Today was the first day of the Hunger Action Week. I made a plan ahead of time (see here) – I had to – and a grocery list, I calculated the estimated costs, and went grocery shopping today. More about that in a minute.
We take this challenge as a family so I tried to find recipes that I know the kids will/might love and ones that are not very expensive, and of course, quick to make. One of the meals I picked was chicken liver. Yeah, yeah, I can hear some of you go “Yuck!” with an exclamation mark, but we like it. It’s cheap, it tastes good, it’s healthy, it’s organic. I was afraid that the kids, as kids often do, might have changed their minds about liver and will refuse to eat it and then what will I do? Roasted chicken, for example, is always loved. Chicken liver? Sometimes. One day they like it and another day they don’t. So I thought we’ll have a little chat.
But how to explain the challenge to my kindergartener? Tell him that we’re playing a game? It seemed inappropriate. And what if he wants something from the pantry and I tell him he can’t have it? Or what will happen if we run out of food on the fifth day? I have finally decided that, in this case, more is less. Sort of.
I reminded him the times we have donated food items for food drives in his school and our previous conversations about families who don’t have enough food or enough money to buy food. I told him that this week he needs to eat any food I make and we don’t throw any food away.
So far so good. At dinner time he tried to protest against the chicken liver but he ate it and liked it as we all have. I made it the same way as the previous time, minus the apples for budgetary reasons, and it was wonderful.
What did we eat today?
Breakfast: the usual (see previous post)
Lunch: leftovers from last night’s dinner (was deducted from the groceries budget). I had a slice of onion quiche. Oh, I was starting to get hungry by the time the quiche was ready.
Snack: Yogurt, crackers, fruit
The groceries. What did I buy?
I don’t mean to bore you with details, details, details… but planning for this event really took a lot of my time but it was a must as far as I’m concerned. As a parent I am responsible to provide food for my children. Also, I did not want to find out that I went over budget and ask the cashier to take back food items.
Here are the details, details, details part… But you might find it helpful.
To avoid going over budget I planned the menu, estimated the cost of each dish (I also used to do that as a personal chef, especially when catering for parties. You must know how much things are going to cost). I made a list, stuck to the list, took a calculator with me and used it as I added items to my shopping cart.
I bought most of what I have planned and skipped only a few items like cilantro, bread, and my favorite deli meat.
Fresh herbs are expensive. I knew that before. I didn’t by the cilantro on my list for $2 a bunch or any other fresh herb. This is why it’s a particularly good idea to have a little veggie garden or at least a few pots of herbs in your back/front yard or even by the window.
Bread. We like artisanal fresh bread, not the sliced bread in a plastic bag that was baked who knows when. Those cost $3-$5 a loaf. Since we need two of those for the week, I decided to skip it and bake our own. I had a recipe from a friend for challa bread with simple ingredients – flour, sugar, yeast, salt, a little oil, and water (no eggs, no butter, no milk) – that makes 2 loaves and it is so good!
I went to Trader Joe’s to get a few items that cost less there compared to my favorite Whole Foods store and got 2 organic milk, eggs, Comte cheese, pizza, arugula, Brussels sprouts, 2 types of yogurt, kiwi.
At Whole Foods store I got 5 organic whole chicken legs that were on sale for $2.49/ pound, 1 pound free-range chicken liver, 4 pork chops, gruyere cheese, heavy cream, deli meat, bananas, organic pears, plouts, grapefruit, organic tomatoes, organic onions, cucumber, organic carrots, organic yams, rice, 2 cans organic black beans.
I think I did pretty well although I have a fear that I might have forgotten something and will get stuck without food later on. Oh, I know what I forgot. The pizza toppings!
I did appreciate every bite of food I ate today.
Leave me a comment. What do you think?