Sunday, October 25, 2020

FOOD :: What I keep learning...

 Hi, again...

I thought I already posted to this blog, but as I am checking my posting dates, I discovered I only thought about all the things I wanted to share about food issues this month.  Sorry about that.  I really have been thinking about what I need to share here.


I came across a link to a really great COOKBOOK I first discovered when it was created years ago.  It is the first "real" cookbook for low-income households that I have ever seen... and it is beautiful, with great recipes and information about good food that doesn't cost much.  The author is Leanne Brown and she has a webpage to share her works.  

I found a free PDF of the cookbook I knew about, and then another free PDF of her first cookbook about cooking from scratch.  Find them here ::  leannebrown.com  

You can also buy real copies at Amazon.

I have been looking for a pancake recipe this month because I made some syrup with my blackberry juice, or attempted to.  I hope to make them today and/or tomorrow.  Pancakes can be frozen, but her recipe uses bananas in a great way. I will try applesauce if I make them today, bananas if I make them after I get to go food shopping (maybe today).



What else am I discovering... 

I am trying to remember...

I am creating my own bread recipe again.  I have it almost figured out.  I am experimenting with different kinds of flours now.  I was working on my income options this morning and I think I may start listing RECIPES I create for $1 as a digital file.  That will cover my fees just to try to sell them and payment fees and leave me a small amount for myself.  Maybe it will help me with all my income needs.  I think my bread recipe may be the first one.  :-)


For CHRISTMAS this year I am going to give some great magnets about growing your own food.  I tried to find a copy to share here, but there is no access to the photo for sharing.  You will have to go to the site and then the SHOP.

The MESSAGE ::  Growing your own food is like printing your own money.

I like it.  It's the only thing I would buy from his shop.  I tried to share my thoughts about his language issues at the shop, but it didn't seem to do any good.  :-(

I found them at RonFinley.com when I discovered his earlier efforts with urban food issues in the LOS ANGELES area.  He made a TED talk somewhere when he was trending online.  You can find them with a search or at YouTube.

It's hard for me to recommend anyone with a lot of bad language issues, but I am sharing this here because the magnet is a great item to share in your greeting cards, maybe with some seeds to encourage immediate activity.  Container plants work inside, or planning for the next garden.  SEEDS lasted thousands of years in tombs, so I think last years seed will work somehow.  I save seeds from my food and hope to plant them if I ever get my own space.

I grew up in the Los Angeles area so I am deeply attached to some of the issues there.  FOOD is a huge issue in urban areas, especially for poor families.  There are few options beside the neighborhood store.


I hope you visit these spaces and explore them for yourself... (adults only).

I would love to know what recipes you try in Leanne's cookbooks... then I will be encouraged to try them, too.

In Christ,

Deborah Martin

work2gather.us

and more...

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

FOOD :: New things I am discovering...

I've been thinking about how to post at all my blogs and food has been rising in possibilities this month...  :-)   I am busy trying to live on what I have in my "pantry" and this has led to some interesting food discoveries.  I am going to try to share more of these "aha!" moments as time goes by.  


This long effort to stay away from the grocery store has been good for learning new ways to eat.  Over the weeks of doing this, the way I shop has been changing. More veggies and fruit are one of the goals.  Losing some of my extra pounds is another.

Someday I hope to afford ORGANIC because our food systems are so dangerous now, and getting worse.  But, I can't afford the high cost of Organic so I have been learning to buy as much Organic as I can, and then keep working to enlarge these items when I shop.

I don't know EVERYTHING there is to know about the growing GMO contents in our food supplies, but I am amazed at how this knowledge increases as I look for recipes, read articles, watch videos at YouTube and other places, and also try to view documentaries on the topic.  (One I now like to recommend is called  MODIFIED, by a lone woman in Canada.)  I have some of the major books on food issues, but can't say I have read them all the way through.  It's one of my "senior" projects, for the days of rocking chairs and worse health.

One recent discovery adds to my beliefs about our global future...

I discovered our country has a huge,  REALLY  HUGE! , underground water supply under several states in our mid-west farmland.  They call it The Aquifer.  I discovered it existed when I was looking for information on the oil pipeline that is going from Canada through the entire US to Texas.  I watched a video about something called the Sandhills in Nebraska... then more videos on that topic.

Later on I realized that SAND is nature's way of purifying water.  I thought about all that farmland, all the Round Up and other chemicals that are used for industrial farming, and how rain makes the things on top of the land sink down into the earth.  I think you can see the problem.  

I wondered if anyone tests that water for pesticide pollution.

I realized that the government would never tell us if it did.

I realized how dangerous this is for our nation's food supplies... and what we send to other countries.

I had no idea where to find out, so I sent something to the Non-GMO Project asking if they knew anything about the water called The Aquifer, but never heard back.

When I think of me and my income, there is little for me to do to go forward with this.  I am very upset that this was not a consideration when the oil pipeline was decided.  Any kind of disaster with it might involve this water source.  

I don't think oil can really be "cleaned up."  It just goes somewhere along the currents.  I lived in Goleta, CA, for a time in my teens.  The Santa Barbara area has had oil spills and one of the lasting issues is "oil tar" in the beach sands.

I kind of understand (from the BP disaster) that they use chemicals when they try to clean up an oil spill.  Maybe it is like all the chemicals they put in our city water supplies... it is considered "harmless."  I know we have to do something to try to get clean water to millions of people, but I don't think anything added for those purposes can be totally harmless.

We use these things because we have to, there are no other alternatives... at least for the poor there aren't.


I guess I am getting into more than I planned for this post.  

I am seeing that the weekly shopping plan is really the best.  My goal budget for food is $300 a month, separating that into $100 for staples that need to be replaced, and then four weeks of $50 each.  This should be enough to buy fresh veggies and fruits, treats for the week (so you can limit them better), and then what you need for meals that week.

I am trying to plan my meals more, but haven't gotten that detailed.  I buy things I like to eat and then work them into the daily plan.

When I get low on food is when things get "creative."  :-)

I am noticing it is good for my overeating because I need to get up and do something.  It is eating when you aren't hungry, just eating.  Health issues push me into this.  I would probably end up sitting in front of a computer screen all day and night if I could get away with it.  

As a senior citizen, food choices become important... and meals change.  I am on that learning curve as well. Small portions more often work well for me.  That would be a sandwich, a salad, or something like a baked potato or roasted veggies as a "meal."

Limited shopping means dry beans and rice, or other grains.  I think it was a week or so ago that I made some lentils into a new veggie burger for me.  I had lentils and I had some Italian-flavored bread crumbs. They were liquid enough that I could mash them with a spoon and mix in the bread crumbs for a thickener so they could be shaped into a burger. It turned out so good I will make it my veggie burger option from now on.  I was able to make a small amount, and even froze some for later.

My life has always been in "survival mode."  Recipes have always been for people with money.  Most of them still are.  But now, without kids to cook for, I can explore more food choices... things I was never able to eat in my earlier life.  Those are some of the "treats" in my shopping budget.

It works for me.

Trying to do this new experiment in food and budgeting and shopping has really depleted my food supplies at home.  So recovering will take awhile.  That is something to keep in mind... and is why I decided there needed to be a separate amount for replacing staples like flour, sugar, yeast, condiments, etc.

I look back on my life sometimes and I wonder how I survived on Food Stamps all those years, especially with children.  It was never enough, but you had to find a way to survive until the next month.  We had to go to community food kitchens all the time, and get food boxes when possible or necessary.

Food issues are BIG with me because of my past, knowing that once the food is gone, there is nothing you can do on your own.  I worry about the needs of others in the future... about the dangers in our food supplies and how to provide for the poor in the US and other places. 

I guess I hope GOD provides the finances I have been seeking to change the things I worry about.

Pray for me.  I know GOD wants us to care for each other, but He hasn't provided for me to start these things.


In Christ,

Deborah Martin

work2gather.us

and more... 



Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Survival Meals - a few I have figured out so far

I have been working on my food options for a long time, but last month and this month, I am working on posting about my discoveries... on all my blog topics.

I went shopping again last Sunday, so I have been eating too much.  I bought a LOT of fruit and veggies.  The big challenge is not to waste it. 

The long-term goal is to figure out how much I need to get through one week.  I want to go shopping once a week to take advantage of any sales they might have at the time.  

I haven't found that to be a reasonable goal since the VIRUS CRISIS has changed our lives. My normal saving patterns have been ruined.  Getting to the main discount store I always shop first wasn't possible this month.  The replacements have prices that are much higher.  When you add up all the increased prices, it is a lot of food that I can't buy. 

Buying potatoes and onions in the bagged quantities is usually a savings option.  Because they are less expensive, I am trying to buy them and make sure they get stored to last as long as possible.  I have been using some of the fabric shelf cubes from the Dollar Tree as my produce storage.  One for potatoes, one for onions.  Recently I started putting the cubes on separate shelves to see if that makes a difference of any kind. 

I am use to buying a few of several different kinds of potatoes.  When I have one kind because of the bagged produce, meals change.  Potatoes mean micro-baked, boiled into potato salad, toaster oven baked into fries, added to soups, and whatever else I can think of.  I haven't done mashed potatoes yet... I usually have instant potatoes as a back-up and make them when I need to.  I want to try making chips again one of these days.  If I go shopping once a week, I will gladly go back to getting a variety of potatoes and onions.

My potato salad today was three small cooked potatoes, diced, with some slivered onions I cut up earlier, some radishes I had that I cut in half and sliced thin, some black beans I cooked myself and was trying to use up, diced onions, sliced tops of green onions, most of the dill relish I needed to use up, most of the mayo I had to use up, and spices that I like.  I think I put chia seeds in it, too.  It worked out very good.  I ate two thirds of it right away, and saved the last third for later.

I would have used all the dill relish and mayo but I needed enough for one sandwich.  That will get used up tomorrow most likely.

I have discovered how a small and inexpensive can of tomato paste can become tomato soup and pasta sauce.  I used up some more of my onions with the pasta sauce, and the chunks of bell pepper I had cut up and ready to use.  I also sliced up some fresh mushrooms for the sauce.  Italian blend and garlic bits and a little salt were the spices, but I have been adding about a tablespoon of sugar to my tomato dishes recently.  I like how it makes the flavor better.

Now I am on a quest to find other ways to use it.  I don't know if diluting it into tomato juice is an option, but that isn't too far away from tomato soup.  I remember reading about people in the Depression using ketchup with hot water at food counters as their only food for the day.  

It's hard to even think of times that bad, but I recently watched several videos on the Great Depression and the Stock Market Crash that happened right before it.  I put one of the video links in a post at my Facebook Prayers page...  https://facebook.com/work2gather.Prayers  ...so you can watch that one from here.  The video I posted is the testimonies of people who lived through that hard time, and what they remember most.  They were children then... so they remember what kids would remember.

I have used ketchup for tomato flavor in our family goulash recipe.  I like Heinz ketchup so the flavor was very nice.  It made the familiar goulash into a new dish.

I have discovered that freezing kale that is ready to use makes it softer when it thaws.  I am still trying the different varieties to see what happens, but I think I like the Italian Kale the best.  I use it for greens in all kinds of meals, including tacos.  I slice it really thin, and it works just right for me.

Finding ways to stretch the food dollar is critical to surviving hard times.  I am trying to become more whole food plant based in my eating, but it is hard.  I am slowly reducing my intake of meat and dairy and eggs... and oils.  It really changes a lot of things in your life when you eat mostly fresh produce and whole grains.  Shopping once a week will help me succeed in that goal.


Now that I am collecting ideas for my blogging, I hope these posts will get more interesting and offer readers better ideas about each topic.  It's all about getting organized and collecting the reference materials to share with you.  I am working on that!


Until next time,
In Christ,
Deborah Martin
work2gather.us
and more...





Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Working on my food options as I live on my stored emergency foods...

Been trying to get to this blog and post some of my new food discoveries as I try to use up my stored supplies, downsizing for a possible move.  I haven't been food shopping since last month... so this is getting to be quite a huge challenge.

I ran out of bread, then ran out of yeast, then started making a small biscuit recipe I found, and now I am heading into corn (masa) tortillas.  I am thinking of making my own pasta now.

I began sprouting seeds when I ran out of fresh produce.  It's a big change.  I discovered an article with a list of seeds you can either sprout in a jar or grow in dirt as microgreens.  

I have been trying to get to growing microgreens for a long time.  This forced goal is pushing me into that space.  I watched more videos on YouTube to help me remember how to grow microgreens.  I discovered an article or ebook with info on sprouting and microgreen growing... they had a great chart to use as a reference.

I started sprouting some green lentils and some buckwheat I had before I realized the buckwheat needed to grow in dirt as a microgreen.  Today I planted them in some dirt, but only after trying to spout them for several days...to see what they would do as sprouts.  They barely looked like they were trying to make some little root shoots, but the water was always cloudy.  

I bought some planting soil back in April for my efforts to grow food this year, so I have a small bag of dirt that should work for microgreens.  The video I watched (Epic Gardening) showed the dirt gets filled with roots and becomes compost material by the time you harvest.  So... you don't want to use much. You have to replace it every time you grow a new batch.  

I asked the video person what brand you can buy that is "micro-fine" soil, but haven't found out yet. I have Miracle Grow Potting Soil that you can buy in the stores... The man I watched in the video (Epic Gardening) said that the other bag dirt (general soil) isn't good for microgreens... I tend to buy that to mix in with my other soils from wherever I find them.  I won't do that for my microgreen efforts.  :-)

I'm not sure how to eat microgreens, other than adding them to salads, but I'm looking for ways to use what I am able to grow.  Microgreens are a year-round food supply option for FRESH produce. I am thinking about what kinds of microgreens I want to spend time and money on, and how to use them in my everyday foods, and how to store them if that is possible.

I live on Government Food Benefits these days... still... and that means trying to stretch my food dollars and create an emergency pantry for unexpected hard times.  People in poverty don't have a lot of emergency options.  I have eaten at all the resources in varous communities in my lifetime, so having an emergency pantry is important to me.

I also do these projects for my goals with Working Together. Making communities means food supplies for everyone.  How will we find out (know) we have enough?  How can we store it for the longest time? 

I have been collecting tidbits of information along my lifetime to help build communities for Christians.  Things like how many chickens do you need for eggs... two per person for the year.  How many acres do you need to naturally graze livestock so you don't need added hay?  That differs by animal... cows, sheep, horses, goats, etc.  I decided we need to seed the land for more food for the livestock, build it up to take care of our food needs.

I hope I get to use these bits of information before I die... I never thought it would take so long to get nowhere.  :-( 


Back to my sprouting adventures...

I made a huge amount of mung sprouts first.  I had to transfer them from a quart jar to a half-gallon jar!  I am adjusting for my new batch... down to a teaspoon of seeds in a smaller jar. I think I used a tablespoon for the first batch.

I tried green lentils as a new sprouting adventure with my first effort... The sprouting sheets I found told me they sprout in jars.  I watched them grow and decided to use them mixed in my rice and stir-fry meal with frozen veggies I had left.  I have been trying to use lentils more so this is a great way to get them in my diet.

I have made lentil burgers (veggie burgers) with them in the past.  I am going to try mixing them in rice one day to see if they both cook together well.  I got the idea when I had a rice cooker.  They both take about the same time to cook, so I thought that would work.  

I haven't been able to try my theory out yet. I plan to try cooking them together, and cooking lentils by themselves. I can make mushy lentils very well :-) -- I am searching for the way to make perfect lentils, to put in salads!

I have only had them come out perfect ONCE !! I cooked them on the stove and don't remember what I did to get them perfect.


I'm trying to use up my stored dry beans along this path, too... My last dry bean to cook and use was the black-eyed pea.  I have always liked them.  Now that I am making more bean dishes like dips and spreads and taco fillings, any bean is an option!  :-)  

I am making chili in small amounts, too.  It works much better for me as one person.  I freeze some of what I make for later.

Soups are an ongoing challenge as well... My latest formula is 2 cups of veggies to four cups of water, plus some grain like barley or rice, or pasta.  It turns out different every time because I use up leftovers or things that have to get eaten or they will be compost (lost money).

I see I can keep going with my food adventures... 
I will try to save some for another post.

Survival eating is something the poor do every day.  It is why I wanted to start the  RECIPE  EXCHANGE  --  so we could share our survival foods with each other, and you could try to make some income from your efforts.  It's still the goal...

In Christ,
Deborah Martin
work2gather.us
and more...



Monday, April 27, 2020

FOOD matters to share with you - 27APR2020

I'm watching a lot of videos these past weeks... some about food, some on farming, some about communities.  I wanted to start sharing my activities as I do them, to get my blogs going again, and see where it all goes.

This is  #My2020PatreonChallenge year... I am trying to find  ONE MILLION  people to support my creative and business and recycling quests ---  before GOD calls me home.  It's my lifetime "Bucket List" and I hope to get these projects started enough to keep them going later.  My personal quests are more in the art and crafting areas.  I hope to get some of those done, too.


Over the months since I started this quest, I have been forced to learn new things about how the internet works, how to reach people, how to figure out the amount I can do on my own until I can hire help, and more.

This past week I rented two documentaries on related topics, and watched "reruns" online of another.

URBAN FARMERS  -- I can only find a rental link... when I watched it, the cost was $1.99 for 48 hours of viewing access... I watched it at least twice.  This is about food issues in New York City... about food deserts, farmers markets, CSA's, and other efforts to make sure there are healthy food choices in NYC, especially for the poor.
https://www.amazon.com/Urban-Farmers-Rachel-Knopf-Shey/dp/B071XBMHKP/ref=sr_1_2

A SIMPLER WAY   --   this is about an experiment in Australia to build an eco-community. It is mostly young people and how they learn to live as a team, solve problems, etc.
https://www.amazon.com/Simpler-Way-Crisis-Opportunity/dp/B07DNJXGQ7/ref=sr_1_1

MODIFIED  --  this is a really good food documentary from Canada.  It also helps to see the politics are the same in their nation as ours.
https://www.modifiedthefilm.com/




Tonight I was watching Plant Pure Nation again.  I couldn't remember if I had watched it already, and it turns out I have.  It was good to be reminded.

PLANT PURE NATION
https://youtu.be/yBKnG9Y0owQ


Since I watched the "original" movie from this same group of people, FORKS OVER KNIVES, I have been trying to find a way to change my eating choices.  I am not currently able to give up ALL the foods they want you to give up, but I am trying to eat less, and trying to find the  5%  that was cited in the movie as the least amount to eat.  (The study was milk protein, but the same protein is in meat and other products. I believe that is what the movie stated.  It is my goal anyway.

In the movie tonight I noticed they said in the past we use to eat about 100 pounds of (meat?) protein products a year per person. Then they said we now eat twice that much, about 200 pounds of protein sources. There are issues with what we now eat because of the "science" that has happened since the first record... genetic alterations, pesticides, pollution, farm management, and more... so the comparisons can't really be equal.  We have to do what we can with all these records.

It made me wonder if I could use that old record as a guide for how much animal proteins to put in my budget.  That has been an issue for me since I started this goal.  I have pared down my food purchases to cream cheese, grated cheese and sandwich meats, with other choices added to that amount along the way, and efforts to keep eating other favorites occasionally. (kielbasa, herring snacks, pepperoni, eggs, other cheeses, and fast food treats)

Dividing the 100 pounds by twelve months, I found a monthly allocation of about 8.5 pounds.  It has always been a goal to shop weekly so I can control my protein choices, so I decided the first goal would be five to six pounds a month, so I have some flex in my choices.

To make it 5% of my food intake, I used 5 pound for the protein and 95 pounds for the rest of my plant foods... veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes (beans), and nuts. That came to about 3 pounds a DAY.  I have no idea yet what that would be!  BUT, it is a place to start.

The Whole Foods Plant Based diet doesn't want you to use any cooking oils, fats like butter, sugar, or salt either.  I'm having a bigger battle with this part of the changes.  I love my popcorn made with oil currently, and butter with my homemade garlic salt.  I make a homemade dressing for my salads that has oil in it.  I use sugar in my coffee and other things, like oatmeal.  I am reducing my salt, a little... as much as I can.


As I find recipes I can make a part of my daily life, I get better at the battle.  I use to buy four packages of cream cheese a month, on average.  I have been getting by with two sometimes. Other times I make a trade... cream cheese for a wedge of parmesan cheese, or sandwich slices of Swiss cheese. Now that I have a reasonable idea of how many pounds I can use for my purchasing decisions, I hope it will be easier for me.


The bigger issue is finding recipes you like, that you can afford, that don't take a lot of special equipment to make...

Using "chia eggs" instead of real eggs is a learning experience.

I use added water when I make my oatmeal so I don't need milk in it anymore.  But I do still use sugar.  Maybe I will try to eat it without sugar in the future... as a way of reducing my intake.

I'm looking for more grains to eat... beginning to eat more quinoa, wanting to try polenta and millet and wheat berries.

I have always loved sprouts, but have to get into the process of making them again.

I am going to learn how to grow microgreens for my salads and other dishes.



We have problems in our nation because of huge agribusiness influence.  I don't know how we will compensate for them.. I know how hard it is to be poor and have no choices about what you can eat... and no place to grow your own food supplies.

I hope to share more food posts with you this year.
When I learn something, I want you to learn about it.

Let's see where this year takes us.

In Christ,

Deborah Martin
work2gather.us


https://twitter.com/work2gather
https://facebook.com/DeborahMartin.2014
https://pinterest.com/work2gather

These are the social media spaces I am developing.
Facebook will eventually have more pages for special topics... maybe.