Every day is national cake day in Coco Cake Land!??? Could you imagine. I don’t think I could actually handle a world that looked and felt like rainbow unicorn candy cake land every single DAY. Some days you need to mope and cry and feel pain to evolve and grow. Then other days you need to log roll naked down sugar mountains and throw a rainbow candy cake party.
I LOVE the look of this sweetly wild and artful cake. HELL NO those are not gum balls. No one wants to bite into a delicious forkful of cake then be chewing up some icky gum afterward, all minced together with cake crumbs. NO. These beautiful, crispy shelled colourful balls are Ice Cream Sundae Malt Balls from none other than the sweetly stylish luxury candy-heads at Sugarfina. They are my perfect cake topper, and cupcake topper, for their perfect rainbow ball cuteness.
For this cake, I also crushed up one of the pink malt balls into smaller pieces to create some texture/sprinkles. Three vanilla cake layers tinted with pretty gel food colour, frosted with a mixture of turquoise and sky blue tinted buttercream and a contrasting electric pink tinted buttercream.
Just kind of a happy inducing colour palette! Happiness is what the world needs these days. I need it too. This is nice though: I am Yahoo Food’s blogger of the week! I did an interview with Rachel talking about how I learned to bake and how baking and the online community helped me get through my many terrible months of breast cancer treatment.
Geez, those pretend guests made such a mess! I had a lot of fun shooting this pretend party and making this rainbow candy cake. More and more, I’m feeling like I’m getting back in the game and it’s a nice feeling! ^__^
There is MORE CAKE MAGIC on the internet, and I’ve rounded up some beauties for National Cake Day:
Courtney of Fork To Belly has such fun energy in her posts and ideas, and when I saw her Gudetama Cupcakes I got seriously pumped! A delightfully bizarro Japanese illustration of sad lazy eggs in cupcake form!
Is it weird that I started making my own birthday cake every year? Is it anal and control-freaky? Should I release the cake reigns? Nahhhhh. From my rainbow cat birthday cake to last year’s epically delicious cake, I actually really enjoy making them – spending time on my own dinking around in the kitchen on the little details, from piping blobs of swiss meringue kisses to spreading the drippy chocolate with an offset spatula, I then get super excited to serve an extra special cake, infused with love and a little bit of blood, sweat and tears, to my beloved family members! Of course my husband always gets me a “surprise” additional cake – a Dairy Queen Garfield cake, hehe.
This year’s cake was even more special to me. See, my brain hasn’t been functioning super awesomely lately. And I tend to burn out quickly in the kitchen, my stamina usurped by fatigue and a foggy mind. But bookended by rainy days, the sun popped out for one cold November day and the light was just right for photographing. And I felt inspired to bake. Maybe to prove to myself that I still could. So I went loose cannon wild on a chocolate peanut butter and jam cake, complete with peanut butter frosting, raspberry jam filling, PLUS a layer of swiss meringue raspberry buttercream and my favourite cake look of the moment: drip drip drippy chocolate gliding pleasurably down like happy chocolate tears down the sides. Oh, and crispy sweet sugar cloud bursts of meringue kisses on top! The look of the cake is inspired by a combo of Katherine Sabbath and Linda Lomelino – two galactically talented baking beauties I am happy to call my friends.
Anchoring those darkly gorgeous chocolate cake layers? Rodelle dutch-processed cocoa powder, rich in chocolate taste from the higher cocoa butter content. I just want to Scrooge McDuck dive into a soft shimmery pool of that fine powdery cocoa goodness!
I tend to make a mess in the kitchen – but I try to do that “clean as you go thing” these days, I find it minimizes stress levels. I used a piping bag to make a frosting dam, then I dolloped in my raspberry jam filling.
I frosted the entire exterior with two layers of peanut butter frosting – one crumb coat, then into the freezer for 15 minutes to set, then another coat.
After the peanut butter frosting, I frosted with a pink raspberry pureed swiss meringue buttercream, made my chocolate drip glaze and topped the cake with pretty piped meringues I made the day before. Plus, fresh raspberries and chocolate peanut butter cups nestled into the chocolate, and a few crushed meringues for sprinkles … DREAMY!
Too pretty to eat, amiright? NO WAY. Dig in to the recipe below …
Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jam Cake With Swiss Meringue Buttercream
½ cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
¼ cup unsalted butter
Make The Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 7-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper circles.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Make The Frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter on high speed for 1 minute.
Scraping down the sides of the bowl, add the icing sugar, vanilla and dash of milk, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Remove the first cake layer from the cake pan and place on a cake plate or pedestal.
Fill a piping bag fitted with an open circle tip with some of the frosting. Starting from the outside of the cake layer, pipe frosting onto the cake in a circle, forming a dam in the middle.
Add raspberry jam filling into the middle.
Add the second layer, repeating the frosting “dam” and jam filling.
Add the final layer of cake, frosting the top and sides to a crumb coat.
Chill in freezer for 15 minutes to set crumb coat.
Frost a final coat of peanut butter frosting and chill for 15 minutes to set “peanut butter frosting” layer before you frost the swiss meringue raspberry buttercream layer!
Make The Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Pour the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl. Place it on top of a double boiler over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continually until the mixture reaches 150 degrees Farenheit or the sugar crystals have dissolved. Remove the bowl from heat.
Continue to beat the mixture with an electric beater or hand mixer until it is as white and fluffy as a meringue. Beat until the mixture is cool, up to 10 minutes.
Add the butter a little at a time. After all the butter has been incorporated, beat for another 3-5 minutes.
Purée the raspberries in a blender. Press the purée through a fine mesh to remove the seeds.
Mix the purée with the buttercream, beating until smooth. Add a tiny amount of gel colour to make it more pink.
Frost the chilled peanut butter frosting-covered cake with a first layer of swiss meringue raspberry buttercream; chill again for a final time, then finish with the last layer of raspberry buttercream for an epically frosted cake!
Using a bain-marie or heatproof bowl set on top of boiling water, melt together the butter and chocolate.
Mix together slowly with a wooden spoon.
Set aside to cool for 20 minutes; it will thicken slightly. Pour on top of the pink swiss meringue raspberry buttercream final layer, using an offset spatula to gently ice the glaze to the edges of the cake for maximum dripping.
When I finished decorating this cake, I seriously giggled with glee. I maybe even did a happy dance. Maybe I even said to myself: “I’m back, baby!” in the dorkiest way possible. This cake marks a milestone for me. That I can still make something pretty, something delicious, something colourful. That I can still enjoy styling it and slicing into it and marvelling at how a CAKE – butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder – elements so simple, can be so magical and happy-making. It gave me a jolt of confidence to work on my book. And best of all: it was freaking delicious. Happy birthday to me! xo Lyndsay
In our rainy neck of the woods, November is a dark month. Daylight evaporates by 5pm and when the air isn’t chilly buns cold, we are pelted with rain which sometimes feels as though it may never end. While Vancouver is postcard-beautiful (from the outside, anyway) on a sun filled day, the constant wet weather can drown you. Guns n Roses basically got it right when Axl howled “cold November Rain”. November is the month my father-in-law died suddenly, 5 years ago. November is also my birthday month. Goth from the womb, I must’ve been born on a rainy day. I feel like a ghost this year. Like the last year went by both incredibly slow, during my painful days of chemo, and exceedingly fast – here I am, about to turn 39. That is a crazy number to me, only because I feel my 30s went by in a lightning flash. I don’t feel “39″, but I’m not sure what 39 is meant to feel like? To an older person, it’s a young number; to a teen, it’s ancient. I don’t think I feel fundamentally different than I did when I turned 29, although when I turned 29 I fretted away that I was getting old. And now, a decade went by like a weekend.
Having cancer has changed me, but maybe not as much as I thought it would. I don’t know if this is because sometimes, thinking of myself as a cancer survivor is surreal to me – I had cancer? Days, weeks, months went by, almost a year. Everyone is back to doing their daily things, and I’m expected to roll into living life once again too. The blog world continues to turn over constantly, seasonality marked by a flood of holiday recipes and flavours and I’m trying to care about it again but sometimes it’s overwhelming and too much. Cancer has made me slow down when my old self was a fast-moving, immediacy-thirsty person. Patience with myself, my abilities, and trying to get through some days without feeling slumped-over blue. A book helps. My mindful meditation podcast helps. The body heals – it wants us to survive, it does everything in its power to help us heal. The mind carries the scars.
As we age, do we ever feel different, or actually old? It’s an odd feeling to see the exterior of our physical selves grow, change, wrinkle, sag. Like I never imagined I would look down and my hands might look exactly as I remember my mom’s hands when I was a child – wrinkly knuckles and long fingers with an E.T.-ish quality (although I don’t recall my mom having hairy fingers like I do. DAD!!) You tend to imagine you’ll be 25 forever, or whatever the magical age is. I liked 31-33, personally. I look back at photos from that time period and my body is much more fit than I ever gave it credit for; my skin looks finely oiled, lipstick and bangs, pre-baby body. We women are duly hard on ourselves! So now my body looks quite different, but I stop to appreciate it. Like sometimes I just can’t believe I’m still alive. It’s a feeling I’m sure I’ll be processing til the end of my days. xo Lyndsay
My Teddy’s First Birthday Party! Dog Themed Party!
Have you seen My Neighbor Totoro? Equal parts super cute, creepy and weepy-making, it’s a Japanese animation starring two little sisters who get swept up in a sweetly kooky fantasy world as they cope with their mother’s illness. The star of the beloved film is a big, puffy, furry and grey magical creature, Totoro! So it’s self-proclaimed TOTORO WEEK once again, too! This year, along with my sweet pal Steph of I Am A Food Blog, we are joined by some other Totoro-loving cuties online – a growing list of links below. I decided to give some buttercream loving to Totoro’s furry BFF – Blue Totoro. Of course you can always make him grey instead of blue, or you can make this My Neighbor Totoro cake tutorial from last year’s T-week alongside the blue guy for a real Totoro cake feast!
My Neighbor Totoro Cake Tutorial
You will need:
1 recipe for your favourite cake, or 1 boxed cake mix
A piping bag fitted with a multi-opening tip (also known as the grass tip)
4 inch ball of light blue fondant (tinted to match the buttercream colour)
3 inch ball of white fondant
1 inch ball of black fondant
2 wooden skewers
Optional: a bubble tea plastic straw or dowel
Bake and cool the 6 inch round cake and half sphere cake until completely cool. Level and frost the top of the flat cake and place the sphere cake on top as shown.
Insert bubble tea straw into the center of the cake, pushing down until you reach the bottom cake; snip off excess straw. This step helps with keeping the cake straight while frosting it but it’s not completely necessary.
Using an offset spatula or butter knife, frost the entire exterior of the cake.
It doesn’t need to be completely smooth or perfect because you will be piping “fur” on top!
Make the fondant pieces – take a small piece of the white fondant to create circle eyes. I roll it out with a rolling pin and use a piping tip as a mini cutter. Roll the rest of the fondant out and shape it into a half-circle for Totoro’s tummy. I used a pizza cutter to trim it. Take the black fondant and make two black circles for Totoro’s eyes, and a little arrowhead shape for his nose. Using the blue fondant, make three little rainbow shapes for his tummy. Use the remaining fondant to mold two pointy ears; insert into wooden skewers and trim skewers as necessary to fit the cake.
Start by placing the white “tummy” on the bottom of the cake.
Begin to pipe fur around the edge of the white tummy; continue piping until the entire cake is covered!
Once the entire cake is covered in fur, place the eyes, nose and ears into the top! Heyyyyy budddddy! It’s like bringing Frosty the Snowman to life.
Caught from a slightly side angle! Still stunned.
Sorry my friend. I had to slice in. Your cake layers are such a pretty blue-green hue, too.
I want to thank Steph for encouraging me to do Totoro Week again. Working on this cake gave me a little jolt of fun and made me excited to make something – it’s nice to feel a little normal instead of like a weirdo/cancer-y. Steph, you have been such a sweet friend to me through these last 8 months, from that huge beautiful bouquet of flowers after my surgery to making me MIFFY SPAM MUSUBI when I was seriously down in the dumps after my chemo treatment. You are thoughtful and lovely! *Sniff*! Happy Totoro-making, everyone! xo Lyndsay
When the calendar flips from September to October, the first thing on my mind is Halloween candy. Or the hilarious costume I’m going to try and get my son to wear (last year he was a hot dog). Or whether I’m going to carve a Garfield pumpkin and how am I going to sneak-eat mini peanut butter cups all month. Not this year. This year I’ve got breasts on my mind – it’s breast cancer awareness month. So I thought I would share my story of how I found my breast cancer, and what the stages of treatment were like for me, in a straight up manner. Not “look at this clear blue liquid poured on a maxi pad commercial” style, but truthfully. I had just turned 38 when I was diagnosed. I wrote this for the scared and freaked out ladies, freshly diagnosed, who might be deep-googling breast cancer treatment or staying up late reading every entry of breast cancer blogs, just as I did after I found out. I wanted to know what I was in for. I wanted information. I wanted anything, something to help, soothe, encourage, or to know that there were other women out there like me.
I’ve always been somewhat-aware of changes in my breasts, mostly because my maternal grandmother had breast cancer in the 1990s. For some horribly goth and macabre reason I always imagined I would get breast cancer too. What I felt was not a lump, but a thickening of flesh, right where my right breast met my rib. Was it just my rib or something weird? I kept feeling the area, wanting it to go away. I went to my family doctor and she sent me for an ultrasound and mammogram, to put my mind at ease. The mammogram showed nothing, but because I had felt something, we did the ultrasound and I still remember light-joking with the technician and asking if she saw anything. Eventually she zoomed in to the screen to show two suspicious looking ball-like shapes. I had a biopsy, then was sent home to wait a few weeks for the results. My family doctor called me and her voice was serious, she could barely whisper that it was “C.” Invasive ductal carcinoma. The shock felt palpable. I hung up the phone and hot tears burst from my eyes and my mouth hung open. I wanted to freak the eff out right there but my 2 year old was in the other room and I could hear him calling me to come and play. My mind raced and fear overcame me. Teddy’s little voice and me thinking I was going to die, to have to leave my son and my husband and my family. My husband (then a fourth year medical student) came home and set to work organizing appointments in conjunction with my family doctor. We needed to find out if it had spread to any other parts of my body. Skeletal survey, bone scan, CT scan, blood work. It was a week of unknowns as I went through all the tests. In my mind I was planning my funeral, mind-spiralling imagining Teddy asking for me and being confused, wondering if he would remember me and me feeling so sad that he might not. Had I done enough with my life? Did I do everything I wanted to? I hamster-wheeled myself into major stress.
As the test results rolled in, they all came out negative – nothing seemed to have spread anywhere but it would only be after surgery “they” would know for sure. My happy, pretty-pictures, cake-filled life screeched to a weird halt. I felt thrown into a snake pit of unknowns, with an overwhelming laundry list of treatments laid out for me. When I first met with my surgeon, she felt the area of my breast, examining me. I’ll never forget what she said. “I can’t believe you found this. If you had waited until this was something more prominent, this would be a completely different story.” Those words chilled me. I had felt something off, then decided to investigate it, even though I wanted to plunge my head in the ground and fuggedaboutit. My family doctor also put me in touch with a fertility doctor ASAP. Not only was I given the news I had frigging cancer, I was also being told that having another child would be unlikely – the treatments would destroy my fertility. This news crushed me harder than the cancer. We ended up doing IVF to preserve embryos for implanting once all of my treatment was finished – however, we only got 3 embryos which isn’t a lot…but I’m still hopeful. For my surgery, I opted for a lumpectomy – I was given the choice of a mastectomy (removing the entire breast) or lumpectomy (cutting out a portion of the affected breast and keeping the nipple). You get the words “survival rate” thrown around when you are making these choices. I went with partial removal. I found the idea of surgery to be pretty frightening. But the surgery was successful and the surgeon got all the margins, and three lymph nodes were removed and tested – negative. The cancer had not spread.
Chemo may be the worst thing that has ever happened to me, physically. I had a pretty rough time with it. You feel like you ate a poison apple. Your insides feel like they’re covered in thick syrup with a brutal headache on top. Your stomach is, as I described once, “debauched buttsanity.” Your appetite is bizarre, if you can eat at all due to raging diarrhea and nausea (although they make very strong drugs to try and counter the nausea.) Water tastes sickeningly sweet. I craved super salty potato chips. You basically feel like a pale grey dog turd. And then you don’t. I started to feel better after day 10, but my mind became very stupid and I couldn’t remember anything or concentrate at all. My hair started falling out just before my second round of chemo, so my husband shaved it. (Being bald when you don’t want to be sucks donkey balls and my self esteem plummeted. It’s hard to believe it will ever grow back when you’re bald – but it really does. I’m at 13 weeks post chemo now and my hair is extremely short but it’s there, and it’s growing in pretty thick. I’d say it’s note quite an inch long yet.) After my second round, I had a horrible allergic reaction – I broke out in huge red welts all over my body, even my crotch, all over my head, my eyelids – my hands ballooned up into the world’s itchiest puffy Mickey Mouse gloves. I got a kidney infection which landed me in Emergency – I remember feeling embarrassed and feeling so ugly and unrecognizable, I wanted to show the doctors and nurses a picture of the old “me” – this is me, see? I had to get my wedding ring sawed off too because my finger was turning purple from the puffy hands. I had a “I’m going to exercise every day of my chemo” attitude initially but then felt like such shite that it turned into “I am going to lie in bed and blind my eyes with silly TV shows and feel-good rom-coms” attitude. I will say that during chemo (I had four rounds in total, spread apart by 3 weeks) I got pretty depressed.
Zapppppp! I had 20 rounds of radiation on my breast. They tattoo you with tiny dots to help line up the laser beams (not the technical term, ha). You lie down and a giant grey machine that looks straight out of a 1960s science fiction movie hovers over top of you and blasts the area with radiation. The actual treatment only lasts a minute or two. My skin was ok for the first three weeks, and then it started to brown, and get darker – finally my nipple was practically black and cracking open raw, and the skin around it was so dark and tender and dry. Painfully tender but I moisturized daily with Glaxal Base and used Lanolin cream for the nipple – I found it in my breastfeeding storage box, it helps with dry and cracked skin during nursing and it really helped. Currently the skin is peeling off in a very disturbing, horror-movie-ish way – my breast is all sorts of skin tones. I gotta say it’s not looking so good (charred sagging old eggplant anyone?) and I wonder if, aesthetically, a mastectomy would’ve been better – but my radiation oncologist says in 6 months it will have all peeled away and will look more normal again. Just before radiation I started running again, and hitting the gym hard. I must say that this made a big difference for me – I didn’t feel too fatigued from the radiation, but most of all, it helped boost my mood and got me out of feeling depressed – the cancer blues. I managed to work out every single day of my radiation treatment. It gave me a little sense of purpose and accomplishment. I kind of liked having somewhere to go every day, too (not that going to the cancer agency every day is fun) – I had a little routine again after so many months off of just “treatment.”
I’ve been getting another IV drug infusion every three weeks called Herceptin, because my tumour was Her2 positive. It’s a targeted treatment which I’ll be doing 16 rounds of. At first I was depressed that I had to do all of these treatments – chemo, radiation, herceptin, tamoxifen. But now I am feeling lucky that there are targeted treatments for particular types of cancers like mine. Just stepping on to the chemo floor at the cancer agency gives me anxiety and a feeling of fear – but I am getting better at going. I go for my herceptin treatments on my own. I read gossip websites or look at pictures of my kid and listen to music or I watch an episode of the Mindy Project. Distraction, and then it’s over.
I haven’t started Tamoxifen treatment yet but it will be an oral drug I will take for 5-10 years. Again, another targeted treatment to help prevent the recurrence of my breast cancer type. It has some yucky side effects that I’m not ready for yet in my life. It basically puts you into menopause, complete with hot flashes, slowed metabolism, dryness in the lady parts, low sex drive, fatigue. And you can’t have a baby. I’m not ready to feel like a lady in menopause yet. But I’ll do it anyway. I’ve been in talks with my oncologist about waiting to start Tamoxifen until after we try implanting a frozen embryo. I told her that if I could have a baby first, I will take Tamoxifen for the rest of my life even.
So that’s where I’m at now. An eight month blur of mind fuckery, body changes, depression, anxiety and happy days, too. I’ve slogged through a lot this year so far. But I’m still here. If you are reading this and you are newly diagnosed, things I would suggest: lean on your friends and family for support. It’s one of those times in life you really need their help. Seek professional support if it’s available to you (counselling, therapy). Treat your mind, body and spirit right if you can – going out for a walk, trying alternative healing treatments, going for a massage or even a pedicure – treat yo self if you can. I guess there have been a few amazing parts of my having cancer: Life. I get to celebrate another birthday and not be sad and annoying about getting older and looking old – but I get to be stoked on living. Live and let live, love harder. Feeling cared for, feeling loved by family, friends. Beautiful gestures of letters in the mail or home cooked meals and sweet cards. Words of love and caring, silly sweet gifts, thoughtful presents. Those small things would make an entire day of crap (literally and figuratively) feel better instantly. Appreciate life more. Who gives a flying dog shit about the small stuff – don’t sweat the small stuff as much. Finding exercise again to help with my mind, body and spirit. Loving on my sweet sweet little boy and snuggling and laughing with him so deeply, daily, whenever (while still being driven crazy by him sometimes – toddler alert). The love and deep pride I feel for my husband, lifting me up through my continued treatment, deciphering medical talk, bringing me flowers, loving me through my darkest and ugliest moments and most morbid jokes. My family – my parents and my sisters, especially – life is nothing without family and friends. I will leave you with this image, because it seems to have worked for me thusfar, fingers crossed. xo Lyndsay
Eeks! Pink Heart Mouse Cake + Spell Your Cupcakes Love
Cocktails and Dreams … I don’t know why these photos remind me of the name of the bar in the final scene of Cocktail the movie but they do … Tom Cruise is so uncool maybe he’s about to get cool again? Kind of like how a few years ago, street fashion had frigging Doc Martens on the rise and I thought “OH GEEZ NO.” And now I’ve warmed up to them and now I feel like “oh God no. I want a pair.” Then I also think: “WHY did I get rid of all of my Doc Martens in the 1990s?” Although I had a horrid pair of (at the time, very cool) blueberry 12 hole Docs. I’ve been reading the excellent book Women In Clothes before bed and it’s really been jogging my clothing memory. I’ve gone through so many purges of clothing over the decades, so many different looks. I like how honestly the women answer how clothing and style and how they look to the world affects them. What I wear and how I look definitely burns like a marshmallow fire on my subconscious, and being hyper-aware of my changing looks these last 8 months having gone through breast cancer treatment has made me all the more conscious, and self-conscious. To not be able to control my outward appearance – to give in to the look of bald Fugazi Mom or Erykah Badu turban queen, or simply the tired, pale grey shapeless egg woman, I am excited to turn to clothing and fashion to help express myself once again. My hair is in true thick and growing-in, puffball status right now and I am gleeful, excited of its potential. My face colour has returned and I’ve been continuing my daily exercise, which seriously makes one’s skin glow. With every pump of the arms of the elliptical machine, blood rushes to the face, sweat clears out pores.
I made this raspberry-dotted vanilla buttercream birthday cake (with strawberry jam filling) for my dear friend Miko’s daughter Saya’s 5th birthday. I haven’t been baking much lately but I really wanted to make something for Miko – her family has supported me so much through my cancer treatments over the last 8 months, from bringing me meals, to presents and treats, to even getting me a DVD player and a stack of DVDs so I could watch uplifting movies like Totoro while recovering from chemo. I was so happy to be able to make something special for Saya!
I will always love the simple buttercream birthday cake. Especially in pastel cute colours and a hand-tossing of sprinkles. You can read my post on how to frost a cake here!
This past Monday I finished my last radiation appointment. Last zapping of the boob. My husband sent me the cutest text: “So exciting! I can already imagine the John Hughes freeze frame when you fist pump on your way out the door! Love you!” I am happy. I have knocked off three big components of my breast cancer treatment: surgery, chemo and now radiation. I can’t believe I’ve done it, sometimes. I remember sitting in the surgeon’s office back in February and hearing the long list of treatments I would be going through, all so foreign and scary and unknown. I had no idea how I would feel or who I would be or what I would look like when it was all done. While I still have Herceptin infusions for the next 8 months and Tamoxifen (a targeted hormone therapy drug treatment) for the next 5 years (although I’ve spoken with my oncologist about holding off on it until after I try implanting a frozen embryo) … I feel like Lyndsay Sung is coming back to life. And it’s a good feeling. xo Lyndsay
Cotton candy ice cream cone. County fairs are made for children. There’s magic and mania in their eyes as their little brains gobble everything up. Then you come back year after year through your whole life to the fair and yearn for the nostalgia that was imprinted on your brains as a child, to feel young again, to feel free and innocent and safe, untouched by a carney’s leering stare or a sexist comment or the harshness of life. The flavours – everything extra salty and extra sweet, the smell of fried foods, the hot bubbly oil turning out floating hot donuts sprinkled in cinnamon and sugar, the marquee twinkling lights, the creaky old colourful rides, the grunge and the grime. What is the flavour of cotton candy? It’s been replicated so much in other products – cotton candy toothpaste and children’s Tylenol. Sugar meets faux berry flavour? Soft melting clouds on the tongue, gone in an instant, whirled high like an air filled beehive on a paper stick.
Our favourite stops at the PNE include the tiny soft serve shack painted in red and white stripes, a white haired woman with deep creases on her face runs it, happily dispenses blobs of cool soft serve into sundae cups and cones.
Those little donuts are the deep fried gems of yesteryear. Their design remains untouched, as does the grease filled mini machines that endlessly pump out rings of batter into piping hot fat, flipped over once to brown and along the river of oil it goes til it’s all cooked, sliding down into hot lights to get scooped out into paper bags and shaken with cinnamon and sugar.
Puffy bags of cotton candy tucked into our stroller – I gave Teddy a big swab of it and he happily gobbled it down and asked for more. He munched on mini donuts, letting them sit on his knee to cool down. He got his mini “baby cone” from the soft serve ice cream stand, a blobette and a swirl piped into a tiny cone. Food memories imprinted on his little three year old mind, a place to revisit year after year. xo Lyndsay
Testes, testes – 1-2-3… is this thing on? A recipe, you say? Yes it’s been a while. Almond butter energy balls! But I have been inspired by healthy eating lately and heck, there’s just not enough energy ball recipes online. Hehe. This was also really one big excuse to keep saying “nuts about balls.” Go ahead, say it. I also know throwing a bunch of things into a bowl and rolling them up can hardly be considered a recipe. Fine. Get your CHILD to make these balls, then. Or your dog! Actually, I’d like to see a video of that. You can leave out the shredded white coconut if you so wish, if you’re feeling coconutted out. Be forewarned however, the balls will look exactly like dog turds if you forego the white coconut. Pretty white coconut! Dressing up the drab for decades.
Almond Butter Energy Balls
For The Balls
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup smooth almond butter
1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon shredded white coconut
Make The Balls
In a medium bowl, mix the oats, almond butter, toasted coconut, raisins, maple syrup and pinch of salt together until incorporated.
Form the mixture into 2 inch balls and roll in the shredded white coconut and place on tray.
Chill in freezer for 30 minutes until set; store in an airtight container in the fridge.
My most favourite healthy eating blogs below, guys. Because – well, cancer. My exercise kick has also affected my eating and I don’t really mind at the moment. I know I will eventually swing back hard the other way and have a diet of soft serve ice cream once again. But for now, my body is thanking me.