Week Two Over…the Lenten SNAP Challenge 2013 continues

Did well with dinners, having three cheapie ones- lentil soup, leftover chicken soup and Swai. I can honestly say that I like the Swai. Mine was very mild. I topped it with capers, chopped tomatoes and green olives and baked it packet style.

Nothing jumps out at me on the menu- we liked everything and there was enough everyday that DH could take to work to eat. I ate green salads, egg salad or had an avocado smoothie for lunch. Steel cut oat meal or breakfast burritos (homemade at about .69 each, some with meat, some without). The toddler (AKA Miss Thang) was making her way through Annies organics, grilled cheese on whole wheat, bananas and strawberries. Finding a juice for her is frustrating. I get the organic juice and mix with Gerber’s. I downloaded the app Fooducate (grades foods A thru F) and ran by her regular grape juice—just give that crap an “F”. I bought an “A” organic juice and mixed it with “F” so I guess the grade on her new juice is a “C”. Enough juice to last at least two weeks. At any rate, paying way more attention to what I’m putting in her lil’ body. Also, bought some basics and spent $42 at the store, adding in my proteins and coming up with with about $69 for the week which is only OK. Looking at pantry and in a bit better shape than last week. Hope to come in under $60 next week.

Impulse buy o’ the week- Premium Saltine Crackers, unsalted tops, ROUND. Woo hoo! Only $1.88.

Monday- cheese/ bean chalupas, loaded salad
Tuesday- crock pot ribs, braised greens
Wednesday-asparagus/spinach frittata
Thursday- navy bean soup with ham hock or bacon
Friday- fish tacos
Saturday- turkey meatloaf, mashed cauliflower, steamed broccoli
Sunday- pork and hominy stew, salad

End of Week One-SNAP Challenge 2013

Finished first week of the 2013 Lenten Challenge. Things didn’t go according to plan, but hope to get a better grip this week. After having gotten sticker shock at Costco last week, I realized I needed to retool and retrench the challenge. We have a part time toddler so had to redo the weekly shopping list and go back to the chart and add more $ for her. If I’m reading it right, I should add about $30 (1/4 allowance of $123.95) for the month. That should keep her in organic juice and bananas for a while. She eats breakfast and lunch here 4-5 times a week. So this brings my target to about $70 a week for the two and 1/2 of us. I hope to beat that mark by $10 a week, but given the high price of food as compared to the last 2 years, this will be a challenge like no others.

Came in at a little over $12 under the allowance- about $58 was spent BUT used quite a few pantry items I can’t really measure worth. Am paying way closer attention this week. Fingers crossed.

Menu this week :
Monday- lentil chili, zucchini fritters
Tuesday-baked turkey/ricotta meatballs, rotini, baked spinach
Wednesday-baked Swai* provencal, stuffed zucchini boats
Thursday- whole baked chicken, baked sweet potato , green beans
Friday-oven-fried catfish poboys with oven-fried pickles, cole slaw
Saturday- chicken noodle soup
Sunday- skirt steak fajitas with onions, peppers and flour tortillas

Sorry no links this time. Laptop in shop. Working on mobile. All items/recipes can be easily googled.


*found this cheapie fish on sale at Kroger for $2.99 per lb. i have never had it so I read up on it and its similar to catfish and is also known as Basa, not endangered and not from China. They sell it at Whole Foods. Reserving judgement. Will keep you posted.

Lenten SNAP Challenge 2013

It’s that time of year again. Time to sit down and plan our “food stamp” challenge for the Lenten season. Food Stamps aren’t actually called that anymore, they are called SNAP-Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, and usage in this country is at a record high. Nearly 47 million people are enrolled in the program. A lot of people think you can’t eat well or really healthy on a SNAP allotment. They are wrong. If you shop and plan well wisely you can eat very well and nutritiously at the same time. What is the point of the challenge? Well 1) Being good stewards of the earth, mindful of wasting food, a precious resource 2) Being mindful of the money spent and wasted on unhealthy food 3) Being able to save money to put aside for those less fortunate than ourselves and those dependent on the SNAP program for sustenance 4) Having faith that God will provide *”He gives food to every living thing. His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 136:25, NLT)*

Food prices are shooting up. It’s only smart for all of us to give a thought and a prayer towards where our food comes from, how it gets to us and how it is distributed. Let’s cut to the chase-the money you save by eating a healthy diet can be put towards your local food pantry or homeless shelter. No, you don’t have to eat ramen noodles, peanut butter and cat food three times a day. Here’s a sample menu my husband and I will be using this year. Keep in mind for the last two years we have come in considerably UNDER the allotment. There are only two in our household but we have a part-time toddler during the week and her nutritional needs will be accounted for in our budget too. This particular week we have shrimp, ribs, steak- all bought the week before Super Bowl and greatly discounted. Shop those sales.


We will eat 2-3 meatless meals a week. M-W-F works for us.
Typical breakfasts for John- breakfast burrito (homemade and some will be meatless-egg/bean/cheese), cereal, oatmeal
Typical lunches for John- leftovers or soup and crackers
Typical breakfasts for me- yogurt and fruit, oatmeal, eggs with tortilla
Typical lunches for me- leftovers or protein shake

Monday- almond crusted talapia, cole slaw
Tuesday- Bacon wrapped chicken tenders, Brown rice Greek salad
Wednesday- Eggplant parmagiana stacks, salad
Thursday- maple glazed chicken breast, sweet potato fries, oven- roasted broccoli
Friday- Cajun shrimp pasta, massaged kale salad
Saturday- pork ribs, Asian slaw
Sunday-rib eyes or steak, steamed spinach, baked rutabaga fries

Rules? You want rules? This isn’t rocket science. Do whats best for your family, but here are a few guidelines……..(thanks dumbsainthood blog)

  • Using the SNAP table find the state you live in. That is what your food budget allowance will be per person. The table is representative of a monthly allowance. Divide by 4 to get your weekly amount.Use that amount per person to find your weekly budget. My target is $60-65 per week.
  • You can run your challenge as long as you like, with a minimum of one week. Our household will follow 1st Monday of Lent until Good Friday. Do just a week or a whole month. It’s up to you.
  • The budget allotment is for food only. This also includes any dining out or coffee shop stops.
  • To make it easy, purchase a pre-paid debit or gift card for the exact amount of the budget you’re working with. Use it as a SNAP recipient would their EBT (Electronic Benefits Card). I love, love, love this idea and will probably use it.
  • You can use any items you had previous to the challenge already in your pantry.
  • If you have a garden, by all means use the vegetables.
  • Use coupons if you want to.
  • Shop only one day a week. Make a list and STICK TO IT!
A Shrove Tuesday idea for you. Breakfast for dinner. 
 (via Weekend Eats - Proud Italian Cook)

A Shrove Tuesday idea for you. Breakfast for dinner.
(via Weekend Eats - Proud Italian Cook)

This is my go-to for gumbo. No coincidence that the author of this recipe is from Opelousas where I learned how to cook Cajun. St. Landry Parish is also the home of the famed Prudhomme family. Imagine that! My only addition to the recipe old be that I add a bit of liquid crab boil (I know, I know, its not seafood-still good) and a touch of dried thyme, like Chef Paul P. Believe it’s lots of garlic and the thyme that makes it sooooooo good.
 (via Chicken and sausage gumbo | Homesick Texan)

This is my go-to for gumbo. No coincidence that the author of this recipe is from Opelousas where I learned how to cook Cajun. St. Landry Parish is also the home of the famed Prudhomme family. Imagine that! My only addition to the recipe old be that I add a bit of liquid crab boil (I know, I know, its not seafood-still good) and a touch of dried thyme, like Chef Paul P. Believe it’s lots of garlic and the thyme that makes it sooooooo good.
(via Chicken and sausage gumbo | Homesick Texan)

Tags: Soup stew gumbo

Pantry Challenge Update

  • Update on the pantry challenge I started on January 2- My freezer is down 75% and the pantry and fridge are down by 1/3. I have not replaced staples and only buy what I absolutely need for the coming week and haven’t spent more than $50 each week (Monday mornings) when I go to the store. I have stocked up on a few proteins in anticipation of the Lenten Challenge coming up. This is a good time to stock up due to Super Bowl specials- I got pork loin for $1.79 a pound and chicken breasts with bone for $1 a pound at HEB (Rule of challenged-thumb is not to pay over $3 a pound for any protein). Seafood will be on special starting mid February but have resigned myself that my beloved wild caught salmon will be out of challenge- reach for a while. We can learn to like talapia which has little nutritional value. Bulk up the veggies, I suppose. This has been a very cleansing challenge (HAR, HAR) in more ways than one. 
Dinner tonite. It tastes as good raw as it does cooked. 
 (via Love That Quinoa Burger! «)

Dinner tonite. It tastes as good raw as it does cooked.
(via Love That Quinoa Burger! «)

Finally. Sugar-free Kaluha. 
 (via Sugar Free Homade Coffee Liqueur | All Day I Dream About Food)
Giving this a try soon. Bonus: Good for you. 
 (via Eat Yourself Skinny!: Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken)

Giving this a try soon. Bonus: Good for you.
(via Eat Yourself Skinny!: Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken)

Starting a pantry challenge pretty early this year. I usually don’t start a challenge until Lent, but need to clean out pantry and freezer…get organized. For the next three weeks I will stay away from the grocery, only going once a week (Mondays) and only to buy perishables-bananas, apples, lettuce, avocados, milk, eggs, etc. And if I run out before Monday? That’s tough. Will just have to wait. Spending the next few weeks planning for the SNAP challenge where I will spend less than $83.50 a week for the two of us to eat three meals a day for five and a half weeks, ending on Good Friday. Follow this link for some challenge basics. I think I will use the preset debit card this year. Too easy to lose change or give kids or Hubs cash out of envelope.
Some useful links: One Hundred Days of Real Food
The Incompetent Hausfrau blogs HERE on her experiences
And HERE is a list of some good sites
Start-Wednesday , January 2- chicken and dumplings (soup)
Thursday- frittata with bacon, salad
Friday - cabbage rolls stuffed with brown rice (or quinoa), using a roll of Italian sausage
Saturday-beef burgers and sweet potato fries
Sunday-Epiphany (menu undetermined)
Monday-BBQ baby back ribs, creamed kale (or spinach)
Tuesday- Shepherds Pie (with ground beef and sweet potatoes), salad
Wednesday, January 9-whole baked chicken (with lemon and milk), roasted vegetables
Thursday- chicken noodle soup and salad
Friday- flank steak dinner salad 
Saturday-slow cooked pork roast, green bean casserole 
Sunday- pulled pork tacos 
Monday-vegetable beef soup (stew)
Tuesday, January 16-Italian baked chicken thighs, Wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese
Lunches will be: Leftovers/Progresso soup for Darling Hubs, protein shake or leftovers for me
Breakfast will be: baked oatmeal, baked egg “muffins”, breakfast burritos, banana bread toast/muffins, oatmeal pancakes, biscuit egg *walmart brand* ( or Grands may be cheaper) things like that- made ahead and frozen. And all cheap.
Weekly menu planner HERE

Starting a pantry challenge pretty early this year. I usually don’t start a challenge until Lent, but need to clean out pantry and freezer…get organized. For the next three weeks I will stay away from the grocery, only going once a week (Mondays) and only to buy perishables-bananas, apples, lettuce, avocados, milk, eggs, etc. And if I run out before Monday? That’s tough. Will just have to wait. Spending the next few weeks planning for the SNAP challenge where I will spend less than $83.50 a week for the two of us to eat three meals a day for five and a half weeks, ending on Good Friday. Follow this link for some challenge basics. I think I will use the preset debit card this year. Too easy to lose change or give kids or Hubs cash out of envelope.

Some useful links: One Hundred Days of Real Food

The Incompetent Hausfrau blogs HERE on her experiences

And HERE is a list of some good sites

Start-Wednesday , January 2- chicken and dumplings (soup)

Thursday- frittata with bacon, salad

Friday - cabbage rolls stuffed with brown rice (or quinoa), using a roll of Italian sausage

Saturday-beef burgers and sweet potato fries

Sunday-Epiphany (menu undetermined)

Monday-BBQ baby back ribs, creamed kale (or spinach)

Tuesday- Shepherds Pie (with ground beef and sweet potatoes), salad

Wednesday, January 9-whole baked chicken (with lemon and milk), roasted vegetables

Thursday- chicken noodle soup and salad

Friday- flank steak dinner salad

Saturday-slow cooked pork roast, green bean casserole 

Sunday- pulled pork tacos 

Monday-vegetable beef soup (stew)

Tuesday, January 16-Italian baked chicken thighs, Wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese

Lunches will be: Leftovers/Progresso soup for Darling Hubs, protein shake or leftovers for me

Breakfast will be: baked oatmeal, baked egg “muffins”, breakfast burritos, banana bread toast/muffins, oatmeal pancakes, biscuit egg *walmart brand* ( or Grands may be cheaper) things like that- made ahead and frozen. And all cheap.

Weekly menu planner HERE

Time for these puppies again.

 (via Grilled Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers Recipe - ZipList)
Hmmm….how do I turn this into a casserole? Linguine? Brown rice? Cauliflower? All three?

 (via Turnip Green Dip | Never Enough Thyme - Recipes and food photographs with a slight southern accent.)

Hmmm….how do I turn this into a casserole? Linguine? Brown rice? Cauliflower? All three?

(via Turnip Green Dip | Never Enough Thyme - Recipes and food photographs with a slight southern accent.)

Baking it up for Christmas morn….adding chopped apple and walnuts. 
 (via A Year of Slow Cooking: CrockPot Baked Oatmeal Recipe)

Baking it up for Christmas morn….adding chopped apple and walnuts.
(via A Year of Slow Cooking: CrockPot Baked Oatmeal Recipe)

Will use a lower glycemic sub for the brown sugar—coconut palm sugar. Making it diabetic friendly.
(via Bananas Foster Recipe | Brennan’s Restaurant)

Will use a lower glycemic sub for the brown sugar—coconut palm sugar. Making it diabetic friendly.

(via Bananas Foster Recipe | Brennan’s Restaurant)

Tags: dessert fruit

Wow. Beautiful dish. Could be a main course by adding….bacon.
 (via Roasted Butternut Squash, Radicchio, and Onion Recipe | Simply Recipes)

Wow. Beautiful dish. Could be a main course by adding….bacon.
(via Roasted Butternut Squash, Radicchio, and Onion Recipe | Simply Recipes)