two months ago I went to Montreal


…and then I didn’t write about it, because I am a champion procrastinator.

But! In the spirit of better late than never, here are my recommendations:

  • Cafe Regine, for such an incredible brunch that we went back two days in a row
  • Maison Christian Faure, for all the fanciest of the fancy treats at a surprisingly reasonable price
  • St. Viateur bagels (my preference over the also-delicious-just-not-as-delicious Fairmount Bagels, though I suppose you should visit both and decide for yourself)
  • Trapezium, to work off all the pastries and bagels.




one thing at a time

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So, I know I was all like, “I’m back on track! I’m going to post all the time again!” …And then you didn’t hear from me for a month.

I’m sorry.

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It turns out that when you have two jobs and circus training and friends and a relationship and school, and then you temporarily take away school, you still have two jobs and circus training and friends and a relationship.

Also, there’s a half-finished 2000-piece puzzle that’s covering the only table in my house (you may have seen it here), because apparently when I was at the games store, I was worried that a 1000-piece puzzle wouldn’t be challenging enough. Now I have to force myself to connect at least two pieces every time I walk by.

I do not have a ton of extra time kicking around.

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There’s also that I’m still Whole-Life-Challenging, which means that my usual stress-inspired baking is more or less on hold. The Whole Life Challenge does, however, mean that I’ve discovered that amazing desserts don’t always have to be unhealthy. By which I mean I refuse to give up dessert entirely, so I’ve crowd-sourced ideas for my own gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free versions.

(Let’s also conveniently ignore the fact that I used an indulgence point on a pint of ice cream last night… A pint is a serving, right?)

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Anyway, I’ve been avoiding avocado chocolate pudding for years, because it sounds disgusting. I’m glad I finally sucked it up and tried it though, because it’s amazing. The texture is just like pudding, and the chocolate is strong enough to cover up both the avocado and the date flavours (neither of which I like in my desserts). I swear by this pudding.

You should try it.

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Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 4 dates (use the soft mushy kind)
  • 1/3 cup canned, full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Blend.
  2. Eat.

Note: This is best served cold, with berries or cherries on top.

we now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming…

…Oh wait. I haven’t been regularly scheduling programming. I have a few posts about 95% ready to go – they have been for about a month.

I’ll get there, I promise.

In the meantime, this is what I’ve been up to.

Photos taken at West Coast Flying Trapeze by the incredible Upsidedown Photography.

back on track

banana bread muffins with streusel topping

I’m sort of getting back into the swing of things (by which I mean brain-dumping my random thoughts on the internet via this blog), helped out by my completion of school for the summer (my excitement over summer break is somewhat tempered by the fact that I still have to show up to my office eight hours a day, five days a week), and the Whole Life Challenge.

banana bread batter

I know a lot of my friends have been like “but why spend so much money on some online thing you could do yourself?” And I get it. The Whole Life Challenge is $24 USD (which, once you convert that to Canadian dollars, is probably about my annual salary) for returning players, and I’d love to take that money and spend it at the farmer’s market (I know; I’m turning into such a hippie). But I’ve tried before. I’ve made charts on posterboards and bought stickers and set reminders in my phone, and given up after three days. If I don’t pay for it, I don’t do it.

streusel

So here I am, a couple weeks in, and I’m (still) feeling pretty good about myself – though my overall happiness levels could (still) definitely be improved by some pizza. I’m motivated and encouraged and drinking my weight in water every day.

banana bread muffins with streusel topping

The only downside to the Challenge is not baking all the things I really want to bake. Like more of these banana streusel muffins I made a few weeks ago.

banana bread muffin with streusel topping

(I mean, I could bake them and not eat them, but doesn’t that sound a lot like setting up a Whole Life Challenger for failure? #askingforafriend.)

Recipe from Thomas Keller.

coming up roses

oatmeal raisin cookies

I haven’t had much time to write lately, and the blog has fallen by the wayside these past few months.

oatmeal raisin cookie batter

And, though in the infrequent posts I do manage to get out, I mostly complain about the amount of work I have to do right now, that isn’t the full picture.

oatmeal raisin cookies

But (psych!) I’m not going to talk about all the great things that are going on right now. Instead, I’m going to talk about my fifth (sixth?) attempt at the Whole Life Challenge.

Actually, I’m not, because I don’t find depriving myself of pizza and jellybeans that interesting. Suffice to say that, for the first time in a while, I’m feeling good about my food choices and my body (although I really miss pizza and jellybeans).

oatmeal raisin cookies

I’m also really excited about these oatmeal raisin cookies. No sugar! No gluten! Whole Life Challenge friendly! They’re basically breakfast oatmeal in cookie form, so you can still enjoy eating them.

#winning.

oatmeal raisin cookies

(I may have been absent from the interwebs, but I’m still a dork.)

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes 24 small cookies (84 calories each).

Ingredients

  • quarter cup butter, at room temperature
  • one large overripe banana
  • one egg
  • one teaspoon vanilla
  • one and a half cups of quick oats
  • one cup of shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • quarter cup almond meal
  • one cup raisins (I used Thompson raisins)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or a silpat and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, banana, egg, and vanilla.
  3. Add all the dry ingredients and stir with the stand mixer on low until everything is combined. There’s no gluten, so there’s no need to worry about over-mixing!
  4. Spoon out cookie batter onto the prepared parchment sheet, and press into a cookie shape. I kept mine to about 1.5″ round and 0.5″ high, and I got 24 cookies. I personally prefer the crispy edges on these, so I like to keep them small.
  5. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, until the edges have browned and the centre is dry.

a tally of my life

cream puffs

Hours worked last week: 53

cream puff ingredients mise en place

Hours spent doing homework: 4.5

piping out cream puff batter

Cups of coffee: 8

baked cream puff shells

Kilometres driven: 367

filling cream puffs

Bouquets of flowers sent to me at my office: 1

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Cream puffs baked: 86

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And, just for the record… 

Hours of sleep: not enough

cream puffs

 Cream puffs recipe from Alton Brown (I used the sweet version, and filled mine with whipped cream).

head down, plugging on

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I’m pretty good at staying on task.

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Lately my weekdays include work, doing homework on my lunch break, more work, circus training, circus school work, household chores, and then passing out in bed just to do it all over again.

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Most days I don’t have time for friends or family, much less memes and cat videos. I keep my head down and just truck through.

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But yesterday I spent 3 minutes of my day getting lost in a skunk video, 12 minutes in the sun on my hands, and 28 minutes making crepes for dinner.

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It’s the simple things.
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Recipe here. I dusted mine with sugar and lemon juice.