SNAP Challenge Part 3: The Big Prep and How Snacking Just Got Stressful

I Learned a Little About Beans:

Let’s start with dried beans. I picked them because they were much cheaper per pound and I think I would be getting a higher yield from my purchase. I ended up with three, half a pound, bags of beans. I picked pinto beans, black beans, and a mix called “10 bean soup.” I was already sure that soup would be a good option for this week, so they had me interested because it seemed somewhat like a premix.

I did, however, have to look up what to do with them when I got home. Lauren told me soaking was a must. So into three bowls of water, they went (you might have already seen that on my last blog), and I was able to let them sit there all night while I slept. Super easy. In the morning I poured each bean bowl into a colander and gently rinsed them before putting back into pots to cook with new water.

The Stakes Just Got Higher:

While you might know I want to donate goods to a local food bank (if you read the first blog), I also wanted to share this new addition to the challenge.

My Aunt Shari has been such a big supporter of me my whole life. I love her dearly and I, of course, I always hope I’m making her proud. Today she offered to keep me even more on track by promising to donate DOUBLE the amount of money I do at the end of the challenge to her local food bank as well.

I can’t even begin to say how thankful I am to not only have her believe in me but to believe in this cause too. The point is always to raise awareness and give back where I can, and I’m so lucky to have another reason to keep going and the support to do so.

Now with the stakes higher – I need to keep pushing forward. But there is something unexpected that has been harder than I thought it was going to be.

Will Snacking Break Me?

Seriously. Will it? Cause it feels like it will be my downfall. No Joke.

Let’s start with this. I’m a mindless snacker. I like to have lots of snack on hand. Unsweet applesauce cups. Fruit bowls, nuts, popcorn, tortilla chips, natural trail mix…and it goes on and on. And of course, this is where I’m struggling. I don’t have a whole cupboard full of grab and go snacks at my disposal. In fact, the only thing not assigned to a meal are the apples I bought.

So instead of being able to grab my usual snacks, when I did reach for something to eat, all I had soup ready.

Although now after taking to my Aunt I realize I might be overlooking some great snack ideas. One would be crisping up tortillas cut into triangles and making homemade chips. Also trying this with potatoes and potentially fries. All grab and go stuff for my snacking needs.

Speaking of soup…

Prepping for Convenience:

I had the chance to soak beans for the first time. I soaked all three types overnight and in the morning did two things with them. The first was to put the 10 bean mix into a crock pot with onions, carrots, and the Italian seasoning mix on high for 5 hours to cook into a soup. The same soup I was snacking on.

The second thing I was able to prep was the other two beans, black and pinto beans, and I cooked them for a little over an hour on the stove with the same spices and onion and simmered it gently. After it was all cooked I packed everything up and put it in the fridge. I also drained and saved all of the bean stock from the cooked down beans. I’m not sure how I’ll use it besides in my “refried” beans, but I heard to keep it!

The more I have prepped, the more food I can make on the fly and pack into meals.

Meals We Made:

Our dinner was amazing! First I learned how to make “refried” beans. I took all the beans and put them into a frying pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil. I mashed it all down and added some salt and a little splash of bean stock.

I used this as the base of my veggie tacos, and for Matt I cooked up his turkey burgers and put them with the same sides I had. He was a big fan of the “refried beans too! And if you’re wondering why I keep using quotations, it’s because I don’t think this is how to authentically make them but it was my closest attempt.

While I’m not using my usual brand of sprouted tortillas, I did find a fresh local brand that makes them with out a lot of ingredients so that’s a plus!

Meals From Lauren:

So Lauren has been busy cooking up her grocery haul as well, and I wanted to share her awesome foods.

I think so far I have learned that even the most basic ingredients (without all the fancy condiments and things from my cupboard I’m used to) make really, really flavorful and exciting meals.

If you want to see why and how I started this challenge click here, and if you want to get right into what I bought and how much I spent you can catch up on that here!