I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
More With Less

I bought More With Less after seeing it mentioned over and over again at places online that discuss frugal meal planning and conscientious eating. I decided to go ahead and order it (along with its much later written counterpart Extending The Table) even though I have a lousy track record of actually using cookbooks and trying new recipes.

Here's a big confession: I love to read about food, I love to flip through cookbooks and consider different types of food and I love to eat food and I have a very diverse palate - however, I am very lazy about food. Unless I am pregnant I am generally not very interested in the preparation of food if it is very involved (read: using an oven or stove) and I would most likely live on carrot sticks, grapes, apples, slices of cheese, raw almonds and Kashi cereal if I didn't have a husband and children because they are easy and quick. I have had so many people over the years attribute my small body frame on many things including "lucky" genetics, an interest in physical activity (ha ha ha!), and a desire to look a specific way which provides a motivation for self control with caloric intake. None are really true. The bottom line is that I am a lazy ass when it comes to food and I just don't care enough about it to bother with it. When my husband travels out of town during the week for business I always provide the children with balanced meals that are pretty "clean" (meaning non-processed) but it is usually a matter of dicing up some fruit, steaming some veggies or making a quick salad, and figuring out some sort of protein like plain yogurt, cheese, beans that we can eat from one prepared pot for a few days, etc. Let me tell you, the Vita Mix is salvation for lazy food people and mine gets lots of use daily, but I digress.

OK, so back to the point of this post. Excuse my wandering thoughts and the typing that followed...

More With Less is a great cookbook for someone like me. The recipes are straight forward, require no exotic ingredients that I would be unlikely to have on hand and most dishes are really inexpensive and can be stretched into two days worth of meals. Most recipes require much less meat than standard cookbooks or none at all and the few I've tried seem to be pretty flavorful even without it and I haven't missed it much. Not that I am ready to slide into vegetarianism, I don't and won't ever, I really believe that Traditional Foods are where it is at, though veggie heavy dishes are really great for the body too. Most of us do not get the amount of raw and cooked veggies in a day that we need. Just saying!

More With Less has a greater motivation than just helping folks pinch pennies and that is to be aware of global resources and food supplies. Americans (ME!) are notorious for hogging more than our fair share of resources with our big houses, big appetites, and big cars.

The website, WorldCommunityCookbook, a Mennonite site which is carrying on the tradition of More With Less writes of the book:

..."Still today, most of the meals at MCC headquarters come from More-with-Less, says Shaar.

A global food crisis in the early 1970s with food reserves at a “precarious low” created the impetus for More-with-Less. In the first chapter of her cookbook, Longacre writes that the “average North American uses five times as much grain per person yearly as does one of the two billion persons living in poor countries.”

Former MCC worker Ted Koontz remembers the mid-1970s as a time when many North Americans were trying to find “ways to put practical handles [on] lifestyle issues.”

Still, the process of writing More-with-Less was neither simple nor strife-free.

Longacre wrote to MCC friends around the world asking for economical low-meat recipes that would help North Americans reduce consumption by eating less animal protein and fewer highly processed foods. Thousands of recipes and ideas flooded in. Brazilian Rice and Beans from Recifé. Zucchini Omelet from New Holland (Pa.). Quick Chop Suey from Winkler (Man.). Tuna Turnovers from Charlottesville (Va.). Longacre also included many of her own favorite recipes."

So, I give this book a hearty thumbs up.




Carrie said...

I've found that dealing with pesky food allergies has moved us towards a much more natural and whole foods diet. We DO eat lots of meat b/c with dairy,soy,egg, and legume allergies we need protein ;) but the processed crap is gone! Glad you've found a cookbook to inspire you!

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