Oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookies

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Posted: Friday, March 20, 2020 6:00 am

These are strange times we live in. I’m no spring chicken, and I can’t recall ever feeling this sense of long-term anxiety and uncertainty as what we’re dealing with now with the COVID-19 scare.

In the Short household, we’re trying to go about our lives as safely normal as possible, which means we’re trying to remain calm while washing our hands more than usual and sticking close to home.

Our spring travel plans have been canceled, schools are closed and the lack of televised sports is seriously freaking us out. I not-so-secretly adore the extra family time, because self-isolating is how I generally prefer to live my life, anyway. But when it’s forced on you, it’s easy to get antsy.

What to do with all the extra family time?

  • Go to the gym, which hopefully remains open. (UPDATE: It did not.) It’s a healthy, productive way to burn some time and calories and, because it’s weird to strike up a conversation with someone when you’re dripping sweat and they’re running on a treadmill or hoisting a barbell above their head, that recommended 6-foot distance between people isn’t a problem. Plus, the place is packed with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, so it’s a germaphobe’s paradise.
  • Binge-watching anything. We subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and Apple TV, because I clearly have a problem. You can watch old favorites like “Parks and Rec” or “Seinfeld,” but there’s plenty of original programming. Among our favorites have been “The Umbrella Academy,” “The Witcher” and “The Morning Show,” with “The Mandalorian” and “The Dragon Prince” as more family-friendly viewing.
  • Read a book. Yes, they still exist. I’ve blown through four this week (mostly at the gym), and none of them even had pictures.
  • Shop local. As small-business owners we’re huge proponents of this, anyway, but it’s more important than ever to support your local businesses during times of economic uncertainty. Be grateful you have business owners who care about your welfare – whether it’s a restaurant closing their dining room to keep you safe (but ramping up delivery and takeout options), a pharmacy that delivers to more vulnerable populations or a grocery store that’s keeping its shelves stocked when big-city supermarkets can’t do the same.
  • Try new – and old – favorite recipes. When you’re not picking up takeout, pick up a cookbook and give a new recipe a try. Or, when you’re looking for a little comfort, dust off your recipe box and make an old favorite. These cookies, with their salty, chewy oatmeal base and giant chocolate chips, always make me feel like everything is going to be OK.

For the recipe, see the Banner's online or print edition.

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