Friday, May 4, 2012

What can you afford to eat?

Homeless without a refrigerator?  With limited or no means to cook?  With limited or no funding to procure food?

Even with it's low-cost and ease of concocting, this won't help my peers still on the streets, unless I cook it for them.

However, it's much needed -- not only by my street peers but for folks like me who are low- and below-poverty-income.  So if you volunteer at a shelter by bringing in food, consider that all it takes to bring in fresh produce is:  awareness, judicious shopping, and willingness to spend your love in the time it takes to prepare/transport/serve.

Surprise!  It's also beneficial for those who are not in an income crunch.

The dish I outline here is called "what do I do with the stuff I could afford to buy?" sauce and entree/sidedish.

Yes, I do eat cooked food.  In fact, since I have a tough time digesting things, sometimes it's necessary.  One of the reasons I do raw foods and concentrate on juices when I have the cash to spring for the fresh produce is because that lets me digest the nutrients easily.

The produce seller in downtown LA who sells items that need to be used right away had:

  •  Spaghetti Squash (I don't recall the exact price) -- way affordable and excellent-sized!  
  • He also had cilantro (13 cents), 
  • celery (75 cents), 
  • mildly hot peppers ($1 for a bag I'll never get thru, thank you for the freezer!), 
  • standard green, yellow and orange bell peppers ($1 for a bag); 
  • garlic (5 heads for $1), 
  • green onions (25 cents) and 
  • a bunch of other stuff.

There's a sales war on Roma tomatoes going on in my neighborhood.

  •  I got 4 lbs for a $1 (that's about 12 very large roma tomatoes-- I used 6); 
  • red onions (69 cents a pound, 1 onion will suffice for this recipe -- I love lots more!); 
  • virgin press olive oil on sale for 3.99 a bottle (a tablespoon or three will do the trick).

The ingredients for this vary, according to season, and the pricing I can find.

It's also simple to fix.

1) Heat up the desired amount of olive oil in a frying pan (kettle/pot if your cooking up a large amount).

2) Saute the onions, celery, and other items you like (carrots, etc) until they smell delicious -- it's the browning and softening process, and setting it up so you can add garlic -- which I adore in tremendous amounts -- without singeing the pan and making the garlic taste bitter.  You add the pressed garlic (or whole garlic cloves, if you prefer-- in my case, I add ::gasp: both ::grin:: ) after the onion mixture has sauted for a few minutes.

3) Turn the burner to low and add the tomatoes.  I generally don't have to add liquid, 'cuz if you put a lid on the pan/pot, it will "grow" it's own liquid.  However, I am also known to add liquid (usually water or vegetable broth -- your favorite is what you should use) if I am planning on adding lots more vegetables.  If you want the sauce thicker, after it's cooked to your palate's desire, take the lid off and let some of the liquid evaporate.  Makes your kitchen smell lovely. ::grin::

I let this process take a few hours, it melds flavors nicely and gives me a comfortable feeling as I breathe in the aromas.

4) Cook the rice, potato, pasta, the rice/pasta/potato alternative (in my case, the spaghetti squash); or whatever you want to put it on.

5) Take the time to fix your plate so it looks joyous.  You are worth it.  Eating food is not gulping down things to get them into your stomach.  It's a nourishing process.  And if you don't think enough of your body to love it as you put food into it, chances are you're not getting everything the food can be giving you.

And that's my spiel for today.

What do you eat?  

What can you afford to eat?

Need the names of a few shelters, in the USA, or in other countries that might benefit from your staple donations? ::grin::  Yeah, I have an agenda!

May your day be nourishing, may a smile show in your eyes, and may you greet all those you meet with that smile today.

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