Friday, July 11, 2008

Poor Girl Eats Well FAQs

People are always curious about certain elements of PGEW and yours truly. You can quench that thirst for knowledge right here. :)

So are you really "poor"?
Yes. Though I am extremely lucky to still live above the poverty level and have basic shelter and a relatively steady job, I do struggle. I am single, live paycheck to paycheck (or on borrowed time), and don't have any real financial cushions to fall back on.

Are you ever going to fix that?
Slowly but surely, I'm trying to repair my financial life. These things take time and I have to do what I can when I can, but I know it won't last forever.

If you're so poor, why do you have cats?
I have cats because they're my kids and I love them. They keep me centered and offer me unconditional love I couldn't get anywhere else. Some people have human children and are not questioned constantly because they do. I have feline children and they should be treated with as much love and responsibility as the human kind.

If you're so poor, how can you afford a laptop and cool little camera?
Because I wasn't always this poor.

Are you a chef?
Nope! I'm just really creative in the kitchen because I grew up with parents who were both in the restaurant business. But ever since I started PGEW.com, I've been encouraged to take this to a higher level. I'm keeping all my options open right now.

Who does the photography on your site?
Me! I'm no professional, but I enjoy learning how to take better pictures as I do more with PGEW.

How do you come up with your recipe price breakdown?
I basically use simple math to figure the actual amount of each ingredient I'm using based on the total cost of the whole ingredient. For example, if I use 2 eggs from a dozen eggs that cost $1.49, the cost for the eggs I'm using will come out to $0.12 apiece or so. Once the total amount of ingredients is added up, I divide that by the number of servings the recipe yields and voila! Price breakdown. NOTE: because I do shop at Trader Joe's or discount stores quite a bit, I always inflate the prices of most ingredients by a few cents each to reflect the prices that regular grocery stores would charge for similar products. This way I can give more of an average cost that will apply to most people.

You seem to be quite obsessed with Trader Joe's; is it really that much cheaper to shop there?
For the most part, yes! I am constantly amazed by the prices that major chain grocery stores offer versus Trader Joe's everyday prices. I'd say that 90% of the time you can save at least 35% off your whole bill compared to shopping at a different store. Granted, certain things like their meats will be slightly higher in price because TJ's sells mainly organic, humanely treated meats. But overall, if you can get to a Trader Joe's I would highly recommend you do so. You get wonderful quality for affordable prices, and they even pay attention to their grammar in the signs they put up throughout the store (a HUGE plus for a grammar nerd like me!).

Does Trader Joe's pay you to say this stuff?
No. They actually shoo me away most of the time when I tell them I pimp them out regularly on my site, something I could take personally but don't. I just happen to enjoy promoting things and places I believe in, and Trader Joe's is one of them.

What's this about a $25 Shopping Cart?
The $25 Shopping Cart is a great PGEW feature that comes out on a roughly monthly basis. Because I am literally left with $35-$40 to live on after I pay my rent most months, I have had to get really strict with myself in how I shop for food (I am a HUGE impulse buyer, so this was definitely a difficult process). Through some savvy shopping and exercises in restraint, I have become quite good at going to almost any store and spend around $25 (give or take a few bucks) on food that will last me about 10-14 days. Of course, the price of your shopping cart may need to go up if you are feeding more than 1-2 people, but the general principles still apply and you can definitely get more bang for your buck if you follow the $25 Shopping Cart M.O.

I have a couple of kids and a very hungry husband; will your recipes still satisfy everyone's appetite?
You'll need to read carefully to see what each recipe yields since they are all different. However, all of my recipes are very easily doubled or tripled, so you should have no problem making these dishes work for your family.

What is this about a book?
I have self-published and self-printed a mini-book called Poor Girl Eats Well - To Go! It's not an official book but more of an appetizer for what's to come in the actual Poor Girl Eats Well book that should come out in early 2010. PGEW - To Go! features 13 recipes, 3 of which are not on the site, as well as a few of the most popular tips from PGEW.com. There is also a bonus tip on How To Have a Successful $25 Shopping Trip that is not featured on the site, so if you want to get on the fast track for that exercise in smart spending, you'll want to pick up the mini book! It is available through PGEW.com or directly through me (if you're a Sac local), costs $10 + $2.50 shipping, and usually ships within 2-3 weeks.

Why does it take so long to ship?
I am doing this all by myself and making sure I keep my full-time job and update PGEW.com, and there are, unfortunately, only 24 hours in a day! Don't worry... if you are wondering where your copy is, simply email me to check in and I'll let you know its status.

What will you do if you ever end up with a lot of money? Will PGEW end?
No, I don't think so. Things may change a bit, but I have learned a lot during this journey and will definitely be using all of the tips and recipes I share with you fine readers, no matter what my financial situation is.

Do you do any catering?
Ummm.... not yet, but I've been getting a lot of requests for that lately, so you never know. ;)

Poor Girl Eats Well in the News

I've been lucky enough to gain the attention of some great newspapers and websites, as well as the evening news! Check out what the press has to say about your favorite food blogger...

April 6, 2010 - PGEW shows News10 that you CAN eat healthy fruits & vegetables on a shoestring budget.

November 21, 2009 - PGEW is featured in the special "Giving Back" section of The Catholic Herald (the official newspaper of the Diocese of Sacramento).

October 16, 2009 - PGEW speaks on Capitol Public Radio's Insight program regarding the Child Action, Inc. Conference, "Caring for Children in Stressful Times" (my piece begins at 08:19 minutes, but the whole segment was pretty interesting)

September 8, 2009 - Watch PGEW help you save up to $32 on dinner for 4 on CBS 13's Save with Dave!

May 27, 2009 - PGEW featured in the Food & Wine section of The Sacramento Bee.


March 16, 2009 - Camille from Venus Zine loves PGEW! (And PG loves her, too.) VenusZine.com


March 5, 2009 - PGEW featured in the Sacramento News & Review as "The Rachael Ray of Blogging"

January 30, 2009 - PGEW got some coverage on CNN.com from an iReport written by yours truly on how to eat healthy on a budget.

February 6, 2009 - PGEW gets featured in the CNN.com/iReport article, 10 Meals for $10 or Less



About Poor Girl Eats Well

I created Poor Girl Eats Well in August of 2008 as a fun way for me to share how I make it possible to eat quite well despite my limited means. After some bad financial moves of my own and several strokes of really bad luck over the past few years, I ended up in one of the worst personal recessions I have ever been through and though I've always been pretty frugal when it comes to food, I really had to buckle down and force myself to stick to a budget and get really creative if I wanted to eat.

There are a lot of "cheap eats" and "budget food" websites out there and most of them have something interesting to offer. Poor Girl Eats Well is quite different from other blogs in that I try to make most of my meals as healthy as possible, with a sinful treat thrown in here & there for good measure. I'm not the type who is satisfied eating cheaply the "easy" way, which is usually through fast food or fat and salt-laden, pre-packaged meals. Though I don't avoid fast food entirely, I have never liked the idea of having to subsist off the 99-cent menu, especially considering that most of the menu items would be really unhealthy for me to eat on a regular basis. I also do not believe that it is "too expensive" to eat healthy food and try to show that in most of my recipes. There have been a couple of folks who have created very similar sites, but PGEW is different and more unique for a couple of reasons.

On Poor Girl Eats Well, not only do I share mostly original recipes (there are a few restaurant adaptations and guest recipes from time to time), I also share different tips and philosophies that will help you think a bit differently about eating on a budget. I consider what I do on PGEW to be a lifestyle, and lifestyle changes always come with a bit of theory to mull over. From shopping tips to what to look for in your local newspaper, I try to share with PGEW readers a few of the pearls of wisdom that I have picked up throughout my school-of-hard-knocks life. For fun and a bit of a change here & there, I also post the occasional restaurant review, spotlighting quality restaurants and any money-saving items they may offer. Unlike other budget food blogs, I actually do write this from the point of view of someone who is broke and who struggles constantly to make ends meet, so what I talk about is what I actually experience. I am brutally honest (sometimes to the point of slight embarrassment) and mince no words when it comes to how I come up with a new dish or what new plight has made me even more broke than before. In short, what you see is what you get on PGEW. Nothing fancy, nothing special, just me.

As I mentioned earlier, the recipes you will find on PGEW are mainly on the "good-for-you" side of things; I simply refuse to fall into the "It just costs too much to eat healthy" trap. I also make sure each dish features ingredients you can find practically anywhere and that you can actually afford. Though it would be nice to blog about Serrano ham and $18 bottles of wine, that does not really fall under the category of being on a tight budget. Let's face it: if you're really scrimping and scraping your way through life, the last thing you need to be worrying about is how to afford that one ingredient that will make your dish a little fancier. The way I see it, things do eventually get better; for now, I try to see what I can do with what I can truly afford. With the current state of the economy, I'm sure this is a philosophy that most people are trying to embrace and stick to so that they, too, can make ends meet.

Although PGEW has only been around for a little over a year, it has gained a wonderfully loyal following of readers as well as some notable press. Featured on CNN.com, local newspapers, and the local news, PGEW has struck a chord with many folks who are looking to save money and stay healthy at the same time. (For a full listing of newsworthy PGEW moments, please click on the PGEW In the News tab.) In August of 2009 I also self-published and printed a "mini-book" of sorts, with some of my readers' favorite recipes and the most popular tips on the site. Poor Girl Eats Well - To Go! is a great way to be introduced to the general concept of PGEW and is available to purchase through this site and directly through me.

I hope you like what you find here on Poor Girl Eats Well and that you're able to find something that works for you, whether it's a recipe, a tip, or a review. I am always open to comments and suggestions, so please feel free to contact me. I'll stop babbling now and let you get back to your PGEW perusin'.

And as I always say... enjoy! :)

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