In our house, one of the biggest stresses of late is our teething toddler who often refuses to eat what we put in front of her. She suspiciously eyes her sunflower butter sandwich, her carrot sticks, her banana slices, her organic grapes, her whole-wheat pancakes … and then tosses the bite-sized pieces, one-by-one, to the hovering (and, incidentally, very happy) dogs.
But then I started browsing the No Kid Hungry website from the wonderful Share Our Strength organization, and it gave me a little perspective on the issue. I realized just how lucky we really are. Our daughter may not be eating quite as much as we’d like, but she’s still thriving. And, most importantly, we are able to place that wide variety of healthy food in front of her so she can nibble on what she needs – and enjoy the luxury of turning up her nose at what she doesn’t.
Did you know that 16 million children are not getting the food they need right here in the U.S.? That’s one in five kids. One in five. (Source: No Kid Hungry).
The idea of a feisty, audacious little toddler like mine crying with a growling tummy … so focused on her next meal that she lags farther and farther behind on her milestones … not getting the nutrition she needs to feed those rapidly multiplying brain cells … it’s heartbreaking. Tragic. And it’s not okay.
That’s why I joined The Giving Table and over 200 other food bloggers who are donating today’s posts to the cause.
Bloggers around the country were tasked with featuring frugal yet nutritious recipes – preferably ones that cost no more than $4 to make. Why $4? Because $3 or $4 is all the participants in our nation’s food stamp program receive per person per day. How are families supposed to eat a variety of nutritious whole foods on that amount of money?
Well, that’s just it. They really can’t.
By using a couple of cups worth of black beans that I’d cooked and frozen a month ago, along with half a green pepper, some onion, a little celery, and a cup of quinoa from the bulk bin at my local grocery store, I was able to use my $4 to create a satisfying one-dish dinner for four. And it’s even relatively healthy, sure.
But it took time and planning, and more importantly, it’s only one meal. And that doesn’t even include any fresh fruits or veggies on the side.
I do love this recipe, actually, a lot. And I want to tell you all about it. But instead of reading what I would have written, please, do just one of these things to help hungry kids in our country:
- Make your voice heard and help protect important related funding. Complete and submit this online petition to tell Congress that federal nutrition programs are imperative for hungry children. It only takes 30 seconds!
- Watch A Place At The Table, an new documentary about the issue of hunger in America from the makers of Food, Inc. You can view it either in your city or on demand on iTunes or Amazon.com.
Budget-Friendly Black Beans & Quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion (diced)
- 1/2 green pepper (diced)
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 cups cooked black beans (or use one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Several dashes Tabasco sauce (optional)
- Fresh lime wedges (optional)
- In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion, pepper, celery, and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin soften.
- Add the garlic, and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about two more minutes.
- Gently stir in the beans and quinoa, until combined. Continue cooking over medium-low until heated through.
- Stir in salt and pepper to taste, along with the Tabasco sauce, if using.
- Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over the top.