Lately, I feel like a say that phrase a million times over a course of one meal. "Please stay seated...and EAT!" And I admit...sometimes in the rush of our schedules, I turn to old standbys and the meals can be less than appealing if you've had it a few times in the past few weeks.
However, last week during a cold weather spell, instead of "please eat", I told my kids "you need to eat to stay healthy and stay warm". My son smiled and proclaimed that statement should be a life rule! "Stay healthy and stay warm!!!", he chanted. After some discussion, we then thought that those still recovering from the Sandy/Nor'easter storm would agree with that statement, and wish they had more healthy choices and options.
Silently, both kids started to eat. They started to think of those who still don't have electrical power to keep warm and that the only choice they have to meet their basic needs is to ration their gas, line up at food trucks, shower stalls and power stations to sustain themselves. That for now, this is the only choice they have. The kids asked "if they are still struggling to get back to normal in such a prosperous city like New York, what would it be like if it happened to us?"
Then we started to think of the children that receive the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that we fill at school around this time every year before Christmas. That on a grander scale, those in North America are still so much better off than children in many other countries who continually struggle to find basic food, water and shelter. Those children don't have the luxury to make alternative choices, if any.
And while my kids are pretty healthy eaters and occasionally may still be a little picky with what they eat, I am glad that they are appreciative of the opportunity to be able to be that picky. And appreciate that the storm passed us, and we're warm and safe here at home, instead of the alternative just south of the border.
Quinoa Bean Salad
Quinoa is a complete protein rich grain, and is a great alternative to meat. This salad keeps well (and could sustain without refrigeration longer than most salads), and actually tastes better as it sits longer for the quinoa to absorb the flavours.
- 1 package of quinoa
- 1/2 cup of vinegar (white or apple cidar works)
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 1 celery sticks
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 chopped red or green pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup of cooked waxed beans (optional)
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- 1 can of chick peas
- Cook the quinoa as directed on the package. Set aside to cool.
- Rinse the beans & peas in cold water then place in hot water for 2 minutes. Drain.
- Add all of the above ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight.