BUDGETMAW   10,656
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So THAT's why it's been hard!

Sunday, February 03, 2013

I couldn't figure out why it's been so much harder to keep my daily food costs under $3 this time. I've done it before with no trouble at all. Sure, prices have gone up, but not that much. Well, I've figured out what's going on. I'm spending about 50 cents a day on my tea with splenda, gelatin, coconut milk, and cinnamon stick. That's 25 cents, twice a day. The gelatin itself is 9 cents twice a day. So what to do about it? The first thing that came to mind was to not count it, since it's really for medicinal purposes. Which actually happens to be true, which is always handy when one is trying to justify something. But then I realized that it doesn't really matter since I don't really have to live on a food stamps budget. This is just a personal challenge that I have undertaken and it doesn't matter whether I succeed or fail with it. So I'm going to loosen up a bit. I still want to keep my daily food costs under $100 for a 30 day month ($3.33 per day on average), but I'm not going to worry about keeping it under $3.00 per day. The average monthly food stamp benefit per person in Indiana is just over $132, so even at $4 per day I'd be spending less than the average benefit.

Last winter or some time when I was doing a Food Stamps Challenge, I listed some of the many advantages that I have over many people who really do have to rely on food stamps. I live alone, so don't have to consider anyone's wishes or tastes or needs but my own. I'm not trying to raise a family or go to school full time or work, so I have lots of time to play around with cooking and looking for recipes and driving all over town to get the best deals. I have a car so I don't have to try to carry my food on public transportation. I have two freezers in addition to the freezer in my refrigerator, so I can buy in bulk and I can freeze leftovers. I have two crockpots, a toaster oven, a microwave, two blenders, a stick blender, a food processor, and lots of other kitchen gadgets to make it easier for me. I have an Aldi (cheap), Walmart (sort of cheap), Sam's (sometimes cheap), as well as Kroger and Marsh (not so cheap, either one, but with some really good deals) nearby. These Food Stamp Challenges are sort of a game for me, which I'm sure makes it a lot easier. I'm not having to decide whether to buy food or medicine, or pay the electric bill, or whatever. When I talk about how easy it is to live within the food stamps budget I have set for myself, please keep these things in mind. I am very very glad and blessed that I have all of these advantages, and that I can quit whenever i want to, or change the rules whenever I want to.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIET_FRIEND 2/4/2013 12:33AM

    I think it is a cool challenge and one big factor is not having to consider the wants of anyone else. I like reading how you do it.

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What other people say about low carbing on a budget

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Last night I thought I'd see what I could find online about low carbing on a budget. Not surprisingly, I'm not the only one who has posted on the subject. What is surprising is what some people consider low carbing and what some people consider on a budget! One writer's menus are full of light mayo, fat-free this and low-fat that. Another says they are living with in-laws while they save up enough to move out on their own, and spend $5 or more per person per day on a regular basis. Someone else seems to be living on bagged salad mixes. And some just repeat the normal stuff about watching for sales and using coupons (not that there are many coupons for low carb foods) and not eating prepared foods and things like that. But I did find a few things that look interesting and might give some ideas of things to do or not to do. Here they are. Please add any that you know of. And I'm still hoping to hear your ideas about low carbing on a budget, too!

www.carbsmart.com/?s=budget+&x=0&y=0 CarbSmart started a column about low carbing on a budget, but hasn't kept it up. I searched their site for "budget" and this is the result.

lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/lowcarbliv
ing/a/lowcarbbudget.htm
About.com has a regular column on low carb diets, and this is their main page for low cost low carb eating.

cheapeasylowcarb.blogspot.com/ Not a lot of recipes, which is what I'm mostly looking for, but some good narrative info

cindyslowcarblife.blogspot.com/2010/
08/low-carb-on-budget.html
Pretty much just normal how to save money on groceries type advice

frugaldrmom.blogspot.com/2012/03/fav
orite-low-carb-recipes.html
By no means all of Frugal Dr. Mom's recipes are low carb, but here is a list of the ones she considers low carb, with links as appropriate. Several of them look pretty good.

www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/past-amaz
ing-posts/704403-low-carb-budget-my-jo
urney-lose-weight-save-money-doing.html
She's sort of doing what I'm doing, but seems to be spending an awful lot of money doing it

www.holdthetoast.com/archive/020116.
html
An old article by Dana Carpendeer (one of my favorite low carb writers!) with some good ideas

voices.yahoo.com/sample-food-stamp-b
udget-low-carb-high-protein-grocery-88
37013.html?cat=22
Mostly a shopping list of high protein low cost food that fits a food stamp budget.

I'm sure there are lots more great places for low cost low carb recipes, menus and eating, but this is as far as I got. Maybe one of these days I'll learn how to use Pinterest and mark some individual recipes, too.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BABYBLUESMOMMA 2/4/2013 2:03PM

    yeah the little I have in there was gathered from around the web and improvised and changed to suit my personal needs or taste. I added the zucchini to the chicken/spinach one night when I wanted the casserole and had a zucchini that I needed use up. I was using full fat on everything at one point, but then saw how much fat I was actually consuming on the tracker,so I switched where I could. The "rolls/buns" are my favorite by far because I use them in a breakfast sandwich, lunch, even burgers. And at times when I have a craving for something sweet, I put one in the toaster to warm it up and drizzle it with some melted butter and cinnamon/splenda mixture. Yum!

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BUDGETMAW 2/4/2013 8:04AM

  The recipes look good. The first one is very similar to Oopsie Rolls, which show up frequently in posts in this forum. The Spinach and Chicken Casserole looks very similar to one that I ran across a couple of days ago and adjusted. I use full-fat everything instead of low fat or fat free. And my recipe doesn't call for the zucchini, though I might try adding that in the summer when I can get zucchini for really cheap.

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BABYBLUESMOMMA 2/3/2013 8:45PM

    They're in the recipie box thingy on the tracker. Although in some of my earlier blogs I shared the link. To individual ones. Heres a link (I hope) to the cookbook

http://recipes.spar
kpeople.com/cookbooks.asp?cookb
ook=688868

Let me know what you think if you try any of them.

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BUDGETMAW 2/3/2013 8:30PM

  Hi, BabyBluesMomma! I don't have any recipes "shared" if that means on SparkRecipes. Just here in my blog. Where are your recipes?

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BABYBLUESMOMMA 2/3/2013 5:56PM

    Hi. I definitely know about low carbing on a budget lol. Single mom, currently on foodstamps as well. I make do with what I can. For shopping I hit the big grocery store (about 20 min drive) when I get my foodstamps, and buy all my dry/canned/frozen foods for the month. Also cheeses, yogurt, things that don't have a short expiration date. Then I shop for my produce closer to home a couple times a week. It's a challenge, but gotta do what you gotta do. Always looking for easy quick low carb meals. Currently on Phase One of the South Beach diet, so my carbs have been in the 50's or less. Well except for the other day when we had a birthday party.
I've got a few recipes shared if you care to check them out, and I'll definitely check out yours. Currently on Phase One of the South Beach diet, so my carbs have been in the 50's or less. Well except for the other day when we had a birthday party.

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BUDGETMAW 2/3/2013 3:41PM

  Thanks, friend!

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DIET_FRIEND 2/3/2013 3:16PM

    You, my friend, are my go-to for low carbing on a budget ideas!

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Saturday, February 2

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Today's food -

Breakfast - eggs scrambled in drippings; tea w/splenda, gelatin and coconut milk
Lunch - Joe's Special Quiche
Supper - Cherokee Pork Chili, carrot
Evening tea - tea w/splenda and gelatin

Total cost of food eaten today - $3.53

That's higher than usual, but it's because I took some quiche out of the freezer for lunch. Actually, I don't know how much the quiche cost because I don't know exactly what's in it, but I'm probably pretty close. Quiche makes a good sack lunch and it didn't need to be fixed. It was all ready to go.

  


Cherokee Pork Chili

Friday, February 01, 2013

This recipe is based on one in Pork: The King of the Southern Table, by James Villas. I'm not sure what changes I made to his recipe, other than to use pork shoulder steak instead of butt, and hominy instead of corn. But I think it's fairly closely based on his recipe. His recipe or mine, it turned out very good, though a bit greasier than even I like. And that's saying a lot! I assume that the greasiness has to do with changes that I made to his recipe.

CHEROKEE PORK CHILI budget version

c drippings
2 lbs cheapest pork, cut into cubes about 1/2" to 1"
1 onion, chopped (100 gr)
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 T garlic powder
2 T chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
1 can diced tomatoes, preferably Mexican, Italian, or stewed
2 c beef broth, preferrably, or chicken broth or water (water would probably work just as well)
1 can Mexican style hominy, drained (3 cups)

In a large, heavy pot, heat the drippings over medium heat, add the pork, and brown on all sides. Add the onions, and bell pepper and stir until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and oregano over the pork and vegetables and stir well. Add the salt and pepper and Tabasco and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth and hominy and stir well. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook 1 hour. Uncover for the last half hour or so, until reduced to the consistency you want. I sprinkled a bit of guar xanthum (or maybe guar gum, I'm not sure which) over it and stirred it in to thicken the broth a bit.

I used about one pound, twelve ounces of pork shoulder steak, because that's how big the two packages combined happened to be. You could probably use less without making a noticeable difference. I took out a half a cup of juice from the tomatoes to use in a chicken recipe I want to try, and replaced the liquid with a half cup or so of water that I used to rinse out the tomato can. It made about 10 cups of thick, rich chili, or 4 to 6 servings. At four servings, it cost about $1.02 per serving, and didn't need anything to go with it except a carrot to cut the richness and the heat. Lettuce or coleslaw would probably do the same thing. A dollop of sour cream in the chili, or some grated cheddar, or other traditional chili toppers would be good with it. It's a bit high in carbs - I think it has about 12 net carbs per serving, and lots of fiber - but still fits in a low carb diet if the rest of the food for the day is low carb. With the hominy, it's not for Induction. I will probably use about half the drippings (I used lard) next time.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAYPOOIE 2/2/2013 2:23PM

    What does the hominy bring to the party? I'm inclined to skip it.

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JO88BAKO 2/1/2013 8:28PM

    Sounds good. Thanks for sharing!

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Friday, February 1

Friday, February 01, 2013

And the end of the first week of this challenge! Rather than giving results for this first week, I'll wait and give them for the first 9 days, which will get me back to weeks ending on Sunday.

As I said yesterday, I have a bunch of pork in the freezer that I can use now that pork chops were on sale. Unlike what I said yesterday, I decided to go ahead and use some today. I made Cherokee Pork Chili, which is based on a recipe from Pork: King of the Southern Table. I'm not sure what all changes I made, other than using pork shoulder steaks instead of pork butt, and Juanita's Mexican-style Hominy instead of corn. The recipe is one I have on my computer, and while I try to include where the recipe came from originally, I don't always say what changes I've made. I'll include the recipe in a separate post.

For those who haven't read my old posts, and those who have but have forgotten, Juanita's Mexican Style Hominy is much lower carb than traditional hominy. It has 12 carbs per half cup, but 6 of those are fiber, leaving just 6 net carbs per half cup. It works great to get the texture of beans or grains or corn or something carby like that. I have also run it briefly through a food processor to make "rice" and it turned out very good. Too good, actually. I could easily eat a whole can in one sitting! It's also cheap, by the way. $1.39 for a large can that holds 3 cups. There is also a huge size, like you would use in a restaurant or other institution, or maybe just in a Mexican family. It's probably cheaper per serving in the huge can, but that's way more than I would use.

By the way, DietFriend asked if I cook for just one or for more than one. It's just me. That's why I have so many leftovers.

Today's food -

Breakfast - eggs scrambled in drippings, tea w/splenda, coconut milk and gelatin
Lunch - Pumpkin, Cabbage and Chicken Stew
Snack - tea with splenda
Supper - Cherokee Pork Chili, carrot
Evening tea - tea w/ splenda and gelatin.

Cost of food eaten today - $2.99. And I am stuffed!

I realized just after I did it that I put coconut milk in my evening tea instead of gelatin. Not a big deal, but it added 10 cents to the cost of the day's food. So it should be $3.09 instead of $2.99.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAYPOOIE 2/2/2013 2:24PM

    Well, that answers the question about the hominy.

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SEEINGCLEARLY53 2/2/2013 1:19PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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DIET_FRIEND 2/2/2013 11:51AM

    I am a cooking enthusiast too.

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