So recently I stepped out to go to an outdoor mall to pick up some food alone, wearing my mask of course. I hadn’t been out in such a public outdoor space with quite a few people surrounding me since March. The experience was was not a pleasant one. I could feel my face turn up into sour when someone stepped too close to me or if they were walking too slow to my liking. Thank god my facemask was covering up half my face because my face is essentially a canvas for my emotion so without my mask it would have been pretty obvious how I was feeling. I just remember speed walking my way through the mall, annoyed at all the people surrounding me over the smallest things like blocking my way or stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to take a stretch. At that moment I realized I had slowly become a bit hermit-like. See, these actions done by people prior to quarantine would not have bugged me before but now that I’ve spent so much time with myself at home, the smallest inconveniences caused by others has truly become a pain point.
As for the rest of the experience, I rushed through the mall as fast I as I could to get my food and left. I’ll admit part of this reason was obviously due to social distancing but the other half of it was I hadn’t been around this many strangers in while and it was quite a bit uncomfortable. Where to look, what to do with my hands, what do while I’m awkwardly waiting for my food, was anyone watching me? It honestly made me questions if I wanted to order from such a public setting such as an outdoor mall again. This was for obvious reasons because malls aren’t ideal for social distancing but also, I’m ashamed to it say it but because I was uncomfortable seeing so many people again. I know that obviously you should make an effort to minimize contact with others as much as possible. So yes, it makes sense that I was in a hurry to just pick up my food and leave. But what I’m also trying to say is that wasn’t the sole reason I was in a hurry. I felt very self-conscious and as an introvert this has always been something I’ve dealt with. But a mall hand’t bothered me before. Now that I’ve grown accustomed to being in the comfort of my home I’ve slowly forgotten how to adapt to situations where I’m uncomfortable.
Although I’m not saying I’m a recluse, I still hang out with friends in my circle adhering to social distancing guidelines. I will say, I don’t feel totally at ease stepping out alone. I haven’t done it in so long and I’ve gotten too used to interacting with my friends over virtual zoom meetings and the convenience of ordering all my groceries/shopping necessities online to be delivered. Now I am going to have to consciously make an effort, when I do step out even it is to just to grab a bagel or coffee to not have such a bad attitude and not see stepping out of the house as an inconvenience, but more as way of getting back to some normalcy.
So I’m not much of a cook at home girl. I mean when I was in college I cooked for my self the majority of the time but it was typically something really quick and easy. To be honest it’s not even the cooking part that’s the turn off, it’s more of the washing dishes that I dislike. The world can be divided into two types of people those that prefer cooking and those that prefer washing dishes. Since I’ve moved back home, I just eat whatever my mom cooks (mostly out of sheer laziness). But now that we’re in quarantine and going out for brunches with friends on the weekends isn’t really an option anymore, I’ve used this time to try out baking. To be honest my previous baking conquests have never been minding blowing. For some reason even though I thought I had followed the recipe, my baked good always ended up tasting too much like baking soda, making my effort go to waste not to mention deeming my food inedible. I thought I’d give it another go, since it seemed like that’s what everyone was doing on Instagram and I needed a way to feel productive. Below are the recipes I’ve tried out/ am planning on trying out and my thoughts on them, as well the level of difficulty in my opinion (if I can make it I’m sure anyone can). I honestly wished I had taken pictures of my endeavors to document, but alas I was too pre-occupied eating them.
The Oh So Quarantine “Basic” Banana Bread – I mean did you even bake if you haven’t tried making banana bread at least once during quarantine ??!! Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is a healthy banana bread (no butter, no sugar). I literally started making this during the beginning of quarantine because we had a bunch of over ripe bananas but this was also the time when people were hoarding food so basically all the grocery stores were out of butter (and we didn’t have enough at home to make an actual recipe). That’s where the “healthy” part comes in, I needed to find a recipe that used zero butter and I’m glad I was forced to because this recipe tastes amazing and you wouldn’t even be able to tell that it’s healthy!! The texture for this banana bread is nice and firm and it’s so easy to make. This is the recipe that seriously got me turned onto baking because it was healthy, fast and tasted amazing. I love the recipes from Cookie+ Kate, plus you’ll see below I’ve used one of her recipes again. Still have to try out one of her savory dishes. Difficulty : ** 1/2
Popovers – I was still on a high from making the banana bread but this recipe took me down a notch. Honestly if you look at the recipe, it looks so easy to follow. But that’s what made it all the more difficult for me, I need detailed instructions!! My popovers were still edible, but it ended up being very dense and eggy towards the bottom. I’m sorry I let you down Ina 😦 Also, the only reason I know about popovers is because I’m a sucker for classic black and white films and they mentioned it in one of my favorites, Remember the Night. Difficulty : ****
DoubleTree’s Famous Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie – I was so excited for this recipe to be released by the Hilton, I mean these are literally my favorite chocolate chip cookie of all time. Every single time you stay at a DoubleTree Hilton, you’re greeted with their signature perfectly warm, chewy, sweet and salty cookie. This recipe was quite time consuming and requires quite a few ingredients, but it was worth it! Definitely not as good as the OG, but pretty good if you’re craving a good chocolate chip cookie. Keep in mind the recipe makes dough for ALOT of cookies. I ended up with about 40, large cookies (even after snacking on the raw cookie dough). Also definitely used less chocolate chips then they recommended because by the time I was close to adding the amount the recipe called for I basically couldn’t see the batter since it looked just like a clump of chocolate chips! Difficulty : ****
Citrus and Olive Oil Cake – Definitely my favorite thing I’ve baked so far (another Cookie + Kate recipe). I really dislike using this word, but the cake was so moist and the texture of the cake was similar to the vanilla cake in Twinkies (but way healthier), with the perfect amount of citrus flavor. I cannot stop raving about this recipe because it was so easy to make, most of the ingredients you already have lying around your house and you can customize the cake. When the author said you could use any citrus, I was skeptical. Like how can the measurements be the same if she used a grapefruit, and I used an orange (like wouldn’t it just be way more sour with grapefruit)?? But I was wrong, I ended up using a lemon with the exact measurements the recipe called for and it came out delicious. The recipe called for yogurt and I just have a strong feeling this is what made it a game changer. Super bummed I didn’t get a pic of this one, because if I may so myself it really held its shape and looked very smooth. I was very proud, hey it’s the small wins in life that keep me going. Difficulty : **
Pretzel Shortbread Cookies – Really wanna try this recipe for July 4th since it incorporates sweet and salty, the perfect combination. The only thing I probably have to buy is pretzel flour. Hey, I’ll probably try making soft pretzels after this with the extra flour so not too bummed about the purchase. Not gonna lie, I am a bit nervous about the baking aspect because these cookies need to be that perfect level of crunchy, not too over baked where they burn but probably have to take them out right before the burning point. I’ll post a pic to document how they turn out when I try, wish me luck! I also like the blogger’s quirky addition of music she listens to at the end of the recipe!
Final thoughts: Baking really has become therapeutic. It’s a way to just concentrate on one thing for a certain period of time and the fulfillment when the final product ends up tasty is pure joy (especially since I consider eating as one of my hobbies). Not gonna lie, still strongly dislike washing dishes though…