This post was sponsored by Y-USA as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
It's time to get serious for a minute, folks! When I was in high school my family came in on some pretty rough times and there were some scary moments when my mom even admitted to me that she 'didn't know what she was going to put on the table'. Life was hard and things were a struggle, but we made it through together as a family and were much stronger when we came out the other side because of it.
I learned a great deal from my experiences during those high school years. I'm definitely more mindful and knowledgeable about certain things in life; money and food being two of them. Let's just say that my brother and I can rock the socks off cooking ramen noodles.
Money comes and goes and there is nothing that is guaranteed. So when I was approached to take the Food Desert Challenge, it was something that I just knew I had to do.
Over the summer break, families welcome fun-in-the-sun and BBQ, but for those families who rely on school meal programs to ensure their kids eat three square meals a day, it can prove challenging.
No one is safe from food insecurity; it exists in every county in the United States. As part of YMCA’s commitment to keeping kids healthy, the Y’s Summer Food Program provides kids with the opportunity to receive nutritious meals and snacks, while also participating in fun and educational activities.
In an effort to drive more support and awareness of the Y’s Summer Food Program, the Y created the Food Desert Challenge. To participate in the Food Desert Challenge simply feed your family for three days for only $5 per person per day. For my family of four, that’s $20 a day and roughly $6.67 per meal (with three meals a day.)
Here is the menu that I planned out for the Food Desert Challenge:
For almost all of the vegetables in the Omlettata's and Homemade Ramen I subbed out what was called for in the original recipes for a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables and the celery and spinach that I had on hand for the chicken salad and enchiladas. I also opted for chicken in the chicken salad rather than the turkey. I really enjoy the Omlettata's because they're so versatile and you can really almost put any vegetable in there to make it unique and different every day.
A lot of the struggle with this challenge is finding calories and feeling full, so I grabbed plenty of avocados (which are currently in season now and range from $.25-.50 each.) They are high in fat and calories while also being good for you! I also added hard boiled eggs and plenty of peanut butter to my homemade ramen because it too is high in calories and gives a boost of protein, which is always important in a vegetarian dish. And of course, most of my 'dry goods' shopping was done in the bulk section to save some coin!
If you haven't yet, you should definitely try out the Food Desert Challenge! It's a great way to get people involved and talking about an issue that effects each and everyone of our communities.
Crock Pot Mojo Pork
Servings: 6 • Size: About 1 Cup Shredded • Calories: 156.6 • Fat: 4.9 g • Carb: 10.6 g • Fiber: 2.1 g • Protein: 18.4 g • Sugar: 3 g • Sodium: 633.5 mg
3/4 Lb. Pork Tenderloin ($2.58)
3/4 C. Water (FREE!)
1 Chicken Reduced Sodium Bullion ($.06)
1 Onion, Quartered ($.50)
1 Jalapeno, Seeded & Quartered ($.25)
1 Orange, Juiced ($.33)
2 Limes, Juiced ($.30)
2 Lemons, Juiced ($.50)
8 Cloves Garlic ($.58)
1/2 Tbsp. Salt ($.15)
1 Tsp. Oregano ($.10)
1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper ($.05)
1/2 Tsp. Cumin ($.05)
1/2 Tsp. Paprika ($.05)
TOTAL MOJO PORK COST: $5.50
The $5.50 cost even left me wiggle room for rice, avocado, plantain, and sweet potato to go with my Cuban Black Beans that I used in 2 recipes this week.
Lightly coat the inside of a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over a high heat. Add in the pork tenderloin once the pan is hot and sear on all sides. This helps to remain moisture and flavor while cooking.
Combine the remaining ingredients into the bottom of the slow cooker.
Add the seared pork tenderloin into the crock pot, cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours; until the pork is tender and falling apart.
Once done, remove the pork from the crock pot, shred and enjoy right away!
I served mine over rice with cuban black beans, grilled sweet potato, grilled plantain, avocado, and fresh pico