Posts Tagged ‘Food Pantry’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Kitchen Klatter

March 23rd, 2015
Mother Connie reluctantly poses in her kitchen for an avid photographer...

Mother Connie reluctantly poses in her kitchen for an avid photographer…

If you are of a “certain age” you may remember a radio show that kept home cooks mesmerized for decades.  It was called Kitchen Klatter and originated from the home of Leanna Driftmier over radio waves from Shenandoah, Iowa.

Kitchen Klatter had a magazine, too.  It was packed to the gills with news about the Driftmier family, recipes and adverts for their flavorings, cleaners and premiums.

I thought it would be fun to share one of the recipes from this publication.  I am fortunate to own 2 copies because my good friend, Kris Brase, gave me a copy from her collection since one of my articles was published there long ago.  The other copy came from a presentation Kris recently gave at our local Assisted Living facility.  Oh, you should have heard those women carry on about how they never missed the program!  One lady brought a stack of magazines from her mother’s collection!  Another lady mentioned how her mother shushed her brood from 9 AM to 9:30 AM every weekday morning so Mom did not miss a single thing from the broadcast and could hear the recipe.  She would copy every ingredient and the instructions in order to make it for her family’s evening meal!

I chose this recipe to share because  it is affordable, nutritious and easy to make:

Spinach-Cheese Quiche

1/2 cup butter

4 oz cream cheese

1 cup flour

1 lb. fresh spinach, washed and trimmed

SIDEBAR: My cheap cheat here would be to use frozen spinach, thawed.  But if you have fresh, go for it!  END SIDEBAR.

2 Tablespoons flour

1 cup  grated  Cheddar cheese (Use whatever you have or whatever is on sale!)

1 cup grated Swiss cheese (See above)

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cup milk

***Optional:  8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

METHOD:

  Combine butter, cream cheese and 1 cup of flour…with a fork cut butter and cream cheese in the flour til crumbly.  Place in 0″ pie pan.  Press to form crust.  Refrigerate.

  Preheat oven to 350*.  Place spinach in covered kettle and cook til tender, drain well, chop, then drain again on paper towel or clean dishtowel.

  In a large bowl, combine spinach with the 2 tablespoons of flour and the remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour into chilled pie shell; bake for 1 hour or until set.

*This was offered in September 1985 from Mary Lea; Mother Connie’s notes  are in italics because those who use public assistance for their food dollars may or may not have the ingredients Mary Lea lists.  Our Members have learned to be adaptable!

Do YOU have an EBT card from SNAP or WIC?  Are you dependent on food drops or food pantry food for your family’s meals?  Maybe you just enjoy being frugal and squeezing a nickel til the buffalo bellows.  In any case, this little piece of cyberspace is dedicated to YOU and helping YOU s t r e t c h YOUR food dollars as far as possible.  We hope to be helpful in that regard.

~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: 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: Turban Squash Soup

October 31st, 2014

Phone pix 2014 Oct 001Turban squash soup is easy, tasty and CHEAP!

Autumn seems to scream, “SOUP!  FIX THE FAMILY SOME SOUP!”

Of course you could pick up a can of soup somewhere but soup from scratch, seasoned to your specific preference is so delicious.  Squash soup is particularly filling, nutritious and easy to prepare!

Turban squash came to my attention when I went through my “Macrobiotic Phase” … I had never seen one of these beauties before and was fascinated by their unusual color and shape.  Turban squash are very dense and difficult to cut but once you’ve managed to open them up it is a breeze to oil the exposed flesh and place them on a baking sheet, flesh side down.  I roasted two of these babies in the oven for about an hour and a half at 325*.  Ovens vary…ours runs hot so you can see if 350* is good for YOUR oven.  Adjust the temperature accordingly.

As the roasting process went on I chopped a huge leek into rings, soaked them in a bowl full of cold water.  I rinsed them and cut the rings into quarters.  I sauteed these with a bit of veg oil until they were soft, adding salt and pepper.

When the squash came out of the oven, I scooped out the seeds.  Some folks like to roast those with a bit of salt for a snack.  Those are not popular at our house so I disposed of them, as I did with the outer shell.

The dark yellow-orange flesh of the squash went into the food processor, as did the sauteed leeks.

SIDEBAR No food processor?  Not to worry.  A potato masher works quite well.  The job will go faster if you add a bit of hot water and/or broth to your soup pot as you mash.  The idea is to break up the stringy pulp that remains so your soup will be smooth. END SIDEBAR.

From the food processor the squash and leeks went into the soup pot,  along with enough chicken broth to cover everything.  You could use vegetable broth, as well.  It’s a matter of using whatever you have.  After tasting this mixture I added a bit more salt and ONE TABLESPOON of brown sugar.  That was the magic bullet!

To make a thicker soup I added 1 tablespoon of corn starch.  That didn’t quite DO it for me, so I put in some leftover mashed potatoes that were just sitting in the fridge, waiting to be of service.  When I was satisfied that the soup was thick enough I called it quits. I wanted this to be smooth and creamy so I added milk until it had the consistency and color that pleased me.  You might prefer a thinner soup…it’s all about what YOU like.

As the soup gently simmered I taste tested it again.  It needed just a little something/something so I added a tiny bit of thyme.  I thought it was yummy but to make sure, I offered a spoonful to our house guest, who raved that it was “BRILLIANT!”.  Before I served the soup, I sprinkled some dried parsley into the pot to add some color.

SIDEBAR:  Had it been available, fresh parsley would have been ideal.  I dunno about YOU but we don’t have the luxury of fresh herbs so we lean on the dried versions.  END SIDEBAR.

We had half a dozen lunch guests on the day this was served.  Each of them has far more experience in the kitchen than I.  Everyone complimented the cook on the soup so I think that qualifies me to announce that Turban Squash Soup was a huge hit!

*I should have made a double batch!  It would be easy to do and that way there could be another meal, waiting in the freezer!

Changing the subject abruptly, I want to let you know that there will be a cooking class for users of EBT cards from WIC,  food pantry users, and those who have food commodities!  It will be held on Friday, November 14 at 1:30 PM at the SENCA office in Tecumseh,  Nebraska.  If you are in the area and wish to participate, just call the SENCA office to let them know you’ll be there.  There is NO CHARGE for this class but we need to count noses so we’ll have enough food for the attendees! I plan to show how to use things from your food bundles that are easy, cheap and tasty!

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: Wednesday is Fridge Day

September 26th, 2014
This fridge is nearly empty; we did not want to return from a trip to "science experiments"

This fridge is nearly empty; we did not want to return from a trip to “science experiments”

Refrigerator 004        Even the crisper drawers were free                             from”yuck”!

 

 

 

 Nobody has ever accused me of being obsessive or compulsive-especially about cleaning-but I have found over the years that LOTS of $$$$$ can be saved simply by making sure all the food we buy gets eaten, not wasted.

 We took a few days to get away from our normal routine and visit a friend in Colorado.  Before we left town, I made sure there would be no “science experiments” awaiting our return and that no food would go to waste.  The photos above  show just how empty our cold storage was!

  If you have been a Club Member for any time at all, you know how important it is at our house to “cook once and eat twice”  (or more).  If the second go-round won’t be eaten by the next day, that portion goes into the freezer for a quick meal on another busy day.

  It has become my custom to designate Wednesday as “clean out the fridge” day…before any week end shopping trip I make sure nothing gets overlooked on the shelves or drawers of our refrigerator. I still hear my mother’s voice in my head,  “Waste not; want not!”  That  is my motivation for making way for fresh goods.

SIDEBAR:  Wednesday isn’t good for you?  Choose any day you like.  It’s YOUR kitchen, after all!  The Kitchen Police will never know and Mother Connie will never tell.   END SIDEBAR.

 First, I survey the containers.

SIDEBAR:  It is really important to mark each container with the contents and date.  If not, you forget what’s what and can’t even recognize what’s there for the reheating!  I keep a  marker in the drawer with the plastic bags so I can quickly and easily jot down what’s going into the fridge or freezer, complete with the date.    END SIDEBAR

 I take everything out of the refrigerator, one shelf at a time, and wipe down each shelf and the walls with a disinfecting wipe OR rag that has been treated with dish detergent and bleach solution.

  As the containers are replaced, I give them a quick  swipe, too.

  The shelves in the door get the same treatment.

  This whole process takes about 15 minutes.

  When everything is back in place, I wipe down the top and outside of the fridge to make it sparkle as much as the ancient beast can!  *Our refrigerator was purchased shortly before home refrigeration was invented.  Shh-hh…the poor thing has to go awhile longer; We don’t wanna jinx it!

  I offer these photos and tips in order to help you manage your food dollars.  Take what you like and leave what you don’t.  YOU probably have better ideas that you find more workable for YOU…and we’d love to know what that might be!  Just send your good ideas to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  WE LOVE MAIL.

  Are you living on a dime?  Do you use an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  Maybe you have food commodities or you benefit from a food pantry and would appreciate knowing how to s t r e t c h your grocery money.  If any of these applies to you, we are happy to be of service!  We have this little corner of the internet just for you and those like you.  We offer a little series of tips when you become a Member.  There is nothing to buy and we won’t hound you about apps or offers or whatnot.  We  only strive to be a help for those who struggle to make ends meet.

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: Staying the Course!

September 9th, 2014

Seems as if it’s been ages since we’ve met here—I have learned from spine surgery that I am not cut out for being waited on!  The Normanator made a fabulous chief cook and bottle washer but it feels good to be back in the kitchen again!  And I’ve missed you guys…

My first venture into the kitchen led me to choose one of my comfort foods.  I took a picture but the results were dismal.  This dish tasted far better than this photo shows:

ghoulash 001Goulash?  Really?  grin/giggle

I learned to make goulash when I was 10 years old.  My mother had a serious bone fracture with complications.  That’s when I fell in love with all things domestic! Mom directed me from her place on the sofa and that’s how she taught me to cook.  Maybe that’s why I never depended much on recipes?

The Normanator had some ground beef left from something he made for us.  I found the gluten free pasta in the pantry, along with some tomatoes we canned last year.  I browned the meat as the macaroni cooked.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper…that’s when the whole meal turned a corner.

I wanted cumin for its wonderful smoky flavor.  I think the effects of the pain pills were still in my head because when I shook the spice into the meat I suddenly realized I had NOT taken the cumin.  I had grabbed the CURRY!  We sped from German food directly to India and there was no road map!

I thought of the quote “Stay Calm and Carry On” I’ve seen on the ‘net.  So I stayed the course and hoped we would not have to scrap this meal.  *It’s hard to cook with your fingers crossed. GRIN

I added some chopped onion and some frozen corn, hoping to save the dish.  I knew there were eggs in the fridge in case this was the disaster I feared…I added some of the home canned tomatoes and kept on keeping on!   Just in case, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes.

As I plated this new creation I called goulash it smelled divine.  It was different to the taste but not unpleasant.  The Normanator had no complaints and I felt we had scored-having a tasty, very low cost meal, mistakes and all!

Mistakes can happen in any kitchen.  When it happens to you, just roll with it.  Depend on your creativity and whatever sits on your pantry shelf or in the fridge and carry on!

I want to thank all of you who sent your good wishes for a speedy recovery and I want to welcome all the newbies who signed up to be Members and receive the little series of cooking tips!  It is such fun to read your messages and see the new names every day!  We truly  hope we are a contribution to your lives.

If you are using EBT cards from  WIC or SNAP or you have Farmers Market Coupons, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to YOU.  Maybe you have goods from a food pantry or food bank; you might have food commodities.  You may just love squeezing your food nickels til the buffalo bellows!  In any case, we just want to help.  There’s nothing to buy; no fancy apps.  Just ideas to help you feed the people you love when you are on a tight food budget!

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: 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.