Posts Tagged ‘food stamps’

Hearty Breakfast at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 30th, 2013
A hearty and heart healthy breakfast is just the thing for everyone in your family as school gets into high gear and summer's heat becomes fall's chill...

A hearty and heart healthy breakfast is just the thing for everyone in your family as school gets into high gear and summer’s heat becomes fall’s chill…

We expect temps today in the high 90s.  The Normanator and I plan to stay close to the A/C and suggest you do the same, drinking plenty of water.  Make sure everyone you love is safe and well hydrated.  The holiday weekend that lays before us will probably include outdoor fun so do take good care!

The heat that plagues us now will soon be the chill we complain about.  Having a good start to busy, chilly days is imperative!  The Imperfect Homemaker offered a nifty recipe some time back; I am sharing it with you now because it is inexpensive, easily and quickly made and it tastes DIVINE.

Maple Pecan Granola

From Kelly at The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

“I love the ease of granola for breakfast. I love the crunchy sweetness. I love that everybody in the family eats it happily without complaining. I love that my older children can serve themselves while I nurse the baby and sip my coffee.

And I love that this recipe is so simple that I can make it from memory in my groggy pre-caffienated state.

This recipe makes enough for our whole family to eat it for breakfast twice if served with yogurt, fresh fruit, and a tiny bit of self restraint!

 In a mixing bowl, combine:

  • 3 cups of old fashioned or “large flake” rolled oats
  • 2 cups of chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds (super-duper good for you and available at health food stores and well stocked grocery stores or online 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

In a small pot combine:

  • In a small pot, combine:
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • a splash of vanilla extract

Heat until the coconut oil has melted.

Pour wet ingredients over the dry, and stir.

Spread granola out on two parchment lined cookie sheets and bake in a 300 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until fragrant and slightly golden brown.

The trick to perfectly cooked granola is to remove it from the oven just before you are convinced it is done, because it will continue to cook a little even after you’ve removed it from the oven.

Cool completely before moving to a tightly sealed glass jar. 

Serve sprinkled on yogurt, alone as a yummy crunchy snack, or in a bowl with milk.”

As you can see in the photo above, Mother Connie is out of pecans, so I will be using walnuts.  Let’s hope the Kitchen Patrol is on another detail while this project is underway.  Also, we are temporarily out of the large flake oatmeal, which we much prefer, so the quick stuff will have to do for now.

If you have never used Chia seeds, you are in for a treat!  They come in black or white.  We prefer the white, as we understand they pack a bigger punch.  Because we are raisin fans, we will use those also.

Thanks to Kelly for her recipe and a peek into her busy family life!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you enjoy the challenge of wrestling with the food budget,  S  T  R  E  T  C  H  I  N  G   every food dollar?  Maybe you are a holder of an EBT card for WIC or SNAP…you might be receiving food from a food drop, food bank, food pantry or food commodities.  Knowing how to cook, understanding what value is in various food items and knowing that you are supported NOT JUDGED is vital to feeding your loved ones well and wisely.

We are just thrilled to see the new faces in the Club House.  This is so gratifying to Mother Connie and the Food Stamps Cooking Club.  We are all in this together, kids, and we are here to help one another.

Above all,  remember that you are loved and appreciated!

Connie Baum

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




Hungering for Help at Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 25th, 2013

No matter where you shop…super store, food pantry, food bank…you need support!

You no doubt know that Mother Connie has had her knickers in a twist over the issue of hunger over the past few days.  The Lincoln Journal Star has fueled my fire with two excellent articles about satisfying hunger in the Lincoln, NE area.

Mother Connie would love for you to cruise by today’s article with can be found here:

Lincoln Journal Star.

There is note within Nancy Hick’s piece about another blogger who helps with food plans and menus.  Please pop in and give her some love, would you?  Click HERE.

You get a break from MC’s ranting today.  Tomorrow I’ll have something good for you to eat.  Thank you for your patience with my passion

~Connie Baum




Stuffing Tomatoes at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 8th, 2012

Summer is a perfect time for tomatoes!

Whenever my mother hosted her card-playing pals, she wanted to delight their hearts. So she stuffed tomatoes.  She never made them the same way twice; she cooked creatively, by the seat of her britches.  She might have mixed up something with tuna one time; another time she might use canned popcorn shrimp.  Those bridge players fairly squealed with delight.  I wonder if Mom ever thought to try something like the idea you’ll see here today.

The summer tomatoes-especially in Nebraska!-are plentiful now.  They are ripe, plump, juicy and full of nutrition.  These are not the tasteless things that have the flavor of the sack you carry them home in from the market!  Foods purchased locally and in season are good and good for you!

Corn Stuffed Tomatoes

*This makes 4 servings.  There is no reason you could not expand it to feed 6 or 8. 

4  large, ripe tomatoes

1  1/2  cups cooked corn kernels, cooled to room temp  *you could use frozen or canned, drained corn and the Kitchen Police will never darken your door over it.

1/2  cup finely chopped ham  *optional OR you could use chicken or turkey

1/2  cup finely chopped onion

4  tablespoons mayo, divided

2  cups chopped lettuce


Cut the tops of the tomatoes and remove the pulp with a spoon.  Remove and discard the seed; chop the pulp.

Mix the pulp with the corn, meat, onion and 2 tablespoons mayo.   Fill the cavities of the tomatoes with the mixture and top off each tomato with a dollop of the mayo.

Divide the lettuce among the plates, place a tomato on each plate and serve proudly.

*This is Mother Connie’s version of a recipe found in the Lincoln Journal Star food section.

Stuffed tomatoes appeal to Mother Connie because it makes a quick, easy AFFORDABLE meal with very little clean up.  GRIN  When you serve this dish, all you need is some toast points and fruit for dessert.  Set out the good dishes and you have the makings of a party.  Take it to the picnic table and you are celebrating summer!  Oh, remember to make some iced tea with a dash of lemon just to make it more festive!

This blog has received some major love of late.  If you follow the comments, you know it has been helpful for some and they have said so!  Helping people is how Mother Connie pays her rent for living on this planet so it is gratifying to know her help is actually helpful!

If you are being helped with your food dollars by public assistance funds, it is highly possible you feel alone sometimes, and even unheard.  There  are folks who want to listen and help you.  Some of them are: The Public Insight Network  Another site you may find of interest is the Food Stamps site.  Just click on these links and you will be transported to the proper sites.

It’s possible you are not here because you hold an EBT card for WIC or SNAP.  You may not be one who visits a food pantry or food bank.  You may not have food commodities.  You may or may not be living on a dime.  You may just be a bargain shopper or very clever at keeping the food costs at a minimum and s t r e t c h i n g your food budget.  In any case, we value your presence here.  We also value your comments, hint/hint- and your emails to  !

Connie Baum

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

French Dressing at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 7th, 2012

OOO-la-la!  French dressing for summer salads…or year around…is a winner!

There has been a great lot of discussion here and in the Comments section about affordable summer salads and how easy they are but in all the hoop-de-doo the world’s most famous dressing has been out of the loop.

Once upon a time in a small Nebraska town a woman who ran the eatery for a service club made a salad dressing that had the world beating a path to her door.  Everyone ranted and raved about this dressing and begged her for her recipe.  They even  encouraged her to bottle this salad wonder and sell it to them.  So she did.  For a long time it was only available to outlets in Nebraska, but times change and so do peoples’ minds.  I believe it is available all over now but boy, is it pricey! 

Last time it was on my shopping list the price was nearly $.6.00.  That’s beyond my reach.  I complained to my pal, Loretta, at the Action Center about how spendy this dressing is.  Loretta just grinned and reached for her recipe box.  She had figured out how to make a copycat version

Thanks to Loretta, here is the formula for that deliciousness.  I am thinking it could become YOUR favorite dressing, too!

Loretta’s Copycat French Dressing

1  1/2  cups vegetable oil  *I used corn oil

1  can   condensed tomato soup  * Do NOT dilute

3/4  cup sugar

1/2  cup vinegar  *any old kind will do

1  teaspoon lemon juice  *I used bottled juice

1  teaspoon paprika

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon celery seed  *use more if your family likes this

1/2  cup salad dressing  *I got Miracle Whip on sale but I usually buy the store brand

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until smooth.  Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. 

Yield:  26 servings

I store my dressing in a quart jar.  To serve, I just pour some into a cream pitcher, set it on a plate to catch the drips.  If we have guests, I fill two cream pitchers and set them on the table so they are easily accessible to the diners.  Doing this saves spills and no one has to wait!

Do you use food commodities?  How about SNAP or WIC EBT cards?  Have you been to a food bank or food pantry?  The Public Insight Network wants to know how you FEEL about using these agencies. Just click on “Public Network Insight” and submit your story.  It’s all confidential and there is nothing to buy.

Maybe you have not used public assistance; you might just be plain old fashioned frugal  or you may just be living on a dime.  No matter what your situation is, we welcome  you with open arms here at the Food Stamps Cooking Club.  Everyone matters.  Everyone has something to contribute and we can all learn from one another.

Here’s hoping you all are holding up in the heat, readying the chicklets to get back into the classroom.  In any case, we would love to hear from you.  The comments section is your “bully pulpit”!

Connie Baum

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

‘Tis the Day Before Easter at Food Stamps Cooking Club

April 7th, 2012

Easter eggs might lead to big savings...

Right before the appearance of the Easter Bunny, one of our favorite faithful, Maxine Sullivan, has sent us a post.  It is timely and particularly welcome as Mother Connie is still languishing after her date with the surgeon…Please enjoy what Max has delivered to our door.  She emphasizes that some of our newer, younger members may not know what those of us who have been around longer; her advice is wonderful!

“The week before Easter is one of the best of the year for stocking up on real food. Not only that, but Easter this year coincided with many pay dates as well as EBT dates.

If you missed out on the pre-Easter sales, it may not be too late. In my community, most -but not all- of the supermarket ads run from Wednesday through Tuesday. I can still shop at those stores through Tuesday night for the special prices.

First on the list is a ham. Safeway in my area was the cheapest, with whole or shank bone-in halves for .99 lb. If you can afford it, a whole ham is the better buy. The butt half has more meat and no center slices are removed when you buy a whole ham. I bought a 20 lb. ham, had it cut in half and wrapped separately, and froze the butt half for a family reunion this summer. I saw another woman having the center slices cut from her ham. I have never been charged for extra services such as these.

 Fresh pineapple is becoming a typically “Easter” food. I paid $1.99 for mine—that’s at least a third cheaper than normal—and I saw them advertised for $1.66 each! Don’t know how to choose a good one? It’s hard to go wrong, whether you pluck a leaf, look for yellow color, ripe smell, or the largest diamond markings.  A Costa Rican grower told me the diamond markings on the pineapple are the best gauge of ripeness–the bigger the better.

Even if you prefer your pineapple from cans, Easter is typically the cheapest week of the whole year for canned pineapple. In fact, it may be the only week it goes on special. I bought 20 ounce cans of Dole juice pack pineapple for .77 each. The savings on 15 cans was around $6 less than any other supermarket was offering. Although I made a special stop at Albertsons—I don’t normally shop there because of their high prices—I was going right by. Five minutes in and out was worth 6 bucks to me!

Eggs used to be *THE* pre-Easter special, but hardly anyone puts them on sale anymore. However, I’ve got a coupon—good through Tuesday—for a dozen eggs for .47, limit one, at Super One. I know I’ll have to stop at the grocery store between now and Tuesday, so Super One it will be! (I am not loyal to any supermarket–price is everything). They also have a coupon for sour cream for .47, so I’ll get that, too. Cream cheese is on sale for cheap, too. I can always use eggs and sour cream. And cream cheese keeps practically forever if you don’t open it.

Produce items to watch for, besides fresh pineapple: fresh strawberries, fresh asparagus, and possibly sweet potatoes/yams.  I use the two interchangeably in cooking, and both were .69 lb. You may also find canned olives at super loss-leader prices. They are .39 can here, limit one. Again, at that price, I can always use a can of olives. I’m already thinking homemade pizza!

Go back over the Easter grocery ads, including the stores where you don’t normally shop, check the date(s) the ad(s) expiration, and shop for the rest of the month. I’ll be baking my ham for Easter, slicing the leftovers for sandwiches, breakfasts and a later meal, and freezing the rest in 2 cup packages of ham cubes for casseroles. I’ll freeze the ham bone, too, for bean soup later. *Nothing* will go to waste, and .99 lb. is hard to beat!

 PS:  If I’d thought about it, I would have had the center slices removed for freezing so we could have  a later dinner or big breakfast.

PPS:   When I was moving stuff around in my freezer, I came across a “lost” 2 cup package of turkey left from the .29 lb. Thanksgiving bird! We’ll be eating it next week as a break from ham!”
~Maxine Sullivan

Oh, Max!  Bless your dear, thoughty, and generous heart.  Everyone in the club house thanks you!

Those who are living on a dime, those who use EBT cards from SNAP or WIC, those who are suffering sticker shock at  shopping centers–and all of us who are frugal are the very “targets” of the Food Stamps Cooking Club.  Our passion is helping people eat well and wisely without going hungry…

That very thing reminds me of a piece I heard on the radio.  India is feeding malnourished school children for 11  cents  – YES, ELEVEN CENTS  – per meal per day!   A software millionaire has partnered with school officials to make this a reality for children who are literally starving to death.  The noon meal is prepared with FRESH INGREDIENTS, put into large, clean containers and trucked to various schools from the cooking center.  This is causing more children to attend classes and those who have participated in the program are healthier and getting higher marks in their classes!  They keep “dessert day” a secret in the hopes they will motivate more students to come, in hope of getting a treat.  If India can feed thousands of children FRESH food for ELEVEN CENTS a day,  what might we do in the USA?

After all, health is the first wealth…

Connie Baum

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

Pantry Project by MikeMax for Food Stamps Cooking Club

April 16th, 2011


Home pantries can provide security in lean times...


“*Please be advised that when the cat’s away the mice will play!

Unfortunately, Connie has not left me the Keys to the Kingdom-that is, her blog, so once this goes up, we’ll hear nothing from Connie herself for a week or so. She is having cataract surgery in May and has to give up her contacts next week. No contacts, in Connie’s own words = “No blogging; no email; no reading.  No cooking, NO DRIVING-have not been driving anyway-and whatever else.”

So, before Connie closes up shop here for a few days, let’s talk about my pantry.

Most people who see it have “pantry envy.”  It’s a walk-in closet off of my kitchen with shelves on three sides and room for my upright freezer. We built this house ourselves, and I insisted on it.

Generally, the pantry is full of food. I have a “thing” for food. I grew up in a home where my mother shopped every day for whatever we needed to eat that day. There was never any extra food. If we needed to bring a batch of cookies to Girl Scouts, for instance, we not only had to buy the chocolate chips and brown sugar, but often the vanilla or flour, too. Or butter. Or “all of the above.” Baking thus became very expensive!

I had been married for about 9 months when we moved to Eugene, OR, for my husband to attend graduate school. A few weeks after we arrived–while our cupboards were still all but bare–we had the snowstorm of the century–48 inches in 48 hours. In those days, before electronic cash registers, the stores stayed open during daylight hours, even without power. We had one near enough to walk, because we sure weren’t driving–the town where we lived didn’t even own a snowplow. We didn’t starve. But I swore I would never, ever be without food again.

It’s come in handy more than once. I live in a cold climate now and there are days each winter when I don’t–can’t–leave the house. Years ago-decades, actually!-my husband and I were both unemployed at the same time for about two months, and I was glad to have my cupboards full of food.  I didn’t have a freezer then. Money was tight for us last month so we lived out of the freezer and pantry.

Recently I noticed that my pantry was a mess. Because I have so much room, it can become a catch-all. Stuff like empty jars get piled in there, instead of put away in the garage. There were crushed-up crackers on the shelves. Overflowing plastic grocery bags had found their way to the floor. I even suspected I didn’t have much food left–by my standards, anyway. It was such a mess, who could tell?

Yesterday I started cleaning the pantry. To do the job right would take more time than I have to spare. But, I started straightening up shelves, recycling glass jars, picking up the plastic bags. Eventually, I’ll dust the tops of the packages, vacuum the floor and call it good. I’m about three-quarters done, and I’m shocked by how little food I actually have.

I also found a few things that had to go. Now, I was cooking long before there were dates printed on food packages, so I don’t get too hung up on them. Even I would not open a bulging can of tomato paste with a 2003 date on it! I also emptied some jars of homemade jam that were waaaaay past their prime.

As I sorted my containers, I checked the dates and put the oldest packages in front. I also made a mental note of stuff that was only slightly out of date, and I’ll be using those things in the next week or two. Obviously, if I see or smell anything odd when I open them, I’ll discard them without tasting–but I absolutely do not expect anything like that. Canned goods, stored properly, are good for about 5 years.

I found a few things we don’t really like that aren’t outdated. They are headed to the food bank.

If you are short on $$$ this month, be sure to neaten up your pantry and check what you do have. Chances are, you’ll find the makings for several meals.

I digress for a moment to mention one of my favorite blogs, The Frugal Queen. This one comes out of England, which seems to be a hotbed of frugality. This month she is trying to use up everything in her cupboards without shopping, and she turns out some mighty interesting-looking meals.  I intend to start using up my outdated goods in exactly this way…and if you are low on funds, you might want to, also.

I also need to start rebuilding my pantry. I’ll do it exactly the way I bought the stuff to begin with–by purchasing in quantity whatever I can get for cheap. Quantity might be a case of something. It might be “limit 2.” It’s whatever foods we typically eat and up to a one-year supply.

What kind of deals can YOU expect in the next few weeks?

Think Easter. I’ll pick up an extra dozen or two of eggs. I’m looking for a deal on canned pineapple: .80 to .90 for a 20 ounce tin and I’ll buy a case–maybe two. I’ll put an extra ham in the freezer. And one of the stores here has Del Monte veggies on sale this week for .50 can. That’s a killer deal for the only brand of green beans and corn that I’ll buy. I noticed that I’m going to run out of beans before the fall case-goods sales, so I’ll pick up half a case to see me through.

Cinco de Mayo–May 5–is a good time to stock up on salsa, tortillas and other Mexican foods. While you are in the ethnic foods aisle, look for cellophane packages of spices used in Mexican cooking. They’re fresh, they’re dirt cheap and you’ll be surprised what you find.

The next big opportunity to stock up will be Memorial Day. Think picnics!   Ground beef, buns, chips, condiments and soft drinks will be on sale. This is the time to stock up on ketchup, mustard and relish–and I will.  Pork and beans, too.   Ditto for the 4th of July.

During the summer, when people are canning, you’ll also find deals on sugar. The really good deals are usually “limit 1,” but you will see them often enough that, over the course of a few weeks, you can pick up enough to last all year.

The best grocery deals are in November and December…but I will write about them then.

I shop at a bread thrift store, too. Yesterday I bought 6 weeks’ worth of bread and rolls for a little over $15 and stashed them in my freezer. Note: hamburger and hotdog buns don’t freeze well, so never buy more than you’ll eat within a couple of weeks.

If you rely on food stamps or other benefits, I know it isn’t uncommon to run out of money before you run out of month. Even on a limited budget, you can usually pick up an extra bottle of ketchup, an extra dozen eggs, maybe even a ham–if it is cheap enough. Do this enough times, and you’ll build up a nice little pantry AND regularly eat at the lowest possible price. Try never to run out of anything–like those chocolate chip cookies, it will always cost you more.

Remember that coupons will make your EBT go farther. I mostly buy store brands, but I do use some coupons. If you aren’t currently couponing, give it a try…as long as it saves you money. If it tempts you to buy items you wouldn’t otherwise buy, or to pay more for a brand name, there is no saving.

There is good advice about coupons at Monroe On a Budget.  Too bad nobody around here doubles coupons.  BTW, I have coupons for Dole pineapple if it goes on sale! And if it doesn’t, I already know where I can get Del Monte for .88 can.  This week is probably the only time of year I will see it on sale.”


What would Mother Connie DO without her helpers?  This world is a better place because of the community YOU PEOPLE have created.  Mikemax has been a major player in this community building.  Her wit, wisdom, and expertise are such valuable assets here.  So are the comments from all the Club Members.  We love the emails, too. As you know, emails can be directed to!

Next week will fly by and regular posts should be no problem so do stay tuned after you get your pantry or cupboards straightened up!

Connie Baum

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

PS/Those who have goods from Angel Food Ministries; EBT cards from WIC or SNAP; those who frequent food pantries and people who have food commodities; even those folks who are happiest when they can practice frugality-whether they are living on a dime or not-can benefit from the ideas on this blog.  Please feel free to share the information with those who sit in your circle.  If you have not submitted your name and email address for our series of cooking tips and infrequent email messages, we invite you to do so.  And we thank you for your participation in the Club!

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Shoppers, Take Note!

November 22nd, 2010

This young man is responsible for today's post! He wrote an insightful piece for his newspaper, The Columbia Tribune. You'll love it, especially if you ever frequent Farmers Markets!

This handsome YOUNG man-I swear he looks to be too young to drive!-is T J Greaney and his well written article caught my eye.  I have his permission to reprint what appeared in the Columbia, Missouri  DailyTribune on Sunday, November 21, 2010:

‘Farmers market tries out food stamp program

By T.J. Greaney Columbia Daily Tribune

Sunday, November 21, 2010

At the Columbia Farmers Market yesterday, Stephanie McGuire used an EBT card given to all recipients of food stamps. The mother of two asked for only $24 worth of wooden tokens, which are redeemable as cash at the stalls in the outdoor market, but instead she received double that amount.

It wasn’t a mistake.

McGuire is part of a pilot program sponsored by Sustainable Farms and Communities Inc. that is doubling the food stamp dollars for shoppers at the market.

“Everything here is so amazing,” McGuire said while toting a bag of butternut squash, acorn squash and potatoes. “We never realized how big the farmers market is and how bountiful it is, really.”

The program will officially launch in March and organizers hope they can raise $50,000 to fully fund it, making it available to all local food stamp recipients. The program now is in a trial stage with only a handful of participants.

Casey Corbin, executive director of Sustainable Farms and Communities Inc., said the idea behind the project is to give people who live on a fixed budget access to locally grown produce, meats and dairy.Many of the healthy foods found at the outdoor market are more expensive than those in supermarkets, and food stamp recipients typically are unable to pay a premium for higher quality.

The pilot program seeks to eliminate that barrier.

“It’s like walking through the market and everything’s 50 percent off,” Corbin said. “And some vendors have already pledged to offer further discounts for people with the cards.”

Congress created the Farmers Market Nutrition Program for WIC participants in 1992 and expanded those benefits to low-income seniors in 2000. However, the funds for those programs are limited, typically maxing out at $30 per recipient per year. In 2008, a private organization based in Connecticut, Wholesome Wave, pushed the concept even further by doubling food stamps used at participating markets. That program has been successfully implemented at dozens of markets across the nation.

Sustainable Farms and Communities Inc. hopes to bring the Wholesome Wave model to Columbia.

Yesterday, Corbin and others held a fundraiser at Orr Street Studios to kick off what advocates hope will be a successful winter of fundraising from private donors.

In addition to doubling food stamps, the group also plans to hold community cooking classes and hand out free pots, pans, utensils and cookbooks to needy families.

Corbin said the instructional classes will be held in local churches and teach basic food safety and recipes.

“One of the big concerns in our community meetings was, ‘What good is it to have great access to healthy foods you can afford, when most people who have been living off frozen foods from Sam’s Club don’t know how to cook anymore?’” Corbin said. “I personally don’t know that many people who know how to cook.”

McGuire, who works part time as a breastfeeding peer counselor, said she likes the fact that the trips to the market are opening her daughters’ eyes to new foods.

Yesterday as father, Shane Capuano, cuddled 6-month-old Keira in his arms, the couple’s 3-year-old Rhiannon excitedly walked from stall to stall.

She watched eagerly as an accordion player belted out “Old McDonald.” This wasn’t like a typical trip to the supermarket.

“I think she’s tried a lot of things here that she wouldn’t normally, because a lot of the sellers here will hand you pieces of different kinds of vegetables just as samples,” McGuire said.

“Last time we were here, someone said, ‘Hey, would you like to try a turnip?’ And she was like “OK” and that’s not something we eat a lot of. It definitely gives her a new perspective.”’

SO!  There you have it, kids.  If YOU are a user of an EBT card for SNAP or WIC; if you love fresh fruits and veggies and other goodies readily available at Farmers Markets or if YOU use foods from a food pantry or YOU have food commodities, this item is no doubt of interest to you.  If you use Angel Food bundles this should appeal to you, as those can be purchased with EBT cards.  Even if you are just cost conscious about YOUR own food budget, this article should give you hope about getting families fed.

We at the Club want to thank Mr. T J Greaney and his newspaper for granting us permission to use the article.  I hope you will cruise on over to his newspaper and leave your comment…AFTER you leave one HERE, of course.  Grinning and winking…Here’s hoping you will find time to send us a message at, too.

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Mopping Up?

November 9th, 2010

Mopping up, keeping your home and body clean is important. But Food Stamps-SNAP funds-and other public assistance programs do not cover the costs! So, what's a family to DO?

Yesterday we were favored by our good friend and club member, Maxine, who gave us some great tips about getting and using disposable items for our homes.  GREAT INFO, Maxine!

Today we will share the superb ideas she has for keeping our homes and bodies clean on a tight budget.


Try using up everything you already have before you buy more. This will save you money while you are doing it and remind you of which products you really like, and which you can do without.

If I were stocking my kitchen today, I’d buy only the following products:

  • powdered cleanser, such as Comet.  I also use this to clean toilets.
  • liquid cleaner, such as Spic n Span.  I find it at Dollar Tree.
  • ammonia-be sure it’s full strength.
  • liquid chlorine bleach.  I use this for laundry, as well.
  • generic window cleaner.  This is mostly for mirrors at our house.  I also use baking soda and vinegar WHICH YOU CAN BUY WITH FOOD STAMPS!  Those work well for lots of cleanups but don’t have the fire power for everything.
  • liquid dish soap, such as Dawn.  That works well for some jobs but it’s sudsy and you’ll have to rinse sometimes.  An old Spic n Span commercial taught us “Once over, work’s over!”  ***Don’t just slop cleaning solutions into your bucket, either.  Read the label and measure correctly; you will find it’s probably less than you are slopping!

There really isn’t a substitute for dishwasher detergent, so buy the best, and use it sparingly. I like Finish (formerly Electrasol) tabs, but I think it depends on your water. If you use a powder, try reducing the amount that you use. Try just one tablespoon and see how it works. It usually is NOT necessary to fill the detergent cup.

The better dish soaps, such as Dawn and Palmolive, last longer because you can use less. There are a lot of coupons for both of these brands. Use the coupon on the smallest size to get the most bang for your buck (uh, coupon). Walgreens puts the small sizes of Dawn and Palmolive on sale for .99 about twice a month. With a .25 coupon, you can buy a small bottle that should last around a month for only .74.

Feel free to buy whatever laundry detergent is on sale this week. Most all of them do a decent job. Skip the Downy and cut dryer sheets in half (or fourths, or thirds). I don’t use a lot of laundry additives, but I keep a box of Biz on hand in case I need to soak a nasty stain. It will remove many stains that other products don’t touch. Used occasionally, a box of Biz lasts me about a year. A bar of Fels Naptha (or homemade lye soap) is a great (and cheap) pre-treater. I also pour liquid detergent directly on stains and rub it in. This doesn’t use additional detergent–it just puts it where you need it.

There are so many coupons and sale prices for toothpaste that there is no reason to pay full price, ever. If for some reason I don’t have a coupon, I buy Pepsodent, which is nearly always .99 or less a tube.

I’m not going to get into beauty products here, because I’m so beautiful, I don’t require any or many! hahahahahahaha  Seriously, I’ve always gone for the natural look myself. Since I’ve never really gotten into makeup, what I do use lasts forever.  Don’t tell me I have to discard it after 6 months—I’ll do it only after my face falls off…or at least breaks out. I always buy drugstore brands of cosmetics—there are lots of BOGO sales on all of the brands.

I buy 8 bars of Jergen’s soap for a little over $2, and I’ve always used cheap shampoo twice a week. I don’t “repeat,” either! When I colored my hair, I did it myself and always kept an eye out for coupons for my favorite brand. I let my hair go gray about 3 years ago, and I love it—not because it’s gray, but because I was really really really tired of coloring it!   I’ve gotten used to the gray.


Mother Connie here:

Great advice, Maxine.  I have a couple of comments to add to yours.  You mentioned Fels Naptha soap as a pre-treater and I wanted to offer the formula for my home made laundry powder:


1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated.  *I use a grater for this and it makes short shrift of a big job!  You could use a food processor, as well.

1 cup Arm and Hammer WASHING SODA  *Do not confuse this with baking soda!

1/2 cup Borax powder

Mix together and store in glass jar with tightly fitting lid.  You could also store in plastic tubs with lids.

This is most economical as I use no more than 1 TABLESPOON of this formula for any load of laundry.  If things are badly soiled I use 2 tablespoons.

I buy the bar soap if it’s on sale and the washing soda and Borax last for months, stored in a dry spot in the laundry room.

Whenever we find ways of keeping our homes and bodies and clothing clean on a budget, it’s a great thing!  These ideas are also friendly for the planet.  Green in your pocket; green for Mother Earth!  Everybody wins!

If you enjoy the ideas here, you might like to cruise on over to The Healthy and Wealthy You, where you will find a couple of posts about being well for a little of nothing!  If you are living on a dime, you need all the help you can get!

Connie Baum

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


October 19th, 2009

We were COOKING over the weekend!  Oh, not food…we were cooking up future plans for YOU, the Club Members!

The Normanator baked a variety of cookies for us to take to a MeetUp with some very special people.  We gathered in a cute eatery called Jake’s Place in Plymouth, Iowa.  This is not far from Mason City, Iowa in Corn Country.  We had a lovely drive to get there and once we arrived, put our toes under Jake’s table…well, we had a riotous evening of fun, laughter, good food and delicious memories.

I was fortunate to interview the chef at Jake’s Place.  He shared one of  his Cooking Tips and even though you may not be serving filet mignon at your house, it’s fun to hear what Roger says about cooking meat.

If you pay for your food with an EBT card from SNAP or WIC; if you avail yourselves of Angel Food Ministries or food commodity bundles or food pantries do not think for a moment that the Club is going to serve fancy-schmancy high priced meals!  Roger is keen on making dishes look pretty enough to eat and we can look for more fun from Roger as time goes on!

Roger prepared his own home made barbecue sauce for the ribs special for our dinner on Friday night.  That barbecue sauce is tasty enough to draw diners to Jake’s Place from Wisconsin and all over Iowa on a regular basis!

The best news is that Roger is willing to teach us some of the Cooking Tips from his very own kitchen!  Thanks, Rog!

I have a wee bit of a tip for you, too:  Please leave your name and email with us so you can receive our occasional messages AND the little goody I am working on.  I wanted all those who visit the Club and especially the members to know how highly we value them so I am creating a teeny tiny gift.  Stay tuned; watch your Inboxes.  The little gift will be coming down the pike as soon as the editing is finished!

Our partners are always pleased to have you stop by, too!  The good folks at Rapid Cash Marketing are working furiously with the relaunch of their coaching program and there are many success stories coming out of that recession-proofing model!

As always, we hope you will post a comment for us and send us your thoughts via!  Thank you very much!

Connie Baum

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Food News!

August 10th, 2009

If you stopped by the Food Stamps Clubhouse earlier, you know we were looking forward to Senor Torres’ Zucchini Dish.  WELL!  I’ll have you know it was not only divine; it was ULTRA DIVINE!  We had it for lunch today and I’ll be making it again very soon.  It would make a wonderful offering for a pot luck meal.  I left the peeling on and grated it; then I sauteed it with a bit of onion.  I sprinkled in a little garlic powder and we for a moment we thought we were in some fancy restaurant!

We are excited about our new look!  What do YOU think about it?  It has needed some sprucing up for awhile now and as I visit other sites I am pretty well convinced that this page felt like an old lady lived here.  We cannot have THAT, now, can we? grin

Here’s hoping you are enjoying the tail end of summer; schools will be opening again soon-too soon!-and we will fall into a routine once again.

Please leave a comment for all the Club Members.  Let us know if you like the new look!

Connie Baum