My current Food Cycle sponsor total: £110
7:00 am wake up abruptly from a sharp kick in the back from the five year old. Ok, I’m up! Last night’s weird dream: I’d been elected, without my consent (like some bizarre Hunger Games draw) to become the next Queen of the UK. I was devastated; I didn’t want to be the Queen!
7:30 Coffee! Sweet, sweet life giving blessed coffee! (3.6p) (refer to the Breadline Challenge Day 1 – Caffeine Withdrawal)
9:00 An hour’s yoga stretching. Not fancying stodgy porridge after my workout so I’m going to attempt some oatmeal raisin energy bites (an idea that struck me while I was attempting the camel pose – my goodness some people are bendy – not I!).
10:30 These energy bites aren’t bad! The batch made 12 but I’ve only managed to eat half of them before they became overly sweet. Going to pop the rest in the fridge for nibbling on through the day when I need a boost. At 1.9 pence per bite, that’s not bad. They could use some walnuts, a bit of cinnamon and some flax seeds, but they’re not in the budget. Used 1/8 of a stock cube to add some salt to them since there was no money in the budget for salt this week. Breakfast total for 12 energy bites washed down with 200ml skimmed milk = 35.9p Each bite contains 49 calories (according to the nutrition label which doesn’t seem to be showing up on my recipe plugin!).
Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bites
- Place 50 grams of the oats, the raisins and the crumbled stock cube into a blender or food processor and pulse until well combined. Alternatively, chop, chop, chop until everything is really fine and starting to stick together.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the remaining 25 grams oats. Roll into small balls, about the diameter of a pound coin.
- Pop in the fridge to harden or tuck in straight away with a glass of milk to wash it all down.
10:50 Just received an encouraging comment from a Food Cycle user on yesterday’s blog post. Thank you!
12:45 Starting to get a pick peckish so I’ll start lunch now. I’ve got an idea for flatbread which might just work, and I fancy making some garlic and ginger chickpeas with kale.
- 250 grams strong brown bread flour (13p)
- 1/2 vegetable stock cube (1p)
- 4 tbsp sunflower oil (15p)
- 100 ml warm water
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley (free from the garden) optional
- Place the flour, stock cube, oil and parsley in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the water and combine using a fork.
- When it starts to stick together use your hands to knead it, for five minutes, into a soft ball of dough.
- Pop back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to sit for 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into five pieces. Roll each piece into a circle about the thickness of a £2 coin.
- Heat a dry pan and cook each flat bread for 2 minutes on each side (4 minutes in total). Serve warm.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
These flatbreads were so yum! Again I used some crumbled vegetable stock cube instead of salt, but it works. It makes five (29p in total) but just one of them with my chickpea dish filled me up. Grand total for lunch: 55p and I’m absolutely stuffed. Going to save the flatbreads for later, and I’ve an idea to use one of them with tomorrow for lunch…
The garlic and ginger chickpeas were quite tasty too, lots of different textures and flavours. This went down really well. If I had more ingredients to work with I don’t think I’d change this recipe at all, except maybe to slice a fresh red chilli over the top as a garnish.
Ginger & Garlic Chickpeas with Kale
- Heat oil in a frying pan.
- Peel onion, cut in half and slice finely. Finely chop the garlic, and grate the carrot (or chop finely).
- Gently saute the onion until it begins to soften, about five minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chickpeas and cook until the chickpeas start to brown slightly.
- Add the carrot and kale and stir fry until both wilt slightly but still retain their crunch.
- Serve with freshly cooked flatbread.
1:45 coffee break!
15:50 the kids have eaten the rest of my energy bites when they returned from school. That’s my food!!
16:25: Just about to make tea and the cat is nagging to be fed her afternoon sachet of wet cat food. Realize I spent more on cat food and toilet paper this week than I did on my own food budget. Planning a spaghetti recipe with garlic bread. My brown bread is three days old now and it’s getting a bit… meh. I’m going to freeze the rest in slices, defrosting them if/when I need them.
I only made one serving of the recipe below for myself, but I made the whole batch of tomato sauce. Reserving the other half of the sauce to use tomorrow.
Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce & Garlic Bread
For the pasta and sauce
For the garlic bread
- 2 thick slices brown bread (6p)
- 1 large garlic clove (3p)
- fresh parsley to garnish (free from garden)
- Finely chop the onion, garlic and carrot.
- Heat oil in a small sauce pan and gently fry the onion, garlic and carrot for five minutes or so, until they all start to soften. This helps release the flavours.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and stock cube, crumbled. Simmer, on medium low, for 20-30 minutes, until it is nice, thick and reduced.
- Stir in the parsley for the last few minutes of cooking, if using.
- Cook spaghetti according to packet instructions. Drain and pour over the remaining 1 tsp of sunflower oil (this stops the spaghetti strands from sticking together).
- To make the garlic bread, toast your bread under the grill. Peel the garlic clove and cut in half. Rub each cut side of the garlic all over each side of the bread. Use more garlic if you want more flavour, but be warned - it can be strong.
- Arrange spaghetti on a plate, top with sauce and sprinkle with extra parsley, if using. Serve immediately with the garlic bread.
I relied on the services of a food bank, once, back in Canada.
I was in my very early twenties and had just moved to a new city. I’d gained part time employment at a fast food restaurant (something to tide me over until I found a decent job) and I had three flatmates. One (my boyfriend at the time) was fresh out of nautical college and was looking for employment and the other two flatmates were working full time and part time respectively. We pulled our resources together to pay the rent and do our food shop.
The full time earner was then made redundant. My meager part time wage and the part time wage of the other flatmate weren’t enough to pay the rent and feed us all, and the money soon ran out. We made the difficult choice to go to the local food bank.
It was absolutely humiliating. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as ashamed as I did that day, queuing up for food. We were each handed carrier bags and told to fill them, and we did, but without much thought as to what was going in them. We just wanted to leave.
I remember there were a lot of stale baked goods donated from supermarkets. There were things in tins, and little bags of salt and sugar. I remember thinking how silly it was that we were given a little baggie filled with salt. I now understand. What I would do right now for a little baggie filled with salt and another with sugar!
We vowed we would never speak of that trip to the food bank (sorry guys, I just have, a little bit publicly too!). The very next day my boyfriend got a job with a large shipping company. A full time wage, a month at sea followed by a month at home. Our income went straight to middle class. Two weeks later I got sick of working at this fast food chain (I really, really hated it) and I applied for a job at a business that I really wanted to work at who wasn’t currently hiring. They hired me anyway. I worked for them for two years until my (then) boyfriend dumped me for his ex and I immigrated to Scotland, setting up a job beforehand with the experience I’d gained from the job I’d landed after that food bank trip.
You never know which direction life will take you.
Today I spent a total of £1.40 on food and drink for myself. I finished up the last of my milk with my dinner (6.6p) and I still have a slice of bread and some carrot sticks for later if the hunger pangs start late at night. Calorie intake for today was much better than yesterday, around 1750.
If you are new to this series of blog posts this week, from the 24th-30th of November 2014 I am taking the FoodCycle Breadline Challenge. This challenge, designed to raise awareness of food poverty in the UK and help raise vital funds for the Food Cycle food hubs, asks us to live off of only £2-10 per day (per person) for food and drink. Although we are a family of five, I am taking this challenge on my own, with an entire shopping budget of only £14-70. I will be blogging recipes, tips and thoughts throughout the week. You can sponsor me over on my Virgin Money Giving Page. A great big thank you to everyone who has sponsored me already, I am very grateful!
Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary with match, pound for pound, up to £200 the amount raised for Food Cycle via my Virgin Money Giving Page to donate to the Shetland Food Bank for their Christmas Food Parcels. Around 60 Shetland families will be supported by these food parcels this festive season.
About Food Cycle:
£50 will help them serve healthy, nutritious three course meals for 100 people. Follow @FoodCycle on Twitter using the hashtag #BreadlineChallenge to keep up to date.
As this is a collection of very frugal recipes, I am linking them up with Credit Crunch Munch, a frugal food blogging challenge by Camilla at Fab Food 4 All and Helen over at Fuss Free Flavours. This month it is guest hosted by the lovely Alida over at My Little Italian Kitchen.
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