Archive for September, 2009

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Manna from Heaven?

September 8th, 2009

I’m so excited I am shaking as I prepare this post for you!

We have been blessed by AN ANONYMOUS DONOR who wanted to help with the upcoming Cooking Class!  Thank you to our generous Giver; we appreciate you so much and your gift will be used to purchase food for our Class.  Should we have food left, you can rest assured it will go to the proper place in order to be utilized by those who can benefit.

There are still more blessings to report:  We have been given a flat of white peaches!  We may use these as we see fit.  I think they will become peach pies to share with the Class.  I believe we have enough to serve our TEN students!  THANK YOU TO CHARLIE AND CHARLENE!

Our Food Stamps Cooking Club made the world wide web yesterday!  If you would like to see Mother Connie in her kitchen and read about the movement blogger Julie Flynn is promoting to feed hungry people, go to her blog:  On Food Stamps. She, like Mother Connie, would really love for you to post your comment on her blog, so won’t you please do her that honor?  Thanks; Julie is a young woman who lives in Los Angeles and works with the Food Bank there.  You may recall that she was a Guest Blogger on this Club’s page.

Life happens, as you know, and we have some spots open for our Cooking Class.   If you or someone you know can attend the Cooking Class on Saturday, September 19 they may register by emailing  There is NO COST for this class but you must be registered, for the number of BOWLS is limited!  grin

Please visit our partners, too, won’t you?  They are eager to help you with your bottom line.  It does not matter that you use SNAP funds or WIC.  You might be a user of food commodities or food pantry items.  We all need to monitor and protect our food budgets, even if we use Angel Food Ministries, Farmers Market Coupons or goodies from the neighbor’s bounteous garden spot!  And if our partners can help us bring in some rapid cash, so much the better.

Connie Baum

Food Stamps Cooking Club: “Ping!”

September 5th, 2009

There are some that just make a foodie’s heart sing and one of them is the “Ping!” you hear when you put up canned goods and the jars seal, letting you know your efforts have been rewarded with success.

We heard that sound today after a few jars of tomatoes from The Normanator’s garden were processed.

It doesn’t matter whether a person uses Farmers Market Coupons, grows food in his own garden or uses SNAP or WIC or food commodities.  It doesn’t even matter if you shop in a food pantry, use Angel Food Ministries or shop in a big box store.  EVERYBODY is concerned about the cost of feeding the family and managing the food budget.

Really, it can be a blessing to be in need.  I don’t mean the desperate need where there is never enough rice or meal to feed the masses.  That’s a tragedy.  Your OWN situation might feel tragic to YOU-you may have lost your job or you may be coming to the end of your unemployment benefits.  You may have used your savings or your house may be in foreclosure.  These are dreadful circumstances and we grieve with you if that’s your situation.

But Americans do have hope.  We know the economy will turn around eventually.  We also understand that we can retool our skills and find employment and make our way at some point.  We are confident that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In that interim, though, we are blessed if we can take the attitude that we are together with  family.  You may not have the funds for a trip or restaurant food, but you can play cards or board games or make up plays for one another; you can help the children with their homework.  If you involve yourselves along these lines you will hardly  notice there is no cable hookup!  Kids may whine for things they want their parents to BUY but what they really want is their parents’ attention and devotion, along with loving discipline. This gives families a sense of security.

Cooking together as a family is a wonderful way to bond.  Your youngsters will learn about techniques, how to save money by preparing foods at home, and they will learn the fine art of cooperation.

Poverty can teach us a great many lessons, if we will open ourselves to learn.

Since we are in the throes of a holiday weekend and you are likely to be home together because of the high cost of gasoline, among other factors, you might like to prepare something together.  Here is an idea for you:

How about making some special burgers?


1# ground beef, chicken or turkey

1 large egg

1 onion, finely chopped

1 or 2 ribs celery, finely chopped

1 cup grated zucchini-well drained

1/3 cup farina, cream of wheat, cream of rice oat or barley flakes

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a good sized bowl and mix well.  KIDS LOVE TO GET THEIR HANDS INTO THIS KIND OF MIXTURE.  Form into patties and fry to a nicely browned finish.

If you have buns, they would be good if you pop them into the oaster.  If you have slices of bread to make sandwiches, that will be fine.  Toast them if you like and make open faced sandwiches with slices of onion, slices of tomatoes and lettuce leaves.

The farina, cereal or oat flakes and the zucchini will stretch the meat and make this a very cost effective meal.  If you need more patties than this makes, add a can of beans, drained and mashed to the list of ingredients.

This mixture also makes great tasting meatballs for spaghetti meals and can be made into a meat loaf.  Use different seasonings to change the flavors:  oregano, thyme, or garlic will lend nice variations for pairing with pasta or potatoes and veggies.  You can always make mini meatballs and drop them into soups, too!

Whatever your situation, whatever your menu, let’s hope you are enjoying your family and friends for this Labor Day weekend.

Thanks to all the new Food Stamp Cooking Club Members!  We welcome you with open arms and sincerely hope you find ideas that make your life a little easier.

We are grateful for those of you who have looked over what our partners have to offer.  They, like us, are intent on helping you solve your problems.

Your comments mean a great deal to us.  Please feel free to leave your comment on this page.  We will moderate them as quickly as possible.  Thanks so much for sharing.

Connie Baum

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Cooking Class Schedule?

September 5th, 2009

The time for fun and learning is nearing!

Our Cooking Class is going to take place on September 19 and people are clamoring for information about WHAT’S COOKING?  So I decided to reveal the whole program right here.  Those of you who have enrolled will have a clear picture and will know what to bring; those who have not sent their registration to will get into gear! There are a few-very few-openings.

Here is the straight skinny:


Welcome/Message from our Partners and Housekeeping Details

Introductions: Special Guests

Who’s Here?

Demonstrations Regarding Health

Tour the Pantry and Fridge; Discuss Menus

Chopping and Shopping; “Commercial”

Freezer Meals w/Emphasis on Building Lunch

Beans, Beans, Beans!  Are We Full of  ’em?


Mildred struts her stuff and we take time to share


*Students are invited to bring a favorite knife, a recipe, and tips!

As we have previously announced, the class begins at 10 AM and runs through lunchtime.  We are not going to rush; we want all the students’ questions to be addressed to their satisfaction.

There is no cost to attend the class but we only have enough bowls for 10 students so reservations MUST be made by sending your request to .

Regarding cost for this class, we are pleased to tell you that it is a privilege to Pay It Forward.

This class was originally designed for users of SNAP, food commodities and food pantries.  We have added those who avail themselves of Angel Food Ministries, WIC, and Farmers Markets Coupons as well as people who are interested in eating well for less money, easing the strain on their food budgets.   WE WELCOME EVERYONE.

While you are here, we hope you take a moment to visit our partners and sponsors represented on this page. We also invite you to stop by Food Stamp Cooking Club, if you have not already done so, and become a Club Member so you can receive our seldom-sent messages.

We love mail, so please leave your comment for us.  All comments must be moderated but we make every effort to keep them as current as possible.

We hope you are enjoying your Labor Day Holiday!

Connie Baum