Archive | Hunger Challenge

2011 Hunger Challenge Day 4: Come to Umami!

I’m taking the San Francisco Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge for the fourth year – trying to feed my husband (the Bottomless Pit) and myself for just $4.72 each per day. In past years, my Hunger Challenge meals have often been less than satisfying. A lot of that was due to cheap ingredients – bacon and cheese, for example – that just didn’t have the deep flavor of quality ingredients. This year, I decided to buy the kinds of ingredients I normally use – but on a much more limited scale. I’m relying on whole wheat pasta (organic, no less, at just $1.39/lb) to fill us up. And when I shopped, I looked for ingredients that packed a lot of umami. Tonight’s dinner was a real umami bomb, as Jean-Georges Vongerichten would say. (I’m smiling, imagining what Jean-Georges would think of a $4.72 food budget!)

This Paltrow pasta is a real umami bomb!

Speaking of star power, the recipe I made was Gwyneth Paltrow’s Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Oreganata Pasta, from Bon Appetit. I wish that woman would pick a career and stick to it – but I have to say, her pasta is pretty darn good. It calls for both roasted cherry tomatoes and a toasted topping made with bread crumbs, herbs and anchovies. I used only dried herbs, lost the fresh parsley and put in just one tin of anchovies. And I only used 8 oz. of whole wheat spaghetti, as opposed to the 12 oz. in the recipe, to make 2 servings (as opposed to Gwyneth’s 4). It’s a fairly quick dish, aside from the fact that the tomatoes have to roast for at least 3 hours. Easy for me, since I work from home – but less easy for someone working a couple of jobs. So, this year, I feel like I’ve had dinners that were pretty satisfying – something to look forward to throughout the day. But they were really repetitive, with lots of tomatoes and pasta, but very little meat. Am I turning into an Italian peasant? GET INVOLVED! ♥ Take the Hunger Challenge yourself. Sign up here. ♥ Read blogs by people taking the Hunger Challenge. There’s a blogroll here. ♥ Follow the Hunger Challengers on Twitter. There’s a listing here, or search for the hashtag #HungerChallenge. ♥ Learn more about the San Francisco Food Bank – and make a donation. For every $1 donated the food bank can supply hungry people with $6 worth of food! ♥ Follow the San Francisco Food Bank on Twitter or visit their Facebook page to see how they’re fighting hunger every day.

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2011 Hunger Challenge Day 3: Irrational Rations

I’m taking the San Francisco Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge for the fourth year – trying to feed my husband (the Bottomless Pit) and myself for just $4.72 each per day. I am perpetually befuddled by the psychology of poverty. Just today, there was a photo in USAToday of a woman who’s been laid-off since February, whose family uses food stamps to help get by. She was standing, smoking a cigarette in front of her flat-screen TV. Of course, my first reaction was, “Maybe she should have saved her money for a crisis instead of buying that TV. And why is she smoking? Cigarettes are expensive!” But I know that the emotional toll of poverty doesn’t follow a logical path. Maybe being able to smoke a cigarette is the one little comforting bit of normalcy that’s helping that 56-year old woman keep it together while she searches for another factory job. I’ve talked with a family living in poverty here in San Francisco that used a small windfall to buy a big, flat-screen TV. It made no sense to me, since they were struggling to put food on the table. But then the woman said something very revealing: “We bought this because we don’t want our children to feel inferior to other kids.” That sense of being deprived messes with people’s minds. It causes them to often do things that seem irrational. And just think how that gets magnified when you don’t want your children to feel deprived. That’s why, in many cases, parents skip meals so their kids can eat. That irrational deprived feeling hit me today. I had a couple of pieces of celery at lunchtime, and planned on sticking it out until I had an early dinner before going to my 7 pm yoga class. Uh-uh. At 2:30, I was really hungry – starved for protein, I suppose, since I’d just had oatmeal and half a banana for breakfast. So without really thinking about whether our precious egg stash would make it through the week, I just went to the fridge, grabbed two eggs, some leftover whole-wheat spaghetti and a few roasted cherry tomatoes.

 

An impromptu – and probably foolish – scramble of eggs, whole-wheat pasta and roasted cherry tomatoes. Will we have enough food by the end of the week?

They looked beautiful in the skillet! So what if we’re out of luck when Friday rolls around! I scrambled everything together until it resembled spaghetti with a weird skin condition – but it tasted great and really filled me up. The tomatoes, roasted for 4 hours yesterday in a 200-degree oven, were like little flavor bombs. By 6:30, though, I was hungry again. Too bad I don’t smoke cigarettes! GET INVOLVED! ♥ Take the Hunger Challenge yourself. Sign up here. ♥ Read blogs by people taking the Hunger Challenge. There’s a blogroll here. ♥ Follow the Hunger Challengers on Twitter. There’s a listing here, or search for the hashtag #HungerChallenge. ♥ Learn more about the San Francisco Food Bank – and make a donation. For every $1 donated the food bank can supply hungry people with $6 worth of food! ♥ Follow the San Francisco Food Bank on Twitter or visit their Facebook page to see how they’re fighting hunger every day.

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2011 Hunger Challenge Day 2: Is It Over Yet?

I’m taking the San Francisco Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge for the fourth year – trying to feed my husband (the Bottomless Pit) and myself for just $4.72 each per day. Let the leftovers begin! Well, breakfast wasn’t really leftovers, just more of the same, with eggs, toast and an almond milk “latte.” Lunch, some leftover vegetarian pasta from last week that I “sold” to myself for $1, rather than letting it go to waste. I made a deal with the Bottomless Pit that he could be off the Challenge for lunches during the week, and I’ve subtracted $8 from our available total, since I think that’s about what I would have allocated to his lunch (for Monday through Friday).

 

Nope. No way does this make up for toasted almonds or potato chips!

Nope. No way does this make up for toasted almonds or potato chips!

I munched a couple of celery stalks, in hopes that it would replace the roasted almonds I like to nosh on between meals. Nice try, but my stomach was growling again in no time. But by 5:30, I was really hungry, and the BP wasn’t going to be home until at least 7:00, I feared. It was time to dip into the strawberry stash – which was designated as dessert tonight. So much for willpower. As that old saying goes, “Life is short – eat dessert first!” Dinner was leftover pasta sauce with whole wheat spaghetti, perked up with some slow-roasted cherry tomatoes. Salad? Nope. Bread? Nope. Just pasta. GET INVOLVED! ? Take the Hunger Challenge yourself. Sign up here. ? Read blogs by people taking the Hunger Challenge. There’s a blogroll here. ? Follow the Hunger Challengers on Twitter. There’s a listing here, or search for the hashtag #HungerChallenge. ? Learn more about the San Francisco Food Bank – and make a donation. For every $1 donated the food bank can supply hungry people with $6 worth of food! ? Follow the San Francisco Food Bank on Twitter or visit their Facebook page to see how they’re fighting hunger every day.

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