July 4, 2011

Grocery List

I love having this whole community that I can ask questions of and they send me the best answers! Thank you to everyone who sent me healthy on the road food options yesterday. With list in hand I headed to the grocery store to price my new menu and get a sense of how often I need to shop and where. Keep in mind that I’m trying to stick to my $10 a day max budget.

First off a few people suggested nuts as an easily stored source of protein. My mother had allergies when I was growing up but, since leaving home, I have discovered the wonder of the walnut and was very excited to check out this option. Unfortunately at $11/lb walnuts may be out of my league. Nuts in general were really expensive but the Old Fool recommended peanut butter, which is also a great option. I had been keeping a jar in my “just in case” bag along with some refried beans and a can of sardines. Dried fruit was also pretty pricy but I think if I shop the sales I could make it work. Another option is that I renew my quest for the perfect solar oven and start dehydrating my own fruit while at work. Steve just sent me some info on this so stay tuned.

Next up Victoria suggested going raw, which was kind of an out of the blue “duh” for me. Why not just go all raw food and buy meals as needed? I actually tested this out last night and for dinner bought a green pepper ($.62), an orange pepper ($2.03)*, and a handful of green peas ($.30). The total for dinner came to under $3 and, though it certainly wasn’t as satisfying as steak, it wasn’t bad. One of the biggest lessons of this shopping trip is that I will need to shop more often, like go each morning and buy food for the day. So I’m on the road to some seriously valid options, thanks again. To keep me on track, and to keep you guys updated with helpful info, I am starting Today’s Tucker (tucker being food, of course). It will appear daily in it's own post so keep those suggestions coming! I'll try anything once.

*Does anyone know why colored peppers are so much more expensive than green peppers? 


Chinese Food
Green pepper

Green Peas

Orange Pepper


Here's a preview of Today's Tucker based on Sunday.


  1. Although I seem to be able to grow all the chili's I need during the summer and fall bell peppers defy me. The colored peppers are the green ones only ripe. I have managed to grow them enough to see them go through that stage. The longer they are on the vine the more chance of failure and the sweeter the reward.

  2. Oldfool touched on this in the last post, but it reminded me of something else. MRE's are great but can be expensive at $80 for a case of 12. I can't believe I forgot to mention this given my purchase of the Jetboil stove. Backpackers pantry can run between $3-$8 per meal. The higher priced items are usually 2 serving bags as well. All you need do is had hot water and wait a few minutes. Sporting good stores carry them, but I recommend keeping an eye on sales where you can really get great deals.

    One last thing. A packet of ramen (sans flavor packet or half if you must), 1 can of vienna sausages, and 1 baby bok choy all boiled together. This makes for a filling, nutritious, and inexpensive meal. Variations of this got many a college student (and me when I was homeless for a bit) through the lean times.

  3. Ramen -- now I'd like to say that I haven't eaten any of that since I got out of college, but I'd be lying. Even when money's not tight I've been known to... But like Steve, I'm not a fan of the flavoring packets and their questionable contents. Usually what I do is add some (low-salt) veggie broth base to the water and sometimes a dash of olive oil and another of cayenne pepper. If I've the time and the inclination and the appropriate ingredients in the fridge, I'll also add a little chopped broccoli or mushrooms or other veg that will be satisfyingly crunchy compared to the noodles. (Steve -- I like your idea of bok choi, I'll have to try that next time.) The trick is -- doctor it to suit your tastes. Back in my carnivorous days, I was known to slice or chop leftover meat into ramen soups (reminiscent of the Vietnamese pho). Don't like cayenne but have some cilantro on hand? Add it. Experiment. It's a single serving of soup, so you don't need a lot to add to it -- just bits and bobs maybe that are leftover from other meals. A little extra bell pepper here, a little extra mushroom there, and you've got the beginnings of a satisfying noodle soup that hardly tastes like the Ramen soup of most college students' experiences.


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