Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 24

Table of Contents: 9/27/15 – Day 27 9/26/15 – Day 26 9/25/15 – Day 25   Day 24 – 9/24/15 “The longest distance in the world isn’t between life and death. It’s me, standing in front of you a free catered lunch buffet, and you don’t know that I love youI can’t eat any of it” This badly edited sappy Asian (?) quote about love is exactly how I felt today. Why? Read on to find out. I wasn’t good about keeping to my budget today, and I certainly did not eat healthily. I feel bad for having failed. It was a 12+ hour day at work with no breaks in between! What’s a hungry girl to do? Here is a walk through of my hungry Thursday. I got to work at 6:40 am, which means I woke up at 5:45 am. I was too groggy to eat breakfast (mistake!). Once I got to work, it was none stop go! go! go! for the next 12 hours. We were running a client workshop, and I had to be on site at all times to answer questions, troubleshoot the technology, play music, set up instruction sheets…you get the gist. There was no way I could leave the room for even more than 5 minutes, so leaving for 20 minutes to heat up and eat my lunch was out of the question. Our lovely and kind IT person brought Dunkin Donut’s munchkins, and I had two of those before my rational could say “NOOOOOOOOO!” “They probably cost like…10c each, right?” I then rationalize guiltily. The morning passed in a blur of...
Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 23

Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 23

Table of Contents: 9/27/15 – Day 27 9/26/15 – Day 26 9/25/15 – Day 25 9/24/15 – Day 24 Day 23 – 9/23/15 T-minus 7 days until the end of the Mini Budget in Manhattan challenge! The last week of the challenge is certainly…well, challenging. I’m really starting to miss foods like…shrimp! Or steak! Or iceeee creeeeeammmmmm. But what keeps my chin up and my stomach less rumbly during the looooong days is this amazing Coke Chicken recipe, which I share with you all now. Ingredients: 1.5-2 pounds Chicken (ideally wings, I made do with drumsticks and random Chicken pieces) 1 can Coke 2-3 tbsp soysauce 6-7 cloves garlic 1 tbsp canola oil Directions Heat up oil in pan and fry garlic Add chicken and get a slight brown on both sides Add coke and soysauce Let the mixture come to a boil, then slowly simmer for 15-20 minutes If the sauce is still watery, turn up the heat again until the sauce becomes thicker (almost sticky because of the sugar in Coke) Enjoy! Daily Meals/Costs: Congee (皮蛋粥) – $0.28 Banana – $0.19 Coke Chicken over Rice – $0.51 Potato Pancake slice – $0.22 Total: $1.20 If you think what we are doing is interesting, impactful, or maybe kind of insane, please consider donating to our efforts here. 100% of the proceeds will go towards Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a non-profit that works to eliminate food waste and redirect food waste into solving urban hunger. Donation Total:...
Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 22

Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 22

Table of Contents: 9/25/15 – Day 25 9/24/15 – Day 24 9/23/15 – Day 23   Day 22 – 9/22/15 Work was so busy today that I barely remember eating. It was more like inhaling and then food was gone and I miss it. I ate my banana while pounding away at my laptop, so highly focused on work that 20 minutes later I actually looked for my banana again because I forgot that I had eaten it. Thank goodness for tea and coffee. On such a busy day, I relied on my stash of food I cooked up over the weekend. #PreparednessWin I work up early for work (hi 8am meeting) and only had 1/2 a bowl of congee for breakfast because I didn’t have much of an appetite. Lunch was Coke Chicken and rice that I packed into a lunchbox, grabbed out of the freezer and thawed over the morning in the office fridge. By the time dinner came around, I was stressed and starving! I needed comfort food. Something hot and greasy and super satisfying. Normally I’d say Domino’s, but hey, limited budge! So I opted for garlic fried rice. Fried rice is best done with day-old rice. Since the rice was already cooked, I whipped up a batch of garlic fried rice in 15 minutes. It’s faster AND cheaper than take-out! Yum. Comfort food on a budget. Daily Meals/Costs: Congee (皮蛋粥) – $0.14 Banana – $0.19 Coke Chicken over Rice – $0.51 Garlic Fried Rice ~$0.33 (different price due to more rice) Total: $1.17 If you think what we are doing is interesting, impactful, or maybe kind of...
Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 21

Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 21

Table of Contents: 9/27/15 – Day 27 9/26/15 – Day 26 9/25/15 – Day 25 9/24/15 – Day 24 9/23/15 – Day 23 9/22/15 – Day 22 Day 21 – 9/21/15 It’s now the last day of Week 3! On the menu for next week, more congee! Stir-fried potatoes (more on this later), and Coke chicken (unfffff)! I did all the cooking for Week 4 tonight. The stir-fried potatoes I made two weeks ago were a lot like home fries. The potatoes were roughly chopped, and fried in high heat with oil, then sprinkled with salt and pepper. My dad always makes these wonderful stir-fried potatoes at home. He uses a grater to grate the potatoes into tiny, tiny strings. Then he cooks it with plenty of garlic over low heat until the potato strings are almost translucent. Sometimes he adds a dash of vinegar. It’s wonderful by itself or over rice. I borrowed my dad’s grater in an attempt to replicate this dish. I followed all the same steps…I think. But this is what happened to my potatoes (refer to picture above). It became a pancake! Kind of like a giant hash brown, but gummier. I tried a bite and I don’t love it. There are two ways I can improve on this recipe next time: Actually try to make a pancake, but a thinner, crispier one. Humbly beg my dad to tell me his recipe step by step. Anyways, for the week ahead. I might do potato pancake for breakfast, Coke chicken for lunch, and congee for dinner. Switch it up y’all! Daily Meals/Costs: Chawanmushi – $0.32 (1 egg) Cabbage...
Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 20

Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 20

Table of Contents: 9/25/15 – Day 25 9/24/15 – Day 24 9/23/15 – Day 23 9/22/15 – Day 22 9/21/15 – Day 21   Day 20 – 9/20/15 Tomorrow is the last day of Week 3! I’m really, really excited for the home stretch. On the menu for week 4, coke chicken! Yum yum yum. The hardest part will be finding the time to cook it. It is always so hard finding a free hour or two as an adult? It seems every hour of my day is already planned for the entire week. Maybe I’ll have to sacrifice some sleep 🙁 Another constraint of cooking in Manhattan is having roommates. New York apartments are usually tiny, and to cook early in the morning or late at night would be kind of inconsiderate. On another note, I weighed myself when I was home for the weekend, and I lost one pound, which is sort of meaningless, since weight fluctuates up to 5 pounds daily. Basically, my weight has remained constant throughout this challenge. Lastly, did you know that McDonald’s is giving away a free sandwich if you download their app? I know, I was thinking the same thing: “McDonald’s has an app?!” Yep, they do. And it’s not half bad. Check it out! (If only for the free sandwich). Daily Meals/Costs: Chawanmushi – $0.32 (1 egg) Cabbage garlic stir fry with rice – $0.28 Hong-Kong style borscht (n0 rice) – $0.56 Double McQuarter Pounder – Free Banana – $0.19 Total: $1.35 If you think what we are doing is interesting, impactful, or maybe kind of insane, please consider donating to our...
Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 19

Mini Budget in Manhattan: An Experiment in Eating on $50/Mo. – Day 19

Table of Contents: 9/25/15 – Day 25 9/24/15 – Day 24 9/23/15 – Day 23 9/22/15 – Day 22 9/21/15 – Day 21 9/20/15 – Day 20   Day 19 – 9/19/15 Today was my dad’s birthday! In Chinese culture, it is a birthday tradition to eat longevity noodles. The long noodles are meant to symbolize a long life, and eggs are typically added as an additional representation of life. The birthday boy/girl has to eat noodles on the day of the birthday, and the rest of the family usually partakes as well. To plan my budget meal to celebrate dad’s birthday, I “saved” some of the noodles from the Chow Mian dinner week and reallocated them to today. Also, during the course of this week, I had been having 1 egg for breakfast instead of 2 on a few days, with the purpose of being able to add egg to my bowl of longevity noodles. And it all came together quite nicely! I was really happy to be able to join my family in a birthday breakfast today without breaking my budget. Yay for planning ahead! In other news, tons of free food goodies today. I gave the Krispy Kreme cashier my best “Ahoy, matey” and earned a free donut for National Talk Like a Pirate Day. And for my morning run-stagram (okay, it was a jog), I earned a free full-sized cold-pressed juice from Juice Press. Daily Meals/Costs: Noodles with 2 eggs – $0.93 Cabbage garlic stir fry with rice – $0.28 Banana – $0.19 Hong-Kong style borscht with rice – $0.63 1 Juice Press Green Juice – Free...