Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Save money: make it yourself

This year, while doing AmeriCorps, I have had the wonderful experience of qualifying for federal benefits in the form of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, or Food Stamps. Federal benefits, in general, are confusing. Qualifying for them is confusing and the paper work is confusing and the actual tangible benefits to the user are often so small as to make the whole thing not really seem worth it. Some little old ladies only get $28 a month after having to fax something like 30 pieces of paper, from bank statements, to rent bills, to medical expenses. It becomes rather daunting.

Now, I realize that some people have issues with federal benefits. I don't want to get into that at all on this blog. To see why SNAP is a good thing for a struggling economy, go read this article.

What I do want to talk about is how D and I have been striving to live off my food stamp allotment for the last couple of months. We cheat, in that we go out to eat, but for the most part we are trying to use up all the food we have in new and creative ways and to save ourselves as much money as possible.

I am awarded $200 every month, and it hits my account on the 13th. Which means, as of right now, the fridge is looking pretty empty. And yes, we did go to the store to buy a gallon of milk yesterday with money that didn't come off of the Lone Star Card, and yes, we did go out to lunch today, and yes, we are going to a friends house for dinner tonight, but mostly, I think we're doing pretty well.

One of my new pet projects has been making my own tortilla chips. Corn tortillas are hellacheap and can be bought 90 at a time and frozen. I know tortilla chips aren't that expensive, but I firmly believe that home made, fresh, baked instead of fried, tortilla chips are just an all around better idea than buying a bag at the store. And they have to be cheaper. They just have to be.

Here is how I make them:

I line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and preheat the oven to about 350. You might want to make this not as hot, since my chips always turn out a little browner than D likes. Maybe 300?

Then I put a little olive oil in a bowl with some salt. You can add other spices if you like. One gluten free cook book that I own suggested some lime juice and cumin. Those were pretty tasty too. Yesterday I just tossed some garlic salt in with the oil.

Then I tear up my tortillas. If you have kitchen scissors, I'm sure this will be super easy, but I don't and they tear so easily that I don't even worry about it.

Then, using a basting brush thingy, coat them in oil and cook for about 10 - 15 minutes. You might want to turn them half way through, you might not.

Obviously, my recipe is not exact. I think I actually suck at recipes, but I like to try stuff myself.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

What a brilliant idea! I am not a huge corn chip fan (I enjoy them when I eat them but could live happily never eating them), so this wouldn't do me much good. BUT, my mom has a bit of a corn chip addiction, so I'll pass this along to her. Another plus, she lives in an area where it is almost always chilly, so this would helpt to heat her house a little!