Ingredients for a Chill Sesh

It’s funny that we all do the same thing. We get busy and stressed, feeling isolated as life and our silly first world problems take over, and wishing that someone would reach out – but completely forgetting that the others are all feeling the same way.

Yesterday morning was the punctuation of that feeling, as I stood atop the regional landfill, swarmed by 100s of seagulls and silently cursing other people’s issues with cleanliness.

But, it just made the evening plans even more enjoyable and necessary. As Ben was away on a daddy-and-daughter trip, us gals reached out to get together and organize a home spa and treats night.

One brought all the fixings to make homemade face wash, body butter and masks. Another brought the wine, essential to any good spa activity, in my books. And I was in charge of noms.

Of course, if you’ve been reading this little blog at all, you know that I served carrot sticks and hummus.


Donuts. Not these silly baked ones that make your brain pretend that it’s being healthy – cake mix spiked with nutmeg and sadness. The kind my momma made in the 80s, when I sat at a healthy distance from the bubbling vat on the stove, watching the fluffiest pastries emerge from the pot.

untitled-1137But I did do mini-ones, to offer the appearance of health. Some tossed in sugar and cinnamon immediately after removing from the stove.

untitled-1160Other cooled and then dipped in chocolate.

untitled-1170The truly unfortunate thing is that it was really easy to make. Too easy.

And then I did a few others snacks.

Popcorn cooked up in brown butter and seasoned with sugar, cinnamon, cumin and chili, tasting like something delicious but nothing specific so you had to keep having more to get a sense of what the heck you were eating.


A dip that tastes just like raw brownie batter, minus the egg threat, and served up with kettle chips and pretzels.

untitled-1188And despite our best efforts, there are leftovers – food, pumpkin pie glow mask, orange chocolate body butter, tea tree oil face wash. Perfect tools to tackle the next week!


Dumplings / Scallion Pancakes

I just wanted deliciousness in dumpling form.

And then I saw these little onion pancakes online, and knew that needed to happen.


Another link from my new favourite blog again: Chicken Potstickers.

Absolutely, it takes some serious time to make these. But watching the kids gobble them up, and then inform me that these need to reappear for app night – we had a hit! In the version we made tonight, I shredded cabbage for the filling, used sesame oil instead of soya sauce (because I knew that they’d hit that hard at the table), and finely diced chicken (pre-cooked).




Ah, yes. The scallion pancakes. My favourite, favourite potato chip flavour is sour cream and onion, and now I have a grown-up, fancypants version of that. The layers that all the rolling and twisting creates – and then you sprinkle sea salt in those layers, so you get a hit of onion and salt. Gah.

These are going to call to me like a siren song tonight.

untitled-1169 untitled-1173 untitled-1182

Spring Fever: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Perhaps it was heaps of pent-up energy from the winter.

Or some negative chi or things on my mind that I needed to get out of my system.

But I was a woman possessed today.

The cooking alone would have been plenty. A marathon dog walking session and some shovelling fuelled by anger at spring taking too long to melt the snow off the deck was just crazy.

At least it makes up for the food.

I mean, this cake doesn’t even exist anymore. Gone.


I don’t know where one of the kids got the idea for pineapple upside-down cake. I think a friend has better cable TV than us and they watched someone make this. The only time I’ve ever made it and eaten it was about 20 years ago with Poppins.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake


The taste (obviously, given my gluttony) was delicious – super bright with pineapple and then this moist coffee cake underneath. I had to babysit the entire cooking process, as the heaps of butter and brown sugar oozed and burned in the oven. In fairness, that was probably my fault for cake pan selection. I’ll totally make it again.


Funny enough, none of the kids, including the one who requested it, liked it.

Us grown-ups? We demolished it.

Thank heavens I did all that walking and shovelling.


I love books. One of my favourite past times is to explore a bookstore, pouring over fine print on glossy jackets before settling on one (or ten) choices. But I find that ever since I really got into grad school, and now with my new job being very similar to academic work – the last thing I want to do after a day of learning, hunched over a desk reading lines of a manuscript or journal articles, is to sit and read more.

Don’t get me wrong. My job is great. Learning is a sport. But, balance, you know? So in the off-hours, I set aside books to hike and explore and take pictures and bake foolish things full of sugar.

I want to do. So, on this gorgeous spring day, I’m heading out to take the dog on an interminable walk.


But first, breakfast. Brown sugar challah bread (courtesy of my new favourite food + photography blog, My Name is Yeh.) Only tweak was a brown sugar glaze and sea salt sprinkles (pomegrantes ain’t so plentiful in Atlantic Canada).

I won’t tell you how many pieces I ate. Or how long I didn’t wait for it to cool completely.