The $30 Project – Day Three – Comfort/Food February 26, 2009

Day Three was a toughy. Not really because I was feeling deprived of anything or particularly hungry for something I couldn't have. Quite the contrary, actually.

Those of us taking part in the challenge have had a nice email dialog going about our thoughts and dilemmas this week. I started my day out talking about the fact that I knew I had food-related meetings all day – and then a communal dinner for the finale of Top Chef (the result of which i found tres anticlimactic and lame, fyi). I would basically have my entire day's consumption – outside of the orange ($.40) and coffee (free) I had for breakfast – sponsored for me….and I was riddled with guilt. Why? Anyone in most jobs – minimum wage, cushy desk job or WITHOUT a job – would take a free lunch at a meeting or a home-cooked meal. It's never bothered me before so why would it bother me during the week I need it most?

Throughout all of this was the realization that it was – or would have been – my parents' 35th wedding anniversary. While it was never that big of a deal to either of them, especially as the years and the feelings wore on, it was always an occasion to have a nice meal together. So, I did just that. I made a big pan of mini corn muffins ($.51 for the mix + $.25 for the egg + free H20 + negligible cajun spice mix I had in the cabinet = $.76) and took the rest of my mushrooms (about $2.50 worth) and had an amazing budget communal meal with my friends who are also my family. Meatloaf, mac n cheese, mushrooms and muffins – with some good inexpensive wine. I, too, get by with a little help from my friends.

Speaking of friends, go see the updates from the other people taking part this week:

  • Molly aka GrabMol, the author of the awesome blog Disposable Income (oh the irony!)
  • Dave of the super funny blog Extraface
  • Paul has created a blog inspired by this challenge at The Seven Day Project
  • Mike who invites you to follow his Twitter feed and his Flickr posts about the challenge. He has also started a blog especially to document this challenge, which you can see here.

Pictured is the mushroom gratin I talked about yesterday. It was my dinner on Tuesday night and was just delicious and super easy. I took the end of my baguette (about $.10 worth) and whizzed it in the food processor to make some breadcrumbs. I sauteed about 2 cups (roughly $1.00 worth out of my $4.00 bag) of mushrooms in some olive oil quickly just until they were starting to cook down. While that was happening, I made a quick sauce of one clove of garlic (from a head that cost me $.16 at YDFM last week = free) and a snip of parsley (we'll say $.10) whizzed in the processor together mixed with my last 2 tbsp. of sour cream ($.23) and grated some muenster cheese ($.30 from my sale block). Mix it all together, top with breadcrumbs and bake at 450 for about 8 minutes or until bubbly. I ate it with 4 slices of my baguette ($.13 each x 4 = $.52). My dinner total – and there were leftovers – was $2.25!


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