Hurray for Day 1 Leftovers

My morning routine was broken beginning with my soy latte abstinence.  Instead, I enjoyed a cup of black Earl Grey tea.  It wasn’t the same, but it was a hot beverage and that’s what I wanted.  Since I generally skip breakfast, it was one less meal to worry about.

City Hall was closed for Easter Monday, I used the time to finish my shopping and started cooking for the week.  Like most folks, I had a busy weekend filled with family and work commitments, and was grateful for the extra day. Of course, if my workweek did start today, then I would be scrambling to find food-oriented order to ensure that I stayed within the budget.  Without careful meal planning, I simply could not thrive on a modest food budget of $6.65 per day.

I dropped into the No Frills store on Sherbourne and ran into the Executive Director, Keith Hambly of Fife House.  He was cautiously collecting his week’s ration with a calculator in hand.  We were both taking this challenge very seriously and agreed that the week would not pass by easily.

No Frills was the third grocery store I visited in the past two days.  Due to the fixed-budget, I was forced to go to multiple stores to comply with the $46.55 per week allotment.  As the local councillor, I conclude that Ward 27 (Toronto Centre-Rosedale) is no “food desert” and although we have an abundance of grocery stores, the heavy commercial rents are readily passed onto the hefty consumer price tags.

Yesterday, I spent $20.56 at two independent grocery stores.  One in Kensington Market and the other in Little India.  I bought small amounts of millet, couscous, spinach, paneer, besan, broccoli, onions, frozen veggies, cilantro, assorted peas & beans.  At No Frills, for $10.77, I secured an acorn squash, sweet potato, fusilli pasta, tomatoes, kale and white mushrooms.

For lunch, I ate a chilled bean medley salad with besan flour rotis.  I was asked by a Twitter follower to post the bean salad recipe, so here it is.  Sorry I can’t be more specific about the actual quantities – measuring cups are not my forte.  Be forewarned, I’m an undisciplined cook and create dishes using my five senses and personal gastronomic satisfaction gauge.

Chilled Bean Medley Salad

2 cans of mixed beans, chopped white and green onions, cilantro, cracked peppers, sea salt, apple cider, thyme, creole mustard, lemon juice and white vinegar.

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Besan Roti

Besan gram floor, oil, salt and water.

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For dinner, I made ratatouille. Not the classic French stewed vegetable dish with eggplant, bell pepper and zucchini but one improvised with the vegetables I bought from the discount grocers.  Honestly, it was not my best dish.  But it was okay considering I didn’t have many of the traditional ingredients, nor did I have time or patience to cook the vegetables separately to retain its natural flavours and juices.

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Nevertheless, I’m feeling good about the day, as there were leftovers and that means lunch and dinner are taken care of for tomorrow.

Stay in touch and follow me at @kristynwongtam for more #Thrive665 updates.

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