Thursday, December 24, 2009

Taking a little break...

My family and I are going Down Under for the holidays so I will not be blogging for the next week or so. I say "the holidays" and not Christmas because we are actually flying right past Christmas. By the time we arrive in Australia it will be Boxing Day (time change + international date line). It's such a strange feeling to miss a day. Even stranger is coming back when the day lasts forever!

Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lessons from Dr. Seuss

One of my favourite things about Christmas is the movie specials that come on our 4 t.v. channels (aka peasant vision). My top 3 would have to be:

(1) White Christmas,
(2) Muppet Christmas Carol, and
(3) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the old version...not the newer version with Jim Carrey).

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

I think Dr. Seuss got something right in penning this story. It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of Christmas (sales, presents, parties) that we forget what it's truly about. I'm not talking about the 'spirit' of the season/holidays. I'm talking about 2000 years ago...Jesus came as a baby to this earth...he was born to die for us so we could have a relationship with God. That is something to celebrate!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


In Ottawa right now for work. Will be flying home at 4pm on standby (as always...).

Aircraft capacity: 9 executive/64 economy

Seats available: 1 executive/0 economy

Here's hoping no one takes a last-minute leisurely trip from Ottawa to Hali!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Partial Success

Yesterday marked the last of my meatless days. To be completely honest, I don't feel any different. I don't feel healthier...if anything I feel the opposite because I ate more sweets this week. I don't feel like an animal-rights fact, I will probably thoroughly enjoy that first steak/chicken/pork chop I consume.

But before I continue I need to confess something: I ate meat this week. I know what you're thinking. "How could you?". Well, the truth is that I tried but ultimately couldn't avoid it! Thursday I went to a potluck and went for the 'safe' dishes: brocolli/cauliflower with a creamy sauce and pasta salad. I took a bite of the first dish and realized there were little bacon bits hiding unsuspiciously in the sauce. Darn! Next I tried the pasta salad only to find miniscule shreds of salmon that were well-concealed in the dish. I did my best to scrape the meat off. Then yesterday I went to a luncheon where 2 chowders were served: corn chowder (with ham) and seafood chowder. No problem, I thought, I'll have the lesser of the two evils - I will simply eat the corn chowder and avoid the ham. Easier said than done. I avoided all ham chunks except one...and when I bit down on it I inconspicuously spit it out. *sigh* it was harder than I thought.

So, putting my veggie crimes to the side,what did I learn this week?
  1. To have more respect for vegetarians and the challenges they face to maintain their lifestyle.
  2. To improvise when cooking. Yup...those 2 mammoth-sized packages of tofu in the fridge...gone!
  3. That I can give up anything if I set my mind to it. Hmm...what will it be next. Chocolate? Frivolous shopping? Facebook?

The picture below is from my trip to the Smiling Goat this past week where I had an organic chai latte. Pretty fancy, huh? I would have uploaded a picture of one of my veggie dishes except they weren't very pleasing to behold :D.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Elephant & Castle

Today I had my first experience at the new Elephant & Castle in Halifax (5171 George St.) when I went there for lunch with a friend. We didn't start walking with this place in more or less wandered the streets of Halifax until something caught our eye with some vegetarian-friendly menu options.

I was pleasantly surprised. To tell you the truth I was expecting the typical pub grub (i.e. pogue fado, lower deck) but they had a pleasing menu of childhood comfort foods (such as shepherd's pie and chicken pot pie) and then some more traditional UK food (bangers 'n mash, roast-beef stuffed yorkshire). I had to pass this all up for a veggie burger, described as:

A savory blend of vegetables, herbs and spices in a grilled patty, topped with Bruschetta tomatoes on foccacia with pesto mayo.

All I can say is yummmm. I will definitely be eating there again. The atmosphere was welcoming and although the ceiling is high-set, the layout cozy (at least at lunch time).

If you are wondering where the name Elephant & Castle came from, you're not alone. I found this article which sheds some light on the subject, as our waiter was unable to answer the question for us. Hope your culinary experience there is just as enjoyable as mine was!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


After several trials (and errors), I believe I have mastered the art of making peanut butter oatcakes! This is a good thing because I've been addicted to them ever since trying my first one at the Smiling Goat (which, I might add also makes excellent chai lattes). They are completely organic and completely fair trade so you can feel good about what you're drinking!

If you're interested in making these yummy treats you can click the link below for the recipe. And yes, my username for the recipezaar website is 'Asian Sensation'. Do not mock :P.

Not the best chocolate drizzling job...perhaps I will post another picture next time I make them.

Vegetarian week update: still holding up. Tonight I had tofu with a tomato sauce ( Not too bad although the tofu was slightly bland. Currently eating cookie dough and watching LOTR: Return of the King to suppress my cravings for meat.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

No meat?

"Vegetarianism is the practice of following a diet based on plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, nuts, and seeds, with or without dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat meat, game poultry, fish, crustacea, shellfish, or products of animal slaughter such as animal-derived gelatin and rennet." - wikipedia

Once in a while I give up a certain type of food for a defined amount of time...sometimes it's because I overdose...other times it's because I want the challenge. In the past these food items have included: chocolate/sugary candy, chips/snack foods, pop, oatcakes (that was due to an overdose), and coffee.

This time, I have decided to go vegetarian for a week just to see if I can do it. I usually eat meat every single day so this may be a challenge. Please note that I will be eating dairy products and eggs. Updates to come and maybe even some pics of dishes I make :).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Don't Forget Your Mittens!

Temperature at 6:47am: -1 degrees Celcius
Attire at 6:47am: winter coat, scarf, mittens, leggings, ballet flats.

Can you guess the unwise clothing choice? Yes, the leggings & ballet flats. I realized how ridiculous I looked with the bare flesh of my feet showing the second I stepped out the door and saw a thick layer of frost and patches of ice on the ground. Alas, it was too late to turn back...I was already late for my bus.

The cold wasn't so bad until I was actually stationary, waiting for the bus. That's when it hit me. My feet went numb...then they started hurting. *stupid...stupid*.

I automatically thought of my mom who, before I leave in the mornings says "Do you have your cell phone? Do you have your bus tickets? Don't forget your mittens!" As many times as I roll my eyes and say "Yes mom", I really do appreciate it. This morning her only comment was "It's chilly outside today". Maybe she was trying to be more subtle. Or maybe she just didn't notice my bare feet.

So for now I will continue enjoying the warmth of my office, although I am not looking forward to the return trip home.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Did someone say all-you-can-eat SUSHI?!?!

This past weekend I got to visit my long-time (9 1/2 years and counting) friend, Morgan in London, Ontario. Although it was a short visit it was filled with great friends, great promenades (walks), great movies, and great food!

One place that I would like to highlight is Wondersushi, my first encounter with all-you-can-eat sushi and all I can say is WOW! I was blown away. I am not a sushi expert by any stretch of the imagination but here is how I would compare it to Halifax:

Quality (based on my still inexperienced palate)
- Wondersushi: 4/5
- Sushi Nami: 4/5

- Wondersushi: 5/5 (they had all-you-can-eat ice cream which is why I'm giving it full marks)
- Sushi Nami: 4/5

Quantity for Cost
- Wondersushi: 5/5 ($25 for all-you-can-eat)
- Sushi Nami: 2/5 ($25 will get you...half full? Maybe 3/4 full)

This was round #2. We actually had to stack dishes on top of one another for everything to fit on the table.

Wondersushi is the clear winner. Only downside is you have to pay regular price for all the leftovers so there is great pressure to finish everything you order. They are really sneaky too. They came by regularly to fill up our tea pot and took some time to bring out the food (maybe because they were busy preparing it...but I would like to think they were waiting for the food to settle). ALSO, when we ordered Round #2 there were still items from Round #1 that hadn't come was a bit...overwhelming. For this reason, I need to add another rating category:

Feeling upon leaving restaurant
- Wondersushi: 2/5 ... I was so stuffed I had to take my belt OFF. Yes, off. I actually considered self-induced regurgitation so that I would feel comfortable. It hurt to hurt to breathe.
- Sushi Nami: 4/5 ... You aren't full but you appreciate everything you've eaten. Still slim at end.

Does this mean I would eat at Sushi Nami over Wondersushi? No, but let's just say I've learned my lesson. Eyes are bigger than stomach o.O

In the meantime, I look forward to my next trip to Wondersushi and my wallet will keep me from indulging in the average-quality sushi in Halifax.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Neanderthal Man vs. The Cookie Jar

This morning I was talking with some coworkers and found out we have one thing in common at this time of the year: intense cravings for CARBS.

It probably doesn't help that my work is situated within a 10 minute walk of several coffee shops where oatcakes are sold in plenty...nor does it help that a representative for United Way asked me to bake some goodies for an upcoming IWK Foundation meeting.

This whole situation makes me think back to a conversation I had with a guy at work about a year ago. He said that the reason we crave carbs at this time of year is because our 'Neanderthal ancestors' packed on the pounds before the hard winter season. Well answer me this, Neanderthal Man: Why didn't our brains evolve with our stomachs? After a long day of sitting at work, why do I come home, sit some more by the woodstove with hot chocolate and cookies in hand? Why do we get caught up in the vicious cycle of eating junk, feeling like junk, and then eating more to make ourselves feel better? ...What's that? No answers? I thought so.

Anyways, I digress. After coming home from work tonight I made some brownies ( and deluxe sugar cookies from my mom's trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook. These two recipes are staples in my world of baking.

So moist and chewy. I decided to dust with icing sugar!

Not exactly sure why but this pic doesn't orientate the right way. These are the deluxe sugar cookies with coloured sugar crystals on top.

Both are very easy to make and yield fantastic results! And might I say that the cookie dough for the sugar cookies is my favourite in the world. So just melts in your mouth. I admit that sometimes me and my sisters will just make the cookie dough and sit in front of the TV eating it by the bowlfull. Thank goodness for fast metabolism...I'll enjoy it while it lasts :D.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Interview - Round 3

Circumstances in my life seem to come in 3's. I am one of three sisters, this is my third blog, I have applied to med school three times, and yesterday I had my third interview.

Just to clarify, Dal is opening a new campus in St. John, NB for 2010. The St. John site will have only NB students. All other applicants will go to the Halifax campus. It will be considered one class, but at 2 sites (kind of like how my church has a Hubbards campus but is still considered part of Stoneridge). So although my interview was in NB, I will be attending class in Halifax if I am accepted.

On the way to St. John we (my dad and I) faced torrential downpours and unclear directions from Google Maps to our hotel (oh could you fail me). We made it to the hotel safe and sound but soon realized that our lodging was a little less than ideal. Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful that I had somewhere to rest my head that night, but when you're expecting a 2.5 star hotel and realize the hotel would be lucky to get 0.5 stars there is a sense of disappointment.

The next morning I moved a little slower than planned. Ended up leaving the hotel at 1100 instead of 1030. Then I realized I printed out the directions backwards from the university to the hotel. Interview started at 1200 but they advised us to come at 1115. I made it at 1130 and thankfully nothing had started yet.

And the interview itself? Sorry, I can't disclose that information ;). All I will say is that I was not a fan of this year's collaboration station which I have enjoyed the past 2 years. But otherwise I felt pretty calm and I know that's because so many friends/family were praying for me! Before I knew it the interview was over!

So now it's the waiting game again. I admit that I'm scared. I still haven't fully recovered from when I opened up my rejection letter this past year from Dal. My heart dropped to my stomach and I couldn't hurt more than the first time because it felt more they were directly saying "you're not good enough".

I'm not sure if I'll get in this year. That's up to the admissions commitee and up to God. This is something that I continually have to surrendur to Him. Because if it were up to me, I would have gotten in 2 years ago. At the same time God has used these experiences to teach me about trusting Him and His perfect timing. I'll continue trusting, knowing that God sees the big picture of my's still hard though...

Friday, November 13, 2009


Once again I am distracted from what I really should be prep...more work. This time the culprit is Youtube. I went to the site to get the link to a music video for a friend when one of the "videos being viewed right now" caught my eye.

The song? Wedding Dress. Artist? TaeYang. When I first played it I was multitasking between multiple internet windows. But when I saw the last 15 seconds and was utterly confused I had to watch it again. Watch from the link's okay if you don't understand. I don't either. It is Korean.

Seriously, TaeYang's plans are foiled time and time again by "Mr. Right". How tragic...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Review: Cute As A Cupcake

On Saturday, my friend Caroline gave me a lovely birthday gift - cupcakes! I've decided to rate them so we'll have a record to come back to. Please note the following:
  • I do love to bake and eat, however my tastebuds are not professionally refined...this is just a personal opinion.
  • 3/4 cupcakes were eaten on Day I have decided not to rate on texture
  • Yes, you read that right...3 cupcakes eaten in one day...all within the same hour. So by the time I got to the last one I was suffering from sugar overdose. I'm trying not to let this bias my review.

Where: Cute As A Cupcake (Saturday morning Farmer's Market in Halifax)

The cupcake package =). I love how they tie ribbons around each little cupcake. Very cute!

"Gimme S'more": Chocolate cupcake with a graham cracker base and crumbs sprinkled on top. A dollop of whipped marshmallow resting on a thin bed of what tasted like semi-solid chocolate.

Very tasty! The base was a pleasant surprise but the marshmallow wasn't my favourite . It just didn't really taste like marshmallow to me. The taste rating is taking into account the fact that the marshmallow may have lost its texture while sitting out for a few hours.

Taste: 4/5

Presentation: 5/5
"La La Lemon": Usually I am not a lemon fan but this was delicious! The cupcake itself was vanilla with vanilla (?) icing and a candied lemon garnishing the top. But once I bit into the cupcake there was a nice lemony surprise awaiting. The cupcake had lemon jelly squeezed into it (but not filled) so that the body of the cupcake was highlighted with the fresh taste of lemon!
Taste: 5/5
Presentation: 5/5
"P-nut Butter Truffle": I have to first bite I was disappointed. Even at second bite. I'm not sure if it's because I ate it on Day 2 but the chocolate seemed a little bland. By the third bite it got good. There was more punch to the chocolate flavour. Once again, there was a nice surprise awaiting inside...smooth creamy peanut butter (see below). Actually, it was hard but when I bit into it, it melted in my mouth. Even the chocolate frosting on top had a PB flavour (not sure if this was psychological though).
Taste: 3/5
Presentation: 5/5

"Triple Chocolate Threat": this cupcake lives up to its name! Unfortunately I cannot give it a true/pure rating since by I ate this little guy I was well beyond my sugar quota for the day! There was a little surprise inside - solid, but creamy chocolate. Chocolate frosting and caramel glaze topped the cupcake and made it look truly decadent!

Taste: ...based on how I was feeling...3/5...but if it was my only treat for the day it would probably be 4.5/5

Presentation: 5/5

I would like to conclude by thanking my fast metabolism for putting up with my abuse. Someday all of this will catch up with me. But in the meantime I will keep indulging my sweet tooth ;).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slow like a turtle...

Do you ever have one of those days where no matter how hard you try you move at a snail's pace? Or ones where you get an email and by the time you reply to it you've received 5 more? Or days where you read a sentance in a journal article (or anything for that matter) multiple times and it still doesn't make any sense? And then you realize that the study's objectives don't match up with its outcomes!! *sigh*...welcome to the world of literature reviews!

Hopefully tomorrow will feel more productive...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Banana Cake

Those who have met me know that I LOVE to bake. It may be borderline obsession. This past Thursday I decided to try the highest-rated cake (590 review, people!!) from Recipe Zaar, my all-time favourite recipe source. This was a Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ( and it turned out beautifully!

- Taste: 5/5
- Texture: 5/5
- Facility: 5/5
The ingredients
Cakes are all baked!

Middle layer of icing done.

The finished product with pecans sprinkled on top.


Friday, October 30, 2009


Last weekend I bought some fake nails as part of my halloween costume. This was my first experience using fake nails and I thought, "how hard could it be"?

I was kicking myself in the pants when after applying the third nail I realized that my middle finger (on my left hand) and my index finger (on my right hand) were glued together. And it wasn't just a little segment of flesh that was was a good inch of skin!

After calling my sister in the room and suffering the humiliation of explaining my predicament we tried several methods to remove my fingers from each other.

1. Soaking fingers in warm water (recommended by Nail Instruction Booklet). This does not work. If anything, my fingers felt more fused together.

2. Acetone-based nail polish remover (recommended online and in booklet). We dabbed a q-tip in nailpolish remover and started rubbing away at my fingers...only to realize that our nailpolish remover is acetone-free. grrrrr....

3. Exacto-knife (recommended by sister's past experience). Do not try this...EVER! And if you do try this and fail, do not re-try Method #2. As the polish-remover seeps into your open wound you will feel pain like you've never known.

4. Warm soapy water (thank you google!). I can happily say this works. After about 20 minutes my fingers were unstuck!

Will I ever use fake nails again? Maybe...I'll just be much more careful when applying. And at least I know I can get out of the sticky situation. Not that I ever want to experience that again.

For now I will take pleasure in staring at my pretty nails which will probably fall off in a week's time...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blogging Round 3

Yes, for those of you who don't know, I have blogged twice before. But third times a charm, right? At least that's what I'm hoping for this blog...and for my med school application.