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Thread: welfare food challenge

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    According to the NDP no one can live off welfare rates in Ontario. My landlord got so tired of overdue rent that they have agreed to having a community food bank in their common unit. Units are now encouraged to place their furniture in front of their doors for giveaway prior to bi-yearly large items pickup days.
    Several individuals' suggestions.
    Dried beans are great if you are willing to soak and cook. Then I freeze them in baggies—1 1/2 cups same as a can. I get 6 cans worth for the price of one can.
    I don’t soak at all, I cook in tap water, and I do not drain before freezing. I bag 4 generous quart-sized bags from 2 pounds of dried black beans, plus an onion, some garlic cloves, and salt. They cook up in 2-3 hours of simmering (after a 10 minute hard boil), and each bag, paired with a cup of rice, cooked, will feed my family of 5 with leftovers. We add cheese, tomato, and peppers and onions if we have them. One of my kids’ favorite meals.
    When the panic buying set in during the early pandemic, I was resting easy because we normally have at least 30 lbs. of various dried beans, lentils, and chickpeas in the house. Plus oatmeal, canned tomatoes, different flours, etc.
    Sometimes when I go at the end of a farmer's market a lot of farmers are wanting to get rid of stuff for cheap. Take advantage of neighbors who grow things and have extras. I have a neighbor who sells zucchinis for 10 cents and tomatoes for 20 cents. Some neighbors have apples that they just let fall to the ground and rot , ask if you can have them. Also, your freezer is your friend. No, these options don't work for many or most people. But it might help some folks!
    We gardened more than we have in a while. I canned tomatoes, chilli sauce, tomato sauce, jam and froze shredded zucchini, cooked buttercup squash and pumpkin. I have a dry pantry, full freezer, and bake bread 3x a week. I'm going to pull out my pressure cooker and can protein as it goes on sale-- and also stews and soup
    "not vegan, but eggs and potatoes got me thru many years of poverty" "Beans and potatoes are where it’s at." "Produce is much cheaper at Asian or Mexican markets." " great tip! Herbs and spices too." "Eat less ,avoid junk food, rice potatoes and proteins in you own food pyramid."
    I eat ramen as my main meal 3-4 days a week. I use half the seasoning packet & add veg (frozen or sale fresh), dried spices & tuna or an egg. It turns into a quality, healthy meal, very easily & cheaply
    buy frozen veggies and fruits of your choice
    Buy the bulk chicken and Turkey for lean protein meats. Buy cheaper cuts of beef and pork and slow cook then in a crockpot to be tenderRice, pasta, and potatoes, are your cheap carbs. Beans, lentils, etc are healthy and high in protein while being very cheap.
    For variety, simply alternate your protein, veggie, and carb choices and use different seasonings
    You can eat healthy. Omit junk food, sugar, processed foods, and drink water. Grow your own.
    Finding healthy food is not tough and does not have to cost more then crappy food. But it may not be what people want to eat. Skinless chicken breast is cheaper then most all the pork and beef where i live. Dried rice and beans are not expensive. Frozen veggies can be as healthy if not healthier then fresh and can cost less. For the price of a big Mac fries and drink a healthy meal can easily be made and probably will spend less in the future with their lower heath care costs. so there is long term saving too!
    Just stick to the perimeter of the grocery store and acquaint yourself with bulk bins and freezer bags.
    Repeating other suggestions
    If you are making something with ground beef, cook up and add a small portion (1/4 to 1/2 cup per pound of ground beef) of cooked lentils. (I cook up a batch of lentils, portion them and have individual servings in the freezer I can pull out and add to recipes) They have a similar consistency of ground beef and don't change the flavor.
    Also if the recipe doesn't call for an onion with ground beef, I always add one. And extra onion can add a half cup portion of food.
    Also rice. If a casserole or recipe like soup doesn't have rice, I will add it to add some bulk and filler.
    Beans, rice, lentils, potatoes, onions, are always cheap and can help add extra portions to meals if you find creative ways to add them.
    Stretching can of chicken noodle soup ideas. The one soup that I don't know what to do with.
    -Transform Chicken Noodle Soup Into Ramen
    Elevate a can of classic chicken noodle soup into a delectable bowl of ramen! Add in fresh veggies like carrots and scallions, soft boiled eggs, and top it with cilantro, fresh ginger, sriracha and sesame seeds.
    -Most recipes are saying add more chicken, noodles and vegetables.
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    Someone's suggestion on stretching food to save money.
    Learn to stretch food.
    If you are making something with ground beef, cook up and add a small portion (1/4 to 1/2 cup per pound of ground beef) of cooked lentils. (I cook up a batch of lentils, portion them and have individual servings in the freezer I can pull out and add to recipes) They have a similar consistency of ground beef and don't change the flavor.
    Also if the recipe doesn't call for an onion with ground beef, I always add one. And extra onion can add a half cup portion of food.
    Also rice. If a casserole or recipe like soup doesn't have rice, I will add it to add some bulk and filler.
    Beans, rice, lentils, potatoes, onions, are always cheap and can help add extra portions to meals if you find creative ways to add them.

    Stretching can of chicken noodle soup ideas. The one soup that I don't know what to do with.
    -Transform Chicken Noodle Soup Into Ramen
    Elevate a can of classic chicken noodle soup into a delectable bowl of ramen! Add in fresh veggies like carrots and scallions, soft boiled eggs, and top it with cilantro, fresh ginger, sriracha and sesame seeds.
    -Most recipes are saying add more chicken, noodles and vegetables.
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    I've heard a lot of complaints about not being able to afford protein. There are lots of choices.
    Cheap protein sources
    Animal sources- tuna, greek yogurt, eggs, sardines, cottage cheese, whey powder, milk, salmon, turkey, chicken, lean beef, fish, shellfish, cheese, protein shakes, liver, bone broth

    Plant sources- sunflower seeds, beans, lentils, oats, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, peanuts, almonds, chickpeas, hummus, granola, nut butter, popcorn, buckwheat, couscous, wild rice, millet, peas, TVP, spelt, nuts and seeds, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, corn, guava, mullberries, blackberries, nectarines, bananas, soy milk, legumes, brown rice, avocado, wheat bran, falafel, whole wheat pasta, coconut, cauliflower, bok choy, sprouted soybeans, yeast extract spread,

    Junk food- peanut butter cups/eggs (one of the highest sources of protein 4g in a miniature cup)

    Expensive but portable- jerky, trail mix, energy bites, beef sticks, protein bars, nut bars, dried peaches, dried apricot, dried shiitake mushrooms, dried celery flakes, dried ancho peppers, freeze-dried shallots, dried pasílla peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, dried gogi berries, freeze dried leeks, dried seaweed, freeze-dried peppers, freeze-dried chives, freeze-dried parsley,

    Have not tried- edamame (freezer section), amaranth (inexpensive), quinoa, pea protein powder, Ezekiel bread, chia seeds (chia pudding), teff (whole grain), tofu, anchovies, seitan (mock meat), tempeh, nutritional yeast (powder tastes like cheese), hemp seeds, spirulina (blue-green algae), cherimoyas, mycoprotein (found in meat substitutes, beef protein powder, collagen, einkorn flour, drumstick leaves, raw winged bean tuber,
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    Golden Milk was the poor man's coffee which is also an anti-inflammatory.
    In a saucepan, combine 1 cup (237 ml) of milk or a non-dairy alternative with 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger and a pinch of black pepper. Optionally, add honey to taste.
    Warm the mixture on low to medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
    Once heated, pour the drink into a mug and enjoy.
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    Thanksgiving leftovers.
    Turkey Noodle Stew, In a large stew pot add turkey meat, add turkey gravy, add peas and carrots, add yams or sweet or mashed potatoes, add stuffings, add egg noodles, add enough water to fill the pot up to about 1 inch from the top, bring it to a boil on high heat, then simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Add a little salt and pepper to taste, let cool and enjoy a nice warm bowl of it. A nice batch of warm dinner rolls with butter, is great with the stew.
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    Government rationing
    Grated carrots cuts down the use of sugar. Suet cheap concentrated calories. Parsnips and small amount of banana stretches out bananas. Wheat germ reduces the amount of flour needed. Substitute for mayonnaise-Steamed potato pushed thru a sieve with vinegar, salt, pepper and a little bit of oil.
    Rationing caused the British population to become healthier. Low income got 1 pint of free milk per day. All children were given free cod liver oil. Meat rations were based upon price so cheap cuts gave you more. Trading your food scraps (modern green bins) for chicken eggs or half a pig's head. The government implemented canning kitchens so farmers and gardeners could preserve their vegetables. Burning weeds created potash for healthy tomatoes. Fats and oils were save for cooking. You couldn't save your ration coupons for next week so people "collected" extra for Christmas and other special occasions.
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    Figuring out how to save money on groceries is a hobby of mine which also got me several employment situations. I'm currently reading a website with people's personal examples in Canada. Some things don't translate well or can actually be expanded upon. I also don't believe anyone can live on $50 per month food budget without accessing help from others. Many claim they can but never give examples of what they eat. Backyard gardens and raising animals are not free.
    -Keep grapes fresher longer. Leave them in the original packaging in a high humidity part of the refrigerator. You can also put them in a glass jar (repurposing your trash) and keep in the refrigerator. Freeze the grapes if you can't use them in time. Snip off the bad parts and eat the rest of it.
    -Dairy products are interchangeable and can be frozen. Use ice cube trays to make smaller quantity cubes. 10% cream can be substituted for sour cream and buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice.
    -Save your cooking water which is called "stock". Potato water can be used for thickening soups. Use glass jars (repurposing again) for lunches away from home. You need to remove the lid and ring when heating them up.
    -Frozen bread dough, frozen Italian bread and frozen French bread are exactly the same thing except for their shapes. Chose the cheapest of the three.
    Translations:
    Masa Harina in latin stores is instant corn masa flour in grocery stores.
    Sticky rice is any rice that forms a ball. Jasmine rice kept coming up in preferred shopping lists at the health clinics.
    Bulgar wheat is quinoa in Canada.
    Fajitas are meat strips from the shank of the animal.
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    New recipe for those on an extremely low food budget.
    Mujaddara Meal Kit
    This is the recipe for the meal kit developed by Newcomer Kitchen and GlobalMedic, sent to displaced Syrian families at camps across the Middle East. This dish serves 6 to 8 people, and is often served with pickled vegetables and salad. Recipe courtesy of GlobalMedic.
    2 cups bulgur wheat
    1 cup lentils, rinsed
    2/3 cup dried onions
    2 tsp. salt
    1. In a covered pot, bring 8 to 9 cups of water to a boil.
    2. Add lentils, cover and boil for 7 minutes.
    3. Add remaining ingredients to the lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes, covered.
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    These MPPs have no creativity skills if they are eating just rice, pasta and bread. The video I posted showed that fast food condiments are wanted so everyone should be saving them for food bank donations.
    Here are some lists from other people.
    "Disagree... With $50/week one person can buy 12 eggs, 1 bag potatoes, 1 bag 4L milk, 1 package beans/lentils, rice/pasta, 1 tomato sauce can, $10 for vegetables, $5 for fruits, $15 for meat."
    "Fresh food, I like frozen veggies, they're way cheaper than fresh."
    "No sugar either or they will get hit with a Tax"
    "I can eat very well for $200/month, don't buy packaged or junk food. Buy what is on sale. Above all buy what you need not what you want"
    "Having lived on a lot less than $48 a week for groceries, admittedly 20 years ago, the best diet, although boring that i came up with was buy a big bag (8kg) of rice, a few pounds of hot dogs or other really cheap type of meat, a 3 lb bag of onions, soy sauce, and the a few bags of the really cheap version of frozen mixed vegetables, and eat hot dog fried rice 3 meals a day 7 days a week. I was working with about $10 a week in 2003 when i followed that diet."
    .
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirandrewr View Post
    "I can eat very well for $200/month, don't buy packaged or junk food. Buy what is on sale. Above all buy what you need not what you want"
    I do it with only $100 / month and can gain weight.
    My food may not befit a king, but I eat like a horse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sirandrewr View Post
    I also don't believe anyone can live on $50 per month food budget without accessing help from others. Many claim they can but never give examples of what they eat.
    I do it for $100 / month. Here's how:

    Daily requirements:
    750mL dairy (or 6 slices of cheese)
    225g meat
    225g grains and cereals
    454g fruit vegetables

    Discounted dairy sells for $1/litre or $2 for 22 slices of cheese on sale. Daily cost $0.55
    RCSS 4x pounds lean turkey for $10 frozen = Daily cost $1.25
    Walmart discounted bread $0.61 / lb = $0.31 daily
    Walmart discounted fruit & veg (approx. $2 / 3 lb) = $0.66 daily

    $0.55
    $1.25
    $0.31
    $0.66

    $2.80 daily cost of food

    Anyone can do it. Most are just too lazy to care or bother. They would rather sit on the couch and whine about how unfair the world is, while they eat hugely expensive and unhealthy Pringles.
    Last edited by HermanH; Mon, Aug 14th, 2023 at 12:34 PM.
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    My food may not befit a king, but I eat like a horse.

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    @sirandrewr I enjoyed reading through the many options you gave to buy, the methods you use to cook, store, and how being creative gave you the ability to serve your family their meals each day. I think the one word I associate with all of it is thankfulness.
    We should all be thankful to have so many options at the grocery stores.
    You've clearly shown the possibilities of working with less grocery dollars without sacrificing quality nutrition.

    My only fly in the ointment is for anyone who has special diet restrictions. ( gluten free, allergies to dairy, nut allergies ) , these and other food related restrictions can make it near impossible to use their limited grocery dollars was economically. The special foods always cost more. Organic? anyone on a very tight food budget can only dream of eating organic produce.

    We no longer have to budget as tightly for food now as we used to when the kids were here. Grown up and moved out. ( well, 1 hanger on still....ha ha )
    The thing is I STILL shop for groceries the same way I did when we were struggling. Today for example, I was appalled at the prices of fresh berries, so I only bought the $1.44 blueberries. When berries are not on sale I walk away. Same for meats, I usually buy the lesser cuts, but only when they have the 30% off stickers attached. I portion and freeze.

    Thanks for all your insights. Should be very helpful to a few sc members I am sure.
    Last edited by walkonby; Mon, Aug 14th, 2023 at 01:17 PM.
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    The social club is working on all the dietary restrictions and braining storming ideas. Hala and Kosher is exactly the same thing with the exception of the blessing. The board requires a doctor's note for issues like allergies and gluten free. So far they have found a lower cost butcher, called around for free food and asked if anyone has a Costco membership. It's all volunteer and community work. The landlord will be taking a vote to see if everyone is willing to pay $ to reimburse gasoline costs.
    This idea all started with someone not paying their rent for a year and another not having insurance to cover their very large damage bill.
    Last edited by sirandrewr; Mon, Aug 14th, 2023 at 02:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HermanH View Post
    Walmart discounted fruit & veg (approx. $2 / 3 lb) = $0.66 daily
    Walmart is discontinuing its $1, $2, or $3 clearance bags for fruits and veggies. Need to re-think this part of the budget.
    Last edited by HermanH; Mon, Aug 28th, 2023 at 04:57 AM.
    My food may not befit a king, but I eat like a horse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HermanH View Post
    Walmart is discontinuing its $1, $2, or $3 clearance bags for fruits and veggies. Need to re-think this part of the budget.
    Fortinos has bundled fresh foods, as well as 1/2price on bakery. Food Basics also has very affordable day old veg and fruits. RCSS has discounted fruits but I find the quality is borderline at best. Also, check out the Flashfood app. They have good deals at times, but you have to be in the area.


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