Hope everyone went outside this past weekend to soak up some sun and get some Vitamin D! It was such a pleasant surprise to have such a warm and sunny few days. Today marks the beginning of United Way of King County’s Hunger Action Week. The goal of the week is to raise awareness about hunger in King County and across the nation and to bring action about to end hunger. The United Way Hunger Fact sheet says that nationally “1 in 6 Americans, and nearly 1 in 4 kids struggles with hunger.”1 In Washington State, 14% of the population experienced food insecurity in 2009.1 Food have seen a 25% increase in visitors since 2007. 1 Food insecurity and hunger is rising across the nation, including in our own neighborhoods here in King County.
What can you do to help? The United Way of King County suggests 5 ways you can take action this week:
Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner spending only $7 a day to get a sense of what people who rely on food stamps experience.
Plant a garden, serve a meal, deliver groceries, stock a food pantry. There are plenty of ways you can lend a hand.
Find out what causes hunger, who is hungry and how you can get involved in solutions.
Tell everyone you know about Hunger Action Week, and encourage them to get involved. Contact your legislators by phone or e-mail to ensure we have strong hunger relief programs for people in need.
Support United Way’s work to end hunger in our community.
Go here to find out more information: http://www.uwkc.org/news-events/event-calendar/haw/
I would encourage all of my readers to take the Food Stamps Challenge. The vast majority of our clients taking Cooking Matters classes are on Food Stamps. One of the best ways to understand the challenge of eating on a budget of $7/ day is to do it yourself. The United Way came up with some “rules” to follow in order to best understand how it is to live on Food Stamps.
Hunger Challenge rules:
- Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner spending only $7 per day.
- Salt and pepper don't count but all other seasonings, cooking oils, condiments, snacks, drinks, and everything else do.
- Don't use food you already own.
- Don't accept food from family, friends, coworkers and others. Not even the free samples from Costco!
- Try to include fresh produce and healthy protein each day.
- Keep track of expenses, food choices, and recipes and share your experiences on United Way of King County's blog. We’ll have a prize for the best recipe.
You can choose to do the challenge with your partner or family.
Hunger Challenge Budget For Five Days
You can register on their website for the challenge. http://www.uwkc.org/news-events/event-calendar/haw/hunger-challenge.html
Would you consider taking the Challenge? If you do, what were some of the issues you came up against? What did you cook?
Find some inspiration below from a recipe we made the other week in class, enjoy!
Chef Mallory Buford • Washington, D.C.
Serves 8, 1⁄8 of lasagna per serving
1 (8 ounce) package whole wheat lasagna noodles
3 cups fresh spinach
½ pound button mushrooms
1 large zucchini
1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, no salt added
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces block mozzarella cheese
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
Non-stick cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, drain in a colander, and run under cold water until cool to the touch.
3. Rinse spinach, mushrooms and zucchini. Chop spinach, thinly slice mushrooms, and dice zucchini into ½-inch pieces. Combine all the vegetables in a bowl.
4. Stir basil, oregano, salt, and pepper into the canned tomatoes, right in the can, to make a sauce.
5. Grate mozzarella cheese and reserve ¼ cup of the grated cheese for topping the lasagna.
6. Beat egg in a medium bowl, add ricotta cheese and grated mozzarella and mix.
7. Lightly coat the interior of a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread ½ cup of tomato sauce across the bottom of the dish.
8. Layer 3 noodles over the sauce followed by 1 cup cheese mixture, 1½ cups vegetables, and 2⁄3 cup tomato sauce.
9. Repeat layering 2 more times, ending with 3 noodles. Cover with the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle the reserved ¼ cup of grated mozzarella over the top of the lasagna.
10. Bake for 45 minutes, until cheese is melted and lightly browned on top, and dish is bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
11. Finely grate and sprinkle parmesan cheese over the lasagna before serving, if using.
••Use thawed frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach. Be sure to squeeze all excess water from spinach.
••Sauté a variety of your favorite vegetables and add to the lasagna.
••Leftovers can be cut into single-size portions and frozen for up to 3 months.
••If using no-boil lasagna noodles, skip step 2.
1 Hunger Action Week Toolkit. Hunger Fact Sheet. United Way of King County. Mar, 21 2011. http://www.uwkc.org/news-events/event-calendar/haw/fact-sheet.html