Posts Tagged ‘Farmers’ Markets’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Tomato or TomAHto?

August 17th, 2010

The Normanator's he a KEEPER or is he a KEEPER?

Whether you call them tomatoes or tomAHtoes; whether you eat them fresh or preserve them all luscious in jars that sparkle with their red goodness-it all means great eating year round.

So many tomatoes!  So little time!  So how can we present them to our families so they do not groan and complain, “Oh, no!  Not tomatoes AGAIN!”

Mom used to stuff tomatoes with tuna or chicken salad on little beds of lettuce.  We always thought that was the chi-chi poo-poo version and that must be what people ate who had servants.

SIDEBAR:  Most who find their way to this blog do not have servants!  We are the uber thrifty; we use EBT cards from public assistance like SNAP or WIC.  We might have food from a food pantry or we might use food commodities.  Farmers Markets coupons could get us some tomatoes.  We might even use Angel Food Ministries.  Servants are not an option.  END SIDEBAR.

My mom also made a brine for chopped tomatoes.  She would use vinegar, salt, pepper and a little sugar.  Sometimes there were cucumbers and/or onions swimming in a bowl of that.  She reused that brine, adding tomatoes as we ate them.  This was a summertime staple on the table for lunch and dinner.

My dad taught me how to love tomato sammies for breakfast.  He would slice some of Mom’s home made bread, lather it with butter and pile on slices of tomatoes from the garden.  This was comfort food for me as I was growing up.  Sometimes when I’m hungry and don’t know what I want, I still settle on tomato sammies!

Mom’s best friend, Helen, used to make a concoction using quartered tomatoes, garlic buds, onions and oil.  She would spread it out over a baking sheet, drizzle the oil over all of it and pop it into the oven.  When it came out, Helen would chop it up and pour it over cooked spaghetti noodles.  She toasted garlic bread for us, too.  We thought it was absolute luxury.  And so it was!

Myra, our landlady, used to treat us to fried green tomatoes.  As I recall, she dredged quarters of the green fruit in corn meal and fried them in oil.  I can still remember sitting at her kitchen table, watching her work, and having her present me with a plate full of the beauties.  Such delicious memories…

We eat breakfast at the ungodly hour of 1:30 AM.  One of our faves is to stir up a few eggs and add chopped tomatoes to the pan.  It makes for a flavorful and filling breakfast with lots of nourishment.  Better yet;  it is cost effective.

Call them tomatoes or call them tomAHtoes. They are delicious and nutritious whether they are fresh, cooked, canned or pickled. Even better than that, they are easy on the food budget!

What do YOU do with these beauties?  I can’t wait to hear from you!

We appreciate you!  Please consider yourselves hugged.  Now I’m going to enjoy a tomato the way you might enjoy an apple:  just with a shake of salt AND A NAPKIN TO CATCH THE JUICE DRIZZLES!

PS/There is a link below that will transport you to a website offering a healthy, cost effective way to clean your teeth.  Please check it out.  It’s important to save money any way we can and if we eat well and wisely and can keep our medical care costs low we have won TWICE!

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: Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia?

July 28th, 2010


I HEART CHIA SEEDS...and these amaranth seeds, too!

No doubt you’ve heard that annoying jingle for the green and living Chia pets…what you may not know is that those little seeds are powerhouses of nutrition and flavor!

Renita, who is a frequent contributor and Club Member, turned us onto these beauties.  She found a recipe for Chia Pudding and the stampede to get these seeds was on!  We offer her recipe here and cannot overemphasize how delicious and nutritious it is.  PLUS-and this is critical for Food Stamps Cooking Clubbers-it is economical. Furthermore, it could become your family’s new favorite comfort food!


2  cups almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk or fruit juice

1/2  cup Chia seeds

1/3  cup honey  *Or use 15-20 drops Stevia

1/2 – 1  teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

1/4 – 1/2  teaspoon cinnamon

Stir.  Use raw Cacao Powder for chocolate flavor if desired.

Keep in fridge and use for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks!

Here are some facts about Chia seeds you may find interesting:

  • Chia seeds are rich in Omega 3 – it has 700% more than wild salmon!
  • Soaked Chia seeds are gelatinous, so are ideal for adding to soups and puddings
  • Considered to be a Superfood, Chia seeds soak up 9 times their weigh in liquid.  Add 9 teaspoons of water for every teaspoon of Chia seeds you put into any dish.
  • For baking, make a gelatin and replace 1/2 the oil in your recipe with the equivalent…if your recipe calls for 1 cup of butter or oil, you would use 1/2 cup of oil or butter and 1/2 cup of the Chia gelatin
  • Chia seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder or food processor to be used to dredge meats before frying or baking.
  • Chia seeds have 500% more calcium than milk; 200% more iron than spinach; 1400% more magnesium than broccoli; and they are rich in fiber, protein, selenium and phosphorous!

Wouldn’t it be fun to make up a batch of this yummy-ness and pour it into ice cube trays so you could give your kids “cubes” of pudding? Kids are going to love this stuff and you’ll be happy to have them eating such a healthy snack!

For users of SNAP or WIC or Angel Food Ministries, this could really be helpful.  If you utilize a food pantry or have food commodities Chia seeds could help you stretch those food dollars.  If you are frugal and health conscious you will be delighted to have Chia seeds on your pantry shelf.

Boy, do we ever owe Renita for this one!  Thanks again, Renita!

We hope you will send your food ideas to because we love getting mail and we love, love, love getting your comments here!  Thank you for your participation!

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Sprouting Seeds?

January 29th, 2010



When it comes to fueling our bodies, Nature's Goodness cannot be improved on!

I had a pleasant phone chat today with a woman who GETS it about eating well and wisely.  Our conversation reminded me that here at the Clubhouse, we have not really looked into growing live food during the cold winter months.

How is that possible?  It is not only possible but pragmatic.  We all want the best for our children; we all yearn to have more energy.  We can do that easily by growing sprout seeds in a jar on a sun drenched window sill!

Radish sprout seeds make such great snacks and piling some onto a sandwich is divine!  They will be ready to consume in about three days or so.  They just need to be rinsed and placed into a jar with a loosely fitted lid.  Cheesecloth held in place with a jar ring is PERFECT for this little project.

I particularly enjoy eating mung bean sprouts, as well as alfalfa sprouts.  These beauties make great garnishes to present your family with pretty plates full of food, too.  Check with a good health food store to find a good selection to please the palates of your gang.

It is so much  fun to eat well and wisely to save high medical bills.  It makes much more sense to do that, as opposed to shelling out the big bucks for medical care.

The body is wise enough to heal itself, you know.  But it needs certain elements to be as well as can be.  The components of fresh, raw goodies like fresh vegetables and fruits, sprouts, seeds and such amp up the body’s ability to defend itself.  When the body is not busy defending itself, it can generate more energy for all the things you need to do to keep body and soul together.

If you use WIC or SNAP; if you have food commodities or food pantry food, this is an ideal way to supplement those foods with antioxidants, phytonutrients and nourishment that is not available from cans or boxes.  As a matter of fact, this is a great plan for users of Angel Foods and Farmers Markets and people on fixed incomes and penny pinchers to eat!

We sincerely hope our ideas help you stretch those food dollars and keep your family healthy as possible.  You are welcome to send us your feedback by leaving your thoughts in a comment or mailing us: .   THANKS!

If you enjoy this blog, the chances are good you will like The Healthy and Wealthy You or Mother Connie Sez. Check them out.  We beg for comments THERE, too!  grin

If you have a mind to wash your mouth out with soap for good results, you’ll like this:   Sprouts help you with vibrant good health, saving you money on medical costs; ToothSoap will help you chomp down on dental care!

Connie Baum

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

January 27th, 2010


WIC offers good news for mommies and babies!


You may be aware of the recently implemented program for Women Infants and Children-WIC-last fall.  They have amended their food package to include fresh fruits and vegetables.

This is tremendously good news for families!  Fresh fruits and vegetables are the fuels needed to propel growing little bodies into becoming healthy, productive, happy people!

There is an educational program to go with this in order to help people wring every advantage from the new program.  Mother Connie, with the Food Stamps Cooking Club and all the dear members who are so generous with their time and ideas, hope we are contributing to the educational process in our own small way.

If you receive WIC benefits, you are likely to know about these changes.  If you would like more information about all the good things they are doing, just inquire at your local level and some very nice people will answer all your questions.

Someone who sits in my circle is a real FAN of WIC.  She raves about how wonderful it has been to have enough milk for her little one.  Now since vegetables and fruits are available to this little family there is a sense of security in place that satisfies Mommy in ways food cannot.

Maybe your family does not need or does not use WIC.  You may be a SNAP user; you may visit food pantries or receive food commodities.  Perhaps you grow your own food or are a Senior Citizen using Farmers Markets or living on a tightly fixed income.  You might even be a penny pinching foodie.  In any case, the Food Stamps Cooking Club is the place to be for ideas about good eats!

If you are a fan of Angel Food Ministries, you know how their menus can stretch a food budget like rubber, too!  We’d love to hear from happy Angel Food users. 

Here’s something we found, courtesy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County, Nebraska:


One 15 oz can kidney, black or garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

One  14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes

2  cups mixed veggies, frozen

One cup water

3/4  cup brown rice

1/2  teaspoon dried thyme or dried dill weed

One  10  3/4  oz can tomato soup

Hot sauce – optional

Cheese – optional

1. In a large skillet, stir together beans, tomatoes, veggies, water, rice and thyme or dill.

2. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 – 25 minutes or til rice is tender.  Stir occasionally.  Add more water if mixture seems to be too dry.

3. Stir in tomato soup.  Bring to a boil.  Let simmer 2 or 3 minutes or more.

4. Serve with hot sauce and cheese, if you choose.

This makes me want to race to my pantry shelves to see if I have the fixings so I can make this recipe on this very day!  YUMMY!

The chances are very good that if you like what you read here, you would like what’s on Mother Connie Sez or The Healthy and Wealthy You.  Cruise on over, if you like.  She’d love to have your comments, there, as well as here.  (She has no shame, when it comes to asking for your comments.)

You are welcome to contact Mother Connie:

You are welcome, also to visit our sponsors.  Be aware that we have a vested interest.  You can read our disclaimer below…before you post your comment.  grin

Thanks so much, kids, for coming by.  I hope you remembered to give us your name and email so you can begin to receive our infrequent messages.

Connie Baum

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

Cooking Tips?

August 12th, 2009

Do you love cooking tips?  If you are a foodie the chances are they are right up your alley.  When Wednesday’s Lincoln Journal-Star arrives I reach for the Food section and search the pages for kitchen helps and food notions.

Today’s food section disappointed me a little, though, because one of the tips suggests the use of the microwave oven.

It’s easy to understand that you are busy and tired when it’s time for the evening meal and you want things to go together quickly.

However, with a little advance planning, you can save a lot of hassle and time and make inexpensive meals on the fly.

First, let me explain why I frown on microwaves.  They emit terribly toxic and deadly electromagnetic frequencies that can cause the brain LITERALLY to fry!  This is not a dramatic exaggeration; this is scientific fact and I’ll be happy to direct you to the scientific data if you send an email requesting that information.  Our email address for the Club is  and we are always happy to hear from our members.

Another disadvantage to nuking food is that it completely destroys the food value because it rearranges the molecular structure of the food.

So called “experts” will insist that cooking the food in the micro is best because it uses no water.  True, water destroys nutrients, as does heat, but top of the stove cooking  or baking in a conventional oven never rearranges the molecular structure because electromagnetic pollution is not a factor.

Let’s talk a bit about planning.  It’s always a good idea to think ahead when it comes to meal prep.  This applies to users of SNAP-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food commodities; even food pantries, Farmers Markets, Angel Food Ministries or the goods from your backyard gardens!

Here’s how it works for me:  When I finish breakfast and cleanup I consider what we’ll eat for lunch and dinner.  If it requires frozen food to be thawed, I lay that in the sink or put it into the fridge so it can begin to help me make the next meal. And by the way, I lay it on a plate so drips are not an issue!

Look over your pantry goods to see what might be done ahead, too.

After dinner, when I clean up the dishes and kitchen, my routine is to think ahead to breakfast.  I set out the pot for cereal, for example, and measure the water for cereal, the cereal itself and I set the coffee to brew the next morning.  I even set the breakfast table.  Until I began to do this, I never realized how simply and peacefully our days could begin.

It is at this time I think about the meals for the next day.  What might I need?  Do I need to soak some beans?  Shall I soak some rice in order to facilitate speedy meals?  How about cooking some eggs to have on hand for snacks and quick dishes?  I have other work to do.  As much as I enjoy cooking, I want to make meals in as little time for as little money as possible.

If I purchase instant rice, as an example, there are two factors at work.  One, cost-it’s too expensive to buy instant rice.  Two, there is little to no nutritional value to instant rice.

However, if I have a bag of brown rice I have amped up the nutrition and if I soak it overnight it cooks quite quickly when I need to use it.  Furthermore, I always cook twice as much as I’ll need so it will be instantly ready for use in another way.  For example:  we might have brown rice as a side dish tonight; tomorrow morning we can have an instant cold breakfast that has ‘stick to your ribs’ staying power!

When it comes to beans, they need to soak, too.  Dry beans are so much more economical than canned and when you think ahead, dry beans become just as convenient to use as canned.

I made a wonderful bean salad this week, using dry beans.  It cost almost nothing, it assembled quickly and here is how I prepared it:


2 cups of cooked black beans

4 hard cooked eggs, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 ribs of celery, chopped

DAB of salad dressing – enough to moisten the ingredients

DRIZZLE of pickle juice or rice vinegar – any vinegar will do

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded;spinach or leaf  lettuce will work well in this salad, also

Combine everything into large bowl, toss together and serve to hungry people!  It will fill their tummies make them smile.

Thanks again to all of you who have sent those in your circle to Food Stamps Cooking Club to be included in our occasional mailings.   We hope you feel free to send us your questions or your own cooking tips:

We are grateful for your support of our partners, too.

The world will be a much better place because all of you are in it!

Connie Baum

Happy National Farmers Market Week!

August 6th, 2009

Well, the week is nearly over and I only learned about this auspicious occasion yesterday!  You know how the saying goes:  “The wife is always the last to know.”  Grin

If you are using Farmers Market Coupons you may already have the heads up on this. But for me, it’s just one more great reason to party!  After all, when you support your local Farmers Market you are directly supporting small family farmers and your local economy. You are “voting” for fresh, organic, healthy and WHOLE FOODS.  You know how I am about WHOLE FOODS.  Not only that, you support a family farming tradition that goes back for generations and a philosophy of land stewardship that is critical to a wholesome way of life.

Here’s what some folks had to say about THEIR Farmers Markets:

“I love that I can meet with and talk to the folks that grow the food I plan to share with my family and friends.  I learn quite a bit and feel more connected to my community.  -Tikki F.”

“I support my local farmers market because it is important to have fresh foods right from the farm to nourish our bodies.  Even more importantly, the foods and products are local, which means we are helping to sustain our local farmers and producers.”  -Rebecca K.

“I love wandering down on a Saturday morning and getting good, fresh products at good prices.  I always see several people I know, and enjoy visiting with friends.”  –Korrin J

Whether you are using Farmers Market Coupons, SNAP, food commodities-even food pantries or Angel Food Ministries to fund your grocery budget it behooves us all to step up and support our local farmers by shopping when we can at Farmers Markets.

As always, we invite your comments and emails.  The RSVPs for the Cooking Class are coming in, along with your precious, treasured remarks and recipes.  THANK YOU SO MUCH.  Just remember:

Thank you, too, for sending your contacts  to our Food Stamps Cooking Club to get in on the occasional messages that go out and for stopping by our partners, who are sincerely interested in helping you learn how to make money online in order to fund your food budget from a healthy stream of income!

Speaking of HEALTHY-you might be interested to read this blog, too: The Healthy And Wealthy YOU. Every effort is made to help all people be their very best selves and this is just one more avenue in that regard!

Connie Baum

Farmers Markets and Whole Foods

August 3rd, 2009

Have you been to the Farmers Markets this season?  Are they loaded with goodies or WHAT?  It is such fun to see the pickups parked along our village square and the tables of freshly plucked product displayed for our buying pleasure!

If you are fortunate to have Farmers Market Coupons you have no doubt redeemed them for a wonderful array of sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans, beets, carrots, cucumbers and other garden goodies.  Even if you plunked down your hard earned cash, you have chosen wisely.

The Farmers Markets offer delicious WHOLE FOODS and in many cases that means ORGANIC.  This can only mean good things for our bodies!  Glowing, vibrant good health comes from eating whole foods.  Must be something about the anti-oxidants, enzymes, vitamins and minerals.  And the flavor keeps calling us back for more.

Summertime means treats, even for breakfast.  Our menu today was tomatoes on toast and we left the breakfast table feeling quite satisfied and full of vim, vigor and vitality.  We have such perfect, such delicious, such juicy tomatoes this year, despite a hailstorm that roared through and pelted the little fruits.  We had such an abundance that we were able to take a boxful of tomatoes to church with us and share with those who have no gardens.  They disappeared quickly!

What do YOU have to share?  Recipes?  Memories?  Ideas?  We would enjoy hearing your summertime food notions.  Just shoot an email to us: and make our day!

It delights our hearts whenever someone offers up their email address at Food Stamps Cooking Club so we can send occasional messages about food and health.  Thanks to all of you who have recently joined the club!

You may be in the market for something to help you with your bottom line, particularly if you are a user of SNAP or food commodities or even food pantries.  If you use Angel Food Ministries, it is a distinct possibility you could be interested in learning how to bring some rapid cash into your household. If you like that idea, please CLICK HERE.

Connie Baum

Garden Variety Food?

July 22nd, 2009

Yesterday was an embarrassment of riches at our house.  Thank goodness our food budget is not dependent on food pantries, food commodities or SNAP.  We have not procured coupons for the Farmers’ Markets, either.  Angel Food Ministries, while in our area, is not providing this family with something to eat.  BUT OUR GARDEN IS!

The Normanator brought in a fine array of beans, beets, peas, zucchini, potatoes, corn and onions and we proceeded to feast like royalty!  And the tomatoes are big, fat, red and juicy.  They just INVITE me to the garden with a salt shaker in hand for snacking!  They really ARE glorious.

The joy of having garden goods is not limited to flavor.  Oh, no.  There is power in creating a strong healthy body that can come ONLY from nutrition.  Phytonutrients, anti-oxidants, enzymes–all the goodness inherent in real, whole food just cannot be duplicated in a lab or processing facility!  We truly ARE what we eat and what is assimilated.  When we eat well and wisely we can be our best selves and raise ourselves to a higher standard of living and being.

Putting wholesome foods on our dinner tables need not be an extravagant expense.  It need not strain your brain, either.  Simple foods are easily combined to make interesting, inviting plates that beckon even to little children.

I looked at a plateful of brightly colored cooked beets and thought, “If only I had some skewers, I could make Beet Lollipops.”  So skewers found their way to my shopping list!  There are still a few beets left to pull!

Ah…  Life is sweet!

Please know that we deeply appreciate your comments on this blog and your messages to  We are THRILLED when you send your recipes and ideas.

We are preparing for our September Cooking Class.  This class is available at no charge to those who are using SNAP, or any other food assistance program BUT YOU MUST RSVP  by September 1 by email to in order to be assured a spot for the class.  Just put “SAVE ME A SPOT” in your subject line.

Thanks to those of you who have popped by Food Stamps Cooking Club to get your name on our list!  We send little tidbits out from time to time and we want everyone to feel included.

Our partners have indicated you are stopping at their “shops” as well.  We appreciate that, as do our partners!

Connie Baum

Can You BEET Fresh Garden Goods?

June 24th, 2009

Hardly!  The Normanator went to the garden early this morning and when he returned, I could hardly SEE him for the ginormous beet leaves and his glorious harvest!  I was sure we had hit the Mother Lode.

Beets are so delicious.  We have always loved Harvard beets and pickled beets. When I was a student in Omaha I stayed with a family who treated me to Borscht, or beet soup.  O, MY!  Such good food!

I consulted the Food Network to learn more about beet dishes and was reminded about how yummy beets are when paired with jicama or cabbage or broccoli.  These brighten up any meal with color and that rich, earthy flavor.

The beets we have today were cooked to their tender best, easily peeled by using a paper towel-after they were cool enough to handle-and sliced.  A shake of salt and a sprinkle of pepper will do just fine for our lunch.  I have salad with beef and cheese for the protein, so we are set for a fine summer lunch.  Oh, how I wish the entire Club could come put your toes under our table.  I guess you know our table isn’t THAT big! grin

How do YOU like to serve beets at your house?  Have you bought beets at your Farmer’s Market this season?  Please send your ideas and notions to so we can pass the good word.  We are SO pleased that so many of you have taken the time to visit Food Stamps Cooking Club so you are in our loop.  Soon you will be receiving a few ideas to your Inbox that are meant to help you.

If you are a user of food commodities, food pantries or Angel Food Network products, we are especially eager to hear from you.  If you use SNAP-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Farmer’s Markets to feed your families, we are eager to learn how we can help you even more to make those food dollars count.

And as you know, because you see this every time you come to this site, you are warmly invited to post your comment on this page. You are free to “lurk” and be anonymous or you are welcome to strut your stuff and leave your calling card in the form of your URL.

It’s important to thank all of you who have paid a call to our partners, as well.  Their banners and messages are on this page, as well as our heartfelt appreciation.

Connie Baum