Monday, July 7, 2014

Reverse SNAP Challenge, Day 4

By the end of Day 3 of our Reverse SNAP Challenge, we'd used up the half a loaf of rye bread we had left over when we started. Brian baked two new loaves of rye bread using the same recipe, the cost of which I worked out back on Day 1, and stuck one in the fridge for immediate use and one in the freezer. So the loaf of bread we're currently working on is worth 94 cents, and I'll count it all as part of our budget for Day 4 rather than try to work out what percentage of it we ate at each meal.

We also discovered on Day 4 that we had four raisin cookies left over in the cookie jar, hidden under the big chocolate bar. Holding onto them until the challenge was over didn't seem like a good move, so I worked out the cost of the recipe he used to make them. He says he made only a half-batch of the cookies, using 1 1/4 cups of flour, 1 cup of rolled oats, 3/4 cup of organic sugar, 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 free-range egg, 1/2 teaspoon each of baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, 1/4 teaspoon each of baking powder and cloves—and one pound of raisins. (Brian doesn't make oatmeal-raisin cookies; he makes raisin-oatmeal cookies.) The cost of this half-batch, with its overload of raisins, came to $4.60, and Brian says it made 46 cookies, so the cookies were worth exactly 10 cents each.

Also, on Sunday we opened a gallon of skim milk we picked up at Aldi for $3.19. This works out to 20 cents a cup, or 1.25 cents more per cup than the powdered milk we'd been drinking before. Thus, I bumped up the cost of my breakfast and Brian's breakfast by a penny or two, and I'll adjust the cost of future afternoon snacks as well.

The rest of our eating for Day 4:
New loaf of bread: 94 cents
Amy's breakfast (toast and cocoa): 27 cents
Brian's breakfast (cereal with add-ins and juice): $1.07
Lunch: leftover spinach casserole, leftover sausage, rye bread, 1 pint of blueberries from Aldi (99 cents), 3 raisin cookies (30 cents), 1/2 cup milk (10 cents), 1 ounce string cheese (29 cents), 1 cup lemonade made with half a lemon (20 cents) and three tablespoons of organic sugar (16.4 cents). Total: $2.14.
Dinner: pasta with eggplant, a modified version of this recipe from Real Simple. We used half a pound of penne (about 50 cents), 1.6 pounds of Chinese eggplant from H-Mart ($1.56), two plum tomatoes from H-Mart (74 cents), 1/4 cup of basil stored in the freezer from last year's crop (free, but I'll tally it up with our other garden veggies at the end), 1/4 cup of olive oil (23.3 cents), 2 cloves of garlic (not purchased recently, so I'll just have to approximate it at 5 cents), and half a pound of mozzarella cheese (bought on sale for $1.99 a pound, making it $1 worth). Total cost: $3.34, and we had leftovers.
Dessert: for Brian, 3/4 cup ice cream (bought on sale at $2.39 for 6 cups, so about 30 cents) with 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup (1/32 of a $2.49 bottle, or about 8 cents); for Amy, an ice cream soda (1 tsp. sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. organic cocoa, 1 packet sweetener, 1/4 cup of the Aldi milk, 1/4 cup ice cream, 2/3 can of seltzer, and 2 tablespoons of whipped cream, for a total of 22 cents). Total: 60 cents.
Additional snacks throughout the day: 1 square each of Trader Joe's chocolate (22 cents) and Hershey's Special Dark (14 cents), 1 ounce string cheese (29 cents), 1/2 cup milk (10 cents), and the last of the pie rolls left over from Friday.
TOTAL COST FOR SUNDAY: $9.11, just barely over our $9 limit for the day
TOTAL FOR DAYS 1-4: $33.94

So, in the first four days of the challenge, we've used a little over half of our $63 budget for the week—plus we have most of a loaf of bread and a good quart of leftover pasta for lunches. I'd say we are in good shape to finish this challenge within our budget quite easily. Three days to go!
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