Eating for $30 a Week or Less

January 25th, 2009

30 Bucks a Week

Recently I discovered a blogger in Brooklyn, NY, who set forth on a challenge to feed 2 people for $30 a week. The purpose of the blog, $30 Bucks a Week, is simply to demonstrate that it is entirely posible to eat healthy and suport a sustainable lifestyle without spending a fortune at the checkout counter.The blog and the challenge began in September of 2008 and is still going strong. The practical, well thought out approach utilizes cookbooks  such as Mark Bittman’s, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters .

Natural and organic foods are frequently utilized to create an interesting repertoire of meals that range from Polenta with Three Root Ragu to Caramelized Onion Soup in a Bread Bowl. They are eating well and have already experienced several occasions where they did not need to use all of the money budgeted. Due to the current state of the economy, $30 Bucks a Week, is choosing to continue with this challenge, so we will all have plenty of time to track their progress, cheer on their efforts, and find better ways to eat for less.

Read more…

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Living Better With Less

January 23rd, 2009

Credit: Dorothea Lange / Corbis

After a 1 year break from blogging in Ceres Secrets, it was astounding and heartbreaking to see to come back and discover just how many people found my blog in search of real life solutions for coping with poverty and a hard life on food stamps. Because of the obvious state of our economy and the need many have to get by on less, I will continue to forge into 2009 with a similar theme.

Over the course of the next year, the focus of Ceres Secrets will be in reviewing creative ways to buckle down on the home front in a way that will help you and your family make more out of less. I know through experience that it is possible to live large with very little when you are willing to change your perspective and consider the plight of those who may have less then you. It is my greatest hope is that no matter what our circumstances are or become in 2009,  that we all find a way to discover that we may already have more then we originally  realized.

I invite you to join me on this journey and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and learning from you as well. Together, I hope that we will compile some useful tools that can be utilized by others that may find this site in search of solutions in the future.

Live Well for Less

The Lonely Little Post of 2008

January 8th, 2009

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In September of 2007, I accepted an opportunity to work for an elected official in a local government office. Into that position, I brought with me the same level of creativity and passion that was expressed in this blog.

In December 2007, (In less then 3 short months) those efforts were recognized and I chose the path less traveled. I accepted an opportunity that took me from a sabbatical, to an entry level position, to an assistant manager on the toughest and most dysfunctional division in the organization.

Over the course of the last year, I have worked harder then I ever have in my whole life. I sacrificed much of my personal life and gained a level of personal and professional growth that went far beyond anything I could have imagined. I blazed trails in a traditional government office by empowering positive energetic team members who were just as determined to foster a new organizational culture. I developed and successfully implemented initiatives focused on developing my staff, my division, and the organization.

I held my own as a woman in a traditionally man’s world. I stood grounded in my values and my vision for the future. I took some cheap shots, sometimes with tears of frustration in private and at other times the determination of a gladiator. I fought for the rights of those who were not yet my supporters and I made sure that fairness and consistency were always upheld. I introduced the concept of teamwork and worked tirelessly to foster the most positive, productive, and energized team in the building.

I am able to reflect on this past year with a sense of pride… A little over a year ago, I accepted a promotion to lead the worst division in the building, and as I resign to take on a new challenge, I leave behind me the greatest team in the organization.

THIS WAS 2008…

Be sure to check back soon! Ceres Secrets is now live again and ready to go for 2009!

(Photo Credit: kotobuki711)

Random Thoughts

Depression Era Corn Soup

July 26th, 2007

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I have been so busy lately, that my head hurts to just think about it. This Summer will definitely go down on record as one of our most hectic ever. I will be so glad one week from now when our move will officially be over and we will finally be settled into our new place and new life. Till then I will be counting the days till I actually have time to do more then dust off my laptop once a week…

In the meantime however, I wanted to take a moment to share the last recipe for the Food Stamp Challenge. Surprisingly, we had more then enough food left over from our meal plan that I did not actually get around to making the Depression Era Corn Soup until last week. It was so simple and so delicious that we actually forgot how thrifty it was while eating it. If you were to have access to some herbs and spices, I think the sky is really the limit with the variety of flavors you can get from this easy meal.

Many thanks to those who have followed our participation in the challenge, especially in being so patient in waiting for this last recipe.

Depression Era Corn Soup

Inspired by this version I found on allrecipes.com.

Gather together:

1 onion

3 Cloves of Garlic Read more…

Food Stamp Challenge, Live Well for Less , ,

Just a quick note…

June 28th, 2007

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Today is day 7 of our participation in The Food Stamp Challenge and I am happy to say, that we did not run out of food. We finished our last meal of a Totino’s frozen pizza and spinach tonight and believe it or not, the cooking time for the pizza ended up taking longer then anything else we ate this week.

Thankfully all of our meals were successful and their simplicity worked out really well as this turned out to be a very busy week in our home. After weeks of aggressive apartment hunting, my husband and I finally found an adorable urban apartment in downtown Columbus and will be moving very soon. It may take me a few days, but I will catch up our last recipe in the next day or two.

Many thanks to all who followed our progress and took the time to consider what life might be like in another’s shoes.

Best Wishes To All!

Food Stamp Challenge, Live Well for Less ,

No Electricity Dinner

June 28th, 2007

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UPDATE:Click here for Emergency Grocery Lists & Menus

Living in Florida for as long as I did, I have probably spent years of my life standing in line at the grocery store during hurricane season. There would always be a run on bread, a shortage of milk, a collective panic of people wondering what foods could be made without electricity, and lines that ran clear back to the end of the store. It was a madhouse and as I often walked away with bags full of water, juice, granola bars, trail mix, protein bars, and fruit I would wonder, other then junk food, what else you could eat?

In planning meals for The Food Stamp Challenge, I could not help but think of the victims of Read more…

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I Have a Confession to Make…

June 25th, 2007

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In trying to plan healthy meals that could be afforded within the confines of a Food Stamp budget, I did not adequately plan for that sweet craving that snuck up on me this afternoon and would not go away.

So, in a moment of desperation… I confess that I ate all of the M&Ms from our bag of trail mix. Seriously, I think my husband is going to freak out when he looks in the bag and sees what I have done, as my greediness means there will be no more chocolate for the week.

I suppose it could have been worse, he could have walked in and found Read more…

Food Stamp Challenge, Live Well for Less

Tastespotting & The Food Stamp Challenge

June 24th, 2007

Tastespotting

Tastespotting is one of my sweetest or shall I say most flavorful addictions on the internet. They offer the most amazing visual buffet of food porn this side of anywhere. I have lost hours of my life clicking through their links exploring everything from ideas for dinner to perfectly plated and photographed desserts that made me want to lick my laptop screen. The talent displayed there is amazing and my cookbook collection seems to pale in comparison.

Last week through Tastespotting, Sarah of Saerinthal clicked through a link and found my post $42. Inspired by the plight of many poverty level Americans who struggle to survive on $3 or less a day and taking into consideration all of the other factors that effect one in that position, she too has decided to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge. She is challenging others as well and I can not wait to see what she comes up with.

This really made me think… Wouldn’t it be great if this were to snowball and more Bloggers/Tastespotters worked together to help find healthy and realistic ways to stretch that $3 a day? Take a step back for a moment, put yourself in another’s shoes, and consider what the heck you would prepare with very little time, energy, equipment, and experience. I know there are some amazingly talented people out there who could very easily put my $1 meals to shame. The question is… Will you be one of them?

Food Stamp Challenge, Live Well for Less

Taco Soup & Packing Tape

June 24th, 2007

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My husband and I are in the process of moving, so it is fair to say that this is a pretty hectic time around our house. Our walls are lined with boxes filled with our personal belongings, all of them carefully wrapped and cataloged on one of my infamous lists. Looking at the remaining mess, I am convinced there is something very disturbing about seeing much of what you have accumulated in this world reduced to stacks of ugly brown boxes. Right now I am exhausted and it feels as if my entire weekend has been spent trying to pry packing tape off the roll without reducing it to useless shreds. Having quick and easy meals to rely on this weekend turned out to be a very helpful thing…

Saturday morning we woke up to the same breakfast of eggs, with cheese, salsa, toast and juice. Lunch was a predictable but reliable half of a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich with half of a banana each. Snacks of trail mix and 8 oz glasses of milk were successful in maintaining our energy level and we have yet to be hungry. Bored maybe, but definitely not hungry… Dinner last night was leftover pasta with beans and red sauce. I wish we would have had some grated mozzarella cheese to melt over the top of it, but that luxury was just not affordable this week. One thing is certain; a Food Stamp budget of only $3.00 per day only affords the necessities and definitely no extras. Even then, you have to spend it carefully to keep from going hungry especially if you wish to eat healthy and do not have the extra time and energy it takes to prepare healthy meals or elements of meals from scratch.

For almost that reason alone, I am really excited about Read more…

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The Collective Challenge

June 24th, 2007

As we continue with the Food Stamp Diet, I thought it would be important to point out we are not alone. Many Americans have begun similar challenges in order to heighten awareness on this important issue.

Food Stamp Challenge