Archive for the ‘Message from Mother Connie’ category

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Humble Potatoes

April 17th, 2015

Pardon our lack of visual delights.  It’s complicated.  *SIGH…

There is an organization in our small rural town dedicated to helping people and changing lives.  It is South East Nebraska Community Action–or SENCA, for short.  One of the programs sponsored by SENCA is an annual Woman of Distinction event, honoring the amazing women of Johnson County, Nebraska.

It is costly to present this affair so to raise funds to defray the costs a Potato Bake was put on so the public could make a freewill offering, have a great meal, and have a really good time.

The SENCA office location was host for the evening.  Their Advisory Board, made up of 7 people in the community who are just average folks in the community did the planning, cooking, serving and of course, clean up.

They baked a LOT of potatoes; they set out an array of toppings that were mouth watering and pretty.  The offerings included butter, sour cream, grated cheese, broccoli, creamed corn, bacon bits, chopped ham and well seasoned chunks of chicken.  Beverages were iced tea and water.

SIDEBAR: Other items were considered but to minimize cost these were omitted:  onions, chives, chili, salsa, red/green peppers, chopped lettuce and olives.  END SIDEBAR.

The plates were colored to match SENCA‘s theme colors: red and blue; the flatware was delivered to their door by one of the Advisory Board members who happens to be a minister.  The kitchen at his church was missing all its flatware that evening! (Every piece is in its proper home this morning!)

The potatoes that did not get consumed were toted to a sister agency in a nearby town.  The leftover veg was stowed in the SENCA fridge and some of the meat went into the freezer for use by the SENCA cook.  There was not a shred of  waste!

I mention all this because it got me thinking how easy it is to make up fixin’s for baked potatoes for a hungry family.  The cook might spend an evening or a day off afternoon chopping whatever veggies the family favors and keep them in the fridge til they are needed.  Well scrubbed potatoes will cook nicely in the crock pot til it’s time for the evening meal.  Various toppings could be set out for each diner to decorate his potato to his own liking and no one would be put upon after a tiring day of work. And the food budget would still be intact!

SIDEBAR: IF you have a dishwasher, loading potatoes into it is a slick and simple way to get a lot of taters clean in a hurry!  That’s how the SENCA bunch pre-cooked theirs!  When those taters came out of the dishwasher they were checked for spots, oiled and placed on baking sheets to slide into the ovens! END SIDEBAR.

Users of EBT cards from WIC or SNAP might find this idea useful, if not new.  If you or someone you know uses food from food commodities or a food pantry, this is just one more way to make life a wee bit easier.  Maybe you have things from a food drop or church food pantry…dressing up the humble potato is a wonderful way to add fiber, nutrition, flavor and oomph to what might otherwise be a boring tater!

As you who are Members of this humble Cooking Club know, we dedicate  this piece of cyberspace to those who depend on public assistance for their food budgets.  We intend for it to be a helpful asset.  We also hope you will share your stories and experiences with us.  If you like, you may write to us at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  WE LOVE HEARING FROM OUR MEMBERS!

We also hope you are getting benefit from the little series of cooking tips we send along to new members.

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: Reality!

April 14th, 2015

To All Food Stamps Cooking Club Members:

It’s shameful that this corner of Cyberspace has been so sorely neglected.  I make no excuses except to say I have a lot on my plate.  But Facebook posted something that was so important to me that I shared it on my Timeline.

Today a good friend mentioned that she was unable to post a comment here and sent me a private message.  I am sharing part of our conversation here because it is SO important.  And by the way, SO ARE EACH OF YOU!

Lorraine sent this:

“These days many people lack the knowledge that our aunts, and grandmothers took for granted that everyone knew such as the ideas expressed here on how to use every available resource to keep their families fed as inexpensively as possible.

Too many times we hear about some well meaning celebrity who tries to bring attention to the situation that all too many folks are going through…how to feed your family on the cheap and make it stretch.

While well intentioned, often times they truly have no idea how to go beyond the surface and really dig deep and utilize every resource available to them to fill their family’s bellies with highly nutritious foods in creative ways when there is not an unending supply of available real food.

Here is another individual, besides you dear Connie, who truly understands the importance of that. http://monkeydoproject.org/2015/04/13/dear-gwyneth-this-is-what-a-real-snap-grocery-cart-looks-like/ Thanks for all you do, educating and supporting those who are down in the trenches making it happen for their loved ones. You provide so much useful information on nutritious meals on a dime.”

Thank you, Lorraine.  I so hope that our Members will cruise by the link you include.  THERE is the reality of what $29.00 will really buy. To feed a family of 4 on this food FOR A WEEK?  O my goodness.

People who manage their food dollars with EBT cards from WIC and/or SNAP; people whose youngsters would be hungry if not for food pantries or food drops or food commodities are people I want to serve.

There is some issue with posting comments on this blog…*Drat WordPress anyway…If you want to voice your opinion please direct your message to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  EVERY comment we receive is read and receives a reply.

Thank you, all.

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: Using Our Imagination…

February 4th, 2015

Mother Connie has been plagued with technological issues.  Hence, no photos…(SAD FACE)  But at least everyone at our house is warm and well! (HAPPY FACE)

Plan A was to post pictures of the luscious food that was photographed specifically for the blog.  HOWEVER, Plan B had to be executed because those perfectly gorgeous photos canNOT be accessed. (SAD, TEARY FACE)

SIDEBAR: In my next life I’ll be an IT whiz.  END SIDEBAR

During these cold weather months we have concentrated on oven meals, one pot dishes and hearty soups.  *They all made lovely portraits which I suppose we’ll never lay our eyes on.  They all tasted  wonderful and the left overs were morphed into different and tasty offerings.  That is part of the joy of cooking at home.  Not only do you save money and know precisely how the food is prepared, you get to revel in re-imagined leftovers!

The Normanator begs for chili soup oftener than I care to ‘build’ it. Yesterday, on a shopping trip, we found a package of reasonably priced ground chuck so I snatched it up.  For dinner I browned and seasoned the meat with salt, pepper, a rather stingy amount of chili powder and I added onions.  This made for great filling for tacos.  YUM  We  oohed and aahed between taco bites at dinner!

This morning, as snow fell and obscured our view of the street, I used the meat left from tacos to make a chili soup.  I added chili flakes, fresh green pepper, and home canned tomatoes.  As I looked for beans I was stunned to discover I only had garbanzo beans!  Not suitable, imho, for chili soup!  I spied the jar of lentils.  I pulled out of the freezer a bag of barley and tossed a handful into a skillet to toast and I put the toasted barley and some lentils into the soup mix.  I added some onions.  I spooned in a scant teaspoon of sugar to diminish the tomato’s sting.  It began to bubble and smell like chili.  I tasted it and swooned.  I can hardly wait for lunch time!

No doubt many of you have made similar substitutions.  That’s what you do when you have what you have.  Especially if your pockets are empty and/or it you are in the midst of a blizzard!

Those of you who depend on public assistance for your food dollars know precisely what I mean here.  If you use WIC or SNAP or food commodities or get your eats from a food pantry you have no doubt made plenty of substitutes.  You are to be applauded for your creativity.

After being offline for what feels like forever it was a joy to see that we have so many NEW Members to this club!  Thank you all for joining and we welcome the newcomers with open arms. We hope you’ll have good, solid help from this little part of the internet.  You are welcome to contribute, too.  Send any messages to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  WE LOVE MAIL because we love our Members!

There will be a Cooking Class at SENCA in Tecumseh, Nebraska on February 24, 2015.  There is no cost for the class but we need to know how many will be able to attend.  Please call 402 335 2134 to reserve your spot.  The class will focus on One Pot Meals and we will be talking about seasonings.

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: We Are Baaaack!

January 22nd, 2015

Nightmarish technical difficulties have prevented the Food Stamps Cooking Club from posting for a very long time.

*Note to self:  NEVER buy a refurbished computer.

Just as soon as we untangle the web of technology that has been a veritable thorn in Mother Connie’s side we will return to posting and boy oh boy is there ever  a DOOZEE of a dish waiting in the wings for you Members!

Your patience with these issues is deeply appreciated.  Thank you so much!

While not able to blog, plans are in the works for another cooking class in Tecumseh, NE…at the South East Community Action Center (SENCA).  The fun just never ends! 


Save the date:  February 24 at 1:30PM.  There is no cost but you must call 402 335 2134 to reserve your space.  We will be demonstrating one pot meals, freezer meals and seasonings.  It should be helpful for all our Members.

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: Kay Speaks, Part 2!

October 13th, 2014

Canon City 003The Normanator and I are always glad to have great ideas for staying within the food budget!

***Please be advised that Mother Connie will not be posting here for a week or so.  Life has become chaotic and we need to step back and take a deep breath.  Here’s hoping you recognize YOUR need for self care, too! 

Before long we’ll be back with some great food ideas that will be kind to your budget!

***

Kay the Gardener was so kind as to send a huge amount of tips for those of us who must cook frugally!  We continue with her hints:

SIDEBAR:  I made every effort to match Kay’s fonts to Mother Connie’s. It did not work so we present her ideas AS IS with our gratitude for her generosityEND SIDEBAR.

“Sample Menu Plans –

Breakfast – I serve Oatmeal & Cream of Wheat during the week, with various toppings of raisins, cran-raisins, nuts, chopped dried fruits etc. For weekends, egg dishes for speed, pancakes or French toast for leisure. There is also juice or fruit, plus small serving of cheese or peanut butter on crackers, toast or muffins for protein. I save instant breakfast & cold dry cereals for occasional treats or emergencies.

Lunches – I have cheese, peanut butter & jelly or tuna sandwiches, plus soup & fruit. Sometimes I have leftovers from an earlier dinner, but in smaller portions.

If I am away from the house, I pack a sandwich & fruit & crackers.

Dinners – They have a pattern of Starch + Protein a la carte + another Veggie, plus Salad/Soup. Or Casseroles, Stir-frys, Stews… = 1 pot dishes.

I find that for proteins, the larger the piece, the more expensive.  For example a serving a portion of 4-6 oz of roast, vs 2-4 oz of 1/2” – 3/4” pieces in stir fries.

With veggies, it is the opposite – 1 large serving vs many more in mashed form, such as a baked potato vs mashed potatoes…

I also try to add something fresh to leftovers, so it doesn’t seem like eating the exact SAME THING all the time.

Examples –

1A) A dinner of thick-cut ham slice, with sweet potatoes/yams & apples or peaches + Green beans in separate pot, + Salad.

1B) Cut up leftover ham into bite-size pieces, serve with mixed veggies, adding leftover green beans & new onions, celery, carrots, etc in the stir fry, over rice + egg drop soup.

2A) Baked chicken (whole cut into pieces or quarters), baked potatoes, sauced carrots/celery dish, baked apples, all done in 350 degree oven…

2B) Cut leftover chicken into bite-size pieces, add to barley with carrots/celery & fresh onions. Cook on stove about 1 hour. Can serve dry or add chicken stock for soup, depending upon how much leftover food you have for dinner. Serve with biscuits, cornbread, potato rolls etc for something different.”

Kay, you have really given us a great many good ideas and we appreciate everything so much!

Those of us who depend on EBT cards for WIC or SNAP; those who frequent food pantries; those who use food commodities all understand how important it is to figure out the best ways to manage those food dollars!

The purpose of this blog is to support those who use and depend upon  public assistance for their food dollars.  We have nothing to buy; there is NO judgment and we welcome our new Members with open arms.

If you’d like to comment about anything food related or if you have ideas you’d like to share we invite you to send emails to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com. WE LOVE 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.

 

 

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Staying the Course!

September 9th, 2014

Seems as if it’s been ages since we’ve met here—I have learned from spine surgery that I am not cut out for being waited on!  The Normanator made a fabulous chief cook and bottle washer but it feels good to be back in the kitchen again!  And I’ve missed you guys…

My first venture into the kitchen led me to choose one of my comfort foods.  I took a picture but the results were dismal.  This dish tasted far better than this photo shows:

ghoulash 001Goulash?  Really?  grin/giggle

I learned to make goulash when I was 10 years old.  My mother had a serious bone fracture with complications.  That’s when I fell in love with all things domestic! Mom directed me from her place on the sofa and that’s how she taught me to cook.  Maybe that’s why I never depended much on recipes?

The Normanator had some ground beef left from something he made for us.  I found the gluten free pasta in the pantry, along with some tomatoes we canned last year.  I browned the meat as the macaroni cooked.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper…that’s when the whole meal turned a corner.

I wanted cumin for its wonderful smoky flavor.  I think the effects of the pain pills were still in my head because when I shook the spice into the meat I suddenly realized I had NOT taken the cumin.  I had grabbed the CURRY!  We sped from German food directly to India and there was no road map!

I thought of the quote “Stay Calm and Carry On” I’ve seen on the ‘net.  So I stayed the course and hoped we would not have to scrap this meal.  *It’s hard to cook with your fingers crossed. GRIN

I added some chopped onion and some frozen corn, hoping to save the dish.  I knew there were eggs in the fridge in case this was the disaster I feared…I added some of the home canned tomatoes and kept on keeping on!   Just in case, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes.

As I plated this new creation I called goulash it smelled divine.  It was different to the taste but not unpleasant.  The Normanator had no complaints and I felt we had scored-having a tasty, very low cost meal, mistakes and all!

Mistakes can happen in any kitchen.  When it happens to you, just roll with it.  Depend on your creativity and whatever sits on your pantry shelf or in the fridge and carry on!

I want to thank all of you who sent your good wishes for a speedy recovery and I want to welcome all the newbies who signed up to be Members and receive the little series of cooking tips!  It is such fun to read your messages and see the new names every day!  We truly  hope we are a contribution to your lives.

If you are using EBT cards from  WIC or SNAP or you have Farmers Market Coupons, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to YOU.  Maybe you have goods from a food pantry or food bank; you might have food commodities.  You may just love squeezing your food nickels til the buffalo bellows!  In any case, we just want to help.  There’s nothing to buy; no fancy apps.  Just ideas to help you feed the people you love when you are on a tight food budget!

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:

“Hi!

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…
Love,
Delaine”
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: ISSUES!

May 28th, 2014

If it isn’t one thing  it’s another.  You know we’ve waited for Paul Counts to get us out of the weeds for months.  Jeff Wellman lent us both a helping hand and VOILA!  we were up and running!

Then there was the power outage that blew out the WiFi.  Bless Dustin Buggi’s heart.

SIDEBAR:  Dustin did EXACTLY what I had done to the WiFi connection.  After HE did what HE did, though, the WiFi worked perfectly again.  How did I react to this?  I wept bitterly.  END SIDEBAR

Thinking all was right with the world again  and having a GUEST POST ready to roll I could hardly wait to help you with your meal prep.  That’s when my hip did whatever hips of people who have been 33 for way too many years do.

Friends, we are in Blogging Limbo.  I have such great ideas to share with you and I promise I will.  I just dunno WHEN.  Yet. Don’t give up; we’ll get to the good stuff!

It’s just lucky for me that all of  you are a patient lot. 

Connie Baum

 

Food Stamps Cooking Club: We’re Baa-ack!

May 19th, 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…

Thanks to online marketer Paul Counts’ kindness and expertise as well as Jeff Wellman, also a kind and expert online marketer the Food Stamps Cooking Club is ready to help people once again! 

SIDEBAR: Both of these good guys are on Facebook.  If you are also a Facebookie and want to thank them, please go to their pages and send them each a thank you note via Facebook Message.  END SIDEBAR.

It has been a very long time since Mother Connie posted in order to help those who use public assistance for their food dollars.  The new plan calls for Mother to begin posting 2 or 3 times a week.  Working people are busy; even when they are online it is taxing to visit this blog in order to benefit from it.  We are well aware that some of our members get their screen time at a public library and we know time is limited there.  Come to think of it, we retirees are busy, too!  *It takes us longer to do anything! grin/giggle

We have been delighted to have received so many email messages during our “down time” !  If we ever doubted our worth we have been encouraged to keep on keepin’ on by those who sent messages to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com  –  we know the need is great.  *One in 7 people use food stamps (SNAP) and many more are eligible but because of red tape they continue to wait for help. 

We are sorting through the stacks and books of recipes and food ideas…stay tuned. 

We are so grateful for each of you and for your patience!

~Connie Baum

 

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Technical Troubles

January 20th, 2014

Due to circumstances beyond our control, posts on this blog are being suspended until we can correct the technical issues that have plagued us.

Please rest assured we will continue the Cooking Class the moment we are up and running again.  Check with Facebook to look for fresh posts as they will be announced there.

You are welcome to email foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com but the comment panels are closed for now.

Thank you for your patient understanding.

 

~Connie Baum