We Survived!

Friday was our last day of the SNAP Challenge. I am happy to report Jeremiah and I successfully completed it. You have no idea how happy this makes us but also how much we learned participating in Harvesters SNAP Challenge.

eggsFriday morning, Jeremiah and I had enough money left in our budget that we decided to make eggs. We cooked three eggs and split them between us. Plus, we each ate three pancakes. For the first time all week, our stomachs didn’t growl before lunch.

I also gave Jeremiah an extra piece of fruit in his lunch bag. I didn’t want him to have anymore side effects from malnourishment. He finished off the penne pasta for lunch. We both forgot our hummus though. Perhaps subconsciously, we just couldn’t eat anymore of it. Surprising, our zucchini and chips weren’t bad without it.

pizzaFor dinner, we got our Papa Murphy’s sausage pizza. It was the best pizza ever. No, it really wasn’t but we had been craving it all week. We each ate three slices since we didn’t have any cookies left.

After dinner, we decided to beat the snow shoppers and go grocery shopping. We are making Turkey Chili and Beer Bread – which were supposed to be on our menu this week but had to be cut because of cost. We are using the leftover sandwich bread to make crunchy French toast. We are also making Hamburger Casserole, Cheesy Potato Soup and Reese’s Krispie No-Bake cookies. The crazy thing is that when we got to the check-out, our bill was less than $45 and we weren’t even trying. Maybe we learned a few cost saving things this week. Additionally, we weren’t buying all the ingredients for these meals or are trying to make them stretch to 30 meals.

I did want to share a total breakdown of our week.

Daily Menu
Monday

B – 3 pancakes with butter and syrup

L – Tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies and a piece of fruit (I had a banana and Jeremiah had an orange)

D – Chicken penne pasta with salsa con queso, a slice of corn bread, and one cookie

I had five crackers as a snack. Jeremiah also had two cups of coffee.

Tuesday

B – Pancakes with butter and syrup (I had three and Jeremiah had four)

L – Tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies and a piece of fruit (I had a banana and Jeremiah had an orange)

D – Red Beans & Rice, a slice of corn bread, and one cookie

Jeremiah had two cups of coffee and five crackers for a snack.

Wednesday

B – 4 pancakes with butter and syrup

L – I had tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies and a banana. Jeremiah had red beans and rice, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies, and an orange.

D – Chicken penne pasta with salsa con queso, a slice of corn bread, and two cookies

Jeremiah had two cups of coffee and five crackers for a snack.

Thursday

B – 4 pancakes with butter and syrup

L – I had tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies and a banana. Jeremiah had chicken penne pasta, two cookies, and a banana.

D – Red Beans & Rice, a slice of corn bread, five saltine crackers, and two cookie

Friday

B – 1 ½ eggs and 3 pancakes with butter and syrup

L – I had tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini, two cookies and a banana. Jeremiah had chicken penne pasta and a banana.

D – Three slices of sausage pizza

I had five crackers for a snack. Jeremiah had two cups of coffee and an orange.

We drank water as our main beverage all week-long. Water is free!!!

Our Budget

  • Chicken penne pasta – $6.19 or $1.03 per serving (we ate all six servings)
  • Red Beans & Rice – $5.75 or $.82 per serving (we have two servings left)
  • Store brand K-cups – $3.99 or $.33 per serving (we have two cups left)
  • Tuna sandwiches – $2.33 or $.23 per serving – Tuna ($.98 for two cans), Bread ($.99 for loaf), Miracle Whip $.33, Mustard – $.03 (we have three servings of tuna and bread left)
  • Hummus with zucchini and homemade chips – $4.63 or $.46 per serving (Hummus – $2.18, chips, $1.83, and zucchini – $.62) Plus note: we did add a little more oil and Italian Seasoning so I would increase the cost of this to $5 or $.50 per serving (we have two servings of hummus left)
  • Cornbread prepared – $.80 or $.09 per serving (Jiffy corn bread – $.55, an egg – $.17, and milk $.08)
  • Cookies – $3.06 or $.09 per cookie
  • 3 lbs. of Bananas (7) – $1.36 or $.19 per banana
  • Oranges (4) – $1.33 or $.33 per orange
  • Crackers (154) – $1.34 or $.04 per serving (we ate only six servings)
  • One box of pancakes, a bottle of syrup, and butter – $2.72 or $.08 per pancake
  • Scrambled eggs – $.68 or $.34 per serving
  • Sausage pizza – $5 or $.63 per slice
  • Bag Ice (for water two evenings) – $.25

$39.80 + $3.48 in tax (please note that SNAP recipients do not have to pay tax though when they use their card) = $43.28 or $4.33 per person per day

Want to take the challenge? It’s not too late. Join Harvesters Monday, March 2nd through Friday, March 6th. Click here to register now. Then, share your journey on social media.

Turkey Tacos

Recently, a group was using our kitchen at work to teach a nutritious cooking class for daycare providers. The group leader invited me to sample some of their recipes. I really liked this tasty taco. It wasn’t too spicy and extra healthy with beans and sweet potatoes. Jeremiah and I used tortillas high in fiber so one taco really filled us up. We also served it with fresh guacamole and homemade tortilla chips.

Creative Commons photo by: John Liu

Creative Commons photo by: John Liu

Turkey Tacos by John Haddock
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 can white beans, drained
1 sweet potato, zucchini, or carrot grated
1 can low sodium diced tomatoes
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

Cook ground turkey over a medium heat. Add beans, veggies, and seasoning. Cook on medium for 20 minutes. Serve in a tortilla shell. Top with shredded cheese and any desired toppings (tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, or sour cream).

Turkey Taco

Recently, a group was using our kitchen at work to teach a nutritious cooking class for daycare providers. The group leader invited me to sample some of their recipe. I really liked this tasty taco. It wasn’t too spicy and extra healthy with beans and sweet potatoes. Jeremiah and I used tortillas high in fiber so one taco really filled us up. We also served it with fresh guacamole and homemade tortilla chips.

Turkey TacoTurkey Tacos by John Haddock
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 can white beans, drained
1 sweet potato, zucchini, or carrot grated
1 can low sodium diced tomatoes
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

Cook ground turkey over a medium heat. Add beans, veggies, and seasoning. Cook on medium for 20 minutes. Serve in a tortilla shell. Top with shredded cheese and any desired toppings (tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, or sour cream).

Hummus

Olympic Men’s Figure Skating Medalist Brian Boitano was on Rachael Ray promoting his cookbook. Who know he loved to cook. A woman in the audience asked what his favorite snack was and he said it he would whip it up for her. Of course, Rachael wasn’t sure if they would have all the ingredients. Sure enough, she did. Here is a quick hummus recipe packed with all the fiber benefits of beans.

HummusGarlicky Whole Bean Artichoke Dip by Brian Boitano
1/3 c. olive oil
1 (15 oz.) can of cannellini beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can of artichoke hearts, drained
Juice of a lemon
2-3 garlic cloves
salt and pepper

Blend and serve. This recipe is good with wheat crackers, pretzel chips, and zucchini.

Notes:

  • I used a smaller jar of artichokes and it turned out fine.
  • I used bottle lemon juice and jarred garlic.

Zucchini for Dessert

While making cookbooks for my family as Christmas gifts, I ran across this recipe from my aunt Irene in the Chicken Show/125th Anniversary for City of Wayne Cookbook. My aunt was on the planning committee for this cookbook as the Assistant Director for the Wayne Area Economic Development and member of The Chicken Show planning committee.

Irene is also domestic goddess. Not only can she cook but she can also knit/crochet/sew. My newest amazing gift from her is a pair of fingerless gloves. But as I child I remember my uncle Ed making me a doll cradle and my aunt Irene making me my Raggedy Ann & Andy Dolls. Homemade gifts from talented people are wonderful at any age.

I cooked this cake earlier this week and shared with my co-workers. One of my co-workers is doing Weight Watchers so we plugged it in to figure out the points. Each slice is 6 points. I’m sure if you substituted applesauce or yogurt for oil, used egg substitute, switched to whole wheat flour, or used a sugar substitute like Stevia, you could make it a little healthier. The cake was very moist with a more Mexican flavor using the cinnamon and cocoa. Would probably be a great side for my chili recipe.

Chocolate Zucchini CakeChocolate Zucchini Cake by Irene Fletcher
1/2 c. margarine
1/2 c. oil
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sour milk (1/2 T. lemon juice and 1/2 c. milk)
2 1/2 c. flour
4 T. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. grated zucchini
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Cream together butter, oil, and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, and sour milk. Stir in grated zucchini. Sift together flour, cocoa, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Blend with creamed mixture. Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

I think I can, I think I can

In February, I returned to working out as a stress release. Every weekday morning, I get up about 6:30AM to make my way to the gym. Bob and Vince at the YMCA know me by name and hold me accountable to my workout. Most days, I walk 30 minutes on the treadmill. I’m very proud to say in about six months time, I’ve only missed four days working out (twice for work and twice while on vacation). Plus, I’ve also participated in two 5K this year. I guess that’s why I was shocked when I started experiencing pain in my leg so bad that I could barely stand. At first, I thought I had over done it because I had taken to additional long walks outside that week. Listening to my body but not wanting to stop my workout, I switched to the exercise bike. Unfortunately, that didn’t help and leg swelled severely. After a doctor’s visit and testing, I am happy to report nothing is wrong with me. Thank goodness – I’m just getting older. 

If you know me or have been following my blog, you know I don’t like to eat vegetables. My mother says that as a child, I stopped eating them because my sister taught me they were yucky. As an adult, I have tried to incorporate them into my diet. I struggle though because vegetables lack flavor. Although I have gotten better about using them in recipes, I still struggle to eat just vegetables.

My leg issue was a wakeup call for me. I don’t want to get to the point where I can’t even walk. I know I need to eat better and lose weight. So I thought about my long term goal. I want to be able to do a Komen 3-Day. If you aren’t familiar with the Race, participants walk 20 miles per day for 3 consecutive days. I’ve talked to a several people who have participated in 3-Days. Everyone says it is the hardest thing you’ll do but the training program really prepares you for it. So I went online to check it out. Although I don’t think I can be ready physically or financially in the time period they suggest, I think I can work my way toward it in the next two years.

My first challenge toward my ultimate goal is to participating the the Mt. Everest Challenge at the Y. My number on the chart is 28. Sure, I only get 500 points for my walking but I am at the gym every day. I only see one other guy there that much. Plus, I started adding 1 minute every week to my workout (5 extra minutes per week) and lifting weights. I don’t expect to win but I don’t want to come in last either.

As a part of making myself healthier, I am eating more vegetables. I don’t like canned vegetables so I buy fresh or frozen. I ran across this recipe in Price Chopper’s produce section last weekend. I have to say, this recipe made me forget I was eating vegetables.

Baked Zucchini Sticks by Integrated Marketing Services

3/4 c. panko bread crumbs 
1/4 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/3 c. fat-free egg substitute
1 large zucchini, cut into sticks 1/2 inch thick

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. In a shallow plate combine panko, cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper to taste. Place cornstarch in a large Ziploc bag. Pour egg substitute into another shallow plate. In small batches, coat zucchini in cornstarch. Then, coat in egg. Finally, roll in breadcrumb mixture. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Serve with marinara sauce if desired.

Nutrition: Makes four servings. 130 calories, 2 g. fat, 1 saturated fat, 5 mg. cholesterol, 200 mg. sodium, 19 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 7 g. protein