Hunger Challenge Day 3: Spinach Quiche Cups

Spinach Quiche Cups

Nathan and I are living off of $4.72 per day per person this week as part of the SF Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge. This includes  preparation and time… I’m blogging my ramblings of the challenge this week.



Sometimes, there’s an itch you really want to scratch and you can’t quite scratch it. A spot under your shoulder blade. Orangettes from Fauchon. My cravings are typical and exotic at the same time just like anyone else. This week though, they’ve taken on a more commonplace tone.

In hearing the clink of coffee cups, the swoosh of cereal in a bowl, I’m Pavlov’s creature. All of a sudden, I feel a need for dark coffee tinged with organic milk and raw honey. I hear my heart’s desire say the words “Corn” and “Flakes”. Oh dear.

Hunger does interesting things to a person.

In a room full of my peers who know me, like me and usually let me lead our motley band in sun salutations in the afternoons, I feel left out. This challenge is my choice for the week, but it gives me a small perspective on what it might feel like else-wise. I may be taking this challenge too far by not drinking the free coffee at work, but I think one of the aims is to stretch beyond my comfort zone. Interestingly, I am drinking more water than I have thought to put down in a day and that is itself a great boon. It does something to the spirit and attacks  self-worth. There are moments when I want to throw in the towel, want to join in the festivities and yet that is not my path this week. I’m feeling distracted and slightly edgy, which means to say ornery with a capital O. Yesterday the idea of a chocolate malt made with Double Rainbow Ultra Chocolate took root and I spoke it aloud, hoping its power would subside.

Eating on a restricted budget the way we are doing it chez nous, is a lot like dieting. A lot of no’s.

Would you like to come over for dinner?
Do you want to go grab lunch after our meeting?

Dieting as I knew it in my earlier years involves restriction too albeit different restrictions. Saying no with carte blanche abandon. For a week I am forced to ignore my pantry, my company foodstuffs and blithely go on the way of food set aside and purchased for this week’s consumption.

This is not easy folks.

So where I am today, what I am choosing to linger on is goodness. Boy, this kale tastes like the fields. The brightness of the flavor of lemon. The nuttiness of brown rice grains.  Crispety crunch of nature-sweetened apple slices with roasted nut butter. And so on. I’m redirecting the ship by thinking about what is possible. What I can have.

And that makes a world of difference.

Spinach Quiche Cups

Spinach Quiche Cups

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups spinach, shredded
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a six-tin muffin pan. Place a medium-sized saute pan over medium low heat. Once hot drizzle in the oil and swirl to coat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally until almost translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the spinach until cooked, about 2 minutes. Cool the vegetables for 5 minutes. Whisk the eggs, adding in the milk, salt, and pepper to combine. Add the vegetables to the eggs, stirring to integrate. Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full. Bake until the eggs are cooked through, around 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.

Sharing our Strength Spirit

Hunger Challenge Day 2: The things that didn’t make it & a recipe

Beck and I are living off of $4.72 per day per person this week as part of the SF Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge. This includes  preparation and time…

The things that didn’t make it

Setting up the menu for a week of living off of $4.72 per day really does cut out the dross. Perhaps another way of saying this is that it truly clarifies what is important. Since we decided to go the gluten free route during our week-long hunger challenge, this put some other parameters on what would make it into the menu and what simply wouldn’t. I’ve included an easy recipe that is tasty, nutritious and filling for a simple lunch below.


  • This was not hard to give up. A loaf of gluten free bread doesn’t work for our wallet in this challenge, so gone are the PB&J’s, pizza on toast, breadcrumbs and other possibilities for this ingredient. Perhaps this would make it onto someone else’s list, but as you’ll find out later this week, I could dub the humble tortilla as the hero of the week.


  • Usually, our refrigerator is stocked to the hilt with cow’s milk cheeses, our goat’s milk yogurt and from time to time that ricotta recipe of Jennifer Perillo’s that just really rocks. On this challenge, it quickly became clear that there was room for very little dairy. This wasn’t intentional though. My first shopping list featured extra sharp cheddar, a favorite of Beck’s. In doing the shopping cart math, it became apparent that to keep the block of cheese meant to give up a host of vegetables or other crucial ingredients. Cheese had to go.


  • Gone too, this week there would be no beer bottles of artisan crafted brews in our fridge. Even the beer aptly named “Simple Times” didn’t make it into the menu. At $2 for a six pack, that meant $.50 shaved off of that day’s meals for one beer. Then again beer isn’t gluten free, though some gluten free beers do exist I’ve been told by my gluten free friends, and they would certainly be cost-prohibitive for this week.


  • Ugh. *Someone* was very cranky on Monday afternoon as her body was in detox. Ornery with a capital O. My intention in the Hunger Challenge was not to give up sugar as that alone has often been a challenge in and of itself. I have written before about attempts to break up with sugar or at least back away from it slowly. It would be safe to say, my sugar consumption over the past few months has declined, but I’m missing my spoonful of raw honey used once a day. Honey, sugar, agave, maple syrup- sweeteners did not fit into the menu. So fruit is doing all the sweetening and thank God for bananas!


  • That’s right. No chocolate, coffee or tea made it into this week’s challenge menu. I had a hunch that we would need to squeeze the budget for every last nickel and penny, so there was no room for ancillary beverages. Water wakes us up. Water sustains us throughout the day when hunger pangs buffet our stomachs. There is nothing wrong with coffee or tea, but more opportunities for better, balanced meals trump the caffeine high.





Lemon Pepper Tuna with Apple Slaw

  • 2 cans tuna in water
  • 1 lemon (you’ll only use half, but you need the whole lemon)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 Fuji apple
  • 1 bag Broccoli Slaw
  • salt
  • pepper

1. Drain your cans of tuna. Place tuna in a bowl.

2. Grate the lemon zest off your whole lemon and onto the tuna. Add your olive oil, a dash of salt and a few shakes of pepper. Stir to combine. Set aside.

3. Empty the bag of broccoli slaw into a colander and rinse. Then drain and move broccoli slaw to medium sized bowl.

4. Wash apple and then chop into matchsticks. This is done by chopping the apple into fours and then chopping each section in half until you are able to cut slender matchsticks from each section. Add matchsticks to broccoli slaw and mix until combined.

5. Place half of broccoli slaw in reusable container if taking on-the-go or on a plate. Scoop half of the tuna mixture and place atop the slaw. Cut your lemon in half and then quarter that half, placing one of the lemon quarters in the container or on the plate. Enjoy.

Serves: 2
Cost per person: $2.90