Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit…

beans

Happy Food Shelf Friday!

Last week I posted about Hope for Dinner, and this week I’m piggy backing on that post with some recipes and information to help us all prepare for next week’s rice and beans dinners.

Rice is the most universally known and consumed food in the world. It’s a grain, so a good source of cheap calories. It provides the body with carbohydrates and fiber. Brown rice is the same plant as white rice, just as wheat flour is the same plant as white flour, but the brown rice is less processed than the white and therefore retains more of the fiber you get from whole grains.

Beans are another of the world’s common staple foods. The name “beans” covers a whole bunch of different legumes. Beans are low in fat, high in fiber, and a good source of protein and minerals like iron and folate. Vegetarians and people who cannot afford much meat benefit greatly from beans because they provide those hard-to-find nutrients that most of us get from meat.

Rice and Beans, in one form or another, is a staple dish around the world. The varieties of beans and the seasonings may vary, but overall this dish is familiar and available in most of the world. It’s also cheap. Last year my family participated in Hope For Dinner, and we found Venture’s estimate that rice and beans will save $4 per person per meal to be pretty accurate. Our nutritional needs were met, we found some recipes that have become regulars on our menu, and we gained awareness (in a small way) of what it’s like for the poor of the world to eat the same thing day in and day out.

If you can’t stomach rice and beans, you can still participate!
– Swap your dinners for a week for Food Shelf Friday dinners
– Go meatless for the week
– Stay out of the grocery store for a week and eat only what you have on hand
– Pick another cheap meal, like meatless spaghetti, to eat all week
– Give up coffee shop treats or fast food

If you’re ready to join us for a week of rice, beans, awareness, and hope, check out my Hope for Dinner board on Pinterest. It’s full of rice and beans recipes you can try. Last year our menu included:
– 1 box of Zatarans Red Beans and Rice for the boys, and a Weight Watchers Smart One Santa Fe Rice and Beans meal for me on a day when I had to be at class after work.
Cheesy Rice and Beans from the Cheese Pusher blog
Best Ever Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Lime Rice from the Iowa Girl Eats blog
Panda Express Copycat Fried Rice from Food.com

This year I have a bunch of recipes pinned, and I’ll be deciding on a menu this weekend. Additionally, I’m looking for hands-on things my family can do during this week of awareness to expand our impact. We might pack meals at Feed My Starving Children, drop off some food at a food shelf, help sort and organize at the church’s food shelf, plan a food drive at work, etc. There are lots of great ideas, I just have to juggle them with J’s schedule as he has started the ski season.

Lots of great things we can discuss in the comments: recipe links, hands-on involvement, alternatives to rice and beans, etc. Let’s have a conversation! Leave a comment!

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