Tag Archives: french toast

Cinco de Mayo + Sick Day

We weren’t originally planning on it, but after teaching today, Hannah and I both decided that we were in the mood to go out and celebrate Cinco de Mayo!  We made reservations at Besos Latinos, the Latin American restaurant in Elliot Stables where we had dessert a few weeks ago!

I love the atmosphere of Mexican restaurants!  It makes me want to decorate my house in the warm, bright colors and rustic furniture.  We had the best seat in the house…right next to the fountain!

After looking at the menu, we decided to split the Mexican Platter.

It wasn’t as big as we’d hoped for a whopping nz$19.00 per person, but it was delicious, festive, and fun to eat!

It included cheese quesadillas with spicy salsa, beef tacos with guacamole, and tortilla chips in a white bean dip.  Delicioso!


Of course we also had to get a Classic Mexican Margarita, since it’s Cinco de Mayo!

To make things even more divertido, Thursday nights are Tango nights at Besos Latinos!

We were entertained by some excellent tango dancer throughout our meal.  I don’t know much about the tango, but I felt like they were outstanding dancers!  So energized, sultry, and precise.

When we got home, we decided our dinner wasn’t quite filling enough, so we hit up the convenient store across the street for some cheap-o Mexican snack:

Corn chips (nz$4) and salsa (nz$3).

Later, we were in the mood for dancing, so we hit up Margarita’s.

Can you tell we had the place to ourselves?  Safe to say that it was our kind of night!  We danced for a bit to some house music with occasional pop songs, then stopped by Father Ted’s on the way home, because we have a hard time staying outside if we are walking by.  We were pleased to see our trivia dude playing music!  (Here’s his band, he’s the lead singer :)) He performed a great rendition of Mumford & Sons’s “Little Lion Man” and came by to say hello before he left.  We went home and got to bed shortly after.

I did not sleep well at all, up most of the night with stomach cramps.  The one other time I’ve had tequilla (in a margarita at the beach with my family) the same thing happened.  I guess it’s just not for me!  I vow to stick to wine and beer 🙂

I tore myself out of bed around 9am to take a shower, which my Gram L. always swears makes you feel better.  She is right, so it helped, and my stomach cramps were gone but of course not back to its normal fabulousness.  I decided eating something neutral would help and I had one thing on my mind: French Toast.

I walked into my kitchen to see this:

I was not a happy camper.

I do not understand why my roommate thinks it’s ok to leave his dinner leftovers in our only frying pan overnight on the counter to go rancid.  After seriously debating chucking the leftovers in the garbage and cleaning the pan myself…I decided that I couldn’t survive much longer without coffee.  Of course, I was out of oat milk, and stomaching black coffee this morning was not an option.  I didn’t want to go to Starbucks to waste my precious gift card Mrs. P sent me on a crappy morning, so I figured I’d just buy cow’s milk.  But then, the vegan gods smiled down on me as I spotted soymilk in the wee convenient store across the street.


Though paranormal happenings were occuring on this strange morning, and the soymilk wouldn’t mix with my instant coffee.  ????   Perhaps it curdled?  Does this happen with soy milk?  You know I drank it anyway.  (My inevitable second cup was normal, btw)  I also took joy in the fact that I horded the big mug in my room last night!  Take THAT!  mwahahahah!

My tummy demanded nosh so I whipped up a mini bowl of oatmeal (1/4 cup oats with 1/2 cup soymilk, + a small spoon of p’nut butt-)

After an awkward confrontation and moral support from Hannah when he rolled out of his room, the pan got clean and I could finally have my French Toast!!!!

I just whisked an egg with a splash of soymilk and some cinnamon while I put a piece of bread in the toaster to stale-ify it.  Then dipped it in the eggysauce and grilled it to slightly burnt perfection.  More p’nut butt- and some jelly were schmeared on top.  It was just what my belly wanted!

Since I’ve rendered myself useless today, I’ve declared it a sick day.  I’m laying low.  Let’s see if I can do it 😉

Do you like margaritas?




Filed under Food, Life, New Zealand

more Nelson & on the road to Punakaiki

We also peaked in an antique store that was full to the brim with old chotchkies.

There was a gallery right around the corner form our hostel, Mansfield Gallery, that showcased one series of paintings and sculptors from an artists in Auckland.

It was a really powerful series of guns, Jesus, targets, and Buddah with different colors and lots encased in what looked like rainbow sprinkles. Odd. Very modern.  We also visited another jewelers called the Jewel Beetle that had lots of pretty jewelry I wanted! Lots of things with sunflowers, roses, and spirals. So beautiful.

The last gallery we visited was definitely the best. It was a small space with several pieces from a handful of local New Zealand artists.  There was some great photographs and paintings.

I loved this series of houses, I want to live there!

The other artist I really enjoyed ended up being the woman in the gallery! She talked to us for a long time, she was so friendly and fun. She had even been to Vermont for Christmas this year! She told us how much she loved being able to ski right outside the door and how nice the people were, even though it was 14 below. She also told us about the one time she went to New York City, and she found a great restaurant to have her first Ruben sandwich. There was even a jazz band playing there! They stayed so long that the service dwindled, and she went right up to the waitress and told her that this was a dream come true for her, and they better do their job or else New Zealand will get a very bad review of their restaurant. Good for her. The paintings that she made were a series of scenes from the Wizard of Oz in such a fun, youthful way!

She was very humble, describing it as primary or naive, but I just thought it was joyful and lovely!

After our gallery tour, we went to a cafe/gallery for lunch. Luck us, the art there was children’s art!

We got delicious french toast on whole wheat bread with strawberry and rhubarb chutney.

It was heavenly. We also got a couscous dish with chickpeas, almonds, apricots, and a bunch of other great stuff that was dressed with curry, cumin, and cilantro.

Hello, awesome!

We couldn’t find free wifi anywhere in Nelson, which was a huge bother to us since its quite a well-established city. Also, there was no parking so we had to keep going back every three hours to refill (there was a three-hour limit in the lot by our hostel).

After lunch, we took the car to the botanical reserve to climb the hill that supposedly marks the center of New Zealand.

Really, it is the center of the Nelson district, which is the center district of all of New Zealand, but it was pretty cool all the same.

It made me feel like I had a long way to travel still! There were also great views of the ocean and the hills at the top.

Some of the trees are even turning colors for fall! My favorite time of year.

Then, we drove to a beach, Tahunanui, that Hannah wanted to check out.

It was really great!

The tide was sooooo low, it was really neat!

We spent a while just exploring.

On the way home, we pulled over to take a peak at the Lighthouse, Boulder Bank.

After resting and having a fancy dinner of pasta, chunky tomato sauce (with canned peas added in) at the hostel, we set out for the “Free House” bar, which came highly recommended by both the GOOT guide and TLP.

As usual, it didn’t disappoint! Free House is a church-turned-tavern and guess where the bar is?  Yep, right on the alter. All of their beers, wines, and ciders are New Zealand-made and their repertoire of brews is often changing.

Another cool thing is they have a list of nearby take-out places that they endorse! You can order a delivery pizza from down the road, or bring over take-out from the Indian place across the street. For an early Thursday night, the place was full of locals!

The bartender asked us if why we hadn’t ever been there before, he answered himself by saying, “cause this is your first night here?” He was really nice and let us try a bunch of different beers on tap. Three different beers form a great brewery, then I asked to try the darkest one (I’m a Guinness Girl!) and I fell in love. The Oyster Stout form a brewery in Christchurch was smooth with malty licorice and chocolate flavors. At 6.2% he assured me it would last me all night! I ordered a half pint.

Then Hannah tried a Blackcurrant Cider, which was also out of this world delicious! She got a half pint of that, too. Then the bartender told us that they made a great combination mixed together (of course he gave us a taste), and we both knew that 1) a second drink was in order, and 2) we were absolutely ordering that.

Since the place was so full, we started drinking in the little garden outside, with a ceiling of blue christmas lights above us!

When we saw a group leave, we headed back inside and talked and talked and talked like we usually do. We agreed that if we got the second drink, we wouldn’t go out again until Queenstown. We were even happier when the bartender gave it to us for the price of the cider (a few bucks cheaper than the beer).

We had such a good time, and were in bed by 10:00.

Best spring break ever.

Our wake up time was 7am to get ready to hit the road again. We were annoyed to discover that the three showers (apparently the only three in the place) were occupied, so we had to wait around. It was especially irksome because, to be honest, our showers are few and far between on this vacay. Since hostel showers can be a bit sketch and we aren’t doing anything fancy, we let ourselves go a few days lol. But these showers were really nice, so we wanted to get one in before we got further into the countryside! Eventually, it was our turn and we quickly got ready, ate breakfast, hit up Subway for a nz$4 picnic lunch, filled up the tank with petrol, and got back on Highway 6 heading south.

The drive down Highway 6 first took us through Buller’s Gorge, which was sort of creepy!  It was really cloudy and deserted, almost haunted.

But there were also some pretty spectacular views.

Another memorable picnic spot!

We passed through the town Westport to refresh ourselves at another recommended cafe from both GOOT and TLP.

It was really cute inside, though I would classify it as service WITHOUT a smile, lol. I think the (American-ha!) lady who owned the place was stressed since it was Good Friday and she let her staff have the day off. Some people just can’t handle life.

She’d better be happy because not only did I get a latte, but I got a lemon shortbread, too–AND paid nz$2 for 30 minutes of her wifi. And a Good Friday to you, too!

Pretty soon it was back on the road and more amazing views.

We stopped in Punakaiki to see the famous “pancake rocks” and “blowholes.”

They were such an amazing sight!

The blowholes are created when really rough surf surges around the holey rock formations.

The sea was relatively calm so all we got to see was a bit of mist shooting out.

There was so much flax growing everywhere! They reminded me of cornfields in America. They should make a flax maze!

We also got to see a native bird called a Weka. They make a deep throaty sound.

After we marveled at the rocks, we checked into our hostel. Each one is better than the next!

And for just nz$24! It’s like a treehouse!

We are going to spend the night relaxing here.

A few yards down from our hostel is that start of the Truman Track, a 15 minute hike through the jungle…

…to this.

It’s not even about the way these natural wonders look, its how they make you feel. So grateful to be part of something so magical.

(read what happened next!)

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Filed under Food, Life, New Zealand

PB&J French Pita!

This morning, I woke up at 5:45am to make a 6:30am beginner Ashtanga class at the Auckland Yoga Academy. I was so glad I did! I love having my practice done before I even start my day, and suryanamaskara (Sun Salutation) never feels more sincere than doing them as the sun rises. Though its so much more challenging since I’m so stiff from a 7 hours of sleepy stillness! Luckily, it’s the best way to wake my body up. I felt pretty bad, though because even though I turned my phone off, my 7am alarm still went on? Technological mystery to me!

After yoga, I took the journey all the way to the North Shore to turn in my literacy paper. It only took about 45 minutes (I was back by 8:30am), which is the best I could have hoped for. And now, it’s officially DONE!

When I got home, I made myself a pretty special breakfast to celebrate my productive morning: PB&J French Pita!

This is essentially French Toast made with a pita (pita bread dipped in an egg beaten with cinnamon)

But, I put peanut butter and jelly on the inside before dipping and grilling! So yum.

Update on my clear skin journey!

This Week

Last Week

It seems like I am improving!

This Week

Last Week

Since I have been using the correct “potion” (as my BFFL Dominique whimsically put it) my skin has felt a lot better.

This Week

Last Week

I realize it may not look all that much better, but I can feel it healing! It is less sensitive to touch and the bumps are going down. Definitely progress!

What have you accomplished this morning?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, Recipes, Yoga

“Are you a vegetarian now?!”

I got that (sort of desperate) email from my good friend Tara the other day.  (Fun facts about Tara: she has been committed to a vegetarian diet for the past few months and she is currently living in Galway, Ireland!  and I miss her.)  I was a vegetarian for about five years, for animal rights reasons, until I started college and my roommate Jocelyn and our good friend Kelsey began to force feed me wings every so often 😉  We managed to keep it a secret until I felt too guilty and had to come clean.   Plus, after watching Food, Inc. I realized that it was not just the American meat industry that I didn’t agree with, it was the entire American food system!

So for the past year, I’ve tried to live as closely to a “thoughtfultarian” diet (as Kath described) as I could.  This means eating wholesome (organic, local, karma-free) foods whenever possible, wile not restricting myself AND sticking to my college-gal budget.

But I must be honest: I haven’t been happy or satisfied with that diet.  I still truly believe that animals can serve a much greater purpose in life than our dinner (just look at Heifer International).  My response to the veg question lately has been, “I have vegetarian sympathies,” though personally, I still identify myself as a vegetarian.  In fact lately, I’ve been even more closely identifying myself as a vegan.

  • I am trying to avoid dairy because of my skin issue and a slight lactose-intolerance I tend to suffer from.
  • I am trying to avoid meat because I believe in the life-changing potential of all animals
  • I am trying to avoid all animal products because of the cruelty they suffer and because I wish to eat karma-free
  • I may never be able to give up fish because of the strong fishing culture of my family and its unparalleled health benefits
  • I am trying to eat produce that is local, organic, and in-season for the sake of our depleting family-farm values, our environment, and its nutritional value

But at the end of the day, I’m not going to kid myself.  I know that right now I cannot commit to this diet because of money and my frequent traveling.   Though inside my little head I believe I am a “vegan,” I can’t publicly identify myself as such because I don’t want to offend those who do live a committed vegan diet.  But I can commit to awareness. I can commit to eating a wholesome, healthy, balanced diet, and that is the most important eating philosophy of all.

So what did I eat today, you may ask?  Before my run, I had a piece of wholemeal toast with crunchy peanut butter.  Best fuel ever.  On my way home, I stopped at The Juicery for a Green Monster!  My yoga friend, who owns the place, asked me if I was out “Sporty Spice-ing” lol!!

As I power-walked the rest of the way home, I enjoyed an ice-cold blend of leafy greens, apple juice, pineapple, banana, almonds, and sesame seeds (and I added chia seeds!).

Yay a new sticker for the collection!  For lunch, I had some very eggy French Toast.

Two slices of wholmeal bread dipped in an eggy mixture (eggs, cinnamon, a dash of oat milk) then grilled crispy-perfection

and loaded with mixed berries and banana!

On the way to class, I had one of my homemade oat bars:

It wasn’t enough 😦  I have class from 2-7:30ish every Wednesday.  Class is held in the Marae, a sacred Maori building in which you cannot eat or drink.  This is proving to be very challenging for me.  By the time class is over, I’m totally out of it with a headache and ravenous hunger.

(Class was very interesting today, despite my fatigue.  In Maori society, we learned about the mysterious discovery of New Zealand.  Maori tradition and Western beliefs clash!  In Leadership, we talked about the importance of being proactive.  We learned about the first female Maori Queen who was a pretty cool chick!  More on that later, I have to write a paper on it.)

Dinner was very replenishing and satisfying: lettuce wraps!

While I babysat the quinoa as it cooked on our ghetto stove,

Hannah cut some tomatoes, carrots, and zucchini.

I ❤ balls falafel balls

I love when I eat something that is also an activity, I had so much fun building my wraps!

I also enjoyed an Isaac’s Pear Cider.  SO refreshing!

The rest of the brownies were eaten for dessert.  I’m sad to see them go 😦  But maybe my next dessert rotation will be vegan!

What kind of diet to you try and follow?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, School

One Busy Kitchen!

WordPress was down this morning.  Aaaaah! I was disappointed because I was so excited to share all the exciting things I made yesterday!  I was one busy b—- in the kitch.

I have made some pretty sweet things from her blog before (hello, Microwave Oat Cakes!) so in the afternoon, I took a stab at making Averie’s

Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter & Oat Snack Bars

Hannah and I both love granola bars as the perfect grab-and-go, hunger-satisfying snack.  But you know what, THEY ARE SO EXPENSIVE!!! So I decided it would be more economical to make them myself.  Here’s what I got to make ’em:

Oats, crunchy peanut butter, almonds, chocolate chips milk choc buttons lol, dried fruit mix, sesame seeds, and shredded coconut.

I had to chop the dried fruit and almonds myself.  What can I say, I’m devoted!

First, you start by melting peanut butter, chocolate chips, and milk together in the microwave.  Since I’m developing a phobia for my “microwave,” I decided I had the time and patience to melt it all on the stove.

It was probably easier!  It melted very nicely.

Then I added my desired about of oats, chopped dried fruit, chopped almonds, shredded coconut, and sesame seeds.

I poured the mixture into a pan and popped it in the freezer!

It made ten whole bars, and I barely put a dent in all the fixings I bought!  Definitely the cheaper way to go.  They need to be kept frozen, and I think I need to add more chocolate (yay) next time so that they don’t melt so quickly.  But they are very yummy!

I also made something pretty exciting for dinner.  The other day I was early for yoga and my studio is located right next door to a huge-amazing Asian Market.  I browsed the shelves to see if there was anything I was brave enough to buy and attempt to cook with.  Then I found me some rice paper!  Inspiration struck.

Coconut-Sesame Shrimp Springrolls with Watercress

First I started by preparing the filling.  Sautee onions:

Add in carrots:

Enter: sesame seeds!

Toss in shredded coconut and shrimp towards the end.

Then mix in the watercress at the last second so that it just begins to wilt.

Note: I only prepared the filling beforehand because Hannah was talking to her wonderful amazing boyfriend (who says I’m a better writer than Jane Austen! ;)) and so we weren’t ready to eat right away.  Also, since we wanted shrimp, I didn’t want to risk undercooking it.  Moral of this ramble is that if I’m just filling the rolls with veggies next time, I will just stick the raw, chopped (and lightly oiled) veggies right in there!

Make some brown rice, too.

Slightly blurry is best 😉  Then after giving the rice paper a quick soak, make the rolls!

Since I’m a white girl, I didn’t know what I was doing (it’s not like I’m Snacks and Shit or anything!) so I pretty much just pretended I was making a burrito.  I put a bit of the mixture in the middle and rolled it up!

Pretty soon I’d made 8 rolls!  Drizzle those babies in oil if you know what’s good for ya 😉  I put the remainder of the mixture in the middle, then baked them in the oven for about 10 minutes at around 400*F.

Dinner is served!

As if that wasn’t enough, I decided to make froyo similar to the one I made during my Kiwi Jam Challenge.  We were running low on yoghurt, and we didn’t seem to be eating it, so I decided to fancy it up to attract attention and freeze it up to preserve its freshness.  First, chop up some of them frozen berries!

I always think its too much, but it never is!

Then swirl it up in the yoghurt container.  Freeze that baby overnight.  It’ll make for a nice treat in the morning!

“French Toast a la Mode” for breakfast!  All I did was dip both sides of a whole wheat pita in a slightly scrambled egg and plopped it in the frying pan.

Cook to perfection, and don’t forget to sprinkle with cinnamon!

Then top with the froyo.  Except I was disappointed because it was frozen solid, like ice.  It’s Yoplait Lite Greek Yoghurt, and it’s VERY thin, so if you use ticker yoghurt, it should freeze like normal froyo. But I didn’t let it get me down!

I sprinkled slightly sad shavings on top.  It sort of tasted like a Popsicle!

Last night, we headed to trivia after dinner!

Hannah tried some traditional Irish cider called Magner’s.  It was yummy!  Here are some of the questions I knew form the quiz.  Leave answers in the comments if you know some, too 🙂

  • In the TV show Friends, what is Phoebe’s twin sister’s name?
  • What hit TV series is about the widow Nancy Botwin?
  • Who was the American president in office during Martin Luther King’s assassination?
  • What ’90’s band played songs like the hit “Chasing Waterfalls”?
  • Who starred as Sandy in the musical movie Grease? (easy.)
  • What ’90’s band had hits like “Let Her Cry” and “Only Wanna Be With You”
  • Which ’90’s music movie’s sequel had the subtitle Back in the Habit?
  • Name the artist and title of the song with the lyrics, “I was just guessing at numbers and figures”
  • What unit of measurement is about 0.991 of a meter?
  • What is a raised flat area of land called?
  • If you were born on America’s Independence Day, which star sign would you have?

I knew a lot this past week!   Though we still came second-to-last 😦  We need to get out of that rut!  We also learned our trivia leader is in a band

That’s him in the front left. One of his music videos was playing on the TV during the Music Round!

Today Hannah and I got into a huge fight and we aren’t friends anymore.

She wouldn’t help me combat the cicada that was in my room.  It was terrifying, huge and clicking! Naturally, I was screaming and sweating and chasing it around with a roll of paper like  a normal person–and she just stood there, laughing!




Filed under Food, Life, New Zealand, Recipes