Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 3, eating on $30/week

Today was an early rise [insert bread joke here] due to an early class. The temptations were staring me in the face, but luckily, I’ve already been staring them down for two days, so what’s one more, really?

After a coffee at home, I knew I’d be in need of a bit more caffeine in our 3-hour long news meeting so I brought a really quite big mug (actually it’s a stein…) and a few bags of jasmine green tea to school with me to stash in the locker. While not as satisfying as a freshly whipped up mocha, it was still nice.

Lunch wasn’t too special, but I was glad to have the leftovers, which were easy to grab in the morning.

The real difference between today and previous days was that I did groceries for the first time of the challenge! I thought I would probably spend almost all of my budget at Safeway, but miraculously, I didn’t!
I scrutinized every item that I felt the slightest longing for: berries, sauces in jars, vegetarian chili on sale (but for $3/can!). But I waded through the usual temptations and tried to make up some quick menus in my head – something I obviously should have done before going shopping.

In all, I spent exactly $11.
The Breakdown:
Diced Tomatoes - $2.09 (for tomorrow’s chili!)
3 Bananas - $1.01 (because I haven’t had an appetite at breakfast and bananas will hit the spot!)
1 Broccoli crown - $0.48 (because it’s good for me!)
Crimini Mushrooms - $3.43 (needed portobellos for the pie on Sunday, but criminis are very closely related – I’ve heard them called baby portobellos – and $3 less per pound than their big bro)
10 lb of Russet Potatoes - $3.99 (regular $6! I needed some for Thanksgiving anyway, and I knew I could use them in a few different ways [gnocchi, twice-baked, etc.] plus they’ll keep in my pantry for a couple weeks if need be. In contrast, the loose russets were selling for $1/pound.)

Tonight was an evening of cooking. Right now I am in the midst of baking the longest-ever  bread recipe: challah. It look beautiful but man, it takes a long time. More on that tomorrow perhaps.

I also am soaking one cup of each of three types of dry beans that have all been in my pantry for ages. I figured tomorrow would be a good day to make chili because I can turn it on in the crockpot in the morning and it will be ready for me when I get home from work, and the apartment will smell all cumin-y, which is also good. I made a pretty darn big pot of an awesome curry soup for dinner so that will serve as lunch tomorrow, with a few snacks scavenged from the fridge (i.e. olives and pickles, which I have about 5 jars of, combined. Oy.)

Did I learn anything on my little shopping trip? Well, it was reiterated that I am an impulse shopper at the grocery store. It was good for me to really think about everything before buying it. I have never given myself a real grocery budget before, and I tend to go a little overboard. It was great not to have to buy every little thing I would need to create a meal, thanks to the pantry items and seasonings I already have. However, today I ran out of vegetable oil while baking bread and that's going to take a chunk of change out of my budget. I still have some olive oil, but I'm not sure it will be enough to roast my sweet potatoes this weekend.

  • A bowl of Brian's wheat cereal that’s been on top of the fridge for months.
  • Cup o’ coffee
  •  Leftover stir-fry from yesterday
  • Cake (from mum’s) with frozen blueberries (froze them during summer when blueberries were on sale at Superstore).
  • Marinated Olives
  • Coconut curry soup with potatoes, beans and a couple of weird rhizomes
    • Based on a recipe that my friend recited at lunch earlier this week, this soup was comprised mostly of leftovers, but did incorporate some of the potatoes I bought today. I will post the recipe soon as this is probably the first soup I’ve ever made without an actual recipe AND it was delicious!
    • I used fresh turmeric for the first time! My mum picked some up at T&T a few days ago because it was interesting but she didn’t want to use it. It turned my mouth yellow when I chewed a piece. It looks like a skinny, bright orange version of ginger, but tastes more like carrot, with the slightest kick of some flavour I can’t really place. In contrast, the powdered turmeric that I’m used to using to add a bright yellow hue to rice or cous cous is absolutely flavourless)

    1 comment:

    1. Wow, my mom makes challah bread. It's a serious pain in the butt, but sooo good!