Visiting the Pantry

Food, Homeless, Lifestyle

This page may be helpful to anyone requiring food pantry services, however, I’d like to preface with a reminder that my city, Winston-Salem boasts many food pantries and clothing closets free to those in need. I’ve compiled a calendar containing several of the pantries in the area.

Who Uses Food Pantries?

Food pantries are for those in need of food sustenance they cannot acquire by some other legal method. In the US, food pantries are often considered “supplemental” to an individual’s / family’s income-provided groceries OR as a secondary supplement to food stamps. The list of pantry-goers and food stamp beneficiaries ranges widely from the homeless job seeker to the hardworking individual who’s barely scraping by despite working long hours.

What should I bring to the pantry?

Bring your current…

  • …state issued ID and military / Veteran ID / discharge paperwork [Form DD-214] if applicable.
  • …up to 4 recent pay stubs or other proof of income – keep supervisor / hiring manager name / phone number handy just in case [please don’t worry, you shouldn’t need it].
  • …utility / rent bill OR your lease [proof of address].
  • social security numbers for the whole household.
  • wheeled cart, bags or boxes to get your pantry items home.
  • …a good book, some busywork or a portable phone charger in case you have to wait awhile.

Do I need a special card / ID to gain access to a food pantry? 

Pantries that require a card ask that you fill out paperwork during your first visit there and you usually get the card before you leave with your food that day. Be sure to keep these safe.

Some pantries do require a bit of upfront paperwork. A couple of noteworthy ones local to me are Crisis Control Ministries and Sunnyside Ministries. Please note that per their website, Sunnyside offers full food and some financial services ONLY to zip codes 27107 and 27127 in Winston-Salem, NC. Please see this webpage for more information on services and assistance they offer.

What if I’ve no way to get to the pantry & cannot afford public transit?

I recommend…

  • start with WSTA – according to their website, they do at times allow individuals one free ride in a day. You should offer to pay whatever you can, though. [During COVID-19, WSTA is providing free service; please thank your driver. Drivers are also providing masks to anyone who has forgotten theirs.]
    • Speak to the drivers, they don’t bite. You may be able to work something out for one day to go to one pantry — if this is possible, make it count by visiting the most generous pantry you’ve found.
  • if WSTA won’t help, reach out to Goodwill Industries to inform them of your circumstances. If you’re active duty military, a veteran, or dependent of either, be sure to mention that.
  • current / active duty military call Military One Source to request their advisement [veterans could do this as well, but keep in mind they are strictly a resource liaison].
  • veterans should call their VA sponsor to ask about a duty driver or someone affiliated with the VA to help them to and from pantries.
  • anyone else should call Forsyth County DSS or ask 211 for their advisement.

As always if you’re aware of any updates or edits to this page, please feel free to email me.

‘Fake’ Sushi


This is a great recipe for any evening when you really wanted sushi, but just couldn’t afford it. You don’t absolutely have to have all the items in the list, but some of them certainly help. Enjoy!!

Ingredients: * denotes items that aren’t needs.
  • Sushi Rice / sticky rice
  • Avocado*
  • Cucumber*
  • Fish* – I use Wild Selections Line Caught Albacore or Salmon. Found it in Walmart.
  • Seaweed wrap* – Found in Walmart; Halo’s Ocean brand
  • Cream cheese*
  • Sesame Seeds*
  • Rice cooker – I have the Aroma Rice Cooker.
  • Chop sticks – Walmart
  • Sushi mat – Walmart
  • Rice paddle
  • Plastic wrap
  • Soy Sauce
  • Yum Yum Sauce
  • Sushi Ginger
  1. Follow the directions for your specific rice cooker. Drew and I usually make 1 cup of rice boiled in a 1-1.5 cups of water. This serves 2 easily. 1/2 cup of rice per sushi roll.
  2. Allow the rice to cool a little — Drew often pops it into the freezer for a few minutes.
  3. If you want, put plastic wrap around the sushi mat. This will help keep the mat clean. Don’t wrap it too tightly; you need to be able to roll the sushi in the mat.
  4. Lay out 1 sheet of seaweed, smooth, shiny side up.
  5. If making multiple rolls, divide the rice accordingly. Smooth a portion over about 2/3rds of the seaweed sheet.
  6. Add your fillings — careful not to overload it. Especially the first time. It can be incredibly difficult to roll without any previous experience.
  7. Carefully roll the sushi.
  8. Before you slice it, rinse a sharp knife in cool water. Rinse again after each slice as this will keep the rice from sticking to the knife and stopping the cut.
  9. Dip in your soy & yum-yum sauces, top off with ginger. Enjoy!!

“French-Kiss” Breakfast Burrito

Food, Uncategorized

I’m calling this the “French-Kiss” Burrito. Drew and I found it rather hilarious that it looked like we were practicing french kisses on our food in an effort not to smear it all over our faces. So, without further ado…

Ingredients: No measurements, just eyeball it
• Peanut Butter
• Tortillas — we used the 8-inch ones
• Apples — we used 2 of them, I felt it was a bit much or that we should have at least split them each between two tortillas
• Syrup — yes, pancake syrup; I imagine honey is a great alternative, but we had none
• Ground Cinnamon
• Water — at least 1 liter per person… trust me

1. Gather supplies. You will need a butter knife, a sharp knife, peeler, plates, a small – medium bowl, spoon, forks, and a sense of humor.
2. Peel apples. {Okay, so you don’t HAVE to, but I prefer it… I cannot stand the peel. The texture is all wrong to me.}
3. Core apples; chop into small chunks.
4. In the bowl mix lots of peanut butter, the syrup, and the cinnamon. There should be enough syrup to give it a sticky, gooey consistency.  Don’t use too much syrup, though – it will be too rich.
5. Spoon {as best you can} mixture onto tortilla(s).
6. Spread mixture using butter knife — or the freshly washed hands of someone else’s toddler. Tell her to paint you a picture.
7. Top peanut butter mix with apples. Roll into burrito.

Other Humorous Comments:
• You may note that water is never mentioned in the directions. It’s for you to drink between bites.
• First you French it, then you fork it. Or spoon it. Your pleasure.
• I finally feel I understand where the term “food orgasm” came from…
• This recipe refuses to be held responsible for food babies.

This was a super fun post!!  Thanks for tuning in!


Rio Grande Quesadillas


I happened across this awesome quesadilla recipe on I prefer beef to chicken, so I simply traded the chicken for beef. Enjoy!!

This is what the process looks like for us after the beef is cooked and mixed.  I like to add tomatoes to my cilantro / pimientos / onion mix.  We find refrigerated beef mix is easiest to work with, particularly when transferring to pan (#5).

• ¾ cu. Water
• 1 lb. Beef (or 2 cu. Chicken)
• 1 pk. Taco seasoning
• 1 cu. Refried bean
• 7” tortillas
• 2 oz. Diced pimientos; drained
• ¼ cu. Green onions
• ¼ cu. Minced cilantro
• 1 1/2 cu. Shred Monterey Jack
• 1 Tblsp. Vegetable oil

1. Brown beef; drain.
2. Bring beef, water, seasoning to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered 10 minutes. Stir in beans.
3. Mix pimientos, onions, & cilantro; set aside.
4. Spoon ½ cu. Meat mix over ½ tortilla. Top with pimiento mix and cheese.
5. Fold the quesadilla. Cook in oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes per side or until cheese melts. Use additional oil as needed.



Pink Stuff {Fruit Salad}


My grandmother introduced me to this recipe years ago. I liked it so much, that it was often included in our family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. She forgot the original title of the recipe, though, and thus monickered it “Pink Stuff”.

There are several renditions of the salad, so if this isn’t what you’re looking for, check All Recipes as they have many other versions.

• 16 oz. Cottage cheese
• 16 oz. Crushed pineapple; drained
• 8 oz. Cool Whip
• Large package strawberry Jell-O

1. Empty Cool Whip, Jell-O, and Cottage Cheese into mid-size bowl; stir until well-blended.
2. Add crushed pineapple.
3. Stir gently.

Helpful Hints — Use a translucent bowl. This way, you can check the underside of the bowl for white streaks. Stir until the white streaks are gone.

Not in the mood for strawberry? Try the Mandarin version of this same recipe. Simply exchange out a few ingredients, and then follow the directions above.

• 16 oz. Cottage cheese
• 8 oz. Crushed pineapple; drained
• 8 oz. Mandarin oranges; drained
• 8 oz. Cool Whip
• Large package orange Jell-O

Avril’s Baked Mac N Cheese


There are so many different ways to do Mac N Cheese now!! I used to have a difficult time finding one that tasted just-so to me — until Christmas 2012 when Avril had us over for Christmas dinner, and we cooked together. Here is her recipe.

Ingredients: {Note – she and I pretty much eyeball our ingredients unless we have a recipe from a book; so use your own judgement for most of this.}
• Flour
• Butter
• Milk
• salt
• pepper
• elbow macaroni
• cheese (any type you would like but I use shredded Velveeta and sharp Cheddar); divided.


1. Boil elbow macaroni as per usual.
2. Preheat oven to 325-350 degrees.
3. Put some butter in a pan; once melted, add flour to the butter to make a paste (about 2 tsps but just add a little at a time).
4. Add about 2 cups of milk to the paste and keep stirring until smooth to make the rue. Add more milk if it seems still too thick; salt and pepper to taste.
5. Once the rue is smooth, add half of the cheese, or as much as desired — depending on how much you would like on top.
6. Drain the macaroni and pour into the cheese sauce mixture and stir until combined; pour into a lightly greased, oven safe container/dish.
7. Sprinkle remainder of cheese evenly on top and put in the oven.
8. Bake until the cheese on top is melted and golden brown. (Keep an eye on it so the cheese doesn’t burn.)

Have some pals over and enjoy!

No-Bean Chili Dip


This is an awesome snack or dinner item which could be used as an appetizer as well.  It takes about a half hour on the stove to make, and is so delicious on a chilly evening.  I mixed these ingredients up one night when I was bored with my food choices, and we have never regretted it.

* 1 can no-bean chili (Wolf or Hormel brands are the best)
* 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Crumbles from Kraft (or just 2 cups of your favorite cheese)
* Uncle Ben’s 90-second Four Cheese Rice
* 16 oz. Breakstones Sour Cream
* Premium Saltines

1. Follow instructions on chili can.  Alternatively, bring chili to a light boil on stovetop.  Lower heat, simmer.
2. Microwave the rice.  Add to chili.
3. Add cheese to mix.  Stir until cheese is melted.  Remove from heat.
4. Add sour cream as desired.  Serve as warm dip for Saltines.

MozzaBasiRoni Pizza Roll


This week, we decided to try something new. That turned into creating something new — or at least new to us. I completely winged it on this with some light inspiration from Pinterest. If you’ve ever tried the Fresca Pizza from Famous Famiglia, I think this tastes mildly similar.


You will need:

• Packet of fresh basil leaves; rinsed and pulled off the vines
• Pepperonis
• Mozzarella cheese; shredded
• Pillsbury’s pizza dough
• Sauce – we used Classico Four Cheese
• Ricotta cheese
• Flour – just for funsies… it’s optional, but I found it helpful.

1. Roll out your dough, being careful to attempt keeping it in it’s rectangular shape (rectangular shape not 100% necessary, so if you botch it, don’t freak).
2. Preheat your oven to the correct setting for your pan using directions on the Pillsbury can.
3. Pick two edges of your dough (one long, one short). These two edges will be the edges you “grab at” when rolling into a loaf. Smear the sauce, getting as close to edges as possible without making it leak.
4. Add your toppings (cheese, basil, pepperoni).
5. Roll the entire mess into a loaf. Easiest way is to fold edges over the saucey bits and then roll, sprinkling a very little flour on each layer of the roll as you go. Makes it not-so-sticky.
6. Tease the ends and edges to hide any stuffing. Lightly flour the outside of the loaf. Not the end of the world if a little flour gets on the pan.
7. Bake per Pillsbury packaging directions — ignore the pre-bake.

Cheese Notes: For this first time, we dipped ours into the Ricotta cheese. I found it delightfully cooling as the Ricotta was not hot. However, Drew wants us to try it with the ricotta baked in as well. Totally up to you guys!

We quartered ours and it lasted 2 meals!


Taco Soup



  • 1 lb. hamburger (browned and drained)
  • 30 oz. pinto beans
  • 30 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce


  • Brown hamburger; drain (as mentioned in ingredients)
  • Pour hamburger, beans, tomatoes and sauce into soup pot
  • Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

Additional Tasty Stuff: 

  • Fritos
  • Sour Cream
  • Cheese (Mexican is best, but honestly, any will do)

To Eat: 

  • Soup in bowl.
  • Add tasty things.
  • Stir until you cannot possibly take smelling it any longer without taking a bite.
  • Eat.

P.S.  This is a soup you chew to a certain degree.  Please do not choke.

P.P.S.  If living with others, please keep in mind this dish requires beans.  Enjoy plenty and carry Febreeze.



Many of you may remember last summer, I posted a photo of what I referred to as Pile-Ups.  Pile-ups is a dish my aunt and her family brought back to us from Africa.  From my understanding, there are usually more ingredients than what our family typically has with it, but it’s still an awesome meal and one of my mom’s favorites.


  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes – chopped
  • Salsa
  • Whole Onion – chopped
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro – minced
  • Green Onion – chopped
  • Rice
  • Chili
  • Fritos


Substitutes etc. Notes:  If you’d like, the chili can be simply ground beef with some taco seasoning in it.

Once you have all of the above ingredients, grab a plate.  Put some of each thing on it (but be careful – it’s very easy to make these too large).  The order doesn’t matter because it’s going to be a mashed up pile anyway.  Take out a fork, and go to town.

Please let us know if you’ve enjoyed this recipe!