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

9/21/15 – Day 21

9/20/15 – Day 20

9/19/15 – Day 19

9/18/15 – Day 18

9/17/15 – Day 17

9/16/15 – Day 16


Day 15 – 9/15/15

After a shared mini-budget dinner tonight, I thought it would be great to get Shirley’s point-of-view/review on her experience. Also, she was nice enough not only to bring a dessert to share, but it was a dessert along the theme of Westernized Hong Kong food (mango pudding), and also budget-friendly! Seriously super thoughtful. Anyways, here’s Shirley!

Guest Post by Shirley:

Before joining Jinna for her mini budget dinner, I was thinking: “Wow, $1.67, what dish can I make with a $1.67 budget?! Tomato fried egg, corn soup, maybe noodles… But it’s limited to $1.67 a day, not per meal!” That is when I realized how hard it is to feed yourself with $50 a month. Thinking daily just won’t do it, you need to plan your grocery shopping weekly, even monthly. Nuances like which supermarket to visit for which produce also matter. Not to mention using the limited budget to create both delicious and nutritious meals.

But Jinna managed all of these. I was so impressed by her organized spreadsheet detailing the weekly recipe with calorie information, as well as a table of all the ingredients that lists the sources and prices. And of course, not only are her efforts inspiring, but the food tastes amazing too. The borscht stew tonight was yummy, healthy, and easy to make. I am definitely going to try this myself!


Hi y’all, it’s me again! I was so happy to have hosted Shirley for dinner, and really glad she liked my Hong Kong-style Borscht recipe! It was quite delicious if I may say so myself…

This recipe takes a bit of elbow grease, but it’s totally worth it. I recommend making it in a big batch for the week and freezing some for later.

Hong Kong Style Borscht


  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 12 oz can of whole, peeled, tomatoes
  • 3 potatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp butter (foraged from cafe)
  • 2 packets ketchup (foraged from Whole Foods)
  • pinch of cilantro
  • black pepper
  • salt


  • Crush garlic with the side of your knife, dice potatoes, cut or hand-rip the cabbage leaves and set aside
  • Heat the canola oil and butter in a large pot over medium/high heat, add crushed garlic and fry
  • Add in ketchup and fry in the oil
  • Add in tomatoes and continue to fry for 5-8 minutes
  • Add in potatoes and continue to fry for 5-8 minutes. Also, boil 8 cups of water now.
  • Add in cabbage and continue to fry for 5-8 minutes…depending on how fit you are, your arm will be getting tired from the constant turning
  • Fry until vegetables are slightly softened, add in the boiled water.
  • Bring mixture to a rapid boil and turn heat down to a simmer
  • Simmer for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are softened and the soup “comes together”
  • Add in chopped cilantro, salt, and black pepper, stir
  • Enjoy! This soup is amazing over rice or by itself.

Time: an hour and 15 minutes, overall.

Daily Meals/Costs:

Chawanmushi – $0.57

Cabbage garlic stir fry with rice – $0.28

Banana – $0.19

Hong-Kong style borscht with rice – $0.63 (each person) for a total of $1.26

Hong-Kong style mango pudding – Free! (Shirley estimates the cost at $0.40/serving, I’m not considering this a donation per the rules…more like a pot-luck with a similar exchange in value)

Total: $2.30

mango pudding

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: $520