The Very-Healthy, Trash-free, $1 Organic Breakfast

A meal that falls within my cost guidelines.

A meal that falls within my cost guidelines.

Ok, my first meal attempt that actually meets my two-dollar per-person budget criteria (see previous two posts, “Food: It’s Complicated“, and “Not With Your Mouth Full“). I’ll add a little detail about the ingredients for this one—

– 1/3 cup steel-cut, organic oats. From the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op, from their bulk food department. I bring my own container, a Mason jar, and when it gets empty I go refill it. Zero-trash, zero-recycling… The oats were on sale this week for $1.19 lb, but I think sale prices are fair game for my effort here. Cost of oats– $ .15

– 1 Teaspoon local, raw honey from Singing Cedars Apiary in Orwell, VT. Raw honey is really good for you…  $.06

I bought a digital scale to make it easier to figure out these food costs.

I bought a digital scale to make it easier to figure out these food costs.

– 1 egg, fried. These eggs came from a friend in Lincoln who raises a variety of livestock and vegetables. Her chickens lead idyllic farm lives, and they’re fed organic feed. She charges $4 a dozen for the eggs, which works out to $.33 for the one egg. We all reuse our cardboard egg cartons, and trade them back and forth, so no trash or recycling is created here, either.

– .2 ounces organic olive oil to fry the egg, bought in the bulk department of the Co-op, another case of filling-the-Mason-jar. $.08. No trash, no recycling.

superfoods cover– 1 Fair-Trade organic banana. $.37. Peel goes in the compost (worm food). The extra few cents in price go straight to a farmer somewhere who probably needs the money.

– salt and pepper $.02

– one cup of organic, Fair-Trade, Nilgiri Blue Mountain tea, brewed from .1 oz. loose-leaf tea from the Co-op. Some of the best tea in the world, for only $.11 a cup. The tea is sold from bulk serve-yourself jars, and I bring my own container—zero-trash, zero-recycling.

…and a cloth napkin. (My wife’s idea. Though, we compost all the paper napkins we use.)

Ok, so it’s just slightly over a dollar– $1.12. But that’s cheap, and oatmeal is a “superfood” (and so is tea, for that matter). Cheap, organic, healthy, all the major food-groups, Fair-Trade, trash-free, virtually recyclable-free, and within my (somewhat arbitrary) budget. Ka-ching—meal #1 for my list.

And while we’re at it—the 39-cent, even cheaper, even healthier, even more sustainable breakfast—

thrity nine cent breakfast– Sauteed asparagus. Perennial, popping up in the garden daily, and will soon be coming in so fast in the 30-foot bed that I’ll be giving it away. Lots of food for not much work; the joy of permalculture systems. Cost—free.

– 2 eggs, scrambled in my cast iron skillet (I have to throw in the skillet part—cast iron lasts forever,  and imparts no strange chemicals into your food; I love my skillets). We’re down to two older hens, but they still pop out eggs from time to time. It’s probably time to get some chicks and start a new flock…). I’m not sure what it costs to feed to birds, but it can’t be too much (they free-range for some of their food). Ten cents an egg?

– .2 ounces organic olive oil to fry up the asparagus and eggs, $.08.

– hickory nuts. From the trees in the yard and woods; the kids and I gathered them up by the bucket-full last fall. Free, perennial, carbon-sequestering, decoupled, AND a super-food. The perfect ingredient. I’m going to plant more but they don’t bear until they’re about 40 years old. Hmmmm; I may or may not be around then… my kids or grandkids might be, though.

– $.11 cup of tea, same as above.

Fair-Trade tea---a few extra cents for a really good cause.

Fair-Trade tea—a few extra cents for a really good cause.

So, some good progress. Now I just need to come up with about 50 more meals… :)