I’ve learned completely that protein is the way to go in the morning. If I want to make it through the morning to lunchtime without thinking about food constantly, I apparently have to have protein for breakfast. Eggs. Eggs are my savior in this, as I’ve been having a couple every morning. I wish they were my farm-fresh eggs, but the store-bought ones will have to do. They weren’t on sale when I had to have my daughter grab some eggs on the way home the other night. I figured, she was already out and about, so having her grab something on the way home was still true to the challenge, versus making someone have to go out for them for a special trip. She picked up eggs, a gallon of milk and some bacon.
So far, we haven’t shopped for our second trip yet, because I’m still trying to go through the stuff we have from the first. If I went shopping right now, I wouldn’t use all the stuff in the fridge, and it would, some of it, waste. I don’t want that, so I’m purposely trying to plan around that part.
I’ve been doing fruit for snacks and eating bananas all day long, ’cause we had so many of them we needed to get rid of before they went bad.
So one morning, I made a banana smoothie, then there was another blueberry bagel morning, but I added eggs to every morning, because the protein is that important to feeling satisfied throughout the day.
Lunch as been leftovers. This works for me, for the most part, because it uses up leftovers, helps prevent waste, and stretches a budget. I add a little fresh raw veggies or a little ‘salad’ to the leftovers to stretch it, or add some fresh fruit to it too.
Dinner is the part that’s the focus, really, and it’s the part that’s hardest to feed a family too. So far, I’ve been doing it, though, and I’ve been pretty pleased with the dishes I’ve come up with.
Michy’s Food Stamp (SNAP) 30-Day Challenge: Week Two, Day One
Pork Neck bone w/ BBQ Sauce, Baked Potato w/bacon crumble and Parmesan cheese
So I took three pounds of pork neck bone and put it in an oven pan. Typically, I would have used the slow cooker/crock pot, but 1) it had black beans in it and no one had stored them and cleaned the pot (I can’t wash it, ’cause it’s too heavy for me to hold from the sitting position (I’m pretty much in a wheelchair and the logistics of washing the big, heavy crock pot is tough for me) and 2) not everyone has a crock pot, so I needed to get the recipe right for those who only have an oven.
Neck bone, whether pork or beef or chicken, is a great way to save some money on great-tasting meat, if you have to have meat in your diet. The downside to neck bone is that there are a lot of little bones. I was talking to my little brother about foods like this–he’s a hunter, and he processes meat and uses the whole animal so as to not waste (I respect that if you feel you HAVE to hunt)–and he said that the American people absolutely pay for convenience. Sure, neck bone isn’t very convenient, because it has more bones in it, but the meat itself? You’d never taste the difference. Promise. It’s not like organ meat (liver, kidney, heart, etc.) This is the same muscle meat with the same fat and everything, the only two differences are 1) it’s more than half the price and 2) there’re slightly more bones to it.
For example, I got three pounds of neck bone pork meat for less than $3.60 and the pork ribs (which are nearly identical) were $8.99, and sometimes on sale for $7.99 per pound. As you can see, the neck bone was so much cheaper!
So I put the neck bone into an oven pan, sliced up some onion and tossed it on top, seasoned with some garlic, a little bit of salt, and then took my ‘free’ BBQ sauce I got from the meal deal and poured about four tablespoons on top of the meat and spread it around. I then added a little bit of oil and a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan, to keep the meat moist, covered the entire pan with foil, and put in the oven on 250 for three hours.
After three hours, I turned the heat up to 425, took the foil off, and put the meat back in the oven.
While it was finishing off, I cooked the baked potatoes in the microwave and cooked until they were tender. I split them, a little bit of crumbled bacon (I cooked it in a pan, three slices, crisp, and shared it amongst all the potatoes) and then just a sprinkle of the Parmesan I got free in the meal deal. Sat those in the microwave, waiting for the rest of the meal. A small spinach and onion salad with vinaigrette was on the side, for a full meal, with green tea for everyone to drink.
It was a great meal. The only thing I would have done differently if I weren’t on the food stamp challenge is that I would have used farm-raised, local pork and I would have made my own BBQ Sauce (several BBQ Sauce recipes coming soon at this link!)
The BBQ sauce did have HFCS in it. It was free. I know I said no HFCS. Well, truth is, this goes to show how insidious it is and how hard it is to avoid. However, I weighed the options, and I decided for the challenge to go ahead and use it, since I was using such a small amount. Even so, I kind of wish I hadn’t used it… so there’s that.
But the meal was really yummy and it wasn’t very expensive at all. Everything but the meat was ‘free’, because I had already counted it in the budget prior.
So for the running budget total, today’s cost clocked me in at a ridiculously low amount of: $1.20 per person for the entire day!
This brings my eight-day average to: $3.16 per person, per day, on average.
But I can’t get too excited, because I had to buy more milk, bacon and eggs, more spinach and a few other things, so when those get added in, it’s going to pop up again. Plus, I’m still only in week two, at the beginning. So while it’s looking good and I’m pleased with where I am in the challenge, I still have to be vigilant not to go over budget.
Cravings are become more difficult to deal with–I’ll share more on Week Two, Day Three, ’cause that was a tough day for me!
Thanks for following along! Please be sure to ask any questions you might have, and I always love comments here on the blog!
Love and stuff,