Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dollar Days

So I've said before that I've wanted to see if I could get by with only spending a dollar a day for what I eat. I read a blog where someone did that for a month, and I'm now reading another blog of someone trying to do the same. I think that a month would be a bit long for me, but I was going to try it for a couple of weeks.

But, unless you are doing the dollar a day thing with someone, it is pretty hard to do by yourself, unless you are actually by yourself. That is, the dollar a day thing is hard to do by yourself if you live with other people, and the other people you live with are not doing the dollar a day thing. But if you live by yourself you eat alone and eat whatever you want to anyway, so it would be easier.

So I had thought that I would do this for the next two weeks, when I would have the house all to myself. Only the schedule has been changed and I will only have the house to myself for five days. So I'll be recording what I eat for five days, and we'll see if I can keep doing it after that.

The main thing that I eat when I am trying to save money is black bean soup. I was attempting to copy something they make at Campo Verde. To make the soup you need a pound of dry black beans, about a half pound of smoked sausage, one large onion, four to eight fresh jalapenos, and a bunch of cilantro. Soak the beans overnight, slice and quarter the sausage, dice the onions, cut up the cilantro as fine as you can, and slice the jalapenos. (The first time you should use four peppers, and then maybe add more the next time you make the soup. I like six, and I've gotten complaints when I used eight. Also, you might want to put aside some of the cilantro and jalapenos for garnish.) Put the beans in a crockpot or stockpot or dutch over, and cover the beans with water so that there is about two inches of water over the beans, then add the sausage, and then cook the beans and the sausage and maybe a bit of the onion, probably four hours high setting on a crockpot. During the last hour add the rest of the onion and jalapeno, and add the cilantro during the last five or ten minutes. Depending on how much water you use, you should get about twelve cups of soup.

So I figure I make this for about twenty-five cents a cup. Beans cost about a dollar a pound. I buy smoked sausage at about two dollars a pound (or 14 ounces now on some brands), because it is almost always either on sale or there's a two for one deal or sometimes they mark down stuff that's about to go out of date. You can use less sausage if you want to, as I have sometimes made it with only a quarter of a pound. And Kroger's has this really cheap sausage for $1.29, which I don't like as much, but you can get more, and it doesn't make that much difference in this recipe after it has been cooked for four hours. The onion and cilantro and jalapeno I get at a Mexican market, and usually all three cost less than a dollar (onions between twenty-five and fifty cents a pound, peppers are between twenty-five cents and a dollar per pound, and cilantro is between twenty-five cents and fifty cents per bunch) or sometimes there's a sale at other grocery stores. So a dollar for beans plus a dollar for sausage plus a dollar for veggies is three dollars, divided by twelve cups is twenty-five cents per cup.

Okay, so that's my soup recipe. Yesterday I ate black bean soup for lunch, a bit of popcorn, a half cup of yogurt, popcorn, one piece of Christmas clearance candy, and noodles with bean sprouts and broccoli and hot sauce. I had half of the noodles for breakfast and the other half for dinner. I also had a cup of Pepsi with my soup because a.) I really like a cola with my soup, and b.) I had already opened the bottle for a social thing and didn't want the rest of it to go to waste.

.25 soup
.05 popcorn
.13 Pepsi
.13 noodles
.05 bean sprouts
.12 broccoli
.04 hot sauce
.17 half cup of yogurt
.02 piece of candy
.96 total

And I had a few things that I can't calculate like salt on the soup and the popcorn and a dash of sesame oil on the noodles, but I think that's still under a dollar.

Okay, so if people were looking from the other blog, that's what I did, and maybe you can make something similar with what you have left.

1 comment:

KARLA and AMY said...

Good recipes - may look into that further for our next "Dollar-A-Day" Challenge.

Yes...we do have a few things up our sleeves for the upcoming months.

Gluttens for punishment, I guess!

Good luck to you over these next 5 days...