garlic mustard harvesting day

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I remember last spring there was a meeting at the local library to discuss what should be done about the rampant takeover of garlic mustard. I couldn’t and still don’t understand why they weren’t just telling people to harvest and eat it. Put out recipe booklets,maybe?
It is really invasive but it’s edible and the more we eat it, the more it helps control it. Happy to do my part.

I think I’m going to experiment a bit and use the roots to make a flavored vinegar. I’ve only used garlic mustard in the past for pesto and salads. Though now that I’m thinking about it, I might have cooked them last year in a chicken dish. Seems like I remember that happening.

There is so much on the property I’ll have plenty to experiment with. This bin was just a small patch of it. I’ll probably dry some of it,too.

 

pantry anarchy: yellow squash & white bean not-meat-balls

Because recipes were made to be broken when you’re broke.

 

meatballs

 

My main inspiration for this recipe: Zucchini “Meatballs”

I had on hand:
-2  yellow squash (getting on the verge of being soft)
– 2 cups leftover white beans
– eggs
– salt,pepper,Italian seasoning,garlic
– oat flakes
-tri color rotini from the food pantry
– a jar of spaghetti sauce (pretty sure also from food pantry)
– canola oil

I shredded the squash and let it drain some of the moisture off. I started to mash the beans but it was too chunky so I kinda pureed it with water in the blender. I combined the bean paste with the squash and seasoned HEAVILY (like, really… I put so much garlic and Italian herbs in it). I added an egg to bind it, then added the oat flakes to make it less mushy. I have no idea how much I added. I think it’s just one of those things you have to gauge depending on how moist your mixture is. My goal was to get it solid enough to form balls but not too dry that they crumble.

I coated a baking pan with oil , then formed the bean-squash mix into balls and placed them on the pan. I drizzled oil on top then baked at 375 for about 20 minutes, turning them over about half way.

My super carnivore husband liked them and I think it was thanks to the heavy seasoning. He did describe it as tasting like “falafel in ball form” but he made it sound like a good thing. Maybe I’m onto a new fusion here.


If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please consider being a supporter at Patreon! Your support will keep content on the blog free and available to all on the internet as well as help me develop printed publications.  Donate here:  Poor as Folk on Patreon or one time donation via Paypal to luckyfishhomestead@gmail.com

 

 

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.

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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.

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

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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?

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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.

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“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.

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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?
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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.


If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please consider being a supporter at Patreon! Your support will keep content on the blog free and available to all on the internet as well as help me develop printed publications.  Donate here:  Poor as Folk on Patreon or one time donation via Paypal to luckyfishhomestead@gmail.com

 

 

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)


 

If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please consider being a supporter at Patreon! Your support will keep content on the blog free and available to all on the internet as well as help me develop printed publications.  Donate here:  Poor as Folk on Patreon

 

Pantry Anarchy: Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas

Because recipes were made to be broken when you’re broke.

My inspiration and guidance for this recipe came from Feasting at Home’s recipe for Butternut Mole Enchiladas.

The ingredients for the original recipe are:
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To start off, I had one lonely butternut squash and a can of black beans, so in my mind I had the basics and I could wing the rest.

I did not have:

  • tortillas of any sort
  • tomato sauce
  • garlic cloves
  • chipotle chilis or adobo sauce
  • cumin – JUST finished the last of what I had
  • coriander -HILARIOUS considering the amount I grew last summer. Guess that means I have to grow even more this year
  • tahini
  • dark chocolate squares

But I DID have:

From the food pantry –

  • the aforementioned butternut squash
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • an onion
  • peanut butter

On hand-

  • garlic powder
  • colby-jack cheese
  • tap water; clean,flowing, and free of contaminates
  • soy sauce
  • a packet of “Mexican” spice mix
  • an assortment of other dried peppers and chili powders
  • salt & pepa
  • a partial bag of ghiradelli dark chocolate chips that my daughter’s boyfriend gave to her for her birthday with strawberries. I took a handful that I thought about equaled 2 oz. Shhh. Don’t tell her.
  • flour
  • oil

Enchiladas are not really enchiladas if you don’t have tortillas, so while the squash was roasting, I threw together 2 cups flour,3/4 c water,1/2 tsp salt, and 3 tbls oil in to a bowl. My youngest likes to do the kneading part (and he doesn’t even have to be reminded to wash his hands first anymore!). The dough doesn’t need to be kneading too well like yeast bread would. Just about a dozen tosses. After letting it sit for 10-15 minutes, kiddo divided it into 8 little balls. He was my “flattener” ,rolling the balls into something that looked tortilla shaped. I use a cast iron skillet to cook them in a little bit of oil. I’m probably terrible at explaining this but I bet if you go to youtube, someone has a video of how to make them.

Ahhh…like this! Although they use lard in their recipe. And I don’t have a nice tortilla warmer like that. I never even knew I wanted one until right now.

I followed the recipe for the Quick Mole Sauce substituting crushed tomatoes for tomato sauce, garlic powder for cloves (1/8 tsp for every clove), and the seasoning mix & spices in lieu of chipotle chilis. I used peanut butter instead of tahini which I thought was going to be super weird but it turned out awesome. I omitted the soy sauce entirely because my soy-sauce-hater daughter was looking over my shoulder and I knew I wouldnt get away with even a dribble of it in there.

End result:

A delicious mess on a plate.

For those who don’t know their squash varieties, this is butternut. One of my kids isn’t a fan of squash but she’ll eat (and like) butternut if it’s in something. It’s versatile and has a pumpkin-ish taste…but different. Sweeter.

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No Food Wasted:  Half a cabbage+kidney beans+leftover tomato soup = ….

  
This was what I worked with for dinner last night:

  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • A cup or so of kidney beans . I got a huge can of kidney beans in the dented can bin for cheap. Half went into a pasta salad the night before
  • Leftover canned tomato soup we had at lunch . About 1/2 cup 
  • A very sad looking tomato in the fridge

I also used from the pantry:

  • 1 onion
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
  • Curry powder 

One of my family’s favorites is fried cabbage. This is just a twist in that. First – I sautéed garlic and onion in cooking oil. I added a little bit more oil and tossed in coursely chopped cabbage. I like to let it cook until the onions are  caramelized and cabbage tender and slightly browned.

cabbage & onions

 
Then I added the beans , chopped tomato, & tomato soup and  seasoned with salt & curry . Let cook until everything is heated through and that was that.  

 You can use any seasoning you have on hand and it would be just as awesome. I just happened to be in the mood for curry that evening.

I served it with rice but my daughter ate it without happily . I think she’s sick of rice. 

This post has gone bananas

[content notes: food waste, food rescue, recipes, too many banana songs and references to gorillas]

About a week ago we acquired 80 lbs of bananas. An entire shipment of banana arrived at the store “too ripe”. Optimally, stores want the naners more on the green side. This particular grocery store is one that does the responsible thing and works with food donation organizations that use food “waste” to feed people but this time… toooooooooooooo many bananas.

[Digression: These happens everywhere in America,every day, with a lot more than bananas. When people actually argue against feeding poor people and policing their food choices, I’m like…guys… there is more than enough food for everyone,ok? Good food. Food people can eat. This feeding of people does not have to be this complicated]

So, 80 lbs came into our house on Friday. On Saturday, 40 more lbs joined them.

And now I’m starting to see Grodd’s point of view a little clearer.


I am not really at the banana hating point but it may be awhile until I have a craving for a banana-anything. Also, hard to hate free food.

So, here’s what I did with 120 lbs of bananas:

  • Gave them to friends and people I don’t even really know
  • Sent some with my daughter to take back to college after break
  • Made banana pancakes (had that Jack Johnson song stuck in my head the rest of the day)
  • Made banana chips  (I definitely did not use fresh squeezed lemon juice like the recipe calls for)
  • Made banana muffins & bread while ,totally unplanned, my 5 yr old watched a Richard Scarry’s Busytown dvd with many episodes centered around Bananas Gorilla
  • Froze equivalent to a small boatload of bananas while singing “The Banana Boat Song”. One entire shelf in our upright freezer ($30 at a yard sale many years ago. One of my best buys ever) is just bananas in freezer bags. These will come in handy for quite some time for baking and smoothies. I also read yesterday that bananas are on the brink of extinction, so maybe I should hang on to some for the Bananapocalypse. They could be bartering gold!
  • Kept some out to ripen to make MORE bread & muffins. When my one daughter was little, I used to make her these banana-carrot muffins all the time. I think we’ll venture into those and maybe some banana-peanut butter muffins, even though my boys cant take them to school for snack (Peanut Free classrooms)
  • Stashed a bunch in the pantry to get truly black for Rotten Banana Pie. Should be able to make that for the holllerdays.

 

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My smallest guy practiced writing skills while labelling the freezer bags when he wasn’t peeling  piles of bananas

 

Obviously we had a lot of banana peels to contend with afterward. When we moved in here, I decided my easiest way to set up garden space would be to build a lasagna garden using our empty moving boxes as the base. We don’t have snow on the ground yet so I’m still able to add layers. Instead of composting all the peels in our regular compost, I just added them to the garden to bake.

Special thank to PAF reader Rose who saw me mention on Facebook that I don’t have a blender and offered to send me her old one. Yay, we can have Banana Ice Cream now,too!