Archive for the ‘Food News’ category

Upworthy’s Brandon Weber & Food Stamps Cooking Club

July 29th, 2013

It was yesterday morning when I found Brandon Weber’s piece as it appeared on the Upworthy website.  It was riveting, because it shed light on the SNAP program and how critical it is to keep it in place.  Not everyone thinks it should have a hefty budget.  Those are the folks who have never lived hand to mouth or depended on public assistance for their food dollars.  Congressman DeFazio is helping to make his colleagues aware of the issues around living on a dime!

Mr. Weber was generous in allowing us to read his words.  He also granted permission for me to share his thoughts on this page:

While the threat to cutbacks in food stamps died with the recent farm bill, it will most certainly be back on the agenda shortly. Now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), my family lived on them at times when growing up in the Midwest. I’ll save you the story, but if not for that and a few other 1970s food supplement programs, we would have starved — no question in my mind. As it was, we could only afford cheap, high-sugar, not very nutritious items with the amount my mother received.

Watch this congressman face the same choices as his grocery budget gets real tight when he tries to live on the amount that his fellow elected officials want folks to live on.”  ~Brandon Weber

Unfortunately, Mother Connie was unable to put this moving news video here in order for you to see it easily.  You can view it here, though, and I urge you to cruise over to YouTube or Upworthy NOW and scope it out.  It is likely to touch your heart.

As always, we welcome our new Members and all your comments.  We are delighted to cater to YOU in our quest to assist all users of SNAP or WIC or food pantries, food commodities or any public assistance.  We don’t have all the solutions but we help as we feel able.  We could not do it without the input of fellow bloggers and our Members!  Thank you all, for your help.  You are dearly loved.

Reminder of the link to Brand Weber’s piece on Upworthy andthe video featuring DeFazio’ shopping experience:  just click on the links.

Connie Baum

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.

Oh, What To DO? at Food Stamps Cooking Club

July 12th, 2013

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 The girl in the above photo reflects the way I felt as I woke today to the news that the Food Stamp Program has been ripped from the Farm Bill here in the USA.

 My thoughts turned to the comments Mother Connie has received from the Club Members:  “My SNAP funds don’t stretch to the end of the month” or “I have never learned how to cook; can you help me?” and other remarks that indicate how great your needs are.

 I had the great good fortune to grow up in a home where there was good, nutritious food and a loving set of parents who taught me to cook and to manage a food budget.  Many others were not blessed in this way; those are the ones we seek to assist.

 At the risk of sounding harsh or redundant I offer these tips:

  • Do NOT waste your money or SNAP funds on soda pop, chips, ready made meals or snack cakes.  This tip could be applied to many other high calorie, low nourishment items.
  • DO figure out how to get the best value from real fruits, vegetables, meat and grains.
  • Pay attention to portion control.  You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that you are giving your body more volume than it can use; your body could be storing the excess in your hips or tummy or thighs.
  • If there are finicky eaters in your midst, learn the best ways to prepare those items in tasty, low cost ways.  Mother Connie’s #1 trick is to “hide” cauliflower and/or zucchinis in mashed potatoes.  The #2 trick is to stuff finely chopped carrots, onions, celery, and any other veg that meets with disapproval into a meat loaf which is baked in a muffin tin, not a loaf.  This saves energy dollars as well as getting good nutrition into little mouths!  There are many more ideas; no doubt you have fabulous ideas of your own! *We encourage you to share! ;)
  • Popcorn makes excellent snack food, paired with water from your tap.  No extra calories and nothing to create cavities, saving on dental expenses.
  • Grow your own food, wherever it’s feasible.  Pots in a sunny winter window; pots on a sunny summer porch or whatever works.  If you have garden space, so much the better.
  • Planning your meals ahead helps save time and money, too.  If you spend some time on your days off work preparing food that can be cooked ahead and rewarmed or making “meal kits” providing your evening meal you won’t make as many grocery trips as you might have without a plan.  Sandwiches for lunches can be made ahead and frozen for later use; veg and fruit can be cut and made readily available for snacks or lunch boxes.  You will find glorious ways to plan and freeze whole meals for “days off” from kitchen duty.  Salads are a breeze when the veg is pre-cut but YOU must do the prep work-don’t splurge on packages of pre-cut veg at the store.
  • DO learn how to cook.  Get a basic cookbook-borrow one if need be-and learn how to prepare your meals at home.  The advantages are limitless and you will feel so proud of yourself as you advance your skills.  Your children will learn these valuable lessons, as well.  As time goes by, you will be delighted that you AND your children are healthier, happier and more successful in their endeavors!
  • Do sign up for the Food Stamps Cooking Club’s series of cooking tips.  There is nothing to buy and we won’t hound you.  We are here to help.  This is how we pay our rent for living on the planet.
  • Finally, count your blessings.  Instead of focusing on how hard it is (WE KNOW IT’S TOUGH!) think about how fortunate you are.  Talk about this with your children and your whole sphere of influence.  Ask yourselves, “How can it get any better than this?”  “What are the possibilities?”

Please remember that you Members are cared about and loved.  It’s why this little blog exists.

Connie Baum

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.

Hungering for Help at Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 25th, 2013

No matter where you shop…super store, food pantry, food bank…you need support!

You no doubt know that Mother Connie has had her knickers in a twist over the issue of hunger over the past few days.  The Lincoln Journal Star has fueled my fire with two excellent articles about satisfying hunger in the Lincoln, NE area.

Mother Connie would love for you to cruise by today’s article with can be found here:

Lincoln Journal Star.

There is note within Nancy Hick’s piece about another blogger who helps with food plans and menus.  Please pop in and give her some love, would you?  Click HERE.

You get a break from MC’s ranting today.  Tomorrow I’ll have something good for you to eat.  Thank you for your patience with my passion

~Connie Baum

 

 

 

Shining a Light at Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 4th, 2012

Nebraska is shining a light on the matters of poverty and hunger by directing a colored light on its historic and award winning capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska

Oh, how good it feels to be back and blogging again!  I have missed you all like crazy!

The headline in today’s Lincoln Journal Star screams what we pretty much knew:

“Nebraska’s Poor Can’t Afford More Federal Budget Cuts”

The media reminds us that the farm bill, which includes SNAP and WIC as well as other programs to help people have access to food puts peoples’ needs in jeopardy. 

SIDEBAR:  Mother Connie thinks that those Congress people  who consider these bills have never taken a couple of little children to the grocery store; worried about what to put into their shopping carts and still manage to PAY for their food purchases.  Moreover, they probably have not worked at a low paying  job all day and then had to go home and prepare a meal for their loved ones.  Or if they ever did, they forgot how discouraging the whole process is!  END SIDEBAR

We are all painfully aware of how difficult it is to be impoverished.  The article in today’s paper sites these facts:

  • In Lincoln,  NE one in six people are living in poverty.  The figure they cite:  $23,505 for a family of four.
  • 1 in 5 families with children did not have enough food on the weekend the survey was taken.
  • 54% were worried about having enough food each week.
  • 78% reported having trouble paying utilities in the past year.

This may or may not reflect the situation in your neck of the woods, but I suspect it will ring true in many cases.  This points up the need for all of us Club Members to band together and support one another the best  ways we know how.  Mother Connie is doing what she knows to present food ideas that will help s t r e t c h those food dollars, whether they come from public assistance, such as SNAP or WIC or whether you might use food commodities or goods from a food pantry or food bank.  Maybe you just watch your food budget like a hawk because it is your nature to be frugal; it’s likely there are many families who are not receiving assistance but are living on a dime.  In any case, this blog is meant to help YOU.

One of the foods often found in bundles from a food bank or food pantry is pancake mix.  Pancakes are fine, sometimes even fun, but there is a man in Lincoln, NE who is a French pastry chef and he suggests crepes.

Crepes are cheap to make, thinner than pancakes and you can fill them with whatever suits your fancy, your budget, or the contents of your pantry. 

“Skinny Pancakes”  aka Crepes

Ingredients:

1  cup flour

1  cup milk

1  large egg

1 teeny weeny pinch salt

Whisk together the flour, milk, egg and salt in your favorite mixing bowl.

Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot add a teaspoon of butter and lightly coat the surface of the pan with the melted butter. I like to use the back of a big spoon to do this.

Pour one quarter cup of the batter into the pan and tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface in a smooth and even layer.

After two minutes, lift up an edge of the crepe with a spatula to see if it is browning. When the underside has begun to brown, flip the crepe and cook the other side until it is also brown; about 2 minutes.

Repeat pouring, checking and flipping to cook the remaining batter. Serve  piping hot.

**Kids-yes, and big people, too!- love to sprinkle granulated, brown or powdered sugar over these in lieu of syrup.  Then they can roll them…playing with their food in a socially acceptable way makes food fun!  If they are having fun and getting their tummies filled, they won’t realize they are in poverty–especially if the adults in their lives don’t  whine about it! 

Mother Connie would be remiss if she did not thank all the Club Members for their messages, comments and encouragement during the week of “Pie Central” and all the ensuing technological issues that have transpired!  You people are THE BEST and I hope you are feelin’ the love I am returning to each of you!  Every one of YOU is doing your part in shining a light on how to cope with poverty–with your comments, your ideas, your sharing over our proverbial back fence.  Thank you for all that each of you does.  You are such treasures.

Hugs

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.

Savory Pie? At Food Stamps Cooking Club?

July 18th, 2012

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What IS that lovely aroma coming from the kitchen? It can’t taste good if it’s zucchini!  Or can it?

Here in Nebraska we have to be very careful to lock our cars at all times from now until the end of zucchini season.  If we don’t, we’ll find bushels of zucchinis filling our back seats!   grin

It’s summer; it’s hotter than Haides and  not only are you hungry, you are tired.  It’s the back half of the month and money is tighter than a new pair of dress shoes.  Still, dinner has to be made.  What’s a family to DO?

Mother Connie is excited to share a dish that is just great and uses some zucchini in a new (to me) and interesting  way.  We can thank a shy contributor who did not want any credit for her offering.  Thanks, anyway to her for graciously sharing for our benefit.

Zucchini Pie 

Compliments of  “The Cook”

Saute 4 cups thinly sliced zucchini + 1 cup chopped onion in 1/2 cup butter or oil

Add 2  tablespoons parsley flakes + 1/2  teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepper + 1/4 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, basil,and oregano.

Separately, blend 2 beaten eggs and 2 cups grated Mozarella cheese.

Combine everything and pour into a pie crust you have spread with prepared mustard.  Bake in a 350* oven for 20 -30 minutes.

*COOK’S NOTES and cooking tips:

  • You could double the veg without loss of quality.  You might also vary the veg with mushrooms, green/yellow/red peppers, leeks, or summer squashCombining colors makes for a pretty pie.
  • The cook uses stone ground mustard
  • Fresh herbs can be used in place of dried…
  • For the crust, you might use home made pizza crust, dinner roll dough, or refrigerator rolls
  • For a crowd you can make a double or triple batch by using a sheet pan.  With a bread-type crust, warming this in the oven is a cinch.
  • You might like to dust the top with shredded parm or asiago cheese in the last 5 minutes of baking time.

Do you find yourself Living on a Dime?  Are you frugal to a fault?  Do you avail yourself of food commodities or food pantries?  Are you a holder of an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  If so, this idea might help you stretch your food dollars a bit while you make something yummy and nutritious for those people you love.

According to the news reports that have been on the airwaves some changes are in the wind for the Farm Bill, which includes SNAP and WIC.  WIC also has made some changes, according to our last local newspaper.  Keep your eyes peeled for changes that may affect you and make sure you have loads of low cost food ideas.  We hope we are helpful to you in this regard.

Several cute blogs with new ideas have come our way lately.  You might like to cruise by some of them and do the name-dropping thing by mentioning that Mother Connie sent you.  Here is a partial list of Mother Connie’s  faves:

Tomorrow there will be some great LOW COST food ideas, too.  Summer is  a great time for simple food ideas!

Please remember you are loved and appreciated and again we thank you for the kind remarks and emails you have so graciously sent to us.  We hope your trust in us is well placed!

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.

PS/Did we mention how we ADORE your comments on this blog?  Oooooh, yes.  We do.  grin

News Flash: Mario Batali and Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 6th, 2012

Mario Batali, famous chef, GETS IT about using food stamps!

Mario Batali, chef from the Food Network, has always intrigued me as a foodie.  He seems to be a great guy and today I can prove he has his heart in the right place!

Our Inbox lit up, as did the light bulb in my head, when I found a piece about his experience USING food stamps-or if you prefer, SNAP.  Click here to read what he has to say and what he thinks about his struggle to use them.

It is so comforting to be understood and supported.  Thanks, Chef Batali!

As you are well aware, our mission and passion is all about helping people…those who are living on a dime, those who depend on food pantries or food commodities and those who hold EBT cards from  SNAP or WIC.  And we do not forget about those who are frugal and find many creative ways to s t r e t c h their food dollars.  You have responded to our efforts by joining the Club, receiving a series of cooking tips. 

We are not moving mountains.  We are just here to help and support those of you who are doing everything in your power to keep body and soul together and get your gang fed without overspending.  Which, when you think about it, is quite the trick.  ALL OF YOU WHO STRUGGLE SO ARE TO BE COMMENDED.  STAND TALL; BE PROUD OF YOURSELVES.

Send us some love at foodstamscookingclub@gmail.com  –  it will make our day!

Chef Batali sure made our day!  Thanks again, Chef!  And thanks to HuffPo for carrying the story!

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.

Eating Healthy Because of Food Stamps Cooking Club

May 21st, 2012

Main stream media headline reads: "Healthy Eating Can Cost Less..."

QUICK!  Get a red pen and write this date on your calendar so you will remember that you found this out TODAY!

Oh.  Wait…this is not news; at least it’s not news to those of us who hang out in the Club House!  We’ve known all along that eating well and wisely is the preferred path to follow.

There was a rather lengthy item in our Sunday paper about how the Ag Department has concluded that junk food is more costly, despite common perceptions.  It seems that this Omniscient Department discovered that eating fruits and vegetables costs less than foods with high sugar, salt and fat content.

Excuse me, but isn’t that what we maintain here at the Food Stamps Cooking Club?  I’m thinkin’ so…

SIDEBAR:  Roll your eyes here.  END SIDEBAR.

Those of us who are in the know understand that eating processed foods contribute to ill health.  Our eyes are wide open about the problem of tooth decay when sweets are ingested.  We GET it that cheezy doodle type snacks just make kids thirsty for soda and do NOT nourish their growing bodies.  People who insist on eating cake because they like it or MUST have their fix of ice cream will, over time, develop serious illnesses, not the least of which could be heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders and bone and joint discomfort.    “Mama’s Burger Helper” box mixes and foods with hydrogenated oil may look like a bargain buy in the grocery flier but that savings ultimately shows up in medical bills.  We are keenly aware that ‘chickie strips’ make for high cholesterol and the additives can create real nightmares.  And we have not even broached the subject of pink slime…We also know that organic is best for us if we can afford it.

Today a radio personality interviewed someone who had this same idea.  The gentleman being interviewed was explaining how it would be cost effective and helpful for users of EBT cards from SNAP and WIC.  The radio guy asked him in a number of varying ways how that would be possible because “EVERYBODY KNOWS” that users of SNAP or WIC have no internet access. 

SIDEBAR:  Roll your eyes here.  END SIDEBAR.

Mother Connie ran into the same opposition when this blog went public. She played deaf, giggled and planned for the next cooking class.  Truly, it has been a non-issue.

As I understand it, there is a plan for a new program calling for these users to order food delivered fresh that is paid for with an EBT card.  This would solve the problem where there are so-called “food deserts” in urban areas or even in rural areas where transportation is a big hurdle to jump, especially for elderly folks or those who have need for day care.  The idea was set forth that even working people could jump online, order groceries, pay for them with their EBT card and those foodstuffs would be delivered.

It was not clear how this would impact those who frequent food pantries, those who depend on food commodities, or those who simply find themselves living on a dime.  Mother Connie’s theory is that if something is good for ONE, it should be good for ALL.  

It remains to be seen how this will play out. We already know that school lunches are going to be more nutritious and less junky.  How can it get any better than this?  What ARE the possibilities?

We LOVE your mail and your comments.  You are an amazing community, people.  Consider yourselves hugged!

Now let’s move into our kitchens and create something healthy and beautiful to eat!

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.

WAIT!  There is MORE!  Bless her heart, Carol has sent a comment.  I wanted to be sure you all saw her great message; it has real value so I am posting it as a P.S. here:

“Connie,
This belief that healthy eating has to cost more has to be debunked! One of the ramifications of Home ec classes being cancelled years ago is that we now have generations of families who do not know how to cook for themselves, who rely solely on processed foods and whose bank accounts suffer in the end.

I laud programs such as WIC, which specify which items are paid for thru the WIC vouchers. Some states require attendance at healthy cooking classes for EBT (aka food stamps) recipients. It’s about education!

You can buy frozen/dairy case, premade pancakes, a mix, or make them from scratch, using whole grains if desired. While personally I do prefer real maple syrup, I make my own maple flavored pancake syrup from water, sugar and Mapeline. No HFCS, no chemicals.

A small fryer, roasted with seasonal veggies makes for dinner # 1. Boil that carcass and make a soup out of it dinner # 2. For dinner # 3: Save the scraps of meat for croquettes, tacos (stretch with beans)made with lettuce/tomato etc, chicken salad, chicken stir fry, chicken noodle casserole, chicken divan-made for pennies compared to Stouffers frozen dinners not to mention take out!
Circumstances require that I run a very frugal kitchen. Supper tonight was crockpot boneless pork chops, originally cut off of a whole pork loin that I paid $1.99/lb for. Center cut chops run $3.89/LB and up. Certainly, $2 is much preferred! I used a marked down onion, a can of healthy request cr celery soup I wanted to use up, some instant milk, some spices to mix up a “gravy.” Sides were stove top dressing (a rare treat here, I only paid $1 for a 2 pouch box so 50 cents) and I served my last bag of haricots verts thru Angel food. A 99 cent jar of apple sauce on the side of the pork. Delicious.

Tomorrow’s supper is partially prepped ahead as I will get home later-a salmon loaf -Aldi’s wild caught AK salmon, egg. lemon juice, spices, instant milk, home made bread crumbs from bread heels we don’t like in sandwiches- awaits my return tomorrow, to pop into the oven. Side of brown rice, steamed fzn peas (53 cents after sale + cpn) and carrots (Aldi’s fresh).A tossed salad will most likely also be served. A simple, healthful meal. Bfst choices tomorrow are homemade chocolate zucchini bread or home made pumpkin-choc chip muffins. Both contain garden or CSA organic produce!,  There will be yogurt, OJ, coffee/tea. Lunch for kids will be Deli ends roast chicken breast on marked down WW rolls, sale priced romaine lettuce, marked down tomatoes, Aldi’s sliced Cheddar cheese, mustard and mayo bought on sale plus cpns or Aldi’s brand. Homemade baked good, home brewed no sugar iced tea, apple or fresh pineapple spears (that was another marked down!). DH and I each have leftover pork, green beans. I have l/o dressing, he has l/o brown rice because I prep lunch containers after supper. DH and I will probably both have pineapple spears as well. Yes,it can be done! : )

Thank you so much for taking the time to share with the other members; this gives everyone the courage to keep on keepin’ on, Carol, knowing that you do this on a regular basis.  Thank you again and again for your contribution.  We all learn from your wisdom and experience! 

It’s Rhubarb Season at Food Stamps Cooking Club!

April 21st, 2012

Rhubarb and spring bring me memories...

For years during rhubarb season, my friend LeOta made and shared delicious rhubarb goodies.  LeOta is gone now, but the great memories of her kitchen prowess, all the laughs and coffee we shared, along with recipes make me miss her a lot.  This week her widower generously favored  us with a huge bunch of the red beauties.

The Normanator got busy right away, making HIS famous rhubarb cake.  This is the same recipe that appears in the family cookbook:  The Leuenberger Cookbook.  YUM.

Here is the magic formula. Be sure to have plenty of whipped cream or  whipped topping on hand just to glamorize it even more!

ANDREW BAUM’S RHUBARB CAKE

1  1/2  cups brown sugar

1/2  cup butter

1  egg

1  cup  buttermilk  *Kitchen Police would gladly allow the use of sour milk, too

2  cups flour

1  teaspoon baking soda

1  teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1  1/2cups rhubarb, diced

TOPPING: 

1/2  cup granulated sugar

1  teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in order well.  Pour into 9  x  12″ pan.  Sprinkle topping evenly over the batter.  Bake at 350* for 50 minutes.  When cool, cut into serving sized pieces and top with dollops of whipped topping.

*The news on the front page of our newspaper was troubling this morning.  The SNAP program, as we know it,is in danger, as it is attached to the Farm Bill. This legislation may affect your EBT card and WIC… Please pay attention, let your lawmakers know how you feel about this.  I’m just sayin’

Thank you so much to all the newly enrolled Members of the Food Stamps Cooking Club!  We love having you here in the Club House with us!  And we love love love getting your 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.

 

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Age IS a Factor!

February 11th, 2011

Age may just be a number but when it comes to food, we need to pay attention to age! This basil looks fresh and delish!

Next time you poke around your cabinets or refrigerator, pay close attention to product freshness.  Your family’s well being depends on it.

If you have goods from a food pantry, that food must be within the limits of the expiration date on the package.  Food commodities also need to be fresh.  WIC and SNAP goods, purchased with an EBT card is likely to be fresh at the time of purchase but if it hangs out in your kitchen too long, it could pose problems. Even Angel Food Ministries food carries a “sell by” date.

Here are some handy dandy tips in that regard:

According to Money magazine the average household tosses out an average of 14% of the food that is purchased!  Twenty years ago we tossed “only” 7%.

SIDEBAR:  SAY WHAT?!  Why are we THROWING AWAY  FOOD?  END SIDEBAR.

Let’s suppose you spend, for the sake of argument, $182.00 for a family of 4.  At the above rate, you have squandered $25.00 PER WEEK.  That adds up to $1,325.00 in a year’s time!  SHOCKING!

Herbs are expensive.  Fresh is one thing.  Were I you, I’d buy dried unless you can grow your own and that is not as complex as brain surgery.  You can store them in bunches.  Wash them, shake the excess moisture off and seal them in a zippy bag.  Put them into the freezer.  They’ll stay usable for a month and when they are dropped into a hot pot they will wither and be just fine.  Besides, they are much easier to chop when they are frozen.

Flour, rice and pasta stay in good shape for quite some time.  It takes 6 to 12 months for flour to degrade and pasta will keep up to a couple of years.  BUT, they are magnets for WEEVILS.  To keep them at bay, slip a BAY LEAF into your jar or storage container.  I guess those varmints don’t much care for the scent of the bay leaf.  This is said to be useful for barley, cornmeal, even oatmeal.  You might want to put a few of those bay leaves on your cabinet shelves.  It may help to keep away other unwanted “guests.”

Cheese will stay moist if you butter it!  Simply spread butter on the sides you’ve cut and this helps to seal moisture in.  Mother Connie does this and re-wraps the whole works in waxed paper.

Veggies go bad quickly because they get dry.  The easy way to handle this matter is to run really cold water into your sink or a dishpan and allow things to soak for awhile.  Maybe 30 minutes or so.  HOWEVER, leafy things, such as spinach or kale or lettuces do best when you LEAVE THEM DRY and keep them in an airtight bag.  You might like to wrap them in a dishtowel and put the whole business into a tightly closed plastic bag.  Spinach or lettuce will keep 5 days or more this way.

Salt needs to be kept dry so it won’t clump.  A few grains of dry rice, added the way my Auntie used to do,keeps the salt from getting so hard that it won’t come out of the shaker.  Be sure to check the salt shaker you keep with the good dishes-the one your company might have trouble with if that salt packs in!  OUCH!

Butter keeps really well in the freezer.  When it’s on sale, buy as much as you can afford, stash it in your freezer and let it thaw in your butter dish, one stick at a time.  When it’s frozen, little people will not overuse it!  That saves even more money!

Cottage cheese can turn on you if you don’t keep close track of it.  One way to dramatically cut down on spoilage is to store the container UPSIDE DOWN in your fridge.  This creates a vacuum that discourages bacterial growth.  Pretty cool, huh? This  tip will work just as well for sour cream.

Eggs can go bad in a heartbeat. Fill your dishpan with cold water and put your eggs into that water.  If they float, they are spoiled.  If they sink, they are quite fine to use.  Be sure to break each egg into a bowl to make sure it smells fresh, looks good, and has no eggshells with it before you use it in your cooking and baking.

Here’s hoping these freshness tips will be useful for you.  We must tip our hat to our faithful Club Member and contributor, Rainy, for she did the heavy lifting  on this project.  Thank you, Rainy!

Many of us are living on a dime; we need to make the most of our food budgets.

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: Bridging the Gap?

February 10th, 2011

As if college life were not complicated enough...there is a plan afoot to make it even more complicated. And expensive!

If you live in or near Lansing, Michigan you may already know about this-dare I call it a ‘conspiracy’ but if you are not a Michigander you still should know about it.  This plan could make its way to a location near YOU.

As things stand now, college students have “bridge cards” to help them survive.  It seems there is a loophole in the current system, making it possible for college students to qualify to receive food assistance.  As I understand it, this resource will dry up on April First.  Happy April Fool’s Day.  NOT.

Not being a resident of Michigan much of what I know about this is speculation and conjecture but I must say that judging by the comments to the news story as it appeared online on the WZZM website, there is no warm welcome for this plan and no warm fuzzies are being bandied about.

I’m only a blogger who loves people and food.  What do I know?  But I think there should be simple answers to filling the needs of people who are hungry.

Realistically, what CAN be done about this?

This is the United States of America, kids!  People should not have to be hungry or in need of food here, of all places.

Can they form a coop to help fund grocery budgets for students?  Can they get together and do some window gardening?  Could they build some high towers or cold frame boxes for winter gardening? *Which reminds me, there is a related blog post about that very subjectJUST CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

The people who happen by this blog are some of the smartest and most creative people on the planet.  They use EBT cards for WIC and SNAP; they use food commodities and they frequent food pantries as they are able.  They can stretch a food budget like nobody’s business.  I’ll bet a cookie that some one has an answer to this problem.  I challenge you all to come up with some kind of affordable, workable solution and send it to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com OR, better yet, put your idea in a comment on this blog.  Thanks, guys.  You are the best.

Now.  Let’s talk food! Valentine’s Day food, in particular!

Delilah's kitchen smells like heaven as she prepares for Valentine's Day!

You just can’t beat sugar cookies for this holiday meant for love and sharing. And Delilah’s sugar cookies beat them ALL!  I found a recipe that uses POWDERED SUGAR for a tender cookie you will love to make and eat!  Oh, yes, and decorate!

Powdered Sugar Cookies

1  cup softened butter

1  1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1  egg

1  teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract **The Kitchen Police will never know if you left this out cuz you had none! And I’ll never tell!

2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1  teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cream of tartar


Cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and stir in the vanilla and almond extract. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; blend into the creamed mixture. Cover and chill for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Divide the dough into two parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of the dough out to 3/16 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pour glasses of milk and gather the troops!  They will LOVE these sweethearts!  Maybe you should make a double batch.

Here’s something that made tears in my eyes, kids.  There is an enterprising young man on FaceBook who invited people to list their website on his page.  Here is his response to this blog’s URL:

“@Connie I have never in my life expected to see a cooking site dedicated to people receiving food stamps. Me and my mother would have loved that from 1989 – 1999 we were …on welfare. Definitley got a smile on my face. Good stuff!

~Cheru Jackson

Man, this is why I get up every morning.  To you faithful followers and you who are so generous with your contributions to this Club, we salute you.  Please consider yourselves hugged.

Connie Baum

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