Thursday, March 4, 2010

What's in Store for March

Raise your hand if you're SO over this winter like I am!!!

Seriously, when will all of this end? Sure, we had a couple sunny days here & there in February, and I thank Mother Nature profusely for the break. But for crying out loud, I'm beginning to think this is the longest, ugliest winter this nation has seen in ages and I'm so ready for it to be GONE. It's not just the fact that I feel all glum when it's ugly and gray all the time either; I don't like being sick all the time, and despite what some folks say, this weather does NOT help at all! I got hit with my 2nd bout of acute bronchitis/borderline pneumonia earlier this week (my doc says whatever's going around has hit a lot of her patients within 2-3 days, just like me, and that it's quite awful) and attempting to go in to work with a storm a-ragin' only sent me to the ER with severe symptoms and the worst asthma attack I've ever had in my life (bronchitis + asthma = no no NO bueno!).

Needless to say, it's just ONE more setback for Poor Girl & her crappy finances, so March is going to be yet another ├╝ber-challenging month! Fortunately, I've gotten help from unexpected places and a few Tastemaker Program goodies in the cupboards, so I'll be able to jazz things up a bit regardless. And now for some notes from last month and what's in store for the month of March:

~ First of all, I want to give all of you who have donated to the Po' Girl cause another HUGE thank you for your extreme generosity. I said it on Facebook awhile back but want to say it here, too. Without your help I literally would not have been able to get through the month of February. I was able to pay my phone bill & some utilities, so even though I'm still paying February's rent (eek! March will be late now, too. *sob* Thank GOD my landlady's being understanding right now!), I'm at least able to contact people and stay warm through this entire mess. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea how much this means to me and I hope I can repay you someday.

~ This is terribly embarrassing to admit, but I've admitted so many other things on this blog that I think I'm about out of shame here, so here it is: things got so bad after the loss of my temp assignment in January that I had to swallow the 4 oz. of pride I had left and applied for food stamps. I will be blogging about this in depth in the next couple of weeks, not so that you can feel sorry for me or anything, but so that folks have an idea of what this is like. I have struggled financially for awhile but had been fortunate enough not to have to go "there" until now, and I think that with the state of our economy and so many others suffering in even worse situations than mine, an inside look at what this is like and how broken our system is necessary to bring awareness to the plights of those in absolute poverty. It won't be pretty, but hopefully it'll help to continue movements to end hunger & motivate folks to help in their communities.

~ I am having a hard time with this whole Poor Girl's Shopping List post as I'm still not so sure what you all want to see. I've gotten several emails from folks telling me they want to know what I buy so they can copy what I do; others say they want a list of what's actually in my cupboard & fridge at any given time, etc., etc. Because everyone's tastes are different, I'm having difficulty making this post work. I don't want you buying what I buy and going, "EW!!!" So what exactly do you want to see? Actual food that I buy, or more of a guideline as to how I shop? Please comment below so I can finally get this to you folks! For now, please don't forget to check out the Tips button in the menu bar above, where you'll get a lot of good info on how to save $ whist shopping. For those of you still unsure of how to stock your cupboards, start with Tip #2: Find Your Spice Staples and Tip #3: Find Your Bare Bone Staples.

~ My friend Catherine of Munchie Musings has been generously drowning me in metric tons of grapefruits from her very prolific tree this winter, so I've been having fun with all the free grapefruit juice I can drink! But that can get old too, so I'm also having fun using this wonderful fruit in different ways, so citrus lovers, stay tuned for some good grapefruit recipes!

~ The fine folks of Bertolli have joined with Foodbuzz to provide us Tastemakers with two full sized jars of some of their newest sauces: Arrabbiata and Four Cheese Rosa! I've already played with the Arrabbiata and it is GOOOOOOD! Recipes using these great flavors coming up in the next couple of weeks.

~ I'm obsessed with eating brussels sprouts these days, and since this is March and St. Patrick's Day's a-comin', I think I'm going to be making a lot of green things this month. And green food is so good for you, too! For those afraid of greens, I'll try my best to make even the biggest skeptic a little less afraid of things like chard, and kale, and brussels sprouts..... mmmmm.... :)

That's about all I've got in me right now, folks! I'm about ready to collapse, so it's probably time for some meds to see if I can breathe & sleep. I need to try and get in at least a few hours of work tomorrow so I won't have a nano-paycheck to look forward to, right? Have a marvelous March, all!



  1. I'm not sure about others, but I would love to see a list of what you buy and then what you do with said purchases. I'm not too creative with ingredients so it would be helpful to see how you turn your shopping list into actual meals.

    Thanks for this blog. I love it. :)

  2. I'm with Bethany. I rather see what you buy to turn into recipes. Kitchen essentials can be assumed and vary based on preference.

    However! I look forward to any brussels sprout recipes. Until then, you should Google Sunny Anderson’s Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprout Salad recipe. It’s my current favourite… (Hey, even culinary minds need a break sometimes.) My mom made it at Christmas (and I used it as a side for my brunch last weekend). It’s the simplest, quickest recipe. Added bonus? The sprouts look gorgeous and have no hint of bitterness.

    Feel better! Spring is arriving in Wisconsin, so that has to be encouraging.

  3. On the last page of every Everyday With Rachael Ray we see a picture of someone's open refrigerator. I'd like to see a picture of yours. And maybe your pantry.

  4. In addition to SNAP (ok, food stamps), please contact Angel Food Ministries to see if there is a host location near you

    This agency is seriously amazing. Huge boxes of food; inexpensive. My church has been receiving food from them for a few months now for distribution to those in need. Everyone qualifies!

  5. I'm more interested in seeing your guidelines for shopping, but that's because I'm comfortable making substitutions for things I know I like and will work well in the dish. I'm really excited to see what you do with leafy greens! I want to start eating them more, but aside from making salads (blech) I'm pretty lost.

  6. kimberly
    i love food stamps. i have been on food stamps for years and i have ever eaten better. i used to only spend about 20 dollars a week on groceries for my kid and i and now we have hundreds of dollars a months. i don't have any pride issues with food stamps, but it was a paradigm shift at first. i am glad i went forward with it.
    love, melissa

  7. I would like to see more vegan dishes.

    It would be neat to see pictures of your fridge and pantry.

  8. Don't sweat the food stamps! Healthy, seasonal food costs more than the total crap that's pre-packaged and sold to much of low income America. It takes several hundred dollars a month to feed a small family healthy meals and thats even with everyday homecooking. Keep at girl, things will be brighter in your financial cupboard one day soon! I frequently note screaming deals that I find at Grocery Outlet on my blog, Lula's Kitchen. Feel free to share these on your blog as well, Grocery Outlet has pretty decent selection of many natural foods items.

  9. I hope you're approved cuz depending on the municipality, the qualifying income levels are VERY tricky.

    I'm in NY and like you live on a very tight budget from month to month. After being laid off from my seasonal job last fall, I too decided to swallow my pride and apply for food stamps. At the time I received 283 dollars officially from New York State Unemployment and President Obama had then recently approved a $25 increase in the weekly benefit amount provided.

    Off I went on a seasonable fall day to my local food stamp office to apply. After a wait of approximately 4 and a half hours, I finally sat down with a caseworker and provided all the necessary documentation I had on hand. The worker assured me I was a good candidate and I would more than likely be approved although as a single female with no kids I wouldn't get much.
    When I was done, I was sent upstairs to take the picture for my Electronic Benefits Transfer card. I left the office that day feeling fairly optimistic as I was told the card should be arriving in just a few days.

    Sure enough the envelope came in the time frame I was given.
    But there was no card.

    Our government is kind and cruel all at once.
    Thanks to the weekly 25 dollar increase in my Unemployment Weekly Benefit Rate, I was 52 dollars over the monthly maximum qualifying income rate and as a result I did not qualify for food stamps.

    All I could do was laugh at the irony.

    Good luck and please do document the process. We need to lift the stigma of shame associated with asking for much needed help.



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