There aren't many places where you can buy a meal for less than $5 ... and fast food joints don't count.
So let me introduce you to a place where you can actually find a wholesome, nutritious meal -- including dessert! -- for a whopping $4.87 including tax. Today's edition of Frugal Floozie Friday takes us to the Ypsilanti Food Co-Op. (That's pronounced [ip-sih-LAN-tee], by the way, for newcomers.)
When I go on my long evening walks, I often stop by the Co-Op just to see what goodies might be available that day. In addition to the standard groceries, you can find a variety of sandwiches and prepared foods; there are also luscious baked goods (breads, scones, cupcakes and such) prepared by the River Street Bakery, which is owned by the Co-Op and strategically located right next door.
I sometimes challenge myself to see if I can find anything there for less than $1. Health food stores have a reputation for being expensive after all, with organic and fair trade and specialty products, so this project amuses me. Once I found a basket with free samples of granola bars, and another time I bought a cucumber and limes on sale. The primo specimen, though, was a day-old baguette that had been sprinkled with assorted seeds (poppy, sesame) and was exquisite sliced and spread with butter!
But, as per usual, I digress. Back to the task at hand!
I doubt that it's possible to buy a supper for less than $1; but finding a good meal to bring home for less than $5 was quite a stellar accomplishment!
An 8-ounce cup of soup at the Co-Op costs just $2.97. I passed over the vegetarian chili in favor of a rich and creamy Potato-Leek-Pea Soup, intrigued by the addition of peas when I normally make my own version with just the first two ingredients. Soups (which vary each day) come with a slice of whole grain bread, a lovely complement and supplement.
And then I was seduced (as always) by the freshly baked treats. Mocha cupcakes, lemon-ginger scones, brownies ... but each of these was out of the price range, and would have pushed me over the Frugal Floozie Friday limit.
The Oat Raisin Cookie, however, was waiting patiently for me, its fragrant cinnamon slowly luring me in. It's made with organic ingredients, including whole wheat pastry flour, and is even vegan. A treat that's good for you! And it cost only $1.72.
The soup was very flavorful and perfectly seasoned, with hints of the peas shining through. And the cookie was sweet and spicy, with a tendency to fall apart without any eggs to bind it; but since I tend to break my food into pieces anyway, this was simply a cookie that someone must have baked just for me!
My light supper was ideal sustenance on a wretchedly Summer-like day -- hot soup to combat excessive air conditioning, which I loathe but don't get to control, though it was still light enough to be perfect for the season. The cookie was the essential sweet treat to finish the meal.
It's surprising just how far that $5 bill can go, isn't it? And how well you can eat for such a small amount ....
Ypsilanti Food Co-Op
312 North River Street
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48198
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Frugal Floozie Friday: Food and Fun for Five Dollars or Less ... Really!!!
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