Posts Tagged ‘Farmer’s Market Coupons’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Is YOUR Breadbox Full?

March 25th, 2011

If your breadbox is full to overflowing, Rainy has some suggestions for you!

One of the best things about this Club are the generous, creative members who pop up with wonderful ideas for food prep!  Rainy has offered bits of wisdom, for which we are grateful:

“Got Bread Coming Out Of Your Ears?

At one time or another, we’ve all had bread piling up on the counter or in the bread box.  “What to do with it?” you may wonder.  Depending on your family composition…whether you have kids in the house, are a single person household…your bread needs may wax and wane day by day.  Still, most households have bread sitting around waiting to be used.

In my house, the heels of bread are rejected…left alone sitting in the bottom of the bread wrapper.  Now at certain times of the year, when it is more common for me to think of making stuffing; I will save them up in freezer bags to save up until I get enough to put together a nice sized dish of stuffing.

Those very same crusts of bread make great croutons for the tops of our salads when they are drizzled with a little bit of olive oil and dusted with some of my favorite spices and seasonings.  I love homemade croutons because I can flavor them the way that I want, without all of those preservatives that purchased croutons have in them.

There have been moments when I confess to having gotten overzealous in purchasing loaves of bread, when they were perhaps on sale, or I over-estimated how much my family would use for lunches and for toast to go along with their quick morning breakfasts.  This seems highly wasteful to have loaves of bread sitting in their wrappers going all stale and risking getting moldy.

Because of this…I have gotten very creative at saving loaves of forgotten bread.  I have to confess, when I first got married my mother in law tried to convince me of the wonders of bread pudding.  Can I just tell you that the way she described it to me turned me off right from the start? She said, “I just take all of the dried up OLD bread and the milk that is starting to turn bad and dump it into the bowl with some cinnamon, sugar and raisins.  It tastes great!”  That might be but, she needed to be a bit more creative in her descriptive skills.  lol

I had never had it.  She made it for me but I still wasn’t impressed.  Over the years I have come to love bread pudding…but I had to experiment with it.  For one thing, I love her dearly…but, her recipe seemed undone to me; it could have cooked a bit longer for my liking.  Another thing, I have discovered that bread pudding can be made with whatever fruits that you love that make your mouth water.   Bread pudding doesn’t HAVE to be made with raisins.  Just this morning I made two batches with varying fruits.  One of the dishes was made with blueberries and apples; the other was made with some left over canned peaches & pears.  Yummy.

Ok, so you may not have whole loaves of bread sitting there staring you in the face.  Maybe you only have a few slices.  Why can’t you just whip up some egg, milk & vanilla or cinnamon and fry up some french toast.  If you have extra…fry it up too and put it into freezer bags for those mornings when you don’t have time to cook.  Just heat it up for a quick breakfast on the run.

Still not feeling the love for that lonely loaf of bread?  How about a cheese strata?  In a large greased cake pan lay down a layer of bread across the width of the pan.  In a separate mixing bowl, whip eggs and milk.  Pour egg mixture over the bread, sprinkle some shredded cheese (either whatever flavor you prefer) and sprinkle some garlic powder, salt, onion powder and some tumeric.  Maybe you like some Italian spices or possibly some parsley…whatever seasonings you love sprinkle them over the egg mixture.  Then, layer another layer of bread over the egg, milk and cheese…pour the leftover egg mixture and pop it into the oven.  Bake until the Stratta is done when a knife is inserted in the bread and comes out clean…and the top of the strata is golden brown.

Always try to find veggies and/or fruits to have as a side dish when you are using bread as a main ingredient for one of your meals.  The bread is great because it can be a wonderful filler for hungry tummies…but, the body needs its fruits and veggies too.

I hope I have given you some useful ideas.  Maybe you have a few ideas of your own to share with the readers…please do.  I love learning new ideas for dishes made with left over bread.  Just because a family is limited on funds, it doesn’t mean that meals have to be stuck in a rut or boring, right?  It is great learning from one another!”


Yes, of course those ideas are GRAND, me love.  Thanks again!  I do hope others will chime in with their great ideas, too.

Mother Connie Sez:

Here’s my two cents’ worth.  I throw the leftovers-although we ‘fight’ over the crusts around here-into the food processor and crumble them til they look the way I want them to look.  They go into a freezer bag and are laid flat.  Whenever I need bread crumbs for a particular dish they are at the ready!

I can remember my mother slicing home made bread and lining it up on cake racks to sit overnight on the counter, draped with a fresh dish towel.  She wanted it to be dried out so she could make French Toast the next morning!  Some chefs advocate letting the bread soak overnight in the refrigerator in an egg/milk mixture.  So go figure!

I have fabulous news to share!  We have received more new club members this month than any month since we “opened for business” and it is thrilling to see the list of names growing!  We are grateful to each one who has come by.  We are excited to get comments and email messages:  Thanks, boys n girls!

If you hold an EBT card for SNAP or WIC; if you use food commodities or a food pantry; if you utilize Farmers Market Coupons, Angel Food Ministries foods or you simply watch your food budget like a hawk, this site was created for you.  We sincerely hope it is assisting you to S T R E T C H your food dollars!

Today’s post is sponsored by ToothSoap. Please cruise on over to their site and mention Mother Connie, won’t you?  Thanks!

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: Squash the CleanUp?

March 18th, 2011

Squash as a pasta with no cooking? Sounds like a PLAN!

Do you use an EBT card for WIC?  Do you have foods you bought with SNAP funds?  Do you despise the cleanup aspect of the dinner hour?

How about Angel Food Ministries goods?  Or food from a pantry or food commodities?  Do you have those? Well, there’s still clean up whenever you prepare food…

In cruising around the web Mother Connie discovered a great idea for a no-cooking meal.  This is a great notion for the mom and dad who work all day and come home just too exhausted to cook and clean up the  mess!  The best part for me, though, is that this is an extremely healthy and delicious  meal.

From Living Frugally on LearnVest 3 18 11 by Allison Kade:

Healthy Squash “Pasta”

And Spinach-Parsley Pesto

5 to 6 large zucchinis and yellow squashes
1 ½ oz. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup blanched almonds, chopped (these can be found ready-chopped)
About ½ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
About 4 cups spinach – dried well and chopped
About 1 cup fresh parsley – dried well and chopped

With a vegetable peeler, peel the all of the zucchini and squash into thin strands. This easy step should take about twenty minutes, and you can actually eat the result as is. The zucchini and squash “noodles” have a pleasant, crunchy texture, and are heartier than a simple salad.

Combine cheese, garlic, almonds, and 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a food processor. (If you’re low on time or you don’t want to deal with a food processor, marinara sauce or pre-made pesto works well too.) Pulse briefly, until a paste forms. Add salt and pepper. Pulse a few more times, and then add in the greens. While the processor is on, add the rest of the olive oil. Make sure not to over-process the greens.

Spoon the pesto over the “noodles” and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Zucchini and yellow squash make great companions!

This will be a wonderful summertime dish, too, because “no oven” preparation will not heat the kitchen.  Squashes are more plentiful and gentle on the food budget in the summertime, as well.  We are grateful to the folks at LearnVest for sharing that great recipe.

We continue to be amazed at the new Club Members joining our ranks; we can’t WAIT to see what they have to offer us in the way of comments!  You are encouraged to comment here or you are welcome to email us here:

Are you living on a dime?  Do you yearn to add additional income to your household?  If either of these is true for you, it might be wise for you to scope out a couple of our sponsors:  Living On a Dime and Rapid Cash Marketing. We have other sponsors, too.  We hope you pay today’s sponsors a call and let them know Mother Connie pointed you in their direction.

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

Foood Stamps Cooking Club: Erin Go Braugh?

March 17th, 2011


Soda bread is as Irish as it comes and it is o so delicious!

Everybody’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day!

Users of WIC or SNAP’s EBT cards are Irish, just as holders of coupons for Farmers Markets and users of food pantries, food commodities and Angel Food Ministries.  Everyone who is frugal is Irish today so we offer a traditional Irish goody: “Irish Soda Bread.”  We must have had the wind to our backs, for we spied a great find on All Recipes. com from Taste of  Home and June DeWeese, whom we thank profusely!

Irish Soda Bread
from June DeWeese  and Taste of Home

4  cups  all-purpose flour
3  tablespoons sugar
3  teaspoons baking powder
1  teaspoon salt
3/4  teaspoon baking soda
6  tablespoons cold butter
1  1/2 cups raisins
1  tablespoon caraway seeds
2  eggs, beaten
1  1/2 cups buttermilk

1.   In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. Set aside 1 tablespoon beaten egg. In a bowl, combine buttermilk and remaining eggs; stir into crumb mixture just until flour is moistened (dough will be sticky). Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead about 10 times. Shape into a ball.

2. Place in a greased 9-in. round baking pan. Cut a 4-in. X, 1/4-in. deep, in the center of the ball. Brush the top with reserved egg. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil during the last 20 minutes if top browns too quickly. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

***Please note that the Kitchen Police will not be on duty today if you have no caraway seeds or if your gang picks out every raisin.

**If you have no buttermilk, just measure out the 1  1/2 cups of sweet milk and add a tablespoon of vinegar to it.  Stir. Now you have fake buttermilk.  The Food Police will not notice, nor will they care.

Another item for our consideration is that we heard from one of our sponsors, Living On a Dime, this morning.  She suggests we look into this if we are interested in saving  $$$ on our groceries.

Dear Friends,

With the current economic conditions many of us are having more difficulty making the money we have cover all of our expenses. The good news is that there are hundreds of ways that you can reduce the strain on your budget and save money so you can keep more of that money for the things that are really important to you.

With the rise in the price of groceries, we have decided to offer a
“Savin’ O’ The Green” special, a helpful series of e-books
including the Grocery Shopping on a Budget e-book set and the Menus On A Dime e-book set along with 5 great bonus items to help you stretch your grocery budget. Even better, this week you can get this Savin’ O The Green 15 e-book package for $17, a 73% discount off of the regular price of $63.70 for these e-books!

You’ll be amazed how easy it is to trim your grocery bill! To go
take advantage of this special offer right now, go to Living On a Dime.

The e-books that are included in this offer are:

Grocery Shopping On A Budget e-book
Money Saving Meats e-book
Saving On Cleaning Supplies e-book
Eating Healthy On A Budget e-booklet
Is Eating Out Eating You Up? e-book
224 Meals In A Hurry e-book
Grocery Savings e-book
Menus That Make Cents e-book
Plan Ahead Leftovers e-book
Quick Dinners e-book
Menus On A Dime e-book
Kids Recipes e-book
Crock pot Recipes e-book
Quick And Easy Cooking e-book
Blue Ribbon Recipes e-book

Get your grocery budget under control today! For more information on this exciting offer, visit Living On a Dime.

Boys n girls, I own some of these e-books.  They are super and you’ll enjoy them if they are within your reach. ~Mother Connie

Dance a jig and enjoy your day, all you Irish people!  grin

*When you visit our esteemed sponsors, be sure to let them know that Mother Connie sent you!  And by the way, there are some exciting things in the works with some of our sponsors so be on the lookout for announcements from them!

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: Fruit Roll?

March 14th, 2011


Any of these fruits would be suitable for a fruit roll for the teacher!

The Normantor, The Bird and I were having our second cup of coffee in the Club House this morning when the subject of Fruit Rolls came up.  The Bird giggled when asked if he recalled taking oranges for his teachers.  The Normanator had never heard tell of such a thing.  Then it was The Bird’s and my turn to giggle.

In case you are in The Normanator’s camp and unfamiliar with this long standing tradition from Mother Connie’s childhood, allow me to enlighten you.  The word would be spread among the kids at school that there would be a Fruit Roll for Teacher on such-and-such a day.  Each child was to bring a piece of fruit and keep it out of Teacher’s sight.  During class time, someone would stand and cry out “Fruit Roll!” and everyone would roll their offering on the floor, along the rows of desks, arriving at the Teacher’s feet.  She would pretend to be surprised-grapefruits are hard for first graders to hide- and everyone would clap and holler, “YAY! Teacher!”  Sometimes it would be to welcome the instructor back from an illness or birth of a baby or simply to honor them at the end of the school year.

Mother Connie teased The Normanator that since he is MUCH older-she has remained 33 but he just observed another birthday last week-this tradition of rolling fruit is something for the younger generation.

SIDEBAR:  The Normanator did not buy that story. END SIDEBAR.

Now treats called fruit rolls can be purchased in boxes by the dozens.  That is a completely different kettle of fish…

When Mother Connie’s kids were little, drying fruit was a popular activity.  Dehydrators came along and fruit or any food could be dried and preserved relatively easily.

Dried fruits are wonderful because they keep well and they are so sweet that it takes a very small amount to satisfy a sweet tooth or make a hot cereal more interesting.  They are great snacks for lunchboxes and after school or road trips, too.

Fruit leathers...

I think these things can be made in an oven but I’m no expert, nor do I have a dehydrator.  So let’s toss this one to the Club Members.  They are THE most clever people on the planet, very cost conscious and creative.  It will be great fun to hear from everybody.

You can leave your ideas and recipes in the Comments section or send them to

If you are using an EBT card for WIC or SNAP, you are no doubt looking for ways to trim the cost of your groceries.  If you use food commodities or a food pantry, you are eager to learn ways to s t r e t c h your food budget.  If you use Angel Food Ministries, Farmers Markets Coupons or you are simply a thrifty sort, you are ready, willing and able to do whatever it takes to make the grocery money match the month. Anyone who is living on a dime can relate to this need!

We want to welcome the new faces who have signed up for our series of cooking tips and infrequent email messages.  It’s great fun to have you come aboard and participate in all the fun around here!

Cruise on over to your sponsors, if you have the time.  We are propped up by Living On a Dime, Saving Dinner, Rapid Cash Marketing and ToothSoap.  They’d love it if you popped in and let them know that Mother Connie sent you!

If you would like to see our sister blogs here is the list:

Mother Connie Sez, where you-know-who rants and raves about health and healing and other assorted random subjects.  The Healthy and Wealthy You explores, of all things, health and wealth-big surprise, eh?  And SoapyTeeth is the most fun of all, offering state of the art dental care ideas.

OK, boys and girls.  Let us know about your dehydrator recipes!

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: ANOTHER Ole Dead Chicken?

March 3rd, 2011

Leanne Ely, The Dinner Diva, is Saving Dinner AGAIN with 3 great ideas for chicken breast recipes!

My email was great fun just now!  Leanne Ely graciously sent out another set of recipes for ole dead chicken!  Just what we need, just when we need it!  Scope it out:

“3 Recipes with Boneless Chicken Breasts

by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

The great thing about boneless skinless chicken breasts for the cook is they are like a blank canvas–the creativity and ideas to take this poultry to the next level is endless! Chicken takes on the flavors of the spices and ingredients accompanying it, making it amazingly versatile.

Besides being extremely convenient, boneless chicken breasts don’t even need to be thawed before cooking (most of the time anyway) and are great way to get your clean, lean protein.

Bon appetite and enjoy all these great new recipes, all using chicken and a delicious fruit salsa!

Chicken Tacos with Fruit Salsa
Serves 6

The Salsa
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (or use frozen)

4 nectarines, pitted and chopped (or use frozen peaches)
2 mangos, peeled and chopped (or use frozen)
2 large tomatoes, chopped finely
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 limes, juiced (use only juice)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon  sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cracked black pepper
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped finely

Combine all ingredients in a bowl tossing gently. May store in fridge for up to 24 hours before serving. You may also process, prior to chopping, in a food processor to desired consistency.

The Tacos

4 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup lemonade
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled, smashed
2 green onions, chopped finely, including green part
1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas
1 container Greek yogurt  *use like sour cream

In a large skillet over medium high, heat oil until hot, then add onion and garlic and cook until onion is clear. Add chicken, cooking until outside of chicken is white and center is almost done. Now add the rest of the ingredients, cover, turn down and simmer until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Wait about 15 more minutes. Remove lid to cook down liquid if necessary.

While cooking the chicken, warm the tortillas in the oven until soft. Once chicken is cooked transfer to serving bowl, place chicken mixture into tortillas, wrap. Add yogurt and Fruit Salsa as desired.

Variations:  Use lettuce greens of your choice, pita halves for the shells. Put all ingredients out and let each person make their own. You can also use great big Romaine lettuce leaves in lieu of the tortillas for a truly low carb meal.

Grilled Chicken with Fruit Salsa
Serves 6

Fruit Salsa(from above)
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper grated
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice

Combine juice, soy sauce, ginger, pepper, and garlic in a plastic bag or bowl with a good seal, place the chicken inside, seal and shake to coat, marinate for at least one hour, but no more than four, turning each 30 minutes or so.

Prepare grill or broiler. If you’re using the broiler, place pan one rung from the top. If you’re using the grill, use a medium direct heat. Remove chicken from bag, and discard the marinade. Grill chicken on s grill rack, or in a broiler pan, lightly oiled with olive oil. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until center of chicken is done. Serve with Fruit Salsa over chicken.

Chicken Taco Salad

1 head lettuce of choice, shredded *not Iceberg; no nutrition
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
Grilled Chicken, cut into cubes
Fruit Salsa
Greek yogurt

In a large bowl mix all in ingredients except Greek Yogurt, separate into four to six servings, and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt.


Copyright (C) 2010 Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

What would we do without one another?  Leanne helps us with Saving Dinner; Tawra and Jill help us when we are Living on a Dime and those who cruise by here to leave their mark entertain and enlighten us.

These are important considerations if you are using food from a food pantry or depend on food commodities.  We need encouragement if we have an EBT card for WIC or SNAP, too.  Even users of Angel Food Ministries can use all manner of new ideas, as can those who are just plain frugal and pinch their nickels until the buffalo bellows!

Please feel free to leave your comments here and do make our email fun:  THANK 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: Making Memories?

March 3rd, 2011


A can of biscuits, some cinnamon and sugar, a child helper...this is the way to make family memories and good eats all in one fell swoop!

Those of you who have come by the Club House know how it makes Mother Connie’s heart go pitty pat to have comments and email messages.  Shylakay sent a message that made me grin because it embodies what this blog hopes to support:  making family memories while making food for the people we love!

Here is what our new Club Member had to say:

When I was young.. yes long ago…I did have a pet dinosaur named ” Spot”…my sisters and I would make a very simpleyet delicious breakfast on Saturday mornings. We made what we called ” Cinnamon Twists”.

All we needed was a can of biscuits, some sugar mixed with cinnamon and some melted butter.

We would set up an assembly line with the biscuits, the melted butter, the cinnamon mixture and then the pan.

Just set the oven to 400 degrees just like it says on the can of biscuits.   I have learned over time that the biscuits with butter bits make the BEST tasting twists.

You can let someone work each station or just make them all by yourself..tho’ it is more fun with a real assembly line..that way everyone feels like they had a part in creating this fun and tasty breakfast.

Dip the biscuits into the butter ..then into the sugar cinnamon mixture..flattening each side and stretching out a little bit while doing this..and then holding each end…twist them.

Press the twisted ends down onto the lightly sprayed pan and bake for 10-12 minutes …just like you would regular biscuits.

These are yummy and are best eaten right out of the oven..and of course BACK THEN…the BEST cartoons came on every Saturday, unlike today where there are few on a Saturday to watch.  We would eat our warm ” Cinnamon Twists” while watching Bugs Bunny or Mighty Mouse or The Flinstones.

Awww, what memories.. I still make them today..have taught all my kids and grandkids to make them. Everyone loves them!


As a matter of fact, I used to make these very things but I would wrap the biscuit/butter/cinnamon/sugary dough around a marshmallow and place them in muffin tins to bake.  Oh, MY, but they were delish!

We had a ritual of inviting our children’s teachers to a coffee in the spring of the year and this “delicacy was always on the menu!

We cannot overstate the importance of making family memories with food. This is true whether you do not need to stretch your food budget dollars or if you use SNAP or WIC’s EBT cards.  It’s also true if your family uses food commodities or food pantry food. Are you living on a dime?  You may have to be uber creative, then… If you have Farmers Market Coupons or food from Angel Food Ministries or you have a garden or not–the most delicious memories will come from the foods you prepared and ate together.

Speaking of eating together, you might be interested to know that when The Normanator went to college the guys in their Agmen fraternity house ate dinner together every single night!  They sat around a big table, said grace and shared dinner table conversation just as they had done in their own family units before they came to the University of Nebraska! 

I wonder how many frat boys and girls do that today?

We are gaining numbers, boys and girls!  People are coming here, submitting their name and email addresses so they can get our series of cooking tips and infrequent messages.  You may have noticed, as well, that we now have a PAGE specifically for cooking tips!  All the more reason to send your messages to !

Our sponsors love it when you cruise by and take a look around, too!  If you want to learn more about saving dinner or if you want help because you are living on a dime, Leanne Ely or Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam will be delighted you popped by their places!


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: Is March Nutrition Month?

March 1st, 2011


March is National Nutrition Month!

March is the time to celebrate NUTRITION!  We have come up with a list of foods you’d be wise to avoid:

Foods to Avoid
No one on the planet should ingest this stuff!

Soda pop


Hydrolized Protein

Trans Fats


Canola oil

Soda Crackers, Snack Crackers


Baby carrots


Corn Sweetener



Hot Dogs

Processed Lunch Meats

Hamburger/ Tuna Helper

Gravy, sauce or other prepared mixes

Boxed Macaroni meals

Seasoning packets

Corn sweeteners

Food that has been nuked/microwaved

This list was prepared, not to spoil all your fun, but to help you be as healthy as humanly possible.  Healthy bodies are not created from the foods listed here.

The argument that ” oh, but these are all I can afford” is false economy.  I know this from personal, painful experience.

“So,” you ask, all befuddled and confused and maybe you feel denied, too…“What SHALL we eat?”

Those of you who avail yourselves of food commodities and goods from a food pantry are scratching your heads.  You who have EBT cards for SNAP or WIC are thinking, “WHOA.  SAY WHAT?”

And I don’t blame you one little bit.

Even you who order Angel Food Ministry’s bundles and make every effort to keep a tight rein on your food budget must be wondering what on earth is left to eat, after studying this list.

Here is how you discover what there is to eat:  Take your family on an outing!  Gather them round and explain to them you will be going on an adventure.  They can explore the grocery store to find REAL FOOD to eat.  Real food doesn’t need labels.  Real food can be found in bins and refrigerated cases.  It does not need to be boxed up, either.

Most times the real food lives at the outer edges of the grocery store: dairy, meat, veggies and  fruits are all real food and would make a great way to celebrate National Nutrition Month!  Beans and grains are also wonderful, real foods that nourish our bodies.

Kids love to be involved…let them participate in choosing real food.  Avoid the chips aisle, the aisles that have soda and candy and desserts in cans and boxes.  Those have been “handled and tampered with”; therefore, those are no longer foods-if, indeed, they ever were!

Real food is simple, nourishing and satisfying.  It’s pretty, it’s interesting and the variety is unlimited.  Every season presents new delights for your palate and as the seasons change, so do the colors of real food!

Make this fun.  Don’t approach real food as a chore or a punishment.  Think of the adventure of climbing that pyramid!

Even if you are living on a dime you can be  a key factor in saving dinner as you celebrate National Nutrition Month!  ENJOY!

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: Pinching Pennies?

March 1st, 2011


Heartwings says, "Using what you have is good economy."

Many of us in this difficult economy are pinching pennies, if we have any to pinch!  Since we are  all about managing food budgets the best way we know how, I think you’ll enjoy today’s offering.  It isn’t going to be something you serve for dinner, but it IS food for thought.

Your humble blogger is privileged to be on the mailing list of a dear writer whose thoughts often pluck at my heartstrings.  Recently one of her essays hit me like a brick, so I asked her permission to share her thoughts here.  Tasha Halpert graciously offered to allow me to quote her.  On behalf of the rest of the Club Members,   thank you so much, Tasha!

‘Heartwings says, “Using what you have is good economy.”
Today’s economy has nearly everyone pinching pennies. It is more difficult to find bargains, especially at the grocery store. Yet with ingenuity it is possible to cut back on certain ingredients in order to save on the food budget. I have recipes in my old Fanny Farmer cookbook for a cake made with a tablespoon of butter. During World War II when real butter was so scarce as to be almost a delicacy this recipe would have been very useful.
Many adults today grew up in an affluent economy without shortages. Some still discard reusable containers, recyclable clothing, or reheatable leftovers. As we grow aware how important it is to make the most of what we have, the thrift of the past may again become fashionable. Those who have never experienced any shortages don’t realize they are being wasteful.
Recently I was about to go to the market to buy more mushrooms for the casserole I was planning when I remembered I had a can of them in my cupboard. As I thought about it, I realized I had quite a bit of food stored away in case of need. Soon I plan to pull some of it out and use it. It is not a good idea to keep stored food for too long; that too is another way I can save.
As I grew up, the Yankee concept of use it up, make do, or do without was deeply ingrained in my being. Over time I fell into wasteful habits that I am working to eliminate. For instance, foods that used to be considered treats had become daily fare. I have also discovered a renewed delight in being thrifty. I recognize how valuable it was for me to have learned at an early age if you know how to make the best use of what you have that there is always enough.

May you find good ways to save and make use of what you have.

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert

If you hold an EBT card for WIC or SNAP; if you use food commodities or visit a food pantry, this little ditty may resonate with you.  Do you use Angel Food Ministries?  Farmers Market Coupons?  Maybe you are living on a dime…it could be that you are simply frugal and really careful to s t r e t c h every food dollar in your food budget.  Tasha’s message may help you, too.

We are grateful to those of you who have joined our ranks here in the Club House.  You who have submitted your name and email are receiving our series of Cooking Tips and the infrequent messages we send you.  We hope you’ll post a comment and/or send your thoughts along to because we LOVE mail and comments.  We are like little kids in that regard!

Those of you who are quite observant may have noted there is a new page on this blog!  It is called “Cooking Tips” and it came about because one of our faithful members, Anita Brown, sent a whole passel of tips in one fell swoop.  Mother Connie thought it appropriate to treat hints like recipes and add it to our collection.  We hope you find those useful.

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: Is Leanne Full o Beans?

February 25th, 2011


It's the end of the month...beans help us make it to the end of every month on full tummies!

One of Mother Connie’s own personal comfort foods is beans of any kind prepared in any dish.  Leanne Ely, The Dinner Diva, whose job it is to help us in Saving Dinner, has written about it and what she has to offer follows here:

“Dear Readers,

Are you tired of wasting money on canned beans?  Not sure what to do with dry beans? Want some quick tips to make it easier? Keep reading and you’ll learn a few things to get you started in the right direction. Then, be sure and click on the link to view my latest video. These are packed full of fun information to help you get dinner to the table! You won’t want to miss this article or video!

After breakfast comes lunch and then, it’s dinner time. Do you know what’s for dinner tonight? Find out with Leanne’s SAVING DINNER BOOKS HERE.

To Your Health–


If you wanna get down and dirty and really get cheap, you need to start thinking beans, legumes; the dried variety. Bean there, done that, got the t-shirt!   Sorry; couldn’t help myself.

Being the quintessential cheap eat and nutritional wunderkind that beans are, nothing beats a big batch o’ beans. They are easy to prepare and virtually foolproof to make, especially when you employ these tips:

#  The Presoak: After your beans have soaked overnight, give them a rinse and put fresh water in the pot for cooking. Some people may complain that you’re throwing away some of the nutrition, but honestly, you’re eliminating a lot of musicality of beans by doing this–if you’re following my lead.
#  The Salting. Wait until your beans are completely tender before adding salt. Salt can make the tenderizing process not happen.
#   The Water. If you have hard water, your beans may not soften. Use bottled water if that is the case. You can add some baking soda too (1 teaspoon per quart).
#   The Age. Old beans mean tough beans. Make sure you buy your beans fresh and that they’re from a market with a good turnover. Otherwise those beans may stay as hard as granite–even if you diligently apply all these fine steps. Beans are beans, but old beans are rocks.

Questions I invariably get asked but hate answering has to do with the “musicality” of the fine bean. Listen, there is no swift answer. If you ask enough people, they’ll all come up with their own remedy for fixing this indelicate problem. But the best one, believe it or not, is just eat more beans. Oh yes, more beans. Then your body becomes adjusted and you’ll be a little more discreet in the aftermath of your bean consumption. However, all bets are off that I’ll ever show up at your house while you’re going through the “adjustment” period!

WAIT…I almost forgot. Want a beanie kinda recipe? Here you go. This is my old faithful standby.  Gets me thru just about anything!

Crock Pot Mixed Beans and Turkey Ham
Serves 6

1 cup dry beans – mixed, your choice
Presoaked  *see above for instructions
3/4 cup carrots- Diced
3/4 cup celery – Diced
3/4 cup onion – Chopped
1 1/2 cups turkey ham Chopped
2 cans chicken broth – Or veggie broth
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook beans on high for four hours in crock pot or until beans are tender.  After beans are cooked, add remaining ingredients and cook 2-3 more hours until done. Add more water as needed.

Per serving: 223 Calories; 4g Total Fat; 21g Protein; 10g Fiber; 26g Carbohydrate; 33mg Cholesterol; 1026mg Sodium Food Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain (Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:  Serve with cornbread and a big green salad.

VEGETARIANS:  Skip the ham and you’re there!”

Copyright (C) 2010 Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Here’s hoping you can find a moment to cruise by Leanne’s website and learn more about Saving Dinner in your own home!  Also, be sure to enter your name and email, if you have not already done so, on the box in the upper right hand corner of this page so you can receive our series of cooking tips and the infrequent messages we send along.

If you are new to the Club House, especially if you are living on a dime,  we welcome you with open arms and invite your comments and emails at !

We cater to those who use public assistance, such as food commodities, food pantries or have EBT cards for WIC or SNAP.  We find favor with those who are just plain frugal or those who love using Angel Food Ministries and/or Farmers Market coupons.  Everything we offer is meant to help the food budget while keeping everyone in the family as healthy as can be!

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: Plum Delicious?

February 17th, 2011

Stirred custard with plums

This plum pudding looks and tastes exactly like my childhood! Even the tablecloth is one my mother used!

What persuades us that “bigger is better”  and “more is better than enough”?

These questions came up because I’ve been cooking from my mom’s old cookbook, the TNT Betty Crocker Cook Book circa 1950-something.  The recipes for various dishes are considerably smaller than recipes in today’s world.

No wonder obesity is such an issue…but, I digress.

Someone asked me what to do with dried plums.  They make great lunchbox snacks, that’s for sure.  And you can “stew” them by letting them soften in water that’s brought to a boil and let them steep just like tea.

My mother used to do that to dried plums.  Then she would strain the liquid and save it for breakfast juice to be drunk the next morning.  Sometimes she would use dried plums WITH pits; Dad liked to chew on them! 🙂

I remember Mom making custard to pour over them, too.  She would often make baked custard but that has a texture that is very different from stirred custard.  Baked custard is firm; stirred custard is soft and goes well with fruits or as a filling for layered cakes.

Here is something straight out of my childhood you will enjoy.  Bear in mind that it makes enough for 4 modest servings.  I might have doubled the recipe but my double boiler would have been OVER full, had I fallen to my temptation!


4 eggs, slightly beaten

2/3 cups sugar + 1 teaspoon

1  teaspoon flour  *I rounded my spoonful; the Kitchen Police did not storm the room…

2  1/2  cups scalded milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2  teaspoons vanilla

Combine the eggs and sugar.  Add the flour.  Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly.  *I used a whisk.

Stir constantly as the mixture cooks.  You want the water in the double boiler to be HOT but you don’t want it to boil!  As soon as the custard is thick enough to coat a spoon it is ready for the salt and vanilla.  Chill in individual bowls with plums or plumped dried cherries or raisins.  This yields 4 delicious servings.

*If you want to have just plain custard, the Kitchen Police will not object and neither will those who share your table!  grin

This recipe is perfect for users of WIC or SNAP; it will be valuable for those who have food commodities or have food from a food pantry because it is simple and very inexpensive to make.  It is nourishing and it would surely classify it as a comfort food!

Have you had the time to cruise over to Living On a Dime or Saving Dinner yet?  Both are offering some interesting product sales if you are interested in saving money on your food and household expenses.

You might also like to jet over to Rainy’s blog to thank her for the interview she put up there for us!  She, like you, GETS the value of the Food Stamps Cooking Club and was eager to promote it!

Many of you have been promoting us on your own by encouraging those in your circle to submit names and email addresses in order to receive our series of cooking tips and occasional email messages.  We thank you for this.

We are equally grateful for messages that come to our inbox: hint/hint   grin

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.