Please click on the above link and watch this short video. As you see it, you will understand why Mother Connie sends out this little blog every weekday. Wise food choices can make all the difference in how our children feel and how well they perform in life. We hope you’ll come back here and leave your thoughts on the comment panel below this entry.
Those of you who are using SNAP or WIC ALREADY KNOW AND UNDERSTAND HOW EATING ON $4.00 A DAY EVERY DAY WORKS.
Blessings to you all. We hope to help as many of you as possible. Maybe tomorrow we can talk about the choices the woman in the video made.
Whether you have your mid day meal at home or at your workplace, it’s important to fuel up for a productive afternoon!
Sometime around the 1980′s LUNCH became a VERB. Lunch suddenly was something people DID…in 2011, thanks to Club Member Mikemax, it became a NEW PAGE on this blog! Look for “What’s for Lunch?” at the top of the blog…then tell us about YOUR lunch! Inquiring minds want to know!
People who depend on food commodities, food pantry food, or EBT cards from WIC or SNAP are always on the hunt for new ideas for lunches that fit their slim budgets. Those who use Angel Food Ministries bundles are always eager for ideas for those items to s t r e t c h their food budgets, too. Even people who just want to be frugal, those who are living on a dime, are likely to be open to food ideas that make lunch interesting as well as cost effective and nutritious.
Maybe you tote a lunchbox or perhaps you fill lunch boxes for your children or your other half who works away from home. You most likely HAVE great lunch ideas. We hope you are willing to share…hint/hint…
If you are home for lunch you no doubt are clever at morphing leftovers into yummy lunchtime fare. Won’t you share your expertise with us? Thanks!
One of Mother Connie’s tried and true lunchtime “tricks” is to gather bits of this and tads of that left from previous meals. When broth is added, it becomes a brand new soup. It is virtually unidentifiable as whatever it WAS if some new veggies are introduced to the pot. If there is any left of THAT, it can be a dinner starter in little soup cups before the main entree makes it to the table.
What do YOU do about lunch? Let’s DO lunch and tell us all about YOUR menu on the new page!
Oh, and please submit your name and email address in the top right hand corner of this page so you can get our series of cooking tips and infrequent email messages. We are tickled PINK to have new members!
Send your fan mail to email@example.com. grin
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Cooking with SNAP? WIC? Would You Like to Spice Things Up?
Spice is the variety in life. No! No! Wait! That should read: “Variety is the spice of life! ”
In any case, how would you like to spice things up in your kitchen to make cooking-whether you avail yourself of food pantries, food commodities, SNAP, WIC or Angel Food Ministries-and give you new OOMPH when it comes to feeding your family?
An article caught my eye recently. They meant for me to go to their website and purchase their cookware. That may have been fine, but I have a kitchen filled with cookware, thank you very much.
The writer mentioned how cooking could be made to be fun, even if cooking is not your bailiwick.
Having cookware that is top quality would be ideal but we all know it’s not a perfect world. We can be grateful if we have lids to fit the pots we own! I remember my mom using odds and ends for lids. She even improvised once with the lid from her canner when she needed that size lid to cover a skillet full of fried chicken.
Along with pots and pans, the contented cook needs utensils. If your kitchen is not tricked out with every gadget sold, don’t despair. A really slick way to acquire necessary things on a skimpy budget might be yard sales, second hand stores, thrift shops and local charity centers. Sometimes neighbors are purging their kitchens of duplicates. It might pay to ASK around!
Some people don’t care to cook. Those folk may discover, to their delight, that cooking is a good way to learn, to teach the children about foods, math, family history and just hang out together. Getting the whole family involved in menus, food prep, shopping and sharing meals can go a long way in building strong family bonds.
It may be such a thing that you like to cook but are baking challenged. Or, vice versa.
SIDEBAR: This is your humble blogger’s experience speaking! END SIDEBAR.
In that case, you might enjoy sharing a meal with others. For instance, this very night we will share veggies and a dessert with a family who is proficient with preparing deer bologna! I can hardly wait til dinner time! Our dishes will be a great complement to one another and neither of us will have much to do in the way of preparation. Nor will we have blown our food budgets!
Another option is to find someone who knows how to make something you love to eat and learn how to make their specialty. We are blessed to have neighbors who came from Mexico and brought their traditional food ideas with them. It is so much fun to learn how to do new things, taste new dishes. Plus-we’ve made dear friends in the process!
Eating fast food, convenience foods and snack foods will most assuredly compromise your health and the well being of those you love most. By learning to prepare foods at home in every language you will improve the quality of your lives!
Now THAT is some spice worth adding!
Thank you to all the Club members who have written to thank us, who have contributed recipes, and who have added their comments on the posts. As a way of thanking everyone who has offered up their name and email we will be sending you a teeny little thank you gift. It’s still in the works but nearly ready to unveil. It will come to your email inbox. Our email inbox is here: firstname.lastname@example.org .
We appreciate our Club members more than you know and we thank you for all your participation! All our partners love hearing from you, as well.
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!”
SPICY HOME MADE TOMATO SOUP
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 email@example.com 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.
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:
TORRES’ ZUCCHINI DISH
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The mail always amuses and delights me! I’ve been hearing from the faithful. Most of the visitors who stop by here regularly are watching their food budgets with great care. Some use Angel Food Ministries, some get their food from a food pantry sometimes, and others use the SNAP program or Farmers Market coupons. Others just want to squeeze every penny’s worth out of their food dollars.
People who have large families or folks who entertain family who visit during the summer vacation season all have strategies for feeding the faces around their table!
One such visitor, a thoughtful reader who frequently comments here, told me about her “famous” taco salad. She described all the ingredients and she mentioned how she had people in her crowd who ‘hate’ this food or that, and she explained how she deals with that.
SIDEBAR: She deals with it lovingly by being very patient and taking great care not to include the offending foods in the main bowl of salad! END SIDEBAR.
It gave me an idea for making any summer meal. Why not make up a “DIY-do it yourself-Salad Bar?” That way no one can complain they did not like the food because it had their hated food in it! Everybody wins!
Here’s how Rainy builds TACO SALAD for her gang:
Iceberg lettuce (Rainy’s family chomps through 4 heads, but to be fair she makes up enough salad for more than one meal.
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 packets of low sodium taco seasoning *WARNING: SEASONING PACKETS ARE NOTORIOUS FOR HARBORING TOXIC MSG! CHECK THE INGREDIENTS CARFULLY!
8 oz package of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
8 oz package shredded taco flavored cheddar cheese
“several” chopped tomatoes
canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Vidalia Sweet onion, chopped
1 large package nacho flavored chips
“some” homemade salsa
8 oz container sour cream
1 can sliced black olives, drained
Rainy puts things in one bowl, reserving the items the “food haters” will reject or pick out and uses the chips as a garnish so they won’t be soggy for the second appearance of this dish.
I think we should all put our toes under Rainy’s table for this! Thank you, Rainy!
This delicious sounding salad gave me an idea for making any summer meal. Why not make up a “DIY-do it yourself-Salad Bar?” That way the food haters who frequent our tables would not be offended! Everybody wins!
We could set up a ‘buffet line’ where each ingredient is in its own separate container. Line it all up so people can choose what they like and pile it onto their plates!
This would be a good plan, too, for those events where people who have food allergies could know that they will not go into anaphylactic shock because something that could cause problems was included!
Baked potato bars would be good candidates if there is a crowd coming! And a fruit bar in the summer would keep the cook out of a hot kitchen. Line up choices of fresh fruit and let the guests feel free to pick and choose!
Keep your ideas flowing, people! It was such fun to “peek” into Rainy’s busy kitchen and see how she manages while cooking for a crowd this summer! Leave your comment on this blog or send them to email@example.com ! THANKS!
We appreciate, too, that people are popping by the Food Stamps Cooking Club to get in line for our occasional messages! We are always scouting around for good ideas to share with all of you.
Finally, we thank you for the attention you pay to all our partners. We appreciate every one of you and hope YOU are enjoying a wonderful summer season!
One of my personal favorite websites is Cook It Quick! and I refer to it often. I am amused to note that they are now active on www.Twitter.com! We have Food Stamps Cooking Club members who are in our personal Twitter stream! How much fun is THAT? You are welcome to join that Twitter stream by clicking here: Twitter.com/motherconnie
When I made my most recent grocery run, I noticed bananas have increased in price. That’s a pity because I have a little snack idea for you that calls for bananas:
1 banana, fairly ripe
1 cup chocolate milk (you can use commercial chocolate flavoring in dry or regular milk)
1 cup frozen yogurt or ice cream
Mash the banana, put everything into a blender and whirl until smooth.
Monkey Milk is a snack that children will clamor for again and again. You can vary this combo by adding a spoonful of peanut butter or changing the flavor with berries. Using 1/4 cup of protein powder will help keep youngsters from craving sweets, too.
We hope you have time in your busy lives to pop in on our partners. They are sincerely interested in helping you boost your bottom line and make the most of your food dollars. They are keenly aware of the challenges posed when depending on food pantries, food commodities or just managing the food budget on any income. Some people can procure food through Angel Food Ministries, too. If we are able to help those folk and those who are using the SNAP program assistance, we are fulfilling our mission.
We are excited to have rhubarb plants in our new back yard! Our family has a favorite rhubarb cake recipe and we enjoy eating cooked rhubarb as sauce for lunchtime dessert or over ice cream for a special treat.
My friend brought me a wonderful rhubarb recipe I can’t wait to share with you. It is simple and inexpensive to create! If you don’t have rhubarb in your yard, ask around. People often have more than they can use and will be happy to share. That maximizes savings!
LeOta’s Rhubarb Jam
4 cups cut rhubarb
4 cups sugar
1 small – flat – can crushed pineapple
1 pkg raspberry, strawberry, or cherry gelatin dessert
Cook rhubarb and sugar for 12 minutes, stirring constantly. Add pineapple, juice and all, and cook 3 more minutes. Add gelating, stirring until dissolved.
NOTE: This recipe is quite old. LeOta had written it on an old form and it was well worn, indicating to me that it was a family favorite or she would not have used it so much!
We have an overnight guest coming this week…it will be great to have something special for her breakfast toast!
Some of you who are clients of the SNAP program, using food stamps, food commodities and food pantries have graciously emailed the Food Stamps Cooking Club to let us know how much you are enjoying the “daisylions” and tulips, as well as the violets. You seem to be as delighted as we are that the food budget is getting some great, nutritious help and it makes for interesting meals. WE GREATLY APPRECIATE YOUR TAKING THE TIME TO SEND YOUR MESSAGES TO US!
For those of you who have planted gardens or are participating in gardening programs in your area…we would love to hear about your successes! Don’t hold back! Share your stories by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org! Tell us what you are cooking, too!
Food is such an integral part of family life and the memories we carry. Wherever people gather, the subject of food inevitably comes up. If you are looking for help beyond what the Food Stamps Cooking Club offers, you are more than welcome to visit our partners: Saving Dinner can help you with your food planning and prep; if you need help bringing some extra money for food or other expenses, you might really benefit from Rapid Cash Marketing!
Spring really HAS sprung! We have apple blossoms outside our bedroom window and as I stand at our kitchen sink to wash the dishes and prepare our meals, I can look out over several back yards filled with the bobbing yellow heads of dandelions AKA “daisylions.” Another feature of spring are the cheery purple blooms greeting me as I make my way to the clothesline. Oh, yes-a neighbor graciously shared some fresh asparagus from their garden! It was tender and DELISH an very much a piece of SPRING!
Different names are given to those purple hued posies. I think they are violets but we had a landlady once who called them Johnny Jump Ups. The Normanator calls them weeds.
In any case, they are some of my favorite blooms. They spring up all over peoples’ yards and their purple “faces” seem to smile that they have succeeded in survival. Makes me think of how some of us struggle to survive as we manage our grocery budgets, perhaps assisted by SNAP, food stamps, commodities and community food pantries.
When my mom lived with us I would pluck the sweet little purple blooms from the front yard and garnish her breakfast fruit with them. She always delcared she was living in a Five Star Hotel with room service that paid attention to detail. She really raved when I had pansies for her plate; she truly enjoyed the peppery flavor of pansy blooms. She also liked nasturtiums. She said they made her feel more alive. These are delightful memories of my mother and as Mother’s Day approaches I find great comfort in the sweet memories of my mom.
Today I cooked some brown rice and scattered some bright, honey-sweet “daisylion” blossoms over the dish. Then I placed some violets on the mound just to give it a little boost of style. I can’t honestly say I cooked like a rock star-although I FELT like one, but there was an encouraging “ooh” from The Normanator, which indicates his approval.
SIDEBAR: A positive vote from the man of the house is a RAVE for the woman of the house! END SIDEBAR.
SIDEBAR #2: If I live long enough to learn how to post photos on this blog you will be treated to the visual I enjoy from my perspective. I should live so long! END SIDEBAR #2.
If you have “daisylions” or violets to pluck make certain there have been no sprays or pesticides used on the lawn before you harvest them. We don’t want any sick people, for crying out loud!
Your precious messages are reaching our Inbox! Thank you all for taking the time to comment and to send your ideas. You can send messages about “daisylions” or violets or your mother to email@example.com . You are welcome to visit any of the partners whose banners or messages you see on this page. They have all been selected because they can help you solve many of your life’s problems.
When we invited our peeps to participate with their recipes and food ideas, they responded to the call! We thank everyone for their participation.
Since our mission and passion is helping people who work with SNAP to fund their food budgets from food stamps, food commodites and food pantries we are always on the hunt for good, nourishing food to fit those parameters and delight our family’s palates!
We’ll be sharing the most recent dessert offering today. It’s not on Jenny Craig’s menu but if you can’t make a treat for your family, who ARE you going to treat?
“Angel Lush with Pineapple”
1 round angel food cake either commercial or HOMEMADE
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 3.4 oz Vanilla or Lemon Instant Pudding-I prefer lemon-store brand may be cheaper
1 cup thawed whipped topping-I add a little more if cake is homemade as those seem to be larger-store brands are likely to be the better value
10 small fresh strawberries
Mix pineapple and dry pudding mix. Gently stir in whipped topping. Cut angel food cake into three layers; I mark with toothpicks
Spread pudding mix between layers and on top of cake,
Refrigerate 1 hr. before serving. Top with strawberries
***Variation: You can tear pieces of the cake and put those into a see-through bowl. Layer the pudding mix with the pieces and top with the berries, too. Either method makes for a fancy, showy dessert!
***Variation #2: Substitute any other berries. Watch for sale items!
Thank you, Sheila!
What are YOUR plans for today? I hope to make a new recipe using dandelions! Stay tuned for that outcome; it’s very exciting!
Please continue sending your food ideas and low cost menu notions to firstname.lastname@example.org! WE LOVE OPENING YOUR MAIL! WE ALSO ADORE WHEN YOU COMMENT TO THIS BLOG! It’s oober easy and quick as a wink! We hope you make the time to visit our partners, too. Their banners appear on this page.