Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Here’s what I’ll be doing with too-ripe bananas from now on…

As a kid, I hated bananas.  Unless they came in the form of banana Nerds.  Or banana medicine.  (The only way I’d agree to go to the doctor or hospital was if I thought there might be banana medicine in my future…)

As an adult, though, I’ve gained an appreciation for the banana.  I’ll eat ‘em now.  I’m still a little weird about them, though.  I like them when there’s still a little green on the peel.  I don’t like ripe bananas.  Once they start getting brown spots, I’m out. 

Right before no-sugar-Lent began, I got the strangest impulse to become a world-famous baker of scones.  I have no idea why, since I’ve never really been a scone kind of girl, but I pinned about eight million different scone recipes, like, the day before Lent started.  And then I had to wait 40+ days to find out if I did, indeed, have the knack of being a world-famous baker of scones.

After a week filled with Easter eggs and chocolates and jelly beans, though, I knew I had to get back on track with my healthy eating ways, or risk falling right off the wagon completely.  That kind of threw a monkey wrench into my world-famous-scone-baker dreams.  I couldn’t have those yummy baked goods kicking around, tempting me.

But I had, somewhere along the way, pinned a recipe from the Cookie & Kate website – a place where many delicious healthier recipes can be found – for Vegan Banana Nut Scones.  Which seemed to coincide nicely with my need to get back on track food-wise, as well as with the two over-ripening bananas sitting on my kitchen counter…

A slightly healthier version of a scone?  Two browning bananas that I didn’t know what to do with?  A rainy Saturday morning without much else to do?

It was Vegan Banana Nut Scone time.

And these things were good!

You can find the original recipe that I derived from here, but I made a few tweaks to it (in fact, I’m not even sure if my end result could be called Vegan), and this is what my version looks like:



  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup solid coconut oil
  • ¾ cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Maple glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, more if needed


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast the nuts in the oven until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Chop the nuts into very fine pieces.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, ¾ths of the chopped nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a bowl and whisk together. IMG_9906
  3. Use a pastry cutter or a fork to cut the coconut oil or butter into the dry ingredients.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup, measure ¾ cup mashed banana. Add milk until you have a total of 1 cup liquid. Pour in the maple syrup and vanilla extract, and mix well. IMG_9911
  5. Pour the banana mixture into the dry mixture and combine with a big spoon. At first it will seem like there isn’t enough liquid to wet the dough, but keep mixing until you have thoroughly incorporated the wet and dry ingredients. You can use your hands to knead the last of the flour into the dough.
  6. On a flat lightly-floured surface, form dough into a circle that’s about an inch deep all around. Use a knife to cut the circle into 8 even slices. IMG_9912
  7. Separate slices and place on the baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes to 17 or until lightly golden brown. IMG_9914IMG_9920
  8. While the scones are baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Let the scones cool for a few minutes, then drizzle the glaze generously over the scones. While the glaze is wet, sprinkle it with the remaining chopped nuts.


So.  Here’s the deal with scones.  The part that always scared me was the “cutting in the butter” part that seems to be a key component to making scones.  I don’t have a pastry cutter, and I always thought that would be difficult to do without one.  The fun part about this recipe is that it uses solid coconut oil instead, and that is WAY easy to cut into the flour with a fork.

For me, the star of the show here is the maple glaze.  Oh.em.gee.  It is soooooo delicious.  I was worried after mixing it up at first that it was too thick, so I thinned it out with some extra maple syrup and a touch of almond milk.  I should have left it thicker.  Plus, I think I put it on the scones too soon after they came out of the over, because most of it ran off of them.  (no biggie, I got to skim it all off the parchment paper with a spoon and send it directly into mah belly, which resulted in quite a little sugar buzz).

At the end of the day, I was shocked at how easy these were to whip up, and loved how wonderful my house smelled after they were done baking.  The problem was that, of course, I have zero willpower, and by the end of the day, I had eaten three of them.  THREE!!!!

Plans to further my dreams of being a world-famous-baker-of-scones are on hold, until I figure out what to do with my baked goods in the future.  I can’t just have these floating around my house, even if they are semi-healthy and maybe-vegan.



The scones are not safe with me.

Not safe at all.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Friday Night Fright

Friday is absolutely 100% my favourite day of the week.

In the “old days”, I used to look forward to Fridays because it meant joining friends at the local watering hole, unwinding after the work week with lots of drinks and maybe some shots, and usually some fun on the dance floor if a good band was in town.

But I’m old now, and I look forward to Fridays for a totally different reason these days.  I now look forward to coming home to either make a fun supper – like homemade pizza – or going out for supper with my mom.  And then, I get into my jammies at a ridiculously early hour for a Friday, and I watch a movie.

That was exactly what I was looking forward to all last week -  a short week that probably felt longer and more trying than it should have.  I was kind of in a funk – I guess a post-Easter let-down or something? – and each day, I told myself, “Just make it to Friday.  On Friday, everything will be OK.”

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone to the store and rented a movie.  I’ve watched many flicks over the winter months – movies I’ve PVR’d, and old ones from my old collection that I hadn’t watched in a long time (no Netflix chez moi)– but aside from the few movies I’ve seen in theatres in recent months, I hadn’t seen a “new release” in quite some time.

So Friday night, after a quick work-out, I treated myself to a plate of homemade nachos with all my favourite toppings (yum!), and then I walked down to Marcotte’s to rent a movie.  Mindless entertainment was what I was looking for – nothing that was going to make me think too much.  Either a good laugh… or a good scare

I ended up with The Hangover III in one hand.  And Paranormal Activity 4 in the other.

I can’t seem to learn the scary movie lesson, which is that I should not watch them.  Ever.

Because somehow, I went home with Paranormal Activity 4. 

paranormal activity 4

And I regretted it about 2 minutes in. 


Of course, it wasn’t just me sitting by myself on the couch watching a scary movie and jumping and gasping.  Of course there had to be an incident.  How could there NOT be an incident when I end up watching a scary movie?? 

Ever since my kitchen was painted, the door leading down to my basement hasn’t closed properly.  I have to slam it to get it to shut tightly.  I had gone down to the back landing to get a Diet Pepsi before the movie, and never thought anything of it.  When the movie was over and I took my empty glass and popcorn bowl into the kitchen, there was the basement door… standing wide open.

The sight of it stalled me in my tracks and I let out a loud, mournful groan.  “Ohhhh noooooo,” I literally whined out loud, feeling my heart racing in my chest.

All I could think of was my cousin Chris, who has told me several times that there are dead bodies buried in my basement.  I KNOW there are no dead bodies in my basement, but when I saw that door to the spooky, dark, cobwebby basement swung wide open… well, that was all I could think about right then.

It took a minute for my logical brain to kick in, and I was able to remind myself that I had opened the door before the movie to get the can of pop, and that it obviously hadn’t shut properly.  It had clearly swung back open because it hadn’t latched when I closed it.  Duh, JillNot ghosts.  Just your own carelessness.

Didn’t stop me from sleeping with the hall light on, though, I can guarantee you that!

Oh, and here’s the REAL kicker – my friend Sara is a fan of the Paranormal Activity movies, and I remember her telling me about going to see it around Christmastime with her husband.  I also remember her telling me that the end of it kind of brought everything full circle.  Then I heard them talking about it a few weeks ago on the radio on the Hot 89.9 morning show, and they were saying it was a really good ending, and that fans of the franchise would be left with their jaws dropped.

So here I am watching Paranormal Activity 4 on Friday night, thinking I’m watching this movie that I’ve heard them talking about, with an amazing ending, but when it ends I was kinda like, “Huh?  How does that draw things full circle?  I don’t get why it was so big… I must not remember the other movies as well as I thought I did…”

After discussing it with several friends over the weekend, including Sara, I’ve realized that Paranormal Activity 4 is NOT the most recent movie in the series – the one I’ve heard friends and radio peeps talking about, with the big shocking ending, is is actually Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.


Which means that I still have another whole Paranormal Activity movie to sit through.

Lord love a duck.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday, pals!  Oh, how I love short work weeks…and even better, weekends without a whole lot of plans!

How ‘bout some Friday confessions to kick off the weekend?  It’s been a while since I confessed, I think I’m due!

I confess… that sometimes, I dream of “being my own boss”.  I think we all do that from time to time, don’t we?  Over the years, I’ve dreamed of having my own restaurant or food truck (especially after watching some of those shows on the Food Network!) – but then I remember that I was a terrible waitress who cried in the cooler practically once a day.  Lately, my dream is to have a bulk health food store.  I know it will never happen, but I keep envisioning this little shop with big scoops and bins of raisins and chocolate chips and nuts and quinoa and baking ingredients and stuff like that, and all the wonderful spicy scents lingering in the air.  A cozy, quaint, hippy little place.  I really wish I could do that some day.


I confess… that I’m almost out of baked goods and Easter treats.  The sugar rush is really almost over.  I keep thinking of more cookies and bark and treats that I want to make, and I keep telling myself, No, Jill.  You need to get back on track.  No more sweets!

I confess… that I finished the book Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum a week before our last book club meeting, and I have not picked up another book since.  I’m just not in a reading mood these days, I guess.  Aside from my Archie, of course.  I’m still reading it.


I confess… that I might be having a 30-year-old crisis.  And during this crisis, I seem to be reverting to a child-like state.  I mean, my reading material is an Archie, and last weekend I watched Aladdin.  The next items on my Amazon Wishlist to order are Robin Hood and The Little Mermaid.  And last weekend I was more excited about Easter than I have been in probably 20 years.  It’s like I’m five years old or something.

disney robin hood

I confess… the one job I seem to dread is clipping my toenails and painting them.  Finger nails are never an issue, but I put off doing the toes until it’s almost too late… and I’ve been thinking for about two weeks now that the ol’ tootsies are in desperate need.  The good news is that I don’t have to worry about them because I’m going to my friend Stacy’s on Sunday afternoon for a much-needed and greatly-anticipated pedicure!  Woo hoo!

I confess… that I hate wearing socks, but I also hate being cold so so much now.  And for that reason, I have yet to join the many people around here who have started wearing flip-flops and sandals.  I just can’t do it yet.  Makes me shiver just thinking about it.

I confess… that I’ve been doing that dreaming-for-stuff thing that I do from time to time.  Lately, it’s been a big, flat-screen TV, a new BBQ that works, new pots and pans and fancy kitchen tools & gadgets, really good knives like the ones chefs use on TV… man, I need money.  Or to get married.

I confess… I’m seriously thinking of being on the Christmas House Tour this coming year, and I spend wayyy too much time each day thinking of Christmas decorating ideas.   I mean, it IS only April.  But the ideas just swirl, all day long…


Alright.  With that, let’s forget about Christmas and pray for nice weather this weekend… I don’t know if it’ll work, but you never know!  We need some HEAT!!!

Have a great weekend, everyone :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday Things

I know I’ve said it before, but I literally have nothing to talk about this week.  I feel almost blue now that the thing-that-we-shall-not-speak-of is over.

But I’m going to try and forge ahead.  The best way to break writer’s block seems to be with random mumbo-jumbo.  Here we go:

  • What would it take for Mother Nature to cut us some slack around here?  The sun is shining today, at least, but man, it’s cold.  Will it ever warm up?  Will summer ever arrive?  I’m seriously starting to wonder…
  • Yesterday was kind of a crappy day in my world.  So last night I ate the whole head off my Lindt Gold Bunny.  I admit that it did make me feel a little better.


  • You know what else makes me feel better on crappy days?  Jimmy Fallon.  My heart still belongs to Jimmy.  I especially enjoyed my PVR’d episode yesterday that featured Jimmy making fun of a couple of NHL players in his Tonight Show Superlatives feature.
  • Jimmy’s still my #1 man, but I did find a new boyfriend on the weekend.  No, not a real boyfriend.  Another famous actor boyfriend.  I finally saw the flick “What’s Your Number?”, and fell in love with Chris Evans.  I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything before, but I really enjoyed him.  Really enjoyed him.  I might have to go see Captain America now.

chris evans

  • By the way, I got more enjoyment out of “What’s Your Number?” than I expected.  Apparently a mindless predictable chick flick to close out the long weekend was exactly what the doctor ordered!


  • I may be the walking definition of a loser these days.  On the Saturday night of a long weekend, I was in my jammies at 9 PM watching Aladdin.   And that was EXACTLY what I wanted to be doing.  Lord help me.  I’m going to be single forever.

Aladdin cover

  • The NHL Playoffs are on right now.  And I couldn’t care less.  I’m a Sens fan, and when they’re not there, I have zero interest.  I’ve watched  a few of the Habs games, but other than that, I don’t even know who is in the playoffs this year.
  • I really like the new Jason Derulo song “Talk Dirty To Me” – well, me and tons of other people, apparently, because I think it’s topping the charts in North America right now.  But I’d really like to know why Jason Derulo thinks it’s cool to sing his own name at the start of each of his songs.  Anybody else ever notice that?  I thought that ended back in the days of Slim Shady and the Backstreet Boys…
  • Current flavours I’m craving:  Cherry + Almond.  I think this has developed from my current love of Almond Extract.  And I think at some point in my life I’ve eaten some kind of cherry cake that had Almond Extract in it. I’m on the hunt for a recipe that combines these two flavours right now.


  • This whole week has been a write-off, diet wise.  I can’t seem to get back on track with all the Easter treats lingering around.  I’ve made a vow to do so starting next week though.  Crazy how the weight starts to creep back on when my focus isn’t right.   No frigging fair.

Alright, folks, I think that’s it for today!  Hope you’re all having a great week.  And I hope it’s warmer where you are! ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Things I learned this Easter…

  • I knew I was getting annoying with my Lenten posts over the past six weeks.  I was consumed by it all, and had little else to talk about for forty days.  I was annoying even myself, truthfully.  But my family informed me on Good Friday that not only was it annoying; they had actually quit reading my blog altogether because they were so sick of it all.  And they also told me nobody else was reading my blog either because of it.  I have such a loving, supportive family.  (btw – I do promise that this will be the LAST post that makes mention of it. At least until Lent next year.)
  • When you give something BIG up for Lent, it really does add to the excitement and anticipation leading up to Easter Sunday.  Giving up sugar was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever given up.  By the time the weekend arrived, I was starting to look upon Easter Sunday with the same giddy anticipation as I do with Christmas.  It really did make it more fun.
  • Apparently my giddy-ness had SOME people asking, “How old is she again??”  And I make no apologies for my youthful excitement.  Young at heart, and proud of it, baby!!!
  • Waffles topped with fruit, whipped cream, and syrup are absolutely the best thing to have for Easter brunch when you’ve gone forty days without sugar.  (Thank you to John & Linda at Norway Bay Golf Course for making my “dream brunch come true”!!)
  • The excitement and anticipation is so all-consuming that you WILL buy too many chocolates and candy.  And you WILL bake too many treats.  And you WILL spend the next day wondering what the hell you are going to do with it all.

easter bark

  • I started the day off with a Reeses Peanut Butter Egg, which I brought with me to bed on Saturday night and left on my bedside table so that I could enjoy my first taste of chocolate of the day without even getting out of bed in the morning.  And I ended the day with another Peanut Butter Egg.  There were many many many treats in between, but I came to the conclusion that the Peanut Butter Egg is absolutely, hands-down, 100% my favourite.

egg in bed

  • A close second is the Lindor eggs.  All the rest?  I could probably take or leave.
  • Carrot Cake M&M’s are a little disappointing.
  • Hummingbird Cake is OK – but not nearly as magical and mystical and amazing as the Internet led me to believe.  And my family will probably never listen to my dessert recommendations ever again.

Boulder Locavore hummingbird cake 1813

  • Making Easter Bark and baking Easter cookies in the days leading up to the big day when you can’t taste-test or lick the bowl or nibble the dough is pure and debilitating self-torture.

easter baking

  • Too much sugar in one day will give you cankers.
  • When you put on your blog that you really wish the Easter Bunny would bring you a Lindt Gold Bunny, he actually listens… When I walked in to my mom’s house and saw him sitting on her table, I could help grinning from ear to ear!


  • After eating candy and chocolate from the moment you wake up til the moment you go to sleep, you’ll be OK with not seeing it all again for another 40 days…
  • After a weekend of over-indulging, and then a day chock-FULL of over-eating… do NOT, under ANY circumstance, step on the scales.  oy.

Hope you all had a fabulous Easter weekend!!!! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

An Easter Promise

Happy Maundy Thursday!!

Actually, I have no idea if it’s appropriate to say “Happy Maundy Thursday”.  Holy Week is sort of more for somber reflection and prayer than shouting with happiness, isn’t it?  I think I’m supposed to be saving that for Sunday.

My knowledge of Maundy Thursday is pretty poor, actually, to say I’ve been a life-long churchgoer.    My memories of acknowledging it are few and far between.  I remember being in a church basement for a Maundy Thursday supper when I was a kid, and all I remember was that I didn’t like the food.  My memories are of flat bread that tasted like cardboard and little dishes of horseradish.  (???)  Then as a teen, our youth group had a pot-luck supper to honour Maundy Thursday once, but I don’t remember much about it either.

So I googled, of course.  And discovered what I probably should’ve already known:  that is the day that marks The Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples.  The term “Maundy” is derived from the Latin mandatum, and draws reference to the mandatum that Jesus gave at that Last Supper – to love one another, as he has loved.

the last supper

There you have it – your Maundy Thursday lesson!

And now, on to an Easter Promise.  An Easter Promise that I am going to make to you, my bloggy friends.

I promise you that this coming Sunday, I will not eat so much sugar and chocolate that I go into a coma or make myself sick.


It feels like all I’ve written about for the past 6 weeks is the fact that I gave up sugar & artificial sweeteners for Lent.  I honestly have no idea what I’m going to talk about next week when this is all over.

But sincerely, I hope that I don’t have to tell you about how I made myself sick over-indulging in the sugary goodness that I’ve deprived myself of for the past 40+ days.

My mom was the first to warn me, of course.  She wouldn’t be a mom if she hadn’t.  But during one of my sugary fantasies a few weeks ago, I started listing to her all of the treats and delicacies I was going to consume on Easter Sunday.  Peanut butter eggs as soon as I open my eyes, and a giant stack of pancakes for brunch after church, Easter candy and chocolate all the live-long day, and then dessert x a million.  And Diet Pepsi.  And Hot Chocolate with mini marshmallows.  ALL OF IT, ALL DAY.

“You’re going to be sick,” she said.

kid overdosed on sugar I don’t know this kid.  And I don’t want to know how he feels.

Since then, more and more have been speaking up – friends, family, and several of you who have commented on my plethora of sugar posts here on the blog.  Many seem concerned that I plan to go overboard.  I suppose that list of my Top 10 Treats yesterday didn’t help.  They caution me to be careful.  They assure me that I’ll ralph if I follow my current Easter Sunday plan.

So I’m re-thinking it.  I mean, of course I don’t want to make myself sick by over doing it in the sweets department on Sunday.  I don’t want to ruin the day I’ve so looked forward to for weeks upon weeks.  Honestly, that’s the last thing I want to do.

I’m going to tread carefully.  I’m going monitor my body’s reaction to being re-introduced to sugar.  I’m not going to eat 26,000 Easter Eggs the moment I wake up.  I’m going to go easy.

I promise.

Wishing you all a very blessed & happy Easter with your family!  :)

happy Easter 2

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Top 10 treats I hope to find in my Easter basket

This week is draaaaagging.

And I know why.

It’s the home stretch to Easter, and chocolate and Easter eggs and jelly beans and pancakes and Hummingbird cake, and I’m so so close to being able to consume it all. 


I woke up this morning thinking it was Thursday.  It’s not Thursday.  It’s only frigging Wednesday.  Yes.  FRIGGING Wednesday.  *sigh*

I’m totally ready for this weekend to finally arrive!  For many many fun reasons – movie date with friends & family, family Good Friday Fish & Chips dinner, sleepover with the kids, baking Easter treats, and of course the joyfulness that is Easter Sunday & the wonderful meal we have planned – but most of all…

The candy.  I can try to wax poetic about a million other things, but at the end of the day, I’m allll about the candy.

People say when you give up sugar, you eventually stop craving it.  I call bullshit.  All I can think about is sugar and syrup and icing and peanut butter and honey and chocolate.  all.i.can.think.about. 

And as much as I love fruit, I’ve had juuuust about enough of the mango, my friends.

In order to drive myself totally insane, I’ve decided to compile a list of the top 10 treats I hope the Easter Bunny leaves for me in my Easter basket.  Some are treats that I already know will be there.  Because, let’s face it, I can’t count on the damn Bunny, and I’ve already gone ahead and bought many of my own Easter delicacies.

A few of the items, though, are not already in a bag, double-knotted and hidden in the closet of the spare room upstairs.  I can still hope for a little Easter Bunny magic, can’t I?

Here we go…



Robins Eggs -  I didn’t even know that these were called Robins Eggs until this year!  I just knew I really enjoyed the Whopper-style eggs, the malted milk ones.  My mom has an Easter Tree on her table this time of year, and when I saw her adding the Robins Eggs on the weekend to the base of the tree, I suddenly wanted to eat them all.  I didn’t.  But apparently she did.  They seem to have disappeared, anyways…


EE Easter Milk Chocolate Eggs

Gold-wrapped peanut butter eggs – As a child, these were my favourite.  They were plain, a generic brand, nothing really special about them. But when I saw those gold wrappers, I might as well have found real gold.  When Maddy egged me a few weeks ago, I was delighted to discover some of these eggs in the treats she left for me.  At least, I think they are the ones I fondly remember from my childhood.  I guess I’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out for sure!


caramilk egg

Caramilk Eggs – In my mom’s Easter tree, each branch holds a large egg, and there are almost always a few Caramilk Eggs in there.  I have to have at least one!  Mmmm… Caramilk… I don’t care about the secret, I just want one.  In mah belly!!!



White Chocolate Bunny – As kids, our Easter egg hunt was always full of excitement and fun, and the best part was discovering our big baskets, which would also be hidden around the house, and the baskets always held the “big” chocolate bunny.  That Rabbit knew that my sister loved white chocolate, but sometimes he forgot that I did too – so if I found my basket with a white chocolate bunny in it, it would make the day that much more special.  I honestly don’t remember the last time I had a white chocolate bunny, but in all my sugar cravings of the past 6 weeks, that’s one that keeps coming to mind.  So I picked up an el cheapo to satisfy that desire!!


easter jelly beans


Jelly Beans & Sugar-coated Jujubes -  Another key component of my mom’s Easter tree… what’s Easter without pastel-coloured jelly beans & sugar-coated bunny-shaped jujubes??  Droool….



Cadbury Creme Eggs – They always make me think of those Easter commercials, with the bunnies that would cluck like a chicken and lay Creme Eggs.  I was never a huge fan of them as a kid, but I’ve acquired a taste for them as an adult.  I only need one, but I look forward to it!



carrot cake m&m's

M&M’s of all shapes & sizes! – I’m a big fan of the Peanut M&M’s, so why not get excited about them in EASTER colours?!  I already picked up a pack, just for me!  (OK, OK, also to go on top of some cookies that I’m going to bake.)  This year, I was elated to discover such a thing as Carrot Cake M&M’s… I had never heard of them until I spied them in WalMart last Friday afternoon!  You can darn well bet that I grabbed a bag, and it’s taking all the willpower in my body not to tear into them this week!


Cadbury Mini Candy Eggs


Cadbury Mini Eggs (or Hershey Eggies) – These are definitely one of my all-time favourites.  The Cadbury version are my favourite, but I had trouble finding them this year, and thus was forced to go with the Eggies instead.  But then I found the Mini Eggs in Wal Mart last week and got some of them too.  Not all for me… for the baking.  I promise.





reeses eggs

Reece’s Peanut Butter Eggs & Peanut Butter Cups & Peanut Butter everythingThe PB eggs are what I’m all about.  Literally dreaming about them these days.  I think I grabbed a package of every single Easter treat that Reece’s makes.  Big eggs, little eggs, cups… I’ve got one of everything.  And I will salivate until I get one of each in my mouth.  I anticipate this will be the first thing I eat when I crawl out of bed on Easter morning.  In fact, I may leave one on my bedside table so I don’t even have to get out of bed.



The Lindt Gold Bunny – Here’s the magic I’m hoping for.  The piece de resistance.  I haven’t actually purchased one for myself.  It’s like I feel they are too precious and special to buy or something. I’ve held them in my hands, and always end up putting them back on the shelf.  I really don’t understand why.  Because Lindt chocolate is my absolute favourite, and every time I see a Gold Bunny commercial, I dream of having a Gold Bunny just for me.

I know.  I’m a total whackadoodle.

So there we have it.  The top 10 treats I hope to find in my Easter basket this year.

The one thing I hope isn’t there?  Those stale ol’ marshmallow eggs and bunnies we used to get as kids.  Blech.  No thank you, Easter Bunny!



Actually.  Nevermind.  Even they sound good to me right now!!!!

What’s your favourite Easter treat?  (Or your top 10, if you’re as crazy as me?)  I mean, is it possible that I could’ve forgotten something?! 

Are your teeth aching?

C’maaaaaaaaaaan EASTER BUNNY!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A sugar-free single girl’s definition of heaven.

Mother Nature’s on crack today, dudes.  I mean, I had to drag my damn long johns back out.  And then had that wonderful dilemma of “what outerwear do I put on?”  Half-way through April, and they’re calling for everything from rain to freezing rain to ice pellets to snow.  Yesterday, it was +25-ish.  Today, it’s supposed to drop to –4 this afternoon.

I ended up in my winter coat and rubber boots.  I seriously have no idea if this was an appropriate choice.

I’m good with April rain.  Really, I am.  April freezing rain & snow??  Not so much.

Anyways.  Nothing we can do about it, right?  No point in whining.  Moving on.  To happier topics.

I don’t know how it happened exactly, but yesterday I discovered heaven.

I think it somehow developed when I couldn’t stop day-dreaming about my sister-in-law’s sugar-free vegan chocolate walnut cake, which I told you about yesterday.  I googled, looking for the recipe.  Couldn’t find anything that sounded like it.  But somewhere between there and Pinterest and God only knows what else I was clicking upon, I somehow came across it…

Chocolate Covered Katie.

Have you guys ever heard of this blog?  This blog… this blog totally made my day.

Chocolate Covered Katie is a dessert blog.  And not just any dessert blog… it’s a healthy dessert blog.

On a day when I couldn’t stop day-dreaming about chocolate cake, Chocolate Covered Katie came to the rescue with this little recipe called “One Minute Chocolate Cake In a Mug”.

I’ve seen recipes before for easy-to-make desserts, whipped together in mugs and baked quickly in the microwave.  But this was the first time I’ve actually tried one.

And ohmygodiminserioustrouble.

This was amazing.  Sinful.  Decadent.  Delicious.  I still can’t believe I made it in a mug.  And it was sugar-free.  And it only took a few minutes.

How the hell am I NOT going to make this dessert!?!

You can find the original recipe here.  I made a few adjustments to mine, so here’s my twist on things:

One-Minute Chocolate Cake In a Mug

  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. Stevia in the Raw
  • 3 tsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients in a mug and mix very well.  Add liquid and stir well.  Microwave 30-40 seconds (mine took a minute, but my microwave doesn’t seem to be very powerful).

And… ta-da!


Then, Chocolate Covered Katie suggests, top it with a healthy fudge frosting, such as her Reeces Pieces Frosting.

Well, sure, why the hell not?

Here’s my take on that one:

Reeces Pieces Frosting

  • 1/4 cup of PB2 mixed with 2 Tbsp. water to create peanut butter (or just use 1/4 of real peanut butter)
  • 4-8 tsp. pure maple syrup (I used 6, it was a bit too sweet)
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp. unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix everything together vigorously.  (She says to blend in a food processor or Magic Bullet… I just whipped it together by hand).

She also says to store leftover frosting covered in the fridge.  To that, I say, “What leftover frosting????”

Yes, this frosting recipe probably made enough for 2 mug cakes.  But I only made one cake, and I someone managed to lick up every drop of icing… So sue me.   Mine didn’t turn out really the consistency of what I consider to be icing – it was thinner, more like what you’d find come oozing out of chocolate lava cake.  Next time, I might try less milk and syrup. But regardless, I poured it on top of the mug cake, and then when I got down a layer, I poured more in, and it was… so.freaking.amazing.

The scary part is that this was so easy to make, that I could definitely see myself on a low-willpower-day going back to make a second one.  The good news is that yesterday, I didn’t have enough cocoa powder in the house to make more than one.  Otherwise, I could’ve been in major serious big-time trouble.

It is really awesome, though, that many of the desserts and recipes on her blog are single-servings.  If I could ever get my willpower under control, it really is the perfect place for me to turn to when my sweet tooth gets the best of me.  Healthy dessert recipes that taste delicious, and seem tailor-made for the single girl?

It really is my kind of heaven!

And even by eating all of the frosting, the whole shebang was only about 250 calories.  Based on the nutritional information off the website, and the little tweaks I made to the recipes, I figure the actual cake part was about 140 calories and the full go of icing was 100 calories.

I can see myself turning to this website often in the future, as there were so many tempting recipes to try.  I’ve talked a lot over the past few weeks about my intentions to over-dose on sugar on Sunday (and probably for a few days after that), but in truth, I’d like to keep myself as sugar-free & healthy in the dessert department as possible.  It’s just that some days, fruit doesn’t cut it.  From what I can tell from the website perusing I’ve done, Katie will be able to come to my rescue again and again on those particular days.

I think tonight I shall try her Single-Lady Carrot Cake

Monday, April 14, 2014

Taking a cosmic breath… feeling grateful

Good Monday morning, friends!

Well, it was a busy weekend.  A really busy weekend.  You know it’s been busy when you find yourself looking forward to the peace and routine of a regular ol’ Monday.  (?!?!  I know.  weirdo.)

And yet, our minister Rev. Nancy spoke during her Palm Sunday sermon yesterday of pausing for a moment to take a cosmic breath.  Have things stand still for a minute, and just look around, soak it in, and be grateful.  I found myself doing that this weekend, even in the midst of all the busy-ness.  What a lovely idea… a lovely notion.

I feel grateful.  For so much.  Here’s a list of the little things that I took away from this weekend that make me pause, take stock, soak it up, and be ever so thankful.

  • The little people in my life.  With Baby Sam’s arrival, the happy news that my circle of friends will be expanding in the coming months with even more little ones, and spending time with my own nieces and nephew, I am ever so grateful for all of the children I know & love.  They make my heart swell.

Jill and kids

  • Friends.  I’ve always claimed that my friends are the best in the world.  This weekend I was thinking of how they know me so well, they understand my quirks, they accept me for who I am (in all my nutty glory), and they just… get me.
  • The anticipation of sugar… The past few weeks have been tough, as Lent dragged on and I realized that giving up sugar & sweeteners (and then peanut butter & honey) is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever given up for Lent.  Harder than I ever expected it to be.  But now that we’ve reached the last week, I’m no longer grumbling about it… I’m looking forward with deep & utter anticipation!  It’s a fun feeling to have, that excitement!


  • … and the beauty of discovering that being sugar-free doesn’t mean going without.   God bless my sister-in-law Amanda.  With my mom’s birthday this past weekend, my sister and I struggled with what to do about a cake.  We both gave up sugar for Lent, yet we didn’t feel it was right to make our poor mother sacrifice a birthday cake because of us.  However, we both had so much on the go this weekend that we didn’t know how we were going to figure it out.  And then, Amanda offered.  She had found a recipe for a sugar-free vegan chocolate & walnut cake, and she said she would make it for Mom’s birthday.  And it was amazing.  Rich, decadent, moist… like, go-back-for-a-second-slice amazing.  Kara & I both felt like we were cheating, it was so good.


  • Pleasant surprises.  Like, showing up at church yesterday morning and having the minister’s grand-daughter bring me an Archie Double Digest!  She handed it to me, and said, “My nana got this for you.”  I swear, I couldn’t wipe the grin from my lips.  I thought it was so sweet of Nancy to pick one up for me, after I wrote last week about how I was feeling the need to re-visit my youth & my love for Archie comics.

ArchieDoubleDigest_250-1This is the exact one I got!! 

  • … Also, showing up at our favourite spot for brunch after church, and finding two of my mom’s siblings & their spouses there awaiting us for a special birthday breakfast with her!   As we walked in, they all broke out singing “Happy Birthday”.  I didn’t know they were all going to be there, so it was a really nice surprise, especially since I haven’t seen Aunt Nora & Uncle Elson since they left for Florida last fall!
  • Watching a group that I love grow even stronger.  And by that, I mean our Quyon Canada Day Committee.  We’ve had a few new members join this year, and we all teamed up on Saturday to host our first event of 2014 - another successful poker tournament.  Personally, I played the worst game of poker I think I ever have in my life, and I felt down-right rusty and dopey while actually playing.  But when I looked around and saw everyone working – helping – volunteering their time – bringing in food – cleaning up afterwards (in record time, I might add!) – I felt very proud to be a part of it all.  We work well together, and it makes things so enjoyable when you’re part of a good team.
  • Spring thundershowers.  Everyone knows I don’t like storms, but last night, it just seemed to be gentle thundershowers rolling through, and I have to say… I loved it.  When we got home from Mom’s birthday celebration, I cleaned up my kitchen, then crawled into bed early with my new Archie.  Cozying up with the rain pattering against my bedroom window and the sound of thunder rolling in the distance … it was pure bliss.
  • The smell of spring.  It feels like we’ve waited extra-long this year, but spring has finally sprung.  The snow is almost all gone, and the signs of new growth and new life are beginning to pop up.  Little shoots of spring flowers in the beds, a vivid green beginning to take over the lawns… and of course, that fresh, earthy scent that I love so much.  Taking that deep cosmic breath is so much better when that’s what I’m breathing in.


  • Looking ahead to a really fun weekend!  It ties back in to that feeling of excitement and anticipation I mentioned earlier… but this coming weekend is really more than just the Easter eggs and pancakes and dessert on Sunday.  It’s looking ahead to a 4-day weekend (usually bittersweet for me, since it’s always been my “last long weekend”, but since I started back full-time earlier this spring, I get the long-weekend-excitement just like everyone else for a change!)  It’s the culmination of Holy Week – a week of somber reflection and prayer, mixed in with the exciting prepartion.  It’s looking forward to going to the movies with the kids, and a Good Friday meal of Fish & Chips at Mom’s.  It’s looking forward to a sleepover with the kids, and all the fun things I have planned for us (probably more than we can even squeeze in!)  It’s the anticipation of preparing food on Saturday for our Easter meal.  And then, of course, one of my favourite days of the year.  The absolute thrill of Easter Sunday.  A delicious meal.  Easter eggs all day long.  Time spent with family.  I so can’t wait!!!

I’m so very grateful for it all.  What are you breathing in and feeling grateful for this Monday?