Sunday, March 15, 2009

Eating Cheap

So I'm pretty lucky. The failing economy hasn't really hit me - I still have a job, I still have my house, my boyfriend still has his job. But I do work in television and it's FAR from a stable career. I'm done with my current job in less then a month so I'm probably looking at another stint of unemployment unless, of course, my show gets picked up right away or I'm able to quickly find something new. But I'll still have a mortgage to pay and I'll still have to eat! I'm fairly frugal in general but I've been thinking about ways to cut back on my spending. That got me thinking - how little could Ron and I spend on food for the week? We cook at home a lot and we've been better about bringing our own lunches to work but those silly things like coffee and a mid afternoon snack can add up.

When I first started this blog I read about this $25 a week challenge - an Illinois food bank was challenging people to feed themselves on just $25 a week, that's just $3.50 a day. A quick google search said that Philly get's a little more, about $35 a week, $5 a day. Still incredibly low especially for living in a big city but I'm going to try to stick with $25, $50 for the two of us. We're starting tomorrow and I'm going to assume we have nothing in our cabinets except for salt, pepper and olive oil.

I'm hoping this exercise will make us better meal planners and keep us away from those last minute Whole Foods trips that always end up being so pricey. We'll go to Reading Terminal in the morning and stock up on vegetables from Iovines, we'll probably get eggs, a whole chicken that will turn into multiple meals and an inexpensive piece of fish (have I raved about sardines on this blog yet? Oh the fresh ones are SUPER cheap and SO good!). Then to our regular grocery store for dried beans, lentils, barley, oats probably some canned tomatoes and maybe some yogurt.

I'm determined to do this week as healthy as possible. So many of the inexpensive things in the grocery store are just empty calories - I mean something like 7% of the nations calorie intake is from SODA. Gross. Again, I seem like I'm lecturing but I'm not and I'm far from eating the way I want to and believe me I don't always practice what I preach! I love junk food, I love it and I'll continue to eat it but I just want to eat significantly less of it. I think it's important that people who want to eat healthy know that they can do it without spending a ton of money, you always hear people saying that eating healthy is so expensive but I really don't think it has to be. People tend to have a warped idea of what "healthy" is - if the label say "low fat" but there are 12 ingredients listed that you can't pronounce not only is it probably not healthy, it's probably a stretch to call it food.

I'll keep you posted on how our week is going! As a reward for listening to my rant I'll tell you how to make this tasty soup:

It's spicy cabbage ($.09/lb by the way), chicken sausage (made from scratch by Ron) and tomato soup and it's tasty! I cooked about a half a pound of sausage in a pot, when it was cooked through I drained it and set it aside. Then I sauteed a chopped onion & some garlic, added a quarter of a big cabbage shredded and some white wine. Season with salt and pepper and let the wine cook out. Add the chicken sausage back to the pot and pour in a couple cups of chicken stock, a 14oz can of crushed tomatoes and some spices - I used red pepper flakes, chili powder, cumin and paprika. I had some white beans in the fridge so I added those too. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and enjoy! I might have gone a little heavy on the red pepper flakes because my face is still hot and I've been done with my bowl for at least 30 minutes.


ron said...

After Philly Beer Week, we can stand to pare back the dollars and the caloric intake!
This is gonna be awesome.

Mom said...

I warned you about those red pepper flakes...I'll be anxious to see if you and Ron can pull this week off.. said...

Well Mom I probably added about a teaspoon NOT two tablespoons and it was hot but no where near as hot as yours! I wasn't sweating when I ate mine!