Tag Archives: life is fare

The Perennial Plate: Episode 78


Insects as protein. Watch David Gracer, an entomophagy (bug eating) expert, offer a good case for making wider use of bugs.  He’s eating them to save the planet, not to make a buck.

Can You Source Your Thanksgiving Dinner from within 100 Miles?


From GOOD, comes this challenge: Use only ingredients sourced from within 100 miles of your dinner table this Thanksgiving. Think of it as an opportunity to celebrate local food, rather than an obligation. Every region has fabulous specialties to please your palate.

Check out this long infographic to get some ideas! And check back with Life Is Fare to see what’s on the menu Chez Marcita later this week!

Thank You!


I’m so excited to announce that Life Is Fare has topped 100,000 site views—with more than 600 posts—since August, 2009.

I appreciate the loyalty of my readers and the curiosity of people interested in happy food.

Thank you for following me!

The Feast Nearby


I came across The Feast Nearby in Taste for Life, the free magazine I pick up when I shop at Nature’s Market. Each issue has suggested reading–“Food for Thought”–and I figured this book by food journalist and locavore Robin Mather was right up my alley.

The book is about how, within a week, Robin found herself on the threshold of a divorce and laid off from her job at the Chicago Tribune. Forced into a radical life change, she returned to her native rural Michigan where she learned to live on a limited budget while remaining true to her culinary principles of eating well and as locally as possible.

What I didn’t realize when I ordered the book from the library is that “rural Michigan” meant West Michigan. Robin lived only one county away from Bill and me when she wrote The Feast Nearby. I was so excited to read about her exploration for local food sources and her discovery of some of the same ones I use, such as Geukes Market (for meat processing) and Dancing Goat Creamery. (I still need to make a trip to the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, her local market, but it’s a bit of a drive for me.) And, her seasons–as well as her produce options–aligned with mine since she lived nearby.

But even if you don’t live in the Midwest, this book is a great read for locavores, or anyone who is learning to live on a limited budget while eating healthy and procuring local resources. The Feast Nearby chronicles Robin’s preparation of local food through all four seasons of one year, all on forty dollars a week. It’s loaded with recipes that accompany the seasons and tips for storing food long-term, as well as stories about her relationships with her neighbors, local farmers, and other people from whom she procures/barters for food. (As an animal lover, I also appreciated the stories about her three pets that kept her company in her little cabin by the lake.)

When I finished the book, I was hoping I could interview her for my blog but it turns out she moved to Kansas after accepting a position at Mother Earth News. I guess I’ll have to wait until I make that road trip to Kansas to meet her in person. Meanwhile, please join me in following her blog at TheFeastNearby.com.

Veggie Wrap with Garbanzo Bean Schmear


As part of my “How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day” experiment, I made a veggie wrap for lunch on Day 1. This could be done in a number of ways: Use lavash instead of tortillas. Take advantage of vegetables in season. Add olives, pickles, or cheese….whatever’s in your budget. These wraps could be made ahead of time to bring for lunch or a snack. They would pack well for a road trip, too. Here’s the recipe I came up with for my lunch:

Veggie Wrap with Garbanzo Bean Schmear

2 tortillas
2 oz. garbanzo beans
1/2 tsp. olive oil
Juice from a quick squeeze of a fresh lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 oz. sunflower seeds
1 carrot, grated
2 oz. lettuce greens

Smash garbanzo beans in a bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix together. Meanwhile, warm tortillas briefly either on a griddle or in microwave. (I nuked them for 15 seconds.)

Divide and schmear the bean mixture in the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Grate the carrot, and divide between the two tortillas.

Add lettuce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roll tortillas into a wrap. Portable!

How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day


People generally think that eating healthy has to be expensive. Bill and I decided to demonstrate that it’s not.

This post begins a series of blog posts inspired by an article I read last fall in The Grand Rapids Press. It documented the diary  of two writers who were taking the Grand Rapids Hunger Challenge as part of Hunger Action Week. Challenged with spending only $30.59 per week—about what a person on food stamps would have to spend—or $4.37 per day, Jacqueline Prins and Samantha Dine shared their experience in a series of daily articles.

On Day 5 the headline read, “Today, fast food tastes ‘lovely, glorious.'” Really? I don’t ever remember using those words to describe fast food. But I suppose these girls were pretty hungry by then, choosing Taco Bell and McDonald’s foods for lunch and dinner. Understanding that fast food is cheap and convenient, I realize how people with limited income head to those establishments first. But in my mind, I threw down the gauntlet. I wanted to figure out how someone could eat healthy–and inexpensively–on minimal income.

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Fulton Street Farmers Market in Winter


Last month I was excited to learn that Michigan ranks in the top ten states for its number of winter farmers markets. Even though the Holland Farmers Market, my most local one, isn’t open in the dead of winter, the Fulton Street Farmers Market in Grand Rapids is. Generally, it’s a bit of a drive for me on a Saturday morning, but Bill was planning to be in town today so he paid a visit, picked up some produce from Visser Farms as well as some bratwursts from Crane Dance Farm, and took these photos. For now, the market is temporarily located in the Salvation Army parking lot while construction is underway to expand and upgrade the current site, including the addition of permanent roof structures to provide shelter for this open-air market.

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Thanks to these hardy folks for enduring the elements each week to provide us their local goods!