≡ Menu

Thoughts during a pandemic

…When all of this is over, let’s help Italy rebuild its economy with a great trip to eat all the burrata, pizza, pasta, prosiutto, gelati, and drink all the prosecco. I could do with another gastronomical trip to Italy.

…Think of all the people who contract this virus and have to die alone. The symptoms already sound crazy and on top of that, you’re left alone in an isolated room with doctors and nurses run off their feet, covered from head-to-toe not able to really comfort you? That makes me so sad.

…I have renamed my children Horrible Human #1 and Horrible Human #2 in my head. They’re difficult to be around, 24/7, with no break. Alex had just gotten into a habit of taking them out on his own for a few hours on the weekends and here we are. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me that I would actually really suck as a SAHM. Now, about that job…

…What a great time for me to have given notice, on my maternity leave, so I’m officially completely unemployed with the world heading into an unprecedented recession. Had I known this catastrophe was about to happen, would I have…? Probably yes, still, but the should’ve-would’ve-could’ve rhetoric is strong.

…What else can I buy? I’ve now scoured Amazon, Indigo, Gap/Old Navy, wine stores, baking stores, independent yarn dyers, chocolates…I must be missing something.

…But I can’t really buy clothes or anything to wear, for me, because where am I going? Plus, see above, I don’t even have a job so I have no real reason to buy anything new or fancy.

…Speaking of fancy, how about that car? That 0% financing for 60 months deal looked great when we drove by a couple of weeks ago but is it responsible to go to a car dealership these days? Are they even open? How do you practise social distancing and buy a car? Are they an essential service?

…Should I make a run for it to Taiwan? Sounds like they got it under control and I’d still be able to go out, eat good food – okay, it’s starting to sound a little too convincing, except for the whole having-to-be-in-an-airplane-for-12-hours part.

…I could offer to cook more

…or not

…While everyone is working through Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ I haven’t watched anything. What have I been doing? The two hours I get after the kids go to sleep fly by when I’m reading all the Coronavirus news, send memes, and generally sift through a bunch of numbers that probably don’t mean anything in the long run. Maybe I should stop.

…Oh yeah, I’m supposed to make some masks this weekend with some of the fabric scraps, let’s see how that goes, I think I will need wine.

…Will we be able to access berries and fresh produce as the weather gets nicer? How will berry picking work? I moved back to Canada for berry picking. I need answers.

…I need to sleep. Why won’t the kids sleep through the night. They hate me.

…I say I won’t make pancakes anymore but then the request comes and I make them and then nobody eats them and I am the fool. UGH. And now we’re out of buttermilk again and damnit I have to go to the grocery store again? Every time after I come home I feel like I must have the ‘rona.

…Even though library books have been extended to at least April 30th and I have two on my bedside table have I read them? NO. WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY TIME?

…And the knitting!

…Just, what is happening to my supposed “more time” with this quarantine? Is that not a thing when you have children? Especially children under the age of 3? Why didn’t anyone warn me about having children? Do I need children? Is it too late? It’s too late? What?

…I need to sleep more.


Raspberry crisp bars

Raspberry crisp bars

Hello, how are you doing in your isolation bubble?

For me, it doesn’t feel like too much has changed. That’s not to say I’m not quietly clawing at the windows and doors when no one is looking. It’s just that, I’m normally at home most of the day with the kids anyway, and the kids are too young to really notice a marked difference in their days. Alex procured a used slide for Ellie just before the world shut down, and that’s providing some “physical activity” daily. The weather has been okay and with daylight savings, we’re able to do a walk in the trail after lunch on sunny days, plus some meandering around the townhouse complex in the late afternoon.

However, I worry that when we do start going out again, they might become feral beasts in their carseats (what is this restraint system I must now sit in?) and crazy people in open spaces where they have to socialize around others (would we dare eat in a restaurant ever again?). I worry that Anna might forget her carseat is likely stuffed with a powerful sleeping aid and she must always fall asleep soundly as soon as she settles in. (Seriously, the Clek Foonf = worth the money for the quiet naps.) I worry they might run up to toys at Indigo and start crying, them being young things that don’t know how to process their feelings of delight. They will also probably realize that grocery shopping and sitting in shopping carts was the hole that was always missing in their lives for the past x weeks/months. Who knows. Perhaps Ellie forgets that Mom always gets a Starbucks and that means she can have those pink sprinkle cake pops because I really don’t enjoy finishing them, and that would be an upside.

We’ve been doing some baking, too. Nothing fancy, but just because, you know, there’s a guy upstairs “working” who can step in and help out if I want to make something. Since he benefits from whatever comes out of the oven, it’s pretty easy to convince him. We’ve gone through some chocolate chip cookies, regular pancake mornings, shortbread with sprinkles, lemon blueberry muffins, and I was starting to feel a little uninspired. (Also, eggs and flour are the next items to become scarce, following in the steps of…toilet paper?) I had just typed a message to a friend proclaiming that I’m all baked out and lack inspiration when this little idea started festering in my head. Something with fruit so it’s got some tartness to it. Something with a crisp topping that has oats and brown sugar – staple comfort foods. Something that can join us at the breakfast table without too much controversy. Oh, and preferably doesn’t use 4 eggs (brownies, I’m looking at you).

So I turned to my trusty source Smitten Kitchen and browsed through her choices before cobbling together the below:

  • 25g toasted pecans, cooled and chopped finely
  • 85g melted butter
  • 95g flour
  • 95g brown sugar
  • 80g oats (rolled/regular is better, but I only had large flake and it worked out okay)
  • 280g raspberries and/or blueberries (I used a small container of fresh raspberries plus frozen wild blueberries to get to the total weight)
  • 15g fresh lemon juice
  • 20g white sugar
  • 7g tapioca starch (if you don’t have it, cornstarch should be fine)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix together the fruit, lemon juice, white sugar, and tapioca starch and set aside
  3. Mix together melted butter, flour, brown sugar, oats and chopped pecans. Set aside about 3/4 cup of this mixture, and dump the rest into a 8×8 square pan lined with parchment
  4. Press the crumble mix firmly into the pan, using a flat-bottomed glass or something similar to really pack it in
  5. Arrange the fruit on top, using up all the liquid too
  6. Scatter the remaining crumble topping loosely on top of the fruit – it should just about cover everything
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, or just until topping is turning light brown and the fruits are bubbling
  8. Cool in pan on a cooling rack until warm enough to handle, and then remove from the pan to chill at room temperature or in the fridge
Raspberry crisp bars

Due to a proper pressing down on the base before baking, the bars baked up like a shortbread cookie on the bottom. The top remained crumbly, and the fruit all melted into jammy pockets nicely. I keep the bars in the fridge, and eat them slightly cold so that the base remains firmer. I can imagine putting different fruits on top as more produce becomes available with the warmer weather – strawberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, rhubarb, etc. should all work well! I’ll be revisiting this recipe for sure because it’s so simple (and you can omit the pecans if you want to keep it really simple) yet knocks up a lovely breakfast or tea time treat!


Small-batch chocolate cupcakes


If you are a Friends fan, you know that Monica needed the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe in order to feel like she’s ready to be a mom. Well, meet my version of the same story – the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe. I’ve finally found it, and it’s everything that a cupcake should be, and now I’m qualified to host kids parties and contribute to bake sales.

A good cupcake shouldn’t be too dry (often the problem with previous iterations) or too dense (another problem from converting some of my favourite recipes). It should carry enough flavour on its own, but also serve as a great vehicle for icing and sprinkles and all that it needs to hold on top. With this recipe, I’m now pretty satisfied with the chocolate version. I’ll now be in search of a perfect vanilla version and let you know when I’ve found that one! Oh, and this recipe has been scaled down to make just seven cupcakes – perfect for a little weekend (or weekday!) treat without taking forever. And, the cake recipe doesn’t require any fancy appliances, just a couple of bowls and a whisk.

Small-batch chocolate cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

  • 47.5g all purpose flour
  • 22.5g natural cocoa powder
  • 2g baking powder
  • 1g baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2.5g salt
  • 50g white sugar
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 40mL oil
  • dash vanilla
  • 60mL buttermilk
  • (optional – a handful of chocolate chips to add into the batter just before dividing into the baking cups)
  1. Add flour, sifted cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl and whisk to mix
  2. Whisk egg, salt, sugars, vanilla and oil in a separate bowl
  3. Add the two parts together, then the buttermilk, and whisk until smooth. If using the chocolate chips, add them in now.
  4. Fill cupcake moulds half full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the surface springs back to the touch.

Cream cheese icing just enough for 7 cupcakes
(This is enough to smear onto the cupcakes. If you want to pipe anything fancier, you’ll probably need double the recipe.)

  1. In a mixer, cream together 30g butter and 60g cream cheese at room temperature until well mixed and soft. Add in a small pinch of salt.
  2. Add in 90g icing sugar and continue mixing until smooth. You may want to add 1 tsp of milk or lemon juice if it’s too stiff (and for flavour) but I found it was ok without.
Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing
{ 1 comment }