Monday, September 12, 2011

Living on a Food Stamp budget Part 2 Day 1

I learned that everyone else began this yesterday and my pledge is off for one day.

I have always marched to the beat of a different drummer so today it is.

I begin the day with 4.39 and get an e mail that includes some critical comments from someone named hungry girl. I won't quote her as someone was re-blogging her notes and I can't find her blog.

However her complaints if I understand them correctly are that I ate too much fresh food during the two months I did this originally and I did not mention Smart and Final as a source for cheap food, specifically their mixed bag of apples and oranges for 5.99 at 5 lbs.

After my breakfast of
Coffee .34 (with cream cost)
Rice (leftover)
Chinese broccoli .23
2 poached eggs .20
Blueberries .99
Total 1.76

I set out for Smart and Final. IF you buy huge quantities of certain foods of uncertain provenance there are a few deals here. They advertise heavily that they take WIC and EBT (food stamp) cards and then they proceed to overcharge for many items.

Roma tomatoes at .99 per pound range from .33 to .79 at cheaper stores.

Their big flyer touts bananas at .50 per pound but around the corner they are .39.

That mixed bag of fruit the poor girl lives on was disgusting. Red Delicious (They are red) and Granny Smith apples and naval oranges. All obviously from cold storage and not fresh looking at 1.20 a pound very overpriced.

At stores right around the corner I found a lot of fresh local fruit for .99 a pound, black plums, grapes, Nectarines, white peaches, Kiwi, and Pluots.

Stupid and Overpriced, not smart and final.For poor girl's sake I hope whatever area she is living in opens up soon with a better option than this store.

I had a doctor's appointment so I had more snack than lunch. A soft pretzel I had baked yesterday with extra cayenne and onion powder and some cheese.
Pretzel (Ingredient based) .22
Cheese 1.5 ounce .46
Tea .03
Total .71

I set out to make a highly nutritious dinner for 4. This recipe is open to total interpretation. If you have soy sauce, hot pepper, and any kind of basil you can make a reasonable facsimile.

Twice cooked Sezchaun pork with vegetables

1/2 pound pork finely chopped 1.95
1/2 bunch Thai Basil .55
1 large onion .20
Ginger root sliced .22
Thai pepper .07 (3 are enough, or some cayenne if you don't have fresh hot peppers)
1 lb. Green beans cut into thirds .79
1/2lb Chinese Broccoli .40
12 small Garden Zucchini .10
Garden Swiss chard .10
1 large carrot sliced .20
Seasonings include garlic, sugar, soy sauce and fish sauce or an anchovy if you have it. 4.58 total divided by 4 is 1.14.

You can use the toughest cheapest cut of pork. I used some shoulder (Berkshire Heirloom organic, thus the 3.99 pound price). Chop the pork into small pieces or give it a quick grind in the food processor.

Put in a very hot pan to brown. When brown add in 1 cup water a sprinkle of sugar and about 1/4 cup of soy sauce. While it is simmering add in the ginger, hot peppers and chopped garlic. Let simmer til tender and filled with flavor. With a slotted spoon remove the pork leaving behind any liquid and fat.

Get a wok or a large pan sizzling hot. Toss in the onions when they just begin to soften add the rest of the vegetables, when they are hot toss in the pork mixture, mix thoroughly and taste, add more soy if needed.

Serve with rice, noodles or in lettuce cups.

With my 1.14 meal I had .10 worth of rice making my evening total 1.24. Under budget and the variety of vegetables boosted my nutrition to a decent level.

Keep in mind that you can use ANY vegetables you can get at a good price. 

Tomorrow we will use the rest of the basil.

I had 1,453 calories but did not spend every dime so I could have eaten more, however I feel quite satisfied.

1 comment:

Colleen said...

We do not have a Smart and Final here in Charleston but, I find the same over pricing and lower quality produce in the grocery stores here that generally cater to lower income shoppers. I believe that many people just don't know how to shop carefully for the best quality and lowest pricing. I often get the best deals at the stores perceived as upper end but also shop at the other stores and vegetable shops to help me feed us healthy, tasty meals.