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.

daily links::a food waste cookbook!, news on teen hunger, and more


There’s a cookbook called Amazing Waste with recipes entirely devoted to cooking with scraps,leftovers,etc. I haven’t had a chance to look through the entire thing yet but this looks like the kind of cookbook I would write. Am writing. These kinds of recipes are great for food pantry users (at least my food pantry) where you might end up with produce that is not the prettiest or freshest.

The entire cookbook is available for free RIGHT HERE.

Thanks to my local food waste reduction -anti hunger group Friendship Donations Network for passing along that info.

·:   Five Questions with JoAnne Berkenkamp, Food Waste Expert and Advocate  – there’s a lot of food waste going on but it’s getting better thanks to mainstream recognition and initiatives to reduce waste

:· some new research reveals some sad information about teenagers living in homes with food insecurity  . Even if teenagers do have access to programs that give them food,they’re too worried about what their peers will think to use them openly but also they are underserved by programs like The Backpack Program, which focuses on elementary aged kids. This is something touched on before here when one of our readers was trying to develop a program for older kids.

As a result, in households where hunger was most acute, teens reported engaging in all kinds of risky behavior to obtain food, including: shoplifting food directly, selling drugs for cash and/or engaging in “transactional dating,” i.e., engaging in sexual relationships with older adults in exchange for food and money. In a few communities, some teens even viewed going to jail as a viable option to ensure regular meals. The report also revealed the degree to which hungry teens look out for each other and for their younger siblings, often forgoing meals or sharing their food with those also in need.

Here’s a summary of the full report: Impossible Choices

My teenager’s high school made school lunch available for free to ALL students, regardless of income. If high schools did that widely, this would eliminate so much of these issues. Her school also has Free Food Friday where food donations picked up from a local rescue agency is available in the school lobby for anyone to take home. My daughter very rarely gets anything because it’s completely gone by the time she has a chance to check it out. Even when she is there on time, it’s difficult to get anything. No one is shy about taking food home. Now I have to wonder why these students have no reluctance to take free food. The school is a small charter school that focuses on sustainability and social justice (nope, don’t go off on me about how awful charter schools are) . Is it just that the culture of the school is centered on taking care or others and being stewards of the earth? A lot for me to think about there. I asked my daughter what she thinks and she says it’s because the school works hard to be a safe space for everyone and “no one judges people for things like that”.

Meanwhile in my community, the school district just expanded their Fresh Snack Program to include another school so that it now serves 1,200 elementary students. The Youth Farm Project (which one of my older kids worked at and let em tell you…that’s an AMAZING program) and other local farms provide a weekly snack to be served with the intention of expanding food horizons and food accessibility. It’s awesome.

My 6 year old was very critical of the yellow watermelon mentioned in the article linked above. He spent his summer growing his own watermelon, so he’s an expert now.

He’s a super proud watermelon farmer.  I think we actually have a couple left to harvest. I plan on making this watermelon pie. YESSSSSSSSS.

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

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




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



Daily Dozen: Dressing up ramen,ways to use beets,applesauce,beans,taters…and more.

12 recipes that almost all have a number in the title. I didn’t aim for that. I aimed for low cost recipes here or things I know are typically found at food pantries.

  1. 6 Ways to Upgrade Instant Ramen – Budget Bytes – these are simple and great ideas for dressing up instant ramen. My husband could write an instant ramen cookbook. He’s done some great things w/ random canned veggies we get from the food pantry.

  2. 10 New and Exciting Uses for Canned Beets – oh,these are all so good. I love beets,though.

  3. Dirt Cheap Easy Sweet and Sour Meatball Stir Fry – Budget101.com – I actually made this awhile ago using all food pantry stuff and didn’t have my act together enough to do a Pantry Anarchy post and now I don’t remember what I did but I know it involved a can of crushed pineapple & the juice in the sauce.

  4. Don’t Toss the Pickle Brine! (And 7 Byproducts as Good as Their Products) -good food recycling

  5. 6 Sweet & Savory Ways to Use Applesauce – we have applesauce in abundance here from the Backpack Program. Can’t wait to try some of these ideas, especially for the boys’ snacks.

  6. Blessed Little Homestead: 30 Days, 30 Meals -a basic meal plan using simple, mostly low cost meals

  7. Native Cooking: Bring Them to the Table With Corn Chowder– my winter days are not done here yet. Can’t wait to make this on a really cold day with some nice bread

  8. warm lentil and potato salad | smitten kitchen – I make a lot of meals with lentils and they are honestly not my kids’ fave but they ate them this way

  9.  14 Recipes that Celebrate the Humble Spud – I need not say more here

  10. 23 Recipes That Celebrate the Humble Bean– Because when beans are poor people food, you have to have as many way to cook them as you can so no one gets sick and tired of eating beans

  11. 10 Must-Make Macaroni Salad Recipes– I honestly don’t see a lot of revolutionary differences between these recipes but I can’t wait for summer and macaroni salad reminds me of summer

  12. 9 Reasons Not to Pour Your Leftover Coffee Down the Drain – more recycling. I always feel weird tossing out leftover coffee, so this is good for me.
    Photo by James Ransom

    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


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.



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!



Recipe: Parsnip & Potato Hash


Parsnips are one of those root veggies people ask me about a lot. As in,”What are these and what do I do with them?”
From what I gather, they are a staple in CSA boxes and also plentiful in the winter months at food banks that are fortunate enough to be able to distribute produce.

Full disclosure here: I am not a huge fan of parsnips. They are a bit too close to a carrot for my liking. Carrots are the only veggie I truly don’t like. I know. I’m a weirdo. BUT… I will still eat both carrots & parsnips, especially if the price is right.

Parsnips do have a lot of  nutritional stuff going on for them. Just half of a large parsnip has 50 units of vitamin A, 541 mgs potassium, 16 mgs of vitamin C , and “healthy increments of phosphorus and iron” (Thanks, Bert Greene for that info ). Way back when, Roman aristocracy were the only ones who ate parsnips, usually highly sweetened and as a dessert. And now, here we are in modern times where the noble parsnip is now “second-class citizens of the vegetable world, ordinary, peasant-like and low in price.”

So, if you’re not a fan of the taste, you can comfort yourself w/ nutritional information and pretend you’re a Roman aristocrat to help get you through.

My trick for food my kids (or myself) aren’t crazy about is to cook it with something that helps mask it. This weekend, this is what I decided to use parsnips for… a simple hash with eggs. Basically, just peel (or don’t ) and dice both potatoes and parsnips.

The beautiful thing about this (as a non-fan of parsnips) is that you can’t really tell the difference between the taters & snips.

I also added a few cloves of garlic, chopped.

In a skillet, heat oil and throw the veggies in. I seasoned with rosemary, thyme, salt & pepper. You can use whatever herbs you happen to have. My daughter likes to use cumin and hungarian paprika for a bit spicier version.

Cook until both potatoes and parsnips are tender, about 10 minutes. That’s it!

And you know why I will never be a food blogger? My food is a mess and I don’t care. Look at this unsightly egg.

Still delicious.