Posts Tagged ‘oven’

Food Stamps Cooking: OATmeal!

January 18th, 2016
Humble OATM

Humble OATMEAL.  A hard worker in any kitchen.

As you may have suspected, I have once again been plagued by IT issues.  I also have a very wide lazy streak in me.  But today something happened that got my attention.  Since my IT guru has me back up and running I got an email from a faithful Food Stamps Cooking Club follower. *Did I mention how much we love mail around here?  Ya. I’m sure I did.

Sheila is Queen of her Castle and pointed a grateful me to a cute blog, Pantry Anarchy.  I “liked” her Facebook page and asked if I could pinch her post for you.  She readily agreed so here you go, kids:

Pantry Anarchy is a well written blog about pinching pennies and it is punctuated with social comment and opinions.  *My kind o peeps!  You will appreciate the idea shared about using packets of instant oatmeal in a refreshing (and inexpensive) new way.  It was kind of Sheila to share her wisdom with us.  Let’s all cruise over there and sign up for their email messages.  We can all learn from one another, after all.

As for what is happening in the Club House, we have been eating out of our freezer.  As you know, I am a huge fan of cooking once and eating twice (or more).  The Food Fairy blessed us with FORTY POUNDS of meat so that’s waiting in the freezer for a meal our church will be serving.  Nestled along with that, we have a good number of containers of frozen soup, just waiting to be thawed, heated and enjoyed.  It saves fuel costs by not having to prepare 3 meals every day–not much energy is used when just reheating previously cooked food.

I’ve also taken advantage of oven heat by baking a large number of potatoes at one time; salads are a quick fix, low energy meal that provide oodles of nutrition in one bowl.

It would be interesting to note what YOU are doing to manage your food dollars!  Let us know by shooting an email to and we’ll do the Happy Dance!

Let’s hope you are staying warm if you are in a snow band, like we have been.  And remember that you are loved and appreciated!

PS/Remember to leave some love for the Pantry Anarchy when you visit their blog!

Food Stamps Cooking Club: DESSERT!

September 26th, 2015


Who doesn’t love dessert?

The Cooking Class at SENCA in Tecumseh, NE featured desserts that contribute to good health and in the interest of Quality Assurance, we HAD to do our fair share of taste testing.  *I know.  You must feel terribly sorry for us.  grin

Kathy made a Weight Watchers delight.  She used frozen fruit she had thawed and drained (ANY fruit would do).  She sprinkled a packet of gelatin (ANY flavor would do) and stirred in a few spoonfuls of low fat cottage cheese.  (ANY cottage cheese would do.)  She stirred it all together and added a few spoonfuls of whipped topping.  It got all fluffy and pretty and we spooned some out to taste.  Mmmmm!  Winner!  Winner!  DESSERT FOR DINNER!

Terri pleased our palettes with an apple pie.  This one had a twist; there was a mixture of flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and oatmeal flakes where most diners would expect crust!  It was still warm from the oven when it arrived to our table.  There was swooning and ooohing and aaahing all around as we marveled at how satisfying her dessert was!

Mother Connie’s contribution was a simple collection of berries…I used fresh raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. (Any combination would do!)  I had cut them and sprinkled a dab of sugar over them and let them hang out in the fridge to get all juicy and delish.  While they chilled, I warmed some honey very gently on the stove and to that I added some sticks of cinnamon and a few shakes of ground cinnamon.  Pouring warm honey over cold berries is a good duet for your taste buds!

There was a good bit of discussion about people making low cost, high nutrition meals and desserts.  Everyone shared helpful ideas about shopping tips, family favorites and ways of re-imagining the recipes that were shared.

The next cooking class will be held prior to Turkey Day and since everyone is interested in saving time AND money, we’ll be making freezer meals once again.

Are you a user of SNAP or WIC funds with an EBT card?  Do you get food commodities?  Have you visited a food pantry or food bank?  Maybe you are just frugal by nature.  Perhaps you love to cook; you may even hate to cook.  In any case, this little piece of the internet is devoted to helping those of you who use public assistance for your food dollars.  We are here for you, supporting  you and caring about you.

We are tickled pink and blue and doing the Happy Dance because of all the new Members who have signed up for our little series of cooking tips.  You are welcome to share you ideas with us by sending an email to  *We are just like little kids when we get MAIL!

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. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: $aving $

September 23rd, 2015
If you barely have 2 pennies to rub together, eating out is not much of an option. That's Mother Connie's 2 cents' worth...

If you barely have 2 pennies to rub together, cooking at home is a fabulous option. That’s    Mother Connie’s 2 cents’ worth…

Since this little portion of the internet is devoted to helping those who use an EBT card for SNAP or WIC it seems prudent to come up with low cost ideas to get everyone fed who comes to your table. *If you have more money than the other richest person in your town this might be of interest, too.

Personally I love to cook.  Not everyone shares my passion so maybe I’ll have a notion or two that might be helpful.  As you know, there is nothing to buy here; just ideas to help s t r e t c h your food dollars.

Today I’m thinking about fall menus.  There is a spaghetti squash on our table, awaiting some TLC.  I have big plans for that one:  I’ll make up some spaghetti sauce and bake the squash.  I’ll scoop out the strings that resemble regular pasta and hope I can find some crusts of bread in the freezer to toast for garlic bread. YUM.  Quick!  Cheap!  Easy!  How can it get any better than that?

BTW, jar sauce works the same way.  Especially if you are not into making sauce and/or you have a jar or can of sauce from the food bank, food pantry or food commodities.

You can dress anything up to please your family’s palettes.  Add some oregano to your canned or jarred sauce.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the whole works, or stir some in to thicken that sauce.  Or forget Parmesan altogether.  It’s your call.  *Do you feel as if you have more control now?  grin

If you are short on pasta and long on Zucchini (It happens often this time of year!) here is a nifty trick:  peel a zucchini squash and then peel off strips of the squash…the strips will resemble pasta.  Continue to “peel” until you have a good sized pile of “pasta”…no need to cook this but you can drop it into a pot of boiling water just to heat it through.  Drain it well and pour the sauce over the veg just as if it were real noodles.  It is a delightful change of pace and if you have someone in your gang who is sensitive to gluten they will be forever grateful you cared to make this dish!

I am very fond of cauliflower.  I plan to tear the head that sits in the crisper into florets.  I’ll scatter them over a baking pan and drizzle the whole business with oil. *I prefer olive or coconut oil but you have your own fave, so feel free to use what you like.

These darlings will go into a very hot oven (400*, depending on the oven and how it heats-or doesn’t) and they will get all tender and sweet and charred.  Roasted vegetables have way more flavor than veggies boiled or steamed or sauteed.  I’ll put a sprinky-dink of salt and pepper over the finished product and it will be fit for royalty!

I do the same thing with broccoli.  Sometimes I roast the pair of veggies together in the same pan.  I have even been known to shake some Parmesan cheese over the whole deal before it makes it to the table. DIVINE, I tell ya!

At the risk of changing the subject too quickly I want to mention the Cooking Class we’ll be having at SENCA in Tecumseh, NE on Friday, September 25.  *SENCA is South East Nebraska Community Action.  It is all about helping people, changing lives.  There is a Cooking Class there four times a year and it will be WAY fun!  Someone will talk about the Weight Watchers program and I get to help with dessert!  *I’ll share that dessert with all of you very soon.  Not everybody will be able to attend the class in person, after all.

If YOU are interested in coming to this class you need to know that there is NO COST for the class but you must save your place at the table by phoning 402 335 2134 and asking for Terri.

The Club is constantly welcoming new ‘members’…we are happy to have all of you here and hope the little series of cooking tips will be helpful to you. We care deeply about people, even more than food!  Grin

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. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind.





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:

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: Humble Potatoes

April 17th, 2015

Pardon our lack of visual delights.  It’s complicated.  *SIGH…

There is an organization in our small rural town dedicated to helping people and changing lives.  It is South East Nebraska Community Action–or SENCA, for short.  One of the programs sponsored by SENCA is an annual Woman of Distinction event, honoring the amazing women of Johnson County, Nebraska.

It is costly to present this affair so to raise funds to defray the costs a Potato Bake was put on so the public could make a freewill offering, have a great meal, and have a really good time.

The SENCA office location was host for the evening.  Their Advisory Board, made up of 7 people in the community who are just average folks in the community did the planning, cooking, serving and of course, clean up.

They baked a LOT of potatoes; they set out an array of toppings that were mouth watering and pretty.  The offerings included butter, sour cream, grated cheese, broccoli, creamed corn, bacon bits, chopped ham and well seasoned chunks of chicken.  Beverages were iced tea and water.

SIDEBAR: Other items were considered but to minimize cost these were omitted:  onions, chives, chili, salsa, red/green peppers, chopped lettuce and olives.  END SIDEBAR.

The plates were colored to match SENCA‘s theme colors: red and blue; the flatware was delivered to their door by one of the Advisory Board members who happens to be a minister.  The kitchen at his church was missing all its flatware that evening! (Every piece is in its proper home this morning!)

The potatoes that did not get consumed were toted to a sister agency in a nearby town.  The leftover veg was stowed in the SENCA fridge and some of the meat went into the freezer for use by the SENCA cook.  There was not a shred of  waste!

I mention all this because it got me thinking how easy it is to make up fixin’s for baked potatoes for a hungry family.  The cook might spend an evening or a day off afternoon chopping whatever veggies the family favors and keep them in the fridge til they are needed.  Well scrubbed potatoes will cook nicely in the crock pot til it’s time for the evening meal.  Various toppings could be set out for each diner to decorate his potato to his own liking and no one would be put upon after a tiring day of work. And the food budget would still be intact!

SIDEBAR: IF you have a dishwasher, loading potatoes into it is a slick and simple way to get a lot of taters clean in a hurry!  That’s how the SENCA bunch pre-cooked theirs!  When those taters came out of the dishwasher they were checked for spots, oiled and placed on baking sheets to slide into the ovens! END SIDEBAR.

Users of EBT cards from WIC or SNAP might find this idea useful, if not new.  If you or someone you know uses food from food commodities or a food pantry, this is just one more way to make life a wee bit easier.  Maybe you have things from a food drop or church food pantry…dressing up the humble potato is a wonderful way to add fiber, nutrition, flavor and oomph to what might otherwise be a boring tater!

As you who are Members of this humble Cooking Club know, we dedicate  this piece of cyberspace to those who depend on public assistance for their food budgets.  We intend for it to be a helpful asset.  We also hope you will share your stories and experiences with us.  If you like, you may write to us at  WE LOVE HEARING FROM OUR MEMBERS!

We also hope you are getting benefit from the little series of cooking tips we send along to new members.

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: Turban Squash Soup

October 31st, 2014

Phone pix 2014 Oct 001Turban squash soup is easy, tasty and CHEAP!

Autumn seems to scream, “SOUP!  FIX THE FAMILY SOME SOUP!”

Of course you could pick up a can of soup somewhere but soup from scratch, seasoned to your specific preference is so delicious.  Squash soup is particularly filling, nutritious and easy to prepare!

Turban squash came to my attention when I went through my “Macrobiotic Phase” … I had never seen one of these beauties before and was fascinated by their unusual color and shape.  Turban squash are very dense and difficult to cut but once you’ve managed to open them up it is a breeze to oil the exposed flesh and place them on a baking sheet, flesh side down.  I roasted two of these babies in the oven for about an hour and a half at 325*.  Ovens vary…ours runs hot so you can see if 350* is good for YOUR oven.  Adjust the temperature accordingly.

As the roasting process went on I chopped a huge leek into rings, soaked them in a bowl full of cold water.  I rinsed them and cut the rings into quarters.  I sauteed these with a bit of veg oil until they were soft, adding salt and pepper.

When the squash came out of the oven, I scooped out the seeds.  Some folks like to roast those with a bit of salt for a snack.  Those are not popular at our house so I disposed of them, as I did with the outer shell.

The dark yellow-orange flesh of the squash went into the food processor, as did the sauteed leeks.

SIDEBAR No food processor?  Not to worry.  A potato masher works quite well.  The job will go faster if you add a bit of hot water and/or broth to your soup pot as you mash.  The idea is to break up the stringy pulp that remains so your soup will be smooth. END SIDEBAR.

From the food processor the squash and leeks went into the soup pot,  along with enough chicken broth to cover everything.  You could use vegetable broth, as well.  It’s a matter of using whatever you have.  After tasting this mixture I added a bit more salt and ONE TABLESPOON of brown sugar.  That was the magic bullet!

To make a thicker soup I added 1 tablespoon of corn starch.  That didn’t quite DO it for me, so I put in some leftover mashed potatoes that were just sitting in the fridge, waiting to be of service.  When I was satisfied that the soup was thick enough I called it quits. I wanted this to be smooth and creamy so I added milk until it had the consistency and color that pleased me.  You might prefer a thinner soup…it’s all about what YOU like.

As the soup gently simmered I taste tested it again.  It needed just a little something/something so I added a tiny bit of thyme.  I thought it was yummy but to make sure, I offered a spoonful to our house guest, who raved that it was “BRILLIANT!”.  Before I served the soup, I sprinkled some dried parsley into the pot to add some color.

SIDEBAR:  Had it been available, fresh parsley would have been ideal.  I dunno about YOU but we don’t have the luxury of fresh herbs so we lean on the dried versions.  END SIDEBAR.

We had half a dozen lunch guests on the day this was served.  Each of them has far more experience in the kitchen than I.  Everyone complimented the cook on the soup so I think that qualifies me to announce that Turban Squash Soup was a huge hit!

*I should have made a double batch!  It would be easy to do and that way there could be another meal, waiting in the freezer!

Changing the subject abruptly, I want to let you know that there will be a cooking class for users of EBT cards from WIC,  food pantry users, and those who have food commodities!  It will be held on Friday, November 14 at 1:30 PM at the SENCA office in Tecumseh,  Nebraska.  If you are in the area and wish to participate, just call the SENCA office to let them know you’ll be there.  There is NO CHARGE for this class but we need to count noses so we’ll have enough food for the attendees! I plan to show how to use things from your food bundles that are easy, cheap and tasty!

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: Kay Speaks!

October 7th, 2014
These darling little boys are our great grandsons.  Their mommy captured the moment they were about to display brotherly love with a smooch!

These darling little boys are 2 of our great grandsons. Their mommy captured the moment they were about to display brotherly love with a smooch!

Whenever the mail has comments from our Members my heart does the happy dance!  I could have hugged Kay the Gardener when she sent this message.  She gave me cart blanch to with it whatever worked so here, with our deep gratitude, is Kay’s offering:

SIDEBAR:  Kay’s ideas are fabulous.  Even so, they won’t all work for all our Members.  Please choose what works for you and leave whatever does not resonateEND SIDEBAR.

Budgeting & Cooking Tips for Food Stamp Users

Here is my situation.  I live in Portland, Oregon.  I am a single senior citizen; I’m in fairly good health.  I’m an excellent, creative cook with access to a stove/oven, microwave, refrigerator with small freezer on top.  On the shed off the deck I have access to a full sized upright freezer.

I was raised by parents who went through the 1930s Depression as adults. I grew up learning to shop at the Naval commissary/exchange every 2 weeks. We had a full freezer, thanks to our plum, peach, cherry & lemon trees.  We had gardening space in the back yard in the Bay Area. I learned to make jams, jellies & canned fruit as teenager, but don’t do that myself now…

In addition to local grocery stores and an Asian market, I use Community Food Basket pantry box once a month (fee –$15/year).

I like to plan menus.  I plan to have half a dozen basic breakfast variations; lunches are leftovers from dinner, or sandwiches, soups, & desserts. Dinners are typically casseroles, stews, chili, or a la carte items, with salads & fruits as complements.

Cookies, cakes & other sugary desserts are snacks or special occasions.

Being an introvert, I usually share guest meals with only a couple of friends & the next door neighbors (reciprocal potlucks or dinner plates), about 2-3x/month.

I also make a potluck veggie dish to share at monthly club meetings, where I’m willing to eat almost anything except the sauerkraut dishes (Yuk!)

SIDEBAR:  Mother Connie here:  Hey, we all have our faves and dislikes.  You are allowed, Kay!  END SIDEBAR.

Basic Pantry Goods

Starches/Pastas – small elbow macaroni, spaghetti & flat egg noodles, Mee-fun & transparent noodles & other pasta shapes (rotini, butterfly, etc) when on special at Winco from bulk section or Asian stores.

Other grains & Seeds – dry converted rice, with barley, couscous, orzo, spelt, millet, oatmeal, cornmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice, 5-7-10 grain breakfast hot cereal, depending on availability, sesame seeds & sunflower kernels & frozen quinoa, for variety in grains.

Legumes – Dried – Red Kidney, white navy, pinto, garbanzo, small limas, black beans, lentils, yellow & green split peas.

Canned Vegetables – kidney, pinto, black, garbanzo, lima, green beans, creamed & kernel corn, pickled sliced beets, button mushroom pieces, with black & green olives & sweet gherkin pickles & canned pimientos for garnish.

Canned Fruits – Canned in own juice or low sugar packed peaches, pears, plums, apricots, mixed fruit cocktail, pineapple chunks, & maraschino cherries.

Canned Soups – Low salt versions of tomato, chicken noodle & clam chowder soups for quick lunches, with cream of mushroom & cheese soups for sauces. Have chicken, beef & onion in bulk bouillon powders to make quick soup stocks. 

Other Canned items – Sardines in water pack, tuna fish in water pack, Vienna sausages, canned salmon, canned crab/ shrimp for sandwich alternatives. Instant breakfast mix.

Dried Fruits – again from bulk bins – Black raisins for regular use, golden ones for special holiday baking, dried apricots, apple slices, prunes, peaches, banana chips, blueberries, cran-raisins. They make good snacks for munching in small quantities.

Frozen Vegetables – Plain style baby green peas, corn, cut green beans, sliced carrot “coins”. I use frozen veggies as standbys & mix my own combinations without sauces, instead of buying fancy “California mix”.

Also I keep on hand frozen 100% orange juice, both calcium enriched & “with pulp” styles.

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables – Basics – Apples, oranges, grapefruits, bananas

Basics – Regular — Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Cabbage, Romaine lettuce

Seasonal – other seasonal fruits & veggies for variety, bought when plentiful, about 7-12 at any given time during the month. I use seasonal produce calendars from the Washington/Oregon Extension departments, available from library lobbies, senior centers, etc. for hints. These fresh veggies might be used 2-3 times each during the week, first plain, then in different combos.

Dairy/Eggs – I use dried non-fat milk, from the large (20 qt) size, made up in quart containers or on the run. Buy monthly – 12 – 24 string cheese packs, brick of medium cheddar (2 -2.5 lbs), 12 or 18 eggs, depending upon carryover stock.

Special purchases –pint of cottage cheese (2%), 1/2 pint non-fat plain yogurt ( = substitute sour cream), bulk Parmesan for garnish when needed, mozzarella or Colby / jack bricks for variety every few months.

I save plastic/ glass jars & margarine & bulk potato salad containers to store these items in, with the contents labeled on the sides & tops.

Meats – In rotation, to keep as basics on hand, I would buy a 3-5 lb log of ground beef, then cut & wrap into 1 lb packs for the freezer. I also buy the 10 lb frozen chicken forequarter packs, slightly defrost & rinse, clean & repack 2 legs/ package & pop them into the freezer quickly. I buy a couple of frozen 1 lb imitation crab packs & keep a couple of 1 lb packs of turkey/poultry franks in the freezer for quickie meals.

I also have in the freezer during the year, bought on special –

Beef –liver, kidneys & tongue, beef round – cut as a roast or thick cut steak, cross-cut beef shanks, 7 bone thick cut pot roast to cut into pot roast & stew meat chunks. (Rib-eye or T-bone steaks are reserved for when people take me out for special occasions).

Pork – small turkey ham, thick cut ham slice, thick cut pork chops, boneless pork loin chunks, pork shoulder steaks, mild pork sausage for meatloaves, & Oktoberfest style sausages in the fall.

Lamb – ground lamb, & lamb shanks, a full bone-in leg of lamb in Spring.

Poultry – a couple of whole fryers when on sale for summer BBQ, a large (15-20 lb) frozen turkey bought in the pre-Thanksgiving sales (eg, 49 cents/lb with $50 of other groceries – I buy my Nov staples around the 18th, instead of on the 10th of that month).

Fish – 2 lb packs of frozen basa (swai) fillets, a spring/summer run salmon fillet, which I cut into 1” thick steaks myself, & other fish pieces if on special sale. Most of my fish comes from the Asian stores, because the turnover is quicker there.

For all these frozen packages, I keep a running list of the contents, weight, date in & date out, posted to an inner cupboard in my kitchen, to help rotate the items.”


Kay has shared so much information that some of it will have to go into another post!  Such extravagant generosity!  Thank you, Kay!


So that is our tease, kids!  Stay tuned for the remainder of ideas from Kay the Gardener!

**Note from Mother Connie:  There are font gremlins somewhere in WordPress!  Sorry it looks so goofy!  Such is the life of a blogger!  grin/giggle

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: 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

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: French Toast!

January 8th, 2014

WordPress will not load the gorgeous image of the finished product!

If you plan ahead, you can delight the people who put their toes under your table with a “fancy schmancy” meal, even if you are just learning to cook!

French Toast is fun, filling and fabulous.  It is easy to make, pretty to serve, and it is satisfying in the way of comfort food..

Mother Connie put several slices of bread into a 8 X 8″ casserole dish and covered the bread with a mixture of 2 beaten eggs and some milk–enough to cover the bread.  It went into the fridge to hang out til morning.

*There is a great image of these slices, soaking.  Alas, it won’t load!  argh

You can use a lightly greased skillet or a griddle, depending on what you own and how many mouths you’ll be feeding.  We use a griddle, with the temp set at 350*- but when I turn on the griddle I also set the oven to 2oo*.

The bread soaks up the milk and egg mixture.  I place each slice on the very lightly greased griddle and let it brown nicely before I turn it.  When each slice is browned on both sides and removed from the griddle, it goes onto an oven safe platter or casserole dish.  These freshly done slices get to lounge in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.  This allows a nice crust to form and make them crisp.  **This is how it’s done in high end eateries!

When it comes out of the oven, you can dress it up with a very light sprinkle of powdered sugar.  I use my flour sifter.

We like to top our French Toast with honey or home made syrup.  Sometimes we put a few berries on the top or maybe a slice or two of peaches.  Our favorite bread to use is Lithuanian Sourdough Rye because it is a heavy bread but any bread will do.

Here’s how to make the syrup.  Once you make this you will never buy commercial syrup again.

The image of the syrup in the cutest pitcher ever will NOT load!  *argh!

Home Made Syrup

Into a heavy saucepan put

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

dash salt

Bring this to a rolling boil and make sure all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and add 2 – 3 teaspoons maple flavoring.  Pour the syrup into a pitcher or bowl with a serving spoon.  Pour any leftover syrup into a jar.  I store syrup in the kitchen cabinet.

Those of you who have been Members here for awhile know full well that this corner of cyberspace is devoted to users of public assistance for their food budgets.  If you are a holder of an EBT card for SNAP or WIC, we hope you are getting helpful information here.  Maybe you are living on a dime or you just make a game out of being frugal.  You might frequent your food pantry or you might be using food commodities.  Whatever your situation, and especially if you are just learning to cook, we are so proud to have you in the House!

When we read the emails that pour in; when we read the love you leave on the comment panel, it’s patently obvious there is a need for the service we hope to provide.

Connie Baum

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

PS/Do take a moment, when you can, to cruise over to Creative Savv and CT On a Budget.  They have such great info for saving $$$.  And their images DO load…sigh..



Food Stamps Cooking Club Unveils Offline Cooking Class!

January 2nd, 2014

Oatmeal 002

This is the very first day of our Food Stamps Cooking Club Offline Cooking Class!


There are a great many supporters to thank – Lorraine Wellman, Renita Farrall, Velda Koehler, who have been exuberant cheerleaders of this blog; Lili and Carol, my fellow bloggers who never cease to inspire me with their own menus, tips n tricks, comments and general encouragement; the good folks at Living On a Dime, who feel like family to me and Leanne Ely, who got me hooked many years ago with her Garlic Lime Chicken and her quest: Saving Dinner.

The idea with this class is to teach anybody how to prepare simple, low cost foods. There is nothing fancy or complicated about these recipes and tutorials. Best of all, we aren’t making any effort to sell you stuff! We want everyone to be healthy and to do that at the lowest possible cost.

Here is our very first offering:

Overnight Oatmeal

1 cup oats *Mother Connie prefers whole oat groats but use whatever you have

1 cup raisins* optional but this adds nutrition…just sayin’

handful of finely chopped nuts *walnuts, pecans, peanuts–whatever Santa left you

3 cups water or water and milk

dash of salt

Put everything into a covered saucepan or casserole dish and slide it into the oven after supper.  Set the temp for 200* and let the oven do the work for you.

In the morning you will be delighted NOT to have to make breakfast.  Simply take off the lid, stir a bit and dish it up!

*This would work well with a slow cooker too, but Mother Connie has not made it that way..yet.  grin/giggle

We like ours served with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg, along with a spoonful of either brown or granulated sugar.

No oven?  A toaster oven will do just fine.  Please, please do not use a microwave oven because they emit dangerous Electro Magnetic Frequencies and rob your food of its nutritive value.

We sincerely hope this will contribute to your life in a positive way!  You are dearly loved!

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.