Tomorrow, Dec 3rd, is giving Tuesday. It's designed to shift the focus off of getting and things, and back to giving and helping others. I encourage you to please give to an organization that helps to feed the hungry.
As you may or may not know, my first paid community organizer job was based in Boise, Idaho. It was for an organization called Idaho Hunger Action Council and was about connecting those in need with food and resources, and those in power with information about the needs in our communities through out our state.
Food insecurity is a reality for more of us in the United States than you probably know, and the odds are good that if you are reading this you fit into that category or someone you love does. Yet it's an issue that goes unaddressed.
Our children are the group that is most likely to face hunger in the US, and that's more than 13 Million kids. Food insecurity means a family does not have access to enough food to support a healthy lifestyle. One in ever seven kids lives with hunger.
It's easy this time of year to think of the homeless being hungry and un-sheltered, and yes that is one way to support folks.
But kids that don't have a meal before school, don't do as well in school. It's hard to be clear focused, and learning when your head is foggy from lack of nutrition, and your belly is rumbly from lack of a meal. And it's hard to parent, or be clear headed at work when you the adult are hungry.
PLEASE support your local food bank, or local community or state hunger organization. Helping build solutions where we live helps build our communities, our local schools, our friends and families, our schools, and our churches. It gives us local, and solid bases to build on and from as we solve the issue.
If it's easier, or if you can do an additional give, then please consider one of the following organizations:
No Kid Hungry
World Food Program USA
Lastly search out ways you can bring your dollars together, with others, by shopping for products that give back. When you choose to shop with Pampered Chef that is true, and there are a couple of ways to achieve it. One Pampered Chef donates to Feeding America, and two when you use the Shop for a Cause link, you get even more "bang for your buck".
Making a difference does not have to mean you sacrifice. In fact it can often be win win! Take Pampered Chef shopping as an example, you get a product you love that builds positive food traditions in your own kitchen, and the company in turn, supports a great charity. Or you give a gift, and that gift also creates the ripple forward.
And if you need help, please reach out - start here --> https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank
We are all in this together!
As an adult, I used to say "no I don't like those", anytime I was asked if I liked Brussels sprouts, or wanted some. But I was answering with the childhood experience voice, and not an adult one. One day an older man in my neighborhood, that I used to stop and chat with, often about his garden, said "you probably only ever had them boiled to death".
I laughed because he was right, I knew them as boiled, mushed, slimy and not good.
Today they are one of my favorites, and nope no boiling happens!
My recipe is simple, I take them, rinse, and peel off any outer yellow, and dry leaves. Then I slice them in half. They are like a cute little mini cabbage. I toss them in a bowl, add olive oil, salt and black cumin seeds, and toss it all together really well.
Then I spread it all out on a flat pan, and put in an oven at 350 degrees.
Then this is one of those things you have to pay attention to, but not in a precise way. As they start to cook, they will brown up, and it's best to stir them around so they can brown up evenly. They caramelize, and they brown, and some leaves may even look blackened. I find it easiest to use a spatula to turn and stir them around. Once they are evenly browned, they are ready to eat!
These are yummy and versatile. You can eat them as is, as a snack or quick bite. Or you can use it as a vegetable side with a meal.
Tonight I was making dinner for just me, so when they were done I opened a pack of these noodles from the pantry fridge and stirred them into the ready Brussels sprouts on the hot pan. I tossed the pan back in the oven, for just a few minutes to heat the noodles. The noodles are soft and ready to eat out of the package, so it only takes a couple of minutes to heat and add the flavor.
Then I gave it all another stir, put half in the fridge for tomorrow or the next day, and the rest in a bowl to enjoy! Yummy dinner, healthy and simple and all in one pan. PLUS I used the same bowl to stir the raw ones, as to store them cooked with the noodles. Nope no washing in between. No reason to, any extra oil or spices will just add to the finished product and there was no meat or such contamination when it was raw.
One pan to cook it all, one bowl to prep and store, I like it simple and easy when I am kitchening!
I will be honest, family meal times were not a regular, positive experience when I was growing up. Holidays yes, but every night, not so much. And then I didn't do great with my on children.
I went too unstructured mostly, trying to make sure they didn't have negative meal experiences. But I could have done better for them instead.
But none of us can go back, just forward and as Maya Angelou said "when you know better, you do better".
One of the things we know is that our kids (no matter their age) need us, present, our love and our guidance. And honestly meal times can be a great way to connect.
It doesn't have to be a fancy meal, or even at a table. You don't need a planner, or agenda either. In fact sometimes the more structured you try to go, the less the experience is positive for any of you. It becomes work and preparation, and less about being present; for you and for them.
And sometimes it can just be about enjoying each others company, quietly, eating.
Simple is key.
Having olives? Are they on anyone's fingers?
In my own family it was Grandpa Brydl, my mother's dad, that would teach that trick, and then quietly encourage it behind the backs of grandma and mom.
Throw a blanket on the floor, have a picnic. Yes your kids might think you lost your mind, and that's okay.
I think the secret is that it doesn't have to be always or every, most modern schedules don't allow for that anyway. But often, frequently good food, with the good people you love, creating a good time and good memories.
If you have a good conversation starter, share it!
We are all in this together.
I am a Pampered Chef Consultant, and if you are interested in purchasing something, having a party, or a fundraiser, let me know. I do really hope though that you will be interested in the bigger picture of what I am going to be working on. To quote The UN World Food Program ED "the path to peace begins with food, the work begins with food, because nothing else can happen, when everyone is hungry."
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