Bring on the beans and rice!

It was unseasonably warm in Boulder last week, but the wind and rain we’re having today will bring cooler temperatures for the beginning of this week – 50s and 60s rather than 70s.  I’m glad, because I can finally turn the oven back on for long periods and cook large batches of pinto beans and brown rice (separately) and a whole chicken.  Not to mention that 75 degrees in March is just weird.

This is The Week.

As if my own blog wanted to make a liar of me, I actually got fed up with grocery shopping!  Well, not with grocery shopping per se, but with never having any food in the house.  I don’t see how I can pick up food every single day and still have nothing around I can grab and eat.  At this point I’m fine with having the same thing over and over, as long as it’s there, you know? We’ll see how quickly Justin and I are ordering a (gluten free) pizza out of culinary boredom, but until then I have:

1.49 lb of pinto beans at $1.29/lb:  $1.92

1.82 lb of short grain brown rice at $0.99/lb:  $1.80

2.46 lb of green cabbage at $0.25/lb:  $0.62 (slaw!  yay!)

A whole chicken (antibiotic/hormone free, but not organic), 3lb at $1.99/lb:  $6

Dozen eggs:  $2.65

Red lentils, about half a pound at $1.99/lb (can’t find receipt):  $1

I also have two quarts of almondmilk, frozen waffles (for Justin), brown sugar, butter, cheese, hummus mix, corn tortillas and some corn chips, and a bunch of other fruits and vegetables.  I also have a pound of Laura’s Lean Beef in the fridge from last week. All in all, this cost $57, which includes a $7 jar of coconut oil.  That’s more for my skin than for cooking, so I’m not sure if I should include it in the $57.

I could absolutely, certainly, definitely live on this amount of food for a week. The only question is… will I?  I mean, where’s all the good stuff?  Included in the total above was $1.20 for 0.4 lb of toffee peanuts I bought during a low blood sugar moment at Sprouts.  After demolishing them in 10 minutes, I realized that they cost almost as much as a pound and a half of dry pinto beans.  Justin came up with an analogy:  “Low price, low flavor, and high price, high flavor.”  That’s pretty perceptive for someone who doesn’t cook, don’t you think?   I see it slightly differently, since beans and rice aren’t necessarily low in flavor when they are prepared – so for me, it’s “low price, high preparation, and high price, low preparation.”

It’s the low price that really speaks to me, and to other bloggers who are challenging themselves to live well on less.  During her Food Stamp Challenge, Rebecca from Rebecca’s Pocket said:

“The USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan (from which food stamp allotments are derived) is spartan enough, but the most recent figures provide an adult male between the ages of 20 and 50 years of age with $35.40 a week for food—part of which will be provided by food stamps, and part by the individual, depending on their income.”

That was in 2009, and as you can see if you click here, the USDA now expects an adult male to be able to eat for a week for $41.80. That means my goal of $70 per week for two would be considered low by the USDA, but I still want to see if $70/week is reasonable.  Not just possible-with-a-crazy-amount-of-effort, but reasonable.

*Another thought about the analogy – in the “low price” category you also usually find the “high nutrition” foods.  That’s something to keep in mind when faced with super-expensive organic artisan cheeses at Whole Foods.  You can buy organic cabbage for $0.70/lb, save money AND eat healthily!

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2 Comments on “Bring on the beans and rice!”

  1. Paige says:

    It’s also one thing to eat for $40/week but another thing to eat HEALTHILY for $40/week. I mean, I can get a pound of regular pasta and a jar of pasta sauce for about 4 dollars total, which I could eat every day and come out under their amount, but then I’d probably end up with scurvy or something! 🙂

    Plus dietary restrictions like “gluten-free” make it a lot harder to get inexpensive food (without doing lots of prep).


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