We spend most of today getting ready to leave tomorrow. There is work to finish and loose ends to tie up. I have to take the cats to the vet. There's a lot of laundry. I have a long list that I worry will never get finished in time. One of the things I want to do is to clear out the refrigerator before we leave.
Lunch today is Tex-Mex Chili from way back in Week 2 via my freezer. I warm the last of the cornbread in the oven, we have it with butter.
Dinner is just as easy as lunch was: I stir-fry the last of the sugar snap peas in olive oil and garlic, and add a little fresh oregano from the plant on my deck before I serve it. For the main course, I just warm up the rest of the White Beans with Rosemary—and then freeze what's left for a lunch when we get back. We use the remaining lettuce for a crisp romaine salad. I finished up a bottle of wine last night, so tonight I drink a beer with dinner, and it's quite good. After months of sampling Jesse's various beers, I think I may finally be developing a taste for the stuff.
I spend the evening preserving what I have left in the refrigerator. I portion the yogurt into an ice cube tray to use for making more when I get home. I squeeze the juice from the last lemon and put it in the other half of the ice cube tray, then I pop it in the freezer. I chop parsley and freeze it in a plastic bag (as one of you suggested I do)—it will be handy to have around for making stock, and probably lots of other things, too.
I have some pre-project carrots in addition to the carrots left from last week's box. I decide to make 3 kinds of carrot pickles to use them all up (another reader suggestion): that Thai recipe (this time with the proper rice wine vinegar); the carrot pickles with dill I liked so much before; and a new recipe. I'm looking forward to sampling the results when I get home. (One pound of carrots, by the way, roughly translates into a 1-quart jar, if it's a matchstick cut. The slices sit more compactly and take up about 2/3 of a jar.)
And with that, for the first time ever, my crisper is empty before I leave.
When I started this project 4 1/2 weeks ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. "I wonder if I could eat well on a really limited budget," I wondered. "I wonder if I'm as thrifty as I think I am." When I decided to put my experiment online, I couldn't have imagined how much time I would spend weighing little jars of spices, or how many times I'd go to the store (once a day!) the first week to get prices.
It's been worth every minute, because I also never imagined that I would attract such an interested, involved, and genuinely helpful community in such a short time. It's been a great pleasure—and I'm not finished yet.
I won't be able to do the final calculations until I get home a week from now, of course. After I get home, after I go over the spreadsheet again, after I weigh all those little jars of spices again, I'll post a summary.
What I can tell you is that I was able to feed us on this budget. And I ate well doing it. Thank you for your interest, your support, and your many suggestions. I'll be back in about a week. Since I won't be chronicling every single meal I eat, I hope I'll have time to delve deeper into a few of the issue that have been raised in the last month. I'll continue writing about the way I eat and the way I cook. And I'll let you know how those pickles turned out.
I doubt if I'll be motivated to post while I'm travelling, but in the meantime, I've scheduled some links to tide you over while I'm gone, including a couple of reader recipes (and one really decadent one from one of my favorite food bloggers). But for now, it's nearly midnight and I still haven't packed. I'll talk to you soon.
Tuesday total: $3.17. Remaining weekly allowance: $6.97
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