Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Food Stamp Challenge

Now that the election is over, I'm trying to get back to normal. I was impressed a few years ago when my Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and several other congresspeople took the Food Stamp Challenge. They deserved our votes for doing that alone. Basically, for three weeks they tried to eat on a Food Stamp Budget which is about $21 per week per person.

Like most people, I have tried to cut back on our food budget. Nevertheless, even deducting the nonfood items such as soap, toothpaste, paper towels, etc that aren't permissible Food Stamp expenditures, I failed miserably to cut back to $42 per week. As an aside, the only thing that people can buy with Food Stamps is food. Items we normally buy at the supermarket like dish detergent aren't allowed. Although I failed to get down to $42 per week for the two of us, I cut back considerably by making a point of making at least one vegetarian meal per week. I have enjoyed trying the vegetarian recipes so much that I've increased that to two vegetarian meals per week. One of my favorite vegetarian recipes is Stir Fry. It's very easy. This is one for a family of four. The preparation time is about 20 minutes.

                                                               Vegetable Stir Fry

1 cup brown rice uncooked
optionally use 1/2 cup brown rice and 1/2 cup red quinoa for extra protein
2 cups water
vegetables cut into small pieces - whatever you happen to have in the house - I personally like to use mushrooms, an onion, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, and green beans
soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame seeds, ginger powder, cumin, and garlic to taste
For more protein, add peanuts and almonds and/or tofu

1. put rice or rice/quinoa mixture in pot with water and bring to boil. Then turn down to simmer and cook covered for about 45 minutes

Now you have 20 minutes. Send an e-mail to your Congressperson telling him or her that no one can eat for $21 a week per person unless they live on a farm where they grow their own vegetables and raise their own chickens.

2. Cut up the vegetables. Saute in olive oil. While the vegetables are cooking, add the seasoning. Then add the nuts or tofu.

3. When everything is cooked, put it all in a bowl and mix it together. Dinner for four and it tastes really good.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Speechless, Wordless, and Hungry

Since Tuesday’s election results, I’ve been feeling like Chicken Little after the sky has fallen. What is there to do next? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn everyone that I could. At least in my little corner of the sky, Evanston, Illinois, some of the votes did come in as I hoped. Jan Schakowsky was reelected to Congress and some other local progressives won as well.

Now the election is mercifully over and we’re free from hearing and reading lies about politicians for the next year. Did people really vote to dismantle our extremely frayed social safety net from our most vulnerable citizens (which could be any of us at any given time)? That’s how it seems. Hopefully there is still something that we can do to still salvage some of it.

 What would the Women’s Strike for Peace have done after seeing the results if they still existed? They would have kept marching and kept writing letters to the editor and kept selling cookbooks to raise funds for their activities. Many of their recipes are really good. After Election Day, we were still hungry. I decided to make the Two In One Casserole. It’s very Green and only takes about 15 or 20 minutes to prepare. While it’s cooking, you can finish reading The New York Times or watch a funny movie to take your mind off the day’s events.

                                                            Two In One Casserole

1 pkg. Chopped frozen spinach
3 zucchini
¼ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
Salt, pepper, oregano, and basil to taste
1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butter a casserole dish
Cook and drain spinach well. (Or defrost the spinach in the morning and drain well.)
Saute sliced zucchini with minced clove of garlic
Combine all ingredients and put in casserole dish
Bake for 45 minutes
Serve with brown rice