Most of you know me as Lola’s Hostess with the Mostess. But what does that mean when there’s no party to host and social distancing is keeping us from those we love? I am also mother to William (5), wife to Loyd, and chef/owner of Caspiana Catering and now Glow Alchemy Kitchen, a full-service health food cafe.
November 5, 2019, I opened Glow. A long-time dream that evolved over the years and finally, the time was right. It is more beautiful than I could have imagined. Our amazing clients poured in with support over the holiday season and into the winter. I could barely keep up, a good problem to have!
Little did I know March 13 I hosted what would be my last party for several weeks. At the time there was talk about a government-mandated shutdown over an incurable virus that was spreading across the world. We didn’t know how true it would be or how severe it would be or how long it would last. Now here we are, seven weeks later and still no parties to host. I remember thinking how busy my spring was looking, how full my calendar was, and how much anxiety I was having over the upcoming weeks and parties that we were going to be catering. But that all changed, with one press conference: The calendar was cleared.
The blessing was that I could stay home with my son since school was also closed. My husband, a banker, was still required to go to work and deemed essential. Scary in itself.
The café was mandated to do curbside only, which was a burden to bear with employees scared over their next paycheck and how many hours they were going to receive, with me scared over how many sales we were going to do that week and whether I could even afford the groceries that had been purchased. So I made the decision to close completely with a prayer that my employees would qualify for unemployment.
The next two weeks would prove to be a much-needed rest time for me to find a place of solitude, to get organized around the house, to spend time with my young son, and to take a deep breath after just opening the business in November.
But social distancing grows harder and harder to maintain. After all, humans are social beings; we thrive on interaction with other humans. Watching the news and hearing reports and talking to scared friends only makes the situation worse. So how does one combat stress, remain calm, keep our eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel?
By getting back to basics, that’s how. Remembering how to cook again, reminding our children that playing outside is a blessing in the spring, having long breakfasts together as a family, something that we haven’t done in a really long time, having meaningful conversations with our spouse, and most of all being the teacher for our children.
As we begin to emerge in phases back to our new normal for the foreseeable future, here are some tips to combat stress, cook at home with our families, and be one with mother nature. Stay strong, we will party together again soon!
Breakfast with the family, a lost art
Most of the time we are rushing out the door with minutes to spare before being late for school drop off and getting to work on time. For now, if only a short time, we are home together and need to take advantage of long breakfasts and pajama chats. One of my favorite go-to breakfast items that remind me of Saturday mornings with my parents is French toast with berries. It’s a fun dish to make with kids, it’s versatile, it can be made on the fly, or into a rich casserole the night before and popped into the oven that morning. And what better way to use that stale bread, because I know you bought too much a few weeks ago when you thought the store would sell out!
Dinner party for 2 + 1 child
I am definitely guilty of rotating the same meals over and over in my house, but now is the time to get out of that rut and get creative. You have nowhere to be and plenty of time. My favorite meals right now are coming out of the Instant Pot or on the grill outside. Make dinner special at least one night a week. Pour your nice wine, get the kids involved in cooking and setting the table. And really enjoy this time together.
You can literally cook chicken in the Instant Pot in 10 minutes and it’s fork-tender and ready for any dish you can dream up. Make it Hawaiian, Mexican, Indian… the possibilities are endless.
Here are my top 2 “Pinterest” Instant Pot recipes:
Things I’m doing to boost immunity and fight stress right now:
All of these products are available at caspianacatering.com for curbside pick up…
- Taking Super You to stay calm – elevated cortisol levels directly affect the immune system.
- Frequently washing my and my children’s hands.
- Keeping the air in my home fresh, taking advantage of spring by opening windows and doors.
- Taking Q-Sciences Vitamin C spray three times a day and getting Vitamin D safety in the sun.
- Adding Power Dust and Spirit Dust to my morning protein shake – These adapogenic blends are particularly supportive of the immune system.
- Drinking lots of alkaline water.
- Prioritizing sleep and drinking Magnesi-Om before bed.
- Not panicking – most of us have the power to keep our immune system strong!
Overnight French Toast
- 1 ½ cups of berries
- 8 eggs
- ²⁄3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 10-12 slices of bread (I love brioche for this recipe)
- 2 cups whole milk
- Softened butter for pan
Grease a 9-inch casserole dish with softened butter.
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
Place bread in dish fanned out, you can also cube or tear it for a chunky look.
Pour mixture over until all bread is coated and bathing in the yummy custard mix.
Cover and let sit overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Scatter berries on top and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Fast French Toast
- 8 slices of bread, any bread will do.
- 2-3 eggs
- 2 to 4 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Butter for griddle
- Berries, powdered sugar, syrup for topping
Heat a griddle pan or non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.
Once warm, coat the bottom with butter.
Whisk together eggs, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk in a shallow dish or bowl. Dip each slice of bread in the mixture and place on hot griddle pan.
Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Serve warm with berries, a dusting of powdered sugar, or syrup.
Staying in touch with Mother Nature: Vitamin D & fresh air…
Vitamin D is produced naturally when your body is exposed to sunlight. You can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels. The sunshine vitamin has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and facilitating normal immune system function. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says vitamin D plays a role in helping to reduce the likelihood of developing the flu!
It also plays an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression! So get outside, open a window, and bask in the spring sun. (Safely.)