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 Please excuse any out-of-date links, as I am no longer updating this blog on a regular basis.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,


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Workin-with-what-you-got Salad

Eating well on a budget means that every week one must commit to finding a way to combine everything that is left in the fridge into a delicious meal. No food can be wasted.

So, what do you do when your fridge has limes, oranges, a bell pepper and some eggs?

Make dinner!

I made a delicious salad with a slightly weird combination. Here is the recipe:

Chop 1 pepper
Peel and cube 1 orange
Drizzle olive oil on the chopped salad
Squeeze lime juice over the salad
Add a pinch of salt and Toss it!

I ate this salad with a hard boiled egg.

What combinations have you made on fridge clean-up days?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Meatless Mondays in San Fran!

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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!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cabbage by Candlelight

One of the most important things about eating well on a budget is embracing creativity and reinvention in a situation of limited resources. You've got to get down with using the same ingredients over and over again. Don't think of it as boring. Think of it as creatively challenging. The better you get to know those familiar ingredients throughout a given week or season, the more comfortable you get with being creative in how you prepare them.

Tonight was one such experience.

The cabbage and tofu dish I cooked the other night is now gone. But, there is still cabbage in my fridge (for the 4th week in a row since it is winter...). There is still tofu. There is still dill. The scallions and onion were gone, and the fridge was pretty empty besides.

So, I had to get creative. I checked my new favorite cookbook, pictured above, to see what it had to say about cabbage. Many cabbage recipes called for sweet and sour combinations. Interesting.

What else did I have?


Miso paste. A few limes. Dried hot chilies. Kinda reminds me of Pho.

I started to see some possibilities. Here is a recipe for a totally different dinner with essentially the same main ingredients from two nights ago. Only the flavoring elements and ratios of liquid have changed.

Sweet and Sour Soup

3/4 head of cabbage
grated ginger (2-3 teaspoons. Fresh!)
a teaspoon of minced garlic
several sprigs of dill
cubed tofu (firm)
miso paste
dried hot chilies
key lime or normal lime juice
wild card "secret" ingredient: LOCAL WILDFLOWER HONEY

  • Put 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a deep, soup-friendly pot. Once its hot, add the garlic, ginger and chilies. Saute for several minutes, stirring often.
  • Add chopped cabbage to the pot and stir to cover the cabbage in the spicy oil. Cover for 5 minutes. Stir more.
  • Chop tofu. Check cabbage. Stir it?
  • Dance. Taste it. Dance.
Psychic City (Classixx Remix)
(Choice line = "And the kitchen might say... hang around baby, we'll be baking a cake for you...")
  • Ok, now it is heating up. Add a few cups of water to the mix and drop in little bits of miso paste. Stir to help the paste dissolve. Cover more. Amuse yourself somehow for several minutes.
  • Add squeezed lime juice. Add a dill, as much as you think you'll like. The broth should be getting interesting.
  • Cover and really let the flavors mesh.
  • Now, taste it.
  • Add honey. As much as you think it needs.
  • Let the whole thing come together for a bit by leaving the pot for a few minute with the lid on. Keep tasting. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Done!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Soda = The New Tobacco

Thank you New York Times, for this great Valentines Day article.


Soda = The New Tobacco

Thank you New York Times, for this great Valentines Day article.