How to enjoy Halloween by yourself (without needing a party!)


By Faria Ahmed

The most annoying thing I realized after moving to Canada is that Halloween (or the day after it) is not a public holiday. Imagine my disappointment at that information, when I had grown up watching western pop culture highlighting the endless parties and fun activities on halloween night. As a young working adult and someone who often has either work or classes the next morning, I’m forced to stay home on October 31st. Having said that, I have decided not to let this tiny thing get in the way of me having a great time by myself, celebrating this spooky day.  

I realized I can actually still do some of the best and most exciting things I associate with Halloween. Here are a few things that you can try doing too, if you are stuck at home celebrating Halloween by yourself as a mature adult:

  • Pumpkin Carving: I usually pick up a carving pumpkin a day or two before Halloween from the grocery store. All you need are some carving tools (or use kitchen tools if you don’t own them) and you can spend a nice and relaxed evening setting up your pumpkin lantern! Use can use tea light candles or safer battery-operated tea lights and enjoy some time to yourself while letting your artistic juices flow! 
  • Candy Bucket: You might feel too old to go trick-or-treating, and I know I definitely feel too young to be living the suburban dream and giving out candy to kids in the neighbourhood. In that case, you are in the perfect age group to go to the store, buy a ton of candy, and enjoy eating them by yourself all night long while you watch some spooky movies on tv!
  • Horror Movies: That brings me to my favourite part of being at home on a Halloween night: The movies! The night is all your to pick and choose from old classic horrors on DVD to the latest thriller shows on netflix and amazon. I get extremely scared when I watch scary movies by myself at night, to the point that I’m scared to go pee in the bathroom and hold it in for hours. But oh well. It is a necessary sacrifice for the adrenaline rush and enjoyment that comes from these shows. 
  • Scare Children: This is a mean one and I’ve almost never done it, haha, but you can actually dress up as a creepy person and scare kids from your neighbourhood whenever they pass your door and try to steal their candy. Um, maybe this was a bad one. 
  • Make your own cave: Just because you don’t have a huge party, doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your home -inside and out- for yourself! Every year, I go shopping throughout October and make my purchases right after October 31st when the great stuff go on sale! Over time, I have built up a nice collection of seasonal decor and that includes Halloween cobwebs, grave headstones,skeletons and so much more. I enjoy putting them up around my apartment and enjoying my time with maybe one or two friends as we sit down to relish the endless supply of candy and horror movies. 

5-minute Breakfast Ideas: For Students on a Budget


We’ve all heard of how “breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” Yet, how many of us can actually find the time or appetite to make ourselves breakfast while rushing through the morning and sit down to enjoy it? Over the past year as I have been attempting to move to a more healthy lifestyle, I came up with two cheat-ideas for my breakfast when I have less than 10 minutes to spare. Here are the recipes for : Sweet and Savory meals I like to have during my busy mornings.

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The Sweet Breakfast: Pour in some oatmeal in a bowl, add water/milk, microwave for 2minutes. While it is in the microwave, cut up whatever fruit you see lying around. Today I used half a banana and an avocado. Ting! That’s the microwave saying the oatmeal is done! Mix it in with the fruit, sprinkle some raising, seeds or honey. Ta-da!

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2. The Savoury Breakfast: Heat up a small pan on the stove, add 2 tea spoons of olive oil. Pour in egg white (I buy them pre-separated from yolks in a carton). Add salt, pepper to season. While it is cooking, open the freezer and grab a handful of spinach. Throw those into the pan too. Add a sausage of your choice. I used the chicken sausages from Zabiha Halal. Use a spatula to mix it around a bit until they are cooked. And Ta-Da again!

Season Transitions: My Top 2 Cocktail Recipes 


By Faria Ahmed

The green leaves are already turning to a burning yellow-red before they reach their crisp brown form. As I look out through my window, I see the autumn foliage striking bright against the cloudy skies. Each year I enjoy every moment of my favourite seasons with seasonal drinks, both hot and cold, pumpkin flavoured pies and desserts, a fall wardrobe and so much more. Today I’m sharing my top 2 go-to cocktail recipes that help me transition from the summer colours to the cozy fall. The best part is that they can both be made virgin if you prefer and still keep seasonal flavours intact! 

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Mai Tai: Are you living in denial that the summer is over? You’re not the only one! I had been served this fruity delicacy by a coworker of mine just a few weeks ago. Somewhat related to a Malibu Summer Cocktail and a Pineapple Rum Punch, this was called a Mai Tai. 

Spiced Rum+Coconut Spiced Rum-⅓ cup

(Virgin Alternate: Coconut Water)-(⅓ cup)

Pineapple Juice (⅓ cup)

Orange Juice (⅓ cup)

Grenadine (1tbsp)

Top it with: paper umbrellas, pineapple chunks, cherries

You can play around with the proportions, but remember to ‘layer’ the juices to achieve that beautiful gradient of orange and yellow. To do this, mix in the rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and ice well. Pour it into a glass. Then, slowly pour a small amount of the grenadine syrup so it seeps through the ice. If you do not have grenadine, you can try getting some cherry syrup and it should look the same. 

Pumpkin Martini: Nothing says fall like pumpkin flavoured drinks! If you like martinis and you like pumpkin desserts, this creamy dream of a cocktail should make your day extra special. 

Ice (Optional)

Vodka (1-2 shots) (Virgin Option: Pumpkin Puree -1tbsp)

Cream of Cocoa, Heavy Cream (⅓ cup)

Pumpkin Spice (1 tsp) 

Top with: Whipped Cream and a tiny amount of sprinkled Cinnamon powder

Mix your vodka, ice and pumpkin puree very well. Pass through a strainer. Add the pumpkin spice, cream of cocoa and heavy cream and mix well. Add ice and toppings as preferred. 

There you have it! My top two choices: a fruity punch and a creamy cocktail, both of which help me to transition from the summer heat to the snug embrace of fall.

Easy & Affordable way to make Poke’ Bowls: Using Whatever You Have In Your Fridge


By Faria Ahmed

So I got home at the end of a super loooong day and was dying of hunger! I was craving asian and didn’t want to force myself to eat a boring sandwich or pasta. Having said that, I’m also a young adult living on tight budget so I try to avoid doing Uber Eats as much as possible (I give in to temptation once or twice a month). So, today I was seriously craving some of those delicious Poke’ bowls!

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Like I already mentioned, I had no energy to go out and do grocery shopping and I don’t normal have all the cool and exotic ingredients to make perfectly authentic asian food. But I do understand that this is what real life looks like. You don’t just have every ingredient ever and make the perfect gourmet meal.

As young adults, we need to work with what we have and try and keep a healthy pantry to make a few different types of meals at all times. So, I opened my fridge and grabbed the ingredients I could find which I thought would help me make a poke bowl.

Spices: I used toasted sesame oil, mint sauce, spicy mayo, lime juice, salt, szechuan sauce, soya.

Main ingredients: Frozen salmon fillet, chia seeds, breadcrumbs, rice or rice noodles (I had the noddles), avocado, vegetables (I had beets but forgot to use them), mushrooms, tofu (didn’t end up using them for this bowl but will share another recipe soon with these).

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  1. Take out frozen salmon fillet, slice while frozen. Then, let them thaw in a bowl with some salt and lime juice mixed in with them. The freezing actually ensures parasites are dead in raw fish and meats (I read it online somewhere).
  2. Boil some water and cook your rice or rice noodles in it. The rice noodles only took me 5 minutes in boiling water.
  3. Strain off the water, and place rice noodles in your final poke bowl. Drizzle some of the toasted sesame seed oil (you can warm this up a bit if you want), mint sauce and szechuan sauce, very little soya. Mix in with the noodle.
  4. Cup up the avocadoes, vegetables and decorate on top.
  5. Add the salmon sashimi on it as well.
  6. Garnish with chia seeds and breadcrumbs

There you have it! Your very own cheat sheet for a home-made poke’ bowl!



By Faria Ahmed

The difference between a bland, boring meal and one full of fresh flavours can be just a handful of fresh herbs. If you’re a millennial living in a small apartment such as myself and trying to save up for your future, buying fresh herbs at the grocery every two weeks may not be an affordable option. That’s where a fresh herb garden comes in! 

Fresh Versus Dry

Dry herb flakes are definitely more affordable but the flavours and colours will absolutely never be the same. Last week I sniffed at my dry basil so hard just to smell anything that i ended up inhaling some! In terms of colour, flavour and nutritional content, there is no doubt that going fresh is the way to go. 

One Time Investment

It did take me a few tries to learn how to get my herb plants to survive. However, once I mastered that, it was just a one-time investment in seeds or saplings and I have a lifetime’s supply of fresh herbs at the go. The only cost apart from buying the plant is the price of fresh soil because you will need to repot it once or twice a year with fresh earth. Even that is much cheaper than the cost of consistently buying them at the grocery store. 

No Spoilers

:As someone who hates to waste and throw away food, it feels terrible every time I have to throw away the remainder of my store-bought fresh herbs simply because I could not use it all up in my cooking that week. Leaves will lose fresh in the fridge, they will yellow and brown and eventually go bad. Imaging having it at your fingertips to cut up a few, chop them up and throw them into your frying pan at will!


Unlike many of my friends, I don’t limit myself to cook with just a few hers. I do have the usual basic, parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary. However, I’ve also started growing herbs which help me cook more international cuisine such as the lemon grass plant for my Asian dishes! 

Beauty & Perfume

I was a bit worried during my first winter because I had the plant pots in my balcony all summer and had grown there them from seeds. Once I moved them indoors for the winter, they weakened for a few days but eventually they re-adjusted to their new surroundings. I made sure they were getting enough light from the windows but at the same time they weren’t so close to the windows that they died of the cold. Once they were bright and happy again, I realized how beautiful they made my kitchen space look! Fresh greens leaves that give off a refreshing scent? That’s about all the reason I need to have an indoor herb garden.