How We're Handling the New Work-From-Home Life

Cooking, Eating, and Maintaining a Routine While Social Distancing

Sourdough Pancakes

Leah Maroney

The Spruce Eats Team is working to embrace the new work from home normal. This includes shifting to new routines that, for the most part, require us to stay firmly rooted in one place. Along the way, we've discovered some new ways to approach cooking, eating, and how we spend our days inside, all with an effort to spark joy and keep things interesting. Times may be a bit uncertain, but our love of food and comfort, is unwavering. Here's how we've been eating while spending our days working from home.

  • 01 of 09

    Night Before Breakfast Prep

    Ingredients for dairy free scrambled eggs

    The Spruce

    Breakfast is definitely the tone setter for my day. Typically, I do some variation of eggs. Most recently, I've been topping my scrambled eggs with pickled jalapeños, hot sauce, peach salsa, and Greek yogurt. It doesn’t take long to make and leaves me feeling energized and ready to tackle my day.

    To make the process that much more efficient, the night before, I will lay out a bowl and fork to scramble my eggs, a pan, spatula, and a knife for butter (because everything tastes better with butter!). This helps to ensure I don't skip my favorite meal, especially if I’m running late on my "commute" from my bedroom to my makeshift in-home office. —Victoria Heydt, Contributing Writer

  • 02 of 09

    Getting Creative With Sourdough Starter

    Sourdough Pancakes

    Leah Maroney

    During my extended time at home I am working on my honing my baking skills and also trying my hand at some new baking related projects. For me, this includes feeding my new sourdough starter.

    It turns out, keeping and growing a sourdough starter also leads to a lot of excess starter. This is where things get creative and how I've been having the most fun in the kitchen. Sourdough starter discard recipes are a thing! And a lot of them will be happening in my kitchen. My first experiment was this pancake recipe, and they were a delicious start to my morning. —Brooke Schuldt, Social Media Editor

  • 03 of 09

    Packing a Lunch

    Directly Above Shot Of Healthy Food In Green Lunch Box
    Joanna Gorzelinska / EyeEm / Getty Images

    It took three days of remote work and school to notice that lunch time derailed me and my daughter. It suddenly occurred to me to make lunch the night before, just like in normal life. I pack them after dinner for the next day, then at noon (I literally set an alarm) we take out our lunches, water bottles, and apples and open our containers of something central made from leftovers like butter chicken packed into tortillas, taco fillings arranged on rice, or cubes of polenta with chickpeas and grape tomatoes.

    It is important to pack them neatly. And I put in a dessert: squares of chocolate, or three marshmallows, or a lunch cookie. Our packed lunches are both humble and sweet. They afford us a few extra minutes to relax and watch puppy videos before we get back to work. —Heather Ramsdell, Editorial Director

  • 04 of 09

    Using Every Last Bite of Food

    Fresh Homemade Ravioli
    Homemade Ravioli. Diana Rattray

    I'm in the midst of clearing out my fridge, starting with things that have sat neglected pre-pandemic. A few are close to expiring, including a giant 32-ounce tub of ricotta (yup, that's not a typo!) originally purchased for a baking project that didn't happen. I've been extra mindful of food waste and trying to stretch a single ingredient through multiple meals.

    So, the ricotta was used in a multitude of ways: in fluffy lemon-blueberry pancakes for breakfast; as a garlicky dip inspired by Leuca, an Italian restaurant here in Brooklyn (it's excellent on toast with a drizzle of spicy honey); plus this creamy polenta, which calls for a handful of simple ingredients I already have on hand. Depending on what's left, the ricotta might also find its way into ravioli filling or muffins—proof that a lot can be done if we just get a little creative! —Patty Lee, Senior Food Editor

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  • 05 of 09

    Granola, as a Hobby

    Homemade Granola

     Claudia Totir / Getty Images

    I am not good at working from home. I knew this about myself before this all started. I've actually surprised myself about how quickly I've adapted. But one thing I noticed that I miss about going into an office or even out of doors to stores, is the snacks. It could be a handful of nuts, a bag of chips, a single peanut butter cup... just something to break up the day.

    Granola has become a life saver since I've been home. It's sweet, it's salty, and it's got protein from nuts, making it filling. It is also really easy to make with anything you have in your pantry. I eat it for breakfast with some yogurt, a quick handful for a mid-morning snack, throw in some M&Ms for a mid-day snack, and then eat it with some ice cream for post-dinner dessert. —Eric Handelsman, General Manager

  • 06 of 09

    DIY Yogurt

    Cultura DM/Diana Miller/Getty Images

    My local supermarkets have stocking milk reliably, but are cleaned right out of yogurt—and I mean all the yogurt—and that's something I can't live without. Whether I'm marinating protein, baking with it, garnishing with it, or just making breakfast, I find myself reaching for the big plastic tub.

    Now, I'm reaching for my big glass jar, because that's where the yogurt lives that I've made from scratch. Lately I've been going for full-fat, which is extra-delicious on all kinds of pantry food, like lentil soup, curry, and chili. If you strain yogurt into a very thick consistency, shape it into balls or cubes, and marinate it in olive oil, chili flakes, cracked pepper, and dried herbs for a few days, it amplifies that wonderful tangy dairy flavor into something outrageously tasty. —Jess Kapadia, Food Editor

  • 07 of 09

    Global Comfort Food

    Tadka Daal
    Image © Aparna Balasubramaniam/ Getty Images

    A few things have been getting me through this new normal. Creamy espresso-like bouts of coffee have been central to my four-walled routine, like sturdy fixtures to look forward to throughout the day. I've been noshing way more than usual (which I'm on the fence about!): crunchy whole carrots (I desperately miss the ones in the DotDash office though); pickle spears; and hummus.

    One point of delicious solace, however, has been a huge simmering pot of dal, which is a true comfort food to me! I caramelized tomato and ginger-garlic paste with spices to make a base for the lentils and finish them a topping of fried spices, a subcontinental seasoning method called a tarka or baghar. An added bonus is the way it perfumes my apartment, taking me back to India and Bangladesh. —Todd Coleman, Creative Content Director

  • 08 of 09

    Freezing a Big Batch of Naan

    Naan leavened Indian flatbread recipe

    The Spruce / Olivia Mindelle

    I get bored of food really easily, especially when it comes to dinner. I can't eat the same meal multiple days in a row and if I don't have a varied diet, I start to go a little stir crazy! But the reality is that I have to make do with a lot of the pantry ingredients I stocked up on, which consists predominantly of chickpeas, Indian spices, and crushed tomatoes. I'll be making a lot of daals and curries in the next few weeks, for sure.

    To make it a little more interesting, I made a big batch of naan bread that I'm storing in the freezer. That way, I can switch up my chickpea curry by pairing it with roasted cauliflower, rice, or naan, depending what I'm feeling that day. Topped with some mango chutney, I'll be reserving this doughy flatbread for the days when I need the most comfort. —Kate McKenna, Newsletter Editor

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  • 09 of 09

    A Warm Mug of Something Tasty

    Turmeric Latte

    Anita Schecter 

    Maintaining a routine is critical to keeping me sane in the work-from-home model, as is self-care. This means waking up early enough to shower, get dressed (yes, out of the pajamas), and get a bit of time to myself before plugging in for the day.

    I’ve also been making a little extra effort too, when it comes to cozying up at the end of a day of work. Be it a mulled wine cocktail or something a little healthy, like this turmeric latte. The effort and ritual around creating a satisfying beverage for myself pre-bed is really proving to be a nice anchor to end my days, book in one hand, tasty drink in the other. —Kristin Stangl, Assistant Editor