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  • in reply to: Recipes for the seriously poor #1030193

    Oh my Gosh!! I had no idea that the thread was still open and people were posting and enjoying it!! I am so happy!!

    As an update a while back, I did post from another thread that all was on the up-swing. That lasted about a year. Although we have had some setbacks, we are definitely ahead.

    New recipe!!

    Toss all of the ingredients in a food processor for a few seconds with an S blade:

    two apples

    two carrots

    can of pineapple

    bit of orange juice

    This recipe came out of the fact that in our area Tomchei Shabbos almost always has a can of pineapple in it and I never know what to do with it!!

    Turns out like a fruity coleslaw, but it is super yummy.

    Also: lots of cornflakes and zucchini in our Tomchei Shabbos basket. Any ideas??


    in reply to: Waking Up Your Kids #993764

    I love this topic! My younger two are 5 and 8. I bring hot chocolate and let the smell get to them. I tell them if they don’t get up, the hot chocolate will get cold and they won’t get another one. That usually works.

    Odd suggestion: what about not interfering at all? Maybe the kids are relying on you to wake them up rather than building in their own internal alarm clocks? Make arrangements with the school to give the kids extra homework, tests, or just plain dock grades for lateness and absence. Then let the kids learn to wake themselves up. It might take a week, but the harsher the consequences, the likelier their motivation will peak.

    At the same time, every time they are up on time, have an awesome breakfast waiting for them. If they don’t make it down to the kitchen, eat it yourself!

    in reply to: Owning a Dog #922231

    Really? You wouldn’t be embarrassed to ask a posek? I’ve never been able to get the nerve up to ask any of the Rebbeim that I know such a question. They would tell me to get rid of the dog. Hands down. My female working dog is not fixed, but she is an outdoor dog in a fenced area. I know she would probably live two years longer if she were fixed, but I can’t bring myself to ask my Rav. Who would specialize in such a shaila anyways??

    in reply to: Owning a Dog #922228

    In retrospect; I think our purchase of a dog specifically for herding our livestock was a mistake. I could have spent the money on better fencing (and maybe a gun or two) and called it a day. It would have been a lot easier.

    My kids always have to have play-dates out of the house; because even though the dog lives outside and is housed in the barn; our 150 pound marshmallow really scares people.

    Now, of course, we have very little money, and I am always struggling to feed the animals. The halacha to feed your animals first takes on a new meaning when I have to chose between buying food for us or food for them.

    The livestock will, I’Y’H support us one day, but the dog is hard to justify at this point. But she is part of our family now and highly trained to herd. I rely on her for so many things it’s hard to give her up. We have considered it!!

    Dogs are a serious time and money drain-well worth it if you live in a community that will tolerate it, but not even an option in any haredi environment. Don’t fool yourself; it will be a stone around your neck.

    Better off getting a pet hen! You can keep them inside; and they lay eggs. Yes, there are hen diapers!! I don’t know the halacha, cause hens aren’t “caged”. She should have run of the house and the yard, then I think you’re good to go. Very trainable too!!

    in reply to: Some notes about what it means to be truly poor… #1001106

    OH my gosh, Fert!! I have been waiting for someone to ask this question!! I am fabulously impoverished, and I will tell you how I have internet:

    My adult daughter gave me an old laptop. My neighbors don’t bother putting a password on their wireless.

    My local library has internet.

    I have access to internet where I work…yes, I do work…in fact several part time jobs, and so does my husband. We do scurry around like mice all day and most of the night, but every once in a while we like to check the weather and the news.

    Thanks for asking!!

    in reply to: Grocery Shopping on a tight budget #920168

    I’ve tried to wean myself off of paper goods because of the expense, but when I have the cash, I try to go to Cosco or Amazing Savings. I just bought 420 good quality plastic cups at Amazing Savings for $10 – I thought that was pretty good.

    in reply to: Chasidish cheder- my gripes about child safety #918940

    Thank you!! That is exactly what I wanted to know! I want a chassidish cheder for my boy, and there are so many things about this cheder that I like, and a few things I will just have to tolerate. I don’t think I would find a better ratio of like to dislike in any other cheder around here. I may find one that has more supervision (maybe), but that would be hard if not impossible for a BT. As a BT, I also struggle with the very very weak limodei chol department and the way the limodei chol teachers are at the bottom of the totom pole (excuse the expression). I also don’t think I will find a very different reality in any of the chassidish cheders. If anyone know of a perfect mainstream chassidish cheder in New York state, that would accept a BT child from a non Yiddish speaking home, where the mother drives, please let me know! (Not Chabad, thanks!)

    in reply to: know any frum vegetarians or vegans? #918586

    I’m post=vegetarian. We raise our own animals, live off the grid, and use a local shoichet to come to our place.I’m more and more interested in healthy food being available for all socioeconomic groups. It drives me batty that the health food industry (organic produce, supplements, alternative medicine, etc) is only accessible to the wealthy.

    The globalization of food and the ability to buy cherries in January (for example) is just…wrong.

    Also, I work in this field (preparing bio-available fermented and sprouted foods) for a local alternative health practitioner and her clients. Interesting work.

    Our digestive systems are “creatures of habit”. Of course if you never eat X, eating it is going to make you ill. That doesn’t mean X is evil; just that you have conditioned your system to tolerate certain foods. When I eat sour gummy bears; I always quip that one day I may be marooned on an island with only a bucket of gummy bears to keep me alive. I want to make sure that my system can digest them – so the odd gummy bear I eat is …pikuach nefesh!

    in reply to: Chasidish cheder- my gripes about child safety #918934

    I am sending my son to this particular chassidish cheder because I really value what they are doing there. The safety thing was a complete surprise to me, and being new to the environment, I truly don’t know if it is simply a case of difference in cultural norms or not. I have great respect for the Menahal, and when I approached him about the issue, he basically said that “boys will be boys”. So I am asking for feedback, by parents who send their kids to similar chedarim…is this the status quo?

    in reply to: Recipes for the seriously poor #1030174

    We had a really great Shabbos. Our local Rebbetzin baked challos for us, another family brought over fish, and another gave us potato kugal. I made chicken in a pan with onions, honey, tamari, a bit of water, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. I invert a pan for a lid and make a dutch oven. The sauce gets really thick and coats the chicken.

    I splurged and bought kishke for the cholent. I cut it in half, and will save the other half for next week. I’ve made kishke, but I really like Mealmart – my recipe is paerve, and I like the fleish better. Anyone have a recipe that would be close to Mealmart kishke?

    in reply to: Whats Your Unexplainable Fear? #1029912

    Bears and crocodiles. I’ve had close encounters with both, and it was terrible! (crocodile/alligator – whatever those things are in the water in Florida)

    I work in an environment where I have to go down to the basement of the building a lot to get stuff. The light has been broken so I use a flashlight. There is an old well – like thing in the darkest corner down there, and I was stupid enough to shine my flashlight into it. Curious I guess. There were hundreds of spiders…climbing up and down the walls. Good thing I’m not afraid of spiders!

    in reply to: Recipes for the seriously poor #1030168

    I’ve never had farina…I’ll try that. Tonight’s dinner:


    Veggies and mild curry sauce

    2 bell peppers

    2 celery

    1 onion

    3 cooking tomatoes

    2 TBSP olive oil

    mild curry powder to taste

    salt, pepper to taste

    ginger (I had a frozen cube in the fridge)

    just enough water to keep everything from sticking.

    This dinner was super frugal, cause the veggies were in the too ripe bin at the market, so were next to nothing to purchase. Even my kids loved this one. I also served sliced cucumbers to the kids.

    I am experimenting with sauerkraut making for the first time. I’m a bit nervous, cause it was a lot of veggies used (cabbage, carrots, onion, rutabaga). Hope it turns out!

    in reply to: Recipes for the seriously poor #1030166

    Dinner was super yum!

    Polenta and chicken with peanut sauce:

    2 or more chicken legs

    1 C Corn meal

    Salt 1 tsp

    3 C water

    Follow directions on cornmeal package- after making the “mush”, put in fridge to solidify, cut into pieces and fry lightly to crisp up.

    Peanut sauce for chicken

    1/2 cup peanut butter

    1/4 cup tamari sauce

    garlic powder to taste

    1 tsp lemon juice

    salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

    enough water to make sauce – 1 cup or so

    Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl and let sit while the onions cook.

    1 onion sliced – start by putting onion and a bit of oil in a pan and cooking til soft.

    Place chicken fatty side down on top of onions. Braise chicken and flip over to do other side. Add sauce. Invert another heavy pan on top of first to create a “dutch oven”. Tricky part is to constantly watch – adding a bit of water at a time and scrapping the bottom of the pan so nothing burns. Keep on medium low flame.

    This takes about an hour, but it is worth it! If I am in a hurry, I cut the meat off of the bone. It’ll cook faster like that.

    Serve with polenta on bottom, chicken and peanut sauce on top.

    My kids don’t touch the polenta, but they LOVED the chicken. So did my husband!

    I made this recipe with one leg of chicken. It really only fed two of us – I really needed two legs to make it go for all of us, just didn’t have it.

    in reply to: Recipes for the seriously poor #1030163

    Fabulous recipe, thanks! I made this salad for lunch today – cheap and gourmet. The only problem is that it doesn’t take 15 minutes – in fact it takes 4 days from front to finish!

    Sprouts and grapefruit salad

    Day 1 – soak broccoli seeds, mung beans and Fenugreek seeds overnight in a glass jar with a lid.

    Day 2 to 4 – swap the lid out for a piece of cheesecloth tightly pulled over the mouth of jar and fasten with a rubber band. I use unbleached cotton fabric from my sewing stuff too. Rinse seeds well and leave on counter turned on an angle so the excess water can drain out overnight.

    Repeat and rinse once a day.

    Day 4 – your seeds will slowly sprout little white tails. You want to refrigerate the sprouts when the tail is about double the length of the seed.

    For the salad:

    Cut up one grapefruit in bite size pieces.

    Add handful of raisins

    Mix with sprouts


    chopped up fresh ginger – about the size of a quarter

    olive oil – 1/4 cup

    apple cider vinegar – splash

    pinch of salt and pepper

    pinch of sugar

    squeeze of grapefruit juice

    drop of orange juice

    Mix well and toss salad with dressing. Let it sit for an hour or so before you serve it. The dressing will soften the sprouts up.

    Anyone ever try making their own apple cider vinegar? I’d like to try that. I’m also going to try growing garlic this summer.I want to have more control over my food production so I can have highly nutritional food and be able to afford it.

    in reply to: Recipes for the seriously poor #1030157

    I would love the oatmeal recipe and a child friendly quinoa. I love the stuff. Now that I have a milchig oven, granola would be great. I get my kids to eat bean and grain soups by making them in more of a tomato base with alphabet noodles. They can’t seem to resist the alphabets and put up with the beans!

    Anyone got good crock pot recipes? I leave the house super early and return at 6. If dinner isn’t already brewing, my family doesn’t eat til the earliest 7:30. I make chicken, chickpeas and potato in a tomato base in the crock pot, but everything else I try turns out like cholent. I like to save cholent for Shabbos. Any suggestions?

    in reply to: Recipes for the seriously poor #1030152

    I live over an hour from the closest Tomchei Shabbos. Our local community Rav has been very kind, but our small community just can’t support the number of needy. Tomchei Shabbos has been amazing to us, and many of the meals during the week I make are from them.

    Because I don’t live in a major city; when I approach a lot of the organizations they refuse help based on the fact that we are not local. It is also $30 in gas to go back and forth – I do borrow a car,but I pay for the gas – that’s a lot of grocery money!!

    I always thought that if I ever got in a jam like this that our extended families would help us out. For one reason or another – mostly physical illness; our parents are not able to help us. I have a very good friend from childhood who is very well off. I approached her about helping me with a $300 very over due food bill at our local store. She gave me such a lecture – gave me the money begrudgingly and then asked me not do ask her ever again for money.

    Because both my husband and I work – several jobs each, in fact; no one can understand how we never have money. It is very difficult to explain to people all of our cheshbonos, humiliating, and assumes that we have somehow squandered our funds. I can assure you we spend every single penny on the very necessities.

    Government programs are not in our reach. I tried. The problem lays in our background as business owners. After we went bankrupt we put every penny we earned into starting over. We invested in commercial equipment and continue to build our business back up literally one brick at a time. It is the only way we can see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel – unless my cook book is a big success 🙂 The state we live in denies us benefits based on the fact that we are asset rich by their standards. We refuse to sell our last vestige of hope – hence the catch 22.

    Anyways! Matzah has been a meal for children for about 3000 years – my kids like it with eggs and a bit of jam!

    Kol Tuv;

    in reply to: Recipes for the seriously poor #1030146

    I just spent the last 20 minutes reading the Penniless Parenting blog. Very interesting stuff! I’m going to try her vegan Parmesan cheese recipe. Thanks for the lead!

    in reply to: Recipes for the seriously poor #1030145

    Wow! So many great ideas!! If I ever do get around to writing a cookbook…do I have permission to use them?

    Tonight was really hard. I sent both my kids off to playdates so that they would have dinner by other homes. My husband won’t be back from work til late, and he usually subsides on matza broken up in a bowl with milk.

    Someone left a package in my car by mistake…it was bread. I don’t know who it was or how long it had been there. I do a lot of schlepping for people. I asked a shei’la and was told I could eat from it, so I had four bilkes for dinner.

    I often make pea, lentil soup with alphabet noodles for my kids to eat at breakfast and then the leftovers I give them for lunch. My son’s cheder serves lunch, Baruch HsShem!, but my daughter goes to a school for “special” kids. Their diets are all quirky, hers included, so they don’t get hot lunch. I have to provide for her daily, so soup it is. She loves it!

    Snacks are really hard, cause at my son’s cheder they are all bringing “snack packs”. He turns his nose up at my cheapo versions stuck in sandwich bags. Oh well!

    One of my favorite dinners is:

    Curried farfel

    1 onion

    oil to fry onion



    1 chopped pepper

    lots of curry powder


    Fry onion and pepper. Throw in spices and farfel. Fry up a minute or so more. Add water to cover farfel. Cover tight and keep on low til water evaporates.


    in reply to: Some notes about what it means to be truly poor… #1001072

    Hi David;

    Basically, I am you. I have been very wealthy in my lifetime and very destitute; several times over. The daily grind of being impoverished; the stress of owing massive amounts of money, and the toll of long term poverty are a very difficult nisayon. But I do have some very basic words of commiseration/advice for you – and not for your supporters or detractors.

    1. Stop focusing on the inability of the financially functional to understand your matzav. That is the way HaShem made human beings.

    2. Be VERY HAPPY anytime anyone gives you even the most meager of donations. Give them a brocha and mean it.

    3. When you are humiliated by the potential giver; use this humiliation and give the person a brocha. Tell them that you are humiliated, and that even though the feeling is equivalent to death, you would like to use the opportunity to offer a brocha. Be sincere. You have tremendous zchus to give powerful brochas when you are in a state of public humiliation.

    4. Consider collecting with your wife and child.

    5. Consider moving. I know it’s major, and your current job/support system may not make this even possible, but you my be able to position your family in a better situation by getting out of the city and relocating to a smaller out of town (healthier, cleaner air) community.

    6. Attempt to get a letter of recommendation/support from a respected Rav. He should also be able to provide you with direction.

    7. On the other side of the Rav’s letter, print your resume. This is not in order to find you a job; which I am sure you and your wife have several; but to help in securing donations.

    8. Know that you are in good company. Many of our illustrious forefathers and mothers lived in destitute. Glean comfort from their stories. I know I do!

    If you wish, have your wife contact me through YWN and I will swap ideas on how to cook good healthy meals for pennies a day – how to stretch Tomchei Shabbos to last all week, and how to stay positive!

    Much Hotzlocha!!


Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)