Struggle Meals by Frankie Celenza: How to Make Vegetable Stir Fry With Peanut Sauce

Happy New Year! Year 2021 is here and we’re still living in a COVID world. Some individuals may be looking for ways to start the New Year off by eating better, and better often starts with eating . . . MORE VEGETABLES!

Frankie Celenza is the star of the cooking show titled, “Struggle Meals.” It’s a TV show focused on using every edible item in your kitchen to ensure there’s no waste, meals prepared are nutritious without sacrificing flavor! Celenza hits on many imaginable narratives surrounding everyday individuals from using food commonly found in pantries, shopping for produce that’s in-season, or having as little as $3 to make a lunch for the afternoon.

For those looking to start the New Year off eating more vegetables and trying something different, this episode of Struggle Meals should help kick the New Year off saving money and trying new things!


  1. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 head of broccoli
  3. 1 onion, sliced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 carrot, sliced
  6. 1 red pepper, sliced
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. 1/3 creamy peanut butter
  9. 3 soy sauce packets
  10. 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  11. 1 honey packet
  12. 1 red pepper flake packet
  13. 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  14. 2 scallions, chopped
  15. 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  16. 4 cups cooked rice for serving


  1. First prep the broccoli. Cut off the florets into small pieces.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the broccoli stalk to remove the tough outer skin. Slice the broccoli stalk into pieces similar in size to the florets.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the onion, garlic, carrots and red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and stalks and saute for another 5 minutes, then add a few tablespoons of water and cover.
  4. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until broccoli is bright green and tender but still crisp.
  5. Whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and red pepper flakes. Toss the warm stir fry with peanut sauce.
  6. Serve over rice garnished with chopped peanuts, cilantro and scallions.


Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration extended a version of the statewide ban on residential evictions until January 9, 2021. 

Here are a few immediate takeaways:

Landlords must give tenants an opportunity to demonstrate that they meet this four-part test. Specifically, landlords must provide a Declaration form to the resident or tenant at least five days prior to the notice of termination of tenancy.  If the tenant can establish that he/she/they meet all four requirements of the Covered Person test, the eviction case will fail unless the “person poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property.”

What is a Covered Person?

The Order defines “covered person” as any tenant, lessee, sub-lessee, or resident of a residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, or other person or entity with a legal right to pursue an eviction or possessory action, a Declaration under penalty of perjury indicating that:

  1. the individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment pursuant to Section 2001 of the CARES Act;
  2. the individual is unable to make a full rent or housing payment due to a COVID-19 related hardship, including, but not limited to, substantial loss of income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, or an increase in out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  3. the individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other Non-Discretionary Expenses; and
  4. eviction would likely render the individual homeless—or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.

When will eviction resume in Illinois? January 9, 2021

Have you filled out, made a copy, and turned in your Declaration?

Get Free Legal Help in Austin at Legal Aid Chicago’s Access to Justice Center

Need legal help? Legal Aid Chicago has a new office in Austin.

Legal Aid Chicago is now offering free in-person intake for common legal challenges at Westside Health Authority in Austin.

Where: 5422 W. Division St

When: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 10am-4pm

What: Help with common legal problems, such as…

  • Bankruptcy & Debt Defense
  • Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
  • Evictions from Subsidized Housing
  • Expungement of Criminal Records
  • Foreclosure
  • SNAP/TANF & Medicaid
  • Unemployment & Wage Claims

Walk ins welcome, no appointment necessary

For more info, check out the flyer below or call 312-423-5904.

You can also apply for legal help by going to

Replacing Food Destroyed Due to Recent Wind Storms

If food you bought using SNAP was destroyed due to the recent wind storms, you can receive additional SNAP benefits.

The SNAP Program allows for additional SNAP benefits when food bought with SNAP benefits is destroyed in a disaster.

  • A disaster is a fire, flood, tornado, or other devastating event beyond the control of the unit.
  • Additionally, food can be replaced due to a power outage of at least 4 hours.
  • More details: PM 22-03-01

COMED is reporting that 127,00 customers experienced outages because of extreme weather with hurricane-force winds, in excess of 90 miles per hour, that resulted in severe damage across the Northern Illinois service territory.

SNAP recipients who lost food because of the recent wind storm power outages should complete, sign, and submit a Request for Replacement of Destroyed Food form.

  • Most Department of Human Services Family Community Resource Centers (FCRC) are closed.
  • The best way to submit this form is by email to the SNAP recipient’s local FCRC.
    • Click the links below to download the form in English and Spanish.
    • You can find your nearest FCRC using the table below.
  • A request for replacement SNAP must be submitted within 10 calendar days of the power outage
    • In the case of the recent wind storms, that would be AUGUST 20, 2020.

Cook County Family Community Resource Center Email Addresses:

FCRC #FCRC NeighborhoodFCRC Email Address

Apply for Growing Home’s Paid Production Assistant Job Training Program

Apply by August 21st to join Growing Home’s paid Production Assistant job training program.

Growing Home’s urban organic farm is once again hiring for its Production Assistant job training program.

Based in Englewood, Growing Home is Chicago’s leading expert in farm-based training for people with employment barriers.

Growing Home knows that when people have jobs, they have financial stability in their lives. Financial stability helps people eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle.

Also, when communities have access to healthy food options, the overall well-being and health of the community improves.

Job Training Program Highlights

Growing Home’s paid Production Assistant job training program combines time spent working on the on-site urban farm with lessons on work readiness and environmental literacy, an emotional resilience curriculum, and ongoing support for career success post-graduation.

  • Applicants who are accepted begin with a job training program that pays $16/hour for 16-20 hours per week.
  • The job training program will be via remote learning due to COVID-19.
  • Applicants must be 18 years or older, unemployed, and Chicago residents.
  • Participants are meant to transition into permanent, full-time employment after graduation.

Program participants also have opportunities to earn professional certifications, gain access to free legal consultation for record sealing and expungement, and receive the support of a case manager available to provide referrals for supportive services.

COVID-19 Considerations

Growing Home will continue to facilitate the 2020 program as a blended virtual and in-person curriculum.

  • Farm-based portions of the program will still be held on-site with heightened health and safety measures.
  • All traditionally classroom-based lessons will be facilitated virtually over Zoom.

Attached to this email is an updated Production Assistant Job Description that provides more detail on exactly what the blended on-site/remote job training program will look like.


Application Deadline for Cohort 3: August 21st, 2020

The application process will be run entirely remotely. It is outlined at the end of the Job Description flyer.

If you have any questions about the remote application process or the program, you can reach out to Amelia Nawn, Growing Home’s Program Operations Coordinator, at

See this link for more details and check out the flyers below!

Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance from Illinois Housing Development Authority

The Illinois Housing Development Authority is offering emergency rental and mortgage assistance to help Illinois residents during COVID-19.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) will soon be offering emergency rental and mortgage assistance to help Illinois residents during COVID-19.

The Illinois General Assembly has dedicated $396 million in Coronavirus Relief Funding to IHDA to fund affordable housing grants for emergency rental assistance and emergency mortgage assistance.

When to Apply:

  • IHDA will accept Emergency Rental Assistance Program applications August 10 through August 21.
  • IHDA will accept Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program applications August 24 through September 4.

Please see below for more information, videos, and printable flyers on IHDA’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) and Emergency Mortgage Assistance (EMA) Programs.


Click a link below to quickly go to a specific section!

  1. Emergency Rental Assistance Program
  2. Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program
  3. ERA and EMA Background

Emergency Rental Assistance Program


The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program will give $5,000 to renters impacted by COVID-19 for back rent and prepay through 2020.

  • IHDA will accept Emergency Rental Assistance Program applications August 10 through August 21.
  • You must have an unpaid rent balance that began on or after March 1, 2020 due to loss of income related to COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, please see the video links and flyers below or go to

To apply, please click the button below.

Return to Table of Contents


Emergency Rental Assistance Video

Programa de Asistencia de Renta Video

Return to Table of Contents


Emergency Mortgage Assistance


The Emergency Mortgage Assistance (EMA) program will provide homeowners impacted by COVID-19 up to $15,000 to reinstate their mortgage and prepay through 2020.

  • IHDA will accept Emergency Mortgage Assistance applications August 24 through September 4.
  • You must have a past due balance or a forbearance balance that began sometime on or after March 1, 2020 due to loss of income related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, please see the videos and flyers below or go to

To apply, click the button below.

Return to Table of Contents


Emergency Mortgage Assistance Video

Asistencia Hipotecaria de Emergencia Vídeo

Return to Table of Contents


Return to Table of Contents

ERA and EMA Program Background

Important P-EBT and SNAP Updates: Apply for P-EBT Today!

Illinois households can now apply for P-EBT financial assistance until 8/31! (Plus important SNAP updates)

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Extended to 8/31

Does your family have school aged children? If so, you can still apply for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), which will provide you with financial assistance!

  • The deadline to apply for P-EBT has recently been extended to August 31st.
  • P-EBT provides financial assistance to families with school aged children.
    • Families receive an EBT card that can be used offset the cost of meals that would have been consumed at school.
    • P-EBT provides the value of school meals at the rate of $5.70 per child per school day.
  • Please download the P-EBT Guide below and share with community members who may be eligible for P-EBT.

Community Organizations: Are you interested in receiving training on P-EBT outreach and how to talk to immigrant families about P-EBT? Do you have P-EBT questions your clients keep asking? If so, reach out to for free training.

SNAP Recertification Extension

Did you recently receive a SNAP Recertification Letter from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)? If so, please read on!

  • Illinois households that were scheduled to have their SNAP recertification in July and August 2020 will automatically have their SNAP certification period extended 6 months.
    • If you were going to be recertified in July, your recertification will be extended to January 2021.
    • If you were going to be recertified in August, your recertification will be pushed back to February 2021.
  • Unfortunately, IDHS already sent some recertification letters out.
  • Your benefits will not expire if you received a recertification letter for July or August 2020.

Maximum SNAP Benefits

  • All Illinois households receiving SNAP benefits will receive the maximum SNAP benefit for July and August.

IDHS Offices Reopening

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is starting to reopen local offices to client services.

However, IDHS still urges clients to use phone and online options to get help whenever possible.

Authorized community organizations are continuing to help households apply for SNAP over the phone.

For information on how to apply for SNAP online or over the phone, check out our blog post.

Lawndale Cares: Helpline and Financial Support

Lawndale Cares helping residents in Lawndale and surrounding neighborhoods find resources and meet their needs.

Lawndale resident sews masks at Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church.
Picture Credit: Pidgeon Pagonis

The newly created Lawndale Cares Virtual Helpline is now helping residents in Lawndale and surrounding neighborhoods find local resources and meet basic needs.

  • The helpline is available to North Lawndale residents and those in nearby communities, including Little Village.
  • Residents can request help online by…
  • Residents can also call the helpline at 800-655-1626.
    • Volunteers and helpline staff are available 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday for immediate assistance.

Additionally, the Lawndale Cares mutual aid network has created The Compassion Fund for North Lawndale residents to get help paying for food, child care, transportation assistance and housing.

Check out this Block Club Chicago article for more details about these awesome grassroots resources.

Racial Equity and Hunger Resources

The Racial Equity and Hunger National Learning Network has an upcoming webinar, a podcast, and a website for organizations and individuals fighting hunger.

About Racial Equity and Hunger

Racial equity is fundamental to addressing hunger in our community. Without looking at hunger through a racial equity lens, we will have no hope of creating sustainable and just solutions to hunger.

“Racial equity is both a process that focuses on centering the needs, power and leadership of people of color, and the goal of achieving equal outcomes.”

Racial Equity and Hunger Learning Network
  • Communities of color (namely African American and Indigenous communities) are consistently 2-3 times more likely to experience hunger as their white counterparts.
  • This was the case even before the recession, and this disparity has only grown in the midst of COVID-19.
  • When it comes to food, race matters.

The Racial Equity and Hunger National Learning Network is a network of individuals, organizations, agencies and policy makers who care about ending hunger. We recognize that to achieve this goal, we must discuss race and apply a racial equity lens. The Northwest Food Partners Network is a member of this network.


The Racial Equity and Hunger National Learning Network has an upcoming webinar, a podcast, and a website that should serve as resources for organizations and individuals fighting hunger.

Upcoming Webinar: Identifying and Dismantling White Supremacy

Webinar series starts August 18th. Register here.

From August to November, the Racial Equity and Hunger Learning Network will host a 5-part webinar series on identifying and dismantling white supremacy.

This 5-part series will begin to equip participants with the tools, practices and language to feel confident speaking about white supremacy and related concepts (race, racism, anti-black racism, etc.), as well as in their ability to disrupt white supremacy and racism.

After the first four webinars, participants will have the opportunity to practice what it means to disrupt white supremacy with other Network members in their area.

The webinar series will conclude with a final webinar that will highlight the experiences of network members who started to implement these practices and help network members refine their toolbox to continue disrupting white supremacy.

Podcast: Race, Hunger and COVID-19 in African American Communities

With COVID-19, our country is seeing that communities of color are experiencing the impacts of hunger and the impacts of dying from the coronavirus at higher rates.

Many are not sure what to do and very much need guidance in how to apply a racial equity response in their programs, policies, and so forth.

The Racial Equity & Hunger National Learning Network Podcast is designed to educate, inspire and enable those interested in advancing racial equity and ending hunger through sharing experiences, expertise and recommendations from experts around the country.

The Racial Equity and Hunger Website

Learn more about the Racial Equity and Hunger Learning Network and access resources on racial equity and hunger by visiting

Chicago COVID-19 Rental Assistance: Apply by August 14th

COVID-19 Rental and Mortgage Assistance applications will now be accepted until Monday, August 14th at 11:59PM.

Photo by Ryan Maia

The City of Chicago recently announced an additional $25 million in COVID-19 rent and mortgage relief funding this month for Chicagoans impacted by coronavirus.

Deadline: COVID-19 Rental and Mortgage Assistance applications will be accepted from Monday, July 27 at 10:00AM until Friday, August 14th at 11:59PM.

Note: The original deadline was Monday, August 10th. It has been extended to Friday, August 14th.

A lottery (randomized) system will be used to select applications that will receive funding through this program.

This is intended to create a level equity and fairness. A first come, first serve system would favor applicants who happen to be more experienced using the Internet or who have all the required documents readily available.

Since a lottery system will be used, applicants who apply first will not receive higher priority.


To learn more and apply online, click here.

You can also apply in person at one of six Chicago Community Service Centers:

  1. Englewood Community Service Center
    • 1140 West 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60620, 312-747-0200
    • Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  2. Garfield Community Service Center
    • 10 South Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612, 312-746-5400
    • Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  3. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Center
    • 4314 South Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL 60653, 312-747-2300
    • Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  4. North Area Community Service Center
    • 845 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640, 312-744-2580
    • Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  5. South Chicago Community Service Center
    • 8650 South Commercial Avenue, Chicago, IL 60617, 312-747-0500
    • Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  6. Trina Davila Community Service Center
    • 4312 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639, 312-744-2014
    • Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Deadline: COVID-19 Rental and Mortgage Assistance applications will be accepted from Monday, July 27 at 10:00AM until Monday, August 14th at 11:59PM.

More Info

Required Documents: The City of Chicago will ask for documentation to verify identity, social security number, income amount, and proof of housing. For more information about required documents, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions: For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program, click here.