Checking in: Quarantine Fatigue, Filipino Comfort Food, Cool and Comfy Underwear, “Alone,” and Cats, of Course!

Checking in with you today! Things I’ve been watching, cooking and thinking about this week. 🙂

Hi, friend.

How’s it going? I hope things are OK on your end. I’m feeling chatty today, so let’s catch up. Before we get into it, though, turn up the sound, and watch this video:

Goodness gracious, I love her. So sassy!

I’m still here, still hanging on, although I’m definitely feeling the effects of quarantine fatigue (read about it here, here and here).

Businesses and public facilities are slowly beginning to open up here again. Parks, stores, restaurants (for outdoor dining only). Word on the street is Sephora will fling its doors open next week, too.

Part if me is relieved, and part of me is, like, “Well, what happens if/when there’s a second wave? Or what if the vaccines don’t work?” I’ve been “adulting” pretty intensely lately, as El Hub and I have seem to have serious discussions about hard things, oh…every two seconds.

On the glass-half-full side, at least it’s not the zombie apocalypse! , Which would be about 100 times harder. Our metaphorical boat is still above water.

On that note, here’s some levity! This has kept me afloat this week…

My childhood on a plate

You know those foods that take you back to your childhood? Filipino mung bean stew (ginisang mungo) does that for me. We had it at least once a week during the week when I was growing up. It’s easy to make and oh-so fulfilling.

Mung beans look and taste a little like lentils. When you cook them. they soften to an almost creamy consistency.

filipino mung bean stew
Don’t even think about serving it atop cauliflower rice.

There are many different riffs on this stew, which doesn’t have very many ingredients, but my favorite has bacon and spinach. And pancetta, shallot, garlic, dried mung beans (of course), beef broth, water, spinach and fish sauce.

My mom and dad always cooked it in a pot on the stove, but if you do it that way you have to soak the beans beforehand, and they take FOREVER to cook in a pot. If I get impatient, they don’t turn out as soft and creamy as I want them to be, so now I make it in the Instant Pot. In 10 minutes the beans are cooked perfectly.

Here’s what you do!

  • Saute a pack of chopped pancetta (I get the pre-diced package at Trader Joe’s) in the Instant Pot until the fat has rendered, and add 1 chopped medium shallots and 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic. Continue to saute until nice and fragrant, and then turn off the heat.
  • Add 2 cups of beef broth, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of rinsed mung beans (I did not soak them).
  • Cook on high pressure on the Bean setting for 10 minutes, and then use the Instant Pot’s quick release to release the steam (be careful!). Then add fish sauce to taste, and throw a few handfuls of spinach in there. Stir until wilted.

To get the full Filipino experience, you have to serve it on top of white rice. 🍚🤗

If you don’t have fish sauce around, you can also use plain salt to flavor the stew, or try a different sauce that has a salty undertone, like soy sauce, tamari or maybe even Worcestershire sauce. It’ll change the flavor profile, but as long as it’s yummy, right? Who cares?

filipino mung bean stew
Instant Pot saves the day!

I made this a few days ago, and it did me a world of good. I’ve been missing my family, and this tastes just like home.

Oh! — I gotta give a shout-out to my Instagram buddy Beverly. She posts Filipino recipes every Friday, and she made this dish in her stories last week, which got me craving for it.

For the love of granny panties

Allow me to give you some space for a preemptive “thank you” because your granny panty-lovin’ heart will be forever changed for the better after you order this six-pack of Fruit of the Loom Women’s Breathable Micro-Mesh Low-Rise Briefs from Target for $13.99.

fruit of the loom granny panties
Say “yes” to underpants.

I’m usually a cotton undies kinda girl due to being unusually particular about breathability, but even though these are 93% Polyester and 7% Spandex, the micro-mesh creates a cool breeze that cascades over the mountains of your booty. The material is also moisture wicking.

The material is super soft and comfortably lightweight. No pulling or tugging either.

Even though these are allegedly “low-rise,” the waistband still goes up pretty high, so my tummy still feels covered up enough when I’m wearing high-rise pants.

The sizing is pretty on point too.

YOU’RE WELCOME!

“Alone” on the History channel

EHRMAHGOODNESS. I love and hate this show. It’s a reality competition where 10 people (wilderness experts and survivalists who know what they’re doing) get dropped off in a harsh, remote wilderness location all by themselves and with limited provisions, and the person who lasts off the land the longest wins half a million dollars.

I love it. I fire it up before bed and kinda half-watch it while I stretch. So, if I’m face down on my yoga mat during pigeon pose, I can just hang out there for a few minutes and half-listen without missing much. But it’s a fascinating show! I’m only equipped to handle car camping (I gotta have a bathroom with running water and a shower and toilet nearby. These are non-negotiable.), so I’m learning a lot.


I would tap out even before they dropped me off, TBH.

It’s also fascinating how so much boils down to luck. Even the best trained, most experienced contestants sometimes succumb to simple rotten luck. It’s not always about the most competent person who makes it to the end. Sometimes it’s just the person who manages to dodge more of Mother Nature’s metaphorical bullets.

Anyway, THIS IS ALSO WHY I SIMULTANEOUSLY HATE THIS SHOW — because after El Hub watched about five episodes he started getting ideas. Last Sunday we went on a hike through the nearby Indian Valley Nature Preserve, and he decided to make a bow and arrow using materials he found on the trail.

Now he’s covered in poison oak.

And why is he covered in poison oak? Well, because he made his bow and arrow out of old dry poison oak branches without realizing it.

SIGH.

Rosie’s new role: babydoll

Last, but certainly not least, I keep catching these two besties cuddling and playing together, and it’s the cutest thing. Rosie is so, so patient. She lets Connor treat her like her baby doll. Connor dresses her up in doll clothes and wraps her paws around teddy bears and stuffed animals.

connor rosie pose

connor rosie pose nashville the bear

Anywho, that’s what I’ve been up to this week so far. How are you doing?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen