Saturday, February 28, 2009

$3.33 a day: End of month stats $1.80 a day!

Balsamic Dijon Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

I'm not sure if you remember a while back I bought some brussels sprouts? Well, I blanched some of them and flash froze them for later use. I browned these up in my cast iron along with the small cut sweet potatoes. Once the veggies got some color, I poured a bit of water and steamed them until they were done. Roasting would have been better, but I don't turn my oven on unless I am filling it. The veggies were tossed with my very low fat balsamic/dijon flax vinaigrette. Considering how low fat (and the fact that stevia was the only sweetener in the dressing) they were quite delicious.

Buying veggies on sale and blanching/freezing them is one thing I do often. Last week, I scored a bag of red peppers on sale for $1.29/lb. I used them raw in many dishes, then sauted and froze the rest. The below wrap was chipotle crusted tofu (dry fried), romaine, red peppers and a vegenaise based dressing.

Cucumber Onion Pickle

Adding a side like this really brightens up a meal. Not only does it make the plate look better, it gives texture and flavors and really completes a meal. I had around 1/4 cup of my chickpea salad and added it to a half cup of the pickle for a yummy 100 calorie snack.

Raw Breakfast Cookie

I made a batch of these. Most of the batter was patted into a baking dish and cut into bars for my kids to grab for breakfast. Their bus comes at 6:45 am, so they don't have time to sit for breakfast. I like making muffins and bars for them. These are so healthy and delicious. Almond butter (which I had in my pantry from Trader Joes 4.99 for 16 oz), oats, stevia, raisins, coconut, cinnamon and golden flax meal. A tasty and VERY healthy start to the day. I feel so much better when I know my kids have something healthy in the morning.

100% Rye Bread and Hummus

The last of the rye bread from the freezer. Romaine, hummus and a tiny bit of avocado made a tasty and healthy sandwich.

I also used 1 cup of the leftover chickpeas to make a huge pot of kale/chickpea/potato clean out the fridge soup. I'll photograph it when we eat it tomorrow. The comfort soup is all gone.

I still have 1 cup of the chickpeas left that are in the freezer.

Soooo that brings me to the end of the month! My goal for this month was to spend $70.00 ($2.50 a day) because of my stocked pantry.

I ONLY SPENT $50.00!! (which works out to around $1.80 a day!)

Since last time I recapped my spending, I spent $2.10 on a small bottle of umeboshi vinegar (that I haven't even opened!), $1.29 on kale and $1.29 on romaine. I took the 20 cents out of my bulk buying fund leftover from that big shopping where I spent $24.80. I am really looking at the value of a penny right now!

I have $20 banked in my bulk buying fund! This is sooo cool! It means when I go visit my brother, I can go to Trader Joes and stock up on cheap tofu or buy some sprouting seeds!

Of course, this month was only 28 days and I still have a lot of stocked basics. It will be interesting to see what March brings.

I lost 2 lbs this month. It's better than the gaining cycle I was on!

I am totally enjoying this if you can't tell!

Finally, I cut my electric bill in half last month. I unplugged EVERYTHING unless I am actively using it. I have barely used my heat (unless the kids were here and even then we turn it off completely at night and only to 62 otherwise)
I won't lie.. my house has been COLD. The temperature is around 52-58 when the heat isn't on. I've been wearing layers and hats in inside, drinking hot tea/water and doing jumping jacks! lol

.. but my electric bill was $44.00 and that includes heat. I have a medium 2 bedroom apartment.

I am very much looking forward to the warmer weather!


  1. SWEET POTATOES!!!!!!!!!!

    Wonderful ending stats!!

  2. Great meals!! Congrats on your weight loss and those lower bill numbers! :) Ditto on the cold weather, we are getting 10 inches of snow today!! Grrrr!

  3. I can't tell you how inspiring I find your posts and how much I'm enjoying this ride with you! Every time you get excited about saving money, I get excited. I am naturally, shall we say, ECONOMICAL (read: cheap) and I am so motivated to see how low I can get our spending as well. Congratulations on continuing to cook amazing food within (well, better than) your budget and on those 2 lb! (Just don't let it get TOO cold!!) :)

  4. WOW, Melody, you are a budget queen! What great tips you have been giving. And 2 pounds! Wee!

    Are you ready for yoga month??

  5. Wow. This is really inspiring. I'm looking at a tighter budget, too (isn't everyone?), and your blog has given me a lot of good ideas, as well as a lot of hope that it can be done. Congratulations!

  6. Ohhhh, I can't wait to try that sweet potato and brussel sprout dish...looks so good!

  7. Good job! You are doing so well. Congrats on your weight loss too! This month DH and I are determined to cut corners as much as we can. Both of us are out of work too so we really have no choice. You are an inspiration!!!!

    How do you freeze broccoli?

  8. Wow, I am super impressed with your penny pinching skills!! Your food certainly looks gourmet, no one would ever guess it is so inexpensive!! Very cool.

  9. LOVE the idea of raw breakfast cookies for the kiddos.

    HATE the idea of a 6:45am school bus. That is just so not right. I wasn't even awake at that hour when I was their age.

  10. That raw breakfast cookie sounds seriously amazing- Any chance you might share the recipe, or where it came from?

  11. You are such an inspiration, not just for your economic prowess, but for the amazing meals you put together. They are both beautiful and healthful — and you do all this with such a positive attitude. I hope you are able to find employment doing what you love, and are so obviously good at. And I love the photos!

  12. hooray for just $1.80 a day - that's so awesome, Melody! wowzers! i think dan & i need to see about cut'n back too - thanks for the inspiration! you're too amazing!

    the side of cucumber onion pickle is so colorful 'n tasty looking! what a great tip on buying veggies on sale & freezing them for later use. going to have to remember that! thanks!

    the breakfast cookies look great and they sound like a great start to the day, too! that's super early for your kids & get'n picked up by the bus! eek!

    nice job on saving money turning down and turning off your heat. we keep our heat here around 62-64 - maybe cutting it off at night is something we should try, too. i'd love to save some money!

    i'm also ready for some warmer weather! i hope it comes soon! stay warm!

  13. You are such an inspiration, and thank you SO much for your posts. Keep them coming, they brighten my days immeasurably.

  14. Hooray Melody, I was so thrilled for you when I read you had lost two pounds--and all while eating yummy mega-nutritious meals too!

    I love your pickled side, I have the ingredients for that and also the breakfast cookies and will let you know how I did with both. :-)

    Also, CONGRATS on cutting down on your electric and food bills for the month. You are such an inspiration! :-)

    Have a great day ~ Sandy

  15. i love brussells sprouts! your budget inspires me.

  16. Delicious looking food! Congrats on saving so much money, and losing weight. But I cannot wrap my head around the house temperature thing - that is one thing I REFUSE to give up!! I grew up in a heat-less house, and I will never go back!! I won't even say what temp I keep my place to...but it would feel like a tropical island to you :D

  17. Well done! I can't believe how little you spent on food and how well you've been eating. Incredible job.

  18. Congratulations. I am really enjoying reading about your low-cost adventures. You are doing an amazing job - I'm inspired!

  19. You have done such an amazing job cutting your spending. The bag of red peppers sounds like the best bargain of all!

    I am ready for warm weather too.

  20. I can't believe you got umeboshi vinegar for such a deal. Your blog is such an inspiration to me! You've turned hardship into a creative endeavor - way to go!

  21. Wow, this is amazing! I can't believe what you've been able to do. Congrats to you and keep up the great work!

  22. Melody, I just caught up on your blog, all the posts since the beginning of February. I am so impressed! I'm sorry for the circumstances that put you in this position, but I'm glad you're doing well and getting by. And I think it's great that you have this project to focus on. Having been unemployed a few times myself in the past year, I know how easy it is to fall into a huge rut. Keep up the great work!

  23. Anonymous4:22 PM

    Can anyone recommend the best Patch Management system for a small IT service company like mine? Does anyone use or How do they compare to these guys I found recently: N-able N-central system management
    ? What is your best take in cost vs performance among those three? I need a good advice please... Thanks in advance!