Posts Tagged ‘food commodities’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Beef ‘n Barley Soup

March 5th, 2015

DSCN0841

What could be more satisfying on a brisk March day than a serving of

Beef and Barley soup?

One cup of barley went into a cold skillet as this soup was “born”…I toasted it gently over a medium-low heat, stirring to make sure it did not brown too quickly.  This process took about 5 minutes and the elegant aroma of toasting barley made for time well spent!

Next came a box of chicken broth.

SIDEBAR:  Beef broth would have been preferable but you know that we use what we have because the Kitchen Kops do not CARE!  END SIDEBAR.

There was a container of beef I had browned for another meal in the freezer.  It was a perfect item to use for this soup!  The block of beef, still frozen, went into the broth, as did the toasted barley.

While the heat thawed the meat and warmed the broth I chopped up an onion and 3 or 4 ribs of celery, using a rough chop.  Those went into a bit of oil in my trusty cast iron skillet for a quick saute`…at this point the kitchen began to smell divine.

As lunchtime neared and the stirring and aroma were making the household eager for the meal to be served, I decided to add a bit of color.  *The color was completely optional.  If you do not have ‘gravy booster’ liquid in your pantry, do not worry your head about it.

Two small spoonfuls of the liquid made for a beefy looking broth.  Then I made an executive decision:  the broth was too thin.  With a bit of cold water and about 3 teaspoons of corn starch mixed together, I added the thickener to the soup and the new consistency pleased me no end!

I let it simmer on a very low heat while I put a meat patty into a hot skillet.  I love the sizzle that happens when cold beef hits a hot surface!

SIDEBAR: The meat in the patty was left from the day I made stuffed red peppers.  As I mentioned in a recent Cooking Class, a meat loaf mixture can be made and used for not only meat loaf, but for meat balls, meat patties and stuffed peppers.  Saves time, gives the cook options and tastes divine!  END SIDEBAR.

When the meat was sufficiently browned on one side, I flipped it to cook the other side.  While it took care of business on its own, I spread mayo on brown bread and added some crisp lettuce leaves to make sandwiches as companions to the soup.

A Quality Assurance taste test reminded me that thyme would add a bit of zip so I sprinkled ever so little into the soup and gave it one last stir.

As you can see by the photo above, the soup looked quite good enough to eat!  Sorry; I forgot to photograph the sandwiches, which were wondermous, btw.  Our house guest did not know they were sammies; she called them by their English name:  “butties”.  She pronounces that “buh ti’  as with a short ‘i’.  We giggled our way through lunch, as you might imagine.

If you have barley in your pantry, you could make it into a hearty soup all on its own, without meat.  I thin you will find it to be filling, nutritious and inexpensive.  Paired with sandwiches or salad or fruit you have a simple meal that is easy to prepare, quick to fix, and very budget friendly.

We would be remiss if we did not welcome the New Members to the Club!  It is so gratifying to know that this little corner of the web is able to touch peoples’ lives in ways they find meaningful and helpful.  Thank you so much for putting your toes under our table in a virtual manner!

If you are a user of an EBT card from SNAP or WIC, if you receive food commodities or have things from a food pantry, we have dedicated our work to YOU.  Maybe you just like to nurse your nickels for sport…perhaps you are not using public assistance but are simply skint and are on the lookout for ways to be frugal in the kitchen.  We hope we are meeting and exceeding your expectations.

We love mail-hint/hint-you are welcome to send mail to: foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

To all our members, we remind you that you are dearly loved and cared about.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Garlic Lovers’ Dream

March 2nd, 2015

2015-01-08 1st Phone 001Midnight Pasta is the easiest, tastiest pasta dish you’ll ever make!

Is pasta one of YOUR comfort foods, too?

I’ve always fancied spaghetti, macaroni and any other pasta product ever invented.  Recently I’ve turned to the gluten free varieties and I do believe G-Free is my favorite now.  It never gets mushy as it cooks!  I bring well salted water to a boil, add the pasta, lowering the heat a bit.

SIDEBAR:My favorites are spaghetti or linguine but any pasta will do. END SIDEBAR.

I put a wooden spoon across the cooking pot instead of replacing the lid and let it simmer until the pasta is cooked–20 minutes.

For Midnight Pasta I do as I’ve described and while it bubbles I take a whole head of garlic (If you have a larger crowd around your dinner table, you’d want to add more garlic accordingly).  I peel it and put it into a skillet with a bit of olive or coconut oil.  You’ll need to put it on a low heat and stir it occasionally.  As the garlic cooks and sweetens it softens.  When every bud has become soft, add a ladle or two of the pasta liquid and stir thoroughly.

JUST before you are ready to marry the garlic with the pasta, add 1 to 2 cups of Parmesan cheese to the garlic.  *You may need to ladle more of the liquid from the pasta to melt the cheese.

Drain the pasta, dump the cooked product into a good sized bowl with the garlic mixture and toss it to thoroughly coat the goods.  By this time, the aroma of the garlic has your taste buds crying, “HURRY!  GET THIS TO THE TABLE!  WE ARE HUNGRY!”  grin

A crisp green salad and maybe a slice or two of garlic bread per diner makes a complete feast with lots and lots of flavor for very little money !

As you know, this little corner of the internet is devoted to users of Public Assistance for their food dollars.  We hope we are helping those who have EBT cards from SNAP and WIC  and those who get goods from Food Pantries, Food Commodities and generous gardeners or neighbors who wish to be helpful.  We are not fancy/schmancy; there are no apps and  certainly there is nothing to buy. We mean to HELP your budget, not desecrate it!

**Just because we have ads doesn’t mean you are obligated to spend money!

Because of computer issues we have been conspicuously absent.  While being offline we have found some ideas we cannot wait to share with you!  We’ll want to tell you about the Cooking Class, too!  It was such fun and it’s a pity you could not ALL attend!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Using Our Imagination…

February 4th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Merry Christmas!

December 22nd, 2014
Because there was no room at the inn...

Because there was no room at the inn…

As you are no doubt aware the holidays are in full swing and there is a frantic push to make ready for Christmas.  When you depend on SNAP or WIC or food commodities you tend to be  in survival mode.  It’s almost painful to think of helping others because you may be fretting about your OWN situation.

A wonderful message about this very issue awaited me in my Inbox this morning.  I just HAD to share it with you:
“Today was the first day in forever that I felt well enough to go to the  Farmer’s Market with my family, especially since I am till weak and fragile. Who would I run into than the little “all too young mother” that I have written you about. She’s passed her GED and is working “almost full time” for a national retailer. But OHHHH the PAIN when she hugged me! My family knows how sore I am, but how can I complain? Please do not praise me, but it seems that this is what happens to me.

Anyway, she told me that there was a homeless family in the park across the street and even the street-folk were shunning them. I was weak and so frail; still I followed her across the street only to discover that this was the indeed rare homeless family who is homeless due to economic circumstances that do not include the plethora of “choice” based homelessness. He had a skill, was trying to find work, and they had lost their home etc. In other words, this is the basic middle class family who does not know how to be poor. The community was shunning them because they had become infested with head and body lice, and the only treatment that they knew would cost them hundreds of dollars that they did not have.

I had my son-in-law drive me over to the dollar store where I got 4 bottles of shampoo, 2 pounds of table salt and a bottle of laundry detergent. The total was under $6.00. I asked “all too young mother” to go to the farmer’s market and gather all the food that had fallen off the tables and was under the trucks and otherwise set to be disposed. Anything that could be eaten, and even ask some farmers for the food they might be throwing away.

That gave her a mission that did not include hugging me. I taught the parents that by mixing half salt and shampoo that it would kill the lice. They had to put it on their hair undiluted, and body then wait 30-45 minutes until rinsing it off. They took advantage of the free access to the American river to rinse off, but I told them that they had to do this every day for the next 6 days because it did not kill eggs. What courage! The American River is icy right now! I gave them the comb I had in my bag. But the littlest was sick, and once we got her mother and her lice free, I put mom on the light rail wearing some of my daughter-in-law’s clothes which were going to be on their way to resale stores, but she was clean and lice controlled, and on her way to the emergency room with the littlest.

I taught dad to boil all of the clothes and bedding in his 22 qt pot for not less than 5 minutes, and then take the whole thing to the laundry that was 2 blocks away. I bought a can of insecticide to treat the car and the tent. Then he and the older child washed all the laundry with the soap and dried it with the quarters I gave them.

I do not know how things turned out for this family because I was too sick and weak to follow through. I gave them the list of community resources that I always have with me and I hope that they follow up with employment and resources. my “all too young mother” came back with a bunch of vegetables and fruit for the family.

I think that the moral of this story is that it is a skill to survive being poor. Knowing how to treat lice and make a meal from the veggies that the farmer’s market would otherwise throw away is another skill. Sure, I spent $10.00 or so of my own money, but hopefully this family will survive.

I came home and went to sleep for a while. Anyway, I do not want you to praise me for this, but maybe you can use the lice killing salt and shampoo in your mission as well. I hope you have a happy holiday season.  Take care.

Love,

Delaine”

If someone who is in abject agony can help a homeless family, it makes me wonder what I might be able to do for any of my fellow human beings.

*We are THRILLED to welcome new Members into our Club House!  We welcome your comments and messages at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com  .  We read every single one and appreciate each of you so much!

Merry Christmas!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Kay Speaks, Part 2!

October 13th, 2014

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

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

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

***

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

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

“Sample Menu Plans –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examples –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

 

 

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Roast Chicken

October 1st, 2014
This is such an easy, low cost dish.  It's tasty enough for guests and EZ on the budget AND the cook!

This is such an easy, low cost dish. It’s tasty enough for guests; tender on the budget AND the cook!  This set of hind quarters is ready to be  dunked in a marvelous marinade and popped into a cozy oven!

 

Roast chicken is so easy and so elegant.  It is such an easy fix, too.  I found a recipe in the food section of our Lincoln Journal Star that struck my fancy; when I served it to The Normanator he approved.  That spurred me to share it.  Besides, Carol, from CTonabudget  said she could not wait to have it.  She and I have been aghast at meat prices so the idea of a new recipe for roast chicken hit our hot buttons!

When I found the recipe I knew I was going to be away from home for a day so I put it all together and kept it, covered, in the fridge.  There was ample time for the flavors to marry.  I won’t torment you with the details of how delicious this was…I will give you the particulars and you can see for yourselves how yummy it can be!

Mother Connie’s Version of Lemony Roast Chicken

1/2  cup olive oil *I did use olive oil but any vegetable oil will be fine

1/2  cup fresh rosemary leaves *No fresh leaves here; poultry seasoning was what I had

1/4  cup fresh squeezed lemon juice *Bottled lemon juice was all I could find in our pantry

10 cloves thinly sliced garlic  *Garlic powder had to do

SIDEBAR:  Did I mention we live in a small town and our shopping choices are limited? The moral of this story is to use what you have and make do.  The flavor of this dish will still make you a star in your own home!  END SIDEBAR.

Salt and pepper to taste

3  1/2# chicken, 8 or 9 pieces…  *I had hind quarters and that was PERFECT.

In a large bowl, combine oil, rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.  Choose a baking dish that will accommodate your chicken pieces in a single layer.  Brush about 1/4 of the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.  Arrange the chicken meaty side up over the marinade and cover the meat with the remaining marinade.   Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

When you are ready to cook your chicken, preheat the oven to 475*.  Remove the plastic, turn the pieces over and spoon any excess marinade over each piece.  Roast for 15 minutes.

Remove the whole business from the oven and turn each piece so it is meaty side up.  Return to the oven and roast for an additional 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned.

This would be delicious served with rice or potatoes and a big green salad!  Any leftover pieces are just yummy when served cold, too!

This will serve 4 people.

Are you living on a dime?  Do you have an EBT card for SNAP or WIC? Maybe you have goods from a food pantry or you get food commodities.  Maybe you are spending the last of your Farmers Market coupons.  In any case, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to helping you manage your food dollars.  When you become a Member you will receive a little series of Cooking Tips and we hope you will communicate with us, either on the comment panel here or by email: foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com    There is nothing to buy, no stress or apps or fancy stuff.  Just heartfelt help with your food costs.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Summery Corn Salad

July 22nd, 2014
Here are the fixin's for an easy-breezy cool summer salad!

Here are the fixin’s for an easy-breezy cool summer salad!

 

Summertime and the livin’ is….HOT!  Who wants to hover over a hot stove in late July when the outdoor temps are soaring?  Not I…

We receive a monthly publication called “NEBline” which comes to us from the University of Nebraska extension from Lancaster County.  The most recent issue touted summer salads and they all have ingredients, most of which are available to those who use public assistance!

Here’s what The Normanator and Mother Connie are having for dinner tonight:

CORN SALAD

Yield: 6 servings

2  cups whole kernel corn *Use fresh or frozen, cooked and drained **Use canned if that’s what you have in your pantry.

3/4  cup chopped tomato  *If fresh tomatoes are not available to you, just drain a can of tomatoes and save the juice to use in soups, stews or a “stewed tomato” side dish. Chop the amount you need and store the excess in the fridge.

1/2  cup chopped green pepper

1/2  cup chopped celery

1/4  cup chopped onion

1/4  cup /ranch dressing

In a bowl, combine veggies.  Stir in dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

SIDEBAR: The Normanator thinks salad is not properly prepared unless the dressing is a Nebraska brand, Dorothy Lynch.  I hate to break it to HIM but people really could use whatever dressing is your personal favorite.  END SIDEBAR.

And here is the DELICIOUS finished product with The Normanator's favorite dressing!

And here is the DELICIOUS finished product with The Normanator’s favorite dressing!

Feeding those you love with funds from an EBT card for WIC or SNAP or getting goods from a food pantry or food commodities is never a cinch.  Living on a dime is difficult and stressful,  to be sure.  Since we are passionate about helping those who have no trust fund to pay for groceries we hope this little corner of the ‘net is helpful for you.

If you have not done so, you are welcome to sign up as a Member in order to receive our little series of cooking tips.  And you are equally welcome to send us some love at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com!  We dearly hope you will put a message in the comment panel.  To access that panel, simply click on “comments” at the top and bottom of the blog post.

And please keep yer cool on these hot summer days!

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 Stamps Cooking Club: Freezing Zucchini!

July 17th, 2014

The Normanator took command of our trusty  old  Saladmaster machine and after we had peeled a monster zuke, he chopped a batch …

Freezing Zucchini 001

And froze half a dozen bags:

Freezing Zucchini 002

This is not a glamor job nor is it brain surgery but it is wonderful to have this in our freezer!

SIDEBAR:  You don’t need a fancy, high priced machine to chop these babies!  If you have a food processor, that will work.  If you have a box grater, that’s good for this project.  Help your children learn safe methods for peeling the veg, if you feel that’s appropriate, and the older youngsters can CAREFULLY use the box grater with adult supervision.  END SIDEBAR.

Zucchini can be used in so many ways and they all save money!

*Who does not love great ways of  S T R E T C H I N G their food dollars?

We love to add it to stir fry dishes, fresh veggie salads, and for stretching leftover stews or soups.  My favorite use of zucchini, though, is to peel and chop it to cook with potatoes.  When you mash potatoes that have been in the ‘hot tub’ with zucchini, NO ONE will ever know those guys were there!  Add a bit of butter and milk to the mashed beauties and it will look and taste 100% like “smashed” taters!  Another idea:  Add some grated zukes to your spaghetti sauce!

Another great use of zukes is to wash and cut the smaller to medium sized ones in half, LENGTHWISE.  Scoop out the seeds,  leaving a hollow and place them on a greased baking sheet.  You can fill that little opening with pieces  of onion, celery, carrot and drizzle a bit of cooking oil over each little “boat”.  Season them with salt and pepper and garlic, if you have some.  Slide them into a 375* oven until the veg is tender.  When they come out of the oven you can sprinkle a bit of cheese over the tops and let that melt.  That’s really a meal in itself.  Add a few biscuits; serve fruit for dessert and you have a delicious, tummy pleasing menu for those you love best!

For those of you who may be new here, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to those who depend on public assistance for their food dollars.  If you hold an EBT card for SNAP or WIC; if you get goods from a food pantry or use food commodities, we want you to know that we support you in the best way we know how.  We help you cook with the goods you might have on hand.

And to those of you who might be contributors to your local food pantry, might we suggest you pick up a spice or two for your next donation?  You might even consider getting a salt/pepper set to take to your local caring cupboard.  Word is that these items are often overlooked by donors and funds are so tight that there is no room in the food budget for such “luxuries”….it’s something to consider.

Are you living on a dime? If so, you no doubt have picked up a tip or two you might like to share with the other Members.  There is a modest series of cooking tips that you will  receive if you join our numbers.  We think those of you in the trenches might teach Mother Connie a thing or two, along with some of the other Members!  wink/wink  *Don’t be shy; send YOUR tips and tricks to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.

So enjoy the bounty of all those zucchinis 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.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Let’s Make Vegetable Broth!

June 13th, 2014
Mother Connie will show you step-by-step how this jar of broth came into being!  *Pity you cannot smell this because the aroma might make your mouth water!

Mother Connie will show you step-by-step how this jar of broth came into being! *What a pity you cannot smell this because the aroma might make your mouth water!

Making broth can save you a TON of money!  I paid $1.29 for a good sized stalk of celery.  I’ll show you exactly how I turned the waste from that stalk into a delicious ingredient for soups, stews, gravies or sauces.

As soon as I bring the groceries home, I run a sink full of cold water and let the vegetables hang out in it to clean them and rinse away any residue of sand or soil that may be clinging to each one.  Since I wanted to make veg broth (and save a ton of $) I placed the whole stalk of celery in the sink thus:

Making veg broth 002

After it had soaked awhile and was clean, I pulled it out, shook the excess moisture off and patted it dry with a kitchen towel.  I then placed it onto my cutting board and chopped off part of the end and some of the tops:

Making veg broth 004

As you Members know, Mother Connie is a big fan of cooking once and eating twice.  While I was making the broth I was also making a meal, for which I needed to use both celery AND carrots.  I scrubbed them within an inch of their pretty orange lives and trimmed the tops and bottoms, which were added to the celery pot.  *Celery and carrots need not be the only guests at the party…you could add onion pieces, chunks of taters, cut off ends of asparagus, pieces of any root vegetable, whatever vegetable strikes your taste buds’ fancy!

Making veg broth 006

Making veg broth 008

There was enough water to cover the celery and carrots and the whole works got a dose of salt and pepper.  It even got a dash of garlic, just for fun.  I set the burner low enough that there was a nice simmer going.  Little bubbles; no hard boil.

SIDEBAR:  If you don’t have extra salt or pepper or you don’t care  for garlic you need not fret.  You can always add the seasonings your gang likes best when you prepare the recipe you’ll use for your brothEND SIDEBAR

Making veg broth 010

After the veg cooked and the broth was full of its flavor  (I was very busy; it stayed on the stove for about  4 hours.)   I strained the whole business into a large bowl.  *I did this in the sink, just in case I spilled or slopped!  *As it happened, I cooked some potatoes so I added the potato water into the mix.  This means LOTS of richness for whatever gets to hang out with the broth as I am cooking in the days to come!

SIDEBAR:  Once upon a time, Mother Connie strained the goodies into the sink WITHOUT THE BOWL.  Maybe you heard the wailing and the gnashing of teeth at the time?  So I am advising you to get that bowl out of the cupboard before you pull the same stunt I did.  O my.  END SIDEBAR

Making veg broth 012

The final product yielded nearly 2 quarts of good, nutritious  broth.  I will use it for soup, most likely, for braising meat and gravy.  Then it will be time to buy more celery and begin again.

Do you use goods from a food drop?  Are you living on a dime?  Do you have things in your pantry from a food bank or food pantry?  Do you use food commodities?  Might you have an EBT card from WIC or SNAP?  Maybe you are just someone who squeezes a nickel until the buffalo bellows and you want to save money on your food budget.  In any case, we are here to support you.  There is nothing to buy, there are no judgements and we hope you have some fun as you hang out here in the Club House!

If this is your first visit, I’m excited to tell you that you can sign up for a little series of cooking tips, just for becoming a Member.  No dues, no meetings, just serious help for those who need to cook frugally!

We hope you will leave us some love on the comment panel.  You are also welcome to send us a message  at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com  **We LOVE mail!  And boy howdy, do we ever love our Members!

Connie Baum

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Food Stamps Cooking Club: Delaine’s Food Bank Chili

June 9th, 2014
With very few ingredients you can make a tasty, low cost meal!

With very few ingredients you can make a tasty, low cost meal! *Mother Connie is out of tomato products at the moment…

Mother Connie flumps through life, wondering at times if THIS is the path to be taken.  This morning’s mail brought tears to her eyes with a recipe and message from one of our dear Members, Delaine.  She is following HER passion, too.  Delaine took the time to share this pragmatic recipe and dear comments with us:

Food Bank Chili

1-2 cans of beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg of taco seasoning
1 can of tomatoes or tomato paste
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Add the taco seasoning and heat though.  Upgrade to luxury status by adding browned ground meat, or use the canned surplus beef from the pantry, but brown it and use some onions if you have them.
SIDEBAR: Delaine and I have discussed the procurement of spices.  If you have access to food stores selling spices in bulk, you can purchase as little or as much as possible.  That may help some.  END SIDEBAR.
Delaine is a busy girl.  She is teaching people in need to cook nutritious foods.  Here is her comment regarding that effort:
“Easy enough for even the non-cooks to do, and delicious enough to encourage appetite.  It’s awful, but too often, I see folks dependent upon the food banks literally starving because of food boredom.  I encourage them to use their bread supplies as dippers for this, as it makes the bread more interesting.  Getting fresh fruits and vegetables to the food pantry dependent is also a severe challenge.

I was reading your information about how difficult it is for many people to cook and eat.  Much arises from the culture of poverty and homelessness, and much of it is spot on as you said: that learning to cook is fundamentally a family value.  I have taught people who have literally done nothing but microwave prepared packaged semi-food to prepare from fundamental ingredients, and the overwhelming response is ‘I never knew anything this good could be this easy!’ “
She goes on to say this:  ” I depend on your site and others for the work I do in the community.  Tragic also, are those who do not understand the fundamentals of nutrition or who do not know the basic foods: protein, carbohydrates, fats and minerals.  So thanks for your good work, Connie.  You benefit many homeless, and desperate people in Sacramento, CA. “
There you have it, people.  The whole point of having this blog is to help those who depend on public assistance for their food source.  It is not helpful to scold or shame or ignore or complicate the lives of those who have needs: how wonderful that Delaine has dedicated her life to offering others real education, assistance and care!
If you are a user of EBT  cards for SNAP or WIC; if you are living on a dime; if you love being frugal; if you get goods from a food bank, food pantry or generous gardener, we have a passion for helping you.  We trust you will benefit from the little series of cooking tips you will receive by becoming a Member and we look forward to your comments on the comment panel below this post and at our email addy:  foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

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.