Sep 22, 2009

hunger challenge: day 2

Day 2 of the hunger challenge was not quite as intense as Day 1. Partly because I knew what to expect, and partly because once again I cheated. Not terribly, but I did grab a few almonds and some yogurt this afternoon. I had a pre-planned 3-4 mile run this evening and running while super hungry did not sound like a good idea. So tomorrow I will try again to stick to this very strict, very difficult budget. Just in case anyone was wondering, $4 dollars a day per person is not very much at all! And for anyone doing any kind of even moderate exercise it is simply not enough.

Last night, after realizing I needed to make dinner sans water, I decided to saute up veggies for a veggie burrito. Without any water I didn't feel it was very sanitary to be cooking with meat and not be able to wash my hands, so I substituted in beans as my protein. The veggie burrito turned out pretty good, and with a minimal amount of cheese and no extra spices besides salt and pepper it almost felt like we were camping. Here's the cost breakdown and recipe:

Veggie Burritos
(this served 2, with leftovers)

2 whole wheat tortillas (0.38)
1/4 pound Cheddar cheese, sliced (0.82)

2 tablespoons butter (0.15)
1/2 medium white onion (0.37)
2 cloves of garlic (0.12)
1 medium russet potato (0.29)
1 small zucchini (0.40)
2 small tomatoes (1/4 pound) (0.37)
1/4 cup black beans (.22)

total cost: $3.12

First, after poking a few holes in the potato, moderately cook it in the microwave for a couple minutes. Meanwhile start heating up your saute pan and the butter. Once the butter has begun to melt add the onion and garlic to soften. After the potato is partially cooked, cube it and add it to the pan. Next add the zucchini, tomatoes, and black beans (undrained if possible). Stir in a touch of salt and pepper and let cook on the stove for 7-10 minutes.

Heat the oven on low, around 200 degrees F, and slightly warm the tortillas with cheese until the cheese is beginning to melt, a couple minutes.

Assemble the burritos and serve.

There were enough veggies from dinner last night to cover my lunch today, leaving more for dinner tonight. With that extra money I decided to add cheese to the homemade pizza planned for tonight. After the same breakfast as yesterday, coming in at $0.65, leftovers for lunch, and Matt's additional $1.75, I had exactly $4.55 for dinner.

I made a homemade pizza dough, and then added broccoli raab, frozen corn kernels, tomatoes, and a little cheese. While this sounded good in theory, everything worked but the broccoli raab. I purchased a 1 pound bag of it for $0.99 in the seconds or day old area of the store. It looked okay and so I thought I was getting a great deal. However, it was more bitter than expected, and truthfully I'm not sure if I would go that route again. Next time I might add a small zucchini or just stick to the tomatoes and corn.

The homemade dough was a definite bargain. Making it myself cost $2.73, but this made two rounds of dough large enough for a large sized pizza. I can by pre-made dough at Trader Joe's for $1.99 for one pizza. Here is the cost breakdown and recipe:

Homemade Veggie Pizza
(makes 1 large pizza - 6 slices)

One round of dough from homemade dough recipe* (1.36)
1 tablespoon olive oil (0.15)
1/2 pound broccoli raab (fresh is best, or eliminate all together) (0.49)
3/4 pound tomatoes, sliced (1.11)
1 cup frozen corn kernels (0.32)
1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced** (1.00)

total cost: $4.43

At least two hours prior to assembling the pizza make the dough. This will give it enough time to rise accurately.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Once your dough has risen roll it out using a rolling pin to a thin crust. Lay the crust on a slightly floured pizza stone. Evenly spread the olive oil, broccoli raab (if using), tomato slices, corn kernels and cheese. Cook the pizza for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the crust baked through.

*When making recipe listed from previous post divide dough into 2 rounds instead of four in order to make a large sized pizza.
**This is not a normal amount of cheese, it is much less than I would usually add to a pizza. However it wasn't in the budget to add any more.

(photographs by: alison clayshulte)


Samantha said...

You are simply amazing! Keep it up. :)

Pasta with your beautiful home grown tomatoes might be cost effective.

Irene said...

You go girl! I'm impressed at your commitment, but also saddened that this is the reality of many people in SF. :( I can't even imagine. We truly are privileged.

Kaiya & Anthony said...

Alison! It is totally great that you're doing this - I imagine it's a really enriching experience for yourself, and I'm glad that you're raising awareness about hunger.

A couple thoughts:
1. Your comment in your earlier post about your privilege "slapping you in the face" - I really appreciate that you said this so clearly and eloquently and think that many of us could benefit from getting a slap in the face about this.

2. Have you thought about having communal meals with other people willing to take this challenge for a day? I was talking with a friend about how neighbors and communities can come together and make it through tough times by supporting each other. And that this seems like a really great opportunity to share a meal - not only to raise awareness, but also as a practical way to make a challenge. Is it easier to for 1 person to make it by on $4 / day or for 4 people to come together to eat on $16 / day?

Alison said...

Thanks everyone, yes we are truly privileged and last week showed me just how much so.

Anthony - did you have a chance to read my last post of the week. I fully agree with you on point 2 above and believe that by combining both ingredients, time, money, and community both healthier meals and healthier lives could be created.