I am participating in a food bank challenge this week. I’m only spending $25 on groceries that will last me the entire week. The Daily Bread Food Bank needs more donations than ever this time of year. Put Food In The Budget is also lobbying the government to give more money to food banks so people (like me this week) don’t have to stretch approximately $25 worth of groceries over the course of a week.
I am trying to be creative with what I have. If you have any recipe suggestions please feel free to comment below. My meals for today look like this.
Breakfast: PB sandwich and 1 cup of milk.
Snack: Juice Box.
Lunch: A can of no name ravioli.
Dinner: I plan to saute a quarter of the onion and 1 carrot in oil with salt and pepper from the pantry (5 items from the pantry are allowed). I will cook up 2 portions of rice and add the canned ham to the mix. Fry the crap out of it and voila! Stir fry….sort of. I am hoping to get 2 or 3 meals out of this.
I think the hardest part will be the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, sodium overload with all the canned goods. For more participants daily blogs click here.
Looking forward to a delicious chicken hot dog pasta tomorrow. Donate today.
Day 2: I Hate My Roommates.
Last night after my canned ham/chicken hot dog stir fry…the roomies chowed down on chips and ice cream. Really? On a budget, you don’t get any of the good stuff. I am just happy to have peanut butter in the hamper. Sadly, I am almost out of bread on day 2 because peanut butter on toast has been my go to snack.
This is what my stir fry looked like last night.
The leftovers will be my lunch today. For dinner, I will forgo any canned meat (literally left a bad taste in my mouth) and go vegetarian for the night. I have 3 potatoes so I am going to make french fries. Luckily, I get 5 pantry items and ketchup is one of them.
I was a poor kid and this challenge has brought up some tough memories. I remember eating my friends leftovers one time at McDonald’s. They never finished their meals so I offered to put the trays away and meet up with them outside so they wouldn’t know. We also had to get a Christmas food hamper one year but I will save that story for tomorrow’s blog. For now, I will just say that getting a hamper changed my life. The people who delivered it reminded me that I should not be ashamed.
I cant believe that I have taken food for granted. Its only day 2 and I am already thinking of ways to be better at life in general. I will never throw out food again. I would kill for half a burger right now.
Day 3: I’m running out of food.
For breakfast I had my last yogurt. I am also down to only 3 slices of bread. There is still an abundance of chicken hot dogs so Matt suggested I use the bread crumbs to coat the hot dog for an instant pogo! Thanks Matt. The rest of my day looks like this.
Breakfast – Yogurt
Snack – Leftover Mac and Cheese
Lunch – Can of pork and beans
Dinner – Pasta with chickpeas and tomato sauce
Snack – Milk and my last juice box.
Tomorrow morning we will have Chef Michael Leary from Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village on to talk about the upscale recipe he designed for me using these ingredients.
After today (day 3) this is what I have left.
• 3 slices of bread
• Peanut Butter
• Beef barley soup
• 1 carrot
• 1 potato
• ½ onion
• Chicken hot dogs (they just won’t go away)
• ½ can flaked ham
When I was a kid, we had to get a Christmas food hamper from my school. I didn’t want to put in the request because I was embarrassed that the teachers would judge me and that maybe fellow students would find out. The good news is that the teachers were anything but judgmental. The day they arrived with the food hamper…I felt like the most special person in the whole world. They went out of their way to make me comfortable reminding me that I should not be ashamed. They even brought a few gifts. That was the day I stopped feeling sorry for myself. There was nothing I could do about it.
This food bank challenge is really putting things back into perspective for me. Donate today.
Day 4: A little help from Chef Michael D Leary
It’s day 4 of the Do The Math Food Bank Challenge. Today we chatted with Chef Michael D Leary from Mildred’s Temple Kitchen about some delicious things I can make with the food I got in the hamper.
Here is just one of the recipes he came up with.
Brown Rice/Chickpea salad with Yogurt-Apple dressing.
You start by frying up some canned ham cubes to make them really crispy so there is texture in the salad. Then Chef Michael suggested I use the yogurt and apple juice to make a dressing. Put it all in a bowl, give it a stir and voila! Sounds yummy.
I ate the last piece of bread today so I guess tomorrow morning for breakfast I will have to eat peanut butter with a spoon. I am also out of milk. Luckily, the tomato/chickpea pasta I made last night was delicious and I have leftovers for lunch. For dinner I am going to try and tackle the other half of the canned ham. I still have a potato so I am going to make sort of a corn beef hash using the canned ham instead. If its awful, I will cover the whole thing in ketchup.
Tomorrow we will chat with Dan who organized this challenge. He is on day 7. Yikes! I encourage everyone to just give the challenge a try. It has been truly eye opening for me. Get all the details here.
Day 5: I may never eat another hot dog again.
I call last nights dinner Double Chick Pasta – chickpeas, chicken hot dogs and pasta shells.
While this has been an incredible journey and humbling experience, I cannot wait for this challenge to be over. The lack of fresh fruit and veggies has made me a little moody and lets just say my digestive system is not a fan of the change either. I managed to stretch $25 worth of food over 5 days for the Do The Math Food Bank Challenge. Today I am eating the last of it. This is what I have left.
Breakfast – spoonfuls of peanut butter (ran out of bread)
Snack – leftover pasta shells with chickpeas and chicken hot dogs
Lunch – can of Beef Barley soup
Dinner – my last potato, carrot and half onion sautéed with flaked canned ham
Snack – all I have left is peanut butter so peanut butter spoonfuls it will have to be it I guess
This morning we chatted with Dan who organized the challenge (listen below). He is on day 7 and has been a huge help. If you want more details or would like to participate just visit putfoodinthebudget.ca.