Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Time Traveler

Do you ever wish you could time travel? I do...all the time. Today we won't be traveling to another epoch - sorry to disappoint - but we will be traveling back in time in my blog to a rather short post I wrote during the summer.

Say hello to my first encounter with xanthan gum. You may be wondering what exactly that is. Well, according to Bob's Red Mill:
Xanthan Gum is made from the outer layer of a tiny inactive bacterium called Xanthomonas campestris. It is an excellent all purpose thickener for dressings, gravies and sauces. Its unique ability to hold small particles of food together make it an ideal substitute for gluten in gluten-free baking.
Xanthan gum, starring front centre ;)
I don't do any gluten-free baking but I did hear from several other bloggers that it was the perfect addition to smoothies, especially if you like 'em thick. My first experience with xanthan gum was during the summer and since then I have officially been won over. All I do is add 1/2 tsp (sometimes 1tsp) to my smoothies and BAM! Thickness!!

I'm not even exaggerating when I say I use xanthan gum at least 5/7 days in the week. So it was with great sadness that I finished off the package today. But I was curious...exactly how long did the package last me? Here comes the art of time traveling.

*Enter Twilight Zone Theme Music*

It's actually quite simple and rather unimpressive :P. After a quick search on my blog I saw that my first post on xanthan gum dated back to July 24th of this year. So, that means the package (which was 1/2 price at the time of purchase...woo hoo!) lasted me a full 4 months. Not bad if I say so myself!

I'm actually not that sad though because I still have another package in the cupboard ;).

As a random side note, my friends Nick and Lance just did a cover of the song One Thing Remains by Jesus Culture. Check it out!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


It's the strangest feeling to prep for an exam for months and to have it all suddenly come to an end. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely glad the exam is over...I guess it was a bit anticlimactic. Considering all the time that went into studying I think it would have been appropriate for a beam of sunlight to break through the clouds with Handel's Hallelujah Chorus blasting in the background.

I guess we can't have it all! :P

But what I DID get was another bison burger!! The excitement of being reunited with this decadent burger actually helped push me through the exam.

So tired but SO happy to be done!
There's a part of me that has to adjust to actually ENJOYING the normal things in life again (without feeling guilty)!! Things like singing with the Vocal Chords and Testostertones on Citadel Hill...and embracing my asian side.

And going out for dinner with my family! My aunt was visiting for the weekend from Toronto and it was so nice to catch up with her! We went to our favourite restaurant for authentic chinese food9 + Nine. It was an absolute feast...

In the next few weeks I actually do have quite a lot on the good 'ol TO DO list, but I'm looking forward to checking those items off one by one while being able to embrace a more balanced schedule.

Hooray for post-exams and thank you to everyone's encouragement and support, especially in the last month! It made all the difference in the world!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Procrastination - no time like the present!

Call me crazy for blogging two nights in a row...on two exam days...but there comes a point in studying when you just can't take in anymore info and need a break!! And I promise this will only be 5 minutes...ok, ok...maybe 10!

I'm not going to comment to much about the lab exam today except that it was fair! Actually, surprisingly fair compared to the traumatic lab exam we had last year. These neuro flash cards will be laid to rest, at least for the time being :P.  

Specimen = brain...I wish it were that simple!!
I'm at the point where I just want to have the written exam over with but I know my nature will drive me to study into the wee hours of the morning, especially with distractions like blogging...

...and this:
Insert angelic music here
Say hello to the Lifeproof case!! And yes, you're reading that correctly. It's actually waterproof! I've already put it to the test. A post will be coming shortly on this product :).

Well, it looks like I've reached the 5 minute mark. I guess that means I should go study.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Twas the night before the lab exam...

I know what you're thinking...what the heck is she doing blogging when she has a lab exam the next morning?? I've asked myself the same question. Maybe I just need a break. An excess amount of studying can do strange things to people...

Enough said...

But I've promised myself that this post will take no more than 5 minutes of my studytime. You know those people who almost have OCD studying? As in all of their pens/highlighters/stickies need to be neatly arranged before they can do anything? That was not me today.

Please do not judge.

Amidst the chaos, I do have my study staples within arms reach!

1. Coffee. 4 mug-fulls so far. I wouldn't be surprised if I have 2 more.

2. Lip balm. Best when it's free!

3. Handcream. This stuff smells amazing!! And the foot/leg cream has caffeine in it, which I would like to think keeps me awake ;)

4. And kleenex. Gotta keep the sniffles away!!

Okie dokie...back to studying! I may not be here again until after the exam. If not, Happy (American) Thanksgiving and goodnight from me and Matt the mole!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winter Wonderland

The first major snowfall of the season...it's a magical thing! It gave me strong urges to throw myself on the ground in the starfish position and make snow angels, but my frontal lobe prevented me from doing so...

It's hard to believe that the neuroscience unit has come to an end. We theoretically had our last lecture today, except that the lecturer didn't show up (due to the snow...surprise!). To celebrate the final case (and an awesome tutorial group), we went to Laura's Cafe for a late lunch/early supper (lupper? sunch? take your pick!).

Laura's Cafe recently opened here in Halifax and serves Russian & Canadian cuisine. It was quiet inside due to the weather but the atmosphere was still welcoming. I had borscht as well as meat perogies (my first exposure to Russian dishes) which were both tasty!

You don't even want to know what I had for dinner. Or maybe you do...it involved a bag of popcorn, chocolate pudding (greek yogurt, vanilla protein powder + cocoa powder...it tastes like the real thing!!), and oatmeal. You know it's exam time when...

So sad...eating on the floor of my bedroom...

My classmate mentioned that she may be going out for sushi on Friday night and I'm seriously considering joining her. I know there's a 99.97% chance that I'll be a complete mess studying that evening but she did bring up a good point that we would be getting our Omega-3's. And why not throw in some Dynamite Maki? It has avocado...it MUST be healthy ;).

I guess it's time to go back to the books. It's the final sprint to the end!!

Monday, November 21, 2011


It's 1:30am and I'm still awake. Rest assured, I didn't just come back from a wild night of clubbing...the night is too young :P. The truth is that I'm tired but have pent up energy that needs an outlet. Why so much energy?

Maybe it's because I saw my sisters today!

Or maybe it's because I enjoyed a creme brulee latte this afternoon. Starbucks had a 2 for 1 deal. And no, I did not double fist...although I have no judgement for those who did ;). I went splits with my sis!

I love this caption: Lorsque nous sommes ensembles les bonhommes de neige prennent vie...When we are together, snowmen come to life! So random!! haha.

Then again, the energy could have been from watching the Parade of Lights from my house. The Christmas music was blasting and put me in a great mood. And on top of it all I was really impressed by my iPhone's zoom!

Well, sadly the truth is that I had nervous energy. My exam is this Friday and Saturday and my thoughts are racing already. I know, I know...I gotta keep my cool! My notes are officially all divided up into what I'm going to study each day this week so that helped put my mind at ease.

So what do I do when I can't go to sleep?
  • I go to the gym and run my legs off while watching the Much Music Top 5. Thank goodness there's a gym in my building because there's no way on earth I would go running outside at 12:30am!!
  • I make my lunches for the week. Oatmeal everyday. I'm a creature of habit. 

  • And I blog to get my thoughts out. Like I've said before, blogging = therapy.
Well, I think I can officially call it a night. It's the final streeeeeetch this week which is a bit frightening but also exciting. December is going to be awesome...filled with Christmas parties, baking, gift...exchanges...


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Burn baby burn

The other day when I was at Pete's Frootique I saw something that sparked my interest...

Wasabi Peanuts

I know...so random...and a complete impulse buy. Darn that strong sense of curiosity :P.

Probably not the healthiest snack but there are definitely worse things out there.

Ingredients: Rice cracker powder, peanuts, corn powder, palm oil, wasabi (mustard powder), sugar, salt, artificial color, US FD&C (whaaaaa????), Yellow #5, Blue #1.

Part of me was terrified based on my first experience with wasabi...it was 3 years ago and I was eating sushi pretty much for the first time. I saw this green stuff on the side and thought it was guacamole, so (of course) I layered it on my sushi like there was no tomorrow. Meanwhile, my coworker had a bewildered look on her face...with good reason. Then I stuck the piece in my mouth.

Burn baby burn!!!

I don't think I've ever experienced anything quite so intense in my life. The burning sensation filtered through every cranial fossa possible and the tears poured out of my lacrimal ducts (can you tell I'm studying head & neck anatomy right now? haha). From that point on I learned to treat wasabi with respect...

...until yesterday...

Yes friends, that container used to be filled to the brim! I actually got a technique down where eating them wasn't quite so painful and was actually enjoyable. It went something like this:
  • throw wasabi peanut to the side of your mouth
  • chew wasabi peanut as fast as possible
  • do not breathe in while chewing
Nevertheless there were times when the technique still did not work in my favour, leading to...

See that glistening in my eye? Tears were shed.
I've gotta say I've learned my lesson, although the snack was strangely addictive. I also have a soft spot for spicy foods.

 Off to the lab right now...study time!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

...but the pesto was good...

There are some recipes that I have not dared to tackle yet - one of them is pesto. So it was to my absolute delight when I received a text from my classmate Tish saying she made pesto over the weekend and wanted to bring me some. How could I say no? :)

With one taste I was in pesto heaven!! It took all my willpower to not eat it by the spoonfull from the container!! It was the perfect blend of smoothness, cheesiness, and spice!

But what to make? What recipe would be deserving of this pesto? After a bit of searching, I found egg & pesto stuffed tomatoes. Perfect! I had 2 large tomatoes in my fridge screaming at me to be eaten. 

So I cored them,

filled the bottom of the tomatoes with pesto,

and cracked an egg inside each one.

Easy enough, right?


The recipe said to bake 20 minutes at 400F. Well, I checked at 20 and they were nowhere close to being finished. When I checked again at 30 minutes, I saw disaster.

Waaaaaaaah!!! T.T

Why, oh why did they not turn out like this:

In the end this dish was alright...there was nothing wrong with the taste but I ended up not eating much of the tomato. Maybe it was out of frustration of their collapse. In any case, I won't be attempting this recipe again...unless I have rock-hard tomatoes *sigh*.

But on the bright side, the pesto was good :).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Change...it's a good thing

I'm neck-deep in the studying about the brainstem but wanted to share some exciting news. After being a faithful user of the Samsung Slyde for many years, I have laid it to the side and converted to the iPhone!
Goodbye Samsung Slyde...you served me well with your QWERTY keyboard
Though the switch may seem like it's a no-brainer, there were several reasons why the iPhone's been on my radar recently:
  • Clerkship is coming! I won't always be able to lug my MacBook with me for checking emails/schedule changes.
  • Ever since the time change last weekend my phone has been going bazerk...switching between the old and new time.
  • If I'm texting someone and receive an incoming text, my phone makes the loudest, sharpest BEEP BEEP! Not ideal to be going off in the middle of class...and yes, it's happened on several occassions :P
  • I can only keep 100 texts on my phone, so it's sometimes really sad when I have to delete the funny ones.
Originally I was going to hold off until the end of the summer to switch phones but someone surprised me and gave it to me as a birthday gift (not sure if that person wants to be identified here, which is why I'm keeping it anonymous). It was a very thoughtful gift...and a wonderful procrastination tool with the upcoming exam :P.

I'm loving the 8 megapixel camera. This was the first picture I took:

And this one was taken today, as I was sitting on the couch studying.

They actually aren't quite as crisp as they could be...because I still have the plastic sheet on the back! I'm so paranoid about getting it scratched!! I've ordered a case which is supposed to protect it from anything (even water) so I'll be breathing a huge sigh of relief when that arrives! Who knows, maybe I'll start blogging from my phone ;). haha.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Remember

Today, my thoughts are with the men and woman who have served our country - those who have fought and died so that we might experience the freedom we do today. You deserve our utmost respect for the sacrifices you have made.

"Freedom is never free." - Author Unknown

"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?" - George Canning

"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die." - G.K. Chesterton

"Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul." - Michel de Montaigne

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." - Cynthia Ozick

Lest we forget

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It's amazing how I go through my day fueled by "hidden" motivators. It's only when reflecting back that they become more apparent. Today I was motivated to:
  • Go to the library early because my roomie wanted to get to work around the same time. The short walk to school is always easier with companionship :).
  • Eat mindfully because of the ginormous dream dinner I had with my family last night...by the time lunch rolled around I was still full!!
  • Study at the library for 3 hrs because of a justified fear of the neuro exam.
  • Go for a 6km run after class because:
    • we had an extra lecture scheduled after tutorial...which meant 4 hrs of sitting on my rear!
    • I had this for fuel:

Fresh strawberries, hand-dipped in chocolate as a surprise birthday gift from an 'anonymous' giver :)

  • Run up a hill (aka my worst enemy) because I was in good company (thanks Mike!!)
Fine, fine...I suppose there was also a *decent* amount of downhill for the route!
  • Study some more this evening because Michael Buble is crooning in the background. I may even pull out the Christmas candles...and stockings...and figurines. I guess that would technically fall under procrastination though :P
Happy Hump Day!


It's a little strange to be writing about my birthday, perhaps because it feels a little self-centered. However, this day would be nothing if it weren't for the incredible friends and family I have in my life. My original plans for the day included a ton of studying and a small celebratory dinner with my family. Yeah, not even cake...I was thinking of holding off for the weekend until my roomie looked at me as if I had sprouted an extra eyeball. I'm glad she convinced me to take the evening off to spend with my fam!

The day ended up involving a lot of amazing food. My classmate Adam called me up shortly before noon and treated me to lunch. We ended up going to Fid where I enjoyed a local celeriac (celery root) salad with a miso/ginger vinaigrette, toasted mustard seed and dried Lunenberg county cranberries.

Dessert was a delicious chocolate almond stack. The presentation was impressive and the taste exceeded our expectations! I'll be doing a more thorough review of Fid in a later post :).

Dinner was at the only Chinese restaurant I ever visit in Halifax: 9 + Nine. I admit to being a bit biased since my family knows the owner and to be honest we never order off the menu. Peter, the owner, always surprises us with his culinary excellence. Today was no exception. We were served seven dishes that were seafood-themed. Some of my favourites were:

Fish dumplings

Red Snapper
Lobster, shrimp and green onion, served over a bed of noodles
I realize that my descriptions are a bit lacking...to tell you the truth I'm not 100% of what was in these dishes but I do know that they were delicious! Several food babies were conceived today.

I sadly don't have any pictures of the birthday cake but at my request mom made angel food cake, served with strawberries and vanilla ice cream.  It was the perfect way to end the evening...light but full of flavour!

And continuing from yesterday's Christmas theme, guess what I got from my parents?

 Ohhhh yessss...Michael Buble's Christmas album! I am in love. I even swoon over the pictures where he's wearing his wedding band. It makes him that much more sexy.

It was so nice to spend the evening with my family and for the first time in a loooong time I was able to relax and treasure the moments together without studying being in the forefront of my mind. It was such a good break!

And of course, silly selfies kept me distracted from any neuro that may have been fighting for my attention :P. Aren't we the most attractive sisters ever?? hahaha.

Thank you everyone for a fantastic 24th birthday!