Daily Dozen:Fave recent links from The Kitchn

[contents: food,recipes,cooking tips]

The Kitchn has been one of my favorite food sites out there for a long time. I have a lot of favorite food sites and blogs but I have to admit that the longer I do this Poor as Folk thing, the more my lens tends to focus on things I know can be practical and helpful to low income people.  When I’m scrolling through my feedly or other social media feeds, The Kitchn has something daily that fits what I am looking for , both as a low income person who needs to eat and is always interested in learning even more about food,  and as an info maven who likes to pass on that info to others in the same boat.

For today’s daily dozen, I thought I’d share some favorite posts as a sampling.

  1. How To Cook Brown Rice — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn – remember my post about Aldi’s (it wasn’t really about Aldi’s but more about food accessibility issues but whatever)? I know I was underwhelmed in general but the one good buy that others agreed with was brown rice. Maybe it’s because my kids went to school where the school lunch program served brown rice only but my kids prefer brown rice to white. But not gonna lie… I’d rather cook white rice any day. I’ve finally got brown rice mastered so thank, kitchn for helping me level up that cooking skill.
  2.  Healthy Grocery Shopping on a Budget: Tips from an In-Store Nutritionist – I love this because one of the tips is to fill your cart at least HALFWAY with produce (WAIT….it’s not as bad as you’re thinking!) and then goes on to say that ,yes, frozen veggies totally count as produce that’s less expensive. (does assume everyone has access to an actual grocery store.sorry)
  3. 20 Recipes Where Cabbage Is King — Recipes from The Kitchn – cabbage is always on my grocery list. You can stretch a cabbage through several meals with cost being very little per serving.
  4. 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking with Canned Beans — Cooking Mistakes – People relying on food pantries might find this especially handy info
  5. Why Fried Rice Is What I’m Making for Dinner Tonight (and Tomorrow Night) — Tips from The Kitchn -this is my back up plan when I cant figure out what else to have. Sometimes I don’t have very much to add to it but it always hits the spot. Great way to use leftover rice.
  6. 20 Lentil Recipes for Easy Weeknight Meals — Recipes from The Kitchn – raise your hand if you get “Pappy’s Pantry” dried lentils from your food pantry. Yep. I have a lot of them. I love cooking with lentils (made a fantastic red thai curry lentil dish the other night) but I am always looking out for new things to do with them. I bet you are,too.
  7. Stop Being a Snob About Canned Fish — Strong Opinions – It’s shelf stable,nutrient rich,and cheap. 3 good reasons right there. It’s unfortunate that my feelings about canned salmon are tainted by the awful salmon loaf my Grandma made when I was a kid. I am so glad I have a wide range of good recipes at my fingertips now.
  8. 5 Incredible Ways to Use a Can of Tomatoes — Recipe Templates from The Kitchn – There are so many thing to do with a can of tomatoes and they really are inexpensive. I seem to find a lot of great deals on them in the dented can cart. Why are there so many dented cans of tomatoes? People know they’re supposed to take tomatoes out of the can before throwing them,right?
  9. A Guide to Gardening Indoors During the Winter Months — Apartment Therapy – handy for those who have space to do some indoor gardening and are fortunate enough to not have a jerky cat who thinks planters are special litter boxes (Anyone want a cat?)
  10. Recipe: No-Knead Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls — Recipes from The Kitchn -ok, maybe these aren’t super practical for everyone but I made these for Turkey Day dinner and it’s now one of my staple recipes. Next time I get a bounty of sweet taters cheap, I think I’ll make a large batch of the dough to freeze.
  11. 5 Delicious Uses for Common Kitchen Scraps — Tips from The Kitchn -waste not ,want not?
  12. The Best Foods to Donate to Food Banks During the Holidays — Expert Interview– Yes,yes. We need to eat more than just holiday food but donations to food banks during the holidays can help them for months afterward. Suggestions are not just holiday food,thankfully.

Food bank volunteer

(Image credits: mangostock/Shutterstock; Kelli Foster; Steve Lovegrove/Shutterstock;Zsolt Biczo/Shutterstock)


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No Food Wasted: Leftover Spinach Salad= Greek-ish Omelette

The phone rang and I have ADHD, so my omelette scorched , then plain just fell apart but you’re not here for pretty food photography, right?

This is the reason I prefer to make salad with spinach than lettuce (besides that spinach has more nutritional value) .I can recycle spinach salad far easier into other foods than I can lettuce. You can throw it in wraps, pasta dishes,bake it on fish or meat… lots of possibilities.

One negative: spinach tends to be more expensive BUT I find that I can stretch a package of spinach throughout several meals and I just don’t get that with lettuce.

Both are really easy to grow if you can do that, so there’s that way of handling the whole cost issue. Still, even growing my own I would end up buying some occasionally because my small garden was not a farm that could keep up with my ridiculous family who likes to eat lots of spinach.

If I do have a salad made with lettuce, I will use up the leftover on a sandwich. But meh…

How I Save on Groceries (without Coupons) – Letters from Sunnybrook

How I Save on Groceries (without Coupons) – Letters from Sunnybrook.

This is a great rundown of how to cut your budget without coupons.

One of the common things I see people holler at low budget & food stamp shopping people is ,”USE COUPONS!” (actually, THE most ridiculous internet feuds I’ve ever been involved in was about couponing! A group of Couponing Divas used 57 pages on their forum to trash talk me & poor people on food stamps. I was so flattered that they used their free non-couponing time to think about moi)

I have found that coupons don’t work for us at all. When we do the math, we end up spending less just buying a store brand , even if the coupon is for something that the store is having a sale on. We do use store coupons.

Plus,  when I look at coupons, I never  can find things we will use. We don’t use packaged,pre-made foods. Coupons are rarely for raw ingredients. I look at what can be bought with coupons and wonder what the hell I would even do with a lot of that crap.
Like… in this Pin:

I would use the toilet paper but I could find a lot better things to spend $20 on.

But anyway… that’s how we do things here. If coupons work for you, that’s super awesome. If you’re like me and find they don’t ,feel free to share your other non-coupon tips in the comments!

A few thoughts on food stamp challenges…. #SNAP #Poverty

In my drafts, I have a long and still unfinished piece devoted to the pros and cons of people taking food stamp challenges. I’ve touched on key points here before but the subject deserves an indepth examination. Spoiler: There is one pro and eight different points that are cons. My #1 frustration is that wealthy celebs and politicians take part in a SNAP challenge for 1 week, tell everyone how hard it is, and THAT gives credibility to the struggles on food insecure people instead of the daily voices of those who live the reality telling people how hard it is.
Maybe some day I’ll finish that post I started. Right now, I’m juggling a lot and haven’t had time to write, so for now, I want to share some thoughts from people who share my frustration with SNAP / food stamp challenges for some of the same reasons.

The discussion was regarding this via think-progress: (but I found it via one of my favorite tumblrs Ask a Welfare Caseworker )

Members of Congress are living off food stamps for a week to protest Republican cuts. It’s a challenge for them, but GOP cuts would hurt millions of everyday Americans. 


 I want a reality tv show where politicians have to live in poverty for a month. They have to live in Government housing, shop with food stamps, and get only a limited amount of money for clothes. Because here, they still have all their trappings, lilke nice cars and thousand dollar suits. I want them in Walmart jeans trying to determine if they can afford a carton of milk.


Give them a full calendar year. I want to see them confident in January, and sometime around June choking back tears at the Safeway because they are tired, so tired, of eating 25 cent cup noodles, eyeing other peoples’ full grocery carts with a dull bewilderment.

Let me see them despair because they have a persistent nagging cough that won’t go away and might be turning into pneumonia but the minute clinic is $60, which might as well be as six million dollars, either way they ain’t got it to spare – and that doesn’t count the cost of prescriptions. Let me hear them tell people about the muscle cramps they get at night due to eating non-nutritious garbage for months, the weakness from persistent hunger.

Let them know the shame and frustration of only owning one pair of cheap polyester pants for work and one pair of thrift-store jeans, and both persistently have ripped crotches and seams coming undone, no matter how many times they get sewn back up.

Let the women know the particular sort of despair that comes once a month when you can’t afford even the cheapest pads or tampons.

Let them understand the frustration of being charged a $35 fee for a $2 overdraft. Let them watch as the bank holds charges from different days in “pending” till they all come through on the same day, and the bank charges them four times for a single overdraft because “the charges all cleared at the same time”.

I want them to know the particular pain of having to decide between food for the week, or transportation costs to and from work. You can’t have both. Choose wisely.

You do not truly understand poverty until you’ve lived it and a month isn’t enough to encompass it. Not even close.


I have $7000 in medical bills this year because I let something go untreated for nine years because I couldn’t afford it. When I broke my hand I refused to go to the doctor because I couldn’t afford it – it wasn’t until my manager swore up and down that worker’s comp would cover it that I even considered going – and there were pieces of bone sticking out of my hand. I once walked on a broken foot for a year. A year. Because my boss wouldn’t let me have the time off to let it heal properly and my job required being on my feet for 8+hours a day. And that fucking foot kept starting to heal and then re-fracturing all over again. Spaghetti makes me sick to my stomach because I ate it every fucking day for months on end because pasta and tomato sauce are CHEAP, but there was no meat and no veggies, so it didn’t really do me any good.

Sometimes I buy things I don’t need just to prove to myself that I can. And sometimes I go crazy and buy bags of things for the homeless shelter and the food bank because Jesus, do people need it and I have a little extra to spare now. Sometimes I hoard things, like soap and food and old clothes that I don’t like and will never wear again, because what if I need it in the future and can’t afford it?

Sometimes I remember being so poor that my power was turned off and my bank account was negative and I had nothing in the kitchen but ramen noodles and canned beans and god only knew how I was going to scrape together $475 to pay the rent on my shitty apartment and the lingering stress makes me start to cry.

Rice for a whole winter, except weekends when my boyfriend came down and took me out, and margarine—forget butter—for it only rarely, so I couldn’t eat white rice for forty years.  Pasta and soup with maybe a burger on payday as my only meat.  No dental work, so my teeth are an ongoing trainwreck.  Living in one-room studio apartments in residential hotels for a decade because we couldn’t afford a real apartment or utilities.  And yes to all the bank crap.

I want the Congresscritters to live through a year of THAT before they vote on programs for the poor.


This is why I can’t stand people taking the SNAP challenge.
You don’t know the reality. You don’t come away with true empathy for people living the reality. And you still don’t listen to people living the reality.

Lunchtime Links: 16 ways to eat dandelion greens, homemade ramen?, and impromptu meal “planning”

Everything food related for today…


Hell,yes, DANDELIONS. I may have mentioned this already(?) but I’ve been studying to become a certified herbalist. Herbalists love dandelions. They’re great for cleaning toxins from your system (good for your liver)  but also very handy for relieving pains, especially arthritic type. They’re an anti-inflammatory, a good astringent for your skin…. and they can actually be tasty.

My grandma used to just put them in a salad. That was about as fancy as she got but here are 16 Ways To Eat (or drink) Dandelions. Can’t wait to make the jelly. The dandelion root “coffee” is how you also would make a dandelion root tea but if it feels better to call it coffee, go for it .

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Ramen Made From Scratch

Make your own ramen for less than the cost of ramen – All  you need a pasta maker and 30 minutes ….plus the 2-5 waiting time while the dough rests.

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My Love for Local Food Is a Reasonable Defense for Not Planning Meals Ahead – I can relate to this and as someone who is low income, it’s the most practical , especially in the summer time. Garden shares, roadside stands, discounted produce at the grocery store because of abundance, farmer’s market deals… these are all things that I jump at the chance to score and whatever I score, that’s what’s on the menu.

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Lunchtime Links: Growing Cities, Healthy Recipes Database, and Hacked Shakshuka

All the foodie related stuff for today…

I have been so excited to see this since I first saw the trailer last Fall. Now the film is available for community screenings , so check out the showings to see if there are any near you.


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The Capital Area Foodbank has a great recipe database…. all healthy, mostly vegetarian,too.

Healthy Recipe Database







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Well, I didn’t know what Shakshuka was before (it’s basically poached eggs in tomato sauce) but it sounds delicious and with this hack, using cans of ro-tel could make it pretty cheap and easy. I’m all about cheap and easy.


Five Ingredient Yum: Shakshuka Hack



via Food Riot.