SNAP Challenge: The first few days

The first few days of the challenge have been interesting. The most difficult part has been not being able to use anything that is in my house. I made a list of all the stuff that I wanted to be able to use and went to the grocery store to record the replacement value since I didn’t want to actually replace it. Things like salt, sugar, flour, condiments, and spices that you already have are off-limits. Therefore, I calculated the replacement value of all the stuff I wanted to use this week, which came up to $28.95. Ouch. It’s not really money I spent but it’s coming out of the budget.

For actual grocery shopping, I didn’t do too badly. I spent $22.33 at PriceRite on veggies, fruits and staple things. I was also able to get a huge package of chicken which will last us the rest of the month for $7! I spent $16.34 at Stop and Shop and $23.40 at BJ’s ($14 of which was ground beef for the rest of the month. I also spent $7.43 for a seven and a half pound roasting chicken which will feed us for multiple meals this week and will probably make enough stock for me to make soup twice.

Total spending on these trips: $69.50
Total spending on previous trips: $26.47
Total pantry shopping: $40.49
Total spent: $136.46
Total remaining: $95.54

The Bad News: I don’t have a lot of money left for the rest of the month.
The Good News: I have a ton of chicken and ground beef, 10lbs of potatoes, lots of salad fixings, a few boxes of pasta, bread, peanut butter and jelly and a lot of flour to make more bread. Good thing my husband loves PB&J!

So far the food has been good. Monday we both had PB&J for lunch since we were really hungry when we got home from grocery shopping. We didn’t eat anything because we weren’t supposed to have food in the house. I guess I could have made eggs and sausage but I didn’t really think about it. Monday night, I made a roast chicken. Since I didn’t have access to all my spices, I mixed some salt, pepper and Italian seasoning together with some olive oil and rubbed it all over the chicken. I also took a few garlic cloves and a chunk of onion and put that inside the chicken (I’ll leave that in the chicken when I make the stock so I don’t have to add onion or garlic to the pot). I roasted the chicken at 350 degrees for two and a half hours. The chicken was amazing! I will definitely use that combination of spices again.

Stop and Shop had a buy 1, get 1 free deal on 5lb bags of potatoes, so I got 10lbs of potatoes for $4.49. Jeff was thrilled because he loves potatoes. So I replaced the pasta with mashed potatoes and made gravy with a little butter, flour and chicken broth. I also heated up some canned green beans. We only used one drumstick and one breast off the chicken so we’ve got lots of meat left. After I finish writing this post, I’m going to go pick the rest of the chicken clean and use some of the meat for a build-your-own-casserole and if there is still more chicken, I will freeze it for another meal later in the month. Friday, I’ll make stock with the bones and the ends of celery and carrots.

Tuesday, we both had leftover mashed potatoes with gravy and a bit of chicken on top. I also brought a banana and a refilled empty water bottle. Normally, I drink iced tea at school. I purchased a case at the beginning of September and keep it in my car. I wasn’t willing to put that into my budget so I take the water bottle to school. I will say that I was pretty hungry when I got home on yesterday. I think the lack of protein during lunch and the lack of sugar from just drinking water didn’t help. I also got home later than usually since I had to stop at the store.

Dinner last night was excellent. I made spaghetti and a really inexpensive spaghetti sauce with onion, garlic, a few tablespoons of ground beef (just for flavor), tomato paste, water and Italian seasoning. The sauce cost me less than $1 to make and was really good. I forgot to make bread dough before I got home so I made garlic breadsticks instead. This is a great recipe if you want quick, delicious, hot breadsticks for dinner. I was going to make salad but I was too tired when I got home.

Today for lunch, I had leftover spaghetti (we had a lot of spaghetti leftover so lunches are good for the week). Tonight, I’m making tacos with homemade flour tortillas. I’m excited about this one because tortillas are so expensive and this recipe looks really easy. I’m also going to make some snickerdoodles.

Friday, I’m going to make apple sauce. Haven’t found a recipe for that yet but I’m hoping to make that in the crockpot.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I have linked a lot of recipes from Hillbilly Housewife. There are a ton of great recipes on the site. It’s a lot harder to navigate now than it used to be, but there is still a lot of great stuff on there.

With my limited budget for the next few weeks, things are going to get creative.

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