Hunger Challenge: Day 1 Review

by Andie Mitchell on March 21, 2011

peanut butter banana oatmeal

The first full day of the Hunger Challenge has gone to bed and so must I. I ate well, stayed on budget, and feel ready to take on day two of the challenge again tomorrow! Here’s the scoop on all I savored along with a price breakdown of each meal:

peanut butter

Breakfast was peanut butter banana oatmeal, my favorite morning meal.

¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats (.99/lb in the bulk section), cooked in water 0.33
1 Banana 0.25
2 tablespoons peanut butter 0.15
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Breakfast Total: $0.73

grapefruit

Mid morning grapefruit: $0.59

peanut lime chicken salad

Chicken and spinach salad with leftover chicken and asparagus that I roasted last night to have for meals throughout the week. See dinner below.
The dressing was a simple Asian-inspired mixture of one and a half tablespoons creamy peanut butter whisked with one tablespoon fresh lime juice and one teaspoon sesame oil. I would have loved to add soy sauce, but it wasn’t in my budget this week. Delicious, nonetheless.

peanut lime chicken salad

And a crisp, sweet apple.

apple

4 cups Baby spinach 0.60
1 carrot 0.10
¼ of a red pepper 0.30
¼ of a cucumber 0.10
1/5th of a whole roasted chicken (breast meat) 1.19
1 ½ tablespoons peanut butter 0.22
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 0.10
1 teaspoon sesame oil 0.05

1 Apple 0.40
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Lunch Total: $3.06

**Mid afternoon I had an orange and a whole wheat English muffin toasted with 2 ounces cheddar cheese.
Snack Total: $1.00

roasted chicken

Last night I roasted a 5 lb chicken so that I could use it for meals throughout the week. I chose to make it ahead of time for two reasons: 1. It saves me nearly 2 hours of oven time during the week when I come home from work at 6:30pm, and 2. It means I can portion it out now for each of our planned meals. Surefire way to prepare a whole 4-5 lb chicken: rinse it with cold water, pat it dry with paper towel, place in a wide, shallow baking pan, rub all sides with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt, bake for 1 hour 45 minutes at 400 degrees F. Works every time.

roasted chicken

chicken, squash, asparagus dinner

The chicken will stretch to be used for 5 separate meals (white and dark meat included). Tonight, Daniel and I ate our tender chicken breast with mashed butternut squash and brown sugar, a simply prepared organic boxed stuffing mix (that I do not recommend because the taste is beyond bland), and asparagus roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Altogether a hearty, comforting meal. Forgive me for reviving Thanksgiving in March. I never promised to be seasonally appropriate.

chicken, butternut squash, asparagus, stuffing

1 whole roasted chicken 5.95
1 bunch asparagus 1.91
2 lbs butternut squash 3.50
¼ cup brown sugar 0.05
1 package organic stuffing mix .99
1 tablespoon olive oil 0.25
1 tablespoon butter 0.25
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Total: $13.35
Makes 5 servings at $2.67 per serving

chocolate chip cookie dough

And because I cannot make it through a week, much less a day, without dessert, I baked almost three dozen dark chocolate chip cookies.

chocolate chip cookie dough

They are gooey, chewy, and soft centered. I love them. No, excuse me, I loooove them. There, that’s better.

chocolate chip cookie

2 cups flour 0.25
2 sticks butter 1.00
1 ½ cups brown sugar 0.40
2 eggs 0.30
baking soda 0.02
salt free
1 bag (2 cups) dark chocolate chips 2.50
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Total $4.15
Makes 30 cookies, at $0.14 each

I ate three cookies because I hear scientists say eating warm chocolate chip cookies is a direct flight to happiness. And that dark chocolate stains on your (once) white pajama shirt improve brain function. I never stray from science.

Total for the day: $8.42

I’m happy that I bought all of my groceries yesterday (assuming the $12/day that Daniel and I would be allotted), because knowing we’ve already spent our allowance takes the pressure off of eating below the $7 limit each day. I imagine some days will cost a little less, some a little more, but in the end it will all balance. Or, at least, we hope.

Goodnight all! Stay tuned for Hunger Challenge Day 2 tomorrow!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

thecompletecookbook March 22, 2011 at 12:11 am

WOW – what an amazing amount of food for such a moderate sum of money AND cookies to boot. Well done on a superb first day’s challenge. :-) Mandy

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healthifiedhaven March 22, 2011 at 4:51 am

Great job on your challenge. I don’t think I could do that. Do you refrigerate your almond butter? I think it says to put it in the fridge on the jar and it gets too hard to spread, but yours looks so creamy.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 22, 2011 at 7:21 am

I don’t refrigerate any of my nut butters anymore. I used to, but like you said, they harden too much for my liking. I keep them in the cabinet and then they’re smooth and spreadable always!

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Naomi March 22, 2011 at 5:58 am

what an interesting challenge! i’m so intrigued that your total day’s expenditures was only $8.42. this definitely puts things in perspective. i cant wait to read more!

btw – how do you calculate the amounts, for example, of the cookie ingredients?

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 22, 2011 at 7:23 am

Thanks Naormi! I calculate it using approximate costs for each item based upon how much I use versus how much the whole item costs (divide the total by the number of servings you use). It’s not exact exact, but it’s pretty accurate :)

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Janice Harper March 22, 2011 at 7:16 am

Once again, you inspire! I’m turning into a one-woman ad campaign for rotisseries, but I can’t resist. Last year I splurged on an eighty dollar counter-top rotisserie from Amazon.com that I thought would probably be used two or three times (calculate cost per use), but we’ve ended up using it more often than the toaster. Highly recommended for a fast and easy dinner — chicken prep is about five or ten minutes, cooking time about an hour, and the fat drips away. My daughter loves, loves, loves it — and they’re nothing like the greasy brown rotisseried birds at the store.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 22, 2011 at 7:20 am

Wow, I need a rotisserie!! Sounds like such a great appliance to have, especially since I love those crispy-skinned grocery ones :)

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Lisa @ Thrive Style March 22, 2011 at 7:48 am

Looks and sounds like a big success!
I agree about the cookies too—a straight path to bliss :)

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Nikki March 22, 2011 at 7:53 am

I cannot tell you how cool I think it is that you are doing this. It’s amazing how healthy you ate on such a small amount of money. I know it’s going to take a lot of planning and calculating for this challange but I’m excited to see what you are going to eat.

Thanks for posting.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 22, 2011 at 8:09 am

Thanks Nikki!!

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Beth March 22, 2011 at 9:02 am

Wow Andrea – I am SUPER impressed with how well you ate for so cheap! It’s nice to see that it can be done on a budget. Can’t wait to see the rest of your meals!

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MelissaNibbles March 22, 2011 at 10:13 am

You ate very well. I need to find some cookies so I can get on that flight!

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Leah @ Why Deprive? March 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

Wow. I cant believe how well you ate for so little money. Awesome job!

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sara March 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Know what else I love about your doing this? It gives me fresh ideas for meal planning! I’m perpetually feeling bored with my lunches, but I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be stealing all kinds of ideas from you this week :) Thanks missy!

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Decor Girl March 23, 2011 at 8:32 am

I like how you break down the entire day. Peanut butter for breakfast and lunch? You are so sneaky, I like how you did that. Though I was sort of expecting peanut butter cookies. :) Great post.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 23, 2011 at 8:58 am

Ha, I was thinking about my peanut butter-centric day and questioned, “will everyone be turned off by the amount of nut butter I’m calling for in a 24 hour period?” Ultimately, the peanut butter won me over. Can’t stay away from the stuff :)

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Katie April 4, 2011 at 9:00 am

What an awesome challenge, and with such yummy recipes! Your cookies look to die for, how long do you bake them? These are such great food ideas, generally I eat the same things everyday because I don’t know how to spice up my salads and tuna. Awesome website, thanks for the ideas :)

-Katie

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Wendy May 7, 2012 at 9:50 am

What brand of peanut butter do you use? Thanks!

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