Kitchen fatigue: Here’s how to beat pandemic weariness and spice up your meals

Chanterelle mushrooms, basil, pasta and fresh parmesan: it’s a great time to turn for some seasonal comfort photo. (Alex Wilkie/Submitted by Andie Bulman)

The early days of this pandemic were terrifying. I spent the first week glued to my screen. I watched every news conference, obsessed over case numbers and signed up for three different streaming services.

Through my social media feeds, I could see that friends and family were doing the same, but gradually things changed.

Fear was replaced with sourdough, banana bread and pitch-perfect flaky pie crust. Anxiety was channelled into impressive kitchen projects. The kitchen became a source of joy.

Well, that has passed.

Most people are back to making the same five dishes on rotation and trying to pass off cleanup duty to their roommates and partners.

We can do better. Here are my tips for fighting kitchen fatigue during a pandemic:

Use an old tool in a new way

Use a tool that’s been gathering dust, or use an everyday tool in a new way. I use my box grater daily for cheese or lemon zest, but I never grate horseradish and I never grate ginger. This week I’m going to make a horseradish mayo and those tiny holes are going to transform the rhizomes of my ginger into a beautiful paste for a cake recipe that I plan to take to the next level. You can use the box grater to make carrot latkes and potato boxtys. There’s so much potential in each kitchen tool.

Turn to comfort foods

A chill in the air is coming, which means we can put a ban on the herb-laced quinoa salads of summers. Now is not the time for heath and wellness, it’s the season of long-simmering stews, homemade apple butter and from-scratch macaroni and cheese. Embrace the foods that bring you warmth.

My personal favourite comfort food is a rich ginger cake. A pulpy mystery novel, a hot cup of tea and a big slice of this cake are my ideal rainy-day fall combination. 

Ginger cake is good at any time of the year, but especially on rainy autumn days with a good book. (Alex Wilkie/Submitted by Andie Bulman)

Get inspired with cookbooks & online resources

Most libraries are now offering pick-up and drop-off services. Spend an hour or two perusing through a collection of cookbooks — but don’t just check a book out! Commit to creating at least two recipes contained within the tome.

I just borrowed Magnuss Neilson’s Nordic Cooking (Phaidon Press, 2015). Admittedly, I’m not going to make his recipe for puffin soup (very frowned upon and illegal here in Newfoundland), but I am going to challenge myself to break out of my rut and recreate two whole recipes.

Play with a newtoyou flavour

If new cookbooks and old equipment can’t bust you out of the depths of kitchen fatigue, try playing with a new flavour. How about bakeapples? A rare yellow berry found in the bogs and barrens

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Design tips to beat your ‘boring’ home interior

Umay, that nauseating feeling you get when eating the same food over and over again, can also be used to describe your feeling toward your home interior, especially after seeing the same view over and over again for six months. 

As lockdown eases and as people adjust to the new normal way of living, a lot of homeowners now realize the importance of having an interior that’s not only functional, but fun as well. There is a clamor for more “joy” in terms of home interior design as this can ease anxiety, lift your mood, and boost your spirit amid these challenging times. 

Putting “joy” into your interior need not be tedious (you don’t need additional stress!). You don’t even have to spend much or undergo a major renovation just to make your interiors lively and happy once again. It just takes a few tweaks and a lot of creativity, and sometimes professional help, to beat that “boring” home interior. 

STARK CONTRAST The before and after photos of a living and dining area that has undergone interior styling

If you’ve already done your share of quarantine renovations and DIY home improvement projects, it’s not impractical to ask for expert advice to “elevate” your interiors. There are companies right now who are offering “online interior styling,” or what they call as the “new normal of interior decorating,” where packages do not involve changing the architecture and finishes of the home, but instead putting interior design and styling solutions to enhance a present living space. 

‘We provide new ways for you to collaborate with designers through a purely online process. We believe everyone deserves a designer home, and we’re trying to curate our shop to have the most beautiful things for just about each unique individual.’

One of these companies is GussyDesign Inc., which was launched early this year by three friends who are all interior designer—Mark Steven Perez, Raleene Cabrera, and Vianca Favila. They are joined by business partners Precious Hernandez and Albert Padin. What sets GussyDesign apart from others is that it is hip, innovative, and fun, characteristics needed to survive the uncertainties of the times. 

“Gussy means to spruce or dress up. We want our name to say much about what we do as a brand, an easy and convenient way to improve and change the look of any interior space,” says Mark. 

“As an interior designer, I get a lot of clients asking about non-permanent design solutions. A lot of what interior designers do is about changing the interior architecture of the space, but the final stages of design involves adding layers through decor and furniture. We want interior design to be for everyone. That’s why we decided to introduce a new way of sprucing up homes that didn’t have to involve breaking the bank,” says Raleene.  

What makes the arrival of GussyDesign timely and relevant is that it is an online styling

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Sex offender beat up by dads at Cracker Barrel after bathroom incident involving teen

A convicted sex offender was beaten and detained by a group fathers in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel in South Carolina after an alleged incident Sunday in the restaurant’s bathroom, WSPA 7 News reported.

The Duncan Police Department confirmed the man involved in Sunday’s incident is 53-year-old Douglas Lane of Charlotte, North Carolina. He is charged with multiple charges, including voyeurism.

According to the report, a 15-year-old said she noticed something moving at her feet and realized it was a man’s head coming from the stall beside her.

After exiting the restroom she went to tell her father who then got a female employee to get the man out of the restroom.

Upon his exit, the father confronted Lane at the entrance to the bathroom area of the restaurant.

According to a witness, the man tried to get away, sprinting out the front door. The local police chief told WSPA 7 News that other fathers who knew what had happened tackled Lane in the parking lot and restrained him until the police arrived, WSPA 7 News reports.

In addition to voyeurism, Lane is reportedly charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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Twins abduct, beat man for ransom while on house arrest for murder, authorities say

Twin brothers under house arrest on murder charges duct-taped a man and cut his face and toes demanding a ransom payment, authorities said.

On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida announced 23-year-old twin brothers Devon Cooke and Donavan Cooke, of Miami Gardens, were charged with carjacking and kidnapping after they allegedly abducted and assaulted a man in an attempt to collect ransom money.

The brothers were under house house arrest on murder and attempted murder charges when the incident happened.

Authorities say on Tuesday the victim, who was not identified, drove to the twins’ home in Miami Gardens to collect money. When he arrived, the brothers assaulted him, snatched his car key and dragged him out of the car and into their house.

The brothers then bound him to a chair using duct tape and began beating him, authorities said. They used a knife to cut his face and toes and wrapped a dog leash around his neck, chocking him unconscious.

A witness told authorities they heard the man pleading for his life. The brothers threatened to kill him if he didn’t come up with the ransom money, the press release read.

With a gun to the man’s head, he was forced to make a call to an unknown person and told them to put cash, a Rolex and other jewelry into a bag and drive to a spot the twins designated.

An accomplice to the brothers then arrived at the home and stuffed the man into a car and took him to the exchange spot. Once there, the man ran away and the accomplice drove off with the ransom.

Authorities say investigation led by police officers led to the Cooke twins. FBI agents found some of the items used in the abduction and beating.

The twins are in federal custody and made their first appearance in Miami federal court Friday. Each brother faces up to 15 years in federal prison on the carjacking charge and life in prison on the kidnapping charge.

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