In pursuit of happiness

It is past ten on Sunday night and I am anxious about Monday morning and all the work waiting for me; the carry over work from last week and the new work for the week. As always the weekend has flown by in a twinkling, but I don’t moan about this anyone because I know the week is going to zoom by just as fast.

Whew. This past week was hectic. So much so that I spent the whole weekend trying to recover from it (but of course I traded sleep for telly and I am not as rested as I would like). The problem is that I was assigned to a task at the last minute and it was something I had no clue about. I knew before the week started that it was going to be a stressful week and I was right. I spent the whole weekend stressing about the work I had to do and then spent the whole week stressing over it as well. I had no idea what I was doing, and I felt expectations were high which further stressed me out as I felt I was not being productive enough. Then I got my period. No better way to manage stress than by adding unrelenting physical discomfort to it.

I am not sure how much of the stress was self inflicted from my anxiety and general panicky nature and how much of it was actual genuine stress (due to the task itself. Of course I did not have to wake up at 6am to continue trying to figure out the work, especially as I had been worked on it well into the evening. This just made me more tired and unproductive. Add to this all the catch-up calls and emails about other tasks and the world in general I was truly fed up. On Friday at 18:30 after another demoralising hour long catch-up call I closed my work laptop and have not looked at it since. Who knows what stressors await me?

Anxiety. This constant feeling that there is something I am not doing. Even worse when there is in fact something I should be doing. Over the past few years, the anxiety has become a constant- I do enjoy stretches of time where there are no deadlines and I can just pace myself and chill. Then the stress arrives and anxiety starts up. I am probably going to wake up early tomorrow to get a head-start on the work even though I really should not. Alas this is just my nature. Even though I tried to rest this weekend I spent a good chunk being anxious; constantly feeling that there was something more productive I should be doing.

Times like this I am so over work and I would much rather be a lady of leisure/stay at home daughter.

Despite (or because of) all the stress, I tried to find ways to lift my spirits. My favourite mantra “Treat yourself” came into play and that’s just what I tried to do.

  1. I got myself a new laptop case. Now my laptop is almost a decade old and I really should be thinking of replacing it rather than accessorising. One day I was just in the mood for a laptop case; I like those artsy cozy pictures of people working on their beautifully adorned laptops. So after a couple days of searching (I’m indecisive and cheap) I found a lovely one that was suitable for my laptop model. It arrived on Monday at the end of a hectic day and that lifted my mood tremendously. Just fitting the case on my laptop and looking at it made me happy.
  2. Free stuff: A flatmate of mine recently moved out, and in return for helping him pack up his things I was able to keep certain things including a shoe rack. I had been considering getting a shoe rack so this was nice and appreciated. It’s only a shoe rack but every time I see it I feel happy, mainly because I did not pay for it. The best things in life are truly free haha.
  3. Nutella: I am far from being a health nut, but there are people with worse junk habits than me. On this Monday I found myself in bed armed with a spoon and a jar of nutella. Before the lockdown I hadn’t had nutella or any chocolate spread in years; I’m not crazy about things that are too chocolately. I only got nutella after trying some of my flatmate’s with my pancakes and experiencing a rebirth. On this day, as I lay in bed in anguish, I decided bread and butter wouldn’t do, I needed chocolate. I started with bread and nutella, then a little nutella by itself, then a little bit more and more and more until the jar was wiped clean. Once I popped I couldn’t stop. I have no regrets. It felt good.
  4. I baked a chocolate chip banana bread: I bake something every week now and this week was no different. I woke up on Saturday morning and got of bed on Saturday afternoon to make the banana bread. I have made banana bread a few times now so I expected it to be a piece of bread. I started to panic when the batter looked more like bread dough but I managed to keep it together and sort it out. I got a new loaf tin and it turned out great. It looked good and tastes great. While the bread was baking I made some pancakes and fluffy scrambled eggs. Saturday afternoon was bliss.
  5. I ordered food. As I lay in bed after eating pancakes and banana bread, I started to worry about what to eat for dinner and for the rest of the week. In the middle of trying to figure out what to cook and when to go to the shops I made the decision to just order food instead. I had ordered KFC on Friday (never again) so it was unusual for me to order twice on the weekend but once I decided to order food my mind settled down and I returned to luxuriating. The food came and it was delicious.
  6. I cleaned my room: I am not the biggest fan of cleaning, being lazy and all, but I do enjoy it somewhat and I look forward to the aftermath of a deep clean-the fresh smell and airy feeling. So I did a sort of spring cleaning where I got rid of some things (still working on my hoarding tendencies). My bathroom is sparkling; I even managed to get rid of limescale and I can clearly see my reflection in the tap as I shower. That made me so happy. I changed my bedding, took a nice shower and then snuggled in the fresh clean bed. Bliss.

Going into the new week, I am going to try not to panic so much. I will try to sleep properly and resist the urge to start work so early at the expense of my wellbeing. May this new week be good to us.

For the love of yeast

One thing I have discovered in the past few months is the magnificence of yeast. This is a strange thing to write about on a fine Sunday afternoon, but i am riddled with anxiety about the workweek so what else to do but write a post on the wonders of yeast?

Yeast. It takes things from this:

To this

And then again from this this to that.

It’s magic!

Baking powder and baking soda are great, but yeast is on another level. I stare in delight at the resulting dough, resplendent in its beauty. The beautiful stretchy texture is a sight to behold and I cannot get enough of it. Bread, cinnamon rolls, and puff puff are just a few of the goodies that rely on yeast.

Still, I wondered, what are the limits of yeast? I was determined to find this out.

Last week I decided to make some bread, which is de rigeur these days. Usually I make it in a smaller pan or the pan above depending on the size of the dough. Then it occurred to me; was I restricting the rise of the dough by using a small pan? What if I used a bigger pan, would the dough just continue to rise indefinitely until it covers whatever container it is in, thereby giving me even more bread? It was genius level logic. So rather than using one pan, I split them out into two:

I would usually make three rolls and let them rise in the smaller container, as in my first bread recipe. But as an intellectual, I decided five huge loaves are better than three small ones.

Well the dough rose alright, but not quite the way I expected. Just look:

Unlike the fat juicy sexy dough I was expecting, the dough spread to fill the pan but was flat. So that is what happens when you let dough rise in a container that is too big. You get wide flat bread.

Initially I was dismayed, downcast, heartbroken, saddened by the result. Then I saw the other batch and had to laugh.

I promise you this is bread.

It did not look as I wanted, but it was still pretty much bread. I devoured the smaller batch right out of the pan with no butter or egg or anything.

Here are a bunch of pictures to prove that it is in-fact bread.

Everything looks good with nutella

All’s well that ends well.

What was my point? Ah yes yeast. I love it and I shall never be without it again.

Something restful.

“Home is something very peculiar.
There is a yearning in it, you know.
Something special, mystical, hopeful, restful.”

-Toni Morrison (via Beyonce’s Homecoming)

This quote is from Home, a book by Toni Morrison and it was recited by Maya Angelou in Beyonce’s Homecoming documentary. I have written about my constant longing for home so of course this resonated deeply with me and I was instantly hooked. I searched the whole internet for the quote and could not find it. I had to go back to the documentary and copy it down word for word.

The quote encapsulates how I feel in a nutshell; a constant yearning for something restful. A need to fall into a large cosy couch and relax, lay down all my burdens and stresses and just relax.

“There’s a yearning in it, you know” 

Cinny cin cin.

Well darlings I must have peaked.

Why you ask?

I woke up one Sunday morning and made some cinnamon rolls.

There are few things I love and crave more than cinnamon rolls/swirls/bites you name it. I love them so much I even remember the first time I had them: I spotted them at the checkout counter at Ikea and they were cheap enough for me to just toss them in the basket. I have craved them ever since; sometimes walking thirty minutes to the nearest store that sells the same brand I found at Ikea. Otherwise I satiate my desire with local brand treats.

However it never occurred to me to make my own, not at the start of my sudden interest in baking or even while looking for a new baking challenge. Then one day YouTube recommended this cinnamon rolls recipe and I watched it out of curiosity. To my utter delight I found that as with most recipes, it seemed simple enough. I made up my mind to skip my usual weekly banana bread and attempt the rolls instead.

The first challenge was getting the sugar. Weird right? I just popped over to the store expecting to pick up some brown sugar and get to baking. I got to the store and there were a thousand different types of sugar and a hundred different types of brown sugar. Did I need Demerara or cane sugar? Light brown or dark brown? I stood there in the aisle rapidly searching google for the answer. Eventually I gave up and went home to do my proper research. A week later after visiting three stores and buying brown sugar cubes, I finally got the right kind of sugar (I bought light and dark brown just in case).

The rule with brown sugar is to always use light brown unless the recipe specifies dark brown. Oh and demerara sugar is for coffee.

As I always do, I woke up early on Sunday morning and got to work.  First off, I love yeast. I am so amazed by the things it does. The dough was so sexy and I am proud of my kneading skills. I was a bit worried because the recipe called for the dough to be wet (in order to get fluffy rolls) and I don’t like sticky dough. The recipe also used a mixer and I was a little worried my brittle wrists were not up to the task but it turned out beautiful.


Grease the bowl a bit. Not sure why but all the recipes suggest this. The dough looks better I guess

I left it for about two hours to rise.


After the punchdown

Roll it out into a “rectangular shape”. This was as close to a rectangle as I could get it.


Spread with butter and the cinnamon sugar mix. I find it truly amazing that these cinnamon rolls only require one tablespoon of cinnamon. I foolishly expected cinnamon to be the chief ingredient.


Tempted to just make a cinnamon pizza

Roll it all up!


Yum yum

Cut it up as you want. The recipe used a string to get perfect shape but ain’t nobody got time for that.


A work of art

This requires double proofing which is a pain as I have to wait longer for my babies..


…but on the bright side this means even bigger cinnamon rolls!


After thirty minutes of additional proofing. I love yeast

After 20 minutes in the oven.



I took a ton of pictures but none of them could truly capture the beauty of MY cinnamon rolls. wp-15910404997783351433454276592498.jpg

I was a bit reluctant to do a cream glaze as I typically hate the dried glaze in store bought cinnamon rolls but I decided to go ahead and follow the recipe to the letter and I don’t regret it. Philadelphia soft cheese plus sugar plus vanilla equals yummy goodness. I did not have a pipette so I just brushed the glaze over the rolls.


My friend made a naughty joke about this and now I cannot unsee it.


Amore mio.

The rolls are every bit as fluffy as the recipe promises; they are so fluffy and delicious that I’m considering using the recipe to make bread. It should work right? The glaze is utterly delicious and the biggest challenge now is trying to make the rolls last the week when all I want to do is to devour them in one bite.

If at the start of the year someone had said that I would be making my own cinnamon rolls, I would have laughed and rolled my eyes. However this lockdown has brought about strange, miraculous changes, a rebirth almost. I don’t see how I can top these cinnamon rolls though. It’s back to banana bread for me next week.