The house sitting gig is coming to an end in a few days. Even though I have a pretty big cushion with my spending and would like to do another major grocery shopping run, I have been resisting. Moving the food from place to place is a real pain and I would like to avoid as much of that hassle as possible. It will also give me a chance to use up some of the stuff that I do have so that I have to transport even less. Constantly moving from place to place really is not conductive for this type of challenge.

Plum Smoothie

I did need to get some more plums since I had run out, so I picked up a few on my morning walk with Lila:

plum foraging

These ended up making a wonderful plum smoothie as they were perfectly ripe:

black plum smoothie

Cheese & Tomato Omelet

With all the cheese I now have, it was time to make an omelet. Unfortunately, the baggie omelet that was so much fun to make was deemed “toxic” by my sister so I am no longer allowed to make omelets that way. With my sad first attempt at flipping omelets, there were a lot of reader suggestions on how I could do it better. I began reading through them in hopes of finding an easy way to create a nice omelet despite my lack of flipping skills.

I decided to try the Julia Child method of making omelets (mine including cheese, tomato, bacon and chicken):

Of course, I was my typical lazy self and decided to do it from what I remembered when I had seen the video a couple of weeks ago instead of watching it again. That ensured that I forgot the critical step of having the pan hot and ready to go when placing in the omelet. Instead, my pan was still warming up when the omelet mixture hit the pan:

omelet mix

While it eventually heated and I cooked the omelet, the resulting flip out of the pan didn’t go so well:

bad flip omelet

While it didn’t come out looking good, it tasted wonderful (maybe could have used another slice of bacon). Any other suggestions on flipping omelets?

Cream Cheese Sandwich

I went for a cream cheese tomato celery sandwich with celery & peanut butter on the side to use up the rest of the celery I had and try to make a small dent into all the cream cheese I still have.

cream cheese sandwich

Veggie Bacon Chicken Rice Medley

Still attempting to use up what I already had on hand, I cooked up the rest of the bacon I had (4 strips), then fried veggies (onion, red pepper, green beans and garlic) in the oil.


Once done, I added a small amount of chicken breast and one strip of bacon:

veggies and chicken

fried veggies

I then added the leftover rice I still had:

veggie and chicken rice medley

veggie chicken rice

I had assumed that cooking the veggies and rice in the bacon oil would give it a strong bacon flavor, but was a bit surprised that the taste wasn’t nearly as strong as I had expected. I guess because I had only cooked up 4 pieces and then only added one may have been the issue (Note to self: always opt for abundance when it comes to bacon). Still, it was a tasty meal and one I would like to try again with adjustments.

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: $53.67
Money Left to Spend: $46.33 ($6.17 must be spent at CVS, $1.50 must be spent at Safeway)
Retail Value of Everything Purchased: $1424.08


The Beginning ::: Day 87: Roasted Stuffed Green Peppers


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  1. Dude, your sister needs to get a life. She has (indirectly) insulted me. I’m tempted to stop reading your exploits because of her. Of course, I’m sure you’d pick up a whole lot more readers if there was a catfight going on here. LOL.

    Have you thought about breaking down and buying an omelet pan? Or would she think that was an unfair advantage?

  2. Omelets don’t exist at my house. We just eat scrambled eggs with stuff (breakfast meat, cheese, peppers, etc.) mixed in.

    I tried out a plum/banana smoothie today, with the addition of a little orange juice. It was delicious! Thanks for the tips.

  3. I see you constantly trying to “use up” celery. One thing you should consider in terms of flavoring your food is the french “mirepoix” or celery, onion, carrot, combination. Using these aromatic vegetables– sauteed– at the beginning of any savory dish will impart a LOT of flavor. The cajun/creole version of this is known as the “trinity” and is onion, green pepper, and celery. In other words, celery never needs to be “used up”. 🙂 One final thought: celery is super crunchy, as well as flavorful. Always consider it as an ingredient in sandwiches like egg salad or tuna salad, etc. Celery is one of my favorite foods of all time! Love your blog. It’s incredibly entertaining and your challenge is shockingly successful thus far!

  4. Just caught up on your last 20 posts and I’m so glad you seem to be doing so well (poems aside). Question – have you found cooking easier or the results more tasty since you took your readers advice and got some spices and other staples? Has it made any difference for you?

  5. Hi Jeffrey, have been enjoying following your challenge and learning a lot from your couponing. I’m so inspired by the amount of donating/giving you are managing to achieve on practically no budget! Now that your abilities are improving, are you beginning to enjoy cooking? I also recommend reading a good cookbook; or reading cooking blogs to learn about cooking fundamentals that will get you cooking confidently and eating predictably yummy stuff! Besides Julia Child, I rather like Alice Waters, such as her book “The Art of Simple Food.”

  6. Why bother flipping an omlette? I just bung the whole pan under the grill for a few moments at the end which sets the top nicely. I can’t stand runny egg.

  7. Have been reading all your posts in one go and am very impressed by how much healthier and varied the meals are looking now, compared to the absolute disasters at the beginning (sorry, I completely agreed with your sister for the first 30 days). Just some small ideas that have occurred to me while reading:
    1. You can add oatmeal to smoothies to thicken them and make them more filling
    2. Branch out with your roasted veggies – some of the best are zucchinis, red peppers, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, eggplant, butternut squash. Try some paprika on them.
    3. You can make the most delicious soup with just onions, butter and a stock cube. Slice 6 cups of onions. Melt quarter cup butter, or use oil. Add onions. Fry on medium low until REALLY REALLY dark brown (at least 45 minutes but best over an hour – I’m serious, it’s worth it) but not burnt. Then add four cups of water with the stock cube in it. Simmer to reduce the liquid. Done.
    4. If you can get some chickpeas/garbanzo beans you could make a cheap Indian curry with them. It would be good to get some coriander/cilantro powder or even an Indian spice mix (garam masala) if you could but you could do without. Just fry half an onion in 1 tsp oil until translucent. Add a one piece of crushed garlic and some chili powder (and other spices if you can get them). Chop two tomatoes and add. Cook on low heat till the tomatoes are all mushy and have made a sauce. Add chickpeas (will need to be soaked overnight beforehand) and heat through. Add salt to taste. Serve with rice.
    5. Make your own cereal with oatmeal, peanut butter, raisins mixed together and baked on a low heat. Yum. And cheap.

  8. My omelettes turn out well if I use enough oil, heat the pan up before adding the eggs, let the eggs cook through before adding the filling (I cook the filling separately beforehand) and then let the eggs cook until there are a few light brown spots on the bottom.

  9. I love frittatas! I can’t tell what type of handle is on you fry pan. If it is plastic, wrap the handle in foil before putting it in the oven so it won’t melt.

    By the way, bacon and cheese are a great combo in quiche. If you can pick up a little spinach, that would up the health factor.

  10. Is it too cheesy to say that I’m sure I’m speaking for a lot of readers when I say I’m so proud of you! You’ve come a long way in your cooking skills with this challenge; I’m pretty sure you’re eating more healthfully than I am now, lol. Oh, and loved the poem from the other day. Kudos to that reader. Keep up the great work! (Oh, and I’m with the previous poster who said why bother with an omelete when you can call it scrambled eggs instead? Tastes just as good!)

  11. Do you like poppers? Jalepenos aren’t too expensive, and mixing equal amounts of softened cream cheese and shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexidan blend, colby jack, etc) and then spooning it into half of a cleaned jalepeno is really great. Topping it with bacon is good, too. Then grill or bake them for 15-20 min at 350 until the skin starts to blister. Yum!

  12. I third (?) the frittata suggestion …. just don’t do it in a non-stick pan. Teflon releases nastiness at high heats that can happen in an oven. Be wary of the handle on the pan too. You don’t want anything melting in the oven.

    Consider DVRing Good Eats on the Food Network (especially if you see one of his egg episodes coming up), or at least looking up videos online. Alton Brown is a) funny, b) sciency, c) extremely good at breaking down the how and why. My son got really into him when he was 10, and following Alton’s instruction has become a passable cook (he’s 13 now, and not too shabby in the kitchen).

  13. Years ago there used to be a hinged pan that you put the mixture in one side and then you were ready to “flip” you closed the two halves together and transfered the omelet to the other side and cooked it. Never had one, but they always intrigued me…I wondered if they really worked.

    I wouldn’t let the lack of flipping expertise worry me…if it was scrumptious, you aren’t taking photos for a cook book!

  14. My best suggestion for you:
    f%&#@ the omelette… just work on making a ‘scramble.’

    Here’s what you do:
    1. some oil or spray in a hot pan
    2. add veggies and any meat you want browned
    3. add some eggs and stir it up a bit (you don’t even have to pre-wisk them!)
    4. Add cheese on top.

    TA DA!! No problem with flipping and it’s much more casual.

    Yum 🙂 🙂

    (If you are using raw bacon, sausage, etc… cook *that* up in the first step, then take out of your pan and use a bit of grease to cook the veggies)

  15. Hey, my omelets always look messy when I try to turn them too. Its ok though, they still taste good.

    I am assuming your sister was referring to cooking in plastic bags in a microwave as being toxic?? If that was the issue, I would have to agree with her on that one. I think she likes to make things rough on her brother as any “good” sister might, but it seems to me she might actually want the best for you in this case.

  16. I fourth (!) the fritatta suggestion. If you are having so much trouble with flipping omelettes and you’re still worrying about it, I suggest you try a rice-cooker fritatta (as opposed to an oven fritatta). It’s easy, and the only labor you have to do is chopping and pre-frying your chosen veggies.

    Here’s a quick summary of the steps:
    1. Chop your veggies to either matchstick-size or thin circles to make fry-cooking them fast and easy. (I use julienned carrots, potatoes, and squash, and thinly sliced zucchini.)
    2. Fry your chopped veggies with a little oil or butter for around 5 minutes, constantly stirring.
    3. Wipe the inside your rice cooker pan with a thin layer of oil, to 2 inches up the sides.
    4. Lightly beat 6 eggs inside the rice cooker pan.
    5. Pour the fried veggies into the rice cooker pan and distribute evenly.
    6. Set rice cooker to cook for a regular rice cycle.
    7. Flip on a plate and enjoy! I like mine with ketchup.

    Here’s my source:

  17. I forgot to put that in step #2 you add your chosen seasonings. Salt and pepper would do nice here. You can also add some chili powder or herbs.

  18. When I make omelets, I use a non-stick pan and a rubber spatula (the kind you use for scraping out bowls when making cookies). There is NO FLIPPING INVOLVED! Melt a little butter in the pan over low-medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and give it a few minutes until you’ve got a solid-ish base to the egg “pancake”. Gently lift one side of the omelet maybe an inch off the pan and tilt the pan to that side. All of the runny egg will run down onto the pan and when you put the omelet back down it will cook and become the bottom of the omelet. Sprinkle your cheese and toppings on top, wait for the egg to cook through, fold and slide out of the pan onto a plate. Voila!

  19. Speaking as a former chef, omelets are not easy. Most people, even many cooks, cannot produce a true
    French omelet.
    And the flip? As a junior cook you start with dry toast, move on to dry beans, then to pasta…then to? Certainly NOT eggs, not yet. It takes years. 🙂

  20. When my daughter was a baby/toddler, I was warned to make sure her eggs were very well cooked through to minimize the chance of food poisoning. I used a very small skillet to make her one-egg cheese omelets. But since I couldn’t flip them worth a flip 🙂 I would place a plate upside down over the pan and flip them over together, so that the omelet fell onto the plate. I’d then return the pan to the burner, gently slide the half-cooked omelet runny-side-down into the pan, top with cheese, and cook until the cheese was fully melted, by which time the runny side was fully cooked. I have done this since with larger omelets/skillets, which took a couple of tries to perfect. But as several people mentioned, I usually just make “scrambled eggs with stuff.”

    BTW, I found my way to your excellent blog today because I made my first omelet (or is that frittata?) in a rice cooker today and I’m googling around looking for refinements. It was delicious, but next time I’ll wait and add the cheese after the eggs are fully cooked instead of with the eggs as the recipe I followed suggested. Since it was white cheese, it made it hard to tell when the eggs were cooked. 🙂

  21. Coming way late to the game again:

    In my opinion, omlets don’t need to be flipped or, if one is very picky about definitions, one needn’t make an omlet. Make scrambled eggs with stuff, or a frittata, or a tasty mess. It’s all good.

    I hope you saved the bacon grease each time you cooked the bacon. Using the extra for dishes such as this night’s dinner makes them more bacony. (Less healthy, too, if that’s something you’re concerned about.)

  22. I’m years late but I’ve been reading all of it. I think you missed the boat on your splurge. I would’ve gotten something that would’ve lasted for several meals and would’ve made each meal better.

    Worcestershire sauce.
    Mustard seed oil.

    in that order

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