The Best Recipes, Products And Hacks We Tried This Past Week (April 13-17)

Our editors share what's keeping them calm, productive and entertained during coronavirus social distancing.

There’s no “right” way to navigate this coronavirus pandemic; everyone lives and copes differently. That being said, fostering a sense of community may make getting through this time a little bit easier.

Enter this weekly guide. Every Sunday, we’ll bring you a shortlist of products, routines, workouts, recipes, apps and other things we tried the previous week that make life easier during this universally stressful time. Take a look at the suggestions below:

Activity Recommendations

One of our reporters painted a wall in her studio, and the task brought more benefits than just a home redesign.
One of our reporters painted a wall in her studio, and the task brought more benefits than just a home redesign.

Participate in bar trivia from your couch.

The bar in my neighborhood where I usually do trivia started hosting it virtually. My team and I communicated over Slack and the host read out clues and answers over Zoom. They also did home delivery of food and their cocktail menu, so I had a burger, fries and an old fashioned while we played.

It wasn’t quite like the real thing, of course, but it felt good to be doing something in my community and supporting a local business. I’ve seen a lot of similar happenings with other bars on my Instagram, it might be worth taking a look to see if it’s happening in your community. ―Jamie Feldman, Lifestyle & Personal Reporter

Try your hand at simple, DIY home renovations.

This week I set out on a mission to paint one wall in my living room. It was certainly a labor of love but doing something with my hands felt really good, and took my mind off of everything for a little while. Plus, it was a killer arm workout (I’m still sore). Now I have a beautiful burnt orange accent wall and knowing I did it myself is something I feel proud of. Even if the top is a teeny tiny bit wonky. ―Feldman

Workout Recommendations

Stretching exercises on Peloton and YouTube.

My workout recommendation is to not work out sometimes. Seriously. The “no excuses” exercise mentality has damaged my relationship with fitness in the past, so I’m trying to be more mindful about acknowledging why I like to workout (the anxiety relief!), what workouts feel good (boxing! weights! short runs!) and when exercise just doesn’t appeal to me. There were a few times recently where my head, heart and body just couldn’t get into exercise. Instead of pushing myself, I listened to myself.

On those days, I opted for a few stretching classes on the Peleton app (which is still offering a free 45-day trial if you sign up before the end of the month!). You can also find stretching and other yoga-related moves on YouTube. Highly recommend taking these types of rest days, stretching your muscles or doing something else that’s more relaxing. You need them. ―Lindsay Holmes, Senior Wellness Editor

Recipe Recommendations

One of our senior editors made an easy fried fish sandwich that tops anything you'd get from a drive thru.
One of our senior editors made an easy fried fish sandwich that tops anything you'd get from a drive thru.

A unique, tasty way to celebrate Taco Tuesday.

I have been trying to stick to some routines for my 5-year-old daughter, who loves to make plans and talk about them all week. So we have been doing Taco Tuesdays, and she gets REALLY into it. This past week, I made this recipe for Pork Tacos with Corn Salsa from a blog called Carlsbad Cravings. I don’t know what about this recipe worked so well, but it was really flavorful and tender, even in salads the next day. I think this will be my go-to taco recipe from now on. I did mess up 1 million dishes in the kitchen making all the steps, but I’ve got loads of time, right?! My daughter’s verdict: “Even though the meat looks disgusting, it’s SO delicious.” Um, thank you? ―Kate Palmer, Head of HuffPost Life

The easiest spaghetti meal with kitchen staples.

Growing up, my parents used to make their own version of Chicken Spaghetti whenever we were short on time or just wanted something easy. It only requires four simple ingredients: Chicken, spaghetti of your choice, peas (which are optional) and zesty Italian dressing. (The zesty version is key!)

Marinate the chicken in the dressing for an hour, then cook it in a pan. Add the peas and a little more dressing once the chicken is cooked and allow it to simmer until the peas are done. While this is going on, make your spaghetti, then mix it all together. I usually just eyeball how much of the dressing you need; save a tiny bit of the pasta water and mix that in to make the “sauce” consistent. It’s completely elementary, but it’s delicious, easy and could save you on groceries if you already have these items stocked at home. ―Holmes

A healthier alternative to your favorite fast food meal.

This is embarrassing, but I totally forgot I have an Air Fryer. It was just hiding away in a dark, remote corner, unused and gathering dust. I pulled it out, read the instruction manual, and made the best fried fish I’ve had in ages ― with no oil. Not a drop!

I’ve been having serious fast food cravings lately, so I turned the fish into a healthier version of a Filet-O-Fish sandwich with a brioche bun, homemade tartar sauce, lettuce and American cheese ― and it was FANTASTIC. Now I’m looking forward to figuring out what else I can cook in it. I highly recommend doing the same, whether you have an Air Fryer, an Instant Pot, a waffle maker or whatever. ―Kristen Aiken, Senior Editor, Food & Style

Product Recommendations

A fancy tea blend that makes the ultimate nightcap.

I’ve been aiming to swap my usual nightly glass of cabernet for a cup or two of tea, and I think it’s helped me sleep better and generally feel better the last few weeks. After all, alcohol lowers your immunity, and we could all use all the help we can get now, right? I’ve tried to make it a bit more enticing by using fancy teas and my favorite tea infuser. I’m obsessed with this Cherry Marzipan green tea blend from Tea Forte. I’ll still have that wine, but try to limit it to the weekends. ―Palmer

A postcard you create online and send to your loved ones in the mail.

My family discovered Postable this week, which is a service where you can create and send physical postcards to people. You can choose from a selection of adorable pre-made cards or you can create one using your own photos. The service will then print, stamp, address and mail it. My grandmother is currently in a nursing home without most of her sentimental belongings, so we created our own cards using family photos so she can display them in her room. It’s a nice way to keep in touching during this socially distant time! ―Holmes

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus