02-19-2017  10:54 am      •     

A healthy shopping guide for low-income households: "Good Food on a Tight Budget" has been written by The Environmental Working Group, a not-for-profit organization that marshals the power of information to protect human health and the environment; in collaboration with Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters, an organization that teaches families at risk of hunger how to get more food for their money and better nourishment from those foods.

The guide contains lists of "best buys"  that pack the most nutrition for the lowest cost  in each food group. These include bananas, watermelons, broccoli, raisins, romaine lettuce, barley, tuna, lentils/beans, eggs, turkey and cottage cheese. Price was the primary concern for the group's choices but experts then screened out foods that contain a lot of chemicals, like pesticides, or whose production creates greenhouse gases. Your food choice is one of the most powerful choices that you make every day that affects your environment. Some of the guide's top tips include buying grains in bulk, cooking dried beans to save money, mixing your own cooking sprays and substituting yogurt for cream in recipes. Researchers based the weekly plan on the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program budget of $5 to $6 a day. Healthy food is affordable, but it's definitely a different style of eating, It's a back-to-basics style of eating. There's not a lot of room for extras. It's challenging. Download free  http://ewg.org/goodfood

Barley Stew

Serves 4
1 cup barley or brown rice
2-1/2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon oil
4 oz ground turkey or ground, bone-in, or cubed goat
1 cup cooked or 1 can pinto or black beans, no salt added
3 medium onions
2 cloves garlic
2 medium carrots
2 zucchinis or chayotes
1/2 pound of okra, or other vegetable
4 cups fresh or frozen dark greens
2 cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a colander, rinse barley under cold water.
2. In a medium pot over high heat, bring barley or rice, water and bay leaves to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until tender and water is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes. Set aside.
3. Peel, rinse and dice onions. Peel and mince garlic.
4. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add chopped onions, garlic, carrots and other veggies to pot. Mix well. Cook until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.
5. If using turkey, add ground turkey. Cook until turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
6. Add tomatoes and their juices. Add rinsed and drained beans. Bring to a simmer.
7. Add spices. Stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat. Cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes.
8. Skip this step if you are not using goat. Otherwise, add goat and cook over low heat until goat is tender—at least an hour.
9. Add cooked barley or rice to the mixture. Stir to combine. Add more water, if needed. Cook over low heat to blend flavors, about 5–10 minutes more.
10. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Make a big pot ahead of time and refrigerate for a quick and sustaining dinner throughout the week. You can double the recipe and freeze half – but don't double the cayenne pepper unless you like it very spicy.

For more healthy and environmental recipes download the free booklet "Good Food on a Tight from http://ewg.org/goodfood/


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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. 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"A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. 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