Sunday, May 08, 2011


WC shared this with me last night so I'm sharing it with you.


Flights are BOOKED!

Well, it's done.  The flights for my trip to and from South East Asia are now booked!  I was a little anxious to check this to-do off my list because I'm flying on points and if you've flown on points, you'll know that availability can be what did I do but book my return flight back from Bangkok using my British Airways Executive Club points first to make sure I could secure the last First Class seat back. 

Here's the scoop on how I had enough points for First Class: I have friends who are rather keen on loyalty programs and they were the ones who told me about this opportunistic redemption offer for flights to Asia from North America on the best airline I've ever flown - Cathay Pacific.

The facts:
- if you have an RBC Avion Visa, you can transfer your points over to Executive Club about twice a year at 1.5x the points, i.e. if you have 30,000 Avion points, you'll get 45,000 Executive Club points upon conversion
- Cathay is a partner airline to British Airways through OneWorld
- an economy flight redeemed through Aeroplan from North America to Asia is 75000 points, as is an economy flight on British Airways through Executive Club
- an economy flight redeemed through Executive Club for the same trip on a partner airline is only 50000 points
- recall that Cathay Pacific is a partner airline

So you could save 25000 points on your flight redemption flying on a superior airline. No-brainer, right?? First Class might seem rather decadent, but I figured, why the hell not?  I had the points and I'm going back to work the next day so maybe I'll be able to get some shut-eye.

My flight to Bangkok is in economy and I used my Aeroplan points because I didn't want to pay cash to top-up for Business and as I'll be arriving in the evening, I'll just check-in to the hotel, go to sleep and wake up refreshed and free of jetlag.  That's the plan anyway.

I can't remember when I decided that I wanted to go to Thailand - for the longest time I've been Euro-centric with my travel preferences but I suppose it probably started with a Summerlicious work lunch to Bangkok Garden a couple years ago.  I loved the look of the carved wood decor so it's been in the back of my mind.  And when I had high tea with A late last November in London, and we were talking about vacation plans, we both mused about how we wanted to go to Thailand and that's when we decided that we 2 single chicks should go together.

Fast forward 4 months and we're talking dates and I'm researching places to go, things to see and do and organizing all the data points in my handy-dandy spreadsheet. Current itinerary includes Bangkok, Chiang Mai, various beaches, a hop over to Siem Reap, Cambodia to take in the wonder of Angkor Wat with perhaps a swing through the capital, Phnom Penh, and finally a few days in Hong Kong before returning to Toronto.  So much to plan!  So excited!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

(Quinoa) Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

It's 12:30am and I'm hungry and I know it's not the best choice for me to make to sate that hunger but I'm weak and have been wanting to try baking with quinoa flour and because I have all the ingredients in my pantry, I decided to try the recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies in my Quinoa 365 cookbook.*

The recipe says you can freeze the dough for up to 4 weeks so that's what you see to the right - the dough, rolled up into balls to freeze before I store them in a ziplock bag.

Anyway, fast forward an hour and the 6 small cookies I baked are out of the oven and I've gotta say....I'm not sure I like the taste of these cookies.  I LOVE oatmeal raisin cookies but these ones have this nutty, almost bitter(?) taste of quinoa that I've decided I'm not particularly keen on.  Ah well.

* How's that for a stream-of-consciousness-run-on-sentence?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Breakfast duty

Every Friday we take turns bringing in breakfast for the team. It's my turn tomorrow and normally, I take the easy way out and pick up pastries or whatever from the grocer but my new team - there's a lot of extra effort put in with homemade baked goods like scrumptious home-made scones (specifically coconut-blueberry which sparked my latest obsession with baking with coconut if only I wasn't on burn and had to eat super clean!), pancakes on a portable griddle, made-to-order omelets and fruit smoothies, so obviously I had to kick it up a notch, even though I trained tonight and couldn't start baking until after 9.

I browsed my recipe box and settled on these 2 quick and easy loaves: nutella coconut quick bread and super easy oatmeal raisin breakfast loaf. Both were indeed as advertised, although the time to bake was off. I had to tack on an extra 15 for the former and an additional 8 fir the latter.

One risk is that this is my first time using these recipes so fingers crossed they taste good.  We're expecting 25-30 people tomorrow do I'll also be picking up bagels on the way in to work.

The nutella loaf turned out quite well but I'm a bit concerned by how flat the oatmeal loaf looks in comparison. I'm sure it'll fine...

Update: I left the loaves out overnight and when I woke up, the nutella loaf was HARD.  So I got worried and cut one end off to try it...and it was fine.  In fact, that loaf was quite the hit and I was asked for the recipe.  So, yay!
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