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Thread: Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 /Day by Leanne Brown

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    Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 /Day by Leanne Brown

    Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 /Day by Leanne Brown

    Anyone else try some recipes from it yet?

    Leanne says “Kitchen skill, not budget, is the key to great food.” She developed the book as a major project for her master’s degree in food studies. One reviewer summed up her strategy this way:
    “'Good and Cheap' is not a challenge to live on so little - it's a resource for those who face this reality, or anyone in need of stretching a tight budget. Author Leanne Brown shares tasty, nutritious recipes that maximize every ingredient and use economical cooking methods. She also give tips on shopping, setting up a basic pantry, mastering staples and even repurposing last night's dinner.”

    “A perfect and irresistible idea: A cookbook filled with delicious, healthful recipes created for everyone on a tight budget—and a cookbook with a strong charitable component: With every copy of Good and Cheap purchased, a second copy will be given to a person or family in need.

    While studying food policy as a master’s candidate at NYU, Leanne Brown asked a simple yet critical question: How well can a person eat on the $4 a day given by SNAP, the U.S. government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program informally known as food stamps?”

    Earlier editions of this book have been downloaded 900,000+ times. She also has things set up that many copies of the print edition are given free to people who need them. She is currently on tour for this book and some of the book signings are held at food bank type places where the books are given away. It might be worth alerting your local food banks, etc about this as they may be able to piggyback on the tour or at least get some boxes of the books for free. Or they are making bulk orders of the books available and if you get a whole box, they are $5.19 a book. Note to Stephanie –they are using this book to help students in a Latino/a program in your area.

    She does a great job of covering the basics that we have discussed here and on the Simple Living website that we wish people knew. She also encourages seasonal eating, vegetables for flavor, more use of eggs, getting fresh bread, making your own beverages, making your own broth, using the freezer to reduce preparation time, making and using schmaltz, getting bulk yogurt and adding your own fruit, and buying a pepper grinder when you can.

    Her grocery list consists of items that are frugal most of the year plus those that are frugal seasonally, a few key flavorful condiments, basic treat foods that can kick recipes up a notch, and a few spices that can have a big impact on the food.

    Her page of ideas for leftovers turn the previous day’s food into something new and interesting. One idea I’d never thought of is to do innovative Poutines such as putting chili or Filipino Chicken Adobo over it. Versatility is also a key strategy for her such as using a toping for one grain over or wrapped in another grain.

    Each recipe has a cost per serving and for the whole recipe. It looks to me like the prices reflect careful buying at standard prices. My guess is that we could get the prices lower with sale items(could be a fun challenge for us). And those of us with gardens or chickens could do even better. The recipes reflect her joy of food. I could see a lot of them on a bistro menu as they are so appealing, yet they are not time consuming.

    Vegetables and fruits do triple duty here by adding flavor, nutrition and eye appeal. Tomato Scrambled Eggs has nuggets of jewel-like tomatoes incorporated into the eggs. Bananas produce golden pancakes and make it possible to use up older bananas faster than you could make banana bread. She’s excellent at enticing people to eat nutritionally rather than should-ing them into it.

    International flavors are incorporated to expand the cook’s repertoire. She’s careful to do this with a few key ingredients or spices to keep the cost down. She also suggests different ways to flavor recipes according to what you have. Some examples:
    *A lentil and onion based Dal spiced with mustard seeds, turmeric, and a jalapeno
    *French Onion Soup that can be made with water or even tastier with homemade broth. Plus flavor of the soup can be varied by adding chile flakes or fresh thyme. This is one of the many recipes that started me thinking about other fusion versions such as what would Mexican, Italian, or Chinese versions of French Onion Soup taste like? (If ideas pop into your head, I’d love to try them.)
    *Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup
    *Spicy Panzanella salad
    *Mexican Street Corn
    *Roasted Potatoes with Chiles
    *Green Chile and Cheddar Quesadillas
    *Filipino Chicken Adobo
    *Peanut Chicken and Broccoli with Coconut Rice
    *Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato
    *Vegetable Jambalaya
    *Spicy, Crunchy, Creamy Polenta—Polenta is topped with spicy greens and a fried egg.
    *Tofu Hot Pot—This would be good with chicken or other meat, too.
    *Black-Eyed Peas and Collards
    *Broccoli, Egg, and Cheddar Empanadas

    In her recipe for Ever-Popular Potato Salad which has a vinaigrette based dressing, she suggests doing it with other root vegetables and notes that it can be made even more quickly if you have leftover roasted vegetables. And this would be a great strategy if you made a double batch of roasted vegetables for dinner the day before with the idea of keeping half for the next nights root veg salad. This also started me thinking about using two roasted vegetables in a potato salad. Potatoes and carrots or potatoes and beets seemed like good ones to start with, and I bet a lot of other ones would be good too.

    She suggests making mashed vegetables out of other things than potatoes and includes recipes for mashed beets, cauliflower, celery root, and winter squash. One bonus of these recipes is that they would make good baby food as well, so a family with very young children could all enjoy the same dish.


    For a gluten free reader she came up with the idea of using spiced popcorn instead of croutons to top a salad.

    She suggests frugal strategies that others often miss such as making corn cob broth, roasting pumpkin seeds. The only thing I’ve seen her not use that I would is that she suggests throwing out cooked chicken skin in one recipe. I would blend it into a broth for another recipe instead.

    Leanne provides a dozen suggestions for topping toast. Most of these are pretty fast and could be made in 10 minutes or less. Some use leftovers from another meal plus something else. The longest would take about 30 minutes. A few I’ve done before like the apples and cheddar on toast, but others were new to me—Caramelized Onions and Cheddar, Korean-Style Spinach. Probably the one I’ll try first is
    Roasted Vegetables and freshly grated romano/parmesan and black pepper. A serving is two open-faced slices of bread, toasted and topped. A number of the recipes are around $1 a serving. The most frugal is 75 cents and the most expensive is $2.50 a serving though if you had a garden that one would be very frugal.

    Cornmeal-Crusted Veggies is an innovative baked tempura-like dish. Vegetables are battered with flour-egg-milk and then rolled in a spiced cornmeal mixture and then baked. Think of them as a veggie French fry. They can be eaten plain or with a dipping sauce.

    Regular hotdogs are made more interesting with flavorful toppings such as Quick Teriyaki Carrots, Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers with Dill, Mexican Street Corn, or Salsa.

    Big batch recipes include a tomato sauce that takes 5 minutes to make, bean dishes, pulled pork, pierogis(20 cents each for a 3 inch pierogi), Chinese-style dumplings(12 cents each) and hummus.

    Deviled Egg recipes take you around the world with classic, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Greek and other versions for about 15 cent per half egg.

    Readers are encouraged to make some of their own things from scratch including flavorful ingredients (peanut sauce, salsa, tzatziki, raita, spice mixes, spiced oil), flatbreads (roti, flour tortillas, pizza), pasta, ricotta, rice of various colors, beans from dry, refrigerator pickles, agua fresca, smoothies, melon sorbet, rice pudding (vanilla/Indian/Pumpkin Pie/Coconut and Lime, cookies, and coffee cake.

    More info on book
    http://www.workman.com/products/9780761184997/
    Leanne’s blog
    http://www.leannebrown.com/recipes/

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    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    I've given up minute tracking of my overall spending, but ... I kinda miss it. This would make a fun and entertaining challenge for January. I think $4 a day per person is reasonable and would allow for recipes my husband would enjoy rather than suffer through.

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    I like the $4 a day idea...

    I did $1.50 a day for a week (two or three times now) as a challenge. And it is tough... :/

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    Also:

    I want this! *Spicy, Crunchy, Creamy Polenta—Polenta is topped with spicy greens and a fried egg.

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    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    ETA: I do want to say that I have no idea what the actual SNAP allowance is here, and it's not my focus. We've had discussions before that break down into what the precise to the penny amount of the allowance should be for a challenge. I understand that some people are getting by on next to nothing, and I want to help them, but that is not this, for me. I'm not trying to imitate that situation to get a deeper understanding of poverty, I just want the shallow motivation to come up with a liveable day to day meal plan for our family that reins in the spending. I've become a fan of expensive cheese, shrimp and salmon, but spicy polenta and egg sounds fabulous for 1/10 the price.

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    Senior Member awakenedsoul's Avatar
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    This book sounds excellent. I got so many ideas from your post. I like the mashed vegetable idea. I've been using homemade bread to make my casseroles last longer. I also use meat diced up as a seasoning in rice. Saving money on food really helps the budget.

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    I had the book. It is a good concept book and to show you what you can eat that is good and nutritious. I gave it away to someone who needed it more, now that I know how to do this type of cooking.

    Breakfast - oats, ground flax and raisins
    Lunch - lentil soup, bread, fruit
    Dinner - pasta and veg/sauce with salad.

    That is the sort of thing I make.

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    I recently bought this book and another, Eating Vegan on Four Dollars a Day. I have looked through them and really like them but have to gear up to make some changes. Probably around the holidays...

    Last night my husband made a creamy, fantastic butternut squash soup. There was no cream but onions, the squash was roasted, veggie broth and I think one more ingredient. The only thing is that we have a high speed blender so I don!t know if you can get that texture without one. If anyone is interested in the recipe I will post it...

    Glad you started this thread Amaranth...

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    Kib said
    This would make a fun and entertaining challenge for January. I think $4 a day per person is reasonable and would allow for recipes my husband would enjoy rather than suffer through.
    And
    but spicy polenta and egg sounds fabulous for 1/10 the price


    That would be a good challenge. And we could help ourselves by getting some flour and other baking items when they are on sale for the holidays. Also we could focus on those wonderful frugal foods like the polenta/greens/egg meal that don’t get as much press.

    Question for all
    How about a $4 day (average) challenge for January? Price to reflect the carefully stocked pantry, so just the amount that is used. We could do it for a month and people who have less time could just do all the careful planning for one of the weeks or even days here and there. Sound good? Modifications?

    UltraliteAngler said
    I did $1.50 a day for a week (two or three times now) as a challenge. And it is tough... :/

    It is very tough. And made tougher by insisting on starting it from an empty pantry. I think this forum could do a better job of showing what could be done by modifying SNAP and Live Below the Line type challenges to reflect the carefully stocked pantry. Or secondly to incorporate a carefully stocked pantry plus a garden.

    Question for all
    Have been thinking of starting a challenge that combines a carefully stocked pantry—perhaps at the $4 a day rate, plus the produce from a 100 Square Foot Garden. In a challenge with northern hemisphere gardens in mind would you rather the challenge be in June when the spring vegetables and strawberries would be producing well, in July when some of the summer vegetables would be available, or in August when more of the gardens would be likely to have ripe tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc.?

    The time could be changed in future years to incorporate different foods being ripe or even to focus on some preserved foods. In 9 months with row cover a 100SF garden can produce 600+ pounds of food, so some can be preserved. In Zone 7 and higher people can usually get greens all the way through the winter for even more.

    The main thing though is that a well grown intensive garden can average 5-6 servings of vegetables a day, so the challenge participants could get grains, beans, meat, eggs, dairy, olive oil, etc with their $4 a day and have vegetables from their garden.

    What sort of challenges like this do you think would be the most interesting/helpful?

    Awakenedsoul said
    I like the mashed vegetable idea. I've been using homemade bread to make my casseroles last longer. I also use meat diced up as a seasoning in rice. Saving money on food really helps the budget.

    Would you tell us more about how you use the homemade bread with the casseroles? I’d like to learn about that. Recently I heard there is a new cookbook called Toast. Am hoping to get that from the library.

    Kally said
    I had the book. It is a good concept book and to show you what you can eat that is good and nutritious. I gave it away to someone who needed it more, now that I know how to do this type of cooking.

    Breakfast - oats, ground flax and raisins
    Lunch - lentil soup, bread, fruit
    Dinner - pasta and veg/sauce with salad.

    That is the sort of thing I make.


    Like all the things you said. Sometimes I put other fruits in the oats including fresh ones. Diced apples are tasty at the moment with a bit of cinnamon.
    Would like to hear about the different ways you make your lentil soups.

    Tussiemussies said
    I recently bought this book and another, Eating Vegan on Four Dollars a Day. I have looked through them and really like them but have to gear up to make some changes. Probably around the holidays...

    Last night my husband made a creamy, fantastic butternut squash soup. There was no cream but onions, the squash was roasted, veggie broth and I think one more ingredient. The only thing is that we have a high speed blender so I don!t know if you can get that texture without one. If anyone is interested in the recipe I will post it...


    Would you tell us some about the Vegan $4 book?
    Yes, please, to the butternut squash soup. Regular blenders usually do fine with those type of soups, but ones mashed to the consistency of mashed potatoes are great too.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amaranth View Post
    Kib said
    This would make a fun and entertaining challenge for January. I think $4 a day per person is reasonable and would allow for recipes my husband would enjoy rather than suffer through.
    And
    but spicy polenta and egg sounds fabulous for 1/10 the price


    That would be a good challenge. And we could help ourselves by getting some flour and other baking items when they are on sale for the holidays. Also we could focus on those wonderful frugal foods like the polenta/greens/egg meal that don’t get as much press.

    Question for all
    How about a $4 day (average) challenge for January? Price to reflect the carefully stocked pantry, so just the amount that is used. We could do it for a month and people who have less time could just do all the careful planning for one of the weeks or even days here and there. Sound good? Modifications?

    UltraliteAngler said
    I did $1.50 a day for a week (two or three times now) as a challenge. And it is tough... :/

    It is very tough. And made tougher by insisting on starting it from an empty pantry. I think this forum could do a better job of showing what could be done by modifying SNAP and Live Below the Line type challenges to reflect the carefully stocked pantry. Or secondly to incorporate a carefully stocked pantry plus a garden.

    Question for all
    Have been thinking of starting a challenge that combines a carefully stocked pantry—perhaps at the $4 a day rate, plus the produce from a 100 Square Foot Garden. In a challenge with northern hemisphere gardens in mind would you rather the challenge be in June when the spring vegetables and strawberries would be producing well, in July when some of the summer vegetables would be available, or in August when more of the gardens would be likely to have ripe tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc.?

    The time could be changed in future years to incorporate different foods being ripe or even to focus on some preserved foods. In 9 months with row cover a 100SF garden can produce 600+ pounds of food, so some can be preserved. In Zone 7 and higher people can usually get greens all the way through the winter for even more.

    The main thing though is that a well grown intensive garden can average 5-6 servings of vegetables a day, so the challenge participants could get grains, beans, meat, eggs, dairy, olive oil, etc with their $4 a day and have vegetables from their garden.

    What sort of challenges like this do you think would be the most interesting/helpful?

    Awakenedsoul said
    I like the mashed vegetable idea. I've been using homemade bread to make my casseroles last longer. I also use meat diced up as a seasoning in rice. Saving money on food really helps the budget.

    Would you tell us more about how you use the homemade bread with the casseroles? I’d like to learn about that. Recently I heard there is a new cookbook called Toast. Am hoping to get that from the library.

    Kally said
    I had the book. It is a good concept book and to show you what you can eat that is good and nutritious. I gave it away to someone who needed it more, now that I know how to do this type of cooking.

    Breakfast - oats, ground flax and raisins
    Lunch - lentil soup, bread, fruit
    Dinner - pasta and veg/sauce with salad.

    That is the sort of thing I make.


    Like all the things you said. Sometimes I put other fruits in the oats including fresh ones. Diced apples are tasty at the moment with a bit of cinnamon.
    Would like to hear about the different ways you make your lentil soups.

    Tussiemussies said
    I recently bought this book and another, Eating Vegan on Four Dollars a Day. I have looked through them and really like them but have to gear up to make some changes. Probably around the holidays...

    Last night my husband made a creamy, fantastic butternut squash soup. There was no cream but onions, the squash was roasted, veggie broth and I think one more ingredient. The only thing is that we have a high speed blender so I don!t know if you can get that texture without one. If anyone is interested in the recipe I will post it...


    Would you tell us some about the Vegan $4 book?
    Yes, please, to the butternut squash soup. Regular blenders usually do fine with those type of soups, but ones mashed to the consistency of mashed potatoes are great too.
    I am open to a challenge of this nature...

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