Archive for the ‘Message from Mother Connie’ category

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

Info Concerning Cooking Class at Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 23rd, 2013

Canon City 009The Normanator and  Mother Connie have been traipsing around he country!  Here he snapped a photo of me at our motel in Colorado…this is how we remembered our room number!  *Just kidding!

As we traveled…and dined in some interesting eateries…we discussed the Cooking Class at length.  In a few days the Club House is going to be descended upon by carpenters,electricians and landscapers.  As soon as the dust settles on their handiwork, the Food Stamps Cooking Club Offline Cooking Class will commence!

Each day of the series we will offer BASIC COOKING tips and methods with photos.  Lots of ‘how-to’s’ will fill the pages of the blog.  We are mindful that some of our Members have no regular access to the internet, so each day’s posts could be PRINTED at a library for a very nominal fee.  That way you’ll have a record and can use each lesson for reference.

Don’t worry if you come to the blog and find the same old, same old posts…it’s good review for some of you.  I think you’ll discover that the wait will be well worth your time.  Lots of thought and concern is going into this class because it’s really important for Mother Connie to help you make the most of your food dollars.

It’s very apparent that many people have not learned to cook.  There is no shame in that.  Moms and Dads and Aunts and Grandmas and all sorts of caretakers have made sure food was on the table and work happened, and school work was handed in and people had clean clothes.  These are all important aspects of everyday life.  But if you are ready to learn how to cook and ready to learn how best to stretch those SNAP funds or WIC or whatever sustains your food dollars…we are here to help because we care enough to help you.  There is NO judgment; there is nothing to buy; we only want you to feel as if you belong here, because you DO.  We’ve said it before; it bears repeating:  You are dearly loved.

So stay tuned and we’ll give you the best we have to offer!

Hugs

Mother Connie

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.

 

 

Roadside Stands Help Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 6th, 2013
Looky what WE found at a roadside stand in North Central Nebraska!

Looky what WE found at a roadside stand in North Central Nebraska!

It’s been a busy week here in the Club House–we have hosted a Book Lovers Club meeting; we have had surprise visitors, which we always enjoy, and on Thursday we took the day to travel to Central Nebraska on business.  We did toss in some pleasure, too:

We had a ginormous pizza loaded with sauerkraut, lots of meat and cheese and spices that tickled our taste buds.  Only one slice was plenty for a meal!  WOW.  This was served at a tavern in the quaint and charming town of Dannebrog, Nebraska.

We had a ginormous pizza loaded with sauerkraut, lots of meat and cheese and spices that tickled our taste buds. Only one slice was plenty for a meal! WOW. This was served at a tavern in the quaint and charming town of Dannebrog, Nebraska.

Visiting the roadside stands this time of year is wonderful!  We picked out a watermelon, a red pepper the size of my head, and some squashes: a turban squash and a butternut squash.  Everything looked so tempting and delish!  There was a wide variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, melons, onions, squashes, and the workers all talked about the crops that are still being harvested.

The sight of new vineyards popping up along the landscape was a treat for our eyes, too.  We visited a winery but they were so busy harvesting the grapes they were not available for tastings or serving meals.  We’ll just have to make another road trip at a later date! ;)

Soon Mother Connie will be posting a recipe for a casserole featuring spaghetti squash.  It is sooo mouth watering in a photo I saw that I cannot wait to make one and show all of you.  The spaghetti squash will be ready to pick very soon;  you WILL be kept in the loop!

The squash featured in the above photo make luscious soups for fall.  The recipe for squash soup has been featured here before but when a new batch of soup comes out of the Club House Kitchen, you guys will be the very first to know!

For those of you who have recently become Members of our merry band of foodies, we welcome you.  We are happy to help anyone but especially we like to focus on those who use public assistance for their food budgets.

Those who use EBT cards for WIC or SNAP and those who depend on  food commodities, food pantries, food banks, and the generosity of gardeners have told us repeatedly that the help we offer is really helpful and for that we are grateful.  We hold no judgments and we are not out to sell you stuff!  We hear, also, from people who simply like the challenge of wrestling with the food dollars to see how far those dollars might  S  T  R  E  T  C  H !  We are painfully aware of how you are all living on a dime and we love you madly.

Your comments mean the world to us.  Thanks for stopping by.  We are working diligently on plans for the Cooking Class; you are in that loop, too!  We hope it will be helpful for you in keeping your food costs to a minimum!

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.

 

County Fair Week and Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 12th, 2013

It’s Fair Week in Johnson County, Nebraska!

Plans for our Johnson County Fair have been in the works since the midway closed in 2012!  Our little Maple Grove church family is responsible for the Food Stand and with regard to that, the Food Stamps Cooking Club club house will once again serve as “Pie Central.”

The members of Maple Grove are superb pie bakers.  Every pie will be brought to our door each day-fresh from the ovens of talented bakers-and The Normanator and I will cut them, place each slice into its own container, place labels on each little box to identify the flavor and pop them into flats for transport to the Fair Stand.  They will be collected and placed in the refrigerators on site.  Last year we tallied 800 pieces of home made pie were served up to hungry fair goers.  If the weather is good, we could match or surpass that number this year!  All the profits go to help support our community.

These kinds of events have the potential to strain a family’s food budget.  With careful planning and scrutiny, however, even those who  depend on public assistance can enjoy such treats as a Black Cow-root beer and chocolate ice cream-juicy burgers or sloppy nachos.  It takes discipline and wise planning to make it happen.  People who are accustomed to living on a dime are really good at this!  YOU know who you are!

We salute and support people who fund their food budgets with the help of food pantries, food drops, food commodities.  We applaud you who manage on goods from generous gardeners, CSA supplies, farmers markets as well as WIC and SNAP.  We greatly admire those of you who are thrifty and clever at making  foodstuffs   s t r e t c h   as far as possible for your loved ones.

Here’s hoping you will understand that Mother Connie will be busy baking pies, cutting pies, chopping onions and all that goes with working with our church family this week, leaving no room for blogging.  :(  As the week unfolds, I’ll be on the hunt for ideas and suggestions and recipes to help you navigate your way through feeding your loved ones on a tight budget.

We would love to see you at the Johnson County Fair!  We’d love to hear about YOUR county fair experiences, too!  Just leave us some love in the comment panel.

We’ll reconnect next week!  Please remember, too, that you are loved and appreciated!

PS/The good folks over at Living On a Dime have a sale going on, just in case you are interested and have room in your budget…tell them Mother Connie sent you, please?

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.

 

Food Storage at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 8th, 2013
Proper food storage can really  s t r e t c h  your food dollars!

Proper food storage can really s t r e t c h your food dollars!

The Normanator helped Mother Connie fix up a little demonstration about food storage.  Pardon the  extra items on the dining room table; we’ve had a busy morning!  I’m sure you have, too.  grin

The Romaine lettuce you see in the above photo is 11 days from purchase!  It;’s hard to believe that lettuce could keep so well for so long.  The bunch was fresh on the day it was purchased.  It was rinsed and drained and then carefully wrapped in paper toweling.  Then the whole business went into the plastic bag you see there on the table.  It was important to squeeze the air out of the bag so the lettuce could stay cool and not turn brown.  I only take out the leaves I’ll be using and the rest is re-wrapped and put back as I’ve described.

You see a roll of aluminum foil in the photo.  If you bring a bunch of celery home, you can cut off  both ends, rinse thoroughly and use those parts to make veggie broth.

SIDEBAR: To do that, you simply put those end pieces into a saucepan, add water, salt, pepper and any onion pieces you have.  Put a medium heat under that and let it simmer until the celery is soft.  Strain that and save in a jar or refrigerator container.  It’s wise to MARK the date and contents because if it gets shoved to the back of the fridge before you use it, you might wind up with cooked garbage and that won’t save you a dimeEND SIDEBAR

To save the fresh celery ribs, simply shake off the excess moisture and wrap carefully in a kitchen towel or paper toweling.  Wrap aluminum foil around the entire thing, sealing it as you go to keep the oxygen from entering the foil package.  Celery stored in this manner will keep a couple of weeks or longer.  It will not get rubbery, either.

If you have some sort of system for using up leftovers, food storage is not a complicated issue.  For instance, when I make a salad, I will often build more salad than we have appetite to eat.  The leftovers then go into a refrigerator storage container such as the one with the yellow lid shown above, lined with paper towel. The salad goes into the container and is topped off with paper towel.  The dry towels soak up any moisture from the veg and they will not turn brown before the next meal, when they can be slicked up as fresh as ever!

If you cook beans or rice or eggs ahead for use in making lightening fast meals, keep those in a designated area in the fridge so you won’t be growing science experiments!  Make sure you rotate things so they don’t get yucky.  It is perfectly acceptable to discard foods that take up room on a shelf but you know perfectly well your gang will not touch them with a 10 foot pole, let alone EAT them!  The Kitchen Kops will never know and Mother Connie will never tell.

Many years ago, Mother Connie discovered FlyLady…this is a woman who struggled with home care and developed a system of managing house and home and figured out ways to get things done without upsetting your entire life.  One of the things she taught me was to “boogie the fridge” on Wednesdays.  Now, Wednesday is NOT the only day this can be done; you must make this idea work for YOU.  So the notion is that on Wednesday, you look over the fridge, toss what is no good and use whatever you have.  You can take this time to wipe up any spills, freshen the crispers, or take a dish cloth to the door but you are only allowed to spend no longer than 15 minutes for the whole project.  If this idea appeals to you, you might like to try it out.  If you are really excited about learning more of her system you can visit her site:  FlyLady.net.  She has a wealth of information there.

We hope WE, too,  have a wealth of information HERE.  We are tickled pink to see all the new Members who have joined this party!  It is so gratifying to think that we might be helping people and encouraging them in their quest to manage their food dollars with funds from public assistance!

Here’s hoping you can feel our love and concern for you from wherever in the world you are!

*Are you living on a dime?  Do you get food from a food pantry, food bank or food commodities?  Are you holding an EBT  card from SNAP or WIC?  Do you just love the challenge of managing your food dollars?  Are you thrifty by nature?  Do you love to cook?  Do you hate to cook?  In any of the above mentioned cases, we are here to help.  There is nothing to buy but we always hope you come by and leave us some love on the comment panel!

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.

 

 

 

Bean Soakers, Arise & Join Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 5th, 2013
When the type of bean to prepare has been chosen and the ingredients to gather in the bean pot are on hand, shall we SOAK the beans or NOT SOAK the beans?  That seems to be the question.

When the type of bean to prepare has been chosen and the ingredients to gather in the bean pot are on hand, shall we SOAK the beans or NOT SOAK the beans? That seems to be the question.

Our weekend was enhanced because of a wonderful gathering with friends at their cabin.  It was a simple, relaxed affair  where every guest brought carry in dishes and their sense of humor!

We sat around the fire pit, toasting marshmallows and talking when the subject of beans came up…

SIDEBAR:  Think of it Mother Connie being present and the topic of food coming up.  Unimaginable, eh?  END SIDEBAR.

Some of these folks are bean soakers; others consider soaking beans unnecessary.  The idea even came up that we should form an organization and call ourselves “The Bean Soakers”…there were ideas about club meetings and parade floats and all manner of silliness all centered around whether to soak or not to soak beans before cooking.  Purchasing canned beans was also a hot topic!

Truly, by that time of the evening ,with darkness coming over us, we were ALL full of beans!

But it got Mother Connie thinking about the people who depend on public assistance for their food dollars.  How is the single mother – or single dad, for that matter – going to know how to cook beans or anything at all UNLESS and UNTIL they KNOW HOW?

I dunno how it is in your world but I’m keenly aware of families who work 2 or 3 poorly paying jobs, juggle family and work and sleep and have few cooking skills because THEIR parents did the same routine…who had time to teach/learn cooking?  Then again, you have the people who are living on a dime whose relatives taught them to cook but they were not particularly interested at the time and now they are struggling to make ends meet.

We are told to bloom where you are planted, so Mother Connie has committed herself to offering a Cooking Class.  The date has not been chosen YET but we do promise it will be something with video so everyone in the Club can access the information.

It won’t be slick and high end.  We’ll do it in the Club House and we will stick to basics.

This will not be a gimmick to get you to do something; this will be information you can use or lose, depending on what you need to make your life better.  We feel called to do this for you out of our concern for your financial and physical health.

Do you squeeze a nickel til the buffalo bellows?  Are you holding an EBT card for SNAP or WIC?  Do you love to cook?  Do you hate to cook?  No matter if you get your food from a food pantry, food bank, use food commodities or what-we are here to support you.  Our mail has indicated of late that you are finding this little corner of the internet helpful and that keeps us getting up each day and delivering what we hope is a valuable service to you all.

Please remember you are loved and appreciated!  And if you wouldn’t mind, we would love to know if YOU are a bean soaker!

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.