food we ate, april 4 til now

Well,honestly – this isn’t ALL the food we ate. I forget to take pictures or I’m too tired or my house is chaosville. Most meals were  made w/ things we got at the food pantry 2 weeks ago . We did do minor grocery shopping for basics. I had two crying meltdowns that were food related – one because the ground beef from the food pantry was spoiled and the other because bread dough (honey wheat oat…the one I make the most) didn’t rise.

About the crying – I never cry. Maybe once or twice a year. The advantage to this is that people who know me know that when I’m crying, it’s super important. Lately? I cry over every damn thing. Dearest says, “It must be hormones.” And I said, “No, I think this is who I am now.” To his credit, he didn’t even flinch. I notice this has been a gradual thing as I’m getting older. I cry if something is impossibly cute or beautiful or horribly sad and tragic. Bread dough not rising and spoiled meat  are probably not the most tragic things but it was in my world on the days it happened.

Anyway…on to the food.


This was something I’m calling Loaded Potato Casserole. I diced potatoes, rinsed them, then coated them in a packet of “chili seasoning” that I found in the pantry. I added a can of pinto beans and baked the whole thing for 25 minutes or so. I threw cheese on at the end. The chives on top are super fresh. I harvested them from the garden…. the day after we got 6 inches of snow.


Poor chives. They were looking pretty sad after the snow but have bounced back since.


Basic spaghetti loaded with chunky onion tomato sauce. This was where I cried. I wanted to make meatballs but the ground beef wasn’t good. I DON’T EVEN LIKE MEAT. What the hell?


I’m calling this one Eggroll Bowl. I guess it’s “Deconstructed Eggroll” but ugh, hipsters and their deconstructed ethnic foods. What happened here was I thought I had 2 packages of eggroll wrappers so I went ahead and made eggroll filling before realizing there were no eggroll wrappers. No crying over this for whatever reason. I just cooked it and put it in bowls over rice.Hubby had made a pork roast for a fantasy baseball thing he went to and I put some of the leftover pork in the mix.


“Baja Fish Tacos”. This was a taco meal kit from the food pantry. Well, the seasoning and tortillas was. The fish was from the food pantry,too. The fish we get there is frozen pollock and it’s not terrible. I’ve found it’s ideal for things like tacos or sandwiches.

The tomatoes and lettuce are from this tiny produce shop near us. It’s literally in an addition on this man’s house on one of the more traveled back roads here. His prices are great and most things are pretty local. He also has eggs, both local small farm and more factory farmed. The latter were reduced this week because he had too many so we picked up several cartons for 75 cents each. We’ve been eating a lot of breakfast-for-dinner meals.

And we still have a ton of these frozen pancakes left. When I first served them, my littlest thought I was handing him a plate of small cookies. Yeah, they do look like that.


One of the most memorable things I made recently that I didn’t take pics of was Jim Lahey’s Potato Pizza .Because potatoes, which we have a lot of right now.
I loved it but I got mixed reactions from the rest of the family.

“It’s …..interesting.”- Husband

“I just don’t know how I feel about this.”- 15 yr old

“Don’t call it pizza. It has no sauce.” -11 yr old

“Nope.”- 5 yr old

I wish my other kids had been home. I think they would have appreciated it.

My 11 year old is an incredibly picky eater (sensory issues. No, “if he’s hungry enough,he’ll eat” doesn’t quite work here) . We accidentally discovered that he loves those stupid chunky campbell’s soups – Loaded Baked Potato,specifically. I HATE buying soap in a can because I can make it so cheaply at home. I have tried feeding him various homemade potato soups and he’s rejected most. FINALLY, I made one this past week that he loved. Bye, campbell’s chunky soup.

Used homemade broth for it,of course.
I don’t remember what I did with that chicken. Garlicked and baked,maybe?

I still have a bazillion carrots to use. I’ll get on that this week.
I’m sure it’ll also still be pretty potato intensive.

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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 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!’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