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Letter sent on Oct 15, 2017

Challenge: How to feed your kin when you’ve hit rock bottom.

What would you do?

So today, we had a sorta family community food challenge, although not really. It was really the kinda challenge too many of us are familiar with… The “I got no money, and I need to figure out how to feed the family with what’s on hand, and there ain’t much…” challenge. Never easy, and only rarely fun… Today? We had one of those rare fun days…

Let me explain.

We’re on a kinda extreme budget here in the household, living off what we have left from the last trip to the Grocery store, from two weeks ago… with no money available to add any extra ingredients. So? Some creativity is required. My mind was blank so, I started going shopping in the fridge and pantry… Granny always told me that you could find whatever you needed there, if you just had enough imagination. So? I imagined, based on what I found…:

Mozzarella Cheese
Grape tomatoes
A few pieces of Roasted red peppers left over from yesterday’s Chicken and Rice

And my only thought was pizza… Hmmm…

See? I’ve tried on several occasions to make homemade pizza, and I have never been successful. The crust is soggy, the sauce is runny, or too chunky, too much cheese, not enough cheese..! UGH! The list goes on…

So today? I decided to make something a little different… Grilled flatbread individual pizzas… And Lo and behold! They were a hit!! YAY!!

It was so simple too… The pizza dough was definitely simple enough…

Two tablespoons active dry yeast (I believe this is the same as a single package of those little packets they sell, but, I don’t know for sure… The Solitary Cook can you confirm this as fact or falsehood? I’m too tired to look it up right now. I’ll look it up tomorrow if I don’t hear from you…I bought a pound about five years ago, and keep it in the freezer. It lasts forever that way and I never worry about running out.)

Four cups 110F water
1 teaspoon sugar
Approximately 1/4 cup Olive or Canola oil. Whichever one ya got.
4–5 cups flour
(I used all purpose, because that’s what I had in the house, but, bread flour is better if you can find it).

Ensure the water is no more than 110F or you’ll kill the yeast before you even start.

Add the sugar and the yeast to the water, and let it sit until foamy and frothy.

In a large bowl, stir the salt into 3.5 cups of the flour, and then form a well in the center. Slowly add the yeast/water mixture 1/3 at a time until fully incorporated. The dough will be super sticky, but, that’s ok…

Cover it with plastic wrap and set it somewhere kinda warm. We still have a pilot light on our stove, so the back burner is perfect. Within an hour I had my dough.

Bubble, bubble, toil and lovable… Yum..!

Now, I take out fist sized balls and knead them until smooth… alternating adding oil coated hands to move the dough, with flour coated hands…until it doesn’t stick anymore, but, still feels light and easy.

I put the balls back in the bowl, and let it rest, and rise, while I prepare the toppings…

Shredded Mozzarella… No biggie. Just make sure no skin or other human body parts are included, and we’re all good.

I’d rather roast my own, but, I used jarred Roasted red peppers, Jarred Chipotle sauce, and jarred artichoke hearts. Chopped fairly thick, but, sorta fine too. I’ve found that the use of fresh ingredients helps offset any unpleasant aftertaste from the jarred stuff…

A marinara I’d made a few months ago, stored in the freezer helped out…

Freshish grape tomatoes, sorta diced… Along with all the jarred stuff. Add a newly diced red onion, salt n pepper, a tiny bit of garlic powder, some lemon zest, plus three freshly crushed garlic cloves… (fished out later). A little bit of Allspice (shhhh!!! Don’t tell nobody!) a few bits of artichoke hearts and some baby celery hearts and leaves… and that’s about it…

The child didn’t like the extra toppings… but, the adult did…

Never mind the shape looks like it has a mouth wearing black lipstick… It was soooo GOOD!!!

Looks a little oddly shaped, but, dayum… That was delish!!

So… Here’s my question…

Have you ever struggled to feed your family? And if so? What have you come up with..? And, understand… The struggle I am asking about runs the gamut from far deeper than what I am dealing with, to the struggle to find the energy to decide what take out to order in…

Feeding our families is a paramount concern.

Tell me, how have you dealt with it..? If you’ve never dealt with it? How do you imagine you’d cope? Could you visit a food station? Get the stamps? Admit defeat, and do whatever it takes to fill bellies smaller than yours?

Tell me…

(Please add “Family struggle” as a tag, in addition to your usual required “Literally Literary” tag, and we’ll get these out as they arrive in…)


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