Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar

homemade apple cider vinegar

Here’s why I love the Internet. I found this nice tutorial for DIY Apple Cider. I had taken pictures of my own so I could do my own tutorial but I have no idea where those pictures went to. And since Real Food Real Deals already did it, I don’t have to retake my own pictures.

Link: Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar

When I make apple sauce or do any sort of baking with apples, this is what the cores and peels get used for. Cheap & easy, plus no waste. The math figures out to be about 10¢ per cup. I did even better on my last batch since I used the free apples someone passed along to us.

You can also use other fruits to make vinegar. Pears and peaches work well.

If you’re wondering what to do with apple cider vinegar, here are 50 uses. I use it a lot around the house and for home remedies.

FAQ: “How are you on the Internet if you’re so poor?”

I thought I would start a new series here where I answer those Frequently Asked Questions posed to me here and other social media sites. This week, let’s start with ,“How are you on the Internet if you’re so poor?”
Related statements & follow up questions….
“How can you afford a computer/iphone/tablet?”
“Why don’t you sell your computer & cancel your Internet so you can pay your bills?

But if I don’t have Internet, how else will I annoy all these people who hate that I’m poor while on the Internet?

Oh. I could go to this one place in my town I know of. It’s a public building… lots of books. They also let people come in and use their computers with Internet access free of charge.They even teach people how to use both computers and the Internet. It’s called a library

When The Homeless Guy started blogging, he used the library. There are quite a few people I have email conversations with because of this blog who I will go weeks without hearing from because the library is their only way to get on the Internet. There are also libraries in schools and college campuses. Contrary to what you may have heard, poor people spend time on college campuses. The huge negative to needing to use the library for computer time would be that it isn’t always open during non-work hours when working poor are not working.

How do people afford computers,tablets, and iphones? How can they afford the Internet?
Here’s a crazy thing about being poor. One minute you can have financial stability (or something close to it) and the next you don’t. Sometimes people have purchased their electronics before their financial woes. Or maybe (like my teenagers’ ipod touches that are often mistaken for iphones) they received them as a gift from a family member or friend. There are homeless people who have phones given to them by family and friends so that they can keep in touch and let people know they’re ok. Maybe they purchased them dirt cheap second hand on craigslist or a local marketplace. Maybe they’re a student and the electronics are a benefit from their school or college. Maybe they’re working poor and used their income tax return to buy it.

There are a lot of reasons someone might have electronic devices when they’re poor. If they have access to technology like that and in a situation where they have little else, the last thing they’re going to do is sell it. Honestly, it doesn’t economically make sense to sell your electronics. If I were to sell  this laptop that I’m typing on right now, I could maybe get $150 for it . And where would that get me in the long term?

Technology is precious when you’re poor. If you’re unemployed and looking for a job, it’s nearly impossible right now to get a job without the Internet,email, or a phone. My oldest (adult) son is looking for a new job right now. He has gone in person to businesses only to be told that they require people to apply online. Some only accept resumes by email. If he gets a call back, he needs email or a phone number. He doesn’t currently live with us and doesn’t have a computer of his own, so he’s fortunate to be able to use mine or the library. Not having Internet access can be a huge obstacle that keeps people poor.

For those with mobile devices, there is free wifi in many public spaces for those who don’t have Internet at home.

For myself, my Internet is a relatively small expense in my budget. I don’t have a cellphone or cable, so I use the Internet in place of those things but besides that, I also need an Internet connection to conduct business for my Etsy shop & Ebay, both a tiny source of income for me right now but still…a source of income nonetheless. Besides the for -free -writing here on this blog, I also sometimes actually get paid to write stuff elsewhere. The Internet is a huge help to me in getting these freelance jobs. I’m not even sure how one does freelance anymore without the Internet.

Yes, my food stamp caseworker knows about it. Yes, that tiny bit of income is reported.

I also know low income people who have internet at home because they co-habitate with someone who pays for it…or someone else pays their bill for them.

There’s all sorts of scenarios that can explain why someone who doesn’t have money might have  the mighty power to get on the Interwebs. It still remains a mystery why so many people who have money choose to use their own Internet privileges to be stupid jerks.

 

Open discussion about this post  here.

Stories… Untold… The “Lucky” Street Children

Originally posted on nellyali:

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I came across this picture on Facebook today. It’s one of those that are hard to ignore isn’t it. For a long time, every time I close my eyelids, I’m going to see that child in rags sleeping on the boot of a Mercedes car parallel to a stray dog sleeping on top of a Kia. But that’s for a few days and after that, like you, reader, the image will disappear as I get caught up in my own life, the worlds ups and downs and perhaps in it’s politics and natural disasters. That’s only normal.

But there is something else that passes my mind when I look at this picture for a while. The story. I had never really thought of this before, but having stumbled on this photograph I realised how incredibly lucky the children I work with are. I cannot even believe I just typed that!…

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Government & Thanksgiving Math

It’s been almost a full month since families on SNAP got their monthly allowance axed. In my family, we were without food stamps for a short time in November because we were re-certifying and the process wasn’t so straightforward this time. We got married on October 31st and social services needed a copy of our marriage certificate and all that jazz. So, it wasn’t until just last week that I found out what our new amount will be.DSC_1844

$509.00 for our family of 7, which is about $100 less than before. It’s roughly $2.60/day per person now. I am grateful because other people’s cuts were far worse . My husband also works full time ,so at least we have some actual money to fall back on, even if it means not paying something else. Some people  don’t have income when on SNAP.

It was said that the reduction would be  $36 less for a family of 4.Fullscreen capture 1112013 60429 PM So, by the chart released by the USDA, my family’s SNAP allowance should have been reduced by about $70, not $100. When I polled  people at the beginning of November on the Poor as Folk facebook page, of the hundreds of responses, only one person’s reduction was exactly what the chart said it would be. Most were far more than the estimate given. Two had gotten an increase of just a few dollars.

Is it just me or does the government have their own math?

Just like the tables with the “averages” that people receive on SNAP. Hardly anyone gets those amounts. Unfortunately, this is what people who do food stamp challenges base their week’s shopping from, giving everyone this pretty skewed idea of what shopping on food stamps looks like. $5/day?! THAT  would be uh-may-ZING and totally doable for most people.

It was also quite annoying that people didn’t even receive their official notice about their reduction until the last week in October. People who don’t read or listen to the news or utilize the Internet for that kind of information (like this blog or the page) were totally blindsided.

The cuts that happened November 1st were planned and shouldn’t be confused with future cuts to the SNAP program through the Farm Bill. It was supposed to happen. In 2009, there was extra money budgeted for SNAP as part of the stimulus. It was scheduled to end later than November 1,2013 but Congress in their (in)finite wisdom moved back the date.

This confuses me. If they felt the need to move back the date, all righty but why in November, a month that begins the holiday season? Thanksgiving and Christmas are both rough holidays for low income people as it is. For people on food stamps, their allowance is pretty much spent for the whole month by the time  those holidays come around toward the end of the month. When your food budget is $1.50-$2  per day per person, a $25 bird isn’t a reasonable purchase and then to figure in the sides…the average traditional Turkey Day dinner ends up being about $50. It’s just not a cost effective meal, even if you figure out all those ways to stretch the leftovers.

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Someone wasn’t thinking too clearly about the effects of that. Or didn’t care, I suppose.

Food pantries in America are always over taxed during the holidays as it is. This November has been “particularly hellish”, as one volunteer told me. Some have decided to not give out turkeys this year and instead focus on more practical items that will help over the whole month instead of  just one day.
Some pantries are praying that the holiday food drives will be better than ever and perhaps will give them a surplus of donations that will help families after the holidays,too. That’s the crazy thing about being poor. You still need to figure out how to eat the other times of the year besides the holidays.

Mean People Suck: Tom Brower thinks he’s Captain Hammer, Walmart still treats their employees like crap, and other stupid stuff

This week, the Mean People who suck are also providing some comedy. Maybe it’s just me but I can’t help but laugh. It turns out that a lot of the time, mean people are also pretty stupid …or at least do some stupid stuff.

So,there’s  this guy…Tom Brower…he’s a state rep from Hawaii. He’s solving the homelessness problem by bashing shopping carts with a sledgehammer.

Excuse the geek moment here but I immediately thought of  Captain Hammer from Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

Tom Brower is more like Captain Pointless,though.  He walks around Honolulu looking for shopping carts that he identifies as one homeless people have been using and smashes the wheels in with a hammer. Then piles them up so the city’s garbage trucks can come pick the up and haul them away to the dump. What a good use of public resources and a friend to the environment.

You have a huge homeless problem in your city and the logical way to deal with it is this instead of advocating for programs that actually help homeless people not be homeless anymore? All righty then. Makes so much sense.
He says he returns carts he can identify to the store they came from but it must be that he can’t read or his store locator app doesn’t work so he can’t figure out where to return all of them to because in this video, the cart he smashes is clearly identifiable.

Whatever. He’s a tool.

And just so I can continue in the vein of Dr Horrible….
These rich people said the homeless have it easy and you shouldn’t give them money because you’re enabling them.

Then there’s this guy.

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It’s cool if you do coke and your paycheck comes from taxpayer money as long as you’re not on welfare.

Now might be a good time to point out that Florida’s drug testing for SNAP recipients was a giant waste of money and pretty much everyone’s time. The state lost  $45,780 and the end result was about 2.5% testing positive, mostly for marijuana.
(and that’s about the same result coming out of every other state trying this out)

And finally this week, shout out to the Walmart in Canton, Ohio for getting in to the holiday spirit by collecting donations for their own poorly paid employees so they can have a nice Thanksgiving Day dinner. Well, for those employees who don’t have to work on Thanksgiving, I guess.

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The further insulting irony here is that a lot of those employees are on SNAP and just had their SNAP allowance reduced this month. Walmart is already one of the biggest beneficiaries of the SNAP program and the most recent SNAP cuts will probably increase that trend.

Mom knows best: How food justice starts at home

Originally posted on Grist:

The author’s mother shops at farmers markets and cooks all her food at home. But she’s also never heard of Michael Pollan.

Visit the Grand Army Plaza farmers market in Brooklyn on any given Saturday, and you’re likely to find my favorite food movement hero: my mom. She’s not a farmer. She can’t always afford to buy organic or fair trade. And she does not know who Michael Pollan is. Yet for over 25 years, my mom has been serving up a daily feast of colorful fruits and leafy greens, handcrafting shrimp and chive dumplings on Sunday afternoons, and slow-cooking economy-size batches of spicy and savory mohinga on a shoestring budget.

My mother is the reason that I believe another world is possible. Growing up with her home cooking, I learned that eating food that expresses my identity, culture, and history can be a powerful act of self-determination. Despite the…

View original 1,102 more words

How to feed your family from a food bank

Originally posted on Eatocracy:

Marisa Miller is a married mother of two who never imagined she’d find herself relying on the kindness of others to feed her family. As a former chef, her life was filled with abundant food, and her husband had a lucrative job. Between the two of them, an organic, grass-fed, sustainable and delicious life seemed assured.

But things changed. Her husband left that job to pursue a career in a field about which he was passionate, and in the height of the recession, his salary was cut by 60%. The family became food insecure in a matter of months.

Their household income is just above the qualifying levels to receive SNAP, WIC or any other kind of assistance. After bills, Miller has just $100 left over for food, gas, clothing, band-aids, toilet paper and other necessities. She supplements her grocery-buying with trips to her local Sacramento, California, food pantry and…

View original 1,620 more words

How to Make Food Stamps Last Longer

How to Make Your Food Stamps Last Longer

How to Make Food Stamps Last Longer

All the best tips, consolidated into one post.

Personally, I rarely use coupons (as I think I’ve discussed elsewhere here and for sure on the Poor as Folk facebook page ) . It’s hard to find coupons for food things my family will use. I’ve found my time is better spent scouring  store specials and sticking to in season produce .Also, the store we usually shop at has excellent “Shopper’s Club” specials on their store brand that usually end up costing less than a non-store brand even with a manufacturer’s coupon.

 

“Its hard being poor in America. When your kid is sick enough that you can’t work but disability doesn’t pay the bills, it is crushing. “

Today a reader shares their personal story of being judged for using food stamps while buying food for their severely ill child. Much gratitude to this contributor for sharing their perspective and putting this out there.

Its hard being poor in America. When your kid is sick enough that you can’t work but disability doesn’t pay the bills, it is crushing.Robbing from Peter to pay Paul is difficult but begging for extensions and requesting medical extensions is harder and more dehumanizing.

For me, life of late consists of medications, PICC line care and antibiotic delivery. It is doctors visits and home nurses and other care for her. We also have two other kids that also have special needs and doctors visits, home therapists etc.

When any kid is hospitalized, it sucks. When you are her only means of communication and can’t leave the hospital but “live too close” for the hospital to help, the only choice you have is to not eat. Last month, I did that for 11 days. Almost half of last month, I had one meal or less each day.

This month, my kid is neutropenic. This means she has very low white blood counts and can’t fight off illness. She has to wear masks and eat special food. She can’t have anything that is not prepackaged in an individual serving. She can’t have anything raw or undercooked including fruits and vegetables.

With those restrictions, I went to the store. I picked up a handful of items including peanut butter, fruit, vegetables, smoothies, applesauce, cookies and cereal. She lost 12 pounds last month. We need to get these higher calorie foods in her.

Items in the cart: 2 boxes of cookies, juice boxes, individual peanut butter (that was one of the things the woman screamed at me about while thrusting her jar in my face), applesauce and smoothie pouches, fruit and vegetable cups, and the only individual boxes of cereal the store carries.

Items in the cart: 2 boxes of cookies, juice boxes, individual peanut butter (that was one of the things the woman screamed at me about while thrusting her jar in my face), applesauce and smoothie pouches, fruit and vegetable cups, and the only individual boxes of cereal the store carries.

I already hate using food stamps. We even separated items into food and nonfood and paid for the nonfood separately, taking it to the car so that no one would notice that we bought dog food and socks and other “niceties.”

The lady behind me saw my wife hand me our direction card before she went to bring the van around. At first, I wasn’t sure I heard her comment.

“Glad I work so you can buy junk food” was quickly

followed with “greedy food stamp recipients buying individual peanut butters while I can only afford a jar.” The last one was accompanied by a jar of generic peanut butter being thrust in my face.

I tried to explain and she didn’t believe me. I tried to ignore her but things kept getting more heated. I put myself between her and my daughter and kept my head down. As I left, she was still yelling at me to spend her money more wisely.

All of my trip cost 38.41. I will skip meals to make that work. I will hope that my wife and kids don’t notice. I will claim I am not feeling well. My kids have to eat.

This is what they can’t see. Medications, IV antibiotics, PICC line supplies, respritory equipment, hand sanitizer hospital bracelets, sharps container, stethascope, PICC lines and masks.

 

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December 4,2013 update here