Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The $25 Food Project: Day 1

It’s Day 1 of the $25 Food Project! I’m excited! Husband-Elect’s excited! This is gonna be a good time! However…

Already I’m about $0.40 off. Yikes. This isn’t insurmountable, but I don’t like starting behind the curve. Fun fact: if I was feeding myself (with a 2020 calorie requirement) instead of Husband-Elect, I’d be right on target.

So here’s what happened. I made a few major tactical errors right off the bat. Well, it was actually just one mistake made several times, like so:
  • Instead of buying a bag or two of dried beans, I figured I could use canned beans from my stash. (Er ... pantry.) They’re not expensive in the grand scheme of things, but for this experiment, compared to bagged beans, they may as well be caviar.
  • Same thing went for cheese; I got really great deals on Cracker Barrel a few weeks ago, but it’s still pricey compared to generic cheddar.
  • Oatmeal … same. I could have had the store brand but … moving on.
Essentially, I got cocky. It wasn’t catastrophic, though, especially since Husband-Elect "feels that I have been sated." (He's a peach, that one.) I think I can make up the slack through the rest of the week, too. (Woot!)

That said, here’s the breakdown from today:

DAILY TOTAL: 2739 calories, 67.6 g fat, 57.1 g fiber, $3.96

2 servings Gingersnap Oatmeal: 526 calories, 6.4 g fat, 9 g fiber, $0.84
1 apple: 77 calories, 0.3 g fat, 3.6 g fiber, $0.17
TOTAL: 604 calories, 6.7 g fat, 12.6 g fiber, $1.01
PREP TIME: 9 minutes

PB&J on whole grain bread: 510 calories, 19 g fat, 8 g fiber, $0.46
10 Triscuit Thins: 103 calories, 3 g fat, 2 g fiber, $0.20
4 ounces carrots: 44 calories, 0.2 g fat, 3 g fiber, $0.22
1 apple: 77 calories, 0.3 g fat, 3.6 g fiber, $0.17
1/2 cup White Bean Dip: 230 calories, 9 g fat, 8.1 g fiber, $0.56
TOTAL: 964 calories, 30.5 g fat, 24.7 g fiber, $1.61
PREP TIME: 0 minutes (made it while breakfast cooked)

1 serving Easy Bean Chili: 243 calories, 6.6 g fat, 9.1 g fiber, $0.70
2 med. baked potatoes (14.1 oz): 388 calories, 0.4 g fat, 9.2 g fiber, $0.22
1/2 grated cheddar: 45 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.12
TOTAL: 721 calories, 10 g fat, 18.3 g fiber, $1.04
PREP TIME: 30 minutes active prep, 20 minutes waiting for it to cook

3 Snickerdoodles: 450 calories, 20.4 g fat, 1.5 g fiber, $0.30

  • Oven Stuffer Roasters and pork shoulder were on sale this week, both for $0.79/lb. I went with the pork, because I did chicken once before and wanted to challenge myself.
  • I started prepping last night for today. I made an adapted version of Ellie Krieger’s White Bean Dip and skinned and chopped a pound of carrots. All told, this took me 13 minutes, with another 5 added for dishes. BAM, yo.
  • For a treat, I made the cheapest cookies I could think of: Snickerdoodles. It took probably 30 minutes prep time (mixing & rolling), plus another 15 minutes for baking and storage. They're really good! The recipe (from Recipe Zaar) is highly suggested

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Nancy said...

Love that you're doing this! I'll be following along each day.
There's lots of good comments in your previous post too.

Kat said...

What a great idea! I'm inspired by your frugality--especially 'cause I'm just another poor college student. :)

Hannah @Cooking Manager said...

I suggest keeping track of your water, gas and electricity bills, which will almost certainly go up. This should really be included in your cost and will help you think about the most efficient cooking methods. For example, beans take a long time to cook so the pressure cooker or crockpot is best. And turning on the oven for one batch of cookies is best avoided--I try to combine all my baking into one session or add vegetables to roast.

Anonymous said...

This looks really interesting, since I'm also trying to cut my food bills. Not sure how you calculate the nutrition info, but if you run it through software that also calculates protein and carbs, could you post that info too?

CJ said...

First day sounds great. And a very fun read too.

Peach said...

I was wondering how on earth you were going to do this until i recalculated the $25 American into Australian prices. I think it's about $35 or $40 AUS. Eminently doable!

wosnes said...

I noticed the apple at breakfast -- something I've become aware of recently, I never eat apples for breakfast, though I might have some homemade applesauce. Just one of those strange things!

Kris said...

Thanks for the good words, you guys.

Anon, in retrospect, I should have calculated protein, as well. Maybe I'll go back when this is all over.

Wos, we both try to eat a piece of fruit with breakfast (and often with lunch). Applesauce, though ... must think about this.

wosnes said...

Kris, I always eat fruit for breakfast -- just not apples. I try to eat a piece of fruit with every meal. Breakfast it's usually grapefruit or a banana.

But about the applesauce. I make my own and I use Ina Garten's recipe for Roasted Pear & Apple Sauce -- except that I don't always use pears. And I usually cut the recipe (at least) in half. It's not your basic applesauce!