Saturday, February 9, 2013

365 Inspirations—40: Cooking for Friends

"I like the creativity of planning a party, or cooking and taking care of people, creating a memorable meal or event."—Martina McBride

 I love getting creative in the kitchen. It's my laboratory where I try all kinds of new things. Today my writing group was scheduled to come over to my house at 6pm. I planned on preparing a main dish and a dessert and they were going to bring sides. I wanted to see how creative I could get without going to the grocery store.

Sometimes it's fun to see what you can create with what you have on hand. I think everyone appreciates it if you can create something special from nothing.

I looked in the fridge and found that I had some Italian sausages on hand and lots of veggies. I also had lentils and chicken broth. I stir fried the Italian sausage with cabbage, carrots, onions and kale in coconut oil. While it was cooking, I added in a dash of cayenne and a tablespoon both of curry powder and cumin. At the same time, I boiled the brown lentils in a big pot.

I then poured chicken broth and a few cups of water into my Crockpot and added in the stir fried ingredients. I rinsed the lentils in a strainer and added those too. I let everything simmer on low for a few hours to let the flavors mingle.

I wanted to create a delicious sugar-free, grain-free Valentine-themed dessert. I found that I had little oven-proof baking cups in the cupboard. I decided to make little chocolate cakes (grain and sugar free) with heart strawberries.

Here's my recipe:

3/4 cup of almond flour
1/2 cup-3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix the wet ingredients together with a beater. Sift the dry ingredients together and slowly add to the wet ingredients. Pour into oven-proof baking cups. Cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or so.

Cut strawberries in half. Cut a small triangle out of the top of each half to make a heart and place on cooled cake. I had these cute little wax heart candles in my closet and added those for extra flair.

My writing friends showed up and really loved the soup and the little cakes which we ate with Market Spice tea (Seattle's Pike Place Market tea) and Chai Spice tea.

They brought broccoli, green salad and bean salad side dishes for the meal and they also brought cheese, crackers and wine.

The food and company were great and we did prompt writing using Osho Zen cards. Each card has a beautiful picture on it and a word and we used these to start our free writing. It was good way to start the writing process without thinking too much about it. Afterwards, we shared our writing. We are also working on a collaborative book together, but focused more on prompt writing this time.

I've been meeting with my little writing group (just three of us) for three or so years now and we always have a good time together and enjoy the creative process. I so enjoy cooking and having them over for our meetings. Next time we'll meet at another member's house.

Do you sometimes have friends over? Do you like cooking for company?


  1. Your meal sounded delicious, and I love the cakes!

    I am not a confident cook at all, so I rarely cook for anyone else except my husband and me. Sometimes I have to cook something to take somewhere for a potluck, and it makes me so nervous!

    1. I'm not a very confident cook either, but I love experimenting. Some things work out and some don't ^_^!