Living the life of leafsure (fall wrap-up, Halloween, and orange chocolate yogurt cake)

Forgive me for that pun.

An end-of-Fall blog post seems inappropriate at this point in November.

Most parts of northern Ontario have already had their first encounter with a snowy friend, and leaves that once clung to the maple trees in our front yard have since drifted to the ground. Fallen, rotten, raked. I am justifying this blog post now on the presumption that it is still autumn in the community where you’re living. Also, a slight Halloween wrap-up post is totally necessary because I believe my frugal AND seasonally-appropriate costume choice must be shown to the world.

But first: fall. Jen and I spent a few hours raking the front and backyard two weekends ago. Ian had done the same just days earlier, however many more leaves had fallen since, creating a matted gold carpet atop the grass.
I’m not a particularly effective raker, however I do happen to be an accomplished leaf-jumper. I am of the belief that no pile of leaves is complete without being collapsed in at least once. Jen and I did our part to ensure this.

Since our front yard clean-up corresponded with the last weekend before Halloween, I was also faced with the task of finding a costume for a get together at my friend’s place that night. I inherently leave Halloween until the last minute every single year, and had already used my procrastination-heavy, improvised-as-hell costume idea last year when I paired my rainbow screen inspired Douglas Coupland shirt dress with a pizza box and donned pipe cleaner antennae. Thats another thing – I’m not a fan of slutty or uncreative Halloween costumes. For the past three years I’ve taken pride in my costume being something you’ve probably never see before – something a little bit kooky. That normally translates to my costume being difficult to understand for anyone who has been drinking. Case in point: I was a California Roll in third-year university, and people kept asking me if I was a soap dish. A soap dish!!! Really??!? Is anyone ever really a hand sanitation holder for Halloween? Anyways, Halloween is something I give no thought to until the day of the party, when, in typical Hilary fashion, I go completely bananas with panic.
The Hilary of Halloween’s past: harajuku girl and a California Roll
And so, with no Halloween costume at 2 p.m. on the day of my party, I set out to transform myself into a leaf bag. I had already been inside one of the bags, after all, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch.

Head pieces also prevail when designing my last minute costume. Be it a tiny cardboard sushi headband or pipe cleaner antennae, I’m going for the head-to-toe look. So naturally I used a needle and thread to sew freshly plucked leaves onto a headband. Matched with these earrings I made in September (see, this costume was as totally meant to be), I was all set.

Jen and Ian also took a last minute approach to Halloween, and came up with equally as creative and downright topical costumes.

Locked out NHL player and a Quebec protester
And because I like to include something food-related with every blog post, here are a few pictures of an orange and chocolate marble yogurt cake I made sometime around Halloween. It was super moist (thanks, yogurt) and paired perfectly with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.

And because every blog post nowadays seems to end with a picture of Norbert…

I love you, I hate you, I love you, I hate you

Recipe: Orange chocolate yogurt cake
Adapted from The Kitchn
1 1/2 cups full-fat yogurt
– 2/3 cup olive oil
– 1 1/4 cup sugar
– 3 eggs
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/3 cup cocoa
– 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
– Orange gel food colouring

Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan lightly with baking spray or oil, and line the bottom with parchment.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and nutmeg right into the liquids and stir just until no lumps remain.

Evenly divide the cake batter into two bowls. In one bowl, mix in the cocoa. In the other, mix-in the remaining 1/2 cup flour and a dabble of orange gel food colouring.

Pour half of the orange batter into the cake pan. Top it with the chocolate cake batter. Add the remaining orange batter. Create the marbled effect by running a knife or wooden skewer through the batters in a swirling motion. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, covering with foil at the end if the top is browning. When a tester comes out clean, transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Serve the at room temperature and topped with cinnamon whipped cream.

Makes about 8 servings.


2 thoughts on “Living the life of leafsure (fall wrap-up, Halloween, and orange chocolate yogurt cake)

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