Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Two Hundred Peso Challenge

I look through our cupboard and I see canned goods, instant soup and sauce mixes, and some junk food. In our ref, we have some veggies, frozen ham, fish and meat. Who's to think that a couple of weeks ago The Hubby and I had only P200 to spend on five days' worth of meals?

We've been having some cash flow glitches lately, and a couple of weeks ago was the worst. For two people used to buying things at will, The Hubby and I were in new territory. He'd gas up P100 at a time. I hunted down loose change around the house before I could go to the neighborhood grocery. We had to prioritize and reprioritize which bills were to be paid first.

Then we had that Extra Challenge/Survivor thing: Five Days. Fifteen Meals. Two Hundred Pesos. Will they make it? Stay tuned!

Well okay. It wasn't that bad. We didn't have to buy basics like rice, and I still had some leftover tomato sauce and cheese; and we had some cereal and milk in the house, which took care of the two breakfasts. And The Hubby didn't eat lunch at the house for two days. And we skipped dinner and just went to sleep once. So that's still about 10 meals.

The first challenge was to decide what to buy. We ended up with:
  • eggplants
  • sitaw
  • kalabasa
  • okra
  • tomatoes
  • Baguio beans
  • potatoes
  • eggs
  • small, tiny tin of mushroom pieces
  • half a stick of butter
  • 1/2kg ground pork

Then next was deciding what to cook. I think this part was the most fun. Made me cook creatively. And the best part was, The Hubby HAD to eat everything I prepared. He had no choice! I came up with:

  1. adobong sitaw with ground pork
  2. some kalabasa with ginger recipe of The Hubby, which didn't turn out too well, since the only ginger I was able to locate in the house was a shriveled little piece
  3. okra with tomatoes
  4. ginisang beans with tomatoes and some ground pork
  5. eggplant parmigiana
  6. tortang talong with ground pork
  7. tomato omelet (turned out rather nicely!)
  8. dill potato soup with--surprise!--ground pork - this was a surprising hit; a hearty soup that's a meal in itself, and super easy to prepare (actually all the stuff I made are idiotically easy to prepare)
  9. cheese omelet
  10. fried eggs

The amazing thing was (aside from the fact I didn't lose weight, despite the fact there was no more junk food in the house), through all that, we always had just enough. The Hubby had enough gas money to get him to wherever he had to be. There was enough money to buy food. And pay some of the more urgent bills. And though things were tight, we never felt poor. Broke, yes. Poor, no.

I felt like one of those Israelites wandering around the desert. When they woke up in the morning they got manna, just enough for their needs. And on special days, they got the Old Testament version of spring chicken. For water, Moses just needed to speak to some rock. They knew that God wouldn't put them through all the drama of leaving Egypt just to let them starve in the desert.

I guess that's the real challenge. Having the faith that God will provide for our needs (note to self: want radically different from need). Because he really does. It may not come in the form that we want or expect, but I know that God is always looking out for me. He will always provide.

Actually that's the one thing that God tells us we can challenge him on--provisions (try challenging him on anything else, you might end up zapped!). And The Hubby and I are taking God up on this challenge. We are. We pray that he gives us more than enough. Beyond what we ever could think for ourselves. Then we could just pass on the excess to others who need it.

That's the next challenge.


Kikay said...

Hi Ree, I have been reading your blog for over a month now... you never failed to make me smile and rethink of my life each and every time.

I admire not only your writing skills but also your enormous faith in God.

Gob Bless!

randee said...

it's during tight money times like that where you come out richer in wisdom and character ;-)

johnnydu said...

Hmmm! Everything on the list sounded good :) Makes me want to think about trying some of them, once I've learned my way around the kitchen.

It's very moving to hear this story. It inspires me in some way to find how much is enough for me, and inspires the remaining amount of faith in me to thank Him for seeing me through similar challenges.

undiscussablerealms said...

you're a strong person. creative, too, for thinking of dishes to cook with what you have.

and yes, being broke is not being poor. it's a temporary thing for determined and resourceful people. :)

Anonymous said...

u inspire me with this story of yours.
i do fear about this thing...though i know its manageable it still freaks me out.