Lent 2013 Challenge Day 40: It ain’t over ’til the fat lady makes chili.

“Mrs. Mackerelsnapper, didn’t you know that you’re not supposed to count Sundays in the 40 days of Lent?”

I did, actually.

“Then why are you calling today your 40th Day of Lent when Lent isn’t over yet.”

Oh, my dear reader, read more carefully. It’s the 40th day of the Lent 2013 Challenge. We are counting not days of Lent, but days of budgeting meatless meals for a family of five on $90/week. So, I am perfectly comfortable calling this Day 40. Tomorrow will be Day 41. Etcetera.

I do have a seedless English cucumber in the fridge that I had hoped to turn into tzatziki and make some “suddenly pita” along the lines of the recent delicious Suddenly Naan. However, here is it, Monday of Holy Week and we have had snow all day long. Pita and cold food just wasn’t gonna cut it. We need hot comfort food.

Slowcooker Vegan Chili (prep time: 5 minutes)

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1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 c chopped celery
1 onion, finely diced
1/4 c red wine, beer or vegetable stock
2 T minced garlic
2 tsp chili powder (use something spicier for more kick, but we’re feeding kids here)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
2 bay leaves

Dump it all in your slow cooker, turn to low, then walk away for at least 4 hours, as many as 10. Remove bay leaves before serving with some of these lovelies:

Microwave Vegan Corn Muffins (prep time: 5 mintues; cook time: 10-12 minutes)

1 T ground flaxseed + 3 T water, whisked together and set aside
2/3 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
2 T white sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c rice milk
1 T oil

Mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Pour milk and oil into the bowl where you’ve premixed your flaxseed and water. Add wet to dry, stirring just until all ingredients are moistened. Spray a microwave-safe muffin pan (ours is silicone) with cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup half full and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a rack IMMEDIATELY (or else you end up with gummy muffins, speaking from experience). Repeat until all batter is used.

This recipe usually makes about 18 muffins. If you only have one micr0-safe muffin pan, you’ll be wiping the cups clean with a dry cloth and re-spraying them between batches. If you’re anti-cooking spray, I don’t know if rubbing the cups with oil will work. Get back to me if it does?

This usually makes about 18 muffins. What we don’t eat I freeze and use with breakfasts.

 

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About Erin McCole Cupp
Erin McCole Cupp is a wife, mother, and lay Dominican who lives with her family of vertebrates somewhere out in the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. Her short writing has appeared in Canticle Magazine, The Catholic Standard and Times, Parents, The Philadelphia City Paper, The White Shoe Irregular, Outer Darkness Magazine, and the newsletter of her children’s playgroup. She is a contributor to CatholicMom.com and has been a guest blogger for the Catholic Writers Guild. Her other professional experiences include acting, costuming, youth ministry, international scholar advising, and waiting tables. When Erin is not writing, cooking or parenting, she can be found reading, singing a bit too loudly, sewing for people she loves, gardening in spite of herself, or dragging loved ones to visitors centers at tourist spots around the country. Find out more about her novels and other projects at erinmccolecupp.com .

3 Responses to Lent 2013 Challenge Day 40: It ain’t over ’til the fat lady makes chili.

  1. Beth says:

    I keep meaning to ask you, “didn’t you know Sundays aren’t ” NAH just kidding!! I didn’t know that actually, why are Sundays not counted anyhow? I DID want to ask you if $90 a week is for ALL groceries, meaning that has to pay for breakfast lunch and dinner for 5 people? or if it just paid for dinners? And what about things like TP? and household supplies- does that get accounted for in the food stamp budget at all- things that are generally purchased at the grocery store? Just trying to get a better understanding of how the system works, and what it would be like. Thanks for your efforts, and blogging!

    • Excellent questions! Let’s see if I can provide at least passable answers. Sundays aren’t counted in the days of fasting and sacrificing, because that is the day we celebrate the Resurrection, so every Sunday is supposed to be a party.

      Yes, our $90 covers our ENTIRE grocery budget, including breakfast, lunch and snacks. I only blog our dinners because (1) I’m not a machine, and (2) When I was working outside the home, that was the hardest meal to make from scratch, because after a long day at work, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was slave over a hot stove for 30-45 minutes while my children whined at me about how hungry they were. I thought briefly about timing how long it took to prep lunches, too, but then I realized that if we were on the highest possible food stamp benefit, the kids would also be getting school lunches. I’m sure you’d agree that I wasn’t about to start making school lunch-style lunches for my kids if I could help it. So we let the lunch thing go. Lunch foods (like bagels for pizzas) DO have to be made during our weekend food prep, but otherwise I let myself go over the 20 minute limit for making lunches. For instance, we are probably having homemade pizza today.

      We budget separately for food versus what we call “household,” which includes TP, shampoo & conditioner, etc. I actually don’t know if EBT covers anything beside food…. Ah! Apparently it doesn’t. Here’s a page on what you can and can’t do with your EBT benefits. I’m very happy to see that you can use your EBT to buy seeds to grow edibles. Nice!

      • Beth says:

        you sure seem like a machine sometimes… I saw your word count posts about nano or wrmo … you know what I mean. 😉 Thanks for all the info, it definitely helps me get a fuller appreciation for what you are doing, and what it might actually be like. Keep it up! You continue to be an outstanding example of how to do Catholicism right. No pressure or anything, haha.

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