Archive for March, 2012

Our Mailbox and Food Stamps Cooking Club

March 26th, 2012
Our readers have sent us some great bean recipes!

Oh, how we love mail!  Several of our faithful Club Members have contributed ideas and recipes and today we share one that will have you making plans to try this dish ASAP!  We owe a debt of gratitude to Carol    who thoughtfully sent her latest find:   (Incidentally, Carol lives in Northeastern USA)

“Campbell’s” style pork beans

1  lb dried pea/navy beans, rinsed, sorted

1  T cooking oil

3  cloves garlic, minced

1  medium onion, chopped fine

8  slices bacon, fried until crisp, drained and cut fine

2  tsp soy sauce (I used reduced sodium version)

1 and 1/2-2 cups water

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup cooking oil

1 and 1/2 tsp salt

3 T sugar

2  T corn starch

1  T cold water


1. Soak beans overnight (or use the quick soak method), drain, rinse. Cover with fresh water and bring to a boil

2. Meanwhile, saute onions and garlic in 1 T cooking oil, until onions are translucent, set aside

3. Place beans into a crock pot and cover with 1 1/2-2 cups of the now hot cooking water. Add the soy sauce, onion/garlic mixture, bacon.

4. Cook on high for 2 hours, then set to low and continue cooking until beans are soft

5. Mix ketchup, oil, salt, sugar and add to softened beans in crock pot. Continue cooking on low, to allow flavors to blend.

6. Just before serving, mix a slurry out of the cornstarch and cold water. Carefully fold it into the beans. Let cook a bit more to allow the slurry to thicken the sauce.


I ended up making a double batch, we had some for supper tonight, and I have 2 meals’s worth of “Campbells” beans in the freezer.   ~ Carol

Thank you again, Carol!  We really appreciate your input! 

Another Member, Charlene, has also sent us some great ideas; Mother Connie will save that for another post!

It is heartwarming to know that there are peeps ALL OVER THE GLOBE who are interested to help one another with managing food costs.  The USA is not the only place where folks struggle to feed their family on a shoestring budget.  If you are holding an EBT card for SNAP  or WIC; if you frequent food pantries or use food commodities you know full well what’s going on with food costs.  Our passion is to help people S T R E T C H food dollars and food budgets by offering nutritious, low cost menu ideas.

Oh, and speaking of ideas—I must tell you that it was our great pleasure to host Kay, a lovely woman from England recently.   I was concerned about offering her a breakfast she would truly like to eat.  I needn’t have worried…Kay told me she is accustomed to her “proper English breakfast” of beans on toast!  I was surprised to hear this because it is so simple.  But, just think–it provides complete protein and that is a great start for anyone’s day!  Carol’s bean recipe would fill the bill perfectly  but I am just as fond of refried beans on toast.  When we use The Normanator’s home made bread, that is a VERY satisfying meal, indeed!  And it would be a proper English breakfast, after  all.  grin

We’d love to hear from YOU.  Our address is 

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.

Microwaving & Soup at Food Stamps Cooking Club

March 4th, 2012


WARNING: Microwaves ARE dangerous!

Mother Connie has been taken to task for going overboard with respect to microwave ovens.  She was called out for being radical.  Mother Connie is one tough ole broad and can take criticism, but this is not about MC.  IT IS ABOUT YOU BEING SAFE AND HEALTHY.

Mother Connie, as you are well aware, is passionate about helping people.  People are not helped by microwaving their foods. This is not merely opinion; this is truth.  Please direct your attention to this article, which ‘splains the dangers more eloquently than your humble blogger: Microwave Ovens: The Proven Danger

‘Nuff said about THAT.  Let’s find something fun to discuss.  How about FOOD?

People who sit in my circle know how I love to cook so Santa brought by a daily calendar put out by The Food Network.  Each day there is a new delight to peruse and use.  Most of the dishes I find are a bit “high end” for those of us who fuss over our food budgets or use EBT cards from SNAP or WIC.  However, there is a doozee of a crock pot soup that is ab-so-toot-ly DELISH.


Slow Cookers are safe to use! They make life simpler, even!



1  cup dried multibean mix or great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed

1   14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes w/their juice

3  cloves garlic,smashed

2  ribs celery, chopped

2  medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2  medium onion, chopped

1/2  cup pearl barley *Mother Connie toasted hers before adding it to the soup but the recipe did not call for that step

1  bay leaf

2  teaspoons dried Italian herb blend

1/2  oz died porcini mushrooms *optional  Good thing; I don’t keep those on hand…do YOU? grin

Kosher salt and pepper  * The Kitchen Police did not object to my use of sea salt…

3  cups baby spinach *I used frozen, chopped

1  cup grated Parmesan cheese

1  tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Olive oil, for drizzling


Put the beans, 6 cups of water, tomatoes and their juice, garlic, celery, carrots, onion, barley, bay leaf, Italian herb blend, mushrooms 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and some pepper in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick-about 8 hours. 

Stir in the spinach, cheese, and vinegar.  Cover and let the soup sit until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and drizzle each serving with a bit of olive oil.

Thank you, Food Network Calendar!

In the Club House, we like to spoon most any kind of soup over crusty bread.  The Normanator baked bread with a bit of almond flour and this made us a great lunch.  Since there are just the two of us there was plenty left over to freeze for a quick meal on a busy day.  We also had a green salad with our bean/barley soup.  We were well nourished and we both had happy tummies!

Soup is a great comfort food on cold, blustery March days.  If you are struggling to S T R E T C H your food dollars it’s a good way to feed your family.  If you know anyone who is living on a dime-or less-you may want to share this link with them.  We are all about helping people here.  Maybe you use food commodities or know someone who does.  You might frequent a food pantry…this page is for YOU.

We love mail:

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.