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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

I Heart Cooking and I Heart Food Stamps Cooking Club!

July 18th, 2011
My, but it’s been a long time since we were all in the Club House! You all have been sorely missed!

Oh, my!  It feels SO GOOD to be back as your humble blogger.  Technology is wonderful when it works and when it doesn’t–well, let’s just say it can interrupt the flow of life! 

Things have been happening at breakneck speed while the blog was quiet...we have so many new members to welcome and thank!  We are working feverishly on an offline cooking class and recipes have been pouring in!  WE LOVE IT ALL!

That we have so many fresh new faces around the Club House tells me that a need is being met.  People who use EBT cards from WIC or SNAP are getting some valuable assistance; those who have food from commodities or a food pantry are looking for help in creating interesting, low cost dishes for their families and those who are frugal by nature are coming to share ideas and offer their wisdom.  It is so wonderful to have all these souls coming together for a common cause!  Thanks, EVERYONE.

The Normanator and I are extremely grateful for Angel Food Ministries.  We feel that we are doubling our food budget dollars by using this valuable service that is open to EVERYONE, regardless of your situation.  They also welcome those EBT cards from SNAP and you can order online.  Point, click, save!

Before we were so rudely interrupted by electronic glitches we were on a rant about BEANS.  While we were down a wonderful recipe arrived at the Club House door by one of our most faithful charter members and I want to share it here.  I am warning you:  IT IS DELISH!

Pork and Bean Cake

Yes, pork and beans; that is not a misprint!  ~Mother Connie

1  15 oz can pork and beans

1  8 oz can crushed pineapple, juice and all

Beat well until beans are pureed.

Add 2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat well for 2 minutes

Add 2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat well.  Pour into large UNGREASED jelly roll pan.  Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

When cool frost with this mixture:

1  6 oz pkge cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

4 cups powdered sugar

The finished product will remind you of spice cake and you will be delighted!

Thanks to KIM for this offering.

Do you have something “beany” to share?  Shoot us an email:   We appreciate you and your ideas.

We will be keeping you all in the loop about the upcoming offline cooking class, so do keep your eyes open for that.  Those of you who do not live in SE Nebraska will have access to some of that information because we plan to video a portion of the presentation.  EACH OF YOU IS CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF THIS GATHERING OF LIKE MINDS! 

Gardens around town are bountiful now; there are some tremendous ideas to share about TOMATOES so if the computer behaves itself, those ideas will be forthcoming.  grin

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



Black Bean Casserole at the Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 24th, 2011


Here is a Black Bean Casserole that's ideal for your Sunday Best!

Beans have been a major topic this week and a recipe came to my attention for black beans I could not wait to share with you Club Members!  Here it is:

2 cups chopped onion

1 minced cloves of garlic

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup prepared red salsa *The Kitchen Police will not arrest you if you choose green salsa.  Use what you like.

1 fresh pepper-choose red or green or yellow

3 cups cooked black beans

3 cups canned whole tomatoes, juice and all

2 cups frozen corn kernels

salt, pepper to taste

2 cups water

*Prepared in a soup pot as as, you will have a delicious soup.  For the casserole, just prepare as follows:

Add 3 cups cooked pasta.  *The cook gets to decide what KIND of pasta: bow ties, elbow macaroni, rotelli would work well.  Place in casserole dish, top with 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese and bake 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven until it is thoroughly heated.

Besides being easy to prepare and easy on your food budget, this would travel well to a pot luck or to a neighbor who might need a meal because of a hospitalization.  It’s appropriate for Sunday dinner when a van load of your cousins  show up at meal time because it’s the end of the month, too!

This casserole is quite filling but you might want a little something sweet to polish off your meal.  This is a rerun; I made up a bowlful this morning and boy was it yummy:

Chia Pudding

1/2 cup white chia seeds  *Black ones work well, too

1/4 cup honey

1 can coconut milk

dash of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla *or almond or mint or whatever YOU like

Mix together, cover and store in the fridge.  If you leave it alone, the seeds will float to the top and stay there.  You can stir it periodically to mix the seeds, but who has the time for that?  grin

At serving time you can pair it up with canned or fresh fruit or berries as a topping, or serve it as is.

This recipe doubles or triples beautifully, depending on how many toes sit around your table.  It makes a great snack and I’ve been known to eat it for breakfast, as well.

The mail continues to delight us:  and we welcome all the new members who have flocked to the Club House lately.  ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?  (yes!)

If you hold an EBT card for WIC or SNAP or if you are using Farmers Market Coupons; if you have goods from a food pantry or food commodities, this blog is devoted to YOU.  We truly hope we are helping you manage your food budgets in this tight economy.  Maybe you are just a frugal shopper/cook; we aim to help YOU as well!

What’s so interesting is that YOU help US more than we ever could help anybody.  Your support, your comments, your emails, your links, your recipes–this is all so wonderful and we deeply appreciate every one of you.

One of the Club Members popped by yesterday and-bless her heart-she promised to get us the recipe for a BEAN CAKE that she says is amazing.  Well, I’m down with THAT.  Better get my baking stuff out…

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

Bean Talk at Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 22nd, 2011


If you are talking BEANS, I am hearing BLACK BEANS!

The bean does not exist that Mother Connie does not love.  I recall with fondness the many kettles of White Northern or Navy beans my mother cooked every Monday she washed clothes as she used the old wringer washer!  Bits of bacon or ham went into the bean pot, as did shreds of carrot and pieces of onion.  They soaked on the counter top every Sunday night and when supper time rolled around they were paired up with crusty cornbread!  We could depend on eating beans and cornbread every wash day, which-of course-was traditionally Monday.

SIDEBAR:  Could you live YOUR life, knowing that Monday was always to be laundry day?  END SIDEBAR.

Through the years, Mom often cooked lima beans, even though my dad groaned his displeasure.  She also made baked beans with weiners, back in the bygone days of CHEAP NATURAL CASING HOT DOGS!  And of course, she was big on bean salads of every stripe and color.

Mom talked about a childhood that was-shall we say austere?  She and her sister both remembered being hungry at bedtime on a regular basis.  Wash day was not the only time they saw a plateful of beans!  Grandma did well to have enough dry beans to make meals with, especially because meat-and money and food-was mighty scarce.

Neither Mom nor my aunt were never ill as youngsters, so what little food they did have to eat nourished them well. Mom was 86 when she made her transition…she still had her own teeth!  Maybe mineral-rich beans were all right, after all!

Beans provide color and variety; fiber and texture.  They are a staple all around the world.

My Inbox held a wonderful recipe for chickpeas and grains this morning.  I was thrilled about it until I found out that recipe was not meant for sharing.

SIDEBAR:  HUH?  No sharing recipes?  What’s that about?  And if it is not for sharing, why was it in my Inbox?  NO FAIR! END SIDEBAR.

Let’s just say again that beans and grains make a complete low cost protein and let that stand.  If you and your family favor a certain type of bean and you have a favorite grain, I would strongly encourage you to mix and match and come up with your OWN recipe.

SIDEBAR:  If/When you DO that, feel free to put it into our Inbox for sharing.  The email address will appear below!  END SIDEBAR.

Beans lend themselves to salads, side dishes, entrees and snacks.

Chef Shawn Bucher reminds us that RE-FRIED beans are really “smashed” beans.  I found that comical.  When I read that, my mouth watered and I pined for little tortillas with a dab of re-fried beans, topped with a dollop of sour cream.

Any variety of cooked beans-canned or home cooked-adds interest to stir fry dishes, soups, salads, or even sandwiches.  Have you mashed any beans and used those “smooshed” beauties as a sandwich spread in lieu of mayo or butter?  They can be run through the food processor, along with sandwich meat or eggs and flavored with a dash of vinegar, some pickle relish and a bit of salad dressing, oil, or mayo.  Used this way, they can fill lettuce cups or be a sandwich spread.  This is ideal for lunchboxes!

People who have food commodities are likely to have beans on the shelf in their kitchens.  The same is true for users of a food pantry.  If you have an EBT card for WIC or SNAP; if you have Angel Food Ministries foodstuffs or you are a coupon clipper, you are very likely to have a stash of canned or dry beans around.

On the other hand, if you just like being very careful with your food dollars you are very likely to have a variety of beans to make your home cooked meals interesting and economical.

We are eager to hear from all of you about the way YOU use beans.  Just send your info to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.comWE LOVE MAIL!

We also l0ve having new Club Members!  We have a brand new batch, so treat ’em all with love!  Please make all the new kids feel welcome here.

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

Creamy & Dreamy for Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 13th, 2011


Looking yummy…could ANYTHING make this dish more appealing?

It feels soooo good to be back in the Club House with all of you!  Thank you for your patience in the absence of your fearless leader and welcome to all the MANY new Members!

During the break that was mine I had occasion to discover a new product.  Being the daughter of a grocer gives me a healthy curiosity about any new item.  Those of us who stocked shelves greeted new products with delight but shuddered to figure out where anything new would FIT.  We already had more products than shelf space!

SIDEBAR:  Sound familiar?  I know our kitchen cabinets groan sometimes…END SIDEBAR.

The new kid in town is “cooking cream.”  I was suspicious the moment I saw the colorful packaging.  My very first thought was, “And just WHY would I need cooking cream?”

When I did some grocery shopping I looked for the stuff in the dairy case.  Sure enough, EVEN IN OUR TINY TOWN, it sat among the cream cheese and there were 3 flavors.  I looked at the cute package and perused the label.  Yes.  Just as I suspected.  JUNK in that trunk!  Nothing in the ingredient list struck me as necessary to the new “Plate Graph” the USDA just released.

Then I canvassed the pros.  I asked Chef Shawn and Chef Josh what they thought about cooking cream.  I could not hear them laugh via email but their amusement over such an unnecessary product came through loud and clear.  These two are all about good food for little money so they were not shy about saying that we need not use the silly stuff.

So, kids, the bottom line is this:  if you think your dish needs  something creamy, think of sour cream or a home made white sauce, with or without cheese.  Don’t stoop to using non-nutritional, costly packets or cooking cream or anything else commercial.

Our email account has been busy:, for which we are grateful.  WE LOVE MAIL.  We do not love spam. :(

Since June is in full swing, our attention is beginning to turn to the offline cooking class!  We eagerly welcome your ideas.  This IS YOUR CLUB, after all!

With warmer weather here to stay we hope you are eating big salads with lots of home grown greens and other veggies from your gardens or Farmers Markets.  Carol has a dynamite suggestion for shopping Farmers Markets…she only shops with ONE vendor.  She and the vendor have a relationship based on loyalty and trust and she gets great value for her food dollars.

Maybe you use food commodities or food from a food pantry…If you are shopping at a Farmer’s Market or using Angel Food from Angel Food Ministries or you are an EBT card carrying user of SNAP or WIC – or if only you love to be frugal and s t r e t c h your food budget dollars as far as possible, we hope this cheery little spot in cyberspace is helpful to you and yours.

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:  In case you missed Mikemax’s comment here it is again!  This is VERY exciting news!

“My friend Mary is visiting. Her husband is president and weekly volunteer at a community food pantry in Oregon. She told me about a cookbook a young girl wrote for her Girl Scout Gold Award (similar to Eagle Scout for BSA). It features low cost recipes using products typically available at food pantries. She tested every single recipe and Mary says they are good! She is going to try to get me a copy and I will share the recipes and any words of wisdom therein.”

YAY, Mikemax!  YAY, Mary!  Good on YOU!





Chef Bucher and Food Stamps Cooking Club

May 31st, 2011


Hours of educational fun came right to my doorstep!


Let me begin by saying that I am NOT selling a darned thing and if you were to order something I’d never see a cent.  Now you know this is NOT a sales pitch!

Some time ago, Chef Shawn Bucher and I had a 140 character conversation on Twitter. One tweet led to another and at one point we had a cheery telephone conversation.  He expressed an interest in the Food Stamps Cooking Club and our offline cooking classes.

I was intrigued by his cookbook, First Timers Cookbook and thought it would be a good resource for our classes.  I ordered it, thinking it would be just another cookbook and since I already know how to cook…silly me.  Did I imagine I could not learn another thing?  Foolish, wasn’t I?

When the book arrived I was elated!  Long time Club Members may recall the post I made about it, showing off the copy Chef had signed in his own hand!

I follow Chef Shawn on Twitter and Face Book and of course I “Like” his Face Book page, First Timers Cookbook.  I have become his #1 Cheerleader.  Or at least one of his more vocal fans.

He surprised and delighted me by sending me a 2 disc DVD of his cooking series. I could hardly wait to watch them! I spent four glorious hours watching him show the fine points of table setting, explain tools of the trade, proper use of knives, and tip after helpful tip for preparing every food you could think of.  Besides that, it was eye candy just to see his professional kitchen, replete with granite and stainless steel.  Chef’s charming personality and keen sense of humor shone through, as well.

If you are struggling to think of a shower gift for a bride-to-be or if you have a teenager who would like to learn about food prep, this is really the ideal present.

When I reviewed First Timers Cookbook for my Book Lovers Club they all thought it would be ideal for their grandchildren.  They were pleased as punch when their order came quickly and was so beautifully and simply illustrated.  A good friend suggested she’d like to have some of those DVDs around for spur-of-the-moment gifts, too!  Great idea and no gas guzzling drive to shop!

Users of Angel Food Ministries would be gleeful to have this set; those who depend on food commodities or food pantries will surely benefit.  Maybe several families could pool their money and share a set?  *Sounds like the basis for a Cooking Club, if you ask me, which of course you did not… Those who have EBT cards for WIC or SNAP will surely enjoy the tips and lessons, as well.  If you are holding Farmers Market Coupons, you will learn much and be entertained as well as enlightened!

OK, kids.  Next time we go back to  hard sell mode. grin

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.