Shopping and Cooking for 2…

You know that the transition to shopping and cooking for 2 has not fully been embraced when icecream is left on the dessert plate. Served together with a delicious first time recipe “Pear and Hazelnut Cake” the icecream was inedible tasting like the ‘freezer”.

A quick survey of my freezer, pantry and refrigerator revealed that I am still buying in “bulk”. I’ve decided that my efforts to buy less since there are less mouths to feed really hasn’t tranlated into reality yet. I have been cooking less in terms of portions always having some leftovers in the freezer for the day I come from work and don’t feel like cooking but I still have way too much food in the house. Truth be told, some gets wasted and thrown out because it is stale, has mold growing over it, is out of date or “tastes like the freezer”.

I have a plan. I need to start meal planning again. Meal planning helps reduce waste because I shop from the plan and cook from the plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I usually only meal plan supper though when making my grocery list I add the staples that I know fit into breakfast and lunch.

So this week this is what I planned…Monday- Black bean Quesadillas with guacamole and applesauce on the side. Tuesday– Red Lentil, Sweet Potatoe/Carrot Curry with Coconut milk and Green Peas, served with Sprouted Brown Rice and Naan Bread. Wednesday– Leftovers. Thursday– I am going to try a new pasta dish with whole wheat fettucini, a simple sauce made with olive oil, ground almonds, basil and garlic from Jamie Oliver’s Italy cookbook and serve it with steamed asparagus, broccolini, toasted garlic bread and a caesar salad. Friday– Vegetable Stir Fry including carrots, cabbage, onion, celery and Kale with Sweet and Sour sauce, tofu marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds served on a bed of Sprouted Brown Rice and topped with sunflower sprouts and lightly toasted raw cashews. Saturday– Work Christmas Party. Sunday– Red Pepper and Onion Frittata served with a large side salad with walnuts, sliced pears, cranberries, avocado and shaved carrot topped with Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar dressing.

That’s it. Most of what I planned for this week’s menu was taking into account what I already had in the refridgerator, pantry or freezer.  All I needed to buy this week was lettuce, red peppers avocados and a few breakfast and lunch staples.

Cooking for 2 has not been that hard but shopping for 2 has proved to be more of a challenge. Always mindful of getting “the deal” buying in bulk has been the standard.  I have been known to say more than a few times that ” a deal is not a deal if you don’t need it“.  That same line could be applied here where ” a deal is not a deal if it ends up in the garbage”.

Bulk buying is going to be a thing of the past for me. I am going to stick to buying only what I need for the week, limiting even what I “stock up”. I may even have to shop more than once a week.

There is still lots to buy local. Check back to see what is still available at our local Farmer’s Market! You will be surprised.

Pear and Hazelnut Cake

 1 ¾ cup whole spelt flour

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp nutmeg

4 tbsp grapeseed or organic canola oil

2/3 cup soy milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

¾ cup maple syrup

1 cup pear, sliced into quarters (cored and grated)

Topping:

¼ cup hazelnuts, finely ground

¼ cup organic coconut sugar or sugar cane

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Garnish:

½ pear, peeled and sliced into thin wedges

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and nutmeg into a bowl. In a separate large bowl,  whisk together the oil, soy milk, vanilla,  lemon juice and maple syrup. Add the grated pear and stir well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together with a fork gently, do not beat. Pour the batter into an oiled 8 inch springform pan. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cake batter and then arrange the pear slices around the edge of the cake in a circle.  Bake in a preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Test with a toothpick being sure it comes out clean. Cool slightly then remove from springform pan onto a cake serving plate. Serve still warm or cold with a scoop of your favorite vanilla iced dessert. Enjoy!

Decadent Chocolate Cake…..

This cake is decadent, delicious, dairy-free and is a family favorite on special occasions. I was amazed the first time I was served this yummy cake…and even more amazed that it turned out when I first tried it. Baking is not really my speciality, but this cake has never failed. Just a few tips before you try it… You really do need to use 8 inch springform pans. I went  out and bought 2. I like to use parchment paper instead of greasing the pan. A little tip I picked up from somewhere is to first run water over your crumpled sheet of paper, then squeeze out the water and then line the pan.  I have cut down the maple syrup from the original recipe (1 cup)…I think it could even be cut down more:) but since this is a rare treat I have left it at 3/4 cup. And finally, it is worth buying a good quality chocolate chip for the ganache…it really makes a difference.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla soy icecream if you want to keep it all dairy free or with your favorite vanilla ice cream or frozen vanilla yogurt.  I finish it with a couple of tablespoons of delicious raspberries.  Enjoy!

VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING

(serves 8-10)

 1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup whole spelt flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup demarra brown sugar

½ cup water

1 cup soy milk

¾ cup pure maple syrup

½ cup grapeseed oil

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract

 

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

 

2 cups good quality dairy-free chocolate chips (72%)

1 cup vanilla soy milk or 1 cup soy milk + ½ tsp vanilla

½ tbsp brewed coffee

¼ cup maple syrup

 

Raspberry jam (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar.  In a separate bowl beat together the water, the soy milk, maple syrup, oil, vinegar and vanilla and almond extracts.  Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and beat on low until well combined.
  3. Divide the batter into 2 parchment paper lined 8 inch springform cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack completely before trying to peel the parchment paper away from the cake.
  4. To prepare the ganache, put the chocolate chips, soy milk, coffee and maple syrup in a double boiler over simmering water. Once the chips are melted, remove from the double boiler and set aside to cool. Transfer to a blender or magic bullet and blend for 1 minute. Cool for about an hour in the refrigerator.
  5. Place one cake layer on a cake plate and spread an even thin layer (approx ½ in) of raspberry jam or ganache frosting. Place the second cake layer on top and frost the entire cake.