Aside

YogaRunYoga Brainstorm

If all goes according to plan (i.e., I pass my teacher training), I’ll be a certified yoga instructor on October 17 of this year. I am super excited to combine two of my favourite things: teaching and yoga. And I’m plotting how I might throw in another of my favourite things: running.

Perhaps by pairing up with a running store, a community centre, or yoga studio (or just doing holding private sessions), I’d like to start a class called YogaRunYoga. Here’s how it would go:

Yoga: 20 minutes of yoga to warm up (breath, asana, and setting intentions)

Run: Run 5K (maintaining mindful breathing)

Yoga: 15 minutes of yoga to cool down (breath, asana, seated meditation) + savasana

What do you think? Any tips or other ideas?

Because I’m not certified and therefore you can’t take a class from me YET, I recommend these free videos from Do Yoga With Me!

 

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Katie Batie ‘Bonzo Bean & Her Kale

A fellow blogger’s recipe for kale pesto inspired me to make my own! I paired it with garbanzo beans and quinoa for a tasty summer dinner.

For the hipster foodie record, I’ve loved kale since before it was cool. But now that it’s cool, there are so many recipes and ideas out there for making it interesting! Friends of Sean’s dad and stepmom have a gorgeous garden here in South Surrey, and we’ve been delighting in all their organic homegrown vegetables: romaine, spaghetti squash, green beans, yellow beans, carrots, and now kale. (Thanks, J + B!)

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As for garbanzo beans, I’m a long-time fan. My best friend, Liz, whom I met in preschool, used to call me “Katie Batie ‘Bonzo Bean”, and her parents still do, because my mom used to pack me garbanzos with Italian dressing for lunch!

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The Versatile Vegan’s recipe for Kale Tahini Pesto is here.

And here’s the recipe for my…

Kale Cashew Pesto

Ingredients:
– a whole bunch of kale (2-3 cups, packed)
– a handful of basil leaves
– 1/2 bunch of cilantro
– 2 tomatoes, chopped before putting in the food processor
– 1 cup of raw cashews
– juice of 1/2 a lemon
– 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
– 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
– a few sprinkles of cayenne (after living in Thailand, I have to add spice to everything…but you don’t have to!)
– 1 teaspoon of salt

Directions:
1. Slowly add all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until it’s nice and smooth.
2. Taste it. Add oil if it’s dry, add lemon if it’s too bitter, and add salt if it needs it.

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Because it was hot last night, I cooked the quinoa according to package directions (with a bit of veggie bullion for flavour) and let it cool completely before mixing it with about half of the chilled pesto and one can of beans. But it would all taste great piping hot, too.

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Bon appétit!

The Wooden Spoon

TASTE TEST
The Wooden Spoon
15171 Russell Avenue, White Rock, BC

Sean’s dad and stepmom live in South Surrey, just on the border of the town of White Rock. White Rock is a hilly seaside community that has some great restaurants with great views. We took Sean’s stepmom out for a birthday brunch at a new restaurant in town called The Wooden Spoon. While The Wooden Spoon lacks an ocean view, its trendy industrial-chic decor makes up for it!

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Chalkboards, mason jars, exposed ceilings, wooden tables, and utilitarian lighting scream “2014!”, and I love it. They serve their French-pressed coffee on a newspaper napkin and have almond milk available. Their brunch was really tasty (I had the Veg Frittata), and on a later trip, Sean and I shared the super flavourful Halibut Po’ Boy. (It was scrumptious, but I only hope that they’ll one day put some dressing on the bare chopped cabbage they serve alongside it!)

The staff have all been very friendly, and this is a place we shall surely return! If you live in Vancouver, it’s worth the drive out to White Rock. Oh and be sure to mention if it’s your birthday; we got to share their amazing Tiramisu Pancakes on the house! [No photo — eaten too quickly!]

They get 5 out of 5 too. (Is there any point in doing this rating system? I think I’ll just write about restaurants I like…so expect all future Taste Tests to be positive!)

Tacofino Commissary

TASTE TEST

Tacofino
2327 E. Hasting Street, Vancouver

Sean and I decided we’d want a taco truck to cater our wedding, and after consulting many a website about food truck reviews in Vancouver, we chose Tacofino. It’s been a pleasure working with their catering manager; she has been helpful and very friendly.

Tacofino is named for its original home, Tofino, a surf town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Now they’ve got food trucks and a commissary in Vancouver too.

Since neither Sean nor I had actually tried the tacos (Sean’s mom did, though, and she gave her initial approval!), we decided to make an evening of it. We went with Sean’s family a couple weeks ago; Sean and I both had one ling cod taco and one yam tempura taco. They were both delicious! The fish was fried to perfection, as were the sweet yams.

For dessert, we all shared the spicy chilli-laced chocolate cookies and an iced cold glass of horchata, a sweet Mexican rice milk beverage.

It was a lovely meal shared with my lovely future in-laws, and it made us all stoked to have Tacofino tacos at the wedding reception next month!

Tacofino gets 5 out of 5 too!

Aphrodite’s Café & Pie Shop

Over the last few weeks I’ve been able to try some restaurants that are new to me, and I want to tell you about them. I’m starting a new category of posts called “Taste Test” to document all the Vancouver area restaurants I try. Here’s the first one!

TASTE TEST:
Aphrodite’s Café & Pie Shop
3598 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

This little cafe, which specializes in homemade pies and other desserts, is bright, welcoming, and cozy. Our server was very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about the restaurant’s products.

I had the vegan gluten-free Macaroni & Cheese — an oxymoron? Yes. But was it good? Amazingly yes! They create that umami cheesy flavour with onions, garlic, and nutrtional yeast (don’t knock it ’til you try it!).

Sean had the Wild Mushroom Quiche, and his mom had the Chicken & Shitake Quesadilla. We all loved our super fresh salads too.

We all shared the death-by-chocolate gluten-free vegan Chocolate Almond Ganache Torte. It was dense and rich and memorable.

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I give Aphrodite’s 5 out 5, and I will return!

Our New Life in BC

Sean and I crossed the border into Canada after a long road trip from the Bay Area just 25 days ago. In those three weeks and four days’ time, a lot has happened!

Sean got a job working for a steel construction company. He’s learning how to be an estimator and getting to practice his project management skills.

We applied for permanent residency for me. That took about 12 hours, and the waiting game will take about 18 months (crossing our fingers for less).

I got accepted to a 200-hour Intensive Yoga Teacher Training. The course is for six weeks this fall, five days a week, eight hours a day.

Water Street, where my program will be

my new yoga neighbourhood

We bought a car. He’s a Honda Fit, and his name is Finn. Finn has a manual transmission, which Sean loves, and which I am learning to operate. I really didn’t want to get a standard car, but I’m actually really enjoying learning. Sean is a very patient teacher!

We got an apartment in Vancouver. For the last three weeks, we’ve been staying in Surrey with Sean’s dad and stepmom. It’s been wonderful, and we’re so thankful that we had a welcoming home to stay in when we first moved up here. At the same time, we’re excited to be getting our own place; being in Vancouver will shorten Sean’s commute by quite a bit, and I’m looking forward to living in the city, relying on public transportation, and walking a lot!

[No photos yet — we move in August 2!]

I’ve been training for the Victoria marathon, which is on Canada’s Thanksgiving Day — October 12. My longest run so far was 18 miles (29 kilometers), which I did in Surrey. The area around Sean’s dad and stepmom’s house is perfect for long runs — forest with trails, the beach in White Rock, and long streets with few cars. I’ve also been able to do a couple runs in Vancouver while visiting Sean’s mom and sister.

We’ve also been wedding-planning. The big day is rapidly approaching, and we’re starting to get super excited! My favourite thing about our wedding will certainly be how personal every element of it is. Sean and I are blessed with crafty, detail-oriented, and event-planning-experienced family and friends. It’s going to be a beautiful, homemade day.

activity books for the kiddos

activity books for the kiddos

Sean’s mom surprised me with a Welcome-to-Canada Bridal Shower! The ladies who attended sang “Oh Canada” to me as I entered, and then they showered me with gifts that are Canadian-made and/or Canada-inspired (e.g., a maple leaf t-shirt and a box made by First Nations tribe members). The food at the party was also all local — salmon, local produce, and cupcakes with Canadian flags. It was beautiful and special and made me feel very welcome.

We’ve been missing our friends and family in Bangkok lately, along with our favourite Thai things: massages, coconuts, and lightening shows. But we’re also so happy to be in Vancouver, beginning the next chapter of our lives together.

Bottomless Pit: The Sequel

A couple months ago I wrote about popcorn, one of my very favourite snacks. It’s filling, low-calorie (well, until I dress it up I guess), whole grain, high in fiber, and generally very tasty.

I’ve been running a lot, as one does to prepare to…well, run a lot more (a marathon, 26.2 miles to be exact), and all this running makes me very hungry. Unfortunately, my taste buds got accustomed to the sugar, dairy, and gluten I let my vacation self consume while in Europe last month. I’ve stayed in Europe mode, eating butter and some cheese and more sugar and wheat than I’d like to. Before Europe I wasn’t eating sugar or gluten (because I realized that they both, in excess, can make me feel crazy/emotional/off-kilter), and I’d been completely off dairy since the summer of 2007. Now I’m trying to decide how to be a well-balanced pescetarian — eating fish, but no other meat, and only eggs (and perhaps the occasional dairy) that are organic and sourced from happy and healthy animals (no easy task).

I digress. One fabulously delicious vegan/gluten-free/sugar-free/guilt-free snack idea is to put avocado, olives, and salt on top of a rice cake. Try it. You’ll like it! You might also like a rice cake with avocado, tomato, salt, and pepper.

What’s your bottomless pit healthy snack go-to?