Silver Lining of Social Distancing

*I am in no way trying to trivialize the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is simply meant to lighten the mood and get excited about a few benefits of practicing social distancing: a practice once so foreign to us.*

COOKING/BAKING

It is so fun to see everyone trying new recipes. From biscuits to bread to pizza to pies. This has been such a great time to try new things – especially things one wouldn’t normally have time to try. Like bread! So much bread! A few weeks ago I made homemade pretzels. I had to travel to five stores just to find some yeast! My theory is that it was all sold out because so many people were baking homemade bread.

Here are the recipes I’ve tried so far:

Cheesecake Cookies
3.5/5 – Cheesecake + cookies = cheesecake cookies! They do taste like cheesecake but the consistency is a little weird. The recipe says not to overbake but I think they could have benefitted from a few more minutes in the oven. I will definitely give them another shot!

Maple French Toast Bake

3/5 – The addition of the cream cheese is a little weird. It would be less weird if it was sweetened cream cheese like cheesecake batter but it isn’t so it was odd. Let’s just say I didn’t eat any of the leftovers.

Crispy Parmesan Baked Chicken Milanese

2/5 – My mom always cooks chicken cutlets in oil and I wish I would have done that with this recipe instead of on a sheetpan. The taste was good but the chicken came out kind of dry. I think I’ll stick to my mom’s classic Italian chicken cutlets.

Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake

4.5 – SO YUM! I had all the leftovers of this. My only complaint is that not all of the cinnamon rolls were soaked in the egg mixture. So the top of the bake tasted like your typical Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and the bottom of the bake tasted like delicious french toast. I will probably try a different pan next time so the entire thing takes like french toast.

Crack Chicken Penne

3.5/5 – I don’t typically love ranch so I’m not sure why I decided to make this recipe (it includes a packet of ranch). The ranch taste is very prominent and I just couldn’t get past it. My brother’s complaint was that it was too creamy which is funny because at first, it wasn’t creamy at all so I added more cream cheese. I thought it was the perfect level of creamy but I just really didn’t like the ranch so I probably won’t make it again.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

4.5/5 – Deeeelicious!! I always struggle working with yeast and this was no exception. I never seem to find a warm enough place for the dough to rise properly or promptly. So it took a few hours. The dough was still pretty tacky once I ran out of patience and it was hard to roll and form the pretzels. But I solved the issue by making pretzel bites instead! I put cheese in some and pepperoni on others. They were absolutely delish. Next time I plan on tossing them in cinnamon sugar.

WALKING/EXPLORING

Mike and I have been trying to explore as much as we can and everytime we do, it seems like everyone else has the same idea! Nature is one of the only things we can enjoy right now outside of our homes so it’s nice to see everyone out and about (at a distance). It could be because the weather is getting nicer or it could be because people are going stir crazy but whatever the reason, I think it’s awesome. A simple walk around my neighborhood each day is single-handedly keeping me sane!

“ZOOM”ING

Zoom is clearly all the rage these days. I think it’s such a great way for people to interact at a distance yet still get the quality time we all miss. I love that families, including mine, incorporated a virtual hangout on Easter. I love that friends are having happy hours and businesses are havings meetings. This is one of the things I hope lasts way beyond COVID-19. My mom, brother, and I are the only members of our family who live in Connecticut; there is no reason we can’t use Zoom for every holiday, special occasion, or spontaneous check-in. We should continue reaching out to our long-distance friends and families way after the virus.

APPRECIATING

The amount of support our essential workers are getting is incredible. For example, the 7:00pm healthcare salute is such a simple yet powerful gesture of appreciation for those in the most contact with COVID-19. Sometimes we forget, or maybe we never even realized, that essential workers are putting their lives at risk every day, pandemic or not. It’s humbling to see how hard they continue to work while most of us are in the safety of our homes. And we can’t forget about our teachers!! Their perseverance, patience, guidance, consistency, availability, and dedication to molding our future has been acknowledged and appreciated by parents and guardians during this time of distant learning. If it weren’t for our teachers, healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, restaurant workers, truck drivers, pharmacy workers, and all essential employees, our situation would be even more perilous than it already is.

TIME

We may not have wished for this time but… we have it. For some of us, it’s the most time we’ve ever had in our adult lives. Time to complete a puzzle or become a Sudoku pro. Time to clean out closets and fill donation bags. Time to start a book and finish it. Time to binge Netflix originals or reruns of classic favs. (I have some recommendations if you need some!) Time to plant a garden or organize the garage. Time for us to miss the ones we so often see and time for us to plan our reunions. Time to reflect on ourselves and our lives and our happiness. Time is the true silver lining of social distancing and what a waste it would be if we didn’t make lemonade out of lemons (and maybe some vodka). 

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