Efficient Careers, Youtube Cooking Videos, Essential Fats and Amino Acids, Physical Cookbooks

5 new releases this quarter

  1. Our first ever physical cookbooks, Efficiency Is Everything In Cooking and New Perfect Eating. These recipes are free digitally In Cooking pdf and Perfect Eating article.
  2. New Recommendations – Essential Amino Acids and Essential Fats when eating for ~$1.50/day. Bonus nutrition information as we are building a calculator including every essential nutrient, essential amino acid, essential fat, antivitamin, and provitamin the human body needs(Minimum/RDA) and max(Dangerous).
  3. We Cook on Youtube- See how we eat for $1.50 per day, feat Dr. Mandy Kirk.
  4. Minor Article: Long term conclusions from our Restaurant study

Feature Article

The decisions you make at 18 years old changes everything. A veteran contacted me having no college debt and $400k in mortgages at the age of 23. We have 3 others compete to beat ‘5 years to the American Dream’.
American Dream Per Dollar– Efficiency Is Everything studies Career paths, change your life and make money in years.

Bonus Shoutout: Dr. Alex Harrison has a DIY Gatorade for endurance athletes


Read books/play musical instruments while watching your favorite sports. (~6hrs/week)

Eat more $1.50/day recipes, try once a week until you learn the recipes. (Saves $100-$10,000/yr + delicious healthy food)

If you must go to restaurants, dollar menu/loss leaders (400 Calories Per Dollar vs 100 Calories Per Dollar)

Bored and ready to buy entertainment? Save money and watch Philosophy videos on youtube. (Stoicism and Tao Te Ching are popular)


Wish you the best,
Michael Kirk
Lead Engineer

Save 400% on Gatorade – By Dr. Alex Harrison

View the full article on his website.

Dr. Alex Harrison:

Here are some quarantine-friendly, money-saving tips for endurance athletes!

Use table sugar for 80% of intra-workout carbs.

Flavor with whatever beverage you typically use. Saves big $$$$, keeps flavor mild, and moves sugar composition closer to 1:1 glucose:fructose, which is probably more ideal than the 2:1 or worse that is in most drink mixes.

Cheapest Gatorade: $1 / 200g carbs.

Average sugar price: ~$0.25 / 200g carbs.

Use table salt rather than expensive higher-electrolyte endurance drink mixes.

Most people benefit from higher sodium content in their beverages, and there is little, if any benefit from higher potassium in endurance beverages. For all but the most extreme training and environments, with good hydration, table salt (sodium chloride) is sufficient to maximize performance.

In more extreme cases (hotter, more humid, very long-duration and high-effort) you may need to make a one-time purchase of sodium citrate (Amazon) to meet high sodium needs while allowing maximum hydration with reduced osmolarity.

Cost for table salt = less than $0.01 per 2000 mg sodium (sufficient for most folks 2-3-hr training, ~1 tsp)
Cost for sodium citrate = $0.10 per 2000mg sodium serving (~1.75 tsp).
Cheapest Gatorade Endurance Powder = $2.75 per 2000mg sodium.

See the rest of the article on his website.

New Essential Amino Acids and Essential Fats to consume when eating for $1.59/day

Tl;dr: Its suggested to eat 7 eggs per day for men and 5 eggs per day for women. And get your Omega-3s and Omega-6s, fish or algae oil are popular for EPA and DHA.


Apparently these are Essential, so I’m going to list these to ensure you begin tracking these Essential nutrients.

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine + cysteine
  • Phenylalanine + tyrosine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

For the calculation these are merely more parameters and more data, but I can’t help to think about how ESSENTIAL these amino acids are. What happens if you don’t get enough? I imagine this has happened in our lives.

Anecdote- I never had essential fats until I learned about DHA EPA and ALA aka omega 3 and omega 6.

Now that I have fish/algae oil, I should stop having dandruff/rashes, be less depressed, have less chance of cancer.

So the 3,

  • ALA
  • DHA

Apparently it is difficult to get EPA and DHA which is why fish(or more efficient Fish Oil), is often recommended for this.

Low key conspiracy: Did some scientist name it essential to boost fish sales? This is Skepticism, its not engineering)

New Nutrients, Anti-Nutrients, Phytochemicals, Provitamins, and the calculator

We found some other dimensions to nutrition and we are going to quantify these effects in foods.

Anti-Nutrients are wild if you have never heard of them. These will disrupt biological processes and anti-nutrients are in the food you eat. Examples to get you started- Thiaminase, Avidin, and Goitrin.

Absorption(and provitamins) can apply multiplicative effects on nutrition and it may be useful or it might be more expensive than its worth. Goal is to find a data driven conclusion.

If there is something other than Anti-nutrients, Phytochemicals, and Provitamins that has been missed, speak now or forever hold your peace michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com Long term, we have Interns to collect this obscure data.

In 2021, we will have an excel file so you can delete whatever you are allergic to or hate. This is where I’ll have phytochemicals as there are no RDAs. Then we learn Excel’s Solver together.

Final Reminder

So far the lowest cost way while eating for ~$1.50/day- 7 eggs per day for men and 5 eggs per day for women. Get your Omega-3s and Omega-6s, fish or algae oil are popular for EPA and DHA.

American Dream Per Dollar, the lowest cost path to a degree and 400k home.

I was talking to an Efficiency Is Everything User who is the owner of multiple homes and a college degree with no college debt, age 25.

I was curious what the most optimal path to this ‘American Dream’ of being college debt free and owning a 400k USD home. Note- I personally don’t know if I support personal home mortgages, but this can otherwise be viewed as-

“Paid College degree and $80,000”

We have Michael and Mandy Kirk, Austin, and Francesca racing to 80k.

Michael(Me) and Dr. Mandy Kirk

I saved a few thousand dollars by being stingy as a child, knowing I’d need to pay for college. I worked a retail clothing job making ~9k yr until I got coop job turned midnight shift job paying 38k/yr. This worked out as I took 60 credits at the community college and 68 credits at our local university, living off campus(19k/yr expense). Year 2 my parents loaned me $9k USD to pay for college and I was able to pay it back by graduation with the help of my process technician job.

From there it was engineering money. And both the costs and the benefits of my wife’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. We finally bought our house 9 years after high school graduation. Speaking of benefits, Dr. Mandy now has over 40 patients per week.

9 Years.

Michael Kirk(Individual Run)

Suppose in 2012 I didn’t buy a wedding ring and doctorate degree. I hit 80k+ savings year 7.

7 Years.


A veteran Active Duty Marine uses benefits to get free college and VA loans that require no down payment. The catch is that you need 4 years of Active Duty. (Austin did 5 years Active Duty)

Austin then found a college that you could take tests to get credits toward the degree. He could study for the tests, take them, and get credit for the classes. The total cost of his bachelor degree was $~7200, the government paid for almost all of it by being in the Air Force or Army Reserves. In 2020 Austin finished his Bachelors degree and got a pay raise to $115,000/yr. Or so he expected, until he was called upon in the reserves. Its both a pay cut and cost of living cut as he no longer needs the place he currently rents. He currently is getting the government to pay for his masters degree.

This is a way to get the same outcome and meets the goal-line. Reminder, this could be shorter with 4 years active duty or using reserves.

7 Years.


Our conversation started off with her teaching piano lessons and saving money since she was 13. Even with us only tracking her from 18 on, she had Money figured out. After her first year of college she worked a intern job, taught piano, and did school. When you make ~20k profit per year before graduating college you are going to win this race.

Some notes about this lifestyle. She said her parents were annoying and work was more tolerable than being home. And one time she almost fell asleep teaching piano lessons.

5 Years.

Conclusions and Errors

Here is the raw data. Francesca wins the race by the numbers.

However, is the race to a downpayment on a 400k house a good metric?

Upon finishing the race the Engineer and Dr of Physical Therapy has a revenue close to 300k/yr, Francesca makes teacher pay.

The Final Ultimate Answer – Job/Reserves for 2 years while working a second job and getting a high value degree.

Marry a doctor.

Possibly join the reserves as they have $5k/yr or higher benefit toward school plus access into potentially high paying ‘top secret’ government jobs. It takes ~39 days per year x8 hour days, a benefit of about 16$/hr.

Or maybe you get a factory engineering job and learn about Industrial Engineering while attending engineering school.

The trend is having no time and high value degrees. Anecdote: I thought the weekends and money was nice.

Bonus note: Western Governors University allows you to test out of classes, saving money. Might be worth considering a college that lets you do this.


Hope this was engineering enough, but for such a critical life decision as a career it seems necessary for Efficiency Is Everything to cover it. Completing a suggested path is going to be difficult, but consider it like exercising a muscle in toughness- wait, that’s not engineering.

Wish you the best,
Lead Engineer
Michael Kirk

Eat For $1.50 Per Day – Urgent Release Prompted By Record Unemployment

EDIT June 15 2020: New $1.50/day Youtube Recipes

MAJOR EDIT: 9-6-2020: New nutrition info. Per Essential Amino Acid Research, Females eat 3-5 eggs/day, males up to 7 eggs per day. For Essential Fatty Acids EPA and DHA Take Fish Oil. If you are a believer in phytochemicals/Flavonoids, feel free to eat those in addition to the base $1.50/day recipes.

Efficiency Is Everything Responds to Crisis

Based on preliminary data from Food Per Dollar 2020, I have been asked to urgently provide recipes on how to eat for $1.50/day. The recipes below are tools to help you eat toward $1.50 per day.

As a note, our Eating for 3$/day Cookbook can be found here. These are more similar to common cooking and often require less prep, and have more meats.


The recipes in this article will be based on Potatoes, Milk, Flour, Eggs, and Kale. (Honorable mention to Beans and Carrots)

Using our Nutrient Per Dollar study, US Government nutritional recommendations, and linear algebra we solved for the lowest cost foods that hit all nutritional requirements. (As a note this is preliminary as it uses 22 macro or mincronutrients to determine its results)

Preliminary Female age 19-30

Preliminary Male age 19-30

If you are allergic, keto, picky, or vegan, I can calculate a specialized list for you. Please contact me at michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com

EDIT: I added suggested foods for Keto and Vegans here.

Note- Some recipes have additional foods (IE- oils, sugars, spices) that can be added for flavor. It may be best to consider spending 1-2$/week on ‘flavor’.

$1.50 Per Day Recipes

There are lots of recipes, but I wanted to give you an idea what the week looks like.
Our current rotation of dinners (and lunch leftovers) is the following


Monday- Easy Potato and Vegetable dishes: Hashbrowns, mashed potatoes, baked/microwaved potato, Carrots/Kale roasted or fried. (Add salt and oil to make anything delicious)

Tuesday- Homemade Noodle dishes: The cheapest are Bechamel sauce(no butter), oil + fresh pepper(buy fancy peppercorns for $3 and use all year!), carbonara no cheese, and (carrot) vegetable soup. Slight extra- Tomato sauce.

Wednesday- Efficiency-Mexican: Homemade Tortillas/nachos stuffed with pinto/refried beans, fried potato cubes, kale, hot sauce.

Thursday- 2$ Pizza: Homemade Dough, pizza sauce or BBQ sauce, mozzarella(but apparently you can make Mozzarella in 30 minutes, currently experimenting)

Friday-2$ Fried Rice: We deviate and have a rice dish for a Friday dinner. As a bonus it only takes 10 minutes to make. (Recipe in the free Efficiency cookbook minus chicken)

Saturday-Vegetable pot pie. Its so good, recipe below.

Sunday-Fancyish: Pierogies, Gnocchi, Homemade Noodle Pad Thai


Pretty much eggs, toast, and hashbrowns.

Potato Soup

This recipe is for 2 people, but we double it for leftovers.



  • 3 Tablespoons oil (or for non frugal people- butter)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour


  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock (aka- 2 cups water, 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 3-4 Potatoes, cubed (skins on for laziness and nutrition)
  • 1 Teaspoon salt (I add more, but Mandy says I over salt)
  • Half Teaspoon black pepper

For the roux, add the Roux ingredients to a pan and cook over low-medium heat for ~5 minutes, stirring often. Don’t let it burn, it’s easy to do. Add the rest of the soup ingredients to the pan, heat until boiling and cook for ~20 minutes stirring occasionally.


These are so good, you will forget these are part of the $1.50/day budget. They taste luxury.

Makes 4 Crepes. Recommended flavors- Peanut Butter and Jelly(my favorite), Chocolate(melt kisses in the microwave), Nutella(so expensive, chocolate is cheaper).


  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (optional, or add more than 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Mix well, stand mixers help(Worst case use a fork). Other people say to let it sit 30+ minutes, but its not necessary.

Turn a medium size pan on low heat, when its warm, add 1/4 of the mixture, approx the size of a ladle. Rotate the pan to coat the bottom of the pan. After ~2 minutes it should look cooked. Using a spatula, lift the sides of the crepe before flipping. Flip and let it cook for less than 1 minute, all done. Stuff and fold.

Avoid crisping(unless you like that) on higher temps. Your second crepe will look professional.

Homemade Noodles with Spaghetti sauce/Soup/Alfredo

Pick your flavor options, salt and oil is basically free-

  1. Soup? Make veggie broth, chicken boolean(yes) cubes, leftover bones to make stock, whatever you want.
  2. Spaghetti Sauce- See page 49 of the free (eating for 3$/day) Efficiency is Everything Cookbook.
  3. Alfredo sauce- See page 46 of the (still free) Efficiency is Everything Cookbook.

(protip- stand mixer and noodle maker makes it easy and delicious)

Ingredients, 2 servings-

In a pot-

  • Mix 4 cups water (and 4 chicken bouillon cubes), get this to a boil

In a mixing bowl-

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons water(or milk)
  • 2 cups flour


Mix eggs, salt, water/milk, and flour until fully combined. It should be sticky enough to combine into one lump. If its runny, add additional flour. If its dry, add water, 1 tbsp at a time.

Lightly flour a cutting board, place the lump on the board. (optional- kneed about 12 times and wait 30 minutes. This is best for making angel hair noodles) Flattening the lump into a thin layer. Most people like thin noodles, so its recommended to use a rolling pin, adding flour as needed. At this point either use a noodle maker, or cut into thin strips. When all the noodles have been cut, put into boiling water for ~2 minutes. Keep an eye on the timer, after 2 minutes, remove from heat. Serve.

NOTE: This recipe has been improved, the old recipe was- 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 Tablespoons milk, 1.5 cups flour.

Mashed Potatoes

Pretty basic, but since Efficiency Is Everything, I’ll provide the laziest way. Serves 4-6 people.


  • 4-6 potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of milk. Add more or less depending on your style
  • 1+ tsp salt
  • Pepper


You could skin the potatoes, I don’t.

Boil the potatoes. You can use a slow cooker or hit boiling water for ~30 minutes. Poke a fork through to see if its soft. (You could cut them if you needed it faster)

Put this into a mixing bowl, add milk, add salt and begin mashing. We use an immersion blender, but any mashing will work.

Serve! If it doesnt taste good, add more salt and add pepper.


Use some of that mashed potatoes and stuff them into this dumpling.

Dough Ingredients-

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup milk


Start water and get to a boil.

Mix dough ingredients in a mixer. Flour a cutting board and rolling pin. Roll out the dough flat as possible. For ease, it may be best to break it up into a few balls before rolling out. Once flat, use a small bowl to cut circles. We used a Tupperware container.

Fill with mashed potatoes. Close Pierogi, use a fork to seal shut.

When ready, put Pierogis into boiling water for ~3 minutes. Get a different pan hot with oil (medium to high heat). Take boiled pierogis out of the boiling water and into the pan. Brown 1-2 minutes on each side.


This one takes some labor, I recommend putting on a podcast/audiobook and making them in bulk. Freezing for later.


  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 Egg
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Boil and mash potatoes. Add flour, eggs, pepper, and salt and mix together. We used a stand mixer, the fancy professionals online do this by hand.

Flour a cutting board, and flour your palms of your hand. Put a small lump of the potato/flour mixture on the cutting board, and roll this until you get a ~1cm diameter(tootsie roll size) log. Take a knife a cut every inch. After cutting, roll these into gnocchi shapes. You could use a fork, but they are going to taste pretty similar either way. Now you are ready to either freeze on a baking sheet, or throw into boiling water for ~2 minutes. They will float to the surface of the water when ready.

Serve with spaghetti sauce for best results. See page 49 of the free (eating for 3$/day) Efficiency is Everything Cookbook.

If you freeze, after an hour, take off the pan and put into tupperware or a freezer bag.

Egg Drop Soup

This is basically eating eggs, but with flavor. Makes 4 cups of soup.


  • 4 cup chicken broth (4 chicken bouillon cubes, 4 cups water)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil


Get water/chicken broth boiling. Add soy sauce and sesame oil.

Whisk eggs in a separate container. When the water is boiling, add the whisked eggs slowly. After a minute the eggs will be cooked and the soup is ready to eat!

Flat Bread

This has the benefit of not needing yeast. Although pretty much any bread you make will be Efficient.


  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Tsp salt


Mix ingredients, we like using a stand mixer, but it isn’t necessary.

Start a pan on low-medium heat. Add enough of the dough mix to coat the pan. The more you add, the longer the cooking time. This usually makes 2-4 flat breads deepening on the size of the pan. After ~2 minutes, you can flip.

You can google other bread recipes, we got a bread maker from the thrift shop for 6$ and have been making loafs of bread since.

Cooked Kale

Kale is really hard to eat raw, but cooking it with salt and oil makes it as good as McDonald’s Fries.


Tear kale off the stem, put in a pan on medium heat, add a little bit of water (~2 Tablespoons) and cover with a lid. Let cook for 3 minutes.

Once done, take off the lid, add some oil and salt. Cook for another 1 minute and serve.

Vegetable Pot Pie

Since eating for $1.50/day, we found you can substitute chicken out for potatoes surprisingly well. The texture is similar enough.



  • 5 tbsp oil or better
  • 5 tbsp flour


  • 3 or 4 large potatoes or 6 small. Cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 2 cups of mixed veggies (ours was frozen, but fresh is cheaper)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (4 cups water, 4 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I added more after serving)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (I added more after serving)

EDIT August 2020- Improved Pie Crust
Oil Pie Crust-

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 egg


Set oven to 425F.

Make a roux, and add the roux ingredients to a pan and cook over low-medium heat for ~5 minutes, stirring often. Don’t let it burn, it’s easy to do.

Add the rest of the filling ingredients to the pan, cook until potatoes are soft. If you are looking for some pro advice, Dr. Mandy Kirk says to add the potatoes 5 minutes ahead of the vegetables. Once the liquid starts to thicken, you are ready to fill the pie. More protips- Feel free to add more liquid, milk or water, if the filling is starting to look dry.

The Pie Crust

Mix ingredients, spread a little more than half the dough evenly across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides and to the edge of the pan.

Take the remaining mixture, flour, a cutting board and rolling pin. Roll out flat.

Add filling. Place top of pie crust on top of the pie as best as you can and trim as necessary. Cut many holes on the top of pie crust.

It doesn’t need to be perfect, it will taste great either way. I added extra salt and fresh grounded pepper upon serving.

Cook in oven for 30-40 minutes @ 425F.

If it doesn’t taste fantastic, add salt. In general potato dishes will need lots of salt.

*Lower cost broth: every cup of ‘broth’ can be replaced by 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of MSG.

Pesce d ovo

This is like Salmon Patties, but with eggs. Thank my Italian Mother. My wife was shocked at how tasty this was.

Suppose you make bread, but don’t like the crust. Let it get stale, and shred into breadcrumbs using a food processor.

Serves 2 or 3


  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt(or more)
  • Some oil/fat


Whisk eggs, then add breadcrumbs. Mix together and let sit for 1-2 minutes.

Get a pan to low-medium heat, add a small amount of oil. Pour 2 patties. Let cook for 2-4 minutes and flip. Goal is to get the patty golden brown. Once both sides are golden brown, you are ready to eat.

Breakfast Foods and Foods I don’t like

Here I’m going to list some foods that are either simple breakfast combos or foods I don’t like. I recommend googling and sticking to Eggs, Potatoes, Flour, Milk, and Kale if possible. Oil is pretty cheap, I don’t feel to bad about adding it.

  • Eggs and toast(Make your own bread or tortillas)
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles

New Additions 4-21-20

Fresh Bread (with a bread maker)

Bread is great for sandwiches, Toast(breakfast toast with eggs, super efficient!), and making breadcrumbs.

Pick your bread recipe, its going to be efficient as long as you limit yourself to basically Milk, Eggs, and Flour.


  • 1 Packet Yeast (2.5 tsp)
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Oil


We got a bread maker from the thrift shop for $6, its been great. Using that container, we add our yeast, 1 cup warm water, and 3 Tablespoons Sugar(the original recipe said 2 Tablespoons sugar, but I liked it better with 3). Wait 10 minutes.

Add 3 Cups Flour, 1 Teaspoon Salt, and 1/4 cup oil.

Turn on bread maker for fast 1.5lb setting.

After 2-3 hours, bread is ready. I find it difficult to cut at this point, but fluffy and tasty. Once it cools, I store in a bag to be sliced for toast later.

French Fries/Fried potatoes

At this point we are just cooking potatoes, but they taste great. You can either cube these or cut into french fry shapes.


  • Potatoes
  • Salt


(optional- peal potatoes, we don’t.) Cut potatoes into french fry shapes. Thin or thick, you decide.

Heat oil in a pan, medium heat. Add fries to the oil, cook for 2-4 minutes. If you like them soft, try after a few minutes, if you like them crispy, cook longer. They do cook a bit after you remove from the oil.

Remove from oil, salt. Serve.

New Additions Courtesy of Dr. Mandy Kirk‘s Cravings

Mandy has delicate and sophisticated tastes, she craves something and figures out how to make it.

Soft Pretzels

2 Variations here, Salt or Cinnamon Sugar.


  • 1 package of Yeast (2.5 teaspoons)
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3.75 cups four (Approx 4 total, since you use flour on your cutting board later)
  • 1 Egg
  • Topping- Either Salt, or Cinnamon + Sugar


Turn on oven to 425 degrees.

Put yeast into warm water, let sit for a minute. Add salt and sugar.

Add the flour. The original recipe suggested adding 1 cup at a time, but they were hand mixing. We use a stand mixer and I’ve found you can add everything, turn on low, and forget it takes no skill.

After mixed, flour down a cutting board, place the dough mixture on the board, kneed the dough for a few minutes, and create small balls, the original recipe said 1/3 cup, but you decide on the size of your pretzels. Roll these balls into a rope shape. Twist into pretzel shape. (If you want it to be perfect, youtube how. It will taste good regardless)

Spray baking sheet pan with non-stick spray/oil.

In a separate bowl, beat an egg. Dunk both sides of pretzel and place on pan. Here is your chance to Salt or sugar + cinnamon.

Cook for 10 minutes, before checking on these. The next step is to broil, but this is the very dangerous step. Broil is a recipe for burnt disaster. You are allowed to leave the oven open and watch the food broil, the heat comes from the infrared rays, not the temperature of the oven. So keep a close eye. Sugar + cinnamon will broil(burn) faster, keep a close eye. Keep a close eye. Broil shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. Ours only took 2-3 minutes.

Tater Tots

These were a great addition to our dinner. As a note they were quite labor intensive, maybe next time we will stick to French Fries. Serve with Ketchup.


  • 4 Potatoes
  • 2 Teaspoons Flour
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Salt
  • Any cooking oil (veg oil)


Peal potatoes. Cook potatoes to the point you stick a fork through it. Boil/Microwave, you decide. Let cool.

Shred the potatoes, and mix gently with flour, pepper, and salt. You are ready to shape these into tater tot shape.

Heat oil to ~medium heat. Add tater tots. We did ours in multiple batches. The goal is to brown the tater tots, just like you imagine them to look.

As a note, if you want to save on oil, you can roll the tater tots around in the pan after they cook on each side. This is slower, but you decide.

New Additions 6-15-2020

10 Minute Hash Browns

This recipe is great, but you NEED to work on high heat. This means high attention as you can go from Perfect to burnt in seconds.

This works because you do not use a towel to dry the potatoes, saving time and effort. But you need to pay attention.


  • 3 Potatoes
  • Any cooking oil (veg oil)
  • Salt


Use a grater on the largest multi hole setting to create hash brown sized potato shapes.

In a large pan, put hash browns in oil on high heat. More oil= better browning and more calories.

After 1 minute begin to separate hash browns into ~4 distinct quadrants in preparation to flip. After 2 minutes the hash browns should be brown. Flip hash browns. Salt, potatoes needs lots of it. Wait another 1-2 minutes for the other side to brown. Serve (with over medium eggs).

Roasted Carrots

These are better than french fries.


  • 1-2lbs Carrots
  • Any cooking oil (veg oil)
  • Salt


Preheat oven to 425F

Slice carrots to approx finger sized shape, doesn’t need to be perfect. Put carrots into a baking pan, and add generous amounts of (veg) oil and salt. Mix carrots and oil and salt and spread around pan, spacing as evenly as possible.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, flip carrots, I use a spatula and do my best.

Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, check on it. Browning means they are perfect.

Kale Salad


  • Kale
  • Any dressing


Pick a dressing, highly recommend poppy-seed dressing and freshly washed kale. I can’t believe I can eat raw kale, but its happening.

Fluffy (Garlic) Breadsticks

These are fantastic. I warn that there is ~40 minute break as you wait for the bread to rise. These taste great. Original Recipe here– modified for Efficiency.

  • 1 tbsp yeast(1 package)
  • 4 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • tbsp oil

Mix 1/4 warm water and yeast, let sit 5 minutes. Mix flour, oil, sugar, salt, and 1 1/3 cups warm water into the yeast, we used a mixing bowl for a few minutes.
Kneed dough by hand, ~12 times or until smooth.

Roll into 2 foot long roll, cut every 1.5 inches to make 16. Kneed each and shape into a ~7 inch long breadstick.

Spray baking pan with nonstick spray. Place breadksticks in pan. (We end up using 2 pans on the same rack.)

Wait 45 minutes for the bread to rise. Brush the top of the bread with oil and salt.

Bake 400 degrees, 15 minutes.

After baking, add another round of oil and garlic powder.

$2 pizza

This one is being worked on to be a $1.50/day meal. Ideas for improvements- Make your own Mozzarella in 30 minutes, grow your own tomatoes/make your own sauce.

Here is the $2/day recipe:


  • 1 tbsp(1 packet) yeast
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • toppings(see below)

Start oven at 450 Degree F.

Mix the yeast with the water and sugar, wait 10 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients, mix. Flour surface, place dough ontop. Form dough into round ball, flatten into pizza shape.

Add toppings ideas

  • Tomato sauce(your garden or from a can)
  • Mozzarella cheese(DIY or store cheese)
  • BBQ sauce)
  • Vegetables/Pineapple

Personal favorites is to make half the pizza tomato sauce and half the pizza Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce + Mozzarella cheese. Its really good. In a homemade Pizza sauce- sugar and salt always taste good. Italian herbs like basil, rose-merry, garlic(powder), thyme. Finally, use a pinch of baking soda to cut down the acidity.

Finally, the garlic crust. Lightly add oil to the crust of the pizza. Top with salt and garlic powder.

Oven 15-20 minutes.

Let sit for 5 minutes, and if you would like- add another layer of oil on the crust. (Don’t compare me to Pizza chains if you didn’t)

Cut into ~8 slices.

$1.50 Efficiency-Mex – Tex-Mex + Efficiency

Warning, this recipe feeds 6. We enjoy this and want leftovers of variations(think taco-bell 5 ingredients) for leftovers. It takes a while to make the tortillas, so I prepare this in bulk.


    Slowcooker Refried Beans

  • 3 cups Pinto Beans
  • 8 Cups Water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
    Cubed Potatoes

  • 3 or 4 large potatoes, cubed
  • low cost Oil
  • Salt to taste


  • 4 cups flour (And extra for flouring the cutting board)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 6 tbsp oil

Additional Toppings-

  • Hot sauce
  • Kale
  • Pickled carrots(?)

Slowcooker Refried Beans-

Put water and pinto beans in a slowcooker, cook on low for 8 hours. Strain beans into bowl, leaving a 0.5 cups to 1 cups of leftover water for potential use thinning the beans down. Add oil and salt. Use an Immersion Blender($20) or hand mixer, or potentially mash by hand. If its not smooth enough mix longer. Rumor has it, some restaurants mix their beans for 40 minutes. 5 minutes seems plenty for home use.

Cubed Potatoes

Cube potatoes. Put oil in a pan on medium heat. (Bonus:- Potatoes cook faster if you cube them small and cook on higher temps. Careful high temperatures Burn quickly)

Flip after a 3-4+ minutes after 1 side has browned. cook on another side 3-4+ minutes. Test with a fork.


Mic (in a stand mixer) Flour, water, salt, and olive oil. Once combined, flour a surface and place dough. Kneed 10-15 times. Rest for 10 minutes.

Original recpie says to divide dough into 16, I like bigger tortillas, I would divide into 12.

Flatten into circle. Put in pan on medium/medium-low heat. Flip after they brown.

Wish you the best

Wish you the best during these unprecedented times. The study will be released at a later date, showing where we got these main ingredients from. This situation is too urgent to delay any longer.

If you found this useful, share with your friends.

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Industrial Engineering Laundry – Ergonomics For Quicker And Easier Laundry

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

I expect this article to change your life.  Enjoy-


There are two sections, theoretical “By The Book”, where you will hear the most optimal situations you can hope to achieve. These are good to know, so you can think about them when doing laundry. There are lots of good ideas in there.

Finally, we will go into real world tips to get closer to optimal, so you can save time and effort right away. 

This study was funded by Elizabeth P. Thank her for donating to study Efficient Laundry!

Engineering Theory- The Most Optimal (by the book)

Ergonomics is a hybrid of human health and engineering. This combines the mathematical and logic rigor of engineering to studies in humans. This data comes out as measurements, estimations, and best practice.


Enhancing Attention

One book suggested human attention is limited to ~30 minutes on a routine job. No reason to feel bad about getting bored of household tasks, you are only human.

Room Temperatures above 79 degrees are bad.

Work quickly, being motivated is proven to make you work quicker. Literally, thinking, can make you more Efficient. Rally! Don’t be weak!

Information Processing

Making a decision is fatiguing. Regardless if its trivial, the mind needs to see, understand, think, and convert into an output. It should be noted that after basic skills are obtained, people get better at speed.

Since these tasks require decisions, both in muscle control and mind, proficiency will happen with time. 

Best Practices- For Reach

A 5th percentile female can reach approx 2 feet, and this can be extended an additional 9 inches when standing.

Bending over is not desired. A rolling cart may help elevate baskets off the floor and ease transportation.

Motion is not desired, if you can grab multiple items per bend, you will save time and effort.

Another reminder, Motion is not desired, items that need to be put far away can be tossed aside. Hang up all necessary items, once.

Ergonomic Facts

Pulling motions are best done between 120 and 180 degrees, with best performance at 150 degrees. while pulling >120 degrees. This means its easier to pick items up below you, and put away higher. 

However, any sort of grabbing without bending over or reaching is encouraged.

Use a power grip! Instead of using fingers, use your fist to pick up.

Discomfort will cause inefficiency, even a 5cm/2in too high counter can cause shoulder pain.

Static, holding still, restricts blood flow and requires longer rest periods. Dynamic movement allows blood to circulate during relaxation. 

To reach further, bend your hip(8.2in/20cm) and rotate(1.8in/4.5cm) and extend shoulder(4in/10cm). Those are your 3 ways to extend. 


For long tasks, if you can adjust between sitting and standing, this is preferred. Equipment exists to change the height level.

Sitting is better for blood flow.

Try not to hold the same position for more than 15 seconds, that is when lactic acid begins to build up.

Avoid moving/transportation to put something away.

Reduce or Increase Stress

Stress can be good, according to one book, a 10 is very stressful, a 3-5 stress is beneficial. 1 stress was bad. 

The arrangement of your workplace(dimensions, relative locations, etc…), makes a major contribution to how a task is handled. 

What are the accuracy requirements? Do things need to be folded/unwrinkeled? Could you change this to be happier doing laundry? Or make more challenging?

Is there flow? Work-rest cycles may be beneficial and for extended tasks, having start-stop times. 

Environment- Temperature, family/pets, surroundings.  

Reduce Boredom

One book had root causes of boredom, here is a take on how to make tasks less boring.

Short cycle times may be boring. Is there an opportunity for process flow?

A task with few opportunities for body movement gets boring, its okay to stretch/exercise muscles. 

Warm temperatures, could cooler temps get you motivated.

No coworkers. Does this mean we should be doing laundry with family?

People with high abilities and eager to excel find boredom, so next time you do laundry, try to be more Efficient. This is your new challenge, let us know if you find any discoveries. 

Dim work environment causes boredom. Changing color RGB light strips are a solution to boredom, or maybe the book intended to use brighter white light.

Real World Tips – Applied Efficiency

Here are applicable to everyone efficiency tips.

Sort Clothes Faster

Upon research, there are Efficient Comparison Sorting Algorithms. These can be used to sort your laundry faster. A take at Laundry Quicksort

  • Pick 2 items to collect, one for each hand. IE: Mrs Socks, Mrs. Underwear
  • Collect these with minimal digging, and put away
  • Put away large items that prevent seeing new items, don’t think too hard about this.
  • Continue with this routine, picking large quantities as a priority, and removing large items that inhibit seeing.

The goal here, limit motion like digging around and extended searching. Like Quicksort, your visible items are your ‘sorting set’, and items you cannot see are not sorted. All while picking up many items reduces the number of times you bend/turn to get clothes.

Hanging up clothes may be better separated into a different task. This is highly dependent on if you are sorting clothes near your closet and are near hangers. 

This asks the question, if laundry was done at the individual level rather than family level, would it be quicker due to less sorting?

Workspace Tips

Limit Transportation. Do your work within range if possible. Consider Swapping the contents of drawers to make sorting possible without taking steps. 

According to one book, locations of items should have priority- Most important items in front, then items by sequence(multi step items), then items by similarity, then frequency.

Turn Less, consider that turning your body is motion, if doing laundry on the bed causes you to turn significantly, consider sorting in a different location.  


Note: this equipment suggestion is best practice, it serves to give you an idea what an Ergonomic Laundry Basket would be. Elevated, with wheels.

If you are interested, these are called Laundry Carts.

Even better, some laundry carts have false/auto adjusting bottoms to elevate laundry to make it easier to reach. Push laundry carts instead of pulling. Although changing muscle groups has economic advantages as well.


Next Steps

Get excited about doing laundry, like you never have before. I was shocked at how fast Quicksort had me putting away clothes. 

With 5 ergonomics books under my belt, I expect more household tasks to get optimized, and laundry to be further studied with MODAPTS, which are used to code task time like reaching and grabbing. They use this in Sweat Shop Sewing. 


Make More Efficiency

If we can reach 5,000 dollars, we are currently at 800 dollars, I will match and we can finance 2 interns to work 12 hours a week for 28 weeks completing studies that will help everyone.

The goal is to raise 5000 dollars to create more studies on Industrial Engineering Life.



Or share with your friends!

Website Updates Q1


If this is your first email, here is our $6, 2 minute, slow-cooker recipe that feeds 5 people, promised originally. Apparently email automation was not working.

Also, announcing that we will be emailing significantly less going forward. Each email will have multiple full Engineering studies.

2019 So Far

We released a massive store to store comparison, and the biggest conclusion was finding the clear and overwhelming benefit to online over brick and mortar. And Dr. Mandy Kirk, Mrs. Efficiency insists I mention this is the Baby Items Per Dollar article.

In addition donations put Engineering Intern Josh to work. He has been collecting prices, nutrition, and more for-

Store To Store Comparison – Dog Food Per Dollar

We have funds to apply Industrial Engineering to Laundry. Ergonomic Laundry is being researched and looks to be promising.

And Cat owners- Dog owners have their own Efficiency Is Everything Article. Buy Intern hours to study your own pet food article.


The Future

Next Update Q2: Calories Per Dollar 2019 and Efficient Laundry.

And: We are getting about 1500 views/day. The day has come. Servers are costing multiple hundreds of dollars. Emailing You has now amounted to cost a few hundred dollars a year.

This is a warning ahead of time that if I make a special edition, half political fueled, 100% efficient-

The Food We Ate When I Lost My Job Due To Trump Tariffs Cookbook

It will be to fund the servers.

It will be special edition and limited time because I don’t like the idea of charging money to use Efficiency Is Everything. This would purely be to raise server funds and would definitely have a rant in favor of Free Markets and not Tariffs.

We ate cheap. There is even a section called- On Friday We Had Butter.

Expect the limited release to be out next update.

More Efficiency

If you like Efficiency Is Everything and want to see us grow, support us by sharing with your friends or funding a study with Donations.


Dog Food Per Dollar – Store vs Store and Protein, Calories, Vitamins, Ingredients

We received a donation of 350$ of intern hours, and per request, we have an interesting discovery that may save you money regardless if you have a dog.


Unsure what dog food data was going to be available, we completed 1 store with full data. Upon seeing consistencies between brands, we narrowed our data set.

Our goal shifted to find best brands and best places to purchase. The decision was made to focus on quantity. Over 200 Items were collected from 4 stores.

To maximize usefulness, we will focus on Your Application, however, the data can be found here and through the article.

Store Vs Store Winners

A greater takeaway is that, as Efficiency Is Everything collects more data, we are finding consistent store vs store winners. There are lessons to be learned here.

Walmart – Best Calorie Per Dollar For Corn

Walmart comes out on top again for prices. While you will need to look for quality, Walmart has the best prices. The great question will be getting the quality metrics You want at Walmart.

Our data suggests- No, Walmart does not have the best prices. We demonstrate this by using Categories and Protein Per Dollar.

If you want Corn, Walmart seems to be the best place to buy it.

Here are the Top Calorie Per Dollar Items.

Online Wins Vs Brick and Mortar

Outside of Walmart Corn, we found the Online store Chewy was better than the competition.

This is important because it gives us a second data point showing the benefits of Online shopping.

As a note, In Baby Items Per Dollar, we found Amazon was just behind Walmart. Walmart Online was cheaper than Walmart(store).

Mom And Pop Stores Are Expensive

Bad News- Mom and Pop stores can be expensive. They can cost 10x or more than online alternatives.

What role do these stores serve in a consumers life?

Setting Goals

Is your goal feeding your dog cheap? Is your goal low cost cheap protein? Is your goal most pure protein? Our data lets you decide your qualities.

Ingredients Beef vs Chicken vs Duck vs More


Buy at Chewy, don’t buy at Walmart. Always above 200g Protein Per Dollar.


Buy at Chewy or Costco, not Walmart. Unless you want heavy calories from corn aim for 200-400g Protein Per Dollar


Petco and chewy are side by side depending on your needs.

Conclusions – Turkey, Venison Whitefish, and more. Buy the correct item.

The data shows Chewy and Petco crush Walmart with leaner proteins.

Without going into the other meat categories here, it was discovered outside of cheap corn, Walmart was a loser for particular types of meat proteins.

Buy The Correct Item

While this data finds the outliers, its good to know the relative value. Getting 200-400g Protein Per Dollar is relatively a good deal.

Make A Mistake Pay The Price – 10x

While our data found the best values, if you are shopping on your own, make sure you are not overpaying. Failure is the difference of a scale of 10.

Costco vs Everybody

Whenever you can get something cheaper outside Costco’s exclusive membership, it makes me question this membership. 

Costco did not beat Chewy. 

Online wins. 

The Data-

The data attached is very raw. While we put effort into cleaning the data, some vitamin values are unrecoverable. However, I wanted to provide the data we did have, as it still shows interesting conclusions on nutrition in each package.

In the future, when repeated, this study will take lengths to ensure completeness. This is our first attempt at studying Dog Food.

Here is the raw data-

Save Money

See more cost saving studies on Efficiency Is Everything, or find how we eat for 20$/week per person.

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1-6-19 New Major Cost Saving Study This Week, New Donations, Downtime

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

We have a major Store to Store comparison, Amazon vs Target vs Target Online vs Walmart vs Walmart Online (vs Buy Buy Baby). Comparing Brick and Mortar vs Online and Store vs Store. This changed our shopping habits.

(baby) Items Per Dollar – A Store to Store Comparison

We have raised $645 to be spent on Interns. Intern Josh has spent only $135 of this on his Dates Per Dollar study. He is backlogged, which is a good problem. Excited to see how his next upcoming studies will turn out. Thank you to everyone who has donated and everyone who is sharing with their friends.

There will be periodic downtime week of 1-7-19 to 1-14-19 to upgrade the website to run faster.

Retailers Are Exploiting Your Price Ignorance- Target vs Amazon vs Walmart and More with our Store to Store comparison Baby Items Per Dollar

Lead Engineer-Michael Kirk:

Do not get hung up on ‘baby’.

What started as a baby registry optimization evolved into a store to store comparison when we found huge difference in prices. 

This article is a Store vs Store, Brick and Mortar vs Online comparison. There is a lowest cost way to purchase items, and we wanted the data to prove it.

There are not many ‘baby’ specific tips in this article, but here is one baby oddity- Colors, Boy colors, Girl colors, and neutral colors changed the price and availability. 


Store vs Store –  The Comparison To Be Quantified


The goal was to make an overall shopping decision and pick 2 stores to shop and register at. This is a commitment, having more than 2 stores is overwhelming and difficult. 


Each store had to have an item that meet all consumer quality metrics, from Dr. Mandy Kirk. Metrics were reasonable, and often only 1 name brand had the quality. Lowest price, or the equal product were captured for each store.  Quality was considered and noted.

If a store did not have a product that meet the criteria, they were noted False, not having the item.

The Data

The Winners-

The Data is at the end of the article, but its important to know who comes out on top. Online stores are cheaper and have better selection than brick and mortar stores. 

Does this mean shopping at brick and mortar is an expensive luxury?

Further, upon request, we added a blanket 20% off on Buy Buy Baby, this did not change its Rank in any item. Meaning Buy Buy Baby is always at least 20% more expensive than all of its competitors. 


Is it safe to say Target and Buy Buy Baby are ‘Never Buy’?



Online had a significantly better selection, especially Amazon.

11 items could not be found at Walmart in Store. If you included Walmart online, only 1 item could not be found online.

Target had 7 items unable to be found, and 2 unable to be found online.

Amazon and Buy Buy Baby had all items.

Best In Class- The Lowest Cost Items At Each Store

If you were trying to buy one of these items, it would be best to buy from these stores.

Lesson: At Target, there is 1 item in store that was lower cost than anywhere else. This is the exception that proves ‘doing your homework’ and researching gives you the best price. 

Walmart (online), undeniably the best-

Amazon, not a long list, but they still scored 2nd best overall. 

There are no items to buy at Buy Buy Baby.

Conclusions and Next Steps

Now that we narrowed our selection down to Walmart and Amazon, we will pick the best products. Items will be revisited to ensure the items meet quality metrics at the lowest price.

There is more data

There may be use outside consumer applications of this data. New products? Implications of Brick and Mortar’s future?  Is there something telling about the future of consumer retail? Are there other overly expensive stores like Buy Buy Baby out there?

The data is massive.

You will see how retailers like Walmart are pushing the weight on low prices- sometimes.  Walmart in-store seemed to be marked up vs online. 


The best experience is with our Excel File. Click Here


Otherwise enjoy the picture-

*False means the store did not have a comparable item.


If you have made this this far, you might care to see how the different grocers stacked up

Aldi vs Costco vs Sams Club vs Walmart vs Meijer

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