When I used to watch videos of people of Wuhan giving each other hope through their building’s windows, I couldn’t imagine that this day I will need something like that. In the last couple of days I watched them celebrate because they reduced the number of infected people to 0 and it made me cry again.
I live in Albania and currently we are all self quarantined, day 2. As soon as first cases of Coronavirus where confirmed, luckily our government immediately decided to lock down Tirana and Durres and soon all the country. We had about two days to prepare our home and to buy groceries for a life under quarantine.
In this short period of time I think I have bought all the necessary and basic things to eat delicious meals every day.
Please do not overstock if you are not old or immunocompromised. Try to get some extra food than you normally would. Let us think and help together those in need.
Here are 10 tips on what to buy when you are preparing for quarantine:
1. Legumes (canned or dried)
The best protein resource if you are a vegan or not are legumes. You can buy them canned or dried but if you are buying them dried be sure to sore them in a sealed cleaned jar. I went with dried :
- Green lentils
- Red lentils
- White canellini beans
- Black beans
- Butter beans
2.Grains, Rice and Pasta
Buying grains, rice and pasta is the best thing you can do because they are not only rich in proteins and fibers but they are versatile to use in different recipes. Even if you change the spices you are using to cook them, they can be delicious and taste different from the last time you had them. Oats are also great to eat as a breakfast if you want porridge (aka oatmeal), waffle, pancakes, muffin, cookies etc. I went with:
- Pasta of different shapes
3.Oil, Milk and Tomato Sauce
Usually I use corn oil when I am cooking a stew or baking and olive oil when I am making pasta or a salad dressing. You can also buy coconut oil, avocado oil or any oil you find it easier to buy in your country. Since my country (Albania) produces extra virgin olive oil a lot, olive oil is traditional to use in most recipes.
I usually make my own plant milk but just in case I bought soy and almond milk to store it in my pantry. I have also made oat milk just in case.
Tomato sauce is necessary in almost every dish. If you are making bean chili, stew, pasta etc.
I went with:
- Almond milk
- Soy milk
- Corn oil
- Olive oil
- Tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes
4.Flour, Sugar and Salt
I love to bake so just in case we want something sweet or some kind of pie, baking would be a great therapy to spend time together, So buy lots of flour and sugar to store in your pantry. Even if the bread runs out and you can’t find bread in the store, you can make your own fresh bread. It is way tastier than store bought (be sure to have in your pantry baking soda or yeast as a rising agent). Salt is salt, I mean you can’t cook without it! I went with:
- White flour
- Corn flour
5.Nuts, seeds or nut/seed butter
Nuts and seeds are a great source of fibers, proteins and healthy fats. I also make my own peanut butter and tahini but you can buy any nut or seed butter of your choice. Usually I have nuts and seeds on my pantry but this time I bought extra. If you are making your own bread, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are delicious to use over a fresh loaf of bread.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
- Peanut butter
6.Frozen berries and frozen peas
Frozen fruits and vegetables in general are great to store in the freezer. I like to store blueberries and strawberries in the freezer all the time. I use them in smoothies, in homemade jams or to top my oatmeal or waffles.
Frozen peas or any other frozen veggies are great for stews and noodles. They remain fresh for a long time in the freezer. I went with , frozen:
7.Vegetables, Greens and Fruits
The most important ingredients in our dishes and for a snack are fruits and vegetables. Also keep in mind that Vitamin C helps strengthen our immunity system so eat lots of oranges, broccoli, strawberries and drink homemade tea with ginger and lemon.
- Apple (red and green)
- Lemon and lime
- Spinach or Kale
8.Bread and Tea
Every time you go out to buy fresh bread, try to buy lots of it so you can eat it for some days so you won’t have to go out often. Also in my country we drink tea with homegrown herbs and spices and our traditional tea is “caj mali” with in English means “tea of the mountain” but it is usually known with the name Sideritis. I use Sideritis, bay leaf, sage, oregano or any other herbs and spices to drink tea at least 2-3 times a day. Staying hydrated and drinking hot drinks is one of the many recommendations given in the situation of Coronavirus. We also drink tea with fresh ginger, ground turmeric, pepper and lemon almost every morning.
- Fresh Bread
- Ginger roots
- Tea of your choice
9. Coffee, Chocolate and Drinks
Staying in the quarantine doesn’t mean we are surviving. It means we are making a safe choice for us, our family and community. I am on the second day and trust me it gets hard sometimes. But since the day one we made Netflix membership and we watch movies with a snack or a drink. Usually we have wine in our home so we just bought beers. We also bought chocolate to snack or to use in cookies or muffins.
And if you are a coffee lover, don’t forget to buy your coffee.
- Beers, Wine or Drinks of your choice
- Cocoa powder
10.Don’t waste anything
Most important tip of all is to not waste anything. If you want to make some delicious muffins use your leftover orange and lemon peels. If you are making a hot bowl of rice use carrot peels, onion peels etc to make a healthy stock (vegetable broth) and give your rice a tasty flavor. Don’t throw away parsley or coriander stems but use them in pesto or stews since they are the most flavorful part. So basically use everything wisely and try making everything delicious for you and your family.
We are going through this together. Stay safe and good luck. Hope everything will end soon enough.