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!