Natural High from Del Mar

Tofino is one of my favourite hot spots in this entire planet and what makes it such a fabulous place for me to visit is its small town feel, beautiful scenic drive along the Pacific Rim, and has some of the best waves for surfing all year long. It is home to local fishermen and native people and within a few blocks of this tiny town, you will find yourself with some of the finest foods of the Pacific coast – restaurants that offer fresh seafood and locally sourced organic foods that help support the island farmers.

After an afternoon out in the water and completely famished from surfing, my girlfriend and I hit up Sobo, a local restaurant that offers exactly what I described. I always order their cornbread which is the best I’ve ever had, and their tofu pocket stuffed with rice, smoked salmon, and avocado in a wasabi soy sauce.

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The perfect drink to have after a day of surfing is their famous margarita made with 3oz of tequila and is limit to 2 per person. They make their own lime margarita mix daily from freshly-squeezed lime juice.

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House-made lime margarita

After 4 of these margaritas (between the 2 of us) and 3 hours of laughing over silly jokes and chitchat, we had just enough time left to watch the last of the sunset.

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The perfect way to end a fun day with my cool friend Juna.

Spring Carrot Cupcake

Made these carrot cupcakes for a co-worker’s birthday today. I must say they turned out better than I thought after committing an awful baker’s mistake which is not checking the time i started my baking. I technically did look at the digital clock on my oven but didn’t realize i was looking at the temperature and not the time. It’s what happens when i bake on a Monday night I guess!

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IMG_2927These were made with carrots, crushed pineapples, and coconut topped with a cardamom cream cheese frosting. Still they turned out to be moist inside and baked just right!

Some people ask me why I bake and how I find the time to do it. I bake because I love treating other people to food & dessert and seeing their (mostly smiley) faces when they taste it. People are happy when they eat cupcakes. I really think they help with releasing endorphins and serotonin – all the happy hormones! After all, cupcakes has boomed into a multibillion dollar industry in the last few years. It’s easier to find time to do the things we love and are passionate about. Whenever I’ve collected all my ingredients from the store, my heart leaps with a little excitement every time, like a child waiting to open her gifts on Christmas day. You never know what you’re gonna get as the final product!

A Weekend of Art, Music & Food

Hope you all had an amazing weekend!

My weekend kicked off with a fabulous concert at the local art gallery featuring Kytami, a Canadian musician and violinist born in Vancouver. She played along side her DJ who mixed music from all genres, from rock to classical, with a predominant Irish theme that was upbeat and dance-worthy. I’ve never been to a concert quite like it before – in the middle of an art gallery, surrounded by paintings, a wooden staircase and a chandelier in the room. The atmosphere was warm and cozy, everyone was well-dressed and out to have a fun and relaxing Friday night.

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If you live in Victoria and haven’t been to the Art Gallery on Moss Street, I recommend checking it out. Hint: it’s a great date night idea! The gallery is small but has quite a few paintings from Canadian artists including Emily Carr, the famous Canadian icon whose works portray the lives of indigenous people and landscape of the Canadian Northwest Coast.

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A few pictures to describe the rest of my weekend

Saturday afternoon bike-riding

Galloping Goose Bike Trail

Galloping Goose Bike Trail

Girlfriends over on Sunday afternoon

Homemade Nespresso with handmade truffle from Spinnakers

Homemade Nespresso with handmade truffle from Spinnakers

There’s been a lot of hype around this healthy smoothie lately that I decided to give it a chance.
I must say it was not bad! Really refreshing after a work-out.

Kale Smoothie

Kale Smoothie: 1 cup kale, a few frozen mango chunks, 2 heaped tsp greek yogurt, 1 tsp chia seeds, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup almond milk, honey to taste

Sunday night dinner

Kale with three bean salad, Homemade green onion roti, Tandoori Chicken Curry, Homemade Raita (yogurt)

 

Last but not the least before I sign off, I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone reading my blog!  A few of my friends have messaged me in the past couple weeks sending me sweet & wonderful comments. It means a lot to me that you all take time out of your busy lives to browse my blog. And to the silent ones there also, thanks for reading ❤

Tying the Shoelace

Lately, I’ve been feeling exhausted after coming home from work and finding it difficult to get out the door to do my runs or go to the gym. Most of the time, 90% of my effort is really putting on my runners and getting myself out the door and the rest tends to follow.  But this time, i knew something else was going on…as i don’t usually have a hard time staying awake at work and even tying on my shoelaces seemed to be quite an effort! A simple blood test came back that I had probable iron deficiency, which is quite common, especially in vegetarians (I am not one myself as I still eat chicken, but no red meat). So i grabbed an old bottle of Proferrin (an iron supplement) that had been sitting on my shelf since last year and I started taking it again. Mind you, I’m the least compliant when it comes to taking pills. Being a pharmacist…i should know better right? So I did some research on what some of the best food sources of iron are for those vegetarians out there. After all, taking one less pill is better right! Here’s a list of foods that I like that are rich in iron:

– Green leafy vegetables: kale, bok choy, broccoli, spinach, swiss chard
– Quinoa (contains 8% of total daily intake of iron in 100gm cooked quinoa)
– Beans and chickpeas – contains 34% of total daily intake of iron in 100gm
– Nuts like almonds, cashews (8-10%) and Pumpkin seeds being the king of all at 30%

Yes…brussel sprouts is a good source too but I’m not a huge fan. Looking at this list, I already include a lot of them in my meals and snacks, but sometimes, it’s just not enough. More on the different types of iron supplements at a later time. As a brief note, Proferrin has been my go-to iron supplement of choice because as i said, it is the only heme iron available which is more readily absorbed by your body than non-heme iron. It also tends to be better tolerated than other forms of iron and isn’t affected by caffeine or food consumption as much.  If you’re feeling fatigued, having difficulty concentrating, soreness in the mouth, looking pale, short of breath, having cravings (more than usual), then maybe ask your doctor about getting your iron levels checked and a vitamin B12 level as well.

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On a different note, I did manage to drag myself out on the weekend for a beautiful hike up Mt. Douglas and rode on the maiden voyage on my new bike.

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While riding on the Lockside Trail, a beautiful scenic route from downtown Victoria to the ferry terminal, I came across this little booth selling rhubarb. I remember seeing it last year and it was selling organic fresh eggs back then. This time it was rhubarb. Simply drop the money by the cooler and take as you wish. I was tempted to pick up some on my way back, and as I almost arrived, an elderly man came out to take the cart back. I asked if he had eggs for sale and he said to come back next time. Love small town people.

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Time for a rhubarb pie next time maybe? Then i need to carry a bigger packsack when i go for my next bike ride 🙂

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Close with nature 🙂