Monday, October 31, 2011

The trick-or-treater that never was...

I have a confession that will shock your socks off...

...or maybe you'll will say meh, shrug your shoulders and continue on with your Monday night.

I have never gone trick-or-treating in my life.

Sometimes when I tell friends that they stare at me as if I've sprouted a third eyeball. The truth is that as a child my church put on an event called Holy Night where everyone would come dressed as Bible characters, play games, and receive a grocery bag full of candy. It was actually a lot of fun! I'm pretty sure I went as Rebekah a few times (soooo original), but I also distinctly remember a year that I went as an angel. It was all good until one of the girls there (also dressed as an angel) said "My costume's better because I have WINGS". Six-year-old wingless Rebekah was officially crushed...the thought of it still stings :P.

When I got too old to trick-or-treat I crossed my fingers that a friend would throw a Halloween party that I could attend. So, first time dressing up post-childhood was in 2008 at the tender age of 20. I grabbed some of my mom's sample Mary Kay makeup and dressed up as an '80s chick/japanese girl from the Babysitters Club.

If only I could wear that shade of pink lipstick everyday!
Note the hot pink leg warmers...and the side pony complete with scrunchy
The following year I recycled my high school uniform and went as a japanese school girl. The costume involved false eyelashes...and fake nails *shudder*. If you want to read about my fingers being glued together for a good 20 minutes, read the second post on my blog.

Fast forward to 2010 - after the nail mishap I decided to keep things simple with a kitty costume. It cost me a total of $2. Do you like my friend Chris' dress? He went as Amarea's bridesmaid.

Oh Chris, you should have been here jumping with us ;)
Now to the present, 2011: This year marks my first ever group costume and it was a pretty awesome experience. I discovered the power of glue guns for costume-prep. Goodbye needles & thread! Muahaha.

We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!
Hope you've had a fun Halloween weekend!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Follow the yellow brick road!

When it comes to Halloween, there's nothing that beats themed group costumes. Can you guess what we are?
Wizard of Oz! Glinda the Good Witch, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Dorothy & Toto, and the Lion.
Ok, so maybe the title gave it away. Would you believe that most of these costumes were made with the power of a glue gun?

It seemed appropriate for me to lighten up my hair to make my scarecrow costume complete. What do you think of my new do?

The hairspray paint was just $3 from the dollar store! Only downside is my hair felt like plastic. It was actually rock hard!!

We headed to Gill's place first where she was an amazing host. Look at those drinks and cupcakes!

And this masterpiece of a pumpkin! I forget what was all in it but cream cheese was one of the main ingredients. It was automatically a winner :).

Gill was stunningly dressed! I look like quite the country bumpkin next to her. haha.

There were a few superheroes that showed up during the night. I was safe with Mrs. Incredible by my side!

And Clark Kent/Superman was watching our backs as well (Do you recognize him? It's Buble!).

The rest of the night may have included rapping to Nicki Minaj and doing dance to Thriller...but I won't openly admit to those things :P.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Good eats

Do you ever have a day that's just full of good food? That was yesterday for me. It actually all started on Thursday when I had a sushi craving. It was so tempting just to run out and take advantage of Sushi Nami's tsu-nami special ($1-$2 off selected menu items) but my roomie convinced me to hold off.

I'm glad I did because it propelled my productivity for the rest of Thursday and all of Friday. Whenever I found myself losing focus I told myself "do it for the sushi!" It also helped me push through my 10k run.

When tsu-nami hour arrived, I was not disappointed. I ordered veggie tempura to start which was cooked to perfection. It was a good selection of veggies as well - eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato, red pepper and asparagus.

To follow I had the spicy salmon roll (salmon, tempura bits, green onion and spicy sauce) along with Firecracker's Dream (avocado, spicy mayo, tempura bits, and bread crumbs).

The Firecrackers Dream was amazing. The perfect amount crunchiness from the bread crumbs, and smoothness from the avocado. It is officially among my favourite sushi dishes!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bridge run!

Long runs scare me. And when I say "long runs" I mean when the number of kilometers reaches the double digits. Not miles, my friends...kilometers. But one of the perks about med school is the class is filled with health-conscious people so there's no problem finding running buddies (aka motivation). In fact, there is a group of us that goes out every Friday after lab. We are small but mighty! Dying on the inside but strong on the outside! Ok, maybe that last statement only applies to me :P.

When I found out that we were doing 10km today I almost died. I've run that distance (and more) in the past but I've been slacking over the past few months. Actually, I've been slacking since the end of May when I did 14km at the Cabot Trail Relay. My feet haven't quite forgiven me yet. But with some words of encouragement and a cold breeze at our backs we headed off to run from school, across the bridge to Dartmouth, and back to Halifax all in the span of an hour.

It was chilly when we were on the bridge and I admit my legs were not cooperative on the way back, but the view was breathtaking. It's one of the many things I love about Halifax.

When I got back I mapped the distance it it came EXACTLY to 10.02km! The elevation map (below) shows it only as 9.9km but the starting destination was slightly inaccurate.

Thanks Mike & Cec for a wonderful run! I'm proud to have you as classmates and running buddies! Shall we do 15km next week? Haha...I kid...I kid!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quinoa for breakfast!

If you read my blog regularly, you probably know that I have a weak spot for sweets. I can never say no to cheesecake, peanut butter cookies or banana cupcakes if offered. But today I did baking of a different kind. I know...shocking!

For lunch I tried a hot pumpkin breakfast quinoa bake, inspired by thewannabechef. It was simple, fast, healthy and tasty. Right up my alley! In fact, I'm aiming to try a spin on the recipe in the next week using bananas instead.

If you would like to try this breakfast dish, you will need:

  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa (note: 1 cup dry quinoa makes approx 4 cups cooked)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp honey
All you have to do is mix all the ingredients ina  small bowl, pour it into ramekins (I used two), and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. After that you can add any toping you want. Peanut butter, nutella, nuts, fruit...the sky is the limit!

Unfortunately, I was not feeling so creative :P. I still enjoyed it though and can't wait to prepare this again using different fruit purees!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Finger food

It's been a fairly full day between my surgery elective this morning, booking it directly to class (followed by tutorial), running to my apartment for a chest/shoulders/abs/sprints workout, heading back to school for dance class/practice, and studying for a couple hours at the library.

Surprisingly I don't feel all that tired and will probably do a bit more homework before going to bed. But with my luck, I'll start on a case, lean my head on the arm of the couch and be out for a few hours. It's definitely happened before :P.

There were a couple things that particularly made my day a good one. First off, I've decided to do my cardiovascular surgery elective for the entire year!! It's an idea I've been toying with for the past 3 weeks because:
(a) I absolutely love the heart (see this post);
(b) our cardiovascular unit is next term and I feel that this elective will be particularly beneficial;
(c) my preceptor is a wonderful teacher and I feel encouraged in the area of self-directed learning; and
(d) I can't believe that 2 months have already gone by so fast...I feel like I've only skimmed the surface of the iceberg of material.

Oh ECG, someday I will understand you!
Thankfully my preceptor is willing to take me on and actually encouraged it! Phew! I was actually very nervous of being rejected. It was almost worst than a first date!

The other thing that was a highlight was double treat day at tutorial. I brought my cheesecake squares and thankfully my group liked them! I don't know how to explain it but I get so much happiness when others enjoy my baked goods. It's like the feeling of taking a friend to one of those "best kept secrets" restaurants or like finding burried treasure and sharing it with others. Yes, I just made that analogy...baked goods = burried treasure. Another classmate brought in some spooky halloween fingers.
They were absolutely delicious but I had to take the "fingernail" off before eating it. Fingernails actually give me the creeps. It makes me think of the Saw movies (not that I've ever seen any of them) or of fingernails going down a chalkboard. ahhhhhh! And I thought I had a strong stomach :P.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A rainbow of notes

It's official! The whiteboard is out. You know what that means? That it's one month + one day until our neuroscience exam.


And because I'm anal about my notes, I have to colour coordinate them.

Do you like my pens? They were only 99 cents at Staples!

These ones were a little pricier ($5 for the pack) but they were 50% off...and they write with the smoothness of butter.

Highlighters = essential!

And this year I have a new obsession: sticky notes :)

I'm hoping this mini cube will last me the rest of the year! I'm dying to use the pink though!

And all my writing utensils are kept in this pencil case. Yes, those are zippers. And yes, they all open. It was an impulse buy but it remains one of the best I've ever made.

Now...I suppose I should get studying :P.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A not-so-domestic cheesecake dessert

There are some ingredients that I take for granted. One of them is cream cheese. I've used blocks of it on several occasions and have never given two thoughts to how it is made. After a few minutes of googling I concluded that it's best to appreciate the cream cheese for what it is, because a true homemade batch involves scary 5 days of prep!! I won't be making that anytime soon!

So until I muster up the courage to be a Domestic Goddess, I will take the easy way out. Because honestly, I'd rather invest my time to make tasty desserts rather than devote 5 days to a block of cream cheese...only to protect it with the ferocity of a mother elk.

The recipe below is one I made a couple years ago when I worked at the IWK Children's Hospital. I'm not sure why I haven't come back to it since because it is absolutely delicious. I'll be bringing it to tutorial tomorrow (and Wednesday if there are leftovers) so I'm hoping my classmates enjoy cheesecake  flavour as much as I do!

To make Cheesecake Bars, you will need:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 (8 oz.) packets of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice (I didn't have any so I substituted with 1 tsp lemon extract)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350F. Blend butter, brown sugar and flour in a medium bowl until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Like so!
Set aside 1 cup of the mixture (it will be used as the topping). Press the remaining mixture on the bottom of a greased 9x13" pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

Add eggs, milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Beat thoroughly.

Spread over the baked crust and sprinkle with brown sugar/butter/flour mixture previously set aside.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool and then chill in the fridge.

Cut into squares, share with friends and enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Very Special Med I Prog Dinner

It's amazing what culinary talent is revealed through progressive dinners. I swear that some people in the Med I and II classes should consider opening restaurants on the know, with all the spare "self-directed learning" time we have ;).

Yesterday I had the delight of being a guest in the homes of two Med I's. It was their way of saying thank you to our class for welcoming them to DalMed during o-week. The first stop of the night was at Cory & Ciji's where we enjoyed bruschetta, fresh from the oven and an assortment of veggies & dip as appetizers.

Dinner (please excuse the picture - I was trying to be very discrete in my picture-taking...and failed) was BBQ chicken which was juicy and bursting with flavour. Rice was served on the side, but it wasn't your run-of-the-mill rice dish. I feel like there was some magical ingredient added because I had to refrain from getting 5 servings! It's one of the best rice sides I've had in my life, which is saying a lot because I've eaten it almost everyday from birth until I moved out of home a year ago...consequence of having an asian parent :P.

And we had a little cutie who soaked up ALL our attention during the dinner. Meet Jackson, quite possibly the most adorable puppy on the planet! I wanted to take him home. He would have actually fit in my purse!

Dessert was only a 10-minute walk away and thanks to some previous google-mapping we were able to find our location without any trouble :). The moment we walked in we was greeted by Ryan, his girlfriend, and the comforting aroma of gingerbread. After settling in and enjoying some guitar jams, they presented us with the option of two desserts:
  • Warm gingerbread served with homemade lemon glaze, or
  • Pear and blueberry crisp, served with Foxhill vanilla ice cream
Thankfully they also offered the option of both, which I definitely took them up on! How was I to choose when they both looked equally delicious?

At one point my classmate and I simultaneously took a bite that captured the gingerbread, the crisp, and the ice cream all together and let out involuntary "Mmmmmmmmm's". There were truly no words that could do this dessert justice. It was perfect on every level!

Thank you Med I's for the delicious food and the wonderful company! You guys are awesome and I'm looking forward to getting to know you more throughout the year :).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

One for One

Yesterday when I was shopping with a friend (it was a study break...I swear!), she asked me what I thought of my TOMS shoes. I was wearing them at the time and she commented that they seem to be the "in" thing. I jokingly said I bought my pair before the trend caught on...which has partial truth to it because there was only one store in Halifax that carried them when I began my search for TOMS (and they had a very limited selection of styles & sizes).

My TOMS, worn with love.
I heard about the company at the end of last summer when I attended the Leadership Summit at my church. One of the speakers was Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shared his story of making a difference in the world. Their website says it best:
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match everr pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of choes made possible by TOMS customers.
I quickly learned that in certain developing countries children are at risk of contracting soil-transmitted diseases which penetrate through the soles of the feet. Not only that, but in some schools shoes are required for the if they don't have shoes, they can't receive an education. He shared a story of a family where 3 children would rotate the pair of shoes in the family so that each of them would have a chance to attend school at least one day of the week.

Thus began my quest for a pair of TOMS. I probably searched for a good 2 months before I finally found a pair in my size. I honestly wasn't attracted to the style but was rather buying them for the One for One concept. But when I put on my first pair I was in love. Probably the most comfortable pair of shoes I have owned in my life.

There never goes a day where I regret my purchase. I love the idea that with the pair of shoes I bought for myself, a child in need also received a pair. The phenomenon is catching on. In September 2010 TOMS gave away their 1,000,000th pair of shoes. And this year they launched TOMS Eyewear (for every pair of glasses sold, a child in need receives medical care, prescription glasses or sight-saving surgery).

TOMS flag, proudly hung in my room.

If you don't own a pair of TOMS I encourage you to buy one (if it's within your means). Or next time your shopping for friends/family, consider a pair as a reality you'll be buying for two!

Have a lovely weekend :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Suspicious wine glasses

This morning I felt like I had a bit of explaining to do to my roomies, because if they woke up at 7am they would have seen an dirty wine glass in the sink. You know school is getting tough when...


Just kidding! No, I did not need an eye opener. The truth is that all our glasses were dirty so I had to resort to what was left :D.

Quite a sophisticated smoothie, if I do say so myself!

Why breakfast so early? I decided to do my elective today and had to be at the hospital for 7:20am. *croak*. Although my preceptor is away, we arranged for me to watch a pacemaker operation! For a surgery it's a fairly "simple" procedure but it involves x-ray which means...


Yup, I got to wear an oh-so-stylish lead vest and buckle skirt. And don't forget about the thyroid protector (not pictured above)! They need to take x-rays during the procedure to ensure the leads (wires which sense the heart's electrical activity) are positioned correctly. Wearing the vest/skirt combo was pretty exciting for the first 20 minutes...until my body realized it was carrying an extra 15 pounds. I almost wanted to consider that my strength training for the day!! In any case, I'm sure my ovaries are thanking me right now for the protection :P.

Elective was followed by clinical skills (Week 5 of the Neuro exam) and when I got home I was actually dying to go to the gym. My legs were feeling very restless and the heavy rainfall wasn't helping! I ended up doing:

Incline Dumbell Press (3x15)
Dumbell Shoulder Press (3x15)
Side lateral raise (3x15)
Standing dumbell upright row (3x15)

Jacknife sit-up (3x15)
Knee/Hip raise (3x15)

Seated leg curl (3x15)
Barbell lunge (3x15)
Stiff-legged barbell deadlift (3x15)
Bounce bounce squat (3x15)
Stability ball leg curl (3x15)
Standing calf raises (3x20)
Seated calf raises (3x20)

It looks like a lot typed out but it didn't take too long to do. To refuel afterwards I made myself a salad and a mini quinoa stir fry...quite possibly the best flavoured stir fry I have made in my life! The secret? Peanut butter. I'm convinced it makes the world go round. Go ahead and try it. I don't think you'll be disappointed :). The egg also gave the dish a wonderfully fluffy texture.

To make a QUINOA STIR FRY you will need:
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- A splash of soy sauce
- Pepper
- Random veggies
  1. Heat a tsp of olive oil in a frying pan.
  2. Add quinoa and egg. Fry until egg is cooked.
  3. Mix in veggies.
  4. In a small bowl, mix peanut butter, soy sauce, pepper, and a small amount of water (1-2 Tbsp). Drizzle over quinoa/egg/veggies.
  5. Cook the stir fry for another minute to allow the flavour of the PB sauce to soak in.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


There's a phenomenon in the blogging world called What I Ate Wednesday where bloggers pretty much post their meals for the day. While I find these interesting and get great meal ideas from them, I have shied away from the concept for a few reasons:
  • It takes a lot of effort to capture a good quality picture of food (especially with my ghetto camera),
  • I am a repetitive eater so I may as well copy and paste my posts week after week,
  • ...and as a result, everyone would stop reading my blog on Wednesdays.
However, lately I've been making my meals for the day in advance so that I can spend the whole day at school/coffee shops studying. So while I was prepping my meals I figured I'd snap a few pics! As a result, I'd like to welcome you to my first (and probably only) edition of...

What I Will Eat Wednesday
(aka WIWEW...try saying that 5 times as fast as you can)

My day usually starts with a smoothie: 1 frozen banana, a cup of fruit, a scoop of protein powder and some water. I decided to switch things up for tomorrow and went for a pumpkin smoothie with cinnamon.

An essential to my mornings is coffee. As much as friends and family will hear me say "I neeeed caffeine", I actually don't get a kick from it! I can literally drink a cup of strong coffee 10 minutes before going to bed and it won't affect my sleep. It's more the taste and the thought of having a warm beverage in my hands. This morning I satisfied my craving at the Smiling Goat while studying. And guess what? They got another customer's order wrong and offered me the beverage for free! You know you're becoming a regular when...

Can't say no to a latte made with love.

Another daily essential: dark chocolate. It's probably the reason my six pack has refused to surface.

Ok, so all of that happens in the morning, and for the most part I brew my own coffee at home. When I leave for school I grab my "lunch bag" which contains my meals for the day.

Note: Please excuse the quality of the pictures below.

The bag generally contains:
A mid-morning snack, usually fruit
Oatmeal mixed with vanilla, cinnamon and fresh fruit, and sometimes drizzled with honey for lunch. Don't say I didn't warn you about picture quality!
For dinner I've generally been having salads but this week I decided to make a stir fry of quinoa, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, and mushrooms. Can't wait to dig into this one!

And say hello to my latest addiciton. Good 'ol PB. I enjoy it smothered on the surface of rice cakes. I also enjoy it by the spoonful. Yet another reason for the buried six pack.

Hope you enjoyed this edition of WIWEW. It probably won't happen again for a looooong time...or at least until I change my eating habits drastically. Hope your day is filled with tasty meals :).