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a balanced plate with room for dessert


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SNAP Challenge 2014: Day 3

Today I’d like to share with you an app that I’m in love with. It’s called Charity Miles. The concept is simple:

You choose a charity.

Charity Miles | doughseedough.net

You run.

Charity Miles | doughseedough.net

Your miles translate into something for the charity of your choice.

Charity Miles | doughseedough.net

 

If you’re a runner/biker/walker and have a smart phone, download this app now! Ever since I started using Charity Miles, I’ve chosen Feeding America as my charity. I thought I would share the app with you all since it’s Hunger Action Month and all.

Now on to Day 3 of the SNAP Challenge! It was a strange day. I forgot to eat a “real” breakfast. I had a couple bites of cottage cheese at 5:30 before I left for work, but never got my oatmeal. I didn’t realize until after 10. It was so close to lunch that I just ate a snack to tide me over. Here’s what I ended up eating:

Breakfast: bites of cottage cheese
Snack: banana with peanut butter
Lunch: peanut noodles with chicken and veggies
Snack: raisins
Snack: apple, whole wheat bread
Dinner: spinach tofu lasagna rolls
Snack: tortilla chips
To drink: peppermint tea, water with lemon

Here’s what Mike had:
Breakfast: yogurt
Lunch: spinach tofu lasagna rolls
Dinner: spinach tofu lasagna rolls
Snack: peanut butter toast
Snack: tortilla chips
To drink: peppermint tea, water with lemon

So far, the thing I find myself missing the most is carbonated water. I drink so much of the stuff. Mike and I actually bought a SodaStream a few months ago because I was going through a frightening amount of 12 packs. It was seriously one of the best purchases we’ve made recently.

 

 


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SNAP Challenge 2014: Day 2 (+ a recipe!)

SNAP Challenge Day 2 | doughseedough.net

 

Day two is done. For me, it was just as weird as the first day. I wasn’t feeling 100% like myself due to the obnoxious cold I get hit with. Here’s what I ended up eating:

 

Breakfast: oatmeal with raisins
Lunch: peanut noodles with shredded chicken and veggies
Snack: cottage cheese
Dinner: peanut noodles with shredded chicken and veggies
Snack: apple
To drink: crazy amounts of peppermint tea sweetened with a bit of agave, water with lemon

 

So let’s move on to what I’ve been eating the past few days: peanut butter noodles with chicken and veggies!

 

This dish was crazy easy and it’s super customizable. I used bell pepper and carrots as my veg in this dish, but just about anything you have on hand will work. Feel free add more soy sauce, if desired. I only used 2 teaspoons because I ran out and didn’t budget for it in my SNAP Challenge budget. The most time-consuming part was cutting all the dang carrots up. I didn’t have my mandoline or grater  with me, but I highly suggest you use one to make prep a little easier. Alternately, just chop the carrots up. A little less pretty, but just as tasty.

 

Another bonus? The noodles taste stellar hot or cold. I opted to eat mine mostly hot since it made my throat feel better, but you just follow your heart (stomach? taste buds?) and do as you wish!

 

Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Veggies | doughseedough.net

Peanut Noodles with Shredded Chicken and Vegetables

1 – 13.25 ounce package of whole grain spaghetti
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
3 carrots, julienned
2/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sriracha, more or less to taste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  1. Place chicken in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until no longer pink in the middle and internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 12 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, shred with two forks.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 2/3 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
  3. While pasta is cooking, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, garlic, and ginger. Whisk in 2/3 cup of hot pasta water to thin sauce. Taste, and add more soy sauce and sriracha if desired.
  4. Toss pasta, bell peppers, and carrots with peanut sauce. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

 


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SNAP Challenge 2014: Day 1

SNAP Challenge Day 1 | doughseedough.net

The week is off to a rough start for me. I spent the weekend feeling a little off, but I attributed it to my allergies acting up. I woke up Monday feeling like I had been hit by a truck. All I wanted to do was drink tea, eat soup, and stay in bed all day. Instead, I dragged myself to work and ate the food I had already purchased.

I ended up caving and went to the store after work to get some of my favorite peppermint tea: Full Circle + Project 7’s organic peppermint tea. This tea has been on my staples list ever since I discovered it about a year ago. Not only is it fairly cheap ($2.59 for a box!), it also donates a portion of the proceeds to fight hunger. Their website states that every two boxes purchased equals a meal for someone in need. How fitting for Hunger Action Month 🙂

Unfortunately, the purchase of this tea means I only have a measly $0.06 left in my budget. The $2.65 I had left over was my buffer just in case we ran out of food – $2.65 meant I could buy another pack of pasta and some sauce if we needed something for our last couple meals. I have my fingers crossed that I have enough food for us.

Today, I ate:
Breakfast: oatmeal with raisins
Lunch: peanut noodles with chicken and veggies
Snack: banana with peanut butter
Dinner: cottage cheese with pepper
Drank: water with lemon, water, peppermint tea

As far as I know, Mike ate:
Breakfast: yogurt
Lunch: peanut noodles with chicken and veggies
Dinner: peanut noodles with chicken and veggies
Drank: water with lemon

I didn’t really feel hungry at all today. I ate mostly out of habit. Dinner didn’t sound good to me at all, so I opted to just eat a small bit of cottage cheese. Stay tuned tomorrow for my Day 2 summary and the recipe for the peanut noodles!


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SNAP Challenge 2014: Menu Planning & Grocery Shopping

In honor of Hunger Action Month, I am once again taking on the SNAP Challenge from September 15 – 21. With cuts to the SNAP funding last November, we were left with even less to work with this year. The goal was to work with $4.25 per person for each day, giving us $59.50 to work with. This is $3.50 less than what we had last year when we completed the Challenge. It doesn’t seem like much, but $3.50 could have gotten us quite a bit more food.

The $59.50 must cover everything we eat or drink in the next week – this means no going out; no free food from family, friends, or coworkers; and no running to the store mid-afternoon for a snack. Any food that you currently have in the house is out-of-bounds, with the exception of spices and condiments.

SNAP Challenge Prep | doughseedough.net

Planning for this year’s SNAP Challenge was way more stressful that last year. On top of a more limited budget, I had to figure out how to feed both of us while we’re living in two cities, meaning I had to come up with meals that I could prep ahead of time and leave behind for Mike. I’ve also become a lot less aware of how much I was spending on groceries these past few months and I’ve fallen out of the habit of menu planning. I did my best and ended with the following menu plan:

Dinner:
Spinach & tofu lasagna rolls
Chicken taco soup
Peanut butter noodles with chicken and veggies
Pasta with zucchini in a lemon-yogurt sauce

All lunches, as usual, would be dinner leftovers. Some dinners would be leftovers as well. This plan follows pretty closely what I do on a weekly basis – make a few dinners that we eat for several meals.

Breakfast:
Oatmeal with raisins
Greek yogurt with agave
Regular fruit yogurt
Peanut butter toast

Snacks:
Celery/carrots with peanut butter
Apples
Toast with peanut butter

Groceries for SNAP Challenge 2014 | doughseedough.net

We did most of our shopping at Aldi, as I’ve found that it’s the most economical option out there. I ended up getting two things from the Asian grocery store near our house, since Aldi doesn’t carry ginger or tofu. Here’s the breakdown of what we bought:

Produce:

  • Cilantro: 0.69
  • Onions: 1.79
  • Celery: 0.49
  • Avocados (2): 0.49 each
  • 3 pack of garlic: 0.79
  • Baby spinach: 1.79
  • Granny smith apples: 3.29
  • Lemons: 2.29
  • Bananas: 1.20
  • Carrots: 0.99
  • Ginger: free (from the Asian grocery store -this always happens when I get the 1″ nubs of ginger)
  • Corn (3): 1.00 (from farmers’ market)

Dairy:

  • Extra sharp cheddar: 1.99
  • Individual yogurt cups (4): 0.39 each
  • Parmesan: 1.99
  • Low fat cottage cheese: 2.29
  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt tub: 3.89

Protein:

  • Eggs: 1.15
  • Chicken breasts: 5.99
  • Firm tofu: 1.79 (from Asian grocery store)

Canned/dried:

  • Natural creamy peanut butter: 1.49
  • Diced tomatoes (2): 0.59 each
  • Black beans (2): 0.59 each
  • Tomato sauce: 0.25
  • Tortilla chips: 1.69
  • Spaghetti sauce: 0.99
  • Agave: 2.49
  • Old fashioned oats: 2.29
  • Whole grain spaghetti (2): 0.89 each
  • Lasagna noodles: 1.49
  • Lemon juice: 1.89
  • Raisins: 2.89
  • Whole wheat bread: 1.29

Total: $56.85 ($2.65 left)

What we picked from the garden: the few tomatoes we had left, two small bell peppers, hot peppers, and zucchini.

I think I did OK, but I won’t really be able to tell until the week is over. I will admit that I had a minor meltdown while we were shopping because I realized that I hadn’t planned for enough meals. I had to figure out another meal last-minute and hack off a bunch of “extras” we had on our list like coffee (Mike willingly gave this up!), almonds, peanuts, and more fruit and vegetables.

 


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Hunger Action Month

This year, I share my birthday with Hunger Action Day, the kick-off to Hunger Action Month. Just like last year, the kick-off starts with Turn Orange for Hunger Relief. So, today I’m donning orange (okay, orangish-pink – I don’t own anything that’s orange), bringing in orange-themed birthday treats, and spending my afternoon volunteering at a food bank.

As customary, I brought in birthday treats to share with the team – pumpkin cookies, baby carrots, orange bell peppers, and cheese crackers and sent an email out to the team announcing that I had brought in orange treats for my birthday (in support of Hunger Action Month) and asked them all to join me in participating in this year’s SNAP Challenge.

I participated in the SNAP Challenge last year and I’m set to do it again this year from September 15 – 21, 2014. For those of you who missed it, you can catch my blog posts about it here. The Challenge last year was to live off of $4.50 a day. Since last year, SNAP benefits have been cut by about 5.5%. So, this year’s challenge is even harder – live off of $4.25 a day.

The $4.25 includes everything you eat or drink. This means morning runs to your favorite coffee shop are out of the question. In fact, it might mean that coffee is out of the question. I don’t drink it, but last year Mike had to give it up for the week so we could stick to our budget. A reduction of $0.25 might seem insignificant, but losing that money means something will probably have to drop off my grocery list.

Eating on a limited budget for one week in no way encompasses the struggles that low-income families face on a daily basis, but it gives you a glimpse into what life can be like for millions of low-income families. Participating in the Challenge and sharing your experiences will help raise awareness. I ask you to try living on $1.50 a meal for a week (or even for a day!) to  gain a better understanding of what low-income families face on a week-to-week and month-to-month basis.

If you aren’t up to take the SNAP Challenge, I ask that you take one night this month to go and volunteer at a local food bank. Or donate some food or money. Every little bit helps.


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Mediterranean Chopped Salad

I have a secret: I made this dish months ago. Back when spring was barely showing its face in Wisconsin. I took one bite of the salad and knew that this was going to be absolutely perfect for summer. The salad was delicious back in the spring when it was made from not-quite-in-season veggies. Now that it’s summer, I urge you to take advantage of the delicious, local veggies at a farmers’ market near you. I walk through the Appleton or Madison market every week and the bountiful produce makes my day. I can’t eat this salad right now (it doesn’t fit into my diet quiet yet), but I can dream about it. I’m hoping that my food issues get sorted out before the summer is over so I can take advantage of the fresh veggies from the market and in my garden.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad | doughseedough.net

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

1 medium cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 small red onion minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1 romaine heart, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Ground black pepper

  1. Place cucumber and tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and gently toss to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, and garlic. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, onion, and parsley; toss to combine and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. Add romaine and feta and toss until ingredients are evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste before serving.

 

recipe very slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen


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One Pan Sausage Skillet Dinner

It’s been quite a few days and I still smell campfire everywhere I go. I finally realized that it wasn’t my skin, hair, or clothing. The smell has somehow permeated into my glasses. I’ve soaked and scrubbed them, but to no avail. I love campfires, but this is a little much! I guess from now on I’ll have to camp sans-glasses. Essentially blind. I may end up just falling into the campfire…

When you’re camping, the fewer dishes to wash, the better. Seriously. Mike and I are so determined to keep our dirty dishes to a minimum that we ate straight out of the pan instead of dirtying two plates 🙂 This one-pan meal takes minutes to throw together and minutes to clean up. If you don’t have a fire to cook over, try baking this in the oven!

One Pan Sausage Skillet Dinner | doughseedough.net

(Please forgive me for the photo – turns out that Me + Camera – Light – Tripod = Disaster)

One Pan Sausage Skillet Dinner 

serves 4 – 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 large red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound baby carrots
1/2 pound mushrooms, halved (quartered if large)
12 ounce package of chicken sausage (I used Johnsonville’s Chipotle & Jack sausage)
4 beef bouillon cubes, crushed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, chicken broth, or water
shredded cheddar cheese, optional

  1. Coat a large cast iron skillet with olive oil. Arrange potatoes on bottom in an even layer. Spread onions, garlic, carrots and mushrooms evenly on top. Arrange sausage over the vegetables.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together beef bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, dried minced onion, and black pepper. Sprinkle spices and soy sauce over the sausage and vegetables. Cover the skillet tightly with heavy-duty foil and cook over a fire for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until potatoes and carrots or tender and sausage is cooked through. Sprinkle with cheese, cover and return to fire for an additional 1 – 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.


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Turkey & Rice Taco Skillet

Before I dive into our weekend adventures and the recipe,  I want to explain why I haven’t been posting as much (and why I’m eating dairy again). I’m unable to complete even a simple 5 mile run without almost collapsing. I can’t eat without being sick. Two of the most important things in my life: running and food, are now what frustrate me the most.  I’m taking it a day at a time, praying that my doctors can figure out what’s wrong with me soon so I can go back to being normal. Until then, I’ll be posting a bit less; it’s hard to post new recipes when you don’t each much of anything besides cereal and salads 🙂

But onto happier things… Mike and I went on our first camping trip of the season this past weekend with our pups. It rained Friday, but Saturday was picture-perfect and we were able to get in a nice long hike. Really long hike. Because we got lost. But hey, what’s the point of life without a little adventure? I’ve got two camping meals to share with you this week. For our Friday night dinner, I made a Turkey and Rice Taco Skillet. It was pouring, but we huddled under the tarp with the dogs and ate our dinner. It was the perfect meal to keep us warm in the cold, wet weather. I figured I would share this recipe first since it kind of works with the whole Cinco de Mayo thing, too.

Though this was made over a campfire, it is easily adaptable to be made at home on the stove top. That’s the beauty of cast iron – it can be used inside and outside. I’ve finally gotten my “inside use” Dutch oven and skillet to where they are pretty darn well seasoned. The skillet I used while we were camping, though, has been on hundreds of camping trips with Mike when he was growing up. The skillet is so perfectly seasoned that it puts my pieces to shame. I guess I have something to work on, eh?

Turkey & Rice Taco Skillet {camping meal} | doughseedough.net

Turkey and Rice Taco Skillet
serves 4 – 6

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, minced (seeded if desired)
1.25 pounds lean ground turkey
1 packet hot taco seasoning mix
4 cups water, divided
3 cups Minute Brown Rice
1 – 15 ounce can corn
1 – 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 – 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes with jalapenos
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
sour cream to garnish
olive oil spray

  1. Spray a large 12″ cast iron skillet with olive oil. Add garlic, onion, and jalapeno and cook over the fire (or medium-high heat) until onions are tender. Add the turkey and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in taco seasoning and two cups of water. Bring to a simmer and stir in rice and remaining two cups of water. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and corn and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed.
  2. To serve, divide between 4 – 6 bowls. Sprinkle with lettuce, cheese and top off with sour cream.

 

 


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Spring Veggie Quinoa Power Bowls

Spring is here. With spring, comes spring cleaning. Most people clean out their closets and rid the house of dust bunnies. Why don’t ya take it one step further and clean up your lunchtime routine? Stop running to the closest fast food joint and prep this at home the night before instead. Your body will thank you.

I love quinoa for its amazing health benefits. It has protein, fiber, and iron, plus lots of vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy and help it repair itself. It’s naturally gluten free and it is one of the few plant foods that is considered a complete protein. As an added bonus, the texture is really, really cool. It can be a bit on the pricier side when you compare it to other grains like pasta, bread, and rice, but it’s worth the cost. (Hint: I like getting it from Costco. They come in huge bags for a good price and it lasts forever.) Asparagus is also packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. How could you not love a veggie that is a cancer-fightin’, health-improvin’ machine?

spring veggie quinoa power bowls | doughseedough.net

This quinoa bowl is packed with goodness and is so easy to throw together. It’s ready in under 30 minutes and it’s good warm, cold or at room temp. What more could you ask for?

Spring Veggie Quinoa Power Bowls | doughseedough.net

Quinoa Power Bowls
serves 4

1 cup quinoa
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
olive oil spray
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1 ½ – 2 inch pieces
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 – 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 large lemon, juiced
8 cups spring mix (lettuce or other salad base of choice works, too)
4 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup almonds
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the dish. Spray a large pan with olive oil. Add garlic and onion and saute for 1 – 2 minutes, or until onion softens. Add asparagus, bell pepper, and garbanzo beans and cook until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 3 – 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and squeeze lemon juice over the vegetables. Toss to combine.
  3. To serve, divide the spring mix between four bowls. Fluff quinoa with a fork and place on top of greens. Top with vegetables, feta, and almonds.

 

adapted from Clean Eating Magazine


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Fresh Pineapple Salsa

I’ve been loving the spring weather this week. All the snow is gone and the temps have been warm enough for me to run in a tee. Mike and I are hoping to take advantage of this weather by going on a nice, long hike and with the pups this weekend and then grilling out after. Fingers crossed that the forecast is wrong and that it doesn’t rain!

This pineapple salsa is sweet with the perfect amount of heat. It’s super versatile, too. I ate it with chicken, with pretzel thins, and even just straight-up with a spoon.

Fresh Pineapple Salsa | doughseedough.net

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

1/2 pineapple peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large nonreactive bowl, stir together pineapple, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.