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It’s been a while since I’ve written about my Frugality Project: How to live simply, save the earth, save your health and save money in the process… A lofty goal, but we can all take small steps!

I came across this article from NPR about food scarcity in the United States and how government programs aim to help people like the family featured in the article. Some of the articles highlights are below:

Image Credit: PamFessler/NPR


The Williamson family of Carlisle, Pa., is among those who struggle for food. They’ve been in and out of poverty for years.

Connie Williamson and her husband, Butch, have an 8-year-old son and two teenage girls, including one who is pregnant. Connie says her sister and brother-in-law also spend a lot of time in the Williamsons’ small apartment because they’re homeless right now.

“It makes it a challenge for the food to stretch sometimes,” she says….

Families like the Williamsons rely on a patchwork of government programs to survive. Soup kitchens and food pantries help fill in the gaps. They also get $600 in food stamps from the program now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The article continues to interview the Williamsons family and talk about the struggle to obtain nutritious, healthy food and to stay under their small budget. (I recommend reading the whole article) I sympathize. I totally get the need for government support.

But at the same time, I don’t… $600/month? For 5 people? That makes for $120/person/month. To me, this seems crazy. The Musician and I spend only $125/person. Often we eat organic food, we also purchase gluten free specialty items quite often, probably totaling to over $10-$20/month. If you remove this, we would probably spend no more than $110. There are months that we have spend under $100/person, easily. Usually, we like to eat cereal and buy organic cheese, and host a dinner party or two… you know, live a little.

So when I heard this NPR article complaining that a family runs out of food with $600 allotted, I just couldn’t really believe it.

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Edible Experiments are my trial-and-error attempts at replicating dishes from various blogs, forums, and online databases. I try them out, rate them and pass the info on to you. To check out the whole series, click here.


In my last Edible Experiments, I confessed by love of Gluten Free Goddess’ Recipes. Today, the cat is out of the bag, I wouldn’t be a gluten free gal without loving Shauna of GlutenFreeGirl, writer, bloger, and fellow sans gluten lifestyler. However, one of the reasons I haven’t been able to get into her posts that much, is that I’m not a total foodie. I’m not really interested in tasting olive oils for instance, or spending all of my time thinking about food… so sometimes her posts are a little bit out of my reach. But, to be fair, I have used her insights a number of times. Most recently, a roasted chicken.

My local market had whole free range chickens for about $2.50/lb. If that’s not a good deal, I’m not sure what is. So we bought the chicken. But what to do with it? I remembered a post I saw, so to Shauna’s blog I went

1. The directions she gives for this chicken is a little confusing- defat, but don’t take off the skin. Since most of the fat is in the skin I was a little confused. Also, since I had a free range chicken, there wasn’t a whole lot of fat on it. I cut off one or two pieces and hoped for the best.

2. Roasting pan. for a chicken? We need to market one that is the right size. I ended up using a 13×9 pan and filling the extra space with some cabbage I had on hand, not in her recipe, but tasty none the less.

3. I also used a little less garlic, about 9 cloves, instead of her recommended 15.

The results? See for yourselves….

Yes, juicy, tasty and possible one of the best roast chickens we have had in a long time. I loved the paprika on top. It was flavorful, and I thought the saltiness was just perfect. Not too much fuss, and it was an easy, through it in the oven and forget about it kind of a dish. Perfect for dinner parties, special dates or even for the holidays! Overall, a very strong recommendation for Shauna’s Roast Chicken!! Check out the vegetables! My Conclusion…. Gluten Free: 5/5 chicken is of course naturally gluten free. Ease of Directions: 4/5 only because of the confusing “defatting” direction. Weeknight Friendly: 5/5 This is a stick it in and forget about it kind of a dish. Taste: 5/5 Like I said, best roast chicken I’ve had in a while! Frugality: 4/5 Whole chicken is really a great way to cook because you can get a lot of bang for your buck. That said, meat is rarely frugal friendly for many of us. You can get a lot more out of the chicken by saving the bones for stock… (guess what’s in my freezer!)

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I’ve never been really patriotic. I actually began protesting the pledge of allegiance in High School, when I no longer felt that I could rightfully pledge my allegiance to the United States. I truly believed in peace and felt that the United States did not share a common interest.

Recently, however, several things have begun changing my appreciation level for the United States. Among them being this small thing called asylum. Asylum is the right of persons to live free from government and social persecution and the responsibility of countries that profess freedom and democracy to provide shelter and safe haven from that persecution. I have been processing asylum applications with my professor. The stories I read are horrendous accounts of rape, violence, erroneous fines, and often murder, faulty imprisonment and torture.

I read first hand accounts of domestic violence. Women who are beaten and raped by their husbands and sometimes in-laws. But when they go to their police office for protection, they are told that they are at fault for their own abuse. Sometimes, they are even fined.

In some situations, the government plays a direct role in persecuting individuals, especially based on sexual orientation, or in a particular instance where a party official decided that he wanted to marry a young girl, who didn’t want to marry him back. Because of the political weight the man carried, her family was subject to fines, beatings and raids by the local police and her boyfriend was sent to an unknown prison on trumped up charges. I wonder if the party official really thought that was a way to win a girl…

So I read these cases, and though I haven’t met the people who have experienced these tragedies, I really feel for them. I have a new found respect for the United States, where even though the police service isn’t perfect and still does not document cases of domestic violence and sexual assault properly, at least they don’t fine and imprison based on some party official’s desires. Even though I still can’t pledge allegiance with a full heart, I still am thankful, in my own way for the United States and for the limited freedoms that we are able to enjoy. So even though the United States has been the most violent country in the history of the world with the highest record of overseas wars… and even though U.S. through off the colonial yoke, only to be the internal colonizers of Native Americans… and even though the U.S. despite it’s rhetoric of multiculturalism still promotes monocultural hegemony… I am still thankful that I can write all of those things and not be thrown into prison.

So Happy Birthday America, and just for you a tribute in Red, White, and Blue.

Blue Tortilla Espanola with Garden Tomatoes

1 1/2 c. medium quality olive oil

2-3 organic purple potatoes, sliced thinly

1/2 medium onion, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic

6 eggs

1 garden-ripe tomato

Slice your potatoes thinly, I did this with a sharp knife, but you could also use a mandolin.

Heat the oil in the pan and allow it to get hot, but not too hot, about 4 minutes, medium high flame. Add your potatoes in small batches. They are done when they are soft and they turn a lighter shade of blue. This step looks a little bit like some type of sea life. Drain potatoes using a fry sieve or a colander over a bowl. Keep the oil.

Fry the onions and garlic in the same oil until they are translucent, but not brown. Drain in your sieve or colander and reserve the oil.

Whip your eggs together.

Add the potatoes and onions. Let these sit for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Put 1-2 Tbs of your reserved oil back into the pan. Heat for about 1-2 minutes (so the eggs don’t stick) and pour the potato egg mixture into the pan. Scrape the eggs into the middle as if you are cooking an omelet. Add your sliced tomatoes on top here. Once the eggs seem firm and the bottom golden brown, you are ready for the flip.

To perform the flip, loosen the edges of your tortilla and invert a plate over the pan. In one motion, flip the entire plate/pan over so that the tortilla is now on the plate. Slide it back, gooey side down into the pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes more until both sides are a nice golden brown but not burned. Invert onto a clean plate (so that your tomatoes are on top) and serve at your favorite 4th of July brunch, BBQ, or party!

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Edible Experiments is a series designed to test out recipes from various blogs, websites and cookbooks. Enjoy!

Readers, if you are like me, you would never have guessed what recipe this first edible experiment post will feature. But, this was a compelling experiment and I wanted to give it a try.

I regularly read several gluten free blogs for meal ideas, support, and information. One of my favorite blogs to read is Karina’s Kitchen. She has beautiful photographs and almost all of her recipes have turned out great. In fact, you may find that I regularly try out her recipes and may feature them with this series. After being introduced to delicious Asian-Mexican Fusion, I was itching to try out my hand at some of my own fusion. Then I stumbled across this recipe for Turkey Meatballs with Asian Noodles, which simply screamed “try me!” So what could I do? Try them I did. Check out the results.

Delicious! First, according to her recipe, Karina calls for a blend of three herbs: mint, cilantro, and parsley. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the mint on hand; I have yet to cultivate mint in my porch pots. So, I left it out. I use Trader Joes Turkey, which is affordable and guaranteed hormone-free. For bread-crumbs, I used part of a loaf I mixed up in my bread maker. I found it reasonably easy to form the meatballs, although, I may have made them a bit large and both the Musician and I ended up cutting them up to distribute equally with our pasta. For noodles, again Trader Joes was my hero, since they have Thai-style rice noodles. Making the trek to Asian supermarkets is well worth it, but we have been trying to ride our bikes to the grocery store, so TJ’s it is! Everything else, we did according to her recipe. In the end, I found the noodles a bit dry and added in a bit more Tamari and sesame oil over the top.  If I were to make it again I would make the meat a day ahead since the flavors were very strong and didn’t quite meld in a nice way I would have liked them too. Leftovers were perfect however, and the meatballs kept quite well. Rice noodles are not known for their longevity however, so plan accordingly.

Overall, a tasty treat fit for a dinner party or gathering of friends, a bit complicated for a weeknight dinner, and made great leftovers. In short, Turkey Meatballs with Asian Noodles gets a strong recommendation from our trailer.

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I spoke to my friend and lovely host of The Gifted Blog today about her series tutorial tryouts. I’ve always admired her for her unique ideas and decided to co-opt this idea for our own blog here. While I don’t really have time to be super crafty, I do have time to cook! (Well, okay mostly I make time to cook so I can eat, which I always have time for!) Thus, this is a new series of posts to document my trials of various recipes floating around on the internet. Also, this maybe news to some of our readers: I am gluten free, which means I don’t eat any wheat, barley, or spelt. I do sometimes eat oatmeal in small quantities, so all the recipes I try are gluten free. However, with a few quick shifts, they can all be adapted to suit any diet.

So what do you guys think? What should I call this series?

Here’s a hint at the first post of this series…

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