So, I have some exciting news. Well, I think it’s exciting. I’ve started a new blog, which is called The 5 Dollar Day. On this site, I will be writing and recording the challenges and successes I experience as I live on a mere $35 per week grocery budget. Interesting concept, yes?
The idea for this project came to me in a fairly organic way. I was having dinner with a friend, and we were having a discussion about money, and saving money for travel. Something I always “mean” to do, and yet my savings account remains pitifully small. And my friend said something to the effect of “I don’t care, I’ll just eat PB &J.” And it finally clicked. I can choose to live my life differently today, and have the ability to do really cool things, like travel, in the future. And by differently, I mean cut my budget and stop wasting precious dollars. And the biggest place I can cut my budget is food spending.
But as I googled ways to do this, I started getting results on the SNAP (food stamp) program. Did you know that in this country over 46 million Americans are receiving SNAP benefits (used to be call food stamps)? And the average weekly benefit is just $35. Can you believe it?
And thus, an idea was born. I’ve decided to limit my grocery spending to just $35 per week for the next four weeks. I’ll be recording my spending, cooking and food consumption. Each day, I’ll determine how much eat meal and each serving cost. At the end of each week I’ll write up a summary, including the lessons learned. And of course I’ll be posting recipes along the way.
With this challenge, I am trying to prove that it is possible to eat a healthy diet on $35 per week. Most people assume it’s all mac n cheese or the dollar menu at McDonald’s. When in actuality, I think the dollar menu is cost prohibitive if you only have $5 per day. It is definitely going to be tough, and require a lot of planning and effort. But I’m really excited about it, and hope to take the topic further than just how I manage and handle the challenge. I want to explore the different aspects of food, nutrition and poverty. And what I can do to make things better in this country.
And aside from the fact that I think this a really important topic to explore and promote, this project is also doing wonders for me and my health. And its only day two! For a while now I’ve been struggling with this injury, and the subsequent depression that has ensued. Both of which have kept me out of the kitchen. And yet, with this $35 per week challenge, I am forced to put on my creative hat and get cooking. I can’t tell you how much fun I had tonight. Alone, in my apartment. Light from the sunset streaming through my big picture window, and Van Morrison cranked (my favorite cooking music) as I sang and danced my way through my taco recipe.
Ahhhhh. Feels good to be back.
And, as an added bonus, I’ve included the recipe for Tacos as Big as Your Head. It’s been far too long since food has graced the pages of this blog.
Tacos as Big as Your Head
Keep in mind that tacos are perhaps one of the most versatile meals. You can add and remove ingredients to your heart’s content. Since I’m limited to $35 per week, I really tried to keep the costs low. But in no way was the taste jeopardized.
Soft Corn Tortillas
Hard Corn Tortillas
Black Bean Filling
1 Green Pepper – chopped
½ red onion – chopped
1 Can Vegetarian Refried Beans
3 cups cooked beans
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic – minced (I used pre minced, in a jar. Cheating, yes, but for some reason I don’t like the stickiness garlic leaves on my hands when I chop it myself.)
2 tsp each – Cumin, Ancho Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Guacamole – I bought prepared, as it would cost more to make my own
Greek Yogurt – good substitute for sour cream
Any other fixings you like
- Sautee onion, garlic and peppers in 1-2 tbsp of water for about 5 minutes
- Add the black beans, tomatoes and spices. Mix well.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Mixture will heat and thicken. This is a good thing.
- Meanwhile, warm your refried beans. I did mine in the microwave for about a minute. Took some liquid out of the bean pot, mixed into the refried beans to soften then up and make them more spreadable.
- When black bean mix is ready, wrap your corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
- Now get assembling!
- I spread the refried beans on the soft tortillas, and wrapped them around a hard shell tortillas. It added a nice crunch.
- Next, put 1-2 tablespoons each of rice and black bean mix into the shells. Top with some guac and yogurt. A little goes a long way.
It was delicious. And only came out to $1.41 for the meal! For more information on food costs, check out my new site, The 5 Dollar Day.
But don’t worry, this new project is not removing A Choice For Health. As I embark on this 30 day challenge, I probably won’t write as much here. But who knows, maybe I’ll be so inspired by everything that I learn, it will just spill on over here too :)
A little housekeeping note. If you signed up to receive A Choice For Health posts to your email, that’s great! But if you’d also like to receive The 5 Dollar Day posts by email, you have to sign up again on the new site. The sites are not linked. I’ve had a few questions about that today. And I just want to make sure that you all have access to the new project. Because, if you can’t tell, I’m really excited about it!
Until next time