Faithful Recipe

I have a few recipes that are old standbys. You know, the recipes you pull out when you need something quick? I am going to share this one with you today. It is my recipe for brownies.

Photo Credit: QuintanaRoo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: QuintanaRoo via Compfight cc

½ c melted butter

1 c sugar

½ c cocoa

2 eggs

½ c flour

1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter on low heat. Stir in sugar and cocoa. (My brownies tend to come out better if you melt the butter then turn off the heat.) Remove from heat. Stir in eggs one at a time and then add flour and vanilla. Grease bottom of 8×8 or 6×10 pan (you can also flour it. doing so makes the brownie removal much easier.) Pour brownie mixture into pan and put in an oven heated to 350°F or 175°C. Bake for 20 minutes or until the middle is cooked through.Cool and enjoy!

These tasty treats are my go to dessert when I need something fast or when that sweet tooth strikes. Of course, you can improve on this recipe by adding chocolate chips, nuts, peanut butter, etc. I hope you can use this recipe and enjoy it as I have.

On a more serious note, if you are a single person and you have a recipe or blog idea you would like to share, please contact me at servingsingle(at)gmail(dot)com or comment below. I would love to hear what is important to you as a single.

Blow Out The Candles!

Photo Credit: Theresa Thompson via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Theresa Thompson via Compfight cc

In honor of my birthday I am sharing my favorite Chocolate Cake. I found this recipe several years ago and have loved it ever since. It is a very easy cake to make. The texture is very moist and the taste is dark chocolate. Here is the website link and recipe.


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup hot, strong coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla, mix until smooth. Stir in the hot coffee last. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

This is very good with my sister’s recipe for Chocolate Mousse Frosting. The only thing this recipe is not good for is cupcakes. The batter comes out very soupy and it is difficult to portion it out into the cupcake pan. The secret to eating cake as a single is to invite friends over to share it (or take it to church to share, which is what I do). If you love chocolate, you will love this cake. I have made it several times to rave reviews. My mother even asked me for the recipe (she is such a good cook that this shocked me!) Try out my gift to you and tell me if you liked the cake as much as I did. Enjoy!

Planning a Menu for One or Two

Menu planning has long been held as one way to be frugal with your dollars and eat healthy. Just a quick search on the internet will bring you dozens of ideas and tips to utilize this tool. However, most of the menu planners are geared toward families. What happens when you are a family of one or you suddenly have an empty nest with only you and your spouse? Many women experience this when their children have all left the house and now, instead of cooking for x number of people, they are cooking for two. Does this mean we, the few, cannot use this tool to frugality? No. It does mean we will have to adapt the practice though.

Photo Credit: jazzijava via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jazzijava via Compfight cc

Tips to Menu Planning for One or Two People

Used to making a meal for a large family? One way to utilize this habit is to make meals in bulk and freeze them for later. Many meals can be frozen and then heated later for a meal. A little research on the internet can net you thousands of recipes that can be made ahead then frozen. My favorite is lasagna. I can make a large pan of lasagna, cut it up into pieces and freeze the pieces separately. Later when I need a meal, I take it out pop it in the microwave and a few minutes later I have a hot meal.

Many people do not like to eat the same foods two days in a row. This is why menu planning for a single person is so complicated when most recipes make at least 4 servings of food. What can a single person do to mitigate the waste? Again freezing is an option. Making two such meals and alternating days in which they are eaten is another option. Sharing cooking duties with a single friend is another option (with this option you cut expenses and the cooking time).

If I am like most single people, the one thing that bugs me the most about menu planning is fresh fruits and veggies. I find myself many times throwing out rotten fruit and vegetables because I could not consume them before they went bad. This is where a freezer can also come into play. If you live in a country where frozen vegetables are available, use them. If you do not, this idea may take a bit more work, but will be so worth it in the end. Freeze your own vegetables and fruit. A little research in cookbooks or on the internet can provide you with ways in which you can preserve your own frozen fruits and vegetables. (They end up being healthier in the long run because you know what is being put into your freezer.) The only exception to this is lettuce. I have yet to find a practical way in which I can preserve lettuce for salads. When I do I will be sure to post about it.

Menu planning for singles requires thinking outside the box. With a little imagination and planning, a single person or a couple can use this handy tip.

Tools that are Handy for Making Meal Planning for One or Two a Success

The first tool I have already mentioned, a freezer. This does not have to be a large freezer, but a freezer is a very helpful tool to have when planning meals for one or two people. While many people know that a freezer is useful for a large family, many do not realize its usefulness for single people. As I mentioned earlier, a large meal can be prepared then frozen into smaller portions for later consumption. I use this tool all the time for my own meal planning. Lasagna, soup, muffins, pancakes, waffles, baked goods, fruit, some veggies, meat in individual portions, and much more can be stored in the freezer. Just be aware that some items only last a few months in the freezer while others last almost a year.

The second tool that has made menu planning easier for me, has been my microwave. I can make meals ahead and pop them in the microwave when I need them. This useful tool is used mostly in conjunction with my freezer. (One thing I do not put in the microwave though is bread. It will dry out and be hard as a rock if you do. Just a friendly warning.) What if I do not have a microwave or they are not available where I live? Most things can be heated on the stove or in the oven. How do you think your ancestors heated food? A microwave just makes it easier.

The third tool I find useful is a small crock pot. When I first came to the field, I had a crock pot that my mother had left me. It was huge. Way too large for a single person. I was able to obtain a small crock pot from England and I have used that tool almost every week since I received it. It cuts my cooking time by cooking while I am busy doing other things. I can make a meal for just myself or for more with just that one tool. In fact, it makes the chicken pot pie filling much easier to make.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you as you plan your meals. Please, let me know if you have any other tips that have proven useful over the years. Maybe you have found a way to keep lettuce longer!

Come On Over!

Entertaining on a single person’s budget can be difficult and somewhat restrictive. This can be especially complicated if you have little extra money after you have paid your bills. Yet hospitality is something that marks a Christian as different.

Use hospitality one to another without grudging. I Peter4:9

So how can we entertain or be hospitable?

First, we must find out what hospitality means. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hospitable means – 1a: given to generous and cordial reception of guests, b: promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome, c: offering a pleasant or sustaining environment, 2: readily receptive. (Sorry, I am a word lover so I put all of the definitions.) So hospitality is opening yourself to guests and providing them with a place they feel welcomed and refreshed.

Second, we need to figure out how to do this without breaking the bank. This is a process that will take more than one blog post. So, I hope to make it a regular segment here on Serving Single.

Photo Credit: simple tess via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: simple tess via Compfight cc


Money is always at the heart of anything we want to do. Doing things takes money. It is as simple and as hard as that. However, there are ways to entertain without having to spend a lot of money. It takes a bit of research and a bit of thinking outside the box.

One of the things you can do is to take a look at your budget. Do you have any wiggle room to add a bit for entertaining? What can you cut back on in order to be hospitable? This may entail eating scrambled eggs for dinner several times a week, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (although for me this is an extravagance, the price of peanut butter!) or cutting back on the number of lattes you have during the week. Only you know what you would be willing to sacrifice in order to be hospitable.

Something else you can do is to use things you already have in our house. Who said entertaining had to be elaborate! Invite someone over for some tea or coffee. Fellowship is the point of hospitality. So, look around at what you already have in the house. How can you use it to entertain guests?


Space could become an issue if you want to start entertaining. Depending on where you live, your house, apartment or other living space may not be set up to receive guests. I am blessed to have a rather large living room, but not everyone has this blessing.

Look around your living area. Is it too small? Is it too cluttered? Do you have an area you can entertain in? What could you do to create the space you need?

Sometimes it is just a matter of providing a clean and neat area to have coffee. At other times, you may need to rearrange your living space. At times, it is a matter of keeping your guests to a manageable number. For example, I once had 21 people in my apartment. I will try never to do that again. My apartment is not set up to entertain that many people. It is a good thing we were all friends and that we remained friends afterward. So 20 is my max limit. However, I do know I can have a dinner for around 10 people in reasonable comfort.

Know your limits and stick to them. The goal is fellowship in a pleasant atmosphere. Not pile up on the couch.


My sister loves to entertain. She loves to set a beautiful table where everything matches. So, she has invested in some items that help her to set that gorgeous table. Tablecloths and napkins in a few different colors, a set of nice dishes (actually these were given to her by family), a set of chargers for under the plates and even some center pieces that can go from season to season. This does not mean she has spent a lot of money though. The tablecloths and napkins were bought at a thrift shop or were gifts. That set of nice dishes was a set passed down to her from our grandparents. The chargers she bought on sale. As for the centerpieces, I have known her to go into her back yard and come up with a beautiful centerpiece with what she found there. She has made these investments into entertaining.

You may not have the same style of entertaining as my sister, but there may be some things you need to invest in to entertain. Maybe your style is informal get-togethers. Invest in some games you can play. (I particularly like Uno, Phase10 and Bible Trivia.) Maybe your style is coffee or tea. Invest in a good tea or coffee service. (Keep your eyes open at thrift stores and flea markets. You never know what you will find!)

The main thing you need to invest in entertaining is time. Your time means a lot to someone who may feel overlooked and marginalized. When you invest your time with others, you are investing in eternity. You cannot take your money or possessions with you, but what you do for others will last for eternity.

He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Matthew 10:40-42