Eating On A Tight Budget: February Challenge: The Not Quite Bare Cupboard

Last month's challenge was a toughie, wasn't it?  I attempted to feed 2 for $20 and while we would have eaten three meals a day and some snacks, we definitely would not have eaten a balanced diet overall.  We did eat several of the main dishes I shared on my menu and they were good recipes I've used over and over again.  I rounded out with salads and vegetables and fruits.  That helped increase the overall satisfaction with meals and should have kept the budget lower but not necessarily at $20/week. 

I was very mindful of how to put foods to better use for the remainder of the month.  I planted the stem ends of several lettuces.  I think I have 8 at present all of which are sprouting and would almost net enough for a salad if I served scant portions.  As Debbie pointed out one might put the roots of the green onions into water or soil and sprout those anew.  I didn't, because I had already done away with the roots at that point.  Sarah mentioned foraging and at present courtesy the rain and temperatures we've had, with little freezing, I could harvest dandelion greens from the yard to add to the bits of lettuce and there is a ton of wild onions in the yard at present, as well.   I'd  use some of this as a seasoning, as it does have a lovely onion-y garlic sort of aroma.  I've researched and yes, they are edible, but I'll stick to using the green tops and not dig up the bulbs.

The yogurt I made this past month lasted me an entire month. I opened the last jar today so I could use 1/2 cup as starter for my new batch.  I still have a serving in the jar.  This time I made three 1 1/2 pint jars and one 1 1/2 cup jar.   Today when I made yogurt I didn't go out to the car to get my cooler but instead lined a big dishpan with towels and wrapped the pot of warm water and yogurt with another thick towel over the top.   I checked at the three hour mark and it was soft set, not quite as well set as last time.  I brought the water temperature back up to 120f and set the jars of yogurt back in the 'incubator'.  The  water temperature had dropped to 116f so it wasn't too far off.  I let it incubate another three hours and had the thickness I prefer.

This month I plan to do another challenge, one that comes in around $30 for one week for two.  I am curious to see what I can add to the foodstuffs and what dishes I might prepare that will fit that budget and I am hopeful there will be more variety.  I won't be so stringent this time either.  I'll have salt, jelly, and black beans left from the $20/week challenge. Since the previous batch of yogurt lasted a full month and in my scenario I am on week 2, I will have the full gallon of milk for the week.  John just plain won't touch that homemade yogurt and I'd complain if it didn't mean I get it all to myself! I won't be drawing off a deeply built pantry nor a deep freeze.  Meals will be based pretty much on what I 'purchase', based on current prices (using my latest receipt and gathered while at store yesterday) just like last time. 

I'm still working out my shopping list and my menus so bear with me.  We've got the new carpet in and the living sections of the house are all sorted out but the newly carpeted rooms need more work.  I hope to have this new challenge menu all hammered out and this time, we'll actually try eating what I plan on!


Delorise said...

I'm looking forward to following your $30 per wk challenge. Beginning this year I allowed $250 per month for groceries for my hubby and myself. Since my hubby hunts we don't have to buy a lot of meat other than- bacon, some cubed pork and chicken. However it costs $75 to have a deer processed and we always try to put 2 in the freezer so that is a cost of $150 per year. My challenge for myself this year has been to see how much of the $250 per month I can save til the end of the year. My plan is to have the $150 saved for deer processing and the rest will go into a special fund. Not sure what the fund will be designated for yet. Good luck on your challenge.

Rhonda said...

I'll be following to see how it goes.
We have kind of changed our eating here. When feasible, we are eating the biggest meal of the day at noon and then instead of much supper, we both are usually happy with a little fruit and cheese or a similar light snack. I think it's healthier and I know it ends up cheaper because our groceries are just lasting longer.

Louise said...

It isn't really hard to process a deer yourself actually. There is probably You Tube videos to help you along.

Lana said...

I will be interested to see what you all come up with. Too much going on here and too tired to participate.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Best wishes Terri.. Look forward to seeing your menu plan.. You are so amazing..
Have a blessed week.

Lana. How is your husband doing? Praying for you two..

Lana said...

Judy, my husband is doing quite well now. He should be starting back to work in two weeks now. He still gets tired easily but I would still expect that. Thank you for being our faithful prayer warrior!

Debby in KS said...

I love following challenges! I used to do them for myself all the time when I was single, but not so much since getting married. Especially with meals. My husband will look at me like he's starving to death. He's a tall man with a fast metabolism and he can just eat a lot. During our bout with pneumonia this month, he lost 10 lbs., which took him 8 lbs. under his ideal weight. Me? I didn't lose an ounce, but ate very little. Hmph.

I look forward to what you prepare!

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri!
Am so looking forward to this new challenge! Your last was very thought provoking!
We don't always follow them exactly,even still,they are so valuable in that they make me much more mindful of my spending and kitchen habits.
I do appreciate the way you highlighted the suggestions and ideas people contributed from comments...I seemed to miss them when reading and they were very interesting!

P.S. I bought my first pack of lentils yesterday to try the lentil tacos idea from last month!

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