These darling little boys are 2 of our great grandsons. Their mommy captured the moment they were about to display brotherly love with a smooch!
Whenever the mail has comments from our Members my heart does the happy dance! I could have hugged Kay the Gardener when she sent this message. She gave me cart blanch to with it whatever worked so here, with our deep gratitude, is Kay’s offering:
SIDEBAR: Kay’s ideas are fabulous. Even so, they won’t all work for all our Members. Please choose what works for you and leave whatever does not resonate. END SIDEBAR.
“Budgeting & Cooking Tips for Food Stamp Users
Here is my situation. I live in Portland, Oregon. I am a single senior citizen; I’m in fairly good health. I’m an excellent, creative cook with access to a stove/oven, microwave, refrigerator with small freezer on top. On the shed off the deck I have access to a full sized upright freezer.
I was raised by parents who went through the 1930s Depression as adults. I grew up learning to shop at the Naval commissary/exchange every 2 weeks. We had a full freezer, thanks to our plum, peach, cherry & lemon trees. We had gardening space in the back yard in the Bay Area. I learned to make jams, jellies & canned fruit as teenager, but don’t do that myself now…
In addition to local grocery stores and an Asian market, I use Community Food Basket pantry box once a month (fee –$15/year).
I like to plan menus. I plan to have half a dozen basic breakfast variations; lunches are leftovers from dinner, or sandwiches, soups, & desserts. Dinners are typically casseroles, stews, chili, or a la carte items, with salads & fruits as complements.
Cookies, cakes & other sugary desserts are snacks or special occasions.
Being an introvert, I usually share guest meals with only a couple of friends & the next door neighbors (reciprocal potlucks or dinner plates), about 2-3x/month.
I also make a potluck veggie dish to share at monthly club meetings, where I’m willing to eat almost anything except the sauerkraut dishes (Yuk!)
SIDEBAR: Mother Connie here: Hey, we all have our faves and dislikes. You are allowed, Kay! END SIDEBAR.
Basic Pantry Goods
Starches/Pastas – small elbow macaroni, spaghetti & flat egg noodles, Mee-fun & transparent noodles & other pasta shapes (rotini, butterfly, etc) when on special at Winco from bulk section or Asian stores.
Other grains & Seeds – dry converted rice, with barley, couscous, orzo, spelt, millet, oatmeal, cornmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice, 5-7-10 grain breakfast hot cereal, depending on availability, sesame seeds & sunflower kernels & frozen quinoa, for variety in grains.
Legumes – Dried – Red Kidney, white navy, pinto, garbanzo, small limas, black beans, lentils, yellow & green split peas.
Canned Vegetables – kidney, pinto, black, garbanzo, lima, green beans, creamed & kernel corn, pickled sliced beets, button mushroom pieces, with black & green olives & sweet gherkin pickles & canned pimientos for garnish.
Canned Fruits – Canned in own juice or low sugar packed peaches, pears, plums, apricots, mixed fruit cocktail, pineapple chunks, & maraschino cherries.
Canned Soups – Low salt versions of tomato, chicken noodle & clam chowder soups for quick lunches, with cream of mushroom & cheese soups for sauces. Have chicken, beef & onion in bulk bouillon powders to make quick soup stocks.
Other Canned items – Sardines in water pack, tuna fish in water pack, Vienna sausages, canned salmon, canned crab/ shrimp for sandwich alternatives. Instant breakfast mix.
Dried Fruits – again from bulk bins – Black raisins for regular use, golden ones for special holiday baking, dried apricots, apple slices, prunes, peaches, banana chips, blueberries, cran-raisins. They make good snacks for munching in small quantities.
Frozen Vegetables – Plain style baby green peas, corn, cut green beans, sliced carrot “coins”. I use frozen veggies as standbys & mix my own combinations without sauces, instead of buying fancy “California mix”.
Also I keep on hand frozen 100% orange juice, both calcium enriched & “with pulp” styles.
Fresh Fruits & Vegetables – Basics – Apples, oranges, grapefruits, bananas
Basics – Regular — Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Cabbage, Romaine lettuce
Seasonal – other seasonal fruits & veggies for variety, bought when plentiful, about 7-12 at any given time during the month. I use seasonal produce calendars from the Washington/Oregon Extension departments, available from library lobbies, senior centers, etc. for hints. These fresh veggies might be used 2-3 times each during the week, first plain, then in different combos.
Dairy/Eggs – I use dried non-fat milk, from the large (20 qt) size, made up in quart containers or on the run. Buy monthly – 12 – 24 string cheese packs, brick of medium cheddar (2 -2.5 lbs), 12 or 18 eggs, depending upon carryover stock.
Special purchases –pint of cottage cheese (2%), 1/2 pint non-fat plain yogurt ( = substitute sour cream), bulk Parmesan for garnish when needed, mozzarella or Colby / jack bricks for variety every few months.
I save plastic/ glass jars & margarine & bulk potato salad containers to store these items in, with the contents labeled on the sides & tops.
Meats – In rotation, to keep as basics on hand, I would buy a 3-5 lb log of ground beef, then cut & wrap into 1 lb packs for the freezer. I also buy the 10 lb frozen chicken forequarter packs, slightly defrost & rinse, clean & repack 2 legs/ package & pop them into the freezer quickly. I buy a couple of frozen 1 lb imitation crab packs & keep a couple of 1 lb packs of turkey/poultry franks in the freezer for quickie meals.
I also have in the freezer during the year, bought on special –
Beef –liver, kidneys & tongue, beef round – cut as a roast or thick cut steak, cross-cut beef shanks, 7 bone thick cut pot roast to cut into pot roast & stew meat chunks. (Rib-eye or T-bone steaks are reserved for when people take me out for special occasions).
Pork – small turkey ham, thick cut ham slice, thick cut pork chops, boneless pork loin chunks, pork shoulder steaks, mild pork sausage for meatloaves, & Oktoberfest style sausages in the fall.
Lamb – ground lamb, & lamb shanks, a full bone-in leg of lamb in Spring.
Poultry – a couple of whole fryers when on sale for summer BBQ, a large (15-20 lb) frozen turkey bought in the pre-Thanksgiving sales (eg, 49 cents/lb with $50 of other groceries – I buy my Nov staples around the 18th, instead of on the 10th of that month).
Fish – 2 lb packs of frozen basa (swai) fillets, a spring/summer run salmon fillet, which I cut into 1” thick steaks myself, & other fish pieces if on special sale. Most of my fish comes from the Asian stores, because the turnover is quicker there.
For all these frozen packages, I keep a running list of the contents, weight, date in & date out, posted to an inner cupboard in my kitchen, to help rotate the items.”
Kay has shared so much information that some of it will have to go into another post! Such extravagant generosity! Thank you, Kay!
So that is our tease, kids! Stay tuned for the remainder of ideas from Kay the Gardener!
**Note from Mother Connie: There are font gremlins somewhere in WordPress! Sorry it looks so goofy! Such is the life of a blogger! grin/giggle
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