Sep 28, 2014

Bang Bang Ice Cream and Bakery

Today we had a high of 25 degrees in Toronto (really rare at the end of September) and we decided to go for ice cream in the Trinity Bellwoods area.  The owner of the Bakerbots Bakery opened up this store just a few months ago and its quickly becoming very popular. 

Their delicious ice cream sandwiches were HUGE. So we each ordered half ice cream sandwich. Eating these were challenging, as each bite caused ice cream to squish out the other side.

The lineup was the door, and we got inside eventually after about 25 minutes. It was well worth the wait.

Waiting in line for icecream :)

Sep 27, 2014

Ultimate Banana Bread

My co-worker Kinga bakes banana bread all the time, so when Terri forwarded an Ultimate Banana Bread recipe from Canadian Living, I had to try it. The result? A super-moist tasty banana bread, not too sweet. 


  • 3 ripe bananas 
  • 1.5 tsp of baking soda 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1.5 tsp of baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 3/4 cup (or 170 g) butter (unsalted, room temperature) 
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 egg
Optional: 1 cup chocolate chips.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

1. Mash bananas, baking soda and buttermilk together, set aside.
2. Mix together all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in another bowl, set aside.
3. In mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter and brown sugar until well combined.
4. In butter mixture, add vanilla and egg. Then add banana mixture.
5. Stir in flour mixture into butter-banana mixture until well combined.
6. Optional: Add chocolate chips, stir in by hand.
7. Fill pan.
8. Bake for 60-70 minutes.

Sep 25, 2014

Fitness is a Journey

“The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.” 
― Tricia Cunningham

I am now six weeks into Beach Body's T25 workout. This is actually the first time I've been able to stick with an exercise regiment schedule consistently for a month. When I examine why I am bent on getting fit, its really hard to pinpoint. I think life is pretty chaotic and unpredictable as is. My health is something I know I can control, and if I can have mastery over the habits and routines that I set about my body, this keystone habit affects other things: energy level, concentration, confidence, you name it.

In the past I've tried p90x, I had to stop after 3 weeks due to exercise burnout (actually advised by my family physician at this time when I started to feel fatigued, saw decrease in performance, etc.); and Jillian Michaels Body Revolution,  I completed, but the 90-day exercise program took me 6 months since I only completed it sporadically rather than following a set schedule.

So what was different this time? Well, I actually made the effort to establish a "habit" of exercise. I found it really difficult to exercise consistently just based on motivation only. Sometimes I don't always have the willpower to exercise. So I set out to do a couple of things:

  • Switched my exercise routines to the morning: This freed up my evenings, and I no longer spent the entire day dreading my exercise routine once I got home,  and was tired from work and my commute. I just got up and exercised, and this routine became so automatic I didn't have to think about or "talk" myself into it. I've done this consistently for the past 6 weeks (x36 days), usually after a month of doing something everyday, its pretty solidified as a habit.
  • Tracked my food intake using a calorie-tracking app: Simple, but calorie-tracking also forces me to be conscious of what I eat. I remember seeing a fitspo quote on Instagram about how its easy to exercise for 30 minutes a day, whats harder is controlling what goes into your mouth the other 23.5 hours. I actually find both very hard.
  • Eating less quantity, more quality: I've only recently started calorie tracking (two weeks ago) and I've noticed that I'm eating less quantity, but more quality, nutrient-rich foods. I'm opting for healthier alternatives for junk foods. If I find myself craving something sugary, I stop by the grocery store and pick up 1 pint of fresh raspberries, and just munch on those like chips. A healthy alternative that doesn't make you feel as sluggish.
  • I've budgeted in a "cheat day": My contingency plan for days I go out with friends, or if I go to a family reunion and there's a lot of "Food pushing" that happens, is that I have a "cheat day". Now I don't consciously go out and seek bad food. I allow myself one day a week where I might eat more than I normally budget for during the week. And thats okay, 6 out of 7 days a week I'm eating healthy anyway. No guilt. 

Sep 24, 2014

Classic Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are often served as a side dish, and make for great appetizers/finger food and are served cold. They are so easy to make, and require very little preparation time. The term "deviled" comes from spicy of "zesty" food with egg yolk prepared with mustard, pepper stuffed in a yolk cavity -Wk (sounds appetizing doesn't it?).


  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Optional: 1/8 tsp salt 
Paprika for garnish


1. Put 6 eggs, in cold water.
2. Place over stove and bring to a rolling boil.
3. Once it comes to a rolling boil, put the timer on for 10 minutes (which will give you solid hard boiled eggs).
4. Remove from heat, drain hot water. Then fill pot with cold, ice water. Set for 10 minutes.

Sep 21, 2014

Rochester, NY

My friend and I drove up to Rochester New York to go outlet shopping. We found this nice venue on the way and decided to snap some shots. Pictures were taken with 50mm.

We played around with different poses and effects. It was a lot of fun :)

Joel's Birthday

My little cousin turned 4 years old today. He's really into ninja turtles, swords, and cars. We had a small birthday get together with mom's side of the family. He has a "kids" birthday party next week. 

Sep 6, 2014

Jack of all trades, master of none

It takes me an hour to commute to work from home on the train; and during that time I bring my laptop with me and work on a couple of things: whether its working on extra-curriculars, listening to podcasts or music, or taking a course.

I've started with this simple 10 day online course that is to help jump start habits. The three habits I chose to work on were:
  1. Cooking healthy homemade meals daily. 
  2. Keeping my home organized.
  3. Exercising daily. 
I know I could have chosen more worthy goals to try (e.g. "become a better person" or "volunteer more time to charitable causes"), but to be honest, these really simple everyday tasks are habits I really do struggle to find time to do consistently. I felt like if I can focus on getting these down, I could focus on bigger and better things. 

I realized the three goals I outlined were actually a bigger problem of managing my time.  I often feel I'm flying by the seat of my pants and getting to cooking healthy, keeping my place clean and exercising daily become impossible as well as juggling all the activities and side projects I take on. It's too much, and after some reflection following a burnout earlier this year, I decided that enough was enough.

A couple of mindsets holding me back:

"Being a 'yes' person": I said "yes" to a lot of things because I was afraid of missing out. Missing out on social opportunities, missing out on new experiences. Another thing is also the guilt associated with saying "no" to people. I know I certainly get peer pressured into a lot of things: taking up an activity, staying out late, changing my schedule to accommodate others. And yeah, it sucks to say 'no' to people, I hate the idea of disappointing people that are close or important to me. However, doing this more often is perhaps one of the best things I've done. And the people I've said "no" to on occasion; they've stuck around :)

Jack of all trades, master of none - High performers generally choose one or two things to focus on, and do so with deep focus. If I ever wanted to get good at anything, I can't do that while juggling 4 or 5 other activities.