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At-home Tips and Ideas from Our Program Volunteers and Partners  3/25/20

We are continuing to share inspiration from our program volunteers, speakers and partners, to help keep you as engaged and enriched as possible during this time. We’ve also added a “Community Corner” section at the bottom of this e-blast, to highlight other local news and suggestions.

This e-blast focuses on cooking, with contributions from two of our DCA partners who know their way around a kitchen!

Laura Boulton, DCA Catered Events Coordinator

Laura’s love of food comes from her experience in the catering industry and now as a seasoned event planner. If you haven’t met her at the DCA, you’ve probably seen her out running in town. We asked Laura to share her thoughts:

What brings us together?   It is shared experiences, celebrations, our community, family and friends. During challenging times such as these when we cannot gather we feel disconnected. The nature of what I do is to bring people together, yet we are being told to stay apart. How to stay in touch with others and maintain some degree of normalcy in our lives can be difficult and stressful. I for one, find peace of mind in exercise and also in cooking. Running gets me outdoors where I can push myself physically and release stress. Cooking is also a great opportunity for me to use my hands, create new dishes and share the result with family. It brings me comfort and happiness.

I look forward to when we can all return to our routines and congregate together. In the meantime, I invite you to try my recipe for stress relief and grab a cutting board, some ingredients and find your happy by cooking.

To prepare during these uncertain times I have a few tips:

1.  Start by getting you pantry and freezer cleaned out.  You likely have some free time now so toss anything old and tired.

2. Think about buying things that can be kept in the freezer or pantry like, frozen fruits/veggies; canned goods; whole grains; boxed, plant based milk; whole grain flours; bags of onions and garlic; meats and seafood that can be frozen.

3.  Think in terms of healthy eating.  Make eating good foods your top priority.  Eat citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, dark leafy greens and yogurt.  Add spices and herbs to your dishes.

4. Plan!  We are all encouraged to stay home and to avoid going to the store frequently.  This is the time to make a list of what you can prepare, double and freeze like soups, stews.

5.  And by all means, let’s take care of each other.

Here is a link to one of my favorite chef’s simple recipes that she has refreshed and posted for all to enjoy.

Carolyn Eddie, Carolyn’s Absolutely Fabulous Events

Carolyn (and her absolutely fabulous team) caters our afternoon teas, and her scones are legendary. We hope to offer another tea in the not-too-distant future, but in the meantime, why not make a batch of her scones yourself? As Carolyn suggests, “freeze the rest for a wee treat later. Because, with all of us hanging out at home together, we need a wee treat.”

Community Corner

The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage. Please consider donating. You can make an appointment online.

Hello from the DCA!  3/19/20
Sharing Information, Tips and Recommendations

Our programs may be suspended, but we’d like the ideas and the thinking they generate to continue.

So until we can welcome you back to the DCA in person, we’ll be sharing ideas from our program volunteers, speakers and partners – in lieu of our regular Sunday e-blast – to help provide some enrichment and inspiration.

It’s Tea Time


Last October our Women’s Luncheons featured a presentation from Bigelow Tea, including a discussion of the health benefits of tea. Herbal teas, in particular, are said to have a calming effect. Check out their website for this and many other tips.

Rules for Couples

In January, we partnered with Barrett Bookstore to host a laughter-filled evening with Patricia Marx and Roz Chast, authors of You Can Only Yell at Me For One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples.

With households (and couples!) more confined, their irreverent wit is even more timely and will help keep you smiling.

Copies of You Can Only Yell at Me For One Thing at a Time are available from Barrett Bookstore, and may be ordered from their website. They are currently offering curbside pickup and free delivery in Darien and Rowayton. Other titles from Roz Chast are available as well.

Get Out in the Garden!

Our Greenhouse Group volunteers have plenty of ideas for things you can do outside, and to get your garden ready.

1. Prune off last year’s dead growth from plants with new growth out at the bottom: plants such as pulmonaria, tiarella, astilbe, etc…

2. Remove the burlap from the shrubs and trees you protected over the winter.

3. Dump the old soil from last year’s pots and planters into the compost and scrub these containers in preparation for new spring plantings.

4. Starting seeds of vegetables can be done now and is a great project to keep your young children occupied!

5. Prune your hydrangeas and clematis (ones that do not bud in fall.)

6. Clean up winter debris (branches and twigs) and rake out your beds of old leaves.

7. After cleaning compost and/or mulch beds that will not be receiving any new spring plantings.

8. Sweep patios and porches.

9. Take down and clean out your birdhouses.

10. Sweep out your garage and clean and organize tools.