Slothful Eating: What I Eat When I’m Alone

July 10, 2014

I feel I should give a disclaimer about the title of this post. Technically, I wasn’t alone–Miss M. and I were enjoying a weekend together while hubs and the rest of the crew were shooting down the Arkansas river on a raft–kind of a last hurrah before our Valentin leaves us in a matter of days.* In a way, though, I was alone because feeding Miss M. is dead easy (or difficult, depending on your point of view). Miss M. is in a pickypants phase, so if it ain’t a pizza, mac and cheese, something fried or a pancake, she’s not eating it.

I’m not willing to restrict myself to those things, so when it’s just me and M. for dinner, I have the strange luxury of getting to eat exactly what I want. It’s an uncommon phenomenon and I always feel a little weird and unsettled about it–when you rarely cook for yourself, you kind of lose sight of your food preferences.

I know that sounds oddball, but it’s true. When it’s time to cook dinner, my thoughts always turn to the other people sitting around the table: what can I make that will fill tummies and cause a minimum of mealtime drama? Taking stock of what “I” want to eat doesn’t really enter the picture.

The result? When I do get the opportunity to cook for myself, I end up in a state of culinary paralysis.

It goes kind of like this:

1) Realize I can eat whatever I want

2) Spend a good 20 minutes thinking, “What the heck do I feel like eating?”

3) Decide that what I want to eat is a fresh lobster roll from Maine

4) Curse my fate that I live somewhere not only far away from Maine, but far away from any fresh body of water whatsoever

5) Think to myself, “Well, you could drive to the grocery store…”

6) Go “bwahahaha” because as if

7) Open the refrigerator, stare at the contents, and immediately gravitate to whatever crap in there is about to go south in a day or two

8) Cobble a meal together of rice, a few spoonfuls of salsa, half a tomato and a slightly stale English muffin

I know.

It’s pathetic.

I really should change, and I mean to, but whenever it’s just me? I do the same dang thing over and over again. This past weekend was no exception. Except we didn’t, for once in our lifetime, have leftover rice. Or bread. Or salsa. I really should have gone to the store, but like I said, as if.

Here’s what I foraged around and found:

~two cups of shredded cabbage

~two stalks of celery

~1/3 of a red onion

~a fistful of shredded carrot

~half a cup each of snow peas and snap peas

~a jalapeno pepper, one day away from death

Boy, that’s not a lot for a girl to work with, is it?

But I was NOT going to the grocery store, dangit, so I made it work. Here’s what I did:


Lazy-Ass Stir Fry (official and original recipe)

Heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet.

Toss in sliced onion, a clove of chopped garlic and a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger. Stir fry for about 2 minutes.

Add in snow/snap peas (halved), carrot, celery and diced jalapeno. Cook about 2 minutes.

Throw in cabbage, a good shake or two of soy sauce and a drizzle of seasoned rice wine vinegar. Stir fry until cabbage is slightly wilted.

Bash a handful of dry roasted peanuts with a meat mallet. Add to skillet. (Author’s Note: do not leave out the peanuts! They are essential!)

Add soy sauce and Sriracha sauce to taste.


I could have taken a nice picture but at this point, I think you probably realize that I wasn’t in a mood to bother, so here’s this lovely rustic shot.


You know what? It was pretty tasty! I even had some leftover so I ran my freak flag and scarfed it for breakfast the next day. Hey, nobody was looking, so why not?

*ps: Readers, can you believe that it’s almost the end of our time with Valentin? Whaa? How can that be possible? I must say, I’ll miss that adorable Frenchy. But guess what? He’s not leaving us empty-handed–he arrived with his mother’s chocolate cake recipe in hand, and we made it weekly while he was here. Keep an eye out, because some chocolate cake love (with recipe) is on the way! xoxo


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Justine July 10, 2014 at 7:53 am

Oh honey, I’m the *same* way! I used to spend time cooking for myself, but now, if I don’t have to feed my family, I just forage for food in my pantry and fridge, and cobble something together haphazardly. I love the idea of making myself something special until the time comes to actually do it, because then I convince myself that, hey, I don’t have to cook for my family! Shouldn’t I be taking a break??!


Camille Brightsmith July 10, 2014 at 8:04 am

YES! I so understand this. However, since my farm share started AND the kids have been at their Dad’s for a few longer stints this summer, I have enjoyed cooking these amazing veggies for myself. In the past 3 weeks I think I have eaten some form of Mustard Greens (or some other green) with a broth with garlic, onion, wine, mushrooms (from our Colorado mountains), parsley and basil – PLUS a giant baguette. The baguette hasn’t been good for the hips. But YUMMMMMMMMM the greens are so good and the dipping is divine. The kids would NEVER eat this. Send your kids to me for a few days and cook something else yummy up, just for you. This stir fry looks amazing!


Biz July 10, 2014 at 8:50 am

Well, my go to when its all about me?! PIZZA! So Miss M. and I would get along swimmingly – I don’t need to be convinced to eat pizza. Last night was Italian sausage, shaved Parmesan cheese and shaved zucchini with fresh mozzarella. Yum!

I can’t believe it’s almost time for him to go home too! That went fast!


Dana July 10, 2014 at 10:02 am

Oh I love this post! Dinner is the same around here as in, what can I make that will be eaten and cause minimal drama? Often it’s not even close I my first choice. But when I’m alone, I’m all about rice/quinoa bowls, soft boiled eggs, greens, and lots of spice! Your recipe sounds pretty great to me. But can’t wait for the chocolate cake! Sad though to say bye to the Frenchy.


Naptimewriting July 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Love you. And I’ll come over and eat rice and vinegar while you eat rice and salsa. And we’ll be happy times infinity.


Dana Talusani July 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm

My dearest Nap,

I love you to pieces. Quit being all busy and shit and call/email me . And actually, rice and vinegar kicks rice and salsa’s ass.


Katrina Kenison July 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Great post. Left to my own devices, I’ve been known to open a dark beer and a bag of “Food Should Taste Good” chips and call it dinner. Just want you to know, there’s a Maine lobster roll in your near future. . .September!


Dana Talusani July 10, 2014 at 8:00 pm


Spending a weekend with you and some of my sisters-of-the-heart writers is exciting enough, but dang. To put lobster in the mix? I may never recover. Or want to return. ps: still can’t believe we’re doing this. :) :)


Thekitchwitch July 12, 2014 at 5:18 pm


It’s on! Plane tickets bought and over the…searches for something that’s not a cliche…high dive (?) to be heading your way!


Pamela July 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I have a year of eating what I want and I LOVE it. Lately it’s turkey avocado sandwiches on sourdough. I have been a vegetarian for YEARS so I have no idea what is going on.


Dana Talusani July 10, 2014 at 8:02 pm


I seriously think that turkey is the Gateway Drug of meats. Welcome back to the carniverous world!


S in AK July 10, 2014 at 8:51 pm

I usually find myself in the same boat as Katrina. I’ll hem or haw about what I might fix myself all the way up until it becomes more of an issue about whether it’s almost time to go to bed. So then I’ll settle for either a Margarita and some Chinese crackers or cracking open a bag of Pepperidge Farm cookies and calling it good. I’m all about good nutrition. :P


Thekitchwitch July 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm


Nothing wrong with a Margarita and a Milano!


Tiffany July 11, 2014 at 7:24 am

I can’t remember the last time I only had to cook for me…I’m guessing I made a salad! This looks really good for not wanting to cook!


Arnebya July 11, 2014 at 10:56 am

Why does this happen? It happens every time, usually on weekends at lunchtime: I am the sloth. I scavenge and forage after I’ve made the rest of them the bestlunchever. Rice is usually my go to (I want to love brown rice, I do, but I don’t. MAKE ME LOVE BROWN RICE. What does Chipotle put on their rice that makes me not care that it’s brown, besides probably traces of crack?) So. My go to us usually something rice based with vegetables thrown in, heated. Bam. The problem, though, is one of the people for whom I’ve made the bestlunchever will finish and then say hey, what’ve you got, and then taste it and actually like it and fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.


Thekitchwitch July 12, 2014 at 5:26 pm


Chipotle serves brown rice now? Dang. I guess it’s been a while. I love that place. If you go to the Food Network website, Alton Brown has a baked brown rice recipe that isn’t half bad. As a girl raised on Uncle Ben’s (and that is my comfort food) it has been a painful transition.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me July 11, 2014 at 11:43 am

haha – I love it. I do this. Although I do this sometimes for all of us, not just me. I hate waste so when I have a bunch of stuff like that left in the fridge, it’s Clean Out the Fridge Dinner. My Great Great Aunt used to make what she called “Refrigerator Soup” which pretty much means use up whatever’s left in the refrigerator at the end of the week. A Depression-Era throwback for sure – they did that all the time so as not to waste. Sometimes, that effort is nasty. But more often than not we end up with a pleasant surprise.


Thekitchwitch July 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm


AGG! Soup night was the worst! My mom did it–gaa.


C. Troubadour July 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm

I feel like all the eating I do is slothful eating these days — but I think that’s in an effort to avoid turning on the oven or stove in this heat. Yay for large hunks of meat that can be thrown on the grill and then sliced for sandwiches/tossed in salad later in the week.

Glad you and Miss M. got to have some down time together :)


Shannon July 11, 2014 at 5:35 pm

When I am eating alone, my only thought is “Yay! I don’t have to cook” said as I pull out the cereal and milk. Unless there is chocolate cake.


Caitlin July 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Haha – this sounds like something I would eat, although it wouldn’t look as good! Currently, I’m stuck on healthy-ish (?) frozen dinners. *sigh* ;)


Alison July 13, 2014 at 6:59 pm

That totally sounds and looks like something I’ll whip up for myself!
I too, cook and eat what other people want all. the. time. Sigh.


Dana Talusani July 16, 2014 at 6:53 pm


It’s kind of soul-sucking, isn’t it? And yet, I can’t stop doing it. Argh! Will you do a pinky-swear with me that we’re going to try to do better at nourishing ourselves?


elizabeth July 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I don’t mind cooking for myself, but that’s because I don’t have to do it all that often and I have a fantastic grocery store on my way home from work. (It’s not as simple as running down to the local market like it was in New York or New Haven, but the selection is way better.) For me I can indulge in the foods I normally avoid for his sake (burrata, ricotta, basically most cheeses) and I can try some new recipes.

These days, though, I tend to schedule at least one dinner to the ultimate single meal: an omelette (with herbs and goat cheese) and a nice salad with a glass of wine. I feel like I’ve made something, without the fuss of making something.


Dana Talusani July 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm


I want to be you when I grow up.


elizabeth July 16, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Admittedly, it’s far easier to do all of this when you don’t have kids to fuss over. :)


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