We’ve got nine days left in our first month of the 512 Project. This is not easy. Not that I expected it to be. My mom is visiting from Delaware and Dave is in California until Thursday for work. So we want to do fun stuff with our BecBec. She treated us to lunch at Elwood’s today after church and I resisted the temptation to ask her how much it cost, for comparison. She also tried to buy us the ground turkey I need for tonight’s dinner, but I declined. It didn’t seem in the spirit of the project to let her do lunch and dinner.
Today’s covered, then. That leaves us with $145 for the following eight days. A little over $18 a day, so I am confident that we can see this first month through. My friend and a fellow Mama for Health, Joan, shared this page with me today. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2013/CostofFoodJul2013.pdf How does your (your family’s) food spending compare? Feel free to share here!
*A special Thank You to Jennifer Warnick at NBC12 for the delightful segment about The 512 Project she put together for the More Bang for Your Buck spot on the nightly news on Thursday, here in Richmond.
Coconut Curry Rice
2 cups brown rice
2 15-oz. cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tb. curry powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cayenne powder
½ cup raisins
Wash the brown rice and drain into a medium sauce pan.
Add the coconut milk, curry powder, salt and cayenne powder, stirring to combine.
Place over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a boil.
When rice begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, adding another ½ cup of water if necessary.
When the rice is cooked through, add the raisins and stir to incorporate, then recover and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Serve hot or cold.
This recipe is taken from Alexandra Jamieson’s page, Healthy Chef Alex. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is doing fantastic work in New York City. You may recognize her from Supersize Me, the 2004 documentary film by Morgan Spurlock. She was married to Morgan and helped him regain his health after his eye-opening and dangerous venture into a fast-food only diet.
This is a great example of a satisfying vegetarian dish. I’ve found that leaving animal protein to only a few times a week, instead of every dinner is a great way to save money. (And our waistlines, and our carbon footprint, you get the idea.)
Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Michael Pollan is one of my favorite food authors. This quote from his In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, is such simple, wonderful “nutrition” advice. Let’s not make it too complicated, shall we? Eat some fantastic food today, people.
Ok, that’s a lie. Oatmeal is NOT a sexy breakfast. What it is, though, is cheap. And wonderful for you. And I’m not talking about the single-serving packets of flavored, sugary crap. Get yourself a bulk supply of 100% rolled oats, mix a half-cup with water and pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes. (Steel-cut oats are another option that are also wonderful, but have a different texture and take longer to prepare.) That costs about 15 cents. So, from that point, you’ve got some room in the budget to really go gourmet. Right now, I love mine with raisins, chopped walnuts, cinnamon, and a tiny splash of vanilla extract. But the options are infinite. Chop up an apple and throw that in. My mother-in-law taught me to mix a little yogurt in, and that’s delicious, too. If I also have a hard-boiled egg, I am unstoppable.
Oats are loaded with soluble fiber, which will soak up LDL, or “bad” cholesterol from the blood stream. That’s good news! The fiber will also keep you full longer, helping to regulate blood sugar. Also great news! The insoluble fiber will help keep your digestive system regular. For my fellow nursing moms, oats will help boost milk supply. And if you feed it to your spouse, he or she will always fill up the gas tank. Ok, that last one is another lie. But all of the other stuff is really true. So… what are you having for breakfast?
One of the few things that bothers me about restaurant work is the food that gets thrown out at the end of the night. So, I rescue our mashed potatoes on a regular basis and this has become a family favorite.
Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
2 lbs potatoes
1 T butter
1/4 cup milk
salt, pepper and nutmeg (just a dash)
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
2 T molasses or brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
splash of low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup of mixed veggies (carrots, peas, zucchini, whatever)
- Make your mashed potatoes your favorite way.
- Preheat oven to 375. In a large saute pan, brown turkey on med-high heat. Add remaining ingredients. Cover, let simmer for about 10 minutes, then adjust seasonings to taste.
- Oil an 8-inch baking pan. Spread the cooked turkey in the bottom of the pan. Top with potato mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until peaks of potatoes turn golden.
- Let cool a bit, garnish with a little grated cheese, if you’d like, and serve.
This is dinner for us tonight, with roasted cauliflower.
(Adapted from The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes)
How Much Do You Spend on Food?
I challenge you to find out. There is a prize. The first 5 people to commit to this and then follow up with their totals in one month will receive one month of meal plans, recipes, and grocery lists at Simply Clean Meals. Keep track of every cent you (individual, as a couple, or a family) spend on food for a month.
I’m not asking you to change a thing. Just keep track. And let me know.