Recruiting Child Labor – Day 95: Eating Well On $1 A Day


I have been seriously considering whether to continue with this challenge or end it at 100 days taking into account the many comments that all of you have made. One of the things I have been experimenting with is buying for the food banks as part of Penny Experiment while at the same time as documenting this challenge. It has turned out to be a lot more difficult to do than I had anticipated. It isn’t so much actually physically doing each, but the time it takes to record each of them separately on the blogs causes some time issues. I am still working on it to see if I can find an acceptable solutions.

I did have 300 boxes of cereal that needed to be delivered to the food bank, so I recruited my nieces helped me with the preparation and then loading all boxes into the car:

food bank preparation

And this is what the car looked like with the 300 boxes inside:

food bank delivery

food bank delivery side

food bank delivery front seat

We had a lot of fun loading up the car together and the girls did a great job taking box after box from the house to the car, so we decided that a memorial photo was in order:

Helpers loading car for food bank

When I arrived at the food bank, the place was swamped with people getting food. Since it was so busy, I simply helped to unload the boxes and let everyone get back to work. It seems that even since I started doing this that the need at the food banks has increased…

Blackberry Smoothie

There is still not a better way to begin a day than with a fruit smoothie

Blackberry smoothie

Spinach Cheese Scramble

After delivering the 300 boxes of cereal, it was in breakfast / lunch limbo (which of the two should I prepare). Since I have only half a loaf of bread left and plenty of eggs, I opted for a quick spinach and cheese scramble topped with salsa:

scramble

Pasta & Cheese

For some unfathomable reason, I decided that it would be a good idea to try and create a more healthy mac and cheese dish using whole wheat pasta and cheese:

mac and cheese

I quickly learned why there isn’t a small bag of grated cheese in those packages of mac and cheese — because when grated cheese is placed into pasta, the cheese doesn’t melt evenly:

mac cheese

Even worse, it doesn’t taste very good. While I have struggled with cooking throughout this challenge, I have learned two extremely valuable lessons. If you have created a disaster, 1. throw bacon or 2. salsa onto it and it will probably be salvageable. Since I didn’t have any bacon, I went with the salsa option:

mac cheese salsa

and the hypothesis was once again confirmed — and it was surprisingly good considering how poor it tasted without the salsa.

This is the current list of food I still have
This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Goal: 100 days eating on $1 a day
Current Money Spent: $76.11
Money Left to Spend: $23.89 ($0.85 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of Everything Purchased: $1473.94

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The Beginning ::: Day 96: A Small Cooking Miracle Takes Place

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12 Responses to Recruiting Child Labor – Day 95: Eating Well On $1 A Day

  1. Joomi Lee says:

    I would like to see you blog about the coupon deals and step by step instructions on how to do them, not necessarily more $1 a day blogging. Maybe you could also do one week of $1 a day organic food of it that is too low, $2 a day or even higher.

  2. Dilip andrade says:

    To create a cheese sauce, you need white sauce. To do white sauce, you need a roux. It’s simple.

    Heat a fat, (butter is traditional) and sprinklein some flour. Site this and cook a little. This is your roux. You’ll smell a nutty-ness. At this point, stir in some milk. The roux will thicken the milk. Then add in your cheese.

    I do the sauce in the same pot as the pasta, while the pasta is draining. Then dump pasta back in the pot and mix.

  3. nichole says:

    Basic Macaroni and Cheese recipe
    Pasta
    1 C milk
    2 C shredded cheese
    1 Tbsp butter
    Approx 1 Tbsp butter

    Melt butter in saucepan, add just enough flour so it soaks up the butter, stir quickly so you don’t burn flour. Once butter is soaked up pour in milk, stir continously until light boil, add cheese by the handful, stirring each time to melt cheese. Pour over pasta in casserole dish, bake at 350 20 minutes.

    You can also sprinkle cheese or bacon on top and if you’d like to add veggies in saute in the butter at the beginning

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Well, they beat me to the cheese sauce/roux explanation. We LOVE pasta here, and mac and cheese is a favorite (3 kids under 4) I find that using a variety of cheeses mixed together is extra yummy. My favorite is Cheddar and Mozzarella with Parmesan.

  5. Julie says:

    I think you have proved that you can eat well on $1 a day. Its the coupon deals, the money makers, and the catalina coupons and how to combine they that is the most interesting. Although, I do get a chuckle out of some of the crazy combinations you come up with. I would like to see you do something with only organic food or along the lines of the 100 mile diet (Where you can only consume food entirely raised and/or processed within 100 miles of where you live). Whatever you decide to do, I’m sure you will keep us entertained. Thanks

  6. Tim says:

    While I like reading your daily adventures, I can see how trying to keep up with both projects would be a hassle.

    But I am curious how long you can keep this going. Or maybe change it up a little and see how much money you can have in reserve at the 6 month mark while continuing eating the way you have.

    But instead of blogging daily, how about a weekly summary.

    I know I have learned a lot about saving money food shopping after reading an article about you in early June on lifehacker.com
    http://lifehacker.com/5560305/eat-well-on-just-1-a-day

  7. Wendy says:

    Not to mess with Mac’n’Cheese is one lesson I will never forget as long as I live. One time when I was a teen a friend and I decided to make a box. We shortly discovered the cheese packet to be missing, then we realized we were out of milk. Of course then we discovered we didn’t even have any cheddar cheese. We cooked the noodles, added about a cup of mozzarella and the amount of butter indicated on the package, and replaced the milk with additional butter. The worst part is we ate more than half of it! My arteries are screaming just thinking about it.

  8. verybadcat says:

    oh, damn! i wanted to be the one to tell you that a little butter, flour and milk will make that shredded cheese a lot yummier over your pasta.

    i have an ace up my sleeve, though. when i make mac and cheese, i use evaporated milk. it’s shelf stable, and kinder than fresh milk for avoiding lumps, etc. it’s a little thicker, which is also a bonus. i *think* it’s pretty cheap, especially when on sale, but i suppose that isn’t really *my* area of expertise.

    ps: your nieces are super cute!

    pps: you’re pretty cute yourself.

  9. Claudie says:

    With regards to your time, perhaps you could consolidate the $1 a day postings to twice a week if you decide to continue the challenge. I definitely enjoy reading it every day, but your time is valuable. I think everyone would understand that.

  10. fairydust says:

    Your nieces are adorable!! and the food bank folks must’ve been thrilled to see you bring in all that great cereal. I love reading this blog – I read a whole mess of coupon/deal-type blogs and yours occasionally beats all the others in alerting me to money-maker deals I can use to grab some free milk or eggs. Plus your great smoothie pics have convinced me to get back into smoothie-making 🙂

  11. tash says:

    Super easy cheese sauce (because I am more lazy then you are when it comes to cooking, at least most of the time)…

    I have one of those magic bullet blenders, I love it. Anyway this might work with another similar blender. Put cheese (any kind, grated or cut up, doesn’t really matter, just not a huge block), milk, a dash of sugar, and any other spices you want. (I recommend black pepper, or a little taco seasoning, or some Italian seasoning). Screw on the blender top (the 4 blade one on the magic bullet) and blend until smooth. If too thin add more cheese, if too thick add more milk. That’s it.

    I usually use it over a homemade one dish pasta with tomatoes… some variation of: can or fresh tomatoes pureed (magic bullet again, I really do love that thing, great for smoothies too). About a cup of water or milk. Put those in a sauce pan. Bring to boil, add pasta (a few handfuls. I like the pasta plus). Add seasonings to taste (again some Italian or taco seasoning). Cook for about the amount of time the pasta says to (this is where trial and error and experience come in. And why Pasta Plus is nice because it takes longer to cook and therefore lets the sauce thicken better). Then put in a bowl and pour the cheese sauce on top.

    I know it sounds kinda crazy, but it’s one dish and super easy once you get the hang of ‘eyeballing’ the ingredients.

  12. Shirley says:

    Jeffrey your nieces are adorable and you are very handsome. I am surprised you haven’t been snapped up yet. I have really enjoyed your blog and will hate to see it end.

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