Tue. Jul 5th, 2022

Anais ForReal

Straight No Chaser

Quarantine Cooking Has Been My Form Of Self-Care During Covid-19

4 min read
Photo by Michael Lane 👣 on Reshot

Photo by Michael Lane 👣 on Reshot

Self-care can sometimes be viewed as a buzz word, but that doesn’t minimize the importance of our need to indulge. The act of actually doing something exclusively for myself was a foreign concept to me. That was because I was so used to staying busy and or doing things for everyone else except myself. 

For the past few months, that has changed drastically. That change started when I was asked, “What are you doing for yourself?” “What do you do, as your form of self-care?” I am rarely left speechless because I am one of those people that has an answer for practically everything. I did NOT have an answer to this question, when asked. 

I was soon issued a challenge to do something for myself and to indulge in self-care. I admit that it took me a while to go from thinking of doing everything for everyone else and shifting to putting myself in line first. 

“Fill your cup up first and let the runoff fill the cups of others. That’s because once your cup is empty, no one will be around to fill your cup, and everyone will then have empty cups, including you.” 

That quote reached into my soul, grabbed me, and I FELT it. I’m happy I have made it a practice, NOW, to indulge in practicing self-care, always and often. I am lucky that I am accustomed to indulging now. It is especially significant during this time because I think it’s essential that we take time for ourselves, now more than ever.  

One of the habits I changed when I shifted from indulging everyone else to focusing on myself more was cooking. At one time, I would only cook if I was preparing food for more people than just myself. I don’t know that I actively thought myself unworthy of a freshly prepared meal, but I would rarely cook food just for myself. I would grab something quick, but not necessarily overly healthy. 

I use to cook a lot when I was younger, but it was due to obligation or cooking for someone. I never really cooked out of enjoyment. It was always more of a chore or expectation than for the love of it. So, during the past few months, I have been quarantine cooking. I mean, not like popping prepared foods in the oven. I mean like legit, real-deal cooking, and really enjoying it. 

During my quarantine cooking, I have been doing so, for MYSELF, no one else. It has been so enjoyable, and I consider that to be a part of my self-care routine. The fun part about this is, I have food delivered from Imperfect Produce. It is literally a crapshoot of what foods you will have as a selection for your weekly box. So, every week it’s like my version of the Food Network show, Chopped. In my new life of stepping out of my comfort zone, this fits who I am now. 

Every week I get to select a box filled with produce, organic canned goods, dairy, fish or free-range, organic, and hormone-free poultry. Only about 25% of the selection will be the same, week by week. That provides me with the opportunity to step outside of my food comfort zone, a LOT. So, I select a bunch of stuff, and once I get it, I decide what I want to cook based on what is available that week. A lot of the foods are of great quality, but things I wouldn’t ordinarily select, from traditional grocery stores. That is what makes it like an episode of Chopped. It also has forces me to be creative. 

I was feeling particularly creative one day, so I made marinara sauce from scratch. It was very simple but so enjoyable. Recipe below:

Marinara Sauce

  • 28 Oz can of crushed tomato
  • 14.5 Oz can of diced tomato 
  • 14.5 Oz can of tomato sauce
  • 6 Oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of white granulated sugar
  • Splash of olive oil

Garlic powder, onion powder, fresh cracked black pepper, and Adobo seasoning red top, parmesan cheese and Romano cheese, add these or other spices/seasonings according to your taste.

Sauté, 1 medium onion and 1 red pepper for about 5 minutes. 

Add everything to a pot and simmer on low for 3 hours. 

This marinara was amazing, and it has spoiled me for jar sauce. I will NEVER again buy jar sauce. I froze half of this marinara sauce and used it to make homemade pizza. Last year, had someone told me I would have voluntarily cooked like this and enjoyed it, I would have laughed and called them a liar to their face. However, if someone would have said we would be sequestered to our homes, and I would be quarantine cooking as a means of self-care, I would have also laughed. So, there’s that.

For some, the quarantine has been horrific, but for me, it has been an extension of me forging an entirely new path in my life. That new path started last year, and I am discovering so many more enjoyable things about life. Honestly, it is making the thought of living a few more decades a lot more enjoyable, than how I viewed it last year. So, I am looking forward to more things to discover at this stage in my life, more so than ever before. 

I would love to know your thoughts on coping in our new normal. Reach out, let’s chat on FBIG, and Twitter. Until then, Be STRONG, Be SAFE, practice social distancing, WEAR A MASK, and/or STAY HOME!

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