Archive for September, 2010

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Sandra Weighs In On the Old Dead Chicken?

September 29th, 2010

The chicken is dead and well prepared; the table is set. LET'S EAT!

When Maxine shared her wisdom regarding old dead chickens and what to do with them, I just KNEW Sandra would weigh in.  Both Maxine and Sandra, along with so many other of the Club Members have been so faithful to contribute to the Community that is the Food Stamps Cooking Club.  You can imagine how delighted I was to find her comments on Maxine’s posts.

It seemed a shame to “hide” them in the comments section, so I have chosen to add her comments here as a post.

“Another idea – soup will definitely go farther – serve more. But you could use less water and make a chicken stew instead. Just use lots of potatoes, carrots, and celery plus whatever chicken you have. And voila! Stew!

Another idea is chicken pot pie which is just stew with a crust. You can use biscuit dough for your crust or make a pie crust. Easy enough.

You could make chicken pot pie cups just by lining muffin pans with biscuit dough and filling with your chicken stew. You can leave them open at the top or add a top – up to you. No kitchen police, right Mother Connie? 🙂


Or you could make chicken pot pie turnovers. Just add your stew to squares of pie crust or biscuit dough folded over on each other.

You get the idea! I find that even if it’s the same exact stuff, serving it in a different way provides variety.

Sounds really yummy. You can make this idea a weekly regular on your menu and never get bored just by changing what’s in it and changing the seasonings.

So one week you might add beans, onion, tomatoes, and taco seasoning.

Another you might add macaroni, white beans, tomatoes, and Italian seasonings.

Another you might add spinach, rice, and Italian seasonings or Mrs. Dash.

What a great idea Maxine!!  Love it!”


Sandra and Maxine’s comments do remain in the comments section but it’s easy to overlook them if you don’t know they are there.  That’s why they became a post as well.

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!   Maxine had this comment for Sandra.  I knew she would reply and because I was afraid you might miss her reply I am adding it here:

“Sandra’s got some great ideas here–most of them more imaginative than anything I turn out. I make chicken stew, too, although I usually use more meat than I’d get from backs and wings. However, it occurred to me, if you’re trying to get your kids to eat “real food” (vs. tacos, pizza, etc.), putting stew in a crust, especially making turnovers they can eat with their fingers, might be just the trick. The English make pasties, which are basically beef stew turnovers, and they are great!


SIDEBAR:  Oh, how Mother Connie loves the community we are building here, kids!  Keep those comments rolling!  It’s all good!  END SIDEBAR

There was an interesting gathering to which I was invited last evening.  A lively interaction ensued  about how to help people re-enter society after being away.  People who return from serving our country find rising grocery prices shocking; those who have been incarcerated are stunned to find out the complexities of finding affordable food.  It is the solemn DUTY and sacred MISSION of the Food Stamps Cooking Club to help people who find themselves in such predicaments.

If you know someone who is struggling with a food budget that is funded by WIC or SNAP; if you have someone in your circle who uses food pantry food or food commodities or Angel Food Ministries, you would serve them well by sharing this site with them.  We have a loving, supportive community here and it is wide open for anyone who can benefit.  If you are someone who can contribute, as so many of our faithful Club Members have done, that is just brilliant. We thank you.

Send your ideas to and post YOUR comments on the comment section of the blog.  Thanks, guys.

If you like this blog, you may enjoy reading our sister sites:  Mother Connie Sez or The Healthy and Wealthy You.  There is a business blog that presents ideas about additional streams of income, too: Rapid Cash Review.

Some of our sponsors include ToothSoap, Saving Dinner, and Rapid Cash Marketing. They love it when you pay them a visit and so do we.

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Maxine Builds Soup?

September 28th, 2010

Is that Maxine, wearing a chef's hat? And is she turning one of her old dead chickens into SOUP? YUM! YUM!

Mother Connie was turning cartwheels on the kitchen table when Maxine sent her recipe for Chicken Soup.  You will most assuredly want to make this in YOUR kitchen, too, because it will absolutely become one of your “go-to” family favorites.  Here is the 411 with kudos and bear hugs to Maxine:

“A week or so ago, I told you that we were going to make chicken soup together this week.

There are two ways to go about this: either simmer chicken pieces in water, using the meat for a casserole and the liquid for soup, or simmer backs, necks and wing tips from other cooking you’ve done. Since I usually don’t cook backs and necks, I’ve always got a bag of them in my freezer. We’re going to use them today for an almost-free dinner.

Although you can drop them in water to begin cooking while they are still frozen, I find that I get much nicer, more appetizing broth by thawing them first. Place the pieces in a large Dutch oven or spaghetti pot and bake them in the oven at around 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (the time and temperature aren’t critical). This will “heal” the bones and produce a clearer, more flavorful broth. Pour off the fat that accumulates in the bottom of the pan.

Cover the pieces with water and add garlic, onion, celery and a carrot. Parsley and a bay leaf, if you’ve got them, plus a couple of chicken bouillon cubes or a spoonful of chicken soup base from a jar. Since you will be discarding the veggies, feel free to use the outer rings of an onion, celery tops with the leaves attached, and an unpeeled carrot, ends removed and sliced into a couple of pieces. I usually add a heaping teaspoon or so of chopped garlic out of a jar, but one or two whole, peeled garlic cloves will do it, too.

Bring almost to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, in order to keep a simmer. Simmer for at least an hour—longer won’t hurt. Remove the chicken pieces and veggies and discard the veggies.

Skim the fat from the broth—a gravy separator (one of those clear plastic cups with a long spout starting at the bottom of the cup) works great for this. If you aren’t making the soup until tomorrow, you can also refrigerate the broth and scrape the hardened fat off the top when it is cold.

Now, this is the other half of the secret to nice, clear broth. As you transfer the broth from one container to another, either with the gravy separator or just by pouring, do it slowly enough so that the “crud” stays in the bottom of the pan or separator. When you get down to almost no broth but lots of crud, dump out the remainder.

Crud, you ask? Well, it’s bits of skin, cooked blood, tiny pieces of bone, dabs of fat, etc. It won’t hurt you, and won’t change the flavor, but your soup will be a lot prettier if you get rid of it. (Also, your kids won’t ask, “Mama, what’s that stuff in the bottom of the bowl?—and, best of all, you won’t have to tell them).

Now, pick the meat from the bones. I usually use the backs, necks and wing tips from 3-4 chickens, and I end up with about a cup (plus or minus) of chicken bits. Discard the skin, bones, gristle—you just want the meat.

You can make the soup for tonight’s dinner, or refrigerate the stock for another day. On serving day, simply reheat the stock and add ingredients of your choice.

For chicken-rice soup, I add a little chopped onion, chopped celery, and leftover cooked rice. I haven’t had good luck cooking raw rice in the broth, although I know that plenty of people do it and are successful. (I end up with rice mush). I usually just stir in the cooked rice 5 minutes or so before serving. Taste the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper and any other spices or herbs that you like with chicken. I usually add summer savory and parsley flakes to mine.

Chicken noodle soup is basically the same recipe, except that you add uncooked noodles and cook them in the broth. You might like to add a chopped carrot, too.

Now here is my favorite—and it is really cheap—chicken vegetable, aka garbage soup. (I probably shouldn’t have told you that—definitely do not tell your husband or kids). I add dibs and dabs of whatever leftover vegetables, cooked beans and rice or pasta that I find in the fridge…as well as carrot, celery and a chopped potato (unless leftover cooked carrots and/or potatoes are already in it). Add a can of diced tomatoes and simmer until raw veggies are done. This will taste a little different every time you make it, but it will always be good. (And you’ll have a very clean fridge).

Serve your soup with saltines (store brand, of course!) and a salad—preferably something more substantial than lettuce. You’ll probably get about a gallon of soup, so you’ll have plenty for dinner, seconds and another meal. You can freeze the leftover soup in a plastic container (canning jars have a habit of cracking in the freezer).

This is basically the same way that you’ll make turkey soup the day after Thanksgiving. You can also cook beef bones and the ever-popular ham bone for soup this way, too.”

Wow, kids.  We just got a COOKING LESSON!  Must be our lucky day!  And did you notice how ECONOMICAL this meal is?  For those who utilize food commodities, food pantries, SNAP or WIC to fund their food budgets, this is a lifesaver.  If you are a user of Angel Food Ministries, you, too, will have chicken to work with and if you were like some of our bargain shopping members who picked up real rock bottom prices on chicken recently this is really going to help you a lot.

If you have not signed up for the series of cooking tips yet, we hope you will.  There will be some follow up messages, as well, but we do NOT inundate you with “stuff” so not to worry.  We know you are sharing this information with your circle of influence for our numbers are growing.  Our hearts are filled with gratitude.  Thank you so much!

Send your messages to  and please feel free to comment on this blog.  You may remain anonymous if you are shy.

If you are interested in health and healing you might like to see our sister sites:  The Healthy and Wealthy You or Mother Connie Sez. There is another site dealing with work at home ideas and those ideas appear on Rapid Cash Review. As you might expect, we love having reader comments there, too.

Our sponsors report to us that you have been paying them visits and they appreciate it as do we!

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Are YOU Frugal to the Core?

September 23rd, 2010
Apple season is in full swing!  Our frugal friend who is living on a dime has some great ideas we want to share with you!

Apple season is in full swing! Our frugal friend who is living on a dime has some great ideas and we want to share them with you!

Have you met our good friend from Living On A Dime, Tawra Kellam?  She has the most delightful website and tons of ideas.  She must have a building full of staff because she shares so many good ideas about living on the cheap that she could not possibly think of them all on her own!

Here are some of  best, most frugal notions about apples:


9 to 10 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. salt

Place everything into a crock pot. Stir, cover and cook on high 1 hour. Cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thick and dark brown. Stir occasionally. Uncover and cook on low 1 hour longer. Stir with whisk until smooth. Refrigerate or Freeze. Makes 2 pints.


4 large apples, cored and sliced
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Cut apples into 1/4 inch slices. Heat butter in a large skillet. Put the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the skillet and cover. Over medium-low heat, cook apple slices 7-10 minutes or until they begin to soften and the syrup thickens. Serve coated with excess syrup on top. Serves 4.


2 quarts apples, peeled, cored and halved

Coarsely grate apples. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 225° until dry. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

If you are living on a dime, dining on a dime can be tricky.  Especially so if you are using WIC or SNAP or food pantry food or food commodities.  Living On a Dime will be a great help to you. Please scope it out, won’t you?

We take great delight in the dialogue about chicken, saving money and the refrigerator that’s been taking place on the comments section of this blog.  Please keep those comments rolling in, people!  We love your mail, too: .

Our sponsors have been delighted to have you pop in, too.  And we note you are visiting our sister blogs: Mother Connie Sez as well as The Healthy and Wealthy You.  We appreciate your visits.

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Old Dead Chicken…Part Deux?

September 23rd, 2010

Chickens better beware! Maxine has plans and she's sharing those plans with us today!

Maxine Sullivan is on a roll!  She taught us yesterday how to cut up an old dead chicken; today she tells us a new way to serve it up to our loved ones! We present her dish, which we cannot wait to try ASAP!

“Yesterday I told you how to cut up an old dead chicken. Today I’m going to tell you what to do with it.

I’m giving you a recipe from Farm Journal’s Country Cooking book, which I found last week for $1 at a yard sale. Originally published in 1959, and updated in 1972, most of the recipes are simple and from scratch. You’ll find this true of most cookbooks published in that era, when people actually cooked and ate at home nearly every night.

I tweaked the recipe a bit when I made it, and I’m giving you the tweaked version.


3-1/2 to 4 lb. frying chicken, cut-up

1/3 cup flour

¾ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon pepper

¼ cup cooking oil or melted shortening

½ cup chopped onion

2 chicken bouillon cubes or a scant teaspoon of chicken soup base

½ cup hot water

1 cup sour cream  *I used low fat

Preheat frying pan and heat oil or shortening. Thoroughly coat pieces of chicken with a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and paprika.  Note: I shake the chicken in a cereal liner bag. Place chicken pieces in hot pan. Dust any remaining flour mixture over chicken pieces in the pan.

Brown chicken pieces about 15 minutes, turning once. Add onion.

Dissolve bouillon cubes or chicken base in hot water and add to chicken. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, adding water if necessary. Remove chicken to serving platter.

Add a small amount of pan drippings to sour cream and stir well. Then add mixture to remaining pan drippings and stir well. Cook until heated through, but do not boil. Pour some of the mixture over the chicken and serve the rest as gravy.

This is excellent served with buttered noodles. Add a salad or cooked vegetable, and you’ll have dinner for 4-5 people for around $5.

I always figure if you can make dinner for $5, you can feed a family of 4 for around $100 week. ($100 is less than the USDA thrifty meal budget for a family of 4). This is easy if you can get a whole chicken for $3 or so, and spend no more than another buck on added ingredients. Fill out the meal with potatoes, pasta or rice, plus veggies or salad.

You can save money on herbs and spices, such as the paprika used in this recipe, by buying your spices in bulk. You may have to look around for bulk spices. Some grocery stores have bulk food departments, and you’ll probably find them at health food stores that actually sell food, and not just supplements.

If your town is too small to have such a store, look in the nearest larger town, and make it a point to stop by when you are in the neighborhood. Spices that cost $5-$7 and up in bottles at the grocery store will literally cost pennies when bought in bulk.  Bulk, in this case, doesn’t necessarily mean a whole boatload of paprika. It means being able to buy as much or as little as you want to put in your own container.

Another source of low-cost herbs and spices may be the ethnic foods aisle in your local supermarket. Here in the west, it’s common to find spices used in ethnic dishes packaged in cellophane baggies hanging among the enchilada sauce and canned menudo. Each package typically costs a dollar or so, and the quality and freshness are excellent. You’ll find garlic, oregano, bay leaves, and many, many more…not to mention outstanding chili powder.

Good ole paprika doesn’t just come in bottles. Look for big red cans, net weight 5 ounces or so, for MUCH less than Schilling or Spice Islands. The brand in my cupboard right now is Kalocsa Sweet Hungarian Paprika.

The cheapest spices will be sold in bulk. The next-cheapest will be in cellophane envelopes in the ethnic foods aisle. Next up the line—at least for paprika—will be big cans in the spice aisles. Then comes the name-brand spices in little glass bottles.  Save your empty bottles to refill with bulk spices.

If there is a man in your house, see if you can interest him in learning to cut up chickens. For some reason, men usually enjoy that task. I think it makes them feel like cavemen. 🙂

–Maxine Sullivan

One of the many things I appreciate about Guest Bloggers is that they have such a fresh perspective from my own.  All the great ideas about choosing spices is wonderful, Maxine, and we gratefully and gleefully look forward to your next offering.

For my part, I can hardly WAIT to get into the kitchen, cut me up an old dead chicken and build a wonderful, tasty meal for very little moola!

If those of you who are reading this are anything like most of us, you are working hard all day and you are dog tired when you come home.  Unless you have SERVANTS-yeah, right; whatever-you may not feel like putting together a nourishing meal for your loved ones.  That’s when it’s easy to turn to junk food or bust the food budget with wrong, expensive choices.

For those who depend on food commodities, food pantries; WIC or SNAP-even Farmers Markets Coupons or Angel Food Ministries, we hope this site is helpful to you all.  We all want comfort food; we all want to hang onto as much of our food budgets as possible, so the idea is to be as helpful to all of you as possible.

WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.  Please let us hear what’s going on in YOUR kitchen by sending us your story:

You are most welcome to visit our sponsors and see what solutions to your life they have for you: The Dinner Diva and the ToothSoap people are prime examples of places where we can find good ways to save money.  In order to bring more money into your household, you can count on Rapid Cash Marketing .

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Maxine Had an Old Dead Chicken?

September 21st, 2010

Maxine Sullivan knows just what to do with an old, dead chicken and she shares her knowledge with the Club today!

Old, dead chickens are right up Maxine Sullivan’s alley when it comes to frugal food prep!  Maxine has been kind enough to prepare not only an old dead chicken, but some wise words that will benefit the Club greatly.  We thank Maxine for her generous offer to share her knowledge and experience and present her offering here:

“One of the most frugal skills a cook can have is the ability to cut up a whole chicken. This will take a maximum of 5 minutes of your time-about two minutes after you get good at it-and yield big savings. How big?

I never pay more than .79 lb. for whole fryers, and from time to time I get them for .69 and even .59 lb. At .79 lb., a 3-1/2 to 4 lb. chicken costs around $3.20 and will feed 4-5 people! At .59 lb., I can get a chicken big enough for a meal for around $2.

When they are on sale, I always stock up. Even if you only have the freezer across the top of your fridge, you can buy 1-3 extra birds. Just slide the unopened package into a bread bag and close it with a twister-tie. Write the date on the package.

Cutting up a chicken isn’t hard, and it’s a good way to work out your aggressions, LOL. I learned this skill from my late father, who was born in 1909.   His turned out neater than mine do.

Start by removing the neck and giblets, if any, from the cavity of the bird. Start with the chicken breast-side down on the cutting board and, using a heavy, sharp knife, cut off the wings at the joint where they attach to the body. Cut off the tip of each wing–that’s the 1/3 end of the wing that doesn’t have any meat. Next, cut the leg and thigh off the body-you may find it easier to move the leg/thigh around in order to find the joint. Now locate the joint between the leg and thigh and cut them apart. You’re almost done!

Look inside the body cavity and notice where the ribs come together. You need to cut the breasts and backs apart more or less along this line. You may find it easier to make your first cut at the edge of the body cavity, from the inside, or to snip along the ribs with a pair of kitchen shears. Once the body is in two pieces, it’s time to cut the breasts into smaller portions. Separate the breasts by using your shears to vertically cut through the soft bone of the breast. Finish by using your knife like a cleaver. If you want more pieces of chicken, cut each breast in half.

I never cook the backs, but if you do, cut them in half horizontally at the joint. Be sure to clean the inside of the backs thoroughly under running water.  I think those things that look like guts are the chicken’s lungs.  If no one in your family eats the backs–they don’t have much meat–set them aside with the wing tips and neck and freeze them for soup. Every time you cut up a chicken-even if it has been previously frozen-add the backs, wing tips and neck to your freezer bag. When you have enough–say, from 3-4 birds–thaw them and use to make chicken soup stock.

I always throw the chicken pieces into a sink full of cold water, rinse them, and pat dry. Frugal tip: use a clean terrycloth rag, instead of paper towels, to dry the chicken, rinse the rag and put it in the dirty laundry.

It has taken me longer to write this than it would take to cut up 2 or 3 chickens. And I’m a fast writer! Really, it’s that fast and that easy. If you’ve never done it, you really should give it a shot the next time whole fryers are on sale.

Now it’s time to clean up. Wash your cutting board and knife in hot, soapy water. Add a squirt of chlorine bleach to the water. Rinse well and allow the board and knife to air dry. Wipe down your counter with the same water, rinse your dishcloth well, and put it in the laundry. We don’t want any club members to get salmonella!

From time to time, you may see “thrifty packs” advertised at a lower price than whole fryers. Only buy these if your family likes dark meat. What you are getting is a whole chicken plus an extra thigh and leg. In some cases, you may be getting all dark meat. You may also be getting backs–which really aren’t a good buy. I find I get the most for the money by buying whole fryers. Heck, if you want to roast one, you don’t even have to cut it up first–just clean the body cavity thoroughly.

Tomorrow I’ll have a-new to me-chicken recipe for you to try. I made it for the first time last night, and it’s a definite keeper. Next week, we’ll make homemade chicken soup with the backs and wings.  It’s almost like getting a free meal!”

–Maxine Sullivan

O golly, Maxine.  For those who are using WIC or SNAP or Angel Food Ministries; even those who have food commodities or food pantry food, this is great and useful information.  Even if people just want to be frugal and make great food for very little money, this will help every single one of the Club Members!

Here’s the kicker, kids:  As she mentioned, Maxine has another goody for us tomorrow so do stay tuned and let your circle of influence know so they can get in on the fun.  They can also sign up for the series of cooking tips, if they have not already done so.


Please feel free to visit our sponsors to see what good things they are offering and to see how you might enhance your life.
You are also welcome to send your thoughts to because we LOVE to hear from you!

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: School Lunches?

September 16th, 2010

"School days, school days...Good old Golden Rule days...Readin' and writin' and 'rithmetic..Taught to the tune of a hick'ry stick...

We can be fairly sure that the school children in this School Days picture did not have a hot lunch program.  It’s very likely they carried a biscuit spread with lard, maybe with a chunk of salt pork in a syrup pail.  If they were really lucky, and the weather was cool enough,there may have been some hard cooked eggs, too.

Our little neighbor girls got me thinking about school lunches when I spied them having their evening meal in the yard one beautiful evening.   I asked them, “Whatcha eating that’s good?” and they held up their sandwiches, neatly wrapped in paper napkins.

I moved closer to inspect them…from our porch, it looked as if Daddy had sprung for a meal at the local sandwich shop.  I asked what they had in them.

Both girls were non plus.  “Beans” came their reply.  They sounded bored and they probably thought I was pretty nosey for even inquiring.

Beans, indeed!  There, on a fat hoagie bun, was a thick filling of refried beans and layers of avocadoes and tomatoes.  Now why hadn’t I thought of that?

For school lunches or for lunches that go to offices, that sammie would be IDEAL.  It would keep well in an insulated lunch bag or the office fridge; it would satisfy any sized appetite and it would taste delish!

That same filling would be great on burger buns, hot dog buns, slices of Foccacia bread or bagels.  What do you have on hand?  It would be great for this type of lunch.  Add some carrot sticks-remember, no baby carrots!!!-and maybe a cup of applesauce and you have it made.

Kids are notorious for trading lunches.  Kids would not be likely to trade a lunch like that.

Furthermore, youngsters today have no clue about Karo syrup pails with biscuits spread with lard.  Aren’t we grateful?

One of our faithful Club Members found a cute site about traveling lunches whether it be for school or work: Laptop Lunches It’s a cute site, filled with so many ideas.  It’s great eye candy!  You’ll want to see it.  You can even sign up for their newsletter.  I get no coins for mentioning it, so don’t worry about Mother Connie mopping up!

People who need-or want- to make the most of their food budgets, like users of WIC or SNAP or food commodities, even food pantries can benefit from this idea.  BUT most likely those same folks will have creative and tasty ideas of their own to share.

If YOU have a great low cost lunch idea, shoot an email here:    Oh, how we love getting your notes and suggestions and comments.

You can leave a comment on this blog, if you like.  You may remain anonymous or brag about YOUR blog or website, if it’s germane.

Please feel free to sign up for our series of cooking tips and very occasional email broadcasts, too.  And while you’re at it, you might like to see The Healthy and Wealthy You blog or the Mother Connie Sez blog. Each is different from the other but they all have to do with health and good eating.

Connie Baum <—–This link will take you to a place you’ll love to go! 🙂

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Pocket in Your Apron?

September 16th, 2010

Is that money in the pocket of Mother Connie's apron?

There has been a flurry of messages coming in regarding the corn meal mush post.  If you saw it, you’ll remember that we solicited your stories and you have answered the call!  Thank you very much!

One of our faithful members, Maxine, sent a well written anecdote about her family and you are sure to enjoy it.  We offer it here, with our gratitude to Maxine:

“This happened when I was a child in the 1950s. I remember it at the time, and my mother and I joked about it for years afterward. But it was nothing to joke about at the time.

My father was an alcoholic who was obsessed by food. I’m sure he went hungry during the Depression, but he never admitted it. I am sure now that my mother was clinically depressed most of her life, and certainly during the years I was growing up. Life at our house wasn’t fun.

This occurred when you could buy groceries for a family of 4 for about $20 a week. One week, my mother lost the $20 she had budgeted for groceries. We were always poor because of my dad’s drinking, so there wasn’t any other money for groceries. She also couldn’t tell my dad because he would blow like a volcano, and she wasn’t willing to deal with him. Somehow, some way, she had to make do.

We lived in a tiny house with no storage, so she didn’t have much in the pantry (one 3 ft board stretched across the basement stairs). But what we had, we ate. She cooked beans, because she had them. She made hot biscuits, so she wouldn’t have to buy as much bread. She made soup. My dad was a milkman, we got all of our milk products wholesale, and the bill was deducted from his pay the next month. So she bought eggs,  cheese, cottage cheese…anything the milk company sold, we ate it that week. Although our diet was a bit more varied than your parents’ cornmeal mush, we totally ate at the bottom of the food chain. Amazingly, my dad never noticed.

About a year later, my mother grabbed an apron from the back of the closet and noticed that it needed washing. When she went through the pocket, she found a $20 bill…and knew EXACTLY how it got there. She never told my dad, though. Although we laughed about it for years, he would have NEVER seen the humor. Not even 30 years later.”

aka mikemax

Those of us who have had pantries like the one Maxine describes or those of us who lived with people who imbibed too much can really relate to this story.  And we can all appreciate the humor, even though Maxine’s dad would not have!

If YOU are using SNAP or WIC via the EBT card or if you use food commodities or food pantry food; even if you are just frugal and want to provide comfort food on a shoestring budget, we welcome you here.  Maybe you have goods from Angel Food Ministries or Farmers Markets; in any case we hope we are providing a service for you that enhances your lives.

You, like Maxine, can enhance our lives with your stories, anecdotes and food ideas.  Just send them along to  and know we will deeply appreciate them AND YOU.

For other blogs you may like, please visit Mother Connie Sez or The Healthy and Wealthy You.  Your comments are welcome on those just as much as on this blog.

Thank you for visiting the Club House and our sponsors!

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Cooking By the Book?

September 15th, 2010

Mother Connie has a hodge podge of cookbooks and recipes; some food notions just live in her head...

We are favored with another Guest Post from one of our Club Members today!  This is so wonderful!  Mother Connie is feeling a strong sense of community, what with all the comments and Guest offerings.  THIS IS WHY THE FOOD STAMPS COOKING CLUB WAS CREATED!  Please feel free to contribute YOUR ideas and recipes and experiences, everyone!

Today’s post comes to us from iamtheworkingpoor and it is totally delightful.  Please pop in to her blog and comment, won’t you?  She has a wonderful little ditty on the web and it would mean so much to her and to me if you would pay her a visit and leave your fingerprints.

Here is what she sent us:

“Collecting cookbooks can become an expensive hobby for those that enjoy cooking. There are many cookbooks printed per month that range in price from eight dollar paperbacks to forty dollar hardcovers. Most big bookstores have a bargain section where you can find a selection of older marked down cookbooks. Very nice hardcovers can be found for five to ten dollars. Other places to find cookbooks are yard sales, thrift shops, online auctions, and my personal favorite library book sales.

I love finding cookbooks from the twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties. Those batter splattered pages with the crinkled edges and hand written notes next to a much used recipe are my favorites because I use the most recipes from these. They never include recipes using boxed cake mixes, or processed cheese foods, or bags of powdery dried potato flakes. Cakes were made with flour, sugar, vanilla, and butter back then. Potatoes were those roundish lumpy things that came from a garden or market, and no-one had heard of cheese food.

I have amassed quite a cookbook collection over time. I’ve found some that I only use one or two recipes from. Others are pretty to look at but I find I won’t really use. Every once in a while I’ll have a clear out and make a donation to the library.

If you are just starting out in your kitchen and don’t have a cookbook handed down to you it’s easy to start your own recipe collection in a blank book or binder. In fact, I have one of my own and use it often. Recipes can be found on food packaging, in magazines or newspapers, on websites such as Food Stamps Cooking Club, or in cookbooks you can check out for free at your local library.

I found my blank book in a bargain bin at a bookstore for three dollars. I found stick on plastic tabs at a department store to mark different sections. The fun with this is you can create any headings you want. You can have Grandma’s recipes, things the kids will eat, and cat food. My sections are as follows: main dishes, side dishes, soups + stews, sauces + dips + drinks, mixes + ideas + time savers, bread, breakfast, cakes + dessert, and bars + cookies.

I’ve filled mine with handwritten recipes from television shows, friends, and family. I’ve also glued in recipes cut out of newspapers and magazines and off of packages. I’ve even glued a few recipes in that were printed from Internet sites.

I’ve been meaning to make a cookbook for each one of my children with favorite recipes from dishes they ate when they were little. I also want to include a few family stories pertaining to celebrations or cooking.  I also have a few photographs of family members  cooking to include amongst the recipes.

For those on food stamps or tight budgets this is an easy way to keep track of recipes and try new dishes. If I try a recipe from a magazine and I don’t care for it I will simply peel it out and and glue another one in it’s place. It’s an ever evolving creation.

I wasn’t always organized in this area. Recipes were shoved in drawers here and there. I lost the recipe to the cookies I made in a baking class in school. I’ve lost the recipe for a cake my brother and I used to make together. However, I still have the recipe for the cookies my older brother made in a high school cooking class because it was written in a cookbook at my parents house. The last time I called for it many years ago, my dad copied it onto a piece of scrap paper and brought it to me. Now that he is gone that handwritten recipe in my book brings precious memories. The only problem I will face later in life is who to pass this down to. I have three children.

Create your own family cookbook and personalize it. Make it your own and have fun. You’ll never have to search for your most used recipe again.”

GREAT ideas, my friend!  You’ve made us all feel like family!

For people who are using food commodities or items from food pantries; for those who have EBT cards for SNAP or WIC; or users of Angel Food Ministries and those frugal souls who just want to manage their food costs as efficiently as possible – any of us will want to follow iamtheworkingpoor’s lead and create a simple cookbook as a lasting legacy!

Since we are all family around here, we invite you to submit your name and email address for the series of cooking tips we send out.  We are not interested to clog your inbox with junk mail so you won’t hear from us often.  If  there is something we believe would be of interest or benefit to you, we do make occasional broadcasts.
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Food Stamps Cooking Club: Fall Calls for Bread Pudding

September 14th, 2010

Fall is in the air and so is the fragrance of bread pudding! Cheap n easy! That's how we roll at Food Stamps Cooking Club!

One of our faithful members, Rainy, has offered up this cute story and easy-do, inexpensive treat.

“Fall is inching towards us and along with all of the beautiful artistry that God paints our scenery with…Fall brings out the desire to wrap ourselves in comforting clothes, foods, and smells.  That means digging through closets for those nice soft, bulky sweaters and preparing foods and beverages that are piping hot and filling; evoking memories of meals that Mom and Grandma would make.

One of those types of treats is a basic bread pudding recipe. Years ago, my mother in law was talking about her bread pudding recipe.  She was going to make a batch because she said she had stale bread and souring milk to get rid of.  ha ha ha Now doesn’t that sound tempting.  NOT….and that is exactly what I thought.

When she had made it, the outcome didn’t look or taste any better to me, than my thoughts.  She took it out of the oven and served it to rave reviews by everyone except me.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my mother in law and wouldn’t have hurt her feelings for anything in the world.  But, to my eye…it looked a little too gummy to my particular liking; maybe if she’d cooked it a little longer I might have had a different perception of it.

As it was, it took me years to fall in love with bread pudding because of my 1st impression. If it were me, I thought to myself, I would do this or that.  I started tweaking it in my own mind.  Her recipe had milk, sugar, bread, cinnamon and raisins.  Good ingredients and I have made it that way myself many times.

However, I started experimenting.  Over time, I added apples, peaches, nuts and so on.  IN OTHER WORDS, I add in whatever strikes my mood. Here is my basic recipe…add whatever you like:

A loaf and a half of bread (it doesn’t HAVE to be stale like my mother in law believed); rip the bread into pieces in a large bowl and add… About 2/3 cup of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, and enough milk (or if you desire you can use apple cider) to saturate the bread.  Spray a deep cookie sheet 11×13 with non stick spray.  Then pour the bread mixture into the pan and pat it evenly over the pan.  Add whatever fruit you desire…it can be fresh, canned or frozen.  Just remember, if it is frozen thaw it first and drain excess liquid.  Add nuts if you desire. An exceptional combination is to add cherries or raspberries and about a cup of dark chocolate chips/chunks and some walnuts or pecan pieces.   I have even made bread pudding with the apples and then made a orange flavored glaze to drizzle over the top after the bread pudding has cooked to a soft inside consistency with a slightly crispy, lightly brown topside.    This is a perfect dish to serve with coffee or tea for company; or, to serve alongside Connie’s quiche recipe for a great morning start to your day or, for one of those blustery Fall evening meals when you are chilled and just want the smells of fall to perfume the air.  Enjoy!”

–Rainy Please take the time to visit Rainy’s blog and leave a comment for her, won’t you?  Thanks; I’m sure she will deeply appreciate that.

Oh, good grief, Rainy!  I can hardly wait to get to the kitchen to stir this up this comfort food!  THANK YOU.

For those who are using Angel Food Ministries, EBT cards from WIC or SNAP, food from food pantries or food commodities will appreciate Rainy’s recipe because it is really comfort food on a shoestring.  And those who are frugal will want to try this goody!

Some of you may not have stopped by Mother Connie’s other projects and you are welcome to do so:

Mother Connie Sez is a place for her to carry on about health;  The Healthy and Wealthy You is a blog about-big surprise-being healthy and wealthy!  If you have any entrepreneurial spirit about you, there is a blog about ideas for working from home: Rapid Cash Review.  As you can imagine, comments are always shamelessly solicited!

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Quiche!

September 13th, 2010

It's a shame you cannot smell this delectable quiche, let alone taste it! O my stars and garters, but it's delish!

Are you a fan of Leanne Ely, The Dinner Diva?  She is out in the world Saving Dinner. I was completely enthralled with her recent offering for a quiche recipe.  I was not prepared for how utterly delicious and how ABSOLUTELY EASY it is to prepare.

Of course, you know Mother Connie.  She had to put her spin on it so here’s what we had for lunch today:

Mother Connie’s Pared Down Version of The Dinner Diva’s Quiche

This will serve two hungry people twice.  And both people will be happy two times, I guarantee it!

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1 scosh (a scosh is my mom’s word for just a dab) of milk or water

salt and pepper just the way you like it.  I like lots of pepper.

1/2  of a 10 oz package of frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze the excess moisture out  (Save the other half for your next salad)

1 leek, sliced and soaked in salt water to get rid of the grit.  Drain and saute until the leeks are tender.

4 oz taco cheese, grated

Beat the eggs, milk or water, and seasonings.  Add the leeks.  Into a greased pie plate, pour the whole works and top with the cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees-I started mine in a cold oven so the oven and the mixture could warm together.  After 20 minutes, check for doneness.  It will have a nice brown crust on top and should be firm.  If you over bake it, your quiche will be tough.  If you under bake it the eggs will be runny.  YUCK

This far exceeded my expectations for lunch!  I hardly had room for the chunk of Foccacia bread and dish of cinnamon applesauce I had set out!  Here’s hoping you like this dish as much as we did.

We have two wedges left from this recipe; they will become breakfast sammies on Foccacia bread tomorrow!  I can hardly wait to wake up to that hearty, protein-packed breakfast!  With a small glass of juice, we’ll be set for a great, productive, healthy day!

Again we thank Leanne Ely for a great idea we could tweak.  You can get her great ideas, too, by signing up for her email messages on Saving Dinner.

Leanne is always on the hunt for recipes and ideas to save time and money in the kitchen and to share.  Who isn’t?

If you are holding an EBT card for SNAP or WIC; if you utilize Angel Food Ministries foods; if you have access to food commodities or a food pantry, this is the place to come for help and encouragement.

Maybe you love comfort food; it could be you are just frugal and want clever ways to save on your food dollars.  This is the place for you.

We so love hearing from all of you.  We appreciate your ideas and tips and comments.  will get your messages to us.

Our sponsors, like Saving Dinner, love to hear from you, too.

We also invite you to pop by The Healthy and Wealthy You, as well as Mother Connie Sez and Rapid Cash Review for your reading and learning pleasure.  There is a wealth of information out there in cyberspace and some of it has been captured on these recommended sites.

Connie Baum

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