April 8, 2013

Hungry for change: Food Bloggers Against Hunger

I am continually thankful for the tight-knit group of food bloggers, enthusiasts, culinary talent and advocates in the Nashville area.  Typically, I interact with this group of people in celebration - a literal picture of ‘eat, drink & be merry.’  We gather frequently to eat and drink truly delicious, decadent food.  We constantly celebrate the rich variety of restaurants and food shopping options in Nashville.  Food is plentiful in my line of work and personal life, and I'm selective about what, when and where I eat.  Often times, I challenge myself to eat less – to be health conscious and keep myself from overindulging. 
Today’s post is different. 

Local food writer and blogger Jennifer Justus reached out to the food community recently after she viewed “A Place At The Table.”   Both touched and outraged by what she viewed, she quickly worked to organize a local initiative to bring awareness to childhood hunger.   A nationwide project, Food Bloggers Against Hunger via The Giving Table, was created in response to the documentary.  A local event and screening of the film will take place in Nashville at the Downtown Presbyterian Church on Monday, April 29, at 6 p.m.  Please follow Jennifer's coverage for updates and ways to be more involved. 

So today, I will pause to think – really think – about what it means to be hungry.  I will stop to ponder how I would handle not knowing when and how I will feed my children.  I will stop stressing about whether or not they’re eating their vegetables, and be thankful for the comfort of knowing they’ll go to bed with full bellies. 

And once I’ve thought about it, I will challenge myself to DO something about it.  Childhood hunger is real. 

The scary reality is that lawmakers in our state think they have a right to deny food to children.  I’m shocked that this is something we have to fight, but we do. 

I hope you will do some research, and if so compelled, join me in pausing, thinking and DOING.

When I was a child, my single mother took great care to make sure my sister and I were never, ever hungry.  There were some very lean years, and the financial burden and stress on her was great - and I had no idea.  Our table was always full of healthful, delicious food.  I am thankful to her for that nourishment, and now, as a mom, cook by her inspiration - finding creative options in a pantry when the kids say 'there's nothing to eat.'  We are blessed.  I will work to remember this every time I sit down at my own table. 

This recipe was originally inspired by using ingredients I could find in my pantry on any given day.  It’s a healthful, budget friendly vegetarian dish that can be changed to suit your preferences and/or what you happen to have available.  Try using a different variety of bean, adding other canned or fresh veggies like corn, carrots, or greens, or even adding a protein. 

Tomatoes and Cannelini Beans over Brown Rice
serves four

1 tsp olive oil
2 28-oz cans of diced tomatoes  
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
dash cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
juice of one lime
prepared brown rice
Heat olive oil to medium in soup pot. Add garlic and sauté until cooked through.  Reduce heat to low and add tomatoes, beans, cayenne, salt & pepper to taste, simmering about 10 minutes.  Just before serving, add lime juice.  Serve over brown rice. 


  1. My mother was also a single mom for several years and still managed to feed us well, (amazingly) without the need for government assistance (which she most certainly would have qualified for). Lots of beans in our house, too. But usually served with cornbread. :)

  2. Like I shared with Erin, any tomato-based bean dish is a favorite in my book. My mom, though not a single mom, cooks from her roots which are very simple peasant-style dishes, so this is something very similar to what I would eat growing up as well. Wonderful post, lovely share!

  3. Love canned beans and tomatoes. Always mainstays in our pantry.

  4. What would we do without beans? This nutrient packed legume becomes a vehicle for so many great recipes! With obesity and hunger being relatives, it is so important for this conversation to continue! Thank you for being a champion of the cause!

  5. Great post! It's interesting what recipes all of us posted yesterday! We did a breakfast dish, and calculated the cost. But it is really difficult to find low-cost, healthy and nutritious dishes.

  6. Encourage people to shop at Amazon using this link: http://www.shoppingstore3404.us and donations will go to feed hungry children.

  7. Some people usually don't think beans are good but lima beans with tomatoes are good adding similar ingredients. Great post!