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Helpful Tips For Procuring & Managing Your Food in the Time of Coronavirus


What We Can Do To Help Fight the Coronavirus

It is hard for the general public who are not in essential businesses or first responders to feel like we are making a contribution in the fight against the coronavirus. We all need to know that sheltering in place is a significant contribution and does make a difference. While the coronavirus has the capability to exponentially grow, we also have the opportunity to exponentially starve it. And if that doesn't motivate you think about what a doctor friend of mine told me. "Next time you feel like complaining about being cooped up at home, think about all the doctors and healthcare workers who are showing up at work and providing care without adequate protection." The seclusion of your home will start sounding pretty darned good.

Tips for Food Procurement Without Leaving Your Home

A big challenge of sheltering in place for the coronavirus is to procure the products you need to feed your family and clean your home. Plus, it is nice if you can find a few luxury items like wine and chocolate. I have asthma and am immune compromised so I am working very hard to stay out of stores.

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I also want to minimize take out and cook healthy meals that contribute to boosting our immune systems, so I am cooking everyday. I have found several online sources that will send food and supplies to your home. Here are my recommendations. I have not used them all but I note the ones I am using personally.

Wild Alaskan Company

Wild Alaska fish | Something new For Dinner I have wanted to try this subscription service for a while, but my travel schedule made me concerned that it wouldn't be practical for me. Travel is obviously no longer an issue so I signed up. I have received one shipment so far and I LOVE it. I ordered the mixed salmon and white fish box and added scallops to my first order. The scallops were sweet and tender. There were enough scallops for four meals for two people. Just sear them in a pan and finish with a quick butter, wine, garlic and lemon sauce. The salmon was also delicious. My box included 12 6-ounce servings of wild Coho salmon, sockeye salmon, halibut and cod. Here are some easy recipes that do not require too many ingredients you can use to cook up your fish:

Teriyaki Salmon

Teriyaki Salmon | Something New For Dinner

Miso-Grilled Salmon

Miso Grilled Salmon | Something New For Dinner

Wine-Poached Salmon with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze

Poached Salmon With Mustard Glaze | Something New For Dinner All of the fish can be cooked en papillote using this easy method. Serious Eats, one of my favorite cooking blogs, shares two techniques for cooking frozen salmon without thawing it first: on the grill and in an Instant Pot.

Community Shared Agriculture (CSA)

CSA box | Something New For Dinner If you are not familiar with CSA's, this article will explain how they work. Basically you become a member of a farm co-op that provides you with periodic boxes of whatever they are currently harvesting. Some CSA's will deliver to your door and others will provide a variety of pick-up spots. I just signed up with Tanaka Farms, although I understand they are now on a waitlist basis as they are at capacity. I believe they still have curbside pickup at their stand in Irvine, California. There are plenty of CSA's that you can sign up with. Just google CSA and your city to find one that serves your area.

Grove Collaborative 

The Grove Collective | Something New For Dinner This company specializes in natural cleaning and personal care products. No, their products are not listed on the CDC's list of products that kill the coronavirus. But remember, there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting and we need to do both. Use these products to clean and the CDC's recommended products to disinfect. I personally have found disinfectants hard to come by, so I am grateful for the home delivery of these cleaning products. My first box arrived with a personal thank you handwritten on the box.

More Home Delivery Services

Aside from a single grocery store delivery I was able to procure two weeks ago, I have not been able to get another Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, Smart and Final or other grocery store delivery date. The websites allow me to fill my basket, but when I go to check out there are no delivery slots available. It is frustrating. If this is your experience you need to think outside the box. Here are some sources I have found. I have tried some of them but not all. If you have used them, please comment and let us know how you liked them.

Open Table

Is providing zip code searchable links to restaurants that are providing takeout and delivery food, many of them with minimal contact, curbside pick up.

Avila's El Ranchito Restaurants

Avila El Ranchito food to go | Something New For Dinner
Photo credit: El Ranchito
I want to give a big shout out for our friends the Avilas whose restaurants have done a great job at pivoting to provide takeout food, wine, beer and now even takeout margaritas to go. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Avila El Ranchito food to go | Something New For Dinner There are 13 El Ranchito restaurants in Orange County, so hit them up. When you place your order add an order or two of their Mama Avila Soup to stash in your freezer for another meal or pick up a dozen of their mini burritos to freeze for snacks. Simply microwave when you are ready to eat.

The Fruit Guys

Normally specializing in fruit and healthy snack deliveries to the office, this company is now delivering to homes. Prices start at $30 a box and they are offering a 25% discount through the end of April. They provide both organic and conventional fruit.

Kettle and Fire

The makers of Kettle and Fire organic bone broth have come through for me in a big way. I use a lot of broth to make soup, risotto, braises and more. I recently ordered 6 quarts through a grocery store delivery service and only received one single quart as supplies are limited. Kettle and Fire thankfully allowed me to order as much as I want. They have a lot of varieties of broth including vegetarian broths and numerous different flavors of chicken and beef broths. I have placed an order and now am waiting for delivery.

Grocery Services

Apartment Therapy has compiled a list of 9 grocery services that will bring food to your door.

Thrive Market

Thrive market box | Something New For Dinner Thrive Market is an online market that supplies high quality organic, non-GMO and specialty diet items. It is membership based and costs either $9.95 a month or $59.95 per year to join. They claim their prices are discounted significantly off of retail. Normally you receive products within  3 - 4 days. Currently they are estimating 10 - 14 days including transit time. Shipping is free for orders $49 and over. Thrive Market stash | Something New For Dinner I just signed up with them to get products like rice, shelf-stable plant-based milk, granola, chocolate and ghee. In addition to food staples they sell meat and seafood, wine, household, personal care and beauty supplies.


The Wall St. Journal compiled a list of companies that will deliver meat to your door. Their recommendations include: Crowd Cow, A Cut Above, Porter Road, White Oak Pastures, and Belcampo Meat Company.


Chewy provides pet food and supplies delivered to your home. I just ordered my first bag of food, which my three dogs are very stoked about.

Plant a Small Garden

Kumquat tree | Something New For Dinner Our grandparents and great grandparents called them Victory Gardens and they definitely have a place in our coronavirus world of today. Even if you plant a lemon tree in a pot, some lettuce, tomatoes and a few herbs, these homegrown items will make your life better and you will be amazed at how appreciative you are when you harvest them. Some garden shops will deliver to your home. In my area, Rogers Gardens is providing free delivery for orders of $35 or more.


The Kitchn has compiled a list of companies providing home delivery for booze and wine. Now is also a good time to support your favorite winery by joining their wine club. I don't know about you, but my glass of wine feels very important right now!

Don't Forget About Exercise

Many yoga and pilates studios are offering virtual classes. My pilates studio, Aura Pilates, is offering home virtual mat classes on Zoom which I have been very grateful for. Here is a list of home exercise apps compiled by CNBC.  

Tips For Making the Most Out of the Food You Already Have

Once you have procured your food you will want to do your best to minimize waste, make it last and share with others. Here are my best tips:
  1. Clean out your fridge, freezer and pantry so you know what you already have. Get rid of all those odd outdated bottles of stuff you have not used in the last year to make room for more valuable items.
  2. Make a plan for using your onhand ingredients. If you are looking for recipe ideas you can type an ingredient into the search engine at SNFD and recipes that include that ingredient will be provided.
  3. Improvise. Recipes are a good starting point, but now is the time to get creative. Start with a recipe, but use what you have and substitute as you need to. You may find that you create your new favorite dish.
  4. Use FIFO (First-In-First-Out) to manage your most perishable ingredients. When I get a batch of produce I make a plan to use the most fragile ingredients first. That means lettuce, berries, tomatoes, bananas etc... I save sturdier items like potatoes, cabbage, apples and oranges for later. Check on all your perishables regularly so you know when something needs to be used ASAP. 
  5. Use your leftovers. Either freeze them or plan to eat them the next day or two after you prepare them.
  6. Cook in big batches and freeze. Double and triple your soup and stew recipes and freeze multiple dinner portions for later.
  7. Remember "Best by" dates do not tell you when food goes bad or has expired. I just used some couscous that was 6 months past its "Best by" date and it was delicious. I use my nose as my first check to determine if something is still good. If it smells bad, it is probably bad. If it smells clean it probably is OK. If it passes the smell test, I take a small taste to make my final determination. If you are unsure, google it.
  8. Share with friends, families, neighbors and people in higher risk or difficult situations. I have been taking food to my mom and my step-dad as well as a friend who is a single mother who now has to figure out how to take care of her kids 24/7, shop and earn a living while staying at home. It is not just the elderly who can use a helping hand during the coronavirus outbreak. As the time we shelter in place grows there will be greater need. Take a moment to figure out who you can help.

We Can Do This

For inspiration please watch New York's Governor Cuomo's speech to the National Guard before he deployed them to defend and protect New Yorkers from the coronavirus. It puts the small act of sheltering at home into perspective.

And Finally

It is hard to believe, but just a little over two weeks ago I was in the Bahamas enjoying friends, sunshine, warm water and nature at its best. While the world has changed in many ways, I am fully confident that we will get back to all that we love. It will take awhile, but we will get there. Bob the manatee | Something New For Dinner I want to introduce you to one of my favorite Bahamian friends, Bob. He is an adorable manatee who I have had the good fortune to meet up with on three different occasions. His story is quite amazing. After a hurricane, his mother swam from Florida to the Bahamas, some 350 + miles over open ocean. What possessed her to make that swim? Was she pregnant with Bob when she made the swim? How did she survive along the way? Manatees need fresh water and sea grass. These are not available in the open ocean. It was a truly amazing journey that we will never know much about. Bob the manatee and his big smile | Something New For Dinner
Bob and his big happy smile
There are a handful of manatees that have made similar journeys to the Bahamas. Why did they do it? Why did multiple manatees do it? How did they overcome the odds? Who would have known these intelligent, but docile sea cows had so much fortitude? There is a lot to learn from these hardy and adventurous manatees.  Dig deep and be safe on this new and unprecedented coronavirus journey we are on.

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