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.: Eating Organic on a Food Stamp Budget --> archive

Week 5 - Monday - Memorial Day

Memorial Day BurgerI try strawberry pancakes this morning, and they are quite good. I use the pancake mix again, adding about half my strawberries to it.

I slice the rest of them and put them on top. The pancakes are both moister and sweeter from the strawberries inside, and the fresh berries on top add a nice burst of flavor with every bite.

I've never added fruit to my pancakes before, opting usually for the classic butter-and-maple-syrup treatment. Next time I'll chop them smaller—about the size of a small blueberry. I think they'll cook more evenly that way, and of course the flavor will be better distributed. But I'll definitely add strawberries again.

Fresh fruit seems like such a treat to me that I'm usually reluctant to mess with it much at all, but perhaps one day I'll try making a strawberry compote of some type to put over the cakes.

As delicious as breakfast is, we both end up needing a snack in the middle of the afternoon, so we split 1/2 cup of peanuts. They aren't as good as when they're paired with chocolate cake but, all things considered, not bad.

Then dinner. We have been hoping for this dinner all month—budget allowing. I have $24 in my official budget for the next three days, plus an accumulation of $23.47 "in the bank" from previous weeks, so I feel I can splurge. We go to Whole Foods (the Rainbow doesn't sell animals) and buy 3/4 of a pound of hamburger. Strangely, they don't have either grass-fed or organic hamburger available, so we might as well have gone to the Safeway, which is closer. I have no idea whether the price on this meat is high or low compared to another chain. I do notice that the quart of organic milk we pick up is $.10 higher than it would have been at Rainbow Grocery.

I have been craving a baked potato, so even though we don't have sour cream (the version I've been craving) I put it in the oven an hour before we want to eat. The secret to a really good baked potato, and I mention this only because so few people seem to do them this way, is to oil the skins before you bake them. Use russet potatoes to get the right texture, wash and oil the skins, place in a dish or on a baking sheet, and cook for an hour at 350 or even 375 degrees. You won't go back.

Last week I found an article detailing 3 methods for grilling potatoes, and we decide on the wedge-shaped no-precooking method for tonight. As per reader suggestions, we also decide to grill that last zucchini.

The potatoes go on the grill first, as they require 3 rounds of 6-minute grilling. Two hamburgers go on next for Mark Bittman's suggested 6 minutes per side. The potatoes have been a bit charred by the first round of grilling, but I don't believe you should grill foods if you're not willing to eat a little black. We put the zucchini on with the burgers, but on a cooler part of the grill. Six minutes later, when it hasn't cooked very much, we move it to a hotter part of the grill.

We each assemble our burgers separately: ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, onion, and chopped carrot pickles for Jesse. Mayonnaise, carrot pickle matchsticks, and onion for me. I completely forget, until we sit down, that I had intended to make myself a deviled egg. I love them, and I haven't had one in such a long time. It's just as well. We have more than enough food.

Oh my this meal is good. The grilled potatoes are outstanding—since we salted them before grilling them, they don't require any seasoning at all. And the burgers—absolutely heavenly. We will be grilling more this summer.

[Update: Initially, I was going to use all my unspent funds from the monthly Thrifty Budget Allowance ($320.80) as my budget for this week. And I'm willing to dip into that budget surplus if necessary. But instead, I've decided to use just the remaining budgeted $24.80—that is, $320.80 - ($74 x 4 weeks)—as my presumed budget for the remaining 3 days of the month.]

Monday total: $7.09. Remaining weekly allowance: $17.71

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» How did it begin?
» Week 1: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $3.20
» Week 2: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $13.34
» Week 3: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $7.15
» Week 4: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $6.41
» Week 5: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Photos

other food challenges

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» The April 2007 Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge
» Half-Changed World
» Slow Food for Low and Moderate Income People
» Tinotopia's Food Stamp Diet

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Food is a Munition of War: living for one month on UK WWII rations

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