Wednesday, April 08, 2009

One Week Down

Today marked the end of the first week of my experiment and, in my opinion, it has gone quite well. I have learned a few things too. I learned that I really, really like peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Also, and somewhat to my surprise, I find that I quite enjoy a thick bowl of oatmeal with raisins and dried bananas. Go figure. And I have learned that, with a bit of creativity, you can produce some interesting and flavorful meals with a minimum of ingredients.

Oh, and I have learned that I quite like my coffee black. I used to drink it with milk and honey, but now I doubt if I will go back to that except as, perhaps, an occasional treat. Like a desert, or something.

Another bowl of oatmeal for breakfast this morning.

My Breakfast Makings

Oops, I forgot to take a picture until I was almost done.

Good To The Last Glop

For lunch I had yet another peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Nothing To See Here, Just Move Along

I decided that I would like to use some ginger with my chicken tonight so I picked up a good-sized piece for only 50 cents. I also replenished my grapefruit supply, buying a bag of six for $1.79.

Today's Splurge

I had one grapefruit left from my last bag and I decided that I would somehow incorporate that into my dinner.

A Guy's Just Got To Halve It

Then Juice It

Next I peeled a couple thumb-sized pieces of ginger.

Opposable Ginger

Ah, now what, you might ask. I decided to make a citrus and ginger infusion for my chicken. I simply put the sliced ginger into a small pan with the grapefruit juice. Then quickly brought it to a boil, reduced the heat, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

Simmering Away

After the simmering was done I strained out the juice, and then ate the ginger as kind of an afternoon snack. Quite tasty, if you really love ginger.

The Strain Was Beginning To Show

The Mysterious Chinese Woman bought me a nifty injector to use on meats and I figured this was a good time to put it to use once again. I filled it up with the grapefruit juice and ginger infusion.

This Won't Hurt A Bit

The leg and thigh were a bit plumper after the Angelina Jolie treatment.

I Only Have Thighs For You

Then I assembled everything I needed for my evening meal. If you remember, when I first cooked up my pork shoulder I saved the drippings. Tonight I decided to use them.

My Dinner, Some Assembly Necessary

Here is how I cook my rice, courtesy of Jeff Smith. I put twice as much liquid as rice into a pot and then add the rice. Then I bring it to a boil and stir it just until the rice starts to swell up a bit. Once it starts to swell I turn the heat down low and cover the pot and just let it sit undisturbed for 15 minutes. Last step, turn off the heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Perfect rice every time.

This time I used the drippings for the liquid. I used half a cup of rice and, as luck would have it, had exactly one cup of the drippings. The only variation to the above this time was that after the 15 minutes I took off the top and threw in the broccoli and then put the top back on.

Steaming The Broccoli

While all that was going on I simply seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and then browned it on both sides in a frying pan with a little olive oil and then let it fry for about half an hour.

The Finished Product

The chicken was quite good. The grapefruit juice and ginger infusion gave it a nice little zing. If I did it again I might use a bit of soy sauce, but that wasn't on my budget this time around.

I saved the bones this time too, for future use in a stock.

My Stock And Trade

Okay, time for a little check on my progress. So far I have spent $79.48, but I have a lot to show for it. I still have four chicken legs and thighs left, way more than enough rice to last the rest of the month, half of my beans, three packages of spinach, half of my broccoli, half of my carrots, half of my cheese. A dozen eggs are still sitting in the refrigerator along with half the tomato sauce that I used for my pasta. Oh, and I have a bit over a box and a half of pasta left. I still have about six slices of bread left, four bananas, half a jar of peanut butter and a half dozen grapefruits. And, all of my condiments will last me through the month, including, now, ginger.

I am pretty sure I have enough oatmeal to last the month along with, I think, enough raisins. I may have to buy some more dried bananas though. I am not sure about the coffee, but that might make it through the month as well. I am down to just one mug in the morning most days now.

I also have tomorrow night's dinner sitting in the refrigerator, the leftovers from the stew I made.

So far I think I am looking pretty good. I will have to buy some more meat to supplement my remaining chicken and, eventually, will have to buy another package of chicken. Also some different vegetables to break up the routine. Maybe some beets or something. I should get a couple of potatoes too, sweet potatoes I think. I will certainly need another couple bags of onions and, probably, another package of garlic.

Well, there you go. Not a bad start, if I do say so myself. I certainly haven't felt any hunger pangs. If I do feel like a snack I simply eat a carrot. I think I actually feel a bit more energetic, but that is probably due to not drinking. It wouldn't surprise me if I lost a few pounds this month, which would be fine with me. Again, this won't be because I am not eating enough, it will be due to not having any beer. Funny thing, I don't really miss the beer, but the month is still young. I did have a couple glasses of champagne at my niece's birthday party, though.