I knew that this challenge would be a lot of things, I just didn't realize how embarrassing it would be. I consider myself a fairly athletic person and in decent shape. I have no problem spending an afternoon playing pick-up basketball, can run a pretty decent 10k and have no problem swimming laps for an hour. So when I am with friends and I have to comment on any recent injury I have, there is usually a story to go along with it that makes me look good. This challenge has completely changed that.

Friend: “Your arm okay?”

Me: “Yes, it's fine. Why do you ask?”

Friend: “You keep rubbing it…”

Me: “Oh, it's just a bit sore.”

Friend: “Big tennis game yesterday?”

Me: “Not exactly…”

Friend: “Rough basketball game?”

Me: “No, it's just sore…”

Friend: “Well, how did it get that way? I mean, it is obviously bothering you so you must have done something pretty strenuous.'

Me: “Can we talk about something else?”

Friend: “What's the big deal? You got hurt. How did it happen?”

Me: “I was beating an egg”

Friend: Eyes widen in disbelief before falling out of chair in uncontrollable laughter

Blackberry Banana Smoothie

I still have no idea how I missed out on these in the past. Simple to make, tasty and quick. Today's morning smoothie was blackberry banana:

blackberry morning smoothie

Tomato & Onion Scrambled Eggs

I decided to add a little flavor to my scrambled eggs by adding in some cooked onion and tomato along with salt and pepper. I placed this on a piece of whole wheat toast and I think this was the first meal where the kitchen actually smelled delicious (it was the onions) while I was cooking and the meal lived up to that smell. I also had a cup of the vanilla yogurt with Kashi cereal mixed in:

tomato onion scrambled eggs


I was out and about in the afternoon and made a couple of quick peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread to tide me through those hours.

I also tried the first orange I received from the woman working in the garden and I have come to realize that I have been a fruit snob without even knowing it. I was a bit reluctant to try the oranges because they didn't “look” delicious. I have grown so used to seeing this perfect looking fruit in stores and that has become my image of what “good fruit” is supposed to look like. The funny thing about that is that the fruit that “looks good” often isn't that sweet.


The orange I ate from the tree was a bit dirty, had some scars and wasn't the bright orange seen in grocery stores. It was also by far the sweetest and juiciest orange I have eaten in a long time. Lesson learned. I certainly hope that I run into the lady gardening again, because I would love to have more of those oranges.

Lemon Pasta Soup

A lot of readers have been suggesting that I use the SuperCook recipe ingredient search engine, so I thought I would give it a try. The search engine lead me to a Lemon Soup recipe on AllRecipes. It had a 4.5 star rating, had 5 minute prep time, 10 minute cook time and said it would be ready in 15 minutes. It sounded like the perfect recipe for me. I should have known better…

In the directions, it said “In a medium glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites to medium stiff peaks.” I had absolutely no idea what that meant. I should have left and found a new recipe right then and there, but instead I decided to ask my sister. I should have seen the disaster coming.

Sister: “Oh, you have to beat air into the egg whites until you can form little peaks with them”

Me: “What that hell does that mean?”

Sister: “You'll know when you see it. Just take a whisk and start beating them.”

Me: “How long will it take?”

Sister: “Just keep at it until they turn white and you can form peaks with the white. The harder you beat, the faster you will be done.”

Me: “Can't I use a blender?”

Sister: “Well, you can (why didn't I hear the evilness in her voice?), but it will taste much, much better if you do it by hand (damn sisters).

So that 5 minutes of prep time turned into 15 minutes of me vigorously beating egg whites until I had injured my arm:

egg whites

Although I believe I followed the direction, I obviously did something terribly wrong. All the reviews of this recipe exclaim how delicious it is. Mine tasted like dish water. I really don't know what dish water tastes like, but I am pretty positive that if I were to ever taste it, it would be fairly close to what I made.

pasta lemon soup

I guess I still have a ways to go in my cooking skills (and athletic prowess)…

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

Money Spent $38.66
Money left to spend: $22.34 ($5.04 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of everything bought: $1023.17


The Beginning ::: Day 57: Wash. Rinse. Repeat.


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  1. If you plan on doing lots of baking I highly recommend getting a hand mixer. Having the 2 beaters side by side makes a HUGE difference.

  2. I don’t think I have ever used a recipe that called for “stiff peaks,” though I know what those are. I just prefer simple.

    That said, I’d use a mixer (with beater attachment) to do that. No wonder you are sore!

  3. OK, I do feel sorry for you, but that is absolutely hilarious. I can imagine my husband walking around mumbling under his breath to anyone that asked him if he ever got an injury like that. I may just have to make him do it just for the laughs. Thank you for providing so much amusement while teaching us about this challenge.

  4. I feel your pain, truly. I have been experiencing my own adventures in cooking (see a recent disastrous example, which incidentally I also found using SuperCook). That said, keep at it. The only way to get better is to make lots of mistakes along the way. Or, as a friend once told me, “Experience is what you need right after you get it.”

    As someone else said, a mixer is your friend when it comes to beating eggs. Also make sure that there’s absolutely NO yolk in the egg whites, or they won’t form peaks.

    Good luck in your future adventures!

  5. No harm in going back to the house with the oranges, telling them how great they were (since she didn’t know) and ask if you could have some more. THey probably have a ton!

    FYI, I would zest the orange, just the orange part of the peel, no white part, and freeze it. Orange zest, or lemon too, can add tons of flavor to baked goods, like pancakes and muffins.

  6. Soup that includes beaten egg whites sounds like a prank to me.

    I agree with the poster tho mentioned saving the orange zest (lemon zest, too, for that matter). It’s best if you grate it off. But, if you have a potato peeler, just shave the outer bit off – this is easier to do if you peel toward yourself (brace your thumb against the bottom of the fruit & swipe the peeler toward yourself). If you finely mince it, you can add it to baked goods, yes, but also to baked/microwaved fruit, pancake batter, even to your smoothies to give it a bit of citrusy flavor. If you ever get lucky enough to get some chicken, you could make lemon pepper chicken with it.

    Speaking of chicken, have you ever considered buying a rotisserie chicken? You can sometimes get them for as cheap as $3.99 & could eat off it for days in lots of different ways, including making stock with the carcass. Just a thought…

  7. I had to laugh a bit about beating the egg whites. I remember my grandma beating egg whites for angel food cake with a hand-crank beater – admittedly probably a bit easier than just a whisk, but still plenty of elbow grease involved. She didn’t have an electric mixer and would manage to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. I tried to help a few times but tired out quickly. Her angel food cakes were always very tall and light.

  8. Jeffrey,
    I’ve enjoyed this series. Seems like you’ve grown up to be a great cook in no time, with limited ingredients, limited time, and not even in your own kitchen!

    We spend a small fortune every month on gluten-free, salycalate-free, dairy-free, egg-free, beef-free, hormone-free, flavor-free (just kidding on that last one). We did do coupons at one time, and brought home many freebies, but for some reason slacked on it. Thanks for your story, it is well-detailed, interesting and provocative. I’ve already told my dad and I could hear the gears turning…

  9. Oooh, bad sister. The egg whites don’t taste any different by hand or by machine.
    Once you have a mixer, you might try a meringue cookie recipe. Good stuff.

  10. Iirc, egg whites need to be at room temperature before you can whip them into peaks. Also, it’s best to whip them in a copper bowl if you have them.
    This is off the top of my head, so please check someplace like eHow.com before you try another cooking experiment.
    Thinking about your sister, I can’ help but imagine her hiding someplace with a camcorder, filming all of of your cooking adventures. You might want to keep an eye on her Youtube account to make sure she doesn’t secretly turn you into a viral video hit, lol.
    Another thing I was thinking of…would you ever consider doing this for a year? 365 days at 350 dollars or less? I think it could be really interesting to follow along if you decided to do this long term, but do you think you’d get tired of it after awhile?

  11. I can sympathize with your egg white encounter, Jeffrey. For me, it was yeast while trying to make a German Stollen when I was 21. I’d watched my mother make bread from scratch for years – even helped her – but for some reason didn’t realize you can’t just add yeast to the dry ingredients. Result was a great looking stollen that could’ve been used to knock a person out (or worse!).

    That being said, I’ve got to add my comment to what Dana suggested. WOULD you consider doing this for a year? Actually, some of the rules could be changed…perhaps up the daily amount to $2. Most people on food stamps ( well, in my case, anyway…it’s just myself & my 19 y.o. son) receive $249 per month. Well, it goes by your income really. It would really be a great help to those people out there struggling on low incomes!! And most “healthy” stuff at supermarkets always cost alot more than processed or junk foods.

    Also, in our area (Indiana, PA), we only have a Super Walmart, a Martin’s (Giant Food), Giant Eagle, and Bi-Lo. Transport usually takes a person to those places, or it can be within walking distance if you live nearby. But we do also have CVS and Rite-Aid (neither of which I’ve been to as yet).

    Definitely go with an electric hand beater for mixing next time. Your sister seems to have “issues”.

  12. Oh, man! Yeah, your sister was LOVING that! Whipped egg whites can be awesome, but only a brute would insist that you do it by hand. And looking at the picture, I have to say that they weren’t whipped enough (even if you were). Still, props to you for getting them that far with a whisk!

  13. I love cereal in yogurt. Yum! CVS has Stayfree BOGO and if you add the 3/28 $2 off MQ its a moneymaker, ymmv. My store allows this, hope yours does also. Bring in your green tag and bag and put the Stayfree in there until checkout. Scan your green tag for ECB credit.

  14. Evil sister for sure. There is no taste difference! I don’t think you even got them to the soft peak stage from the looks of the picture either.

  15. So funny about the egg beating injury. In my family, we call that a “death by mustard” event, because my brother once cut his forehead on the counter (and needed stitches) trying to prevent an open mustard jar from falling on the floor (it fell anyway). Imagine explaining that one to your buddies. So cooking mishaps where you get hurt are “death by mustard” – I think it could make a funny book. p.s. Love your blog. You’ve inspired me to try your techniques and I’ve saved $50 the first week. Fun!

  16. Ok…your sister was soooo bad. I am laughing out loud on this one. Stiff peaks are possible with a whisk, but only for the super hero type of cooks. 😀

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