We eat plants, and we like them cheap

Across the Southwest, there exists a chain of 99 Cents Only stores (http://99only.com).  Most items are $0.99, or close to it.  Some of these locations sell fresh produce, while all of them sell inexpensive food items, some even well-known name brands.  The variety and selection of products available can vary from store to store, and day to day.  This is a great place for budget-savvy shoppers to find many everyday items at discounted prices.

Since transitioning to a plant based lifestyle, we have had to learn how to get creative on a budget.  It is important to have a good variety of nutrient dense meals, which can be hard to do for some of us who live paycheck to paycheck. Often, it may seem easy to buy ramen noodles or peanut butter and bread–but to create meals loaded with healthy veggies and no animal products is a real challenge when you have only $10-20 to spend per day.  Add to the challenge the fact that we are four adults, some of whom need special diet restrictions and some who are just plain picky. I always said I love a good challenge!

Hence, we have recently “re-discovered” shopping at the 99 Cents Only stores.  We first encountered them five years ago after moving to Las Vegas; for a while, we then found some nicer higher end shopping at Sprouts and Whole Foods, and a few Smiths and Albertsons.  But for the past few months, we have been especially challenged to feed our family, economically and healthfully.  For the past week, we have been having fun with our creativity–and shopping for our meals at the 99 Cent Only store, for a large portion of the ingredients. Some items just are not available there, and we must procure them elsewhere.

To kick off Veganuary, I thought it might be fun to share some of what we learn, what we create in the kitchen from our dollar store budget. Just look at these meals!

 

Our very own kick off to Veganuary–dollar store spaghetti!  Spaghetti, pasta sauce and bread came from 99 Cent Only store.  We were gifted some fresh parsley and oregano a few days prior.  We added a little fresh onion and garlic that we had on hand, and the vegan butter too.

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We made a casserole with whole grain brown rice, frozen broccoli, and a vegan “cheese” sauce.  We made garlic bread with some artisan white bread and fresh parsley and oregano, along with vegan butter.

 

Another night, we used macaroni and a vegan cheese sauce for mac-n-chz; we made lentil veggie sliders with homemade sweet rolls and fresh avocado, cucumber and greens.

 

And tonight we made stir fried veggies with fried rice.

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Some of our favorite purchases:

frozen broccoli     $0.99

2 lbs brown rice     0.99

soy sauce                 0.99

1 lb green beans      0.99

cucumbers                2 for 0.99

avocado                   0.99

32 oz macaroni     0.99

can pasta sauce     0.99

loaf slice artisan white bread  0.99

impulse buys:

fresh bananas      0.49/lb

fresh blackberries   0.99

frozen zucchini fries    0.99

Some ingredients were allocated from somewhere besides the 99 Cent Only store, and some we already had on hand.  Some of these meals are a little carb-heavy, but we try to limit our carbohydrates to nutrient dense foods, and we use lots of fresh veggies.

Be well.

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I am still here

I constantly have ideas.  Some of them seem so awesome when I first think of them.  Sometimes they are. Really.  Awesome. Ideas.  What is not awesome is my inability at times to follow through with the ones that quite possibly are “awesome ideas.”   Maybe I have spread myself out too thin, or set my ambitions a little too high.  Whatever the case, I still like to think of great ideas, and set my hopes to achieve at least some of them.

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Modern Alchemy

My loves of science and nature married and birthed something amazing.  I spend every day lately, researching, formulating, creating.  I am a modern-day alchemist.  I am following my dream to pursue people, pet and planet safe STUFF–that I can create with my own hands. And then teach others how to use it and be planet protectors, healthy and happy.

http://www.sewcutensassy.com/

https://sewcutensassydesigns.ecwid.com/

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What if……

What if we learned that someone spoke of an incident prior to its occurrence? For me, that would mean that he had prior knowledge of said occurrence, and possibly aided in its planning. 
What if there is no problem? What if those in control are creating the “problem” by using subversive language in order to cater to the lowest common denominator among the human race? We all feel, so that’s where they try to snag us–right in the “feels.”  
Wouldn’t it be a sad homage to our humanity if we learned that we humans are so easily controlled by those we believe we are controlling? 

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Modern-day Alchemist 


I like to think of myself as a modern day alchemist.  I love science and nature, and I’m enjoying combining the two to create skin care products at home that are good for me, and safe for the planet, and simple. 

These handcrafted soaps, body wash, bubble bath, and bath bombs are safe and gentle enough for the whole family– pets too. 

I still get excited about how my skin feels after using my newest body wash! I am making these items available for purchase on my website and Facebook if anyone is interested, especially those of you who like to shop and support local businesses.  

*sample sizes are available too… just ask. 

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Swallowing hard pills…

My attempts at remaining positive and hopeful, as opposed to cynical, are becoming increasingly more difficult.  I am human.  I grow weary, exhausted even, when my expressed aspirations fall on ears and eyes of the willfully deaf and blind.  I tire of repeating those answers, the same answers each time to the same questions.

Yes, I desire growth.  I desire professional development.  I yearn to explore the limits of my own skills and knowledge, while providing quality services in exchange for adequate and fair compensation.  I long to make a difference, to impact in positive fashion the lives of others.  Do not we all yearn for this?

I find myself wondering these days why every† attempt at professional growth is hindered, blocked sometimes.  I have difficulty accepting any idea that I am not intelligent enough; that I lack the potential to develop; that I have nothing to offer; that I should remain where I am and just be content.  That is a hard pill to swallow.  I already have my own inner conflicts, where I must deal with these concepts from my own perspective.  I do not need those ideas from other people, especially those who should be encouraging growth.

†Sometimes the path chosen has worked out well, but the overall plot here is the journey to my dream career. I am not there yet, but each step is getting me closer. And I simply choose not to quit trying, in spite of the struggles to reach my goals.

And, yet, here I am once again–finding strength within myself, because MY strength does not exist anywhere else. I will continue my journey, and I wholly expect to reach my destination–with or without the assistance/support of those in positions of power and influence, and maybe in spite of them. I have done it already.  I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

And it always helps to write things down.

 

 

 

 

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Narrative, narratives

narrative-ecology

I like this word.  I am using it a lot lately, especially in my studies.  I have learned there is more to the word than meets the eye, too.

A narrative can be so much more than just a story.  It can be that, but can be an entire cultural concept or a legal idea.

What we do with the everyday facets of our lives becomes our own narrative. I am finalizing my Education Narrative for one of my core graduate courses in the M.Ed. program.  As I work on this paper, I realize more and more how true this is.  Reflecting on some of the experiences of my former days is such an eye-opening affair. I am especially troubled, however, by the knowledge that some things were not fair back then, and I can put a name to this unfairness now.

I am learning so much during my first several weeks of graduate education.  This was the right choice for me to make.  This is the right path for me to follow.  And my narrative is evolving.  This should be so for all of us, if only we all took the time to absorb the lessons around us.

Maybe we should all consider examining our own narrative.  Self-reflection can be a great learning tool.

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Science is Sad and so am I

I am sad today, as are many of us, especially those in the scientific community.  I almost felt like the world came to an end when I first read those fateful words this morning.  I cried a little too, on the inside anyway.  So, what do we do now?  Am I going to lose my rights as a woman? as a married lesbian? as a freethinking non-religious human? Probably not, but I am, nevertheless, afraid and sad. What am I going to do?

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I, for one, am proceeding forward with my best efforts to complete my studies and look for my next rewarding career adventure.  This week I must finish the final draft of the Educational Narrative I am writing for one class.  (plus more project work in my other class, too).  I wonder if my narrative will evolve now that my future, and the future of all women, may threatened with hard times ahead. We will see.

I know one more thing, too.  I am not going to sit still.  My voice will be heard.  My vote will still count, and has already.  I will give more support to charities and orgaennizations working hard on my behalf.  This is what I can do.  This is what anyone can do.   I will speak up when I witness racism, sexism and any other form of hatred toward my fellow human.  I will continue to push for equitable opportunities for EVERYONE.

Every human deserves dignity and respect.  I will give it.

 

Will you?

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Food Insecurity in Families with School-aged Children

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Image courtesy of choosemyplate.gov

 

I am working on a project for one of my classes.  The theme is an examination of food insecurity and the effects on learning.  I have been researching already, and have found excellent sources.  I would like to find some qualitative and quantitative data on how food insecurity affects high school students, too.  Aside from the developmental issues that nutritional deficiencies can cause for young children, what developmental problems arise in students aged 12-18?  It is already understood that the stresses of food insecurity create difficult challenges, for anyone, but school is hard enough to have to worry about where a next meal will come from.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who works or volunteers in public school or community organizations, where outreach is being performed in order to address the needs of these children.

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Random thoughts during weekend studies….

Just putting this out there:

I love being a Northeastern Husky!  I am so glad to be attending one of the best universities in the nation.  I have a quality education already from NEU, and I am earning even more with the MEd. program.

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Go Huskies!!

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