Monthly Archives September 2013

Michy’s Food Stamp (SNAP) Challenge: The Rules

Here is the blog post with the rules I will be following for my month-long food stamp (SNAP) challenge. I’ve thought quite a bit about these, talked to a bunch of people on Facebook and on the blog here, talked with my family and friends about this and we’ve come up with what I think is a pretty good and realistic set of guidelines for the challenge.

Before I get into that, I want to share with you a few poignant moments that have happened to me already while preparing for the challenge that I hadn’t exactly expected but that were interesting to experience nonetheless.

MEMORIES

Preparing for this challenge has brought back a lot of memories for me. For example, I was remembering the first time I learned what food stamps were. I was raised in an upper-middle-class family. As a child, I never did without anything. Compared to a food stamp recipient, we were rich. I always had a full belly. From the time I was little, my parents owned fast-food, burger-joint type restaurants, so food was always around me. I grew up eating burgers and fries and sodas. This might be one reason I’m not a big fast-food fan today.

When I left my parent’s home at the age of fifteen, I lived with my (then future) daughter’s father’s family for a little less than a year. This was my first introduction to food stamps. I had never even heard of them until I moved into this tiny three-bedroom, one-bath home with five adults, two teenagers and three kids. I don’t know for sure how much food stamps they received, but I know I saw the mother of the family using them and had to ask what they were. I thought they were a special program that the store we shopped at (a Save-A-Lot–which was a store with second-hand freezers, misprinted labeled foods and meats sold frozen solid and in bulk–they were cheap. I had no idea how much things cost–I was quite naive about those things as a 15-year-old kid!), kind of like green stamps used to be. I am barely old enough to remember being a kid and shopping at the green stamps store.

Shopping like that, living like that, using food stamps like that was a culture shock for me.

Read More

Vegetarian Caprese Appetizer or Snack

1002936_10152980347820226_1111441010_n

Made this as appetizers for the family the other night during our vegetarian challenge. They were a wonderful, fresh, flavorful little treat before the meal. These were pretty and fancy enough they’d be great for a dinner party with friends or on an amuse bouche tray or something. If you don’t do cheese, avocado replaces the mozzarella for some smooth creaminess.

Simple:

  • heirloom or roma tomato slices,
  • a leaf of basil for each slice,
  • a piece of avocado slice for each tomato,
  • then drizzle with good-quality balsamic vinegar and a high-quality olive oil and
  • top with some ground sea salt.
  • Cracked or ground black pepper would be good too.

You’ll see we added a small dab of raw goat’s milk chipotle chevre cheese on my version, but you don’t have to put that on yours...

Read More

Asian Sweet & Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

These were yummy! Of course, when you’re making yours, you don’t have to use all the grass-fed organic beef and the low-sodium soy sauce and all that organic stuff, and this will still taste fabulous, but it won’t be as good for you! Substitute at will and enjoy!

Asian Sweet & Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps1013707_10152980483630226_545739974_n

Ingredients:

Read More

Preparing for the Food Stamp (SNAP) Challenge

logo-choose-my-plate-170x155I’ve been preparing for the food stamp 30-day challenge, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s not been easy. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and a lot of thinking about how to go about the challenge, and I want do with it. To start, the folks on Facebook, my amazing friends, have given me some great ideas about how to go about this to be as accurate as I could be. For example, there is the issue of not being able to make multiple trips to the store during each week, because low-income families can’t always go to the grocery store multiple times due to gas costs and vehicle limitations/transportation. Then there’s the issue of not being able to go to stores that are far away or to drive all over town to take advantage of bargains, something someone without a car or with little gas money can’t do. These things are important to consider.

As such, I decided to limit my challenge to two grocery stores in my area, both relatively close to me, a Kroger and an HEB. These are the two stores I use the most anyway, because they are literally just blocks from me, one one direction and the other the other direction, and if one doesn’t have something, the other will. This means no Central Market no Whole Foods, nothing like that. It also means no farmer’s markets (they don’t take SNAP here in my area) and it means no farm-fresh, grass-fed beef; no free-range eggs; no raw milk; and no local honey–all things I love.

But I want to do this challenge RIGHT.

Why?

Read More

Curried Tuna Salad with Lettuce Wraps

IMG_0053It’s not pretty, but this is a quick, easy dish to make for a light summer lunch. If you don’t do tuna, you can make this with chicken or egg. It’s best to use fresh tuna, but in a pinch, the canned variety will work–it’s just not as good, but I also understand it’s a lot less expensive. For this, I used about 16 ounces of tuna, so about three cans or two small-medium tuna filets. You can use this same recipe for several different things, like stuffing in beautiful colored sweet (bell) peppers, putting in romaine lettuce wraps, serving a scoop on some dried toast, or eating it straight out of the bowl, you heathen!

Read More