Week Three

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week Three started with a call from my friend Bryant who needed help with some blog features, and who offered freshly-made granola in exchange for a little assistance. Unlike my last project, where I was committed by buying everything I ate, I am accepting free food on this project and was happy to take a little granola-for-tech-support trade.

So I helped Bryant, then got some other things done, then went to gym and then to the grocery store where I planned to get some leafy greens and some chicken legs, which have been very cheap lately, but my shopping plans were thrown into disarray when there were no cheap chicken legs. Doh! It was like a horror movie, me coming to the butcher counter and stopping short. Cue the close-up and scary violins.

I asked the friendly butcher man where his cheap chicken legs were and he said he had sold all of them but would have more tomorrow.

I’m way under money-wise for the month, there’s not much risk of going over at this point, but I’ve really been trying to highlight cheapness, so, after a moment of thought, decided not to get the more expensive thighs or a whole chicken. I decided to come back later when the legs were back.

But that meant I had to come up with something else to eat when I got home, and nothing seemed very appealing to me, except the granola Bryant had brought.

Week Three, part I

Week Three, Part I

So I got some milk and a pear (Pears Bosc Og) and a very big grapefruit (Grapefruit Red Lg) and a dozen Latta’s Egg Ranch eggs and some dried plums a.k.a prunes (Bulk Orgainic Pitte) and the collards I planned on eating with the chicken that I didn’t have yet. (I also still had fruit around from the prior week.)

When I got home, I mixed the granola with some Chex cereal I had left over from the Chex Mix I made for the Scrap Exchange holiday party. (If you like cereal, you should definitely shop at the Super Target; the Chex was $2.04 a box, which is substantially less than at Kroger or Food Lion.)

I also made a fruit smoothie with the rest of the apple juice in the fridge plus fruit from the freezer (cranberries, banana, peaches).

And yes, that was dinner.

On Tuesday, I had more Chex and granola for breakfast, and a banana.

I had meetings starting at 6pm so I had an early dinner of vegetarian chili from the freezer (that I made in Week One) over brown rice. That chili came out really good this time. I still have two servings in the freezer and will be sad when it’s gone.

On Wednesday, I needed to create some space and time to figure out some work stuff, and I have a few undisclosed locations where I go for that, that get me away from the phone and the internet and able to think about one thing at a time.

Usually when I’m planning a day like that I’ll either try to eat a fairly substantial meal before I go out, or go somewhere where I can eat and work, or plan on getting something when I’m done. Which is usually a burrito at Cosmic Cantina because it’s usually midnight by the time I’m done. Not a lot of food options at midnight in Durham.

I wasn’t going somewhere with food this time, so I decided to have an omelet before I left, which I made with herbed cream cheese and mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and garlic, and spinach, along with the last English muffin from the freezer, with butter and jam, and an orange.

There was a basketball game at 9, so I decided I could work for a few hours then stop somewhere on the way home and watch the game and get something to eat. Which is what I did — I stopped at Devine’s to watch the game with some friends who I figured would be there, and ordered a patty melt, which is something I love and it tasted really good but I have to say it really felt like it sat in my stomach for a while.

So Thursday I had a light breakfast, half a grapefruit with some cereal. I was out most of the latter half of the day and ended up pulling stuff from the freezer for dinner — some macaroni/sausage/mushroom stew in a tomato sauce that actually felt a little like lasagne. All it needs is some mozarella and maybe a little ricotta stirred in and that’s what it would taste like.

Also the end of the almost-forgotten pomegranate for dessert.

On Friday, I had a work lunch at Shiki Sushi, and ordered Thai yum noodles with chicken, and the noodles were great but the chicken wasn’t so great so I didn’t eat most of that. If I were to do it again, I’d get it with tofu. It also came with a side salad.

For dinner I had cereal and fruit, which I know is lame but my stomach was still feeling off. Also I really like cereal, and I don’t usually have it, and milk goes bad if you don’t use it up, so I decided just to use the milk on the cereal and get it all out of the way and not worry about the fact that I’m eating like an 8-year old and am going to have to post that on the internet. Sometimes that’s how things go.

As you may have noticed, I hadn’t managed to make it back to Whole Foods for the chicken legs, or to cook the collards. I had meetings in the evening on Tuesday, on Wednesday I needed to go and figure stuff out, and on Thursday I needed to catch up from being sequestered on Wednesday. I didn’t need a big dinner after eating lunch out on Friday and I didn’t feel lke dealing with the grocery store anyway, so it had to wait until Saturday.

So finally on Saturday, after a breakfast of half a bagel with cream cheese and an orange and a glass of milk, I managed to make it back to Whole Foods for the chicken legs.

Week Three, part II

Week Three, Part II

I also bought some more rolled oats (Bulk Organic Rolle) and a potato (Russet Potatoes), because they were on special for $0.99/lb, which is only slightly more than at Compare ($0.79/lb). And I know that potatoes are a much better value if you buy a 5lb bag — I saw bags at Target on special for I think $3 for 5lbs before the holidays — but I’ve decided that I don’t want to eat that many potatoes. I’d rather pay more for one every now and then.

And I have no idea why I’m getting extra money for multiple bags. I only bring one bag. Whatever they give me is what they give me. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

I actually got hungry in the middle of the day on Saturday so I made some egg salad (basically hard-boiled eggs mixed with mayonnaise and a little mustard and salt and pepper and a shot of tabasco) that I ate on crackers, with carrot sticks and a tangerine.

Saturday night I roasted the chicken drumsticks and cooked the sweet potato that I bought way back in Week Two and sauteed the collards and had an actual meal, with actual food, that had never been in a box or the freezer. It was very exciting.

For dessert I had the pear I’d bought earlier in the week.

And on Sunday I had oatmeal with raisins for breakfast, and leftover chicken, potato, and collards, along with a little bit of soup from the freezer for an early dinner, and a late-night snack of cereal with milk and some cookies that have been in the freezer since December and that are starting to taste like the freezer but that are still okay and will be gone soon.

So I didn’t spend a lot in Week Three, and I don’t think that diet is going to win me any awards but, as with Week Two, it could have been worse.

5 Responses to “Week Three”

  1. Lorrie Says:

    I am a numbers person, and I was wondering if you would be willing at the end of each week’s report, to share the cumulative number of weeks and the cumulative total money spent on food. I know you are quite a bit under your goal, but it would be nice to see the raw numbers.

    You are doing great! You could probably even afford to buy a few more fruits and/or vegetables and still meet your goal for this project.

    Thanks for the updates and inspiration. I am going to buy some kale and cook it. The last time I bought kale I had good intentions but the kale spoiled before I got around to cooking it.

  2. lessisenough Says:

    Yes, I will put together some totals. Maybe a summary page like I did on the Dollar a Day project?

    And the problem currently is not money at all, it’s getting to the store and cooking. I like to do one thing at a time, and right now I have about 20 things going on, all of which seem to be either deadline-oriented or time-sensitive (and at least a few of which I’m trying to wrap up so I won’t have to do them any more). It feels like by the time I get through one round of them, another round comes up, there never seems to be any break. Which is making it difficult to get to into any kind of normal routine for cooking and eating. So I’m just doing my best, and figure this whole experience highlights the importance of the freezer.

  3. bryant Says:

    Hey rebecca–How did you manage to get three 10 cent bag refunds on a bill of just under 4 dollars? what were you carrying? Just wondering.

  4. lessisenough Says:

    Honestly, I have no idea what is going on with the multiple bag refunds but as soon as I saw that I thought oh geez here come more questions about the bag refunds. That was quite the controversy on the Dollar a Day project, as you can imagine, since at that point ten cents was actually ten per cent of my daily spending. Though it basically cancelled out the sales tax I paid on food (which also came out of my dollar), so it didn’t make much of a difference to the total.

    For this day, I had my backpack, after I started loading it the clerk noticed that I had brought my own bag and hit the key for the refund. I think sometimes they just hit the key one (or two) to many times. I really don’t know.

  5. Lorrie Says:

    Thanks, a summary page would be great. I thought of you today when I spent $80.16 today at the grocery store after spending $120.00 at Sam’s Club yesterday. I am shopping for a family of four with a husband, a 17 year old boy and a 14 year old girl. A lot of what I bought will go in the pantry or my freezer, and I will certainly not spend nearly as much the next couple of weeks as my pantry and freezer are full, but I still feel like I could spend much less. It’s difficult to change one’s habits. It’s even harder to change the habits of one’s family. I spent much less when I was single!

    Anyway, following your blog is making me much more aware of what I buy as well as the plastic I use, and that’s a first step. So, thanks for the inspiration! My daughter and I went to our local botanic garden yesterday. We brought our own lunch and nothing disposable. It felt good!

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