Do you think you could survive on only spending only $25 a week on food? Imagine the stress and frustration if you had to stick that small of a food budget. Sadly, this is the weekly budget that many families live on in the United States. While some people consider $25 worthy of a small appetizer at a fancy restaurant, some of the lower income homes in America struggle to feed their families on that budget.
Thinking about these people who endure hunger both physically and emotionally, I feel extremely guilty because I couldn’t imagine being denied eating what I want when I want. No fresh fruit, no fresh vegetables. Just loads and loads of highly processed foods that leave you feeling hungry after a couple of hours.
The Illinois Food Bank Association partnered up with Feeding America with hopes to shed light on the hunger crisis plaguing the state of Illinois. 35% of the people the IFBA feeds are children and 15% of them served are seniors who live on fixed incomes and rely on this organization for food. I don’t live anywhere near Illinois but I believe that this issue is a global concern. Families from California all the way to Florida are dealing with how to feed their hungry families.
According to their website, “IFBA is encouraging community leaders and all Illinois residents to take the $25 Challenge, during the week of September 22-28. $25 is the average amount an individual food stamp recipient struggling to make ends meet has for a week’s groceries.” Local citizens started posting on a blog, and reading through the numerous posts on the blog, the $25 Challenge, everyone seems to feeling the same sentiments: frustration, desperation, and hunger. Their menus consist of countless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, rice, beans, granola bars, ham, fatty beef. Unless you lived near a farmer’s market, I don’t think you could provide a range of cheap fruits and vegetables to your diet.
One of the scariest things I realized while reading through this blog was that alot of them were eating diets lacking any nutritional value. The overly processed carbs and quick-fix meals ridden with saturated and trans fats can lead to weight gain. One of the bloggers Dennis said this, “And we wonder about obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health issues. We can’t blame the fast food restaurants for the growth in the percentage of people suffering from food related issues when our federal food assistance programs are as much the culprit as anything.”
I couldn’t have put it more bluntly or more accurately. How can you raise healthy children on pre-made dinners? Wouldn’t it break your heart to see your children riddled with weight-related issues? I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about it. While I am scouring the local food banks in my area, I find myself getting more and more worked up. How can we live in this country while some of our future generations are going hungry?! I encourage everyone out there to check out your local food banks, make donations, or volunteer some of your time. I’m looking forward in participating in the Annual Run To Feed The Hungry in November, which will be my first time but definitely won’t be the last.
In honor of all those out there who struggle to make ends meat literally, here is a simple and quick peanut butter cookie recipe. It uses only 5 ingredients (without the candy), and if I could, I would ship these delicious cookies to all the food banks in California. It uses simple ingredients and is very cost effective due to the lack of butter in it. But don’t be fooled, these cookies pack a mean punch. They are dense and hearty, and will bring a smile to your face.
Every child deserves a chance to eat some yummy cookies instead of processed and fake food. I think it’s time we take care our of country because deep down, we all have the same basic needs. Color, sex, income. None of that matters in the end.
Big Time Peanut Butter Cookies
Origin: The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge
Yield: 20 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 10 minutes
● 1 1/3 cups smooth or crunchy peanut butter, (10 ounces or 284 grams) at room temperature
● 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, (6 ounces or 170 grams)
● 1 large egg
● 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
● 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, (1 ounces or 28 grams)
● 1 cup mini candy-coated chocolates, (6 ounces or 170 grams) optional
Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Preheat the oven to 350 ℉. Line 2 cooking sheets with parchment paper or baking liners like Silpat.
In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter and brown sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until blended. Pour in the flour and beat on low speed just until blended. Stir in the chocolate candies, if using. The batter will be quite thick and using an electric mixer will crunch the candies to bits so use a wooden spoon.
Using a small ice cream scoop or 2 tablespoons, scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and using your hands, shape into balls about 1 1/2 inches. Arrange on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Using the tines of a fork, press on each ball to flatten slightly. If necessary, lightly coat the tines in flour to prevent them from sticking to the dough.
Bake one sheet at a time (make sure to use a cooled sheet for the second batch until the cookies) until the cookies look dry on top, about 12 minutes. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Using a patula, lift the cookies form the sheet onto the rack and let cool completely.
Layer the baked and cooled cookies between parchment of waxed paper in an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months