Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Kitchen Klatter

March 23rd, 2015
Mother Connie reluctantly poses in her kitchen for an avid photographer...

Mother Connie reluctantly poses in her kitchen for an avid photographer…

If you are of a “certain age” you may remember a radio show that kept home cooks mesmerized for decades.  It was called Kitchen Klatter and originated from the home of Leanna Driftmier over radio waves from Shenandoah, Iowa.

Kitchen Klatter had a magazine, too.  It was packed to the gills with news about the Driftmier family, recipes and adverts for their flavorings, cleaners and premiums.

I thought it would be fun to share one of the recipes from this publication.  I am fortunate to own 2 copies because my good friend, Kris Brase, gave me a copy from her collection since one of my articles was published there long ago.  The other copy came from a presentation Kris recently gave at our local Assisted Living facility.  Oh, you should have heard those women carry on about how they never missed the program!  One lady brought a stack of magazines from her mother’s collection!  Another lady mentioned how her mother shushed her brood from 9 AM to 9:30 AM every weekday morning so Mom did not miss a single thing from the broadcast and could hear the recipe.  She would copy every ingredient and the instructions in order to make it for her family’s evening meal!

I chose this recipe to share because  it is affordable, nutritious and easy to make:

Spinach-Cheese Quiche

1/2 cup butter

4 oz cream cheese

1 cup flour

1 lb. fresh spinach, washed and trimmed

SIDEBAR: My cheap cheat here would be to use frozen spinach, thawed.  But if you have fresh, go for it!  END SIDEBAR.

2 Tablespoons flour

1 cup  grated  Cheddar cheese (Use whatever you have or whatever is on sale!)

1 cup grated Swiss cheese (See above)

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cup milk

***Optional:  8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced


  Combine butter, cream cheese and 1 cup of flour…with a fork cut butter and cream cheese in the flour til crumbly.  Place in 0″ pie pan.  Press to form crust.  Refrigerate.

  Preheat oven to 350*.  Place spinach in covered kettle and cook til tender, drain well, chop, then drain again on paper towel or clean dishtowel.

  In a large bowl, combine spinach with the 2 tablespoons of flour and the remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour into chilled pie shell; bake for 1 hour or until set.

*This was offered in September 1985 from Mary Lea; Mother Connie’s notes  are in italics because those who use public assistance for their food dollars may or may not have the ingredients Mary Lea lists.  Our Members have learned to be adaptable!

Do YOU have an EBT card from SNAP or WIC?  Are you dependent on food drops or food pantry food for your family’s meals?  Maybe you just enjoy being frugal and squeezing a nickel til the buffalo bellows.  In any case, this little piece of cyberspace is dedicated to YOU and helping YOU s t r e t c h YOUR food dollars as far as possible.  We hope to be helpful in that regard.

~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:    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: Staying the Course!

September 9th, 2014

Seems as if it’s been ages since we’ve met here—I have learned from spine surgery that I am not cut out for being waited on!  The Normanator made a fabulous chief cook and bottle washer but it feels good to be back in the kitchen again!  And I’ve missed you guys…

My first venture into the kitchen led me to choose one of my comfort foods.  I took a picture but the results were dismal.  This dish tasted far better than this photo shows:

ghoulash 001Goulash?  Really?  grin/giggle

I learned to make goulash when I was 10 years old.  My mother had a serious bone fracture with complications.  That’s when I fell in love with all things domestic! Mom directed me from her place on the sofa and that’s how she taught me to cook.  Maybe that’s why I never depended much on recipes?

The Normanator had some ground beef left from something he made for us.  I found the gluten free pasta in the pantry, along with some tomatoes we canned last year.  I browned the meat as the macaroni cooked.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper…that’s when the whole meal turned a corner.

I wanted cumin for its wonderful smoky flavor.  I think the effects of the pain pills were still in my head because when I shook the spice into the meat I suddenly realized I had NOT taken the cumin.  I had grabbed the CURRY!  We sped from German food directly to India and there was no road map!

I thought of the quote “Stay Calm and Carry On” I’ve seen on the ‘net.  So I stayed the course and hoped we would not have to scrap this meal.  *It’s hard to cook with your fingers crossed. GRIN

I added some chopped onion and some frozen corn, hoping to save the dish.  I knew there were eggs in the fridge in case this was the disaster I feared…I added some of the home canned tomatoes and kept on keeping on!   Just in case, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes.

As I plated this new creation I called goulash it smelled divine.  It was different to the taste but not unpleasant.  The Normanator had no complaints and I felt we had scored-having a tasty, very low cost meal, mistakes and all!

Mistakes can happen in any kitchen.  When it happens to you, just roll with it.  Depend on your creativity and whatever sits on your pantry shelf or in the fridge and carry on!

I want to thank all of you who sent your good wishes for a speedy recovery and I want to welcome all the newbies who signed up to be Members and receive the little series of cooking tips!  It is such fun to read your messages and see the new names every day!  We truly  hope we are a contribution to your lives.

If you are using EBT cards from  WIC or SNAP or you have Farmers Market Coupons, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to YOU.  Maybe you have goods from a food pantry or food bank; you might have food commodities.  You may just love squeezing your food nickels til the buffalo bellows!  In any case, we just want to help.  There’s nothing to buy; no fancy apps.  Just ideas to help you feed the people you love when you are on a tight food budget!

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 Is Egging You On!

January 6th, 2014

deviled eggs for class 006A platter with Deviled Eggs will appeal to guests and the little gems will disappear quickly!

There are many ways to prepare Deviled Eggs.  Mother Connie uses no recipe for this; it’s a matter of adding ingredients and tasting.  Here is how we got from well cooked eggs to this group of pretties:

deviled eggs for class 002

1.  Slice each egg lengthwise and gently remove the yolks from the whites.  Place the yolks into a shallow bowl and set the whites aside on a plate.

2.  Mash the yolks with a fork.  Add some prepared mustard. ***Dry mustard powder can be used, if you have that; most households have the prepared type.  Using your fork, combine the mustard with the yolks.

3.  Drizzle a little vinegar-any type will do-and continue to combine the ingredients, using the fork.  You could even use sweet pickle JUICE if you have that on your shelf.

4.  *IF you have pickle relish, add some until you like the look and consistency of the mixture.  If you do not have pickle relish, no worries.

5.  Using a clean spoon, do a “Q.A.” (quality assurance) test.  Does it need more mustard?  Is it sweet enough?  Do you need to add a pinch of salt to make it taste the way you want?

6.  Sprinkle a TAD of sugar over the mixture and incorporate all the ingredients.  When you are satisfied that it has just the right amount of pizzazz, you are ready to stuff the whites, using the tip of a spoon. *I’ve heard some say they use a melon baller…sounds like a good idea to me!

7.  When you arrange these little delights over a bed of lettuce they will be irresistible to your  guests; if you take them to a covered dish meal, they will be the stars of the show!

**Variations:  You might prefer to use mayo in place of mustard for a milder flavor.  You might like to add celery seeds to your mixture.  Some people use very finely chopped onion and/or celery.  This is all well and good; but Mother Connie is all about saving TIME.  It is common to dress up the finished eggs by sprinkling paprika over them.  That is IF you have paprika on your spice shelf…

Deviled eggs make a great project for experimentation and kids love to help to make them.  By playing with the flavors you will create your own signature combination!    YOU might become known for YOUR signature dish!

This little corner of cyberspace is dedicated to those who use public assistance for their food budgets.  Do you have an EBT for WIC or SNAP?  Are you dependent on food commodities or food pantries or the food bank?  Maybe you just enjoy being frugal.  It could be that you are living on a dime… Maybe you love to cook; perhaps you hate to cook.  In any case, we hope to help you navigate your way around the kitchen.  We have learned more from YOU MEMBERS than you could guess, so we hope you will leave some of your wisdom and love on the comment panel and in our Inbox at   foodstampscookingclub!

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.

To Can or Not to Can…at Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 10th, 2013
To soak or not to soak?  This age old question has been debated before.  Here we'll take another look to see what we ought to put into that bowl!

To soak or not to soak? This age old question has been debated before. Here we’ll take another look to see what we ought to put into that bowl!

It may not be soup weather as you read this.  IT IS 94* here today!  But soup weather will soon be upon us.  If you have beans on your shelf, you are going to be in the soup…but in a GOOD way!  Enjoy this one, kids!

Those of you who have food commodities sometimes get cans of beans…those of you who think of canned beans as ‘convenience foods’ watch for sales like hawks hunt for  prey!  Those of you who have practiced frugality like an art form may prefer canned beans but they may also like the challenge of soaking dry beans.

To be honest, soaking beans CAN be challenging.  Sure, all you do is throw them into a pot and let them sit and soak.  BUT you also have a house to keep, a job to be on time for-if you are fortunate to HAVE a job, maybe two!-and then there is the small matter of keeping your gang fed on whatever schedule everyone in the house has going! And we have not even mentioned getting everyone to school/work/wherever OR the laundry… It’s enough to drive a person out of their ever lovin’ mind!  I’m sure you can relate.

So I found a soup recipe that calls for 8 cans of beans.  There was a huge debate in Mother Connie’s head about whether to mention it, since the price of canned beans is obscene.  I’m quite sure you could make this with only one type of bean to make it easy on the bean soakers of the world; if you have the where-with-all to get 8 cans, that’s good.  If not, you might make only half a recipe IF that will feed your gang.  Use your own good judgement.  I offer it here for your perusal:

Eight Can Soup with a South of the Border Flair

I do not recall the source…emails abound in the Club House…

1 (15 oz.) can each: drained and rinsed, black beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, sweet corn. *Personally, Mother Connie would not RINSE corn…

1  15.25 oz can chicken, drained *The Kitchen Police will not write you up if you use leftover cooked chicken…

1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup

1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce

1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth  *Nobody will die if you use home made broth or even water with a bouillon cube or two.  We are all about saving $$ in the Club

1 packet taco seasoning 

**Mother Connie is DEATH on seasoning packets!  They are full to the top with rubbish the human body does not need to maintain good health!  Surely you have chili powder on hand!  You are most likely to have cumin.  You’ll save a bundle by NOT using packets and your budget with thank you for keeping a few spices on your shelf.  Seriously, kids.  You CAN be healthy on a tight budget.

Toss everything into your favorite soup pot.  Heat through gently but thoroughly, stirring every so once in awhile.

This soup is hearty, tasty, and would pair up quite well with a green salad and corn or tortilla chips.  Mother Connie does not normally recommend chips but there are times when chips are just the thing.  *I already ranted and raved about the seasoning packets; I’ll let up now.  😉

If you are holding an EBT card from SNAP or WIC, if you are using food commodities or things from a food pantry, food bank, food drop, or any other form of public assistance, we are delighted to be of service to you.  Most everybody finds themselves living on a dime at times… We dearly hope our ideas and recipes help to keep your food costs at bay.  We hold no judgement and we are not about selling you stuff.  We are tickled pink whenever we see new names on our roster (which has been every day, thanks to all our Members’ spreading the good word!) and we love hearing from each of you.

It may not be soup weather as you read this.  *IT IS 94* here today!  But soup weather will soon be upon us.  If you have beans on your shelf, you are going to be in the soup…but in a GOOD way!  Enjoy this, kids!

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.




Presto! Pesto! Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 7th, 2013

Presto Pesto 001Mother Connie has assembled some tasty items that can make for fresh, flavorful, nutritious meals that are easy on the budget and great for summer’s heat!

No doubt you have heard of the cookbook, “The Joy of Cooking”…well, I do not have a copy but I understand it is a major wow.  As you can see in the above photo, I do have some other cookbooks and of course I cruise the internet to find new and interesting things to do with food.  I also subscribe to a food magazine.

SIDEBAR:  This subscription is my only splurge and I do it for YOU people so we can wrangle the food budgets together!  END SIDEBAR.

It was a radio program, though, which caught my rapt attention.  The chef was talking about PESTO and my mouth began to water.  I searched through the fridge to see what greens I might use for a pesto of my very own and was thrilled to realize I had spinach on hand. I could just as easily have used broccoli; both could have been combined.   I made the pesto, drizzled it over gluten free penne pasta and enjoyed it so much that I plan to create another as soon as possible!

It’s CHEAP, it’s EASY, it tastes fresh and dreamy and it is loaded with nutrition AND charm!

Here’s the formula for making pesto:

Pick a seed or some type of nut:  Sunflower seeds work with low food budgets, for example.  But almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or sesame seeds will be wonderful.  They just cost more.

Choose a base:  Pick from Basil, Parsley, Cilantro, Mint, dark leafy greens–all finely chopped.  Fresh herbs if you have them…you know the drill about the Kitchen Kops and how they don’t care…

Decide on seasoning:  Garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, thyme, tarragon, oregano

Be cheesy:  Parmesan *That’s the most affordable choice but there are others if your budget can take the pain.

Finishing touches:  chopped tomatoes, roasted red peppers would be just dandy.

So you toast the seeds or nuts in a dry skillet til lightly brown and fragrant.  Allow them to cool and pulse them in a food processor til finely ground.

Use 3 cups total of your base greens and herbs in any combo that hits your hot button.

Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon total of the seasonings you like best.

Grate 1/2 cup of the cheese you’ll be using.  Add everything to the food processor and pulse to combine.  **There is the jarred cheese used for spaghetti and it is usually on the affordable side.

As the pesto pulses, dribble some oil to incorporate it and to make it smooth.  Stir in the chopped tomatoes at this point, if that’s what you are using.

This makes  about 1 cup of pesto; 1/2 cup is a serving meant to top cooked pasta noodles.  Serve this immediately as a warm dish and stand back for rave reviews from your diners!

Mother Connie put lots of mushrooms in her spinach pesto and the lemon juice that went into the dish really brightened the flavor and made a truly satisfying dish!  The mushrooms helped amp up the protein value, too.  ***And when mushroom pieces are so fine, picky eaters don’t really find anything to complain about!  grin/giggle

We know that many of our Members are living on a dime, working hard to keep body and soul together.  We understand that you are holding EBT cards for WIC and SNAP and you are doing all you know to S T R E T C H those food dollars.  Those of you who visit food banks,  food pantries, have food commodities and hope for the generosity of gardeners in your area have our undying support and admiration.  We hope we are helpful in giving you ideas that you are interested to eat and can afford to have the ingredients to make them.

We love having all the new Members that have joined lately!  We may have to install “room stretchers” to hold us all in when we meet around the Club House table!  grin/giggle  We hope you feel the love we are sending your way.

Connie Baum

Searching for Menu Ideas? Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 6th, 2013


Are you searching the grocery ads in search of affordable menu items for your family?

It’s still winter; we still need to eat three times a day.  Although it’s the first part of the month, you are probably hoping to s t r e t c h your food budget dollars as far as March 1 without subsisting on beans and rice; rice and beans exclusively.

One of the best places to look for tantalizing menu items is the newspaper.  Wednesday’s papers are full of recipes,  photos and food columns, designed to whet our appetites.  Grocery circulars inside those papers tout the ads and special prices.

Here are  some shining examples from today’s newspaper:

“Beef Top Round * Boneless Beef Top Round * Boneless Beef London Broil are ALL ‘only’ $3.49 per pound”  I YI YI  Ground lamb is $5.99 and Ground Chuck is $3.49!  Holy Moley!

These price tags makes me think EGGS,  of which we happen to have a good supply in our fridge, thank God and our sister in law!

So my thoughts also turn to fish.  Lent is coming and fish is generally a good sale item then.  Tilapia and  Swai filets are $3.79 per pound; Salmon is $4.29 for FOUR OUNCES and Mahi Mahi is $7.49 a pound!  EEEK

Now I’m thinking beans and rice; rice and beans again.  My GOODNESS, food budgets are a challenge!

Vegetables are so important…I see there is a tiny mention of cucumbers:  4 for $3.00 and Napa Cabbage or Bok Choy for $.99 per pound.  I’m feeling slightly more hopeful.  Carrots are $1.19 and ginger root is $1.19.  I guess we could build a Chinese meal around these items.  The ad mentions that if I buy a 7 oz sack of salad greens I get a second one free.  Hm…It’s iceberg lettuce…  That’s about it for veg in this particular circular.  Surely they have more vegetables available in the store than what’s in the ad.

This circular is full of info about the bargain  prices on pre-made and deli foods, wines, pre-cut appetizer platters and bouquets of flowers.  They have a few dairy items but what is advertised is not anything humans ought to consume.  Things like processed cheese – not healthy and even it is way over priced.   None of these dairy items is budget minded and probably not the healthiest choices we could make.

It looks as if we are back to beans and rice.  Or rice and beans, whichever you prefer.

Tomorrow Mother Connie will have something tasty, healthy and much more budget minded for you to consider.  That is, if inspiration strikes like lightning!

Meantime, you are all to be commended for sharing the word about the Club…new members are signing on every day and we welcome each one with open arms.  We seriously mean to encourage anyone who is living on a dime, depending on public assistance for their food dollars.  We expect to be of service to people with EBT cards from SNAP or WIC.  We offer a hand to those who have goods from a food bank, food pantry or who get food commodities.  We love it when we hear from our members, either by commenting here or sending a message to  We read every message and respond as we are able.  THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.

~Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links on this blog. 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:  After this post was published, I found a link you may appreciate:

 Shopping Tips for Healthier Eating

Oh No! Not Red Cabbage! Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 4th, 2013
 red cabbage

Why would anyone bring red cabbage to the dinner table?

At the church dinner on Sunday there was quite a lively discussion about the Czech Dill Gravy discussed on this blog recently.  One of the women’s eyes widened and got very excited about the meal they had eaten while vacationing in Texas.  “We had real German food!”  And then she raved at length about the red cabbage.

I recall eating in an International restaurant where the red cabbage was worth raving about.

SIDEBAR:  Mom  always used red cabbage for slaw and said it couldn’t be cooked because the color would run!  **Roll your eyes here and grin.  It’s pretty obvious my mom never ate Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage!  That’s odd; she was as German as they come but I guess my German Grandma thought the color would bleed, too!  END SIDEBAR.

Here are the secrets to making this mouth-watering delight:


Shred one medium head red cabbage.

*Use your food processor or box grater.  If you use a blender you will need to use liquid and that will remove flavor and nutrients.

Place the shredded cabbage into a good sized saucepan with 1 quart of cold water.

Add salt to taste.  As soon as this comes to a full boil, add 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  If you have caraway seeds and want to be genuinely German, add a scant tablespoon full.  **If you do not have these, the Kitchen Police will never report this info to Interpol.

When the cabbage is tender, place the cooked veg into a bowl.  Pour 1/2 cup vinegar over the mixture, along with 1/4 cup butter.  Toss the cabbage until the butter and vinegar coats the cabbage.

Call everybody to the table!  Their side dish is ready!

This is very inexpensive to make, it goes together quickly and easily and it makes a very appetizing side dish for your dinner plate.  Served with poultry, beef, or pork, it is ideal.  It also goes well with venison or rabbit if you have that sort of protein available to you.

Are you living on a dime?  Do you love the challenge of wrestling with the food budget to see how far it will s t r e t c h each month?  Maybe you are using food commodities or goods from a food pantry or food bank.  You may be a user of SNAP or WIC and have EBT cards for your food dollars.  In any case, we hope this helps you immensely.

Your comments here are always appreciated.  We make every effort to reply to each and every (non spam) comment.   Just like any kid, we love mail:

~Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links on this blog. 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/Thank you all for sending your peeps to sign up for our series of cooking tips!  We love having new Members because we love people!  We want you all to be healthy and save $$$!


Oh, Nuts! and Food Stamps Cooking Club

January 22nd, 2013

Pretending that gremlins do not inhabit this blog-ugh-let’s discuss how to make it to the end of January and stay within the food budget.

We here at the Food Stamps Cooking Club understand how it is–January demands more of your household budget for fuel: gasoline and home heat. So your food budget may be more pinched than usual. February is more than a week away… Add to that your kids have been feverish, you are exhausted after working all day AND you have to COOK! We get it.

Here is a simple and satisfying dish that’s loaded with nutrition but not cost:


2 quarts water

1/2 cups peanut butter *creamy

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon ginger root, grated

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup chicken broth *The Kitchen Police will blink if you just use water

8 oz uncooked rice stick noodles

4 oz bean sprouts

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 green onions, sliced

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped, for garnish *Optional

Heat the water to boiling. Mix peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger root and pepper flakes. Stir til smooth. Slowly add the 1/2 cup broth/water. Break noodles in half and pull apart as you add them to the boiling water. Cook ONE MINUTE then drain and rinse in cold water. Place noodles in very large bowl, add the peanut butter mixture, bell pepper, bean sprouts, and onions. Toss gently.

This makes 4 servings and could easily be doubled-or halved if there are only 2 diners.

This is comfort food, if ever there was comfort food!

A great big THANK YOU is going out to all you who have signed up as Members! Please know you are always welcome here and we hope you will share your ideas with the others. You may contact us at

As you know, we cater to users of public assistance who depend on help to meet their food requirements and stretch their food budgets. People who used SNAP or WIC’s EBT cards or those who frequent food pantries food banks, or use food commodities seem to find help in this little corner of the internet. Maybe you are living on a dime or you have a passion for frugality. All are welcome here; we hope you get some help and a ray of hope.

Connie Baum

Dill, Cleaning Tips and Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 14th, 2012

DILL!  Makes us think of pickles, potato salad and…

You have been well aware that the faithful Club Members have terrific ideas and have generously shared them.  Well, the mail was especially fun this morning because I heard from a Member from Canada!  She and I seem  to have a kindred spirit, as do many of the people who take the time to share their lives, and she reminded me how good dill is with carrots!  Here is part of her dear message:

“One thing I really love to use dill for is my carrots.  especially new carrots, cook until just done, then I add butter and a good sprinkle of dill.  When we have company they always rave about my carrots and that is all I do if I am getting “fancy”.  ”   ~Pat

Boy.  I wish I had thought of that!  grin  We appreciate you for sharing, Pat!

Mother Connie really cannot think of dill without remembering the blog post  featuring Dill Pickle Soup!  It’s time to prepare a pot of that again!  Maybe one day soon I’ll bake a loaf of dill bread. . . wouldn’t that make wonderful croutons?

Pat also had another dilly of an idea:  “Turmeric is another of my favorites.  Especially with rice!

Because rice can be ‘blah’ turmeric would certainly give it a kick.  That makes me think of my pal, Velda.  One of her go-to quick meals when she is too tired to cook is to cook rice, add a can of spinach, juice and all and heat it all together.  If she thinks it needs a finishing touch, she sprinkles cheese over it.  Now, I’m thinking a pinch or two of turmeric would give that dish a whole new character!

Recently a visitor to the Club House kitchen spied the spice rack, which had recently been moved next to the stove.  She was curious about the little bottles and how the contents got used.   Really, spices are a reasonably inexpensive way to add punch to your cooking.  We get into routines, we humans, and when we use spices to flavor our food it helps to break the monotony. She assured me she would “steal” all my best spice ideas and try them out in her kitchen!

There is always cleaning to be done…

Changing the subject, as I am wont to to, I want to share the cleaning tips sent in by April.  Bless her heart, she must keep quite the tidy house and busy kitchen.  Still, she makes the time to share with the Club:

“April’s All Purpose Spray:
In a spray bottle, combine equal parts water and vinegar.  Shake and use.  DO NOT USE ON MARBLE.  You can add essential oils, if you want.

To help clean drains pour baking soda down the drain, then pour a little vinegar down the drain.

For cleaning toilets just pour straight vinegar into the bowl, let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub and flush.  **Mother Connie here:  I had a good friend who used a paper cup to dip all the water out of the bowl and THEN used vinegar + soda to scrub.  She cleaned for a living, so I think she must have earned her $!

To make a a soft scrub, mix baking soda and water. It is non abrasive and good to use for sinks and tubs.”

*Thank you, April!

One more cleaning tip for you comes from a good friend who also cleans for a living.  Her home made window cleaner is the BOMB and I have used it for years.  When she gave me the formula I was astonished at how simple it is:

“In a large spray bottle use a pint of  alcohol *NOT the drinking kind!

Fill the bottle with water *Filtered water is best, if you have it

Add 1 TABLESPOON  Prell shampoo

Mix the ingredients by shaking the bottle gently and spray on glass.  Use coffee filters to polish the surface.

*When washing the INSIDE of windows, wipe them from side to side; on the OUTSIDE,wipe them from top to bottom.  By doing so, you can easily see any missed spots. “

Dawn, thank you so much!

Cleaning must be done in our homes regardless of how tired we are, whether we like to clean or not.  The SNAP or WIC funds help feed our loved ones but they do not wash the dishes or clean the sink!  If you use food commodities or items from a food bank or food pantry, you still have to sweep floors and make beds!  Those of you who are frugal or living on a dime, know all too well that those chores pile up as they wait–we hope these ideas will lighten your load.

Again, we thank the Members who contributed their ideas to this post.  We really could not keep house without you people!!!

Connie Baum

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PS/Did you fill out the questionnaire for the Public Insight Network yet?  They will be so pleased to hear from you.  Remember that there is nothing to buy.  Click here:  Public Insight Network.

PS#2:  These cleaning supplies will be pressed into full service to properly prepare the Club House for the Cooking Class in October!  WOOOO HOOOO!