Take that cook book and stick it….on your shelf!

I get lots of advice on how to manage my $26 of food. It is usually very sound advice and I appreciate it. Honestly though? Not going to happen. Before I started the Challenge, I decided to research some menu ideas. Started with a healthy eating cookbook I regularly use. Meatless chili right! Chickpea burgers. Vegetarian pasta.  Some great advice but I don’t have chili or coriander or parsley. And I am not buying an avocado to perk up my salad. One of my fellow challenge takers bought a few spices but she is doing it with her husband so they have a bit more budget flexibility – although she thought long and hard about it and is not so sure it was a good idea. Someone directed me to a cookbook for low income people published by a non-profit organization. I went online to find it. $7.95. They must have missed the memo about the definition of low income (in fairness I’m sure it is meant for organizations to buy it and give it out for free.)  A colleague directed me to a very clever interactive grocery shopping guide by the Ministry of Health. See it here.  It is helpful about serving sizes and a few other things. I especially liked the advice to take a magnifying glass to the store to read the nutrition labels. How about the author using the magnifying glass to check out my budget? Bur ironically I want to know the sugar content in the food so I can get the highest concentration! That was my dilemma with my main staple – peanut butter. I bought natural (no added sugar) for health reasons but I really contemplated the sugar added stuff. And fats! Bring it on. Salt. My son who grocery shops very frugally told me to buy my chick peas in bulk, soak them overnight and boil them for an hour. First store I went to did not have bulk legumes. A can was fairly inexpensive and I got 2 dinners out of it.  I ignored the advice someone gave me to rinse them off to get rid of salt. Intentionally! Add a tablespoon of healthy oil to perk up that pasta salad you say. Are you kidding?  I have no oil. But seriously, the advice is appreciated. It shows people are resourceful.  There are some gems. I’m saving some of my morning orange to squeeze on my pasta salad tonight. That is from my colleague Sina who is involved with the Richmond Poverty Reduction group.  I might even look forward to yet another meal of chick peas. Maybe.

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