Could you feed your children on one dollar per child per meal?
I don’t know if I could. It would be a struggle. But millions of American parents may have to tell their kids “there’s nothing to eat tonight.” Hard to believe, but it’s true.
Here’s a little background:
• Last week both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees passed separate versions of the Farm Bill.
• Those proposals would cut more than $20 billion dollars from SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), the program that feeds millions of hungry people in this country and used to be known as food stamps.
• One in five Americans receive food stamps, most of them working-poor families with children.
• The full Senate will debate the bill next week.
The number of children who go hungry has grown dramatically over the past several years because there are more people facing poverty and unemployment due to the recession and an economy slow to recover.
Food stamps have always been a contentious issue because of the misperception that many recipients are just taking advantage of the system. But here’s what’s interesting: SNAP does what it is supposed to do… feed the hungry.
Cutting these benefits won’t do much to help the nation’s long-term financial issues. It will only keep hungry children from being fed. And that’s tragic.
Here’s a great idea: Before the vote, every member of Congress should take the “Food Stamp Challenge”. For one month, each of them must eat on a budget of about one dollar per person per meal.
THEN let’s see how many of them want to cut SNAP benefits.
Mama doesn’t believe in tricking picky eaters into eating healthy food… especially vegetables.
There are books and blogs dedicated to doing just that, I know. But if you introduce veggies early enough, and in small quantities, you have a better chance of bringing them into the tent.
Kale, the darling of the leafy vegetables world, is the perfect example. Kale used to be hidden in winter soups or boiled to death with other hearty greens.
Now, it’s roasted, sautéed and shredded into salads. There are entire Pinterest boards dedicated to Kale recipes.
Kale chips are even being tucked into lunch boxes. Guess what? Kids love them… even the picky eaters. The other day I saw a kid with a green smoothie… WHAT? Kudos to the parents (or the kid) for venturing into territory my kids would NEVER have explored.
This all goes back to introducing kids to greens early… as soon as their little tummies can digest the fiber.
Mac and cheese, a kid favorite, blends beautifully with finely chopped kale, broccoli or spinach. Start with just a little bit, a teaspoon or two per serving is about right.
Another idea: sauté the chopped leafy veggies in the same pan that you fry bacon. Top with chopped bacon and a little cheese. Easy and delicious and goes great with a meaty main course.
Do your best to get them to eat their veggies. But at the end of the day, DON’T WORRY… they’re not going to starve if they turn their nose up at a dish.
Morel mushrooms are spring’s special gift.
A bit overdramatic, I know, but there’s a reason.
Elegantly woodsy-tasting morel mushrooms make their appearance in spring for only a few weeks… and then they are gone. They are wildly expensive: last week in my farmer’s market, they were $50 a pound!
Oh, but they are soooo worth it.
Like the happy tartness of a green zebra tomato or the bright sweet flavor of a just-picked ear of corn, some things should only be eaten at the peak of their season.
Their unique honeycombed-shaped cap isn’t really conducive to searing, unlike most mushrooms. They are best when they are gently sautéed with butter, a little bit of garlic and a pinch of flaky finishing salt. Add a little fortified wine if you wish.
If you’re lucky enough to find morels (and can afford them), buy those that smell fresh and earthy. Avoid those with soft spots or that feel slimy. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth to remove any dirt and store unwashed in a paper bag in the refrigerator.
I know morels are available year round. But why not keep these tiny bits of nature special… just like the family and friends with whom you share them.
Go ahead, order the Quarter Pound Double Cheese Burger. But bear in mind, you’ll have to walk briskly for about 2 hours to burn off all those calories it contains.
If restaurant menus listed the amount of exercise needed to work off each dish, would you make smarter choices? A new study says you would.
Guess what? Diners who ordered from menus that listed the amount of exercise needed to burn off the calories of what they ordered, started ordering smaller, healthier meals.
What’s even more interesting is that diners whose menus only listed the calorie count (or no information at all) wound up eating the same number of calories they would have without the calorie count. In other words, knowing simply how many calories a dish has, makes no difference—most of us would still order it! I want what I want when I want it!
A lot of restaurants, particularly chains, are listing calories on their menus now… which is a smart move. My fear is that we’ll get numb to the numbers… and go on overeating.
But believe me, Mama would pay attention if the menu said I’d have to walk three hours to burn off one piece of deep dish pizza.