Burning Down the House

I have no idea how to even prelude the craziness that went down today. So I’m just gonna get right into it.

First off, I slept 9.5 hours last night. I haven’t done that in years. I must have really needed it. I briefly contemplated going to a step class, but I really just wanted pancakes in bed. More precisely, blue pancakes.

Apparently Thursday was blueberry pancake day and I missed it. That needed to be remedied at once!

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, blended in
  • vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • cinnamon

I keep forgetting to mention it, but that brown sludge that’s always on the side of my waffle and pancake photos is almond butter whisked with fake syrup. I’m obsessed with it :)

After this I made a feeble attempt to go to a yoga class. Got outside all ready to go, to find a wall of snow at the end of my driveway. Shovelling out meant being late for class, and my mucus head wasn’t too keen on spending any amount of time in a -20 windchill. So I brought my sorry ass back into the confines of my warm apartment.

Instead I spent the morning scrubbing my kitchen top to bottom, including the cupboards and fridge. Breaked for a super lunch.

Breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese and tofurkey. Nomnom. I would like to eat nothing but breakfast all day.

At some point I caught the baking bug. I wanted to add toasted almonds to this week’s batch of protein bars, so I sprayed some with canola oil and popped them in the toaster oven.

Then I went to Google something. I can’t remember what. I just remember smelling burning and running into the kitchen. My toaster oven was billowing smoke. Acting on impulse, I opened the door and giant flames licked out. I’ve started small kitchen fires before that were put out with oven mitts or water. But this was a real, burn-your-house-down fire. It just kept getting bigger!!!

Thank GOD I remembered seeing a fire extinguisher in the entrance hallway leading to my apartment. I ran up the stairs grabbed it, pulled out what looked like a pin and pushed what looked like a lever.


First, a lot of foam comes out of those things (I just had a small one). My first spray didn’t put out the fire, so I had to do it a second time.

You couldn’t see through my small bachelor apartment from the smoke and fire extinguisher foam. I was coughing and spitting up godknowswhat. I was in complete and utter shock. Started shaking violently trying to wrap my head around the fact that I almost burnt my house down. Not just my house, but the house I share with several other people.

I immediately called my mother, who seems to only ever talk to me on the phone through hysterical crying these days. Thank you so much mom. You definitely held me together today.

Aaanyways, thankfully, my apartment is already a dump (hey, you get what you pay for). I think there is some actual cupboard damage under the smoke stains.


And my can of organic raisins will never be the same.

I also had a thick layer of CO2 dust all over everything in my kitchen. Every little corner I’d scrubbed just hours prior had to be scrubbed again. Including the pile of dishes I’d just washed.



I have a feeling I’ll be wiping that stuff off things for weeks. It even got on my shoes in the back corner.

I spoke to both my parents after the ordeal, and both suggested I take something to calm myself down. More precisely, they suggested a beer. Who am I to argue with the experts?


I’m a non-drinker, so it only took half for the shaking to stop and the rosy cheeks to set in. Good call mom and dad :)

I paired the brew with something that was baking in the oven while all this was going down. April’s Low Carb Sweet Bread.


  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup wheat-bran
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pure pumpkin (depending how moist you like your bread- I like mine really moist so I used 1/2 cup) 1/4 cup sweet potato baby food
  • 1 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp each baking powder and cinnamon I totally missed this step!! Dammit! No wonder it turned out flat :(
  • 2 tsp pure stevia extract 1/2 cup splenda


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients.
  3. Pour into baking pan, bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


I am not allowed to cook with a mucus brain anymore. I can’t believe I forgot the baking powder!

After the fire debacle, there was no way I was using the oven or stove for dinner.

Pita with teriyaki herring, zucchini, mushrooms, yellow pepper, onion, lettuce.


And veggies with tzatziki on the side.


I have to cut my baby carrots in half – they make them too big!

Evening snack was the fire culprit – PB&J protein bar.


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 4 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
  • 6 tbsp almond butter
  • 4 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup water

All mixed up, flattened into a 9×9 pan, put in the freezer, and cut into 8 pieces. These turned out to be a little on the gooey side, so they’ll have to be kept in the freezer. A little fire extinguisher dust got on the mixture too, so they may or may not kill me. But I’m too cheap to throw them out, I put expensive ingredients into those!!


Oof. So what was supposed to be a relaxing day of cleaning, turned into a near death experience and approximately four years removed from my life. Inhaling all that smoke was probably not good for my current illness, but maybe the crying helped cleanse it out? :P

Lesson of the day: know where your fire extinguisher is and know how to use it!! Doesn’t matter how careful you think you are, fires can start instantly, and get out of control even more quickly. I’m really lucky that somewhere in the back of my brain i knew how to use one. Must have clung on to that third grade demonstration better than I thought!

Question of the Day: Have you ever had any close calls with fires? Please tell me I’m not the only one!


P.S. Emily wrote an eye-opening post that everyone should read. Especially those readers struggling with eating disorders.

P.P.S. Morgan received the blogaversary pacakage! Yay! Much better than the disaster that was my last giveaway.

Posted on January 30, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. Aww that must have been scary!
    At least the bread came out well and those pb j bars look super yummy and easy!!

  2. I feel your pain! I can make a mean creme brulee or soufle, but when it comes to the microwave… Well, I set mine on fire once. Hopefully tomorrow if better for you! To remove the smoke odor, mix cheap vodka and water , 50-50 and spray it on all fabric and rub lemons on all hard surfaces, let sit, then wipe with water.

  3. Thank goodness you’re okay! You handled that much better than I could imagine myself doing. I would have freaked out and started throwing stuff (hopefully water!) at the fire LOL Seriously though, I’m so happy you’re safe and healthy!

    On a side note it’s funny that your parents told you to have a beer to calm down. I remember when my mom and stepdad moved me into my college the first time and I was crying as they left and freaking out. My stepdad pulled me aside told me to relax and go and have a beer when they left. I love that this was the advice he gives to a 18 y/o =)

    Nicole G

  4. Thank you so much for the link to the experimentarian’s post. It was totally eye opening!

    OMG that fire must have been sooooo shit scary. When things like that happen to me I just freeze! So well done for acting as quick as you did. Maybe you should become a fireman/lady ;)

  5. I was beside myself reading your story. That is amazing you knew where and how to use the fire extingisher! We have one right outside our door.
    Glad you are okay!
    (Must make some of your proteirn bars)

  6. Oy vay! Even if your kitchen wasn’t 100% okay, I’m glad you are! Way to keep cool under chaos :)
    I do have one good “stupid fire” story – around the age of 15, I wanted to reheat a bag of breadstick from Olive Garden. Forgetting that the inside of those bags are lined with foil, I put it in the microwave = instant fire. First thing I did? Open the door and throw in water.. into a plugged-in appliance. Luckily, all was OK!

  7. So glad you are ok! I do know where my fire extinguisher is. My apt complex supplied each resident with one. I think it’s part of the fire code in SC.

  8. crap that’s terrifying. So glad you are ok. Once I needed the extinguisher and either I was too panicked to use it right, or the pin broke- can’t remember– I did something else to put out the flames- of some thin crackers I was crisping :-( Dur.

    Your protein bars look amazing. Like a kashi bar or a kind bar. Nom.

  9. omg! So glad you and for the most part your kitchen is ok!

    Ive never even had a small housefire nor have I ever used a fire extinguisher, but I have been taught how to use one so hopefully I could figure it out!

    sounds like you managed to stay pretty positive throughout the whole thing!

  10. OMG OMG I am so glad you are ok! That is so scary girl!! I would have freaked out if I were you…you were way more in control than I would have been!

  11. I totally hate those days. Especially afterwards when you realise what exactly could have happened.

    I remember SO many times calling my mom in totally melt-downs. It’s so nice to be able to do that. There’s nothing better than someone who totally know you and is able to calm you down.

  12. holey close call!! thank goodness you’re ok
    I made creme-caramel for my dad one day and after pouring the caramel into a pyrex dish, I kept it ontop of the stove, which I didn’t know was still on, and the pyrex dish EXPLODED and the caramel inside burst into huge flames and apparently my brain shuts off in the event of a fire because instead of covering the flames with a pot or getting the fire extinguisher that’s IN my kitchen, I started blowing!! and eventually it went out LOll…

  13. erintakescontrol

    Mothers have a way of calming us through the worst of times…I remember being pregnant with my son and trying to manage my first semester of college and working full time…I was a wreck!

    Confession: I don’t have a fire extinguisher in my new home. It’s on the shopping list now! Thanks for the eye opener!

  14. Those blue pancakes look amazing! As do all of your other eats. Like the others, I turn to my mother for the utmost comfort as well :)

  15. That is so scary- SO glad you are okay. Yikes. My last apartment had a fire blanket thing and just this week I was thinking I should get a fire extinguisher…just a small one. You never know when you might need it.

  16. Wow! Crazy day thank goodness your ok I would have definitely needed a stiff drink after that! I had a close call with a pan I was heating up for popcorn scary x x

  17. Holy shiz Susan! I am SO glad you’re ok. That is so scary! Um, well, at least your protein bars kind of turned out for all that drama! Thank you for the link back to my post. I really appreciate it! Love you and extra hugs and kisses for you xoxoxoxooxo
    P.S. Sammie blog fer sure!

  18. Aww! So sorry that happened, but good thing you are ok!!

    Love the eats- esp the blueberry pancakes & breakfast sammie! Mmm!!


  19. oh my goodness that must have been terrifying for you! I’m so glad that you are okay and your apartment is still in one piece.

  20. So scary!! I’m glad you remembered the fire extinguisher, a lot of people in that situation would just go bananas and not know what to do. I’m glad you’re okay!!

  21. This totally sucks. I’m so sorry. For a minute before seeing these pictures I thought to myself “please let it be that Susan DID NOT be a good blogger and try and grab her camera and record the flames”. Thankfully.. you were a smart girl, but I can see some one of our crazie blogger selves doing that.

    Great eats regardless! Especially the blueberry pancakes. You know what I love? Blue corn pancakes! so good.

    And next time might I suggest just toasting the almonds dry? I never spray or add oil to any nuts when toasting. And I’ve burnt them before too. But a good 10-12 minutes is all it needs.

  22. Oh my gosh! That must have been so frightening! I am happy it was not worse! I call my mom when something goes really wrong too. She always makes me feel better.

    Your PB&J protein bar sound really good!

  23. omg I’m glad everything’s ok! I probably would have been freaking out. Mom knows best- calming yourself down with a beer :)

    The bars looked like they turned out good though! (Sans toasted almonds).

  24. Oh goodness! We had to pull out the fire extinguisher once when I was in like high school. Everything was coated with that yellow dust. Glad to hear everything’s okay. That damage looks pretty bad!

  25. Thank goodness only your kitchen is burned. I’m so glad you were quick on your feet and able to put the fire out. Wow! Bravo for firefighting 101!

    Your kitchen might not look too good, but your food certainly does! I’m glad you were able to relax after your ordeal.

    Luckily I’ve never been involved in a kitchen fire. Last year was the first time I’d even been trained on how to use a fire extinguisher. I honestly don’t know where the nearest one is in my apartment… but I will in the next 5 minutes!

  26. Oh my gosh-I am so so sorry this happened to you. Just reading about the mess after cleaning everything made me cringe because I know how awful that feeling is. Oh man-I hope you were able to get everything cleaned up. your eats look incredible none the less.

  27. you poor thing!! im glad you reacted so quickly but man that must have been mind rattling. good parents for suggesting that beer, it was definitely warranted!!!

  28. Off to check out the 2 links you gave at the end but first…
    blue pancakes. nice.
    the protein bar with PB & J…genius! No almonds either. I am not a fan of random nuts in things like that, sounds weird but i am picky about where & when i enjoy my nuts. twss.

    THE FIRE OMG!!! Girl. There are times when people should clearly be given a hall pass for a half a week on blogign, commenting, and this is clearly one of those times. First, glad you’re ok but sometimes those things AFTER the fact, a few days later really can shake you up….so please, take care and take a break from this insanity if you need to, obvi :)

  29. Oh my gosh how scary!! Glad you knew what to do, but wow that’d freak me out! Eek.

    But yay on the lengthy sleep! Sometimes the body just needs it so much!

  30. Glad the fire wasn’t worse and you are okay! Wow! I’ve never had a fire experience.

    And blue pancakes are the best! I had some yesterday too :)

  31. oh my lordie!!! i am so glad you’re okay!!!

  32. HOLY kitchen accident! glad you’re okay girl :)

    i totally made aprils sweet bread today too and i’m obssessssed! i think i made mine a liiiittle too sweet though haha.

    mmm love me some egg sammies!

  33. Ahh what a zoo!

    We lit the house on fire on Christmas eve! It was insane- black smoke everywhere. now we can all laugh- well, we were all laughing then (except for my aunt who’s house we were in)… My mom yelled at me to get the camera so I didn’t miss that memory..

    good call on the beer- alcohol eases the blow, that’s forsure- great looking dinner after as well- all and all a fantastic recovery!

  34. Ahhh that is so scary Susan! I’m so glad your ok!

    I remember when we moved into this house one day I was upstairs and I thought it smelled funny so I went downstairs and opened up my parents bathroom door and saw there was a fire all over our wall! Apparently my sister had taken a bath and lit a candle and when she was finished she failed to blow it out and somehow it started our house on fire! I thought it was kind of funny at the time (I was about 14 at the time) especially because when my sister saw it she started to stop drop and roll and randomly! Haha!

    Anyway, just thought I’d share :D And I’m sorry about the bread.. I hope it still tasted yummy!!

  35. oh dear susan! this sounds like something that would totally happen to me. and your comment about the raisins made me laugh (only because i knew you were okay!). gah, i have almost killed or destroyed everyone and everything at some time in my life. no worries – i got that one covered :)

  36. Oh my goodness! I’m glad everything is ok!

    I once returned home after a weekend away to the sound of a distant smoke detector. I thought our neighbours must have burned their dinner, since our houses are close enough that I would have heard that if their windows were open. It wasn’t until I opened my door that I realized it was coming from inside!

    My husband forgot to blow out a candle before he went out curling about an hour prior. The candle holder exploded for some reason so the kitchen counter was on fire as well as random scattered bits of the floor.

    Thankfully, I was able to get to the extinguisher and put everything out.

    The worst part – my dogs were home, in their kennels, in a different room.

    Thinking about how bad things *might* have been, I could throw up. I almost stopped at Chapters on my way…I would have been another hour getting home…

    Everything was ok though. And I’m here to tell you you will find that white powder in places you wouldn’t think possible. It really travels!

    Take care.

    • The extinguisher dust is everrrywhere!!! As much as I scrub I can still feel it everywhere – ick! Thanks for sharing your story – that sounds awful!

  37. oh my gosh!! i can’t believe this happened. that is CRAZY! i have never had to use a fire extinguisher, actually i dont even own one! i am SO SO glad you are OK. when i saw the photo on twitter i freaked out but then realized if you were tweeting about it then you were probably OK haha. side note, those PBJ bars look AWESOME! i cant wait to get back from jamaica and do some protein bar creating with my new powders. anywho, i have more posts to read from you so i will cut this one short. LOVE!

  38. I’ve actually started so many fires that I listed a fire extinguisher at the top of my Christmas list this year! The worst one was the garlic bread fire where flames shot out of my stove… Fortunately just shutting the door put that one out. I have run through the building with a burning popcorn bag to fling out the front door… Get your own extinguisher! It’s nice to have handy for people like us!

  39. I have had a close encounter with a fire. When I was a teenager I had some friends over, and so decided to make some popcorn with my popcorn maker. I left the popcorn maker unattended while I went downstairs to hang out with my friends. I didn’t come up again until I heard the fire alarm go off. The popcorn machine short-circuited and started a fire. And we didn’t have a fire extinguisher. Luckily, one of my friends was quick thinking and managed to get the fire out.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve learned from this because I still don’t have a fire extinguisher. :(

  40. Wow Susan impressive toasting of the cupboards! Are you ok?
    I thought when you made blue pancakes you has used blue corn – something we dont get over here in the Uk…. but when I realized it was blueberries it inspired me for tonight’s dinner! Lol.
    Also just a little advice – it looks like you used a powder extinguisher on the fire – which is a multipurpose, but you might need to have cleaners in, and if the residue is on anything metal you love Id suggest wiping it off as its corrosive – :D
    (Co2’s are gad and the “damage” they might do after being discharged is freeze shock when used close up on delicate electricals)

    Sarah – little house extinguishers are so cheap and it doubles up as a something to throw at the partner during an argument ;)

  41. I’m sure the best for you with confident at my estore

  1. Pingback: Things I Learned – January « The Great Balancing Act

  2. Pingback: Goals For February « The Great Balancing Act

  3. Pingback: Fatty February « The Great Balancing Act

  4. Pingback: The Perfect Protein Bar- One Step Closer | The Great Balancing Act

  5. Pingback: Sweet Endings | The Great Balancing Act

  6. Pingback: 18 Things From Ottawa | The Great Balancing Act

  7. Pingback: On this day… | The Great Balancing Act

Leave a Reply to actorsdiet Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: