Here you will find some of the recipes we used.
This is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s classic.
My modifications are in italics.
SERVES 6 -8 ( 4 servings)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions peeled and minced (changed to half an onion)
1 clove garlic (2 peeled and minced)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
1 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (change to 2 cups of chickpeas – 1 cup uncooked)
2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds ( 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon amchoor powder (substitute lemon juice from yard)
2 teaspoons paprika ( 1 tsp.)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon juiced (2-3 tablespoons)
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper , minced (substitute chili flakes)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger ( skipped)
Directions – Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and sauté over a medium heat until browned (3-5 minutes). Turn heat to medium-low. Add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin), cayenne and turmeric. Stir for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes until browned lightly. Add chickpeas and a cup of water and stir. Add the roasted cumin, amchoor, paprika, garam masala, salt and lemon juice. Cook covered for 10 minutes. Remove the cover add the minced chili and ginger.
Cost – Whole recipe: $0.98 / Per serving: $0.25
9 Cups water
1 Tsp Salt
3 cups cornmeal
1 tbsp oil to fry
Bring water to a boil.
Reduce to simmer
Slowly stir in corn meal 1 cup at a time. Stir while you add to avoid clumps.
Stir continuously for 12-15 min. Polenta will thicken.
When it starts to pull away from the pot, turn off the heat and pour it into a greased dish or platter.
Let cool 10-15 minutes.
Slice and fry until golden brown.
Garlic: You can mince the garlic and add it to the boiling water at the start, or you can roast the garlic (slice off the top, pour on 1 tbsp of olive oil, put on a pan in the oven at 450 for 30-45 min or until soft), mash it and mix in while the polenta is thickening.
Butter: mix in a few tablespoons of butter when the polenta is thick
Cooling: instead of a platter or dish, you can use cupcake tins to make little polenta cakes (my favorite), if you have any fun shaped cake pans that would work as well.
Toppings: top with marinara sauce, basil or eat plain.
Whole batch – $0.65 (with 3 clove garlic), makes 24 cupcakes
Per serving – $0.09 ($0.03 per cake: serving size 3 cakes)
2 cups dry pinto beans
1 tsp. garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. chili flakes
salt to taste.
Rinse the pinto beans and soak them overnight. Rinse well. In a crockpot add pinto beans, 8 cups water, garlic, chili, and salt. Cook on high heat for approximately 8 hours. When beans are very soft, pour off water to drain beans, but save some of the water aside. Use a potato masher to mash beans to desired consistency. Add the reserved water as needed. Let cool and store in the refridgerator. They will thicken as they cool.
When you reheat the beans, add water a little at a time until the are the desired thickness.
Whole batch: $0.51
Wheat Gluten Cutlets
****Recipe is modified from “Parade” magazine 9-14-80. It was given to us by a friend several years ago.
7 cups whole wheat flour ( I used 5 cups)
1TBSP white vinegar
Directions: mix the flour with enough water to make a stiff dough, about 2-3 cups.
Roll the dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Fill bowl with enough water to cover the dough. Add the vinegar. Cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes to 4 hours. I have found that it seems to work best if it is closer to 4 hours.
Rinse the dough and cover with water. Continue kneading and rinsing (every time the water gets milky) for about minutes or until the dough is sinewy and stringy. It will be soft and mushy at first, but as you knead and rinse it will get firm.
I have found that if I divide the dough into four parts and rinse under water while I knead a little at a time it seems to be easier. When the water runs clear, rinse and drain. Cut into pieces.
If you have divided your recipe into quarters (each one will feed two people), store three and continue on to the next steps with one. Store by freezing in zipper bags or in water in the refrigerator. It will be good in the fridge for about a week.
Broth for Boiling:
4 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice (0ptional)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp all spice (I substituted with 1tsp of equal parts nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper)
Add all of the broth ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. While boiling take your 1/4 of gluten and cut it into 6-8 pieces. Press into medallions about 11/2 to 2 inches in diameter. You will need to shape them and press them hard to flatten them (they puff up to about double thickness as they boil).
Place them one at a time into the broth mixture. Boil for about 5-6 minutes. They will float when they are finished. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and set them aside to drain. While the are boiling, make the flour mixture.
*** Broth does not need to be thrown out after use. It can be refrigerated or frozen and reused 4-5 times.
½ cup flour
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp oil for frying
Dredge the cutlets in the flour until completely covered. Warm the oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Fry the cutlets on both sides until golden brown. I usually scoop some of the onions from the broth to fry and serve with the cutlets.
If you are not eating on a dollar a day, I highly recommend serving this with Brown’s vegetarian gravy and a side of garlic mashed potatoes. Or, you can put some marinara and vegan cheese on each cutlet and bake in the oven at 350 for about 3-5 minutes or until the cheese melts. These cutlets are good in sandwiches, on stir fry, in soups or served as is.
Whole batch: 2.19
Per serving: $0.20
93 responses to “Recipes”
Ooohh, give us the wheat gluten recipe 🙂
Yes! I would also love the wheat gluten recipe, how you make tortillas, and any non-bread machine recipe you use.
Great site – ever thought about adding pics? vids of cooking?
Wheat gluten recipe, pretty please? 🙂
how do you make the oat breakfast?
Your students are lucky to have you for their teachers. I, too would be interested in your tortilla and bread recipes.
i would really love tips on making decent bread, and your tortilla recipe!
thanks, you guys are my heros.
Please add me to your blessedmailing list
I hope this isn’t too nervy, but I am sending you my No-Wait Oatmeal Molasses Whole Grain bread recipe which produces three lovely moist loaves which I love for toast or with homemade chowder/soup. The great thing is the total prep-to-eat time is an hour and a half. I’ve modified this recipe from one I love from Diet for a Small Planet published when I was in university a million years ago. While the ingredients may be outside the cost parameters of your blog’s goal, good whole grain, homemade bread is certainly part of the spirit of your efforts.
Modified by Maggie / No-Wait Oatmeal and Molasses 100% Whole Grain Bread
This recipe produces a dense, moist loaf that is delicious and full of flavour. It keeps well in the freezer as well as on the countertop and makes great toast. Its high moisture content allows it to reheat very well.
2/3 cups raw quick oats toasted in dry cast iron skillet
1.5 cups salted water
3 low-salt vegan broth cubes dissolved in
3 and 1/2 cups warmish water
3 Tablespoons instant or quick-rise yeast
1/2 cup table molasses
1 Tablespoon salt (less if broth is not low sodium)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup high gluten flour
1/3 cup TVP
1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/3 cup whole flaxseed milled just before using (coffe grinder)
1 cup 12 grain flour
10 – 11 cups whole wheat bread flour, divided
1. Make a microwave batch of 2/3 c. toasted quick-cook oats with 1.5 c.. of water and a bit of salt.
2. In large bowl, cool the oatmeal in the 3 and 1/2 cups broth to lukewarm; add yeast, molasses, salt, and oil. Mix in.
3. Carefully blend all the dry stuff, (but just use 9 cups of whole wheat flour) making sure the high gluten flour is well-mixed in.
4. Add to wet ingredients, mixing by hand. Turn out on floured counter top and use as much of the remaining flour as needed and knead until elastic (at least 10 min.). A good bench scraper is invaluable at this point.
5. Let dough rest 10 mins. Preheat oven to 275ºF.
6. Weigh dough and divide evenly between 3 small (8″ x4″) loaf pans.
7. Bake for 15 minutes, then increase oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for 55-60 minutes.
I’ve used the USDA database to calculate the nutritional components:
Per 1/3″ slice (skinnier slice than customary 1/2″): 99 cal., 4.67 grams prot., 2.6 g. fibre, 1.8 g. fat.
I commend you for your courage and fortitude in conducting this experiment. However, IMHO, your experiment was limited by trying to imitate modern food. The gotcha in modern food is milling and grinding. In rural southern Mexico you commonly encounter people who are accustom to grinding by hand with stones, thus they can convert field corn into nutritious food with simple, albeit labor intensive, techniques. One of the silliest things in our food society is the hullabaloo over coffee grinding. Thus cheap $15 coffee grinders are readily available. Just don’t grind coffee in it, then you have an efficient mini hammer mill ready to grind almost all grains in small amounts in 30 seconds. With that you are ready for bulk commodity foods from the farm – corn, oats, wheat, soybeans, etc. All you can eat of a delicious hot corn porridge can be made from 1/3 or an ear of field corn ground to a sandy consistancy and boiled in water with a pinch of salt. Sweeten it with dark brown sugar, and it tastes a bit like fresh corn on the cob. Change over to red, blue, or black corn and the tastes gets better along with the nutrition. In general if one forgets about bread, which requires more refinements of milling and baking technology to be good, eating grains gets easier and cheaper. A step up from basic grains are potatoes, onions, dark-fleshed winter squash, and sweet potatoes. Chili peppers help overcome the monotony of simple diets. Thirty days is a short time, you probably had some food left over from your 25# bags of bulk purchases, although I see that your bookkeeping only counted what you used each day.
It is my belief that you could be eating a more nutritious diet that most well off Americans if you drop your food technology level down and think more 3rd world; and you could maybe stay near the $1/day level. You would have to stay away for retail markets and packaging. You could probably eat a 50% organic diet for a bit over $1/day if you stay away from organic food stores. Food is an artificial market due to branding, processing, and advertising-produced expectations. The truth is that food is shockingly cheap at the farm sale-price level. I know an apple farmer who sells truckloads of very good medium sized apples for .02 cents/lb to apple cider factories, and he has to deliver them. Only 30% of an apple crop meet the size and color of our idea of “Apple” to get onto a supermarket shelf. Our food processing and distribution system is blowing smoke.
An absolutely fascinating read, and I hope to be able to use some of your lessons in my own life. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.
Pingback: Polenta | uRbAN fREaK * Blog für urbanen Lifestyle
Some of the recipes do indeed sound quite tasty. I think I’ll try the Chana Masala!
Hey! I loved you blog, congratulations, it was very inspiring! Can you please post the Peanut Butter Cookies recipe? Thank you!
I am a student.I think you have shown the student community esp international students that it is possible to save a lot of dollars through this “onedollar” project.I believe it should encourage more international students to pursue higher studies in the US.If we have the grit and the dedication we can make it and save thousands of dollars in the long run.Kudos! Eureka!!
Love the concept and have been doing my own version for many years. I rarely eat out… my cooking is so much better and I wash my hands! i don’t know if the resturant cook does…
I used soy granuals for may extender 50 years ago, and i know how to make ‘stone soup.’ you can buy bones from the market and the day old veggies are in the back and the bread from stores goes back to the ‘day-old-bread store on tuesdays…
I was the mother of 4 children with NO money to spare… necessity is the mother of invention… i am never afraid of the economy, I know how to shop at thrift stores.. too much money is wasted by lazy, ignorant people. thanks for your inventiveness.
Thank you, thank you. I believe what you have done will change the world, please continue and see where this can lead. I see your experiment raising awareness and being good for the planet. Also, less processed food is better for us. Many people can’t see the blessings that we have in this country; so many of us are able to afford to feed ourselves as we choose.
After living in a third world country for a year, I lived with people that have gone to bed hungry many times in their lives. Eating time in Jamaica is honored by all; cooking the unprocessed food takes hours to prepare. When the food is served people do not converse, they focus on the food. Much of what we ate came from ‘the hills’ and was fresh and organic because the small farmers couldn’t afford insecticide or weed killers. A bonus was that you could ‘eat from the trees’ for much of the year.
The opposite was true for the ‘all inclusive’ resorts on the island, produce was shipped in from Miami and hotel guests complained that their burger didn’t taste like what was served at the fast food chains in America. I’m sure much food is wasted in the resorts while children with hard-working parents (that can’t accept a tip) go hungry.
Keep it going and thank you for the wheat gluten cutlets recipe. Veg on!!
Using similar spices as the Chana Masala recipe, you can also make mung or toor daal, both healthy and satisfying, protein-packed Indian meals – at about 99 cents per package that makes several days worth of food. You can also use frozen spinach (or any veggies) in place of the chana with some modifications to have a “green” meal. If you buy whole wheat flour in bulk, you can easily make whole wheat flour tortillas with wheat flour, oil, and water (rotis). The Gujarati diet is vegetarian and cheap…just the way we like it! 🙂
Brilliant experiment that hope turns into a book or an expanded article along with incredibly insightful commentary. I spend a fair amount of the year abroad living in Asia, as a means to restore my health and reduce my expenses and I find that the diet consists of fresh-pulled vegetables accounting for more than 85% of my diet and soy products, fresh caught seafood and chicken, making up the remaining 15%. It is a rare moment that we consume beef or pork, primarily because of cost and preference for something easier on the digestion. While living in Asia, I notice that eating foods close to the Earth is a way of life and when I’m back in the States, I really have to make a concerted effort to eat healthier. Food is everywhere in the States, but so too are the temptations towards processed foods. Much thanks to all the contributors.
I loved reading about your frugality. As I age, I become more green and realize how wasteful we are from the turning on of the water faucet to brush our teeth in the morning to letting hot water boil all day in hot water heaters. Much of our wastefulness can be conquered, if we are willing to sacrifice more. However, our country is not one of sacrifice unless it is our military.
God has given us this wonderful planet. It is time we figured our to preserve it.
I just wanted to say ya’ll should look at “Cous Cous”. A box goes on forever, and when cooked with a jar of sundried tomatoes is very inexpensive. It also has alot of fiber, so it fills you up very well.
Have a good day! You are so inspiring.
Well done you two! It’s good to make a determined path to change consumption. My own foray into a similar experience was driven by an Oregon Food Bank ‘food challenge’ in which Oregonians were encourage to try and live on the $21 per person per week food stamp allowance.
I would enjoy sharing with you the spreadsheet, menus, portions; daily notes etc I created to live this challenge. I learned many things; ie natural, organic and cage free are no longer obtainable and protein, fruit and vegetables were carefully measured luxuries. Though comparing my $1 a meal allowance to the menu you two adhere to will seem generous.
I’m with you, the biggest challenge is fresh fruit and veggies. My saddest moment that week was peeling a banana and finding that over 50% was bad. I only had 5 pieces of fruit over that 7 day span and the loss of that banana was felt acutely. There was a moment when I mulled returning to the produce market and asking if I could exchange the no longer viable fruit for a replacement (didn’t though).
Also, like you both, I lost weight that week. While I kept the same exercise routine the weight loss was definitely attributable to no snacks and very controlled portions. There was a moment of hunger towards the end of the week where I was grateful I hadn’t spent every penny of the $21 allowance. I believe I had .37 left and I went to the local Grocery Outlet to buy a .25 box of Mac and cheese to feed the hunger.
Please email me and allow me to share my info to add to your project. Perspectives of how to live this food budget while working in a corporate job and traveling on the road. Or, let me know if there is some other way to assist in your upcoming book project.
I’m all over this…I will hunt down some some good recipes to share.
I look forward to the day when Americans will have to return to an agrarian way of life,and once again nourish bodies and relationships with family and neighbors with the fruits and vegetables of our labour. It has been a joy to read of your intentional eating which is inspiring. As for mushy bananas, they are superb when mixed into pancake batter or banana bread. Super yummy.
Wow! it would be amazing if those who can afford to spend more money monthly for groceries would try this at least for a month and take the extra money they usually spend for groceries that month and give it to a family who only spends $1 dollar a day. It would impact so many!!
Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe Please 🙂
I would love to be added to your mailing list.
This is so interesting! I know I over eat and eat items not healthy and expensive. This is wonderful project. Ill be following you now!! Thanks!!
Very considerate and thoughtful of you guys to do something like this. thumbs up!
I just watched your video on Yahoo and came here. I am very impressed! I wanted to comment that in my family, we’ve always noticed how after payday we spend and eat alot, and closer to the end of the payday cycle, when money is low, we spend and eat less. I’ve learned to keep staple foods on hand like soups, noodles, canned veggies and frozen meats. I can whip up a pot of stew or goolosh in no time any day. Since we notice that we spend less closer to payday, we’ve started to pretend we didn’t just get paid – we skip the fast food, skip the extras at the store and have been able to save alot of money. If you pretend it’s two days from payday and you only have $20 to feed 5 people on for two days, somehow your creativity and ability to improvise comes out and that $20 can last. We eat at home more often and therefore spend more time together, in addition to saving money and having fewer leftovers. I commend you for bringing this subject to people. We ARE in a recession. If people don’t stop eating and spending so much we’ll be in a full blown depression. I heard that wasn’t alot of fun!
Great project! Im looking forward to your book, hopefully get more ideas to save money. Im frugal myself. 🙂
Never waste food! Learned this from my mom when I asked her “how the heck were you able to feed FOUR kids?” Save all your leftover vegetables and beef in freezer bags. Keep elbow noodles on hand. Before you know it, you’ll have enough to make a huge crock pot of stew and it will be basically free except the noodles. I keep non-perishables on hand like canned goods (veggies, milk, esp. tomatoes), noodles, etc. so that anytime I need to bulk up something I can. For example I used to buy two cans of spaghetti sauce because one isn’t enough usually to feed my family. Now instead of that extra $3.50, I buy a can of diced tomatoes 35 cents, and stewed tomatoes about 50 cents, less than a dollar; add that to my sauce and it nearly doubles my sauce and tastes better. I usually sprinkle in some italian seasoning too. My family loves it. I don’t keep leftovers in the fridge because they’re gonna spoil in there, ya know. Instead I make extra plates (in plastic divided containers) and freeze those. Anytime someone’s hungry they can microwave one real quick. I keep frozen mashed potatoes and other leftovers in plastic containers too. Add a few drops of milk and butter and it’s good as new when reheated. I have more simple tips and I just might have to add them soon to my myspace. I am inspired 🙂 ps be sure to date and label everything you put in your freezer. different foods have different freezer life-spans than others. In my family everything’s eaten within a few weeks anyway, lol
Thank you so much for following through and documenting this project. It’s great the press is giving you so much attention. Hopefully this will help us as individuals and our nation get our priorities realigned. I am looking forward to reading about your other diet experiments. It will be interesting to see what it really takes for a working person to eat healthily. Very admirable…I am in awe…thank you, thank you, thank you!
great job guys. i love to read stories about learning about how to enrich their lives.
and as a marketer, great job getting your story picked up!
100g peas boiled($0.5)
1 large potato boiled, peeled, diced($0.3)
1 onion finely chopped($0.3)
1/2 teaspoon paprika/red chili powder($0.03)
1-2 teaspoon vegetable oil($0.03)
1/4 teaspoon whole mustard($0.05)
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds($0.05)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice(optional)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala($0.05)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt, crushed black pepper as per taste
Heat the oil in the pan and add the mustard, cumin seeds. When the mustard is done popping, add the onions.Add the sugar after a while to caramelize the onions. When the onions turn golden brown, add the paprika and garam masala. Saute for a few seconds and add the potatoes and peas.
add salt,pepper and water. Cook for 10-12 minutes.
Add the lemon juice in the end and mix well.
You could garnish it with a tablespoon of chopped cilantro.
the total still comes down to less than $1.5
Have this with a serving of boiled white rice($0.5)
It might not fit your $1 a day food menu but something like this is good for people who are trying to cut down on budget. Feel free to substitute the peas with french beans or potatoes with cauliflower(costlier but much healthier).
Try out and let me know.
Just viewed the Fox interview and have an idea for your 2009 experiments.
Since fresh vedgetables are the deal killer, here’s a solution: SPROUTS! You can continue to buy beans and nuts in bulk and simply sprout them. That’ll give you all the vitamins you need. And, if you do weat or barley grass sprouting, you’ll even be ahead of the game. Of course, the grass juicing may be cheating, as the equipment’s pricey. But I hope that gives you ideas!
Thank you. I find your experiment very inspiring, as must your students! 🙂
I would like to try your idea and recipies, but I am a diabetic with type 2 diabetes do you have any recipies for people with diabetics.
I think you guys are wonderful! Keep it up 🙂
Another family with no jobs, I am very grateful that you shared your recipes and I am also glad to see that you are being supported (hopefully well)
I heard you mention that you made your own bread on fox & friends is it really cheaper than buying manager specials for approx. .79 cents per loaf (for wheat bread)?
If so, how much is it per loaf and what is your recipe? Mine always turns out to be too hard.
Thank you & how do I sign up for recipes when they become available?
Personally I noticed you are vegetarian as I am as well…do you have any recipes for vegi chili or any other vegi dishes?
Hello to all from a very rainy Britian! This does sound very smashing and quite a bit tasty indeed. Although I’m not very good at all at calculating american dollars into the right euro amount…. can someone please tell me how many american dollars can go into five euros? Thank you very much
P.S. Could you try and create a fish and chip recipe with that budget?That would be very smashing! Thank you and I would like to say I admire you quite a bit.
For once I give the Fox News Channel kudos. Whch is a BIG deal for me. I saw the interview this morning, then spent the following couple hours reading all the blog entries between my morning chores etc. As a recently laid-off mom of a beautiful son, and the partner of a great man who was discharged from the military this month….I am FREAKING out about how we are going to pay our bills. And I actually have it pretty good. I have the luxury of making the equivalent of $8/ hour via unemployment. Which is higher than the minimum wage in Washington State. I am very lucky. But, the prospect of my unemployment disapearing in a few months concerns me, expecially since I have applied for almost 50 jobs, and have managed to get 1 interview. And I have gone to college, and worked since I was 14. Anyway, I digress.
This project really captured my attention. I spend WAY too much on groceries. And most of it is stuff that is not good for my body. As we all know, some of the cheapest stuff in the store, is also the most processed, vile, bad for you stuff available.
I am going to see how I can change our spending/eating habits. This has really opened my eyes. I am over weight, and unhealthy. I am not happy with where I am….and only I can change that. Let’s hope this opens many, many people eyes….to just how bad things have really gotten, and how we can make the changes our selves…to improve our world and the worlds of others. DONATE PEOPLE! Volnteer! Do SOMETHING!
Love & Peace,
Pingback: One Dollar Diet Project
I have made corn bread from chicken scratch that I got at Walmart. It’s about $9. a 40# bag and has lots of millet in it. I ground some in the coffee grinder and added some egg, baking powder, powdered milk and water along with a little oil. It was crunchy and tasty. Just an experiment.
I would like your bread recipe. The 30 day experiment was a good read and very insightful. I often think of how little so much of the world has and appreciated the reminders.
I could direct you to some nice vegetarian recipes.
There is a lot you can do with vegetables, beans, lentils, sprouts and some nice spices. Pair it with rice or some breads and make a nice cost effective dinner out of it. Use some unusual ingredients to make it interesting.
Pingback: One Dollar Diet Project - Christopher Greenslate And Kerri Leonard Experiment Spending One Dollar A Day On Food — Trendite
wow, very interesting. As a non-vegeterian but love vegetable dishes, i find this extremely interesting. I will be trying some or most of the recipies above to see what I think, but after reading this I am already impressed.
Wish me well in my own experiments as I will be looking forward to your recipies and suggestions for healthy tasty meals as I begin to incorporate your ideas into my somewhat healthy, somewhat unhealthy eating habits.
wao im impress with this project that kerri and christopher had ,is learning from them that amaze me ,wao thanks!!!
I suppose I have been doing this so long that I dont see what the big deal is. I have two children under the age of two and my husband and I to feed and we live off of $20 a week and have for several years now. We eat a lot of grains. Rice is a godsend. We buy fruit and veggies from the farmers market as they tend to be cheaper. Our diets seem to be more filling than the ones you have described and also more nutritious. Then again it did take me a bit to get it down (experimentation with what filled you up and what lasted longer etc.). I commend you on your willingness to raise public awareness though. Keep up the good work.
Very interesting experiment, however there does seem to be some type of initial investment, especially with the spices! I believe that the Chana Masala recipe uses about 11 different spices, which would cost from $20-30 alone to purchase, at which point you would have already blown your budget for the month! I am not aware of any establishment that would allow one to purchase spices by the tsp. or pinch, but only by the bag, can or jar. So I am wondering how you can justify the “actual” final cost? If one really only had $30 to spend in one month on food, how would one be able to prepare this dish which includes expensive spices? Thank you in advance for your response.
There’s a must read 3 part article (with meals, recipes, menus) called Meals for Hard Times that I think like minded people should read at http://www.menus4moms.com/frugal/meals_for_hard_times_1.php
Its not a dollar a day but she shows how to feed a family of 6 on $20-$30 a week. Some of you might want to have a look at it. Hope it helps someone. It has me.
The cheapest way to eat would be to grow your own veggies! I’ve never done it before but I’m thinking about trying it next year in the spring/summer. Maybe you could incorporate that into one of your experiments. I think it would be intesting to find out how cheap you can possibly go and still eat nutritious food and live on a balanced diet.
Hello, that is so cool that you are sharing your project with the world. Can’t wait to read your book.
Something that is very popular in Mexico is tortillas made with Maseca. Now in some areas of the states it is available. You can also make gorditas out of it. They are small tortillas (silver dollar size usually) their thickness about 3 tortillas and you slice them open and fill them with different foods. A favorite is refried beans and cheese. These are cheap to make. The new Maseca is available where you just add water for like $3.00 or so the sac of 5lbs. You know most Mexicans cherish the “water” or “brooth” you end up with when you cook pinto beans.
Some even bottle feed it to their babies when they are tiny infants. I know my babysitter would do that for me and my sons. And when they got older enough to chew she would feed them corn tortillas soaked in bean “brooth” my sons loved it. Anyway, I made those “gorditas” also using amarath flour. (because of a special diet I had to follow) They were good too.
I forgot to tell you that the new hip and healthy discovery in Mexico and USA is the “CHIA” it is a tiny seed that is said to contain 4 times the calcium of broccoli and milk in a spoon portion of that seed. It is like eating seasame seeds, pretty much tasteless. I eat them with yogurt and you can also soak them in water and ferment your H2O to have minerals, calcium and vitamins that way plus calcium.
Very original project. I just want to add that in some parts of our state there is a special rice that can be eaten just after a minute of soaking in water. It is very tasty and can be eaten raw or with anything of your choice. That’s why so many people in our state are thriving below $1 per day.
BTW, the 1st one here is a popular Indian recipe and I love it.
All the best for your success.
I was just wondering how the whole recipe for Chana Masala cost 98cents. I’ve tried cooking Indian food and its been freaking expensive having to buy the 20 spices needed to add that extra smth. Does 98c just refer to the beans? And the spices are sposed to be already in your kitchen and dont count?
Hi! Saw your story in Mexico on my Yahoo site. Nice work. We are a family of five, and when we lived in Phoenix -before- the financial collapse, we couldn’t make it for under $300 per month, and eat well. That was $2 per day, but with kids, they need their nutrition. My wife is Mexican, and we ate “real” Mexican food (very healthy with all the fresh veggies and meats they use – I know the stereotype, but trust me it isn’t authentic with all the soupy, sloppy sauces and such. We now spend about 10 – 15 pesos per day for all five of us on food, about $1.00 USD per person. But the mean household income based on the latest census is about $12,000 USD, so it’s all relative (the US is 40K + per household). Keep up the good work! I still can’t believe you did this in SD. Adios!
We raise all of our own veggies. It is not at hard as some people think. We also raise them for our community. With a little imagination, no one need to have to buy veggies. They can be grown in pots on your doorstep and if you have a small back yard it can be sectioned off in raised beds. If your yard is very small or your patio….you can plant in 5 gallon buckets and hang from pole (like a clothesline. If you purchase heirloom seeds, you can then save the seeds from veggies to plant the following year. Can, dry, or freeze all extras. With a little work and ingenuity no one in America need go hungry.
I noticed your “Wheat Gluten” recipe. This project is an amazing idea, yet there are some interesting facts to take into consideration.
Many Americans suffer from ailments such as Celiac’s Diasease and Crohn’s disease (inability to process gluten and fiber). Wheat/gluten allergies are on the rise by roughly 2% a year. When you add into this mix the economic status of some of those people, the cost of food is enough to make someone cry.
I’m interested in knowing if you could do that $1 a day diet while gluten free? (Not to mention the interesting ways you’d cope with it! I eat gluten free cause my sister has Celiac’s disease but even she cheats everyonce and a while cause it is nearly impossible to be completely gluten free all the time.)
For all the folks asking about the number of spices that go into the “chana masala” recipe an easier approach is simply to get and use a packet of “chana masala powder” from any Indian store. This costs about a dollar or so and will last several batches and it is what most Indians who cook this dish do anyway.
This is great! Can you publish the Peanut butter Cookie Recipe for me. I love those cookies and would love to try a good PB Cookie from someone else. Thanks!
This may sound kind of gross, but if you want to keep your salt intake up, try licking each others feet. You will not only get your salt and protein, but you will also get your Swiss vitamin..
Kerri and Christopher, I’ve followed your project and want to thank you for sharing it. It has helped me to become even more aware of food costs and nutrition and has resulted in my making some very beneficial changes. I’m experimenting with recipes and creating some interesting dishes.
For the person who asked about the cost of spices: I don’t know about the stores in your area, but my local natural foods store carries bulk spices and I can put just a spoonful or two into a plastic bag and buy only that much. I’ve gone in and bought quite an assortment of Indian spices that lasted for several meals for about 40 cents. The fragrant spices really make a difference! I hope you can find a store that carries bulk spices.
I would love the tortilla recipe, as well as the Spanish rice one so I can make my own “burritos”!
Pingback: Manger pour 1 dollars par jour | Crowded.fr
I know it can be done, I fed my 4 children on $40 a week when I was first divorced and struggling. Bulk buys at the health food store were staples. Last holiday season when my daughter wanted to do a lot of baking, we went to the supermarket and health food store to compare spice prices. It was a valuable lesson for her. We purchased just the needed spices for less than $2 at the health food store. Where else would one find two bay leaves for 27 cents!
I really hope that you guys post even more recipes… I know several of the foods you guys mentioned in your blog haven’t made it over here yet, and I’d love to know how you made them!
As a college student with a disability, every dollar counts, and I commend you guys on what you are doing.
I hope that you post more recipes.
for others looking to eat on a budget, I encourage you to check out http://www.angelfoodministries.org. It’s a great program that ANYONE can purchase. It is about $70 worth of fresh food for only $30. It’s still pricey, but it’s not too bad for the amount of food there. In addition, if you purchase a main box, you have the option of purchasing boxes that include extra meats or even fresh produce, for low prices.
Simplified grain, bean and oil recipe:
3/4 cup of whole grains (about 6 ounces, =$0.18 @ $0.50/lb, about 600 calories)
1/4 cup of dried beans (about 2 ounces, =$0.06 @ $0.50/lb, about 200 calories)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil, 120 calories, for this example I’ll use canola oil which goes for about $1/liter, so 15 ml is about $0.02 . Extra Virgin Olive oil would be better and goes for about $7/liter.
So, in total, we’re looking at 920 calories of very healthy food (high fiber, low glycemic index, balanced protein, no artificial additives, minerals and vitamins, Omega-3 oil) for 26 cents.
1. Wash the beans and grain with water.
2. Soak the beans and grain overnight.
3. Throw out the soaking water (you can drink it, similar to Rejuvelac, but bean water is difficult to digest for most people until you adapt to it).
4. Bring beans and grains and oil and about 4 cups of water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer (a crockpot would be ideal) for one hour or longer, to the tenderness you prefer.
Bean tip: Don’t cook beans with salt, sugar or anything acidic; it toughens the beans and greatly increases required cooking time. Personally, I just cook them, and grains, in plain water. Add stuff (vegetables, salt, sugar, vinegar, spices) to taste only after they have reached the desired softness or have been mashed.
Check out “More- With- Less” cookbook published by Doris Janzen Longacre (Herald Press). This is not just a cookbook it is a movement on eating better and consuming less of the world’s limited food supply. The recipes in the book are economical and very tasty. I like the cultural component of the book too– it includes recipes from around the world.
—Thanks for posting the recipes, I’m definitely going to try them!
Simple Peanut Butter Cookies/Crackers
Mix 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt into one cup of flour (any flour will do, whole grain is healthier). Mix in one cup of peanut butter (100% peanut peanut butter is best, any nut butter will work, if it’s already salted, skip the salt above). Optionally add an egg. If the result is too thick (depends on peanut butter), thin with oil, if too thin thicken with flour, but not real critical as long as you can form balls with a spoon. Optionally add a sweetener, it’s the sweetener that makes it a cookie instead of a cracker, up to a cup of sugar for serious sweet tooths. You could use Stevia instead, it’s probably a more healthy sweetener. Form into balls, flatten with a fork, optionally stick a raw peanut in, and bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Without the sugar, it’s very healthy for you, as long as you don’t have a peanut allergy.
“Cornell Bread”. Basically add a tablespoon of soy flour and a tablespoon of milk powder per cup of whole wheat flour (or add wheat germ and wheat bran to white flour to get whole wheat flour). Inexpensive, healthy, and tastes good. Too lazy to make bread? Just mix the above and a teaspoon of baking powder with water and make pancakes.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the entire blog.
I am curious for one recipe, however.
You mentioned you ate a lot of rice. Was it plain or did you make a sort of spanish/spiced rice?
If you spiced it up, can you offer that recipe? I’ve never been able to produce a good one myself.
Just watched your interview on Fox!You are both very inspiring!!
I was wondering why there was no chicken, fish or beef in your diet? Was it too expensive or do you both not eat meat? Can you still eat frugal if you have any chicken or fish in the diet?
What??? Refried beans are not fried?? and not refried?? Dang it… Well at least I feel less guilty.
What is TVP in your bread recepie?
Thank you so much! I’m dying for your tortilla recipe- I can make decent corn ones with Maseca but my flour tortillas, no matter how flat I squish them, shrink and puff up unbelievably when they hit the pan. How do you make such delicious and flat ones?
You’re one dollar diet project is very useful~!!
I’m Korean,Now, this site is introduced in my S.Korea. Congratuation:)
Anyway, steady update please~
Since others have left recipes, this is my personal favorite:
Black bean dip
1 large can Bushes black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 large purple onion, diced
1 decent size cilantro bunch, chopped up
2 Tablespoons virgin vegetable oil
Sea salt to taste
Mix ingredients together in medium size bowl. Allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator. Can be used as a dip with chips (I make mine) or on baked potatoes, salads as a low fat dressing, or as a salad all by itself.
Great recipes thanks for sharing
Guys one word for you… ” Photographs ” please i needed just for guide, thaks and see you later
What a nice site, been surfing on it for the whole night and day and i neva got bored for a single minute. Keep up your good work and all of the best in everything you do!
Whoa…check out this page…hmmm, and I thought this was only for the kids
My name is Bobby and I’m new to this place 🙂. So far this is an incredible place of information and I’ve spent a ton of time reading and browsing around. Look forward to interacting with you!
My name is Robert and I am new here 🙂. So far this is an awesome source for information and I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading and browsing around. Look forward to getting to know you!
don’t think $1 is little money. My parents spent no more than $60 a month for food.
Wow, what a great project. And such nice looking teachers. In my time they were all old and grumpy…
Around 7 years ago I was homeless for a period of 1,5 year. Having a dollar a day was not always possible let alone getting normal nutritious food.
I Wish I had those great looking recipes back then! On second thought, cooking would have been hard… But knowing about the recipes might have motivated me to get means of cooking… haha
Your project here is a great way to get positive attention! Well done and bon appetite! 🙂
Pingback: From Tiny Blog to Book Deal to Oprah |
I like your blog and I find the whole project quite inspiring. What I don’t really understand is, you guys being American, are able to get your food at already such incredibly low prices-in comparison with Europe, I find it amazing you still try to save money on it. I live in Europe and therefore on European – not American wages, and simply buy and cook the food I consider healthy and suitable. And I actually find it hard to understand why do so many people struggle so much with maintaining a healthy diet. To put my situation in a broader picture though: I do not own a house – live in a rented accomodation, have no car – use public transport, have no loans of ANY kind. I recycle my clothes – I own a sewing machine, and buy only what I can afford; I do have and use a credit card but only to purchase things online – again if I have enough money to actually afford them. My question is – why does the rest of the world find this easy way so difficult to follow? Has the greed for ever more really become so absolutely overwhelming?
There are some good ideas here and I think that I will have to give this a go.
Hello, It is likely our posting could be off topic but anyways, I’ve been browsing around your blog and it seems seriously cool. It is obvious you know the topic and you seem passionate about it. We are developing a new web site plus I’m striving to make it look good, and present high quality website content. I have discovered much at your web site and also I anticipate additional articles and will be back soon. Thanks.
Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.
Great post and I seriously like the directives as well.
imagine ahving celiacs and having to do this gluten free