To say life has been challenging since the pandemic began would be an understatement. I am choosing to live my quarantine life positively and take this time to learn and enhance techniques, and just be thankful for what I have in life (even when the baby hits my drink and spills it on himself). :)
Working from home has been great! I am able to wake up later and still begin working earlier than normal. This allows me to have more time with my son because I am able to pick him up from daycare much earlier than normal. He has been home with me for the past 2 weeks and it has not been easy working and taking care of him, but I am thankful for this extra time with him!
We have been trying to learn new skills in order to “survive the quarantine”. Most of these new skills involve cooking, pictures included! :)
First, I started with something simple and made homemade pancakes. I added chocolate chips, too, because who wants plain pancakes? Nobody in this house, that’s for sure! I added bacon because it is always good for breakfast. :)
My husband wanted to try his hand at making sourdough bread, so we made a sourdough starter. We made it so well, apparently, that it exploded…multiple times! We finally figured out how to contain it in the quart jar after about a week of trial and error. We also dried some starter for long-term storage and will be able to share this with family and friends. :)
After getting the starter under control, we decided to try our hand at baking bread. It tasted great and I even made a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon! Unfortunately, the bread was very dense. After this batch, we found a better flour from King Arthur that should yield more consistent and fluffier results.
We also found a recipe for sourdough pancakes. While keeping an active starter, you must discard half of it every day and “feed” it so it remains in an active state. Apparently, really good pancakes can be made from this discard (don’t worry, chocolate chips were added to these as well). The recipe we used required the pancake starter to sit (covered) overnight to rise. I am happy to report they were fantastic!
With the new flour we purchased, we also made homemade bagels. This process is a little more difficult as it spans over a couple of days. Our first batch came out great! They just aren’t perfect like the ones you would buy in a store. We will be perfecting these in the next week. :)
We decided to change it up a bit and make some Italian food. Homemade 3-meat meatballs comprised of ground Italian sausage, hamburger, and ground venison, homemade sauce, and homemade Italian bread topped with butter and garlic = a happy tummy. I also had to make a balsamic vinegar and olive oil blend to dip the bread into because why not! I was going for the authentic Italian feel. Don’t worry, there was a Cesar salad involved as well. :)
We have also taken this time to introduce a couple of new solid foods to our son, Adam. Turns out he is a big fan of bananas and peaches! We have also given him rice cereal for babies and he thinks that is acceptable as well. Next on the list to try: apples.
Along with our cooking escapade, we have taken this time to expand our garden so we can grow more vegetables and fruits. We will grow tomatoes, hot peppers, bell peppers, cantaloupe, and watermelon in the 3 large beds. We have started all of the peppers, watermelon, and cantaloupe from seed and they will all be planted this weekend. The smaller bed will be designated for herbs, such as basil, parsley, and cilantro. In the fall, we are going to plant onions and garlic. The goal is to make our marinara sauce from scratch with home-grown bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and herbs! We also make a tasty hot sauce that will consist mostly of home-grown ingredients this time around!
Life has taken a difficult turn for many families during this pandemic. We are very fortunate that we have each other and are happy and healthy. I am very thankful that I am getting to spend so much time with Adam as well! Kids grow up way too fast and any time with him is so precious. I am hopeful that this attitude will continue after things “get back to normal” and I encourage others to keep a positive outlook as well!
“This, too, shall pass.”