Readers, I have failed you.
For several weeks, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in coronavirus HR-compliance miscellany. Rather than spew it all into this blog — as if that’s even possible — I’ve tried to distill it into bite-sized pieces for you to consume.
But, I’ve been holding out.
You see, before this COVID-19 thing, I worked remotely. So, telework is nothing new to me.
What is new, however, is teleworking with four elementary school kids at home too. They’re lovely kids. Bless their hearts. But, without sports and other distractions, I’ve had to get creative to keep from losing my sh*t. Serenity now…
That creativity has manifested itself in cooking and baking.
And since you may be stuck at home too, slowly losing your marbles because of your lovely offspring, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite recipes. These aren’t guaranteed to restore your sanity. But, they taste damn good!
Banana Bread (adapted from Best Banana Bread on Food.com)
- 1⁄2 cup butter (one stick), softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 bananas, finely crushed
- 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1⁄3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1⁄3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350º
- Cream together butter and sugar. (I use an electric hand mixer for about 3 minutes)
- Add eggs and crushed bananas.
- Combine well.
- Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture.
- Add vanilla.
- Mix just until combined. Do not overmix.*
- Pour into greased loaf pan.
- Bake for 55 minutes.
* If you use chocolate chips and walnuts, divide the batter into two bowls, and fold the chips and nuts into the batter in one of the bowls. Then wrap an index card in aluminum foil and spray it with non-stick spray. Insert the card into the middle of the loaf pan and pour each batter into either side. Then remove the card.
Chili (adapted from The Best Classic Chili Recipe at The Wholesome Dish)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion -diced
- 1 pound of your favorite ground protein (I’m a fan of ground pork)
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1⁄2 cups beef broth
- 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the protein is browned, stirring occasionally.
Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.
Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Beer Bread (adapted from Beer Bread Recipe at Food.com)
- 3 cups all-purpose or self-rising flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 of your favorite (12 ounce) beers (I used a double IPA)
- 1⁄2 cup melted butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Sift the flour
- Mix dry ingredients and beer.
- Pour into a greased loaf pan.
- Pour melted butter over mixture.
- Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.
This would go well with lunch or dinner.
Or maybe break bread tomorrow (5/1/20) at 2 PM EDT / 11 AM PDT on Facebook Live on The Employer Handbook Facebook Page. Join me and a special guest as we discuss the last 30 days of FFCRA, as well as recently updated federal COVID-19 guidance. We’ll also peer into our crystal ball to facilitate your return to work (and avoid those pesky lawsuits). Plus, we’ll do some Q&A.
It’s all here.
Second special guest hint: It’s employment lawyer Jon Hyman from the Ohio Employer Law Blog.
If you have any hypothetical questions that you’d like to ask for a friend and that we can answer without providing legal advice or creating any attorney-client privilege, go ahead and do so by clicking here.
Maple Balsamic Pork Tenderloin (adapted from Maple Balsamic Pork Tenderloin at The Healthy Foodie)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pork tenderloins, about 450g (16oz) each
- 2 dry shallots, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dry thyme)
- 1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper
In a large mixing bowl or glass measuring cup, combine all the ingredients for the marinade and whisk until well combined.
Place the pork tenderloins in a ziplock bag and then pour the marinade right over them. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
When you are ready to cook your meat, preheat your oven to 375°F.
In a large, heavy skillet, heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot enough, remove the pork from the marinade and wipe off excess marinade; sear the tenderloins for a minute or two on each side, until they get nice and golden brown.
Pour the marinade over the meat, simmer for about a minute.
Cover the skillet lightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the foil, spoon some fresh sauce over the meat and return to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 145°F.
Take your tenderloins out of the oven, tent them loosely with the foil and let them rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
Slice into thick medallions and serve with the maple balsamic sauce.
Girl Scout Cookie Brownies (adapted from Whatever Floats Your Boat Brownies! at Food.com)
- 1⁄2 cup butter, melted
- 1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1⁄2 cup flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 3⁄4 cup of your favorite broken girl scout cookies (I use Samoas)
- 3⁄4 cup of your second-favorite broken girl scout cookies (I use girl scout S’mores)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease an 8-inch square pan.
- Combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
- Add sugar and mix well.
- Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.
- Stir in vanilla, flour, and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
- Fold in broken girl scout cookies
- Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
- Enjoy and ride your Peloton for a week.