5I never wanted to be a Teacher, a Referee or a Policewoman. But I hold the ultimate respect for these people, especially after doing the social distancing thing with three small children.

On a daily basis I now homeschool my children (without the years of training, planning or the field trip fun) referee their fights (which are fast and furious now that they are their only playmates) and I monitor my home like a policewoman to deter crimes like assaults with deadly weapons (metals cars and hard toys), grand theft (ripping toys from another child’s hands and fleeing) and resisting arrest (my kids will never tolerate a time out).

I am joking but deadly serious.

This weather needs to turn soon. The days when we can go outside are the best. The days where we are trapped indoors make me want to curl up in a ball in my bed and let them watch screens 24 hours a day. Unfortunately after 5 weeks, even screens are losing their appeal and ability to lull them into submission.

I am thankful that my only job now is food blogger which can be done on my own time. How the other parents are doing this pandemic parenting while fielding zoom conferences and calls is beyond me and I am beyond grateful that we are able to daily assess our collective vibe and schedule the day according to how cooperative or cooped up everyone is feeling.

I have taken to saying yes to things that before this I would have battled over.

You want Halloween candy? Sure kid! First do this task and I will gladly reward you with sugar! You want nachos for breakfast? YES if it means I can quietly drink my coffee ABSOluteley.  You wanna play in the mud? JUST DO IT as long as there is no screaming.

The Pandemic has changed parenting for me. I am miraculously more tolerant, more empathetic and more lenient than ever. I am more compassionate during meltdowns and I am less anxious about the small stuff that used to fill me with dread.

But most of all, I have an amazing amount of respect for the Teachers, the Referees and the Police who do these difficult and immensely important jobs while we all do ours.

Dal Makhani Recipe

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Yield: 5-8 servings


  • 1lb black lentils
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 3Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¾ cup plant milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2Tbsp vegan butter
  • Cilantro and black pepper


1. Start by boiling 1 pound of small black lentils in enough water to cover them plus about 1 inch for 15 mins
2. In a large cast iron skillet sauté 3 cloves chopped garlic, a two inch finger of fresh ginger chopped and 1 small onion in 1 tsp neutral oil until all is fragrant and toasty
3. Push the onion/garlic/ginger to one side and add the dry spices to the pan to toast in the oil which really magnifies their flavor. 1tsp cumin, heaping 1tsp garam masala, heaping 1tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper and 1/4 tsp cayenne move around then disperse with the onion mix 
4. Add the boiling lentils to the spices and bring to a boil for 10 mins adding extra water if needed to keep covered in water
5. Check lentils for softness. When soft add 3T tomato paste, 3/4 cup unsweetened plant milk. 1/2 tsp salt and 2T vegan butter and boil an additional 10 mins stirring often.
6. Serve with rice or bread and veggies of your choice plus copious cilantro and black pepper

Enjoy! If you make this recipe please share with Sara and VeganZine on Instagram with #VeganZineBoston.

Sara Tercero is the Better Food Guru!
You can find more of her recipes and content here.