Hello, friends. How are you doing? I mean, truly. How are you? Hanging in there?
March was a month, I’ll say that much. First a devastating tornado ripped through Nashville, mere blocks from our house, leaving us with a broken window and no power for 5 days (though we feel extremely fortunate that the contents of our fridge and freezer were our only major losses).
We were actually in New Orleans the night of the tornado, and were planning to spend a few days there for my birthday. But as soon as we woke up to dozens of messages and texts from friends and family, we quickly realized that home was where we needed to be. So we cut our trip short and headed home.
And now? For different reasons entirely, home is where we still need to be… for as long as necessary.
With the exception of fewer trips to the grocery store, our day to day schedule honestly hasn’t changed much at all, and yet, everything just feels different. We’re still working, carrying a mostly full workload, or trying to at least (please tell me I’m not the only one having trouble focusing).
We feel extremely fortunate to be able to work from home, to have a safe and comfortable place in which to isolate ourselves, a stocked pantry to nourish ourselves, and some friendly felines who are relishing the extra attention.
In times like these community is more important than ever, and I consider you all part of mine. As scary as things are, I can’t help but smile seeing you cooking and baking for your families. I’ve been tagged in countless instagram stories from folks making my recipes, and it makes me smile every time.
I know a lot of you out there may be in unfamiliar territory suddenly having to cook for your family every meal. If you find yourself in a pickle (or in search of a recipe for pickles lol), please reach out to me in the comments, send me an email, post in our Facebook group, or DM me on Instagram or Facebook. I will do my best to answer each and every one to the best of my ability, or direct you to appropriate resources when my knowledge falls short.
We’re all in this together and I’m here to help from afar in whatever way I can.
If anything I’m optimistic this experience will make us better. At least I hope it does. I hope these new habits we’re developing now out of necessity will become a permanent part of our futures, from reducing food waste to simply being more kind and caring for one another.
Tell me… what do you want to see in these coming weeks (or, gulp, months?) I’m here for you, so please tell me what kind of content I can put out that would be the most helpful to you during these times!
If you’re looking for something to cook…
I put all my favorite pantry recipes in one place for your convenience. These are recipes that rely mostly on shelf-stable ingredients, with little to no fresh perishables. Out of over 1000 recipes on this site… it’s surprisingly… sparse… and has truly made me realize just how much we rely on fresh, seasonal produce for our weekly meals. But don’t worry, we’re cooking from our pantry right now just like you are, so you can definitely expect to see some new, pantry-friendly recipes real soon.
Can’t find flour but still want to bake? My ever-popular amaretti cookies only need 3 ingredients (none of which is flour). These almond brownies just use almond flour (and they are fab, if I do say so myself). If you’ve got booze and vanilla wafers, my bourbon delight bars are, well, a delight. And my grandma’s cocoa pecan torte is the flourless cake of your dreams.
No eggs or butter? Vegan cupcakes to the rescue!
If you’re looking for something to do…
Master a new skill in the kitchen. Browse some of my past kitchen challenges… maybe you finally have time to tackle homemade croissants, or the grocery store was out of bagels and you can’t survive without them (make them from scratch and you don’t have to!)
Read a book. I’ve got 6 years worth of book recommendations ready for you.
Join the sourdough revolution. It seems like everyone is making bread right now. I’ve been baking my own sourdough for two years, and my starter, Jane Dough, has certainly been getting a workout these past few weeks. If you’re looking to start a starter, my friend Kristin has a great beginner tutorial that’ll have you up and baking in no time! Bonus: don’t throw anything out, and put that sourdough discard to good use!
Learn to can. Now would be a perfect time to learn to make and preserve jams and jellies! While I wouldn’t necessarily dive right into marmalade, something like this simple blueberry-vanilla jam is a great place to start. You can also take a gander at all the past canning recipes I’ve posted here, most include printable labels as well!
My seasonal ebook series, That’s My Jam is also a great beginner’s resource, with upwards of 40+ recipes for seasonal jams, jellies and marmalade that are easy enough for a beginner to tackle, plus tons of helpful information and resources to get you started. (And psst! Use coupon code MARMALADE for 15% off today!)
Plan your next trip. While travel is off the table for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean you can’t start wanderlusting now! And I have a feeling we’ll be seeing some amazing airfare deals in the coming months as things start to reopen (tip: input a few possible destinations/dates into Google Flights and toggle on tracking—you’ll get an alert whenever the price changes!) Looking for inspiration? Check out our travel archives for destination inspiration. Once you’ve got a place picked out, you can also start adding ideas in Pebblar (our favorite travel planning app) to help organize your itinerary later.
I still have to finish editing my photos from Australia, as well as our Alaska trip from last June. Maybe writing about our past travels is the best way to get over the disappointment of having to cancel our upcoming trips (Madrid and Seville will just have to wait).
Oh, and if you’re curious about the cake in these photos… it was a test cake that looked better than it tasted (I always have trouble getting the texture right for yellow cakes). There’s potential there, though, so maybe you’ll see it posted here someday soon.
And those gorgeous sprinkles are the Prom Queen medley from Sweetapolita… use code LOVEANDOLIVEOIL15 and get 15% off your order! Unfortunately this particular medley appears to be discontinued, but there are plenty of other fabulous options.
Take care of yourselves, friends. Stay home, stay safe, and stay healthy. ❤️