Saturday, September 26, 2009

Last day! leftovers and wrap up

It's my last day of the SF Food Bank's Hunger Challenge. I had $28 to spend for the week, and based upon my receipts, spent $3.50 a day instead of $4. That extra cash was reserved for: emergencies, or to cover my basic pantry goods (salt, pepper, spices, oils)

the food still available to me today (i'm going to make veggie tacos for lunch out of some of it!):
-1 full baggie of tortilla chips
-2 enchiladas (will freeze)
-1 cup cooked rice, 1 cup cooked black beans
-coleslaw and black bean terrine
-1 cooked beet, 1 cooked yam, 1 carrot, a lot of broccoli
-1 cooked yam
-1 cup shredded cabbage
-6 corn tortillas
-1 kiwi, 1 banana, 1/2 apple
-2 eggs
-pint of hummus
-2 servings of carrot soup with bacon and white beans (will freeze)

... needless to say, getting enough food for the week was not a problem- the key being: big batches, cooking at home and eating mostly vegetarian cuisine.

The hardest part: being social, going out with friends. Seeing people eating food that I could not have was tough. But knowing that I could go back to it in a week, when others will never get that luxury, was even harder.

I took part of the Hunger Challenge because:
1)it is a way to raise food for the food bank without plainly donating money - donates 500 lbs to the Food Bank for every blog, so I started one.

2)it was fun to have some creativity on a lmiited budget, and hopefully showed some ideas on how to jazz up the same old thing and make eating meals special with relative cooking ease
2b) to show that eating on $4 a day can still be balanced meals, not just PB&J and preservatives

3)spread the awareness to others

I feel a little disease at my ability to be whisked back into a coffee shop for a latte and bagel... so I might just ease back into SF foodie culture.

Thanks for the opportunity and the support!

Friday, September 25, 2009

it's alright, 'cause I'm saved by the bean!

okay, so my chicken leg is wrapped in layers of plastic (for odor control) in the trashcan.

with some quick thinking, I remembered that Ii bought way too many black beans for the week (at $.99 a pound dry, i splurged)...

I made the protein portion out of a few scoops to create- bean loaf? beancake?

Black Bean Terrine with Apple Coleslaw

what's inside:
terrine: black beans (some have been pureed with one egg), chopped jalapeno, baked in a small loaf pan
'slaw: apples, cabbage, carrot, cilantro, lime juice, homemade mayo (i had an egg yolk leftover from my frittata the other day and whisked in canola oil, vinegar and salt= mayo!) I just hope Mr. B doesn't see the tape of me playing hookey at the Dodger game... rabbi strawberry?

oh, by the way:There are more food stamp recipients in the U.S. than ever before - 32 million.

small snafu, ain't no thang

i have been dreaming about my best purchase for the week ... $.77 of chicken leg that I got in the Mission.

Brined in a simple sugar and salt water bath, it would keep for a few days, and, when roasted, it would be moist and tasty.


i forgot about it in the fridge. when i unwrapped it yesterday, it reeked. I thought I'd try to brine the rancidity out of it, but to no avail.


i threw it away this morning. I have plenty of other food, I will have to figure something else out for lunch.

*this is why i saved about $4.50 of my budget for the week. what if i didn't have any extra food here in the work fridge and had to eat an emergency lunch out? I could get a small jamba juice or a subway 6"...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

finally feeling deprivation on $4 a day

dinner on food stamps tonight was: delicious enchiladadas. I had them at 5 before meeting some friends out for happy hour... it was fun, lively, and I drank water...

but afterwards, got persuaded to join them for dinner. out. I ate the apple and orange from my purse while my friends ordered onion rings, hot capicola sandwiches stuffed with fries and coleslaw from Giordano Bros.

hmm. I felt okay going. I was full, so not jealous, and just had fun hanging out! But if I hadn't eaten an early dinner, I either would have caved and eaten out, or just left and been dismal at home.

60% of the clients at SFFoodBank served last year come from working families.

aahggghhhhh drooling. steak and eggs sandwich.

what's inside: everything delicious.

drinks of friends
my wholesome and free beverage

it is disheartening to think that in 3 more days, when I can be drinking another morning latte, thousands of others will still be living on food stamps and $4 a day.

Take one down and pass it around,

uh oh.

how am i supposed to be social on $4 a day?

I often (not too often, really) show up to a bar with friends and leave, hours later, not even looking at the number of the bill... definitely cannot do that this week. I know I can afford 40 ounces of Malt liquor. maybe 2, therefore, have the option to be social at home
(Edward 40hands always brings a crowd)...

see ya later, Chimay, Prosecco and Tanqueray. hello, happy hour? I saw Azul had $2 beer specials?

I only have $4 left in my budget for the week! I have plenty of food... but, going out for drinks this weekend is not something I budgeted for.

bippity, boppity, bacon!

this meal was a great reheat this afternoon. It was quick and simple to make, too!

Carrot Soup with Bacon and White Beans

what's inside:
white beans, 1 1/2 strips worth of bacon lardons that i fried, then cooked the following in that bacon fat: onions, carrots, tomatoes.
**the key: while I was pureeing it, i added fresh lemon juice for brightness**

Simple and delicious! Jim Gaffigan might even enjoy it!

I like to oot, oot, oot...

The strawberries I bought on Saturday (under $2 for a pint) not surprisingly started to turn rather quickly, so I froze them earlier in the week. Paired with a fast to ripen banana, I have myself a smoothie!

Strawberry Banana Morning Smoothie

what's inside:
a big handful of frozen strawberries, a few tablespoons of water and a banana
(getting my calcium from broccoli this week)

other fruits I have yet to eat: a kiwi, apple, banana... just snacked on a nectarine

do people on food stamps who eat for $4 a day every week have a blender at home?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Caution: Professional Driver on a Closed Course

well, more like, professional cook in a well-stocked kitchen.

-i have pantry goods (ginger, fennel, cumin, vanilla, olive and vegetable oil)
-i cook for a living, so i make these fancy-looking yet affordable foods quickly and easily

I highly doubt that most San Franciscans, especially those living on food stamps and working 2 jobs will have time to make each one of the meals I've made/will make each and every week.

The recipes I made are to serve just me but can be easily scaled up to be stored (even frozen) and reheated at a moment's notice. Some of them look nice plated, but are actually fairly simple and fast to prepare.

one reason that I am doing this challenge is because I like inspiring, giving ideas to run with or try out. Maybe make a nice meal IN, rather than going out, and display out how presentation or adding a dash of a different ingredient can make a meal special.
and i'll continue to show some!

In San Francisco, 150K people are unsure where their next meal is coming from.

but I'm hungry now!

I snack. often. I luckily remembered this while shopping for my meals this week. It's great because I cut veggies, boiled/pureed chick peas and fried chips on Sunday so I have nibbles on hand ready to go, rather than making things from scratch all day long. And, not only are they affordable, but they are "healthy"... er, at the very least, all natural!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - 12 cookies
Homemade Hummus with Fresh Vegetables -1 quart of hummus plus cut veggies
Home-fried Tortilla Chips - 4 bags (about 8 corn tortillas)

ps that extra juice on top of the hummus is a squirt of extra olive oil

what's inside:
-the oatmeal raisin cookies have stuff i'd been eating for breakfast, plus ground ginger, cinnamon, and some butter i had in the freezer. you can also buy it by the stick at Whole Foods, which is nice. 12 cookies uses about 1/2 stick (4 Tbs.)
-hummus: dried chickpeas I cooked with garlic, roasted garlic, vinegar, olive oil - calcium in that broccoli!
-tortilla chips: 30-pack, i made chips, enchiladas, and have some left for tacos later in the week

did i mention...

You can help alleviate hunger with a single tweet this week: (no purchase or FB signup nec.) #HChal

The reason I started a blog is because Tyson will donate another 500 lbs. of food to the Food Bank!

Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

on $4 a day!

I'm about 1/2way through the challenge and am not concerned with running out of food. I have leftovers of each meal I have made! However, I did an hour of cardio this morning, so my appetite might be larger today...

Poached Egg over Fennel Cabbage Rosti with Broccoli -2 servings

What's inside:
poached egg with cracked black pepper
steamed broccoli
"Cabbage Rosti": I cooked 1/2 strip of bacon lardons with 1/2 onion and sliced cabbage then stirred in a grated potato and 1 egg, a bit of fennel seed, salt and pepper

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chic and Tasty on $4 a day

i realize more and more each day that I eat A LOT.not because I am hungry, but because I am around food all day long. I'm becoming more comfortable with not snacking on extra pumpkin pancakes and the latest spice rubbed chicken. But still, eating frequent, small meals is best for me; to satiate my appetite and eat healthy, too!

*note: quinoa is easy to cook (like rice, with a 1:1.5 ratio grain to water) and a complete protein!
*another note: i bought a head of cabbage: CHEAP! and am trying to get the most out of it- so used the outermost leaves for my wraps... we haven't seen the last of that cabbage.
*i do have a bag of home-fried tortilla chips in my purse to tide me over before dinner.

So, on $4 a day, I had my usual, oatmeal with raisins for breakfast, a mid-morning frittata snack...

noontime... I was ready for lunch, but afterward, am feeling full and not lethargic. Today's light lunch was tasty and filling! I made extra cabbage rolls... I just might go crazy and have some for dinner!

Orange Quinoa Cabbage Wraps with Fresh Carrot Salad - 2 servings

what's inside:
the wraps: blanched cabbage, cooked quinoa, orange zest, chopped raisins, a bit of white vinegar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cilantro leaves
the salad: thinly sliced carrots, onion, red bell pepper, cilantro leaves, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper

Monday, September 21, 2009

Q: Why do rhinos have so many wrinkles?

A: because they are hard to iron!

oh, the joys of eating a Popsicle in a San Francisco summer (aka, it's the first official day of fall, according to the calendar), and reading the joke on the stick afterward.

its' been almost 80 degrees all week! I need to cool off... so, on $4 a day, decided to make:

Strawberry Orange "Creamsicles"-makes 8

what's inside:
-fresh orange juice
-simple syrup infused with orange zest
-pureed strawberries (strained of seeds)
-a dash of vanilla for that creamy flavor

okay, so my Popsicle sticks don't have jokes on them, but it was delicious, and I have 7 more in the freezer!


eating for $4 a day
... this morning i had oatmeal, a portion of yesterday's frittata, and by the noon tasting (comparing a mediocre vendor sample against our scratch Chili recipe), I was ready to gorge on anything my fork could reach.

The simple task of not snacking while working shines some light on how much I actually eat during the day- a taste of soup here, a cookie, a gougere, you know, the usual. Whatever I am making I always taste for flavor (for professional reasons) and then normally continue to snack on it, too (for lack of will power reasons).

Black Bean and Broccoli Enchiladas with Roasted Jalapenos
makes 16 enchiladas

what's inside:
-Black Beans, Sauteed Broccoli Stems, Onion, Garlic, Red Bell Pepper
-Sauce: Olive Oil, Canned Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic, broiled Jalapeno, Cilantro Stems and leaves
-eaten over steamed brown rice (to make a complete protein, hooray!)

I made about 16 of these, so they should be good for a few meals.

i also brought fresh broccoli and some homemade hummus for a snack to have this afternoon (which I will probably dive into right before the Cheesecake tasting).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday brunch

Made a little brunch this afternoon - oatmeal did not tide me over for too long.

Fresh Broccoli Frittata with Curried Yam Coulis
3-4 servings

ooh! sounds fancy! and tastes delicious! I baked them in ramekins so I can portion control a little easier. I had two today and have the rest in the fridge for later in the week.

what's inside:
whole eggs
broccoli, red bell pepper, onion & garlic sauteed in a bit of olive oil
fold in a couple of egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
the sauce is made quickly in the blender:
steamed yams and garlic, a bit of the water they were steamed in, curry powder and a touch of olive oil

Groceries on the Hunger Challenge!

on Sunday, i woke up craving a coffeehouse crap latte, the kind with caramel drizzled on top. cuh-raving it.

alas, started on that day, 9/20/09!

I spent $24.52 on groceries for the week ... under my budget of $28 for all food and drink for 7 days (aka, $4 a day). Safeway was too expensive, as was my local organic haunt, Country Cheese Inc. had prices similar to Whole Foods, but with less selection: so I got my bulk goods there: beans, rice, quinoa, canned tomatoes...

my favorite buy was an unexpected chicken leg purchase: 77 cents at Mi Ranchito market on Mission/17th - a Mexican market stocked by Chinese employees and run
by a man from Iran. great combination for a good deal on poultry.

the photo shows all of my food for the week (no, I don't plan on eating 3 square meals at Mickey D's)...

up first: oatmeal with raisins for a quick and easy breakfast.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What to Eat for the Hunger Challenge

From whole foods:
  • Raisins
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • White beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Can of tomatoes

From Mi Ranchito Market:
  • Black beans
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • 4 small Yams
  • 2 banana
  • 2 apple
  • 2 head broccoli
  • 1 big pint strawberries
  • 1 nectarine
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 limes
  • About 9 carrots
  • 1 beet
  • 1 potato
  • 3 onions
  • 1 30-pack of corn tortillas
  • 1 kiwi
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 strips Bacon
  • 1 Chicken leg

From the pantry:
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil
  • Butter (in the freezer)
  • Cumin
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Curry powder
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground ginger
  • Salt, pepper
  • Coriander
  • Sugar
  • brown sugar
  • baking soda