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SNAP to it Food Stamp Challenge–Day 21

By Sharron R. Blezard, June 21, 2010

Comfort Food Edition

Sunday I didn’t post an entry and instead tried to practice Sabbath, including of course worship. Since it was Father’s Day, I made my dad his favorite meal of meatloaf, carrots, and potatoes. I watched a show with my daughter. I took a little nap, and I stayed out of the heat except to walk the dogs. It was, all in all, a very good day.

I have to watch it because I am really bad about not taking time to rest and refresh.

Today is the Summer Solstice, and it is hot. Duh, it’s summer. Thankfully there are only nine more days to the SNAP Challenge, and I’m pretty sure the Lucas family can make it. I’m hoping an additional job is on the horizon, so that next month won’t be a real version of the SNAP Challenge.

Today I spent a while in Earth Fare, an organic/whole foods grocery that’s recently opened in town. I had some time to kill, so I went in and walked the aisles without buying a thing. If it wasn’t so far across town, I’d probably shop there at least some of the time. The prices didn’t seem too out of line, and the produce section was wonderful. Earth Fare, headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, is a regional chain of 18 stores in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. I was impressed and think that even on a SNAP budget I could make it work by shopping there considering the strong sales, big bulk sections, and assorted support services designed to make shopping easier and healthier.

It did take some amount of discipline not to spend any money in there today. When I saw Earth Fare organic mac and cheese on sale for $1 a box, I was sorely tempted but did manage to resist. I’m sure it will be on sale again. Instead, I went to lunch with my mom, had a great time, and scored enough leftovers for supper. I came home with four homemade oatmeal cookies, two big soft bread sticks, and almost a whole grilled chicken salad. She also gave me a bag of dove dark chocolates. Lucky me!

Our relationship with food is a funny thing. Comfort foods like homemade macaroni and cheese or warm chocolate chip cookies are infused with more than calories. They are usually dished up with a lot of memories and warm fuzzies. We choose these foods when we’ve had a hard day or are feeling down. These foods often remind us of childhood and meals dished out with a mother’s love. True, they are usually not the healthiest foods to eat, but they evoke memories and satisfy a place with us (at least temporarily) that’s deeper than the belly. For my dad, comfort food is a well-made meatloaf. For me it’s my angel hair with real butter, freshly ground pepper, and parmesan cheese. My youngest daughter’s comfort food of choice is Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream.

What are your comfort foods? Do they fit into a SNAP budget?

State of the Pantry

Yesterday, I spent about $20 on ingredients to make meatloaf for my dad. The meat and the spices were pretty pricey, but not nearly as expensive as the dinner out that had been proposed by my step-mom. I did not take this out of my SNAP budget since it was a Father’s Day gift to him but rather out of the what I had set aside for the over-price restaurant meal that didn’t happen. Whew! I also spent almost $7 on popsicles and orange juice for my daughter.

This morning I put a big pot of black beans in the slow cooker, and tonight I made a pot of brown rice. Well seasoned beans, rice, and other additions like tomatoes, chilies, veggies, and cheese will make a lot of meals this week. I find that I don’t need a lot of variety in my meals. They can be simple, and I can be happy with that. Plus, I really, really like beans. They’re good for you, they’re inexpensive, and they have a pretty low carbon footprint. I also fond of red lentils, and I finally found them at Earth Fare in the Middle Eastern section. I’ll be purchasing some in July!

Website of the Day

Click here to check out Earth Fare’s web site. While I normally wouldn’t tout a commerical entity, I also believe in applauding efforts when a company is trying to “get it right” and make a difference. Earth Fare’s mission is to “feed and inspire the healthy person inside us all.” You’ll find a wonderful “The Boot” list of ingredients that the folks at Earth Fare believe should not be included in a healthy diet. They also offer a personalized “My Healthy Journey” with a pantry makeover, coupons, recipes, invites to events, and “food freebies.” There is also a section for special diets (vegan, gluten free, dairy intolerance, and weight management) and a program dedicated to eliminating childhood obesity. On Thursday nights from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m., children eat free in the store (up to six children with one adult meal of $5 or more).

About the Author

The Rev. Sharron Riessinger Blezard is an ELCA pastor currently rostered in the Lower Susquehanna Synod. She came to ordained ministry after teaching secondary and college English, working in non-profit management and public relations, and moonlighting as a freelance writer. See more posts by .

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