A snowy February day makes us all long for spring and gardening season!
WE PREFACE THE MESSAGE ON THIS BLOG TO BRING YOU CRITICALLY IMPORTANT FOOD INFORMATION:
“For everyone who wants to keep up on how they slip aspartame into our foods, drugs, vaccines (yes, vaccines), OTC meds (especially child products), aspartame has a new name of AminoSweet. Since aspartame has gotten such a bad name (as it should), Ajinomoto has renamed this toxic chemical sweetener. Start double checking your labels.“
Thanks and kudos go out to Rachel Kincaid, who gave us the heads up. Thanks, also to Business Week and Shaun Weston from FoodBev.com for providing great information to help us consumers protect ourselves.
Now we return to the blog’s main message:
You Food Stamps Cooking Club members are to be commended for your quick response to any post that hits you like a brick.
There was a delightful message from Max and here is what Max offered us:
“Just a couple of my own tips, learned from experience, to help stretch food dollars even more when it comes to dried spices and herbs. I have found that the baking aisle is an excellent start to shopping for these products, but you can often find them additionally in the ethnic foods areas of many supermarkets, and other less-thought-of resources.
For many varieties of spices and herbs, those little red-capped bottles are kind of non-budget price, but if you go to a different aisle, you may find it more within your budget if you look under a different brand name, and sometimes in different packaging such as a cellophane packet.
I buy spices at the dollar store. I find some things such as dried dill weed, at Ikea, if you live near one, in a very large paper/foil packet (look in the marketplace among the kitchenwares). There is a large Asian supermarket near my home, I recently bought a large bottle of ground coriander for $1.69 there. They also have many other varieties as well, paprika, cumin, ginger, even lemongrass powder. Hispanic markets are another great source, as are Middle Eastern shops for even more variety.
One last thing: I have read that spices and herbs are past their prime when they no longer have a fragrance, but I find that if you can rub it in your hands and still have fragrance, it is still going to flavor your foods well.
I do think you should have specified whether you were talking about dill seed or dill weed; it’s the dill seeds that are used in pickling. But it’s the dried or fresh dill weed that “makes” the dishes you mentioned. I also sprinkle dried dill on the top of creamy tomato soup, and it goes into the pot when I make homemade chicken soup.
Can you tell I use lots of spices and herbs lol? I hate boring food. I have gourmet tastes on a food-stamp budget. Also, I simply do not have the budget to allow me to dine out as often as I’d like, so I try to recreate different tastes at home.”
See? Now THAT’S the kind of neighbor you wish you had if you do not live next door to Max! Can you just imagine the wonderful aromas that waft from that kitchen? Mmmmm…
For people who utilize SNAP or WIC funds; people who depend on food pantries and/or food commodities; for people who use Farmers Market Coupons and Angel Food Ministries; and for those who simply pinch pennies wherever possible to stretch their food budgets this is helpful information.
We are so happy and grateful to have the Maxes and the Sandras and the Rainys who are so faithful to share their kitchens and cooking ideas! KEEP them coming, kids! Here’s where to direct them: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you something of a health nut? You might like to visit
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If EVERYONE at the table eats garlic, kissing the cook will be a good thing!
I found a little item in a health food brochure that came my way and it got me thinking about garlic. This herb is so much more than a wonderful addition to bread or meat and vegetable offerings. It truly is a health food. Plus, it is inexpensive to buy or to grow. It’s a terrific bargain and it is scrup-deedly-umptious!
There has been a wealth of research done about garlic over many years’ time. It has been shown to significantly help fight free radicals, it can reduce cholesterol as well as improve heart problems and it helps with blood issues. Not to mention its antibacterial properties, which help keep our immune systems strong and illness at bay.
Whether you choose to eat it with your foods and/or use it in a supplemental form, garlic will please your palate and keep you feeling fit as a fiddle!
A dear client once told me that her favorite way to use garlic was with roast chicken. She used 30 buds of garlic in the cavity and around the bird as she slow roasted the chicken! 30 sounds like a lot to me but I tried it and it was delish.
When you roast garlic it gets sweeter, so that garlicky flavor married into the flavor of the poultry and was very, very good. Of course, salt and pepper went with that. Simple. Simple. Simple. And not a costly meal at all. Naturally, you could add any collection of veggies to that and do your entire meal in the oven.
Yum. Makes me want to check the freezer to see if there is an old dead bird there, or parts of one just to roast with garlic!
Using garlic-infused oils are a nice way to make a garlic bread. If you don’t have such a thing in your pantry, it’s easy to make. Just pour some good salad oil-my fave is Olive Oil-into a pitcher, drop in some garlic buds and leave it, covered. In a day or two, you will have garlic flavored oil that can be brushed onto slices of bread that can then be toasted in the oven. Oh, how good that would be with a pasta dish!
If you saute` garlic, make sure the heat is moderate because garlic that has been cooked too hot and too quickly tends to burn and that is not the flavor you want to add to your dishes!
Do any of our Club Members grow garlic in their gardens? We’d love to hear from you. Just send an email to email@example.com.
As Club Members, you all have earned gold stars for sharing. We note that more and more people are coming here and asking for the series of Cooking Tips we send, as well as the occasional email messages. Our intention is not to bombard you but to help you.
We hope our cooking tips for today have hit your hot button and inspired you to create some great comfort food. We make every effort to assist those who use Angel Food Ministries, food commodities, food pantry foods, and SNAP or WIC. We also hope we are catering to those who simply stick to frugality and watch their food budgets closely.
Hearing from our Club Members is such a joy! Please add your comments to this page, won’t you? Or shoot us an email at the above address. Thanks, kids.
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Kids have more energy for active play when their Mommies use WIC wisely and creatively!
Some time ago The Club heard from a young SAHM-stay at home mommy-that she is a WIC recipient and had something wonderful to share. Then life happened, as it is wont to do, and she was unable to share her idea. Today my mail was WAY FUN again and she has sent us a scrump-deedly-upmshus recipe using WIC provisions. We thank Jaime from the bottom of our grateful hearts.
“I promised you a while back that I would send you one of my WIC recipes so today I’m sending it along. This recipe works with WIC items received while pregnant or after a child is one year of age. I have a 9 1/2 month old but look forward to getting these ingredients again. Other than the meat everything is from WIC. The recipe originated from Kraft but I have tweaked it to work with what I have.
I call it COUNTRY PIE:
Heat oven to 350 degrees
1 # ground beef, pork or even cut up chicken cooked
2 cups rice, instant works best in this recipe. You get instant brown rice from WIC
tomato sauce, one can; again a WIC item
cheese, the amount depends on the person’s preference, also a WIC item
Okay; you layer the meat in the bottom of a 9 x 9 pan, pie dish or can be doubled for 13 x 9.
Put some of the sauce in the meat, just enough to moisten, if you have not seasoned the sauce you can put some on top of this layer.
Then put 2 cups of rice mixed with rest of tomato sauce and one can of water. Again, season if sauce has not been seasoned.
Cover with cheese. Cover the dish with foil and cook for about 20 minutes.
My kids love this! Quick, easy, cheap meal using mostly WIC items. Ground beef found on sale or clearance, chicken cooked before hand and chopped finely, all can be used. In fact, my kids actually prefer this with chicken! Thanks for allowing me to contribute!
—Jaime Grimes, Proud Army wife and SAHM to 3″
Oh, Jaime, we are so grateful to you for sharing this easy to make, low cost dish for those we love best!
This dish will also be helpful for people who depend on SNAP or food pantries; food commodities users and procurers of Angel Food Ministries will benefit from knowing about this. If people are using Farmers Market Coupons or just pinching pennies, this idea might be just the ticket for a meal for their table very soon! I think SAHMs and WAHMs or WAHDs will like having this in their recipe collection, too!
YOUR ideas, dear visitors will be welcome, too. Just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . We note that you are also signing up to get our series of Cooking Tips and the occasional broadcasts we send your way. THANKS, GUYS.
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Does weather that looks like this make you pine for comfort food?
Some of us feel as if we are bears, hibernating for the winter. Maybe some of us have curled up, all cozy in our homes…others? Not so much. After all, hopefully, we have jobs and kids to get to school and sidewalks to clear. Life goes on, in all kinds of weather.
Cold weather whets our appetites for soups, baked goods so the oven can warm the house; those comfort foods will warm our hearts; even hot chocolate might take the place of dessert on a cold winter’s evening.
Does your crock pot or slow cooker get more of a workout during winter months? One of the most favored breakfasts we can conjure up with our crock pot is the old oatmeal treat. I toss in a few raisins, a few apple slices-I add the skins, too-and about 4 times more water-with a dash of salt-than oatmeal just before I go to bed. For extra yumminess, I will add a sprinkle of cinnamon. When morning comes breakfast is ready and it smells so inviting that sleepyheads don’t dawdle!
If you are a working family and want to come home to a ready made meal it doesn’t take much in the way of planning to pop some meat and veggies into the slow cooker, along with some broth. What a welcoming way to come home when you are dog tired and ready for some good old fashioned comfort food! If you use enough ingredients, you have the makings of a great soup for the next meal!
Some people find it helpful to use this method: As you are unpacking your groceries you can take some time to wash and cut some veggies and fruit to be kept in air-tight storage containers or bags. This makes for sensible snacks and helps with meal prep, too.
Having a batch of rice cooked and at the ready in the fridge will help speed up meal making. So will having hard cooked eggs on hand. Kids will snack on healthy things like these if it’s easy and quick.
My kids used to love finding cupcake papers with a few chocolate chips and raisins or nuts and raisins waiting for them after school. Sometimes there would be tarts filled with warm pudding. What do you do for YOUR kids that our club members would enjoy knowing about? Maybe you’ll post a comment and share some of your ideas with us. We’d love that just as much as comfort food.
We love email messages, too: email@example.com
Thanks, guys. Be sure to leave your name and email in the box in the upper right hand corner of this blog. That way you will receive the series of cooking tips and the few broadcasts we send your way. We love keeping in touch.
As you know, the Food Stamps Cooking Club is devoted to the care and feeding of those who use Angel Food Ministries, SNAP or WIC. We cater to people who depend on food pantries and food commodities and Farmers Markets Coupons. We also give a nod to those who are doing all in their power to keep to their food budgets.
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The seeds of change can promote health, wealth, and strong, happy families!
I opened the local newspaper today, The Tecumseh Chieftain, and was delighted to find a letter from the president of the board of the Johnson County Farm Bureau. Jim Erickson is a Johnson County farmer and he wrote to the editor regarding “Food Check-Out Week.”
Mr. Erickson writes that the Farm Bureau will observe February 21-27 in recognizing the quality and abundance of U.S. Food. Even though food prices have moderated some, many families continue to face problems eating well on limited budgets. Jim outlined ideas from checking online with the Extension service to planning menus and listing suggestions for managing food budgets wisely.
I wanted to turn cartwheels on the dining room table when I read his letter! KIDS! This guy is on OUR SIDE! HE GETS IT! He understands we are all out here, doing the best we can with what we have!
I’ll bet he is totally down with Farmers Markets coupons, too; what’ll ya bet?
See? This is what COMMUNITY is all about! People working together to help other people! Ya gotta love it!
So if you are using SNAP or WIC; if you depend on food pantry food or food commodities, you will be comforted that someone understands your perspective on getting food on the family table! Maybe YOU will want to turn cartwheels, too?
Oh. We need to remember Angel Food Ministries; they have been specializing in helping people better manage their food budgets for some time now.
OK, Club Members: High Fives and Three Cheers for Jim Erickson and the Farm Bureau!
Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org… and please don’t be shy about leaving remarks at the end of this post. grin
If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, why not make something decadent, delicious, chocolate and inexpensive?
When I was a kid I used to hurry home from school to see what Mom might have put together in the way of snacks. Maybe that’s when the foodie in me developed. But I digress. One of the most wonderful aromas from her oven came when she made the humble creation known as Bread Pudding. I suspect bread pudding was created in the first place because there were odds and ends of bread pieces around and nobody wanted them to go to waste. In some families the crust is not the delicacy it is in our household, so those tidbits may have accumulated.
When Mom wanted to make something really special out of this dessert, she would use chocolate milk. OH! Talk about comfort food! My dad would taste it and then make a big show of surprise and delight that we were dining so fashionably on CHOCOLATE bread pudding! When I think of families sitting at the dinner table, making memories and bonding, I remember the fabulous fun we used to have together at mealtimes.
Here is Mom’s recipe for you to enjoy so you can make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day with no heavy lifting AND NO EXPENSE:
MOM’S BREAD PUDDING
2 cups dry bread, crusts and all-cubed
4 cups milk, scalded
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 slightly beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Set oven to 350 degrees.
Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes. Add sugar, butter, salt. Pour slowly over eggs; add vanilla and mix well.
Pour into greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake in pan of hot water in moderate oven until firm, about one hour. Serve warm.
Use chocolate milk for variation. Raisins make a good addition, too, if desired.
This makes 8 servings.
So there you have it, boys and girls! Decadent delight on a budget!
If you use food commodities, food pantry food, Angel Food Ministries food or Farmers Markets Coupons, this is a dish you can make without a twinge of guilt! Even if you just want to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your food budget, this is a winner.
Surely your mothers made things that made your childhood memorable. Won’t you share on the comment section? Or, if you prefer, you could drop us a line at email@example.com. WE LOVE MAIL. WE ALSO LOVE YOUR COMMENTS.
You have been sharing the love–more and more people are offering up their name and email address so they can get the series of cooking tips and occasional broadcast messages. We thank you very much for your help in getting the word out!
Delilah’s cookies, even though we could not SEE them-alas!-have made a ginormous hit with the Food Stamps Cooking Club members. Many of you have called for Delilah’s “comfort food” recipe, which she has graciously shared:
DELILAH’S ULTIMATE SUGAR COOKIES
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups flour, PLUS 4 tablespoons, divided
1 cup or 1 stick butter flavored shortening
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond flavoring 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white corn syrup
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine sugar, shortening in large bowl. Beat at medium speed til well blended. Add eggs, syrup, and flavorings. Beat until fluffy.
Combine 3 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Divide dough into 4 quarters. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
Spread 1 tablespoon out on board. Use 1/4 dough and roll out approximately 1/8 ” to 1/4″ thick. *I put a little flour on top, also! Cut into desired shapes. Place 2″ apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 5 to 9 minutes at 375 degrees.
**Usually they can bake for 7 minutes and be OK…if they are a little crisp you’ll find they soften. You can sprinkle with plain or colored sugar, too.
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
5 1/3 tablespoons margarine or softened butter.
Mix until smooth; gradually add 1/4 cup milk.
Gradually add 2 more cups of powdered sugar. Add the 1/4 cup of milk. You may need to adjust the amount of powdered sugar and milk to get the consistency you want.
Thanks so much, Delilah. I know how much fun you have with these and I can just see our Club Members making these with their family members: just think of all the great memories they will have!
We have fun making memories and friends with our mail! firstname.lastname@example.org
Whenever another member “joins” our band of merry makers, we do the Happy Dance because we know some more people will get help.
If you know people who use food commodities or food pantry foods; if there are people in your sphere of influence who have turned to SNAP or WIC or Farmers Market Coupons, we hope you will share this info with them. We aim to help those folks s-t-r-e-t-c-h their food dollars, along with people who use Angel Food Ministries foods and people who just want to save money on their groceries!
Those who enter their name and email addresses will receive a series of messages and occasional broadcasts. We do NOT stuff your in-boxes; you have enough to think about as is!
We hope you have the time and are inclined to leave your comment. Your ideas are important to us.
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Can you PRETEND these are the cookies Delilah baked but we could not get the photos to come out so well as these?
OK, kids. Here’s the sad, sad story: I went to Delilah’s and took MANY, GREAT photos of the spread of Valentine cookies she had laid out all over her dining room table…
Problem is-those pictures were cranky and obstreperous. THEY WOULD NOT SHOW UP FOR US TO SEE. So just imagine with me: heart shaped sugar cookies, frosted to the edge, centered with little hearts that said “TOO COOL” “KISS ME” and other cute sayings…I am heartbroken not to SHOW them to you.
Delilah, like many of you, bakes treats and other comfort foods much to the delight of her family. These cookies were made especially for the grandchildren and their school chums. I’d have to say that Delilah cooks with heart for those she loves. She, much like many of you, has traditions around food.
We eat to live but eating with heart and eating for the health of our hearts is primo.
Dr. Ben Kim sent out a message recently touting various oils that support our good health and increase our health if it is lagging. Food is much more cost effective than prescriptions are so I found it interesting; I could be guilty of standing in a rut of my own creation. I tend to stick with olive oil cuz it’s familiar and has a high smoke point. The good Canadian doctor reminds me of other oils worthy of my consideration.
He likes coconut oil and here is his list of benefits:
1. Improves your energy
2. Reduces your risk of developing heart disease
3. Reduces your risk of developing cancer
4. Improves your ability to digest foods and absorb nutrients
5. Promotes weight loss and maintenance of your ideal weight
6. Helps prevent bacterial, yeast, fungal, and viral infections
7. Supports and enhance your immune system
8. Helps regulate your blood sugar and prevent or control diabetes
9. Helps prevent osteoporosis
10. Helps prevent premature aging and wrinkling of your skin
11. Helps keep your skin smooth and soft
10. Help sprotect you against skin cancer and blemishes
So, maybe olive oil ISN’T the only game in town? Hm…who knew?
Coconut oil can be something purchased with SNAP funds. If you are into saving money by using Angel Food Ministries food you would easily be able to get coconut oil with your savings. Some of you depend on food pantries and food commodities. I know there are those who come to this blog who use Farmers Market coupons, too. And there are a few frugal foodies who come here to learn new and better ways of saving money on their food budgets!
When you have special occasions to celebrate with those you love best, you can stay within your food budget, enjoy comfort foods AND contribute to your good health!
I’ll drink to that! I’ll go get a glass of veggie juice and toast to you all right now!
Please share YOUR favorites with us: email@example.com
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More peeps on food assistance? More users of SNAP, WIC, and food commodities as well as food pantry foods?
THAT’S NOT NEWS! THAT’S REALITY!
Our question is: Who ya gonna CALL? HINT: Food Stamps Cooking Club! Angel Food Ministries!
People are hurting. Parents are worried and hungry. Children deserve to know there will be food on their family’s table!
That’s where THIS little band of merry makers comes in. The Food Stamps Cooking Club is, as our faithful followers are keenly aware, is a soft place to fall. It is a place where frugal foodies and people who need to know how to become more frugal in order for their food dollars to do the most good can hang out and share.
We are not alone in our effort to help people live within their means, regardless of what those means are! There is a cute little newsletter that’s been coming our way called “Living On a Dime” and a recent issue included an entire menu designed to celebrate Valentine’s Day with flair. Here’s what Tawra Kellam had to share with her readers:
“CHEESY RICE AND TOMATOES
3 cups cooked rice 3 Tbsp. oil 1 medium onion, chopped 3 stalks celery, chopped 1 green pepper, chopped 2 cups cooked or stewed tomatoes 2 cups cheese, shredded 1 tsp. salt dash of pepper
Cook rice if uncooked. Sauté in a pan with oil, onion, celery and green pepper. Add tomatoes, rice, cheese, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Serves 8.”
This budget friendly and healthy foods recipe came from Living On a Dime. We appreciate all Tawra does for so many.
We deeply appreciate all the mail you send our way, too: firstname.lastname@example.org All our Club Members have so many good, thrifty, creative ideas and are so generous to share.
Comments fuel our fire, too. You can leave yours at the end of this post, if you please.
“Joining” the club is as easy as dropping your name and email addy in the box on the upper right hand corner of this page. There are no meetings or dues, so there’s no pressure! grin We do send along messages-a series to begin with-followed by infrequent broadcasts. We were happy to connect with members who may have missed seeing fresh posts when we encountered techy issues. Doncha hate when that happens?
Please feel free to share us with those in your sphere of influence. You may also like to know that we have other spots on the Web which deal with issues of health and making money at home. If you like what you are reading here, you may like to drop by these blogs, too: The Healthy and Wealthy You and Mother Connie Sez. If you are interested to add income to your household you might find these spots helpful: Rapid Cash Review and Work at Home Freelancing.
Most every household has Super Bowl Sunday on their radar. All us foodies are thinking about what we’ll eat. The media is full of ideas. The thing is, if you are using SNAP or WIC or any of the other food assistance program, you may have more limited choices than those who are living off their ginormous Trust Funds. Still, we crave our comfort foods…Oh, what to DO?
I have some ideas about potatoes, which we’d love to share below. Before we do that, however, let’s mention that Super Bowl Sunday is no reason to go all out for high calorie, low nutrition foods. You can do very well with pickles and olives; people will be happy to eat raw veggies and fruit pieces as well as popcorn before the main event of a soup or pasta entree! Please don’t feel obligated to put out expensive chips and dips or have pizzas delivered when all that may mean you eat more oatmeal or cheap weenies to keep a handle on the rest of your month’s budget. I’m just sayin’…
HOW ABOUT A SOUPER BOWL POTATO BAR?
Chili over baked potatoes can be divine! With toppings of chili, cheese, sour cream these are filling, nourishing and comforting! Even bean soups or lentils over baked taters is delish! Have you ever tasted cauliflower soup over potatoes? OH, be still my heart!
Twice baked potatoes, stuffed with cheese can be a crowd pleaser without busting the budget!
Potato skins make great appetizers; save the stuffing for baked potato soup! Add in a few chunks of wieners or ham for added protein. YUM.
Baked potatoes topped off with cottage cheese, chives, onions, sweet peppers; even corn make pretty plates of hearty eating.
A pot of potato soup with sandwich fixings nearby can facilitate the fans filling their own plates. No need for anyone to miss any football action playing Host.
Being users of assistance programs, such as food commodities, food pantries, Farmers Markets, or even Angel Food Ministries foods need not dampen our enthusiasm for a rockin’ good Super Bowl Party.
What will YOU be eating while you root for your team?
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