At the beginning of my junior year of college, I moved into my first apartment. I was so proud of finding it all by myself and excited that it was all mine! I didn’t even care that it was only 200-sqft and that the lighting totally sucked. Plus, living there cut my eating and sleeping expenses more than in half. It was mostly clean and pretty affordable compared to everything else around. Utilities included? Yes, please.
Sadly, the excitement faded when I realized how small a foot of counter space is and that I wasn’t making enough money to feed my friends my creations on a regular basis. I was really bad at grocery shopping! By the way, it’s really hard to go to the grocery store once a month and be such a penny pincher that you only leave with $40 worth of food. I was working a whole lot, not practicing enough, and, on top of all that, I was in a really sucky relationship.
Ladies and gents, if they make you cry on a weekly basis, they’re probably not right for you. That’s all I have to say about that!
One thing I did learn that year was how to stretch my money. I ate a lot of eggs and rice, but not on their lonesome. I also discovered the Rochester Public Market where I could get most of my produce for cheap. I got pretty good at dishes for under five dollars that lasted for five meals. The best ways to do this were chilis, weird soups with all kinds of goodies that I dumped rice into to make them more filling, stir fries, and what I called apartment fried rice.
It’s probably not accurate, but it tastes really good and it’s a filling meal if you’re on a budget. I mostly made mine with summer squash and bell peppers at the time.
For your convenience, you’ll need a frying pan and a rice cooker. Or you can just be really good at cooking rice the stovetop way.
Tonight’s AFR features carrots (Wegmans Baby Carrots: $0.99 for a bag, seemed like a ten cent bunch), half an onion (guesstimating at most $0.50), a handful of Trader Joe’s frozen green beans (ummmm my handful probably cost me less than ten cents), and some grated ginger. I probably paid two bucks for my nub of ginger, so let’s call this amount fifteen cents. Magic! Your veggies cost you a buck for this.
Here’s how broke I was: I made just enough money to cover my rent and some groceries. So, rather than buying soy sauce like a normal human being, I took the soy sauce meant for the dining center sushi. I had a little bowl filled with them beside my stove. I also “borrowed” toilet paper a couple of times. Oops.
I promise I will have some really cool dishes up here soon! I have a few recipes in the works. Also, I’m trying to decide what special treat I want to make for my birthday next week! I’m going to be 22, whaaaaat?
Cue that Taylor Swift song being stuck in my head for all of eternity.