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Pumpkin Blog & Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day.

posted Oct 29, 2015, 11:33 AM by Scott Kilpatrick   [ updated Feb 20, 2018, 11:44 AM by Community Services ]

Pumpkin Blog-and Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day.

By: Mike Lockwood, Harvest VISTA

Halloween is upon us and if you are a squash fan, it is time to make use of it, especially the seeds.  Today’s recipe is Crispy Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds.  The recipe comes from the newest cookbook I received, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day, by Leanne Brown.  More will be explained about the book after the recipe is highlighted.


The recipe calls for the following:

·         1.5 cups cooked chickpeas, drained.

·         0.5 cup pumpkin or winter squash seeds. (Make sure they are already dried and stored in a cool place).

·         1 teaspoon butter, melted

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         2 teaspoons any combination of ground spices you prefer


1.       Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

2.       Put chickpeas, pumpkin/squash seeds, butter, salt, and spices in a bowl and mix well.

3.       Spread chickpeas and seeds on baking sheet in a single layer.

4.       Bake for 20 minutes.

5.       Remove baking sheet from the oven and turn over the contents with a spatula.  Put the baking sheet back in the oven until everything is crusty and golden.

6.       Let everything cool for 10 minutes before serving.


This is a healthy snack alternative that utilizes unused squash seeds from the fall/winter season in a creative and more nutritious way.  For more information on the benefits of pumpkin seeds, visit the following link (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=82).


About the author and the book:  Leanne Brown is a New Yorker and an avid cook who believes that of all the barriers in the world, money to buy and create healthy and nutritious food recipes should not be one of them.  Her cookbook provides the tools and strategies for anyone who wants to eat healthy but is on a tight budget for one reason or another.  Leanne Brown’s recipes are written to help those on SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps).


The cookbook highlights simple food recipes that can be created on a budget of $4/day (the daily allowance of individuals on food stamps).  In each recipe, she not only describes how to cook a specific meal and how many servings it has, but also illustrates how much it costs.  For example, the above recipe costs $0.50 per serving for two servings ($1 total).  If someone wants to create enough of the aforementioned snack for a family of four, it will cost only $2 total to make double servings, leaving $3.50 for each person to spend their money on any other food item they need.


In addition, some recipes also have alternative ways to make the meals more interesting.  For example, Oatmeal, a simple and nutritious breakfast cereal, can serve 2 people for only $0.15/serving, a grand total of $0.30.   Leanne Brown provides examples of using oatmeal with pumpkin and even a savory dish with scallions and eggs.  Both cost $0.75 per serving per individual meal and provide creativity and diversity with different recipes.  Each recipe shows how individuals can save money by producing meals without breaking the bank.  More importantly, the author shows that just because the initial recipes listed might not appeal to all individuals on a tight budget, it does not mean one is creatively restricted in how they want to make it.


The cookbook also provides tips on how to prepare the meals as well as how to shop strategically on a tight budget.  For example, instead of just buying meat, Leanne Brown suggests buying alternative forms of protein such as nuts, eggs, and beans because they are “cheap, store easily, and have multiple uses.”  In addition, it teaches readers how to prepare staple foods such as rice and beans, as well as how to make fresh pasta.


I like this book because it allows people with tight budgets to cook healthier meals instead of preparing a pre-cooked meal or even fast food.  The author believes that “Kitchen skill, not budget, is the key to great food.”  This is a great resource for anyone on tight budgets who want to cook healthy nutritious meals.  Brown’s insights on grocery shopping strategies, as well as simple, alternative ingredients in meals, provide creativity and help sustain a healthy lifestyle without breaking the bank.


Best of all, you do not have to buy a hard copy of the book to utilize recipes such as the aforementioned.  You can access the PDF version of the cookbook from her website http://www.leannebrown.com/, as well as more tips and ideas on cheap but healthy meal recipes.



Brown, Leanne.  Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day.  New York, NY: Workman Publishing.  2015. Print.