So my family agreed last week was hard. I feel like the challenge (my goal of trying to keep my family full and satisified with healthy food on such a limited budget) was all consuming. Everything else seemed like a blur, and other than our daily lives of school, homework and blogging, not much was accomplished. I simply didn’t have the time or energy. We also missed our social life and the ability to have people over and feel like we could host and provide for them.
My car broke down the day after the challenge ended. If this had happened during the hunger challenge I would not have been able to handle it so well (car was towed and kids and I walked 1.2 miles in 85 degree heat). Because we were able to get a icy, fruit smoothie and emergency snacks out of the trunk (yes, I keep nuts and graham crackers usually for when hunger strikes) for our walk home – it became another adventure – rather than a hardship. If we had been hungry and thirsty and not able to refresh our bodies with fuel, we wouldn’t have had the energy or spirit to walk home.
So there is much to be thankful for and we’re glad the unhappy faces are down from the cupboards and we’ve been grocery shopping again. My kids even have ideas for next year (they said it). Unfortuantely hunger will still exist next year (although we can hope the numbers of people effected go down) and thus another challenge.
I’m happy to annouce the KGO Fight Hunger Day last week is still totaling and pulling in donations for the Bay Area food banks, and is now over $185,000. Well done. I think the more people are able to spread the word, the more we can all help each other. Thanks for reading, caring and sharing. And thanks to my family for supporting the challenge 100%.
Our last day started the same as the first – with french toast. My kids and husband had french toast with yogurt and fruit on top. My son asked “Where’s the powdered sugar?” Then he quickly remembered. Yes, in the cupboard but behind an unhappy “not to eat” face. I had the last of the oatmeal with a sprinkle of granola and half a banana. So glad I bought those last evening. I mistakenly put the last of the grapes on the table near my daughter and they were quickly eaten without sharing. She likes her fruit.
My kids both had soccer games, so that also meant snacks provided afterwards. My daughter enjoyed fruit kebobs while my son had strawberries and pirate booty (not my favorite – oh well).
For lunch my son had flatbread with sunflower butter (we’re almost out). My daughter had a hummus wrap. My husband had the last of the turkey, hummus and a spoonful of avocado (left from dinner). I ate last night’s taco left-overs – a few beans, some tofu and ground beef. We rationed the last of the carrots – trying to save some for dinner. We finished the bag of pretzels. It kind of seemed bottomless during the week. We were so hungry, I missed photos of lunch, except for mine (above). Doesn’t look super appealing does it? Ellery’s best friend came over and I felt bad not being able to offer more than carrots, pretzels, and water (although that’s what she usually eats at my house).
My daughter went to a friend’s birthday party. Besides fun and friends, she got a cupcake. Seemed like such a luxury I’m sure. Friends of mine asked (who knew we were doing the challenge) if my kids would be allowed “outside” food. I said yes. I’m mean, but not cruel. But I didn’t accept any food. Thus when the party was done and we were home about 4pm, I was famished, with a headache. I poured my last 1/2 glass of iced tea and finished off the last of the yogurt (so glad 32 ounces lasted through the week), topped with a bit of granola. I felt much better almost immediately.
Dinner wasn’t so hard – mostly because there wasn’t much to choose from. There were eggs and bread, one sweet potato, some spinach, some leftover rice and a few carrots. I don’t usually make individual meals, but I let each person decide how they wanted their eggs. I made egg salad (I still had 2 hard boiled eggs from the week, and I made 2 more) for my daughter and husband. Then my son and I chose poached/fried. Acutally my son came up with egg in a basket. Good thinking. I decided to eat the remainder of the stir fry rice, topped with some sauteed spinach and egg on top. We also had sweet potato chips.
We always say our “thankfuls” at dinner each night. Tonight’s involved soccer, birthday parties and completing the hunger challenge. I’m thankful for my family participating again this year and putting up with me this week (tired, hungry, preoccupied). We’re all thankful we don’t have to live on a food stamp budget as a way of life. I’m thankful my kids aren’t teenagers. I can’t even imagine how you feed a 16 year old boy with these limitations. (And what about a pet? We only have hermit crabs who eat a little spinach or fruit now and then).
I’ll be happy to going back to the convenience and freedom of eating when, what and where we want. Healthfully, of course. I also won’t be so (overly) preoccupied with food and photos. And we’ll be more social. I don’t like not being able to freely share food and host meals for friends and family. Hunger effects everything – your mind, body, spirit, and your way of life.
So I ate my left-over oatmeal as promised, mid-morning. Then enjoyed my left-over stir fry from dinner. Not lots of veggies, but there was some chicken left and the rice filled me up. I finished my daughter’s apple from this morning on my drive to San Francisco.
I made it to the San Francisco Food Bank where KGO was broadcasting live for the KGO Fights Hunger Day. This was a great sight. The Food Bank was in full swing. Volunteers working outside and in to receive and stack food. It’s amazing at how large the space is and how much food you see, and realize it’s still not enough to meet the community’s needs. I sat down and chatted on the air with Gil Gross about my family’s experience with the hunger challenge. In the brief time I was there (about 1/2 hour) someone came in to the front office and dropped off a check donation for $500. During the interview an AT&T repairman came in to give $40 to Gil since he was working down the street and heard the KGO broadcast. It was really special to be a part of. And today KGO raised over $118,000 for Bay Area Food Banks. That’s what the challenge is all about – raising awareness and funds.
I was really hungry by the time I was driving home. I stopped and bought 4 bananas at $.19 each. I saw this morning that after doing totals, I could spend $.80. I thought that the bananas would be good for breakfast – since we’re just about out of fruit. I came home and had a snack of pretzels and sunflower butter. My daughter and husband were home. Both my kid’s had playdates while I was in SF. They of course reported what they ate. My daughter had fruit and a grilled cheese sandwich and my son had a snack of homemade pumpkin bread. Am I the only hungry one around here?
For dinner we had our taco/burrito night. It was later than I wanted to eat after picking up my son from Tae Kwon Do. A few times this week I’ve been so preoccupied with hunger I’ve had trouble thinking straight. I was crabby when making dinner. Everyone started without me. I gave them a pass on manners as I took a few photos before I sat down. It was tasty and filling and everyone enjoyed. I browned the ground beef. I also drained and sliced some tofu and browned that a bit as well. There was some remaining tomato and shredded cheese to use. I made guacamole with the avocado. And heated the black beans and corn-wheat tortillas. I also roasted the rest of the broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt. No one complained – although a bit of salsa and fresh cilantro would’ve been great. It’s a fun meal because the kids can make it themselves and build it to their liking. Tofu, guacamole and cheese for my daughter and meat, cheese and beans for my son. All of it for my husband and I. Self choices and participation is always key to get kids to eat healthy foods.
So tomorrow’s our last day and I’m thinking we’re going to make it.
I’m sure as you can tell, I usually write at night. So much during the day with kids school and activities and just now getting back to meetings, writing and excercise for me after a summer of mostly fun. I think being busy (yoga, paddleboarding, etc) also kept my mind off eating. Rather than sitting at a desk, like I am now. However I am having a nice cup of tea. I bought the tea and didn’t like it as cold, but I do like hot, so it’s a comfort and a treat on this cold and foggy morning after taking the kids to school. I also didn’t eat all my oatmeal from earlier. I saved it and will reheat it when I get hungry.
Here was the usual morning… My husband went to work very early, so I didn’t see his breakfast. I’m assuming he missed or had a bowl of cereal, by the amount of milk left. My son had toast, yogurt, and granola. He wanted the whole banana but he settled for half, since it was the last one. My daughter and I shared the other half on our oatmeal. Yes, again. My daughter also had her yogurt grapes and granola.
I packed my son’s usual lunch. He is a creature of habit, so this hasn’t been tough for lunch – but he usually has more choices. My daughter is going to a friend’s house after school and will have lunch there, while I go to the radio interview at the Food Bank. She’ll probably be happy to see some new lunch options. We’re out of the banana bread for snack so I packed crackers and cheese for my son. My daughter got the last few crackers with sunflower butter and 1/2 an apple (the rest we’ll save for snack later). By the way if you slice an apple and don’t want it to turn bown let is soak a few minutes in water with a squeeze of lemon juice or a pinch of salt.
We’re noticing the lack of ingredients. We finished the crackers today. The’re only about 1/4 cup of the cow’s milk left. The fruit bowl is empty (we still have grapes in the fridge). The cheese is about 1/2 thick by 4 inches. Hopefully some for tacos tonight. Let’s see how it’s adding up. Here’s what I bought. Each item is gone, unless I say otherwise…
First Shop – Trader Joe’s
almond milk 1.99 – for my daughter, she doesn’t drink cow’s milk. I use in my oatmeal. About 1 cup left
cow’s milk 3.29- for my son (and husband for cereal). We usually buy a full gallon, but get a half. about 1/4 cup left
organic yogurt 2.99- large. Mix with fruit spread, fruit or brown sugar to sweeten. Also for egg salad and tuna. About 1 1/2 cups left.
organic eggs 3.99 – 2 boiled left and 5 raw
wheat pizza dough 1.29 – pizza
organic hummus 2.29 – wraps. About 3 tablespoons left.
organic ground beef 6.49 – for tacos
2 red peppers 2.99 – roasted veggies and pasta dish.
organic baby carrots 1.49 – Trader Joe’s regular carrots aren’t organic. Ate one bag and bought another for lunches and snacks.
organic grapes – 3.99 duet of green and red. For lunches and snacks. About 20 grapes left.
broccoli 1.69 – stir fry. About 1/2 head left.
orange juice 2.99 , half gallon – I usually buy organic, but too $. About 1/4 left
bananas 3 – .19 each
organic black beans 1.19 – for taco night
organic frozen edaname 2.29
wheat pretzels 1.69, About 1/4 bag left.
sharp cheddar cheese 2.87 – for pizza, and lunches. Small piece left.
Shop in My Pantry and Freezer (things I already had and didn’t want to rebuy)
orechette pasta .99 – first night’s pasta, lentil and veggie dinner and some left-overs
rice 2.99 – I should’ve checked I didn’t even have a whole bag. Have left-over cooked from stir fry.
canned organic tomatoes 1.99 – I usually buy Pomi
tea – 2.29 – this is just one of many we have. I chose because least expensive, but I only like it hot, not cold. Half box left.
tuna 1.49 – for sandwiches
hemp granola – 2.99 – for yogurt and granola
sandwich bread – 2.99 – for lunches
canned minestrone soup 2.99 – my kids love this. Good when I don;t have time to make my own.
fruit spread – 1.79 – for sandwiches with sunflower butter and toast. Lots left
sunflower butter – 3.79 – Chose this instead of peanut butter since our school is nut free. Half left.
sliced turkey 4.79 – my son’s wrap choice this week
half loaf of banana bread – my kids and I made banana bread a few days before the challenge (to use some overipe bananas) and I froze it. I used half the loaf for my kids’ snack at school the first few days of the week (sorry forgot to show). It probably cost me about $2 in ingredients.
Shopping at Farmer’s Market – all organic
apples (5) – 3.45 – lunches and snacks
kale – 2 – chips and stir fry
heirloom tomatoes (4)- 2.80 – wraps and salad
sweet potatoes (2) – 2.10 – chips – 1 left
zucchini (2) – 1 roasted veggies and pasta dish
spinach – 1.45 in wraps and salad
olive baguette – 2. First night’s pasta, lentil veggie dinner
Subsequent shopping yesterday and day before …
bananas – (3) 1.16
Tejava tea – 1.29 – couldn’t handle life without an iced tea and bought a bummer one.
flatbread/Lavosh bread – 2.29 for wraps. 5 left
whole wheat sandwich bread 2.49 – almost whole loaf left
corn tortillas – 1.99 – for tacos
organic chicken breast 3.94 – for stir fry
organic tofu – twin pack – 1.99 – for stir fry and tacos.
avocados – 1.79 for tacos
So we have almost no fruit and veggies left. What food we have is mostly allocated for tonight’s dinner. Tomorrow we’ll have stuff for sandwiches for lunch. Dinner may be rough. We have lots of bread – so we can always have toast and sunflower butter.
I feel bored writing about our mornings, there’s so much of the same. Oatmeal with almond milk and half a banana for me. My daughter shared some oatmeal and a few slices of apple and grapes. She put up a little fuss at breakfast. My son got up earlier and ate the last piece of toast (along with yogurt, aple and a bowl of cereal). I imagine this would be a regular problem in a large family, but it doesn’t happen much with only two kids. Even the bread heel wasn’t an option as I used it for my tuna melt the other night, knowing no one else would want it. We usually put the ends in the freezer to have on hand when we feed ducks at the park.
While I was making my son’s lunch – he just keeps requesting the same turkey wrap, carrots, pretzels and grapes – I decided to make a few hard boiled eggs. My daughter loves making egg salad face sandwiches and I thought she’d like that for lunch with me. I even went to the store and used up close to the last of my money (bread, carrots, flatbread, avocado, tofu, chicken, tortillas). But no, she didn’t want that. I enjoyed my sandwich – with no face. She said “Why didn’t you make a face?” I said “Because if you don’t have one there’e no one for my face to talk with.” She had sunflowerbutter and fruit spread wrap, carrots and grapes. There was one addition. Cucumber slices. The garden mom gave it to us at school pick up. Score!
The afterschool snack was not exciting as we had 15 minutes to unpack bags, eat something, fill water bottles and change for soccer practice (both kids). They had a Clif Z bar, as did their coach dad. They hadn’t had one in a while and I keep them on hand for hiking or an emergency snack at a sports game/practice. So this seemed like a treat. My son remembered he didn’t eat his pretzels at lunch, so he packed them up for after soccer. He’s now being resourceful and planning against hunger.
So I was glad I was able to buy more things today. It wasn’t much, but staples we ran out of and a few things to get us through dinners. I went to Trader Joes’ again, eventhough I usually buy meat, fish, chicken at Whole Foods. It’s too too expensive for the challenge for these items. I did still buy organic. I also was happy to see the product demo for a taste of blueberry pancake with syrup. I could’ve eaten 10 more samples, but I stopped at one.
Tonight was a stir fry. A stir fry is great because you can add anything. It’s also a good way to use all your veggies. It seemed a treat to have two proteins – tofu (1/2 package) and chicken (2 small breasts, less than 3/4 lb total). (My diet is lacking protein this week) It also didn’t contain any left-overs or make-overs from previous meals. My daughter not eating meat of course. My son wanting chicken and my husband and I having both. I had “bought” rice from my pantry, which wasn’t great planning. There was only a little left of brown and the same of jasmine. So I made a mix to get 1 cup and cooked it together. This is one drawback to having too many choices – partial bags, but maybe not enough. This meal was easy…First I heated some oil in the wok. I rinsed and pushed out the water from the tofu and cut into chunks, then added it to the wok. I removed the tofu and stir fried the chicken pieces. I removed the chicken then for veggies I woked up some broccoli, carrots, and kale in some vegetable broth. Everyone could add the veggies to the rice with their tofu and/or chicken. I had bought a premade thai curry sauce for flavor, that we buy anyway. It’s great for quick mid week stir fry, without having to measure and use lots of ingredients (which I don’t have access to this week).
I also boiled some frozen organic edaname. Half of which my daughter ate before dinner. It’s hard this week to offer enough veggies for them to snack on before dinner, and be able to use them for the main meal. It was good and we were full. I even packed up the left-overs – a single serving, just barely big enough for my lunch tomorrow. Something to look forward to…
It’s day 5 and while some things are getting easier others are not. I think as a family this has been a stressful week. It is my kids’ first full week of school. Not as hard on my son as it is my daughter who started kindergarten. Participating in the hunger challenge for the kids was a fun game at first. Then there were all the questions and the sighs/groans about not having access to something they’re used to eating. Now they just ask, “Is this still the hunger challenge?” I’d like to think it’s because they don’t think they’re missing anything (dinner looks like what we eat for the most part) , but maybe they’re just resolved to getting through it. It’s taking a toll. Not just my being hungry and likley more irritable at times, but all the effort of pouring over food lists, talking about the challenge, working on blogs, taking photos of every morsel we eat. But it is worth it because people are talking about the issue and raising money and awareness, and that’s important.
I’m very excited to be part of KGO Fight’s Hunger Day tomorrow. I’ll be talking about the challenge and my family’s experiences on the Gil Gross Show between 2 – 4pm live from the SF Food Bank. The station will be broadcasting from food banks all over the bay area and taking donations. Click here for more info and the day’s line-up.
So my family explained to Katie, the sitter about the hunger challenge. She saw all the unhappy faces in the fridge and cupboard. I was glad I made the vegetable parmesean as sometimes she’s eats a gluten free diet. So I didn’t want our restrictions to impact her diet and health.
My husband and I ate the pizza and veggies. I must say they were both really good. A nice salad would’ve gone well too, but we need to preserve. We’re only half way there. So we headed to back to school night and saw all the kids artwork, and listened to the teacher presentations. It actually ran late so we only had about an hour to ourselves. We headed to a beer pub, Mill Valley Beerworks. Was this cheating? I suppose. But my husband had a gift certificate, so that’s why we chose it and technically we didn’t spend any money. We each had a drink. But I couldn’t help ordering a mini pork slider for myself. (I actually would’ve liked about a dozen). I cannot tell a lie. I was really hungry from eating early and not much, since I wanted to be sure there was enough for the kids and sitter. Yes, I cheated. Again I didn’t pay, but it was $4 and thus almost my entire day’s allowance. Technically I could subtract the $4 from my left over money, which brings me to $21 for the next few days. This is where I’m getting stressed (we need bread, cereal, fruit) and would go to the Food Bank to see what they had for me to suplement and make it through to the next food stamp allotment.
The kids and sitter ate later. When we got home it was all gone. Good thing I wasn’t banking on eating that. Kids were in bed. However I learned this morning the kids had dessert. I wondered what they had, thinking the sitter wouldn’t have gone behind the unhappy faces. They had mango sorbet which was in the freezer. They knew that wasn’t part of the challenge, but there’s no unhappy faces because the tape doesn’t stick in the freezer (and there’s not much that is part of the challenge). Oh well. I couldn’t get mad. Everyone cheated a bit. This has been hard for them and they’re getting a bit agggravated by me and the challenge. Actually everyone is a bit on edge. I think it comes from lack of choice and freedom.
So my morning was good. Started my day with oatmeal and apple. My husband is back so he did breakfast for the kids (which is what happens most mornings) – cereal and fruit and OJ. He didn’t take photos. I’m sure they were glad for the break. My kids keep saying “more pictures?!” as I make them wait another minute to eat.
I packed my son’s lunch. Pretty standard. I never mentioned their drink for lunch – it’s water. Always has been. I do have this great new water dispenser on the counter in the kitchen. I ad citrus and/or mint for flavor. The kids can reach and then help themselves all day long.
By lunch I was very hungry. After taking the kids to school, I went paddle boarding with friends. We went to Starbuck’s first so they could get coffee. Nothing for me. I feel didn’t like I was missing out. I’m not a morning coffee gal, and was full from the oatmeal.
My daughter and I came home and had left-overs from dinner. I ate the rest of the minestrone from dinner with a veggie wrap and she had some some noodles from the night before, along with some veggies and crackers with sunflower butter.
Later was snack. Celery and crackers with sunflower butter and a bowl of frozen pineapple. I’m a bit bored with some items. But no one compalined. We usually have lots of choose from – nuts, dried fruit, nut butters (almond, peanut, soy), crackers, tortilla chips, graham crackers etc.
Here’s the dilemma. It’s my kids’ open house at school. Only parents invited. We were able to get a babysitter last minute, so my husband and I can both go. We have the sitter for 3 – 4 hours – kind of a minimum. So what do we do after? Normally we would go to dinner – but I don’t have much money left and should keep it for the rest of the week. My husband suggested a movie, but the times aren’t working out well. Funny it’s ok to spend money on entertainment – although if you don’t have it for food, there’s not much of that either. Perhaps out for coffee/tea? Drinks would be more. I have about $25 left….
For dinner we’re making pizza and a roasted veggie parmasean dish. I bought premade dough from Trader Joe’s for $1. I make my own dough 50% of the time – being that sometimes I just don’t have time to wait for dough to rise. The pizza sauce was the reserved sauce from pureed tomatoes and the sauce for the veggie dish was left-over fondue. Interesting right? Well we’ll see. We need to have some for the our friend babysitting too. I didn’t tell her about the challenge. She may already know as she is a caterer, baker extrodinaire and restaurant consultant. We’ll see her reaction. Hopefully she won’t be hungry here. I’m so used to being a host with plenty to offer.
Today was rough. It wasn’t about not enough food, it was about not being near my food when I needed it.
First I woke up with swollen eyes. I’m guessing because of the sodium in the canned tomatoes from the fondue from last night’s dinner.
For breakfast I had my usual oatmeal and half a banana. Although we were running late for school, so I didn;t get to finish it. My daughter had her yogurt, with granola and fruit. My son had a 42 second egg and cinnamon toast. What’s a 42 second egg? I crack an egg into a ramekin and mix in a splash of milk, then cover with a piece of wax paper (important so it doesn’t explode all over). This timing works for my microwave. But you may have to adjust for yours. It’s a great, quick way to make an egg.
I made the school lunches. Typical veggie, fruit, crunchy snack (here crackers) and roll up. His is turkey and hers is hummus (remember she doesn’t eat meat). It looks like an orange color theme today.
My planning problem was mid day. I dropped the kids, went for a run, got ready and went to a meeting. I figured it would only last about an hour, so I’d grab lunch before getting the kids when I got home. Well the meeting was with a wonderful group of people and we were talking and went over 2 hours. During the meeting we sat down for their coffee break and they invited me to join them for birthday cake. I turned down the cake and explained about the challenge. At this point I was very hungry (red velvet cake smelled great), but hadn’t had lunch and even if it wasn’t the challenge the cake on an empty stomache would’ve felt bad. Turned out I felt bad anyways – since I hadn’t eaten since 7 am. If it weren’t for the challenge I would just stop someplace near the school (La Boulange or Whole Foods) and get a salad or sandwich and eat it leisurely. Instead I remembered I had a Cliff Z-bar (emergency for the kids) in my purse which I ate on the way to my house because I had a horrible headache. I think from lack of food and lack of iced tea. (I unfortunately bought unfamiliar, inexpensive tea bags and brewed it myself thinking I was prepared with hot and cold options. But, yuck. Too much spice and cinnamon. I miss my Mighty Leaf and Tejava). When I got home I had 5 minutes to use the bathroom and make a wrap (turkey, cheese, hummus, tomato) and ate it in the car on the way to pick up the kids from school. That wasn’t until 2:20 pm.
The kids were happy with their smoothie popsicles for their after school snack.
Dinner was still just the kids and I. My husband is back tonight. We got home late from Tae Kwon Do, so I put out some of the left-over cut veggies from the fondue to ease everyone’s hunger, while I made dinner between kids’ showers and homework. They chose minestrone soup (Trader Joe’s from a can), tuna melts and spinach salad. This was good and quick. However halfway through dinner I got a horrible heartburn pain. I actually had to take an antacid and lay down for a few minutes. I’m guessing (and who knows?) maybe I was so hungry and ate too fast that I gave myself the gas and then heartburn.
So if I’m planning to be out and about I need to pack something for myself to eat (an apple, half a sandwich), so I’m not stuck having to come all the way home to make food. I would usally have some raw nuts with me, but didn’t think I should splurge at $9 a pound for this week’s shopping.
Today was easier than yesterday. I knew it would be. The kids have more of a routine, are at school and not asking about the unsmiley faces. There’s been lots of talk and then stress at my house about what’s going to happen during the week in regards to food. I imagine in a house where food is lacking this would always be on a child’s (and parent’s) mind too. Wondering if you’ll be provided with enough to fill you up (physically and emotionally).
My husband ended up on a plane today for 24 hours, so we didn’t need to worry about him. No, it was work related. At least I don’t think he wasn’t trying to get out of the challenge.
Breakfast was the usual for me – oatmeal with a sprinkle of granola and a half of banana. The kids had yogurt with berries and granola and orange juice.
I made my son’s lunch for school. I had to remind him that we were not only on the challenge but it was Meatless Monday so no turkey sandwich. He settled for sunflower butter and fruit spread plus carrots, pretzels and grapes. My daughter and I had lunch at home after I picked her up from kindergarten. Her wrap was avocado, cheese, and spinach. Mine was the left-over roasted veggies from dinner with hummus, avocado and spinach.
Later was snack time between school and Tae Kwon Do. My daughter suggested smoothies which was perfect. I plopped in about a cup of frozen pineapple, a banana, about a cup of orange juice and about 3/4 cup yogurt. We all had some and put some in popsicle molds to freeze and eat tomorrow.
Dinner was very exciting. My kids love fondue. And this is a fun and easy recipe for pizza fondue (see recipe on previous blog here), which works great for Meatless Monday too. What’s not to like – tomaoes, cheese and spices? Plus they love to break out my fun orange fondue pot I found on Etsy. (We serve in it only. I don;t risk burners on the table with kids). Although my son questioned why I was opening a can of tomatoes saying “Aren’t canned food bad?” We usually use Pomi in a carton, but I explained about the price difference and they were still organic.
While my son was at Tae Kwon Do my daughter and I made a trip to Whole Foods for a baguette, some celery, a box of crackers, brown sugar (not my usual, but cheaper version) and a few plums ($8.46). There were a few discussions when my daughter said “Mommy can we get this?” or “Mom we’re out of this.” I had to remind her about the challenge, which she mistakenly (or freudian) calls “the hungry challenge”. She’s only 5, but she’s starting to catch on…if we buy the olive bread for $4 instead of the french for $2, then we can’t buy the crackers.
Since my husband is gone I removed a few big scoops of the tomato puree to reserve for pizza sauce later in the week, and then saved on cheese too. I also transformed the lentils from left-over Sunday night to a lentil salad (now cold with rosemary salt, vinegar and oil). I made japanese sweet potato chips for dipping. We also dipped the baguette, red pepper, broccoli, and celery. My son doubted that a family on food stamps could make this since it was so good. I said yes they could, as long as they had the time and energy and liked to cook (no orange fondue pot necessary).