Posts Tagged ‘Living On a Dime’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: These Can’t Be Leftovers!

June 26th, 2015

IMG_20150626_113035736This does not LOOK like a pot of leftovers and it did not taste “left over” either!

Do you remember the spinach dish I prepared yesterday?  It was so delicious!  I dumped the meat we did not eat in with the spinach and put it away in the refrigerator.  It sat there all night, marrying all the flavors and getting even yummier.

For lunch today I sauteed carrots, onions and celery in a bit of coconut oil.  While they cooked I poured in a drizzle of beef broth so that would help finish cooking them.  While all this was warming gently, I heated the pot of creamed spinach and ground beef very slowly.  *I did NOT want it to scorch!

When the veggies were tender I added them to the pot which now became the soup pot!  The fragrance wafted through the house and coaxed The Normanator to the kitchen just to see what was cooking!

Since there were more ingredients today it needed more liquid.  I stirred some corn starch with a little water and poured that into the soup pot.  I added a bit more milk till I liked the consistency and I taste tested for quality assurance.  wink/wink

One more thing went in: about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms!  You can see what a pretty dish this made.  The bright green of the spinach, the sunny-ness of the carrots, and the milky liquid was cheerful and inviting!

We enjoyed soup plates full of this goodness and for dessert we had a small dish of strawberries.  We did not carry on scintillating conversation; we were enjoying our gourmet goodness!

Part of the reason this meal was so satisfying is that fresh ingredients were used.  During the summer months, fresh food is more readily available and here’s hoping you have as much fresh food as you need.  If you have enough to share, that’s even better.

Are you a user of an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  Do you get food from a food pantry or a food bank?  Maybe you get food commodities.  It could be that you just enjoy being frugal or just getting by because you are living on a dime.  In any case, this little corner of the internet is meant for users of Public Assistance.  We dearly hope you find the information we offer you to be useful.

We have closed the comment panel but you are welcome to leave a comment for us at this address:  foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

 Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Cheap ‘n Cheerful

June 25th, 2015
IMG_20150521_195317004

Cooking in a cheerful environment makes creating cheap meals more enjoyable!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connie Baum

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

 

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Curry?

April 27th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

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

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Merry Christmas!

December 22nd, 2014
Because there was no room at the inn...

Because there was no room at the inn…

As you are no doubt aware the holidays are in full swing and there is a frantic push to make ready for Christmas.  When you depend on SNAP or WIC or food commodities you tend to be  in survival mode.  It’s almost painful to think of helping others because you may be fretting about your OWN situation.

A wonderful message about this very issue awaited me in my Inbox this morning.  I just HAD to share it with you:
“Today was the first day in forever that I felt well enough to go to the  Farmer’s Market with my family, especially since I am till weak and fragile. Who would I run into than the little “all too young mother” that I have written you about. She’s passed her GED and is working “almost full time” for a national retailer. But OHHHH the PAIN when she hugged me! My family knows how sore I am, but how can I complain? Please do not praise me, but it seems that this is what happens to me.

Anyway, she told me that there was a homeless family in the park across the street and even the street-folk were shunning them. I was weak and so frail; still I followed her across the street only to discover that this was the indeed rare homeless family who is homeless due to economic circumstances that do not include the plethora of “choice” based homelessness. He had a skill, was trying to find work, and they had lost their home etc. In other words, this is the basic middle class family who does not know how to be poor. The community was shunning them because they had become infested with head and body lice, and the only treatment that they knew would cost them hundreds of dollars that they did not have.

I had my son-in-law drive me over to the dollar store where I got 4 bottles of shampoo, 2 pounds of table salt and a bottle of laundry detergent. The total was under $6.00. I asked “all too young mother” to go to the farmer’s market and gather all the food that had fallen off the tables and was under the trucks and otherwise set to be disposed. Anything that could be eaten, and even ask some farmers for the food they might be throwing away.

That gave her a mission that did not include hugging me. I taught the parents that by mixing half salt and shampoo that it would kill the lice. They had to put it on their hair undiluted, and body then wait 30-45 minutes until rinsing it off. They took advantage of the free access to the American river to rinse off, but I told them that they had to do this every day for the next 6 days because it did not kill eggs. What courage! The American River is icy right now! I gave them the comb I had in my bag. But the littlest was sick, and once we got her mother and her lice free, I put mom on the light rail wearing some of my daughter-in-law’s clothes which were going to be on their way to resale stores, but she was clean and lice controlled, and on her way to the emergency room with the littlest.

I taught dad to boil all of the clothes and bedding in his 22 qt pot for not less than 5 minutes, and then take the whole thing to the laundry that was 2 blocks away. I bought a can of insecticide to treat the car and the tent. Then he and the older child washed all the laundry with the soap and dried it with the quarters I gave them.

I do not know how things turned out for this family because I was too sick and weak to follow through. I gave them the list of community resources that I always have with me and I hope that they follow up with employment and resources. my “all too young mother” came back with a bunch of vegetables and fruit for the family.

I think that the moral of this story is that it is a skill to survive being poor. Knowing how to treat lice and make a meal from the veggies that the farmer’s market would otherwise throw away is another skill. Sure, I spent $10.00 or so of my own money, but hopefully this family will survive.

I came home and went to sleep for a while. Anyway, I do not want you to praise me for this, but maybe you can use the lice killing salt and shampoo in your mission as well. I hope you have a happy holiday season.  Take care.

Love,

Delaine”

If someone who is in abject agony can help a homeless family, it makes me wonder what I might be able to do for any of my fellow human beings.

*We are THRILLED to welcome new Members into our Club House!  We welcome your comments and messages at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com  .  We read every single one and appreciate each of you so much!

Merry Christmas!

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Roast Chicken

October 1st, 2014
This is such an easy, low cost dish.  It's tasty enough for guests and EZ on the budget AND the cook!

This is such an easy, low cost dish. It’s tasty enough for guests; tender on the budget AND the cook!  This set of hind quarters is ready to be  dunked in a marvelous marinade and popped into a cozy oven!

 

Roast chicken is so easy and so elegant.  It is such an easy fix, too.  I found a recipe in the food section of our Lincoln Journal Star that struck my fancy; when I served it to The Normanator he approved.  That spurred me to share it.  Besides, Carol, from CTonabudget  said she could not wait to have it.  She and I have been aghast at meat prices so the idea of a new recipe for roast chicken hit our hot buttons!

When I found the recipe I knew I was going to be away from home for a day so I put it all together and kept it, covered, in the fridge.  There was ample time for the flavors to marry.  I won’t torment you with the details of how delicious this was…I will give you the particulars and you can see for yourselves how yummy it can be!

Mother Connie’s Version of Lemony Roast Chicken

1/2  cup olive oil *I did use olive oil but any vegetable oil will be fine

1/2  cup fresh rosemary leaves *No fresh leaves here; poultry seasoning was what I had

1/4  cup fresh squeezed lemon juice *Bottled lemon juice was all I could find in our pantry

10 cloves thinly sliced garlic  *Garlic powder had to do

SIDEBAR:  Did I mention we live in a small town and our shopping choices are limited? The moral of this story is to use what you have and make do.  The flavor of this dish will still make you a star in your own home!  END SIDEBAR.

Salt and pepper to taste

3  1/2# chicken, 8 or 9 pieces…  *I had hind quarters and that was PERFECT.

In a large bowl, combine oil, rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.  Choose a baking dish that will accommodate your chicken pieces in a single layer.  Brush about 1/4 of the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.  Arrange the chicken meaty side up over the marinade and cover the meat with the remaining marinade.   Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

When you are ready to cook your chicken, preheat the oven to 475*.  Remove the plastic, turn the pieces over and spoon any excess marinade over each piece.  Roast for 15 minutes.

Remove the whole business from the oven and turn each piece so it is meaty side up.  Return to the oven and roast for an additional 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned.

This would be delicious served with rice or potatoes and a big green salad!  Any leftover pieces are just yummy when served cold, too!

This will serve 4 people.

Are you living on a dime?  Do you have an EBT card for SNAP or WIC? Maybe you have goods from a food pantry or you get food commodities.  Maybe you are spending the last of your Farmers Market coupons.  In any case, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to helping you manage your food dollars.  When you become a Member you will receive a little series of Cooking Tips and we hope you will communicate with us, either on the comment panel here or by email: foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com    There is nothing to buy, no stress or apps or fancy stuff.  Just heartfelt help with your food costs.

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Wednesday is Fridge Day

September 26th, 2014
This fridge is nearly empty; we did not want to return from a trip to "science experiments"

This fridge is nearly empty; we did not want to return from a trip to “science experiments”

Refrigerator 004        Even the crisper drawers were free                             from”yuck”!

 

 

 

 Nobody has ever accused me of being obsessive or compulsive-especially about cleaning-but I have found over the years that LOTS of $$$$$ can be saved simply by making sure all the food we buy gets eaten, not wasted.

 We took a few days to get away from our normal routine and visit a friend in Colorado.  Before we left town, I made sure there would be no “science experiments” awaiting our return and that no food would go to waste.  The photos above  show just how empty our cold storage was!

  If you have been a Club Member for any time at all, you know how important it is at our house to “cook once and eat twice”  (or more).  If the second go-round won’t be eaten by the next day, that portion goes into the freezer for a quick meal on another busy day.

  It has become my custom to designate Wednesday as “clean out the fridge” day…before any week end shopping trip I make sure nothing gets overlooked on the shelves or drawers of our refrigerator. I still hear my mother’s voice in my head,  “Waste not; want not!”  That  is my motivation for making way for fresh goods.

SIDEBAR:  Wednesday isn’t good for you?  Choose any day you like.  It’s YOUR kitchen, after all!  The Kitchen Police will never know and Mother Connie will never tell.   END SIDEBAR.

 First, I survey the containers.

SIDEBAR:  It is really important to mark each container with the contents and date.  If not, you forget what’s what and can’t even recognize what’s there for the reheating!  I keep a  marker in the drawer with the plastic bags so I can quickly and easily jot down what’s going into the fridge or freezer, complete with the date.    END SIDEBAR

 I take everything out of the refrigerator, one shelf at a time, and wipe down each shelf and the walls with a disinfecting wipe OR rag that has been treated with dish detergent and bleach solution.

  As the containers are replaced, I give them a quick  swipe, too.

  The shelves in the door get the same treatment.

  This whole process takes about 15 minutes.

  When everything is back in place, I wipe down the top and outside of the fridge to make it sparkle as much as the ancient beast can!  *Our refrigerator was purchased shortly before home refrigeration was invented.  Shh-hh…the poor thing has to go awhile longer; We don’t wanna jinx it!

  I offer these photos and tips in order to help you manage your food dollars.  Take what you like and leave what you don’t.  YOU probably have better ideas that you find more workable for YOU…and we’d love to know what that might be!  Just send your good ideas to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  WE LOVE MAIL.

  Are you living on a dime?  Do you use an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  Maybe you have food commodities or you benefit from a food pantry and would appreciate knowing how to s t r e t c h your grocery money.  If any of these applies to you, we are happy to be of service!  We have this little corner of the internet just for you and those like you.  We offer a little series of tips when you become a Member.  There is nothing to buy and we won’t hound you about apps or offers or whatnot.  We  only strive to be a help for those who struggle to make ends meet.

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Emails and Phone Calls!

July 30th, 2014

July 2014 017This is the Food Stamps Cooking Club Calling Card!

Do you ever feel crunched for time?  You humble blogger certainly does!  Between spine issues, upcoming events, day-to-day housekeeping and life in general, time slips away very quickly, it seems.  Of course, considering how many, many years I’ve been 33 that MIGHT have something to do with it.  I’m told that Seniors do slow down.  *I hope it’s just a rumor.

Every one of our posts has our email address.  I’d love to share with you the incoming email that hit my hot button this morning!  What a lovely way to greet the day:

“Hi!

I have had some thoughts about hunger (you don’t say?) and several things stand out in my mind.  In the USA today, people are going hungry and not from a lack of food.  Goddess!!!  You should see what we have to toss because there was no one to eat it!  Hunger is a lack of knowledge.  If I have heard, “Wow!  I never knew…” once, I have heard it a thousand times!  I do not know how many times I have said the following things are not only lacking in nutrition, they are downright BAD for you:
Anything that has O’s in it – cheetos, fritos, doritos and the like
Anything that says “helper” on it.  There’ s no helper – there’s hinder-er.  You’d be better off just eating a can of tuna and some whole grain bread for pennies compared to the cost of the “helper”
Anything with microwave instructions.
Anything that has 2 wrappers i.e. box and tray
Anything that fizzes and that includes beer!
Then I start the education process, but even knowledge is not enough.  There is the absolute part called motivation.  Sure, there are nights that I don’t want to cook – lots of them.  But a cold salad and some whole grain bread and cheese is a meal in seconds.  One of my all time favorites is to spread goat cheese on a baguette slice and top with a thin slice of apple.  For those who don’t like goat cheese, use cream cheese.
So many people that I work with who have been among the classes for a while are actually showing a surplus of food stamp money at the end of the month because I have taught them that the bulk aisle is their friend.  We stay away from the center of the store for the most part because the loss leaders, produce, meat and poultry, bulk section, dairy and bakery are on the perimeter of the store.  They are learning to network together, and last month, we actually made stone soup for the last Thursday in June.
 I closed that lesson with the Stone Soup fable…
Love,
Delaine”
Delaine makes some salient points  and we thank  her with a grateful heart.  It would be fun to know what YOUR thoughts are…
There was an interesting phone conversation in the Club House this week,  as well. Someone called about the domain name for this corner of the internet.  During the course of the conversation I explained that this exists for the purpose of helping people who use public assistance for their food dollars.  The caller was AMAZED and really interested to know more about it.  Come to find out, this caller became the newest Member of the Food Stamps Cooking Club!  *Fist Bump!
The National Geographic magazine sent me on a RANT earlier.  I’ll be venting about THAT soon.  Meantime, I’ll have some tests done for which I cannot study and I’m told I’ll be out of commission for some time.  Stay tuned,  kids, people need help.  If those of us who have banded together to support those people, WHO WILL?
One more point:  A hands-on cooking class will be scheduled soon for Johnson County, NE!
The FTC wants you to know there are links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Freezing Zucchini!

July 17th, 2014

The Normanator took command of our trusty  old  Saladmaster machine and after we had peeled a monster zuke, he chopped a batch …

Freezing Zucchini 001

And froze half a dozen bags:

Freezing Zucchini 002

This is not a glamor job nor is it brain surgery but it is wonderful to have this in our freezer!

SIDEBAR:  You don’t need a fancy, high priced machine to chop these babies!  If you have a food processor, that will work.  If you have a box grater, that’s good for this project.  Help your children learn safe methods for peeling the veg, if you feel that’s appropriate, and the older youngsters can CAREFULLY use the box grater with adult supervision.  END SIDEBAR.

Zucchini can be used in so many ways and they all save money!

*Who does not love great ways of  S T R E T C H I N G their food dollars?

We love to add it to stir fry dishes, fresh veggie salads, and for stretching leftover stews or soups.  My favorite use of zucchini, though, is to peel and chop it to cook with potatoes.  When you mash potatoes that have been in the ‘hot tub’ with zucchini, NO ONE will ever know those guys were there!  Add a bit of butter and milk to the mashed beauties and it will look and taste 100% like “smashed” taters!  Another idea:  Add some grated zukes to your spaghetti sauce!

Another great use of zukes is to wash and cut the smaller to medium sized ones in half, LENGTHWISE.  Scoop out the seeds,  leaving a hollow and place them on a greased baking sheet.  You can fill that little opening with pieces  of onion, celery, carrot and drizzle a bit of cooking oil over each little “boat”.  Season them with salt and pepper and garlic, if you have some.  Slide them into a 375* oven until the veg is tender.  When they come out of the oven you can sprinkle a bit of cheese over the tops and let that melt.  That’s really a meal in itself.  Add a few biscuits; serve fruit for dessert and you have a delicious, tummy pleasing menu for those you love best!

For those of you who may be new here, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to those who depend on public assistance for their food dollars.  If you hold an EBT card for SNAP or WIC; if you get goods from a food pantry or use food commodities, we want you to know that we support you in the best way we know how.  We help you cook with the goods you might have on hand.

And to those of you who might be contributors to your local food pantry, might we suggest you pick up a spice or two for your next donation?  You might even consider getting a salt/pepper set to take to your local caring cupboard.  Word is that these items are often overlooked by donors and funds are so tight that there is no room in the food budget for such “luxuries”….it’s something to consider.

Are you living on a dime? If so, you no doubt have picked up a tip or two you might like to share with the other Members.  There is a modest series of cooking tips that you will  receive if you join our numbers.  We think those of you in the trenches might teach Mother Connie a thing or two, along with some of the other Members!  wink/wink  *Don’t be shy; send YOUR tips and tricks to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.

So enjoy the bounty of all those zucchinis and do remember you are loved and appreciated.

 

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Let’s Make Vegetable Broth!

June 13th, 2014
Mother Connie will show you step-by-step how this jar of broth came into being!  *Pity you cannot smell this because the aroma might make your mouth water!

Mother Connie will show you step-by-step how this jar of broth came into being! *What a pity you cannot smell this because the aroma might make your mouth water!

Making broth can save you a TON of money!  I paid $1.29 for a good sized stalk of celery.  I’ll show you exactly how I turned the waste from that stalk into a delicious ingredient for soups, stews, gravies or sauces.

As soon as I bring the groceries home, I run a sink full of cold water and let the vegetables hang out in it to clean them and rinse away any residue of sand or soil that may be clinging to each one.  Since I wanted to make veg broth (and save a ton of $) I placed the whole stalk of celery in the sink thus:

Making veg broth 002

After it had soaked awhile and was clean, I pulled it out, shook the excess moisture off and patted it dry with a kitchen towel.  I then placed it onto my cutting board and chopped off part of the end and some of the tops:

Making veg broth 004

As you Members know, Mother Connie is a big fan of cooking once and eating twice.  While I was making the broth I was also making a meal, for which I needed to use both celery AND carrots.  I scrubbed them within an inch of their pretty orange lives and trimmed the tops and bottoms, which were added to the celery pot.  *Celery and carrots need not be the only guests at the party…you could add onion pieces, chunks of taters, cut off ends of asparagus, pieces of any root vegetable, whatever vegetable strikes your taste buds’ fancy!

Making veg broth 006

Making veg broth 008

There was enough water to cover the celery and carrots and the whole works got a dose of salt and pepper.  It even got a dash of garlic, just for fun.  I set the burner low enough that there was a nice simmer going.  Little bubbles; no hard boil.

SIDEBAR:  If you don’t have extra salt or pepper or you don’t care  for garlic you need not fret.  You can always add the seasonings your gang likes best when you prepare the recipe you’ll use for your brothEND SIDEBAR

Making veg broth 010

After the veg cooked and the broth was full of its flavor  (I was very busy; it stayed on the stove for about  4 hours.)   I strained the whole business into a large bowl.  *I did this in the sink, just in case I spilled or slopped!  *As it happened, I cooked some potatoes so I added the potato water into the mix.  This means LOTS of richness for whatever gets to hang out with the broth as I am cooking in the days to come!

SIDEBAR:  Once upon a time, Mother Connie strained the goodies into the sink WITHOUT THE BOWL.  Maybe you heard the wailing and the gnashing of teeth at the time?  So I am advising you to get that bowl out of the cupboard before you pull the same stunt I did.  O my.  END SIDEBAR

Making veg broth 012

The final product yielded nearly 2 quarts of good, nutritious  broth.  I will use it for soup, most likely, for braising meat and gravy.  Then it will be time to buy more celery and begin again.

Do you use goods from a food drop?  Are you living on a dime?  Do you have things in your pantry from a food bank or food pantry?  Do you use food commodities?  Might you have an EBT card from WIC or SNAP?  Maybe you are just someone who squeezes a nickel until the buffalo bellows and you want to save money on your food budget.  In any case, we are here to support you.  There is nothing to buy, there are no judgements and we hope you have some fun as you hang out here in the Club House!

If this is your first visit, I’m excited to tell you that you can sign up for a little series of cooking tips, just for becoming a Member.  No dues, no meetings, just serious help for those who need to cook frugally!

We hope you will leave us some love on the comment panel.  You are also welcome to send us a message  at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com  **We LOVE mail!  And boy howdy, do we ever love our Members!

Connie Baum

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Food Stamps Cooking Club: Delaine’s Food Bank Chili

June 9th, 2014
With very few ingredients you can make a tasty, low cost meal!

With very few ingredients you can make a tasty, low cost meal! *Mother Connie is out of tomato products at the moment…

Mother Connie flumps through life, wondering at times if THIS is the path to be taken.  This morning’s mail brought tears to her eyes with a recipe and message from one of our dear Members, Delaine.  She is following HER passion, too.  Delaine took the time to share this pragmatic recipe and dear comments with us:

Food Bank Chili

1-2 cans of beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg of taco seasoning
1 can of tomatoes or tomato paste
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Add the taco seasoning and heat though.  Upgrade to luxury status by adding browned ground meat, or use the canned surplus beef from the pantry, but brown it and use some onions if you have them.
SIDEBAR: Delaine and I have discussed the procurement of spices.  If you have access to food stores selling spices in bulk, you can purchase as little or as much as possible.  That may help some.  END SIDEBAR.
Delaine is a busy girl.  She is teaching people in need to cook nutritious foods.  Here is her comment regarding that effort:
“Easy enough for even the non-cooks to do, and delicious enough to encourage appetite.  It’s awful, but too often, I see folks dependent upon the food banks literally starving because of food boredom.  I encourage them to use their bread supplies as dippers for this, as it makes the bread more interesting.  Getting fresh fruits and vegetables to the food pantry dependent is also a severe challenge.

I was reading your information about how difficult it is for many people to cook and eat.  Much arises from the culture of poverty and homelessness, and much of it is spot on as you said: that learning to cook is fundamentally a family value.  I have taught people who have literally done nothing but microwave prepared packaged semi-food to prepare from fundamental ingredients, and the overwhelming response is ‘I never knew anything this good could be this easy!’ “
She goes on to say this:  ” I depend on your site and others for the work I do in the community.  Tragic also, are those who do not understand the fundamentals of nutrition or who do not know the basic foods: protein, carbohydrates, fats and minerals.  So thanks for your good work, Connie.  You benefit many homeless, and desperate people in Sacramento, CA. “
There you have it, people.  The whole point of having this blog is to help those who depend on public assistance for their food source.  It is not helpful to scold or shame or ignore or complicate the lives of those who have needs: how wonderful that Delaine has dedicated her life to offering others real education, assistance and care!
If you are a user of EBT  cards for SNAP or WIC; if you are living on a dime; if you love being frugal; if you get goods from a food bank, food pantry or generous gardener, we have a passion for helping you.  We trust you will benefit from the little series of cooking tips you will receive by becoming a Member and we look forward to your comments on the comment panel below this post and at our email addy:  foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

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.