daily links: affordable veganism and other foodish things

The Economics of Veganism (+ Proof A Fine Vegan Meal Can Be Made Cheaply) – I promise even if you’re a skeptic of veganism ,you won’t hate this piece. Gena Hamshaw gives plenty of recognition to the high cost of produce and lack of accessibility for some while also showing some good idea of how it can be affordable. Gods love her for stating some of the flaws in SNAP challenges,too

In some of our leaner times, we’ve become what I termed “accidental vegans” and as a general rule we eat a lot of vegetarian meals because plant based proteins are so much more affordable. I feel like the disadvantage many might have making veganism work on a low budget is that time is a huge factor in preparation, and it does require a bit of food and cooking knowledge beyond the basic.

Fall Chili, Soups & Stew Recipes and Learn How to Make a Freezer to Slow Cooker Meal ~ Weekly Round-Up – 31 days of soups and stews. I say it all the time…soups and stews are some of the most inexpensive meals you can make and you can stretch a pot through the week . My other tips is to substitute beans if a recipe calls for meat you can’t afford.

21 Budget-Friendly Recipes Starring Rice — Recipes from The Kitchn – essential reading for me this week. Oh,boy.

33 Bowl Recipes to Keep Your Belly Full and Life Easy – I made one of these recently for myself to eat during the week for lunches. Really ideal if it’s just you or you and your partner and maybe one or 2 non-picky kids that can deal with their food not touching .

The Middle-Eastern Cookie That Caused a Panic in Pennsylvania– I’m glad the recipe is included in this article because I immediately knew I had to have some but didn’t want to create hysteria by having something written in Arabic hanging around my house.Heavens no..


I have an enormous bag of chickpea flour to use up, so I’ve been making things like this (basically pakora) . I might make this one this week but commit some pantry anarchy by using a buffalo wing sauce my local produce guy gave me as a free samples.

daily links::a food waste cookbook!, news on teen hunger, and more


There’s a cookbook called Amazing Waste with recipes entirely devoted to cooking with scraps,leftovers,etc. I haven’t had a chance to look through the entire thing yet but this looks like the kind of cookbook I would write. Am writing. These kinds of recipes are great for food pantry users (at least my food pantry) where you might end up with produce that is not the prettiest or freshest.

The entire cookbook is available for free RIGHT HERE.

Thanks to my local food waste reduction -anti hunger group Friendship Donations Network for passing along that info.

·:   Five Questions with JoAnne Berkenkamp, Food Waste Expert and Advocate  – there’s a lot of food waste going on but it’s getting better thanks to mainstream recognition and initiatives to reduce waste

:· some new research reveals some sad information about teenagers living in homes with food insecurity  . Even if teenagers do have access to programs that give them food,they’re too worried about what their peers will think to use them openly but also they are underserved by programs like The Backpack Program, which focuses on elementary aged kids. This is something touched on before here when one of our readers was trying to develop a program for older kids.

As a result, in households where hunger was most acute, teens reported engaging in all kinds of risky behavior to obtain food, including: shoplifting food directly, selling drugs for cash and/or engaging in “transactional dating,” i.e., engaging in sexual relationships with older adults in exchange for food and money. In a few communities, some teens even viewed going to jail as a viable option to ensure regular meals. The report also revealed the degree to which hungry teens look out for each other and for their younger siblings, often forgoing meals or sharing their food with those also in need.

Here’s a summary of the full report: Impossible Choices

My teenager’s high school made school lunch available for free to ALL students, regardless of income. If high schools did that widely, this would eliminate so much of these issues. Her school also has Free Food Friday where food donations picked up from a local rescue agency is available in the school lobby for anyone to take home. My daughter very rarely gets anything because it’s completely gone by the time she has a chance to check it out. Even when she is there on time, it’s difficult to get anything. No one is shy about taking food home. Now I have to wonder why these students have no reluctance to take free food. The school is a small charter school that focuses on sustainability and social justice (nope, don’t go off on me about how awful charter schools are) . Is it just that the culture of the school is centered on taking care or others and being stewards of the earth? A lot for me to think about there. I asked my daughter what she thinks and she says it’s because the school works hard to be a safe space for everyone and “no one judges people for things like that”.

Meanwhile in my community, the school district just expanded their Fresh Snack Program to include another school so that it now serves 1,200 elementary students. The Youth Farm Project (which one of my older kids worked at and let em tell you…that’s an AMAZING program) and other local farms provide a weekly snack to be served with the intention of expanding food horizons and food accessibility. It’s awesome.

My 6 year old was very critical of the yellow watermelon mentioned in the article linked above. He spent his summer growing his own watermelon, so he’s an expert now.

He’s a super proud watermelon farmer.  I think we actually have a couple left to harvest. I plan on making this watermelon pie. YESSSSSSSSS.

daily links: podcast recs,Conflict Kitchen

Just a few of my favorite things things from this week. None of them have a thing to do with Brad and Angelina getting divorced . Sorry not sorry.

·:    When Someone Tells You They Cannot Afford Something, Be Kind – It’s fantastic advice on it’s own but yes, let’s also talk about why preschool has to be so damn expensive? And exclusive.The issue with the expense goes without saying. We NEED more pre-school programming that’s affordable for lower income families. Something I noticed as someone who worked in both public and private pre-schools was that the private ones talked a lot about “celebrating diversity” but they were really exclusionary when it came to accepting students of diverse backgrounds into their program. Scholarships were rare for low income families. The programming was not any better (in my opinion, both as a early childhood educator and a parent) than anything that would be considered publicly funded. The kids in Head Start and UPK  were actually experiencing diversity and learning so much from each other about other cultures, languages, and just life in general.

This diverges a bit off Katy’s main point,though. Just MYOB about why people can’t afford something. Sheesh.

:· A new podcast about the spiritual sustenance of leaders in social justice movements, Fortification – Only 2 episodes so far but I’m feeling inspired and uplifted.

·: I’m in love with the idea of Conflict Kitchen. It’s a restaurant in Pittsburgh that only serves food from countries the U.S. is in conflict with. “Each iteration is augmented by events, performances, and discussions that seek to expand the engagement the public has with each country.”
The restaurant’s current focus is Haudenosaunee cuisine. I was so happy to see products from The Iroquois White Corn Project being used . If you’re ever in the Rochester, NY area, do go visit the  Ganondagan  center.

 The Black Girl Dangerous podcast is back for a new season with new host Raquel Willis. This episode discusses Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police violence against people of color is the U.S. and this was before the most recent shootings. The discussion highlights the importance of what Colin and others following the example are doing. I see poor people dismiss protest like Colin’s sometimes because of his position of privilege but THAT is exactly why it’s important . Any time someone with privilege speaks out for marginalized people ,even if it risks their own security and status – I think that’s noble and notable. 

And that’s that for now, unless you count some of the links I’ve shared on the Facebook page this week. Really should get into the habit of rounding them up here.

Oh,also! Happy Bisexuality Day! I don’t have a specifically bi-pride flag but my regular rainbow pride flag hasn’t been taken down since the Orlando Pulse shooting. I love how it looks like my dried up sunflowers are holding up the flag in this pic.


We have the car back again. Fixed to the tune of $434. Yikes.
We had an electricity shut off notice for today. Our actual bill was only $33 BUT we had one hellacious bill from this past winter (because old house and space heaters) that I was still paying. I had a payment plan in place that was $109 on top of what our new charges would be. Once you’re late on the payment agreement, you get hit with a shut off for the whole amount. I fell behind (because car). The shut off amount was $575. They let me pay $300 today to keep it being shut off as long as I pay that remaining balance within the next two weeks.

Yikes all over the place. Between the car repairs,renting the u-haul for the days there was no bus, and the electric bill – that was rent money. Rent not paid for September yet.

On the plus side, we were able to get to the food pantry this week. Some produce plus the basic canned foods,rice,etc. It’s a huge help. The EBT  SNAP balance is zero.

We’re up for SNAP recert in October. We probably will not be approved. One of our college kids is living at home and just got a job. Her income will count as our  household income total then.

I’ve also felt under the weather this week. It’s par for the course as school has just started and kids are bringing me home all their new germs. My symptoms fit the basic human flu but I could have cat scratch fever.
All over my Facebook feed this week , my cat lover friends are posting the CDC’s advisory to cat owners about cat scratch disease. I looked at the symptoms. They fit. I’m totally not ruling it out.  Because that would seem about right for this week.



The bounty of tomatoes and pumpkins coming out of the garden makes it easier to not stay mad at everything. Today’s tomato harvest was 2 colanders worth (scientific measurement) . It’s been hard for me to give everything a measurement and value like I intended . Maybe with the tomatoes I’ll measure by the product I end up canning, whether it be sauce or salsa or whole tomatoes. I would say pumpkins the size of these would be about $4-5 each around here. This bunch will be canned.

It’s 3p.m. as I’m writing this. No word yet on the car. Our food pantry is this evening so if we don’t get the car back within the next couple of hours, we’ll miss that. It’s the last one of the month so that will be a bummer.

We also have a school event tomorrow for one kid that he really wanted us to go to. We’ll cross our fingers and everything else that we at least get the car back tomorrow so we can make that. We missed out on a lot of school events during the time we were a car-free family. I try to make it to everything now if it’s at all possible.

This thing tomorrow evening is also a dish to pass (side dish or dessert). I predict whatever I end up making will have either tomatoes or pumpkins. I’m glad I have them to work with. Something else that has stopped me from going to things like potlucks in the past was truly not being able to take anything. Add that to the list of “The Many Ways Being Poor Can Make You Feel Like Crap”.






walking again


I took this picture Friday on the way home from the post office. Not in our car. Walking.
Fixed car not fixed. Hopefully we’ll have it back this week. The work that had been done as of Friday afternoon was $260-ish with another part and more work needed. I have no idea what the final bill will be.

The 18th of the month. Rent still not paid. Electric shut off pending for this week. This month blows.

Positives: The walk was nice on Friday. The post office is almost exactly 2 miles from our house . It took about 40 minutes to get there. On the way home was a bit longer since it’s uphill. Before moving here, I walked everywhere. My body noticed that it had been awhile. I’m still feeling a little achy today. I think I will try to make a walk to the PO a once a week thing even after we get our wheels back. Or maybe I’ll finally get air in the tires of my brand new bike. That would be cool,too.

grocery shopping




View from inside our no-longer-dead car, on the way to the grocery store

YES, we have our old wheels back. It was a simple fix (but may be temporary). The uhaul we rented ended up being $260-ish. It was less expensive than a car rental still and if we hadn’t rented it, the husbeast would have missed  days of work. So, it was more than we could afford but we couldn’t afford not to. I hate making stupid decisions like that.
Yep, rent is late.

Yesterday was our SNAP day,too. We spent $157 of our $221. Hopefully I can make a lot of it stretch. I predict lots of creative pantry anarchy happening this month.

After putting the store-groceries away, I pulled these out of the garden.img_0395 Grocery gardening is the best.

We’re still dealing with a drought here. The USDA declared our county a natural disaster due to crop loss on farms here. Needless to say, gardening was hard,too.I have a lot of tomatoes but they’ve taken forever to ripen. This is the 1st decent bunch. I’ve harvested 8 pumpkins already,though. Things are a little backwards out there in the garden.