ICYMI: Winter produce guide,vegan avocado recipes, more tips to reduce food waste, homemade scouring scrub..and more

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The Food Stuff


10 Tips for the Black Thumb – Like, if yu swear you can’t grow stuff because you have a Black Thumb, these tips might help you get past that.

Winter Produce Guide – The Sprouting Seed– Really helpful buying tips for each produce item.

 Vegan Avocado Round Up  -I know finding avocados cheap can be a crapshoot for a lot of ya’ll but these… zomg…

RuralMom.com: Keep Your Refrigerator Organized with Four Simple Tricks – helps reduce food waste

Soup of the Day: Broccoli Cheddar- comfort soup

How to stop wasting food in 2014-This list excites me.
On a related note, if I had a video camera and a less chaotic household, I would SO love do a Dumpster Diving Cooking show.
For real.

10 Easy Ways to Stay Within Your Grocery Budget |- some tips might help, depending on your situation and resources already available. Reading all the lists around the blogosphere of how to save money makes me realize I need to write one that is specific to people living in technical poverty, since most are written with voluntary simplicity and frugality in mind.

Food Storage: Storing Herbs and Spices for Long Term Storage– this is handy if you’ve managed to buy in bulk or grow your own.


The DIY Stuff

Homemade All Purpose Scouring Scrub -3 ingredients (and two of them you can buy with food stamps.Well, actually…you can make super washing soda with baking soda, so technically all 3 ) …plus essential oil, but that’s optional.

Make Your Own Washing Soda (For Homemade Laundry Detergent) |  -turn baking soda into washing soda

Gardening small? Many fruits grow in containers -You lucky people who are able to be thinking about gardening this time of year. I have MONTHS.
Thought this could be helpful for urban & small space gardeners.


ICYMI: #changetheconversation, food demand at food banks higher than ever, Utah is giving homeless people homes,and issues that affect transgender people



I know. My graphic is off center. I’ll fix it when I get my laptop fixed and don’t have to fight for time on a computer.


What Happens When the Poor Receive a Stipend? – More reiteration of what happens when poor people are given money.“You feel controlled by the world when you’re poor,” she said. “That was simply no longer the case.”

Eating local isn’t just trendy – it can help stop poverty – As Viki Sonntag of Sustainable Seattle has found, “Shifting 20 percent of food dollars into local direct spending creates enormous multiplier effects. Spending $100 at a locally owned restaurant generates $79 for surrounding local businesses, whereas spending $100 at a nationally franchised chain restaurant generates only $31 of income for surrounding businesses.”

David Brooks’ Utter Ignorance About Inequality -Refresher: David Brooks is that journalist who tried to make poverty a moral issue,not an economic one…among other things.
Robert Reich is like, “Oh,hell no. Sit down and let the real thinkers talk.”

UN World Food Program www.wfp.org Central African Republic: 9 Hunger Facts -Looking at food scarcity in Central African Republic: 2.6 million people need assistance, 60% have no food stocks available, 94% of communities don’t have enough seed for the next planting season,and aid is tricky to deliver because of security & safety to humanitarian workers.

Utah is Ending Homelessness by Giving People Homes -instead of criminalizing homelessness and maltreating homeless people like Captain Hammer in Hawaii did, Utah is giving homeless people apartments. Check out this comment thread for other cities doing similar.

4.8 million people will still not have healthcare coverage thank to jerkwad states who won’t expand medicaid.

What if we cared about those living in poverty as much as we care about celebrities?
via Woodgreen Community Services – Youth Settlement Services

“Being poor is not a crime:” transforming the struggle for housing rights worldwide | From singing in New York courtrooms to gluing door locks in Berlin: the struggle to protect housing rights is about more than bricks and mortar.

Poverty affects more women than men in US – yep. Now what do we do about that?

Sounds like a threat to me, especially when you can be a wage slave and still be hungry.

Demand for Food Never Higher in West Michigan-“This is the classic dilemma of American poverty: Without a job, a client has to turn to food pantries and public assistance; when she finds a job, she loses her public assistance and sometimes winds up with less than she had before; either way, she doesn’t have enough to get by. For many, the work requirements included in the House’s version of the Farm Bill could turn this situation into a true catch-22: by making food assistance available only to those who make too much to qualify for it.”
And it’s everywhere.


If you wear jeans, you’re not a woman: Transphobia at women’s shelters-22% of trans women reported experiencing domestic violence due to being transgender. 19% of respondents had been homeless at some point in their lives, a number which rose to 48% among those who had suffered domestic violence. And once in a shelter, At least one in four trans women in shelters have been physically or sexually assaulted while residing at the shelter.

March of Tigers – QPoC Domestic Violence Resources and Literature  -Domestic Violence shelters for Queer and Trans* People of Color in all 50 United States. This list will also contain reading resources with tools for addressing abuse and domestic violence in queer communities. Please add more if necessary.

What to do with life and it’s lemon handing.

DIY or Die: Survival in a Post-Apocalyptic World




Damn right.  Lemons are good for a helluva lot more than lemonade. And you know what I love about the Internet? There are infographicy picture memes floating around that tell you all the great things about just about everything out there. It makes the writing part of blogging really easy.

So, here are all the great things about lemons:











See? SO good!

And of course, post-apocalyptic living …you know what you’re going to do with the seeds,right?  Yeah, that’s right. You’re going to plant those seeds and grow little itty bitty lemon trees.

Like this: How to grow a lemon tree from a seed

I happen to know this works. when my oldest son was about 5, we had been doing a lot of gardening at home and he noticed a seed in a lemon slice in my iced tea. So, we planted…

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No, you can’t use food stamps to buy pot in Colorado.


Here’s the deal. A site called The National Report wrote this thing  about people using their EBT to buy pot in Colorado and  they interviewed a pot store owner who was accepting SNAP to pay for pot edibles.

The National Report‘s disclaimer page says:

National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.

When I first read the “news” article, it had been basically copy & pasted to a conservative news blog. Even I totally bought the story. I had clicked on the source, which took me to The National Report website and I was so freaked out by the gigantic pictures of Sarah Palin & Ted Cruz looking like the site’s mascots at the top, I didn’t dig around too much there. I think I would have figured it out once I read other articles there…like a strain of marijuana that turns smokers gay….and a gay travel agency that offers a Rape Romance honeymoon package to India…and Michele Bachmann is resigning to accept an appointment in the Putin Cabinet as the newest Czar of Homosexual Containment and Eradication . (ok,that last one sounds slightly credible)
It got even more confusing when I started reading reports that the pot shop was raided by Feds and were no longer allowed to accept SNAP.  There was a link to the pot shop’s website in the article that actual went to what looked like a pot shop’s website. There was talk about Colorado trying to fix this snafu so people couldn’t but pot brownies anymore with SNAP (even though they weren’t allowed to in the first place).

The slight kernel of truth here is that yes, someone who gets TANF (cash assistance) could hypothetically use their EBT card to get cash from an ATM and then take that cash to buy pot.
Maybe I need to back-up here and explain how EBT cards work?
An EBT card is given to both SNAP and TANF recipients.  It’s actually hard to be approved pretty much everywhere for TANF and the amount you get isn’t very much.  Some stores will not allow TANF to be used at the register. Recipients have to go to an ATM and use their card there to withdraw their cash allowance.

Yep, they can take that cash and use it anywhere they want. No, I don’t care what they spend it on. Hey, pot is legal in Colorado, so there’s that. I guess I look at it this way…members of Congress do drugs and take a lot more of taxpayer’s money and they don’t exactly work for it (let’s stop pretending most of them do). And come on, Nancy Graces of the World…. it’s pot . I don’t even smoke it and I can’t hate on it. I’ve seen what alcohol & other drugs do to a person’s life. It’s not usually the case with pot.

But this isn’t meant to be a drug debate post. I just wanted to debunkify the mass circulated “news” article that let everyone belive you could buy pot with food stamps in Colorado. You can’t . The End.

Bill Gates debunks myths about poverty

My pretend boyfriend Jimmy Fallon asks Bill Gates about some of the myths debunked in the 2014 Gates Annual Letter. Poor countries aren’t doomed to stay poor,foreign aid isn’t a waste ,and increased child  & maternal  health does not encourage families to have more children.

Check out the whole report at GatesLetter.com

There’s also this great video of Bill Nye addressing the causes of child deaths and the myths about foreign aid to other countries from the U.S.


The Huff Post has a summary of the key points:

Myth No. 1: Poor countries are doomed to remain poor.

Fact: Citizens of countries once said to be “trapped in poverty” are now earning competitive salaries. Since 1960, China’s income per person has increased eightfold and India’s has quadrupled. Even smaller countries are seeing vast improvements. Botswana, for example, has witnessed a 30-fold increase in per capita income, Bill Gates noted.

Myth No. 2: There is no hope for Africa.

Fact: Africa has its share of problems, but the continent has also come a long way on a number of fronts. Since 1960, the life expectancy of women in sub-Saharan Africa has increased from 41 to 57, the chairman of Microsoft said. Whereas an estimated 40 percent of African children were in school in 1970, now more than 75 percent are pursuing education. Also, the number of AIDS-related deaths dropped 38 percent in Eastern and Southern Africa between 2005 and 2011, according to the United Nations.

Myth No. 3: Helping almost every country achieve middle-income status will just make some problems worse.

Fact: It’s true that too much development can put a further strain on the environment, but that’s not reason enough to stop helping struggling countries, Bill Gates wrote. The key is simply to develop cheaper and cleaner sources of energy and to recognize that as more people become educated, they’ll be able to tackle these problems on their own.

Myth No. 4: Foreign aid is a big fat waste.

Fact: We’re not committing as much money to foreign aid as naysayers may have you think. Bill Gates noted that Norway, the most generous nation in the world, allots less than 3 percent of its budget to foreign aid. The U.S. allots less than 1 percent, which comes to about $30 billion a year.

While that certainly isn’t pocket change, the context is key, especially when considering where this money is going. It’s being spent on vaccines, education, family planning and other life-saving tools that keep children alive and empower them to become functioning members of society who can make a difference.

Myth No. 5: Aid holds back normal economic development.

Fact: Simply put, aid gives struggling countries the cushion they need to stand on their own two feet. According to Bill Gates, a number of countries that once heavily relied on aid to survive hardly get any today. Those include Botswana, Morocco, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru and Thailand, among others.

Myth No. 6: Saving lives leads to overpopulation.

Fact: According to Melinda Gates, parents are actually more inclined to have a lot of kids when they don’t feel certain that their children will survive. In Afghanistan, for example, the child mortality rate is very high, yet Afghan women have an average of 6.2 children each, she noted. So even though more than 10 percent of Afghan children don’t survive, the country’s population is expected to grow to 55 million from 30 million by 2050.

Myth No. 7: The world is getting worse.

Fact: Yes, there are still plenty of problems that have to be addressed, but we’ve made an incredible amount of progress and have much more to look forward to.India is on track to be officially rid of polio this year, and the world could be polio-free by 2018. Since 1990, childhood death rates have been cut in half and maternal deathshave dropped by nearly the same share, according to the World Health Organization.Anti-female genital mutilation campaigns are making progress in a number of countries, and more women in the developing world are getting access to family planning resources.

Crockpot Yogurt




originally posted on my other blog crazy dumbsaint of the mind on January 11th,2011.

I love our crockpot so much I thought we could use another one. We already had a 6-Qt one, perfect for making large portion main dishes for our tribe. I figured a smaller one would be great for side dishes and such. Totally unrelated to thrifty matters, I’ve never understood why people tend to use their crock pot in the winter and not in the summer. I use mine in the summer so I don’t have to have the oven on during hot summer days. In the winter, having the oven on makes the house nice and toasty. I also use the crock pot for making soup stocks,cooking dried beans,sauces and a bunch of other stuff.

So,anyway ….I found this at a local consignment  shop. It was in it’s original box and the price sticker said it was, “ALMOST NEW.USED ONCE. WORKS FINE!”.  It was only $4. I was sold.

This particular model is probably about 25 years old, so technically it’s vintage.

BUT does it work? Was the previous owner a rotten liar, just trying to get their greedy hands on my whopping four bucks?

Well, the other day, someone I follow on Twitter mentioned (Tweeted) that they were making homemade yogurt. I said I was kicking myself for Freecycling my yogurt maker and then she filled me in that it was CROCK POT Yogurt. I had to try it.

Since I already had plans to put a roast in the big crock pot, it fell to the little one to show me what it’s got.

The verdict is….

…it successfully made yogurt!  Even my one daughter who isn’t really all that fond of yogurt loved this and had it every morning for breakfast. Well, until it ran out on Wednesday morning. We made sure to save 1/2 cup to use as a starter for a new batch and we’ll probably make more this weekend.


Ingredients you need are:
-8 cups (half-gallon) of whole milk–pasteurized and homogenized is fine, but do NOT use ultra-pasteurized. (Debbie recommends starting with whole milk until you get the hang of yogurt-making)

–1/2 cup store-bought natural, live/active culture plain yogurt (you need to have a starter. Once you have made your own, you can use that as a starter)

–frozen/fresh fruit for flavoring

–thick bath towel

–slow cooker

Since there are pictures and everything of the steps on exactly how to make it, I’ll let you read them here:  CrockPot Yogurt

(by the way, Year of Slow Cooking is one of my favorite food blogs and much thanks to Stephanie for pointing me in the direction of Punk Domestics )

An added secondhand bonus: The glass desert cup in the photo is ,of course, second hand. I’m not sure where it came from….possibly my Mom. The tablecloth is a vintage score, something I picked up at a yard sale.

My one criticism of the crock pot itself – the stoneware crock is NOT removable. I can see if you made something really messy and gloppy in it, it would be a pain in the ass to clean. I’ll just have to keep that in mind for future uses.