Friday, December 11, 2015

First batch of posts is up!

Hi, folks!

It's been a little slow going, but the first batch of back posts is finally up here on PGEW Classic! I struggled a bit with the decision of starting back in 2011 and working my way up to current times, or working backward from more recent posts. Because of the many missing images I'm trying to replace and save from different sources, I decided to go with the latter and my way back through the older posts. This way there's more content available for you to sift through now, while I keep piecing things back together.

I'll add a brief update post every time a new batch goes up, but I'm also itching to share a couple recipes that have been on the back burner for a few months, so you'll have a smorgasbord of tasty things to peruse in the next few weeks. To stay up to date with everything PGEW related during this transitional time, be sure to subscribe to receive email updates, and stay connected on Facebook, Instagram (@poorgirleatswell), Pinterest and Twitter (both are @poorgrleatswell).

And now, for the first batch of post links...
Not sure what happened and what we're doing here? Check out my last post to catch up.

Hope you've had a fabulous week, everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Welcome! (Temporarily, that is...)


So I find it a little ironic that my last post on the old school PGEW here on Blogger was teasing you about the "whole pile of awesome" that was set to make its debut four years ago. I can't believe it's been that long since I moved "homes" and I must say, it was an adjustment coming back to this platform. But I feel a lot more comfortable using Blogger over WordPress (though I'm still determined to learn), so for now, it's nice to have one less thing to worry about when it comes to putting my baby back together.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Review: Farm Fresh To You - Organic Fruits & Veggies Delivered To Your Doorstep

Many thanks to Mom It Forward for sponsoring and providing compensation for this post. All produce was provided by Farm Fresh To You and Mom It Forward; however, the opinions are entirely my own and do not reflect the views or opinions of either company. 

A couple weeks ago, I was approached about an opportunity to try Farm Fresh To You, a well-known CSA service here in California. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to apply - I mean, an organic fresh fruit and veggie delivery service isn't exactly something I would ignore. I was thrilled when I learned I would be part of this special project, and just as excited to tell you what I thought. I'm also pretty giddy about a special discount I get to share with all of you later in this post, but first things first!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Realities of Recovering from the Recession, Part 4: The Good News

Wow. What a summer. When I left you last, I was on a roll, ready to give you the final installment in this series to show you that it's not 100% gloom and doom. And then everything from Part 2 piled up at once and I've been on a crazy Race Against Time roller coaster all summer. First, it was the internet getting shut off; then the rent; then the electricity; two weeks later, another internet disconnection (because the $50 restoration fee keeps adding up, making my past due balance bigger and bigger every month, so they disconnect me about every 10-14 days), and so on and so forth. My bake shoppe has been helping here and there, but it's been difficult to keep up with the fees and ingredient costs, so growth has been slower than I'd hoped for the summer.

To top it all off, my mom also lost her job this summer (she's a nanny and once the kids are ready for preschool, they usually let the nanny go even if there's still a need). That may not seem like a big deal to some, but for her, being 71 and not that well-versed in technology, it's harder to get hired in today's job market than it is even for me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Realities of Recovering From the Recession, Part 3: Mental, Emotional & Physical Ramifications

This is Part 3 of a 4-part series. If you haven’t read the first two posts, please do so before continuing with this one, as each new post builds upon the previous ones. You can find Part 1 here,and Part 2 here. ~Kimberly
* * * * *
If those first two posts were hard to write, this one’s going to turn me into a blubbering mess. Because all of what I just wrote about has led up to this: the way this kind of stress makes you crumble from the inside out.
For those who are ultra sensitive, I want to alert you to some possible triggers in this post. I will be covering topics like anxiety, depression, and feelings of shame in raw, painful detail. So if you are prone to these things yourself or are sensitive to triggers, please proceed with caution. I, for one, am writing this with a fresh roll of TP at my side, because I know I will cry as I write.
I also added “physical” to the title of this post. My original focus was going to be on the mental and emotional ramifications of living with chronic financial stress. Then I realized that was a little dumb. I’m the one who bursts into shingles at the first sign of negative stress (or bad weather, or someone else’s cold, or…); it would be silly for me to ignore the fact that stress can also make you physically ill. So, we’ll start with that.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Realities of Recovering from the Recession, Part 2: Life Costs Double or Triple

This is the second in a 4-part series about financial stress and trying to recover from the recession. The first post is a crucial read so that you can get the background and intention of this series. If you haven’t read it yet, please click here to do so before continuing with this post. (It’s kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure series… you need to know what happened first before you can move on to the next adventure, lol.)
~ Kimberly
* * * * *
So, now that you’ve heard about my current mess, you’re probably wondering how the heck this happened so quickly, and why I haven’t been able to get out of this sooner. Like I said in my last post, when you’re financially unwell, life costs a lot more than it would otherwise. Not because prices have actually gone up (though, in a lot of respects, they have), but because of everything that’s attached to living paycheck to paycheck (or less). I’ve seen a couple articles out there that talk about this, and while they cite some of the examples I’m going to talk about, they don’t really go too far in depth. Here are some further examples of the “extras” you have to contend with as you try getting out of your financial hole as part of the working poor.

Realities of Recovering from the Recession, Part 1: Intro and an Inside Look

This is the first in a four-part series that I’ve wanted to write for a long time. As I mention below, I’m writing this painfully honest series in order to give people a better understanding of what it’s like to be part of the working poor (or unemployed), especially as you attempt to survive and try climbing out of the recession with everyone else. It may be hard to swallow for some because they’ll refuse to believe that this does happen – or that those of us who live like this didn’t somehow cause this all by themselves, and that’s okay. I can’t open eyes that are deliberately sewn shut. But hopefully, this will shed some light on the way a lot of Americans live right now, so that we can be a little kinder to each other. A lot of the discord in today’s society is a lack of empathy, understanding, and actual listening to others. Maybe if we took the time to get to know each other’s situations a little better without all those knee-jerk reactions we see everywhere, we could be a little nicer to each other. Less judgmental. Just kind.
* * * * *
Not gonna lie – my anxiety is through the friggin’ roof these days. And it’s all because of money. As usual.
When things are as tight as they are right now, one of the things I hear most from  friends, acquaintances, or even family members is, “Oh, this is just a bump in the road! You’ll pull out of it soon!”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Recipe: Mushroom Street Tacos

I've been trying to get my mom up here to visit for over a year and a half, and last weekend we were finally able to make it happen. Despite my exceedingly uncomfortable "couch", it was fun to show her all the progress I've made on my apartment (I may have 5 days left to come up with something for this month's rent, but I'm nesting, I tell you! I refuse to be defeated!). Being the supermom that she is, she came armed with extra supplies that she knew I didn't have (it's hard to start a business without any capital for supplies, lol) and the energy to jump right in and help me with a few of my shop orders.

Normally, I have no problem whipping up breakfast, lunch and dinner for my lovely guest and I, since mom's my most willing guinea pig. But since her surgery nearly three years ago, and all the new tummy issues that came along with it, it's been... an adventure (to put it nicely) to figure out what we can both have. I may be a bit more sensitive than most about this, but it really bugs me when I'm ready to enjoy a delicious meal and my dining buddy has to sit and watch for one reason or another. I'd rather make something totally opposite of what I'd hoped to have for myself, so we can at least enjoy the meal together.

Anywho, I was fine for the first couple of meals, but by the time Day 3's lunch came around, I was stumped. I've always had mad respect for those who have to deal with medically necessary dietary restrictions (or those of their family members), because it really does make meal planning a challenge. But now that this sort of thing has taken away my favorite dining buddy (I swear, she can have like 10 things at this point), I'm left near tears. I mean, I could make us separate meals, but A) that means using up extra ingredients that I might have saved for other dishes, therefore costing extra money at a time I  can't afford to waste even the smallest scrap; and B) where's the fun in that? I like to see that eye roll when the person I'm feeding takes her first bite of goodness. I'm sure I could make that happen with an alterna-meal, but I like seeing it happen while I take my own first bite. (Yes, I'm weird. But you knew this.)

After declaring my extreme displeasure with her gastrointestinal tract, I left my mom to do her thing in the living room while I got to work in the kitchen. My original plan was some sort of sexy shrimp quesadilla variation that wouldn't be too spicy for her, but that plan had to be scrapped. I still wanted to stick with the Mexican food theme, so I did some ingredient shifting, soul searching and a little bit of chopping, and eventually came up with this lovely little meal.

Now, this doesn't follow any sort of authentic spice mixture for the mushrooms - the goal here isn't to try making faux carne asada or anything. These tacos aren't pretending to be anything other than mushroom tacos. What makes this dish special is the different toppings that go along with it: basically, everything you'd find available at your favorite local street taco vendor (or truck). Of course, the mushrooms are well seasoned, lest you become bored with bland shrooms. But for the most part, it's the chopped fresh onion and cilantro, the wedges of key lime, heck, even the baby corn tortillas that make this feel like you're hangin' at some Off the Grid round up, or a kickass taco stand in LA.

I may sound like a broken record, but this is yet another way to make use of any vegetable scraps in your fridge - particularly the onion and herb kind. I know there are some who are (unfortunately) genetically predisposed to think cilantro tastes like soap, but if you're not a cilantro-phobe, this is something to consider when you're not quite sure what to do with those last few pieces in the bunch. Same thing goes for the chopped yellow onion, and the mushrooms too, actually. All those little bits and pieces can be a bit vexing when you don't have a plan for them, but with the new reports of the staggering amount of food waste in this country, it's essential to think outside the box and use everything you can. Chopped salads are a big one for me, but making soup, pestos and other sauces, or a big ol' frittata are all wonderful ways to make the most of your veggie leftovers.

And tacos. Don't forget tacos.

To keep the "street" feel for these, I highly recommend sticking to the tiny corn tortillas you'll find way at the bottom of your grocery store's tortilla aisle (beneath all the flour and gimmicky ones). Keep them soft rather than crunchy, but a crunchy tortilla won't be the end of the world. Just make sure you have those toppings handy: chopped cilantro, chopped onion, avocado slices (if you have 'em), lime wedges (preferably Key lime), and even some cotija cheese... all of these will turn these basic little tacos into something sensational.
And my mom's verdict? She handed me an empty plate and asked where she could get more. Guess I did something right! : )

Mushroom Street Tacos (makes two 3 taco servings; average cost per serving: $2.00)

1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms (bite size, but not so small that they'll be invisible in your tacos)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 T cooking oil
Pinch each of: salt, cumin, cayenne pepper and paprika
6 small corn tortillas
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
Avocado slices
Key lime wedges (one lime will yield about 6 wedges)
Cotija cheese or other queso fresco (optional)
Your favorite salsa roja or salsa verde (optional)

1. In a medium fry pan or skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and allow to cook until just translucent and fragrant. Next, add the mushrooms and seasonings. Mix well and cook until the mushrooms are tender and have released some of their juices to create a small amount of "sauce". Check for flavor and adjust according to taste with more salt or cayenne (if you like a little kick).

2. Heat the tortillas in a separate skillet over very low heat (about 2-3 minutes tops). You want them to be warm and soft, not crispy. Put on plates and prepare to assemble your tacos.

3. Spoon equal amounts of the onion and mushroom mixture onto each tortilla. Top with the fresh cilantro and onion, and sprinkle with cotija cheese. Serve with avocado slices and lime wedges, along with your favorite hot sauce on the side, and enjoy!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Recipe: Mushroom Quinoa with Pesto & Almonds

Even though this isn't technically the first post of the year, it’s somewhat of a PGEW tradition to start off the year with a new quinoa recipe. I’m not about to break tradition now, so I’m starting things off with this little darling.

I originally threw this one together last fall. I’d had one of Those Days, and was looking forward to a relaxing evening at home with a good dinner. I remember the ride back home that day, too. The more I thought about what I’d have for dinner, the more excited I got. I know quinoa isn't the kind of thing most people get excited about, but I’m a simple gal and get tickled by the little things in life. Like tiny, hard-to-pronounce seeds that are mistaken for grains and make incredibly delicious meals.

Like most of my quinoa recipes (or my recipes in general), this one is quite simple in its components. But it’s the simplicity that makes it so great. A few mushrooms, a generous amount of pesto, some almonds for crunch – you don’t need much more than that to make a terrific side dish or meatless entrĂ©e.

When I first made this, I wanted to throw in some kale or spinach to boost the nutrition and aesthetics. Pesto is pretty and all, but not so much once it’s mixed in with brown and beige things. At the time, however, either I didn’t have enough on hand or I only had delicate spring mix to work with, so I just omitted the greens completely. That worked out just fine, and you are more than welcome to do the same.

I won’t wax poetic about the cost effectiveness of this one, as it’s pretty much the same litany I write about most of my quinoa dishes. But I do want to share one big reminder that will help make this one fit almost any budget: make your own pesto.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I dislike jarred pesto (Mezzetta’s is to die for!). But $6 - $8 for a tiny jar isn’t always most prudent purchase. When I do get the jarred kind, it’s usually from Grocery Outlet, where they’ll be marked down to $1.99/jar, but otherwise, I try to make my own. There’s nothing to it, really, and the smell of fresh herbs in the kitchen is downright intoxicating.

Now, you don’t have to stick to the traditional basil pesto that’s filled with dreamy things like parmesan and pine nuts. You’ll notice I have yet to make traditional pesto on PGEW, and that’s because those two ingredients would eat up a lot of my food budget. Any herb and nut combination makes for a great pesto sauce, from cilantro and pistachio, to plain ol’ scallions. A spinach or kale pesto would also work in a pinch, but I’d stick with an herb pesto for this dish. Since the flavors of the mushrooms, quinoa and almonds are so mild, it’s nice to have that kick and aroma that only fresh herbs can give.

I think this one might go on regular rotation for some of you, especially my vegetarian and vegan readers. It’s certainly become a new quinoa staple at my place when the planets and stars align, and it goes with just about everything. Not enough quinoa on hand? Take a tip from my brown rice and quinoa pilaf and stretch out your Mother Grain supply with some brown rice. The flavors and textures still go great together, and you’ll save a little extra, too.

Let’s check out the recipe!

Mushroom Quinoa with Pesto & Almonds (makes 3-4 servings; average cost per serving: $1.85)

1 1/2 c sliced mushrooms
Salt & pepper
1 T olive oil
1 c cooked quinoa
1/3 c pesto (homemade or jarred is fine)
1/4 - 1/3 c coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 c chopped spinach or kale (optional)
Extra pesto for garnish (optional)

1. Sweat the mushrooms over medium high heat in a large, dry skillet. Once they've started to release a bit of their natural moisture and become tender (about a minute or so), season with a small pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and continue to saute for another 30-60 seconds.

2. Reduce heat to medium low. Add the quinoa and stir into the mushrooms. Next, add the pesto and mix until incorporated into the mushroom & quinoa mixture. Cook for another minute or two, then stir in the chopped almonds.

3. Turn off the heat and add in the chopped spinach or kale if you're using it. The residual heat from the dish will wilt the greens perfectly without turning them too soft. Serve as an entree with a nice salad, or as a side with grilled meats or other protein. Top with extra pesto if you're a pesto addict like me, and enjoy!


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