Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Food Stamps Cooking: SOUP DAY!

February 4th, 2016
This is perfect for National Soup Day!

This would be great for observing National  Soup Day! Some veg, broth, a bit of meat and it’s done! National Soup Day.

Happy National SOUP DAY!  When The Normanator and I learned that today is a special day, we all but cheered!  We LOVE soup and often joke that we would eat it for breakfast if it were available!

There are jillions of soup recipes.  This post is not about recipes; it is about creating something yummy with whatever you find in your kitchen.  And making a soup supper an experience.

If you aim for convenience (and who does not?) may I suggest that you use cans of veggies?  A can of corn, a can of green beans, a can of tomatoes, and if you are really feeling flush and well supplied, you could throw in some meat. Onions and celery make good additions to soup, too, as does cabbage!  *So do leftover vegetables that may be languishing in your refrigerator.  Cooked rice, barley or any other grain will “beef” up your soup…**Think quinoa, wheat berries, macaroni, lentils or beans.

Sometimes meat is unavailable.  Meat is spendy.  If you have a veggie soup and a cheese sandwich, you are fortunate.  If you are really lucky you might even have the fixings for a salad.  I am thinking Peas and Cheese salad…canned peas, whatever cheese you can grate or chop and some onion or pickle with a dab of mayo will really make your soup meal shine.

Another partner for soup could be a carrot salad and this is a great thing to get kids to eat their vegetables.  Finely grate some carrots, toss in some cranberries or raisins, a dab of mayo and make mounds of salad on shredded cabbage or lettuce leaves, using an ice cream scoop.

When I was a kid my mom would make soup by boiling veggies, draining the water, adding whatever veggies–taters, carrots, onions, celery, for example.  Then she would add milk or broth, depending what she had on hand.  She seasoned the food with salt and pepper and we enjoyed the result of her labor.

When I grew up and found the Food Network I learned that sauteing the onions, carrots, taters or whichever vegetable will be in the soup is a nifty trick for adding flavor.  You can use vegetable oil to keep things moist and then build your soup from there.

SIDEBAR:  The suggestion is made to saute the vegetables. This does not mean that if you do NOT saute them that the Kitchen Police will nab you.  Do what works for YOU in your kitchen!  END SIDEBAR.

Go survey your pantry shelves and your fridge.  Determine what is available.  Do you have foods that are green or yellow or orange or white?  Do you have tomatoes?  How about garlic, if your gang fancies it?  You might have onion powder or cumin or chili powder or some other flavor that could be added.  Taste your concoction, add a pinch of flavor and taste it again. Playing with your food in this way makes for full flavor!

After you have decided what you’ll put into your soup, put some effort into setting an inviting table.  Use mugs for the soup instead of bowls for a change.  If you have place mats, that will make a nice touch.  No mats?  How about paper towels or clean hand towels from your bathroom shelf?  Making a nice table, sharing a meal with your loved ones, engaging in meaningful tabletop conversation can shape your children’s lives in wonderful ways.  Little people love to decorate paper table cloths or paper napkins with crayons and art work…

Many people like crackers in their soup. Some people place a slice of bread in the bottom of their bowl and pour the soup over it. You can also use popped corn to top off any soup.  Kids think this is great fun.

Personally, I love to cook.  Not everybody likes to cook, has the time to cook or the  ingredients on hand to make soup or any other meal.  It’s quite possible you never learned to cook for whatever reasons.  Maybe you need a mentor.  Ask a neighbor or relative or friend to take you under their wing and show you the tips that make their kitchen turn out great food.  People love to help one another. Your local Action Center offers cooking classes, too.  In Southeast Nebraska there is no cost for these lessons.  For those of you who are in the Tecumseh, NE area you can call the office for information about the classes:  402 335 2134 and ask for Terri.

This little corner of the internet aims to help those who depend on Public Assistance for their food dollars and the Club House is always open for people who want to learn to cook.  You are welcome to contact us by emailing  Oh, how we love mail!

As you probably know, this blog is dedicated to helping people who use Public Assistance for their food dollars.  You may hold an EBT card for WIC or SNAP…you may be using goods from food commodities or a food pantry.  Maybe you attended a food drop or someone gifted you with some foodstuffs.  In any case, our purpose here is to help you stretch your food budget and let you know that someone cares about your situation, whatever it may be.

Happy National Soup Day, kids!  I hope this post has helped you.  Please consider yourself hugged.

Connie Baum 

PS:  Check out Carol’s blog!  She has a soup recipe you’ll love!  *Her blog is snazzier than this one, too! grin

Food Stamps Cooking in the Clubhouse

October 23rd, 2015


This is Nikki, a young mother who came to the Clubhouse to cook!  She copied Mother Connie’s favorite spaghetti sauce recipe so she can use some of the tomatoes she canned from her garden!

It was thrilling to have Nikki ask to come and cook with Mother Connie!  She had some end of the garden goodies; I had some pantry items.  We decided to make soup, talk about cooking and food and hang out together!  Her husband brought their children when it was time to eat and another family of four joined us for the party!

Before Nikki arrived I assembled a few items to incorporate into our soup:


Not sure what Nikki would bring, I thought we could begin with the famous onion/carrot/celery threesome and these items.

I drizzled a bit of oil into a large pot and added the goodies to soften them and add savor to the soup…


As these veggies sauteed I added a bit of salt and pepper.  When Nikki arrived, we added her eggplant, potatoes, more carrots, and some canned tomatoes.  We also used a spoonful or so of tomato paste and just a touch of sugar (to cut the tomato a tad).   We had LOTS of broth and we added a bit of water, and  some precooked quinoa.  There was frozen corn and frozen peas to add for flavor, nutrition and color. Nikki had dehydrated some kale so those flakes were sprinkled in to add color, flavor and nourishment.  Vegetable broth was added to give dimension to the flavor profile and add volume.  We talked about how we could have used cabbage or noodles or other vegetable combinations. We added some basil to the soup just before it was served. YUM YUM YUM

Since Nikki and her family are vegetarian we talked about all the ways there are to get complete protein.  She is well aware of how important optimum nutrition is and we swapped ideas about what to cook and how to make various dishes or adapt them.

We also made a ginormous salad (which of course we forgot to photograph!).  We began by shredding dark greens.  We added tender, sweet butter lettuce pieces we tore. Then we layered kidney beans, cranberries, quinoa, almond slivers, Napa cabbage, broccoli and tossed everything together.  Shame on Mother Connie for not capturing the beauty of the greens on camera!

We laid everything out on the table and served the food buffet style from the stove.  One of our little guests, Ava, who is 10, brought a loaf of soda bread to share THAT SHE HAD BAKED ALL BY HERSELF!  It was tasty and crusty and made a fine partner for the loaf of sourdough bread that Nikki brought to share!



I think the littlest guests had fun:

IMG_20151021_185628550Jack, Eli, Ava and Lucy had the kitchen to themselves!

The afternoon and evening was more of a party than a cooking class!  It made my heart go pitter-patter.  I was as happy as a pig in mud! 

If you have garden goodies left you are no doubt fixing stir fry dishes, soups and canning or freezing things as you have the time. Maybe you use  food from a food pantry or you have food commodities.  If you have an EBT card from SNAP or WIC it’s likely you have created home made soups and such like.  Maybe you have played with the seasonings to suit your family’s fancy.  In any case this little corner of the internet is devoted to those of you who struggle mightily with  your food budget.  We hope to help you stretch the food dollars and eat as well and wisely as you possibly can.  If you have joined our ranks and are receiving the little series of cooking tips we offer, we dearly hope you find them helpful.

Our comment panel is closed but you are always invited to send your thoughts to

Connie Baum

PS/ SENCA will be offering another cooking class in Tecumseh, Nebraska in November; details will be forthcoming.  There will be no cost but interested people can reserve a spot at the table by calling 402 335 2134.  Ask for Terri.

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

BLT Boats and Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 1st, 2013

Roma tomatoes are wonderful for salads because they are firm and not as juicy as other types of tomatoes. They are filled with flavor and nutrition and easy to store and use.

Summer foods are just exquisite!  They are fresh and yummy and easy to prepare.  I found a cute idea in a magazine I want to share with you.  The tomatoes that are sitting on our kitchen counter are not good candidates for this dish because they are small and juicy-but DELISH.  We’ll use them and then I’ll be making these little boats.

The beauty of these darlings is that they can help stave off the hunger pangs that happen as Mom is making a meal but it’s not time to eat yet.  You know how it goes: the kids troop in, wanting something to nibble on, so these will make great snacks!  They will travel well to picnics and carry in dinners and they will please peoples’ palates.


10  Roma tomatoes

1/2  pound bacon,  fried crisp and crumbled

4 cups lettuce, finely shredded

**Iceberg lettuce works well for this but I’ll be using Romaine.  The cook gets to choose!

3/4  cup salad dressing  *mayo or home made dressing will work.

Slice the tomatoes in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane of the halves.

Combine in a large mixing bowl the lettuce, bacon and dressing.  If it seems too dry, add a touch more dressing.

Spoon the filling into the tomato “boats” and float them on a platter.

Hm…you might want to double this recipe.  It’s making Mother Connie hungry just writing about it!

SIDEBAR:  Don’t stop with BLT boats!  You could also fill those little beauties with your favorite egg salad or tuna salad or salmon salad.  You might like to turn them into mini taco treats.  What are the possibilities?  END SIDEBAR

Even users of SNAP and WIC and other public assistance agencies such as food pantries, food commodities or food banks usually have access to summer garden goods.  You might not even need to swipe your EBT card to take advantage of these yummy flavors sometimes!  If you are living on a dime, this can make a lot of difference!

Our hearts are filled with joy as we watch the Membership in the Food Stamps Cooking Club rise each day!  Your comments and ideas and email messages mean the world to us.  We hope we are contributing to the betterment of your lives.  But that’s only because we love you.

*Here is a note I wanted to tuck in with this post:  We are not about selling stuff here.  However, there is a little website we have been partnered with for some time and every so often they have wonderful offers that help people who are watching every penny in their pocket. I hope you will take a peek at what they have on their little corner of the net. They currently are offering something that may interest you so if you choose to check it out and take action with them, please do mention Mother Connie’s name.  The website is Living On a Dime and the family who offers it walks the walk and talks the talk.  They are real, caring human beings who sincerely want to help people who want to use their money in the wisest ways.

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.



Okra, Ya’ll: Food Stamps Cooking Club

July 18th, 2013

“My mama fried okra but my daddy fed me chocolate!”

People either love okra or they hate it.  There is very little room for “maybe”!  Okra is plentiful and low cost this time of year…if you don’t have it in your garden the chances are good that a generous neighbor, the local grocery or Farmer’s Market will have a good supply.

I found an interesting method for preparing this little veg.  It can be washed, cut and dropped into stews or soups. We have a nephew in Mississippi who makes a mean mess of fried okra every so once in awhile.  He considers this as comfort food. I do not know HIS cooking  method, but here is the one I found out there on the ‘net:

 Frying Okra

*This process is MESSY.  Start with 3 cups of flour but plan to use more.

Wash the veg carefully.  Slice into 1/2″ pieces.  Discard the ends. Put the cut okra into a colander.

Use a ‘batch’ of Crisco; let it melt.  *This is not your average health conscious recipe, just in case you wondered.  As the Crisco melts, break a half dozen eggs into a bowl and beat them slightly.

Fill another bowl with flour and now you have set up assembly line stations with the last stop being your fryer or skillet.

With your hands, toss a handful of okra into the flour.  Shake off the excess and drop the floured okra into the egg mixture.  Then put the floured/egged mess into the flour once again.  Fry this until it is golden brown.  Drain on a cooky sheet on paper towels.

SIDEBAR:  In the interest of frugality, paper towels could be eliminated by using old towels, old T-shirts or any other large clean rag.  END SIDEBAR.

As soon as you get it to the spot where it will drain and while it is very hot, salt it thoroughly.

Repeat this process until all the okra is fried.

Some people eat okra just as it comes out of the fryer; others like to dip it into Parmesan cheese and/or ketchup.


I think you could have a bunch of fun with this.  Kids love to get their hands all goopy and they would have a great time “helping”…I’ll leave that decision to Mommy and Daddy.

We have enjoyed the comments that have poured in.  We so appreciate people taking the time to share their thoughts and experiences via the comment panel and the email:

We are thrilled to welcome new Members, too!  It is gratifying to know that we are contributing to others’ lives with our recipes, tips and support.  We GET how hard it is to maintain a food budget, particularly if you depend on public assistance to make it happen.  You are welcomed as a member, too, if you are living on a dime.

If you are using SNAP or WIC funds; if you depend on help from a food pantry or food commodities or any other source, we have dedicated this little blog to YOU.  We are not selling anything; we do not judge you.  We admire your ability to cope and manage.

Do enjoy frying okra and 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

It’s ALL about the $ at Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 28th, 2013

It’s all about the $$$$ when it comes to feeding those you love.

You saw the video the other day about eating what $4.00 a day will buy.  No doubt you have opinions about what was purchased.  Responding to the film, some of our faithful Members chimed in, offering the practices they employ in their own budget/menu planning/food prep for the faces around their tables.  If you have not seen these messages, they appear in the Comment panel below previous posts.

Tomorrow the people in our government could lower our resources even more with the infamous ‘sequester’.  If you have a $100.00 for food, the sequester may set you back a couple of dollars or say, half a gallon of milk.   It really IS all about the money!

There is no reason for you who use public assistance or face lower incomes to go into fear over this.  There is, however, good reason to figure out how to feed the people you love by s t r e t c h i n g whatever resources you happen to have.  

You, like the Members who commented, need a PLAN.

Plan what your family will need and study the circulars and prices so you can spend your resources accordingly.  This will be a glorious opportunity for you to experience new choices and experiment with new ways of food prep.

Some users of SNAP or WIC or food pantry foods do not cook.  Maybe their caretakers worked or worked more than one job and did not have the time to teach them.  Perhaps they don’t LIKE to cook.  No matter, by preparing foods at home, great amounts of money can be saved.  Another benefit of cooking at home is the chance to bond with your family members.  Most cooks remember hanging out with Mama or Grandfather or Auntie or SOMEONE who gave them good experiences over food prep–snitching tastes, chopping vegetables, peeling fruit for pies…this gave them the desire to cook as adults.  And let’s face it.  It is the responsible thing to do.

Don’t fall for the idea that cheap food is OK to eat.  Ramen noodles do not support health; they only temporarily satisfy your hunger pangs.  Boxes with “food” are hideous imposters, only pretending to be edible.  Fruits and vegetables may SEEM to be more costly but by eating real food-raw or cooked-your body will be well fueled and sickness won’t visit you so much. Learning to create meals with grains you may not have used in the past can be such fun.  Using veggies you have previously avoided might be more interesting than you imagined.  And please, do avoid those sugary treats.  They won’t even taste good to you once you learn to love other, more nutritious foods.  Sugar can rot your teeth and weaken your bones faster than you know.  Who needs dental bills on top of high food costs?

We really encourage you to cook.  If this is a problem for you, please let us know how we can help in this regard.  If you can read, you can cook.  Surely you have a relative, neighbor or friend who could help you learn to shop and cook.  Absent that, there are cookbooks everywhere, video tutorials online and Mother Connie is available to consult with you.  Just drop her an email at  and let’s see what we can make happen.  There is no charge for this, of course.

If you are living on a dime and hope you don’t have to manage on only a nickel; if you are concerned about how to feed your loved ones in the upcoming weeks, we do hope we can be of service to you.  The fact that you continue to send your sphere of influence to sign up for the Food Stamps Cooking Club and our little series of cooking tips tells us we are having a positive effect.  THANK YOU.

~Connie Baum. 


Sugar, Anyone? Food Stamps Cooking Club

July 24th, 2012

Sugar bowls and cream pitchers have a charm all their own!

Mother Connie has a “thing” about dishes of every kind.  It matters not whether it’s the latest Paula Deen pattern or the antique collections found in curved-glass front china cabinets.  I think it’s a genetic ‘disorder,’ because my mother, her mother and sisters all adored dishes of every description.

The most notable family collection of glassware wound up in what my mom and her baby sister referred to as “The No-No Barrel.”  My grandmother had spent a king’s ransom on dishes and vases and such like over her lifetime and when she passed on Mom and Berta were the gleeful recipients.  But only so much of these items can be displayed and used.  Mom hit on the idea of  storing the pretties packed in straw in a wooden barrel.  The barrel was accessible to both of them.  When one had a birthday, the other would present her with a “gift” from the “No No Barrel”.  This gave each of them immeasurable pleasure for decades!

Something interesting happened yesterday concerning dishes; actually,  it inspired this post.  Mother Connie happened on to a Flea Market.  A young 20-something woman approached, squealing with delight.  In each hand she had a glass creation that was cut glass.  “OOOOOooooh,” she gushed, “look at these adorable cups!”  She continued, “They have handles on both sides!  I wonder if they are for little kids?”

I offered that I had some like them at home and she seemed delighted.  I then explained they were sugar bowls.

Twenty-something was puzzled.  “What do you use them for?”  she inquired.

“Uh, sugar…”

Bless her heart.  It is not her fault that she missed that as she grew up.  My guess is that she had a mother and a grandmother and a bunch of aunties who were making every effort to keep body and soul together.  No doubt they were working one or two jobs and eating on the run.  They may have had paper plates or they may have had paper bags at the dinner table, or they may have eaten in front of the television set.

People do what works for them.  My mom would never have even considered serving a meal without a “properly set” table.  It simply would never have occurred to her to NOT set the table.  We would NEVER have eaten in the living room, let alone in front of a TV set!  But my mom was a home maker.  That was her job; that’s what she did 24/7 for 365 days a year.  She did not have to be the daddy, too.  She did not have to clock in to a job away from home.  She did not have to go to a drive through to pick up dinner.  She cooked.   She made everything from scratch.  Some of the food she cooked and served was also grown in her vegetable garden.  And she always set the table.

The Food Stamps Cooking Club understands that not everyone cooks and we hope to inspire new Members, people in their 20’s or people in their 50’s and everyone else to learn to cook nutritious, pretty meals on a tight food budget.  Whether or not you set the table or have a sugar bowl is up to YOU.

We are not alone in this effort.  The great blogger community is loaded with helpful people who want to share their experiences and ideas with food and home care.  For example, Living On a Dime is a blog that touts all sorts of shortcuts and ideas.  *My personal fave is their piece about RAGS, of all things!   CT On a Budget ,  a blog done well by a homemaker with a brood of youngsters, who is generous with her recipes, cost savings, and shopping and planning tips.  Saving Dinner emphasizes food nutrition and well being, making cooking easy and fun.  Creative Savv has loads of gardening and cooking notions and replies to comments that are left on her blog.  There is a newcomer who has a cute blog with all sorts of ideas, too.  It is called Poor to Rich A Day at a Time.  Anotherof my favorite go-to blogs is Chef Wanna Bee.  He has interesting recipes and cooking tools to drool over.

The bloggers mentioned  above appreciate comments, too…you could start by commenting HERE grin

Do you use an EBT card from SNAP or WIC?  Are you frugal to the bone?  Do you have goods from a food pantry, food bank or someone’s garden?  Are there goods in your pantry from food commodities?  We cater to all of the above.  Not only that,we make every effort to have fun.  Whatever isn’t fun,  isn’t the least bit interesting!

All righty, then.  Mother Connie has to fill the sugar bowl and set the table for lunch!  grin

Connie Baum

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


Rice Pudding at Food Stamps Cooking Club!

June 30th, 2012

Old fashioned rice pudding makes a cool summertime breakfast, tasty hot weather dessert and is easy and inexpensive to prepare.  Not only that, your gang is going to get their appetites taken care of with no complaints!


Do you have fond memories of things your family ate on a regular basis?  When you eat ice cream, for example, are you transported back to your 5th birthday?  If you smell freshly baked bread, do you think of your grandmother or a favorite neighbor who turned out delicious products that tantalized your taste buds?

Rice pudding does that for me.  Mom’s recipe; my favorite childhood story book; cooking with my own children…memories of all these things create comfort in my life.  No doubt your family had traditions that trigger a trip down memory lane for you.

It’s all Carol’s fault.  grin  She mentioned it and that took me on a search to find out how people make rice pudding these days.  There are a zillion variations.  I’m staying true to my mother’s way of doing it.  I only wish Carol and I were close enough geographically to trade dishes to taste test one anothers’ creations!  One thing my research showed me is that OLDER recipes yield smaller servings.  It makes sense to me, given the obesity problem we have in the good old USA to offer the older version…You will see that Mom’s recipe was not up to 2012 portions!  Another bonus is that in this oppressive heat, there’s no need to crank up the oven!

This is offered as a dessert but it makes a wonderful summertime breakfast!  I know this from personal experience.

Rice Pudding, Harriet’s Way

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3  cup sugar

Dash salt

1/2  cup cold milk

1  1/2  cups milk,  scalded

1  teaspoon vanilla

1  cup cooked brown rice  *By now you know that the Kitchen Police won’t cuff you for using white rice.


Mix cornstarch, sugar, and salt.  Combine with cold milk.  Gradually add hot milk.  Cook in double boiler, stirring til thick; cover; coke 15 to 20minutes.  Add vanilla.  Gently fold in the rice til well mixed.  Add a few plumped raisins  *if your family will tolerate them.  Spoon into custard cups, sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over the top and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Yield:  6 servings   This recipe may be doubled very easily.

SIDEBAR:  If you do not have a double boiler, don’t panic.  Just use a skillet.  Put some water into it and put your saucepan inside the skillet.  If you are rushed for time, just pour the whole business into a bowl and sprinkle the spices over the top of that.  Let your family spoon out their own servings. Regarding plumped raisins, just put some boiling water over raisins in a dish and allow them to sit until they cool.  Drain the liquid and add to the pudding.   END SIDEBAR

This should be a slam dunk for those of you who are at the end of the month and at the end of your provisions, as well.  If you hold an EBT card from WIC or SNAP this should help you to  hold your food budget at bay.  Maybe you are living on a dime or are frequenting your local food pantry.  It could be that you use food commodities.  You might just be at your wits’ end, making every effort to feed your family within your means and make something they will enjoy for dessert.  In any case, we hope we are helpful to you.

We want to give a shout out to all those who have got our heart going pitty-pat by joining the Club, receiving a series of messages about cooking.  We also hope those messages have value for you.

Oh, did we mention how much we love COMMENTS?

Connie Baum

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

Fast Food-Food Stamps Cooking Club Style

May 23rd, 2011


Better than resaurant food? YOU CAN BANK ON IT!

Another great gift from Mikemax appeared in our Inbox:

What you do when you don’t have time to cook, or aren’t feeling well, can have a huge impact on your grocery bill. At least 3 of our members TODAY are in exactly that boat.

Mother Connie and Carol M are both recovering from surgery. I have to be gone all day today, come home briefly, and leave again. Reasons like these—not to mention kids’ activities—are a prime reason we often succumb to takeout.

I’m not a fan of takeout. If I’m going to spend for restaurant food, I want to be served and have someone clean up afterward. And it’s expensive. Even a trip through a fast food drive-through will cost more, and take longer, than a steak dinner cooked at home. Which would you rather have?

I’m eating out of the bottom of my freezer this month. That means I’m eating the good stuff and the soup bones…there’s nothing left in between, LOL. Tonight, it’s the good stuff.

This morning I spent 5 minutes prepping a bone-in pork loin roast and figuring out how to set my oven so it will come on at 3:30 p.m. and automatically turn off at 5ish. I scrubbed some potatoes and put them into the oven to bake along with the roast.  I didn’t peel them so they wouldn’t turn black.   At dinnertime, I’ll heat up a canned or frozen veggie-or maybe make a salad, if I’ve got the stuff-and put the bowl of leftover applesauce on the table.

That roast, just under 3 lbs., was $1.98 lb. and cost $5.56. It will produce enough meat for two meals for my family of 3 adults. Dinner tomorrow—an equally busy day–will either be roast pork sandwiches or pork noodles made with Top Ramen, green onions and sliced hard boiled eggs—just like the Chinese restaurants used to make.

When I find a good deal on steak, I buy it and freeze it. Used to be, I could occasionally afford T-bones or rib steak on sale, and I’d keep around a few for nights when I couldn’t, or didn’t want, to cook. Prices have gone so high, I’m now buying boneless top sirloin, when I can find it for $4 lb. or less. With a baked potato and salad it’s cheaper than the dollar menu at the fast food joint. Faster, too…and nobody at my house ever complains about a steak dinner.

Now I’m going to turn this over to YOU. I’m curious what Connie is cooking as she recovers from cataract surgery this week. I already know what Carol fixed last night, because I read her blog, but maybe she will repeat here. She’s down to the use of one hand, and will be for awhile. What do YOU cook when cooking doesn’t seem to be an option? How do you handle nights when you’ve got to take 3 kids to a Little League game and there is no time to eat, let alone cook?

Nights like these can make or break your food budget. Let’s share ideas on how we handle them and help each other stay on track.

PS/You can find directions for the Timed Bake feature on your oven in the instruction book that came with your stove. With mine, I first set the length of time I want to cook, then I set what time I want it to come on, and finally I turn the oven dial to the desired temperature. Also, with a big piece of meat—like the pork roast—you can partially thaw it and let it finish thawing before the oven comes on. I’ve put completely frozen meatloaves in the oven in the morning and let them thaw until late afternoon, when the oven came on.  Much faster and safer, too.


Good GRIEF, Mikemax!  You’ve got me drooling!  What have I been cooking?  Actually, when you live in a small town and your life has “issues”  food arrives at your doorstep!  *EG: instead of having eye surgery you wind up in an ER, making every effort to avoid having a stroke.  Or, if you have a paper route and your wife is in the hospital you have TEAMS of people delivering those papers.

So cooking has not been much of a priority for the past number of days.  When Mother Connie is back on top of her game, there will be recipes posted from the goodies that have been bestowed upon us!  We are so blessed.

We  also have been blessed recently to have an influx of  new Club Members, as well!  The newbies have found our opt in box in the upper right hand corner of the blog and the website so they have offered up their email addies in order to receive our series of cooking tips.  YAY!  And we have received lovely messages at  YIPPEE!

If you know of anyone who avails themselves of the EBT card supplied by SNAP or WIC or if you know folks who use Angel Food Ministries foodstuffs or food commodities or have things from a Food Pantry or use Farmers Market Coupons, feel free to share this blog with them.  They may have great ideas none of us has thought of yet and they might share!  Hector Pector!  They might just be like Mikemax and Carol and me-FRUGAL to the core!  They will love what we are doing here.

Let’s all cheer for Mikemax:  All together, now, boys n girls:  HIP HIP HOORAY for MIKEMAX!

Connie Baum

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


Freezer Meals at Food Stamps Cooking Club

April 11th, 2011


Filling your freezer may be easier than you might imagine!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you yearn to turn OFF the TV, turn ON mealtime conversation, in the quest to do your part toward saving dinner?

If you use SNAP or WIC’s EBT cards or food commodities, food pantry food or Angel Food Ministries food, you may find the following information helpful.  Perhaps you are just plain old fashioned frugal; in any case-we hope to offer you ideas you can take to the bank!

Leanne Ely sent out a message earlier today that hit my hot button.  I thought about it as I prepared our noon meal and with her ideas in mind here is what I did:

I sliced a couple of good sized onions and caramelized the thin rings in some oil.  I sprinkled some salt and pepper over them as they cooked.  Then I laid 4 thin slices of beef liver over the soft onions and drizzled chicken broth over the whole works .  I covered the skillet and slid it into the oven, which was set at 300 degrees.  That parked there for about 90 minutes and smelled divine!

While that did its thing I made a white sauce with a chunk of butter, a spoonful of corn starch and a splash of milk, adding water and more milk to get the consistency we like.  When it began to bubble I added a frozen package of spinach I got ON SALE and allowed it to thaw right in the gravy.  I seasoned it well.

As it cooked, I remembered the potatoes I had baked for Sunday dinner.  I chopped two very small potatoes and dropped them into the gravy.

We could never eat that much food at one sitting-even a meal so tasty as that!-so I was delighted to put our leftovers into flat plastic freezer bags.  We now have a very nutritious, really quick, super easy, PAID FOR meal, waiting in the freezer for us to reheat.  Simple?  You bet.

Leanne thinks along the same lines.  Here is what she had to say this morning;

Secrets to Preparing Delicious Freezer Meals

by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

A few years ago (quite a few years ago, actually), a new cooking trend was born – Once A Month Cooking – OAMC for short. The whole idea was to spend a day cooking, freeze what you make, they reheat it as needed; sort of DIY Stouffers concept.

Great idea, soggy delivery. The proponents of this type of cooking said it only took a day to make a month’s worth of meals and you had “great” dinners that you could reheat anytime. The problem was that most of these dinners took on the watery characteristics of reheated casseroles and the flavor of the food was as lukewarm as their presentation. The other issue is time – a whole day for heaven’s sake! Who can literally take a day off from life to do this?

In the early 2000’s, a new version of OAMC was born and the result was dinner assembly franchises popping up like ground hogs in the spring. Everywhere you turned in suburbia you could find several types of these storefronts.

The idea of these places goes like this: come into their store, spend two hours or so assembling 12 to 15 meals from their already chopped veggies and pre-prepared ingredients, so all you have to do is put them together raw, label and freeze for cooking at a later day, thus removing the OAMC twice-baked casserole deal. The problem is it doesn’t come cheap.

So what’s a time stretched harried homemaker to do? Do it yourself, of course! There is a way to do this. Here’s how:

Find meals that can be assembled in their raw state, defrosted successfully, then cooked freshly. A good example of this is meatloaf. All you have to do is make your meatloaf mixture, shape it, then put it in a freezer zipper bag, mark the bag and date it, then on the day you want to use it, defrost it and bake it. You will never know that your meatloaf was previously frozen!

Here is a recipe that we have on our very first Twenty for the Freezer, a downloadable menu with 20 recipes that you assemble all at once, freeze and cook later as needed. When you have a freezer full of meals like this to choose from, you will say good-bye to the drive thru forever!

In a 1 gallon plastic freezer bag, mix and blend well together:

Mega Marvelous Meatloaf
Serves 4

2/3 cup dried stuffing mix
1 egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 1/3 teaspoons garlic powder
2/3 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup ketchup
2/3 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Seal the bag and blend the mixture together by squeezing and kneading the bag. Unseal the bag, starting at the bottom of the bag, roll the mixture to force out any air then seal the bag again. Insert this bag into a gallon sized plastic freezer bag and place a copy of the recipe into the 2nd bag as well and seal it. Place your label on the bag or write the name and date on the bag and place in the freezer.  ~Leanne Ely, C. N. C”

In the interest of full disclosure, I ordered Leanne’s freezer meals menu.  I am very pleased with it and it is full of wonderful recipes, ideas and tips for not a lot of money.  Leanne and the Food Stamps Cooking Club share the philosophy of helping people eat well with little money.

Oh!  I’d be remiss if I did not mention the CONTEST they are having at Saving Dinner.  It’s all explained on their site in a video starring Leanne herself!  And as you may have suspected, today’s blog post is sponsored by The Dinner Diva herself, Leanne Ely, whose mission in life is Saving Dinner!

We love mail!  Send us your thoughts at  Thanks, everyone!

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: OLE`!

April 8th, 2011


OLE`! Anita has shared a turkey taco soup recipe! Can you say, “YUMMY”? And “Thank you, Anita”?

Our little town gathers every Thursday through Lent to worship and have lunch.  This week the Methodist ladies served a chicken noodle or chili soup in deep bowls, accompanied by sandwiches that literally melted in our mouths!  Everyone at our table was raving and we agreed that the weather almost demanded soup for lunch!

At our house we eat soup year around and we’ve even had it for breakfast. WE HEART SOUP.  Anita, one of our faithful and contributing Club Members has shared a soup recipe I think could easily become a year around favorite.  It’s delish; it’s cost effective; it’s comfort food at its finest and it is an easy thing to make!  That is a winner, for sure!

Here is Anita’s offering: We present it with our thanks!

Turkey Taco Soup recipe

Things you need to get:

2 lbs ground Turkey
4 cup of chicken broth
1 to 2 can(s) of Rotel : canned tomatoes
1 can of Kidney beans(undrained)
1 can of Pinto beans(undrained)
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of or frozen corn (1 cup)
1/2 cup of diced onion(sauteed with turkey)
Garlic power
a package of Taco Seasoning
Fritos or tortilla chips
Sour cream

You would need to brown the turkey with onions…with salt, pepper and garlic pepper. Add chicken broth, beans, corns, Rotel, tomato sauce. Stir and add taco seasoning. Check and taste how much you want it… add a bit more salt and pepper. Let it simmer for a bit before you serve.

When ready, serve with fritos, cheese and sour cream! Voila!

I personally think it tastes better than ground beef and also you don’t taste the grease from beef. We really like it!! Also chicken broth adds a lot of flavor as well. I would rather to use chicken broth over ranch mix. 😉  ~Anita


Mother Connie would like to add that the Food Police will not invade your kitchen if you do not use that particular brand of tomatoes. People like Carol and Rainy, for example, will want to use the tomatoes they grew and canned on their own.  And, as you know, turkey and chicken are quite interchangeable.  If you use chicken in a turkey recipe, no one will turn you in to the Kitchen Police, so you are free to use whatever you have on hand.  grin

People who are at the mercy of the food pantry or use food commodities; folks who have EBT cards for WIC or SNAP will love this frugal meal.  Users of Angel Food Ministries can work this into their menus quite easily, too.  And those of us who just like to save the big bucks on our food budgets will appreciate having this soup to serve to those we love any time of year.   Maybe we will even have it for breakfast a time or two!

Today’s post is sponsored by the good folks at ToothSoap.  We hope you can pop in on them and give them the once over.  They are nice people; be sure to let them know that Mother Connie sent you their way.

Thank you to all the folks who have recently joined the Club!  We are having way too much fun sharing low cost ideas for feeding our families health supporting meals with little muss or fuss or cost!  Let us hear from you by sending us a message at , won’t you please?

Connie Baum

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