Feb 20: Burger; Salmon Chowder


Because it was our primary moving day, we grabbed a burger from The Munch Box in our new neighborhood. That’s the first burger we’ve had with chili on it, but it was pretty good.

At $3.40 a serve the Hickory Burger is pretty good value.


While this was the first night living in our new home, a snafu late in the week left us with no range until Monday. Fortunately we have an induction cooker with two hobs, so Greg cooked a favorite: Salmon Chowder.

This is a recipe that Greg created, but it’s a pretty basic seafood stew. It’s big advantage is that everything is available from a supermarket. The recipe makes six serves.

  • Canned Salmon $4.99 or 83c per serve
  • Two cups of Half & Half $1.79 or 30c a serve
  • 2.3 lbs of potato was $2.26 or 38c per serve
  • Two carrots were 30c or 5c per serve
  • Carton of chicken broth $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • A medium onion is around 20c or 3c per serve

The salmon chowder cost us $1.92 a serve. Served with Roast Garlic Bread (already baked as we have no functioning over or grill) which was $4.49 for the loaf: we ate around 40% of the loaf for this meal of $1.80.

The total for this quick and easy meal is $3.72.



Feb 19: Sushi; Dinner at Commonwealth (Burbank)


Since we were nearby, and because today and tomorrow are our primary moving days, the simplicity of supermarket sushi won out.

Today’s sushi cost $12.78 or $6.39 a serve.


While I normally argue that dinner out is more about the occasion rather than the food, Commonwealth Restaurant is a place to go for the food! It’s a pity we waited until the night before we moved out of Burbank where it was a short walk away, to a 22 mile drive away!

The food was exceptionally good. Each one of the small plates were exceptional. The sequencing was perfect.

From the Grilled Eggplant and Burrata to the Seared Hanger Steak and  Truffle Mushroom Risotto every plate was perfect. Our waiter offered to sequence, and again the call was perfect. The Grilled Eggplant  was followed by the near perfect Pork Belly, followed by the Hudson Valley Duck Confit.

There was a pause before we finished the meal with the steak and risotto.

The level of attention was perfect. In fact it was a rare night out where every element was simply perfect.

OK it wasn’t cheap at $47 a serve, but it was well worth it. In context, that’s about half what we’ve spent per serve for the month so far.

Did I mention it was worth it?

I took a screen snap of the image from the Commonwealth’s website.

Feb 18: Avocado, sardine English Muffin; Steak and Strawberry salad


A lunch favorite is an English Muffin with avocado and sardines. Again our  lunch featured featured Trader Joe’s Lightly Smoked Sardines for the flavor.

  • The sardines cost $1.69 or 85c per serve
  • An English Muffin is 50c per serve
  • The avocado was 48c or 24c a serve.

Lunch today cost $1.59 per serve.


A last chance to indulge in the Avalon Burbank grills with a New York Strip steak and an unusual – but delicious – strawberry and cucumber salad.

The salad is simplicity itself. Slice up the strawberries and then marinate in balsamic vinegar for 20 minutes. Just before serving, add the slided cucumber. The flavor that develops is quite unexpected.

In the past we’ve served this with wild rice but, alas, the pressure cooker has already been moved as this is the last meal we’re cooking in our Burbank apartment.

  • Our 12.8 oz New York Strip steak was $19.99 or $10 a serve
  • Organic strawberries were $5.99 or $3 a serve
  • The cucumber was 55c or 27c a serve.

Dinner tonight was $13.27 a serve.

Feb 17: Lemon Chicken Soup; Chicken, lentil and Kashmir spinach


For lunch we had left-over Lemon Chicken soup for a cost per serve of $3.81


As we’re in the middle of moving from our long term apartment to a house we’re buying, the kitchen is being pared right down to move as much in advance of this weekend as possible. Food planning has been very strategic, with a minimum of pans.

Tonight was “prepared at home” but of ready-to-eat items.

  • Chicken leg and thigh is $1.75 per serve
  • The prepared Kashmir Spinach was $3.99 or $2 a serve
  • Black lentils are $2.25 a can or $1.13 a serve

Not really a home-cooked meal but still contributing to a well-rounded diet. Cost per serve is $4.88.

Feb 15: Faux French lunch; Lemon chicken orzo soup


To remind ourselves of our brief visit to a little French village last September, and because we can get a decent baguette from Jons, today was a picnic style lunch. Rounds of baguette with either liverwurst or cheese and tomato as the topping.

  • Baguette $2.69 and we had about 2/3 for lunch or 90c per serve
  • The liverwurst was $3.17 and again we had about 2/3 for lunch between us or $1.05 per serve
  • We pretty much used the entire 74c tomato or 37c per serve
  • The Irish cheddar was $3.99 and we used about half at lunch or $1 a serve.

Lunch today cost  $3.32 per serve.


Tonight we had a repeat of the Lemon Chicken Orzo soup made with two chicken breasts from this week’s chicken and chopped vermicelli instead of orzo.

  • Although the chicken came from Jons not Sprouts, it was still $6.99 or $1.75 per quarter. We used two quarters so $1.75 per serve
  • Carrots cost 25c or 8c per serve
  • Celery, thyme, oil and garlic adds 20c per serve
  • Chicken broth cost 40c per serve
  • The vermicelli works out at about 30c per serve
  • Add in 15 c for the other seasonings, etc.
  • Served with a little of the baguette 30c per serve

Dinner tonight was $3.18 per serve and we have two additional serves cooked and ready.

Feb 15: Sushi; Asian Peanut Noodles


Since shopping needed to be done, and we have less and less in our apartment each day, we opted for supermarket sushi for lunch again today.

Today’s sushi cost $12.78 or $6.39 a serve.


On tonight’s menu is a new recipe: Asian Peanut Noodles. We dropped the cilantro, carrot and sugar. Greg chose ponzu over soy because of it’s citrus overtones. We found the recipe made three serves.

It’s a really tasty salad. The crisp fresh vegetables offset the slight cloyiness of the peanut butter based dressing. In hindsight it needed the fresh lime juice for a little more acid, and we probably should have substituted mint for the cilantro.

  • The stir fry noodles were $3.79 and we used the whole packet or $1.27 a serve
  • The peanut butter was $3.99 and we used about 1/3 in the recipe or 44c a serve
  • Our ginger came free from a friend clearing her pantry before leaving town for an extended period.
  • The bell pepper was $1.49 or 50c a serve
  • The cucumber was 46c or 15c per serve
  • Scallions (spring onions) were $1.29 or 43c a serve
  • Add 25c a serve for the seasonings

Dinner tonight cost $3.04 a serve.

Feb 14: Lunch out; Bacon and Black Bean Chili (repeat)


After taking a load of belongings to the new home, we were planning on trying out a local hamburger shack. Sadly, not open on Sunday, so we reverted to our current favorite in the area: The Country Deli.

We each had different meals: Philip his favorite marinated steak and eggs; Greg an “Aussie” style burger with fried egg.

Lunch cost an average of $18 a serve with tax and tip.


Dinner was a repeat of the Bacon and Black Bean Chili and cost $5.57 a serve.

Feb 13: Reception lunch; Steak and Caesar Salad


Lunch today was courtesy of Adobe at a Deadpool reception, screening and panel. Best was the curry chicken sandwich fingers.

Lunch was free.


Beef sirloin tip with ‘new classic’ Caesar salad. Steak and salad is a cliche, but there’s a reason combinations become a cliche: they work.

Besides, we’re leaving Avalon Burbank shortly and we need to take advantage of the grills while we have access to them!

  • The steak was $6.02 from our monthly meat box, or $3.01 per serve.
  • A pastured egg is 50c or 25c per serve.
  • Seasonings (except anchovies, which we were out of, damn it) ran about 25c per serve
  • An organic lettuce cost $1.99 or $1 a serve
  • The packet of parmesan cost $6.99 but we used about 1/4 for this salad, or 88c per serve.
  • The chibatta for the home-made croutons was $1.99 or $1 a serve.

Our steak and salad meal cost $6.39 per serve.

Feb 12: Chicken roll; Bacon and Black Bean Chili


We were going to have our usual chicken wrap but ended up substituting a  wholemeal roll instead.

  • Chicken 88c a serve
  • One quarter of the $2.74 salad is 60c
  • The roll was 33c
  • Add some hummus at 30c

Lunch today cost $2.11


Tonight’s meal was Bacon and Black Bean Chili. We doubled up on the beans. This is an amazingly good chili.

  • Bacon ends cost $4.99 for the container, but this recipe used about 1/2 of that, or 63c per serve
  • Onion and garlic – about 5c a serve
  • The beef we used is expensive – pasture raised, dry aged ground beef from our monthly meat delivery – at $9.08 or $2.27 a serve
  • Spices – about 10c a serve
  • Diced fire roasted tomatoes are $2.19 the can, or 55c per serve
  • Tomato paste was 89c or 22c a serve
  • The beans were 99c a can, or 50c a serve
  • Each serve got half the 99c Avocado or 50c per serve
  • Cheese was 55c per serve
  • Labne – 20c per serve

All up dinner cost us $5.57 for a very filling serve.

Feb 11: Red beans; Cabbage salad and chicken


For lunch we had the remainder of the red beans (no rice) which was quick and delicious. As per the costings from February 9th, lunch cost us $1.53 a serve.


Because Philip was to be live on the Digital Production BuZZ and then we needed to drop by the Chatsworth house, we planned on leftover cabbage salad, and the chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) from this week’s chicken purchase.

All we needed to do was warm the chicken and dinner was on the table.

  • The chicken was $1.75 per serve
  • The salad was $3.08 per serve

Dinner tonight was $4.83 a serve. While the salad was still very tasty, it was not attractive enough to photograph.