Archive for May, 2010

Food Stamps Cooking Club: We’re STILL Full of Beans…

May 20th, 2010

If soup costs a dollar, does it have BEANS in it?

Your humble blogger still has beans on the brain.  It’s all Sandra’s fault. Grin…  I found a recipe for something I love but not everyone in our family is so crazy to have…HUMMUS.  It is just the BEST, in my humble opinion.


Try to say that quickly three times!

  • 1 can of chickpeas *You can use your own dried, soaked and cooked beans with some of the cooking liquid.

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice

  • 1 clove (1/2 tbsp minced) of garlic

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • cumin to taste  *The smoky flavor is wonderful; I’d suggest using about a palm full.

  • up to 1/2 cup of water

It works best for me to use my food processor to make a smooth paste of all the ingredients but if you don’t have one, not to worry.  The Kitchen Police are not picky; you can use a tater masher if that’s what you have.  I have a friend who uses a fork in a shallow bowl.  MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU.

If your family is not fond of garlic, you may certainly omit that.  You may choose to add chopped cilantro or parsley for some variety.  This is your chance to experiment and shine!

This spread is wonderful to top toasted bread slices.  Or you might like to use it to fill celery ribs.  It is an ideal sandwich spread-preferable to the soybean mayo products we have come to think of as standard.  Hummus makes a wonderful, healthy and filling snack for youngsters or  adults who wait impatiently for their dinner!

Hummus is a standby staple for people who love comfort food, people who use food commodities and food pantries, and folks who utilize Angel Food Ministries or Farmers Markets Coupons.  It’s cheap, nourishing and tasty.   It’s also very quick and easy to prepare.   That’s a combo that’s hard to beat.

We have BEAN writing a great deal about beans.  We’ll see who sends us more suggestions.  HINT, HINT, SANDRA! Just drop something into our inbox:

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should those links be clicked and sales result, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Do business only with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: How Have You BEAN?

May 20th, 2010


Have you BEAN eating well?


One of our many faithful Club Members left us a note the other day with a message about beans.  She reminded us that they are great on their own and can even be sprouted.  She offered a  super reminder.  Thanks, Sandra!

Users of food commodities and food pantries, fans of SNAP, WIC, Angel Food Ministries and those who keep a close eye on their food budgets are likely to use beans in a wide variety of ways.

Or, NOT…sometimes we cooks get into a rut and just have the same old things fixed the same old ways.  It happens, all right.

This week I had a partial bag of dry red beans on the shelf.  I thought it would be interesting to pair them with some rice and add some spices to see what I could create.

I chopped some onions and celery and sauteed them in a bit of olive oil.  The fragrance filled the house and soon faces peered into the kitchen to wonder aloud if there were a need for “Taste Testers.”

The beans had been rinsed and drained; they had soaked overnight.  They bubbled along in a rich, tomato-y broth when the sauteed veggies went into the pot.  Then I discovered the barley!  I toasted a half cup of it, tossed it into the mix and added some rice, along with plenty of water so the grains could absorb that, along with the fragrant flavor.  A touch of garlic powder went in with the other goodies, followed by a pinch of red pepper flakes, and of course there was salt and pepper. Sea salt is the only type of salt Club House shoppers ever buy, for health reasons.

The resulting soup was a huge hit with those who put their toes under our table!  Some even begged for seconds!

This bean dish could have easily been prepared using the crock pot.  Since I was home to stir and taste and babysit the soup I opted to cook it on the stove top.

A simple salad of lettuce garden-fresh radishes, onion, celery and cabbage coated with a sweet dressing made for a filling and nourishing meal that was under budget.

Canned beans are wonderful to have on hand to add to salads, stir fry dishes and to use as a side dish.  One of our favorite snacks is an open faced pork-n-bean sandwich!

Another big rave in the Club House is the pork n bean dish with a chopped apple added in!  That combo sounds implausible but I promise you, it tastes really good.

Chef Shawn Bucher recommends that every meal should consist of a protein, a starch and a vegetable.  When you make your meals, consider beans for your starch.  When beans and grains are combined it makes for a complete protein.  The variety of beans that are available are pretty, tasty, and fun to create in your kitchen.

Getting the small fry in your household involved in choosing, preparing and eating these delights will do much more than fill young tummies:  you will form bonds and make memories; you will have fewer fussy eaters because they will feel invested; they will be contributing members of the family and that will enhance their self esteem.

By using beans and teaching your children to grow bean sprouts, choose varieties for the family meals and help to prepare bean dishes for the family you’ll create comfort food, happy tummies, and super kids!

Beyond that, you will have BEANED all that take out food, too!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know that there are links in this post.  Should these links be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger or your guest blogger will be fairly compensated.  Always do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Only do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Is the Coffee Ready?

May 19th, 2010

Brew up some coffee!  We have PIE!

Leave it to the Club Members!  Even after being away from the Club House, the mail continues to pour in with loads of food ideas for those who are keeping close watch on their food costs.

Today’s recipe is timely because rhubarb season is in full swing!  Even if you get a hankering for a good rhubarb dessert after the season passes you know the freezer is likely to have a stash that will satisfy your longing for a yummy dessert.

This family favorite comes from Sadie’s daughter, Sheila and we share it with our best wishes:


From Sheila Davis with a nod to Sadie, God rest her soul

1 cup sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons butter       
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons milk

Mix this and press into 9″ pie plate

3 cups diced rhubarb
1 small pkg strawberry jello
1/2 cup flour

Arrange rhubarb in shell and sprinkle with dry gelatin dessert.

1 cup sugar                    
1/2 tsp cinnamon                 
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and melted butter and sprinkle over top.

Bake 350 for 50 min. or until rhubarb is tender.  Serves 6.
For people who keep a close eye on their food budgets, or those who utilize food pantries and food commodities; for users of Angel Food Ministries or SNAP or WIC this might be an excellent way to utilize your food supply.

It may even be possible for you to fall heir to some rhubarb; some families have more than they can use themselves and would love to share.  ASK AROUND.

Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, kids!  They are the life blood of this Club.  We cheerfully accept fan mail and critical comments, too.  We make every effort to deliver what will be helpful to our members.

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should those links be clicked and sales result, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Do business only with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Spring Salad?

May 14th, 2010






The energy of potter Ben Behunin now resides in our home! This lovely, whimsical salad bowl is titled "Saturday in the Garden" and it is responsible for a dream coming true! Mother Connie has been jonesin' for a piece of Ben's pottery for a long time!






This handsome three-legged salad bowl, an anniversary gift, is shiny, black, and stunning on our dining room table!

Honestly, I think our dinner salad had more flavor tonight, just because it was served from the new bowl!  For some long time it has been a dream to own something created by “Utah Potrboy” Ben Behunin, a young family man-potter and author-from Salt Lake City, Utah.

You might like to have your evening meal from a paper plate or a take out carton.  That’s fine.  But if you ever get to own something wonderful it makes all the difference in the quality of your dining experience.

We eat first with our eyes so when food and the presentation of the food is pleasant, our digestion will be better, we will make wonderful memories and it will enhance the quality of our lives.

If you are using SNAP or WIC; if you fund your food budget from a food pantry or food bank or if you have access to food commodities you understand all too well about quality of life.  Or lack thereof…

Your humble blogger attended an Advisory Board meeting today which included a tour of a food pantry.  It would be impossible to stress how necessary food pantries, food banks are.  The numbers of people served by these agencies is staggering, even in our home town.  It would be shocking to the uninformed.

Here’s my difficulty:  The well organized shelves of this caring cupboard were loaded from floor to ceiling with box after case of foodstuffs.  There were cartons  of a brand name sports drink; there was row after row of cases and cases of breakfast cereal; we saw ginormous stacks of cases of packaged breakfast ‘kits’ that required no cooking.

These are all offered with the right spirit; help is needed and help is being offered.  But my issue is that every single item I saw, aside from the canned veggies and fruits, was FAKE FOOD.  Packaged, processed, refined, and not a shred of health in any of it.

Mother Connie is only one person.  HOW CAN THERE BE AN IMPACT with this tsunami of fake food?

The master plan from the powers that be call for cooking classes for kids.  They are even organizing a no cook program.  But my questions are these:  Will they know that baby carrots are not fit for human consumption?  Will they believe that there is MELAMINE in the baby formula and the powdered milk?  Will they know how to present the various kinds of beans that come to the shelves?  How can we teach people that sweet sports drinks are not as desirable as water?

The issue of poverty and needing food because there are kids to feed is serious and we all need to address this issue.  We also need to let others know that the body NEEDS veggies to flourish.  We need to convey to impoverished people and wealthy folks alike that kids can have hard cooked eggs or yogurt for a quick breakfast in lieu of cold, processed, sugary cereals.  It is imperative that families begin to understand the worth and value of oatmeal and other grains; we need to leave the microwave oven unplugged and watch for bargains on fruits, veggies and real honest to goodness food.

We have discussed on this very blog the use of delicate curly dock and tender dandelion leaves.  We’ve mentioned violet leaves as not only tasty but beautiful contributions to a health supporting diet.  THEY ARE FREE. 

Perchance when we get desperate enough, we may give those ideas a go.  Until then, we will probably dump processed, sugary cereals into our kids’ breakfast bowls and pay for it dearly with multiple visits to health care pros later on.

Tonight we placed a fresh green salad into our bowl to celebrate the arrival of the esteemed potter’s energy and to pay tribute and honor to the lovely woman who gave this bowl to us.  That’s the beauty of life-you get to choose.

PLEASE choose well and wisely.  We want you to be well so you can rise above your situation, live your best life and be your best self.

As always, we welcome your comments and you can contact us as well at !

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should those links be clicked and sales result, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Do business only with those you trust implicitly.


Food Stamps Cooking Club Salutes Mothers

May 8th, 2010

Kudos and roses are precious little to offer all the mothers who are Food Stamps Cooking Club members...

Our hearts go out to honor every mother today.

We understand that you wear a lot of hats, you are greatly gifted and sometimes feel burdened.  There are a good many demands on your time and attention and you are doing the best job you know how to do.

Many of the mothers who are Food Stamps Cooking Club members are single parents.  Yes, we have single dads, too, but their big day is coming up next month!  Some of the mothers who care for their brood are also working outside the home.

Motherhood is no walk in the park.  It’s hard work. The hours are terrible.  The monetary pay is lousy. The rewards are so far down the road that it is difficult to appreciate that rewards will come.   The demands and pressure of motherhood are incredible…

But so are you mothers incredible. You are the brave, courageous and loving first teachers of the next generation.  We are proud of each of you for your contribution to mankind.  We thank you on behalf of your children.

We wish every mom everywhere a wonderful Mother’s Day and we hope you know that your important role as a mother is appreciated every day of the year.  May God bless every one of you richly and abundantly.


Mother Connie

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Rule Your Rhubarb?

May 5th, 2010


As you can see, this rhubarb is not yet at its prime. BOO HOO! That means the rhubarb crisp will just have to will we.


You have no doubt noticed that the news from the Club House has not been forthcoming.  You are no doubt experiencing LIFE as it comes in at warp speed so no doubt you can relate.  There’s a good chance your life is so busy you may not have noticed this blog has been sorely and sadly neglected.  The good news is that each day we wake on the right side of the dirt, we have the opportunity to begin anew!

Today we start fresh!

One of our dear Food Stamps Cooking Club members knew Mother Connie was under duress so she created a wonderful blog post for us all.  I am excited to share it with you.

Rainy has a big family, loves to cook and bake and is wise with the pennies.  She has a heart for anyone using SNAP or WIC or Angel Food Ministries.  She understands how it is for users of food commodities and food pantries.  She GETS how people struggle with their food budgets.  Maybe she gets it more than some of us because she lives in Michigan.  Need I say more?  Rainy is a talented writer, and blogger, caring friend and has a sense of humor that will make any person’s day!  Here is her gift to all of us:

Rule Your Rhubarb

by Rainy

Happy day!   it is rhubarb season.  Rhubarb is one of those dishes that people either love or hate.  That opinion usually has to do with their first taste or experience with it.  Rhubarb eaten raw is quite tart and is only for the true rhubarb lover.  However, rhubarb cooked can be tempered with sugar according to the consumer’s taste.  You get to rule what is the appropriate amount of sugar to add according to your preference.

When you mention rhubarb most people think of rhubarb pie…and, although that is a wonderful dish; why limit rhubarb to simply pie?  Rhubarb can be a wonderful ice cream topping or can be made into a cobbler,  a side dish much like applesauce or even a jam.  It is pretty pinkish red in color when cooked and looks lovely in a jar when preserved.

Least you think it is all about taste, rhubarb has many health benefits as well.  It has been used to aid digestion for a very long time.  Native Americans used it to help those who struggled with heartburn; and or, constipation.  Today, it is also used as a healthy, natural way to maintain or lose weight.  Rhubarb is packed with vitamin C and has lots of fiber.  > sidebar for people who have trouble with kidney stones take care to limit how much rhubarb you consume; as it is also loaded with calcium and can cause problems with kidney stones, if eaten in large amounts.

It is also important to remember to never cook or eat the large heart shaped leaves of the rhubarb plant as they have toxins in them that can be dangerous to ingest.  Instead when harvesting rhubarb, use a sharp knife to cut off the leaves and throw them into the compost pile.  Cut the stalks of rhubarb gently from the plant.  You can enjoy a nice long season of rhubarb harvesting if you remember to cut the stalks regularly and not let the plant go to seed.  If you happen to be lucky enough to have many rhubarb plants you might consider freezing; it if you do not have time to can, or preserve it.   It is just a matter of washing it carefully to remove all traces of dirt or grime and dry it completely.  Then, cut it into one inch chunks and put it into quality freezer bags and remove the air.

Now some people declare that rhubarb is too stringy for them.  That is most likely because their first taste of rhubarb was prepared by someone who didn’t know to cut their chunks small enough.  Rhubarb can be quite stringy if those chunks are cut into pieces larger than 2 inches.  It really can affect the texture of your dish.

To prepare rhubarb for consumption you must basically stew it in some water or juice.  Most people cook it in water and that is fine…but, if the taste is a bit too tart for your liking you can cook it in a juice made up of some orange juice and or pineapple juice.  Don’t add too much liquid to the cooking process because it can become too watery or mushy.  Add just enough liquid to top your chunked rhubarb, add sugar to your own taste and cook for about 8-10 minutes.

It is a good idea to use a stainless steel or glass cooking pot to keep from tainting the taste of the rhubarb with a metallic taste from your cooking pot.  You will want a pot large enough to allow the rhubarb mixture to bubble freely.  Keep giving it a stir to keep the rhubarb cooking and not sticking.   Whatever dish you decide to put on the table you can be sure that your guests will be sure to have a reaction to it.  It is always fun to have someone who thinks they won’t like it, try it and discover that they do, in fact like it.  Happy rhubarb season, enjoy! –Rainy

What a great take on a fruit that has a reputation all its own!  Thanks so much, dear friend.

Just a quick commentary:  Wherever did you get the idea about sidebars?  JUST KIDDING.

No doubt you are thinking about graduations, Mother’s Day and anniversaries this time of year.  Please take Mother Connie’s advice and do not stress over the food.  Enjoy the people involved; make wonderful memories-it does not HAVE to be about the food and enjoy your activities.  I’ve been 33 enough times to know that you have to keep the main thing the main thing.

Please encourage those in your circle to submit their name and email to receive our infrequent broadcasts and cooking tips.  We never mean to intrude; every so often we will bump into something we want to share and we are always happy if we can help you in any way.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should those links be clicked and sales result, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Do business only with those you trust implicitly.