Friday, January 6, 2017
Eating on a Tight Budget: Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, Final Post
This will be the final post in the first part of this series. I was pleased so many of you interacted and commented about this series. I thank you all for participating.
Just as a reminder: My challenge this week was to stretch $20 as far as I could to provide meals for TWO. In my scenario, I had no pantry and no freezer to pull foods from and I was in the current season with nothing growing nor able to forage for any foods. In a perfect world, a neighbor or family member might well have helped out. Heaven knows Mama was the food angel for our household many times, bringing in a bag of fruit or a grocery sack filled with meat she'd bought on sale to help carry us along. But in this scenario, it was John and I and $20.
I took note of several things this week:
1. Were it necessary, I COULD provide for us on $20. The meals wouldn't be well balanced and nutritionally sound, but they would sustain us and feed us three meals a day.
2. Second, I recalled why I like some of the recipes used during this challenge. While I didn't go without proper seasonings, I do recall days when I didn't have the additions I made to the main dishes and that they filled us up. They still do. They are good, solid meals.
3. I want to explore a bit further into this realm of eating cheaply and build up a repertoire of recipes to turn to. I am going to be looking for inexpensive ingredients that will add nutritive value, fiber and protein to replace meat. I noted today as I made a big pot of vegetable soup that the barley I used has a protein value. It's low but it does have protein value. So this is an area to research.
4. Funnily enough, this scenario and my attempts to get by on such a low amount, opened my eyes to the numerous spices and herbs I use only occasionally and made me aware of which I use often and often. It also opened my eyes to how much food we have in this house! It also made me aware of the many ways I might well stretch out the money I spent this week. For instance, Debbie's comment about re-growing the green onions made me remember that I could attempt to regrow the celery as well. That reminder prompted me to set romaine stems, celery root and cabbage end all in water. Even if only a mere handful of leaves results from those attempts it would essentially be a handful more that I didn't have to pay for. I plan to pot these items in soil, but not this evening. It's quite cold and rainy outdoors. It can wait through the weekend.
5. This challenge made me GRATEFUL. Grateful for the tough years that helped hone the skills that drove me to attempt this, if only on paper. Grateful I no longer need get an ulcer as I attempt to feed a family on little money. Grateful for the abundance of foods in my home pantry and freezer that enable me to eat a balanced diet. Grateful for my knowledge of how to combine seasonings to make simple foods super flavorful. Grateful for the many skills I am determined to polish and put to good use this year, like making yogurt and making jelly. Golly but that yogurt and jelly is good! Grateful that those hard days of a super tight food budget are behind us. Grateful for the ability to make good food from simple WHOLE foodstuffs. Grateful I live in an area where $20 WILL buy enough food for two for 7 days.
I will be back next month with a whole new challenge budget and scenario. If any of the rest of you did attempt this exercise and would like to post about your results please do. I'll share them. If you tried and failed due to the prices in your area, share that, too. I am sure everyone would be interested...I know I am!