Friday, May 30, 2008


So, I am finally starting to get paid, after a bunch of moving expenses and a couple weeks of working, commuting, eating, and paying other expenses. Fortunately, I have a wonderful family that has helped me make ends meet along the way.

As a result of a dangerously low checking account balance and little cash on hand, I had to get creative with my expenses. I would get gas in less than $10 increments, I became a master of the value menus at Wendy's and Taco Bell, and I spent an extra few minutes go up and down all the grocery store aisles to find the best bang for my buck, without sacrificing quality in the process.

Further complicating the process is the fact that I have such a limit "kitchen" area here. As you can see in the pictures from my previous post, I have a small fridge, a microwave, and small coffee maker. I experimented with different ways of flavoring up some otherwise plain oatmeal, from a dash of salt to picking apart granola bars and sprinkling the contents throughout. I also found ways to make a some stir fry and low mein, cooking different ingredients separately then tossing them all together. And I quickly realized how easy it was to near-boil and poach chicken.

Just a few days ago, I heated up some black beans, cooked some brown rice and a few chicken strips, and threw in some salsa. I found some inexpensive whole wheat tortillas at Food Lion, and with all the cooked items I had a makeshift taco bar. I enjoyed a few burritos (between lunch and dinner), and it barely cost me anything. Rice and beans are super cheap, the salsa was a store knockoff version of tostitos salsa, and the chicken was one of those "manager's specials" -- the food they drastically mark down when it's within a day or two of the "sell by" date on the packaging.

On Thursday, I was looking to pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store -- great buys, since you get the whole chicken for a cheap price. I noticed the freshly cooked ones going for about $7-8, but the ones from the morning had been placed in a refrigerated area and were only $4. Brought that sucker home, immediately got to work on it, stripping every ounce of meat from it and nearly filling a large tupperware container. I also picked up a rice cooker from CVS for about $12, so making the rice will be a breeze. I remember in my freshman year of college, I had a roommate who would cook some rice, and after the rice began to soak up most of the water, he would toss a few Taiwanese sausages on top. These are kind of red, and they have a distinct and pleasant sweet flavor. I saw an Asian market on the way back from work the other day, so maybe I can find the sausages and some other goodies at the market.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Lola and Guapo also have enjoyed some of the goodies. I've been breaking off chunks of colby jack cheese (that I've been eating with crackers, like a typical Cuban), and they helped me finish a chicken burrito just a couple hours ago.

Next up, I have a package of ground turkey, and I want to see if I can make a decent chili without a stove or crock pot / slow cooker. I'll let you know how that works out.

You stay classy,


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