COVID-19 Quarantine – Day… whatever… it’s been a while…

COVID-19 Quarantine – Day… whatever… it’s been a while…

And your recipe of the day is frozen pizza, folks! Want my recipe tips? Add a little shredded mozzarella before you pop that baby in the oven. It gives it that homemade touch. Extra credit if you preheat your Pampered Chef pizza stone before “baking” your pizza. I’m a culinary expert.

So, I’ve lost all sense of time. I know it’s somewhere near the beginning of the week because I’ve only worked a few days, so there’s that. Now, the season on the other hand… I think it’s supposed to be spring, but definitely feels more like winter. The kids’s little calendar chart says spring, so we’ll go with that. I’m sure they’re keeping track.

Day 17? Maybe? Who cares… I’m pretty sure I skipped a day… or two. We made an awesome fort yesterday, so there’s that. I’d say that’s a win!

COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 15

COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 15

I have officially lost all sense of time and had no idea what today was. I knew it was a weekend day because I wasn’t working, but has to find my previous post to even remember what day I am on.

Cleaned out a giant bed of weeds that was previously a garden and planted starter zucchini and tomato plants for later. Wish I had a before and after picture, but I just have the after.

If these torrential downpours and storms don’t stop I may just lose my mind. This dog won’t sleep with storms and drives me insane!

COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 14

COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 14

A new day, a new recipe!  Typical Friday of painting rocks with the tiny people, lots and LOTS of laundry, a lot of work while the tiniest napped, and the daily making of the dinner.

Oh!  I did decide to order a box from Misfits Market, but it’s now delayed 😦  Rona, you are a fun sucker!  BUT, if you’re interested and want to try it out they provide us with a code for 25% off (COOKWME-UD0VIL), so I can at least share that with you!  If you’ve never heard of Misfits Market, I’ll fill you in.  They send you an assortment of “imperfect” produce in a smaller or larger box (your choice!) weekly, biweekly, or any timeframe you choose.  You can cancel at any time or even skip deliveries if you don’t happen to need it on a scheduled delivery.  You can choose your day of delivery and can change your subscription at any time.  I’ll let you know how it goes when I get my first order!

I also finally broke down and ordered new outdoor furniture after realizing ours was so bad I didn’t even want to sit on it yesterday.  well, it was $250 and I bought it when we moved into our house, so I’d say over 8 years of use is pretty good for $250!

On to the most important part of the day… dinner!  Tonight’s dinner was Tomato Basil Meatloaf.  This is a great recipe that I usually prepare in large batches, freeze it, then pull it out to thaw if I know we have a busy week ahead of us.  I typically make 3 loafs since the recipe uses ground pork and ground beef.  I’ve found that most of our local grocery stores only carry ground pork in 1 1/2 lb packages, which stinks when your recipe only calls for 1 lb.  So, I buy the 3 lb lean ground beef and 2 packages of the 1 1/2 lbs of ground pork to maximize the ingredients.  I make the three batches at once, wrap each loaf in saran wrap, then a layer of Reynold’s Wrap foil, then put it in a sealed freezer back and add the baking instructions in Sharpie.

Keep hanging in there, everyone!  We’ll get through this… eventually!

Tomato-Basil Meatloaf (Freezer Friendly Recipe!)

Tomato-Basil Meatloaf (Freezer Friendly Recipe!)

I love this recipe because I can make several loaves and freeze them for the next time I need them.  This is a Pillsbury recipe that I have adapted over time when I figured out what ingredients worked best for our busy family.

I make three loaves and freeze them because ground pork comes in 1 1/2 lb packages, which makes the recipe a little challenging when it only calls for 1 lb of pork and 1 lb of ground beef.  I buy a 3 lb package of lean ground beef (bonus: it’s cheaper to purchase this way anyways!) and make three loaves, freeze them, then they’re ready for later!  If you do freeze these, the best way I’ve found to freeze them is to wrap the loaf in saran wrap, then wrap in foil, then place in a sealed Ziploc freezer bag.

If you’re not a fan of ground pork, 2 lbs of ground beef works or you can even just use 1 lb of beef and halve the entire recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (or use regular diced tomatoes and substitute your own herbs
  • 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 lb lean ground pork
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)
  • 2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped (optional)
  • shredded fresh basil leaves (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil. Place broiler pan rack or metal cooling rack in pan.  For this part I usually just use a broiler pan to let any drippings go to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Place diced tomatoes in blender or food processor. Cover; blend on high speed about 5 seconds or until tomatoes are still slightly chunky. In large bowl, mix beef and pork. Stir in tomatoes, marinara sauce, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper just until combined. Shape mixture into 9×5-inch loaf. Place loaf on rack in pan.
  3. Bake 1 hour. Top with cheese. Bake 15 minutes longer or until no longer pink in center and meat thermometer inserted in center of loaf reads 160°F. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with plum tomatoes and basil (optional).
COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 13

COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 13

Lucky number 13… said no one ever. Today was a beautiful day and I was able to do some yard work outside with Liam, but man. Today was kind of rough in every other aspect.

Being stuck at home almost feels claustrophobic in a different sort of way. Yeah, you can try to do all of the things you should do like stick to your regular schedule (hah! Kids… there is schedule with kids…), try to eat well, try to make sure you stay active, try to do the millions of activities they tell you to do with your kids, and the list goes on and on, but today has worn on me.

Working from home is rough. Not because I can’t see people, but because people communicate VERY differently through technology and unfortunately, some don’t communicate at all. This makes everyone’s job that much more challenging and adds a whole other level of uncertainty to this entire situation.

I do love being able to stay home and enjoy the kids, though because it’s their favorite thing to do-stay home and play with mom and dad. This also adds a challenge, though. When mom and dad have to get things down to either pay the bills or make sure the house doesn’t need to be condemned, I feel so much guilt. I would so rather be playing with them.

Hopefully everyone else is having a wonderful day and enjoyed the beautiful weather! Hang in there, everyone… we’re all in the same boat!

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

My mom makes THE BEST banana bread… hands down!  Here’s her recipe in case any of you have bananas that have gone bad like we did today.  I feel so wasteful throwing any kind of food away at this point.  It’s almost as precious as toilet paper at this point.  Well, nothing is that precious…

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (usually about three bananas)
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream together the eggs, applesauce, and sugar and beat well.
  3. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, baking powder, and soda which have been sifted together.  Stir well.
  4. Add the crushed bananas and nuts and stir in well.
  5. Add the batter to a greased loaf pan and sprinkle with flour.  Bake for 1 hour.
COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 12

COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 12

Another foggy morning, but it turned into a beautiful day!  Hopefully the weather will continue to warm up so we can actually get outside and get fresh air after being cooped up for so long.  The weather is making my allergies go crazy and now is NOT the time for another sinus infection, so be gone crazy weather!

I ventured out to Target today where I was treated like I had the plague (*full eye-roll*).  So, I guess this is the new norm.  Treat literally everyone as if they have the plague… as if this wasn’t surreal enough.  Precautions are necessary, but this is not how any of this works, people.  I was forced to lay my phone down with the barcode on it for them to scan, then step away from the counter.  So, now my phone is covered with literally every germ on that dang countertop.  Fail.  I literally wanted to walk up to the girl shopping haphazardly down every aisle of Target with a scarf around her mouth and shake her.   Violently.  Honey, that scarf isn’t going to do squat to protect you, not to mention it’s NOT COVERING YOUR NOSE (*face palm*).  There are photos of gigantic lines where seniors are lined up literally RIGHT NEXT TO one another to purchase groceries during their senior hour.  That’s not how this works… that’s not how any of this works!  I get it… mass hysteria has ensued due to the media, but if you’re this afraid for you and your family, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOUSE.  People are breathing oxygen around you.  An easily spread virus will catch up with you if you’re out, so stay home.

Life is bleak in heavily populated cities that contain mass transit.  New York City’s statistics are staggering, however most of America doesn’t live their lives this way.  Yes, take things seriously, stay home as much as humanly possible to protect yourself and those you love and to minimize the amount of people who must seek medical attention.

To put your mind at ease a bit, here are a few facts about this virus (directly from the WHO website on 3/24/2020 at 1:47 pm) that the media isn’t sharing (and no, I don’t care if you “disagree”… science is science and facts are facts, so shut it…):

Current World Population: approx. 7.8 billion

Total COVID-19 cases: 375,498

Total COVID-19 fatalities: 16,362

So, this means that about 4.8% of the world’s population has been infected with the virus and only 4.3% of those have died. In other words, only 0.0002% of the population has died from this virus.

How about the seasonal flu?  Approximately 389,000 people die of the flu worldwide (which equates to a staggering 32,000 PER MONTH).  Scary, huh?

Yeah, yeah… I hear all of you out there who refuse to believe these numbers screaming “NOT EVERYONE IS BEING TESTED, IDIOT!”.  Cool it on the name calling, home slice… no, not everyone has been tested and not everyone needs or should be tested.  Showing severe symptoms?  Fine, test and quarantine to slow the spread.  This is what we currently do with the flu.  Why isn’t everyone who shows cold symptoms tested for the flu?  Because it’s expensive an unnecessary.  Cool it.

Stay healthy, take precaution, and protect yourselves, but… how many of you are in danger of being one paycheck away from total ruin?  Most of us.  Why in the world are we allowing a government who has continually told us to NOT WEAR A MASK if we aren’t ill (*cough, cough* DEWINE *cough cough*) and today is saying “Wear masks!  They are currently doing this in China and we all need to wear masks!” and “Healthcare workers WILL DIE!” (can you say mass hysteria and fear mongering???) to plummet us into financial ruin by their scare tactics?  POLITICS.  Simply politics.

Hang in there, peeps.  Hopefully this will be over soon.  Pray for our president as he’s been pigeonholed this entire time.  It’s a darned if he does and darned if he doesn’t situation.  Pray for our politicians who clearly don’t have the people’s best interest in mind, but their own political agendas (like women’s choice to murder their own children and physically impossible CO2 emission guidelines).  Pray for your pastors that they will continue to speak truth about the only thing that truly matters-God and his sovereign word.  Truth about this situation and what is currently going on in our government and in our society.

Take care everyone!  Enjoy the sunshine and take a walk, but if anyone gets closer than 6 ft to you, shove them as hard as humanly possible, because… social distancing…

COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 11

COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 11

Well, on Day 11 this is getting down right depressing. I am definitely more productive working from home, but it’s just so strange to not be able to go anywhere or do anything. More than anything it’s depressing to me how economically challenging this time is for the majority of hardworking middle class families and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

I also learned how hard it is for technical people to use Microsoft Teams for a conference call. Apparently it’s VERY difficult… but hey… we accomplished what we needed to.

Stay well everyone… and be sure to use your social distancing donuts!

Easy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Easy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

I almost wish I had never attempted to make sausage gravy. Now that I know how easy it is to make I will want it all the time… goodbye, swimsuit season. I’ll be eating my sausage gravy!

As for the biscuits… I didn’t even attempt those this time. Someday I’ll venture out to the land of homemade biscuits, but for now, biscuits in a can will have to do!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sausage (I like Jimmy Dean country sausage but any kind will do!)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Directions

    1. Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high until thoroughly cooked (approximately 10-12 minutes). Remove sausage from pan and reserve sausage drippings (approximately 4 Tbsp).
      Add flour to skillet. If less than 4 Tbsp of drippings were reserved from browning the sausage, adjust the amount of flour accordingly. Continually stir the drippings and flour about 2 minutes.
      Add milk to the flour and drippings mixture. Adjust the amount of milk according to the amount of flour added. Allow to cook and bubble while stirring for approximately 5 minutes. If the gravy becomes too thick, add more milk. The consistency should be fairly thin as the addition of the sausage will thicken the gravy significantly.
      Add sausage to the gravy and stir to heat thoroughly. Add more milk if the mixture becomes too thick or cook additionally if the mixture is too thin.
      Serve over biscuits.

    COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 10

    COVID-19 Quarantine – Day 10

    Well, a typical Monday here with the exception of an extra child in the house (always a good thing!). We made pretend lattes, washed sink loads of dishes, ran around the house like crazy people, did a little school work, and made biscuits and gravy for dinner, which was a new one for me. If I had known biscuits and gravy was that easy I’d weigh 500 lbs by now… I never should have tried it-haha!

    As I took the dog out for the last time this evening I couldn’t help but stand there and just listen. I listened to the nothingness and I’ve never heard so much quiet around our house. We’re close to a park and several fairly busy roads and it stopped me in my tracks to just hear it. The nothing. It wasn’t really eerie, which is what I wanted to feel, but it was peaceful. Unfortunately, it didn’t feel as peaceful as it should have because it was forced nothingness. None of us like being told we can’t have our normal lives right now, but I can’t argue that it isn’t peaceful, meaningful, and enjoyable.

    Stay healthy everyone.