$2 a day challenge – day four

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Day four of the $2 a day challenge.  And this morning I got a surprise.

P1110182I stepped on the scales, and discovered I was around 1kg lighter than when I weighed myself a week and a half ago.  I guess there is an advantage of living on a reduced diet that excludes snack foods and has defined serves.  I call it the starvation diet.

Jokes about my weight-loss aside, it does make me realise what a challenge it would be to ensure a healthy, nutritious diet on a budget longer term. I mean you could live on instant noodles for a while, but you couldn’t survive on such a lack of protein forever.  And most forms of protein are expensive.

The other thing I am realising is that cooking from scratch is way cheaper than buying processed food.  But it takes a lot more time, and that is a challenge when you are hungry.  So you can cook innovative meals, but most nights you just want to grab something quick which is difficult on a frugal diet.

Breakfast was, yet again, porridge. I thought about varying it but porridge keeps me full throughout the morning and enables me to think at work.  Lunch was a thermos full of leftover soup and some sourdough bread.

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Dinner was home made carrot fettucine with butter and breadcrumb sauce (I saved breadcrumbs from when I cut my sour dough bread).  Real cucina povera food.  And delicious.  I even felt full.  Such a wonderful feeling.

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I made the pasta dough the night before, mixed in my breadmaker, and stored it in the fridge until needed.  I dusted off my pasta maker that I haven’t used since before my kids were born, and got to making the pasta.  It took a little while before I got back into the hang of it, and it was not a quick thing, but with some good music in the background it was quite meditative and fun.

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P1110169P1110170P1110172P1110174Since I used normal flour rather than a stronger flour, the dough was a little sticky but still workable. I cooked most of it straight away – for dinner and for lunch the next day – but there was two sheets that I saved for leftovers.  I hung these off the back of a chair for half an hour or so to dry a bit, and as I type they are drying in the kitchen so that I can store them okay overnight.

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Carrot fettucine with butter breadcrumb sauce

2 carrots, steamed and sieved through a mouli
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of flour
25g butter
1 teaspoon breadcrumbs

  1. Combine the carrots, eggs and flour in a breadmaker (or alternatively knead for around 15 minutes by hand).
  2. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with sufficient flour that the dough will not stick.  Cover with clingwrap and rest for at least 1 to 2 hours.  Overnight is fine.
  3. Using a pasta maker, roll out the dough thinly and then cut into fettucine strips.
  4. Cook in boiling water (no salt on my $2/day menu) for a few minutes.
  5. Melt the butter and breadcrumbs and pour over the fettucine.

I ate the last of my bread today, and my last apple for a snack in the afternoon. I still have one day to go, and will definitely have surplus food but the choice is limited: I have flour, oats, butter, sugar and some broccoli.  And some leftover soup and fettucine.  I was planning to make pancakes, but I might eat leftovers for the evening meal instead.

So one day to go, and I know I can do it.

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