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Week 2 - Saturday - That's entertainment

Huevos RancherosThis morning I decide on something new: Huevos Rancheros. They're easy—why haven't I tried this before?

The cilantro is on its last legs. I spend most of my cooking time sorting through to pick out the nasty bits. Then I pop it in the food processor with half a large can of Muir Glen diced tomatoes and the fresh red onion from my box, and buzz it until it's salsa. You could add a fresh chili or some dried red chili flakes if you wanted it to be hot. I decide to leave it as is.

Then I grate 5 ounces of thawed Monterey Jack cheese, warm 6 tortillas and the leftover refried beans in the microwave, and scramble some eggs. Stack and serve.

The biggest advantage of cooking for yourself is that you can make things exactly the way you like them. For myself, I've been trying to find a restaurant that will serve me Huevos Rancheros that resemble the very first serving I ever had. I've eaten a lot of good Huevos in that time, but I've never found exactly the same method of preparation. Why has it never occurred to me to try and replicate it at home?

We've been invited to watch fireworks from our friend's excellent apartment overlooking the Bay Bridge, but I want to keep to my cooking regimen. I spend the afternoon preparing a huge batch of Lentil Chili and new recipe for Texas Toast, from one of the King Arthur catalogs. The chili is potent, the bread passable, and we walk to our friends house to share them with everyone. Brushed with olive oil and grilled, the bread becomes toast and it really is good. (I notice the online version of the chili recipe calls for 1 1/2 TB of minced garlic. The recipe I used calls for 10 cloves! Use your own judgement.)

We come home with half a pot of chili. I can freeze some and maybe use it in a different version of Huevos next week. Does salsa freeze? In fact, the leftover salsa and the large amount of chili call the coming week's meal plans into question. This is how I always get behind on my box. The box demands discipline, but leftovers—like life—demand improvisation.

Don't be alarmed by the high cost of today's food. It's a combination of a new carton of milk ($3.19), a can of tomatoes ($2.33), a pound of lentils ($1.23) and an entire head of garlic ($.80). We have half the chili left and we'll use the milk over the course of next week.

Saturday total: $13.70. Remaining weekly allowance: $19.25.

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Love this project. Thanks for blogging it.

Salsa will freeze just OK. It will get much more watery when thawed.

Try wrapping your cilantro bunch in a paper towel when you put it in the fridge. It absorbs the moisture and makes it last longer.

This is wonderful; thank you SO much for taking the time and effort to do this. I've thought about similar projects often. And when I've tried to keep close track of something like this I've had similar difficulties. So don't think it should be easy.

Is there any chance you could do a rough estimate of how many calories you consume in a day? Round numbers would be fine. (The tables in the back of Laurel's Kitchen would be a great resource if have that.) The calorie count is a big missing piece for my understanding of the cost. (On the surface it seems as though you are eating unusually little.)

psst . . . TJ's has organic garlic (albeit from China) for $.99 for two heads.

It´s really fascinating, this project of yours. very inspiring. I log on every day wondering what you´ve come up with.


I don't think a manual laborer could survive on what we eat - but we are at desks all day, and, quite honestly, keep gaining weight. So we obviously are getting more than the calories we need.

I'm not sure how long it will take me to come up with calorie estimates - it may have to be after the fact - but I will try.

Your salsa should freeze just fine, though you might want to drain it. If it's too watery when you thaw it, use it as part of the cooking water for rice-- easy and delicious!

Love your blog, and admire what you're doing. People always bitch and moan and argue around this topic, so I'm glad to finally see someone put it to the test and document it. Thanks for doing this, and I look forward to seeing how this works out!

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about this project

» How did it begin?
» Week 1: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $3.20
» Week 2: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $13.34
» Week 3: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $7.15
» Week 4: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $6.41
» Week 5: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Photos

other food challenges

» Above Average Jane
» The Eat Local Challenge
» The April 2007 Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge
» Half-Changed World
» Slow Food for Low and Moderate Income People
» Tinotopia's Food Stamp Diet

other food projects

Food is a Munition of War: living for one month on UK WWII rations

blogging by the book

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