Normally, as the year winds down, everyone around the Goods & Services studio pitches in on a big potluck lunch. We always make far too much food, eat to excess, spend the afternoon trying to stay awake and then work our way through the leftovers for the rest of the week.
Since we can’t all be together in our studio this year, we thought we’d put together a digital potluck of sorts, a buffet of the comfort food—broadly defined—that helped us get through this past year.
Our hope is that these recipes might add a little bit of amusement to your holiday celebrations, in whatever form they may take. Who knows? Some might even make it into your household rotation. In any case, here’s wishing you all the best as we look forward to 2021!
Sarah’s Recipe for Movie Night Furikake Popcorn
There’s something about movie theatre popcorn that’s impossible to replicate at home. So I won’t even try! While it’s been tough not being able to go to the movie theatre in person this year, I’ve found this mix works great for movie nights at home.
- Stovetop popcorn
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
(or melted butter! It works either way)
- A couple sheets of nori
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp bonito flakes
- Cook popcorn.
- If using butter, melt it.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Mike’s Recipe for Dead Simple, Perfectly Legal* Peanut Butter Cracker Cookies
When the NHL and NBA came back with all-day schedules in August, I knew I’d need something to keep my focus up on the weekends without burning me out too much. So I turned to this cannabis edible recipe that has been passed down through my family for generations. OK, fine, my brother showed it to me last winter. Either way, it’s the easiest way that I’ve ever found for making edibles—four ingredients and an oven are all you really need!
Note: If you’re new to edibles, remember that it’s important to start low and go slow. I’d suggest starting with a quarter of a cookie (i.e., ¼ of ¼ gram) and then waiting an hour to assess its effects.
- 1 g dried cannabis flower; homegrown recommended
- 4 graham crackers
- Peanut butter
- Aluminum foil
- Pre-heat oven to 330 degrees F.
- Grind up the gram of cannabis.
- Break the graham crackers in two. Smear about a knife’s worth of peanut butter on one half of each of the crackers.
- Sprinkle ¼ g of the cannabis on each of the crackers. Aim for even distribution, but don’t stress. They’re edibles.
- Place the un-peanut-buttered halves back on top of the crackers.
- Individually wrap each of the four cracker cookies in aluminum foil. Place in oven for 25 min.
- Let them cool, and enjoy!
Sue and Carey’s Recipe for Working from Home with a Teenager
When everyone at Goods & Services left the office in March to work from home, we figured it would only be for a few weeks. So, at our house, we set out a recipe for success: three home offices, a blend of running, biking, cooking, knitting, reading, music lessons, you name it—anything to ensure we were well and productively occupied at home. As time dragged on, we realized that the formula was changing. Here, we present the current recipe we find ourselves using. Here’s to a fast return to “normal” in 2021!
- 2 agency owners
- 1 age-appropriately-argumentative-but-otherwise-lovely 15-year-old
- 2 work schedules
- 1 video-learning schedule
- Nerves, words and zest, to taste
- Blend agency owners with teenager for 24 hours. Repeat daily.
- Scramble schedules together. Repeat daily.
- If video-learning doesn’t gel, substitute online gaming with friends until parents simmer. Repeat daily.
- Stir the pot when needed. Repeat daily.
- Add a pinch of grated nerves. Repeat daily.
- Mince words when necessary. Repeat daily.
- Steam silently. Repeat daily.
- If mixture boils over, turn off heat, put a lid on it and cool until peaceful. Repeat daily.
- Add heaping serving of zest. Repeat daily.
Neeti’s Recipe for Locally Sourced, All-Natural, Sky-Based Optical Nourishment
At a certain point over the summer, I got a little tired of bingeing Netflix and scrolling endlessly. So I started stargazing—not the easiest thing to do in the city (thanks to all the light pollution) but still, a nice change of pace for the eyeballs.
Note: This recipe is recommended for relieving stress and driving out creative blocks. For best results, gaze during full moons as well as moonless nights. If you have access to a vehicle, consider getting out of the city to a setting with less light.
- 1 viewing object (telescope, binoculars, or just your plain ol’ eyes)
- 1 viewing spot (balcony, backyard, window, terrace, open fields)
- 1 hot cup of something (coffee, herbal/hemp tea, cocoa)
- 1 mobile phone w/ star-chart app
- Company (optional)
- Go to your chosen viewing location with just a viewing object, your phone and a hot cup of something tasty but not too caffeinated (you can only do this at night, after all).
- Lean out, stretch and soak up the moonlight; remember to breathe. Check out the resolution on that sky! 4K has nothing on that.
- Get out the phone. Be judicious with it—only use it to open your stargazing app. Do NOT check inbox or Twitter feed.
- Observe planets (for January 2021 in North America: Uranus, Mars and Mercury; for Europe: Mars, Uranus and Venus). Admire the moon. Figure out stars and constellations.
- Be silent. Like, really, truly, profoundly silent. Whoa.
- Top it off with a journal entry. Optional: Think about how small your worries are in relation to the universe.
Derek and Ian’s Recipe for Quality Screen Time
Let’s not get too carried away with this trash-talking of TV screens. Both of us have found that you can have “quality time” with your loved ones while still getting to consume screen-based entertainment for hours on end. The secret? The right combination of comfort, drinks, snacks and games.
- Beanbag chairs or similar item capable of complete body immersion
- Comfortable clothes: Snuggie recommended, but pajamas, onesies and robes will suffice. Remember to launder these.
- Philips Hue smart home lighting or candles
- Drink of choice (min. 1)
- Snack of choice (min. 2; add 1 for every additional family member)
- Family members (min. 1)
- Co-operative video game
- Gather your “bubble,” “close contacts,” “family,” “inner circle,” whatever you want to call them.
- Apply comfortable clothes. Do not skip this step. You will be doing this for hours.
- Adjust lighting via Philips Hue smart lighting or candles. Bonus: If using candles, this also technically qualifies as a date night.
- Pick a snack, drink and video game to play. Do this by popping open the link below. The snack is the day of the month of your birthday, the drink is the final digit of your birth year and the game is your birth month.
- Agree to a non-aggression pact beforehand; secure in writing, if possible.
- Pour drink; acquire location for coaster and/or sippy cup lids. Ensure snacking items are within one arm’s reach.
- Commence gaming. (Recommended: Trash-talking. Optional: Conversation.)
Andrew’s Recipe for Reminding Yourself You’re Still at Work (Optimized for 2021)
In March, you couldn’t go online without some lifestyle influencer telling you that your work-from-home routine could be better. Take water breaks! Wear proper pants! Get out of the house early for a make-believe commute! That was all well and good then, but a lot of those ideas haven’t really held up after nine months of pandemic living. I’ve made a few substitutions to those earlier recipes to optimize them for 2021.
- Presto Card Loyalty card for preferred cafe
- Belt Elastic-waist slacks/jeans
- Shoes Muji House Sandals
- Headphones Decent speaker set up (can be sourced via Kijiji very affordably)
- Meal-planning app Costco-sized bag of trail mix
- Follow your typical morning routine to the letter. Scan your calendar one day ahead to know when you have on-camera meetings; plan your hygiene schedule accordingly.
- Get dressed. Wear pants with a belt at least three times a week. Acquire elastic-waist jeans and/or slacks. Professional in appearance, comfortable in experience.
- Keep up a “commute”: take your transit pass and walk to your local transit station for fresh air. Walk to your local cafe to get a coffee. Treat yourself to a nice lil scone, you deserve it. Amble back home.
- Plan out your lunches and dinners so that you have nice, healthy leftovers in the fridge all week. Invest in trail mix, baby carrots and other affordable sources of nutrition that don’t require any dishes, prep or clean up.
- Create a workspace free from distraction, and keep it tidy. Blame your lack of organization on the fact that there’s a freakin’ pandemic going on, people. (Note: The law of diminishing returns applies.)
- Listen to tunes or podcasts on headphones to keep you focused. Put on a record or a playlist and crank it as loud as your neighbours will tolerate.
Kristin’s Recipe for Homegrown Salad
Gardening is a great way to do something outdoors with the kids. Not only does it help them to develop patience and appreciation for nature, it also teaches them vital agriculture skills that we’ll need in the Great After. You’d be surprised at how many calories you can get out of a patch on a balcony or small backyard in the middle of the city—calories we’ll all desperately need once the zombies hit. My informed guess is sometime in early ’22, so I’d suggest you get cracking soon.
- Cedar planters (grow bags will also work)
- Potting soil
- Tomato seeds
- Cucumber seeds
- Lettuce plant/seeds
- Grow lights (for indoor operations)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Cracked pepper
- Find a reasonably sunny area, either indoors or outdoors.
- Fill the planters/grow bags with potting soil.
- Add the seeds to the soil. Follow the instructions for watering, sunlight, varmints, all that good stuff.
- Wait a while. A few months, even. Prepare a few stock answers to child inquiries about why it’s taking so long. Suggested: “Patience is a virtue.” “This is why we have farmers.” “It’s either this or reading, take your pick.”
- Once ripe, harvest vegetables. Rinse thoroughly.
- Dice cucumbers and tomatoes. Hand-tear the lettuce for that “rustic” look.
- Mix olive oil, vinegar, cracked pepper and salt.
- Add dressing to salad upon serving.
Chris and Taylor’s Recipe for Whisky A Go-Go
We’re more than just co-workers—we’re roommates, too! One of our most important collaborations has been developing this recipe, the result of hours of careful trial and error. After more than 100 iterations and refinements, we present to you, in its unadulterated form, the recipe for the perfect glass of whisky.
- 2 rocks glasses
- 2 pieces of frozen water (can be substituted with ice)
- 1 bottle of whisky. Suntory Toki, from Japan, is our preferred choice, but you can never go wrong with Jameson if you’re on a budget.
- 1 stick of incense (cedar preferred)
- Candles (as needed)
- 1 buddy/roommate/co-worker within your close contacts
- Set up two rocks glasses; the distance between them can be adjusted per your feelings about your drinking partner.
- Place one piece of frozen water in each glass.
- On a laptop, head to YouTube and search for “The best fireplace video (3 hours).” Set volume to 25%. Alternatively, set a fire in a fireplace.
- Scatter a few lit candles around the room for additional ambience. That’s a mood, sugar.
- Light one (1) stick of incense.
- Put on the playlist below and/or Charlie Feathers’ His Complete King Recordings, whichever is available.
- Pour whisky. 1.5 oz is one standard drink; do with that as you will.
- Indulge in the act of conversation with your drinking buddy/roommate/co-worker.
- Rinse and repeat until you feel warm and fuzzy.
The Account Team’s Recipe for a Quick Paint Job
Like the best pasta dishes, painting a room comes down to good technique and even better ingredients. If you mess it up, hey, just try it again, but once you get it right? Ooh baby, now that’s a room. It’s one thing the account team has learned this year, with each of us moving or renovating our living spaces. Two of us even decided to use the exact same shade of white—Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace—completely independent of one another, so you can be sure that this process is perfectly scientific.
- Paint roller
- 9,198 white paint swatches (and ultimately, an actual can of paint)
- Painter’s tape
- Min. 1 wall
- Realistic lighting
- Newspaper/packing paper
- 1 bottle of wine (white recommended—we suggest Malivoire’s Estate-Grown Chardonnay, a lovely, sub-$20 bottle from Ontario)
- Clear out furniture, place old newspaper or packaging paper on the ground. Set up painter’s tape around door frames, windows, floorboards, etc. We don’t want any damage deposits lost here.
- Review swatches. Try a few different options on your wall to see how it really looks in your room. Try not to be disappointed that you don’t have the same natural light as an artisanal paint showroom in Calabasas.
- Put on something soothing. No talk radio, no political podcasts—angry painting is best reserved for the contemporary art gallery.
- Crack that paint. Pour it into a rolling pan. Get rollin’.
- Crack that wine. You’ll need it.
- Let it dry. Add new layers and wine refills as needed.
Steve’s Recipe for Staying Active
Within days of adding Zorro to the family, it became clear that I was going to be the one responsible for walking and training him (surely the first time that’s ever happened to the father of a dog-owning family). While I was a bit reluctant at first, I quickly grew to love having him around—even more so once we were in lockdown. The daily walks are great for a breath of fresh air, but I’ve developed an even more engaging at-home workout with Zorro that has kept both of us moving.
- Acquire dog from ethical source.
- Spend years turning dog into good boy. Introduce ball at young age; work from “throw” to “return” over many, many sessions. Deploy treats strategically and in significant quantity.
- Work on your kick—the instep of your foot makes for the best point of contact.
- Practice, practice, practice. Treat, treat, treat.
- Film results and reap benefits (Facebook likes).