Wednesday, May 6, 2020

How I spent the past 8 weeks in quarantine

I realize I haven't written a blog post in a long while. As many of you know, I work for a local news station, and my husband works in the healthcare industry. That being said, I am hyperaware of the coronavirus’ effects—on our physical and mental health and on the economy. It has been a heavy weight on my chest throughout the past eight weeks, and my heart hurts for all those affected.

Normally, when I’m stressed or sad, I turn my focus to cooking and baking, but that hasn’t felt right. I try to avoid the grocery store, opting instead to get our food delivered, and I’m very sensitive to the fact that many people in my community are struggling with food insecurity.

I am also using this time to slow down and focus on my priorities. I've spent a lot of time throughout the past decade comparing myself to others. I've been worried about my appearance, whether my pictures are Instagram-worthy, whether anyone will like the recipes I make, etc. The past month, I've tried to spend less time consuming and more time living.

The following photos show what I've been up to since I started quarantining. They aren't "professional" pictures by any means (not saying my pics normally are), but I'm realizing that's okay.  I wanted to share this part of my life with you. I don't need to give the impression my meals only consist of perfectly plated food because they don't.

I love larb! Have you ever had it? It's a Lao meat salad. You can get it at Thai restaurants. My favorite place to get it is Taste if Thai in the Castleton area in Indianapolis. It is so extremely flavorful. My version was tasty but not quite as flavorful despite the copious amount of cilantro and mint I used. This was the recipe that served as my inspiration. I am often unable to find special chiles in the grocery store, so I always substitute with red pepper flakes. I made this in my wok. You will see this wok in a lot of my pictures. It's my go-to pan when I'm cooking a lare quantity of something. Pro: It's big and nothing sticks to it. Con: It doesn't have a lid.

I served the larb with cucumber salad. This was the recipe. It was very tasty! I didn't add sugar, and Iused more sesame oil.

This looks very similar to the recipe above, but I promise it's different. This is a Korean ground beef bowl. Same cucumber salad recipe as the one above. It was tasty! Here's the recipe I used.

I love Trader Joe's frozen meals. The "Saucy Scallops with Mushrooms" is a favorite of mine.

I cook the "saucy scallops" in my wok with Trader Joes' cauliflower gnocchi—another favorite frozen item of mine. The scallops plus the gnocchi has a "comfort food" vibe and is plenty of food for two people.

I've made a lot of cauliflower rice while in quarantine. A LOT! I LOVE regular rice, but I started a keto diet before the quarantine, and I've been trying to eat fewer carbs. This is a concoction I made that I'm caulling (I know this word is misspelled. I did it on accident, but I thought it was kind of punny since I'm talking about cauliflower rice) Greek cauli-salad. All the flavors of a Greek salad in cauliflower rice form. I cooked the cauliflower with red wine vinegar, red onion, oregano, and feta. I threw some spinach in there too. It was a good idea, but I've come to realize cauliflower rice will always predominantly taste like cauliflower no matter what you do to it. 

The frozen salmon from Costco is fantastic. The filets are individually wrapped, and easy to move from the freezer to the fridge the night before you want to cook them so they're unthawed by the time you're ready. I made a mustard sauce for this salmon. It was the first time I've ever done that, and it was fantastic! Here is the recipe.

This is in the category for top two worst pictures I took in quarantine. It's cauliflower risotto with leeks. I realize it doesn't look appealing, but I really loved it! I had leeks I didn't know what to do with and I love risotto, so somehow I landed on this. I used this recipe, but no mushrooms. I like mushrooms, but I didn't have any.

Fennel was available, and I hadn't had it in a very long time, so I decided to get it! I made this recipe, except no Granny Smith apples, red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice, and blue cheese instead of parmesan.

This takes the cake I think for worst picture I'm posting. It was supposed to be a healthy meatloaf, but it wasn't very good. I used golden flax meal instead of breadcrumbs. The golden flax seed meal gave it an odd aftertaste. I was kind of disappointed.

This is literally just Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi (always pan roasted or baked in oven—never boiled), pesto, and parmesan cheese. It's an easy comfort meal.

Four avocados for our Cinco de Mayo guacamole. One of the most important parts of making good guacamole is to never overmix it!!! I don't want your guacamole soup. I want chunky guacamole!

The best guacamole has the fewest ingredients, in my opinion. The guacamole I make is my favorite guacamole. Find the recipe here.

The most beautiful pork carnitas. Corn tortilla + guacamole + pickled red onions + carnitas = perfection! Get my recipe here.

Now onto some non-cooking projects... We purchased this credenza on Facebook Marketplace in October. It was pretty beat up, but it was very cheap and it fit the space which is an awkward size.

We originally thought we would stain it, but then we decided a pop of color would be nice since we already have a lot of wood in the living room.

We went with blue to match the tile near the fireplace and our blue chair.

We also added new handles and knobs from CB2. I love the way it turned out!

We took this picture on Easter Sunday. It was sad not to be able to attend Traders Point Christian Church for service, but we're fortunate they are streaming the services online. We dressed up to watch it in our living room.

William grilled Costco steaks I had in the freezer for Easter dinner.

A very non-traditional Easter meal, but it was delicious.

I went on a cleaning kick and decided to clean the grout in our bathroom.

I decided it was way too much work for almost unnoticeable results.

Did you know you're supposed to clean your washing machine filter? I had no idea. It was one of the most disgusting things I've ever done.

Also, I had no idea that I can and I should be cleaning my range hood vents!

So much better!

Another painting project.

Our bedroom went from beige to white—we're very bold.

I had a really tough and stressful day at work, and when I returned home, William had a candlelit dinner set up. It was so thoughtful!

He was even wearing a suit. I took a picture of us to remember the moment.

I love this beautiful, flowery tree. I stare at it outside our living room window every day.

1 comment:

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