There are many things that get me fired up and my husband often jokes about how passionate I can sometimes be. My voice becomes two (or three) octaves higher, hands flailing about and sometimes it may look like I’m arguing, but really I just get a little carried away.
When it comes to issues on food, there are so many that I can sit here a tell you I disagree with, but the number one on that list is the fact that there are children who go hungry on a daily basis. This is absolutely not acceptable.
Today, along with many other bloggers, I’m donating this post to raise awareness about a documentary film called A Place at the Table. The film follows three families struggling with food insecurities, and sheds light on the very real problem of hunger in America. But I’m also asking you to send letters to Congress to protect SNAP funding and make anti-hunger legislation a priority.
Basic needs start with food and creates a trickle-down effect in the development of a child. Statistics show how much better a child does in school when he or she has a meal and when a child does better in school it provides them with an education, self confidence and reassurance because they have one less thing on their mind. And this is a cycle. Something only maybe a handful of those children will grow up and not have to deal with, but the reality is they will most likely find themselves in the same situation with their own families. And to think, a meal they didn’t have was a big contributing factor; nope, this is totally not right.
I can also tell you how wrong it is that we are subsidizing all the wrong products, things like corn and soy, that have absolutely no place in packaged foods you see on the shelves of grocery stores. I’m not usually a pusher of what I believe. I very strongly want my blog and voice to be of one of inspiration to eat whole foods because they’re delicious; to lead by example, but not everyone has this choice. People live in what are now coined “food deserts” where things like chips, soda, and other processed food cost less than fruit and vegetables, even the non-organic ones in some cases. This just blows my mind! How can we become healthier, educated, full potential beings, while feeding everyone crap!?
Can you tell my voice is becoming higher (hands flailing) as you read? Because it is. But really people, I’m sure you know how hard it can be to concentrate on work, while your stomach is growling. Now imagine doing that daily, but knowing that meal may not be there. So today, April 8th, get involved and click here to spend 30 seconds of your time to tell congress that you do care, and support anti-hunger legislation.
If you would like to read up on these issues further you can go to the Share Our Strength website. If you would like to view the film you can click here to find it in a city near you or watch it on demand through iTunes and Amazon.
When I was thinking about a recipe to include in this post, I kept coming back to rice and beans; two staples I’m never without. Both are cheap (especially when you buy dried in bulk), but they’re also nutritious and a little goes a long way when added to any meal. The collard greens and leek came from my garden, but any dark leafy green that’s in season or on sale in your area should work just as well.
Smoky Beans with Rice & Collards / serves 4
Adapted from The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 large leek, rinsed well and sliced into thin half circles
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or 1 whole chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 bay leaf
3 cups water or half water half stock
1 cup white beans, soaked and drained
1 bunch collard greens,stems removed and cut into thin strips
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
juice of 1 lemon
Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil or ghee and leek. Stir, let cook for a few minutes and then stir in the garlic and chipotle chili powder or whole chili.
Add the bay leaf, water or stock, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, cooking for about 1 hour or until the beans are tender.
Once the beans have cooked stir in the collards, rice, and salt and continue to cook just until the collards have softened. Just before serving, remove the bay leaf and stir in the lemon juice.