October

I keep a few of my favourite classics at bedside to go back reading time and again whenever I feel wistful of my childhood. Anne of Green Gables is one of them. How I adore Anne, her imagination and positive outlook on life. Anne also loves October, just like me and every October I think of the following lines from the book.

October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths

Anne would tell Marilla it would be terrible to live in a world where there are no Octobers. And I concur with her wholeheartedly. I love October with leaves changing colours to fiery red and golden yellow, cold crisp air, the thought of warm drinks and hearty soups (the weather makes me want to drink more tea not my usual dose of coffee.)

And starting October we see more and more of sweet potatoes and all kinds of ugly but adorable winter squashes and orange pumpkins piled up in grocery stores- oh I love it. October so far was nice. there was Thanksgiving here in Canada so my family celebrated the day with the usual turkey (roasted with apple, cinnamon sticks, onion, and rosemary/sage/thyme inside the cavity), pumpkin black bean salad with candied pecans, and a pumpkin pie. It was a good weekend filled with laugher, warmth, and love. I adore my home.

Then back to Toronto – I’ve been quite busy. This Saturday felt good with cleaning up the house, cooking, catching up on shows, reading a bit. Also the weather was gorgeous- it was a pure joy but it’s a shame because I realized last night that I probably should have gone out to a park or something. At times I feel trapped in this ultra high rise condo in the heart of downtown. Convenient? Yes. Lacking natural touch? Absolutely. I feel quite removed from surrounding to be honest. There are too many buildings all the time around me.

In my university days, the city I lived in was hands-down beautiful. Small community, lake at the foot of the campus, student neighbourhood lined up with trees. I walked everywhere, too. I never thought I would say this but am I the only one missing school? I miss it. I miss studying for my classes (my history courses were amazing), I miss living with my best friends, our small but cozy house, fresh air, beautiful limestone Starbucks I used to go to study ‘bird courses’.  October, this fall weather, makes me want to go back to all these. But for now I’m going to be grown-up about it and be happy with the memory.

I roasted squash. Eat it mashed with a bit of maple syrup or put it in a salad with asian dressing- makes a world of difference in your salad.

Made myself a cup of vanilla tea.

It’s mid-October already. I want to savour every remaining day. Happy October!

September is here

Image

September has been great so far. Fall is by far my favourite season and crisp air each morning makes me happy to get out of the door for work. I don’t want it to ever leave me.

This weekend was such a nice lazy one. I watched 1.5 seasons of West Wing, had brunch with a friend, walked around a beautiful neighbourhood I just discovered, and slept a lot. I’ve accumulated enough strength to get through my week. We shall see.

Happy Wednesday.

Outlook on life

Rocky Balboa: You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here.
[taps on the inside of his hand]
Rocky Balboa: I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “this kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilige. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life. Don’t forget to visit your mother.
-Rocky Balboa-

I love breakfast and I adore morning.
The light is perfect, surroungding is quiet and peaceful. Such a lovely time of day.
This morning I made pumpkin waffles for breakfast and had them with a drizzle of honey since I was out of maple syrup. I should freeze the rest for later.

O and the above is my favourite quote from the movie Rocky Balboa.
As we approach the end of summer and face another beginning, I thought we all could benefit from a little bit of attitude boost. I hope you have a wonderful Saturday full of relaxing, inspirational moments.

Five.

I made cinnamon chocolate chip sour cream cake from Smitten Kitchen twice this week. It was that good.
Of course this morning I could not resist a couple pieces with a big mug of tea and water.

Tonight was another girls’ night with my high school girlfriends. We went out for egg rolls, had ice cream cake, and watched Love Actually (I know it’s not Christmas quite yet, but this movie is amazing any time.)

We talked about how summer is almost over. Most of us only have two weeks left till the end of summer job, one is going on a beautiful trip to Spain and Italy before going back to school…awww summer.

Five things I want to do before the end of summer:
*Make lemon bars
*Read five more books and write reviews
*Watch as many episodes of Gilmore Girls and the West Wing
*Eat many, many blueberries
*Make waffles

Of course, there are more but these are the first five things that randomly came to my mind:-)
Happy Friday night and hope you’re all looking forward to an amazing weekend.

Friday Afternoon

Hi:) A few more hours till weekend for most of you.

As I have already mentioned, I got my toenails done. So much fun. So relaxing. An hour at that huge, massage, cushiony chair. My feet were definitely treated:) It’s amazing how you feel so fresh and alive after you do nice things to yourself. That’s why I love sweaty workouts, wholesome meals, or cookies and tea in the afternoon. And occasionally a pedicure session.

Speaking of wholesome meals, I was flipping through Jamie Oliver’s Cook with Jamie yesterday (he makes every recipe sounds so simple! just love him) and ran into this recipe: Pappardelle with a ragu of tiny meatballs. I had an instant craving for this right away. Well, I guess not exactly this item but just a big bowle of classic meatball spagghetti. A few weeks ago I was watching Clockwork Orange with my friends. We didn’t really enjoy the movie but we all wanted meatball spagghetti after watching the main crazy guy in that movie eating spagghetti. Yup. Craving for spagghetti was the only good thing that came out of it. I should make some before this summer, preferably with friends:)

 

I finally finished reading D-Day. So much information to ponder upon, full of inspiration, courage… I really want to sum it up into a review and that’s what I plan to this afternoon.

:-)

Fun summer day

Around 8am this morning I took Duke out to pee and I was pleasantly shocked at the weather. Unlike the humid weather for the last three weeks, it was so cool and breezy. I could smell the fresh air and I instantly thought of taking a walk. I like this pathway along the road to Westboro region. It takes about 40 min by walk to get there and from there lots of small local shops, restaurants, cafes, and bakeries unfold. The pathway is parallel to a small-traffic road but there are lots of trees and grass that it makes you feel like you are walking through the woods.

I brought a book Garlic and Sapphire by Ruth Reichl with me. I went into a cafe Bridgehead, which is a organic/fair trade coffee joint in Ottawa. The cafe was about half full. I don’t like empty cafes:) It’s no fun!!! I ordered medium coffee and a chocolatine, which looked just like a chocolate croissant. I took a picture with my phone but it wouldn’t let me upload it:( it was very good with three thick rods of chocolate hidden inside!

As for the book I thought it was my kind of book since Reichl talks about her experience as the food critic of NYT. But somehow I lost much interest in it right in the middle and the due date was approaching (I borrowed it from a local library) I just returned it on the way home. I think once in a while it’s okay not to finish a book if you find it not interesting. There are lots others in the world that are waiting to be read anyway:0) I borrowed four other books and am super excited to read them!

When I came home my sister brought me my favourite starbucks: half-sweetened soy double shot on ice. Honestly it’s my absolute favourite drink in a hot summer day. Thanks to my sister:D

While drinking this I opened one of the books I borrowed. I got the America’s Test Kitchen. I really liked the fact that they not only provide you with recipes but also explain the science behind baking such as how to make puffy genoise or perfect muffin top!

My usual baking evolves around squares, brownies, muffins, cookies, etc. When I have time I would bake yeast bread like dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, or challah bread. But I don’t think I have tried making pastries from scratch. So I added to my summer list that I should make croissants before this summer ends. The direction sounds surprisingly easy! We’ll see how they turn out.

I’m heading to my friend’s cottage tomorrow. It’s supposed to rain all weekend:( but I’m sure we will somehow make it memorable and fun anyway. It will definitely involve lots of smores, bbqs, popcorns, and hot chocolate. I’m so pumped up right now:-) Before I leave I have to do laundry, clean up the house, and buy stuff but I’m going to put everything off till tomorrow. After all I do things well under pressure:)

Anyway, it’s almost weekend! Hope you are all having a great Thursday night.

Back to normal life?

My sister was away for 5 weeks travelling Korea and Japan. So I was taking care of my brother, our dog, and…myself!!
Well- I am semi-good at managing myself, cooking for one, cleaning my room…etc. But cleaning the entire house? Playing with and feeding Duke? That was handful! Even though I should say I got very used to doing it by the end.

Anyway my sister is finally back with lots of gifts.  She got me some nice things including cups (I love cups and mugs), colourful pastas from Japan, cute teddy bear in Korean traditional dress for me and yummy cookies for my brother and I to share.

For Duke, she got him a Mickey Mouse hair band from Disneyland Tokyo. I took picture of him as soon as he tried that on. He didn’t like it that much:) but we loved it.

The house is kind of messy so we have this huge clean-up planned today and tomorrow. Things are going to be normal again with my sister back. I’m really glad. But for now, enjoy Duke!

Canada Day: What a perfect start of July!

July 1st.

Another Canada Day has returned! Canada Day brings back all the amazing memories with my friends in Ottawa. Ottawa being the capital city serves to be a great place to be this time around. The Queen was visiting Ottawa but my friends and I decided not to go downtown. We thought we would only be able to catch a glimpse of the grandiose decorations from her hat due to the usual over-crowdedness in downtown.

To recap the past few years, on Canada Day 2008, my girlfriends and I went up to the cottage and had a fantastic day sun-bathing, reading magazines, having couple of drinkds, swimming in the lake, and chatting! At night we went on a boat to enjoy fireworks on the water. It was a great day.

Last year all of our high school friends started off with a great house party and took the party to a local park, where there were fireworks and rides, poutines, and cotton candies all around! Nothing crazy happened but we remember it to be yet another great Canada Day.

This year, I hosted a brunch at my house. It is actually becoming a tradition among my girlfriends on Canada Day before we headed to any party. Since I was busy making and serving the waffles, my friend Sarah took the pictures for me. Here they are:

fruity, maple-syrupy waffles

For the party, the girls decided to split the food components. I brought these mini Canada Day cupcakes. When I planned icing the cupcakes, I thought it would be easy to draw red maple leaves, but it was actually hard. My first few tries resemble the Red Cross insignia. So I changed my plan to draw a flag sans maple leaf.

Festive cupcakes

I didn’t bring my camera to the party so I don’t have any pictures:(  But it was a fun and exciting day.

It’s been a while:=

It has been a long while.
I missed writing blog posts but at the same time my life was full of adventures, my mind busy taking in great moments that may never come back.

I am on exchange to Korea and it has been a blast. I have not been cooking much but eating tons of great Korean food. I have got together with my family and friends to catch up on old stories mixed with what is new in our lives. It has been a true blessing.

I’ve baked a few times. Nothing fancy. Just a few dozens of  peanut butter cookies, a batch of  brownies and some rolls maybe. People here told me I should open up my own bakery. Maybe I should in …45 years? Haha.

I miss baking everyday

 I plan to post some Korean food pictures while I’m in Korea. I think some of you would appreciate them.
Till then:)

Espresso time

Let's get some frothing going on!

I’m finally home for Christmas:)

When I came home, there was this nice surprise! A new fancy espresso machine:D Not necessarily for me, but still amazing as I will get to use them often.  Our previous espresso machine was on the cheaper end, probably less than $250. But I know this one is a lot more expensive than that one. The old one made espresso and frothed as well but it was definitely not Starbucks quality.

frothed

Dopio Espresso

But this new machine is incredible.
As soon as I got home from school for Christmas, my mom made me dopio espresso on the touch of a button.

She also got a peppermint syrup and mocha syrup from Starbucks and soy milk  to make me a soy peppermint mocha! Sweetened just to my taste.

Pouring in milk

foam on the top

I heard that well-frothed milk foam should be dense till the last sip of your latte. This foam was that foam. That perfectly dense, impressive foam.

Peppermint Mocha

When I woke up this morning, my mom and I brewed our mugful of Americano. We paired it with toasts with almond butter and apple cinnamon spread. It was Christmas eve, all was calm and snowy in Ottawa. Pure happiness.

I’m full of anticipation of high school get-togethers and family time in the next couple of weeks. I hope everyone is enjoying this time with loved ones.

Happy Holiday Season to Everyone!