Tuesday, September 9, 2014

SNAP Challenge, Day 1

Note: I am not following all the SNAP Challenge rules. You are not supposed to use anything you already have, and start clean with the groceries you buy with your allowance. This would cause me to waste the things I already purchased, and buy things I already have, so instead, I am just calculating cost per serving from what I paid for the items when I got them. I do a lot of my shopping at BJs, which may be a luxury most people on food stamps would have trouble with due to package sizes, but I believe that this exercise is still educational to me and any readers, even without following the rules completely

Day one of the challenge: What I ate:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberry yogurt and a cup of coffee. Total cost: $0.74
Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich on Whole Wheat bread, and sweet potato chips with hummus. Total Cost:$0.78
Dinner: Honey Spice Chicken Thighs via this recipe. Egg noodles with butter and salt. Corn and a Small Spinach salad. Total cost:$1.34
Dessert: A bunch of grapes. Total Cost:$0.28
Day One Total: $3.13

Overall, day one went alright, and I actually came in under budget, which is great. I got a great deal on Chicken thighs($0.99/lb), which made dinner super reasonable. Since I generally only drink water an a cup of coffee a day, this helps to keep my daily costs down a lot. Also, i think my meals were all fairly healthy, which is something people always say is hard to do on a limited budget. The sweet potato chips are just sweet potatoes and oil(so nothing nasty in there). I used frozen corn, which is all I ever buy, because I find corn on the cob to be too much work. Eating frozen vegetables is a good way to keep costs lower while still eating healthy. Hopefully tomorrow I can get some more fresh produce in, but if not, any vegetables are better than no vegetables!

Complete cost breakdown
oatmeal 1/4 cup 0.05
yogurt 0.36
coffee, k cup 0.33
total 0.74
sweet potato chips, 1 ounce 0.29
hummus, 1 tablespoon 0.15
bread, 2 slices 0.11
peanut butter, 2 tablespoons 0.14
jelly, 1 tablespoon 0.09
total 0.78
Dinner Egg noodles, 1 serving 0.22
butter and salt 0.05
corn, 1 serving 0.20
spinach salad 0.23
honey spiced chicken thigh 0.64
total 1.34
Grapes 0.28
Day One Total 3.13

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back! And the SNAP challenge

Well Ladies and gentlemen, after over a year, I am back to blogging! I never intended to take that long of a break, but frankly, life happened and I just couldn't get around to blogging. Quick update: I am not a stay at home mom to a beautiful little girl, Madeline. She turned 7 months last week.

Now for the SNAP challenge! The SNAP Challenge is a yearly event hosted by Feeding America to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity in America. Participants are challenged to eat on no more than $4.25 per day, per person (the average allowance for food assistance programs), log their experiences, and reflect on the challenges and difficulties. I have decided to take part in the challenge, and will be sharing exactly what I spend my food allowance on. I plan to do this for a week, but may stretch it to two, depending on how things go. For large meals(dinner), I will be splitting the price per recipe to servings and only keep track for myself, since my husband is too hard to keep track of throughout the day. I started this morning, so tomorrow I will share my food for today, along with how I feel thus far. Hopefully this will be an eyeopening experience for me, and for all you readers out there.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Starting the Whole30

I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately, but sometimes, life just gets in the way. I may be posting more regularly now, but a bit different. Today is day three of my whole30 journey.

What is Whole30, you may ask. Well, whole30 is meant to be a lifestyle change. For 30 days, you eat no grains, pseudo grains(like quinoa), dairy, or sugar(besides sugars that naturally occur in fruits and veggies). As said on the website, "The Whole30 is based on a Paleo framework, but restricts some foods that might be considered “Paleo” in nature. (Of course, the exact definition of Paleo varies, based on who you ask.) The goal of the Whole30 is to eliminate all foods that may be having a negative psychological or physiological effect on how you look, feel and live. As such, some technically “Paleo” foods (like honey, or desserts made with almond flour) are ruled out for the duration of your program." It is said that this plan changes your life.

So, why am I doing this? Am I trying to torture myself? Not exactly. I've been having a few ailments, which I feel are related to food, but I'm not sure which ones. I also have a huge dependence on food to make me feel better, especially in the form of ice cream or chocolate. Hopefully, by completing the 30 days, I can get a better separation between food and feelings, and therefore fix that issue.

As I said, today is my day three. Overall, I haven't been having a super tough time, though it has been a bit of work. Every morning, I cook eggs(which is starting to get old, but I'm sure I can find a solution) for breakfast. This just means I need to wake up on time, so I still get to work on time, since previously, I was eating an oatmeal I got for free once I got to work. Lunches and dinners are easy, whether it be a salad with chicken, or a roast with roasted veggies, or whatever else I get around to making. The biggest challenge has been finding dinners I can take to class that 1. Don't take up a huge amount of space 2. Don't need to be kept super cold(because they will be out of the fridge from when I leave work to when I eat, about 2 hours) and 3. Don't need to be heated. Hopefully I can find a few things that fit for this, but luckily, I only have class late one day a week now, so it isn't a huge issue.

Two and a half days in, and overall, I'm feeling ok. I'm a little tired(though that may only be partially program based), and I've been especially hungry for dinner, but I think I haven't been eating lunches that are quite big enough. I do have a headache today, but it's hard to say if it is from that, or from hitting my head on the wall(did I mention I am clumsy?). In a few more days, I'll report back, and let you all know how I'm feeling, and what I think about the program.

For more about the program, visit the Whole9's website here.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Corn Bread

I've never been a huge fan of chili. To me, chili was always just ok, full of ground beef but with nothing that exciting. As someone who has never been a huge fan of ground beef to begin with, chili just never did it for me. That is, until recently, when I found a chili recipe that had NO BEEF. Since then, I have LOVED vegetarian chili recipes, especially this one. My favorite part of chili though, whether it be vegetarian or not, has always been the corn bread that goes along with it. I LOVE corn bread, and worked hard to come of with a recipe that was exactly what I wanted in a corn bread, corn kernels for texture, some heft, but not so horribly heavy as to fill you up, and soft with just enough sweetness. After experimenting with a few different recipes, and combining them all together, this is the recipe I came up with. The cheese gives only a subtle taste, and could easily be left out if desired (but I love cheese, so I tend to put it in whenever I make it). Unfortunately, this corn bread is so delicious, I didn't get a picture of it before it was cut, so I had to make do with a picture from lunch the next day. I think it still shows how delicious and textured the bread is.


Corn Bread
Ingredients :
1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
3/8 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup frozen corn

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 9 glass baking pan thoroughly (I like to grease it with a bit of shortening. Pam never seemed good enough to keep corn bread from sticking).
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Mix well.
3. In a small bowl, crack two eggs and beat lightly. Add milk and vegetable shortening, and mix.
4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until no longer clumpy.
5. Add corn kernels and cheese (optional) and stir until incorporated. DO NOT OVERSTIR.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until top is golden and until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lace Zigzag scarf

It is the last day of the month, and this is my first post of the month. I'm sorry for this, and swear I will get back to posting regularly, just lately, life has been getting in the way a bit. In fact, I have had this scarf made and photographed for over a month now, and just never got it posted.

I really enjoy knitting. Having something to focus on, which gives me something pretty, always helps to calm me down and keep my stress in check(unless I mess up a bunch of times, because then I stress about how bad my project looks). I especially enjoy scarves, because they don't take too long, but you get something useful in the end. This is my second time making this scarf. The first time, I made it in a week so I could give it as a gift to my aunt(who loved it, by the way). This second try, I like the result even more. The zigzag pattern is subtle, but enough to make the scarf exciting, and not just a basic knit scarf. The yarm really worked well for this project, with the colors gradually changing. The project was fairly simple, though you do need to know a few different stitches(though I googled them before I started, and they were all easy). I recommend this project to any advanced beginner knitters. I like to buy mill ends and bulk yarn at the craft store, because it tends to be cheaper, so I'm not sure what brand this yarn was, but it is a bulky weight, similar to the lion brand homespun yarns. The pattern for the scarf can be found here. Do you like to knit? What are your favorite things to knit?

Click HERE to buy Lion Brand Homespun Yarn in Mimosa , seen in the picture below.