About this Blog

Welcome! Thanks for checking out On Food Stamps.

I created this blog in 2009 when I began working at the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. My work at this organization opened my eyes to food justice issues in America, and I had a strong desire to better understand the difficulties many people face when trying to access healthy food on a limited budget. So, I embarked on my own Food Stamp Challenge, living on $31/week as a vegan. I used this blog to chronicle my experience.

While my Food Stamp Challenge project has come to an end, you can see what I learned from it by reading the Greatest Hits posts linked to the right side of the page. Please excuse any out-of-date links, as I am no longer updating this blog on a regular basis.

Stay Hungry,


Friday, March 5, 2010

Rice Balls

I fear, sometimes, that I am slowly becoming obsessed with not wasting food.

The other day I realized I went out to lunch for my boss's birthday. The Mexican restaurant had such large portions that I was left with another meal's worth of leftovers. This extra food put me over the edge - I already had more pre-made healthy lunches lined up for the week than I could finish, and now there was no way I'd get through all the food I had. So, I left the Mexican food leftovers on 5th and Main Street in Downtown L.A. while I went to a bookstore. I came out 15 minutes later and they were gone. Probably didn't hurt that I was 2 blocks from skid row.

A few things to think about when leaving food for someone on the street:
(1) I always label my to-go boxes with a friendly note and a date and a description of the food.
(2) I always try to include disposable silverware if the meal requires a fork and knife to eat.
(3) Good places to leave the food include the top of trash cans, near bus stops, or anywhere that homeless individuals might find it easily.

Another example of this obsession with not wasting food: tonight, I made rice balls.
Yes, rice balls.

I realized again that I had too much food, and this extra rice in my fridge was killing me. It was getting soggy and so unappetizing... but I just couldn't throw it out!

Here is the recipe I created:


1 large bowl of cooked rice
1 egg
flour - add as you go
crushed nuts (I used pecans)
spices of your choice (I used basil flakes...)

Crack the egg into the bowl of rice and mix well. Start adding flour little by little until you get the rice mixture to a consistency that will ball up easily when rolled in your hands. Turn the oven to 425 and start making rice balls! I rolled mine in either oats, crushed nuts, or spices. (Basil flakes, for example.) Pop the balls in the oven on a cookie sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes. You might also try flattening one batch to make rice-ball-pancakes.

I'm planning to eat my recycled rice creations w/ a fried egg and salsa from the Farmers' Market tomorrow morning for breakfast. Any other ideas of how I might make rice balls more exciting?

Honestly, what a thing to be doing on a Friday night...

At least there was great music!


  1. Such a simple act of kindness may have made ALL the difference for some needy soul.

    I am sooooooooo proud of you, Julie.

    Mother Connie

  2. so ur the angel that left the food!! i always park next to the tents when i hang out at my usual bar and have sorta gotten to know the "regulars" that live there. i saw the food out there and wondered wat kind soul left it. thank u so much for caring...

  3. I can top that obsession Julie, I never ask for a styrofoam conatiner for leftovers just reuse any suitable plastic container. Cottage cheese jugs from my neighbors recycle bin works well.
    Usually when it's "that time" to pack my leftovers my dinning compainions/family have already headed for the door. They pretend not to know me until we are actually on the bus. Did you get any raised eyebrows from your coworkers?
    Great idea to pay it forward!

  4. Hi, Julie,

    My name is Kate Reynolds, and I run a blog called Tucson on the Cheap with Christy Campbell, a senior at the University of Arizona. Together we've been scouring the web in search of the top 75 frugal blogs in 2010. We really enjoy "On Food Stamps."

    Congratulations--your blog made our list of the Top 75. Seriously, we looked all over the place and spent many, many hours checking and re-checking. We wanted only blogs that offered good tips or great ways for people to save money. We aimed to collect the best of the best.

    We wrote a post called "Best 75 Frugal Blogs of 2010" and thought you might like to see it:


    Again, our congratulations.

    Kind regards.

    Kate & Christy


  5. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comFebruary 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    Hi Julie,

    Healthline is interested in contributing a guest post to onfoodstamps.blogspot.com/. We would be open to contributing any blog that would be of interest to your readers. Healthline bloggers have been featured on a variety of sites including:

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    Patch.com: http://strongsville.patch.com/blog_posts/where-and-what-to-eat-in-cleveland-to-beat-the-winter-blues

    Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

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    p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline Networks, Inc. • Connect to Better Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 www.healthline.com

  6. I can see the hardwork done by the blog owner.Keep Posting such great things again.Looking forward for your next post.