The Church of Cheap

I’ve come back from vacation refreshed and…broke. Honestly, after all these renovations and a 2200 mile road trip, I need to worship at the church of cheap. Now that the kitchen is more or less done, I can save money by cooking at home. This month, I am on a piety diet-y. I am going to *try* to survive on $25 a week on food. This means no going out – at all. If friends want to share a meal, they can come over and I’ll cook; or I’ll go to them and cook; or they can pay. Discipline is key. Potlucks are encouraged. Maybe I’ll make some converts.

This challenge is all about being creative and thinking ahead. Starting with this morning, I had just enough post-vacation food in the fridge to make an egg salad for lunch. A purchase of mesclun at the cafeteria ($1.02) rounds out the meal and will carry me into dinner and lunch tomorrow. Since I still had those lemons and some couscous, I decided to make tabbouleh which entailed purchasing cucumber, mint, scallions, tomatoes, and parsley ($11). A few more items brought my total to $14.40 for today, leaving $10.60 for the rest of the week.

Now $10 doesn’t seem like a lot for the next six days, but I have enough to work with and be inspired by, most importantly, so I don’t get bored. Gazpacho, Greek salad, chicken salad, pasta salad, tzatziki, can be made from the basics that I have with a few additional purchases. To spend only $100 this month on food can be done with effort and dedication. Whether it’ll make a difference on my financial situation will left to be seen, but it’s good to have goals.

Lemony Tabbouleh

-rinse 1/2 cup of couscous
-juice 2 lemons, add half to couscous, let sit for 30 minutes
-in the meantime, whisk remaining lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, a pinch of cayenne and salt to make a dressing, set aside
-mince 2 cups parsley, 2T mint, and 4 scallions
-finely chop 2 tomatoes and 1 small cucumber, amounts should be equal
-combine couscous, dressing, herbs, and vegetables, let sit covered for 1 hour in fridge

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated’s Best Recipe, the lemon juice soaked couscous makes all the difference. I added cucumber for extra crunch and coolness.

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