I love creating and keeping memories. I keep this blog as my way of documenting the small and big events of my everyday life. My cellphone is another one. I take pictures of everything. It is a great free hobby but it is practical as well. I can look back and remember what I did on that day. Looking back on my photos of April, I realized — wow! I really did shelter-in-place! I only went out to go to work twice a week and shop for groceries. My April days were filled with the consistencies of home life and staying in. I dreamt of being able to live like this for years. Although the first two weeks of quarantine that started on March 27 for me was a difficult adjustment to the new life, I got the hang of it and learned to like it. I like the unhurried life. I like that work and home life seem to have more of a balance. It was so different when I was “breathing, sleeping and living” work. I like that I can think and feel safe within the confines of my home. I know that one day life will slowly catch up again and we will go back to “normal” — whatever that would look like post-COVID-19. I would like to go back and remember these days despite its difficulties.
April was Easter, dinner deliveries, many bowls of udon and rice soups, a Sunday spent gardening, creating a succulent “garden,” zoom happy hours and more cooking and baking experiments in my kitchen than I have ever done in my life.
DATE NIGHT MEALS
In addition to take out date night dinners that I already posted here (Date Night Eats In the Time of Coronavirus), Doordash and Grubhub have been bringing us our date night dinners. For April, we had these delivered:
- Mediterranean food from our favorite eatery — Simply Greek.
- Spicy Szechuan dishes from Spices 3. I had tendon and pigs ears in chili oil and scallion pancakes. I had heartburn for days but the chili dishes were good! I can make better scallion pancakes.
- Another heart burn moment eating Mongolian Beef and BBQ Pork Fried Rice from Becky’s Chinese.
- Fresh bagel and cream cheese treats from Post Bagels which was my old stomping grounds during college days while studying for exams and doing laundry at the laundromat next door. Mr Sweetie picked up the treats while running an errand. Nice addition to Saturday brunch.
Our Saturdays are now limited to binge-watching TV shows and movies, and Mr Sweetie napping while I read. Our Saturdays always start with a big brunch cooked by me. Then we do not eat until dinner time where we order food delivery. Saturday always ends with us watching Creature Features. We often watch the first 10 minutes to make fun of the B movies then move on. This month, though, we managed to finish watching a movie, “The Beckoning.” Gothic, Hitchcock-“inspired” with terrible acting. It was set in Marin County in the Bay Area which was why we tolerated watching it. And because Mr Sweetie had a stomach ache and could not sleep so I stayed up with him until 2 am to finish the movie. LOL! Other notable shows we watched: Onward, Jumanji 3 and Spider Man: Far From Home. And guilty hours of binge-watching Tiger King on Netflix! Ha! Ha! Honestly, I love these super-low key, cozy Saturdays!
Easter was sad this year because of the pandemic. I did not get to see BFF to exchange Easter treats which we have been doing for years, as well as my family to give the babies their Easter chocolate bunnies. Mr Sweetie also gives me See’s chocolates every Easter but he could not get them because See’s stores are closed. 😦 I know that these are not the true meaning of Easter but tradition means a lot to me and my family. I still tried to celebrate and uphold traditions by eating my fill of Hot Cross Buns and having a simple meal in observance of Easter.
This is a Hot Cross Bun from our local bakery, Rockridge Market. The buns were freshly baked every morning. I even have to sometimes wait for them to come out of the oven. They are so delicious with the essence of orange, raisins and cloves. Such comfort food during lent. As always I get my fill for a couple of weeks as they are only available once a year during Easter season.
After attending online church for Easter, I cooked steak fajitas. I also baked banana breads for dessert. The fajitas turned out great. We were too lazy to thinly slice the fajitas but it was not needed because the meat was really tender and moist. It was a simple Easter meal but delicious.
SOUPS AND MORE SOUPS
April was soup month. I cooked so much soup of different kinds. I guess because soup is the ultimate comfort food. In this time of Covid-19 where our sense of safety is compromised, I have been gravitating towards food and things that bring me a sense of security and comfort. I ate bowls of ramen, congee, udon and angel hair pasta, and probably dozens of dumplings! Soups are always so good and comforting.
- I got obsessed with learning how to cook Scallion Pancakes. I made these pancakes three times until I finally came up with flaky pancakes! Check out my recipe here.
- I also got to finally try to make soy sauce eggs. They are so easy to marinade and so delicious! Here is the recipe.
- I also fried rockfish for lunch one day while WFH and ate it with rice and soy sauce/vinegar. It was yummy but the house smelled like fish for days!
I have been baking like flour will never run out! Well, it has run out because there was shortage (not just of toilet paper) but of flour and yeast! LOL! Lucky for me (aside from we have plenty of toilet paper stocked even before the pandemic), before my flour jar became totally empty, Mr Sweetie found two small bags at a grocery store. The bags were hiding behind some canned goods which was why they were spared. I also managed to buy two full-size bags as other shoppers were grabbing them. I felt like I won the lottery as I have been looking for flour for weeks! I have a lot of new recipes to post in the future on my blog including my baking successes below:
- Cheese Bars
- Blueberry Muffins
- Banana Bread (I have been baking banana breads once a week since March!)
- Buttermilk Pancakes (My first pancakes from scratch and they were so delicious!)
AND OTHER HOBBIES
Sheltering in Place has given me time to organize and pursue creative hobbies:
- ORGANIZED CABINETS AND DRAWERS: This month, no cabinets and drawers were safe from me! I organized my treats cabinet by throwing away old snacks. The cupboards under the sink were all well-organized as well!
- SUCCULENT GARDEN: My plant babies are thriving and I keep on getting more succulents.
- BACKYARD GARDEN: I cannot post a picture here because it is not something to brag about. Ha! Ha! It is still bare but I finally cleared it! It took me 3 straight hours of pulling weeds but it is so worth! It is the view from my “home office” in my dining room as I am working from home. I love looking at my now cleared backyard as I watch squirrels play during my virtual meetings.
ZOOM HAPPY HOUR
Zoom Happy Hour was one of the new normals that I am learning to embrace. I managed to do two Zoom HH with my friends. The first one was with my friends — a couple of them I have not seen in years such as Jim, who was my former boss and mentor who became a good friend. We were joined by Arielle, Kimi and Jacq. The following Saturday I got to Zoom with Alexis and BFF. It was such a treat to reconnect with old friends.
CHEERS TO APRIL
Mr Sweetie opened this bottle of Angelica from V Sattui Winery that we picked up from one of our past Napa Valley trips. As he is not a drinker, it was mostly mine. I am not a fan of dessert wines but give me this wine anytime! I enjoyed sipping it as I dream of future trips to the Wine Country. Someday I will get to do wine tastings again on a beautiful sunny day with my girls as we do every year and during a weekend road trip with Mr Sweetie.
WHAT I AM GRATEFUL FOR…
April has been a chilly month. Unlike April last year, it hardly rained this month. I had some cozy days where I got to light candles. At the beginning of April, we were also able to light our fireplace. There was comfort in being home with Mr Sweetie, and feeling safe despite the uncertainties. Even though I have not seen my family since March, their voices bring me joy and security. I talked to my mom and dad pretty much everyday since the pandemic. I guess they need to hear our voices as much as I need to hear theirs. The texts from my sisters, BFF and friends all day make me happy. I am grateful for the blessings of salvation, home, friends and family. One great blessing of this month amid the pandemic is being able to worship online with BFF. She started “attending” church and is now part of the church family.
Looking back, this was how April 2019 was.I wonder how April 2021 would be like, God-willing.