Lesson 664 – UB SNAP Challenge – Day 6

SNAP Challenge Day Six

A few thoughts as I go forward with this challenge.  I had made a few videos with some reflections on my experiences this week. A movie star I am not, but I did it to help the folks at the University of Bridgeport who are running this effort (Hi Jennifer).

In one of my videos, I’m wearing a green Under Armour jacket.

“It must be fun to pretend to be poor, nice jacket.” Was a comment I received.

I want to make it very clear here (again) that we are not poor. We are not poor in any sense of the word, however, like many others in America, we have been affected by the economy. I used to have a full time job, heck, I used to own an Instructional Design Training Business. When the economy tanked, my business disappeared. I now grab any and all writing gigs I can find. Sometimes they are one time jobs, sometimes I get repeat requests. I do what I can.

We are very fortunate that my husband has kept his job through this meltdown, but you can be sure, we hold our breaths every time they announce a layoff. It takes money to raise 6 kids.

But we are definitely not poor.

However, because our priorities are our kids, money is very, very tight right now. We have 2 kids in college and a 3rd who will be going off to college next fall.

I would rather starve than have to take them out of school.

We have 4 kids with chronic illness, one with whom we are probably looking at adaptive technology and orthopedic braces at some point. We have insurance but the co-pays are hitting us very hard, over and over.

If it means we can get my son the equipment he needs to live independently, I’m okay telling the kids “The dishwasher is broken? Not a problem, God gave you two good dish washers apiece. ”

We make sure our kids are involved in sports, on teams, and we save so they can go on school trips (the FIRST team is going to compete in D.C. this year.)

I’m okay with wearing a heavy coat and gloves when I drive in the winter because the heater in the car only blows heat on the windshield if it means my kids will learn how to be contributing members.

No, we are not poor.

We don’t go on vacation, we don’t go on shopping sprees, and we watch every penny so that our kids get what they need to succeed. We have made choices and we live to promote those choices. We do what we can with what we have.

In many, many ways, we live very rich lives, no complaints here.

Oh, and that jacket? Glad you like it. I got it for $3.99 at our local SAVERS.

Breakfast –

I have tried very hard to vary this week’s diet so that I wouldn’t get bored, but I have to tell you that I have dreamed about having oatmeal with raisins and butter ever since the first day I had it. I could very easily eat this every day and be a happy person.

DSCN0060

  •  Oatmeal with raisins
  • Tea

Used:

  • ½ cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 box raisins
  • 2 pats of butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Tea bag

Lunch –

I happen to like spinach. The reason I bought a can of it was so that I could have some greens at the end of the week when the escarole would either be gone or too wilted to work with.  Although this dish was fine, I would have liked to sprinkle a little cheese (a teaspoon of feta) on each egg.

DSCN0065

  • Easy Eggs Florentine

Toast English muffins, take 1/3 can of spinach and drain the excess fluid, heat it in the microwave until warm (about 20 seconds) when hot, divide it onto toasts. Scramble an egg and divide it onto toasts. Add pepper on top.

  • Apple slices

 

Used:

  • 1 English muffin toasted
  • 1/3 can of spinach
  • 1 egg scrambled
  • 1/2 Apple

To drink –water.

Afternoon snack

This is a picture I’ve already used, but I just want to remind you that on Day 6 – I’m still eating snacks.

DSCN0046

  • 11 Vanilla cookies (1 serving)
  • Cup of tea

Dinner –

Dinner was the last of my chicken for the week, I decided to g out with a bang. I also roasted extra carrots so that I can use them in a meal tomorrow with the extra potato (I ate half of the potato for this meal.

DSCN0063

  • Baked Lemon Chicken thigh
  • Roasted potatoes and carrots
  • Spinach

In a pan, place chicken thigh skin up with two slices of lemon on it. Cut potato into eighths and cut carrots into chunks. Cook at 350 until chicken is done (about 30 minutes)

Used:

  • Chicken thigh
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 1/3 can of Spinach
  • Potato (half for tonight, half for tomorrow)
  • 3 carrots (half for tonight, half for tomorrow)
  • Butter for vegetables

Evening snack

  • Slice of toast with butter.

16 Comments

Filed under Life Lessons, New Hampshire, SNAP

16 responses to “Lesson 664 – UB SNAP Challenge – Day 6

  1. Why do people do that? Assume that you would paid $100 for a jacket and you are rich? What if it had a crazy rich aunt who gave it to you?
    I have very expensive cookware. le creuset. I have awesome furniture in my house. It’s all thrifted from flea markets and estate sales and auctions. Does that make me super rich?

    I pinch and save every dollar. With 4 kids(none in college) I know how tough it is.

    Ignore ignorant comments.loving the food posts.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Glad you are liking the posts. And also glad to hear that ours is not the only house decorated in early American yard sale.

      Wendy

  2. Kristin Skarie

    Yup – keep on truckin Wendy! You are helping so much with understanding, appreciation, and possibilities! – seems it is really about assumptions…that person had access to a computer which puts her/him ahead of most – even if it is in a library – had some kind of transportation, time, etc …seems that person can also read and write in English which also grants many privileges….Perhaps you have touched a nerve…Thank you for setting up this challenge in your no nonsense way – I have learned from your meals and planning for my week – thank you!

  3. Hey sis- so sorry for the hecklers, I guess commenting on what others are trying to do is a life style–hey, am doing it right now! I like the can of spinach at the end of the week–great idea. With all the wheat yesterday and again today I would be getting sick, so would sub rice and/or potatoes, but you are doing a great job on this. For the most part, those of us with food sensitivities could make appropriate modifications.

    You left out the part where our dad died leaving our unemployed mother with 4 very small children (you were less than a year old) and she married again creating a gang of 7 children. We’ve always known how to rub two pennies together–this isn’t something new, and, it’s not a joke either. We are aware at how fortunate we are. This exercise is to try and bring some understanding and perhaps help and support to people in need. Both you and Cory Booker and doing a great job both in your own ways–helping to educate all of us–and, you are succeeding. After this, we will all think twice about taking a second helping just because we can. Rock on Wendy!

    • Wendy Thomas

      Peg,

      I don’t remember being aware that we pinched pennies or being deprived while growing up but maybe that’s the point. If it’s part of your culture, it doesn’t really stand out.

      Wendy

  4. Accusing people who are not visibly starving in the street in the nude with their ribs poling out and little malnutrition pot bellies is the new reverse snobbery.

    To post something a little more uplifting, if you get the chance, view a documentary called Shift Change. It is a fine video about co-operatives, most notably the most successful one in the world (in Basque Spain). My name appears in the credits as a “funding angel” (tiny pittance donated to KickStarter). Made by a couple of fine friends of mine. Co-operatives and credit unions are splendid alternatives to class war and snippy whining.

    • Wendy Thomas

      I’m going to check that out thanks.

      Combining strength in a cooperative or simply joining forces (it’s easier to cook for many than for one) is a valid option when it comes to food. This week, in all honesty has been ridiculous, no one buys $30 worth of food for the week and plans without any food from a previous week. Still, I worked with what I had to prove a point.

      My final post will spell it all out.

      And not only do I (apparently) wear the wrong clothes but my ribs also don’t stick out. So I guess that proves it, I’m not poor.🙂

      Wendy

  5. I love savers my friends are always amazed at what I find there and at other thrift stores…apparently that people was too!

    • Wendy Thomas

      I’m right there with you on SAVERS, my son just went there the other day to get a navy blue suit jacket. He looked great for his event.

      Wendy

  6. cinnamon chaisson

    i didn’t see the comment about the jacket, but that is cause my internet has been acting up a lot the last few days. i consider myself lucky to have an internet connection, it is my one luxury. i am poor by some people’s standards, i live on a disability pension of less than $1000 a month, out of that comes rent, utilities, phone, internet. car insurance, gas and cat food and kitty litter. there are few extras. i buy a lot of food from the damaged/spoiled produce tables. i eat fairly well if not totally nutriously. i am also a diabetic on insulin so i have to watch what i eat. we are lucky here that we have what is called a ‘share shed’ … this is part of the local landfill system that enables people to drop off stuff they don’t want/need and others to pick up what they do. 99% of what i wear comes from there and some of it is brand name labels. i laughed at your remark about the car, i don’t have kids living at home but spend a lot of time on really cold mornings scrubbing frantically at the inside of the windshield so i can see where i am going. love the blog, keep up the great work

    • Wendy Thomas

      I’ve learned to keep a towel in our car to wipe down the inside of the windshield. During the summer, it’s still a fine little car.

      Bravo on your ability to save money. If you shop, if you look, and if you take time, you can often find a lot for only a little.

      Wendy

  7. P. Davis

    Maybe you will address this in your final post about the challenge, but there has been no mention of how much time, time, time you have devoted to getting your menu and provisions just right. For working, single parents who are extra pressed for time, maintaining this level of vigilance would be difficult. I grant that the meals you have chosen are easy and fast to prepare, and some can be eaten on the run or heated up at work, but it seems that the flexibility time-stressed families need is something the UB SNAP Challenge budget cannot buy. Kudos to you for your creativity and dedication.

    • Wendy Thomas

      It did take a little bit of time (maybe one hour total) to design the menu and do the comparison shopping BUT now that Ive done it once, I could use the basic menu and do variations on it.

      Instead of pasta with bacon, diced tomatoes, and greens I could do pasta with olives, basil, and broccoli. I could switch it up with some flavored meat (hot dogs would even work) or add a tiny amount of flavorful cheese (you dont need much feta to make it better.)

      I could vary the vegetables, add a new flavor, use a different spice, add roasted squash, use a little canned pumpkin with cream to make an incredible sauce (if you havent tried that one on pasta you should.)

      Once I had the basics down, I could start improvising. All very thrifty, all very doable.

      Once I had these under my belt (wish I could have thrown a curry in there, thats one of our favorite meals to make with whatever is lying around) I could start expanding my menu based on whats on sale. Turkeys on sale? (which it is this week) I could start with a roasted turkey dinner, have a turkey and beans dinner, heck we just had a turkey soup with potatoes (the last of our Thanksgiving dinner) that when crusty bread with butter was added, was eaten and enjoyed by everyone.

      I know that people are busy (we work FT and have 6 kids) BUT if you plan your food menu, then there is actually less work during the week because you know exactly what you are going to have. None of the menus I suggested take more than a few minutes to prepare (with the exception of the chicken baking but once you put it in the oven you can go do things until its ready.) Get to know your crockpot again.

      Going back to the kitchen is not going backward for women.

      Im not sure that its because people dont have time that they dont do this, I think its more that they dont have the skills to do it. We have become a society that frowns on cooking and instead of cooking food from scratch we want our food instantly. In my daughters home ec class they were taught how to make a ham and cheese sandwich in the microwave.

      At home shes been taught how to make Baked Ziti and on the weeks that we have that (its up for next weeks menu) she is the one who will be making it (and she is the one who will get the compliments when we all sit down to eat.)

      What I did last week took a lot of time both to prepare and to document. I know. But I did it because I was hoping that some people might have found it useful and might start thinking a little differently about how they treat food. Ive already heard from a few people who have tried some of these SNAP recipes (and really, these are just budget recipes) and are now preparing and cooking food for themselves.

      My intent with all of this work was not to cast judgment on anyone or any program. My intent was to teach so that perhaps others can learn. Its my suggestion as a way to make a tough situation just a little bit better.

  8. You could fix oatmeal with a handful of dried cranberries and a few walnuts with a spoonful of brown sugar also for less than $2.00. I like it best made with almond milk.🙂

  9. Great post…people need to understand the many faces, and jackets, or financial strained individuals,

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