I’ve seen it happening in the movies but never thought I would find myself in the middle of a full blown worldwide pandemic – COVID 19 outbreak – a new virus from China – with Washington being one of the top epicenters in the United States. Now if you belong to the lucky ones, you are currently at home, de-socializing, working from home, not going out anymore and hording sanitizer and toilet paper, while the unlucky ones have to expose themselves into the COVID infected world and continue to work onsite, or worse are infected and quarantined, or others are banned from travelling – the US closed its boarders for flights from China and Europe.Wow – how things can change in an instant. From flourishing US economy, lowest unemployment in history, downtown Seattle crowded with commuters and lines in front of coffee shops, restaurants and take out places, to state of emergency and millions of people without work and something I have never experienced: shelter in place/stay at home order. As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the U.S. and in my home state Washington, we are all staying put inside our homes, whether because some are at high risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus because of a compromised immune system or age or all of us work commuters stay at home because our employers have asked us to work from home (I am one of those lucky ones), or some are choosing to limit contact with others in an effort to mitigate the transmission of the virus and so its ghost town everywhere you go. In all of this crisis I should wonder about more pressing matters than the question why people are panic buying toilet paper to cope with the Corona virus. Canned goods, milk, flour and sanitizer were understandably low in the stores but toilet paper – that will forever be a mystery for me. Its now week 4 when the first stores sold out of toilet paper and the shelves have been empty since. Social Media took on to the toilet paper shortage and hording situation and now there are tons of memes out there, infusing some fun into the seriousness of our daily lives. They still make me laugh every time I look at them…
Instead of hording toilet paper to calm my nerves, I reverted to “procrastibaking” or quarantine cooking and baking in times of crisis. I always thought it was time, or lack there of, preventing me from cleaning out my closets – but no, as I have experienced in the last 2 weeks of staying home that’s not it. And so its not really anxiety or stress baking I am doing, its truly procrastibaking and I rather produce comfort food as well as unnecessary food (as in…we really don’t need another snack, dessert or second helping…) and distracting myself from actually doing something productive in my house.
I’ve been cooking up a storm these past 2 weeks and I think we are all gaining “Corona weight”, eating a lot because of a little bit of boredom but also because home made food tastes so good and now I have the time for all kinds of home cooked meals and extravaganza’s that I usually don’t’ get to (home made smoothies, guacamole, chicken fried steak, steak salad, fruit salad, taco scramble breakfast etc.) and even though I am making attempts of walking the dogs 1 hour almost every night, of course that doesn’t offset that type of calorie intake. This week I had to bake bacon waffles twice – because Murphy stole the majority of waffles from the first batch of 14 waffles from the counter while they were cooling out and I was watching TV. Here is the perpetrator (a picture we took this Valentines day). I don’t know about you but it feels somewhat “weird” these days. The first few days seemed business as usual and we still went out more regularly to buy groceries and I still went to work but now we really limit our outings to only very essential business and pretty much stay put the rest of the time. Now the hours and days blend into each other…it almost feels like being at the “Casino” in my home, we are not losing money by the minute but cocktails/wine/beer are happening at any time of the day and nobody can really tell what time it is. And as I am writing this entry I am wondering what else has happening since my last entry and I was surprised to see that the first 3 months of this year have been pretty slow with the exception of my birthday in January, which was the highlight so far for this year. Mike was in cahoots with my friends Michelle and JO and so they came all the way from Minneapolis to surprise me and spent my birthday weekend in a beach cabin in Westport with us. You can imagine my face when Michelle and JO were standing at our door out of the blue with a suitcase in the middle of the night…best birthday gift ever!Once in Westport at the beach we saw a bunch of broken sand dollars and I told Michelle how I always see broken ones and but never seem to find a pristine intact one, so we decided one night that it would be a good idea to go out into the pitch black, windy, freezing night and take a walk on the beach with the dogs and a bottle of Cinnamon whiskey to look for Sand dollars and guess what, sometimes crazy ideas get rewarded – we hit the motherload of Sand dollars!Besides lot of beach walks and playing with the dogs we also visited the very eclectic maritime museum in Westport, stopped at the Candy shoppe, stocked up on licorice and strolled along the pier where we got lucky to stumble upon a little hut that had fresh Dungeness crab and you can see how exited Michelle and JO were for a fresh crab dinner.
This is the last photo taken before the pandemic broke out and I am looking forward when the world will turn back to normal and I can see my friends again. It makes you wonder though how a moment that seemed quite normal can turn into a special memory. And that was it for right now, I hope you all stay safe and healthy and you will try out this comforting bacon waffle recipe! These waffles come out really crispy due to the yeast batter. You can make them either zesty with bacon and/or cheese or sweet e.g. with chocolate chips or blueberries. Since you get round about 14 waffles out of the below recipe, you can easily split the batter into 3 even parts and mix in blueberries into one part, chocolate chips into the second part and bacon/cheese into the 3rd part!
Bacon Waffles – makes 14 individual waffles
- 1 3/4 cup of low fat or skim milk
- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10-12 slices of bacon, cut in little pieces
- Optional: 1 cup of shredded cheese (Cheddar)
- Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium to low heat until the butter is melted (3-5 minutes). Cool milk/butter mixture until warm to the touch.
- Meanwhile whisk flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl to combine.
- Crack 2 eggs into a small bowl, add the vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
- Gradually whisk warm milk/butter mixture and egg/vanilla mixture into flour mixture and continue to whisk until batter is smooth.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
- Prep the bacon: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread out 10-12 slices of bacon. Bake the bacon for 20-30 minutes until lightly crisp. When bacon is done drain bacon on paper towels and when cooled store in a bag in the refrigerator.
- The next morning, heat up the waffle iron and oil it a little bit, chop the bacon into small pieces, incorporate into the waffle mix. If you like cheesy waffles you can also add a cup of grated cheese to the mixture. Put 1 small ladle with waffle batter on each side of the waffle iron and bake for 2-4 minutes until crisp (my waffle iron shows a green light when the waffles are ready). Proceed with the rest of the waffle batter until used up.
- Eat the waffles as is or with an egg and sauce hollaindaise on top or just topped with more bacon and syrup. If you have waffles left over, freeze them and heat them up in a toaster – they come out perfect in the toaster.
Guten Appetit and stay safe!