Posts Tagged ‘SENCA-South East Nebraska Community Action’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: DESSERT!

September 26th, 2015


Who doesn’t love dessert?

The Cooking Class at SENCA in Tecumseh, NE featured desserts that contribute to good health and in the interest of Quality Assurance, we HAD to do our fair share of taste testing.  *I know.  You must feel terribly sorry for us.  grin

Kathy made a Weight Watchers delight.  She used frozen fruit she had thawed and drained (ANY fruit would do).  She sprinkled a packet of gelatin (ANY flavor would do) and stirred in a few spoonfuls of low fat cottage cheese.  (ANY cottage cheese would do.)  She stirred it all together and added a few spoonfuls of whipped topping.  It got all fluffy and pretty and we spooned some out to taste.  Mmmmm!  Winner!  Winner!  DESSERT FOR DINNER!

Terri pleased our palettes with an apple pie.  This one had a twist; there was a mixture of flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and oatmeal flakes where most diners would expect crust!  It was still warm from the oven when it arrived to our table.  There was swooning and ooohing and aaahing all around as we marveled at how satisfying her dessert was!

Mother Connie’s contribution was a simple collection of berries…I used fresh raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. (Any combination would do!)  I had cut them and sprinkled a dab of sugar over them and let them hang out in the fridge to get all juicy and delish.  While they chilled, I warmed some honey very gently on the stove and to that I added some sticks of cinnamon and a few shakes of ground cinnamon.  Pouring warm honey over cold berries is a good duet for your taste buds!

There was a good bit of discussion about people making low cost, high nutrition meals and desserts.  Everyone shared helpful ideas about shopping tips, family favorites and ways of re-imagining the recipes that were shared.

The next cooking class will be held prior to Turkey Day and since everyone is interested in saving time AND money, we’ll be making freezer meals once again.

Are you a user of SNAP or WIC funds with an EBT card?  Do you get food commodities?  Have you visited a food pantry or food bank?  Maybe you are just frugal by nature.  Perhaps you love to cook; you may even hate to cook.  In any case, this little piece of the internet is devoted to helping those of you who use public assistance for your food dollars.  We are here for you, supporting  you and caring about you.

We are tickled pink and blue and doing the Happy Dance because of all the new Members who have signed up for our little series of cooking tips.  You are welcome to share you ideas with us by sending an email to  *We are just like little kids when we get MAIL!

Connie Baum

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Food Stamps Cooking Club: We Are Baaaack!

January 22nd, 2015

Nightmarish technical difficulties have prevented the Food Stamps Cooking Club from posting for a very long time.

*Note to self:  NEVER buy a refurbished computer.

Just as soon as we untangle the web of technology that has been a veritable thorn in Mother Connie’s side we will return to posting and boy oh boy is there ever  a DOOZEE of a dish waiting in the wings for you Members!

Your patience with these issues is deeply appreciated.  Thank you so much!

While not able to blog, plans are in the works for another cooking class in Tecumseh, NE…at the South East Community Action Center (SENCA).  The fun just never ends! 

Save the date:  February 24 at 1:30PM.  There is no cost but you must call 402 335 2134 to reserve your space.  We will be demonstrating one pot meals, freezer meals and seasonings.  It should be helpful for all our Members.

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 It All About the Need?

August 10th, 2009

You may recall I was asked to sit on the Advisory Board at the South East Nebraska Community Action Center. Our first meeting took place on Friday.  The agenda was not encouraging to me.

The meeting opened with the shocking announcement that the current cook who provides some 700 astonishingly creative, nutritious meals a month for Senior Citizens and Meals On Wheels has tendered her two weeks’ notice because she has found employment where she will earn more money and receive less hassle. There was a collective GASP across this community as the news quickly spread.

Then we discussed the empty shelves in the Food Pantry, the ginormous number of families who applied for assistance with Back To School needs.  There was discussion regarding the much needed “love” the building housing the Action Center needs.  We will be arranging a Fund Raiser.

On Friday morning I had learned about the new figures concerning the desperate need for using food stamps or SNAP, food commodities and food pantries.  It has gotten amazing media attention worldwide.  All in all, I felt quite glum at the end of the meeting.

I was cheered on Sunday when our church people came with bags and bags of school supplies, backpacks and offers to purchase other things to fill the need and the shelves.  We are already thinking ahead to Christmas and cold weather needs.

Unemployment may be “steadying” as the media has been reporting but in our neck of the woods there are hard working people who cannot afford to feed their families; there are people being laid off work; there are people who are sick and aging who need our support in concrete ways.

The Cooking Class we have scheduled may ease some of the stress and strain.  But that’s  just a drop in the bucket.  My heart is heavy that I cannot do more but I am following my passion and reaching out.  Pray with me that lives will be touched and made better and that things will improve dramatically and soon.

Meantime, I want to share with you a wonderful idea for using the ample supply of zucchini that seems to abound.  Our Mexican neighbor, who promises to teach me some of their best techniques, told me about this:


Wash the zucchini and chop off the ends.  Cut the vegetable into cubes and cook til tender.  Drain the liquid and put your favorite kind of cheese into the warm pot and let them melt.  Senor Torres likes to use taco flavored cheese he buys in 5 pound blocks but he says any cheese will work.

He also told me he fills tortillas with this mixture, along with a few cooked beans and eats them out of hand.  MMMM!

I’m excited to get into the kitchen to try this one!

Boys and girls, you have done such a marvelous job of inviting those in your sphere of influence into the Clubhouse!  Thank you so much!  If you care to post a comment here, you are more than welcome to do so!  If you prefer to send a message to us at  that will be just fine and every bit as welcomed!

Thanks for stopping by to visit our partners; they appreciate your interest because they want to help you with bringing more money into your households.

Connie Baum

Food Commodities in YOUR Cupboard?

July 13th, 2009

Each day when the first wave of emails hits my computer I am always eager to see what’s cooking!  I am blessed to receive a number of messages from recipe sites.  Today I found something suitable for these hot muggy days but it was way to ‘chi chi poo poo’ for us commoners!  So I thought I would trot out one of my mother’s old standby favorites for a cold dish on a hot day:  Salmon Salad.

As you know, we are landlocked here in Nebraska and the closest we come to having anything seaworthy is the Nebraska Navy.  We don’t have access to fresh seafood on a tight budget-many of us are using food commodities, food pantries, the SNAP program and maybe even Angel Food Ministries.  Even the coupons for the Farmers Markets do not gain access to salmon, for crying out loud!  My mother always used canned salmon but she also made this dish with tuna.  She even used ground beef.  She also subscribed to the theory you can cook once and eat twice.  Cold ground or roast beef in a salad is quite tasty.

Here’s how Mom made her SALMON SALAD:

1 package of pasta.  Mom was partial to shell macaroni.  Use what YOU like: Bow ties? Elbows? Rotini?  Cook it according to package directions, rinse with cold water and drain.

1 medium cucumber, washed and rough chopped-the goodness is just under the peeling.  This time of year people are BEGGING folks to help them use up their zucchini squashes from the gardens!  Great substitute!  Or, use both.

1 can salmon, drained and mashed with a fork-Mom always removed the bones

1 tomato, roughly chopped

1 rib of celery, finely chopped

*Optional: 2 or 3 rings of red onion-white or yellow will work, if you have some on hand

1 pepper, rough chopped-red is pretty but green are cheaper and plentiful in the garden these days

Salt and pepper to taste

I can still see Mom assembling this mixture into the big yellow mixing bowl and tossing it ever so lovingly.  She dressed it with mayonnaise but your family’s favorite will work just fine.  She used to put lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves on the “good dishes” to make lunch or supper feel like a special occasionWhen she made this dish for guests, she added just a sprinkle of celery seed.  Sometimes she would arrange hard cooked eggs on the top of the serving bowl and pass the dish at the table. She often served lemonade with this salad because of the balance of flavors between the salmon and the lemon.


No doubt YOU have family favorites that were simple and budget friendly.  We would love to have you share those.  Just drop us an email at;  it will make our day!

You are always welcome to post your comment on this blog, too.  We remind you that comments must be moderated so they do not always appear instantly!  If you are shy, you may remain anonymous.

All of you have been generous to share the Food Stamps Cooking Club website with your networks and we so appreciate it because when folks visit that site and enter their name and email address they are able to receive the little messages we send to our people.  We never mean to impose but when we find something worth sharing we can give our people a shout out!

Our partners are very pleased that you have paid some mind to them, too.  Thank you so much, everybody.

Plans are in the works for the event sponsored by SENCA later this month here in Southeast Nebraska, as well as our second round of  Cooking Classes!  Watch for that date to be announced!

Connie Baum