Archive for the ‘Guest Blog’ category

Freezer Meals at Food Stamps Cooking Club

April 11th, 2011

 

Filling your freezer may be easier than you might imagine!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you yearn to turn OFF the TV, turn ON mealtime conversation, in the quest to do your part toward saving dinner?

If you use SNAP or WIC’s EBT cards or food commodities, food pantry food or Angel Food Ministries food, you may find the following information helpful.  Perhaps you are just plain old fashioned frugal; in any case-we hope to offer you ideas you can take to the bank!

Leanne Ely sent out a message earlier today that hit my hot button.  I thought about it as I prepared our noon meal and with her ideas in mind here is what I did:

I sliced a couple of good sized onions and caramelized the thin rings in some oil.  I sprinkled some salt and pepper over them as they cooked.  Then I laid 4 thin slices of beef liver over the soft onions and drizzled chicken broth over the whole works .  I covered the skillet and slid it into the oven, which was set at 300 degrees.  That parked there for about 90 minutes and smelled divine!

While that did its thing I made a white sauce with a chunk of butter, a spoonful of corn starch and a splash of milk, adding water and more milk to get the consistency we like.  When it began to bubble I added a frozen package of spinach I got ON SALE and allowed it to thaw right in the gravy.  I seasoned it well.

As it cooked, I remembered the potatoes I had baked for Sunday dinner.  I chopped two very small potatoes and dropped them into the gravy.

We could never eat that much food at one sitting-even a meal so tasty as that!-so I was delighted to put our leftovers into flat plastic freezer bags.  We now have a very nutritious, really quick, super easy, PAID FOR meal, waiting in the freezer for us to reheat.  Simple?  You bet.

Leanne thinks along the same lines.  Here is what she had to say this morning;

Secrets to Preparing Delicious Freezer Meals

by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

A few years ago (quite a few years ago, actually), a new cooking trend was born – Once A Month Cooking – OAMC for short. The whole idea was to spend a day cooking, freeze what you make, they reheat it as needed; sort of DIY Stouffers concept.

Great idea, soggy delivery. The proponents of this type of cooking said it only took a day to make a month’s worth of meals and you had “great” dinners that you could reheat anytime. The problem was that most of these dinners took on the watery characteristics of reheated casseroles and the flavor of the food was as lukewarm as their presentation. The other issue is time – a whole day for heaven’s sake! Who can literally take a day off from life to do this?

In the early 2000′s, a new version of OAMC was born and the result was dinner assembly franchises popping up like ground hogs in the spring. Everywhere you turned in suburbia you could find several types of these storefronts.

The idea of these places goes like this: come into their store, spend two hours or so assembling 12 to 15 meals from their already chopped veggies and pre-prepared ingredients, so all you have to do is put them together raw, label and freeze for cooking at a later day, thus removing the OAMC twice-baked casserole deal. The problem is it doesn’t come cheap.

So what’s a time stretched harried homemaker to do? Do it yourself, of course! There is a way to do this. Here’s how:

Find meals that can be assembled in their raw state, defrosted successfully, then cooked freshly. A good example of this is meatloaf. All you have to do is make your meatloaf mixture, shape it, then put it in a freezer zipper bag, mark the bag and date it, then on the day you want to use it, defrost it and bake it. You will never know that your meatloaf was previously frozen!

Here is a recipe that we have on our very first Twenty for the Freezer, a downloadable menu with 20 recipes that you assemble all at once, freeze and cook later as needed. When you have a freezer full of meals like this to choose from, you will say good-bye to the drive thru forever!

In a 1 gallon plastic freezer bag, mix and blend well together:

Mega Marvelous Meatloaf
Serves 4

2/3 cup dried stuffing mix
1 egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 1/3 teaspoons garlic powder
2/3 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup ketchup
2/3 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Seal the bag and blend the mixture together by squeezing and kneading the bag. Unseal the bag, starting at the bottom of the bag, roll the mixture to force out any air then seal the bag again. Insert this bag into a gallon sized plastic freezer bag and place a copy of the recipe into the 2nd bag as well and seal it. Place your label on the bag or write the name and date on the bag and place in the freezer.  ~Leanne Ely, C. N. C”

In the interest of full disclosure, I ordered Leanne’s freezer meals menu.  I am very pleased with it and it is full of wonderful recipes, ideas and tips for not a lot of money.  Leanne and the Food Stamps Cooking Club share the philosophy of helping people eat well with little money.

Oh!  I’d be remiss if I did not mention the CONTEST they are having at Saving Dinner.  It’s all explained on their site in a video starring Leanne herself!  And as you may have suspected, today’s blog post is sponsored by The Dinner Diva herself, Leanne Ely, whose mission in life is Saving Dinner!

We love mail!  Send us your thoughts at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  Thanks, everyone!

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: No-Pressure Cookery?

March 12th, 2011

 

If you are pressured about getting dinner on the table, you might like Mikemax's ideas for using a pressure cooker!

It makes no difference whether you have a trust fund for your grocery budget or you are living on a dime, staying within the parameters of  your EBT card for SNAP or WIC.  Even if you have goods from a food pantry, use food commodities or Angel Food Ministries…you still have to put a meal on the table night after night after night.  Most of us have to do it after a tough and tiring day at work; some of us have little people underfoot as we do so.

Being the faithful Club Member among MANY faithful club members that she is, Mikemax, formerly known as Maxine, has come to our rescue with just the remedy we are ready to have!  Here’s what Mikemax has to say in Part 2 of her latest generous offering:

 

A microwave isn’t the only way to cook fast. Pressure cookers were the original fast cookers, and they work as well today as they did 75 years ago. Better, in fact—now they come with pressure relief valves, which means you’d really have to work at it to blow one up.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”—Franklin D. Roosevelt.

That’s a line from his first inaugural address, but he could have been writing the instructions for Eleanor’s pressure cooker!


“Don’t worry—be happy”—Bobby McFerrin.

I inherited my first pressure cooker, a circa-1948 Presto Model 60, from my mother. After my husband lost it,- Don’t ask! -I bought a Mirro at Kmart about 10 years ago for $16. The cheapies only cook at 10 lbs. pressure, but that works fine for almost everything.

Within the last year, I found a Model 60 in pristine condition at a thrift store for $4.50. I couldn’t resist! It’s a little bigger than the Mirro and cooks at 5, 10 and 15 lbs. pressure. Woo-hoo!

With a pressure cooker, you can make many homemade soups in only 10 to 15 minutes. Chili and stews in 15 minutes. Chicken and dumplings in less than 30 minutes. Pot roast in 45 minutes. You can use it to cook meats, rice, vegetables and desserts. And, of course, dry beans cook best in a pressure cooker, and cook time is only 10-20 minutes (depends on variety) after soaking.

If you need an instruction booklet, go online. Don’t worry about the exact model—there isn’t much difference between brands and all cook the same way. Try the Presto website.

Whether you are cooking in a Crock Pot or a pressure cooker, the thing to remember is that meat and veggies don’t necessarily cook at the same rate. If you are making pot roast, for example, you’ll probably be happier if you cook the meat until it is tender, then add the veggies and cook until done.

Just a reminder–save time for tomorrow’s dinner by making at least twice as much salad as you intend to eat tonight. Add dressing and croutons only to the amount you are serving tonight. Cover the remaining salad, refrigerate and it’s all ready for another day.

The less I have to cook in the hour before dinner, the better we eat!

~mikemax, formerly known as Maxine”

*PS/If you need an instruction booklet, go online. Don’t worry about the exact model—there isn’t much difference between brands and all cook the same way.    Here’s a website with a lot of information, including cooking times:

http://fastcooking.ca/pressure_cookers/cooking_times_pressure_cooker.php

*Mother Connie here: NO ONE HERE benefits if you click on the above link and a purchase results.  We are more interested in your getting information than we are in taking money 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: What Foods Comfort YOU?

October 15th, 2010
*Note:  Mother Connie has had internet service provider issues.  Hence, the Food Stamps Cooking Club has been neglected.  Here’s hoping YOU all missed hearing from this corner of the world as much as Mother Connie missed posting!  This post is all about comfort food:  APPLES!  YUMMY!
It comes to us courtesy of The Dinner Diva who has been Saving Dinner for eons, LeAnne Ely.  Thanks, LeAnne.  We couldn’t keep house without you.

Fall Fruit
By Leanne Ely, C.N.C.


Can you feel the crispness in the fall air? The leaves are changing. The nights are colder. It’s sweater weather. It’s harvest time. I love this time of year. It’s finally cool enough to do some serious cooking without worrying about heating up your kitchen and the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables has never been better.

Let’s focus a bit on those fruits. Although they are great to eat just as Mother Nature created them, there are lots we can do to add some kick to our traditional meals as well. Have you ever tried chicken with apricots? How about pork chops with honey and apples? And adding an assortment of berries when roasting meats is simply divine!

Try baking up some of those apples. Just remove the core then add some raisins, a little honey and cinnamon in the empty space. Bake for thirty minutes at 350 degrees. YUM! And just think of all the calories you just saved yourself by skipping the traditional apple pie (save that for Thanksgiving).

Another fun way to serve up your fruitful bounty is in a Fall Fruit Salad. I’ve included a recipe for you below but feel free to get creative with this one. Add or subtract fruits to your heart’s content. For a flavor that is more tart try adding some dried cranberries. You can add some extra crunch with a few almonds or even chopped celery. There’s no limit to the fun you can have with your fall fruit.

Fall Fruit Salad
Serves 4

1 apple, diced
1 pear, diced
1 peach, diced
1/2 cup green seedless grapes
1 cup low fat lemon yogurt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the apple, pear, peach and grapes. Toss with yogurt and chill. Stir in the walnuts just before serving so the walnuts will maintain their crunch. You can also garnish this with mint if desired.

Leanne Ely is a New York Times bestselling author of Body Clutter and the Saving Dinner series. The Dinner Diva syndicated newspaper column appears in 250 newspapers nationwide. Learn how to cook great and save significant money with the Dinner Diva’s menus, recipes and shopping lists at www.savingdinner.com

Copyright (C) 2010 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.
Those who are holders of EBT cards from SNAP or WIC, those who use Angel Food Ministries, people who use food pantries and/or food commodities will be happy to have all this information.

As for the Food Stamps Cooking Club?  WE ARE SO HAPPY THERE IS YOU.

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: Rule Your Rhubarb?

May 5th, 2010

 

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

 

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

Today we start fresh!

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

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

Rule Your Rhubarb

by Rainy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connie Baum

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

Angel Food Ministries?

November 24th, 2009
Katrina Weber, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications

Katrina Weber, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for Angel Food Ministries

This beautiful young woman has graciously consented to offer a Guest Blog Post for all of us to read!

This did not happen in a vacuum; there were emails and phone calls; questions and answers before her dear message arrived in the Food Stamps’ Inbox!  It’s been a banner day for us!

To realize that there are people in Georgia who are doing everything humanly possible in a grass roots effort to help people in need all over this country is just heart warming to me and renews my faith in human nature.

Here is what Ms. Weber had to say in her message:

“When people fall on hard times they often find feeding their family to be one of the most difficult responsibilities. They want to buy good food and maintain proper nutrition and quality, but finances often dictate otherwise. With AFM people can obtain the protein items that they may ordinarily stay away from in exchange for fillers and unhealthy options. Additionally with our ability to accept food stamps we are in a position to help people stretch their monthly benefit to essentially almost double what they could normally buy in a grocery store. At the same time AFM’s process helps raise money for local community organizations without asking for donations and creates an environment where community and family can grow together.”

There you have it, people. We now understand that the unemployment rate is actually 17% and climbing.  People need tangible assistance, regardless of their dependence on food pantries, food commodities; SNAP or WIC…or their neighbor’s generosity.  Angel Food Ministries has recognized that need and found a way to fill it.

This information arrives as we prepare to give thanks on this Thanksgiving holiday.  We now have one more reason why we can ‘drink from our saucer.’  SIDEBAR:  This is a reference to yesterday’s post.  END SIDEBAR.

Please make a point to visit the Angel Food Ministries’ website, won’t you?  Locate the nearest outlet near you and join with your neighbors to make the very best use of your food dollars.

If you would be so gracious as to leave your comment on this page, we will make sure the good people at Angel Food Ministries get the word!  You can also send a message to us at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com !

Connie Baum


Calling All Kids! Especially in Johnson County, Nebraska!

July 10th, 2009

Terri Brethouwer, Family Development Associate tells me the South East Nebraska Community Action Center crew is BUSY! They are gearing up for an event to help children get back to school with all their needs met!  That’s because they are investing in people to build strong communities!

Later this month there will be an event to prepare youngsters for the new school year!  It will be held at the Action Center in beautiful downtown Tecumseh, Nebraska!  The next day there will be an identical event in Pawnee City, Nebraska.  The kids will be given backpacks filled with socks and underwear and there will be professionals on hand to assist them from their areas of expertise.  Here’s a list of the key players:

  • I’ll be there to share information about healthy snacks!
  • Someone from our County Extension Office will have meal ideas!
  • An eye care specialist will do something regarding their vision
  • A Physician’s Assistant will be on hand for medical issues
  • Dental care will be addressed

Being a part of this-being a part of this community, even, just gives me goosebumps!  Oh, how I wish everyone from all over the country could come to this event so I could give you a hug and thank you for being so faithful to the Food Stamps Cooking Club!

You have been faithful to our partners, as well.  For this we are all grateful.

Summer is a great time for great food.  The ideas are pouring in at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com  and we will be sharing those in the hot, humid days to come.  Meantime, please continue sending those in your circle of influence to Food Stamps Cooking Club so they can sign in and receive our occasional messages of information and tips.

As you are keenly aware, this site is dedicated to helping recipients of the SNAP program, food commodities, food pantries, and we hope we are assisting everyday people in managing their food budgets.  Those who get help through Angel Food Ministries seem to appreciate our offerings, as do people who are using Farmers Market coupons.

You are more than welcome to post your comments.  They will need to be moderated so you may not see them immediately but please know we are most grateful to receive them.  They give us fresh perspective and make us feel appreciated.  Thank you so very much!

Connie Baum

Supper’s Ready!

July 1st, 2009
Supper's Ready!

Supper's Ready!

I am so tickled to SHOW you what we had for our evening meal!  What is pictured is a stir-fry that melted in our mouths!  Here’s the scoop:

“I Don’t Know What To Call It But It’s Delicious Turkey Supper”

1 tablespoon oil  *I prefer olive oil; use what you like best

1/2 medium onion, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

1 pound lean ground turkey  *Ground beef, even cooked chicken would work well

1 cup corn *I used frozen but canned will do; fresh would be even better

Salt and pepper to taste

Poultry seasoning to taste

1 – 2 cups cooked pasta  *I used spaghetti because that’s what I found in the fridge, all cooked!

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet.  Add the onion and celery.  Allow to cook til veggies are tender.  Add the turkey meat to brown.  Salt and pepper to season.  Add poultry seasoning. *NOTE:  I did not measure but I’d guess I used a rounded teaspoon.  It seemed as if it might be too much but the dish had good, rich flavor.  Add according to your family’s preferences. Add corn and allow everything to heat through well. Add the pasta and heat thoroughly, stirring so the pasta does not become sticky. I served this in pasta bowls; we had lettuce/tomato salad and buttered toast with this tasty creation.  We washed it all down with refreshing iced tea.

Who needs dessert?  SIDEBAR:  The Normanator needed dessert and he served us up dips of chocolate marshmallow ice cream after the dishes had been washed!  END SIDEBAR.

The kitchen stayed cool on this warm day; we filled our tummies with fresh goodness and dinner was on the table in jig time!

What did YOU make for dinner?  We’d love to know.  We so hope you’ll send your “reports” to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

We appreciate that you have stopped by our partners and we are grateful for your comments here.  We know you are opting in to Food Stamps Cooking Club and for this we thank you.

Users of food pantries, Farmer’s Market Coupons, food commodities and SNAP-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are our heroes and heroines.  We aim to help them all we can by providing useful information and news and food ideas.  We want to make a difference and be of help.  After all, if we are not part of the solution to life’s issues, we must be part of the problem!  Can’t have THAT, now, can we?

Connie Baum

PS/I spoke with the local grocer today.  HE ASKED ABOUT OUR COOKING CLASSES!  Stay tuned!  We are accepting your class ideas…

foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com




Does Being a Food Stamps Cooking Club Member Have Perks?

April 16th, 2009

Yes, Virginia, being a Food Stamps Cooking Club member DOES have perks and my favorite one is COMMUNITY!  It does not matter if you are a SNAP program client or just a foodie.  One of our faithful has written to share not only a recipe, but her culture.  We are so grateful to Imee Malabonga, who has Filipino heritage, as does one of MY favorite granddaughters in law!  Imee joins the sorority of my new best friends and here is  dear Imee’s precious contribution:

“Well. I have this recipe for chicken-pork adobo, but my mom sometimes substitutes the meat with this vegetable we call kangkong (it’s called water spinach in English). We only use the stalks for it though, instead of leaves.

Here are the the ingredients:
-1/2 kilo pork cut in cubes + 1/2 kilo chicken, cut into pieces (or 1 kilo pork, 1 kilo chicken, 1 kilo water spinach, or whatever combination)
-1 head garlic, minced (garlic over here are usually the small ones about an inch in diameter)
-1/2 white onion, diced
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1 cup vinegar (we like to use sukang Iloco, I don’t know if that’s available in oriental stores over there)
-2 cups of water
-about 5 bay leaves
-4 tablespoons of cooking oil or olive oil (we like unflavored extra virgin coconut oil sometimes)
-Salt and pepper (to taste)

Here’s how to do it:
1. In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil then sauté the minced garlic and onions. If you want you can also add crushed ginger, depends on your taste.
2. Add your choice of 1 kilo of meat to the pan. Add 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, vinegar, and bay leaves. You can also add 1 tsp. of paprika (in Filipino, it’s called siling pansigang, in case you’re buying from a Filipino/Oriental store). Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes (or until meat is tender).
3. Transfer the meat from the wok. On another pan, heat cooking oil and brown the pork and chicken for a few minutes.
4. Mix the browned meat back to the sauce in the other wok, then add salt and/or pepper to suit your taste.
5. Bring to a boil then simmer for another 5 minutes.
6. You can serve it with the “gravy” or sauce, or totally drain it.

Sometimes we do variations like removing the sauce or not using ginger, etc, and like I said you can even substitute the meat with stalks of water spinach instead for a healthier alternative. :)”

Such a healthy dish, Imee!  Thanks for sharing!

It has been my experience as a “pink person” who has frequented Asian grocery stores that the people there are delighted to help non-Asians get acquainted with the different foods and the ingredients we don’t recognize.  I sincerely believe that by sharing various cultures through food we can achieve world peace. 

I’d love it if we had one long, ginormous table for everyone in the Food Stamps Cooking Club, no matter where in the world they live, to put their toes under it so we could taste one another’s dishes and get better acquainted!

Do you have a family favorite from YOUR culture?  Or maybe you have a cooking tip you would like others to know.  Won’t you share the way Imee did?  Just drop a line to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com !  It doesn’t matter if you are affiliated with the SNAP program in any way or not; it does matter that we want you to feel included!

We also encourage you to visit our partners.  Rapid Cash Marketing will help you boost your income; Saving Dinner will help you manage it! 

Connie Baum

Boy, Is Our Mail Fun or WHAT?

April 8th, 2009

You may or may not be aware that every effort is made to bring to all of you the very best we have to offer.  We are sincerely concerned about the plight of people who need food stamps, fill their cupboards from food pantries and depend on food commodities.

Well, my good friends, our mail indicates that we are not alone.  There IS help out there.  We just needed to know how to access it. 

I got a precious email from one Alice Lockett.  She is a NUTRITIONIST who works with the Federal Food Stamps Program!  Look at the mountain of information she was kind enough to share:

“Dear Food Stamp Cooking Club:

I am a nutritionist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly called the Food Stamp Program.  A colleague of mine sent me the link to your site the “Food Stamp Cooking Club”.  I thought you might be interested in some of the resources we have available for folks who are eligible for SNAP benefits. 

The SNAP-Ed Connection (http://snap.nal.usda.gov) is a dynamic online resource center for State and local SNAP-Ed providers.  SNAP-Ed Connection helps educators meet their professional development needs by providing information on valuable training and continuing education resources.  SNAP-Ed Connection facilitates access to education materials developed specifically for SNAP eligibles.

o       SNAP-Ed Addresses Rising Food Cost:  Rising food prices and uncertain economic conditions are making it harder for many Americans, especially low-income families to make ends meet.  To that end, SNAP-Ed in collaboration with USDA National Agricultural Library/Food and Information Center/ Food Stamp Nutrition Connection has developed a Fact Sheet and a dedicated web page to address the problems of rising food cost issues.  The Fact sheet is called “Eat Right When Money’s Tight”: http://www.nal.usda.gov/foodstamp/pdf/Making%20Ends%20Meet%20Fact%20Sheet-FINAL.pdf

o       This fact sheet includes methods for stretching the food budget while maintaining a healthy diet.  It includes tips on creating a family food budget, making use of foods that are on hand, preparing a shopping a list, shopping techniques before, during and after going to the grocery store, and what foods are the best choice for cost and nutrition.  The factsheet also provides additional information resources from other USDA nutrition assistance programs.

o       The SNAP-Ed Connection has developed a dedicated web page titled “Making Ends Meet: Eating Well When Money’s Tight”.  The content of this web page includes links to resources for managing your food dollars wisely with over 100 low cost recipes from the Recipe Finder Database costing 25 cents or less per serving.

o       The Recipe Finder Database is one of the most popular components on the SNAP-Ed website.  This database of over 400 recipes is for use by nutrition educators working with the SNAP eligible population. Educators can search for relevant nutrition topics and audience specific recipes to help SNAP recipients make healthy, low cost food choices. Recipes include useful information such as cost per serving and per recipe. Nutrient analysis, including trans-fat, is also included for each recipe. 

o       SNAP-Ed’s Recipe Finder Available in Spanish: The SNAP-Ed Connection recently released “Buscador de Recetas,” the Spanish translation of the Recipe Finder Database. Users now have the option of searching the database of over 400 recipes in both Spanish and English. Recipes included generally use low cost, readily available ingredients; can be prepared quickly; use simple measurements and basic equipment; and are compatible with the existing US Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To access the Spanish version of the FSNC Recipe Finder, visit the web site at http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/.

We hope you find these resources helpful. “

I’d like to remind you that your local County Extension Service  Agents can point you in the direction of helpful resources and may have local contacts with farmers, gardeners and cooks who can offer their expertise and counsel!

Well!  There you have it!  These are wonderful sites that you can access as quickly as you clicked here at the Food Stamps Cooking Club!  They will help all of us make better use of our food dollars!

While you are clicking around, do stop by our partners, as well.  The The Dinner Diva can help you manage your resources.  The Rapid Cash Marketing Team can help BOOST your resources.

The Dinner Diva

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