Cooking for one: How I got my groove back


No matter if you’re a master in the kitchen or your cooking skills are ho-hum, it’s likely your meals, preparation and eating habits shift with the different phases in your life.

For me, childhood was filled with homemade Texas-style meals made with love by my parents (yep, both of them). In college, it was heaps of creamy chicken ramen, grilled zucchini on the George Foreman, and too many Coors Lights. Shifting to being in a relationship for the past 4-and-a-half years, I became a ninja in our beautiful kitchen. Most meals were made with the help of Pinterest, my two hands and something that’d make my girlfriend happy (think mac & cheese, vanilla bean cake and enchiladas).

Now that I’m single, much has changed, including eating and cooking.

In my recent short-term sublet, I had trouble befriending my small kitchen. Although I made a crack pie and baked chicken, I wasn’t ready to get back into it again. The act of cooking had so many emotional strings attached to it that I wasn’t ready to face.

However, after too many Lean Cuisines, bowls of Special K Red Berries and bland salads, I grew bored. And thin.

Once I moved into my new place (with one sexy looking kitchen), I’m starting to re-learn the joy of cooking again.

So what does one eat when they’re single? Well, this is the part I’m slowly discovering. I’ve adjusted my recipes and portions to steer away from huge and extravagant meals, but I still aim to make something that makes me happy, satisfied and feeling good.

In my hunt for easy, wholesome recipes and ingredients (of course, this means getting lost in my new grocery store plenty) I’ve discovered and fallen in love with quinoa.

Yep, the grain that’s hard to pronounce.

In short, quinoa falls in the grain family, but are actually edible seeds that are packed with protein, fiber, iron and vitamin B2. Not only is it amazingly good for you, but it makes a great foundation for meals and can replace less healthy ingredients (processed carbs, white rice, etc).

Here are some easy creations I’m obsessing over at the moment that involve my (new) favorite supergrain:

Quinoa + red apple + dried cranberry + red onion + blue cheese + balsamic + pepper

Chopped kale + quinoa + hard-boiled egg + avocado + sun-dried tomato + almonds + goat cheese + oil + vinegar

Baby greens + quinoa + black beans + tomato + avocado + shredded cheddar + Catalina dressing + Greek yogurt + crushed blue corn chips

Quinoa + arugula + fresh corn + black beans + apple + pico de gallo + avocado + grated cheese (gouda is my favorite with this one) + Sriracha

Quinoa + banana + maple syrup + milk or butter

Greek yogurt + quinoa + fresh berries + honey

The discovery of creating meals just for me has been a learning process and something that I’ll look back on with a smile. Everyday, a new kitchen tool unearths, a new idea incorporates into my meal and my inner kitchen maven returns.

Born a true Texas girl, Bethany U-Hauled to the beautiful, history-drenched city of Richmond, Virginia, for long distance love that eventually ended. In addition to obsessing and writing about Richmond’s food scene (restaurants, festivals, and trends), she’s a connoisseur of painting, aromatherapy, indie music and English accents. Find her stuff at Grub Like A Girl and One Check Or Two.

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