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Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Joy of the Single Cookie

One of the biggest complaints I get from people is that they don’t want to cook “just for them.” Some tell me they love to cook for someone else and don’t know how to shop or cook in a way that is economical for one person. I’ve had very intelligent folks who have worked out that they waste the produce or get bored of what they’ve made or their time is better spent on take out than over a stove.

If you really want to save a substantial amount of dollars in the long run, eating in is the way to go. For the same amount you will pay for one entree in a restaurant, you can have three or four gourmet full course meals at home. You could save thousands of dollars in a year, you just need to know what to do.

Start with basics. Having certain items like some whole grains, pasta and a package of tortilla’s in the freezer ready to go will ensure you have something to start working with. I also like to have some seasonings on hand aside from the standard sea salt to make things taste good. I stock a little ume vinegar, mustard, Agave or other natural sweetener, flour, tamari, miso paste and then of course of good quality sea salt. My current one I got from the bulk bins (along with many of the staples mentioned) at Whole Foods. These items will not go bad on you for a very long time and you don’t have to buy large amounts to begin with. I also keep parchment paper and a baking dish handy along with a couple of pots with lids and a fry pan. (stainless steel if you were wondering.)

When buying produce, don’t go crazy. Fruits will ripen all at once so plan on one or two fruits a day and you can always refrigerate a ripe fruit for couple of days so buy enough to last but not so much you let them spoil. For me that means just 3 or 4 fruits at a time. Maybe a couple of apples and one package of blueberries or 3 plums and two peaches, something like that. It’s better to shop more often and buy less. You won’t spend hours in the grocery store once you get the hang of picking up a couple of items and exiting quickly too.

Cooking for one is faster and easier than you think. I definitely could write a book on it and maybe will. One of the items I really don’t care much for in the grocery store are the healthy cookies. Most taste like cardboard if they have ingredients I can feel good about. They are overpriced for what you get even if they did taste okay. While I used to make a batch of cookies and just freeze the batter or the cookies for when I wanted one. I have now been camping in various places in my move to New York so I don’t have the desire to make a lot of anything and keep it around because I’m not around with one fridge that long. I love dessert and have come up with ways to make single servings for myself that are simple and easy and delicious. Here is a recipe for a single cookie so you never need to feel deprived…

2T. rice bran oil

1T Agave

tiny pinch of sea salt

1/3 C. flour approximately a little more if you choose.

any additions you like such as grain sweetened chocolate chips.

Mix the first three ingredients and then stir in the flour just until mixed, add the chips and place onto a small piece of parchment paper, smoothing into cookie shape you like, on a baking sheet or dish. You can bake in a toaster oven or a regular oven. 400 degrees F for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Every oven works differently so watch it the first time.

You can mix the ingredients in any small cup and you will find that making one of these takes very little time but is so much fun to be able to have an enjoyable dessert for one that you can feel good about.

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