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Peas, Please: Food Stamps Cooking Club

July 24th, 2013

The Normanator is begging for these pleasing plump orbs. He wishes them to be creamed, just like his mother used to make!

One of the things I learned about my new husband all those years ago was that he wanted the vegetables on his plate to be just like those his mother prepared.  He prefers overcooked peas and he loves them to be creamed.

All righty then…I proceeded to present them the way MY mother did them up.  But that was all wrong.

HUH?  How can you do creamed peas incorrectly?

Well, one reason is that his mother never used canned peas in all her born days.  She GREW peas in a ginormous garden and she shelled them, along with help from her half dozen kids.

SIDEBAR:  What’ll you bet there were some great memories made as a family of kids shelled peas with their mother?  END SIDEBAR.

Mother Baum boiled a kettle full of peas, made up a mixture of butter flour and cream (they milked cows, too) into a nice white sauce.  She drained the peas and poured the green beauties into the sauce and added salt and pepper.  Voila`!  Creamed peas!

Those would be delicious; I can appreciate why he likes his mama’s way of doing them.

When I made those peas that ONE TIME my issue was with canned peas.  Hey.  You use whatever you have.  I’m not aware of any food pantry that insists you take frozen peas, not canned.

One way of creating a different-not necessarily better-version would be to add bits of onion or tiny pearl onions if you have some.  And just a tiny dash of nutmeg over it all just before it comes to the table would be a nice addition, no matter what kind of peas you use.  I’m guessing you do not have butter and cream from cows in your yard so feel free to substitute oil and milk or whatever else you keep on hand.  grin/giggle   Oh, some people like new potatoes-or whatever kind you have, even canned will work-added to the peas.  That works!

Are there foods that someone around YOUR table who wishes you’d prepare something differently?  We’d love to hear about it…

If you are living on a dime, using an EBT card from WIC or SNAP or are depending on food commodities and a food pantry to fund your food budget we hope you find help and comfort here.  We GET how hard it is to manage your food dollars and we only want to help you.

We hope to hear from you at and on the comment panel below this post…because you are dearly loved.

Welcome to the new kids in the Club!  WE LOVE HAVING NEW PEEPS IN OUR MIDST!

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

PS/If you did not check out the comments on yesterday’s post, you might want to cruise over to Carol’s blogCLICK HERE  She has a great idea for pickles!



Summer Salad at Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 27th, 2012

Magnificent Garden Greens: BEANS!

The doorbell rang this morning and when the door was opened, there stood the FOOD FAIRY, big as life!  She had two grocery bags, one in each hand and a big smile on her face!  There was a bag FULL of zucchinis-she must have read about the zukes ‘n curry from the other day?  She also had a generous bag of green beans.   There’s no telling how she knew Mother Connie and The Normanator have been jonesing for fresh green beans.

As great good fortune would have it, there was a delightful offering from The Washington Post that will help us “road test” the green beans.  It’s a little high end so I am adapting it so it will be good for the Club Members:

Green Bean and Tater Salad for Picnics

Vegetable oil for your baking sheet + 2 tablespoons to drizzle over the veg

1#  potatoes,  peeled and sliced on the diagonal

1/2 # green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal

*This diagonal business is just for show; the Kitchen Police will never know if you are not “into” diagonals…

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

coarse salt

black pepper

2  tablespoons of honey

1/4  cup lemon juice 

*I’d use bottled juice cuz fresh lemons are not always available where I shop.  I’ve never had anyone from the Kitchen Police object to this practice.

1/4  cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

*If I don’t have access to lemons, what are the chances I’ll have parsley?  I do have some in a bottle…Those Kitchen Police should have better things to do than peek into my kitchen!


Apply veg oil generously to a large baking sheet.  Place it into your oven and preheat at 400*.

Combine the potatoes, beans and onion in a big bowl.  Add the 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper.  Give it a taste test to make sure you like the seasoning.  Toss everything to coat it well.  Spread the mixture out evenly on your preheated baking sheet.  Return the goods to the oven and roast for 35 to 45 minutes or until the veggies are browned nicely.  Stir once in awhile.

When they are well roasted but still warm, dribble the honey and lemon juice over everything.  Run another taste test; add salt and pepper if needed. 

You may serve this as a warm salad at room temp or you may chill it.  If you opt to chill it, do add a bit more seasoning just before serving, because flavors tend to dull in the fridge.

***What a great dish to tote to a picnic or carry-in meal! ~Mother Connie

*The adaptation of the above recipe is offered with Mother Connie’s apologies to Virginia Willis, chef and cookbook author.

If you are sweating bullets because the end of June looms large but your budget’s tight and your cupboard is emptying out faster than tummies are filling this food idea may be just the ticket to help you get by.

You might be one of the many new Club Members we are so happy to welcome to the Club House.  You could be a user of an EBT card for SNAP or WIC…you might even be a user of food commodities, food pantries or you could possibly be one of the army of folks who just need to S T R E T C H their food budgets.  No matter where you sit, we do hope you are getting some concrete help in making healthy meals on a shoestring.

There are a great many blogs out there on the web, most of them are classier than we are.  We are not about glamor; we are into helping people do the best they can with whatever they have.  We offer what we can with love and truth and caring from hearts who understand we are not living in a perfect world.

Speaking of glamor and blogs, Carol, our #1 cheerleader has made a great find on the web:  Creative Savv.  You might want to cruise by there and check out what she has going on.  I find it fascinating how every blog takes on the personality of the blogger.


Connie Baum

PS/Soon there will be news here about business that may trip your trigger, so stay tuned. 

PS#2/Did I mention we LOVE your comments?

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.

Celebrating Rice at Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 25th, 2012


No matter what rice you have, you can make a meal fit for royalty!

It’s the end of the month.  The cupboard, despite your best efforts has a hollow echo.  The refrigerator looks a little on the empty order, too.   The  need to turn up your creative juices has never been more necessary.  What is a SNAP user to DO?  And if you are using an EBT card from WIC…you might be feeling a wee bit desperate.

Those of us who hang out in the Club House GET that.  That’s why we are here. 

There is always the ‘rice and beans; beans and rice’ meal.  And you no doubt are weary as can be of that routine.  Mother Connie stumbled on an idea that may be helpful to you:

Zucchini Over Rice-With a Kick

2   tablespoons vegetable oil

2  medium onions, peeled and sliced or chopped-your preference

1  medium zucchini, peeled and chopped

1  can canned red or black beans, drained  *If you have cooked beans on hand, use 2 cups

Salt and Pepper to taste

1   1/2  teaspoons curry powder  *None on hand?  Improvise with chili powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, coriander, ginger, cloves, turmeric or any combination of these.  Taste test your unique combo to make sure it’s something your gang will enjoy.

1  teaspoon cumin


In a heavy skillet , heat the oil gently as you prepare your vegetables.  Saute the onions until they are tender and fragrant.  Add the chopped zucchini.  Then sprinkle the spices over the top and gently stir them to incorporate them into the entire mixture.  Cover them to let the flavors marry and turn the heat to very low. Stir occasionally so they do not stick to the skillet.

If you have cooked rice, you can reheat that in a separate skillet or saucepan.  If you need to cook your rice for this dish, use ONE CUP of rice to TWO CUPS of water or broth.

SIDEBAR:  Mother Connie discovered how delicious it is to mix brown rice with basmati rice-because there was not enough of either, so they were combined.  What a pretty potful that made!  END SIDEBAR

After everything has cooked through, spoon the rice onto the plate, top it off with the vegetables for a beautiful presentation that smells wonderfully aromatic!

VARIATION:  If you have frozen peas on hand, add those just before serving to thaw them to add color and flavor to your dish.  You could also use the combo of frozen peas/corn.  If your family fancies corn, you could use that, as well.  Canned veggies will work but they should be drained first.  Zucchini has a lot of  liquid in it and it could be too soupy if you do not drain the veggies.

VARIATION #2:  Use red peppers for more color.  Green peppers would add color and flavor to the mix, too.

This makes a meal that is loaded with nutrition for VERY little money and has complete protein so it satisfies hunger well.  Anything that’s tasty, filling AND budget minded at the end of the month has got to be a good thing!

I made this for lunch today and there was a small amount left over.  That will become soup as soon as I add broth and vegetable juice to these yummies.  I may even toss in some cooked bow ties from another meal that need to be used.

What low cost meals do YOU make when it looks as if there’ll be more month than money?  Let us know by commenting on this blog.  WE LIVE FOR YOUR COMMENTS.  grin

We hope you have been enjoying the messages of our partners, Living On A Dime and Saving Dinner.  We are so proud to be associated with them.   They offer lots of great ideas and some really good values if you are interested to have their products.  They’ve been around for a long time and they know their stuff!

Our hearts are delighted with all the new members who have signed up recently for our series of cooking tips.  Thank you so much for sharing this site with those in your circle!

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.

Bee Sweet With Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 20th, 2012

HONEY, can you BEEt the goodness of this golden liquid?

Honey is an amazing food.  Not suitable for babies, it is a wonderful and health supporting treat.  Locally harvested honey is ideal but use what you have and be creative.  Our newspaper  had some great ideas about using honey today, so let’s open the honey pot and the  Lincoln Journal Star and see what’s there.

One easy-do way to use honey is to spread it over toast.  It’s tasty, it is a great way to boost immunity and it is so easy that even youngsters can manage to fix it for themselves. 

Another way to use honey is to pair it with some vinegar, add your favorite spices or herbs and drizzle it over your green salad.

Eateries often feature dipping sauces with honey.  Think honey/mustard or honey/barbecue.  The Journal had a great idea from  Buzz Vance that made my mouth water:


1/4  cup butter

1   cup chopped onion

1    cup ketchup

1/3  cup water

1/4  cup honey  * more for a thicker sauce

2   tablespoons lemon juice

1  teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4  teaspoon black pepper

1/4  teaspoon chili powder

Saute butter and onion until the onion is translucent.  Stir in ketchup, water, honey, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and chili powder.  Simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and add the lemon juice.

This has GOT to be a major winner!  The lemon juice would brighten the tomato-y flavor and those ingredients would make for a lip-smacking, finger-licking good dip or sauce for most any meat. 

*Recipes, such as this one, get snipped out of the paper and filed in my “Newspaper Recipes” file, which I mark “MUST TRY ASAP”…after I make it the first time I note whether it is worth a repeat performance.

On the same page in the Journal Doug Hunter offered up his no bake bars, starring honey:


1  cup peanut butter 

*Doug suggests natural; users of food commodities or pantries may have “regular” peanut butter.  NO WORRIES…no one will bother the Kitchen Police with this detail.

1   cup honey

3   cups dry, uncooked old fashioned oatmeal

Combine peanut butter and honey in a large nonstick pot and warm over LOW heat until runny and well mixed.  Mix in the oatmeal.  Do NOT cook; just heat enough to stir together.

Press into 9 X 9″ pan.  Cool.  Cut into bars.  Wrap each bar in foil and store in plastic bags or freezer containers.

*This would make great treats to tote to a picnic!  *It could be breakfast on the go, too!

As any user of an EBT card from WIC or SNAP can tell you, we are living in the back half of the month, making every effort to s t r e t c h those food budgets until they snap!  If you have food commodities or food pantry food; if you are just plain frugal and are living on a dime you are well aware of making the food last til more can be laid in.  We hope this little website is helpful to you in this regard.

Our club members are famous for sharing their ideas for frugality and good health.  Feel free to leave your comments on the blog.  We live for comments, doncha know?  grin

Here’s hoping you are enjoying the summer months, making wonderful memories with your families and not stressing over what to eat!  Please consider yourselves HUGGED.

~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.

Picnic Time With Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 18th, 2012


We are smack dab in the middle of picnic season!

Greetings, Club Members!  We seem to have come through Memorial Day and Fathers Day and here we are, on the back side of a warm and sunny month.  These bright, breezy days just beg for picnics.

Maybe you have a porch or a deck where you enjoy your morning coffee or afternoon iced tea.  Maybe your picnic table lives on your lawn or patio.  MAYBE your family relishes the idea of packing a cooler or basket and trotting off to a nearby park or driving to a campsite or lakeside just to have a meal and enjoy the great outdoors.

The issue with picnic food always has to do with food safety.  We are warned from every corner about the dangers of meat and mayo and other foods growing bacteria that can make us sick.   I heard about a wonderful sammie you can build in your very own kitchen and your family may just make it a tradition.  Hearing about this treat made my mouth water!

Here is a winner for YOUR summer picnic:

1.  Simply take 1 whole loaf of bread, unsliced and cut it in half from end to end.  This leaves you with a bottom crust and a top crust.

2.  Drizzle oil  on the cut sides of each half of the bread   *Mother Connie’s preference is olive oil but you use what YOU like.

3.  Layer tuna, sardines or salmon; lettuce or spinach;  tomato slices;  slices of onion; rings of peppers; ripe olives; cooked, drained beans – whatever you like on your sandwich or whatever you find in the fridge.

4.  Season the whole works with salt and pepper or any spices that make your family’s hearts go pitty-pat. You can also sprinkle your favorite vinegar over the whole business.

5.  Replace the top of the loaf – you will have a “Dagwood” high sammie…Wrap it in foil and put a cutting board over it.   Place a couple of cans from your pantry on the board.  This will squeeze the whole loaf and all the ingredients, causing the oil to ooze into the bread and marinate the veggies.  This will ensure that your mouth will fit around it when it is sliced into single servings.  It will take a couple of hours to work the magic. 

6.  When your sammie is built you can pack  up some fruit and a jar of lemonade, tea or water with your eating utensils.  By the time you are ready to eat, your bread and vegetables will be ready for you to enjoy.  And there will be no stress regarding food safety!

*Above all, remember that there are no hard and fast rules.  Use what you have and what your family likes.  If it’s peanut butter and bananas, that’s quite fine.  Maybe you prefer bacon over tuna and it’s available.  It could be such a thing that you have leftover meat from a previous meal; you could PRESS that into service.  *PUN INTENDED…It’s summertime/picnic time, after all.  No need to stress about the Kitchen Police looking in on you.

The whole idea of food is to nourish the body.  Foods we enjoy and fresh foods nourish our soul, too.  And sharing picnic meals while enjoying the company of those we hold dear nourish us in ways that transcend this earthly experience!

Have yourself some fun, people!  Never mind you are on a tight budget or living on a dime or using an EBT card from SNAP or WIC.  Fun can be had with food commodities or things from a food pantry, too!  Indoors or outdoors, we all need to s t r e t c h our food budgets!  It just takes a bit of planning, sprinkled with a little imagination.

We are so happy to welcome all the new Club Members!  We hope we are able to help you all.  We invite your contribution with your comments and your messages to our email account:

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/Carol, one of our most faithful contributors to the good of the Club sent this message:  “…if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the documentary “FOOD STAMPED.”  It profiles a young couple’s journey to live on a Food Stamps budget, yet healthfully.  I borrowed it from my library.  Perhaps you can, as well.”  GOOD TIP, GANG.  Thanks, Carol!

News Flash: Mario Batali and Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 6th, 2012

Mario Batali, famous chef, GETS IT about using food stamps!

Mario Batali, chef from the Food Network, has always intrigued me as a foodie.  He seems to be a great guy and today I can prove he has his heart in the right place!

Our Inbox lit up, as did the light bulb in my head, when I found a piece about his experience USING food stamps-or if you prefer, SNAP.  Click here to read what he has to say and what he thinks about his struggle to use them.

It is so comforting to be understood and supported.  Thanks, Chef Batali!

As you are well aware, our mission and passion is all about helping people…those who are living on a dime, those who depend on food pantries or food commodities and those who hold EBT cards from  SNAP or WIC.  And we do not forget about those who are frugal and find many creative ways to s t r e t c h their food dollars.  You have responded to our efforts by joining the Club, receiving a series of cooking tips. 

We are not moving mountains.  We are just here to help and support those of you who are doing everything in your power to keep body and soul together and get your gang fed without overspending.  Which, when you think about it, is quite the trick.  ALL OF YOU WHO STRUGGLE SO ARE TO BE COMMENDED.  STAND TALL; BE PROUD OF YOURSELVES.

Send us some love at  –  it will make our day!

Chef Batali sure made our day!  Thanks again, Chef!  And thanks to HuffPo for carrying the story!

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.

Our Mailbox and Food Stamps Cooking Club

March 26th, 2012
Our readers have sent us some great bean recipes!

Oh, how we love mail!  Several of our faithful Club Members have contributed ideas and recipes and today we share one that will have you making plans to try this dish ASAP!  We owe a debt of gratitude to Carol    who thoughtfully sent her latest find:   (Incidentally, Carol lives in Northeastern USA)

“Campbell’s” style pork beans

1  lb dried pea/navy beans, rinsed, sorted

1  T cooking oil

3  cloves garlic, minced

1  medium onion, chopped fine

8  slices bacon, fried until crisp, drained and cut fine

2  tsp soy sauce (I used reduced sodium version)

1 and 1/2-2 cups water

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup cooking oil

1 and 1/2 tsp salt

3 T sugar

2  T corn starch

1  T cold water


1. Soak beans overnight (or use the quick soak method), drain, rinse. Cover with fresh water and bring to a boil

2. Meanwhile, saute onions and garlic in 1 T cooking oil, until onions are translucent, set aside

3. Place beans into a crock pot and cover with 1 1/2-2 cups of the now hot cooking water. Add the soy sauce, onion/garlic mixture, bacon.

4. Cook on high for 2 hours, then set to low and continue cooking until beans are soft

5. Mix ketchup, oil, salt, sugar and add to softened beans in crock pot. Continue cooking on low, to allow flavors to blend.

6. Just before serving, mix a slurry out of the cornstarch and cold water. Carefully fold it into the beans. Let cook a bit more to allow the slurry to thicken the sauce.


I ended up making a double batch, we had some for supper tonight, and I have 2 meals’s worth of “Campbells” beans in the freezer.   ~ Carol

Thank you again, Carol!  We really appreciate your input! 

Another Member, Charlene, has also sent us some great ideas; Mother Connie will save that for another post!

It is heartwarming to know that there are peeps ALL OVER THE GLOBE who are interested to help one another with managing food costs.  The USA is not the only place where folks struggle to feed their family on a shoestring budget.  If you are holding an EBT card for SNAP  or WIC; if you frequent food pantries or use food commodities you know full well what’s going on with food costs.  Our passion is to help people S T R E T C H food dollars and food budgets by offering nutritious, low cost menu ideas.

Oh, and speaking of ideas—I must tell you that it was our great pleasure to host Kay, a lovely woman from England recently.   I was concerned about offering her a breakfast she would truly like to eat.  I needn’t have worried…Kay told me she is accustomed to her “proper English breakfast” of beans on toast!  I was surprised to hear this because it is so simple.  But, just think–it provides complete protein and that is a great start for anyone’s day!  Carol’s bean recipe would fill the bill perfectly  but I am just as fond of refried beans on toast.  When we use The Normanator’s home made bread, that is a VERY satisfying meal, indeed!  And it would be a proper English breakfast, after  all.  grin

We’d love to hear from YOU.  Our address is 

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.

Microwaving & Soup at Food Stamps Cooking Club

March 4th, 2012


WARNING: Microwaves ARE dangerous!

Mother Connie has been taken to task for going overboard with respect to microwave ovens.  She was called out for being radical.  Mother Connie is one tough ole broad and can take criticism, but this is not about MC.  IT IS ABOUT YOU BEING SAFE AND HEALTHY.

Mother Connie, as you are well aware, is passionate about helping people.  People are not helped by microwaving their foods. This is not merely opinion; this is truth.  Please direct your attention to this article, which ‘splains the dangers more eloquently than your humble blogger: Microwave Ovens: The Proven Danger

‘Nuff said about THAT.  Let’s find something fun to discuss.  How about FOOD?

People who sit in my circle know how I love to cook so Santa brought by a daily calendar put out by The Food Network.  Each day there is a new delight to peruse and use.  Most of the dishes I find are a bit “high end” for those of us who fuss over our food budgets or use EBT cards from SNAP or WIC.  However, there is a doozee of a crock pot soup that is ab-so-toot-ly DELISH.


Slow Cookers are safe to use! They make life simpler, even!



1  cup dried multibean mix or great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed

1   14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes w/their juice

3  cloves garlic,smashed

2  ribs celery, chopped

2  medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2  medium onion, chopped

1/2  cup pearl barley *Mother Connie toasted hers before adding it to the soup but the recipe did not call for that step

1  bay leaf

2  teaspoons dried Italian herb blend

1/2  oz died porcini mushrooms *optional  Good thing; I don’t keep those on hand…do YOU? grin

Kosher salt and pepper  * The Kitchen Police did not object to my use of sea salt…

3  cups baby spinach *I used frozen, chopped

1  cup grated Parmesan cheese

1  tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Olive oil, for drizzling


Put the beans, 6 cups of water, tomatoes and their juice, garlic, celery, carrots, onion, barley, bay leaf, Italian herb blend, mushrooms 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and some pepper in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick-about 8 hours. 

Stir in the spinach, cheese, and vinegar.  Cover and let the soup sit until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and drizzle each serving with a bit of olive oil.

Thank you, Food Network Calendar!

In the Club House, we like to spoon most any kind of soup over crusty bread.  The Normanator baked bread with a bit of almond flour and this made us a great lunch.  Since there are just the two of us there was plenty left over to freeze for a quick meal on a busy day.  We also had a green salad with our bean/barley soup.  We were well nourished and we both had happy tummies!

Soup is a great comfort food on cold, blustery March days.  If you are struggling to S T R E T C H your food dollars it’s a good way to feed your family.  If you know anyone who is living on a dime-or less-you may want to share this link with them.  We are all about helping people here.  Maybe you use food commodities or know someone who does.  You might frequent a food pantry…this page is for YOU.

We love mail:

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.

Making Gravy at Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 27th, 2012

Gravy is one of my comfort foods…bread n gravy; taters and gravy;  gravy as a base for cream soups…I really love to make it and I really really love to eat it!  My mother used to talk about how her mom would make “flour and water gravy” and that would be their meal.  No meat, no veggies.  Just gravy.  Wow.  They did not have SNAP or WIC in those days.  What a shame.

Some folks pay good money for packets of gravy mix.  Well, they are free to spend those EBT cards as they see fit but I am way too tight fisted with my grocery money for packets.  This little video shows you how quick, easy and cheap it is to make your own gravy.  Incidentally this is a “re-run” from last fall, so if it seems familiar, that’s the reason.

Easy peasy, don’t you think?

The mail has been such fun!  You folks are talking amongst yourselves and passing the word that we here in the Club House are passionate about helping you s t r e t c h your food budgets while using whatever you have on hand and making meals that keep your gang in tip-top health.  You no doubt have ideas to share.  You are more than welcome to send them to   Oh, how we love hearing from you members!

If you or someone in your sphere of influence uses food commodities, goods from food pantries or if you have anyone who wants to save as much as possible when buying food, we hope we are helpful to the cause.

You may have noticed that Mother Connie was using a cast iron skillet in this film…stay tuned for a piece about cookware. to be seen SOON at a computer near you.

Are we having FUN yet?

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.