Posts Tagged ‘public assistance’

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: Keep Calm and Scramble Eggs!

June 2nd, 2014

 

Eggs make a simple, low cost, tummy filling meal in minutes.  And talk about EASY-DO!

Eggs make a simple, low cost, tummy filling meal in minutes. And talk about EASY-DO!

As you all know this little corner of the internet is dedicated to users of public assistance for their food dollars.  That would include holders of EBT cards for SNAP and WIC as well as those who  visit food pantries, food banks, food drops, and food commodities.

It was my privilege to attend a large conference recently where I met people who work in food pantries.  The concern seems to be  “WHY do users of public assistance not know how to shop wisely and prepare healthy foods at home?”

This is not neuroscience, my friends. MANY of us are living on  a dime…  Here’s the deal:  People who need help with their food dollars are those who grew up poor or became needy from medical circumstances or had bad luck or made choices that put them into financial straits.  Most likely as they were growing up, their caretakers were working two jobs each to keep body and soul together and there was no time or opportunity for the next generation to learn how to shop or cook.  It may have been “catch as catch can” when it came to the business of mealtime.  Maybe they live in places where good food supplies are uncertain and sometimes unavailable.

Enter Mother Connie!  My passion is for people who want to learn to work with the resources they have in order to S T R E T C H those food dollars to get the help they need AND for those same people to feel appreciated and respected and loved as people.  There will be no scolding, no shaming, no judgement in this little part of the world. We just wanna HELP.

Today I want to share with you how EASY it is to scramble the humble egg.  Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein and can star in any menu-breakfast, lunch or dinner.

 

Begin by GENTLY heating a coupla pats o butter or a bit of veggie oil..

Begin by GENTLY heating a coupla pats o butter or a bit of veggie oil..

While your butter or oil warm, choose two eggs for each diner and one for the skillet.  *ALMOST the same as the rule for potatoes:  “one for each face around the table and one for the pot.”   Here are the eggs we fixed for today’s lunch:

Scrambled Eggs 2014 002

Mom always taught me to break each egg into a small bowl before I added it into a batch so a bad egg would not ruin the whole works.  You can see that the small bowl was eliminated here and the reason is that these eggs are farm fresh and we have NEVER found a bad egg in the many eggs we get from this resource!  This big bowl is what they were mixed in before the skillet was warm and ready to receive the goodies!

I used a whisk to mix the eggs gently but thoroughly.

SIDEBAR:  Our kitchen is NOT tricked  out with granite counters, double dishwashers, warming ovens, and islands with cook tops.  I’m guessing neither is YOURS.  So if you have no whisk, keep calm and grab a fork.  *However, I would not recommend a plastic fork grin/giggle.  END SIDEBAR

The next step requires a bit of patience because the cook – or the cook’s assistant – would be wise to keep those eggs moving so they don’t cook in a bunch.  You want scrambled eggs to be smooth and almost creamy.  Just stir them with your whisk or fork until they don’t look shiny any more.  At the beginning you can season them with plain ole salt and pepper:

Scrambled Eggs 2014 007

If you want to add texture to scrambled eggs, a nice addition *if you have the time* is to finely chop some onion and celery and/or peppers into the mix.  Just drop the chopped goods into the eggs as you start the cooking process and they will provide nutrition and crunch.

Ketchup is a good condiment if you don’t prefer plain eggs; salsa is a popular one, as well.  Use whatever you have on hand and enjoy every bite.  If you have some bread for toasting, that is a good partner for eggs.  You might like to have canned peaches for dessert if it’s lunch or dinner. And if you are making eggs for breakfast, applesauce makes a great breakfast starter.

Here’s hoping this helps you immensely.  We also hope you have the time and inclination to add your comment on the comment panel below this post.

Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by and you need to know how TICKLED we are to see all the new members who have hopped on board,  despite the issues we’ve had of late!  Please know you are ALL 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.

 PS/You can contact us at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com , too!

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Member’s Cooking Lesson

January 17th, 2014
Mother Connie has a hodge podge of cookbooks and recipes; some of her food notions live in her head...

Mother Connie has a hodge podge of cookbooks and recipes; some of her food notions live in her head…

You all know by now that the mail you send makes Mother Connie’s heart go pitty-pat!  Today  a message from a Club Member came in that really piqued my curiosity!  Here is what Delaine wanted to share with all of us:

“With food-stamp allotments being so small, and being cut all the time, I know fully how every calorie counts and how to count every calorie.  For me, I am in a very uncomfortable situation that most people do not understand, and that is for some of us, hanging onto every pound we have is as difficult or more difficult than losing weight.  Please do not envy us.  It sounds wonderful, but it is more painful to try to gain weight than lose it, as I have done both.  I was obese until I got sick, and now I am on the other side of the scale of having to try to hang onto every pound, so trust me when I tell you I understand the dilemma.
In the meantime, getting as much nutrition from every food stamp penny is my goal, and even when I am off the social network, as I apparently will be over the next few months, I will still only have the same amount of money for food as I currently have in food allotments.  I have many helps and hints both for stretching food stamp money and using ‘food for cleaning.’ “
Delaine goes on to share how she ACCIDENTALLY learned to make syrup on the cheap:  ” It’s just like the pancake syrup that is 1 cup brown sugar to 6 oz of Dr. Pepper, and boiled down to syrup consistency.  Cheap and accidental, because I was not intending to make pancake syrup when I discovered that!”
SIDEBAR:  Mother Connie is no fan of soda pop but a cook’s gotta do what a cook’s gotta do!  Go with what you have on hand!   END SIDEBAR
Delaine goes on to share her preference for comfort food that won’t break the bank:
“1/2 package elbow macaroni

1  can black beans
1  can corn
2  small cans tomato sauce
Taco season mix – equal parts chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and sugar.
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
The trick to this recipe is to brown the macaroni thoroughly.  It should look like “whole wheat” macaroni.  Drain and rinse the beans and corn and add to the macaroni along with 2 cans of tomato sauce and the spices.  Add 2 tomato cans of water, reduce to a simmer and wait for all the water to be absorbed.  You may need to add water if the macaroni is too stiff.
This goes well with a pan of corn bread.”
SIDEBAR:  Mother Connie strongly suggests you add a green salad or plate of raw veggies OR fruit  to this menu, if that’s  available.  END SIDEBAR
We greatly appreciate Delaine’s contribution to our Cooking Class! 
Those who are living on a dime, people who use public assistance for their food budgets and anyone who holds an EBT card for SNAP or WIC needs all the help they can garner.  If you use a food pantry, food commodities or any other form of public assistance you know that it’s a tough row to hoe.  We hope to help in that regard.
If you have not signed up for our little series of tips, we invite you to do so.  And keep those emails coming!  foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com
We remind you, also, that you are dearly loved.
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’s Class Is All Souped UP!

January 7th, 2014

Cooking Class Home Imp Kay 038Soup’s ON!

It seems as if most of the United States is in the deep freeze!  What could be more warming than a bowl of hot soup on a frigid day?  We have a wonderful soup to share with you.  There is a wee bit of a story to go with it:

When I was a little girl my mother used to make what she called “Our Favorite Vegetable Soup” and I loved it so. I think of it as a comfort food. She made it quite often and as I grew up and took up in my own kitchen, I made it as often as she did.  It really WAS our favorite soup!

Mom came to live with us as her health began to fail and one day I came home from work to discover that she had “commandeered” our kitchen to delight us with steaming bowls of this luscious comfort food!  It was the very last meal she ever prepared.

It might become YOUR favorite soup, too.  It’s super easy and quick to make and you can vary it to suit YOUR fancy.

Our Favorite Vegetable Soup

To begin:

1 small onion, chopped

2 or 3 ribs of celery, chopped

3 or 4 carrots, chopped

Saute in a bit of vegetable oil.  Salt and pepper.  Cook until tender but firm.

Cooking Class Home Imp Kay 008Veggies saute very quickly over medium high heat.

Continue by putting into a soup pot: 1/2 package of macaroni *I prefer gluten free but YOU use what YOU like.

Cooking Class Home Imp Kay 013This is how Mother Connie stores her pasta; here it has been freshly removed from the freezer!

Put the sauteed veg into the soup pot with the macaroni and  4   cups of chicken broth, if you have it.  *Use water if you don’t have broth.

Cook this combo on medium heat until the macaroni is tender,stirring occasionally.

When the macaroni is cooked BUT NOT MUSHY, add 3 – 4 cups of milk and heat thoroughly.

If you like a thin soup, this is IT.  If you like a thick soup, sprinkle some instant mashed potatoes (or leftover mashed spuds) into the pot until it is the consistency you and your family like best.

Taste test to see if you need more seasonings.  This can take a good bit of salt, especially if you add potatoes.  This soup is lovely when served  with a dark bread or green salad-or both.

This will make 6 – 8 servings.  I always hope to have leftover soup so I can freeze it for an easy meal another time.

Those of you who have been Members for awhile know that we cater to users of WIC or SNAP and are EBT  card holders.  We also hope to help users of food pantries, food commodities; anyone who uses public assistance for their food budgets.  A good number of you are living on a dime.  Many people have not learned to cook.  We hope this little Offline Cooking Class will help those who are interested to know how to prepare simple meals on a tight budget and still maintain nourishing foods will get the help needed to really make their way around the kitchen.

You have no doubt noticed there is no loud voice, begging you to BUY stuff.  *Are you relieved?

You are welcome to share our information on Facebook or with those who sit in your circle.  Lots of people need help these days; together we could make a real difference in the world!

Please remember 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.

Cucumbers and Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 28th, 2013
Cucumbers can shine in a hot weather salad...or NOT!

Cucumbers can shine in a hot weather salad…or NOT!

One of our kids calls these “coonkumbers”…it’s shorthand to refer to them as “cukes”.  The Normanator doesn’t care what you call them; he doesn’t like them.

Yesterday was a rare event in the life of your humble blogger.  We treated ourselves to a double date with former neighbors, which involved a restaurant meal and a baseball game.  It was so great not to have to think about shopping, chopping and presenting a meal.  Better yet-I was not on the clean up committee!

I ordered a chicken fried steak, smothered in creamy white gravy, which was completely tender.  I cut it with my fork, savoring each bite.  I also ordered turnip greens which were drizzled with a lovely vinegar.  Freshly sauteed green beans appeared on the plate, as well.  My third choice was a delicious sounding salad that promised to cool and refresh:  cucumbers with tomatoes and onion.

The salad was a train wreck!  Thumbs down all the way!  I suppose I was expecting the kind of cuke/tomato/onion yumminess that my dear mother always made.  She peeled the cucumbers, chopped the tomatoes and cukes in to bite sized pieces and the onions were minced so as to be the background.  She would save a few rings of onion for garnish.  Then she bathed it all in a solution of vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.  It was always delectable.

What our waitress delivered to the table were HUNKS of cucumber, whole tomatoes that were so pathetic they had NO juice and were wrinkly and unappealing.  The onions?  Oh, my, they were hunks of onion, too!  CHUNKS, none of it was even chopped!  It looked icky and tasted blah.

Complaining about food ordered in a restaurant is not my cup of tea but when asked directly how everything was, I suggested that they rethink their salad or remove it from the menu.  I suspect they might take my idea under advisement, because even the manager got involved in salad conversation…

Here’s how cucumber salad should be prepared, in Mother Connie’s humble opinion:

Summery Cucumber Side Salad

1 medium cucumber, washed, peeled and diced into bite sized pieces

2 medium tomatoes, washed, peeled, chopped

1 small onion, peeled and diced

Place vegetables in a small bowl.  Add a liberal amount of salt and let stand for 15 minutes or so, until there is juice in the bottom of the bowl.

Pour off the juice and salt.  Add enough vinegar and cold water to cover the goods.  Add  a generous amount of salt, pepper and sugar to the mix and allow it to stand in the fridge so it has time to chill and the flavors can marry.  Taste test the solution as you go.

Using rice vinegar or wine vinegar-if you have it-changes  the taste of the brine and promises to delight the palate!  This is refreshing on a hot end-of-summer day and will keep well in the fridge, so you could double or triple the recipe and save yourself some prep time!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you hold an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  Maybe you just like the challenge of squeezing the food dollars and seeing how frugal you can be!  Are you getting goods from a food pantry, food drop or food commodities?  Maybe you have visited a food bank…in any case, if you use any form of public assistance we are devoted to helping you  S T R E T C H  those food dollars.  We sincerely hope we bring value to you and your loved ones.  We bring no judgement and we are not out to sell you anything.  We have a little series of cooking tips to share if you join the Club and we always hope for your comments and emails to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.

Plans are in the works for an offline cooking class…stay tuned!  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.

 

 

39 Tips from Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 27th, 2013

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Mother Connie found something that might be of interest and helpful to those of you who are struggling to manage your food budgets with help from public assistance.

If any of these ideas hits your hot button, you can thank Facebook and the people who posted this list.  It came from Carrie’s Healthy Friends, a group on Facebook!

Here is her list:


“Most people are watching their dollars and working off a budget to make ends meet. Many are also now looking for natural alternatives to live a more wholesome and chemical free life. Following are a few ways in which you can have both of the above. These uses are becoming more prevalent and are easy to do it yourself. So, here are great easy uses for common household items to make your life more chemical free and your wallet a little fatter.

1) Toothpaste: Buff a CD/DVD
Apply toothpaste to a cotton ball and wipe the disc. Wash with water afterwards and you’ve got a brand new disc!

2) Cornstarch: Untangle Knots
Sprinkling cornstarch into tough knots, such as shoe laces helps loosen them.

3) Walnut: Buff Dings out of Wood Furniture
Get rid of unsightly scratches and dings on wood furniture by rubbing a walnut on the areas. The blemishes will vanish quickly and your furniture and pocket book will be saved.

4) Club Soda: Make Your Breads Fluffier
When baking, where recipes call for water, add club soda instead to make pancakes, waffles and any other breads fluffier.

5) Salt: Keep Windows Frost Free
Pour a cup of salt into a liter of water. Sponge the liquid onto the inside of window to prevent frost from forming during the winter months.

6) Rubbing Alcohol: Remove Permanent Marker
Dab the surface that has the permanent marker on it with a cloth or cotton ball covered in rubbing alcohol to make it disappear quickly.

7) Chap stick: Stops Bleeding When Nicked Shaving
Cut yourself shaving? Just swipe some chap stick over the cut to stop that constant bleeding. No more tissue squares!
Apple Juice: Removes Dandruff
Don’t ask how it works, but it does! Instead of buying a special shampoo, just wash your hair in apple juice to rid your scalp of pesky dandruff.

9) Aspirin: Get Rid of Armpit Stains on T-Shirts
Grind up an aspirin tablet or two, then make a paste out of it using water, lemon or vinegar. Spread the paste on the stained area and let sit for an hour before washing.

10) Olive Oil: Make Pets’ Coat Shinier
Add a bit of olive oil to your pet’s food to give them a healthier, shinier coat of fur.

11) Newspapers: Clean Windows and Mirrors
Instead of using a spray and a streaky cloth, use only newspaper to clean off your mirrors and windows for a streak-free finish.

12) Baking Soda: Remove Bugs from Windshield
Mix baking soda with warm water to make a paste. Spread the paste over your windshield for fifteen minutes. Then wipe or spray off with a hose.

13) Bleach: Extend Life of Flowers in Vase
Add a few drops of bleach to vase water to prevent the build-up of the slime caused by bacteria. It works just like chlorine in a swimming pool.

14) Kitchen Dish Soap: Flea-Killing Dog Shampoo
Kitchen dish soap (not dish detergent) can double as dog shampoo for its flea killing abilities.

15) Coke: Remove Blood Stains from Clothing
Soak the stain in coke until the stain is dissolved, then wash the clothing as usual. Wash before the coke dries, though.

16) Honey: Remove Blemish Overnight
Have a blemish you need to get rid of by tomorrow? Put a dab of honey on the blemish and cover it up (it’s best to use a Band-Aid) and the honey’s natural antibacterial properties will clean out the bacteria by the morning.

17) Wax Paper: Clean Can Opener Gears
Run a few small strips of wax paper through the can opener to clean out of the bits and pieces that have built up in the gears throughout the year. The wax will also rub off on the gears to protect for future use as well.

18) WD-40: Remove Crayons from Walls
Use the lubricant and a cloth to remove stubborn crayon marks from the walls just by spraying the wall and wiping with a cloth.

19) Chalk: Keep Ants and Slugs Out of the House
Ants and Slugs Won’t Touch Chalk. So, simply draw a line in front of your doorway where you are having problems with these pesky critters and they won’t cross it, meaning they won’t be able to get into your house.

20) Vinegar: Kills Weeds and Helps Flowers Grow
Vinegar is a magic wonder when it comes to gardening. It not only kills weeds but they help flowers grow as well. Douse vinegar all around your garden to prevent weeds from popping up and to help your flowers to grow healthy and strong.

21) Mayonnaise: Remove Bumper Sticker
Spread mayonnaise on the bumper sticker and let sit for at least thirty minutes. Then, rub the sticker off with a towel, leaving a clean bumper!

22) Tin Foil Ball: Replace Dryer Sheets Permanently
Instead of using a dryer sheet ball up one or a few sheets of tin foil and toss it in the dryer. It removes the static electricity from your clothes and one can last up to a year.

23) Banana Peel: Polish Leather Shoes
Use the inside of a banana peel to give shoes a professional and natural shine that will last for quite some time.

24) Mouthwash: Cure Athlete’s Foot
Pour mouthwash on cotton balls and then swab your feet. The alcohol will disinfect the bacteria completely if you continue this for a week or so.

25) Baking Soda: Clean BBQ Grill
Mix a cup of baking soda with half a cup water to make a paste. Dip your brush into the paste and scrub the grill. The caked on pieces and black residue will come off much quicker and using baking soda is much safer and cheaper than using cleaning chemicals.

26) Coffee Grounds: Fertilizer
Coffee is full of nutrients and vitamins that are very beneficial to soil. That’s why some people include it in compost piles. If you want to get the most out of your coffee, pour the grounds on areas where you want more grass or flowers.

27) Olive Oil: Shaving Cream
The smoothness of the oil can replace the need for shaving cream, and it also provides great moisture.

28) Dryer Sheets: Gets Rid of Static Electricity
Use dryer sheets to remove static electricity from things such as clothing, TV screens or your own hair. Tame fly away strands by running a dryer sheet over them.

29) Freezer: Freeze Candles to Make Them Last Longer
Put candles in the freezer for at least 2 hours before using. Once you burn them, the wax will melt at a much slower pace, making them last much longer!

30) Two glasses of water: Cure Headache
Water is the cure to most common headaches. To make the headache go away quickly, drink two cups of water very quickly.

31) Lemons: Deodorize Garbage Disposal
Toss whole slices of lemon into the garbage disposal then run it. The acidity of the lemon will rid your sink of all odors and leave a fresh scent that usually lasts for a few months.

32) Alka Seltzer: Remove Burnt-On Grease and Food Stains
When letting your pots and pans soak, throw in one or two Alka Seltzer tablets and the caked on residue from cooking will come off easily when you scrub/wash.

33) Apple Cider Vinegar: Relieve Diarrhea
Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into eight ounces of water to soothe your stomach. The taste may not be the greatest, but the antibacterial properties of the vinegar will end the unpleasantness of the bowel problems.

34) Toothpaste: Remove Scratches from Glass
Apply toothpaste to scratch, then rub with a cloth until the scratch is gone. Make sure the glass is clean beforehand.

35) Cheerios: Relieve Pain from Poison Ivy, Chickenpox and Sunburns
Pound one to four cups of Cheerios into a powder and add to your bath to soothe your skin while you soak. You may not feel relief while in the tub, but you will soon after.

36) Buttons: Sort Earrings
Organize your earrings and prevent them from becoming entangled by using spare buttons as holders for each pair.

37) Corn Oil: Prevent Hairballs for Pets
Add a few drops of corn oil to your pets’ food to prevent hairballs from forming. The thick oil helps the fur pass through the animal’s system much quicker and easily.

38) Whipped Cream: Remove Gum from Hair
There are many remedies for removing gum from hair, but this is a lesser known one. Give it a try rather than peanut butter the next time you’re in need.

39) Coke: Remove Oil Stains from the Driveway
Oil stains are very difficult to remove pavement, but one method guaranteed to work is Coke. The highly acidic drink will eat away at the oil until clean.

40) Brown Sugar: Facial Scrub
A scrub is good to do about once a month to remove dead skin and bacteria built up in pores and remove excess oil from the skin. Brown sugar does just as well as expensive products and will definitely result in a clearer and smoother complexion.

41) Dryer Sheet: Lint Brush
You already know that dryer sheets remove lint in the dryer. Well, it can do the same thing out of the dryer, too. When you’re in a fix, use a dryer sheet. It works just as well as a lint brush, and if you like the scent, it’s an added bonus.

42) Newspaper: Deodorize food containers and Food Drawers in the Refrigerator
For that stinky Tupperware or smelly refrigerator drawer that is too much to deal with, toss in a sheet of newspaper overnight before you deal with it. The paper will absorb the smell greatly reducing it or eliminating it completely.

43) Olive Oil: Unstick a Zipper
The oil will help the zipper slide more easily, fixing the problem!

44) Salt: Cool Something Quickly
You know that feeling when you’re having a BBQ and someone asks for a drink and you realize that no one has put them in the cooler? There’s nothing worse than a warm drink on a hot day. Chill a drink quickly, by adding salt and water to your ice. The drinks will be cold in a matter of minutes; saving your party and making you look smart all at once.

45) Scotch Tape: Prevent Wall from Chipping When Nailing
The wall can leave unsightly chips when hammering in a nail. Prevent this by simply placing a piece of scotch tape over the area you’re going to nail. The wall will be held tighter, preventing chips from occurring.

46) Alka Seltzer: Soothe Insect Bites
Dissolve two tablets into a glass of water. Then use a cloth or cotton ball to apply it to the affected area. The red will go down and most importantly, the itchiness will vanish usually in fifteen minutes.

47) Lemon: Whitens Whites
Add about half a cup of lemon juice to your load of whites to makes them extra white. You can use lemon juice with bleach or detergent, so don’t worry about mixing chemicals with the acidic lemon.

48) Banana Peel: Whiten Teeth
This may sound a little odd, but rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth twice a day for two weeks and you will receive the same effect from a teeth-whitening kit. Plus, you’ll save yourself money and the hassle of using chemicals.

49) Hair Dryer: Free Photos Stuck on Pages
If you have a photo stuck on a page that you can’t get free, try using a blow dryer on the back of the page. It will loosen the photo from the page and the adhesive holding it there.

50) Banana Peel: Heal Most Skin Problems
Bananas are the magical fruit, because they heal many common problems on the skin. By rubbing the peel on your skin, you can heal bruises and cuts and eliminate rashes, itching and warts. Basically if you have a common skin problem, it can be cured by this fruit.

I hope you can put some or all of these to good use to save money and make your home a safer environment. There are tons more DIY uses for common household items like these. make sure to share the info with your friends!”

Thanks, Carrie! 

We hope you know how much we appreciate all the new Members who have come here for help…and we do hope we are helpful to you in your situation.  We also remind you all that 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.

Bean Soakers, Arise & Join Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 5th, 2013
When the type of bean to prepare has been chosen and the ingredients to gather in the bean pot are on hand, shall we SOAK the beans or NOT SOAK the beans?  That seems to be the question.

When the type of bean to prepare has been chosen and the ingredients to gather in the bean pot are on hand, shall we SOAK the beans or NOT SOAK the beans? That seems to be the question.

Our weekend was enhanced because of a wonderful gathering with friends at their cabin.  It was a simple, relaxed affair  where every guest brought carry in dishes and their sense of humor!

We sat around the fire pit, toasting marshmallows and talking when the subject of beans came up…

SIDEBAR:  Think of it Mother Connie being present and the topic of food coming up.  Unimaginable, eh?  END SIDEBAR.

Some of these folks are bean soakers; others consider soaking beans unnecessary.  The idea even came up that we should form an organization and call ourselves “The Bean Soakers”…there were ideas about club meetings and parade floats and all manner of silliness all centered around whether to soak or not to soak beans before cooking.  Purchasing canned beans was also a hot topic!

Truly, by that time of the evening ,with darkness coming over us, we were ALL full of beans!

But it got Mother Connie thinking about the people who depend on public assistance for their food dollars.  How is the single mother – or single dad, for that matter – going to know how to cook beans or anything at all UNLESS and UNTIL they KNOW HOW?

I dunno how it is in your world but I’m keenly aware of families who work 2 or 3 poorly paying jobs, juggle family and work and sleep and have few cooking skills because THEIR parents did the same routine…who had time to teach/learn cooking?  Then again, you have the people who are living on a dime whose relatives taught them to cook but they were not particularly interested at the time and now they are struggling to make ends meet.

We are told to bloom where you are planted, so Mother Connie has committed herself to offering a Cooking Class.  The date has not been chosen YET but we do promise it will be something with video so everyone in the Club can access the information.

It won’t be slick and high end.  We’ll do it in the Club House and we will stick to basics.

This will not be a gimmick to get you to do something; this will be information you can use or lose, depending on what you need to make your life better.  We feel called to do this for you out of our concern for your financial and physical health.

Do you squeeze a nickel til the buffalo bellows?  Are you holding an EBT card for SNAP or WIC?  Do you love to cook?  Do you hate to cook?  No matter if you get your food from a food pantry, food bank, use food commodities or what-we are here to support you.  Our mail has indicated of late that you are finding this little corner of the internet helpful and that keeps us getting up each day and delivering what we hope is a valuable service to you all.

Please remember you are loved and appreciated!  And if you wouldn’t mind, we would love to know if YOU are a bean soaker!

Connie Baum

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MORE Zukes? Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 2nd, 2013

They just keep coming! We heard about a cool, refreshing salad idea that may be perfect for this bounteous crop of zucchini squashes!

Prolific gardeners just keep harvesting the abundant crops of zucchini squashes and this time of year we may have wearied of the breads and stir fry uses of them.  Still, they must be used and Mother Connie is always on the hunt for new ideas for them to take their place at the dinner table!

Zucchinis are such a help to those who use public assistance to fund their food budgets.  If you are a holder of an EBT card for WIC or SNAP or if you get things from a food drop, food pantry, use  food commodities or are simply living on a dime, the chances are good that you have easy access to zucchini at this time of year.

The idea I want to share with you today is best used with small squashes… yellow summer squash or zucchinis will be ideal BUT if all you have are the larger ones it would be good to scoop out the centers and dispose of the seeds.

You may scrub the skin well or peel the little darlings.  The best thing is to USE that skin, for that’s where the enzymes live that help your body to digest and utilize the nutrition it’s getting.  But if the skin is off-putting, just peel away.

Slice the squash VERY VERY THINLY and place into a bowl.  Sprinkle some salt over the veg and then drizzle vegetable oil over it – just enough oil to moisten it nicely.  Let the bowl sit on your kitchen counter for about 20 minutes, giving the salt time to draw out the moisture in the zukes.  You can add pepper, too, just to add a bit of zest.   It’s ready to eat at that point but if you plan to eat it later, it can hang out in your refrigerator.

Now, let’s visit about OIL.  I prefer olive oil for this but you may only have some other type.  Please rest assured that the Kitchen Kops do  not give a hoot about how you choose your oils.  I would caution against the use of corn or canola oil because of genetic modification concerns The GMO foods are extremely unhealthy choices.

SIDEBAR:  You know as well as Mother Connie that when you are making every effort to survive on public assistance, you take what you are offered and you are grateful to have food at all!  We GET that.  END SIDEBAR.

Zuke salad 002

Ta Da! Our salad course for lunch is ready!

Part of the fun of beginning each work day in the Club House is looking to see the new Members who have joined and will get our little series of cooking tips.  We are so happy to have you here; we exist to help you manage your food dollars and we have every intention to be helpful.  That’s only cuz we love you.

If you chose to cruise over to our pals at Living On a Dime, I hope you remembered to leave them some love and mention Mother Connie’s name.  They were excited that we mentioned them in yesterday’s post because they have something special for those who are able to be involved in all the fun they have going on there.

No doubt you have seen the phenomenal and helpful tips from our blogger pal, Carol.  Please be sure to thank her, too, for all her wisdom.  She is a gift to all our Members.

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.

 

First Fast Food and Food Stamps Cooking Club

July 30th, 2013

Fruits and veggies were the original fast food!

Even though it’s summer, or maybe especially because it is summer, people want fast food and they want it NOW.  Some folks skip breakfast because they are rushed to get to work; everyone can be on varying sleeping schedules because of vacation times — you all know  the drill.  That’s when convenient finger-food is really important.

When it’s time for lunch everyone wants something fast so they can go play.  Dinner time comes and people arrive at the table at varying times or, worse, sit in front of a screen as they eat.

Fresh fruits and veggies make for great meal plans, whether it’s a meal or a snack.

Let’s use yesterday’s lunch in the Club House for example:

We expected a lunch guest who is very diet conscious.  She has recently shed some weight and is eager to maintain her new norm.  To honor this, I prepared a HUGE salad at very low cost.  It had Romaine lettuce, onion, celery, mushrooms, red pepper, cauliflower and frozen peas.  It had a home made honey/mustard dressing so it was the perfect companion to the main dish.  Oh.  I used a bit of leftover ground beef to top off the salad.  It had already been seasoned so it only needed to be heated and that took almost no time to manage.

Our guest favored us with a bowl of fresh fruit, which served as a luscious ‘as-is’ dessert.  No topping; no dressing; just naked chunks of peach, apple, and strawberries.  Nothing spendy, really.

SIDEBAR:  We were surprised and delighted to add 2 more plates to the lunch table when some friends happened by as we came to the table.  Just as in the story of the loaves and the fishes there was plenty of food and we even had enough food left over for another meal!  END SIDEBAR

We were loaded with adequate protein and fiber – solid nutrition with minerals and vitamins and flavor, so we were not searching for snacks between lunch and dinner.

With food costs soaring it’s important to get enough nutrition in the foods we eat so as to keep the costs as low as possible.

It’s hard to juggle work/play/food prep/food costs with family and friends in every 24 hour span of time.  We GET that.  That’s why we exist.  It is our intention to be of service each day in our own little way.  You need to feel that someone cares and that you matter, BECAUSE YOU DO MATTER and of course, we care of we would not address the issue every week day.

If you or someone you know is using public assistance, living on a dime or has an EBT  card for SNAP or WIC you may want to share this information with them.  Users of food pantries, food commodities, food banks, food drops or those who are thrifty by nature might like to become Members here at Food Stamps Cooking Club.  We appreciate passing the word and we do offer a little series of cooking tips.  Plans are in the works for a Cooking Class, which we hope can happen in the fall.

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.

Sprouting Seeds at Food Stamps Cooking Club

March 1st, 2013
Sprouting seeds is pretty close to making an indoor garden!

Sprouting seeds is an easy way of making an indoor garden!

Have you always thought that real, organic, greens were beyond your reach because of weather or geography or lack of funds?  Maybe not…

When a close friend was diagnosed with a very serious illness she began to sprout her own little crops of seeds in sunny windows.  All she had was a clear glass jar with a cheesecloth “lid” secured with a canning ring She had jars on window sills all over the South side of her house with seeds at various stages of growth.  She ate those sprouts, along with other raw, organic foods and soon enjoyed vibrant good health once again.  It was a powerful lesson for me in how to be well.

It was a revelation to me that real food was so nutrient dense that it takes less volume of food to satisfy our hunger.  At that time, I was content to fill up on cookies and cakes, not veggies and fruits.  Oh, the lessons that have come Mother Connie’s way.  In those days, we were living on a dime and we fell into the trap of believing that cheaper was better.  We found out, thankfully before our health failed, that real food fills up tummies and satisfies appetites better than “fluff food” or “fake food.” 

A trip to the health food store made it possible to procure a package of tiny seeds that would transform quickly and easily by sitting in sunny windows.  I don’t recall how much that first package cost but I can tell you with certainty that it cost much less than a trip to the doctor.  Our children delighted in watching the seeds become salads and garnishes and snacks and each had his own jar to manage.

There is much ado these days about organic gardening and certified organic…the genetically modified “food” is readily available and dangerous as arsenic BUT IT IS CHEAP, so it is pushed to the consumer as “OKAY for human consumption.”  By growing your OWN food in the comfort of your own home you KNOW it’s safe to eat.

Tending sprouts is super simple.  Keep them moist, rinse them two or three times a day; shake of excess moisture and keep them in the sunshine until they get to be the size you like to eat.  Don’t crowd too many seeds into a jar or they might tend to grow mold.  If you like, you can even spread seeds out over a damp cloth or damp paper towel. 

One of my dear friends told me yesterday that her “sleeping porch” which is lined with expansive windows on the South side of their house is filled with baby plants.  She is already harvesting lettuce from the little pots she has there.  This is an excellent way to grow food, and if you have windows with Southern exposure you could really have some family fun with an indoor gardening project.

There is something magical and therapeutic about growing food.  And it is oh, so healthy.

Users of public assistance hold a special place in Mother Connie’s heart.  Here’s hoping that if you are living on a dime or using food from a food pantry or food bank or if you have food commodities these offerings are helpful to you.  You are welcome to contact Mother Connie with an email to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com 

~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.