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13 December 2012 @ 01:33 pm
SNAP Challenge Tips and Recipes  
This started at twitter as I responded to the trials Cory Booker was going through as he tried the SNAP challenge (living for one week on a typical budget a food stamp recipient is given). It continued as people asked me questions and joined in with tips such as going to the Dollar Store.

A table of SNAP benefits by state if you'd like to join in: http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/18SNAPavg$PP.htm

Here are some of those tweets, cleaned up a bit.

It's far more difficult to budget by the week on food stamps than by the month. You'll need to re-create your pantry every month because few things are left over other than spices, oil and maybe some starches such as rice.

Replace soda with home made ice tea, make your own corn chips with corn tortillas in oil.

Millet is often overlooked but is a wonderful grain if you're tired of rice. Recipes: http://t.co/IkZ4CSVx

I've used millet in bread for crunch and I've also added millet to soups (dal, chili) and used in casseroles or in lentil burgers, or used as breakfast cereal.

Save money--roast your own red peppers: http://t.co/V5DgO3Xy

It's easy to roast a few at a time in broiler, remove skin, seeds, freeze some.

Black bean enchiladas with roasted red pepper sauce: http://cookieandkate.com/2012/black-bean-enchiladas-with-roasted-red-pepper-sauce/

Quick home made enchilada sauce for use with lentil filling, corn tortillas: http://t.co/5K8vnclc

Cooked lentils make a good enchilada filling, spice 'em up. No need to soak before cooking. Use this foolproof recipe to cook, substituting regular supermarket lentils for the rice, same cooking time: http://t.co/ztoa6Qpf

Red lentils also don't need soaking and cook quickly. Red lentil dal: http://t.co/c8Mjtqv9

Naan (Indian Flatbread): http://t.co/gbO75xGM

Another, quicker Indian flat bread--chapatis: http://t.co/53Xw4SHZ

Perfect oven-baked brown rice from Alton Brown: http://t.co/ztoa6Qpf I have used half lentils/half brown rice just fine.

With lentils and brown rice you can make veggie burgers by adding spices, breadcrumbs, egg, onion and garlic. You can also make "meatloaf." You can add liquid smoke for a bbq flavor.

Lentils can be used to make vegetarian sloppy joes. Substitute cooked lentils for hamburger, add with veggies: http://t.co/WaZ6Wu3N

Spice buying tip for urban areas: Buy spices at Indian grocer, some also used in American & other cuisines. Share with friends. In fact, you could buy some, they could buy some, then split spices among the group.

Alternate spice buying tip: in most grocery stores there is a Mexican spice section where you find spices in cellophane bags and they are always cheaper than those in glass jars. You also will find dried peppers and even dried chamomile for tea.

Once you've bought bulk Indian spices why buy curry powder when you can blend it? http://t.co/KsIBh964

Other homemade spice blends: http://wellnessmama.com/4430/homemade-spice-blends/

Bean recipes: http://t.co/GQvXeV8n and http://t.co/UzXfSvTN

Kitri (has rice, dal, veggies): http://t.co/KJoDb5vW
If by chance you have one burner/one pot make it count, cook lentils/rice/veggies in that one pot.

Tip: use whole grains as much as possible because when you have so few food $$ you have to maximize nutrition.

Even Whole Foods, snarkily referred to as "Whole Paycheck" has bulk food bins with whole grains and beans plus a section for herbs and spices. They don't have as many as my local health food store, though. I reference Whole Foods because in many areas they are the only health food store, having driven out local ones.

Here are some bulk food items you may find: polenta, cornmeal, all kinds of flours, popcorn (snack!), lentils, split peas, urad dal, mung dal, basmati rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, arborio rice for risotto, dried herbs, spices, and bulk loose teas. Save used jars for storing some of your bulk purchases rather than juggle the plastic bags. Be sure to label them. Teas in bulk food bins include herbal and black, chai spice mixes. It is nearly always cheaper to buy without packaging.

Some bulk bins also have nuts, cereals, oats, pastas, soup mixes, tvp (fake soy meat granules), and snacks. TVP can be reconstituted in hot water and used in place of hamburger in recipes. I've used it in vegetarian chili and to make sloppy joes.

Turn to different ethnic cuisines to mix it up. The same ingredients can be totally different with varied spices.

One of my readers on twitter suggested the Dollar Store for good deals.

More recipes:

Red lentil soup: http://t.co/xT8nW1WF

Cauliflower with Ginger and Mustard Seeds: http://tapati.livejournal.com/751870.html

Split Pea Dal: http://tapati.livejournal.com/400177.html

Vegetarian Fajitas (could sub meat): http://tapati.livejournal.com/751870.html

One pot pasta and vegetables: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/05/italian-wonderpot/

North African Bean and Squash Soup: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016523-north-african-bean-and-squash-soup

Red Lentil and Bulgar Kufteh (Kofta): http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/health/nutrition/02recipehealth.html?_r=0


Home made paneer (can sub for ricotta cheese): http://tapati.livejournal.com/735359.html

Easy beginner bread recipe: http://t.co/Z9kmJNf9

Buttermilk Quick Bread 10 ways: http://t.co/mOUwaeY5

Other from-scratch recipes for omnivores by the author of Sex and Bacon: http://markedformetal.livejournal.com/187203.html

Should give a shoutout to Budget Bytes: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/

Lebanese lentils, rice, caramelized onions w/yogurt: http://t.co/BuR031qa

Mashed Potato Pancakes: http://t.co/iRRxTWK6

Cabbage rolls: http://t.co/TuhLnc6p

Eggplant w/tomato & parmesan: http://t.co/w5Hbn1gc

Butternut squash dish temp nearly 400 F: http://t.co/cz4s49mw

You could use canned or dry beans in this salad: http://t.co/IwPPbpnl

Lentil soup recipe: http://t.co/yPDdetfI

Pinto bean soup with or w/o pressure cooker: http://t.co/INVsSHv9

Cooking resources for beginners: http://tapati.livejournal.com/279767.html

vegetarian chili
 
 
 
Elletheletterelle on December 14th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
Okay, you totally inspired me to make Indian tonight. :)
Tapatitapati on December 14th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
Hope you enjoy it!
Christinekisekileia on December 16th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
It's interesting to see how completely dependent food stamp eating is on foods that I'm allergic to (legumes and nuts).
Tapatitapati on January 18th, 2013 04:24 pm (UTC)

There are plenty of other things you can make. Are you allergic to seeds? Millet and quinoa are possibilities. Not all of the recipes I've linked to have legumes or nuts.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on February 21st, 2013 03:20 am (UTC)
a lot of people are pushing quinoa lately. are you aware of how it's farmed?
Tapatitapati on June 12th, 2013 07:51 am (UTC)
I've read articles about quinoa farmers and changes coming to that region as a result of high demand, so yeah. Nevertheless for my health it is one of many foods I occasionally eat. Globalization creates problems everywhere and it's up to each region to decide how to cope with the new demand for their local products. They could limit production if they choose. My own home state hasn't been unaffected by increased demand for things like pork products, beef, etc. There are no easy answers. I just know it is a very good food for people with insulin resistance.

Sorry I didn't notice your comment earlier!
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on June 12th, 2013 10:44 am (UTC)
good points. :)

(and no worries)

i know how it is - there's stuff i absolutely can never have. total "eat it and die of shock" situations. unfortunately, most of that stuff are things that are 100% healthy and doctor recommended for most people.