Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What to do with all that Milk: 5 WIC Ingredient based Recipies

I have two children on the WIC program between the ages of 2 and 5. Every month, per child we receive:

3 gallons of skim, 1% or 2% Organic Milk
36 ounces WIC Breakfast Cereal
2 64 ounce Plastic Bottles of Juice or 12 ounce Can Frozen Juice
2 16-14 ounce Whole Grain Choice
1 16 ounce Package WIC Cheese
1 18 - 16 ounce jar WIC Peanut Butter
1 dozen large "A" or "AA" White Eggs
$ 6.00 Fresh Fruit and/or Fresh Vegetables and/or Frozen Vegetables

Before Sylvan turned two he was allowed no peanut butter (he had the dry legume option) and whole milk.  I wish the whole milk was allowed for older children, especially since there is established research linking lower fat content in milk to higher rates of obesity on children. My solution - I allow the kids to add half and half to their milk on request.

I always get the 8.9 ounce box of cheerios, and the regular size of rice chex and corn chex.  It used to take me half and hour to select cereals.  But after spending many, many minutes reading all the labels these are the only cereals that add up to just below the 36 ounce limit and do not contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, or plain old Corn Syrup. Yup.  Trying to avoid one ingredient sure narrows the choices.  How often do I give my children these cereals as a breakfast option?  Maybe once ever 6 months or so - even when they ask - my answer is NO 99.99% of the time.  There are just so many better, healthier, more filling options.  They are allowed to take baggies of Chex along on hikes, or have a bowl of cereal with milk as a before dinner snack when they are whining and hungry and I just started to pull things out the fridge. This means that I have come up with ways to use all this cereal too... but that is not the point of this post.

Whole grain choice.  All I ever get is the brown rice or the corn tortillas.  Why?  Well, if you are trying to avoid  Corn Syrup or Partially Hydrogenated Oils those are the only options.  Even the whole wheat wraps that blatantly state NO Trans Fats across the font side on close inspection contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils when you read the label on the back side.  ALWAYS READ LABELS!!

Cheese, Eggs, Peanut Butter are pretty self explanatory. I was elated when recent changes in the WIC program allowed Adam's Peanut Butter as a choice.  Prior to that I purchased the peanut butter one time. That one time, I used it in a craft project and even then felt a little guilty for feeding all those partially hydrogenated oils to our backyard birds.  (I know, I know that is NOT what the WIC program is for.  As I said, I did that only once.  I did feel more guilty about poisoning the birds.. than miss using peanut butter that we all would be better off not eating.) Now with the Adam's option we make all sorts of human foods.  More on those later.

Last, but not least, my favorite WIC voucher: $6 to spend on fruits and vegetables. I usually try to buy all produce organic, so the $6 usually does not stretch very far.  For my last voucher, in the name of research (this blog post), I purchased conventionally grown produce.
I came home with 3 nice sized zucchini, a 2 lb head of cabbage, 1 head of lettuce, a bunch of green onions and a pint of strawberries - not bad right?  And they have all disappeared already so we are headed to do a WIC run (bike ride) after both kids wake up from their nap.

Back to the milk - so right now we get 6 gallons of milk a month.  That is a lot of milk, and for a part of our WIC experience Ivory pretty much refused to drink milk and that meant that I had to find a way to use a lot of milk - GALLONS AND GALLONS OF MILK.

Naan and Royal Tomatoes with Paneer

Here are 5 milk centered (and meatless) recipes:

1. Homemade Yogurt

1 quart milk 
1 small container of store bought plain yogurt with live cultures
  • warm the milk 113 degrees Fahrenheit and stir in 1 - 3 Tablespoons of store bought yogurt 
  • let sit in a warm spot up to 15 hours, sweeten if desired and serve with fresh fruit, in pancakes, on pancakes in cucumber salad...  etc...  

2. Paneer 

1 half gallon of milk
1/8 cup of lemon juice or vinegar
  • bring the milk to a boil, add lemon juice or vinegar and stir until the milk curdles and separates
  • pour the content of the pot into a strainer and drain liquid
  • I often set a plate on top of the curds to make a firm block of cheese to use a few hours later

3. Curried Lentils with Paneer 

onion (WIC item)
curry and cumin 
  • sautee onions, garlic in oil add cumin and curry (I use a lot of both) 
1 large carrot (WIC item)
1 cup peas (WIC item) 
2 cups lentils (WIC item)
4 cups of Water
salt and pepper
  • add chopped carrot, peas, lentils and water into the pan
  • cook until lentils are soft, approximately 15 minutes
8 ounces of paneer (WIC item)
  • stir cubes of paneer into the lentil mixture and heat until warmed thoughouly
  • serve on it's own or wrapped in whole wheat tortillas (WIC item) or with flat bread

4. Royal Tomatos with Panner

5. Soda Crackers - a perfect use for spoiled Milk

Soda Crackers in all sorts of Fun Shapes

My previous WIC based meatless meal recipes can be found here.
Peanut Butter and Cereal
5 Juice Recipes


  1. It's a shame using WIC coupons is so much work. I always thought the amount allotted to produce was ridiculously low. You are probably unique in your willingness to do the research and spend so much time ensuring your family has a healthy diet. The girls no longer get WIC, but I remember reading cereal boxes for what seemed like hours. We always ended up with Cheerios and Chex, too. Thanks for sharing your recipes. I'm going to try the Naan and curried lentil soon.

  2. It really isn't that much work.. I was just annoyed with the lack of recipes WIC distributes that actually are useful to the ingredients they provide. It isn't anymore work than any other cooking I do. :) A little less sometimes maybe. The thing is - I know not every one has the time or resources to come up with these recipes and I want to provide others with that resource. The twins don't get WIC? It seems like they would be eligible (until they are 5 and that is a ways away).

  3. Might be a late comment, but I love your recipes - I actually would love to share them with my clients (I work for WIC). Asking for recipes or cooking help at WIC is like opening a can of worms - most of us all love food and can give you all sorts of resources for recipes and resources for recipes, help learning how to cook, etc. :)

    Great job!

    1. Thank you. I never really finished the series... I had more plans that never materialized. My son is on his last month of WIC. It has been a great resource for our family and I put these recipes out into the world to be used. Feel free to share them.

  4. Just got WIC this week, had no idea what I was going to do with all the stuff we don't usually eat!! You blogs are awesome! I was so excited about the yogurt recipe, even have my mom's old yogurt maker to use! Thanks so much!