Thursday, 20 June 2019

Ration Challenge - Day Five



So, today is day five of the Ration Challenge for me, raising money and awareness for Syrian refugees by eating an almost identical diet to refugees for seven days and getting lots of my wonderful, caring friends and family to donate their hard earned cash.

 Today also happens to be World Refugee Day.

The top photo is my breakfast this morning, rice cooked last night with a good dollop of Dhal stirred through, washed down with iced tap water.  The rest of the photos are yesterdays food.   I had a photo of yesterday's breakfast but I've lost it somewhere ... this diet is befuddling my brain and my concentration has took a tumble.  Blogging about what I'm doing is taking twice as long as my usual posts do and on more than one occasion I've lost paragraphs of text, deleted photos by accident and had to start all over again.


Yesterday's lunch was a treat, a real hard earned treat.  For getting to £600 worth of donations I earned the right to treat myself to a 330ml drink ... so I saved it to have with Mum on this week's visit to the Wyevale garden centre.  A lovely large Americano  ... ooh the caffeine hit was wonderful 😃

To have with it I packed up a little box of my hummus and ... as I was running late and didn't have time to make the flatbreads I had intended to take with me ... I swapped 20g of my flour ration for four of the plainest little crackers I could find in Alan's cracker tin.

Instead of having a cooked meal Mum joined in with the idea of the Challenge and had a coffee and a scone ... she's lovely ❤


When I got home I cooked up my Kidney Beans.  Simply sauteed with the last of my onion and some of the liquid from the tin they cooked to a lovely soft consistency in the time it took me to make some more rice.

I had half of the mix stirred into rice for my tea ...


... and the other half was whizzed up with a stick blender to make some Kidney Bean Dip for another meal.

I don't usually like kidney beans, but this week the different flavours and textures they have brought have been very welcome.  I think I will work on incorporating them into my normal diet in the future.

Now it's way past my usual lunchtime and I really feel as thou I am running on empty so I'll sign off and be back tomorrow with more.

Here is the link to my Ration Challenge Page ... just look at the fantastic total you have helped me raise up to now!!


Sue xx


Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Ration Challenge - Day Four


Yay ... I'm over the halfway mark  😀

I won't lie this is hard.   It's hard to remember what your next meal is going to be unless you have a meal plan written down.  I've already had to alter mine once as I didn't make everything I should have made at the start, then I didn't have enough chickpeas or onions to make the chickpea curry I had promised myself.


Now the meal plan looks like this, not hugely dissimilar ...  how could it be with such limited ingredients ... but there's a couple of omissions and an addition, a spoonful of dhal added to the morning rice.  It's amazing the difference just a little bit of dhal stirred through the rice makes, and of course it adds a smidge more protein. 


I rinsed the chickpeas I'd remembered to soak overnight, and then brought them to the boil before leaving them to simmer away for an hour.  Next to them enough rice for three meals cooked away nicely while I went and had a shower. 


Once the rice was ready I added a spoonful of yesterday's prepared Dhal to my breakfast bowl and left the other two bowls of rice to cool down while I ate it.


Once I had walked Suky along the river and through the village I came back home and got stuck into preparing my 'ready meals'.

Falafels 

85g Chickpeas
20g finely chopped Onion
1 dessertspoon of Plain Flour

Whizz everything together.  I used my Nutribullet.   There was just enough water left on the Chickpeas to make it a relatively damp mix ... 


... which I then rolled into 6 little Falafels.

These will be cooked in a little oil.  Three falafels to be added to each of two evening meals of Rice and Dhal.



Using the remaining cooked chickpeas I quickly whizzed up some hummus.

Hummus

85g Cooked Chickpeas
1 large tbs Peanut Butter 
Water
Pinch of Salt

Oil
Cumin

Simply whizz them altogether, adding as much water as you need to get to the texture you like.  Scrape down the sides of the processor at least once to make sure everything is incorporated. 

Put into a fridge tub and pour over a drizzle of oil and add a sprinkle of Cumin.


  I won't lie this really needs a bit of garlic as do the falafels ... but of course I don't have any.   I'm finding out that the only way to get any real flavour into the foods I'm making and eating this week is to use quite a bit of salt.  No wonder I'm drinking so much water!!


Sue xx




Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Ration Challenge - Day Three


It's day three of the Ration Challenge and as you can see from this top photograph  my fridge  is looking a bit healthier now  In fact you could almost call what's on the shelf 'ready meals'.


Breakfast yesterday was plain rice and a cup of hot water.


Lunch was two little flatbreads spread with peanut butter ... one of my earned rewards ... with a glass of water.  It should have been twice as big as this but I burnt my first large flatbread.  So I split the dough that was left and cooked two smaller ones instead.

Recipe for Two Large or Four Small Flatbreads

50g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
Water

Mix everything together.  Knead until no longer sticky, rest dough for ten minutes and then cook on both sides in a hot lightly oiled frying pan until ready.


After lunch I made Dhal ready for my tea.


Dhal

190g Red Lentils
2tsp Cumin
50g Chopped Onion

Saute onion in a good glug of oil until soft, stir in the cumin.  Cook for a couple of minutes then add the washed red lentils.  Stir well and top up with lots of water.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook with the pan lid on for about an hour.   Remove lid and leave to cool in the pan.  It will thicken as it cools.


I split the mix between four tubs, leaving enough in the pan to have for my tea.


It was really tasty once I added salt.

Today I am busy making Falafels and Hummus, because YES I remembered to soak my chickpeas last night 😃


Sue xx



Ration Challenge - Why



Why?

Because refugees are just the same as us!

My Ration Challenge sponsorship page.


Thank you to EVERYONE that has sponsored me up to now, you've no idea how much this means to me.  I'll be back later with today's food photos. 

Sue xx

Monday, 17 June 2019

Ration Challenge - Day Two


This is my breakfast ... rice and a second cup of hot water.  I must admit to liking hot water,  I never thought I would, but if I had the choice between it and a cup of coffee ... I think the coffee would still win.


This is going to be by new best friend this week.  It managed to make my breakfast while I had a shower and got dressed. With no shouts of "do you want one slice of toast or two" from Alan interrupting my precious me time.  Would I swap my rice cooker for Alan, well maybe just for this week 🤣😄😀


While I ate breakfast, my teatime portion of rice cooled down ready to be put into the fridge.  It all seems to be rice at the moment!!


Yesterday's lunch wasn't though. 

 I had a bowl of my Lentil and Cumin soup and three little freshly made flatbreads.  John Gray says it looks like 'mud water', unfortunately I have to agree, although the flavour isn't too bad.


I was supposed to be making some Dhal to go with my teatime rice but I ran out of energy and just ate it as it was before packing up my rations and heading off to the Van.

Once there I was supposed to be putting some chickpeas to soak ready to turn into hummus and falafel for today ... but I didn't do that either!!  So today I am making Dhal and tonight I'll be putting chickpeas to soak and I have a post-it to remind me 🙂


Sue xx

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Ration Challenge - Day One


Over the last couple of days I finalised a menu plan to keep me on track with what I'm eating and what I'm doing over the course of the Ration Challenge week ... and it looks like this. 

 Even though I only have limited ingredients I wanted to use them each in a couple of different ways so that it should appear that my diet has a little bit of variation in it.

I have kept my breakfast each day to a bowl of rice as I don't like to eat a lot first thing in the morning.  Usually it's coffee and then another coffee with either porridge or toast an hour later, with an occasional foray into cereal or yoghurt.  But this week it will be rice, rice or perhaps some rice.


This mornings first drink of the day - hot water.


An hour later I thought it best to get some rice cooking.  I made a day's worth of rice in one go to save time later.  I think I'll do this every day, it will be a good routine to get into.


I had a bowlful for breakfast, and the rest was quickly cooled and then refrigerated for later.



While the rice was cooking I got all productive and made my Lentil Soup for the week.  I have planned for four lunches of lentil soup and flatbread.  To try and  make enough for my four portions of soup I used -

 100g of red lentils
40g chopped onion
1 litre of water
1 tbs of cumin
and 2 tbs of oil

To extract maximum flavour possible from the very small amount of onion, I cooked it slowly with a little salt sprinkled over and then put pan lid on for five minutes so it could steam in it's own juices.  Then I added the cumin and sauteed them together and then the lentils, stirred them well into the spice and onion mix and then finally stirred in the water.

This will be blitzed once it has cooked long and slow. 


Then while the soup was cooking I weighed out 50g of my plain flour, added a pinch of salt and enough water to make it into a dough.  This was very briefly worked before being rolled into three little balls, these are currently resting in the fridge until dinnertime when they will be flattened and cooked in a little of my oil to be served for dunking into my Lentil Soup.

I think I will write all my very basic recipes down as I do them to compile into my own little Ration Challenge recipe booklet for future reference.


While I was typing all this the soup was ready, so I quickly whizzed it up with my stick blender and divided it into four portions.  One in a dish for lunch today and the other three portions shared equally between jars to refridgerate and take to the Van with me later.  All I can say is thank goodness for my salt allowance as without any salt this would have tasted as beige as it looks!!

Here is the link to MY PAGE so you can see my current fundraising total and perhaps make a small donation yourself. 

I've done wonderfully well with the fundraising thanks to family, friends, blog readers and fellow bloggers, and I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful support you are showing me.


Sue xx



Friday, 14 June 2019

Ration Challenge - The Added Extras, the Swaps and the Earned Foods


When your Ration Challenge box arrives it is a real eye opener.  The amount of food for one person for a week at first seems tiny.


Then you find your coupons and realise you have an additional 1.5kg of rice to add and 400g of plain flour.  This brings the ration pack inline with what a single refugee would receive for one weeks worth of food, although at the camps the boxes come as a large pack for six people for one month.


Refugee families receive similar coupons to the Challenge participants but they take theirs to a local shop on or just outside of the camp and swap them for a sack of rice and a bag of flour.  Obviously our shops wouldn't do this so participants in the Challenge either buy, or as I have done weigh out the amounts from stock at home ... this is therefore in keeping within the ethos of my ongoing Down To Basics Challenge.


 My 'coupon' rice.


My 'coupon' flour.


As the ration packs usually come with a tin of sardines, vegans and vegetarians have the option of asking for this to be omitted and are permitted instead to add an equivalent 120g of alternative protein to the ration pack.  As I think people who don't eat fish in the camps would swap their ration for foodstuffs readily available, I decided rather than to go down the suggested tofu route, to instead add an additional 120g of red lentils to my pack.

It doesn't look much though does it !!


 In the refugee camps refugees have the ability to volunteer to help with the many, many jobs that need doing to help the camps run efficiently, in return they qualify for some little extras to add to their rations.  In a similar way the Challenge has been set up with incentives for participants to fund-raise to the best of their ability.

It can be hard to ask for money but when it's for a cause close to your heart and there is a way of making a hard challenge just that little bit more tolerable you grit your teeth and do it.  As you can see from this photo there are quite a few tiers of earned foods available.


Most participants self-sponsor to get things rolling thus earning themselves a single spice of choice, I chose Cumin as mine.

  For every five or more named people you ask to sponsor you there's a teabag to be earned ( I don't drink tea as it makes me ill, so I was totally upfront with everyone I asked and said I would be converting every five teabags I earned into one cup of coffee).  I can now have one cup of coffee per day of the Challenge.

When you pass the £125 fundraising mark you qualify to be able to use unlimited amounts of salt in your cooking.

At £250 and above you are entitled to choose one vegetable up to 170g in weight - I chose onion.  They are red onions because that is what I had in the fridge.


For passing the £400 mark I am allowed to add an additional 120g of protein to my ration pack - I chose what was left from this jar of peanut butter, just under the allowed amount but it will do for me and at 25% protein it is a good addition to what will be a bland diet.


So these and my seven spoonfuls of coffee are my additions to the Ration Challenge pack I received through the post.  

My fund raising target is set at £600 ... if I achieved this I would be allowed to add another drink up to 330ml in volume to my supplies, and if I stormed past this to the dizzying heights of £850 I would qualify for a single food item up to the value of £3 ... now what would I buy,  there's been lots of debate on the Ration Challenge Facebook Group page about this one.  I really don't know ... but looking at the food I already have available I'm thinking something like a large piece of fruit ... a melon? A huge banana?

What would you buy if you had £3 to spend on a single item, it has to be a single thing and cannot be something with component parts like a packet of biscuits or a pack of six yoghurts.  It's a puzzle for sure.

My sponsorship page is HERE if you would like to sponsor me.

And many, many thanks to all those of you who already have.  💖


Sue xx