At Home with Amanda Orlando

A Note from the publisher

We’re living in an unprecedented moment in history, and it’s been amazing to see how people are pulling together to support one another. Here at TouchWood we’ve decided to ask our authors what has been keeping them busy during a time when we’ve all been asked to stay home to Flatten the Curve.

Meet Amanda

Hi! I’m Amanda Orlando, author of the cookbook Everyone’s Welcome.

I’m not sure how to sum up my time in isolation other than to say it has been weird, with moments of positivity. And this is coming from someone who regularly works from home anyways.

I feel very fortunate that I have food, that I have a home in which to isolate myself, and that my husband and I are in this together.

One of my concerns when talk of the virus began was whether I would be able to find allergy-safe foods once the panic buying started. I have multiple life-threatening food allergies and can’t eat just anything. So around the end of February I started picking up a couple extra items each week in order to avoid the dreaded panic buying. Once the state of emergency was announced in Toronto, the city felt very tense from my perspective.

Being in a condo building was driving me a little crazy, so my husband and I moved into our family cottage where we have been living in isolation for about a month.

The fresh air has done us a lot of good. We enjoy chatting with neighbours over the fence or from our driveways. For the first couple weeks I found it difficult to focus on work. Although we were doing a lot of slow process cooking, homemade breads, and smoked meats, I found it challenging to keep up with social media and recipe development as I usually would. Instead I allowed myself some time to breathe.

I made some truly incredible loaves of bread. I started drawing every day, going to bed earlier, taking long baths, watching movies by the fireplace, and talking to my parents on the phone each morning. Now this has become our new normal; wearing a mask and gloves for our weekly grocery store trip or if I go for a walk outside,  socializing over Zoom or a phone call.

It has now been about five weeks since I started isolating, and it’s beginning to feel routine. I’m back in the swing of food photography and recipe development and am working on some beautiful new dishes using things from my freezer and pantry.

This situation has made me appreciate the time I spent in person with my friends and family, especially the ability to have cooked for them so often. I see cooking as an act of generosity, and while it is important to be generous and nurturing to oneself, it feels like a shame that I can’t share it with others in the way that I am accustomed to. But overall, I am grateful.

Come join me on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.


Excerpted: Everyone’s Welcome
Vegetarian and vegan
Makes about 1¾ cups

  • 1 cup certified gluten-free oats
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • Light sprinkle of ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until they are well combined. Spread the mixture out on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. The spices will become aromatic and the granola will be golden brown.

Serve with your favourite breakfast foods or as a snack on its own.

Find more information here