Day Twenty-Six

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What I Bought on Day Twenty-Six

What I Bought on Day Twenty-Six

Summary Page

Today I decided to spend my dollar on tangerines—one for each remaining day of the project. So now I can have a tangerine every day without having to truck over to the Compare. Good news on that.

For Meal One, I had the rest of the Jiffy biscuit mix with scrambled eggs and a tangerine.

And for Meal Two, I managed to again pull off a meal that is a close proximity of an actual recipe.

What I Cooked on Day Twenty-Six

What I Cooked on Day Twenty-Six

Thanks go to my friend Elizabeth, who lived in Japan for a number of years, for this suggestion.

When she saw the first week that I had cabbage and could get noodles or pasta pretty easily, she suggested I make yakisoba—Japanese fried noodles.

Took me a while to get back to it, but here it is.

I poached the chicken in salted water and then put the broth in the refrigerator to let the fat solidify, then skimmed that off the top and used it for the stir fry.

Chopped my carrot and some of the cabbage and the little bit of onion I had left, along with some garlic, and also added the remaining jalapeno that was left after Monday’s salsa. Threw that into the wok with the heated fat—garlic and onion first, then carrots, then cabbage, then jalapenos for just a second.

I cooked about six ounces of angel hair pasta, then added that after the vegetables were mostly cooked, then added some of the chicken that I had chopped up, and stir fried everything together. So basically like a lo mein.

[And note that I was going to buy packages of ramen and doctor those up with the fresh vegetables, because I thought it would be good to show how you can make a universal cheap food like ramen better for not that much more, but when I ran the numbers it was cheaper to buy a pound of pasta than to buy ramen. Ramen is pretty consistently 5 for $1, which is $0.20 per package. The packages are 3 ounces, so that’s 6.7 cents per ounce. I can get a pound of pasta for $0.87, so that’s 5.4 cents per ounce. A pound of pasta at the ramen rate would be $1.07 vs. $0.87 for what I got the angel hair pasta for. That’s a pretty significant difference when you’re working with a budget like mine.]

The actual yakisoba recipe has a sauce—usually soy sauce and/or Worcestershire and I’ve also seen recipes that use rice wine or sake in addition to soy and Worcestershire.

My version is just plain, no sauce, but it was still pretty good, and it made a good amount of food. I should get two or three more servings out of what I made today.

Which brings me to my main thought for the evening, which is that if you have only a tiny amount of food, you should make soup, because you would be amazed at how much soup you can get from a very small amount of ingredients (especially if you do the stone soup thing and make everyone else bring the food).

Another good option is to make a casserole—just throw everything together with some rice or pasta and a white sauce and a little cheese and some bread crumbs on top and you’re good to go. (Unfortunately, I can’t demonstrate the beauty of the casserole during this project because I don’t have ingredients to make a white sauce—no butter or milk or flour.)

The next great option is a stir fry—heat some oil and toss a few things in with some rice or noodles and soy sauce (if you’ve got it) and it’s all good.

So that’s what I did tonight.

Receipt Day Twenty-Six

Receipt Day Twenty-Six

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9 Responses to “Day Twenty-Six”

  1. marie Says:

    Hi! I’ve been following your blog for about 2 weeks now and I love it! You eat healthy food, which is better than most people who try similar challenges. I enjoy seeing what you can get for a $1. You are an inspiration for people who want to eat cheap but healthy!

  2. Steve B. Says:


    Love what you are doing. Thanks.

    Take a look at for recipes from 93 year old Clara Cannucciari that would suit you just fine.

    Will miss this when over!

    Steve B.

  3. caryesings Says:

    Wow, almost to 30 days. I’m going to miss this project. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Gail D Says:

    And the pasta is not only cheaper than the ramen per ounce, it’s healthier, since it hasn’t been fried during processing like ramen.

    I too will miss this project. I’ve told a number of people about it because what resonates with me is your creativity in using up *all* the food you purchased. Not buying vegetables that sit around in the fridge until they are old, tasteless, or worse. Not letting food go forgotten in the freezer until it develops freezer burn.

    I look forward to your reflections and conclusions as you complete this experiment, and hope that you’ll return to the subject from time to time on your blog.

  5. Valerie Says:

    One thing that struck me was the tax on food. I’ve lived in four states in my life, and none of them taxed food items. (Candy, soda, etc., were often taxed, considered to be non-food items.) 2 cents on the dollar is not huge, but when you are on a limited food budget, 2% can have an impact.

    I’ll miss your posts as well–I appreciate your down-to-earth voice! But I know you will be glad to be done with the record-keeping.

  6. I hope you find a way to keep this inspiration of Less is Enough going when your project is ended.
    I went to do weekly shopping the other day and spent 128.00 on 2 people and 2 pets. (mostly people) I felt ridiculously guilty and haven’t yet mastered the big cut back in food spending for us. My own mission will be working on that in a more serious way.
    Our prices are insane here but I know it can be vastly improved and I can do an awful lot better.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  7. Marcia Says:

    You are simply amazing. Yours is now the one blog I have to read almost daily.

  8. Betsy Says:

    This is a great idea. We’ve gotten into the habit of making lo mein and fried rice pretty regularly (based on “How to Cook without a Book” that you turned me on to…). It’s quick and easy, and a great way to use leftovers. Especially with a family, I never knew what to do with a single carrot or 1/2 cup of leftover peas or 1 slice of leftover pork, but you can throw it all in with a splash of soy sauce and it’s great. Your blog is really making me rethink all the things we can do, especially with an actual pantry stocked with olive oil, flour, spices, … Totally impressed with what you’ve done, can’t wait to get your health de-brief at the end too!

  9. […] woman’s mission is to eat fresh food on $1/day.  On March 7th she made a nice helping of yakisoba, Japanese fried noodles.  The recipe she said came from a friend and she walks the reader through […]

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