Hey, all you cool cats and kittens, how's it going inside your own home? Cozy?
My hope for you is that you are safe, food secure, and with folks you love (or with no one if that's your jam).
I grew up poor, I'm the "welfare child" who lived off food stamps. People always think they are speaking poorly of women when they talk like that, which of course, they are. I know as a woman that I am always wrong and bad. But, also, as the child who benefitted from the welfare and food stamps my mom received, I grew up hearing messages about how bad I was too. Anyway, that stuff wasn't nearly enough, so most of the food I ate growing up came from grocery store dumpsters. As such, I grew up on lots of produce (because that's easy enough to wash off) and canned or dry goods.
All this is simply to say that my upbringing was all about making use of what you had.
Thanks to a food insecure childhood, my pantry and freezer are always full to maintain an underlying anxiety about not having food. This wasn't an issue for me until I had children of my own, but now it's nearly compulsive and has finally come in handy. My husband hoards (that's maybe a strong word) things that "might be useful" some day, and he is always so delighted when I need something that he has saved. I finally understand that elation as I look at a full pantry and realize I don't have to face the scary grocery stores now. Yes, this is privilege and maybe gross to many folks, but it's also important in my family where I have two children to care for and both my partner and I are on the "vulnerable" list because of pre-existing conditions.
Anyway, this is getting dark fast, but these are dark times and it's hard to write any other way. My fiction is a mess right now too.
Beans. If you have the means to get dry beans, that's a great staple for nutrition, satiation, and versatility. I made chickpeas the other day and made half into a "chicken salad" type mix, and the other half I marinated in teriyaki sauce for 24 hours (after they were cooked). Teriyaki chickpeas are an affordable and delicious stand in for your mock meats or tofu if you can't get those right now. I also made teriyaki lentils the other day that turned out great! Just cooked the lentils like normal and then added them to a pan with teriyaki and ginger and green onions. We had them over rice and it was perfect. I mention these teriyaki preparations because typical bean recipes will get monotonous after a while, so trying new flavors will help.
Rice. Gotta have something to put your beans on. Seriously, though, rice is a nice staple that you can take in any direction. If you are tired of rice and beans, think outside the box. Make sweet rice porridge with apples and raisins or lemony rice soup.
Regrow your green onions. You can regrow lots of vegetables from your kitchen scraps, and man is that my deal, but green onions are the easiest, and if you are eating lots of canned/frozen food, fresh green onions can really make a big impact. Fresh herbs also help, if you can get some plants that's ideal.
Frozen veg is totally okay. Sure, fresh produce is wonderful, but if you are trying to stretch out time between those grocery visits, frozen veg is a great way to give yourself more time. Especially if you are going to cook the items anyway, why not use frozen.
Yeah, make your own bread. I mean, it's really delicious and easy if you use a no knead method. I don't use a recipe (I'm sorry, I should just stop writing and not continue this charade that I'm somehow a food blogger), but my method is super easy. Just find a No Knead bread recipe. That's the way to go if you are a beginner... Or if you've made a lot of bread and just realize kneading is for the birds.
Just use whatever you have. When I was in high school, I moved in with my grandpa, who had a big prolific garden. I would get home from my ridiculously long bus ride and he'd have whatever was ripe harvested and waiting on the counter. Then we made whatever sauce/vehicle we felt like along with the veg. Don't get too caught up in recipes and specific veg needs. Also, since you are making so much bread, might as well just make veg and bean soups.
Personally, I'm gardening and foraging a lot too. I went on my first grocery run the other day and came home with a cherry tree. I don't know, it makes me feel better. Plants like herbs and kale regrow quickly and can grow in containers. Tomatoes too, but not as quickly. Radishes grow pretty quickly too... But then you have a lot of radishes... which is okay, I guess. Also, those beans you have are seeds, so if you want to grow some of your own beans, just soak them overnight, then drain and wait until they sprout a little tail and cover them with a little soil.
Do whatever you can to not stress too much about food, but I know it's a hard time. I hope you are well. I'm terrible at this, sorry.
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
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I love cooking and playing in the kitchen with my toys, so let me share that joy with you and your family to bring the FUN back into the kitchen!