$15/15 meals: We’ve made it!

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We’ve made it! 15 meals have gone by and our budgets have not been overdrawn. It may have been close and we may have made a few estimates but I think you’ll all agree the three of us accomplished our goals. When we set out, 5 days ago, we hoped to show that healthy eating wasn’t out of the question on a tight budget. But honestly, I think we all had mixed expectations. I’ve discussed a number of times throughout the week that I was extremely concerned going into the challenge. $15 or $1 per meal is just about nothing. And I wouldn’t have considered this a success if I ended up losing a ton of weight and starving myself just to make it through. So as the week went on and I continued to eat as I normally have (minus the snacking), I became more and more passionate about what we were doing.

What was so rewarding about this challenge was the thought and additional questions that have been created along the way. In no ways will one five day experiment be the end all be all of rubrick’s on how to live and eat. But if these entries have shown anything, the more we think about these decisions and the more information we seek out, the better informed we will be. And on top of this, one of the most crucial components of cooking for yourself was emphasized. The creative process and the hands on experience you have to cherish and share, is worth the growing pains. Not everything I cook meets my expectations (I have always been my toughest critic) but that doesn’t mean the meal was a waste. Creating my dinners this past week on such a tight budget was made easier by the tool box of cooking experiences I have gathered. It may seem daunting at first but trust me when I say, everyone can cook…

So enough with the uplifting and preachy portion of the experience. What about the negatives! You guys wouldn’t believe me if I only shared the greatness that was this 5 day event. Not to mention it would completely take away from the “challenge” portion of our goals. So what did I miss? How do I feel? Besides the repitition of the meals, my biggest issue along the way was the lack of certain components of my regular diet. Last night, as I contemplated my dinner, I had burning cravings for two things!

I would have done anything for an apple. I don’t even love apples like most do, but last night I would have sacrificed it all for a pink lady. Hell, I would have even considered a red delicious. This makes a decent amount of sense on the nutritional level but also when you consider what my diet was missing in terms of flavor. It was tough to develop sweetness in any of the meals I ate and therefore I craved some sugar!. So now you know the first thing I’ll be eating after the challenge.

The second craving came about when I was making my dinner last night. I wanted to use up what I had purchased so I created a dish that had two of my favorite foods on one plate together! Although I didn’t have large cabbage leaves remaining, that didn’t stop me from taking my remaining ground beef and making stuffed cabbage (more like cabbage roll-ups). I made the sauce out of the remaining diced canned tomatoes and the result was really great. Simple and delicious. But I knew this wouldn’t be enough for dinner. Realizing I had one end of my roll remaining I decided to add some breakfast to my plate. One fried egg with a runny yolk over two pieces of toast acted as a perfect compliment to the cabbage roll-ups. If you look at this plate of food however, just like all the rest, there is something missing. All week as I developed my dinners I pined for just a bit of basil, or a bunch of spinach. Something, to add some green to the plate. I became borderline depressed last night when I knew it was out of my reach. Isn’t that proof we eat with our eyes first?

So what next? Where do we go from here?, Well, tonight we’re celebrating. Celebrating with a large feast! Although it will be interesting to see how much I end up eating. I’m so looking forward to our dinner to discuss the individual experiences we have all had and to think about the implications of this challenge. It is clear that these issues are prevalent throughout the country and more and more people are jumping on board for the discussion. A fellow blogger (one of my favorites) just recently posted about the cost of cooking. Also in the Times online “cheapskate blog”, there was a discussion on eating well for $50 a week. I know I said the same thing. Is $50 a week really that difficult? Either way, the discussion is important. Lastly, I’d just like to say thanks to all of you who have made this even more rewarding. I never imagined how many people would be interested in something like this. The interest and support have been really uplifting! I’ll be sure to update you on the celebration dinner soon and check out Sarah’s blog to see how her week ended up…

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4 Responses to $15/15 meals: We’ve made it!

  1. Jq says:

    I typically spend $50 a week on groceries and with that I can eat well (both taste and health), and never have to buy anything outside of what I am cooking. I can’t really say that it is hard to provide for yourself with this budget on a weekly basis, but I have been doing it for months now and have a fair amount of time to cook and prep during the week. $50 seems to be just the right amount, no matter how much I buy, to fill up a grocery basket at the market with everything I might need, I even cook for a friend or two during the week within that limit, but $15 would be an interesting challenge and I think I would like to try it out next time around. I really enjoyed following your blog through the week and found some of the stuff that you were able to create rather intriguing. It seems like a great way to really break down a few components and find creative ways to use them while avoiding what you are used to.

  2. Nancy says:

    Almost there. I have my lunch planned (and paid for) and am eagerly awaiting the moment that I can pop my half multi-grain english muffin in the toaster and slather it with a delicious 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter! I agree that I didn’t feel that I was always getting what I needed this week. Ran out of broccoli early, my cantelope got moldy by yesterday and I don’t like eating eggs every day although they do keep you going longer than Cherrios. Thank you bananas, chicken, quinoa, and potatos for getting me to the finish line. To my surprise, I have 14 cents left. I have charged myself in advance 20 cents for the tbsp. of peanut butter–think I’ll make it a “heaping” Tbsp!!!

  3. Susan says:

    When I read about your journey, I thought about all the food I buy and don’t use. If I look through my pantry I can see meals for weeks. How about a challenge where you just use what you have and don’t buy anything for a week??? I am sure I could survive a month without purchasing any groceries.

  4. thecanonlogic says:

    Silver, you’re a renegade. Count me in next time around.

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