5777 welcome


Dear cleansers,

Year 5777 is around the corner! Time for the 5th annual Esrei Yamim cleanse — a mind/body/spirit reflection during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

This is the second year we’re asking participants to join in on an additional challenge: spend no more than the national average food stamp benefit – $4.10 daily – on food for each of the ten days of the cleanse.

We expect that nourishing our bodies with a whole foods, vegan diet (see rules) will be nearly impossible on this budget. So, we’re asking people to match the amount spent over the allotted budget in a charitable donation to an amazing org, Kitchens for Good (kitchensforgood.org).  We’ll have a guest post from the founder of KFG in a few days.

Last year, we (10yamim-ers live all over the world!) raised over $500 for global food justice via American Jewish World Service. We’re competitive … let’s beat that!

Access to healthy food in the US is a challenge that can be easy to ignore. It’s important to feed ourselves with nourishing foods, and we feel it’s  important to remember how difficult it can be for others to do the same. We hope that this cleanse will not only spark reflection on our own, personal health, but also on how we can contribute to the health of others. We think that this challenge will inspire gratitude for the current abundance of resources in our lives.

We will continue to post recipes and send resources that we find related to food justice — we encourage you to do the same. Shoot us an email with a reflection, recipe or question, and we’ll throw it up on the blog. We’ll give you credit unless you specify otherwise. When you send recipes, please include a cost breakdown or rough estimate of cost.  Even if it’s not exact, give it a try! We want to see what you can do. Here’s an example.  Also, send us your beautiful food photos to share!

This website can help to calculate recipe costs: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/07/how-to-calculate-recipe-costs/ And while this process can be time-consuming and tedious, it’s a part of budgeting that some people have to do everyday. Try it out, and let us know how you feel.

If you’re interested in joining the Cleanse this year, please let us know so we can include you on the list with updates and inspirations. It only lasts ten days: shortest newsletter ever. Even if you’re planning to challenge yourself for one of those days, we want you along for the ride. 
Thank you for coming along on this adventure with us.


Arielle and Shaina



For the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we will undertake an intensive reflection of the mind/body/spirit connection. We will only consume:

Vegan foods – no products derived from animals (no meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.)

Gluten-free foods – nothing made with wheat

Unprocessed foods – nothing packaged with more than three ingredients

Unsweetened foods – no added sugar, honey, agave, etc.

Alcohol-free beverages 

An exception to the above rules above is the inclusion of organic eggs and/or yogurt that is organic, plain, stabilizer- and additive-free. This is a personal choice.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Zucchini noodles with creamy roasted red pepper

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Serves 5 – 7

Cost per serving: $1.55

Gluten free, vegan, tree nut free, grain free, paleo friendly


  • 1 jar roasted red peppers $2.85
  • 3 cloves garlic (no kissing tonight!) $0.20
  • 1 tbs flax meal (leftover from summer subletter)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds $4.35
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 4-5 long green zucchini, zoodled, peeled or vegettied *see below (free from garden)
  • 1 tsp olive oil $0.17
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped $0.20

Total cost: $7.77

Per serving: $1.55



Combine all ingredients in food processors and puree until smooth. Keep refrigerated.


With “vegetti” (my fav new kitchen tool), peeler or mandolin, shave zucchini into strips aka noodles – #zoodles.

Heat pan in olive oil and add chopped onions. Cook on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes til transluscent. Add zoodles and cook for 7 – 10 minutes til soft (but not mush!).

Top with creamy sauce and garnish with pumpkin seeds.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peaches n Strawberries jam

Cleanse jam

Too simple to be true.

Three chopped peaches, and a few handfuls of mushy strawberries that a friend wanted to throw out.

Slowly boiled with a little salt until reduced into sweet syrup+fruit, with a little vanilla extract. Perfect on yogurt or a rice cake with peanut butter.

$1.53 / 8 servings = $.19/serving

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cooking for Days and Days

For those who don’t know me or my daily habits, cooking for the week is something I do on Sundays like clockwork. I even pre-apportion each breakfast and lunch into separate, meal-size containers (jars) so I can grab them on the way out the door each morning and not have to spend my evenings thinking about it during the week.

The cleanse started a bit differently than I would have liked, as I was in Portland for a conference and only just returned to Encinitas on Wednesday evening. I ate a weird hodgepodge of foods at the conference, but it ended up being pretty easy to stay within the bounds. The vegan tamales saved me.

I didn’t pay for any of the food at the conference, besides some carrots and yogurt that I kept in my hotel room just in case. This challenge has shown me that I am incredibly fortunate to have access to a lot of free food. Without a garden plot, community/work events with meals and snacks, or farmer friends with surplus, there is no way I would have been able to stay within the budget.

Those little red circles in between the containers of food? Dehydrated tomato experiment from a farmer friend. Tomato jerky!

Those little red circles in between the containers of food? Dehydrated tomato experiment from a farmer friend. Tomato jerky!

I drove straight to the grocery store  from the airport and spent $33.41 (splurging on a scoop of olives from the olive bar, and rice cakes – $6 just for those two items).

Instead of going in to shop with a plan, I let the sales on fruit and veg determine my destiny, and purchased herbs, bell peppers (3 for $1), cabbage, green onions, cucumbers, winter squash, a giant beet, apples, yams, peaches, plain org yogurt, and dried chickpeas.

Here’s what I made:

  • Cucumber + garden tomato + green pepper salad with olives, scallions, lemon verbena, basil, and chives from garden= $2.23 / 4 servings = $.56/serving
  • Simple roasted kabocha squash – tastes like candy = $3.26 for the whole squash – a lot!
  • Roasted large beet for breakfasts = $.82 / 5 servings = $.16/serving
  • Cookies: Puree of roasted sweet poato + raw apples, mix in raw oats, tahini, salt, cinnamon, and some soaked chia seeds. Roasted in the oven @ 350 for 45 minutes. A few drops of coconut oil + salt on each. = $2.92 / 6 servings = $.49/serving
  • Chickpeas – to make a squash/chickpea curry with some dark leafy greens that I’ll pick this weekend = $1.06/ 6 servings = $.18/ serving
  • Saurkraut with leftover cabbage, some seeds, scallions, chilis = $.52/ 5 servings = $.09/serving
  • Squash and cabbage soup with crunchy mustard seeds – recipe here. $7.27/ 5 servings, = $1.45/ serving
  • Cleanse jam: three chopped peaches, and a few handfuls of mushy strawberries that a friend wanted to throw out. Slowly boiled with a little salt until reduced into sweet syrup+fruit, with a little vanilla extract. Perfect on yogurt or a rice cake with peanut butter. $1.53 / 8 servings = $.19/serving

All in all, I will eat about $5.11 in food today. I’m over budget.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kabocha squash soup with cabbage and crunchy mustard seeds

Kabocha Squash Soup with Cabbage and Crunchy Mustard Seeds

This soup was inspired by what was on sale at my local grocery store. I got lucky with the kabocha squash,

but you can use any winter squash here – butternut, acorn… even a yam or sweet potato would work.


  • 2 tbsp oil ($.32)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped ($.33)
  • 1 white/yellow onion, chopped ($.54)
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds ($.15)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds ($.15)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds ($.15)
  • Sprinkle of dried chili, optional ($.15)
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¾ giant green cabbage or 1 regular-sized cabbage, chopped ($1.62)
  • 1 big kabocha/winter squash or 2 yams/sweet potatoes, roasted. ($3.26)
    • (Oven @375. Cut kabocha in half, scoop out seeds. Place flat side-down on a baking sheet and pour in 1 cup of water. Cover the sheet with foil and bake 25 minutes or until a knife easily pierces the skin and the flesh is soft. The skin is edible! Yum)
  • 3-4 cups homemade vegetable broth (for $$ purposes) or store-bought, or water (free – made from vegetable scraps and peelings that would have otherwise gone to compost)
  • 2 handfuls chopped fresh herbs: I used cilantro, basil, parsley, and oregano from my garden. Anything works.
  • Juice of 2 lemons ($.60)
  • More salt, to taste

Total: $7.27 for 5 servings, or $1.45 per serving


  • Oven @ 375
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the onions, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and dried chilis. Once the onions become translucent, add the garlic.
  • In the meantime, prep the squash as noted in ingredients list
  • Once the garlic is fragrant, add all of the cabbage to the pot. Stir to coat in the oil/onion/spices, and then add in vegetable broth for flavor.
  • Cover and simmer until cabbage is soft. Add chopped, fresh herbs and a little salt.
  • Once squash is roasted, chop and add to the cabbage (you can eat the skin of the kabocha!) and stir to combine. The squash might fall apart and become a puree. Good!
  • Once fully combined, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Salty, sweet, sour, crunchy…

cabbage squash soup

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Inspired words from Kimmy T

Saturday, after moments of feeling a bit panicked about the challenge of preparing to cleanse considering that I’ll be on camping trip 4 of the 10 cleanse days, I gathered my wits, a pen, paper, and inspiration from the recipes on the cleanse site.  Armed with my list, I headed to the grocery store. By afternoontime, I was actually feeling like a champ. Without straying too far from my normal brief glimpses at prices (you know, just to confirm I bought the cheapest one of this or that), I managed to only go over the $4.10 limit by 70 cents! That’s just one shopping trip, though– and I’d be lying if I pretended I don’t anticipate another grocery trip before the 10 day cleanse ends!! I would also be remiss if I didn’t factor in the goodies I had at home before the trip, which absolutely cost money and I definitely used when prepping food Saturday(lentils, coconut oil, spices, rice, etc.). All in all, (at least so far!) I probably exceeded the budget by about $3-4 per day. And I am thankful I have the cushion to do that and donate to make up for my .

When I was shopping, I stuck to the produce and bulk foods sections.

Even in the bulk section, I found that it’s tricky to escape sugar. Everything seems to be coated with some kind of oil or sugar unless it’s directly from a farm, which speaks to the surprising number of humans who have interacted with our food before food has even entered our consumer sphere. At work, multiple times per day I interact with people who are involved with slightly- or majorly- altering plain ol’ food into glamorous Food Products. So, day in and day out, I pore through ingredient panels on packaged “foodie” products, confirming for the sake of certification that the product’s ingredient panel is being honest. So when I go shopping, I am ever-wary of the ingredient panel game. By now, my eyes are so well trained to spot the familiar ingredients I try to avoid (artificial & natural flavors, citric acid, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, etc.). A significantly large amount of the foodie products I review contain “evaporated cane juice”— I’m sure we’ve all seen it in many products- in bread, salad dressings, popcorn, peanut butter- you name it.  I stumbled across this info- apparently, evap. cane juice content is so significant thatRepair the World’s Food Justice & Hunger Quiz and letsmove.gov say that the average American eats 15 more POUNDS of sugar annually now than in 1970 when food manufacturing was in its infancy. 15 pounds of sugar! Wow.

But even I was surprised Saturday when, with the cleanse’s “unsweetened foods” rule in mind, I found that even the unpackaged dried fruit and nuts in the bulk section are mostly coated with manufactured sweetness! So, upon finding the elusive raisins and currants not coated with evaporated cane juice, I felt like a detective cracking a case. I think I even quietly exclaimed to myself, “Look, ma! No evaporated cane juice!” Ha! After that search, I’m now armed for my camping trip with a homemade trail mix variety of raw seeds, nuts and dried fruit – all of which lack oil and sugary coatings. Whew.

Buuuuuuuut after all THAT, I had messed up by Monday morning.  I made my coffee the way I normally make it- coffee, ice, organic half & half. I was so mad at myself when I realized, 2/3 of the cup through, that I had broken the vegan component of the cleanse. Now I think it’s funny, but I was pretty shockedMonday when I realized how easy it is for me to ingest things out of habit, without thinking about them. Cheers to working on greater awareness and intentionality through this cleanse!

p.s. I am craving cheese.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Jelly Bars

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I made these for my Creative Non Fiction class yesterday and they went over well. I like bringing snacks to class/everywhere. I like to share. But it’s hard to budget snacks for the people when I’m struggling to budget snacks for myself. I figured that if I used basic ingredients (sorry friends, no almond-cocoa-date truffles this week), I could keep things relatively affordable. I feel very lucky that this is something I don’t have to worry about (too much) on the reg. What a gift!

Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Jelly Bars

Makes 30-35 squares, about 15 servings
cost per serving: $0.61

Gluten free, vegan, tree nut free

  • 2 cups puffed rice $1.5
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds((leftover from summer subletter)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran  $0.27
  • 1 cup oat meal $0.35
  • 3/4 cup unsweeteened coconut shreds $0.75
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins or other chopped fruit $1.15
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened peanut butter (leftover from summer subletter)
  • 2.5 cup pitted prunes $3.75
  • 1/2 cup flax meal (leftover from summer subletter)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk $0.75
  • 1tbs cinnamon powder
  • juice of one lemon (from tree)
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs coconut oil $0.20
  • dash of salt

(Added$0.40 for spices already in the house)

TOTAL cost: $9.12

cost per serving: $0.61

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Need to poop? Eat this.

Put peanut butter, prunes, dates, flax, cinnamon, lemon juice and vanilla into food processor. Blend until a sticky paste forms.

While the food processor is going at it, reserve 1/4 cup of coconut shreds and mix dry ingredients in your largest mixing bowl.

Heat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix coconut oil with salt remaining shredded coconut and line parchment paper with oil mixture.

With a large spatula, your hands or both, work dry ingredients into wet ones. You may need to add a bit of hot water to the fruit paste to loosen it up. Do this with caution.

Once combined, press mixture onto parchment paper so that it’s evenly distrubuted about 1 1/2 inch thick across the baking sheet. Place in oven for ten minutes, just to crisp the edges. Remove and allow to cool before scoring.

Cut bars into small squares and keep remaining crumbled in a ziplock for yogurt toppings. Keep bars in airtight container in the fridge.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment