Hunger Challenge Day 1

Lunch Day 1

Today started out earlier than normal when I woke up an hour before my alarm and immediately panicked over what we would have for lunch. I haven’t done all of our grocery shopping yet, and only made a loaf of no-knead bread yesterday in advance. Using what I had on hand, I put together a simple lentil soup (enough for 4 servings if we add rice & zucchini to the leftovers) in 30 minutes. Here’s the breakdown of today’s meals:

Breakfast: a bowl of rolled oats with a teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of milk. Total cost: under $0.40 each.

Lunch: In a pot or dutch oven, cook a piece of bacon. Remove bacon, and saute 1/2 an onion (chopped), 1 clove garlic (chopped), and one carrot (chopped) until soft. Chop bacon and add to the onion mixture along with 1 cup of lentils. Saute and stir for 1 minute, then add 5 cups of water, salt & pepper to taste, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. We ate this for lunch with a small slice of bread. All in all, this soup cost about $2.00 to make, which breaks down to about $0.50 per serving. We’re using the leftovers, with a bit of the leftover rice from dinner & 1/2 a zucchini, for lunch tomorrow.

Dinner: I’m making a simple version of red beans and rice. Cook 1 cup brown rice in medium sized saucepan. In a dutch oven or large pot, cook 1/2lb hot Italian turkey sausage. Remove from pan, add 1/2 chopped onion, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1 chopped jalapeno, and 1 sliced carrot, saute in sausage fat until soft. Add 2 cans drained red kidney beans, 1 can diced tomatoes (not drained), salt & pepper to taste, and 1 teaspoon cumin. Simmer until flavors combine, about 10 minutes. Serve over warm brown rice. This will stretch out for 6 servings at a total cost of ~$8.50. Although by far the most expensive thing I have made so far, it reduces down to ~$1.45 per serving.

The food I made today ran me $11.50 (estimate), but we have enough food leftover for 6 more servings for lunch or dinner. To accurately estimate how much each meal costs, I am using a kitchen scale, measuring cups, and a calculator to break the purchase amounts down to what is actually used per recipe. To date, I have spent $31.69 on food (including breakfast items for 5 days and ingredients for Megadarra that has yet to be cooked). So far, we are within our $60 5-day allotment.

This challenge has confirmed how little one needs to add to a recipe to make it tasty. Our lentil soup for lunch was phenomenal. A little bit of bacon and thyme went a long way to enhance the flavor. I also realized how little vegetables we had today (carrots, onions, tomatoes) and how we did not have any fruit. I usually eat a whole apple, orange or banana with breakfast. I may have us eat an apple for dessert to help out. Tomorrow I am definitely making a small side salad to go with our meals to help offset this. Today we had a lot of grains (lentils, brown rice) and some protein. We’ll see how balanced we can be tomorrow.

One last note for today: we are so lucky to have access to a wide variety of items in the bulk food section at Madison Market. I am able to buy just what we need for the week of flour, rolled oats, sugar, cumin, and thyme. If I had to purchase those two spices in bottles for example, I could have parted with an additional $8 (I’m guessing) instead of roughly $0.50 for enough thyme and cumin to last me all week.


1 Comment so far

  1. Big City Hippie» Blog Archive » Hunger Challenge Day 1 (pingback) on April 20th, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

    […] just posted the breakdown of today‚Äôs cooking on Seattle Metblogs (direct link) but wanted to expand a bit more on the personal level here on my blog. On United […]

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