Archive for the ‘cooking class’ category

Food Stamps Cooking Club: DESSERT!

September 26th, 2015


Who doesn’t love dessert?

The Cooking Class at SENCA in Tecumseh, NE featured desserts that contribute to good health and in the interest of Quality Assurance, we HAD to do our fair share of taste testing.  *I know.  You must feel terribly sorry for us.  grin

Kathy made a Weight Watchers delight.  She used frozen fruit she had thawed and drained (ANY fruit would do).  She sprinkled a packet of gelatin (ANY flavor would do) and stirred in a few spoonfuls of low fat cottage cheese.  (ANY cottage cheese would do.)  She stirred it all together and added a few spoonfuls of whipped topping.  It got all fluffy and pretty and we spooned some out to taste.  Mmmmm!  Winner!  Winner!  DESSERT FOR DINNER!

Terri pleased our palettes with an apple pie.  This one had a twist; there was a mixture of flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and oatmeal flakes where most diners would expect crust!  It was still warm from the oven when it arrived to our table.  There was swooning and ooohing and aaahing all around as we marveled at how satisfying her dessert was!

Mother Connie’s contribution was a simple collection of berries…I used fresh raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. (Any combination would do!)  I had cut them and sprinkled a dab of sugar over them and let them hang out in the fridge to get all juicy and delish.  While they chilled, I warmed some honey very gently on the stove and to that I added some sticks of cinnamon and a few shakes of ground cinnamon.  Pouring warm honey over cold berries is a good duet for your taste buds!

There was a good bit of discussion about people making low cost, high nutrition meals and desserts.  Everyone shared helpful ideas about shopping tips, family favorites and ways of re-imagining the recipes that were shared.

The next cooking class will be held prior to Turkey Day and since everyone is interested in saving time AND money, we’ll be making freezer meals once again.

Are you a user of SNAP or WIC funds with an EBT card?  Do you get food commodities?  Have you visited a food pantry or food bank?  Maybe you are just frugal by nature.  Perhaps you love to cook; you may even hate to cook.  In any case, this little piece of the internet is devoted to helping those of you who use public assistance for your food dollars.  We are here for you, supporting  you and caring about you.

We are tickled pink and blue and doing the Happy Dance because of all the new Members who have signed up for our little series of cooking tips.  You are welcome to share you ideas with us by sending an email to  *We are just like little kids when we get MAIL!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. 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. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: $aving $

September 23rd, 2015
If you barely have 2 pennies to rub together, eating out is not much of an option. That's Mother Connie's 2 cents' worth...

If you barely have 2 pennies to rub together, cooking at home is a fabulous option. That’s    Mother Connie’s 2 cents’ worth…

Since this little portion of the internet is devoted to helping those who use an EBT card for SNAP or WIC it seems prudent to come up with low cost ideas to get everyone fed who comes to your table. *If you have more money than the other richest person in your town this might be of interest, too.

Personally I love to cook.  Not everyone shares my passion so maybe I’ll have a notion or two that might be helpful.  As you know, there is nothing to buy here; just ideas to help s t r e t c h your food dollars.

Today I’m thinking about fall menus.  There is a spaghetti squash on our table, awaiting some TLC.  I have big plans for that one:  I’ll make up some spaghetti sauce and bake the squash.  I’ll scoop out the strings that resemble regular pasta and hope I can find some crusts of bread in the freezer to toast for garlic bread. YUM.  Quick!  Cheap!  Easy!  How can it get any better than that?

BTW, jar sauce works the same way.  Especially if you are not into making sauce and/or you have a jar or can of sauce from the food bank, food pantry or food commodities.

You can dress anything up to please your family’s palettes.  Add some oregano to your canned or jarred sauce.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the whole works, or stir some in to thicken that sauce.  Or forget Parmesan altogether.  It’s your call.  *Do you feel as if you have more control now?  grin

If you are short on pasta and long on Zucchini (It happens often this time of year!) here is a nifty trick:  peel a zucchini squash and then peel off strips of the squash…the strips will resemble pasta.  Continue to “peel” until you have a good sized pile of “pasta”…no need to cook this but you can drop it into a pot of boiling water just to heat it through.  Drain it well and pour the sauce over the veg just as if it were real noodles.  It is a delightful change of pace and if you have someone in your gang who is sensitive to gluten they will be forever grateful you cared to make this dish!

I am very fond of cauliflower.  I plan to tear the head that sits in the crisper into florets.  I’ll scatter them over a baking pan and drizzle the whole business with oil. *I prefer olive or coconut oil but you have your own fave, so feel free to use what you like.

These darlings will go into a very hot oven (400*, depending on the oven and how it heats-or doesn’t) and they will get all tender and sweet and charred.  Roasted vegetables have way more flavor than veggies boiled or steamed or sauteed.  I’ll put a sprinky-dink of salt and pepper over the finished product and it will be fit for royalty!

I do the same thing with broccoli.  Sometimes I roast the pair of veggies together in the same pan.  I have even been known to shake some Parmesan cheese over the whole deal before it makes it to the table. DIVINE, I tell ya!

At the risk of changing the subject too quickly I want to mention the Cooking Class we’ll be having at SENCA in Tecumseh, NE on Friday, September 25.  *SENCA is South East Nebraska Community Action.  It is all about helping people, changing lives.  There is a Cooking Class there four times a year and it will be WAY fun!  Someone will talk about the Weight Watchers program and I get to help with dessert!  *I’ll share that dessert with all of you very soon.  Not everybody will be able to attend the class in person, after all.

If YOU are interested in coming to this class you need to know that there is NO COST for the class but you must save your place at the table by phoning 402 335 2134 and asking for Terri.

The Club is constantly welcoming new ‘members’…we are happy to have all of you here and hope the little series of cooking tips will be helpful to you. We care deeply about people, even more than food!  Grin

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. 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. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind.





Food Stamps Cooking Club: Cheap ‘n Cheerful

June 25th, 2015

Cooking in a cheerful environment makes creating cheap meals more enjoyable!

Here’s hoping you have not felt terribly neglected over the past months…we have been  a little busy helping The Normanator recover from open heart surgery and conduct his cardiac rehab program. You can tell that our dining room is a tad disheveled but the kitchen is cheery and I love being there to prepare our meals.

Today I want to share with you how our food pantry was a huge, ginormous help to us.  Occasionally they get truckloads of goodies that must be  used ASAP.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I went there for a meeting and upon my leave, I had bag after bag after bag of fresh ORGANIC spinach and other greens!  I was thrilled  to have this fresh produce but I knew we could not use it all.  I wondered who I could bless…

After most of the spinach had found new homes and delighted their receivers I set about to think of how I could best use the greens before they withered.

Here’s what happened:  I made a white sauce in my 4 quart saucepan, using some coconut oil, flour, milk and just a touch of salt and pepper.  I stirred it till it thickened and then I added all the freshly rinsed and drained spinach.  It completely filled the pot to overflowing.  I gently stirred the mixture as it heated.  The warmer the pot and its contents, the more quickly the greens withered into a bright mass, soaking up the lovely white sauce.

It just so happened that my “cook once/eat twice” adage was working for me…I rummaged in the freezer to find a freezer container that was full and marked “cooked and seasoned ground beef”!  I thawed that in a bit of beef broth til it was heated through thoroughly, stirring occasionally.

Just as I removed the lovely creamed spinach from the heat I sprinkled a little nutmeg over top.  Mmmmm it smelled DIVINE.  It was just as tasty.

I easily made a cheap and  cheerful meal for almost no $.  I am a happy girl!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you use SNAP or WIC goods by  having an EBT card?  Maybe you receive food commodities or get help from a food pantry.  The dish I described above can be made with canned spinach and if you have no beef, chicken, rice or orzo or potatoes could be substituted.  We just wanna help those of you who depend on public assistance for your food dollars.

Our SENCA, South East Community Action, Center will be hosting a cooking class in Tecumseh, Nebraska on July 24.  For more information you can email me:  There is no charge for the class but you will need to know what to bring.  *It’s gonna be FUN!

Here’s hoping your summer is making your heart sing!  It really feels good to be blogging for you again.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. 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: Beef ‘n Barley Soup

March 5th, 2015


What could be more satisfying on a brisk March day than a serving of

Beef and Barley soup?

One cup of barley went into a cold skillet as this soup was “born”…I toasted it gently over a medium-low heat, stirring to make sure it did not brown too quickly.  This process took about 5 minutes and the elegant aroma of toasting barley made for time well spent!

Next came a box of chicken broth.

SIDEBAR:  Beef broth would have been preferable but you know that we use what we have because the Kitchen Kops do not CARE!  END SIDEBAR.

There was a container of beef I had browned for another meal in the freezer.  It was a perfect item to use for this soup!  The block of beef, still frozen, went into the broth, as did the toasted barley.

While the heat thawed the meat and warmed the broth I chopped up an onion and 3 or 4 ribs of celery, using a rough chop.  Those went into a bit of oil in my trusty cast iron skillet for a quick saute`…at this point the kitchen began to smell divine.

As lunchtime neared and the stirring and aroma were making the household eager for the meal to be served, I decided to add a bit of color.  *The color was completely optional.  If you do not have ‘gravy booster’ liquid in your pantry, do not worry your head about it.

Two small spoonfuls of the liquid made for a beefy looking broth.  Then I made an executive decision:  the broth was too thin.  With a bit of cold water and about 3 teaspoons of corn starch mixed together, I added the thickener to the soup and the new consistency pleased me no end!

I let it simmer on a very low heat while I put a meat patty into a hot skillet.  I love the sizzle that happens when cold beef hits a hot surface!

SIDEBAR: The meat in the patty was left from the day I made stuffed red peppers.  As I mentioned in a recent Cooking Class, a meat loaf mixture can be made and used for not only meat loaf, but for meat balls, meat patties and stuffed peppers.  Saves time, gives the cook options and tastes divine!  END SIDEBAR.

When the meat was sufficiently browned on one side, I flipped it to cook the other side.  While it took care of business on its own, I spread mayo on brown bread and added some crisp lettuce leaves to make sandwiches as companions to the soup.

A Quality Assurance taste test reminded me that thyme would add a bit of zip so I sprinkled ever so little into the soup and gave it one last stir.

As you can see by the photo above, the soup looked quite good enough to eat!  Sorry; I forgot to photograph the sandwiches, which were wondermous, btw.  Our house guest did not know they were sammies; she called them by their English name:  “butties”.  She pronounces that “buh ti’  as with a short ‘i’.  We giggled our way through lunch, as you might imagine.

If you have barley in your pantry, you could make it into a hearty soup all on its own, without meat.  I thin you will find it to be filling, nutritious and inexpensive.  Paired with sandwiches or salad or fruit you have a simple meal that is easy to prepare, quick to fix, and very budget friendly.

We would be remiss if we did not welcome the New Members to the Club!  It is so gratifying to know that this little corner of the web is able to touch peoples’ lives in ways they find meaningful and helpful.  Thank you so much for putting your toes under our table in a virtual manner!

If you are a user of an EBT card from SNAP or WIC, if you receive food commodities or have things from a food pantry, we have dedicated our work to YOU.  Maybe you just like to nurse your nickels for sport…perhaps you are not using public assistance but are simply skint and are on the lookout for ways to be frugal in the kitchen.  We hope we are meeting and exceeding your expectations.

We love mail-hint/hint-you are welcome to send mail to:

To all our members, we remind you that you are dearly loved and cared about.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. 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: Garlic Lovers’ Dream

March 2nd, 2015

2015-01-08 1st Phone 001Midnight Pasta is the easiest, tastiest pasta dish you’ll ever make!

Is pasta one of YOUR comfort foods, too?

I’ve always fancied spaghetti, macaroni and any other pasta product ever invented.  Recently I’ve turned to the gluten free varieties and I do believe G-Free is my favorite now.  It never gets mushy as it cooks!  I bring well salted water to a boil, add the pasta, lowering the heat a bit.

SIDEBAR:My favorites are spaghetti or linguine but any pasta will do. END SIDEBAR.

I put a wooden spoon across the cooking pot instead of replacing the lid and let it simmer until the pasta is cooked–20 minutes.

For Midnight Pasta I do as I’ve described and while it bubbles I take a whole head of garlic (If you have a larger crowd around your dinner table, you’d want to add more garlic accordingly).  I peel it and put it into a skillet with a bit of olive or coconut oil.  You’ll need to put it on a low heat and stir it occasionally.  As the garlic cooks and sweetens it softens.  When every bud has become soft, add a ladle or two of the pasta liquid and stir thoroughly.

JUST before you are ready to marry the garlic with the pasta, add 1 to 2 cups of Parmesan cheese to the garlic.  *You may need to ladle more of the liquid from the pasta to melt the cheese.

Drain the pasta, dump the cooked product into a good sized bowl with the garlic mixture and toss it to thoroughly coat the goods.  By this time, the aroma of the garlic has your taste buds crying, “HURRY!  GET THIS TO THE TABLE!  WE ARE HUNGRY!”  grin

A crisp green salad and maybe a slice or two of garlic bread per diner makes a complete feast with lots and lots of flavor for very little money !

As you know, this little corner of the internet is devoted to users of Public Assistance for their food dollars.  We hope we are helping those who have EBT cards from SNAP and WIC  and those who get goods from Food Pantries, Food Commodities and generous gardeners or neighbors who wish to be helpful.  We are not fancy/schmancy; there are no apps and  certainly there is nothing to buy. We mean to HELP your budget, not desecrate it!

**Just because we have ads doesn’t mean you are obligated to spend money!

Because of computer issues we have been conspicuously absent.  While being offline we have found some ideas we cannot wait to share with you!  We’ll want to tell you about the Cooking Class, too!  It was such fun and it’s a pity you could not ALL attend!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. 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: Down to the Bone!

December 9th, 2014

If you are popping in here for the very first time, we welcome you with open arms!  If you are a New Member, we are very happy to have you in the Club House!

This little piece of the ‘net is dedicated to those who depend on SNAP or other public assistance for their food dollars.  We are not fancy; we do not have apps and there is nothing to buy.  We just want to help you with your food dollars.  Incidentally, we have faithful Members who just like to  save money and are good at finding bargains!

At the recent Cooking Class we held at our South East Community Action Center (SENCA) one of the tips given was how to make vegetable broth.  We amped up the soups we demonstrated with home made broth which was not only CHEAP but really easy to make. *The taste factor was a WOW!

Today I ‘d like to chat with you about BONE BROTH.  The leftover carcass from your Thanksgiving turkey or any chicken bones, bones left from chops or roasts or any meat can make a tasty and highly nutritious broth for use in soups, gravies,  and stews.  The value of bone broth is the calcium that comes out of the bones and into the broth.  So you get very good tasting broth and a wealth of nutrition.  It would be a pity to toss this into the trash!

SIDEBAR:  There is a LOT of buzz about food waste in the home.  One lady was asked to weigh the waste that came from their dinner plates.  In only 2 days, there was a total of 4# (FOUR POUNDS!) of food scraped into the trash!  People-CHILDREN-all over this country are going to bed hungry and going to school hungry and people are throwing food into the trash at alarming ratesEND SIDEBAR.

So here is how you make bone broth:  Place whatever bones you have into a pot.  Cover the bones with water and season with salt, pepper, onion and/or garlic powder or whatever flavors your gang fancies.  Let it simmer as long as you like.  Taste the broth when you are satisfied it has simmered long enough.  If you like the flavor, it is done.  If you want to change the flavor, add whatever you like–sage, rosemary, maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes can do wonders to improve the flavor of your bone broth.

Strain the broth so you lose the bones and pour the finished product into a canning jar with a lid or covered refrigerator container.  Store in the fridge up to 3 or 4 days.  Make something wonderful with it!

WAIT!  You don’t necessarily need to discard those bones…if you let them dry and whirl them in your food processor you’ll make bone meal.  I know a lady who used to put the powdered bones into gelatin capsules and take them as a food supplement.  *I know.  It’s time consuming.  I don’t have time for it, either, but I wanted you to know about it!

Here is a thought for you to consider: pork bones and chicken bones make good pot mates.  Both are good when seasoned with rosemary or sage.

We love hearing from you!  You can contact us at

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. 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: Turban Squash Soup

October 31st, 2014

Phone pix 2014 Oct 001Turban squash soup is easy, tasty and CHEAP!

Autumn seems to scream, “SOUP!  FIX THE FAMILY SOME SOUP!”

Of course you could pick up a can of soup somewhere but soup from scratch, seasoned to your specific preference is so delicious.  Squash soup is particularly filling, nutritious and easy to prepare!

Turban squash came to my attention when I went through my “Macrobiotic Phase” … I had never seen one of these beauties before and was fascinated by their unusual color and shape.  Turban squash are very dense and difficult to cut but once you’ve managed to open them up it is a breeze to oil the exposed flesh and place them on a baking sheet, flesh side down.  I roasted two of these babies in the oven for about an hour and a half at 325*.  Ovens vary…ours runs hot so you can see if 350* is good for YOUR oven.  Adjust the temperature accordingly.

As the roasting process went on I chopped a huge leek into rings, soaked them in a bowl full of cold water.  I rinsed them and cut the rings into quarters.  I sauteed these with a bit of veg oil until they were soft, adding salt and pepper.

When the squash came out of the oven, I scooped out the seeds.  Some folks like to roast those with a bit of salt for a snack.  Those are not popular at our house so I disposed of them, as I did with the outer shell.

The dark yellow-orange flesh of the squash went into the food processor, as did the sauteed leeks.

SIDEBAR No food processor?  Not to worry.  A potato masher works quite well.  The job will go faster if you add a bit of hot water and/or broth to your soup pot as you mash.  The idea is to break up the stringy pulp that remains so your soup will be smooth. END SIDEBAR.

From the food processor the squash and leeks went into the soup pot,  along with enough chicken broth to cover everything.  You could use vegetable broth, as well.  It’s a matter of using whatever you have.  After tasting this mixture I added a bit more salt and ONE TABLESPOON of brown sugar.  That was the magic bullet!

To make a thicker soup I added 1 tablespoon of corn starch.  That didn’t quite DO it for me, so I put in some leftover mashed potatoes that were just sitting in the fridge, waiting to be of service.  When I was satisfied that the soup was thick enough I called it quits. I wanted this to be smooth and creamy so I added milk until it had the consistency and color that pleased me.  You might prefer a thinner soup…it’s all about what YOU like.

As the soup gently simmered I taste tested it again.  It needed just a little something/something so I added a tiny bit of thyme.  I thought it was yummy but to make sure, I offered a spoonful to our house guest, who raved that it was “BRILLIANT!”.  Before I served the soup, I sprinkled some dried parsley into the pot to add some color.

SIDEBAR:  Had it been available, fresh parsley would have been ideal.  I dunno about YOU but we don’t have the luxury of fresh herbs so we lean on the dried versions.  END SIDEBAR.

We had half a dozen lunch guests on the day this was served.  Each of them has far more experience in the kitchen than I.  Everyone complimented the cook on the soup so I think that qualifies me to announce that Turban Squash Soup was a huge hit!

*I should have made a double batch!  It would be easy to do and that way there could be another meal, waiting in the freezer!

Changing the subject abruptly, I want to let you know that there will be a cooking class for users of EBT cards from WIC,  food pantry users, and those who have food commodities!  It will be held on Friday, November 14 at 1:30 PM at the SENCA office in Tecumseh,  Nebraska.  If you are in the area and wish to participate, just call the SENCA office to let them know you’ll be there.  There is NO CHARGE for this class but we need to count noses so we’ll have enough food for the attendees! I plan to show how to use things from your food bundles that are easy, cheap and tasty!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. 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: Emails and Phone Calls!

July 30th, 2014

July 2014 017This is the Food Stamps Cooking Club Calling Card!

Do you ever feel crunched for time?  You humble blogger certainly does!  Between spine issues, upcoming events, day-to-day housekeeping and life in general, time slips away very quickly, it seems.  Of course, considering how many, many years I’ve been 33 that MIGHT have something to do with it.  I’m told that Seniors do slow down.  *I hope it’s just a rumor.

Every one of our posts has our email address.  I’d love to share with you the incoming email that hit my hot button this morning!  What a lovely way to greet the day:


I have had some thoughts about hunger (you don’t say?) and several things stand out in my mind.  In the USA today, people are going hungry and not from a lack of food.  Goddess!!!  You should see what we have to toss because there was no one to eat it!  Hunger is a lack of knowledge.  If I have heard, “Wow!  I never knew…” once, I have heard it a thousand times!  I do not know how many times I have said the following things are not only lacking in nutrition, they are downright BAD for you:
Anything that has O’s in it – cheetos, fritos, doritos and the like
Anything that says “helper” on it.  There’ s no helper – there’s hinder-er.  You’d be better off just eating a can of tuna and some whole grain bread for pennies compared to the cost of the “helper”
Anything with microwave instructions.
Anything that has 2 wrappers i.e. box and tray
Anything that fizzes and that includes beer!
Then I start the education process, but even knowledge is not enough.  There is the absolute part called motivation.  Sure, there are nights that I don’t want to cook – lots of them.  But a cold salad and some whole grain bread and cheese is a meal in seconds.  One of my all time favorites is to spread goat cheese on a baguette slice and top with a thin slice of apple.  For those who don’t like goat cheese, use cream cheese.
So many people that I work with who have been among the classes for a while are actually showing a surplus of food stamp money at the end of the month because I have taught them that the bulk aisle is their friend.  We stay away from the center of the store for the most part because the loss leaders, produce, meat and poultry, bulk section, dairy and bakery are on the perimeter of the store.  They are learning to network together, and last month, we actually made stone soup for the last Thursday in June.
 I closed that lesson with the Stone Soup fable…
Delaine makes some salient points  and we thank  her with a grateful heart.  It would be fun to know what YOUR thoughts are…
There was an interesting phone conversation in the Club House this week,  as well. Someone called about the domain name for this corner of the internet.  During the course of the conversation I explained that this exists for the purpose of helping people who use public assistance for their food dollars.  The caller was AMAZED and really interested to know more about it.  Come to find out, this caller became the newest Member of the Food Stamps Cooking Club!  *Fist Bump!
The National Geographic magazine sent me on a RANT earlier.  I’ll be venting about THAT soon.  Meantime, I’ll have some tests done for which I cannot study and I’m told I’ll be out of commission for some time.  Stay tuned,  kids, people need help.  If those of us who have banded together to support those people, WHO WILL?
One more point:  A hands-on cooking class will be scheduled soon for Johnson County, NE!
The FTC wants you to know there are links on this page. 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: Member’s Cooking Lesson

January 17th, 2014
Mother Connie has a hodge podge of cookbooks and recipes; some of her food notions live in her head...

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

You all know by now that the mail you send makes Mother Connie’s heart go pitty-pat!  Today  a message from a Club Member came in that really piqued my curiosity!  Here is what Delaine wanted to share with all of us:

“With food-stamp allotments being so small, and being cut all the time, I know fully how every calorie counts and how to count every calorie.  For me, I am in a very uncomfortable situation that most people do not understand, and that is for some of us, hanging onto every pound we have is as difficult or more difficult than losing weight.  Please do not envy us.  It sounds wonderful, but it is more painful to try to gain weight than lose it, as I have done both.  I was obese until I got sick, and now I am on the other side of the scale of having to try to hang onto every pound, so trust me when I tell you I understand the dilemma.
In the meantime, getting as much nutrition from every food stamp penny is my goal, and even when I am off the social network, as I apparently will be over the next few months, I will still only have the same amount of money for food as I currently have in food allotments.  I have many helps and hints both for stretching food stamp money and using ‘food for cleaning.’ “
Delaine goes on to share how she ACCIDENTALLY learned to make syrup on the cheap:  ” It’s just like the pancake syrup that is 1 cup brown sugar to 6 oz of Dr. Pepper, and boiled down to syrup consistency.  Cheap and accidental, because I was not intending to make pancake syrup when I discovered that!”
SIDEBAR:  Mother Connie is no fan of soda pop but a cook’s gotta do what a cook’s gotta do!  Go with what you have on hand!   END SIDEBAR
Delaine goes on to share her preference for comfort food that won’t break the bank:
“1/2 package elbow macaroni

1  can black beans
1  can corn
2  small cans tomato sauce
Taco season mix – equal parts chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and sugar.
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
The trick to this recipe is to brown the macaroni thoroughly.  It should look like “whole wheat” macaroni.  Drain and rinse the beans and corn and add to the macaroni along with 2 cans of tomato sauce and the spices.  Add 2 tomato cans of water, reduce to a simmer and wait for all the water to be absorbed.  You may need to add water if the macaroni is too stiff.
This goes well with a pan of corn bread.”
SIDEBAR:  Mother Connie strongly suggests you add a green salad or plate of raw veggies OR fruit  to this menu, if that’s  available.  END SIDEBAR
We greatly appreciate Delaine’s contribution to our Cooking Class! 
Those who are living on a dime, people who use public assistance for their food budgets and anyone who holds an EBT card for SNAP or WIC needs all the help they can garner.  If you use a food pantry, food commodities or any other form of public assistance you know that it’s a tough row to hoe.  We hope to help in that regard.
If you have not signed up for our little series of tips, we invite you to do so.  And keep those emails coming!
We remind you, also, that you are dearly loved.
The FTC wants you to know there are links on this page. 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 Clug: Egg Substitutes *Guest Post

January 16th, 2014

Oboy, kids!  We have a treat today! Lili, of Creative Savv, has agreed to share her ideas with us and her ideas are  always fantastic!  For those of you who are interested to learn how to cook and the joy of cooking/baking, she offers some really helpful tips.  Bless her, she has agreed to share the post she published on Wednesday.  After you read what she so graciously shared here, I hope you’ll find time to cruise over to her blog and give her a little love…,I’m sure she would appreciate the thought!

“Egg substitutes (and how do you know which ones will work in your recipe?)

Posted: 15 Jan 2014 04:11 AM PST

Last month, I was down to my very last 2 eggs. This makes cooking and baking from scratch difficult, but not impossible. I did a lot of research into different egg substitutes, and this is what I discovered.

There are several options to use for egg substitutes. Knowing which one to use is a matter of understanding the different functions that eggs fulfill in recipes, and what each substitute is capable of doing.

Basically, eggs have 3 functions, to add moisture, add leavening, and act as binding ingredients. In most recipes, eggs will fill a couple of these functions. For example, in cookie dough, eggs both bind the dough together, and they add leavening. In cakes and muffins, eggs add leavening and moisture. In meatballs, eggs serve as binding agents, but also can add moisture.

To give you an idea of why having just one all-purpose, egg substitute won’t give you the best results every time, here are examples of different substitutes and how they can and can’t work.

Some people use applesauce for an egg substitute. Applesauce will add moisture to muffins and quick breads, but it has no leavening power of it’s own. Some people use flax seed meal or soy flour, plus water. Both are great binding ingredients, but neither can leaven. Baking powder can leaven, but has no ability to add moisture, in fact it can dry out some baking.

After much confusion on the subject, I decided that I needed some basic guidelines.

So, here’s my list — the general functions of eggs and which substitutes work best.

In most recipes, the best results will come from doubling up on your substitutes (two substitutes from different categories, such as — add a moisture sub and a leavening sub for muffins, or, add a binding sub and a moisture sub for meatballs).

Adding moisture

To add moisture to a recipe, for each egg, you can substitute 

  • pureed fruit/veg like applesauce, pumpkin or banana (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup for each egg), or
  • yogurt (1/4 cup) or
  • silken tofu (1/4 cup) or
  • 1/4 cup of mayo

Examples of foods which rely on eggs for moisture include: meatballs, muffins, pancakes and cakes.

Adding leavening

To add leavening to a recipe, for each egg, add

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking powder (for cookies, 1/2 teaspoon is generally sufficient — but see the cookie recommendation below*, for muffins and quick breads 1 teaspoon worked better for me), or the equivalent substitute of baking soda and vinegar

Examples of foods which rely on eggs for leavening include: muffins, breads, pancakes, cakes, cookies

(In a 1-egg muffin recipe, you might substitute 1/4 cup of applesauce plus 1 teaspoon of baking powder. This would satisfy both the leavening power and moisture addition that eggs give to muffin batter.)

For cakes, you’ll have the best results if you use a 2-egg, or more, cake recipe, and only substitute baking powder for 1 of the eggs.

Adding a binder

To add a binding agent to recipes which normally call for eggs, for each egg, add

  • 1 heaping tablespoon soy flour, plus 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon of flax meal, plus 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu

Examples of foods needing a binder include: meat loaves and cookies.

Formula for egg substitute to use when making cookies
*I found with baking cookies, the following formula worked very well:
for each egg, whisk together:

  • 2 tablespoons flour,
  • 2 tablespoons water,
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil and
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • In addition, for cookies that we like slightly moist, like chocolate chip cookies, I substituted 1 tablespoon of applesauce for 1 tablespoon of the butter called for in the recipe.

For quiches, baked custards, or fritattas, you can substitute pureed fruit, veggies or tofu for up to half of the eggs called for in the recipe.

Meringues and other recipes calling for whipped egg whites generally can not use an egg substitute.

So, what did I bake without eggs last month? I made some very successful pancakes, waffles, cookies, and muffins. I had my husband very surprised that I could make waffles without any eggs at all. I made bean burgers that normally call for eggs as binders, but with a flax meal binder, instead. And I baked a batch of cupcakes, a recipe that normally calls for 2 eggs, I made with 1 egg plus a substitute for the second egg.

These substitutions came in very handy for me. I imagine it could be helpful for others as well, such as the mom who is home with a sick child, but wanting to do some baking, meanwhile discovers she is out of eggs,  or,  in bad weather, not wanting to chance bad roads just to go out for eggs,  or,  for the person who lives in a rural area, and doesn’t want to drive into town for such a small purchase, or,  in my case, with a small grocery budget and not wanting to feel “robbed” by paying twice what I normally pay for eggs when on sale.

Lili Mounce”

Lili, you have saved the day at Food Stamps Cooking Club!  Thank you for all your good help!  I plan to print this out and hang it inside the cupboard door for future reference!

The FTC wants you to know there are links on this page. 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.