, but this was hands-down the best pizza i’ve ever had in my life), the lamb chops (we got three orders for our table), the seared albacore tuna, the pork belly (that went so well with the apple slices on top of it, and all the flavours infused into it), the flank steak, the halibut ceviche, the rockfish, the burrata, the cauliflower, the gelato, and the salted caramel pot.

the ambience was amazing, the service was fantastic, the quality of food was on par with what you expect from a hawskworth restaurant, and i absolutely love the “family-style sharing” concept of the restaurant and how the dishes come out as they are prepared.

i think i have a new favourite restaurant in vancouver, and i can’t wait to go back to try the rest of the menu.

dinner party yvr #dpyvr

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last night, my friend lisa and i attended dinner party yvr, one of the best charity events that i’ve ever been to. the concept behind it: chefs volunteer to make a meal at their house for a group of strangers, everyone donates at least $50 (which goes to each chef’s charity of choice), and dinner is served. this happens all around the city at various homes, with each chef cooking a different style of dinner for a group of six people or so. the dinner that lisa and i went to had a “dining like at vij’s” theme, which consisted of homemade naan, amazing indian dishes straight out of vij’s cookbook, wine/beer pairings to go with all the dishes, and masala peas (think wasabi peas, but with indian spices) along with a yummy bourbon cocktail while we waited for dinner to be served.

every picture posted on instagram/twitter from the event with the hashtag #dpyvr got an additional $5 donated to charity by one of the sponsors, blueshore financial.

spaghetti squash with sausage and kale

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ingredients: spaghetti squash (get them to cut it in half for you at the grocery store – if they’ll do it, it will save you a lot of hassle), sausages, kale, garlic, onion, pine nuts, fresh parsley, sea-salt, black pepper, and olive oil.

pre-heat oven to 400°, scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds, place the pieces of spaghetti squash on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper, and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes.

while the spaghetti squash is in the oven, chop up the garlic, onion, sausages, kale, and parsley. put the garlic and onion in a pan first with olive oil – eventually add the sausage pieces to the mix, then the kale, pine nuts, and parsley.

once the spaghetti squash is ready, fork it out into a bowl and then add the sausage and kale mixture to it. season with salt and pepper.

make your leftovers taste different the next day by adding different spices to it – i recommend rubbed sage.

crockpot coconut curry chicken

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i took the recipe from here and modified it as i saw fit. i love crockpots because they fit in so easily to a busy, work-filled schedule.

ingredients: coconut milk, chicken, olive oil, garlic, onion, ginger, black pepper, sea-salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, and whatever other vegetables you’d like to throw in there.

the night before work: place the ginger, onion, and garlic in a blender, and blend together until it forms a paste. heat up a pan with olive oil in it, transfer the paste into the pan, and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper, and sea-salt to it – cook for a few minutes. chop up all your vegetables as well – put everything away in the fridge.

the morning before work: place the chicken and vegetables in the crockpot – cover everything with the coconut milk and paste. turn it on low, and let it cook while you’re at work.

the evening after work: come home to a delicious smelling place, make some rice, and enjoy a dinner that essentially made itself!

bucket-list item 101. try all the salmon eggs bennys in the world

to add to this list

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aphrodite’s organic cafe (vancouver, bc) – good food, shitty service.

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charlie’s little italian (vancouver, bc) – perfect hash browns, amazing benny, and they also do $4.50 caesars/baileys + coffee on weekends.

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cafe zen (vancouver, bc) – pretty ordinary, nothing special.

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oliver bonacini (toronto, on) – love how the eggs benny came on buttermilk & cheddar scones.

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rustic cosmo cafe (toronto, on) – hit the spot, and also came with a nice side salad.

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forage (vancouver, bc) – not usually on the menu and one of their specials of the day, so obviously had to get it.