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I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

#SNAPChallenge - Week 4





By the time weeks 3 and 4 of the @Feeding America #SNAPChallenge rolled around, my motivation for meal planning had waned. I planned well for the first three weeks but had nothing up my sleeve for week 4, making it the hardest and most creative week of the challenge. I think the issues I faced this week are the issues that people who are stretching their food dollars face on a regular basis.

I’ve already shared my thoughts and revelations for the entire challenge, so let’s get down to the nitty gritty for the final week.

I worried last week what I would eat during the final days of the challenge. I knew I hadn’t planned well and knew I had to be creative and frugal. I’m not going to lie – seeing my refrigerator so bare scared me. I think because there was no abundance of food, I subconsciously wanted to eat all the time.  The meals this week were my last favorite of the entire challenge because I was tired of eating the leftovers again and again and I didn't enjoy the combination of foods that I was pairing together.



What I prepared:

I made two Overnight Oatmeals for the week and enjoyed one combination (frozen blueberries and honey) and not so much the other (minced fresh ginger, dried apricots and honey). I rounded out the rest of the week’s breakfasts with Egg Cupcakes from the freezer stash.

I scrounged up enough leftover ingredients from the previous weeks to make what I call “Potluck Pasta.” It was an effort to make something out of nothing and honestly, it was pretty damn good once it all came together. Ingredients from the previous weeks included: roasted asparagus, kalamata olives, shredded chicken, bell pepper (roasted), garlic, and steamed broccoli. I added sun-dried tomatoes, frozen peas and noodles from my staples and made a light sauce with juice from a lemon and sour cream that I bought last week.

Later in the week I turned part of the leftover cabbage into coleslaw and fried the leftover potatoes in butter and olive oil and served both alongside the leftover crockpot chicken.  Even though I enjoy each of these foods on their own, I didn't like them together at all.  But pickin's were slim and it was all I had at this point.

My food costs were pretty much spot on this week because it was mostly leftovers and "scraps" from previous weeks.

Potluck Pasta


What I ate:

Day 22

Tea sweetened with sugar $0.05
(from last week) Lemony chicken soup $0.73
2 chocolate bites $0.36
Potluck pasta $1.25
Frozen coconut bar $0.50

Total cost: $2.89

I was bored today and wanted to spend the day in the kitchen trying new recipes but that was not possible with my dwindling supplies/staples. I ended up reading magazines and going to bed early. I didn’t realize how much of my time is centered around food preparation/playing in the kitchen.




Day 23

Tea sweetened with sugar $0.05
Overnight oatmeal with ginger and apricots $0.81
Potluck pasta (lunch & dinner) $2.50
(from last week) salad with oil & vinegar $0.46
3 chocolate bites $0.54

Total cost: $4.36




Day 24

Tea sweetened with sugar $0.05
Overnight oatmeal with blueberries $0.93
Potluck pasta $1.25
2 chocolate bites $0.36
(from last week) Italian risotto $1.63
Salad greens from the garden with oil & vinegar $0.46

Total cost: $4.68

My chocolate stash is depleted now. The ones I made last week from the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook were supposed to last for a month (eating 1 per day) but they were so good I couldn’t help myself. It was the one indulgence I looked forward to every day so the rest of the week will be bleak.




Day 25:

Tea sweetened with sugar $0.05
(from last week) Egg cupcake with salsa $0.81
(from week 1) Chicken cacciatore soup $1.75
2 pieces veggie pizza $1.75

Total cost: $ 4.36

I needed to run to the grocery store to pick up a few items that were not for this challenge – I volunteered to make the Little Miss a giant chocolate chip cookie “cake” for her cheerleading homecoming game this weekend. I figured while I was there I would go ahead and shop for my next two weeks of groceries with the intentions of not consuming anything until after the challenge. I cheated. I picked up a frozen veggie pizza because I couldn’t fathom the idea of going home, putting up groceries, baking the cookie AND having to cook something for myself. I totally fell off the wagon. And honestly, I wasn’t looking forward for what I had planned for dinner anyway. I’m down to eating the leftovers and scraps of the previous weeks and nothing is appealing.




Day 26:

Tea sweetened with sugar $0.05
(from week 1) Egg cupcake with salsa $0.81
2 pieces of veggie pizza $1.75
1 apple (free)
(from week 2) Chicken $1.19
Coleslaw $0.25
Fried potatoes $0.10

Total cost: $4.15

One of our vendors sent in a box of apples today and not only did I eat one at my desk, I put two in my purse to take home. Even though the challenge rules said no free food, I wonder if anyone in the situation of stretching food dollars to the point of no return would pass up free food? I think not.




Day 27:

Tea sweetened with sugar $0.05
Apple (free) with goat cheese $0.50
(from week 2) Chicken $1.19
Coleslaw $0.25
Fried potatoes $0.10
Triscuits with cheese, apple (free) & olives $1.39

Total cost: $3.43

I could feel the first head cold of the season coming on this afternoon so I wasn't in the mood for dinner. Cheese and crackers was just enough to put something on my stomach before I sent myself into a Nyquil coma.




Day 28:

Tea sweetened with sugar $0.05
Triscuits with cheese, apple (free) & olives $1.39

Total cost: $1.44

Today was Little Miss's cheerleading homecoming/tailgate so it was free food day. Boy Toy and I loaded up on BBQ pork, baked beans and pasta salad. I also ate 2 chocolate dipped pretzels. I was feeling really crummy by the end of the games, so more Nyquil and early bedtime for me.

Thoughts and revelations:

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