Note about the picture: My fridge currently has a giant tub of yoghurt, more condiments than food and a collection of jars at the back that may be a bit suspicious….
This always comes as a surprise to people but about a month ago, Alex decided that he wanted to go back to Tofino to live/work. He has been talking about this for some time so when the opportunity presented itself, I wouldn’t stand in his way to stop him from doing something that he had been longing for. He has always been supportive of me and my little endeavours and now it is my turn to support him.
Me on the other hand, I really like living in Victoria! I like that I can buy food after 8pm and I have an overwhelming choice of places to eat, drink coffee, bike etc.
We both still love each other so we are still very much a couple and make the long distance thing work with lots of texting, phone calls and when we can, a visit. In fact, I have just come back from Tofino, after spending 4 glorious days with him! I also get the added bonus that I have a very good reason to go to Tofino and I get free accommodation and a place to store my wetsuits.
The downside of Alex gone is that I am living by myself again. This means no cuddles and I am the only person to take out the trash, but the worst thing is having to cook for just one person.
I didn’t think it would be an issue at all! Since I normally cook for two and I do all the cooking in the house. I didn’t think it would be hard to halve my recipes to suit my new living situation. In fact, I was going to cook normal portions and then not cook as often. Brilliant thinking Liv! But there were a couple of important things that I forgot….
- It is no fun cooking an amazing meal and then not having anyone to share it with. Sure, I could call my friends to come over but I am used to that instant person being there all the time. (Alex come and try this… oh wait…Where did he go?)
- Even though I think that I do all the cooking in the house, I realise now that I don’t. Alex helps me a lot, especially when I am trying to shower while the rice is cooking or just need that extra person to help with the chopping of ingredient. So now, everything takes me so much longer and I hate that! This doesn’t just apply to cooking, but a lot of different chores in the house.
- The other person in the house reminds me not to make 4 dishes in one night because we will get sick of that food really quick. Let me explain… sometimes when I am in the kitchen, I start making one dish, which leads to two and eventually I have made 5 different things and now we have to eat them all. I did this the other day and the upside is that my freezer is now full of meals that I made while experimenting with black mung beans, so I will be eating those little suckers for a long time! I will also add that I have already eaten so many black mung beans that I cannot bear to eat another one… first world problems… I know!
So what am I going to do now?
Well I have devised a plan, which I will try to stick to, and see if it works for me. And if it does, well then I can share my successes and failures with you. I also want to hear from you? What do you do? Do you love or hate cooking for one? Do you cook for a family and wish that you could just cook for yourself?
ONE: Designate one day for cooking a couple of recipes, then package them into single serves and freeze them.
I honestly believe this is how I survived my university years! Every Monday, I would cook three different meals, divide them into those plastic take-away boxes (like the ones below) and freeze them. I could grab them at the end of a long day, nuke them in the microwave and tah-dah! Dinner was served! They were mainly pasta meals, like tuna mornay, spaghetti bolognaise and occasionally, a curry but now, I am a little more savi about cooking. Meals that are great to cook and freeze are: Roasted Vegetable Pasties, Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken, Quinoa for Salads, Chicken Lasagne and so many more!
Please note: I am not a huge fan of using plastic containers but I also cannot afford to only use the practical alternatives (I reuse my glass jars but they do not fit in my freezer very well). If you also prefer stainless steel and glass over plastic, these containers would be the best option for you.
TWO: Organise a dinner arrangement with a friend so that you can alternate each week with cooking a meal.
I have other friends that live alone and also complain about not wanting to cook because it sucks when it is just for themselves. Since I don’t see them as much as I like, I want to propose a cooking swap. I cook one week and then I shall come over to their place and they can cook for me the next week. It’s a win-win because I also get to see my friends more 🙂 Now I just have to see if they think that it is a good idea?
THREE: Aim for five small meals a day.
I am a comfort eater. If I have had a bad day, if I am tired, if I am bored, I can always find a reason to eat. This is one thing that I have really noticed with Alex being away, I am snacking a LOT! because I am looking for something to substitute my cuddles. They are good, healthy snacks but then I am eating full sized meals as well and in the long run, it’s going to make my butt big! When I originally wrote this, I was going to aim for 3 meals and an afternoon snack but after I thought about it, I thought that I would try for 5 small meals instead. I shall be interested to see how this shapes up for me (pun not intended) as I am imagining myself grazing constantly like a cow but it will probably be a nice break for my digestive system as I am not overloading it.
My go-to meals at the moment are: hummus and corn chips, yogurt and chia seed parfaits, medjool dates and the Immune Boosting Lassi from Green Kitchen Stories. These are quick to make and also quite portable so they are perfect for my lifestyle at the moment.
I also want to make a bar or muffin that I can carry easily with me, that doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge and is a savoury flavour… I’ll keep you posted on how my experiments for this go.
FOUR: Try a new recipe each week.
I kind of do this already, since I am trying to have a food blog and all… but again, it is easy to get stuck in a rut. The upside of cooking for yourself is that you can make whatever you want! You could eat noodles everyday of the week if you really wanted because you are the only person that you have to please. I really enjoy new recipes as long as they meet some of my guidelines (not too long to cook, not too many ingredients, no deep frying etc.) so this is the perfect time to try some new things and spread my cooking utensil clad wings and fly into the kitchen. It also gives me an excuse to spend time on the internet, looking at other food blogs… hello food porn!
These are the little steps that I am taking to (hopefully) make cooking for one less crappy and I hope that you find them helpful. If you have any additional ideas, leave them in the comments section below or post them to my facebook page.
Have a great week, Olivia xx