This wrap up on the food stamp challenge has been a long time comin!! Here is what we were left with in the freezer at the end of the month. Lots, and I do mean lots of "To Go" meals. I won't need to be cooking for a long time!! Ha
The top drawer of the food pantry at the end
And the last of the food pantry bottom drawer. Both are looking pretty bare but I could get a meal or two out of it
Nice to be back to the dehydrated, canned, and frozen goodies from the garden!!!
Last nights hexie, slow but steady this week!!
So many thoughts on the month long food stamp challenge......
Lets start with our experience OK?
Hubby was unaware we were on the challenge until the last day of the month when I spilled the beans. He was surprised in that he had seen no change in the way we were eating other than I spent a lot more time in the kitchen while he was home. Truth be told I spent more time in the kitchen because I was fetching snacks and ice packs for him as he recovered from surgery as well as I was hiding out in the kitchen with busy work so I didn't have to hear what stupid TV show's he was watching!!!
One thing the challenge forced me to do was make a meal plan and shop each week . I don't really do meal plans as we have enough food in the house to see us through for a very long time, this gives me lots and lots of flexibility in what we eat and when.
Buying fresh fruit and veggies was a bit of a challenge in itself as we have sooooo much from the garden frozen, dehydrated, and canned. I haven't thought a lot about buying fresh, out of season, and trucked in food from who knows where in such a long time.
I also dug around in my cook books to come up with some different snacks and such to keep things interesting. I need to do this more often!!
Cooking real meals from real food not the boxed stuff seemed to be key. I'm not sure if box connivance foods would have stretched our dollars more, but I wasn't willing to go the box route as they are nothing we would want to eat.
I did bake lots of different breads and such which is nothing new. Baking bread seems to save some money but it is not something I think most people would want to do. I don't think buying bread from the grocery would have run the grocery bill up to much but you wouldn't have the variaty we had.
So what the heck is going on with the problems in food stamps?
Number ONE to me is that the government has switch from the real put it in your pocket food stamps to a debit card!!! I think everyone would agree we all spend more when we use plastic. People on public assistance can't afford to spend a dime more than they have too!!!!
Number Two is really a extension of number one. Folks have to cook, no doubt about it. They would need to save every speck of food leftover. Batch cooking is a biggy in that we all know there are days we don't have the time, energy, or desire to cook. Having a meal or two in the freezer would be a money and life saver. I think people have lost the skill too really cook these days. We depend too much on drive thru windows, eating out, and just opening a can from the grocery store.
Number Three. I'm not sure folks even know what a good meal is these days. The old days of the nutrition pyramid is outdated and boring as H... Surely we can come up with something that would get people excited to cook and really understand what a well balanced meal looks like
Number Four. Knowing a good deal on food when you find it would stretch those dollars a whole lot more. Having basic math skills is a must. Having the room for a small garden would be pretty darn nice too.
Number Five. OK here comes the controversy. I think too many people have gotten so use to the government stepping in that they no longer have an incentive to try to make ends meet in there own family budget. That's not to say we don't have folks who have a REAL needs, of course we do!! There will always be poor amongst us, sometimes its no fault of there own, other times it is.
What would I change if I was in charge. Ha
Number One. I would put restrictions on what people could buy. I know more controversy!! I in no way think the government has any business in our pantry's or freezers however.... When you are looking to the taxpayers for food it seems to me you should be using those hard earned dollars of others in a responsible way. Restricting soda's, snack food, and calories that provide no nutritional value should be off limits.
Number Two. The fraud and abuse of the system needs to stop. There is no doubt it is going on when almost 1/2 of our country is on some sort of assistance. There is no way this lifestyle for the poor and those who are working can continue. We are at a tipping point, just look at the national debt counter. The scales may have already been tipped too far.
Number Three. We are going to have to get back to teaching the basics in this country. We should at least teach people how to eat, cook, and do simple math, learn how to balance a checkbook, and do a family budget. What good is a Physics degree if you don't know how to feed yourself when the job dries up?
There was a time in our country when the poor was feed within the community. Families worked together to make ends meet, neighbors would never let neighbors go hungry if they could help it, churches knew the needs of their congregations, community's pulled together to help families in need. We have too many people who have lost the heart of being a GIVER. We too often figure the government is taking our money in taxes, we pay too much as it is, so to heck with it, let the government do their thing.
I do think when you look a person in the eye when giving a helping hand it makes a difference in both of your lives. The GIVER feels their heart get just a little bigger, they have a stark in your face reminder of how really bless they are. The Reciever while maybe feeling a little embarrassed by the hand out see's a real person standing in front of them. They know this real person cares about them and their family. This real person worked hard to have a little extra to share with others. maybe they even admire that GIVER and hope someday to be in a position to be a GIVER too.
There is an ever growing animosity between the have's and have not's in our country. Our politicians seem to enjoy feeding that animosity, what the heck, a vote is a vote right? Not matter that if that vote is cast because of the ever growing anger between our own country's men and woman. People need to get back to the basics!! When you see a friend or family member in need we should step up. When you have a friend who is in bed sick, has a new baby, just moves to the neighborhood, has lost a family member is it really putting you out too much to take a meal over?
The people of our country are going to have to make changes within our own communities, we can't and shouldn't look to the government to do what we know is the right thing. I for one would NEVER let anyone in Washington DC balance my checkbook or plan our families financial future!! Ha. I am not sure the NUTS have any idea how to balance a check book.
OK, that's a little of my rant. I could go on and on but the bottom line is we each should just do what we can when we can. The next time you see a food stamp recipient in the grocery line instead of feeling anger over what they purchase maybe feeling blessed for what you do have and throwing in a little something extra for your local food bank could open your heart and put a smile on your face? It's worth a try.
I promise that the wrap up of the cookbook challenge won't be so long winded!!!!