A Question For You

Nine months ago, I couldn’t imagine having one blog. Now I am imagining having two blogs. I would continue posting here at A Solitary Feast and maintain a separate non food related blog. My new blog would be on clicker training my diverse types of pets, a cross between how to clicker train and an online training journal.

My question is for those with multiple blogs, what are the pros and cons of having more than one blog? How do you make time for both? If you had multiple blogs, and ended up shutting one down can you tell me what happened? I am really curious as to what it’s like to live in a two blog household.

The new blog isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I am still in that nebulous place between having an idea and having a plan. I won’t be doing much with a new blog until the new year. My November and December editorial calendars are crammed full of good food. I don’t want A Solitary Feast to suffer because I am trying to cram too much in at one time. Anyway, thank you for taking time to consider my question. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

Jenny’s Black Bean Soup

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It is a sad day here at A Solitary Feast, I finally had to drag out my winter jacket. Up until now I have been making due with a sweater and light weight jacket but with the temperature hovering at 39 degrees, that isn’t going to cut it any more. On the bright side, I can now eat soup without anyone looking at me funny. Yep, I am one of those people. I eat soup all year around, no matter how hot it is outside.

Jenny's Black Bean Soup

2 cans (4 cups) black beans
½ lb ground beef or other ground meat
6 TBS salsa
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
chicken stock
1 lime

In a large saucepan brown the meat; drain. Combine 1 can beans and salsa, puree. Combine the black beans and salsa mixture with the meat. Add the chicken stock until the desired consistency is reached. Add the zest of the whole lime and juice of half the lime, the remaining beans and cumin. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 60 minutes.

Adapted from a recipe my sister in law, Jenny, gave me.

Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

WIN_20141027_095825 (2)A challenge has been given and accepted. My coworker is rabidly anti-cooking for yourself. Deb insists it is too expensive and a steady diet of processed food isn’t going to have any negative effects on her health. Deb doesn’t believe me when I tell her my average weekly food budget is usually under 40 dollars a week and I eat very well for that amount of money. Deb wants me to prove it so I am.

For the month of November, I’ll be posting menus, grocery lists and receipts from all my food shopping trips, in addition to my normal recipes. It is possible to eat well and healthy on a budget.

I have many recipes like this one from Lauren Smith’s blog, The Oatmeal Artist, to keep us from getting bored.

Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

A Solitary Thanksgiving Feast–Pumpkin Pie

WIN_20141025_175515 (2) The holiday season can be a very difficult and lonely time for single people, especially if work, money and distance keeps us away from our family. It seems like single people give up a lot of our holiday traditions because they seem impractical or too much work for just one or two people. I think this is especially true when it comes to our food traditions, dozens of cookies, pounds of fudge, and a huge turkey with all the trimmings don’t fit into our single person lifestyle. I propose that we, the single people, start our own holiday traditions. To that end, I will be posting recipes for a traditional Thanksgiving meal over the coming weeks. Since life is short, let’s eat dessert first.

Pumpkin Pie

1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 TBS plus 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
1 TBS plus 1 ½ teaspoons white sugar
1 tsp molasses
1/8 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ginger
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
3 TBS lightly beaten egg
¼ cup evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 375 degree. In a small bowl, combine the sugars, molasses, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, salt, egg and evaporated milk. Mix well. Spray in a 5 inch pie pan or 1 cup custard cup sprayed with cooking spray. Pour filling into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake 40-45 minutes.

Adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook

Stove Top Popcorn

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The best part of going to the movies is bucket of popcorn big enough to feed a small country with double the butter flavored goop. Not even my weight watcher leader telling me how many calories were in that bucket of popcorn could dim my love of that salty, buttery flavored junk. Unfortunately, or is that fortunately, I don’t get to go to the movies often.

Although it isn’t possible to duplicate movie theater exactly at home you can come close. First of all, ditch the air popper and microwave garbage. For really good popcorn you got go old school and pop your corn on the stove top. Second, use coconut oil for your oil. It is what gives the popcorn that movie theater taste. If you don’t have any coconut oil feel free to use any oil you have that has a high smoke point. I use canola oil and it makes good popcorn too. Third, use real butter not margarine.

Stove Top Popcorn

1 TBS coconut or canola oil
1/3 cup popping corn
2 TBS butter

Place a 3 1/2 quart, or larger, saucepan over high heat. Let the empty saucepan sit on the heat for a minute or two. When it is hot, add the oil and three popcorn kernels. When the three kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn. Cover and shake the pan once or twice. Cook, shaking constantly as the popcorn rapidly pops to prevent burning. When the popping slows down to a count of three between pops, remove from stove and pour into a big bowl. Melt the butter, pour over the popcorn and gently mix to combine. Add salt or flavoring of choice and mix to combine again.

— If you use a 3 1/2 quart saucepan, you may need to empty the pan about half way through the cooking time.