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.

No Poo: Why to Forego Shampoo And How it Will Reveal Your Healthiest Hair, Ever

One of my favorite blogs Thrift Core has a great post today on not using shampoo, or as it’s commonly called “No Poo”
No Poo: Why to Forego Shampoo And How it Will Reveal Your Healthiest Hair, Ever.

I haven’t used shampoo in ages. My foray into No Poo began because I couldn’t afford to buy shampoo and the hair care methods when not using shampoo are things that can be purchased with food stamps, but most importantly, they’re food stamp allowable ingredients that are very inexpensive and don’t use a significant portion of your food stamp budget. Not to mention, they can be used for other things in cooking and around the house.

After using “no poo” out of necessity, I discovered that when I had money to buy shampoo, I wasn’t crazy about how my hair felt and went back to no poo.
I use mostly just apple cider vinegar and baking soda for my hair care with an occasional Hair Smoothie whipped up when I need some conditioning. I also have started making my own apple cider vinegar with apple scraps, which helps shave more off the grocery bill.

Lunchtime Links: how to grow beets, a retractable window garden, and an online map for freegans

Here’s today’s things….

how to grow beets, with brian campbell.

It turns out I’m no Dwight Schrute when it comes to beet growing so I really appreciated that. This is only the second time I’ve grown beets. I could not figure out why my seedlings were so close together. I had no idea the beet seed was actually several seeds. And I had so many questions about thinning.

See,ya’ll? Years of gardening experience and there are still things I have to learn.


This is pretty neat. Barreau&Charbonnet created this window garden for people with little space. It extends out during the day so plants can get sun and retracts back in at night.

Retractable Window Planter

Retractable Window Planter

It’s a cool concept. It’s probably not super flexible to different window designs but I bet someone with  DIY skills could build neat custom designs.



Caleb Phillips and Ethan Welty founded Falling Fruit , an online resource map for dumpster divers, freegans, and foragers. I checked out my local locations and no freegan sources have been added but lots and lots of fruit & foraging spots. This is the sort of map that thrives with user input. My hope is that freegans will be conscientious when adding comments about the personal and legal safety for other divers. As I’ve touched on here before, some dumpster divers’ main concern isn’t the food safety but more the risk of harassment and arrest , and other issues to do with privilege. 

Recently, the pair has begun speaking at food justice conferences, contacting online freegan communities and handing out stickers, expanding the site’s fan base. Calling it the most extensive and diverse map of its kind, the pair’s ultimate goal is to shed a bright light on the enormous quantity of food that goes to waste–in this country and abroad.

Phillips and Welty are raising money to create a FallingFruit mobile app for foragers and divers through Barnraiser.us, a newly launched crowdfunding site specifically designed for food and sustainability projects. They hope to raise $10,000 by the end of May.

To create the dumpster map, men spent months combing the Internet for dumpster location information and painstakingly checking each entry before adding it to their site. Their hope is that other freegan sites such as trashwiki.org and freegan.info will embed the FallingFruit map.

To date, there are at least 2,500 bins on the map with up to five new ones added daily. Welty estimates that around 500 people are using the site every day and he expects the numbers to rise as summer kicks in. Along with most U.S. cities, map users have entered dumpsters in Antarctica, Jamaica, and even the North and South Pole, says Phillips.

“We wanted to take [dumpster diving] from being a secret hobby to something that illustrates first-hand how ubiquitous food waste is,” says Welty. Despite the fact that 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten, few people spend much time thinking about food waste. But, Welty adds, “You can only feel [the magnitude of] it when you open up a dumpster and see what’s in it.”

via Civil Eats

 You can’t tell these hens what to do.


How to DIY When You’re Poor



If you spend any amount of time on social media, you see some really cool ideas for DIY projects. Pinterest seems to be that place we all go for inspiration and then end up just feeling bad that we don’t have time, energy, or creativity to be that awesome. For low income and disabled people, the frustration is compounded by the lack of accessibility and ability. Even the cheap projects or ones that use junk often require tools or equipment,  and sometimes being able bodied,right?

I have possible solutions,though!

Where to Get Free Tools & Supplies

  • freecycle or craigslist – Find your nearest group at the respective websites : Freecycle.org and craigslist.com.
    On Freecyle, once you join, you can post something like this: “WANTED: Thing You Need” , with a description of what you’re looking for. If it’s a tool you think you’ll only need for one project, you can specify that you only need to borrow something. On craigslist, same thing but you usually have to find a category for what you’re looking for. Both Freecycle and Craigslist are great places for finding materials that someone might have leftover from another project (like, for instance, PVC pipe just waiting to be turned into a hanging indoor window garden ).I often peruse the FREE section of craigslist to see what people are cleaning out of their homes. I just scored an old crib with missing parts — perfect for upcycling as a trellis in my garden.

    If you have transportation obstacles, be sure to mention that in your post. Some people will generously drop things off to you or at a location easy for you to meet at. Of course, use your best judgement and common sense when telling strange people you meet on the Internet to come over or meet somewhere. You’re all adults,though. We don’t have to say more than that.

  • Yard Sales & Thrift Shops – I have a lot of crafting supplies and tools. I would say that 90% of them were purchased at thrift shops,yard sales, rummage sales,etc.Again, transportation is the obstacle here. There are also sometimes when even spending $5 on yard sale finds is out of the budget but if you can, these are the best places to find an amazing assortment of tools & supplies to build your DIY crafting arsenal.

    One thing I do to help add a bit of thrifting money is to sell my family’s used clothing at a local consignment shop. The checks I get every other month aren’t huge but it gives me a little extra to set aside specifically for going to sales.

    I also have gotten into the habit of going by houses that have advertised a yard sale after the sale has ended. People typically will put a free pile curbside rather than haul it back into their garage or load it into the car to dump off at the Salvation Army.

  • Local Hardware Stores–  By local, I mostly mean locally owned. From my experience, the people who work at small hardware stores are more than happy to drill holes in something for you or cut a piece of wood to your specifications. It’s iffy in a big box hardware store but it never hurts to ask.
  • Find a Tool Share – There are community groups where people borrow tools from one another and others that have a “library” of tools that they lend to people. These may be tricky to find but I would start with Googling “tool share” and your area. Some communities have had very active tool shares for decades but never brought it to the Internet. If you can’t find anything online, call local carpenters, hardware store,mechanics, bike shops and ask if they know of any tool sharing groups around you.
  • Sewing Machine Shares– They exist! I’m fortunate to have one here. If there’s one in your area, your local fabric store will most likely know about it.Give them a call.

Where To Find Help With Projects

If you aren’t physically able due to disability or the aches and pains that come with aging  to do some parts of a project, here’s some ideas of organizations that might be able to help.

  1. The Girl Scouts – ok, any scouting group but I like the Girl Scouts.
  2. 4-H
  3. Local Office of the Aging /groups that help the elderly – they often have volunteers with a wide range of interests and skills
  4. Local school shop classes or a vocational school
  5. Veterans groups

I am positive there are many more I missed or don’t know about. Please let me know in the comments if you know of any and I’ll add them.

Lunchtime Links: Eat for 40 cents a day, use up those broccoli stems, and alternative recipes to boxed foods…

All the good foodie stuff around the web today…

The Prudent Homemaker has a decent  series on frugal cooking that covers all the areas. Not everyone can do all of these but if you’re able to put a few bits into practice, it can help.
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Introduction
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part One: Eat More Meatless Meals
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Two: Buy in Bulk
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Three: Make it From Scratch
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Four: Only Buy Food When It is at Its Lowest Price
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Five: Grow More in Your Garden
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Six: Glean
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Seven: Eat In Season Produce
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Eight: Eat More Soup
Eat for 40 Cents a Day: Part Nine: The Price Per Pound, or in Other Words, Comparing 

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Use up those broccoli stems – can’t wait to try broccomole.

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Something asked frequently here is what to use all the tortillas you get with WIC (besides the obvious) . There’s some good inspiration here : 5 Ways to Make a Tortilla Into a Snack

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Corporations are working to convince us that cooking from scratch is hard. Not. So.

I know,I know… sometimes the box is cheaper.Sometimes the boxed stuff is all you can get.  You all know that I know this . So, no shame if you can’t get your hands on the ingredients but if you can and you have the time, here’s some great ways to get the boxed stuff off your menu. Make It At Home

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ICYMI: Food & Clothing Swaps, food bank pizza,building a greenhouse from plastic bottles….

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Recipes &  Food Budgeting Tips

Healthy Eating on a Budget – Week 4 – There’s 5 weeks of “budget” meal menus to look at here. I *think* this is for one person. Week 4 looks like it was the least expensive – $38, still more than a food stamp budget but maybe could still be done if you get lucky at the food bank. It’s still worth looking thru and adapting a few meal ideas to fit your own needs. I’m just always looking for inexpensive meal ideas that don’t involve beans and rice. Not every poor person likes beans & rice, so I like to present variety.

March Food and Product Swap- “Swap It Chicago is a food and product exchange that takes place every month in Chicago. We gather monthly to exchange our homemade goodies–there is no money exchanged and the event is FREE for those who register.”

Your Fridge: You’re Using It Wrong- How to store fruits & veggies to extend shelf life.



Hey,now…this is fancy. Where’d they get that pepperoni!?
(But seriously…food bank English muffins, the canned sketti sauce, and some commod cheese… good-enough-pizza)

DIY & Frugal Living

The streets of San Francisco are lined with pear , plum and apple trees thanks to ‘guerilla grafters’ secretly grafting fruit-bearing scions onto ornamental, non-fruit bearing trees making fresh fruit free and available to everyone who wishes to pick some.| Food Warrior Network  – Guerrilla Grafters !

Swap Positive -“The idea behind Swap Positive is to offer and get free clothes, forever. No money changes hands with these clothes ~ even if you get them home and decide they aren’t quite `you’, we ask that you GIVE them away to someone. That is the mission of Swap Positive.”

 Build a Greenhouse Using Plastic Bottles- If you’re thinking about building a greenhouse and need material cost to be low, here ya go.

ICYMI: A few yummy recipes and a lot of DIY gardening stuff

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All the things you might have missed this past week from the Facebook page.

Food & Recipes

45+ Frugal Meals to Help You Eat Well, Spend Less | Life As Mom -I didn’t look at every single recipe but most of them do seem to be truly “budget friendly”. I mean, there is a recipe that uses EIGHT EGGS , so not all of them are low budgety…..
Some perspective on “budget-friendly” recipes…
The average SNAP budget is about $1.25 per meal, sometimes less. There are also MANY people in the U.S. right now who are ineligible for food stamps who need to keep their budget within that same range.
So, if one meal costs even “just” $2/ serving, it is not frugal enough for poor folks.

Easy Homemade Bread | Artisan – I have made this a few times and it turned out well, but I *like* to knead, so it’s not my preferred method. I think of kneading as a bit of therapy, so much that I have a whole music-oriented routine  …but in a time crunch, the no-knead method is good. If you have a good library system, see if they have My Bread by Jim Lahey. It’s pretty good.Another good one is Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day

Vegan: Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Panini With Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise | Serious Eats – I made this for dinner one night and was going to do a whole blog post of it’s own. I just wanted to demonstrate how something that sounds really wonderfully fancy-schmancy can be cheap & easy to make. BUT I lost my grocery receipt, so I couldn’t do an exact cost breakdown, which would have been the whole point of the post. It was a hit, so I’ll probably make it again and do a better job at keeping track of the receipt.

This is my kind of breakfast…
“Good morning, rice bowl. (Brown rice, sweet potato, kale, scrambled eggs)”

via Mary Makes Dinner


the peony and the bee -peonyandbee.tumblr.com Garden by Jeroenc71 on Flickr. – a beautiful small backyard garden. There are many possibilities, even in compact places like this.

Mark your calendar, guys and gals. The ONLINE Food Growing Summit is coming up, March 3-7 — and it’s
F-R-E-E. Just the inspiration you need!http://www.attainable-sustainable.net/want-advice-experts-especially-joel-salatin/You’ll hear conversations with Will Allen, Ocean Robbins, Joel Salatin, Erika Allen, Vandana Shiva, John Valenzuela, Stacey Murphy and many other farmers, backyard food growers, and urban food activists.

I’ve used this method in gardening since I was a teenager, just learning to garden. I had a great gardening mentor (Hi, Susun!)
Later, my daughters used the method to create their own tradition..a real “Three Sisters” garden. Each chose which seed/plant they were to be in charge of and took responsibility for the care from seed to harvest.

Another great advantage is space saving for small space gardens.

You can also combine raised beds like these with lasagna gardening technique if you can’t fill outright with composted soil mix.
I like to be creative and thrifty with what I build my raised beds with… old bookshelves or dressers with the drawers removed make great frames. Last summer, I tore apart an old couch… the wooden frame looks like it’ll make a nice raised bed with a handy built in trellis (the back of the couch). You can also use upcycled pieces at the end of a raised bed to act as a trellis, like my crib springs cucumber trellis.

I grew all my beans this way one year.I used bottles,mostly plastic,that I fished from recycling bins in my neighborhood.

Recycled Wine Bottle Herb Gardens Self Watering
These are Pretty Easy to make and can be made with any Glass or plastic Bottle , Good idea to start herbs now to get ready for spring

Recycled Wine Bottle Garden Tutorial 1

Reycled Wine Bottle Garden Tutorial #2

If you need a Video tutorial here you go