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  • Renee Kashuba

Keep it up!

We're all feelin' it...

In my household, we started strict self-isolation March 14. My last event was March 6, and events started getting cancelled then, so my events for the following weekend and beyond were gone. The kids are home, and my husband worked from home even before the outbreak, so we're all in his space now. It's been 2 weeks, and I tell you we all feel like it's been months. But social distancing remains the key to curbing this outbreak, so please be encouraged, and KEEP IT UP! We can do this. Here are some things I've been thinking about this week. Is it coronavirus, or just anxiety? This virus is very serious, and I do not want to trivialize it in any way! But I'm also very aware that every sniffle I have makes me anxious. The truth is that I've had seasonal allergies for years, and I've been working in the garden now that I have some extra time. My symptoms are runny nose, itchy eyes, and clogged ears -- the exact same symptoms I get every spring. I have no aches and pains, no fever, no cough, no diarrhea/vomiting, no headache, no chills, nothing that could ever be construed as flu-like symptoms. Maybe you're having the same sense of anxiety about how you're feeling. So, learn the symptoms, and be vigilant. Monitor how you feel, and look for any changes or worsening. If you have symptoms, contact a healthcare provider. Here are sources of reliable information:

Plus, the Washington Post and the New York Times are providing information on COVID-19 free, as a public service (other content remains subject to a paywall).  Symptoms:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • Diarrhea

A less common, newly identified symptom may be loss of smell and taste (read the NPR article). Meanwhile, practice strict social distancing, including avoiding narrow trails packed with people getting fresh air in the spring weather and unnecessary errands. Do you really need to go to the post office? Do you really need new annuals from Home Depot? I know it's hard to come up with projects to do at home with what you have on hand. We're trying to fence the garden, and we've realized we don't have enough chicken wire for the project. The seedlings are sprouting under the plant lights in the basement, and we have just a little time to problem solve! I'll let you know what we figure out. What to cook? Like everyone else, I've been perusing news feeds, looking for something interesting to do or think about. I saw a post of 25 recipes to make with what you have on hand in your pantry. I didn't have a single necessary ingredient for these recipes (nachos with fresh veggies? really? didn't you all eat the chips first? we did!). So, here are some "recipes" I'm really hoping may help you out for ideas. I'm trying to be flexible with ingredients, and give options you may have on hand. And I'll be giving more recipes every newsletter. Easy, double-quick rolls I haven't been to a store in a while, but the last time I went, bread was really hard to find. Luckily, I enjoy making bread, but you may not feel the same. Here's a super easy recipe that honestly takes very little time and attention. If you've run out of bread, give it a try.

  • 1 package (or about 1 Tb) active dry yeast

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 1 Tb potato flour (omit, if you don't have it, or consider using a mashed, boiled potato or yam)

  • 2 Tb sugar (or honey, agave, or any other sweetener you like)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 egg (optional -- I usually omit, unless I'm doing a GF version)

  • 2 Tb oil or melted butter

  • 1 Tb potato flour (omit, if you don't have it, or consider using a very well mashed boiled potato or yam)

  • 2 1/4 c flour (any kind)

Proof yeast in warm water plus sugar, salt, egg (if using), and oil/butter for 10 minutes in a bowl to get a good bloom (or less if you're lazy, really this should be a low-stress recipe!). Add flours and mix throughly. Cover and rise until doubled, about 20-30 minutes. Oil 12 muffin cups. Spoon dough into cups and let rise again for about 20 minutes. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.


Simple chickpea salad

I've been eating this a lot, because it's very fast to make and quite satisfying. It's also a versatile base for combination with other things to make a meal.

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and well rinsed

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all, and serve alone or over sliced romaine or mixed with any fresh raw veggies you have (delicious with avocado, if you have it). Can mix in some drained, canned tuna or shredded cooked chicken for more protein or cooked grain or potatoes for starch. Add dried or fresh herbs or spices, as you have them. If you add veggies, proteins, or starch, double the lemon.


Dark chocolate truffles

This is by far my most popular truffle, and now that you'll see how easy it is to make, I doubt you'll want to buy them -- you'll just make them yourselves! It's a stretch that you'll have these ingredients, but I hope some of you do. This is also easy for kids to make. If you have gloves, they help reduce the mess.

  • 8 oz (weigh this, if possible) best quality dark chocolate

  • 1 cup cream or coconut milk/cream (use full-fat if you have it)

  • Finest quality cocoa (use brute if you have it)

Roughly chop chocolate in a bowl. Heat cream to just simmering, and pour over chocolate. Let stand 10 minutes (I mean it! Do not skip this -- the cream has to melt the chocolate -- just try to think about something else). Whisk to combine fully. Chill fully in refrigerator (at least 2 hours, but this will take less time if you pour the mixture into a flatter container so it can spread out). Spoon out about a 1/2 tablespoon at a time (whatever size suits you, really), and form a ball rapidly in your palms. Roll the ball in the cocoa. Reserve in the refrigerator to extend the self-life. Or eat them all at once in one sitting. I won't judge.


Possible substitution:I've never tried this with milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, or reconstituted powdered milk. My guess is that the texture will be difficult to get right without the added fat. But it may be possible to mix in butter and/or add less liquid overall. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes!


 

Sometimes a return to childhood past-times is just the comfort we need. How about a few adult coloring pages? Download, print, color (maybe right beside your kids).



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