Recipe: stir fried rice
NaBloWriMo day 16 (we’re over the hump!)
Eat on $30 day 6
Today was so wacked out. You see, we are having a dinner party on Sunday and I went into town to purchase groceries for the party. I can’t tell you how nice it was to comparison shop, but not have to worry about a decisive budget like last week! I bought a lot of very very nice seafood. Oh! and vegetables – gorgeous gorgeous vegetables and fruits and cheeses and wines (so many lovely wines). All the while, it made me a little sad because you see, I can step out of this self-imposed challenge whenever I want to. It ends Saturday and Jeremy and I can resume eating. What about people who have to stress over their food – and I mean really stress, not “Oh, what shall we serve our guests? Sancerre or Chablis?” – day after day, month after month. It never ends.
We’re coming to the last day of the challenge and while I love love love my readers for their insightful and thoughtful comments, observations, suggestions, while I love that we ARE raising awareness, I can’t help but feel a little helpless. A lot helpless. Sure, I made the $60 challenge for 2 people. We ate well. It would be folly for me to assume that because I could do it, people on food assistance can too. It’s not a level playing field. I don’t even want to begin describing the cooking equipment I have at my disposal, the culinary knowledge and experience, the desire. We are also assuming that we all love to cook and that doesn’t apply to everyone. Others doing the Eat on $30 challenge have touched on it too. There are many more factors than just money that are stacked against the hungry: time, equipment, math skills, transportation, knowledge, access. Most businesses locate where they can maximize profit, not where they can help the most people.
So I was in Boulder all day Thursday and I had $1.69 burning a hole in my pocket. I wandered into another grocery store, Sunflower. I forgot about them during my aggregation of groceries for this week’s challenge. I also got tired thinking of visiting a fifth store to price things out (at some point, you just scream “stop!”). But Sunflower has a great bulk section and I wandered about looking for some sweet treats to nibble on in the evenings. Can I just bitch for a(nother) moment? Why can’t I find a scale in the bulk section of Whole Foods? Apparently, they don’t want me weighing what I decided not to buy… Sunflower did have a scale – a crappy analog scale. When buying quantities on the order of a couple of ounces (remember, the $1.69 budget) those analogs are useless. I wound up purchasing the cheapest (on sale) item: gummy bears. I got about 20 of those colorful, sugar-filled, deliciously fruity little guys at $1.99 a pound.
psst! see fred passed out over there? too many appletinis…
I figured I could also get a few banana chips – less than a handful at $2.49 a pound. The whole bean coffee was $6.99 for any type of coffee. I know nearly nothing about coffee but decided to get some. You see, a few days after our challenge began, Tami said she had the worst headache ever because she didn’t have coffee in her budget. If you will recall, Jeremy opted out of coffee because I couldn’t find any decent coffee (he’s a picky one) at Safeway (running something like $11.99 a pound for the whole bean coffee). When he came home Tuesday, I said, “Tami said she’s got a horrible headache because she hasn’t had any coffee.” He looked at me and pointed at his left eye, “I feel like there is a needle behind this eye. It’s been like that all day.” I asked if it was because of the lack of coffee and he nodded. I should also point out that Jeremy has been getting up at 3 am and observing on the telescope for several hours each morning and then going to work for a full day, then coming home and working all night – all without Precious Coffee. I felt so bad about that. You can just imagine when I saw the $6.99 per pound sign I scooped what I thought was about an ounce of beans into a bag as a surprise for my guy. A reward for his good efforts in the last few days of the challenge.
1.92 ounces of coffee beans!
I wound up paying $.28 for the gummy bears, $.20 for the banana chips, and $.84 for the coffee! Then I got a $.10 refund for my shopping bag. My total: $1.27. I have $.42 left! When I walked to the register to pay for my snacks, I spied the free coffee station with those cute little 3 oz. cups. I was about to pick Jeremy up from campus to go home, so I filled a little cup with their organic dark roast as an extra bonus for him. As soon as he got in the car I handed him the little cup. You should have seen the smile on his face! He had some interesting observations on his reaction to the coffee:
I am convinced that I get an anticipatory high from the caffeine before I taste it much less digest it. I smell the coffee and hold a warm vessel in my hands and my personal internal pharmacy injects some goodies to give me a warm glow, positive outlook, and energy boost. ~Jeremy
Here’s what we had today (day 6): oatmeal for brekkie (Jeremy), bagel for brekkie (jen), beef stew for lunch (jeremy), soy sauce egg for lunch (jen), the remaining soy sauce chicken noodle soup for dinner, apple turnovers for dessert (which we ate BEFORE dinner), the last of the gummy bears and all of the banana chips. Jeremy has been enjoying coffee in his French press for the past day.
The fried rice we had on Thursday was a combination of leftovers. That’s why I love fried rice, you can put anything in it. I used a third of the rice to eat plain with the beef stew, and the remaining two thirds to make fried rice with a whole yellow onion, a third of the beef kielbasa sausage, four eggs, and four stalks of celery.
ready to cook
hard scramble the eggs
I don’t typically make my fried rice this way. I use more Chinese ingredients, but I’ll post those recipes some other day. This is about making do with what I had and it was actually very satisfying. Despite being a noodle girl, I do love rice too.
sauté the onions and celery
add the eggs and sausage
People can throw in all manner of goodies like chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, broccoli, peppers, peas, carrots, corn. You name it, it’s probably been put in fried rice at some point in human history. I guess that could get a little scary.
so good hot (not so good cold)
this is just based on what I made for the challenge
1 medium onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
4 eggs, scrambled into little tiny pieces
1 cup beef kielbasa, diced
4 cups steamed white medium-grain rice
In a large frying pan, over high flame heat a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil and add the onion and celery. Sauté until the onions become translucent, seasoning with salt to taste. Add the eggs and beef. Stir together in the pan then add the rice. Break the rice up and stir fry (add more oil if needed – I prefer not to) until the rice is evenly distributed and browned in some places. Serve hot.