Monthly Archives: May 2014

325 Zero Hunger

My husband, Jason and I have volunteered to take on a project within our church. It is led by our pastor and a few other church and community members to end hunger in our zip code, 32507. Hence the name, 325 Zero Hunger.

As a mom of young children, I cannot imagine not being able to feed my child until they were full. Or having to go hungry myself in order for my child to eat. However, that is the reality in many homes in our area, and across the country.

I looked up a few facts from an article called “Hungry Games” written by Jessica Forbes just for my own information and for this post. In our first meeting, we discussed ways of going about this rather daunting task. We have started with children and using schools as a way to find those in need. This article has chosen school age children as well to narrow focus.

hungry-games

“Over 60 percent of Escambia County public school students, roughly 24,000 children, rely on the school system for at least two free or reduced price meals a day during the school year. (…) Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 of the 24,000 eligible students will receive meals during a part of the summer provided through the USDA programs. The remaining 22,000 are left to make other arrangements.”

I was in awe of that number, thinking how many families struggle to put meals on the table. In our meeting, we discussed defining “food insecurity” more specifically.

food-insecurity-the-other-sociologist

Food insecurity: “The limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.”
Found on othersociologist.com

Even though, there are a few programs in place already to help feed the hungry in this area. However, other volunteers for 325 Zero Hunger would be the first to say they have seen many gaps that need to be filled. They know because of their long work experience in these other programs:

  • Backpack programs that give school kids food to take home over the weekends
  • School lunch programs that give reduced price or free meals to kids
  • Frozen food programs (like One Harvest) that can be purchased and passed out to those who need it
  • Food banks through churches or other organizations that distribute food throughout our city and counties
  • Homeless and other outreaching food distribution with a large scale focus

Also, there are several that the article touched on for school age kids to find food during the summer when school is out.

While we are not certain of all the specific ways that this organization will work to achieve its goal, I am looking forward to helping as much as we can.

Meanwhile, keep looking out for more posts as I also try to raise these crazy kiddos of ours. I couldn’t help but feel heartbroken in researching for this post. It made me glad I signed up to assist and also want to hug my children close and say a prayer of gratitude for everything God has given us.

momwithagoldenfork_family

 

 

Easy Pasta with Sausage

Here in Pensacola, we have had a rough week the past 7 days. We had a lot of heavy rain and thunderstorms, the last of which on Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. I heard between 20 and 25 inches of rain in a 24 hour period! There were many city streets that had total washouts and many people, including some friends had water come into their houses. We were fortunate enough only to have water in our backyard. Our house is on a sloped lot so the porch (shown) is 5-6 feet off the ground.

backyard-flooded in easy pasta with sausage post backyard-flooded in easy pasta with sausage post

The water had gone back down past the fence by the time the day had ended. It was crazy! I just feel terrible for all those that are still dealing with water damage, insurance companies and heartache over losing so much. I can’t even imagine what they are going through.

Anyways, I will get on with the recipe.

Easy pasta with sausage is something I make when I need a quick dinner and it’s just me and kids eating. Not that my husband wouldn’t like it, but I like to keep it simple and easy on the nights I’m cooking for just us. Everything is throw it in a pan and serve from there.

I feel like I make a lot of these type of ‘versatile’ dishes like this, but it’s so easy and yummy, why not? So, use what you have in this basic formula and feel better about using fresh food that doesn’t get dumped out later because it went bad sitting in the fridge! (I hate that!)

What’s really great too, is it’s so easy to sneak some extra vegetables in that don’t always get eaten. I like to throw finely chopped up fresh spinach or diced, de-seeded fresh tomato as well. A finish of herbs are also nice as well. Whatever you have in the fridge will work!

sausage-for-easy-pasta

Easy Pasta with Sausage

Ingredients:

  • I used 3/4 of one of these, all natural pork sausage (the whole thing pictured). I know its not organic but its better than others, right?
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 carrot or handful of baby carrots, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (rotini in this case)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I usually grate some off the block/wedge)

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to directions. Make sure to keep the starchy cooking water aside.

Brown the sausage with the vegetables in a large skillet over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

brown sausage and vegetables for easy pasta and sausage

Cook until everything is softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced.

add browth and simmer - easy pasta with sausage

Add cooked pasta and taste for any additional seasoning.

add cooked pasta to easy pasta with sausage

Add sprinkled cheese and stir to combine.

add sprinkled cheese to easy pasta and sausage

Doesn’t really get much easier than that!

Easy Pasta with Sausage
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 9-12 oz natural pork sausage
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 carrot or handful of baby carrots, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (rotini in this case)
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to directions. Make sure to keep the starchy cooking water aside.
  2. Brown the sausage with the vegetables in a large skillet over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until everything is softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced.
  4. Add cooked pasta and taste for any additional seasoning.
  5. Add sprinkled cheese and stir to combine.
  6. Serve with more cheese on the table to top.

 

Please let me know if you are able to make Easy Pasta with Sausage and what you thought of it!