Monday, September 29, 2014

End it with Orange: Orange Meals Inspired by No Kid Hungry

Weekly Meal Plan Inspiration: Fall Produce and Hunger Action Month

Hunger Action Month is coming to a close. Orange is the designated color for the month, so we're going to end it with orange by sharing my favorite Fall recipes featuring some amazing orange vegetables: butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. All three of these veggies are full of health benefits and kid-friendly. 

Wild Thing in his orange for Hunger Action Month. In this photo,
he was sad and hungry. I feel grateful to know I am able to provide
snacks and healthy meals for him when he feels this way.
(Psssttt...I'm ending this month with some green is estimated that between 14.7 and 18.5 million children in the United States struggle with hunger/food security. I'm committing to a monthly donation of $18.50 to No Kid Hungry to represent each child struggling with hunger. I invite you to join me -- with a monthly commitment or one-time donation as well. You can also check out other ways to get involved in the battle against hunger). 

Butternut Squash Recipes:  

(The recipe includes vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy free options and is yummy!) 

(This is on my meal plan list this week -- Wednesday night for dinner.)

(When I made this I made it in the crock pot, which worked out fine. I also didn't top it with the goat cheese or chorizo.)

Veggies simmering in the crockpot before I pureed the soup.
(My boys devoured them, and I didn't even make the frosting).
Sweet Potato Recipes:

(Also on our meal plan this week - Friday for dinner.)

(I always make this for my husband's birthday and don't even bother with frosting...It's that good). 

(Another healthy treat my boys absolutely love!) 

Bonus Shares: 
(Okay, not orange, but pears are a favorite Fall fruit for us).

What's your favorite Fall fruit or vegetable? Have a favorite Fall recipe? If so, please share it!. Also, please also join me this month (and every month!) to help end hunger. Together, we can end it. 

Click here to get involved!

Sharing this at the In and Out of the Kitchen Linky.

You might also like:

Go Orange Fall Bucket List
Books and Hunger Action Month

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hunger Action Month: 11 Simple Ways Kids Can Get Involved

Moms Fighting Hunger Blog Hop 2014 -- Kids and Families Making a Difference During Hunger Action Month

Hunger is an issue I have cared about for many years. Two years ago, I became more active with No Kid Hungry and joined together with other moms to create Moms Fighting Hunger. For Hunger Action Month, I've compiled this list of 11 Simple Ways Kids Can Get Involved During Hunger Action Month, which draw heavily from my own personal experience with my children over the last two years as well as the examples of many of the other inspiring mothers that are a part of Moms Fighting Hunger. 

1. Collect Spare Change - Last year during Hunger Action Month, my sons and I created a coffee can for change. We literally carried a coffee can around all month to put our spare change in and found that others added to it as well. In the end, we raised nearly $45 -- and a few friends and family members matched our donation. The boys were so proud to see that their effort to collect change resulted in so much money (nearly $200) being donated to No Kid Hungry.

2. Donate to your Local Food Pantry - We do this often and try to find ways to make it fun. Our Very Hungry Caterpillar Virtual Food Drive was lots of fun and inspired others as well. JDaniel4's Mom also created a Hunt for Hunger for her son, and the Pleasantest Thing and her son got involved with her food pantry's Breakfast in a Bag program. To find a food pantry in your area, look here.

3. Visit your Local Food Pantry or Volunteer - When you make your donation, plan to take some time to learn about the food pantry. Visiting a food pantry allows children to learn more about hunger. 52 Brand New shared about her children volunteering at a food pantry, which is a great way to get kids involved. 

4. Garden! - Katie's Krops is an organization focused on encouraging children to garden to end hunger as they share the produce they grow with others. We've just started a small container garden, but have already shared our tomatoes with neighbors that we know are in need.  

5. Eat a Meal with Gratitude - Using  your own meal  times to learn about hunger and focus on gratitude for the food you have is an important way to help children understand hunger. This month you can also Dine Out for No Kid Hungry as a family and Pennies of Time shared a powerful Hunger Dinner her family held to truly understand hunger. Some families also decide to take the Snap Challenge for a week or for the entire month during Hunger Action Month. Conveying Awareness shared her experience taking the Snap Challenge. 

6. Support a Neighbor in Need - This can be fun and simple. You can make healthy muffins or make an extra batch of soup. It's easy, but also so greatly appreciated. We've given bagels and produce to a homeless man in our community, have made a meal for an elderly neighbor and have taken meals to families that have a member battling cancer. 

7. Organize a Food Drive -  Depending on the age of your children, the parents might be doing most of the organizing, but the children can definitely help spread the word and learn a lot in the process. Coffee Cups and Crayons held a fun Hunger Heroes Food Drive Play Date.

8. Host a Bake Sale - No Kid Hungry has lots of resources to help you get involved through a bake sale. 

9. Volunteer at a Dinner for Those in Need - We've volunteered at a local Thanksgiving Dinner for families in need and discovered that even young children can help out in this way. Now is a great time to research an upcoming holiday dinner and sign up to be involved. 

10. Read! - Reading books that help children understand hunger is important -- and can lead them to want to be involved to help those that are hungry. Pennies of Time shares tips for reading books and discussing hunger. Childhood Beckons created a fun Feeding with Reading Food Driveand Let's Lasso the Moon has a great list of books about hunger

11. Learn about Hunger/Talk About It - Similar to reading books, talking about hunger and learning about hunger is another important way to get kids involved as it raises their awareness about hunger and their empathy for others. If you might feel intimidated by this idea, Moments a Day has 5 Activities for Teaching Preschoolers about Hunger, JDaniel4's Mom shared about how she discussed hunger with her young son and Kid World Citizen shared lessons for teaching kids about hunger.

If your children have gotten involved around the issue of hunger, please tell us all about it -- and if you've written a blog post about it, link it up to our Moms Fighting Hunger Blog Hop. We'd also love for you to engage with us about ending hunger and getting children and families involved on the Moms Fighting Hunger Facebook page -- and we've got many more resources collected on the Moms Fighting Hunger Pinterest Board. I'm sharing at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop, Make a Difference Mondays, and After School Link Up Party.