So I started this Challenge on a Saturday and the goal was for this to last a full 7 days until anything else was purchased. 99% of my purchases were made at Sprouts Farmer's Market and a few things were picked up at Safeway. Everything came to a total of $35 for the entire week. I decided to get to work as soon as I got home and started to prepare my meals. I started with my pot of rice and my whole chicken. I made about a pound and a half of rice that I knew would last me through a lot of meals. I seasoned my chicken and popped it in the oven to roast. While all of this was going on I started to prepare my other meals. As soon as one was finished and cooled down enough I put them into my large tupperware containers and in the fridge or freezer until they were needed.

Things went pretty smoothly and there were only a few times I had to really control myself when I wanted to get seconds. Towards the end of the week I was really tempted to give up as I began having  cravings. But I kept telling myself why this was important and that I needed to do this right or not at all.

Girl by Thursday night the food was looking scarce! I was like omg... how is this going to work. But I gave myself a reality check and reminded myself that if there are people out there feeding their families on this then I sure as hell can feed two people with this.

I'm making this post for a two person household as most households consist of more than one person. I did my shopping for the week Saturday morning.

Ok so let's get to it.

Shopping list:
- rice (1)
- oatmeal (1)
- meat on sale* (1)
- ground meat on sale (1)
- bell peppers (4)
- onion (1 pack or just 2 single onions)
- eggs (12)
- can diced tomatoes (1)
- garlic (3)
- pasta (2 packs)
- tomato sauce/soup (2)
- canned beans (2)
- frozen mixed veggies (1)
- avocado (on sale 2/$1)

* I suggest a whole chicken as it's very versatile and probably your cheapest option.

Things you should already have (and if you don't you can get at the dollar tree):
-sugar
-black pepper
-salt
-cooking oil
-soy sauce
-spices


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Meals:

We're not big on breakfast. I'll mostly have some oatmeal in the morning with a little cinnamon or just some hot tea. But we don't usually eat until noon and then again around 8 or 9 after we've gotten home, gone to the gym or training and started to prepare our actual dinner.


Ground meat chili

1 pack ground meat
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp ketchup
1.5 tbsp cooking oil
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup frozen mixed veggies

Directions:
cut up onion, bell peppers and garlic.
put oil in pan and heat on medium. add onions, bell peppers and garlic and stir fry until onions are a little slightly see-through. add ground meat and break up and cook until well done. Add spices, frozen veggies and ketchup. mix together and let it cook a little longer on medium to low heat. taste and adjust spices as needed.

Pasta with ground meat

1 pack pasta
1/2 cup tomato sauce/soup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 onion
1 tbsp cooking oil
1/4 cup of ground chili

Directions:
bring one pot of water to a boil. add salt and a little oil. Add in pasta and let cook until almost ready. in a pan add oil and let it warm up on medium heat. then add chopped veggies (onions, bell peppers, garlic). cook until onions are slightly translucent. add in your tomato sauce/soup and ketchup. add in meat chili. then add your spices and mix all together. let it cook for about 1 minute on low to medium heat. lastly, add your pasta and mix all together. taste and adjust spices as needed.

Roasted chicken

1 whole chicken
1 tbsp cooking oil
1tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1.5 tsp thyme

Directions:
measure out spices and oil. add to chicken and be sure to rub all over and under the skin. preheat your over to 350 degrees and set your timer to cook for 1-1.5 hours. place chicken in oven safe pan and let cook. when it's finished let it sit for a good 15 minutes. be sure to conserve the breasts and thighs as you'll need this for future meals. taste and adjust spices as needed.

Rice (depends on how much you want - I made a lot and had a really big pot)

1 1/2 lbs rice
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1tsp pepper

Directions:
Bring your water to a rolling boil. add salt, pepper and thyme. slowly add in your rice and stir for the first 2 minutes to make sure nothing sticks. Let rice boil for another 10 minutes. the water level should start to recede. when water level is level with top of rice, cover pot and put heat on lowest level. after 2 minutes turn off the heat but keep the lid on the pot (DO NOT REMOVE THE LID! STEAM IS NEEDED TO COOK THE RICE). after about 15 minutes you can remove the lid, fluff the rice and serve. If rice is not fully cooked, take out what you need, add a few teaspoons of water and microwave for 1.5 minutes.

Vegan chili

1 can black or red bean
1 can tomatos
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 cloves of garlic
1.5 tsp thyme
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 onion

Directions:
add oil to your pan and heat on medium. add in your chopped onions, bell peppers and garlic. stir fry until onions are slightly translucent. add in your canned tomatoes and the juice as well. stir together and simmer a bit. add in beans (you can rinse of the liquid as that makes you a bit gassy lol). stir and simmer again. add in spices and ketchup and simmer for 10 minutes. taste and adjust spices as needed.

Chicken fried rice

1.5 - 2 cups cold rice
1/2 cup frozen veggie
1 chicken breast
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 egg (optional)

Directions:
scoop out about 1-2 cups of cold, cooked rice. put oil in your pan and let it heat up on medium. add garlic, onion (optional) and frozen veggies to pan. You can also add your egg at this point and scramble (optional). stir fry for about 3 minutes or until egg is fully scrambled. add in your rice and mix together. now add your spices, and soy sauce. turn up the heat to medium high and stir for about 5-6 minutes. add in your chicken and stir. let is cook a bit on low heat for about 4 minutes. taste and adjust spices as needed.

Chicken chili

1 can red or black beans
1 chicken breast
1/4 bell pepper
1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup tomato sauce/soup
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup mixed veggies

Directions:
add oil to pan and heat on medium. add chopped bell peppers, onion and garlic to pan. stir-fry until onions are slightly translucent. add tomato sauce/soup and mix other. add spices and ketchup and let everything simmer for about 2 minutes. add you beans (you can wash off the liquid that comes in the can if you want). now add your shredded chicken and mixed veggies. let cook for another 10 minutes. taste and adjust spices as needed.

Chicken pasta

1/2 cup shredded Chicken (or what ever is left)
1/2 cup tomato soup/sauce
1 pack pasta
1/4 bell pepper
1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/4 cup mixed veggies

Directions:
bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. add a dash of salt and a bit of oil. place pasta in and bring to a boil until pasta is nearly cooked (al dente). turn off heat and drain water. in pan add oil and heat on medium heat. add chopped onions, garlic and bell peppers. cook until onions are almost translucent. add tomato sauce/soup. add spices and stir together. let that simmer for about 4 minutes. now add your shredded chicken and veggies and mix in. add your pasta and gently fold over into the sauce making sure to mix all the vegetables in as well.

Oatmeal

oatmeal
water
cinnamon
1 tsp sugar (optional)

Directions:
take about 1/4 dried oatmeal and add hot water. stir well and let sit for about 10 minutes. stir again and add some cinnamon and sugar. enjoy!

Egg sandwiches

egg
1 tsp cooking oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 slices of bread

Directions:
place oil in a pan and heat on medium. crack one or two eggs on the side of pan or with a utensil. be careful not to let any pieces of shell fall into pan. pour egg into pan and let cook for 2 minutes. sprinkle with dash of salt and pepper. carefully flip egg over and apply same amount of seasoning.
you can toast your bread if you'd like but you don't have to.

Veggie soup

If you find that you have run out by Saturday just make some veggie soup with whatever you have left. You also can fry up some more rice and have that with beans. If you have any eggs left, stir fry that in for some extra protein as well.

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I wanted to do this challenge because I thought it was so important to bring awareness to the fact that there are people living and feeding their families on even less that this. I wanted to show others that they could prepare healthy and filling meals for their families on just a few ingredients. Hopefully this will help someone out there who is struggling with this. My advice is to always appreciate what you have and never take anything for granted. I urge you to try this challenge as it will help you to really appreciate every meal and will keep you mindful of how much food you waste on a daily basis.

Love,
Ruseberry
Tom is the super cool one on the right :)
Ric, Vincent, me, Tom at the Bronx Zoo in New York. Photo taken by Jessica.










About 11 years ago my family was hit really, really hard. My older brother Tom was driving home from church when he was cut off at a stop light and fatally shot, point blank, in the head. He was only 24 years old. At the time he had just graduated from college with his bachelor's degree in Computer Science and was thinking about getting his masters as well as applying for job positions. Tom's future was bright and full of potential. Out of all my mother's children he was probably the one who appreciated life the most. He always tried to put a smile on our faces and he loved to dance, sing, and play sports. Now that I think of it, I really don't know what he didn't/couldn't do :)

When I think of him it always brings a smile to my face but for some reason I always cry on his birthday. I don't know if it's because I wish he was here to celebrate it but just like clock work the tears never fail to happen.

For some reason Tom and I were always bickering lol. We were like two little old ladies. I was this little 3 foot kid arguing with this 6 foot guy over who should wash the dishes (always had a stubborn streak about me). But he never stayed mad at me. The next second he was wrestling me, or lifting me up in the air. Just usually something that I felt would give my little heart an attack lol. I know he loved us a lot and it felt like everyday he reminded us. One thing that was really interesting was the number of pictures he took. I had never seen someone who loved the camera so much! lol Every minute it was hey take a picture of me lol. Now that I look back at it I feel like he was creating little memories for us.

Tom was a devoted christian. I don't mean the manic bible beating ones. I mean the new-age cool ones who believed in god and REALLY loved their neighbors as themselves. He was fearless. Always heading into any difficult situation with the most optimism you could ever find in someone. He and I would always take little walks (in whichever city we were living in at the time) and he would give me advice on every and anything.  He would tell me to not be so shy or doubt myself so much in life. He was always there for things like that.

Tom and Ric grew up together in Jamaica with mama and the family until they were in their early 20s. They went to school there and Ric was always looking out for Tom. He always looked out for all of us actually. When we were born (Vincent and myself) we each kind of clung to one of them. I went with Ric and Vincent went with Tom. They were our heroes man. Vincent was like Tom's carbon copy lol. Always so excited to see him. Tom loved that kid so much and people were always amazed by how much they looked alike. I don't think anyone ever understood Vincent as much as Tom did. One of the things we all did together was watch Dragon Ball Z. We would get home before Ric and Tom since they were in college so we would tape each episode. When they got home we would all watch it together. Best times ever!

Tom and Vincent (mama in the background)


I remember watching Tom with his his friends. He was just a star, Man, the room would just about light up when he was there. Everyone had a smile on their face and the air was filled with laughter. It was such a weightless feeling to be around him. And he made it so easy to get along with him. He was a guys, guy and ladies man at the same time. I don't know how he did it!

I remember the night we got the news. My twin brother and I were in Ric and Tom's room sleeping. We had fallen asleep watching cartoons. A strange sound woke me up. I got out of bed and opened the door. Sitting at the dining room table with two officers trying helplessly to console her was my mother. I had never seen her cry before. The strange sound I heard was my mother sobbing into her hands. She looked up and noticed me, called for Ric and I was ushered back into the room. Ric woke up my brother and then sat on the bed and told us the horrible news.

At the time we were too young to understand and I think Ric knew that. He brought us to the hospital but he wouldn't let us go in to see Tom. He had sustained so much damage and Ric didn't want us to see him like that. The following days were very fuzzy and a little hard to remember. Ric took us for a walk one day to show us where Tom had been shot. It wasn't more than 6 blocks away from home... He was almost home you guys.

They never found the killer of my brother and it took a long time for my family to recover from this blow. We were all affected in our own way and it's something we live with each day. I know Tom is resting peacefully. And I know he's up there with God having a great time in heaven. I always wonder  what it would have been like if he was still here. Would things have turned out differently? Why do we have to experience such painful loses in life? Is it to give us the gift to help others?

I know Tom lived for a reason and I know he was taken so young for a reason. I'm just so grateful for the time we got to spend with him while he was here. I really believe Tom was an angel on Earth.

There were two funerals for Tom. One in New York and the other in Jamaica where he was finally laid to rest.

Today, October 1 2015, Tommi-lee Wray would have been 35 years old.

I love and miss you so much Tom. Rest in peace ok :)

Tom, Mom, and Ric at Tom's Graduation


Love,
Ruseberry

P.S. Everyone spelled his name: Tommy Lee Wray and he never even fussed about it. What a guy! :)

For My Brother Tom

by on Thursday, October 01, 2015
Tom is the super cool one on the right :) Ric, Vincent, me, Tom at the Bronx Zoo in New York. Photo taken by Jessica. About 1...