Need to immediately and DRASTICALLY cut our food bills - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 105 Old 01-17-2006, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So our EBT benefits got cut from $508 to $148. We'd been using the entire $508 per month. We have literally NO money each month to put towards buying food. So, HELP!!! We have some food restrictions though which make it hard to lower our food costs.

*I can not eat any soy or soy products.
*DH and I can not eat flour, grains, starches, or sugar (of any kind, including honey, fruit, etc).
*I must eat at least 150 grams of protein each day, so we have to buy a lot of meat.
*Our food budget must include formula since I'm only able to pump about 3oz per day of BM.

Obviously we are not vegetarians. I know it works for some people, but it isn't for us.

So, suggestions? I already shop at the cheapest store in town, don't buy much processed stuff like TV dinners and junk like that. I do buy a few snacks for DD (like rice cakes and granola bars), but I keep it to the least expensive stuff I can find. Our new amount goes into effect in February.

TIA!
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#2 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 12:30 AM
 
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Lots of eggs?

-Angela
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#3 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 01:16 AM
 
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You can get a total of 148 1/2 grams of protein from the following menu:

BREAKFAST: 2 eggs (14 gm)/ 2 slices white toast and margarine (5 gm)/ half cup non-fat yogurt (made from instant dry milk) (13 gm)

Cost: 32 cents for this meal

LUNCH: 2 peanut butter and banana sandwiches on white bread (26 1/2 gm)/ 1 cup milk made from dry milk (8 gm)

Cost: about 38 cents

SNACK: 1 cup yogurt made from dry milk (26 gm)

Cost: 3 cents

DINNER: 1 quarter pound burger with 1 ounce cheese on bun (39 gm)/ 1 cup frozen peas (8 gm)/ 1 baked potato (9 gm)

Cost: 90 cents

cost for this menu for one adult for the whole day: $1.63

Your best sources of protein compared to cost are: spilt peas: 1 cup cooked at 16 grams/ half cup skim milk yogurt at 13 grams/ 1 cup dry pearled barley at 20 grams/ 1 cup oat bran dry at 16 grams/ 1 baked potato 9 gram.

I know those are not all complete proteins but there are so many foods that are complementary, you don't have to work hard to create a complete protein. I'm not a vegetarian either, but beef, fish, and fowl are all about 7 grams per ounce so you can choose the least expensive cuts and get the same dietary value. The problem with a diet high in meats is the increase in your risk for heart disease. So you can have a good portion of meat but still get most of your protein from other animal and vegetable foods.

I know this doesn't adddress the money issue fully but it is an inexpensive menu that provides the proein you need.

You really should go to the local WIC program for formula, and when they do they will also provide vouchers good for cheese, milk and peanut butter which are high protein foods. This will cut your food budget quite a bit. Also, try the La Leche League for assistance from their breast-milk bank. It's free. And they may even have someone who can wet-nurse yours while they feed their own baby.

Please remember, it's not possible to eat the food pyramid diet and not eat for three humans. It's just too much food! The above diet isn't the best for everyone but if you are on a high protein diet, it's suffucient.

To be honest I can't imagine why anyone would need 150 grams of protein unless you are pregnant and have toxemia, but even 100 grams should be sufficient for that since a normal pregnant woman only needs 75 grams of protein a day compared to 38 grams for a non-pregnant woman.

(Although I recently heard someone say the RDA of protein for a normal adult was 78 grams which is TOTALLY incorrect.)
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#4 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're on a special diet from our doctor which is high protein. Good ideas, but we can't eat bread, potatos and peas (starches), or milk products. Oh, and I'm very allergic to all seafood.

This diet has actually reduced my LDL levels and dropped my BP so much that I'm no longer on meds for it, so I'm not going to give it up.

I'm considering WIC, but I'm nervous because of the blood tests, weight checks, etc. I won't agree to such things from anyone except my doctor or midwife.
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#5 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 02:49 AM
 
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WIC will provide you as a breast feeding mom with food. No weight checks and no blood tests for you. As long as you are breast feeding at least once a day, you qualify based on income. They will have a nuritionalist work with you if need be.

Then, there is formula provided for your little one, it changes over to other foods at a certain ages and continues to age 5. They check weight, graph it out on a growth chart to make sure your child is growing okay. They check Hemoglobin and check a lead level periodically. BUT, you can have that done at your health care provider's office instead and just inform them of the results. If you don't have to pay for that great, but it is free to have it done at WIC. Then, WIC will share that information with your child's provider.

What have you been eating besides meat? Maybe go from the angle, what can you eat, and figure out how to get it as inexpensively as possible...
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#6 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 02:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We don't do well checks, I don't believe in tests and doctors visits unless someone is very ill. I'll look more into WIC, but if they *require* blood tests and stuff I'll have to pass.

That's the problem as well... we've already been eating as cheaply as I think we can, but now we have $350 less to do it each month.

A typical dinner on this diet:
steak
spinach stuffing
green beans
water

or

chicken breast
green beans
salad (lettuce, cucumbers, sliced egg, small amount of full fat dressing)
water

Breakfast:
2 eggs
bacon
cottage cheese (for DH, I can't stomach the texture)
water
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#7 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 03:11 AM
 
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I refused the blood test at WIC and it was fine. I don't know if they will "let" me refuse it next time, but we'll see. I won't allow it for DD either. It would probably be worth it for the next 6 months when you would be getting food in addition to your DC's. After that it's up to your family's diet preferences.
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#8 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's good to know that they let you refuse it. I know we qualify automatically because we received public assistance so we don't have to have the blood work and stuff for qualifications, maybe that'll make a difference???

I suppose it couldn't hurt to try. Do I have to have DD's birth certificate with me? I never ordered a copy of it.

Oh, and I don't think I qualify as breastfeeding. I pump and pump and pump but only get 3oz a day, and DD has refused the breast ever since she was about 3 months old. Definately nipple preference. ~sighs~ I wish I was able to be a breastfeeding mama.
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#9 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 03:29 AM
 
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Yes, pumping counts as long as you are feeding it to your child.
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#10 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 04:05 AM
 
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beans instead of meat

do you qualify for WIC formula? oatmeal to inc your milk supply?

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#11 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 08:09 AM
 
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Oatcakes instead of rice cakes for your daughter: mix 250g of oatmeal with a tablespoon of melted lard, a pinch of salt and hot water to bind (between 200-500mls of water, depending on whether you use oatmeal or rolled oats.) Roll thinly, cut out, bake for 10 minutes until firm.
Chicken breasts are an extravagance we can't afford: buy a whole chicken, roast it, serve it with vegetables. Use the leftovers wisely and frugally, but I don't see any reason why you can't get at least three meals out of one. (casserole, soup, vegetables.)
What I can tell you, though, is that it's going to be tough trying to feed a family on such a small amount and there is no way on the planet that it's going to be possible to do it eating premium cuts of meat. Either you need to cut $300 from elsewhere in your budget, or you need to appeal the benefits cut, or you need to start eating differently, or you need to increase the family income by $300. I'd go back to your doctor and talk to him about this: see if he can offer any advice.

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#12 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 08:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amydidit
We don't do well checks, I don't believe in tests and doctors visits unless someone is very ill. I'll look more into WIC, but if they *require* blood tests and stuff I'll have to pass.

That's the problem as well... we've already been eating as cheaply as I think we can, but now we have $350 less to do it each month.
While I agree with your philosophy, it seems like getting your daughter weighed periodically is a small trade off for making sure she has plenty of food at home.
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#13 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 11:20 AM
 
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Sorry. I didn't notice the flour and starches thing.

Hmmm...I think your doctor should be able to help you qualify for more benefits - or returned benefits- if he stands up and notifies the authorities what kind of help you need.

Also if you live in the country or a fairly rural area, you can be put on a list to receive a road-kill animal for free. In Alaska, when someone runs into a deer, the state troopers will shoot it if it isn't dead. A family on the list is called and they bring their truck and haul it to a local butcher who will turn it all into steaks, ground meat, etc. You might find a butcher who will take some of the meat in trade for the service. I had enough meat for one entire winter (8 months) from half a moose once which I shared with another family.
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#14 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 12:40 PM
 
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You need to start looking at cheaper cuts of meat. Use whole chickens rather than chicken breast. You can usually get 2-3 meals from a whole chicken that's the same cost as boneless, skinless breasts for one meal.

Look into cheaper cuts of beef. They'll have to be cooked longer or braised but you can do beef stew or beef stir fries with beef stew meat.

Buy roasts and such that can be turned into more than one meal.

All of that said, there is no way you can do a high meat diet on $148/month. If you want to continue eating this way you're going to have to look for other things to cut.

Rice and beans are also good proteins. You can't do just beans though you need the rice or something else to complete the protein. But since you won't eat grains.

I have to admit I find a bit of a contradiction you're on a special diet from a doctor but you won't get your child weighed to get WIC b/c you don't believe in doctors? It does seem like a lot of protein to me.
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#15 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 12:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reader
While I agree with your philosophy, it seems like getting your daughter weighed periodically is a small trade off for making sure she has plenty of food at home.
ITA.
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#16 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou
I have to admit I find a bit of a contradiction you're on a special diet from a doctor but you won't get your child weighed to get WIC b/c you don't believe in doctors? It does seem like a lot of protein to me.
Actually, I said I don't believe in doctors unless someone is very ill. I was and so I consulted a doctor. Was put on this diet and have been better since starting. I also have a severely low thyroid, not something I can avoid going to a doctor for. So there are times for doctors, but well checks are ridiculous. No reason for them.

And I should've clarified. The chicken breasts I listed in the example meal are from a whole chicken. I eat the breasts (can't stomach the greasy dark meat), DH eats the thighs, and DD eats the legs. We don't have the money to buy a large pot for making soup, or a crock pot. Don't soups require a starch added for thickness anyway? We can't do that. It's a very limiting diet, but it's really changed my life.

Thanks for all the suggestions. DH is trying to find another job, but jobs paying a lot are hard to find. In order to make up the $350 per month, then taking into account that we'd lose the rest of the benefits so making that up too, plus the fact that he'd probably have to drive to Colorado Springs for a job, DH would need to make at least $5 more per hour than he does right now. Unfortunately all his experience is in an industry that is hard to find a job in here in Pueblo. For legal reasons I can't get a job, even part-time, right now. I might be able to in about 6 months, but that won't help now. Not that I have reliable childcare. My MIL watches DD's occassionally, but she won't commit to doing it regularly.

The rest of our budget literally goes to rent, electric, gas, phone/internet (connected). We don't have a car payment or insurance payment. There is no where to pull $300 from.
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#17 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 01:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reader
While I agree with your philosophy, it seems like getting your daughter weighed periodically is a small trade off for making sure she has plenty of food at home.
ITA. I'll do anything necessary to make sure my child has enough to eat.

I also agree that an amount that small may not work with all your restrictions. We do eat meat at almost every meal, and we spend around $200 a month on groceries for two adults and a 10 yo child, but of course we can also have starches, which helps. I can honestly say I haven't had a steak that I've paid for in...I don't know how long. I can't afford steak. I buy round steak ($1.39/lb on sale) and marinate it in worsteshire sauce and pound it a little, and it makes good almost-steak. I also buy pot roasts, pork roasts and whole chickens. A roast chicken will last us three days. And the cheap pork chops--shoulder chops I think? They go on sale for 99 cents a pound here. Chicken thighs make a good substitute for chicken breasts--you just pull off the skin and cut out the one big bone and use it like a chicken breast, and they are 69 cents a pound on sale.

ETA...sorry, I just saw that you said you can't stomach dark meat. I agree, whole chickens are the way to go there. No, soups don't require starches to thicken them--I make chicken and veggie soup, and it's just chicken and veggies.

I do my grocery list from the sale ad. I don't ever buy meat if it isn't on serious sale--as in, the loss leaders. If we end up eating chicken thighs three times in a week, I just try to find creative recipes. I don't buy bagged salad, I buy heads of romaine lettuce and cut it up. You can just cut off what you need with romaine, it doesn't brown like iceberg does. I don't buy salad dressing, I make vinaigrette (but I like vinaigrette, which helps. I make it once every few weeks and it keeps fine in the fridge). This time of year, I buy frozen veggies instead of fresh. I can't remember, can you eat dairy? If so, there are bunches of veggie casserole recipes with no starch--I make a spinach casserole with spinach, eggs, cottage cheese (you can't taste the texture, I promise) and cheddar cheese. Lots of protein, and it's super cheap to make. A box of frozen spinach is 69 cents at my Kroger.

How about split pea soup? It is high in protein and has no starch in it (well, mine does, but you can leave out the carrots and potatoes). Or lentil soup? I am not a vegetarian by any means, but we do have one of those occasionally. I usually use a bit of ham for flavor in them.

Also, ham instead of bacon in the morning may be cheaper--bacon is so expensive since it doesn't go very far. Even sausage may be a little better.

Good luck...this whole thing must be incredibly frustrating

Mom to Liz (14) and Dillon (3) and Mitchell FINALLY born 7/11/10!
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#18 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 02:45 PM
 
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Hmm. This diet sounds similar to south beach diet, which lowered my DH's cholesterol significantly. If memory serves, you can eat pork loin on this diet. You can make a rub with rosemary & garlic, & some other stuff. PM me if you want the recipe. Pork is cheap around this time of year.

How about a meatloaf made with ground round/chuck? You can add .5-1 cup of oatmeal. If thats not possible, you can probably just omit it, and add lots of veggies like celery, green pepper, etc.

How about ham? I make a good navy bean soup (navy beans I think are low on the GI scale) with ham & dried navy beans.

Crustless quiche is also possible, with cheese,ham and spinach.

Have you looked into locally owned butcher shops? Their meat prices are much lower than the grocery stores-at least in my area. Scope out the phone book, and spend the day visiting. Ask what days they change their specials. Ask if they take EBT.
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#19 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 07:09 PM
 
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Does everyone in your family have to eat such a restrictive diet, or just you? If everyone else can eat rice with their meal, you can stretch foods consideably.

I'm also extremely confused about your WIC decision. I dropped out of WIC because they annoyed me to no end, but I have enough money to feed my family. If you are not willing or able to change your current financial situation, do you really have any other choice?

Oh, and since you're eating dead animals anyway- is hunting/ fishing possible this time of year in your area?
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#20 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It is similar to South Beach, but not exactly. DH is on the diet with me, but DD is not. We don't hunt, I don't have it in me. Eating an already dead animal I don't have a problem with, but I could never bring myself to kill one myself.

I will check into WIC and see what happens.
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#21 of 105 Old 01-18-2006, 09:40 PM
 
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tuna
eggs
whole chickens - if you can find a big pot at goodwill you can boil the chicken and pull the meat and then you have broth for soup. I never thicken my soup. Then I add green beans. That's my soup *sigh*
water, water, water

Do you have a food bank or a church pantry you can go to? I know they probably don't have the foods *you* can eat but maybe for your dd.

In the spring (I know, doesn't help now) plant a garden. lettuce, cukes, snap peas, green beans, onions.

I'm trying to think what I eat because I eat the same way you do on a tight budget as well.
eggs for breakfast
lunch is a salad with some sort of leftover meat from the night before
dinner is usually some meat with green beans or other canned veggies.
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#22 of 105 Old 01-19-2006, 12:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll check Goodwill... the one near me usually sucks, but maybe I'll get lucky. I'd plant a garden but I kill all plant life ~laughs~ Not to mention the soil here is SO bad that I don't think I could afford to make it ready for planting... especially since we rent... if it was a house we owned it'd be different since I'd know we'd be here for a long time.

So, how do I make soup from a chicken carcass? I've never done that before. DO I just boil the chicken and there ya go???
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#23 of 105 Old 01-19-2006, 12:16 AM
 
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Just a heads up, you can refuse everything at all WIC offices but the weigh in of your DD. Just so you know, they just want the kids to eat, so they wont refuse you if you dont want to do something. And even if you only breastfeed 1-2 times a day, you can get both the food and alot of formula.
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#24 of 105 Old 01-19-2006, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That is VERY good to know. A weight check for DD doesn't bother me as much as checking her blood and stuff like that.
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#25 of 105 Old 01-19-2006, 12:29 AM
 
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Boiling the chicken gets all the flavour out. Google chicken broth recipe.
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#26 of 105 Old 01-19-2006, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by laprettygurl
Boiling the chicken gets all the flavour out. Google chicken broth recipe.
Aww, but what fun is googling it? ~laughs~
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#27 of 105 Old 01-19-2006, 01:19 AM
 
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A cheap way to easily grow veggies is in a container. I would suggest tomatoes and lettuce because they are fairly easy to grow where you are as long as they get enough water!
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#28 of 105 Old 01-19-2006, 01:38 AM
 
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I will tell you how to make soup from a chicken or turkey carcass. It is really easy, and VERY tasty--especially if the bird has been previously roasted.

I will roast a whole turkey or chicken (turkeys are also on sale this time of year--being that the holidays are over) and we eat whatever meat we want. The next day (or the day after) put the picked over carcass in a big pot. Cover the carcass with either water or chicken broth. I use generic chicken broth because it gives more protein and makes the broth more rich. Put in one onion and some celery if you have it. Bring it to a boil and then quickly reduce it simmer. Simmer over low heat for an hour (even two hours--especially for a turkey carcass). Turn stove off, take carcass out of pot and put on a plate. Take out the onion and celery and throw them away. After the carcass has totally cooled, pull off whatever meat you can get from it, and put it back in the broth. If you want you can either heat it up and eat it that way, or you can add more vegies to the broth.

I know you you don't use noodles or rice--but for anyone else reading this recipe you can add a cup of rice or a few cups of uncooked noodles to the broth with the chicken and let it simmer until they are tender. You can also make a big batch of mashed potatoes and serve the soup over a scoop of mashed potatoes--sooooo yummy and hearty!

I NEVER thicken my soups either--and soup is the perfect diet food. It is low in calories and can be made very high protein/low carb if necessary. It is filling and warm and will satisfy you when you are hungry. You can also make beef soups that are awesome--and adapt them to your dietary needs. Making a beef soup is easy, and it makes cheap cuts tender (from very long simmering times). The trick is to never over-boil your meats--let them come to a quick boil, then turn them down RIGHT away and simmer for ages.

Good luck,
Lisa
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#29 of 105 Old 01-19-2006, 03:13 PM
 
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I also want to add that if you don't have a pot large enough for a whole turkey carcass, you can cut it in half, cook half into soup, and put the rest in the freezer. Later you take the other half out of the freezer and make more soup.

I also suggest that you contact food banks and try to appeal the Food Stamps decision. Good luck.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#30 of 105 Old 01-19-2006, 11:59 PM
 
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You could also make money by doing things like ebaying (ahem ... ) or childcare in your home, etc.

Mama of 3 amazingly sweet kids jumpers.gif, living the dream on our urban farm chicken3.gif

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