While you probably already know that I don't especially like cooking and before this challenge began, I did the bare minimum of cooking, you probably don't realise how bare minimum that was. Today you will find that out. While never having broiled anything should have given you some indication of my total lack of cooking skills, the fact that I made pancakes for the first time in my life today should cement the image of just how pathetic I am when it comes to the kitchen.

The fact that I successfully made them has me torn inside. Should I be happy and proud that I didn't screw the pancakes up or should I be sad that it has taken over 40 years for me to actually make one…?


This is part of a month long challenge to eat well while spending an average of only $1 a day on food. You can find the beginning and the rules of this challenge here


The one thing that I currently lack is fruit and veggies. Part of the issue is that I am trying to avoid buying them because I know I have some coupons that will help me reduce the costs of these if I can hold out a few more days, but I did need to add at least a little bit so I made a late afternoon grocery store run and purchased a head of lettuce and some tomatoes which set me back $1.76:

day 33 veggies

day 33 veggies receipt


Now that I have my stock of instant oatmeal replenished, I can go back to my 4 meal a day schedule (and I am going to try and add a fifth small meal in there as well). The two meals in the morning really does make for a better overall day for me. I added a box of raisins to the instant oatmeal to give it some flavor and it worked great.

As mentioned before, I also made pancakes for the first time. I added a full banana to give them some flavor since I didn't have any topping (oh, what I would give for some powdered sugar or honey or even jam…)

day 33 breakfast

This strategy was perfect as long as there was a banana in each bite. Unfortunately, there were several that missed this essential ingredient and made for a pretty dry mouthful of pancake. Any suggestions of ways to avoid this for future pancake escapades?


It was another busy day and I didn't have much time for lunch, so I decided to try one of the free Deli Creations I had found. While I'm not sure how healthy of a meal it was, it did taste a lot better than the previous one I had found:

day 33 lunch

day 33 lunch prepared

day 33 lunch ready

I did have an late afternoon snack of a peanut butter sandwich and my last Power Bar and I think that this would be another good “meal” to implement on a daily basis if I have the time.


I decided to try some baked potatoes for dinner (I ended up cooking them a bit to long). The only issue was that when I went to get the sour cream to put on top, I realized I had forgotten to bring it (another hazard of traveling while doing this challenge), so it was time for some improvisation. I ended up grabbing another one of the Deli Creation meals and adding the chicken and a bit of cheese onto the potatoes, but because I had overcooked them and the insides were a bit dry, I also needed to add the bacon sauce that came with it to take away some of the dryness. I also added a salad with lettuce and half a tomato:

day 33 dinner

day 33 dinner salad

In the end, it didn't taste too bad at all considering the last minute changes that needed to be made. Since I have so many potatoes, I will probably have a lot more practice baking them in the days to come.

This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Money Spent $32.06
Money left to spend: $28.94 ($2 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of everything bought: $676.79


The Beginning ::: Day 34: Apparently, I Don't Know How To Eat Corn


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  1. I just found your blog yesterday. So I am reading all the back post about your adventure. I am so impressed. Looks like you are doing a wonderful job. You sound like a wonderful and thoughtful person. I’ll keep reading.

  2. I just discovered your blog today and spent the entire afternoon reading through your whole 33-day journey. Wow! Perfect timing for me as I was struggling to make a grocery list on a particularly tight budget for my family of 7 (I only have $40 this week). You have inspired me to get creative and use up some of the venison and other neglected stuff in my freezer.

    I am eager to continue following…

  3. Oh, and I was going to say…

    I make homemade syrup when we have pancakes. It is super easy; you just need to buy some sugar. A bag of sugar would probably be something you could utilize a lot this month now that you are trying to cook more:


  4. mom always made home-made cinammon syrope for our pancakes… I didn’t know maple syrop was for pancakes (we used it on oatmeal!) until I was about 10!…
    super easy…put sugar, water and some cinammon in a small pan. Simmer until thick.. pour…yummy!

  5. Frozen fruit heated in the microwave untill soft works great on pancakes or jam/jelly/fruit spread (cold or warmed), in either case if you add a little water to it before heating and then mix/wisk it up after it streches it out without changing the taste much.

  6. It’s not very healthy, but there are always great deals on Coffeemate flavored liquid creamers. You could try adding a little of that to your pancake mix (like buttermilk pancakes) or you could try it like a syrup. I’m sure you can find it for free or as a money maker somewhere!

  7. To get a banana in every bite, don’t add it to the pancake until it is time to eat. Then slice the banana to a thickness that allows you to cover the pancakes. I just put them on the side. And, since it is just bread put on a thin, thin layer of peanut butter to hold the banana and keep dryness away. Works like a charm.

  8. Instead of slicing the banana for the pancake, mash it up in the mix. A little bisquick, egg, mashed banana, milk, and vanilla if you have. Then make as normal. Yummy!

  9. For a pancake topping, how about taking some of your raisins and soaking them in a little hot water. Once they are plump, whirl them in a food processor or blender along with a bit of the water. It’s not great but it will give a little bit of the sweetness you’d usually expect with pancakes.

    However, I’m hoping you’ll hold on to those raisins because I can see oatmeal raisin cookies in your future if you can get some sugar and cinnamon.

  10. Hello there! I found your blog last night and read through all your posts. You really are an inspiration! And tell your sister that the food you make looks just fine (though a bit repetative) and that you are eating more health-ily than most low-income families that are on food stamps!

    Also, not sure how well it would work, but you may be able to boil down some of your fruit juice to make a syrup-like product to put on your pancakes and/or in your oatmeal. Put some in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to about medium high, and let it cook down until you get the consistancy you want. Just make sure you don’t walk away from it like you did with your beans. 😛

  11. Personally, I’ve never bothered much with sweet on pancakes. I usually either put some butter there, or peanut butter.

    There’s nothing wrong with being proud of having learned a new skill. So it took you 40 years to decide to do it… you won’t learn any younger, right?

  12. Thank you for all the great ideas on how to sweeten up the pancakes. I will definitely try all of these as the days go on. Much appreciated.


  13. I just wanted to let you know I recieved the coupons from the contest. thanks so much for sending them.

  14. While I have a great pancake recipe I’m not sure you have all the ingredients, but I’ll give it to you anyway…
    Make the pancake batter as it says on the box, then add 1 tsp. of vanilla, 1/2tsp of cinnamon (and nutmeg if you want), and 2 tbsp. of sugar. Then cook them as you normally would.
    Doing it this way takes away all need for syrup! Even my kids don’t want syrup when I make them this way. We just add a bit of fruit on top, or nothing even. It’s fantastic!

    You could use those sugar/splenda/equal packets that are at coffee shops and restaurants which would be free so they wouldnt eat into your budget. That’s ok right, because I would think that people who don’t have much money would utilize any resources available?

  15. Best banana pancakes (this is an old Weight Watchers recipe from the 70s and a family favorite to this day).

    Whirl in blender:
    1 slice bread
    1 small banana
    1 egg.

    Fry the resulting batter (it will be thick, pour onto frying pan and spread with the back of a spoon) on medium (high will burn the outside before the rest is done, due to the high sugar content of the banana). Fry, flipping once, until firm to touch. All you need is a dab of butter – the pancakes will be sweet and moist. A pinch of cinnamon does not go amiss, nor a 1/2 tsp vanilla.

  16. Ideas for the pancakes:
    1. Instead of cooking the banana into the pancake, take an over-ripe one, mash it, and spread it over the top. Over-ripe bananas have a lot of natural sugar, and taste great like that.
    2. As someone else mentioned, spread peanut butter on top.
    3. Go the savory route… cook an egg (keep the yolk runny), and eat between two pancakes.

  17. My favorite way to make banana pancakes. Pour the batter into the pan like normal, then add the sliced banana, flip pancake like normal to finish cooking it. YUMMY!
    The banana warms up and becomes more sugary. No syrup is needed, the banana mushes a little and it perfect!

  18. I know it sounds weird, but I’d use some mayonnaise to top the pancakes. Mayonnaise and bananas are a great combination(just ask Elvis) and I think the subtle sweetness would work well, in addition to making them less dry.

    It’s not the healthiest thing in the world but probably no worse than syrup…

  19. easiest thing to do is make your own applesauce…a 5lb bag here runs 2.99 on sale…I dice the heck out of the apples, cover em with h2o, boil em for 20 min with cinnamon, then mash them and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. you can freeze what you don’t want right away. that should do you for a bit 🙂 healthiest choice I know of to top pancakes, besides frozen fruit, which is out of my budget.

  20. One idea is to make extra pancakes, and let them cool down. Once they have, spread with PB, and use like bread.

    Of course, if you’re a real fan of PB, you could also microwave some PB to make it more of a sauce consistency,and use that to top the pancakes.

  21. Be VERY proud of your pancakes. Really.

    BTW, did you know you can “bake” potatoes in the microwave? Wash the potato, stab it a few times with a fork to allow for steam venting, and microwave it on high. For a big potato, start with 7 minutes or so. Stab it with a fork. If the fork slides in and out very easily, it’s ready. If there’s still firm resistance, nuke it some more but not more than 2 minutes or so at a time. For smaller potatoes, obviously take the time down.

  22. how about grabbing a few mini jam/peanutbutter/butter containers from a restaurant the next time you goin for a coffee or tea? during the breakfast rush time is a great time because they are already on the table….don’t take all of them just a few of each one….then they are ready for you for your breakfasts and pancakes….oo grab a few brown sugar packets too, they make great syrups, too…

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