Saturday, January 5, 2013

SNAP Challenge - Menu and Recipes for Day Four

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed in February of 2009.  A provision in the Recovery Act temporarily boosted SNAP benefits  for low-income families. The Act called for benefits to remain at the new higher level until the program's regular annual inflation adjustments overtook it. However, in 2010,  the 112th Congress chose to pass legislation that will cause the increase to end abruptly on November 1, 2013, causing  benefits for all SNAP households to decline. Benefits for a family of three are expected to drop by $25 to $30  a month and without the Recovery Act boost, SNAP benefits will average out to $1.30 a meal. Nutrition experts have warned that a families' basic food needs can't be met at that level of assistance. The thought that members of this new Congress, whose yearly salaries have, by the way, just been raised to $174,000,  dare to entertain  thoughts of further cuts to SNAP, enrages me. There are 22 million children in this program, 10 million of whom come from families whose income is below half of the poverty line. While we've told that the poor will always be among us, I sure wish we'd been given warning about the politicians. I think they should all take the SNAP Challenge.

While going over food plans for the remainder of the week, a quick survey of ingredients caused me to put the eggs and milk into protective custody. With some help from the humble potato, they have been the mainstay of our meals this week and I am cutting it really close with their use.  I think I'll be able to finish the challenge  as long as I don't drop an egg or spill any milk.  That 10 pounds of potatoes I bought have been a godsend. Neither Bob nor I have been hungry, but we are starting to get urges. He wants ice cream and I'd love to have an icy cold glass of pink grapefruit juice, a particular peculiar weakness of mine.  We both are working on projects that keep us out of the kitchen and I've planned meals that can be quickly put together.

Our meals today were all light but really flavorful. We love potato pancakes and can eat them morning, noon and  night. Good thing, that. I used leftover egg whites to make the ones I served for breakfast this morning, enabling me to save a whole egg for another meal. I'll need it before the week is over. Leftovers are still the order of the day for lunch. I had potato soup and Bob had the last of the chicken casserole that was last evening's supper. Dinner was fried rice. Nice! Here is the menu for the fourth day of the challenge.

                                          Menu for SNAP Challenge Day Four


                                                         Orange Juice
                                                     * Potato Pancakes
                                                         Poached Eggs


                                        Small Chopped Salad with Boiled Dressing
                                                              Potato Soup
                                                Leftover Chicken Casserole
                                                             Corn Muffins


                                                   Celery and Carrot Sticks
                                                     *  Chicken Fried Rice

                                                Chicken Fried Rice...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup finely minced yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 ounces diced boneless chicken thighs
1-1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots, thawed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn thawed and drained
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 cups cooked rice

1) Heat a wok over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, pour in eggs and cook without stirring until lightly set, about 30 seconds. Break up eggs and transfer to a plate.
2) Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to wok set over high heat. Add onion and stir fry until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant. Add vegetables and stir fry until crisp tender, about 3 minutes.
3) Add sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and sugar to vegetables. Stir in rice and toss to combine. Add eggs and cook until rice is heated through. Serve hot. Yield: 4 servings.

                                                                      Potato Pancakes


2 cups peeled and grated russet or Idaho potatoes
1 small yellow onion, peeled and grated
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying


1) Squeeze as much water as possible from grated potatoes. Toss in a large bowl with grated onion. Add egg white , flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
2) Heat oil in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat. Drop mounds of potato mixture into oil and pat to a thin circle. Cook, about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Serve hot. Yield: 8 pancakes.

One Year Ago Today: Standing Rib Roast

Two Years Ago Today: Blue Cheese and Other Composed Butters

Three Years Ago Today: Gnarled Beer Bread


Coleens Recipes said...

Keep your chin up, you are over half way to your goal!! Are you planning a big feast after your week is up? lol Love your potato pancake photo, I could eat those morning, noon or night as well!!


This is such a thoughtful post, Mary. We are so spoiled, eh?

Enjoy your icy cold pink grapefruit juice, soon.


Alicia Foodycat said...

You are doing so well with this! I don't know how a woman on SNAP who is working 2 jobs and has young children could possibly manage to make these rations stretch the way you are. It is both enlightening and discouraging.

Allie and Pattie said...

Mary, I've been posting the link to your menus every day on my Facebook page- the information is critical to making people understand. And I agree- all members of our new Congress should be forced to do this before seeing that pay raise!

Sheherazahde said...

You are really getting the feel of what it is like to be poor. The only thing you are missing is the dried beans, peanut butter, and Ramen noodles. I miss the old gov surplus cheese in 5lb blocks. Eggs are an amazingly cheap source of protein. You should try an egg poached in Ramen Noodles.
If you don't want to use eggs in your potato pancakes try a Swiss Rösti. It's my mom's favorite. Shred 1 unpeeled potato, Don't bother to squeeze out the water, just fry it in oil with some salt and pepper, no flour or eggs, The potato's own starch holds it together. I like to add grated onion to mine.

betsy said...

In our country funding never- ending war has priority over care and concern for its citizens. What we happen when milk goes to 8 dollars a gallon?

Barbara F. said...

Hi Mary, I am impressed at this challenge. Especially the way you cook, but then again, you could easily turn a potato into a gourmet dish! Happy New Year to you, and I saved the fried rice recipe. xo

Vicki Bensinger said...

I have not heard of the SNAP challenge but am impressed that you and your husband are trying it. I agree the politicians should as well so they can see how difficult it is.

Although your menu looks wonderful makes you wonder if those having to live on it have the knowledge and resources to create menus like yours. Maybe you could share these those who are in charge of the SNAP program. I'm sure they would love you for it. I'm sure this diet gets old fast.

Thank you for sharing this info. I will check it out further.

Susan..... said...

I did a little research for where I live, here on the East Coast. My Mom ran the Welfare Department in our small town growing up, and all we heard about was the scammers. I had assumed that in the 13 years since she retired things have gotten better, but reading your posts has made me realize that it has only gotten worse. In NJ, which as you probably know, is one of the most dense and taxed states in the Union, the difference in your allotment and ours is a mere $5.00. Although I give a bag every time I shop to our local Woman's Club food drive, I have upped my weekly allotment to twice the amount. I wish everyone would drop one can a week and that every retail establishment would have a bucket to make it easier. We all should do what we can, and you are admirable for doing this. Any extra eye opening is well appreciated by those that have to survive on government stipends.
Bless you and yours.

Ginny Hartzler said...

This looks very good! I feel the same way you do about potato pancakes! I used to make them all the time and had various recipes. Wish I could find some frozen in the store. But now we no longer have a food processor.

Kim said...

The potato pancakes looks really good, I would to eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Janice said...

Potato pancakes look very tasty, was struck by the 'standing rib roast' from a year ago, not much chance of that on benefits!

pam said...

This is so interesting watching you meet this challenge!

Melinda said...

You are doing great! All still looks delish but I think this would be a bit stressful. Interesting information that you have been providing.

M :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails