So it was a strange day. I am currently working 3pm to 11:30pm Sunday through Thursday doing tax support and advising for a software company. I am also spending Mondays from 9am-2pm with yoga training students. This coupled with a very hectic weekend of catering an event and keeping two baby goats bottle fed, led to a very tired me by the time I got back to my office for the week on Sunday night.
Ok, so that is all sounding very confusing, and why in the world am I telling you all of this when we are supposed to be talking about a food challenge to keep expenses low? I am telling you because we are all busy! We can’t use that as an excuse to not cook at home or to run through drive through windows to get junk. We can all plan and prepare if we can get organized! We all have the ability to shop carefully once we have the skills in place. Cooking has been said to be an art, but I feel it is an art that can be taught, and I would love to offer my skills and passion of cooking and saving money to you!!
So here, we go, in a nutshell, my Monday cooking adventure!
Breakfast consisted of a “junk from the fridge” smoothie. It contained a few carrot sticks, cucumber slices, a ½ of a frozen banana, a strawberry, a few cherry tomatoes, a sliver of ginger and a squeeze of lemon juice. I blend that up in my Nutribullet and it kept me full until midafternoon, when I cooked my beans!
I am trying to do several days a week of vegetarian meals. The purpose in this is two-fold: to be healthier and to save money. Yesterday, I put on a pot of beans from the recipe I posted a few days ago. I had purchased a bunch of bulk beans, and I mixed together several kinds so I would have a good mix of sizes and flavors as I made my dishes for the week. Once the beans are cooked and in the fridge, the opportunities are endless!
Once the beans were cooked (by the way, a totally hands off process. You soak them and then when you are cooking them, you can either put them into a crockpot and let them go, or have them on very low on your stovetop for hours), I made one of my old standby favorites of ALL TIME, beans with brown rice and diced tomatoes with LOTS of spices.
I started with my cooked beans. I had a few tomatoes that were on their last leg, so I diced those up, along with one 79 cent can of organic diced tomatoes that I had purchased on sale a few months ago. I threw in a handful of brown rice, a can full of water, cumin, pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper and then I set it to low, covered it and came back 45 minutes later to a warm pot of deliciousness. We had a few crackers left over from an event at the restaurant, so I put a slice of cheese (another end of season left over- I will be sad when the cheese is gone) 4 crackers and a big heaping, steaming bowl of my bean mess together for dinner. It was awesome, spicy and filling!
I have enough for at least 3 meals for 2 people at a total cost of approximately $3.00 or 50 cents per meal (just the bean/rice/tomato concoction). If you would like to add a side dish here, corn bread, mixed vegetables, a small green salad or a slice of cheese and a few crackers will round it out nicely along with a glass of water or a cup of tea or coffee!! This should keep you total meal expense to under $1.00.
So, for two people, there are 182 meals to be served in an average month, if you eat three meals per day. This works out to $1.07 per meal. The interesting thing is that breakfast can be extremely inexpensive and healthy by serving oatmeal and a half of a banana, or an egg with toast and scrambled veggies, or a “junk from the fridge” smoothie. Lunch can be a salad with beans or quinoa, a sandwich with veggies and hummus or a bean burrito. Those meals will be less than your $1.07 cost, leaving a bit extra for one meal per day, where you can add meat or another fresh product. So if you think about it on a daily basis, you have $3.21 per day to feed yourself, so divide it how you see fit. Personally, many days, I end up with only two meals, just for logistics of scheduling, so I have a bit more flexibility that way!
Today I am going to add in a bit of chicken to my beans and rice. I am gonna get on that now. All this talk about food is making me hungry!!