Posts Tagged ‘sandwiches’

Picnic Time With Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 18th, 2012


We are smack dab in the middle of picnic season!

Greetings, Club Members!  We seem to have come through Memorial Day and Fathers Day and here we are, on the back side of a warm and sunny month.  These bright, breezy days just beg for picnics.

Maybe you have a porch or a deck where you enjoy your morning coffee or afternoon iced tea.  Maybe your picnic table lives on your lawn or patio.  MAYBE your family relishes the idea of packing a cooler or basket and trotting off to a nearby park or driving to a campsite or lakeside just to have a meal and enjoy the great outdoors.

The issue with picnic food always has to do with food safety.  We are warned from every corner about the dangers of meat and mayo and other foods growing bacteria that can make us sick.   I heard about a wonderful sammie you can build in your very own kitchen and your family may just make it a tradition.  Hearing about this treat made my mouth water!

Here is a winner for YOUR summer picnic:

1.  Simply take 1 whole loaf of bread, unsliced and cut it in half from end to end.  This leaves you with a bottom crust and a top crust.

2.  Drizzle oil  on the cut sides of each half of the bread   *Mother Connie’s preference is olive oil but you use what YOU like.

3.  Layer tuna, sardines or salmon; lettuce or spinach;  tomato slices;  slices of onion; rings of peppers; ripe olives; cooked, drained beans – whatever you like on your sandwich or whatever you find in the fridge.

4.  Season the whole works with salt and pepper or any spices that make your family’s hearts go pitty-pat. You can also sprinkle your favorite vinegar over the whole business.

5.  Replace the top of the loaf – you will have a “Dagwood” high sammie…Wrap it in foil and put a cutting board over it.   Place a couple of cans from your pantry on the board.  This will squeeze the whole loaf and all the ingredients, causing the oil to ooze into the bread and marinate the veggies.  This will ensure that your mouth will fit around it when it is sliced into single servings.  It will take a couple of hours to work the magic. 

6.  When your sammie is built you can pack  up some fruit and a jar of lemonade, tea or water with your eating utensils.  By the time you are ready to eat, your bread and vegetables will be ready for you to enjoy.  And there will be no stress regarding food safety!

*Above all, remember that there are no hard and fast rules.  Use what you have and what your family likes.  If it’s peanut butter and bananas, that’s quite fine.  Maybe you prefer bacon over tuna and it’s available.  It could be such a thing that you have leftover meat from a previous meal; you could PRESS that into service.  *PUN INTENDED…It’s summertime/picnic time, after all.  No need to stress about the Kitchen Police looking in on you.

The whole idea of food is to nourish the body.  Foods we enjoy and fresh foods nourish our soul, too.  And sharing picnic meals while enjoying the company of those we hold dear nourish us in ways that transcend this earthly experience!

Have yourself some fun, people!  Never mind you are on a tight budget or living on a dime or using an EBT card from SNAP or WIC.  Fun can be had with food commodities or things from a food pantry, too!  Indoors or outdoors, we all need to s t r e t c h our food budgets!  It just takes a bit of planning, sprinkled with a little imagination.

We are so happy to welcome all the new Club Members!  We hope we are able to help you all.  We invite your contribution with your comments and your messages to our email account:

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.

PS/Carol, one of our most faithful contributors to the good of the Club sent this message:  “…if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the documentary “FOOD STAMPED.”  It profiles a young couple’s journey to live on a Food Stamps budget, yet healthfully.  I borrowed it from my library.  Perhaps you can, as well.”  GOOD TIP, GANG.  Thanks, Carol!

School Lunch Ideas?

August 19th, 2009

Are you in a funk where you can’t think of anything  to prepare for lunches or after school snacks? Maybe you are dealing with allergies.  Maybe you are caught in a tight spot because you lean hard on food pantries, food commodities, or SNAP funds.  You face the same lunchbox dilemma if you use Angel Food Ministries or have Farmers Markets Coupons.

Maybe I can help by sharing a few ideas.

When it comes to peanut butter it’s a can’t-miss hit with most kids.  It’s cheap, usually, and often found in the commodities bundles.  BUT, if there are allergy issues-some schools have even become  NO PEANUT BUTTER ZONES-there are ways around this sticky wicket.

Almond butter is a great substitute but can be spendy.  How about spreading inexpensive homemade hummus on bread slices to make a lunchbox sammy?  Dress it up with sweet pickle slices or chopped olives or even lettuce leaves.  Another way to make a pretty, tasty snack or lunchbox offering using hummus is to wrap the filling inside red cabbage leaves.

Stuffing ribs of celery with ricotta cheese is not cost prohibitive and very nutritious.  Peeling a tomato and slicing it, slipping it into a little plastic refrigerator dish or food bag will please the school lunch bunch and fill their tummies with quality food. SIDEBAR: Remember to tuck in a napkin or wet wipe!  Tomatoes are juicy! END SIDEBAR.   Making sammies with cheese and jelly gives little students good protein and helps to stabilize their blood sugar levels.

When the kids come home from school they are ready for an after school snack.  Instead of chips and soda, have some bean dip and tortillas at the ready.  Make up some salsa;or  offer them hard cooked egg slices. Toast some bread and let cheese slices melt with the warmth of the toast.  Popcorn is welcoming when kids arrive from school.  That will fill them with great fiber and hold their appetites until the evening meal is served.

Bear in mind that kids who eat real fruits and vegetables will not be sick as often as if they ate junky food or baked treats and they will not be prone to after school snacks that do not benefit their immune systems.

Time is always of the essence where school kids are concerned.  Packing lunches and keeping snacks on hand can be stress-free if you think ahead and make some plans.  By making up some chicken or tuna salad ahead of time, you can fill a lunchbox with sandwiches or lettuce cups for variety and nutrition.  Keep a supply of hard cooked eggs around for snacks and loading lunchboxes quickly.  When there is a tub in the fridge filled with cleaned celery and carrots and radishes, you will make it easy to establish good eating habits for your children without busting your food budget.

It’s important to stress that if you do not bring junky food into the house, making healthy choices for lunches and snacks is a cinch.

What are YOU making for school lunches?  Give us your best ideas by sending them to and make our day.

Thanks so much for visiting our partners and for sending those in your circle to Food Stamps Cooking Club.  You have even been sharing our sister site, The Healthy and Wealthy You! The whole idea is to help one another; we all need to know we matter!

Connie Baum

Back To School Food?

August 14th, 2009

In our part of the world the new school year begins next week!

Starting a new school year with youngsters in the home can mean a variety of things.  It might mean scraping together some lunch money for a hot noon meal at school.  Some schools provide breakfast for their students.  Some children brown bag it and others are blessed to be able to go home to eat their lunch.

No matter what arrangements are made for lunchtime fare, it is critical for the whole family-not just kids!-to have a decent breakfast.

By ‘decent’ breakfast I do not refer to pastries and juice drinks.  I am not talking about junky rolls and cupcakes!  I’m talking about a good protein and some carbs to get the blood sugar up and stabilized so students can perform at their peak.

Believe it or not, this can be accomplished even if you use food commodities, food pantries, or SNAP funds for menu planning.

You can’t beat cold cooked rice for a quick breakfast.  Sprinkle a little sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and even a handful of raisins into your bowl, pour in a bit of milk…MMmm… GOOD EATS!

If you must hurry away so fast you need to DRINK your breakfast, toss a few berries into a blender full of milk-prepared powdered milk will fill the bill-and whirl it to make it foamy.  If you have some protein powder, that will amp up the nutrition and if you are fortunate to have some barley grass to add to it, that will work to make a healthy way to start the day.

A slice of whole wheat or rye toast with a coat of almond butter “painted” on-peanut butter is another suggestion-will ensure the protein needed for a student to feel his best as he delivers a top notch performance in his classes.

At this time of year it makes sense to offer students-or anybody who shows up at the breakfast table:BLT or bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches!  The tomatoes are plentiful now and a sammie helps to make a quick getaway.  WARNING: BLTs may require extra napkins or a bib!  grin

One of my most favorite ways to begin a school day when I had youngsters to look after was tomato soup.  Yes, it’s lunchtime fare, but it is a great and healthy way to send them off for a busy school day.  When I served soup, the kids would clamor for toasted cheese sandwiches, too.  It made for a simple breakfast and was a winner all around!

Here is one way to prepare it.  I highly recommend you avoid commercial soups if possible because they are loaded with MSG and more chemicals than a good breakfast requires!   It might be something you can prepare on a weekend, leaving it in the fridge for the flavors to marry.  It makes a large amount so it’s great for “cooking once and eating twice!”


4 quarts of tomatoes, peeled and cored

3 1/2 cups onions, chopped

2 1/2 cups chopped celery

2 cups sweet red peppers, chopped

1 cup carrots, sliced or chopped-depends how you want them to look

7 bay leaves

1 tablespoon whole cloves

1 clove garlic

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Combine tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, peppers, bay leaves cloves and garlic in a large saucepan.  Simmer until veggies are tender. Remove the bay leaves.  Puree the vegetables in a food processor or food mill. *IF you do not have either of these, you can use a potato masher. After the veggies have been processed in this way, return them to the saucepan, add the sugar and salt and cover.  Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

This recipe makes 2 quarts of soup and a very healthy, hearty start to a school day!

This soup is going to be something everyone can prepare, no matter if you are using Farmers Market coupons, Angel Food Ministries, or if you just want to use all those tomatoes your neighbor gave you! PS/If you add zucchini to this soup it will increase the veggie power.  Just wash the zucchini, lop off the ends and grate it.  A coupla cups sneaked into this soup will be a great use of this plentiful vegetable.

Thanks to all the new Club members who have joined!  We hope you like the messages we’ll have for you.  We make every effort to help you.

You can help us, too.  We love hearing from you at  and we know you are sending your people to the Food Stamps Cooking Club because you’ve TOLD us so!  Thank you so much!

Thank you, too, for visiting our partners.  They want to help you as much as we do.

Connie Baum