Posts Tagged ‘“Wild Seasons”’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Cookbook Fever?

April 15th, 2010

This tasty salad required no recipe from a cookbook or recipe file! It's a combo of good, fresh fixings!

It’s true.  Your humble blogger has been completely “disabled” with an imaginary “handicap” and can be found poring over the pages of her new cookbook and mumbling strange phrases like “mirepoix” and such like.  Her family has thrown up their hands in utter frustration and would have left but there is all this good food to consume…

OK.  The drama is not that dramatic but the food IS that GOOD and the new cookbook has certainly captured the fancy of the Resident Cook.

You have heard that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.  Well, don’t believe it.  Mother Connie has been cooking awhile now and in Chef Shawn Bucher’s “The First Timer’s Cookbook” there are plenty of opportunities to try new ways of doing things.  How delightful is that?

Here is just one tiny example:  Chef makes  sure the reader understands that he will be required to THINK for himself.  (Now THERE’S a concept, all right!)  Furthermore, Chef Shawn goes on to explain that this is the book he wished he’d had when he was a beginner.

SIDEBAR:  Chef told me he enrolled in Culinary Arts classes so he could learn how to make ice sculptures and then a funny thing happened.  He fell in love with all things food and he discovered he’s good at it.  It is is passion, folks.  HIS PASSION. END SIDEBAR.

I’ll grant you that if you are struggling to feed your brood after a hard day at work and you are using SNAP funds or WIC you might not be following your passion.  If you are using food pantry foods or food commodities you might not see the glamor you yearn to enjoy.  But Chef Shawn understands your plight and wants you and yours to understand that by using simple foods in creative ways you can make life better for the whole family unit.   So, while food may not be your passion-YET-you can develop skills and increase your creativity by playing with your food!

Users of Angel Food Ministries, Farmers Market Coupons and those who simply micro manage their food budgets can all benefit from learning more about food preparation.

Yesterday I reviewed Chef’s book for my Book Lovers Club.  OK; it was a chance to brag that I had spoken with Chef Shawn on the phone. These women are seasoned culinary wizards and they can’t wait to receive THEIR autographed copies!

Here’s what we’ll have for lunch today:


Crisp Romaine lettuce ( use whatever greens you have on hand)

Equal parts celery, onion, red or green cabbage, peas  and cucumber

Use a handful of shredded cheese or scatter deli turkey, canned tuna or salmon over top and finish it off with your favorite dressing.

Toast points go well with this salad, too.

VOILA`!  Lunch is ready!  How quick was THAT?

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Connie Baum

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Low Cost, High Nutrition Can Be Yours!

May 31st, 2009

Eating from our yard has been a wee bit controversial.  Some folks report they love it; most others seem to have an aversion to the idea.  Honestly, the violet salad and the dandelion-aka “daisylion”-dishes have been some of the best eats to come out of our yard/kitchen YET.  My experience with the  whole  concept made me feel pretty lonely.

I began to wonder if Kay Young and I were in a major minority!  I was utterly delighted to discover, through my network of peeps, there is a man in Maryland who is totally on the same page!  His story has been found on the pages of the news in Fulton, Maryland!

Dr. James Duke, is a former USDA researcher and expert on edible weeds.  The crumbling US economy has inspired him to identify 70 edible kinds of weeds on his property in Maryland, which is 6 acres in size.  Duke admonishes folks that they need expert advice when grazing.  He recommends you have someone with his expertise because there are poisonous plants that look like edible plants.  He warns that mistaking one for the other could be a lethal error.

Dr. Duke advises that weeds are higher in nutrients and lower in water content, proportionately, than what we grow as veggies.  He complains that people spray every single dandelion and then rush to a store to purchase expensive bottles of vitamins.  He is perplexed that people don’t recognize that by spraying, they just kill off some of the richest sources of vitamins A and C, as well as the minerals present in weeds.

The whole idea of weeds as food has caught on.  People have been willing to pay up to $9.00 per bunch for the gourmet delicacy.  People have begun to grow weeds for their livelihood and are making displays at Farmer’s Markets around the country! Is it possible that this is a silver lining in this crippled economy?

Not every weed is delicious.  Some are bitter, which is indicative of anti-inflammatory or antiseptic properties.

Dr. James Duke and Kay Young, who wrote “Wild Seasons” can speak the same language.  Oh, how I would love to have BOTH of these authors tour our virgin prairie and timber land in Southeast Nebraska!  “Guide to Healing Foods” is the book Dr. Duke recently published.  It presents natural remedies to treat 80 ailments.  He is planning to offer tours of his property to people who want to learn more about eating from nature’s bounty.

Anyone who depends on SNAP-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food commodities or food pantries would be very wise to access this food source.  I can promise you it would increase your health and lower the cost of medical care over time.

Here is an interesting, LOW COST, HIGH NUTRITION recipe from Dr. James Duke:

Recipe for Dandelion Greens with Balsamic Vinegar and Almonds

2 large bunches dandelion greens
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup unsalted toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 T butter
hot sauce to taste
fish sauce to taste

Remove the roots of the greens. Wash the greens thoroughly. Cut the stems in pieces roughly 1-1/2″ – 2″ long and leave the leaf-ends about 5″ – 6″ long.

Sweat the garlic and onions with a little olive oil until tender but not browned, around 10 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the greens in water just sufficient to cover. Maintain a moderate simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes — until the stems are cooked but still slightly crunchy. Drain and return to the pot. (If you want you can reserve the cooking liquid to make broth for another use. Otherwise, discard it.) Mix in the sautéed onions and garlic, season to taste with balsamic vinegar, fish sauce and hot sauce. Mix in half the chopped almonds.

To serve, mound in a shallow bowl and top with the remaining chopped almonds.

I am drooling as I post this!

As you are aware, we are sincerely devoted to helping you be healthy on a budget.  We deeply appreciate your comments at the bottom of these posts and we love getting your mail at

The Team at Rapid Cash Marketing is sincere about helping you have a healthy cash flow. Here’s hoping you will benefit in the areas of food and nutrition AND your income needs. If this hits your hot button, CLICK HERE

Rapid Cash Marketing

Connie Baum

Cooking With Asparagus?

May 27th, 2009

While dating The Normanator and learning his favorite vegetable is asparagus, our romance was sealed!  I have always adored asparagus, properly prepared, and since not everyone on the planet is fond of the skinny green goody, I knew I had found the man of my dreams.  Incidentally, for whatever it is worth to you, he IS the right man for me!  grin

Kay Young likes asparagus, too.  She wrote “Wild Seasons” and shows a number of ways to prepare it in her book.  I prepared a dish last week that we morphed into a soup and it was absolutely divine.  I want to share it here:


1# ground beef, browned   *ground turkey or chicken could be substituted

1/2 small onion, chopped

6 spears asparagus per diner, washed & cut; peel away the flaps on the stem, trim ends

When the meat is browned and the onion is transluscent, add the asparagus and a bit of moisture-broth, if you have it; if not, use water and simmer til the veggies are tender.

*VariationAdd chopped celery for more texture

When I made this, I also prepared potatoes and white gravy.  I poured the leftover gravy over the leftover meat/asparagus and stored in the refrigerator.  Next day, I added broth to that combination and it made the most exquisite soup!  I garnished bowls full of the steamy soup with shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  It was pretty enough and tasty enough for guests!

Asparagus is quite plentiful.  Gardens are now full of it; in some places it grows by the roadside.  CAUTION: Beware of toxic chemical sprays! It is available in the markets in cans, the produce department and frozen foods cases.

Even if you use food pantries, food commodities, or avail yourself of SNAP-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, you are likely to have asparagus available to you.  It is so full of nutrients and flavor that it doesn’t take much of it to make a satisfying meal.

Here’s an important note: As you prepare asparagus, take care to save the scraps to make a rich vegetable broth.  Save your cleaned goods in a covered container in the fridge and when you have a “mess,” as my mother would have called it, place it into a saucepan, cover with water, add salt and pepper, put a lid on it.  Let that simmer.  When the goods are cooked, strain them out for discarding. Save the liquid for use in your cooking.

How do you save money in YOUR kitchen? Please send us your ideas.  They will be joyfully received when you send mail to .   We are so grateful that people are sending others to Food Stamps Cooking Club

Our partners are eager to hear from you, too!

Connie Baum

Do YOU Take Time to Smell the Violets?

May 5th, 2009

Kristen Suzanne would be SO PROUD of me!  Kristen is all about raw foods and I can certainly see why that is.

Yesterday I snipped some Dock and a few “Daisylion” leaves and blossoms for a grand meal.  Today I will feast on greens from the yard, along with VIOLETS.

Kay Young taught me about violets and the various ways to use them.  Kay wrote “Wild Seasons” which is an instruction book on how to eat from the Plains.

Of course, our yard is free from chemicals and sprays so I know these items are safe to eat.  I bring the greens and blooms into the house and let them soak in good, pure, filtered water before I give them a final rinse, pat things dry in a fresh tea towel and prepare them.


1 cup loosely packed young viotet leaves, stems removed

2 cups loosely packed leaf lettuce leaves

20 or more fresh violet flowers


2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Wash the violets and lettuce leaves.  Remove as much water as possible.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. 

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and sugar, stirring until the sugar is mostly dissolved.  Add the cream, salt, and pepper and stir well.  Chill until ready to use.

Just before serving, toss the violet leaves, lettuce and dressing together.  Strew the violets over the top.

*NOTE: the salad may be made using all violet leaves and no lettuce but the contrast of flavors and textures as well as the light and dark shades of green make a much more interesting salad.

YIELD; 3 or 4 servings

It is a “coffee at the picnic table” kind of day.  Come on by.  We can talk about how to work with a food budget that is funded by the SNAP program-food stamps, food commodities, and food pantries.

Speaking of food pantries, there is an EXCELLENT piece on Write As Rain about food pantries.  The author even gives great ideas about the kinds of items that are good for community food pantries to receive.  Please stop by and comment there, if you can. Rainy is providing an excellent service and her messages come from a place of love.

Of course, you are always welcome to comment by sending messages to and we revel when you take the time to post a comment on this blog. 

If you are interested to learn more about raw foods and ways to nourish yourselves with raw foods, please visit one of our partners, Kristen Suzanne.

Connie Baum

Are Dandelions Really Daisy Lions?

April 23rd, 2009

One of the sure signs of spring are the little yellow flowers that have popped up wherever there is dirt and grass!  Dandelions abound! 

Kids can have fun with them.  My children used to call them “daisylions” and that name has STUCK.  Even THEIR GRANDCHILDREN refer to dandelions as “daisylions.”  When I was a little girl I cut “daisylions” and pretended to cook them in my playhouse.  I pretended they were delicious and served them to my dolls, who also pretended they were gourmet items.

Thank goodness I grew up, even though I’ll deny that fact.  I learned from my good friend, Kay Young, author of “Wild Seasons” that “daisylions” are indeed delicious and they ARE gourmet items.

In her book, Kay talks about how someone taught her as a small child that she could eat the little yellow flowers and the leaves and she felt grateful and comforted, even as a youngster, that she knew she would always have food to eat.

Here’s a “Cooking Tip” taken from what transpired when I harvested some “daisylions” from our yard:

I was comfortable about bringing the greens and the blossoms into the kitchen because I am certain there have been no sprays used in or near our yard.  I dug some plants out of the earth with a small knife.  It was fun to pluck off the cheery yellow blooms and twist them away from the stems.  The leaves were dark and tender with bits of red color near the root end. 

The crop was brought into the kitchen, rinsed with good water.  I used reverse osmosis water and let the blossoms and leaves rest in the water for about an hour.  When I looked at them again, some debris had fallen to the bottom of the bowl so I emptied the bowl and strained the goods.  I then separated the flowers from the leaves and placed them into covered refrigerator containers to keep them fresh in the fridge.  I let the leaves dry on a paper towel until I put them into a covered container and slid them on the shelf beside the flowers.

I planned to create a gourmet meal last night, but then life happened, as life is wont to do!

Today I put the yellow goodies into scrambled eggs, along with a bit of bacon and some chopped chives we’d gathered from the yard.  Oh, but that was delish!  The yellow of the blooms enhanced the yellow of the fresh eggs and it was a feast of abundance for sure!

As for the leaves, those were added to leftover green veggie salad.  They were very tender and sweet and with a dressing of rice vinegar and a teeny drizzle of bacon drippings we had the perfect lunch.  Dessert?  Applesauce-made from apples we picked from the tree in our yard-with a sprinkle of cinammon and barley powder.

Now, the eggs had been given to us. The lettuce was left over from another meal.  The chives and “daisylions” cost nothing. The apples cost nothing, as well.  The only expense incurred was the cinammon, barley powder, 3 strips of bacon, a drizzle of vinegar and the heat to cook it!  BUT THE BEST THINGS are that everything TASTED DIVINE and FILLED OUR TUMMIES.  We left the lunch table feeling full and well nourished. 

If you participate in the SNAP program-using food stamps, food commodities or food pantries, this menu notion may be of value to you.  If you are a foodie and have not learned how tasty “daisylions” can be this may pique your interest as well.  Everyone likes to save money and most folks like to learn new ways of doing things.

Kay Young has more uses for “daisylions” in her book.  I’ll review some of them for you soon.

Meantime, I hope you are gleaning some good and useful information from our partners.  Their banners and ads adorn this page.  They may not work with “daisylions” but they can help you with your bottom line!

BE SURE TO SEND YOUR IDEAS AND RECIPES TO and feel free to post your comment on this very blog.  All comments must be moderated but that’s no problem.  WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS.  If you have signed up for information from  you should have received a message in your Inbox today.  Here’s hoping you’ll benefit from that!

Connie Baum

Did You See the Wondrous Things I Saw?

February 12th, 2009

Your humble blogger has not understood digital photography well enough to capture for you the wonderful experience a group of us shared today.  For that deficit, I humbly apologize.

Kay Young, folklorist, botanist, and author of “Wild Seasons” survived the squirrels’ chewing her car’s belts to arrive with batter in tow and treat us to a wonderful lecture, served up with muffins!

Kay regaled the wonders of sheep sorrel, dandelions, and nettles while women took notes and the aroma of organic whole grain muffins wafted through the house.  It was mesmerizing.

One of the many stories Kay shared had to do with a 99 year old man in Northern Nebraska.  He remembered that his whole family used to gather berries or grasses or a particular flower for a special purpose. They would show one another their ‘loot’ and be amazed at one another’s stash of goodies.  Then they would take the things they had gathered to their home and prepare them for their meals.  He vividly recalled having bonded with his parents and siblings!

Kay reiterated that there are several ways to teach children.  Oh, by all means, you can scold or reason or cajole them.  They might learn.  But if you want them to really, truly learn correctly you must offer them beauty, humor, and awe.

She showed pictures of children, oblivious to any camera, rolling in a field, laughing uproariously.  We saw images of little children picking baskets full of flowers and studying the petals ever so closely.  And we were awed at the magnificence of all we were taking in.

When she ended her talk, we retreated to the kitchen and a meal of pasta and salad and applesauce.  We bonded around the table and when it was time to say goodbye I felt a sadness, for I was not ready for the fun to end.

We will have another series in our Cooking Class.  This fall we will hold a one day workshop.  Maybe some younger families will be available to participate.  Times are tough, and not getting any easier.  People will need the information we yearn to share.

Plus, they need those hugs.  Me, too.

The mail has been fun:  and we love hearing from you.

Please visit our partners, as well.  Their banners appear on this page.  Watch for Kay’s wonderful recipe for those tasty muffins on this page SOON!

Connie Baum

Who Knew Cooking Class Could Be Such Fun?

January 22nd, 2009

I knew.  I knew it would be fun, but nothing could have prepared me for HOW MUCH fun!

It was a small class, of course, since we only have 4 bowls!  And a very small kitchen.  But we have discussed in detail stocking the pantry, the freezer, the fridge. We had a session on knives, where we even had Show and Tell!  We ‘built’ a skillet meal from whatever we could find in the refrigerator.  Today we had a lesson about Baking Bits.

Too bad you couldn’t be here to smell the sweet, inviting aroma of baking powder biscuits!  They were big and puffy and perfectly browned and they worked very well to make open faced sandwiches, after they were sliced.  We piled mounds of egg salad atop them…mmm… there also was a juice glass with chilled tomato juice.  For dessert we treated ourselves to applesauce, laced with cinnamon and barley grass.  Our tummies were so happy.

There will be two more sessions.  Seven sessions in a series of six.  A bonus round makes for 8 in this series of six…and for that session we will welcome a guest speaker, Kay Young, author of “Wild Seasons”.  Kay is a Folklorist turned Botanist and managed the grassland at Pioneers Park in Lincoln, NE for eleven years.  She will help us with more ways of gaining health while saving money on food.

The final class will be a roundup of ideas and recipe exchange.  No doubt we’ll have a bite to eat that day, too.

This whole series, even this blog, was dreamed up to help people who use food stamps, food commodities and food pantries to feed themselves and those they love.  I can tell you that it is a labor of pure love and working with this has provided me a great deal of joy.

Kay Young shared a recipe with me that her mother had used to stretch her food dollars when Kay was growing up:

Emergency Salad

This is something that keeps on the pantry shelf or utilizes things you’d normallly have in your crisper drawer.  It can be assembled quickly in case guests drop by unexpectedly!

1 can of peas

Add 1 small diced onion

Add 2 or 3 ribs celery

Add a drizzle of oil or a spoonful of mayo to dress.

Salt and pepper to taste.

*Variation:  Add 1 cup shredded cheese

This may be served on lettuce leaves or shredded lettuce or cabbage.

Please send us your stories, recipes and ideas to share with the other club members.  Fire them off to  where they will be received with glee. 

I found a wonderful website you’ll love.  It has so many ‘down home’ recipes for real food.  You will want to check it out:   I used their 1933 recipe for today’s biscuits!

While you are surfing the net, be sure to check out our partners, Saving Dinner !

Connie Baum

Do YOU Have Resolutions?

December 31st, 2008

The more times I have been 33, which is considerable, the less I concern myself with new year’s resolutions.  They never have worked out very well for me.  But if YOU have them, I hope they do for you whatever you wish!

Parties.  Now THOSE DO IT FOR ME! 

 As a food stamps user, or if you are shopping from a food pantry, or your food supply came in a bundle of food commodities, you might look at parties differently from a consumer who has wads of cash.  Can we agree that consumers are not always the most budget minded when it comes to party prep and meal prep?

In our house, there will be a private party tonight featuring home made pizza!  We debated the pros and cons of soda pop to accompany our entree` but, price being the criteria, we went with water!  Silly us.  We’ll think we are having great fun!  And we’ll be right.

In our families, nothing much was made of New Year’s Day, either.  Tomorrow, for just the two of us, we’ll have a modest chicken dinner.  But I want to tell you how I’ll prepare the sweet potatoes for that meal:

Sweet Potato Sticks

Wash the potatoes thoroughly, place on a baking sheet, drizzle with vegetable oil, and cover with foil.  Place them in a preheated oven set at 400 degrees and let them hang out in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until tender.  When they come out of the oven, peel the jackets off and slice the potatoes into long chunks.  Sprinkle them lightly with cinnamon and nutmeg and watch people smile when they bit into these “sweet tater fries”.

This food idea came from the author of “Wild Seasons”, Kay Young.

As we enter a brand new year with high hopes for fresh starts, I hope you’ll keep in mind our good friends and partners as foodies…Saving Dinner


Connie Baum