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Eating Healthy Because of Food Stamps Cooking Club

May 21st, 2012

Main stream media headline reads: "Healthy Eating Can Cost Less..."

QUICK!  Get a red pen and write this date on your calendar so you will remember that you found this out TODAY!

Oh.  Wait…this is not news; at least it’s not news to those of us who hang out in the Club House!  We’ve known all along that eating well and wisely is the preferred path to follow.

There was a rather lengthy item in our Sunday paper about how the Ag Department has concluded that junk food is more costly, despite common perceptions.  It seems that this Omniscient Department discovered that eating fruits and vegetables costs less than foods with high sugar, salt and fat content.

Excuse me, but isn’t that what we maintain here at the Food Stamps Cooking Club?  I’m thinkin’ so…

SIDEBAR:  Roll your eyes here.  END SIDEBAR.

Those of us who are in the know understand that eating processed foods contribute to ill health.  Our eyes are wide open about the problem of tooth decay when sweets are ingested.  We GET it that cheezy doodle type snacks just make kids thirsty for soda and do NOT nourish their growing bodies.  People who insist on eating cake because they like it or MUST have their fix of ice cream will, over time, develop serious illnesses, not the least of which could be heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders and bone and joint discomfort.    “Mama’s Burger Helper” box mixes and foods with hydrogenated oil may look like a bargain buy in the grocery flier but that savings ultimately shows up in medical bills.  We are keenly aware that ‘chickie strips’ make for high cholesterol and the additives can create real nightmares.  And we have not even broached the subject of pink slime…We also know that organic is best for us if we can afford it.

Today a radio personality interviewed someone who had this same idea.  The gentleman being interviewed was explaining how it would be cost effective and helpful for users of EBT cards from SNAP and WIC.  The radio guy asked him in a number of varying ways how that would be possible because “EVERYBODY KNOWS” that users of SNAP or WIC have no internet access. 

SIDEBAR:  Roll your eyes here.  END SIDEBAR.

Mother Connie ran into the same opposition when this blog went public. She played deaf, giggled and planned for the next cooking class.  Truly, it has been a non-issue.

As I understand it, there is a plan for a new program calling for these users to order food delivered fresh that is paid for with an EBT card.  This would solve the problem where there are so-called “food deserts” in urban areas or even in rural areas where transportation is a big hurdle to jump, especially for elderly folks or those who have need for day care.  The idea was set forth that even working people could jump online, order groceries, pay for them with their EBT card and those foodstuffs would be delivered.

It was not clear how this would impact those who frequent food pantries, those who depend on food commodities, or those who simply find themselves living on a dime.  Mother Connie’s theory is that if something is good for ONE, it should be good for ALL.  

It remains to be seen how this will play out. We already know that school lunches are going to be more nutritious and less junky.  How can it get any better than this?  What ARE the possibilities?

We LOVE your mail and your comments.  You are an amazing community, people.  Consider yourselves hugged!

Now let’s move into our kitchens and create something healthy and beautiful to eat!

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.

WAIT!  There is MORE!  Bless her heart, Carol has sent a comment.  I wanted to be sure you all saw her great message; it has real value so I am posting it as a P.S. here:

This belief that healthy eating has to cost more has to be debunked! One of the ramifications of Home ec classes being cancelled years ago is that we now have generations of families who do not know how to cook for themselves, who rely solely on processed foods and whose bank accounts suffer in the end.

I laud programs such as WIC, which specify which items are paid for thru the WIC vouchers. Some states require attendance at healthy cooking classes for EBT (aka food stamps) recipients. It’s about education!

You can buy frozen/dairy case, premade pancakes, a mix, or make them from scratch, using whole grains if desired. While personally I do prefer real maple syrup, I make my own maple flavored pancake syrup from water, sugar and Mapeline. No HFCS, no chemicals.

A small fryer, roasted with seasonal veggies makes for dinner # 1. Boil that carcass and make a soup out of it dinner # 2. For dinner # 3: Save the scraps of meat for croquettes, tacos (stretch with beans)made with lettuce/tomato etc, chicken salad, chicken stir fry, chicken noodle casserole, chicken divan-made for pennies compared to Stouffers frozen dinners not to mention take out!
Circumstances require that I run a very frugal kitchen. Supper tonight was crockpot boneless pork chops, originally cut off of a whole pork loin that I paid $1.99/lb for. Center cut chops run $3.89/LB and up. Certainly, $2 is much preferred! I used a marked down onion, a can of healthy request cr celery soup I wanted to use up, some instant milk, some spices to mix up a “gravy.” Sides were stove top dressing (a rare treat here, I only paid $1 for a 2 pouch box so 50 cents) and I served my last bag of haricots verts thru Angel food. A 99 cent jar of apple sauce on the side of the pork. Delicious.

Tomorrow’s supper is partially prepped ahead as I will get home later-a salmon loaf -Aldi’s wild caught AK salmon, egg. lemon juice, spices, instant milk, home made bread crumbs from bread heels we don’t like in sandwiches- awaits my return tomorrow, to pop into the oven. Side of brown rice, steamed fzn peas (53 cents after sale + cpn) and carrots (Aldi’s fresh).A tossed salad will most likely also be served. A simple, healthful meal. Bfst choices tomorrow are homemade chocolate zucchini bread or home made pumpkin-choc chip muffins. Both contain garden or CSA organic produce!,  There will be yogurt, OJ, coffee/tea. Lunch for kids will be Deli ends roast chicken breast on marked down WW rolls, sale priced romaine lettuce, marked down tomatoes, Aldi’s sliced Cheddar cheese, mustard and mayo bought on sale plus cpns or Aldi’s brand. Homemade baked good, home brewed no sugar iced tea, apple or fresh pineapple spears (that was another marked down!). DH and I each have leftover pork, green beans. I have l/o dressing, he has l/o brown rice because I prep lunch containers after supper. DH and I will probably both have pineapple spears as well. Yes,it can be done! : )

Thank you so much for taking the time to share with the other members; this gives everyone the courage to keep on keepin’ on, Carol, knowing that you do this on a regular basis.  Thank you again and again for your contribution.  We all learn from your wisdom and experience! 

Shopping For Sale Items: Food Stamps Cooking Club

May 18th, 2012



We can ALWAYS count on the Club Members to come up with great solutions to the problem we all face:  Taming the family budget!  Whether we are shopping for food or household items, timing is everything.  MikeMax, bless her heart has come through for us with this message:  THANK YOU, MIKEMAX!

From the desk of MikeMax:

“For those of you who budget from month to month and usually run out of money by the time you run out of month: Try to hang onto a little extra ca$h this month. There will be really good sales over Memorial Day, which is the 28th this year.  You might save big on groceries and on lawn and garden items. Memorial Day is a good time to stock up on condiments, canned beans, etc., for the summer. You may also find “grilling” meats on sale, since Memorial Day is the first big weekend of the summer.

Ace Hardware-and likely Home Depot and Lowe’s-will have great prices on garden tools, fertilizer and such like. No, I don’t have any inside info–they just always do! Some of the best deals at Ace will likely include a rebate. They process their rebates very quickly, but you will still need to be a few dollars ahead to take advantage of them. Watch the newspaper for flyers the week before the holiday weekend.”

Great ideas with foresight, MikeMax.  Those young ‘uns who are just starting to keep house will surely find it helpful and those of us whose households are firmly established can always use reminders!

Now, if I may change the subject abruptly:

Several posts ago Mother Connie posted the recipe for Celery Salad.  It featured celery and onion and was a BIG hit in the Club House!  WEll, here is a bit of a PS:  We did not eat the last bit in the first sitting so FROZEN PEAS were added to what was left for the next go round.  O MY, talk about DELISH.  This salad would be a perfect take-along for a summer picnic, especially if you omitted the mayo and used only the dressing.  I’m thinking Memorial Day…

Each time the mail comes in, it is heartening to see how you are sharing this blog with others.  This must mean that we are accomplishing our goal of helping people who must cook frugally!  This whole project was designed for those who use WIC or SNAP’s EBT cards; we cater to people who depend on food pantries and/or  food commodities  as well as those who are living on a dime, just love to squeeze those nickels til the buffalo bellows or are just cheap by nature!  For those of you who have joined our bunch, we hope you like our series of cooking tips.

It seems as if everyone who is lucky enough to have work these day  probably has TWO jobs.  People are tired, stressed, and hungry at the end of a day.  We cannot plug in your crock pot or turn on your oven for you but we hope we make your life a wee bit easier by providing recipes and ideas that give your families good, sound nutrition for very little money.

The school years are grinding to a halt around here.  Let’s hope every family has a safe, happy summer, full of tremendous good memories and great, affordable meals!

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.


Roasted Garbanzo Beans and the Food Stamps Cooking Club

May 16th, 2012

Roasty, toasy flavor with oodles of protein and crunch! Mmm...

When I opened the food section of the Lincoln Journal Star today I was thrilled to see something different and  wonderful that I could share with the  Club Members!

We at the Food Stamps Cooking Club are all about helping you S T R E T C H your food dollars.  It does not matter whether you are simply a frugal shopper or you lean hard on that EBT  card from SNAP or WIC.  Whether you get food from a food pantry or accept food commodities; it makes no difference–we all  have to eat and it’s tough stuff,  this living on a dime!  It’s important to pack  as much nutrition into every meal as possible and it helps to be creative and clever at getting everyone at the table a meal they would actually enjoy!

One of my most favorite food editors is Lynne Ireland.  Today she wrote about roasting chickpeas.  I must have been living under a bushel for my whole life, because it had never occurred to me that chickpeas/garbanzos could be roasted. 

SIDEBAR:  Roll your eyes HERE.  END SIDEBAR.

That phase of Mother Connie’s life is history.  Just scope out this EZ do idea:

Roasted Chickpeas

*This appeared in May 16, 2012 Lincoln Journal Star and is taken from

Olive oil cooking spray

2  cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4  teaspoon garlic powder

1/8  teaspoon red pepper flakes


Any seasoning, such as chili powder, curry powder, garam masala, seasoning blend,  cumin, lemon pepper, Cajun spice mix or Tabasco sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees – or 425 for more crunch in less time.  Lightly coat rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Spread chickpeas on baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic powder and red pepper; toss to coat. 

Roast on bottom rack of oven, shaking pan about every 15 minutes until browned and slightly crunchy, about 45 to 50 minutes.  25 to 30 minutes at higher temperature. 

The chickpeas still will be soft at lower temperature, more crispy if cooked at higher heat. 

Cook until desired texture is reached,  cool before serving. 

*Yields about 4   1/2 cup servings, equal to 3 Points Plus value for Weight Watchers.

Food Editor Lynne Ireland suggests using these as an alternative to cocktail nuts,  croutons for a salad or as a healthy snack when others might choose to open a bag of chips.  Mother Connie can imagine using them as topping for pasta, too.

There is plenty of room for variety with this because you can pick and choose the flavorings to suit your current fancy!  How can it get any better than this?   grin

Your comments on this blog mean the world to Mother Connie and judging by the mail we get, you are appreciative of them, too.  So click on the comments and let us know what you are doing with garbanzo beans or whatever else is making your kitchen smell like home and makes your heart sing!  Thanks, guys.  Please know that you are loved.

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.

Celery Salad at the Food Stamps Cooking Club

May 11th, 2012

Celery is fresh, crisp, and is easily made into wonderful dishes your family will love!

We humans tend to get into ruts, particularly when it comes to the things we choose to eat.  Mom is likely to be working full time, managing a household with or without a partner.  Mom  is dog tired;the kids need to have clean clothes and help with their homework…you know the pitfalls of life all too well!

It’s perfectly natural to fall into a routine and then we tend to eat the same menu with little variety week after week–keeping in mind what folks are willing to eat and of course if what we prepare is AFFORDABLE. 

Those who use SNAP’s EBT card-or WIC’s-know how it is to juggle the grocery money. So do those who use food pantry food or food commodities.  And sometimes the variety-or lack thereof-gets tiresome and boring.  I’m sure many of our Club Members are living on a dime; others are just careful with their food budgets.

The larder at the Club House was getting pretty bare.  A mandatory road trip coming soon called for Culinary Creativity.  The result was this salad recipe.  The Normanator LOVED it; even invited me to make it again soon!  Now THAT is a rave review!


4  ribs of celery, chopped

1/2  an onion, chopped  *I used a red onion and the color was glorious; ANY onion will do

2  tablespoons mayo

Bottled dressing…We love French but Catalina or Russian would be fine…use just enough to moisten the veggies.

I like to mix the dressing in the bottom of a bowl and pour the chopped veggies into it to mix well.

There you have it.  Stupid simple, tasty, and oh, so CHEAP n easy!  If you wanted to stretch it, you could add some cooked macaroni or noodles; you could also shred some lettuce and sprinkle that into the mix. 

Warm weather invites salad meals.  I think YOU, dear Club Members, could create even better salads than Mother Connie.  Let us hear YOUR ideas.  Send them to

Thanks to all the new members.  We are so happy you chose to join the fun!

And to all the mothers, we salute each and every one of you and bid you a fabulous Mothers Day!

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.

Taco Salad at the Food Stamps Cooking Club

May 5th, 2012

TACO SALAD!Dinner is served!

Happily, Tex-Mex has swept this country!  Study most any menu in the USA and you’ll find offerings from South of the Border in a wide variety.  The choices are endless, tasty, and varied.

One favorite in the Club House is Taco Salad.  Ours is likely to be very different from the one you make at your house because everyone’s flavor buds are unique!

The salad we have here is a QUICK FIX.  It is highly nutritious, has lots of flavor, and seems to be a crowd pleaser.  Here is what we served to a special house guest last evening.  We had eaten a heavy lunch and the weather dictated something light and fresh would delight our palettes, so this is what graced our dinner table.


1  pound ground beef

1  onion, chopped

Season to your taste:  cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper

3  ribs celery, chopped

1   can, drained and rinsed or 2 cups cooked red kidney beans 

*The Kitchen Police will not arrest you if you use pinto beans, black beans or some other family favorite…

2   medium tomatoes, chopped

1  can corn, drained

1  cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

*Nobody will tattle to the Kitchen Police if you use cheddar, American, or whatever else you like or have on hand

1/2  head lettuce, shredded

Package of corn chips

Your favorite dressing


Brown the ground beef and add the spices and a bit of the chopped onion in a heavy skillet.  While the meat is cooking, chop the celery and tomatoes and layer them, along with the beans and corn in a large bowl. 

*If  it needs to look pretty you can use a clear glass bowl; if you are like Mother Connie, you will pile it into your most favorite bowl! 

When the salad comes to the table you can crush some corn chips in the bottom of a soup plate or dinner plate and pile the salad over the top.  Use your favorite dressing-we prefer a combo of French and Mayo.  Some like to use “Ranch” dressing, or some other combination.

*If you are “flush” enough to have black olives, those are a nice addition. 

If you do not have ground beef, just use cooked rice, combining rice and beans in the skillet and adding the spices.  I have made this meatless salad in this very way and people raved about how well cooked the MEAT was!

Most folks love salsa so you can add that if you like or you can make a dressing of salsa and mayo…are you drooling yet?  grin

There is a lot of info – or is it MISinfo or DISinfo?- about the SNAP program and the EBT cards.  There is the threat of making it less available.  NOT TO WORRY because it is the mission of the Food Stamps Cooking Club to ease your burden when it comes to feeding your family on a restricted budget.  Even if you use food commodities or food pantry food or you just want to manage your food budget in better ways, we want to help you in concrete ways.

We love your messages and thank you for them.  We also love that you are sharing what we have here with your friendsIt’s always fun to find out what YOU are creating in YOUR kitchens…sharing those ideas is great fun and most helpful!

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.



It’s Rhubarb Season at Food Stamps Cooking Club!

April 21st, 2012

Rhubarb and spring bring me memories...

For years during rhubarb season, my friend LeOta made and shared delicious rhubarb goodies.  LeOta is gone now, but the great memories of her kitchen prowess, all the laughs and coffee we shared, along with recipes make me miss her a lot.  This week her widower generously favored  us with a huge bunch of the red beauties.

The Normanator got busy right away, making HIS famous rhubarb cake.  This is the same recipe that appears in the family cookbook:  The Leuenberger Cookbook.  YUM.

Here is the magic formula. Be sure to have plenty of whipped cream or  whipped topping on hand just to glamorize it even more!


1  1/2  cups brown sugar

1/2  cup butter

1  egg

1  cup  buttermilk  *Kitchen Police would gladly allow the use of sour milk, too

2  cups flour

1  teaspoon baking soda

1  teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1  1/2cups rhubarb, diced


1/2  cup granulated sugar

1  teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in order well.  Pour into 9  x  12″ pan.  Sprinkle topping evenly over the batter.  Bake at 350* for 50 minutes.  When cool, cut into serving sized pieces and top with dollops of whipped topping.

*The news on the front page of our newspaper was troubling this morning.  The SNAP program, as we know it,is in danger, as it is attached to the Farm Bill. This legislation may affect your EBT card and WIC… Please pay attention, let your lawmakers know how you feel about this.  I’m just sayin’

Thank you so much to all the newly enrolled Members of the Food Stamps Cooking Club!  We love having you here in the Club House with us!  And we love love love getting your 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.


Relish the Radishes at Food Stamps Cooking Club!

April 16th, 2012

Our Garden Guy had radishes for sale in early April! And they are beauts!

We drove into our Garden Guy’s place to deliver his paper…that’s when we saw his sign: ” PRODUCE FOR SALE.”

Early April and he already has produce?  WOW.  Impressive.  Later that morning I called him to see if the TOMATOES were ready;  the humor was not lost on him.  We visited him to see what he had and there he was, planting seeds in his expansive garden.  He looked up, grinned when he saw us hanging over the fence, watching him work.  He came up to meet us and that’s when I noticed he was BAREFOOT.  Now THAT is a man who loves the earth! He is a proficient and dedicated gardener!

He had a 5 gallon bucket full of large, sweet, bright red beauties.  I bought 3 bunches of the organic wonders.  We came home directly and I cleaned them all, sampling the crunchy sweet treats as I went.  We devoured one bunch by dipping them in sea salt and enjoying them immensely.

Here’s what happened to the rest of that batch:

Glazed Radishes  This recipe is from the Food Network calendar I got at Christmas!

2 medium bunches radishes, stems trimmed to 1/2 inch from radish top.

2 tablespoons or 1/4 stick unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

*As I trimmed the radishes, I dropped them into a bowl of cold water

1.  Put the radishes, butter, 1  1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper in a large skillet.  Add enough water to come about halfway up the side of the radishes.   Cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the skillet and lay it over the veg.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the radishes are tender, about 15 minutes.

2.  Remove the paper and boil the liquid over high heat until the liquid lightly glazes the radishes…about 5 minutes more.

***Mother Connie wants to discuss Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, along with parchment paper:   I think the Kitchen Police will not enforce their “law” if you use sea salt or whatever else you are blessed to have for seasoning.  And pepper is pepper, right?  It would be difficult for me to believe that food stamps users have parchment  paper in their kitchens.  I’d be glad if they had enough real food to feed their families so I think you could use a circle of foil.  The idea is to let the water bubble and the steam can escape.  SO DO NOT STRESS ABOUT THE DETAILS, just get some good, tasty nutrition into the people you love best!

Club Member Carol sent a wonderful message to me that I want to share, as well:


Here’s a cake that I made for the first time yesterday:

While it does call for some pricier ingredients (buttermilk, pecan) see how I substituted to make this work for me, based on what was on hand. The pecans would normally be a luxury, to be sure, I am blessed with annual gifts of shelled pecans from my SC relative. : ) Walnuts can be used or just skip the nuts all together. This is a nice, moist cake but I frosted it with a cream cheese frosting as I had some Neufchatel that needed to be used up. Coconut, another extravagance, was actually part of an Angel Food Ministries delivery from last year that had been lurking in a Mason jar in the fridge (I was usually ordering 3 of their expanded monthly boxes and 2 produce boxes -don’t’ recall which “box'” the coconut came in) One can easily forget about the coconut as well. This was a use it up cake, as noted above, I had ingredients that needed to be used. Very adaptable recipe, I felt that your readers could use it! 


Users of EBT cards for SNAP and WIC will benefit from the ideas set forth here.  So will people who get things from community gardens, food pantries, food banks or food commodities.  We know you are pleased with what we offer you, for our Membership is growing by leaps and bounds.  Life is burdensome enough…by helping one another it will lighten everyone’s load!

Mother Connie appreciates every single one of you.  Keep those emails coming!  is the place to send your messages.  EVERY MESSAGE IS READ; yes, even that crummy, detestable spam!

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.

Big Box Stores and Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 24th, 2012

Do big box stores have little price tags on their merchandise?

We have some food for thought and a treat from our blogger pal, Tawra Kellam today!  Tawra graciously offered a Guest Post, written by Jill Cooper, about saving money, which is what she is all about.  She gives us some really sound advice.  See what hits YOU like a brick…

Before I share her thoughts with you I want to remind you that 40 million of us are using food stamps or SNAP.  Many more have not applied for that sort of help, even though they might qualify. There are children in our own country who are going to bed with empty tummies.  Others who are living on a dime-or less-lean on food pantries, food commodities and whatever other help is out there.  Our purpose here is to help you stretch those food dollars to get the very most you can from your food budgets and feed your family well to keep them healthy.

Now let’s give Jill the floor: 

 Are Warehouse Stores Wearing Out Your Wallet?

 *Do they save you money or just create more work?

by Jill Cooper from Living On a Dime

It’s Saturday morning. With grocery list in hand, you drag a very unwilling family out to the car where you proceed to take them on a mega shopping spree at Sam’s or Costco.

Marching down each isle you tell your family members “We need 3 cases of corn, 4 cases of green beans and — Oh! That’s a good deal on peanut butter so let’s get 3 gallons. Of course Susie, your can get a bag of cookies. They are so cheap! …and Billy you can have a few bags of your favorite chips! Yum! Oh look — samples! These taste great. Let’s get some! What a great buy on chicken – we need 20…

At the dog food aisle the excitement mounts as each member of the family grabs a corner of the 50 lb. bag of dog food to stack on top of the basket. (We won’t mention you only have 1 toy poodle at home.) After waiting in line and waiting in line and waiting in line you push your agonizingly heavy and overloaded baskets out to the car. Getting everything into the trunk of the car makes putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle seem like a breeze but, finally, home you go.

After you lug everything into the house, it’s time to spend the next few hours repackaging things for the freezer. You double wrap your 20 chickens (they could be in that freezer for quite a while) and frantically try to find places for everything else in your cupboards and pantry. By the time you are done, you are so exhausted that you couldn’t begin to lift a finger to cook, so you all go out to eat.

A few weeks later you gingerly sniff the gallon of half used peanut butter as you try to decide if that strange taste is because it has gone rancid or simply because you are sick of peanut butter. You threw out that partially used gallon of maple syrup yesterday because it had sugared and was looking really strange. You still have ten of your chickens left but if you bathe them in some spicy sauce you are pretty sure your family won’t notice the freezer burned taste. In spite of having to throw out most of the 50 lbs. of dog food (after a growing family of mice had invaded it), you’re sure you saved money because “they” said you would.

People constantly ask me, “Can you really save more money at warehouse stores?” I usually answer, “Not any more so than at other stores.” I have checked prices at various stores on many different occasions and factoring everything in, I haven’t found any exceptional savings at warehouse stores.

Here are some tips to help you decide if a warehouse store is for you:

  1. Do your homework and compare prices. Buying in bulk is not always cheaper. You can really save by checking and comparing prices. I was at Costco one day where there was a display of two Clorox one gallon bottles for $1.98 AFTER rebate. I stood there amazed as people frantically grabbed this “great deal.” I knew I could get that same Clorox for $.98 a gallon at my regular discount store and I didn’t have to mess with a rebate, pay postage or lug two gallons of Clorox shrink wrapped together to my car.
  2. Don’t buy impulsively just because it sounds like a good deal. Say you can get 12 bottles of sunscreen for a great price. Think it through before you buy. If your family only uses one bottle of sunscreen a year, that means you will be storing sunscreen for 12 years, not to mention that most of the sunscreen will expire long before then.
  3. In most homes, one quarter of the food people buy gets thrown away. If your family of four eats pancakes once a week, that gallon of syrup is going to last you a VERY long time. You might also consider that unless dry goods and freezer items are very carefully stored, they will go bad or get bugs in them. Remember to buy the size that is appropriate for you.
  4. You need to be very well organized to buy in bulk. Finding places to store everything and then carefully keeping track of what you have is critical if you want to use it all before it spoils.
  5. Most people usually spend more than they originally planned on things they don’t need. This never saves money. We taste samples and so often end up buying. If this is you, be careful. Maybe sampling is a bad idea (unless you’re making lunch of it)!

If you have ten kids, run a day care or are buying for an organization then you almost have to buy in bulk. If you have a small or average sized family, you will probably save as much shopping for sales at your regular grocery store or discount store. The key is to do the math and evaluate your practical needs. You have to decide for yourself if buying at warehouse stores actually saves you money or just creates more work.


Good info, Jill and Tawra!  Food Stamps Cooking Club Members, if you liked this article, you can find more of the same on their website Living On a DimeCruise on over and scope out “Dig Out of DebtThere is a plethora of good ideas there and Dig Out of Debt is one of their best offerings yet!

You  are all welcome to offer YOUR best ideas by contacting us at  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.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Cheap Comfort Food?

February 22nd, 2012


When our kids were little tykes they introduced us to a whole new vocabulary; a new language, really.  We called it “Kidnese.”   One of the words they gave us was “dumps” –this was their gleeful acknowledgement that their grandma was making her famous dumplings!

One of our most faithful Club Members loves dumplings as much as we do.  They are oh, so easy to whip up; they cook quickly and they fill tummies even if you are living on a dime– or less!

Here is Rainy’s offering.  We present it here with our sincere thanks:



During this time of year, money is tighter than normal for many folks…it is tax season, after all, and the cost of gas and groceries seems to climb higher with each shopping trip.  Knowing how to stretch what you already have in your pantry and fridge is a great way to help keep those higher costs at bay just a little while longer.  One of the best ways I know to fill up empty tummies with great tasting food is to make chicken and dumplings.

What if you don’t have chicken or it is a bit too pricey for your pocket book on any given day?  Do you skip this great tasting nutritious dish for some other option?  You don’t have to, IF you happen to have the fore-thought of freezing left over chicken bits from meals gone by…or you have some chicken stock on hand.  If that happens to be a stretch too, you can use canned chicken…or on those really lean times…use chicken bouillon to build the base of your broth.  The flavor will still be strong and wonderful.

Depending on the number of your dinner companions…pick a pan that will give you room to simmer your dumplings and goodies with room to spare.   Fill your pan will water and chicken bullion or chicken stock if you have it; add chicken if you happen to have some on hand.  Add to the pot some onions or onion flakes, some garlic, a little parsley and some salt and pepper. Bring this to a boil while you mix your batter for the dumplings.

Your batter will consist of flour, eggs water and salt if you desire it.   In a large bowl whip your eggs (the number is up to you).  Add a cup of water to this and your salt if you want it.   Blend it well…then start adding flour until your batter gets stiff and holds a shape.    Once that happens, drop it into your boiling broth by the fork or spoonful.   The dumplings will sink to the bottom and you will want to use a long slotted spoon to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  The dumplings will need to simmer for 20 minutes or so once you have dropped them into the broth.

If you have it on hand, you might like to add veggies to the pot to add extra nutrients.  I often add carrots, celery and sometimes corn…but you can add what you like and what you happen to have.  If you have fresh, add fresh…or  canned.   Frozen works just as well.

Spices add layers of flavor…you can add bay leaf, garlic, sun dried tomato flakes, basil, Italian blends…etc.  This dish is really about bringing flavor and comfort to your family meal.  Make it your own…but be prepared for the compliments.  This is a big family favorite. 

Add a side salad or crusty bread rolls and you have a complete meal.   Enjoy!


Mother Connie here:  That inspires me for tonight’s dinner, Rainy.  I have a bowl full of veggies I roasted and set aside to be morphed into another meal.  I love “dumps” as much as my children did when they were tiny and you said it all when you called it COMFORT FOOD!

People who depend on SNAP are doing all in their power to make those EBT cards work hard; WIC users are doing the same thing.   Many of our club members depend on food pantries and food commodities.  This idea will no doubt appeal to them and for cooks who are just plain old fashioned frugal–this is a true winner! 

We trust our mission to help the 40 million Food Stamp users is a real assistance.

Do YOU have a tasty, money saving menu item to share?  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.

Honeymoon Hash for Food Stamps Cooking Club

January 28th, 2012

Alice, everything but the kitchen sink?

Sometimes, when you cook,  do you feel as if various recipes call for so many things it’s dizzying?  And overwhelming?  Does it just make you want to forget meal prep altogether?

Judy came by today and, as we always do, we discussed food and food prep.  And rising grocery prices.  She mentioned Honeymoon Hash and I was intrigued.

Here’s the thing:  You can make Honeymoon Hash from leftovers or you can make a fresh batch.  I love using leftovers but this would be very tasty as a new entree AND IT’S CHEAP AND QUICK TO MAKE!  Thank you, Judy!

Honeymoon Hash

1# ground beef or ground turkey or ground chicken

1 medium onion

1 potato for each person at your table, peeled and chopped **This will come together more quickly if you scrub the taters and leave the skins intact.  More fiber, more nutrition, as well.

1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced

1 carrots, washed and sliced  ** Note the instructions for the potato

1 can hominy, drained

1 or 2 bouillon cubes + 1 cup water  **Use leftover gravy, if you have some on hand

Garlic to taste **This is optional; use whatever your gang grooves on…the Kitchen Police will never know.

Brown the meat in a good sized skillet, when it looks the way you like it to, add the veggies and the bouillon.  Salt and pepper to taste.  When the veggies are tender, your meal is ready!  Now, how easy was THAT?

Here’s hoping you’ll toss together some fruit for a salad, or crisp greens.  That will round out your meal and satisfy everyone’s hunger.

**Here’s a tip for frazzled cooks:  While you are cooking, offer the children a big plate or bowl of salad with lettuce, cabbage, celery, onion, peppers, carrot or any combination of those.   Also, have them drink tall glasses of water with their pre-meal treat.    They will load up on nutrition and consequently will need less of your main dish.  It might help your grocery bill, as well as your medical bills.

If you are a user of SNAP or WIC EBT cards; if you are a bargain shopper; if you have food commodities or depend on a food pantry for your family’s food needs, this recipe is meant to help you S T R E T C H those foods and food dollars while providing good nutrition.  Our goal at the Food Stamps Cooking Club is to help you.  We think YOU have better and more creative  ideas about food than we do so we encourage you to contact us: 

You  have been telling others about us–we know this because we are seeing more and more names of people who have signed up for our series of cooking tips.  THANK YOU!

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