Sunday, November 17, 2013

SNAP: Day Seven (LAST DAY)

Well, folks! That was a fast week! My SNAP Challenge is over tomorrow! I have learned a few things this week and I look forward to sharing them soon. 

It's bitter sweet thinking that tomorrow I wont have to count out the cost of each of my meals and to worry about running out of my food supply. In fact, I wont have to worry because I have so much food left over from this week! I made my parents breakfast this morning with my oats (borrowed one of their bananas since I only had one left).  Banana Pancakes!!



I shared some veggie burgers with my parents, and sent my brother with some leftover soup. I ended up throwing all of my leftover vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cabbage, kale), 3 potatoes, and 1/8 of my squash in a blender with spices/ herbs... and came up with this tasty creation. 



My meals today were pretty much the standard. Banana pancakes and peanut butter, veggie burger and soup, apples, pumpkin seeds, and leftover "beanballs" with soup. 

My last SNAP meal for the week. 

How do I have so much leftover!?



What did I have leftover!? Two veggie burgers, 3 beanballs, a whole container of pumpkin soup, 1/3 of my oats, 5 cups of sweet potato veg soup, 1/4 of the flax milk. .. (I can't wait to drink my Almond milk again this week. Only bought the flax milk because it was cheaper than the other non-dairy milks at the co-op I was at. Went for the deals).

After dinner, I totaled my food cost for the day and I was at about $3.00 again. So I went ahead and made myself some more air-popped popcorn for a snack! :) 

Like I said, it's bittersweet being done with my challenge. I had fun experimenting.... stay tuned though! I have comments on my blog posts that I will be responding to, as well as a recap of my experience this week! In the meantime, if you are looking to eat healthy on a budget, check out this website: http://plantbasedonabudget.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedOnABudget. It's fun to seeing how other people are eating plant-based on a budget.. and I love the collaborative approach!  

SNAP: Day Six

Well, folks. Saturday became a leftover kind of day, but I am perfectly okay with leftovers (means less cooking/ cleaning). I enjoyed leftover sweet potato oat casserole, leftover soup and veggie burgers, an apple, carrots, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie "for yo", air-popped popcorn.. starting to sound familiar!

 This week I  have learned that lentils and oatmeal are two versatile foods!

I did have a little fun at dinner tonight and decided to try something fancy. My family was making Oh She Glow's "beanballs" with squash. So I decided I would do my own version with the resources I had available to me. 

First of all, I did a horrible job at making "zucchini noodles." All these other bloggers make them look so beautiful. I guess I will have to practice. 


Now for my version of the meatballs... 


Lentil-oat balls 
1 cup dry oats
1 cup cooked lentils
1/4- 1/2 cup chopped kale
italian seasonings (basil, oregano, fennel seeds, parsley, garlic)
*add crushed red pepper if you like them hot. 

Blend all the ingredients together (accept the chopped kale). Once smooth, mix in the kale. Roll the bean batter into balls (I made about 12). Put on a skillet and cook on the stove over medium heat. Be sure to move them around to preventing burning. 

This whole recipe cost about $0.41 !!! 




I am sure this meatless meatballs would taste great on a sandwich, in a wrap, with some pasta, mixed with quinoa.... versatile possibilities!

Total food cost for the day came at about $3.50! 

It's kind of a bittersweet feeling knowing my SNAP Challenge experience is almost over! I have greatly enjoyed many of these new recipes! 

Stay tuned! I will be doing a recap blog soon to sum up my experiences and lessons learned! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

SNAP: Day Five

Wow! The week blows by fast! Day 5 was here and now it's gone! I am moving on to Day 6! Each day I am getting more and more skilled at being resourceful. I actually feel pretty satisfied in terms of hunger. I think it's because I have increased the number of snacks I eat throughout the day. I tend to eat many small meals on a normal day, which helps regulate my energy levels. I am finally mastering that one my SNAP challenge. 

I made a few new dishes today. Definitely, took up a lot more of my time than I would have liked. 

Breakfast: 

I wanted to do something with sweet potatoes, so I googled it. One of my favorite websites came up with a sweet potato casserole. I looked at a few more recipes on the site and came across a carrot cake oatmeal... and decided that I was going to combine the two recipes. 


Sweet potato and carrot oat casserole

I primarily followed the recipe for the sweet potato casserole, but decided to add 1 shredded carrot to the mix. 

***Modifications I made to my recipe: No chia seeds,  no maple syrup, and I used 1 cup plant-based milk and 1 cup water instead of 2 cups plant-based milk. For my crumble, I just mixed 1 tablespoon peanut butter with 1/4 cup oat flour and crumbled it on the top. 

The total cost was about $0.99 for my version of the dish... plus I made this last for 2 servings! 

Lunch: 

I decided to make a similar dish my host family made for me while I was in Spain many years ago. My host mom would always make the most delicious vegetable soups by just boiling vegetables and throwing them into the blender. The great thing about these soups is there is MORE THAN JUST ONE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT!

Carrot Ginger Soup: (1-2 servings)
5 carrots
1 sweet potato 
kale 
ginger (fresh or powdered) 

*boil the carrots and sweet potato and then throw them in the blender. Might as well use the water you boiled them in so you can save the vitamins that leached into the water while boiling. Add the kale and add the ginger to taste. If you need more water, add it. Blend until desired consistency. 

The total soup cost me about $0.75 



I served my bowl of soup with a left over veggie burger ($0.15) and kale chips. 





Dinner: 

Well, dinner was interesting and I am curious to see how it will taste a day after sitting in the fridge. My dad thought it tasted like chicken noodle soup (minus the chicken and the noodles). I was trying to make one of my favorite creamy, "cheesy" tofu soups... but didn't have enough tofu to make the soup right. So I just started mixing and matching.. and made a mock "chicken noodle soup" What was in it? 

1/2 block of tofu (blended with water)
1/8 of a large cabbage
1/4 zucchini
1 cup of cooked lentils
leftover soup from above
1/4 cup oat milk** 
ginger
turmeric
onion powder
garlic
salt and papper 

I wish I could have added miso and/or nutritional yeast to it. I may have been able to budget for those items if I had been doing the SNAP challenge with more than just myself and if I was doing this for more than one week. A larger budget would have allowed for more variety in food choices. 

 And yes, I used oat milk in this recipe. I wanted to add more calories and to make it a bit more creamy. I couldn't taste the oaty-ness in the dish since the spices covered it up. So if you are looking for a cheap milk alternative, try oat milk. Here is a sweet recipe, I just mixed the oats with water in my version. 



My soup recipe was about $2 and I still have half of it left! 

Snacks were definitely what helped me get through the day!  I made myself some pumpkin pie "fro yo" again. Grazed on pumpkin seeds. Munched on an apple and peanut butter. And enjoyed a nice big bowl of popcorn again! 


My total food cost was still under $3.50 for the whole day! 
... and I actually think I went to bed not feeling deprived of nourishment

Friday, November 15, 2013

SNAP Day 4

Half way through my SNAP week! I am having fun making new recipes and trying new things! I seriously think I will keep some of these recipes on my daily menu when I am done with the SNAP challenge. The veggie burgers are amazing, the pumpkin ice cream is fantastic, the banana pancakes are delicious, the sweet potato lentils with peanut butter sauce is divine. A few of the other recipes (the tomato soup and the pumpkin soup) were items already on my list. 

I am starting to miss some of my staple food items. Like chia seeds, almonds, miso.....BUT I am learning an incredible amount about being SAVVY. 

Today, meals were repeated. Breakfast was peanut butter banana pancakes, snacks were pumpkin seeds and carrots, and leftover tomato soup for lunch. 

Dinner was fantastic! 
 It ONLY took me like 15 minutes to make! It helps if you precook the lentils... I always batch cook and then store some in the fridge for about 2-3 days. I microwaved the potato to speed it up. Time was crunched for me this evening, so gotta do what you gotta do. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dry lentils (or about 3/4-1 cup cooked)
1 apple chopped
1 sweet potato chopped 
1/2- 1 cup chopped kale
1/2 broccoli 
cinnamon to taste 

If you don't pre cook the lentils and potato, then prepare those. In a pan lightly sauté the broccoli, add the apples, sweet potatoes, kale, and lentils. Add cinnamon to taste. 

Total for the meal cost me about $1.19

**I also added a little peanut butter to the side to get some fat! It tasted pretty good with the dish. Try it! 



 This had to be one of my favorite nights.... a nice big bowl of air-popped popcorn! I spritzed on olive oil and add a pinch of salt. IT IS SO MUCH CHEAPER TO MAKE YOUR OWN POPCORN (and healthier... ). The organic popcorn seeds cost me about $0.72 and it will last me for 2-3 days! This bowl of popcorn cost about $0.25-$0.30!!! For real! 





Total food costs was about $3.54 for the day! Helps to have those "free" snacks... pumpkin seeds!  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

SNAP: Day Three

Day Three of my SNAP Challenge... and the first day without coffee!  How did I do? Let's just say I surprised MYSELF. No major headaches, but drank lots of water (I think I drank 1 liter more than normal). I did start to doze off while listening to an online lecture.... so I decided to take the lecture to the gym and listen to it while I did a light physical activity.  Circulating a little oxygen to my brain definitely helped!

Breakfast:
I had oatmeal banana pancakes topped with peanut butter! People, this was AMAZING. I was in heaven...It was incredible. 




During my grad school lecture today, we had visitors from OxFam America come talk to our class. The speakers talked about the work oxfam is doing to END hunger and social injustice around the world... as well, as their work to hold companies accountable for their business practices (land grabs, unfair wages, gender discrimination, environmental practices... etc). Many great discussions were brought-up during the session: EATING LESS MEAT as a way to SLOW down global warming... which is creating huge stresses on low-resource countries and increasing the degree of severe weather patterns around the globe; how WE can make a difference in ENDING world hunger by the FOODS we choose to eat; WE can hold businesses accountable for their poor businesses practices and ASK THEM TO CHANGE....




Learn about what is behind your favorite brands at Oxfam's "Behind the Brands" Campaign

During the talk, we also discussed FOOD AID OF STAPLE FOODS.... which is a HUGE concern for me in developing countries. We are FAILING the poor farmers in many of these countries when we continually bring in food... and continue to promote the consumption of food aid EVEN when the country produces it's own food supply. Aid is meant to be temporary, and solutions should be made on the grounds, in these countries to help enhance the production and THE DISTRIBUTION of the cultural food supply. 

American white rice has become the "popular" in Haiti, as my Haitian friends have shared with me. Everyone is eating it, everyone is buying it. Everyone wants white rice. BUT what about the local native grains? What about the Sorghum (called pitimi) and the Haitian rice... and the corn meal... and the bulgur? What about all the local fruits, vegetables, beans, roots and tubers? Missions and institutions should be responding to this... The food is AVAILABLE. Encouraging the consumption of the local, native foods will help increase support for many of the poor people that are often forgot about.... the native farmers. 

FOOD IS POWER. We have more than enough food in the world for everyone to eat. BUT IT IS THE DISTRIBUTION and the POLITICS..... and the DESIRE FOR POWER that inhibit the fair and just ethics of THIS BASIC RESOURCE needed to sustain LIFE. 

....Enough of my rant for today. You can come back for more later. 

Following lecture, I WAS SO HUNGRY. I dove right in for this tasty veggie burger with a side of sweet potato fries.. and some left over cabbage/ kale from the night before! 



Here are the snacks I packed for the day! Nom nom... 







Dinner: I went crazy in the kitchen again!! :) 

I made a creamy tomato soup that ended up making about 5.5 cups of soup when it was finished. I split it in 2 so that I could pack some for lunch tomorrow. The cost per serving= $1.25. This is one of my more "expensive" meals since the tofu costs about $2 per container (about 4 servings), but I only used 1/2 of the packet so that I could make something else this weekend with it. 



What did I use? 

CREAMY TOMATO SOUP (5.5 cups, serves 1-2)

1/2 packet of tofu
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of a tomato sauce (stewed tomatoes would work too)
2 chopped carrot
1/4 of my zucchini
1/ 2 -1 cup of chopped spinach
1 cup of chopped kale
3 cups of water
a few dashes of basil, garlic powder, and pepper to taste

Blend the tofu, tomato sauces, and water in a blender. Pour into a soup pan. Add additional water if needed. Put all your chopped veggies into the pan, and bring to a boil on medium heat. Be sure to keep stirring the soup to prevent burning. 

total cost= $2.48 for the whole recipe 
per serving= $1.25 

I think if I made this again... I would add some lentils (or other beans) to add more protein and carbohydrates. It would only cost an additional $0.10. Or serve it with a piece of toast or add some quinoa to it. 




Oh and I also paired this with a little side salad of kale, carrots, and a dash of olive oil. 




After dinner, I did a rough estimate of my food costs for the day. I came in at about $3... unbelievable right? I mean, that's how much a drink at Starbucks/ Caribou costs. After considering the costs... and realizing I was still hungry. I went and made myself a dessert.  A picture of "pumpkin fro yo" showed up on my facebook newsfeed at about the time of the hunger signals, so I got creative and made my own! 

It's a good thing I froze that squash yesterday! It came in handy!

Pumpkin Banana Fro Yo 
(serves 1) 

1/2- 1 cup of frozen squash 
1/2 - 1 frozen banana
1/2 cup of milk (almond/ soy/ flax)
 cinnamon (to taste)

Blend all the ingredients together and eat it!!

 I did add some peanut butter to mine since I really needed some fat. I actually recommend adding it in the blender with the ingredients above--give it more of a creamy texture!


Seriously, this was amazing! I think might need to make this again... this week!!!

 I am starting to notice that I can't workout at the same pace or length of time... and my body is more achy than normal. I know I am not recovering as well after workouts as I usually do. I think I need to stop being as active or eat more calories. Given that my total food cost is short each day, I think I am going to boost up my intake. It was out of fear of not having enough at the end of the week that was holding me back, but there should be enough. 
There will be enough. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

SNAP: DAY TWO

What a day! Not too many exciting things happened in regards to food. I ate the same old breakfast. It looked too small.... Drank boring old black coffee.


 I really started thinking today..... I NEED PEANUT BUTTER. I NEED FAT. I  made the executive decision that I would NOT drink coffee (that I never really bought anyways) and use the rest of this peanut butter in the fridge. I am doing pretty well on cost of food per day. Yesterday, I spent only about $2.50- $3.00 on food. YES.. I am way under on daily food costs anyways, and NEED the calories. So no more coffee. Peanut butter it is.


And let me just tell you.... this isn't peanut butter I'd eat. It's cheap, "natural" peanut butter .... that's the reason why it's still in the fridge and not gone already. I can't eat the 100% peanut butter because the ones we have at my house might be out of my budget if I was truly living on SNAP.


The cheap peanut butter....
You know, it was so hard for me to buy peanut butter on Sunday when I went to the grocery store for food this week. I picked up the peanut butter, looked at the label and put it right back on the shelf. NO WAY, was I going to put that peanut butter in my body. All the unnecessary ingredients (palm oil, sugars...) I prefer just PEANUTS and SALT. Just plain old peanut butter.... but then I came to this reality point today,  I just need to do what I need to do. Look at the rest of my meals... they are all HOMEMADE, WHOLE FOODS. So this one food item will just have to do.

The fancy pants peanut butter.  I believe this costs like $6-8. 
I guess if I were doing this for a month, I could budget for the fancy pants peanut butter. Maybe I would get savvy... maybe I haven't been paying attention to prices on peanut butter like I should be? Or maybe it'd still be cheaper to buy a big huge Skippy or Jif peanut butter ? Why can't food companies just respond to true needs of the people? 


Enough of my rant about peanut butter. I am just happy to have it back in my life! 

Other good news! I HAD A "FREE" SNACK after my workout today, which was AMAZING! And was WAY better than that slight hunger pain I felt yesterday. Pumpkin seeds!!!



LUNCH:
I enjoyed a tasty veggie burger with leftover squash and spinach. 



SNACK:

 1/2 of a cucumber and carrots for a mid-day snack. 



DINNER:

I went crazy! I made a sweet potato with 1/2 cup of lentils, 1 cup chopped spinach and added 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (I added a little water, turmeric, and ginger). I roasted some kale and 1/8 of my large cabbage. It was so delicious...  did I already say this, I AM SO HAPPY TO HAVE PEANUT BUTTER.



Total cost of this meal came out to be $0.965!!! 

I will have to do my math... but I think I am rolling in under $3 for total food cost today! 
I had to put my pumpkin soup in the freezer today and 1/4 of my large squash. They'll come in handy at the end of the week! 




My late night snack/ Breakfast for the morning...

BANANA PANCAKES!!! 
(original recipe from: HERE)

3/4 cup oats (blend to make into flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup plant milk 
1 banana lightly cooked (helps release the natural sugars)

Blend the oat flour with the baking soda and the plant milk. Then blend in the banana. Pour the dough on a lightly oiled skillet and cook on medium heat until golden brown. FLIP to the other side until golden brown... and then enjoy! :)

Costs for the recipe= $0.39 add a tbsp of peanut butter for a grand total of $0.54!




I am thinking I will add a little peanut butter to these in the morning! 


P.s. You can even lick the batter! No raw eggs! 



Monday, November 11, 2013

SNAP: DAY ONE

Monday, Day One of my SNAP Challenge. 

How did it go!? Well, pretty darn good! I keep thinking about my meals though. It's like this constant counting and planning.. and worrying. Will my food go bad? will I be hungry later and not have enough? After dinner tonight, I decided that I might actually have more food than I thought... I  need to sit down and plan things out so I can STOP stressing and carry-on with my life. Writing a menu will help ease my mind about planning for the week.


Breakfast:
The morning started out with cinnamon banana oatmeal and a small side of berries. Seriously, don't buy the $1 berries unless you have to.. or if they are from the Farmer's Market. These were horribly sour. I threw mine in the freezer and plan to blend them up at the end of the week.





Oh and my coffee... I am not a black coffee kind of girl. I prefer a little dark cocoa powder in there with a splash of Almond milk. I know drinking coffee/ tea with your milk/ plant milk isnt the best for optimal nutrition (there are binders in the tea and coffee that inhibit absorption of minerals). I drink my coffee this way out of luxury not out of nutrition. I am "privileged" enough not to have to worry about those kinds of things...

I worked out before my class today, and had to contemplate if I wanted to eat my apple as a post workout snack. I opted not to. I decided to wait... I knew I was going to be hungry again come 2-3 pm. My glycogen stores will just not be prime today. Maybe tomorrow I will have to eat breakfast after I work out instead of before?

Lunch: 
Pumpkin soup: (Click me for recipe)! It was so tasty... except the microwave was broken at school, so I ate it cold. None-the-less, it was filling and held me over for the next 3 hours.

Thank you to my friends in Haiti for teaching me to make this!!! 


I drank a lot of water today. Well, actually no more than usual. Filling up my bottle really made me think.... you know, I am privileged to have access to clean drinking water and a BPA-free water bottle that gets cleaned in a dish washer. I am able to drink water that's CLEAN.. for free. I just kept thinking about what my (soon-to-be) sister-in-law was telling me about the water in El Paso, Texas. People can't drink out of the faucet. Water is muck brown and people get sick if they drink it. So what do they do? They have to buy water. Yeah, and mind you many of these people are not rolling in dough... This is something I take for granite EVERY SINGLE DAY. I don't have to make a decision between water or food.

SNACK: 
Just what I needed.... Something naturally sweet and chrunchy! Hmmm mmm






Dinner:
Well, I came home and was hungry. So I ate a small bowl of pumpkin soup.... (that soup will be never ending. I might have to freeze it by Wednesday). And I got to work on my master piece of a dinner.

I found the recipe first at the No Meat Athlete. And then followed his link to the burger recipe here: Lentil Burgers.


What did I do to modify my burgers?

1 cup lentils (40 cents)
1 1/2 cups oats (24 cents)
2 carrots (16 cents)
1 cup or so of spinach/ kale (25 cents)
A dash of garlic and basil (???)


....and then followed the instructions on the original recipe.

I contemplated topping them off with a little tomato paste, but decided to save that for the end of the week. I have some other creations up my sleeve!


Total cost of one burger?

Hmm its about 15 cents. 
THE DOLLAR MENU HAS NOTHING ON ME! 




Seriously, sometimes I think I eat like a queen.



I served my lentil burger on a bed of spinach with some roasted garlic squash and broccoli on the side. Nom Nom NOm..





And did I mention, I have six of these left in my possession! Looks like I can eat a vegg burger every single day of my SNAP challenge if I really want to! Maybe I will have to have friends over for dinner on Sunday to eat veggie burgers to celebrate the end of a successful week.....



Life is NOT boring eating plant-based on a budget!


Oh and about these little buggers....



Yeah, like I always say: SAVE THOSE SEEDS.  I roasted up the seeds from my squash this evening, and will be using them for some snacks throughout the week. Seriously, squash has to be the world's perfect food; starchy vegetable rich in vitamin C, beta carotene .. (that's just to name a few)... and packed with a center of proteins and fat (THE SEEDS).


So how much money did I spend on food today?
That's to be continued... time to get some actual homework done!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

SNAP Challenge

SNAP, commonly referred to as "Food Stamps", is the supplemental nutrition assistant program for individuals and families living below the poverty line in America. It's been a hot debate in the political arena over the past few months (google it and learn for yourself). My dietetics practice group Hunger and Environmental Nutrition (HEN) has proposed a challenge for dietitians to step-up and take the "SNAP Challenge" in response to the recent budget cuts in the program.

So what exactly is the "SNAP Challenge" and why did I decide to participate? 

Well, the "SNAP challenge" is an attempt to mimic what it would be like to live on food assistance for one week (however, participants on the challenge can go longer if they desire). The maximum allowance of spending is $4 a day (or $28/ week) for one person. I found these links to be helpful at explaining it: FRAC, South Arizona Community Food bank 

I decided to participate in the challenge for several reasons. The most predominant reason being that I care about people living on a dime and believe all people should have access to healthy, wholesome food. Secondly, experiencing what many Americans (and people around the world) face on a day to day basis (Will there be enough? How can I make this food stretch? What if it goes bad? ) will help me be a better health professional. Yeah, this is only a one week experience (for now), but it sheds light on risks, barriers, and potential solutions for helping those living with food insecurity obtain optimal health. Finally, watching "A Place at the Table" in one of my public health courses really got my wheels rolling.... Here, take a sneak peak.




I spent a few hours over the weekend, thinking.... thinking about where I wanted to shop for my produce, what I should buy, what I might eat... it was a bit exhausting thinking about how I was going to plan all this. But none-the-less, I continually become more excited to do this when I thought about how creative I can be with my resources and when I saw this: plant-based eating on $25 per week

Sunday: The day before my challenge. 

I did a little more shopping than I think a person on SNAP may actually do in one day, but who knows! I guess it all is relative to where people live and what their situation is like. I hit up 2 grocery stores and the Farmers' Market. It's a bit challenging doing the SNAP for one week only since buying in "bulk" can actually be beneficial for saving money (like buying a large bag of dried beans for the month).  If I were doing this on a month-by-month basis, I would hope to stock-up on dried beans at the start of each month. The same goes for things like peanut butter and oatmeal. Those two staples, based on how I eat, would last me more than a week. But anyways.. maybe that will be experiment two. Eating like this for a whole month. 

My list

For my first stop for food, I decided to go to Aldi. 




The website featured some incredibly low prices on food. I happened to be in the area, so I dropped in. It was a little goofy... I had to put a quarter in to get a cart, but thankfully that was returned to me afterwards. 





The store was nicer than I expected. A lot of things I was not interested in.... like the packaged process stuff, but did find some cheap deals on bananas, apples, and produce. It was difficult trying to decide what I wanted to buy.. frozen or fresh? Canned or fresh? Do I want more fruit or more vegetables? Do I really want to spend $1 on a small container of blackberries? It took a bit of time contemplating these things... a bit stressful trying to keep track of prices so that I wouldn't go over my "limit." I purposely spent under $20, knowing that I was going to be going to the Farmers' Market. 






 My final total at Aldi's was $14.91...leaving me with a $10 or so to spare on food else where.

 

3 tomato past, 4 pounds of carrots, 7 bananas, 6 apples, broccoli, 8 sweet potatoes, blackberries, spinach, 30 servings of oats, 2 zucchini, and 1 cucumber. 

With the remainder of my money, I bought a few things at the Farmers' Market... like this fancy, ginormous "banana squash" for $2, a large head of Kale for $1, and a large cabbage for $1. 
Accepting EBT (aka SNAP)

so much cheap kale!!!! 


bigger than my head! 


Enough squash for the week! 
It was also my birthday... and my mom bought be some cabbage flowers! :) (this doesnt count for my SNAP budget)
Most beautiful flower, EVER. (and edible). 
On my way home from the Farmers' Market, my mom and I went to a co-op and I picked up some lentils, tofu, a small bag of popcorn, and flax milk for $7. I saved 10 cents since I used a reusable bag! :) (Don't forget to bring those....)

Dried beans serving size= 14. Not so bad! 

So my grand total= $26.  


Let's take a closer look.... 

Starch/ proteins: Lentils, tofu, oats, squash, sweet potatoes, popcorn seeds, flax milk, and oats

About 2 servings of fruit per day. 

The veggies for the week! 
I am a coffee lover and will be drinking it throughout the challenge. I am also factoring this into my total allowance of $28. There is NO way I will get through 30 servings of oatmeal in one week (I guess, if I am REALLY hungry I could eat 3+ servings per day... in addition to all my other food). And I don't think I will go through one of my $3.50 bags of coffee from Haiti in one week (but I guess who knows... maybe it will be a rough week). So it could also be considered an exchange between my coffee and the oats? Other "freebies" I will be doing this week include spices: pepper, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and some italian.

Upon returning home from the store, I started making my first meal--- need to pack lunch for school on Monday! What did I make?! 

PUMPKIN SOUP, of course!! 




I only used 1/2 of my pumpkin, 1/4 of my cabbage, 1/2 of a zucchini, 3 carrots, 1 cup spinach, and 1-2 cups kale... and LOOK AT ALL THIS SOUP! Might last me two...three... four meals! Maybe this will even be a snack one day? Don't worry, I also saved my pumpkin seeds! I am planning on either making some sort of dip with them or making pumpkin seeds to munch on when I am hungry! 

Other things I am planning to make this week: lentil and sweet potato dish of some sort, maybe some lentil oat burgers with sweet potato fries, creamy tomato soup (made with tofu and canned tomato)... hmmm we'll see how creative I can get! Stay tuned! 






And these.... well, the rest of my birthday "cake" is going in the freezer until AFTER my challenge week. Seriously, these were amazing!!!! 

Recipes Here: 
Chocolate Cream Pie
Banoffe Pie