Posts Tagged ‘Strawberries’

Happy Valentine’s Day at Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 14th, 2013

Today’s the day for hearts n flowers…and chocolate…and love!

Today everyone is agog with fluttery hearts over Cupid’s big day. 

For people who struggle with food budgets every day, having to think about some special treat for their family might be overwhelming.  You might be a single parent with a job-two jobs, even-and money is one issue; time and energy are still issues, as well.  Ya gotta eat and making that happen is tough enough without extra pressure over a holiday!

Mother Connie’s advice is this:  KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Breakfast might be heart shaped toast with peanut butter and red jelly.  Simple enough and cost effective, right?  Right.

You might have cranberry juice in the house, especially if you are a WIC user.  That’s a festive beverage for a Valentine breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Prepare whatever you have on hand for your evening meal and garnish everyone’s plate with strips of red pepper, arranged in a heart shape.  Dessert could be red gelatin.  You might like to  put red hots into heart shapes atop applesauce.  If your food budget will allow, get a box of strawberries and slice them to look like hearts…arrange them on a plate and pass them at the table.

It is not written in stone that desserts must be chocolate or expensive or fancy.  Those things stress moms and dads out and might raise expectations for growing kids.  Really, less is more. 

Many parents lose sleep because they feel they must bake heart shaped sugar cookies.  Cookies are fun and fine but they are not necessary and they can stress the food budget as well as the resource of time.  People who are working and caring for a family are tired and don’t need more stuff to do or bake!  And really, with all those carbs and calories, who needs to eat more cookies? The same is true for cake…

One of the things families could benefit from is to turn OFF the TV and sit around writing notes to one another, listing all the reasons why you love your family members so.  The person who comes up with the longest list could win a muffin cup full of chocolate chips, a handful of nuts or a sammie bag full of raisins. The winner could also get the biggest strawberry in that box of berries you splurged on!  Valentine’s Day is a great reason to haul out the UNO cards and have a family game night.  

Kids don’t need presents or sweets or STUFF so much as they need to know they are loved and cared for.  When they grow up they won’t remember the toy they got; they WILL recall the fun they had on Valentine’s Day when the family got together and shared.

Valentine’s Day might be a terrific time to start a family tradition.  When our kids were small we were certainly living on a dime but we had a “Valentine Fairy” who brought little red goodies every year.  Over the years, they got red toothbrushes, red socks, red pencils, all sorts of trinkets that did not stress the budget.  As soon as they got home from school they would check the red laundry basket that the Valentine Fairy had left in the dining room.  Nobody got their unders in a wad and everyone felt loved and cherished.

Here’s hoping YOU feel loved and cherished.  Each of you Members is such a treasure; we do hope our ideas contribute to the quality of your lives.

Happy Valentines Day to each and every one of you!

~Connie Baum

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Food Stamps Cooking Club: Fresh Start?

July 9th, 2010

There I am, in all my glory…but my absence from this blog has been a journey I’d rather not have taken.  A serious fall with draconian aftermath took me from the comfort of my life and kept me at bay from the computer.

Because of the support of the Club Members, dear friends, lots of prayers and good thoughts, I am slowly making my way back.  Boy, does it ever feel GOOD!

It was extremely gratifying to note that new Club Members have joined the party, even in Mother Connie’s absence; we welcome each of you with open arms! Saving money and feeding our families is something we all deal with on a daily basis so we NEED one another very much!

Just below this post you will find a Guest Blog Post prepared for you by a well known blogger pal of mine, Lorraine Wellman.  Lorraine is a Work At Home Freelance specialist and controls several very popular blogs in her Work At Home business.  Thanks, Lorraine.  You were a doll to take time from your projects to come through for the Members and their fearless leader!

Please leave your comments for Lorraine, guys and dolls.  We bloggers live for comments!  Thank you very much!


Guess what,  peeps?  It is strawberry season for most of the country.  There are so many wonderful things to do with strawberries that it would really be a shame for someone to pass up the opportunity to gather as many of the luscious, red sweet berries as you can get your hands on.  Goodness, there is strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, strawberry-rhubarb crisp…strawberry jam…the list could go on for quite a long time.  You are only limited by your imagination for these wonderful berries that are packed full of vitamin C.

Just imagine going to your freezer and grabbing a handful of these pretty red berries to throw into the blender for a strawberry smoothie.  Perhaps you could whip up a sweet & tangy strawberry ice cream topping for your soothing vanilla bean ice cream on one of those hot and humid days that are about to come your way.  Have I got your mouth watering yet?  If not, I may have to brush up on my descriptive skills.

Typically strawberry season is from late May through the end of June…although, there are some strawberry varieties that extend the season with strawberry picking throughout the summer as long as growing conditions are favorable.  This would be a perfect time to use your farmers market coupons to pick up enough strawberries to meet your family’s needs.  Many grocery stores will sell their strawberries by the case.  Or perhaps you could save even more money by taking your children with you to one of those “pick your own” strawberry fields.

You can get more strawberries for less money when you pick them yourself.  If you take children old enough to help out…they are a little closer to the ground than most adults; and, if you reward them for an hours work with the promise of a luscious strawberry treat, most kids are more than happy to help out.

I only think it wise to remind you to do your homework before you go strawberry picking.  Find out what the strawberry fields growing practices are to stay healthy.  Organically grown strawberries are healthier and safer for your family.   Ask whether your local field uses pesticides or, where they get their water from to irrigate the berry plants.  These facts are important to know for health reasons; you don’t want to purchase berries that are watered with contaminated water or doused in heavy pesticides.

Wash the strawberries diligently, cut away any imperfections, de-cap them and dry them off.  Then, you will be ready to freeze them.  These frozen gems are perfect to take out of freezer bags one at a time or a whole bag at once.  If you are canning or freezing jam with them, you would prepare them in much the same way.  The trick is to purchase them when you have the time to take care of them right away while they are fresh.  No matter how you choose to use these berries; get them while them while they are ready to enjoy!

-Lorraine Wellman


Connie Baum

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