The $2.25 Salad

Hey ya’ll! I’m pretty exhausted today. Seriously almost too tired to post, but then I was like I can’t leave my loyal followers out of the daily loop. I’m tired because I took my brother and his friend on a self-made food tour (I should totally do for money in real life), and we walked for hours upon hours around the lower part of Manhattan. After that I had around 4 hours of straight class, which can get pretty exhausting. However I am pushing through and showing ya’ll one of the recipes I made during my SNAP Challenge. With the SNAP Challenge, each meal is only supposed to be around $1.50, but this was 2.25$. I got two lunches out of it though, so I think it was pretty good. Plus some of my other meals were pretty cheap.

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Cranberry Almond Apple Salad

1/2 bag of Romaine Lettuce (.96 cents/serving)
1/10 of Granny Smith Apple (.07 cents/serving)1 chicken breast (1.07/serving)
a pinch of cranberries (.05 cents for a pinch, actual serving is 1/4 c so .15 cents if use that)
a pinch of almonds (.05 cents for a pinch, actual serving is 1/4 c, so .13 cents if use that)
light drizzle of mashed raspberries with water (.05 cents/serving)

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1. Take a single chicken breast and slice it up into tiny chunks.

2. Place in a medium sized pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook the chicken until it is cooked through.

3. Place Romaine lettuce in a bowl. Then add in the cooked chunks of chicken.

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4. Slice up a Granny Smith apple into 10 slices, only use one of the slices to chop it up into fine pieces to place over the salad (you can use the rest of the apple for whatever you please. I ended up eating mine for a snack a few hours later by just placing the slices in a plastic bag and placing them in the fridge).

5. Add a pinch of almonds and craisins to the top of the salad. I didn’t add that much because I wanted to save my nuts and craisins for snacks for the other days, which would provide me with energy from the healthy source of fat.

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6. Mash a few raspberries in a small plastic container. Add a little bit of water and olive oil until it becomes a runny dressing. Drizzle over the top of the lettuce and you are good to go.

I was actually pretty proud of myself for making this salad and having it under 7$. Salads are so expensive, and I don’t understand why. You can make them really cheap, so why are you charging more for a salad in comparison to a hamburger. Get with the program people! America is fat, so why don’t you charge more for the fattening stuff and less for the healthy food items. I know there is much more to this situation since I am a nutrition masters student, but still it just bothers me that people don’t have the access to healthy foods like they do with the fattening junk. I am going to reflect on my SNAP Challenge on my Thursday post about life as a nutrition student. Ya’ll will get to hear my struggles through this experience and my realizations about people who live on SNAP. Anyways back to the deliciousness that is this salad. I was so impressed with it that I am actually going to be adding it to my regular routine of meals. I like having a salad a few times a week because they are fun to just mix in random things with and create whatever you desire at the moment. Plus it is an easy way to get in a large amount of fruits and vegetables, so definitely go for creating your own salad to help get nutrients!

I know I promised this post last night, but I ended up getting distracted by working on my SNAP challenge paper. Plus my internet was pissing me off while I was trying to upload pictures of my salad. How rude! Anyways lucky for ya’ll, I’m giving two posts for one! So stay tuned for my WIAW post.

WIAW: The 20.10$ Shopping Cart

Hey ya’ll! It is that time of the week again: What I Ate Wednesday. I have something special for ya’ll today. Instead of the typical food porn pictures that make you drool and try to reach into the screen to steal my food, I am going to post about my SNAP Challenge. If you remember from a few days ago, I talked about how my class is participating in the SNAP Challenge to understand what it is like to be hungry and live on food stamps. We are allowed to spend up to 31.50$ for the SNAP Challenge for one person for one week. I have been meticulously planning my grocery excursion, so that I can get the most bang for my buck. Well I think I did pretty good.

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Guess how much all of this cost me? 20.15$. Thank you Trader Joes for offering the best and cheapest selection of food that is available. The best part is that I still have around 10$ left, so I need to get a few more items. There are somethings that aren’t pictured, but those are 1.99$ dozen of eggs and 1$ container of oatmeal. Those were definitely some good deals that I managed to find. I am really excited about this challenge because I think it took a lot of thinking on my part. The sad thing is that most people on food stamps lack the education to be able to make healthy choices for themselves and probably don’t have access to places like Trader Joes. I had to trek (a 20 minute subway ride) just so that I could get more affordable groceries. I feel like Trader Joes really needs to expand. I think it might do well if these kind of places were in more low income neighborhoods, so that it could not only offer cheaper food, but also provide jobs for those that are in need. Think about it!

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I think one of the things that rocks about using food stamps at Trader Joes (Yes, I researched this before I went and TJs takes food stamps, so this was really helpful in this challenge) is that I get to have my snacks. When we were offered only 31.50$, I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to have my snacks on school days because I can’t survive 5 hours of class without having food to nibble on to get me until it is dinner time. The yogurts were .99 cents each, the carrots were 1.99, the celery was .99, and the hummus was 1.99. The apples were .69/lb, which was awesome because sometimes it is so hard to find a good priced apple in the city. Now I’ll get all my snacks! Success.

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This is my dinner for the week. Usually a package of tofu gives me around three meals. I am going to be using the fried rice bag with the tofu to have tofu fried rice. I think that it might give me 3 to 4 dinners. The pasta is going to be made with olive oil and a few seasonings. I probably will be using my extra money to buy some vegetables to mix in with the salad. I forgot to grab some while I was at Trader Joes because I was so excited that everything was so cheap there. Unfortunately I will have to look around for cheap vegetables in my neighborhood, which is pretty hard to do. I think that could probably be my other 4 meals, but I went and got an eggplant too. I love having my eggplant pizza, so I got some tomatoes to make that. Luckily since I have so many dinners, they can carry over to lunch. Winning.

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This is my lunch options. I got a sweet potato to bake for one meal. Those tend to really fill me up, but I think I might buy a can of beans to stuff inside the sweet potato. Then I got some chicken that was on super sale, which was lucky for me because I thought I wasn’t going to be able to eat any animal meat during this week. When it comes to meat, you really have to look around and look for coupons and deals because otherwise it can get pretty expensive. To go with some of the chicken, I got a bag of Romaine lettuce. I need to have salads weekly, so this will definitely be a go to for my lunch options. Otherwise for lunch I will be having leftovers and buying a few cans of tuna since that is usually like .79 to .99 cents a can.

I don’t have my breakfast items pictured, but I will just be living off of oatmeal made with water and a banana (.19 cent bananas) and different types of eggs. Some days it will be scrambled and other days it will be fried. If I can afford it with my leftover money and the things I want to buy, I may end up trying to get some almond milk in order to make pudding. We shall see how that goes though. Stay tuned for what I will be making these next few days (granted my little brother is coming in town and I will be eating out some days, so this SNAP challenge will be a little sporadic). The one thing you can’t help is having a life. I wish this project wasn’t due before spring break because I feel like a lot of people have a really busy life and need more time to figure out when to implement this challenge.

Have an awesome day! Wish me luck!

Have you ever lived on a real small budget?
What is your go to cheap meal?