Posts Tagged ‘Supplemental Nutritions Assistance Program (SNAP)’

Have You Met TipHero.com?

May 14th, 2009

Sometimes my email makes me laugh out loud!  Today was one of those times.  When the Inbox showed that my weekly alert from www.TipHero.com arrived I dropped everything and opened it.  The title that caught my eye, wouldn’t you know it, was titled, “10 Ways to Enhance Inexpensive Meals.”  The piece had been submitted by Arlene123.  Thanks, Arlene, wherever you are.

She talked about how she entertained when she was a single woman.  She described how that all changed four kids later and went on to enumerate the ways we all can do better with less cash.

You can read her comments by going to www.TipHero.com and checking out the Food and Dining tips.  I’m sure she would welcome your comments, as well.

Arlene suggests creativity in choosing ingredients, making special efforts for special occasions, and there is a wonderful discussion of bread.  She mentions gourmet produce as a way of working within a budget, too.  I especially liked her suggestions for using serving pieces and visiting yard sales; Arlene has great advice regarding kitchen equipment, too.

She talks about “changing the environment,”  a notion I found  very appealing.  She is pragmatic, too-she gives clever ideas about how to involve the man of the house and the children.

There is a lovely solution to completing a meal that makes this reader want to take action and make the meal I am about to prepare as special as the people who will share the food.

Please visit www.TipHero and make a point to visit our partners, as well.  WE KNOW you have money saving ideas of your own.  Please share them for all the Food Stamps Cooking Club members to learn more about doing our best whether we use food stamps from the SNAP program or food commodities, food pantries, or get to enjoy the bounty of a seasonal garden!  Send your stories to foodstampscookingclub.com@gmail.com .  THANK YOU.

This post is sponsored in part by Rapid Cash Marketing .

Connie Baum

General Mills vs the FDA?

May 13th, 2009

The Food and Drug Administration has “busted” General Mills for the so-called claims made about cholesterol lowering results by eating their breakfast fave “Cheerios.”

I am so old I remember when the label said “CHEERY Os” and there was a cute jingle to accompany their radio commercial.  Aren’t you relieved you don’t have to hear me sing that jingle on audio? 

Here’s the thing, kids:  If people get Cheerios from a food pantry, that’s one thing.  People who are given food can’t very well look a gift horse in the mouth.  But if you have food stamps from the SNAP program and you use those to buy Cheerios or any other packaged cereal, you are seriously not buying real nutrition.  You are BUYING and PAYING FOR processed food products.

YOU WILL DO FAR BETTER IF YOU INVEST THOSE FOOD STAMPS OR YOUR FOOD DOLLARS IN GETTING WHOLE GRAINS THAT YOU PREPARE YOURSELF.  IF ORGANIC WHOLE GRAINS ARE AVAILABLE, SO MUCH THE BETTER.

Okay.  I have climbed down from my soapbox now and I will speak in more moderate tones.  The beef the FDA has with General Mills has much less to do with your cholesterol count and your well being than it does with A/Control and B/Big Medicine.  They may carry the name FOOD and Drug Administration but there is much more profit in the drug end of things.  But that is a rant, uh, I mean POST for another day.

The reason this blog was created is to help educate and elucidate those folks who take their food stamps or their hard earned cash and coupons to the store to garner all the bargains possible.  Admirable, to be sure, but I promise you that the “foods” available are not always edible nor are they good for you.

You have heard me carry on, railing against artificial sweeteners, msg, and all the toxic soup the food pocessors hide in the food items they want you to buy.  They want very much for you to be addicted to food so you will eat more of it, driving their profits up there with Jack and his Beanstalk!

The fact of the matter is that organic whole grains give you all the nutrition possible with no negative side effects.  You’ll get the whole complex of B vitamins, good fiber to satisfy your appetite and a breakfast that serves the brain and body well until lunchtime.

The body KNOWS the difference between processed food products, regular food, and organic selections.  You can test the strength of your muscle groups by placing a small amount of any whole grain under your tongue and having someone test your grip.  Then you can place a tiny amount of any boxed cereal under your tongue and test your strength again.  You will always test stronger for a whole grain-unless you happen to be allergic to it.

Many people have never even tasted some whole grains. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN wah) is a good example of that. Well, I can understand why.  The last time I priced a pound of it the price tag read, “$7.38″   Is it any wonder people are not using that?

So, my next choices would be barley, which is about as tasty as yesterday’s chewing gum.  BUT when whole barley is added to soups or stews it becomes a food stretcher as it cooks and adds fiber to the concoction.

Another good choice is whole oat groats.  Now THAT is one of the best cholesterol reducers in the bunch.  You can put a potful of oat groats into the oven overnight in a bath of apple juice, add in a few raisins and your breakfast will be ready to eat as you start your day.  Incidentally, I use 1 cup of oats, 2 cups of water and 1 cup of apple juice.  I put in a pinch of sea salt and a handful of raisins.  Play with this and see how you might like to change that ratio to suit the tastes of your family.

So.  That’s what I have to say about THAT.  What have YOU to say?  Please let us know by posting your comments on this very page and sending us mail at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com 

Our partners have lots of good things to say to you, too.  We hope you stop by their banners and check them out.  They can help you with food planning and prep.  They can help you earn money for groceries, too.  I know this from my own experience with Rapid Cash Marketing .

Connie Baum

Rainy Day Comfort Food?

May 12th, 2009

Spring and her unpredictable scattered showers can make a body want to curl up with a good book-say, a cookbook?-and make everyone in the family yearn for some comfort food.  I found a wonderful dessert recipe that’s quick and easy and inexpensive!

SIDEBAR:  Do I win a prize for this find?  And just what would that prize be?  OH.  No prize?  Oh, well.  END SIDEBAR.

When you are working with the SNAP program and depending on food stamps, food commodities, food pantries and/or the generosity of your neighbors, this is an important point.

If you are fortunate to have neighbors with rhubarb, you might like to whip this up and share with your benefactor this dessert.  Now-you have all the makings for a PARTY!  Who does not love a party?

Crunchy Fruit Crisp

2 cups cooked, sweetened rhubarb – I like to put 1 cup sugar with 4 cups raw rhubarb but you sweeten it to YOUR taste

1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps, graham crackers or cold cereal.  Shoot!  Cinnamon toast from breakfast would do the trick OR leftover cookie crumbs from the bottom of the cookie jar.  You can use any combo of this assortment for a good outcome!

1/4 cup butter, melted

Combine the crumbs and butter to make a coarse “shell” for the dessert

Add 1/3 cup chopped nuts, sunflower seeds – THESE ARE OPTIONAL

Use cupcake papers if you have them.  If not, oven-worthy glass cups will do nicely.  Press the crumb and butter mixture into the bottom of the cups/papers.  Pour the fruit over the crumbs.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.  Serve warm as is or doll them up with frozen yogurt, vanilla ice cream or drizzle some 1/2 and 1/2 or cream over them.

Comfort food at its healthiest and least expensive!

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Here’s hoping you have had the time and opportunity to visit some of our partners.  If money is the major issue for you that it is for most of the country in these difficult economic times, you may want to explore the possibilities of adding to your family income with the help of Rapid Cash Marketing .

I also wanted to let you know that if you have been receiving regular email messages from Food Stamps Cooking Club there will soon be a wee bit of good news coming down the pike.  You may want to be on the lookout for that.  Nothing earth shaking, mind you; just a little idea that may trip your trigger.

As always, we heartily and cordially welcome you comments, your suggestions and your email messages.  Send them to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com and make our hearts sing!  Thanks, everybody!

Connie Baum

Have You Eaten Fresh CURLY DOCK?

May 4th, 2009

Oh, how fun would it be if the Food Stamps Cooking Club had a meeting TODAY around our picnic table! 

When I awoke today I was greeted by the proliferation of leafed-out trees from yesterday’s warmth.  Even without the sunshine, those trees know it is time to stand in all their green glory!  I ventured into the yard to inspect the garden’s progress.  Along the way, I discovered we have CURLY DOCK sprouting!

Here’s what we’ll have for lunch today:  CURLY DOCK!  I am so excited! 

I will carefully snip the most tender leaves and rinse them.  I’ll remove the midvein with a scissors so as to use only the sweetest, tenderest parts.  I will steam them gently and watch them turn from a delicate green to a khaki color.  I can season them with salt, pepper, and a dab of butter for a gourmet lunch.  I will most probably top the dish with sprinkles of Kamut-wheat berries-I cooked yesterday.  We ate some cooked cold Kamut for breakfast today and it made for a great and tasty, INEXPENSIVE cold breakfast!

When you depend on the SNAP program-food stamps, food commodities, and food pantries to help feed your family it might be very helpful to know that you can supplement your diet and improve your health in a fresh new way by using foods you harvest right from your yard.

I caution you to make sure your yard has not been sprayed with chemicals.  That toxicity would not be something you should ingest! 

We hope you take a moment to visit our partners.  They are interested to help you with food prep and boosting your bottom line.  Their banners appear on this page.  To share your experiences with harvesting food from your yard of other food tips, please contact the Food Stamps Cooking Club here:  foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com .  You can send your friends to http://www.foodstampscookingclub.com  if they would like to receive our occasional mailings.

Connie Baum

Foodies are Coming to Food Stamps Cooking Club!

April 22nd, 2009

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 foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com!  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. 
Connie Baum

With Just a SNAP of Your Fingers?

April 15th, 2009

Oh, boy!  Wouldn’t it be splendid to end hunger with just a  SNAP of your fingers?  There are those who do their part.  One person whose Herculean effort comes to mind is Rachel Ray, who spearheaded the “Yum O” program to feed children.  Nearly every community of any size has some type of program to feed hungry people.

What about the people who use Food Stamps and depend on Food Commodities and Food Pantries?  What is being done to help THEM?  Is our government working on this?

I am delighted to share with you that I have had a message from Alice Lockett, MS, RD, LD and Senior Nutritionist with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  If you are new to this blog or if you don’t recall, Alice is one of my new best friends.  She found us on the ‘net and shared some phenomenal resources.  I’ll tell her you send your thanks when we chat again…

Here’s what Alice Lockett was kind enough to tell us:

“SNAP Puts Healthy Food Within Reach

 

No one in America should go hungry. But every day, hard-working and retired individuals and families face the choice between buying enough food and paying for basic life necessities like rent, heat and electricity. In addition, unexpected day-to-day circumstances like a trip to the emergency room or the loss of a job can easily push a household into food insecurity.

 

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that serve as the nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Its largest program the Food Stamp Program (FSP) currently helps 32 million participants and growing each month put healthy food on the table. Half of those recipients are children.  

As of October 1, 2008, SNAP is the new name for the Food Stamp Program.  SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and reflects the changes we’ve made to meet the needs of our clients, including a focus on nutrition and an increase in benefit amounts.  While SNAP is the federal name for the program, State programs may have different names.  Current clients will not lose benefits as a result of the name change. Current clients and recent applicants do not need to re-apply.

 

Studies show that families who do not have access to healthy foods and nutritional education suffer from higher rates of obesity. Children without access to healthy eating can experience behavioral and social problems that they otherwise wouldn’t if they were simply not hungry.

 

But there is an opportunity to increase the number of participants in SNAP.  Recent Program improvements include an increase in the minimum benefit amount (from $10 to $14) and standard deduction, elimination of the limit on child or dependent care deduction and the exclusion of education and retirement accounts from countable resources.  Through nutrition education partners, SNAP helps clients learn to make healthy eating and active lifestyle choices.  Research shows that every $5.00 of new benefits generates $9.20 in total community spending.

Please spread the word about the SNAP name change and program improvements.  With SNAP, healthy food is within reach for low-income Americans.

For more information about SNAP or one of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services fifteen programs, please visit:  http://www.fns.usda.gov. “

I hope you will help to spread the word about SNAP and the program improvements!  It’s the least we can do for our fellow Americans.

On a personal level, I am all but obsessed about people making wise and healthy food choices.  I will be honored to pass the word and let’s ALL keep in touch, sharing our cooking tips, recipes and ideas with one another. 

If you care to extend your efforts a bit, it would be remarkable if you “buddied up” with a family who is part of the SNAP program to share what you know about gardening and food preparation.  You might have so much fun that the Fun Police will come to investigate why there is so much laughter coming from your house!  As always, you are welcome to send your ideas to foodstampsookingclub@gmail.com

In a slightly different vein…when we show honor and appreciation for participants in our Toastmaster club, we SNAP OUR FINGERS in lieu of applause.  CAN YOU HEAR THE SNAPPING OF FINGERS FOR ALICE LOCKETT, who took the time to share this message with us?

Thanks, EVERYBODY!  And especially for Alice: SNAP!  SNAP!  SNAP!

Connie Baum