My SNAP Challenge actually began last night. I was thinking of a before bedtime snack, and realized that it was already after midnight, and the challenge had begun. I did note the absence of any easy convenience foods, and instead made myself a peanut butter sandwich. Still finding myself hungry, I got out a couple of the biscuits and ate them.
The morning, after getting the kids to school, the first order of business was coffee. The package of Dollar Tree coffee proclaims that it will produce 50 cups. In reality, I think it will last me about 3 days. I do need to conserve the stuff. I decided that the best way to make it would be in a French Press. I started the day making a cup with two heaping teaspoons of the coffee. As the day went on, I used the old grounds, and added a little bit. The seventh cup wasn’t particularly good, but I suspect there are a few caffeine molecules floating around in it. As you can see from the reviews at Dollar Tree, this coffee isn’t particularly bad. Some reviewers, however, compare it to burnt cardboard, so I suspect the quality might vary by batch. Panera CEO Ron Shaich found that he couldn’t afford coffee, which I’m certain made it a horrible experience for him, one which I didn’t plan to repeat. The dollar store coffee will be adequate to get me through the week. According to the package, it’s from Vietnam. It’s not particularly tasty, but it seems to contain enough caffeine. The French Press seemed to conserve the precious substance fairly well. More ideas on coffee preparation are available at my how to make coffee without electricity page. The press I have is similar to the one shown below. You can also see it in my breakfast picture below.
With that necessity out of the way, it was off to breakfast, which consisted of two sausages and some of the pancakes. The syrup is in the red squeeze bottle. Other than the color being wrong (clear instead of brown), it did the job. I did notice that it had crystallized overnight, so I did need to warm it up in a pan of hot water.
I had a few errands to run and wasn’t sure I would be back before lunch. Therefore, in addition to a cup of coffee, I brought a couple of the biscuits, which I thawed in the microwave before leaving.
My late lunch consisted of more biscuits, and ramen noodles (half the package) with some of the canned vegetables added. I also made a pitcher of the Kool-Aid.
For supper, I made pizza for my family, and I made myself some as well. There’s was better than mine, I’ll admit. Theirs consisted of pizza crusts from Dollar Tree (two for a dollar), a little oil, shredded cheese from the supermarket, pepperoni (one package for a dollar at Dollar Tree) and a half can of spaghetti sauce.
I had different ingredients to work with. For the crust, I used flour tortillas, which actually work very well. I didn’t have any oil, so I lightly greased the tortillas with margarine. Instead of the spaghetti sauce, I used the 29 cent can of tomato sauce, with one of the little packages of pepper added for a little seasoning. The topping was a breakfast sausage, one for each of the two pizzas I made.
The “cheese” I used was somewhat interesting. I’ve bought it before, and realized that it wasn’t particularly good. But a dollar for 8 ounces of shredded “cheese” is a good price, and I made do. Upon closer inspection of the package, I realize that the word “cheese” appears nowhere, including in the list of ingredients. There’s also a disclaimer on the package that the product is not formulated to melt. But it did melt somewhat, and formed a passable pizza:
I made two of these pizzas, and I was actually full after eating the first one and one slice of the second one. I have three slices in the refrigerator for a snack in the future. The total cost for two pizzas was about $1.44: Almost a dollar for the cheese and tomato sauce, ten cents each for the tortillas, and about 12 cents for each of the sausages.
I’ve used almost a full stick of margarine. And since I made the first batch of biscuits with the grease from the sausages, I would have used more. So I’ll almost certainly run out. I’ll need to give some thought to whether I want to buy a bottle of cooking oil, or simply get more margarine. I think the margarine is the better bang for the buck, but I’m not positive.
I did note the absence of any desert items, so I’ll try to figure out whether I can make some cookies or muffins.
After the first day, I see little difference from my normal routine. I spent about the same amount of time as usual preparing meals (after having spent an extra hour or so last night making the sausages, biscuits, and pancakes). The main time difference seems to come from making each cup of coffee individually. Joe DiMaggio’s method of making coffee is much more convenient, but I don’t think I can get as many cups out of each ounce of coffee that way. Since lack of coffee seems to be the factor that has doomed more takers of the challenge than any other, it is one area where I need to be extremely careful.