Living off $4.90/day – Day 6: The Joys of Lemon Chicken

This short but wild ride of living off the happy hour price of a Coronado Idiot IPA or Governor is coming to a close. I completely get why Lorena Gonzalez (who got me into this effort) caved into oysters and beer for the ‘SC game last week.  I’ll maybe do a redux on lessons learned over the weekend, but for now it’s back to the food…

Breakfast was…drumroll please…more .55 cent oatmeal. It’s a great deal, but honestly gets old quick. Next time I think finding variety would be worthwhile. No wonder parents are so keen on cereal for the kids. Anyone have advice on healthy alternatives to oatmeal? Lunch saw a recycling of the turkey burger/yam/sautéed cabbage affair for $1.48. This is a good deal. Subbing in some cheap potatoes or other ruffage can make this combination reasonably tasty for several days.

I’ll admit dinner’s got me pretty upbeat.  It’s not here yet, but wife is making her famous lemon chicken. Which is a nice mix of coarse ground Dijon, cayenne and a tiny bit of brown sugar. If I can coax the recipe I’ll post it. For me, having a life partner who will take these random rides with me is pretty awesome. With no kids, its certainly easier, but still it takes a special person to jump whole hog at the prospect of turning down free food and drink all week and willingly skipping out on places like Jayne’s Gastropub, Ritual and Smoking Goat (all on 30th Street in North Park, San Diego, if you are curious) to eat spartan meals in the name of your spouse’s cause. Three cheers for my wife, without her I could not have told everyone I met that “the average California adult who receives foodstamps gets $4.90/day, works for a living, and is NOT an entitled freeloader.” Bob Dole & George McGovern (see this video) understood that. It’s why, incidentally, I have become an increasing fan of 41 since he left office. But, I digress.

Making healthy, cheap meals doesn’t have to be a chore. Also, if you happen to know Todd Gloria, please ask him to nudge the Price family and see if they’ll agree to comp some group freebie CostCo memberships for CalFresh recipients (actually, I don’t actually know if they own CostCo, but you get the idea). Maybe they already do that, which would be awesome. If not, maybe they will. As one of my oldest friends, who now runs a law firm up in the Bay Area said to me when we were younger “if you don’t ask, it’s the only guaranteed no.” Words to live by, I suppose.

The recipe for that Famous Lemon Chicken is below–though we only had enough money for two chicken breasts tonight.  It was roughly $3.90/serving. (aside: Because we shopped at the start of the week, we had some days that were over $4.90 (like today) and some that were pretty far under.  But we made our six days of the challenge work off $58.80 ($4.90/day for two people). Tomorrow it’s back to “regular” life, though maybe a bit more thoughtful.  I plan to do a little redux tomorrow on the experience.  Have a safe and pleasant evening.

When it’s ready I’ll be eating, so today the photo is just the actual recipe. The $3.90 cost is probably a high estimate…enjoy.

One thought on “Living off $4.90/day – Day 6: The Joys of Lemon Chicken

  1. Thank you for your story, it’s great ! I agree with Ashley, I have been living in my car since my homes foreclosure by Wells Fargo Bank in November of 2009. Living on $189.00 a month in food stamps, and 147.00 in cash assistance will drive you crazy, and often have you eat high carb foods to survive, as a result I have gained 40 lbs. Without refrigeration, or a stove, I have to warm my food at 7-Elleven’s, Whole Foods, and Ralph’s when they have a Microwave for customer use. I hope that every one in congress has to live off food stamps for at least a month.

    Jose F . Medeiros
    The Unemployed IT Guy!
    http://www.facebook.com/greatdepression

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