So much has changed in the last few weeks. As our personal worlds narrow to our homes and backyards, many of us are changing what and how we eat. Most of us are spending more time in our kitchens, cooking more often and trying new recipes. I had no trouble scratching my original plans for this month’s blog posts to focus on eating well while staying home. But with such wide variation in what’s available in stores, in backyard gardens and from local farmers, and in pantries, it’s hard to know what I should emphasize. So I’m spreading my net wide, hoping that you’ll each find something on Twice as Tasty that makes your life a little easier and more enjoyable.
Like you, I have been focusing on staying home and have been spending plenty of time in the kitchen. On the downside, we canceled our sailing adventure planned for this month. On the upside, I’m busy writing my first cookbook! Focused on pickles, it’s scheduled for release before the end of the year. Read on to discover how you might win a copy, as well as to learn more about eating well while staying home.
I have loads of ideas that will keep you happily occupied in the kitchen and well fed at every meal, many of them already on the blog. Whether you’re looking for a new project, seeking new ways to enjoy a well-stocked pantry, or struggling to adapt your standard fare to shortages, I’d love to share my ideas. If you don’t find solutions in this post or elsewhere on the blog, just reach out via the Twice As Tasty Community on Facebook or contact me directly.
I’ve broken this post into general sections, each packed with ideas that will hopefully meet your current situation. Which applies to you, right now?
I Need a Project
If you now have more downtime at home, learning a new skill can keep your brain and your belly full. Here are some adventures you can embark on now at home:
- Sourdough baking. If you’ve always wanted to bake bread and never had the time, here’s your chance. To help you get started, I’m reopening my 2020 Sourdough Giveaway. I’ll send you free sourdough starter through April 30. You can learn more about my starter here, and you can request free starter here. I do ask for a payment of $5 to cover packaging and shipping costs. If the cost of shipping is a hardship for you at this time and would prevent you from requesting starter, just let me know; I’m still happy to hook you up with free starter.
- Cheese making. I love making my own cheese, and creating fresh cheeses in your own kitchen is far easier than you think. You’ll find all the information you need to start making cheese here. I recommend starting with Lemon Cheese, with or without Fresh Yogurt. It’s ready to eat in about an hour and only requires milk, lemon juice or another acid, and salt. From there, you can move on to the other cheeses and dairy products on the blog. If you start to need cheese cultures and equipment, Cultures for Health appears to be well stocked.
- Gardening. If you’ve never grown your own vegetables, or have let your gardening lax, this is the season to get dirty. I write about my garden a lot on the blog, including why I find it so beneficial mentally, emotionally, and physically, but I don’t really get you into the nitty gritty of growing your own food. Fortunately, the newly launched Rutgers Community Gardening Series has plenty of info on getting started, and the OSU Master Gardener program is now offering its online vegetable gardening course for free. You can learn more in some of my favorite gardening books. While you plan, I recommend reading this post so that you get the most out of the growing season.
My Pantry Is Full
If you’re already an avid baker, cheesemaker, and gardener, you probably have shelves and a freezer full of home-preserved goods, along with a well-stocked and varied pantry. Now’s the time to dig deep, using up items that have been lost at the back or bottom of your stash and exploring new recipes with standard staples in your home. When you do shop, you can keep your pantry at a well-prepared level—or fill your empty shelves wisely—by reading this post as you create your grocery list. Here are some recipes I’ve been making lately that don’t require me to rush to the store; you’ll find many other pantry meals in the recipe index:
- Basic Granola
- Pearl Barley Cereal with Honeyed Nuts
- Spiced Red Lentil Dip
- Quick Potato Salad
- 30-Minute Cherry Tomato Soup
- Mixed-Bean Soup
- Smashed Bean Pasta
- Roasted Vegetables with Tofu and Buckwheat
- Gingerbread Loaf
My Cupboards Are Nearly Bare
If you’re struggling to find basic staples, eating well can be challenging and frustrating. Fortunately, many delicious recipes can be made with just a few ingredients and adapted to what you have on hand. They often have the added advantages of being affordable and quick to prep. Here are just a few that are already on the blog; you can find more in the recipe index:
- Dutch Babies: Just need eggs, milk, butter, and flour
- Basic Potato Frittata: Just need eggs, onion, and potatoes
- Baked Chickpea Snacks: Just need dried beans, oil, and some seasonings
- Glazed Carrots: Just need carrots, butter, sugar, and spices
- Baked Polenta: Just need polenta, butter, some dried herbs, and maybe some cheese
- Tangy Potato Mashers: Just need potatoes, vinegar, butter, and garlic
- Spanish Shrimp in Garlic Oil: Just need shrimp, garlic, oil, and some spices
- Childhood Mac and Cheese: Just need macaroni, butter, flour, milk, and cheese
- Baked Rice Pudding: Just need eggs, milk, butter, rice, and some spices
Once you get a few good meals in your belly, you may find it easier to think proactively about eating well. Even if you don’t have the interest in or time to start one of the new projects I mentioned earlier, you can shop more wisely when buying what is available so that your selection is more varied at home. Many local farms still have space in their community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs and would love to bring you fresh produce weekly—particularly if farmers markets are closed or restricted in your community this summer. LocalHarvest will likely list many of the CSAs available in your area; outside the United States, a Google search for “CSA farm” or “farm share” and your location will likely turn up offerings.
Twice as Tasty
This month, I’ll be sharing new recipes that can be made from ingredients you likely have or can source easily, and I’ll be explaining how to alter existing recipes to fit the ingredients you have on hand.
And remember how I mentioned that you could be entered to win a copy of my forthcoming cookbook? All you have to do is join the Twice as Tasty Challenge and you’ll be entered in an end-of-year drawing. Here’s how it works:
- Become a subscriber. Click here to subscribe to the Twice as Tasty newsletter. It generally arrives in your email inbox monthly and is free!
- Make a recipe. Choose any recipe from the blog. Really, any recipe.
- Share your creation. Comment on the recipe post on the blog or post photos and comments on Instagram (tagged @twiceastastyblog and #twiceastasty) or Facebook.
- Repeat. Every photo or comment that shows you made a recipe gives you another entry in the drawing.
Join at any time, make as many recipes as you like. Your feedback will make the Twice as Tasty community stronger and more vibrant—and you’ll have a tasty time doing it.
Need sourdough starter? Round 2 of the Annual Sourdough Giveaway runs through April 30, 2020. Get your free sourdough starter here. Or simply join the Twice as Tasty Challenge by becoming a newsletter subscriber; click here to subscribe.