Posts Tagged ‘food budget’

Cucumbers and Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 28th, 2013
Cucumbers can shine in a hot weather salad...or NOT!

Cucumbers can shine in a hot weather salad…or NOT!

One of our kids calls these “coonkumbers”…it’s shorthand to refer to them as “cukes”.  The Normanator doesn’t care what you call them; he doesn’t like them.

Yesterday was a rare event in the life of your humble blogger.  We treated ourselves to a double date with former neighbors, which involved a restaurant meal and a baseball game.  It was so great not to have to think about shopping, chopping and presenting a meal.  Better yet-I was not on the clean up committee!

I ordered a chicken fried steak, smothered in creamy white gravy, which was completely tender.  I cut it with my fork, savoring each bite.  I also ordered turnip greens which were drizzled with a lovely vinegar.  Freshly sauteed green beans appeared on the plate, as well.  My third choice was a delicious sounding salad that promised to cool and refresh:  cucumbers with tomatoes and onion.

The salad was a train wreck!  Thumbs down all the way!  I suppose I was expecting the kind of cuke/tomato/onion yumminess that my dear mother always made.  She peeled the cucumbers, chopped the tomatoes and cukes in to bite sized pieces and the onions were minced so as to be the background.  She would save a few rings of onion for garnish.  Then she bathed it all in a solution of vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.  It was always delectable.

What our waitress delivered to the table were HUNKS of cucumber, whole tomatoes that were so pathetic they had NO juice and were wrinkly and unappealing.  The onions?  Oh, my, they were hunks of onion, too!  CHUNKS, none of it was even chopped!  It looked icky and tasted blah.

Complaining about food ordered in a restaurant is not my cup of tea but when asked directly how everything was, I suggested that they rethink their salad or remove it from the menu.  I suspect they might take my idea under advisement, because even the manager got involved in salad conversation…

Here’s how cucumber salad should be prepared, in Mother Connie’s humble opinion:

Summery Cucumber Side Salad

1 medium cucumber, washed, peeled and diced into bite sized pieces

2 medium tomatoes, washed, peeled, chopped

1 small onion, peeled and diced

Place vegetables in a small bowl.  Add a liberal amount of salt and let stand for 15 minutes or so, until there is juice in the bottom of the bowl.

Pour off the juice and salt.  Add enough vinegar and cold water to cover the goods.  Add  a generous amount of salt, pepper and sugar to the mix and allow it to stand in the fridge so it has time to chill and the flavors can marry.  Taste test the solution as you go.

Using rice vinegar or wine vinegar-if you have it-changes  the taste of the brine and promises to delight the palate!  This is refreshing on a hot end-of-summer day and will keep well in the fridge, so you could double or triple the recipe and save yourself some prep time!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you hold an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  Maybe you just like the challenge of squeezing the food dollars and seeing how frugal you can be!  Are you getting goods from a food pantry, food drop or food commodities?  Maybe you have visited a food bank…in any case, if you use any form of public assistance we are devoted to helping you  S T R E T C H  those food dollars.  We sincerely hope we bring value to you and your loved ones.  We bring no judgement and we are not out to sell you anything.  We have a little series of cooking tips to share if you join the Club and we always hope for your comments and emails to

Plans are in the works for an offline cooking class…stay tuned!  And do remember you are loved and appreciated!

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.



Spinach – Tater Cups at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 26th, 2013
Not only are these cute and easy to make, they are quickly created AND they are CHEAP!

Not only are these cute and easy to make, they are quickly created AND they are CHEAP!  Besides that, they are so delicious and nutritious!

Mother Connie is a fan of “Kitchen Daily“- partly because they offer quotes that make me smile.  They also have tremendously tasty recipes and I want to share one of those with you.  It seems that Kitchen Daily got this recipe from “May I Have That Recipe”…there is so much information on the web it is mind boggling!

Spinach Potato Nest Bites

From Kitchen Daily and May I Have That Recipe

4 large Yukon Gold potatoes **Guess what?  You are allowed to use whatever potatoes live in your kitchen!
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 ½ tsp garlic powder
2 ½ tsp onion powder
4 tsp vegetable oil
cooking spray **No spray?  No worries; just use veg oil in each cup
4 cup frozen spinach thawed (4 cups frozen yields 2 cups cooked)
SIDEBAR:  Frozen spinach is my ultimate convenience food!  If you only have canned spinach, though, GO FOR IT.  If you have fresh, use that and rejoice!  END SIDEBAR.
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven at 400F
  2. Grate the potatoes, add ½ tsp of salt, mix well and let them sit in a colander with a bowl under it for 20 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet, saute spinach in olive oil. Season with 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder and ½ tsp salt. Cook until most of the water had evaporated, 6-8 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Squeeze as much water out of the grated potatoes as you can. Season with ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp. onion powder, ½ tsp pepper. Add 4 tsp vegetable oil and mix well.
  5. Generously spray a 12 muffin tin pan with cooking spray.
  6. Arrange grated potatoes into each muffin cup, pressing against the bottom and up the sides.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until they start to brown slightly . Remove from the oven and set aside.
  8. In a medium size bowl, beat eggs, add a pinch of salt and spinach and mix until well combined.
  9. Evenly spoon spinach in each potato nest.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes or until egg is cooked.
  11. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
  12. Carefully unmold each potato nest using a butter knife around the edges of the nest.
  13. Makes 12 potato nests

This will be a satisfying side dish; it’s filling and nutritious.  These go together very quickly and little people will LOVE helping!

Food Stamps Cooking Club is dedicated to assisting and supporting people who use public assistance for their food budgets.  There is no judgement or criticism here.  We only want to be of service and offer value to  our Members.  If you join our ranks, you will receive a little series of cooking tips and our undying devotion!

Do you find yourself living on a dime?  Are you linked up to other users of SNAP or WIC or people who have EBT cards for one or the other or both programs?  Maybe you just like the challenge of making your food dollars  s t r e t c h   as far as possible.  Do you receive help from a food bank, food pantry, food commodities or food drop?  YOU are the folks we hope to target.  There is nothing to buy, there is no heavy lifting.  We do hope you’ll leave some love on the comment panel, though.  No pressure there…

The plans for the offline Cooking Class are in the works.  After consulting with some of our Members, it became apparent that we need to stick to basics.  Please stay tuned…and do remember you are loved and appreciated!

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.




Zucchini Pie at the Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 20th, 2013
Here are the fixin's for Zucchini Pie...which very much resembles a pizza!

Here are the fixin’s for Zucchini Pie…which very much resembles a pizza!

The Johnson County Fair and PIE CENTRAL have gone into the history books and although we are dealing with “Fair Lag” just like Jet Lag we have survived quite well.  Now that there is no more Fair Food to tempt us we are getting back to wise and healthy choices!

Somebody mentioned Zucchini Pie and I remembered how yummy I thought this was, so I put one together.  I was so excited that I forgot to snap a photo of the finished product and it was half eaten by the time I thought of it!  But I do have some pictures of the process…

For this pie I cheated and used a commercial pizza roll but you could even use your standard biscuit recipe, all rolled out into one sheet.


1  onion, chopped

2  cups zucchini, peeled and chopped

1  cup mushrooms *This is optional but since this is a meatless creation I felt we needed the protein.

2  carrots, peeled, chopped  *Also optional.  They provide color.

1  can tomatoes, juice and all

Basil to taste

Oregano to taste

Salt and Pepper

Unbaked pizza crust

Yellow mustard-to be spread on the pizza crust before the vegetables are spread over the dough.

2  large eggs, slightly beaten

Shredded cheese of your choice, about 1 1/2 cups

Using a food processor speeds up the chopping…when all the veg has been chopped, saute them in a drizzle of vegetable oil til tender. Season them well with the salt and pepper and the spices. When it is nearly soft, add chopped fresh garlic and let it cook briefly.

SIDEBAR:  If garlic cooks too long or at too high a temp, it gets bitter but if you gently cook it for a short time it gets sweeter.  END SIDEBAR.

While the veggies are cooking, unroll the dough onto a well greased cookie sheet and pinch the edges so there is a “curb” and the vegetables won’t run over onto the cookie sheet.  Spread a very thin coat of yellow mustard over the dough, then spoon the mixture onto the dough evenly.

Beat  the eggs in a bowl and add the cheese to them. Combine gently but thoroughly.   Pour this mixture over all the vegetables onto the dough.  Slide this into a 325* oven for about 13-15 minutes, until the crust is brown and the eggs are set.

First, a coating of yellow mustard will go over the dough and this mixture will be spooned over that.  It smelled sooo good...

First, a coating of yellow mustard will go over the dough and this mixture will be spooned over that. It smelled sooo good…

*You may have wondered about the red pepper shown in the first photo…Mother Connie opted not to use that; the carrots provided the desired color!

This is a most filling dish and if you have any left over it freezes well.

It’s a recipe you can easily adapt to your family’s preferences.  There is no reason why you could not use ground beef or leftover ham bits or even sausage to this.  You can be as creative as you like with no interference from the Kitchen Police!

Using public assistance for your food budget is no picnic.  We GET that.  If you use and EBT card for SNAP or WIC you know precisely what I’m talking about here.  Furthermore, if you are living on a dime, facing the challenges posed by your food budget, you understand completely.  This little corner of the internet is devoted to users of food banks, food drops, food commodities, food pantries and those who are on the receiving end of generous gardeners!  We do hope it is helpful to you because we care deeply about your plight.

Mother Connie is off to see the wizard for the rest of the week.  She will be learning a new body process that promises to raise awareness. It is called BARS – we dunno WHY – and is taught by facilitators for Access Consciousness.   The former body worker in Mother Connie just cannot bid the body-working part of her life goodbye; it’s important to give value to the world and this will be one more way to do that.  Food is an important component to a healthy body; coaxing peoples’ bodies to relinquish pain, paradigms and programs is a most satisfying way to spend our days! It fuels our passion for people!

As ever, we are begging for your comments on our comment panel.  We so appreciate your involvement with us.  Please remember you are dearly loved!

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:  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.




Presto! Pesto! Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 7th, 2013

Presto Pesto 001Mother Connie has assembled some tasty items that can make for fresh, flavorful, nutritious meals that are easy on the budget and great for summer’s heat!

No doubt you have heard of the cookbook, “The Joy of Cooking”…well, I do not have a copy but I understand it is a major wow.  As you can see in the above photo, I do have some other cookbooks and of course I cruise the internet to find new and interesting things to do with food.  I also subscribe to a food magazine.

SIDEBAR:  This subscription is my only splurge and I do it for YOU people so we can wrangle the food budgets together!  END SIDEBAR.

It was a radio program, though, which caught my rapt attention.  The chef was talking about PESTO and my mouth began to water.  I searched through the fridge to see what greens I might use for a pesto of my very own and was thrilled to realize I had spinach on hand. I could just as easily have used broccoli; both could have been combined.   I made the pesto, drizzled it over gluten free penne pasta and enjoyed it so much that I plan to create another as soon as possible!

It’s CHEAP, it’s EASY, it tastes fresh and dreamy and it is loaded with nutrition AND charm!

Here’s the formula for making pesto:

Pick a seed or some type of nut:  Sunflower seeds work with low food budgets, for example.  But almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or sesame seeds will be wonderful.  They just cost more.

Choose a base:  Pick from Basil, Parsley, Cilantro, Mint, dark leafy greens–all finely chopped.  Fresh herbs if you have them…you know the drill about the Kitchen Kops and how they don’t care…

Decide on seasoning:  Garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, thyme, tarragon, oregano

Be cheesy:  Parmesan *That’s the most affordable choice but there are others if your budget can take the pain.

Finishing touches:  chopped tomatoes, roasted red peppers would be just dandy.

So you toast the seeds or nuts in a dry skillet til lightly brown and fragrant.  Allow them to cool and pulse them in a food processor til finely ground.

Use 3 cups total of your base greens and herbs in any combo that hits your hot button.

Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon total of the seasonings you like best.

Grate 1/2 cup of the cheese you’ll be using.  Add everything to the food processor and pulse to combine.  **There is the jarred cheese used for spaghetti and it is usually on the affordable side.

As the pesto pulses, dribble some oil to incorporate it and to make it smooth.  Stir in the chopped tomatoes at this point, if that’s what you are using.

This makes  about 1 cup of pesto; 1/2 cup is a serving meant to top cooked pasta noodles.  Serve this immediately as a warm dish and stand back for rave reviews from your diners!

Mother Connie put lots of mushrooms in her spinach pesto and the lemon juice that went into the dish really brightened the flavor and made a truly satisfying dish!  The mushrooms helped amp up the protein value, too.  ***And when mushroom pieces are so fine, picky eaters don’t really find anything to complain about!  grin/giggle

We know that many of our Members are living on a dime, working hard to keep body and soul together.  We understand that you are holding EBT cards for WIC and SNAP and you are doing all you know to S T R E T C H those food dollars.  Those of you who visit food banks,  food pantries, have food commodities and hope for the generosity of gardeners in your area have our undying support and admiration.  We hope we are helpful in giving you ideas that you are interested to eat and can afford to have the ingredients to make them.

We love having all the new Members that have joined lately!  We may have to install “room stretchers” to hold us all in when we meet around the Club House table!  grin/giggle  We hope you feel the love we are sending your way.

Connie Baum

Summer Bounty: Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 6th, 2013
Summer Bounty in the Club House!

Summer Bounty in the Club House!

We really have an embarrassment of riches, as you can see by the display on the kitchen table!  There is a gigantic zucchini, which will be ground and morphed into delicious desserts and main dishes after a stint in the freezer; the sweet potato will grace our dinner table tonight and those peaches will make decadent, juicy, fresh desserts for The Normanator and me.

Most of these items were gifts from generous gardeners!  We hope to be able to  s t r e t c h our food dollars to the inth degree with wise use of each food.

One of the joys of summer foods is consideration of the health benefits.  I found an interesting list to share:

1.  Sweet Potatoes.  These have lots of color, which indicates uber nutritive value.  Making “fries” or slices coated with cinnamon is a nice way for youngsters to learn to like veggies.  Pop them into the oven to roast and the flesh of the potatoes become sweeter.  Even children can help with this process and learn the fine art of feeding themselves!

2. Greek Yogurt.  This is such a great breakfast food!   A tablespoon or two of this and a few chunks of fresh-or canned-fruit makes a quick start for the day with little fuss and lots of food value.

3.  Watermelon.  LOADED with minerals, this is a fun summer food.  How many of us took chunks of melon to the yard, burying our faces in the pink flesh of the fruit and spitting seeds on the lawn?  Oh, making memories around food is sooooo important in making for happy childhoods!

4.  Leafy greens.  These are wonderful!  Kale, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, Swiss chard are so versatile and so good for a body.  Last night Mother Connie threw spinach, mushrooms, basil, lemon juice and oil into the food processor to make a pesto to cover pasta.  The freshness and intensity of the flavors were enhanced by the lemon-I added salt at the table-and it was a deeply satisfying meal.  It is critical for good digestion that we include leafy greens in our diets.  It’s easier to do in the summertime!

5.  Broccoli.  This cruciferous vegetable helps to prevent infection of all sorts because of its high content of vitamins, minerals and folic acid.  It makes a good snack if it’s raw; if it’s steamed and flavored with red pepper flakes or dash of lemon or sprinkle of nutmeg, it is a glorious summer side dish.  It works well in vegetable salads, too, which are most refreshing on summer days.

Are you living on a  dime?  Do you depend on public assistance for your food dollars?  Maybe you hold an EBT card for SNAP or WIC.  Maybe you just love to be thrifty.  If you have food from food commodities, a food pantry or food bank, you might like to know that this corner of the internet is exclusively for YOU.  We understand how hard it is to keep body and soul together and we aim to help.

We are gleeful at the list of new Club Members!  We welcome you with open arms and can’t wait to get your input on our comment panel!

Please remember that you are loved and appreciated.

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.

MORE Zukes? Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 2nd, 2013

They just keep coming! We heard about a cool, refreshing salad idea that may be perfect for this bounteous crop of zucchini squashes!

Prolific gardeners just keep harvesting the abundant crops of zucchini squashes and this time of year we may have wearied of the breads and stir fry uses of them.  Still, they must be used and Mother Connie is always on the hunt for new ideas for them to take their place at the dinner table!

Zucchinis are such a help to those who use public assistance to fund their food budgets.  If you are a holder of an EBT card for WIC or SNAP or if you get things from a food drop, food pantry, use  food commodities or are simply living on a dime, the chances are good that you have easy access to zucchini at this time of year.

The idea I want to share with you today is best used with small squashes… yellow summer squash or zucchinis will be ideal BUT if all you have are the larger ones it would be good to scoop out the centers and dispose of the seeds.

You may scrub the skin well or peel the little darlings.  The best thing is to USE that skin, for that’s where the enzymes live that help your body to digest and utilize the nutrition it’s getting.  But if the skin is off-putting, just peel away.

Slice the squash VERY VERY THINLY and place into a bowl.  Sprinkle some salt over the veg and then drizzle vegetable oil over it – just enough oil to moisten it nicely.  Let the bowl sit on your kitchen counter for about 20 minutes, giving the salt time to draw out the moisture in the zukes.  You can add pepper, too, just to add a bit of zest.   It’s ready to eat at that point but if you plan to eat it later, it can hang out in your refrigerator.

Now, let’s visit about OIL.  I prefer olive oil for this but you may only have some other type.  Please rest assured that the Kitchen Kops do  not give a hoot about how you choose your oils.  I would caution against the use of corn or canola oil because of genetic modification concerns The GMO foods are extremely unhealthy choices.

SIDEBAR:  You know as well as Mother Connie that when you are making every effort to survive on public assistance, you take what you are offered and you are grateful to have food at all!  We GET that.  END SIDEBAR.

Zuke salad 002

Ta Da! Our salad course for lunch is ready!

Part of the fun of beginning each work day in the Club House is looking to see the new Members who have joined and will get our little series of cooking tips.  We are so happy to have you here; we exist to help you manage your food dollars and we have every intention to be helpful.  That’s only cuz we love you.

If you chose to cruise over to our pals at Living On a Dime, I hope you remembered to leave them some love and mention Mother Connie’s name.  They were excited that we mentioned them in yesterday’s post because they have something special for those who are able to be involved in all the fun they have going on there.

No doubt you have seen the phenomenal and helpful tips from our blogger pal, Carol.  Please be sure to thank her, too, for all her wisdom.  She is a gift to all our Members.

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.


BLT Boats and Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 1st, 2013

Roma tomatoes are wonderful for salads because they are firm and not as juicy as other types of tomatoes. They are filled with flavor and nutrition and easy to store and use.

Summer foods are just exquisite!  They are fresh and yummy and easy to prepare.  I found a cute idea in a magazine I want to share with you.  The tomatoes that are sitting on our kitchen counter are not good candidates for this dish because they are small and juicy-but DELISH.  We’ll use them and then I’ll be making these little boats.

The beauty of these darlings is that they can help stave off the hunger pangs that happen as Mom is making a meal but it’s not time to eat yet.  You know how it goes: the kids troop in, wanting something to nibble on, so these will make great snacks!  They will travel well to picnics and carry in dinners and they will please peoples’ palates.


10  Roma tomatoes

1/2  pound bacon,  fried crisp and crumbled

4 cups lettuce, finely shredded

**Iceberg lettuce works well for this but I’ll be using Romaine.  The cook gets to choose!

3/4  cup salad dressing  *mayo or home made dressing will work.

Slice the tomatoes in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane of the halves.

Combine in a large mixing bowl the lettuce, bacon and dressing.  If it seems too dry, add a touch more dressing.

Spoon the filling into the tomato “boats” and float them on a platter.

Hm…you might want to double this recipe.  It’s making Mother Connie hungry just writing about it!

SIDEBAR:  Don’t stop with BLT boats!  You could also fill those little beauties with your favorite egg salad or tuna salad or salmon salad.  You might like to turn them into mini taco treats.  What are the possibilities?  END SIDEBAR

Even users of SNAP and WIC and other public assistance agencies such as food pantries, food commodities or food banks usually have access to summer garden goods.  You might not even need to swipe your EBT card to take advantage of these yummy flavors sometimes!  If you are living on a dime, this can make a lot of difference!

Our hearts are filled with joy as we watch the Membership in the Food Stamps Cooking Club rise each day!  Your comments and ideas and email messages mean the world to us.  We hope we are contributing to the betterment of your lives.  But that’s only because we love you.

*Here is a note I wanted to tuck in with this post:  We are not about selling stuff here.  However, there is a little website we have been partnered with for some time and every so often they have wonderful offers that help people who are watching every penny in their pocket. I hope you will take a peek at what they have on their little corner of the net. They currently are offering something that may interest you so if you choose to check it out and take action with them, please do mention Mother Connie’s name.  The website is Living On a Dime and the family who offers it walks the walk and talks the talk.  They are real, caring human beings who sincerely want to help people who want to use their money in the wisest ways.

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.