Trouble With Toast

Eat on $60 – Day 2 | October 13, 2009

Monday morning brought a whole new set of challenges to our Eat on $60 experience.  First, we had to account for ALL of our meals (not just dinner like the previous day).  Second, with my husband participating in fitness boot camp, I had to pack him a lunch (and snacks) that would satisfy his metabolism requirements while complying with the monetary limitations.  Finally, it was Monday morning, and I was groggy and cranky.  You know how it is.

Before I launch into how we did on Day 2, let me throw some info at you.  After all, this challenge is about more than just scrimping and saving for a week – it’s about cultivating awareness of hunger issues, both locally and nationally.  Did you know that according to the 2006 U.S. Census, more than one in five Georgia children live in poverty.  That’s 491,794 children under the age of 18 who face hunger issues as a part of their daily lives.  I know food was a HUGE part of my childhood, so that really is a devastating figure for me.  If you want to read more and learn about ways you can help, a visit to the Atlanta Community Food Bank website is a great start.  There are some really cool events coming up that will raise money to address the very issues we are trying to bring to light with this challenge.

Okay, back to Monday’s eating.  Here’s how it broke down…


Betty – energy bar ($1.08), coffee (2 cups at $0.12 each = $0.24).  Total – $1.32

Jason – yogurt ($0.60), Smart Start cereal ($0.30), coffee (1 cup = $0.12).  Total – $1.02

When I got to work and started crunching numbers, I smacked myself on the forehead when I realized how CRAZY expensive those energy bars can be.  We eat them out of convenience, sure, but also because we usually involved in some sort of athletic pursuit (boot camp for Jason, triathlon training for me) and those bars are a great way to get nutrients while running/biking.  My disappointment was evened out somewhat by the cheapness of our store-brand, made-at-home coffee.  And it got rid of my morning crankiness just like the expensive coffee shop stuff!


Betty – 2 leftover pork chops ($1.96), leftover applesauce ($0.61).  Total – $2.57

Jason – chicken salad sandwich (bread $0.14, chicken $0.47, mayo $0.66 = $1.27), crackers ($0.20), Fig Newtons ($0.37).  Total – $1.84

Again, lunch made me smack myself upside the head.  I didn’t really NEED two pork chops, but lunch is usually a pretty large meal for me (a habit I picked up in Spain), and I just didn’t think I would be satisfied with one.  The applesauce was delicious once again.  As for hubby’s meal, the crackers and Fig Newtons were already in the pantry before the challenge, so I divided out their total cost to a per-serving number, which was not as bad as I anticipated given that they were the individually wrapped variety.


Betty – Nutella pound cake ($0.79 per slice, breakdown below).  Total – $0.79

Jason – gala apple ($0.41, on sale), energy bar ($1.08).  Total – $1.49

The Nutella pound cake had been calling my name since I saw it in the most recent Food and Wine magazine, so I baked it up to see if it would fit into the challenge.  It worked out to a pretty reasonable per-serving number, and it was really delicious.  Nutella itself is pretty expensive, but thankfully, Kroger makes a store-brand hazelnut spread that worked out beautifully and kept the recipe cost much lower.  Here it is:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.15)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature ($0.08 each, on sale = $0.32)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract ($1.00, my best guess)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (free)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened ($2.00)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar ($0.21)
  • One 13-ounce jar Nutella ($2.59)

Total – $6.32.  There were 8 slices, so that works out to $0.79 per slice.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour. In a glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions until just incorporated. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer. Spread one-third of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread half of the Nutella on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Nutella. Top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl the Nutella into the batter with a butter knife. Do not overmix. Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve.

For dinner, I decided to make a pizza at home, based on this recipe from Cooking Light magazine.  Unfortunately, the math somehow got messed up in my head, because once I added everything up and broke it down per serving, I realized that the dish didn’t quite fit within our budget.  Grrrr.  In any case, I got a store bought pizza crust ($2.59), put some pesto sauce down as the base ($4.49!!!!), and covered the pie with two servings of roasted chicken ($0.94), one cup of halved red grapes ($0.69), half a package of store-brand shredded mozzarella ($0.84), and a couple of cloves of garlic ($0.50).  The total came out to $10.05, and we broke it down into three servings ($3.35 per serving).  In hindsight, we probably could have broken it down to four servings.  Lesson learned.  The pizza was delicious, and I definitely want to make it again, but I will find a way to make it cheaper, perhaps by making my own crust and/or pesto.

Eat on 60 pizza

At the end of the day, my food added up to $8.28, and Jason’s added up to $7.70.  So, our total spent on Day 2 was $15.98 (making our total for the week-to-date $19.16).  Certainly, that number is WAY less than what we normally spend, but it was significantly over the daily budget we were shooting for.  We learned a lot, though, and pledged to alter our habits a bit on Day 3 in order to get ourselves more in line with the proper numbers.  Did we succeed?  You’ll have to tune in tomorrow to find out…



  1. That pizza looks DELICIOUS!

    Yes…I know how the math can creep up on you. You’re posting honestly and learning things so there’s always that. It’s a success! 🙂

    – t*

    Comment by tami — October 13, 2009 @ 1:26 am

    • The pizza WAS delicious, and it held up pretty well as leftovers, too. I was disappointed in myself for not balking at the pesto in the store as I should have, but the non-budget shopper in me must have taken over for a moment.

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 13, 2009 @ 11:06 am

  2. I am so grateful to you because now I know about Kroger Nutella! Whoo-hoo! I’m going to be posting the pizza crust recipe we use in our house on Friday. When we bake it with a pizza crust, it makes the most amazing pizza – so much better than most you can buy. Plus you can get 2 crusts for $1.06

    Comment by Kristina — October 13, 2009 @ 2:54 am

    • Yay, cannot wait to read about the crust recipe! I love pizza, so that would be a great staple to master. And the Kroger Nutella was a happy discovery for sure!

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 13, 2009 @ 11:07 am

  3. How much mayo was in the chicken salad?? Always buy mayo on a 2 for one deal. Mayo that is not opened will stay in your pantry for quite a while. I never pay more than $2 for a whole jar which makes your $.79 seem excessive for Jason’s lunch.

    Comment by Mom — October 13, 2009 @ 9:59 am

  4. Sorry, $.66 is still too high unless you put 1/3 jar on his sandwhich.

    Comment by Mom — October 13, 2009 @ 10:01 am

    • Well, it is probably a bit high. However, it was the Kraft mayo with olive oil (it was already open in my fridge), which is more expensive than the other stuff, and it was a relatively large jar. I couldn’t remember exactly what I paid for it, so I figured that estimating high would be better than fudging low.

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 13, 2009 @ 11:09 am

  5. Do you have a cheese shredder/grater? If so, buying cheese in blocks is cheaper per unit weight than buying shredded cheese. I totally hear you on the shopping on the fly problem – if I had done that, I would have overspent by A LOT. I had to plan out EVERY item I bought ahead of time to keep within budget (and I have had a lot of math in my lifetime, let me tell you…) 🙂 And I love that your mom is commenting in with $ saving tips. Moms are AWESOME like that!

    Comment by Jen Yu — October 13, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

    • I do have a shredder/grater, but my hubs insisted on part-skim/low fat cheese, and there were no blocks available. And I love my mom’s tips as well! She is a grocery sale shopper extraordinaire.

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 14, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

  6. Bettyjoan, Kroger Nutella! That is wonderful a wonderful find 🙂 Also, when is your triathlon? I feel your pain trying eat well/enough while training.

    Comment by Hailey — October 13, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

  7. Too many wonderfuls! I was really excited about the nutella!

    Comment by Hailey — October 13, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

    • Haha, I understand, I was excited, too. I won’t do another tri until the summer season, but I try to maintain a base level of fitness so I don’t keel over when I start officially training in January.

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 14, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

  8. price per serving costs are fascinating part of the challenge. we are doing pizza later this week, but we are making our own dough. so, hopefully, its price per serving is doable.

    Comment by maybelles mom — October 14, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  9. oh and i am impressed that you baked on the challenge. good job

    Comment by maybelles mom — October 14, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

    • Thanks! I really wanted to work ONE baked good into the week. I am excited to read everyone’s recipes for homemade pizza dough–I really need to learn how to make it, as we eat pizza at home quite frequently.

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 14, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

  10. […] and most importantly, I challenged myself (and my husband) to eat and drink on $60 for an entire week, and it was an incredibly eye-opening experience that I hope to try again in the coming year.  […]

    Pingback by 2009 – Full Throttle, Full Circle « Trouble With Toast — December 29, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

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