Black Tea, Brown Bread, Bare Cupboards

Living on a budget is a reality, and it’s even-more so when you’re staying abroad and negotiating the current euro-to-dollar conversion rate. Let me tell you–it’s killer. Having exceeded my strict weekly allotment, I’ve learned two important things: 1) Nightly trips to the adorable tapas bar across the street might be rip-roaring fun, but mojitos and White Russians exact a punishing toll on your budget. Lesson learned? Only go out for cocktails if somebody else is buying. Unfortunately, this is much easier for women than men—sorry, dudes! Which brings me to my second jewel of wisdom: 2) European-style jollies result in empty cupboards, but this doesn’t have to bring you down. Lesson learned? A girl can definitely get by on a bare minimum.

In my case, this means a hearty, protein- and vitamin-rich brown bread chock-full of hazelnuts and sesame seeds. I bought this weighty loaf from my neighborhood bakery, drizzling two slices with olive oil and dusting them with salt-and-pepper. Filling? Check. Nourishing? Check. Perfect with a piping-hot cup of Chinese black tea with oat-milk for the cream? But of course.

Sure, this spread might comprise my every meal for the next few days, but it will allow me to appreciate simplicity’s great abundance. And, while I usually avoid going here, the minimalism might result in dropping a few pounds, as well. All in all, this is a pretty sweet deal.

Question: How do you keep it real when you’re living on a budget? Be it lentils-and-rice for a month or spaghetti-and-tomatoes for your mainstay, what are some of the best cheap eats when it’s time to tighten your belt (literally)? xoxo, abs


4 thoughts on “Black Tea, Brown Bread, Bare Cupboards

  1. I always look for the deal at the farmers market. Someone always has it. The two bunches for x deal. I can’t live without my greens. So as long as I have chard or kale and some cheap protein (lentils), I’m good. Traveling around Europe I did a lot of bread and peanut butter and cans of beans. Thankfully I was traveling alone….
    I’m about to head to a new place with bare cupboards as well. It’s exciting to start from scratch instead of having random, half-used things lying around. Just say no to condiment clutter.

    1. I’m on a just-say-no to clutter of any sort! I love having nothing but my tiny suitcase and look forward to moving into a new place once I’m back in San Francisco and starting over. Simple, clean, absolutely-empty (sort of like my empty belly right now). I kid. You’re right, too, about greens. I can subsist on next-to-nothing, so long as I have some greens. There is a farmers’ market here tomorrow, and I will hit them up. And, speaking of lentils, the last subletters in my apartment left a huge sack of them. I think I’ll take a cue from you and have something new for dinner tomorrow. Finally, you’re right, it’s much easier to travel alone, in this regard. Less pressure to eat out and have events. It’s very nice right now, to live alone and only have to think of myself and my small needs. Love you, and thanks for writing! I have a postcard here on my desk with your name on it. xo

  2. The brown bread you speak of sounds delish! Cheap eats around here mean beans and rice, not so sure what the German equivalent is. If it were me, I’d make sure there was room in the budget for delicious German chocolate, I’m a total glutton for that stuff. Dark chocolate passes the nutritional bar.

    I look forward to hearing more about the culinary adventures!!!

    1. Leigh! It’s always a treat to hear from you! Thank you for writing 🙂 Your advice to shore up some funds for dark chocolate is spot-on. Have you tried dark chocolate sprinkled with sea salt? It’s popular in SF right now, and delicious. Also popular, and by my accounts, gross, is chocolate sprinkled with little bits of fried bacon. Ugh! Are you still a vegetarian? Jason always talks about how you always had a few pieces of fruit in your bag, wherever you were, so you could always nosh on a mango or banana. Anyway, how is your new little one? And life generally, as a professional artist and also a mom? What an amazing, and challenging, feat! xoxo

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