Friday Treats Continue Through COVID-19 Lockdown

During this self-isolation period, we have continued the Friday Treats tradition in our house.

Every Friday morning, I rise early to make donuts, monkey bread, mini-loaves or scones as a way of singling the end to another week. It’s a sweet start to our Friday and reminds us to slow down to the speed of life going into the weekend.

While our days, in general, have slowed down due to COVID-19 self-isolation and I am currently not doing farmers’ markets, the tradition continues. I think for a sense of normalcy but also it gives us something to look forward to each week.

So, here are a few of our favourite Friday treats:

Vegan Monkey Bread

This is a quick recipe that can be done the morning of with just a bit of rising time.

Cinnamon Sugar Vegan Monkey Bread

Coffee Cake Donuts

These donuts are amazing and my husband’s favourite baked treat. Don’t have a donut pan? You can make one with tin-foil or turn them into muffins.

Homemade Pop Tarts

Yes. We make our own pop tarts and our own jam. Here is a simple recipe for this amazing treat!

Happy Friday Treats!

Whipping Up Instant Coffee

I will admit that I was a bit hesitant to try the COVID-19 self-isolation trend of whipping instant coffee – but not for the reason you think.

Whipped coffee is simple, easy and has the appearance of pudding with the consistency of meringue. When stirred, it could easily mimic a strong frappe.

Whipped Coffee originated in South Korea and is also known as Dalgona Coffee, named after a honeycomb toffee candy. The key to its popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic is that it is Instagramable and you don’t have to be good in the kitchen to create it. Also, it’s pretty darn amazing how just three ingredients turn into a whipped topping.

The recipe is simple:

2 tbsp Instant Coffee
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp hot water
Glass of ice
Milk (we used oat milk)

Mix the instant coffee and sugar. Add the hot water and whip. It takes about three minutes before you start seeing peaks. (Hint: Put in freezer for about 30 seconds half way helps get it to a solid state). Once it starts to thicken, add some ice to glasses and pour milk into the glasses. Add the whipped coffee and enjoy (makes two).

It is not possible to make Dalgona Coffee with espresso or ground coffee. The key to the whipped topping is instant coffee and it has to do with the drying process of the granules — so not all instant coffee will yield the same results (in whipping and in taste).

Surprisingly, as a coffee roaster, I do have a selection of instant coffee. We take instant when we travel and are unsure about brewing abilities at the places we are staying. We have fond memories of the bed and breakfasts in England that offer little instant coffee packets in their rooms. It wasn’t the instant coffee that caused me to hesitate.

No, it was the sugar. The recipe has one-to-one for coffee and sugar. I am not one who puts cream or sugar in my coffee. For me, a little bit of sweet goes a long way. Bring on the bitter bombs, but I am cautious when sugar is involved.

The drink is very strong in coffee flavour with an overly sweet aftertaste. Once I stirred in the topping, the flavours balanced out with the ice and oat milk. It’s one of those recipes that I am glad we tried. However, it is a bit much on the flavour for me to have more than once.

However, I was impressed at the whipping action of the instant coffee!

Whip it up . . . let me know what you think!

COVID-19 & My Social Anxiety

I was working the early morning shift on September 11, 2001. I was there when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and for the next 16 hours.

When news happens, the entire station goes into breaking news mode. We are geared to push through tiredness, hunger and even our anxiety with the goal of getting information, news and data to the people who need it. To the people who want it.

However, with the bigger news, there is an event. The long days become a bit shorter as the information, updates become a bit less frequent. The topics shift to the stories of those impacted and to recovery.

It doesn’t remain at this heightened sense of urgency.

Coronavirus hovered in the peripheral of the news for a bit before stepping into the spotlight. It has captured the world’s awareness and has added a bit of urgency to all of our lives.

It has been a major factor in my life since early March. At least a month. I haven’t had a huge event and it hasn’t transitioned. In fact, our little community is hearing the rumble before the storm. We haven’t had any cases (other than travel-related) and there has been no community spread.

But that doesn’t alleviate the anxiety but rather increases it within me.

I feel like my body’s already over-reactive alert system has been in overdrive. I am overly concerned with physical distancing or even casual run-ins while on my daily walk. My nerves are tight when I have to go into a grocery store or put on my mask to drop off my recycling.

I have always suffered from social anxiety or the fear of doing something wrong or embarrassing in public and the fear of spreading a virus that I don’t have but maybe don’t know it is taking that anxiety to a whole new level.

Add to that is the fact that the information and data coming from health officials was changing daily for the first couple of weeks. The list of don’t grew as new information was processed. What worked one day was not allowed the next. The information we get today will change how we interacted yesterday and will be outdated by tomorrow.

You would think I would be a puddle on the floor.

However, there is one thing that gives me a sense of calm. There is one thing that makes it easier for me to go about my essential tasks and trips to the grocery store.

“We are all doing the best we can.” It’s a lesson I learned from author Brene Brown in her book “Rising Strong.”

By believing we are all doing the best we can, and that includes me, it means I don’t have to know everything right now. It means that things will change and I will make decisions and choices based upon this new information. It means that I trust myself to be able to make good choices.

Anxiety is only alleviated by action. By making the hard decisions and living with the choices. By stepping up and doing the best we can.

I can do this. We can do this. Together . . . . and six feet apart. Wash your hands.

Stop the Spittle Spread: Why I’m Making Fabric Face Masks to Curb COVID-19

I couldn’t make you a quilt or stitch together a shirt. My sewing talents could be labeled as “Amateur, but can get stuff done if needed.” Well, we hit the “get stuff done if needed” part when COVID-19 made its way to the Sunshine Coast BC.

As a business owner and volunteer, I do deliveries and pick-ups for customers and for a vulnerable part of the population on the Sunshine Coast. I wear gloves but I worry about transmission.

COVID-19 isn’t transferred through the air but rather the spit and spray that naturally occurs in our method of communication. We touch surfaces that have been contaminated and then our faces and, well, transmission complete.

It is why we are asked to stand six feet away from people and to be diligent in washing our hands. Spittle spray is everywhere.

My husband and I have decided to take the stance that we are infected. We aren’t displaying any symptoms and feel fine, but what if we are just carriers? How do we protect the ones we love and the community we have come to adore while picking up groceries or dropping off coffee orders?

That’s when I saw a post from a local sewing shop about fabric face masks. Research shows that 100% cotton 2 layer masks offer up to 60-65% protection.  They stop the spittle and spray effect short term — long enough to get groceries or do a drop at a customer’s house. Perfect.

Did you read the first paragraph? Yeah, still an issue. However, fabric face masks are super easy to make. There are numerous patterns on the Internet (shared links to some of the ones people have shared with me below). However, all you really need is two pieces of fabric 9 inches by 6 inches, needle and thread, and ribbons/elastic or even shoelaces.

I stitched the two fabric pieces together (adding pleats but even this isn’t necessary) and sewed on pieces of ribbon that can be tied around the ears. Voila.

Since the first ones, I have run out of ribbon and elastics. I have started sewing simple straps out of cloth fabric (I am making some for immune-comprised friends, the assessment clinic and front-line workers).

“It won’t stop you from getting it.”

Again, this is a short-term preventative measure. It is to protect those around you and reduce the chance of spittle spread transmission. It isn’t water-proof (unless you use a shower curtain) and not hospital-grade.

It’s about protecting others.

An ounce of prevention, or in this case the use of a fabric face mask, goes a long way to slowing COVID-19.

Plus, we make this look good!


Update: Husband’s A Badass Bass Player (almost!)

Staying home means more time for our passions and creative endeavors without the guilt of needing to be productive or social.

My husband picked up the bass guitar about a month ago. With the physical distancing and more time at home (thank you, COVID-19), here’s about a minute of his progress!

He has a few restarts, but check out the joy on his face!