Posts Tagged ‘food stamps cooking club’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Cheap ‘n Cheerful

June 25th, 2015
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Cooking in a cheerful environment makes creating cheap meals more enjoyable!

Here’s hoping you have not felt terribly neglected over the past months…we have been  a little busy helping The Normanator recover from open heart surgery and conduct his cardiac rehab program. You can tell that our dining room is a tad disheveled but the kitchen is cheery and I love being there to prepare our meals.

Today I want to share with you how our food pantry was a huge, ginormous help to us.  Occasionally they get truckloads of goodies that must be  used ASAP.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I went there for a meeting and upon my leave, I had bag after bag after bag of fresh ORGANIC spinach and other greens!  I was thrilled  to have this fresh produce but I knew we could not use it all.  I wondered who I could bless…

After most of the spinach had found new homes and delighted their receivers I set about to think of how I could best use the greens before they withered.

Here’s what happened:  I made a white sauce in my 4 quart saucepan, using some coconut oil, flour, milk and just a touch of salt and pepper.  I stirred it till it thickened and then I added all the freshly rinsed and drained spinach.  It completely filled the pot to overflowing.  I gently stirred the mixture as it heated.  The warmer the pot and its contents, the more quickly the greens withered into a bright mass, soaking up the lovely white sauce.

It just so happened that my “cook once/eat twice” adage was working for me…I rummaged in the freezer to find a freezer container that was full and marked “cooked and seasoned ground beef”!  I thawed that in a bit of beef broth til it was heated through thoroughly, stirring occasionally.

Just as I removed the lovely creamed spinach from the heat I sprinkled a little nutmeg over top.  Mmmmm it smelled DIVINE.  It was just as tasty.

I easily made a cheap and  cheerful meal for almost no $.  I am a happy girl!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you use SNAP or WIC goods by  having an EBT card?  Maybe you receive food commodities or get help from a food pantry.  The dish I described above can be made with canned spinach and if you have no beef, chicken, rice or orzo or potatoes could be substituted.  We just wanna help those of you who depend on public assistance for your food dollars.

Our SENCA, South East Community Action, Center will be hosting a cooking class in Tecumseh, Nebraska on July 24.  For more information you can email me: foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  There is no charge for the class but you will need to know what to bring.  *It’s gonna be FUN!

Here’s hoping your summer is making your heart sing!  It really feels good to be blogging for you again.

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: Curry?

April 27th, 2015

The Normanator and I grew up eating liver and loving it. ONE guy at church brings it once a month; he obviously loves it, too.  But hardly anyone likes it, really.

Before you turn away in disgust, just see how we prepare it at our house:

It is rinsed and we make sure the membrane is cut away from the meat.  That membrane is what makes the meat tough…ugh!  As soon as it is rinsed, each piece is laid out on a clean dishtowel.  *You could use paper toweling, if you have it, but that uses up lots of trees.  Just sayin’…

After it has been patted dry, each slice is dunked into an egg mixture…just eggs, beaten slightly.

Next it is drawn through seasoned flour and the flour is seasoned liberally with salt, pepper and curry powder.  Any excess is gently shaken away.

These pieces are set aside on a platter while 2 or 3 onions are peeled and sliced.  Those go into  a bit of oil in a cold oven-worthy skillet or baking pan.  The meat is layered over the onions, a cover is set and the whole thing goes into a COLD oven.  The oven is set at *350 for about 45 minutes to an hour.  That’s when it’s safe to peek into the oven to check the doneness of the meat with a fork.  If the meat is tender and nicely browned and the onions are clear, with juice in the bottom of the pan, your food is ready to serve. If you want the meat to cook longer, just leave it in the oven til it looks the way you like it.

We like to serve this with spinach.  Sometimes I cream it.  If I do this, mashed potatoes are added to the menu, so the creamed veg tops the potatoes like gravy.  Other times we season the spinach with salt and pepper and a few drops of rice vinegar. *Any vinegar will do.  Spinach is beyond delicious when a pinch of nutmeg is added just before it’s served.  Nutmeg can be added to the creamed version; but adding vinegar to that is inadvisable.

This blog is dedicated to users of Public Assistance for their food dollars.  Food budgets that are strengthened by EBT cards and WIC need all the help available.  So do those budgets dependent on food commodities or food drops or food pantries.  We hope our target audience finds help from our offerings.

There is a place in the upper right hand corner for people who might like to get a series of cooking tips.  Just click the button and you are instantly a Member of the Food Stamps Cooking Club!  We cherish each member and value your thoughts and opinions.  If you have ideas to share you are welcome to send us a messsage:

foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

There is nothing to buy; no fancy apps.  Just common sense ideas for frugal food prep!  With a bit of humor, served on the side.

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: We Are Baaaack!

January 22nd, 2015

Nightmarish technical difficulties have prevented the Food Stamps Cooking Club from posting for a very long time.

*Note to self:  NEVER buy a refurbished computer.

Just as soon as we untangle the web of technology that has been a veritable thorn in Mother Connie’s side we will return to posting and boy oh boy is there ever  a DOOZEE of a dish waiting in the wings for you Members!

Your patience with these issues is deeply appreciated.  Thank you so much!

While not able to blog, plans are in the works for another cooking class in Tecumseh, NE…at the South East Community Action Center (SENCA).  The fun just never ends! 


Save the date:  February 24 at 1:30PM.  There is no cost but you must call 402 335 2134 to reserve your space.  We will be demonstrating one pot meals, freezer meals and seasonings.  It should be helpful for all our Members.

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.

Info Concerning Cooking Class at Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 23rd, 2013

Canon City 009The Normanator and  Mother Connie have been traipsing around he country!  Here he snapped a photo of me at our motel in Colorado…this is how we remembered our room number!  *Just kidding!

As we traveled…and dined in some interesting eateries…we discussed the Cooking Class at length.  In a few days the Club House is going to be descended upon by carpenters,electricians and landscapers.  As soon as the dust settles on their handiwork, the Food Stamps Cooking Club Offline Cooking Class will commence!

Each day of the series we will offer BASIC COOKING tips and methods with photos.  Lots of ‘how-to’s’ will fill the pages of the blog.  We are mindful that some of our Members have no regular access to the internet, so each day’s posts could be PRINTED at a library for a very nominal fee.  That way you’ll have a record and can use each lesson for reference.

Don’t worry if you come to the blog and find the same old, same old posts…it’s good review for some of you.  I think you’ll discover that the wait will be well worth your time.  Lots of thought and concern is going into this class because it’s really important for Mother Connie to help you make the most of your food dollars.

It’s very apparent that many people have not learned to cook.  There is no shame in that.  Moms and Dads and Aunts and Grandmas and all sorts of caretakers have made sure food was on the table and work happened, and school work was handed in and people had clean clothes.  These are all important aspects of everyday life.  But if you are ready to learn how to cook and ready to learn how best to stretch those SNAP funds or WIC or whatever sustains your food dollars…we are here to help because we care enough to help you.  There is NO judgment; there is nothing to buy; we only want you to feel as if you belong here, because you DO.  We’ve said it before; it bears repeating:  You are dearly loved.

So stay tuned and we’ll give you the best we have to offer!

Hugs

Mother Connie

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.

ZUCCHINI PIE

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:  FlyLady.net.  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