Posts Tagged ‘Saving Dinner’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Beef ‘n Barley Soup

March 5th, 2015


What could be more satisfying on a brisk March day than a serving of

Beef and Barley soup?

One cup of barley went into a cold skillet as this soup was “born”…I toasted it gently over a medium-low heat, stirring to make sure it did not brown too quickly.  This process took about 5 minutes and the elegant aroma of toasting barley made for time well spent!

Next came a box of chicken broth.

SIDEBAR:  Beef broth would have been preferable but you know that we use what we have because the Kitchen Kops do not CARE!  END SIDEBAR.

There was a container of beef I had browned for another meal in the freezer.  It was a perfect item to use for this soup!  The block of beef, still frozen, went into the broth, as did the toasted barley.

While the heat thawed the meat and warmed the broth I chopped up an onion and 3 or 4 ribs of celery, using a rough chop.  Those went into a bit of oil in my trusty cast iron skillet for a quick saute`…at this point the kitchen began to smell divine.

As lunchtime neared and the stirring and aroma were making the household eager for the meal to be served, I decided to add a bit of color.  *The color was completely optional.  If you do not have ‘gravy booster’ liquid in your pantry, do not worry your head about it.

Two small spoonfuls of the liquid made for a beefy looking broth.  Then I made an executive decision:  the broth was too thin.  With a bit of cold water and about 3 teaspoons of corn starch mixed together, I added the thickener to the soup and the new consistency pleased me no end!

I let it simmer on a very low heat while I put a meat patty into a hot skillet.  I love the sizzle that happens when cold beef hits a hot surface!

SIDEBAR: The meat in the patty was left from the day I made stuffed red peppers.  As I mentioned in a recent Cooking Class, a meat loaf mixture can be made and used for not only meat loaf, but for meat balls, meat patties and stuffed peppers.  Saves time, gives the cook options and tastes divine!  END SIDEBAR.

When the meat was sufficiently browned on one side, I flipped it to cook the other side.  While it took care of business on its own, I spread mayo on brown bread and added some crisp lettuce leaves to make sandwiches as companions to the soup.

A Quality Assurance taste test reminded me that thyme would add a bit of zip so I sprinkled ever so little into the soup and gave it one last stir.

As you can see by the photo above, the soup looked quite good enough to eat!  Sorry; I forgot to photograph the sandwiches, which were wondermous, btw.  Our house guest did not know they were sammies; she called them by their English name:  “butties”.  She pronounces that “buh ti’  as with a short ‘i’.  We giggled our way through lunch, as you might imagine.

If you have barley in your pantry, you could make it into a hearty soup all on its own, without meat.  I thin you will find it to be filling, nutritious and inexpensive.  Paired with sandwiches or salad or fruit you have a simple meal that is easy to prepare, quick to fix, and very budget friendly.

We would be remiss if we did not welcome the New Members to the Club!  It is so gratifying to know that this little corner of the web is able to touch peoples’ lives in ways they find meaningful and helpful.  Thank you so much for putting your toes under our table in a virtual manner!

If you are a user of an EBT card from SNAP or WIC, if you receive food commodities or have things from a food pantry, we have dedicated our work to YOU.  Maybe you just like to nurse your nickels for sport…perhaps you are not using public assistance but are simply skint and are on the lookout for ways to be frugal in the kitchen.  We hope we are meeting and exceeding your expectations.

We love mail-hint/hint-you are welcome to send mail to:

To all our members, we remind you that you are dearly loved and cared about.

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: Using Our Imagination…

February 4th, 2015

Mother Connie has been plagued with technological issues.  Hence, no photos…(SAD FACE)  But at least everyone at our house is warm and well! (HAPPY FACE)

Plan A was to post pictures of the luscious food that was photographed specifically for the blog.  HOWEVER, Plan B had to be executed because those perfectly gorgeous photos canNOT be accessed. (SAD, TEARY FACE)

SIDEBAR: In my next life I’ll be an IT whiz.  END SIDEBAR

During these cold weather months we have concentrated on oven meals, one pot dishes and hearty soups.  *They all made lovely portraits which I suppose we’ll never lay our eyes on.  They all tasted  wonderful and the left overs were morphed into different and tasty offerings.  That is part of the joy of cooking at home.  Not only do you save money and know precisely how the food is prepared, you get to revel in re-imagined leftovers!

The Normanator begs for chili soup oftener than I care to ‘build’ it. Yesterday, on a shopping trip, we found a package of reasonably priced ground chuck so I snatched it up.  For dinner I browned and seasoned the meat with salt, pepper, a rather stingy amount of chili powder and I added onions.  This made for great filling for tacos.  YUM  We  oohed and aahed between taco bites at dinner!

This morning, as snow fell and obscured our view of the street, I used the meat left from tacos to make a chili soup.  I added chili flakes, fresh green pepper, and home canned tomatoes.  As I looked for beans I was stunned to discover I only had garbanzo beans!  Not suitable, imho, for chili soup!  I spied the jar of lentils.  I pulled out of the freezer a bag of barley and tossed a handful into a skillet to toast and I put the toasted barley and some lentils into the soup mix.  I added some onions.  I spooned in a scant teaspoon of sugar to diminish the tomato’s sting.  It began to bubble and smell like chili.  I tasted it and swooned.  I can hardly wait for lunch time!

No doubt many of you have made similar substitutions.  That’s what you do when you have what you have.  Especially if your pockets are empty and/or it you are in the midst of a blizzard!

Those of you who depend on public assistance for your food dollars know precisely what I mean here.  If you use WIC or SNAP or food commodities or get your eats from a food pantry you have no doubt made plenty of substitutes.  You are to be applauded for your creativity.

After being offline for what feels like forever it was a joy to see that we have so many NEW Members to this club!  Thank you all for joining and we welcome the newcomers with open arms. We hope you’ll have good, solid help from this little part of the internet.  You are welcome to contribute, too.  Send any messages to  WE LOVE MAIL because we love our Members!

There will be a Cooking Class at SENCA in Tecumseh, Nebraska on February 24, 2015.  There is no cost for the class but we need to know how many will be able to attend.  Please call 402 335 2134 to reserve your spot.  The class will focus on One Pot Meals and we will be talking about seasonings.

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 Unveils Offline Cooking Class!

January 2nd, 2014

Oatmeal 002

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


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

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

Here is our very first offering:

Overnight Oatmeal

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

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

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

3 cups water or water and milk

dash of salt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connie Baum

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



Cooking at Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 15th, 2013

Creating meals stacks up to mean food prep and cooking. We hope we help you make it FUN!

Planning for and preparing three meals a day every day is, as you are keenly aware, relentless.  It can also be daunting, not to mention how physically draining it can be or how EXPENSIVE.

You may have snazzy cookware.  You might have a glitzy kitchen.  Your food budget may be unlimited.  It’s possible you have kitchen help-a spouse, a parent, a child, a roommate or “day lady.”  In any case, nobody eats until somebody steps up to make the meal.  It’s wonderful to have help but we all know that not everyone has that luxury.

Most cooks in my world have picked up their cookware at garage sales or their collection pots n pans consists of hand me downs.  Most are mismatched and with any good luck, some have lids that fit!

Many years ago your humble blogger sold cookware.  One of the most important things I learned during that time was to use the right sized saucepan for your food.  That is to say that you would not put a cupful of corn into a three quart pot-unless that’s all you had to use.

Making skillet meals or one dish menu items makes good sense if your cookware options are limited.  Saute some onion, celery and carrot and add whatever cooked meat you have on hand.  *This is a great way to use tuna, which is usually low cost.  Serve that combo over cooked noodles or cooked rice and you have a nourishing and satisfying meal for very little money and not many dishes to wash!

If you fell heir to a poached egg set-up, I’d advise you to use those little cups for dipping out flour or sugar from your canister.  When it comes to poaching eggs you can do it EASILY by filling a skillet with water-about 3/4″.  Salt the water, add a few drops of any ole vinegar you have on hand.  When the water simmers, lower the heat and carefully drop each egg into the water.  Because of the heat and vinegar combination each egg will immediately begin to cook and it won’t look like scrambled eggs under water.  It’s a quick way to fix eggs and there is no grease involved.  That saves you some money.

If you are blessed to own a cast iron skillet, it’s important to know how to season it.  Those will last a lifetime and they are truly non stick when they are properly cared for.  I season mine every time I use it by washing it, preferably without soap, and then I pat it dry so as not to stain the dishtowel.  *I’d use paper toweling but that is sooo expensive to use.  I put it on the burner, turn the heat setting to HIGH and let the skillet heat through.  I squirt a shot of spray oil on the bottom and around the sides and turn off the burner and let it cool before I put it away. 

Storage of cookware can become an issue.  My collection fits well in the drawer under the oven and I like to store each pot with its own lid.  It’s so frustrating to have to hunt for lids when all you want to do is get a meal over with and get on with life!  Hanging cookware can be a handy way to store it, too.  And it won’t matter if your pots are not gorgeous enough to appear on magazine covers.  

Here’s a word of caution:  If your cookware is not enamel lined or glass or stainless steel, do NOT store food in it in your fridge.  It only takes a moment to scrape left over food from a pot to a food storage container or bag and pop that into the fridge or freezer for later use.    Meat can be wrapped in waxed paper I learned the hard way that food left on a cookie sheet can be tainted very quickly, wasting food and making people sick.

It’s been my experience that users of WIC and SNAP with their EBT cards are smart.  Those of you who fit that description probably have super great ideas about using and storing cookware.  We’d love to hear from you at 

If you are living on a dime, frugal by nature, or benefiting from a food pantry, food bank, or food commodities, you no doubt have had many learning experiences the rest of the Club Members could learn from.  We’d love to hear from all of you, as well.  The sharing that takes place here is wonderful!

We are hearing from peeps who have cruised by some of our favorite bloggers’ sites and it seems you are enjoying those immensely, as is Mother Connie. It’s a wonderful way to learn and to connect with like minded folks.  Thanks, everybody, for sharing the love.

We are looking forward to your stories about cookware!  Can’t wait to see your comments and messages!

~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.



Breakfast Chatter at Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 12th, 2013

Tuesday always means a good, hot breakfast at Southeast Nebraska Community Action Center

Magic seems to happen when people or families gather around a table laden with good food.  Is it the coffee?  Is it the wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen?  The conversation flows, our moods elevate and laughter fills the room every Tuesday morning as we gather for breakfast!

Topics always cover community news-who is ailing, who moved and what’s on sale at the grocery store.  Today there was much talk about food.

Liver and onions; roast beef with onions; spinach salad and eggs were the headlines.  The whole bunch buzzed about whether to plan out menus for one or two vs those who pop something into a nuke machine for a quick meal.  We agreed that if we all operated in the same manner it would be a very boring world.  All this chatter went on as we were treated to a hot breakfast casserole, strips of crisp bacon, toast, peaches and OJ.  Oh, and that yummy steaming coffee!

Most of our breakfast buddies will return at noon for the congregate meal served at SENCA every weekday.  Friendships are fortified, news is distributed, and it is a wonderful service available to kids our age.  We are blessed to have a talented cook who is all heart-Loretta Pope does a great job in her role at SENCA.

All this got me thinking about what to present to the Food Stamps Cooking Club Members about making meals.  Golly, it is an ongoing thing, this meal making.  When you are living on a dime or depending on public assistance for your food NO MATTER YOUR AGE you might benefit from some help.  We dearly hope we are helpful in this regard; it is our passion and purpose, after all.

One of the things we do at the Club House is to cook a potful of eggs at one time.  Some might be used for salads or snacks and others are put back, peeled and ready to go, for a quick breakfast.  It takes almost no time to make a white sauce, adding those hard cooked eggs, for a lovely sauce over toast.  Quick!  Easy!  CHEAP.  Boom.

Another idea is to put one part oatmeal and two parts water into a covered pot or casserole into the oven at bedtime on very low heat.  You could toss in some dried fruit-or not-and a sprinkle of salt.  A good hot breakfast will greet you as you wake!  Quick!  Easy!  CHEAP!  Boom

Sometimes I stir up some egg/milk/cinnamon and soak bread overnight in that mixture.  This goes into the fridge as soon as the bread is added.  Next morning it takes very little time to pop the slices of bread into a hot skillet for French toast.  These can be topped with syrup, honey, jelly, jam or plain fruit-even yogurt. Pretty much a people pleaser!  This is also quick!  Easy!  CHEAP!  Boom

If you need breakfast on the go, granola might meet your needs.  There you can make up the mix your gang likes best, store it in your pantry or cupboard, and scoop it into a fridge container or plastic bag.  Another idea along this line is to peel an orange the night before and pop that into a plastic container.  You are out the door with good fortification and it’s quick, easy and CHEAP!  Boom

We would be remiss if we did not mention heart shaped pancakes for the upcoming VALENTINE DAY…topped off with red jam or jelly.  Stir up the mix the night before and it’s a cinch to get them to the table for your Valentines who come to your table before school or work!  Again-quick, easy, and CHEAP.  Boom.

The internet is filled with blogs with ideas of every sort.  Some of my favorites, as you know, are Saving DinnerCreative SavvThe Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking , Poor to Rich a Day at a Time and Living On a Dime. I also really enjoy reading CT on a Budget. and Monroe on a Budget.   I’m sure you’ll find tremendously helpful ideas about breakfast and much, much more.  Give them some love, won’t you, please?  And mention that Mother Connie sez hey.  Thanks.

Here’s hoping you leave some love in our comments panel, too.  grin

We are loving your mail…you can reach us at

We hope you are staying warm and feeling well.  We appreciate you all so much.

~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.



Green Beans at the Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 8th, 2013

There are many ways to prepare green beans but everyone has a favorite!

Fueled by the inspiration of the recently posted sweet and sour cabbage recipe, Mother Connie prepared some green beans in a similar manner…

The lunch table conversation slowed to a halt.  This was the first clue that The Normanator was not thrilled with this dish.  Instinctively, I knew that once again I had “blown it”…HIS MOTHER had always made creamed green beans by thickening some cream -they had cows so cream was not the Big Buy it is these days-with a bit of flour.  Salt and pepper finished off the commonly served vegetable and thus, a family tradition was born.

My grandmother served something similar but I remember as a small child that there was a pat of butter with each serving.  Delicious does not begin to do that justice…

So in each of our families we had a green bean tradition.  The first time I sauteed fresh green beans with onions, I thought The Normanator might have a panic attack.

Sometimes I make creamed green beans; sometimes I prefer to change things up.  I fancy you do this, too.

I was surprised by a recent blog post from The Dinner Diva, Leanne Ely.  She advises against creaming spinach (boo hoo – my all time personal fave) because this interferes with the absorption of the great nutrients .  She did not mention green beans…

Another prep idea for green beans, which came out of the 1950s I believe, is to add a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup to the beans, creating a sort of creamed vegetable.  You might think of the green bean casserole with the onion rings.  But that would not be the healthiest choice…have you READ the labels on soup cans?  Well, if that’s all you have, that’s what you’ll use but I hope you are going for fresh or frozen or home canned…just sayin’…

If you are not married to your usual way of doing things, this might hit your hot button:


2  cans green beans, drained  *Users of food commodities, this is great for YOU!

salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons chili sauce

splash of vegetable oil  *Mother Connie prefers olive oil but corn oil would do, as well.  If you use what’s in your pantry the Kitchen Police can’t file a complaint….


Mix the garlic, chili sauce, and honey together in a bowl.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet to medium, add the beans and heat through thoroughly.  As soon as the beans are heated, which will take 2 or 3 minutes, your dish is ready to serve.

This makes enough for 4 adults.

***How does YOUR family like their green beans prepared?


We are thrilled to have so many new Members coming to the Club.  We trust this is one corner of the internet where you are free to express your views, offer your ideas, share your experience and wisdom.  You are welcome to send emails to

As you know, we cater to users of public assistance, those who procure their food from food banks, food pantries, food commodities and generous friends or neighbors.  Those who simply MUST s t r e t c h their food dollars can include users  of SNAP or WIC by use of EBT cards; those on fixed incomes, those who are frugal by nature.  People who are living on a dime seem to find some helpful notions here, as well.

~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.

Growing Greens at Food Stamps Cooking Club

January 31st, 2013

You might not be thinking about growing a garden just yet, even though the seed catalogs are pouring in these days. Leanne Ely, the Dinner Diva from Saving Dinner is showing us a wonderful idea we could do immediately-crummy weather notwithstanding- and I wanted to share it with you:

Grow your own lettuce bowl indoors
by Leanne Ely

I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time buying produce that I can easily grow myself. At my house, we eat a lot of salad. As many of you know, I serve a large green salad with almost every meal that goes on the table. All of those heads of lettuce can add up!

So, I recently started looking into some ways to grow my own lettuce indoors and I thought I would share what I’m learning with y’all.

All you need is:

* A large round pot, about 6 inches deep (or a container of some sort with roughly the same depth)
* Organic potting soil (look for the kind with perlite in it-thats those little round white balls)
* Mesclun mix seeds (or whatever lettuce you like best)
* Water
* A sunny window

You’ll need a window that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. If your lettuce doesn’t get enough sun, it will get tall and spindly and that isn’t what you want.

To grow your lettuce:

1. Fill your container to the halfway mark with soil. You can sprinkle some fertilizer on there if you want to. Moisten the soil and sprinkle a couple pinches of seeds on top. Sprinkle a little more soil over the seeds and spritz the surface with more water.

2. Water daily and keep the pot in the sun or under a grow light. The seeds should sprout up in about seven days and your first harvest should be ready in about a month.

To harvest your lettuce:

After you cut your lettuce the first time (leave the growing crowns alone!), you’ll only have to wait another two weeks for a fresh crop.

And it’s pretty much just that easy!

Fresh lettuce greens are just the best, aren’t they?

Do you do any indoor gardening? Have any tips to share?

Leanne has been teaching people how to Save Dinner and how to nourish our families for a long time. Her daily messages are full of information and heart. We appreciate being able to share today’s message with our Members.

Now to find a large pot…

~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.

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.


Macaroni! Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 28th, 2012

My Food Network Calendar featured this offering and it is DELISH to the MAX!

Everyone has a preferred way of preparing macaroni salad…it’s likely we prepare ours the way our mothers did.  Unless, of course, your mother bought hers at a deli!  grin     When I peeled away the top page of my favorite Christmas present, the Food Network Recipe Calendar, I found this wonderful recipe.  I think it’s one you’ll love!

***Mother Connie will have comments about this recipe below the recipe itself.  Don’t look at the ingredients and give up before you read Mother Connie’s suggestions!

Macaroni Salad with Dill and Ham

1/4  medium  red onion, minced

8  oz elbow macaroni – about 2 cups

2  tablespoons milk

2  tablespoons white wine vinegar

1    tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/3  cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2  cup sour cream

6  oz  cooked ham, cubed in 1/3″ pieces

3/4  cup frozen baby peas, thawed  – about 4 oz

2  ribs celery,  diced –  leaves and all

2  tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1.  To mellow the onion, soak it in cold water while you make the salad

2.  Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil over high heat and salt generously.  Add the macaroni and boil, stirring occasionally until al dente, about 8 minutes.  Drain the macaroni in a colander, put in a serving bowl and toss with the milk.  Allow the macaroni to cool slightly while you make the dressing.

3.  Whisk the vinegar, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper, to taste in a large bowl.  Gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream to make a smooth, slightly thick dressing.  Whisk in the sour cream.

4.   Drain the onions, pat dry, and add to  the macaroni,along with the ham, peas, celery, and dill.  Add the dressing and fold to coat the pasta evenly.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

***Mother Connie’s comments and suggestions:

We are acutely aware that you are using EBT cards for SNAP and WIC.  We understand you have food commodities and you get things from a food pantry.  We KNOW you are living on a dime.  We GET how outrageously  S T R E T C H E D your food budgets and your TIME is.  We fully understand that you may not have ingredients that are listed above.

That’s no reason not to try this easily made and low cost dish.  We just need to help you understand how to substitute.  I think the Food Network nor the Kitchen Police will grab you by the throat just because you did not use Dijon mustard.

You don’t have  RED onion?  Just mince whatever onions you have.  Onion powder would be acceptable, as well.

Mother Connie would be SHOCKED if you have white wine vinegar in your pantry.  Use what you do have and don’t feel guilty about it.

No virgin olive oil?  I hope you do have some vegetable oil on hand and I PRAY it is not canola.  Just my view…

Plain yogurt could stand in for sour cream.  You could even use Ranch dressing. 

Now about those peas…you may have only canned peas.  Just drain and dump.  It’s OK; really it is.

Mother Connie feels the need to address the SIZE of those cubes.  Do NOT obsess about them.  Just cube the ham and move along.  Life is way too short to stress about this kind of detail!  In addition, I would offer that in the absence of ham you could substitute bacon.  As a matter of fact, this could eliminate ham OR bacon.  Of course the title of the recipe would not be accurate!  GRIN/GIGGLE

The chances I’d have FRESH dill  around are slim and none.  I’m thinking that could be true for YOU as well. They have that in little, affordable bottles and you can even get it in bulk in some supermarkets,  which means you can buy a small amount so it fits into your food budget.

Macaroni salad was not sophisticated when I was growing up.  Mom used chopped sweet pickles in hers.  My sister in law added radishes when she made it.  This is not rocket science; it’s about pleasing the palettes of those who put their toes under your picnic table.  Relax!  Make it fun!

You all have put great fun in my life because you are sharing this blog with your friends and the Membership Rolls are swelling!  How much fun IS that, anyway?


Here’s a reminder that two of our partners have wonderful promotions and ideas to share with you. You might like to cruise by Living On a Dime and Saving Dinner and give them some love.  They probably live for comments, too!

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.

Speaking of Rice at Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 26th, 2012

Here is a fresh take on Beans n  Rice!

The end of any month can be trying, what with the struggle of everyday life compounded by the management of skimpy food supplies.  Especially if you have a food budget that is tapped out!  Today we offer you an idea that may help you minimize the struggle.  By the way, this tastes good during the FIRST of the month, too!  grin

Red Beans and Rice

*Gee, how imaginative is THIS title?  smile

2  tablespoons butter

1  large onion

3   cups hot cooked rice  *Basmati rice, if you have it.  Cooked in broth if it’s available  Not to worry; the Kitchen Police will never know.

1  can kidney beans, drained

1/2  cup sour cream

1/2  cup grated Asiago cheese  *I repeat:  the Kitchen Police will never know if you use another kind…

1/4  teaspoon black pepper


Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; cook til it browns, about 8 minutes.  Add rice, beans, sour cream, cheese and pepper.  Stir well , blending and melting cheese.  Remove from heat and serve.  Makes 6 servings.

This will be kind to your food budget and might become one of your go-to comfort food recipes.

Are you living on a dime?  Do you use SNAP or WIC  EBT cards?  Do you frequent a food pantry?  Are you eligible for food commodities?  Maybe you are a person who squeezes the grocery nickels until those buffalo bellow…or you might be someone who just likes the challenge of saving food money by s t r e t c h i n g your food budget!  In any case, we sincerely hope this little blog is helpful to you.  Helping others is our passion and we love to cook. 

You are welcome to offer your thoughts and suggestions on our comments page.  WE LIVE FOR COMMENTS, don’t you know!  grin  Thanks for your contributions and opinions.

If you have a mind to do so, you could even cruise by our partners and let them know we are having fun here.  You can reach them through their websites  Living On A Dime and Saving Dinner.  They are all about helping people, too, and they will be delighted to hear from their fan club!

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.