I think about lunch more than the average person. From the minute I wake up, my day is being planned out in meals and snacks. When you don't work from home, you're forced to plan ahead, so I've gotten used to baking granola or quick breads over the weekend, and hard boiling a dozen eggs at a time to ensure I have something to satisfy my appetite throughout the day.
This is a privilege, really. Although I grumble when I forget something at Whole Foods or when I have to tap into the bag of almonds in my purse instead of enjoying an afternoon yogurt parfait or almond butter smeared inside of a warm pita, the luxury of having meal options, an abundance of produce to choose from, or the ability to eat every three hours if I want to is a luxury that not everyone shares.
Today's post is dedicated to the children of South Africa, where 65% of them live in poverty. HIV and AIDS has transformed the country, leaving a generation of children forced to become adults sooner than they should have, or move in with their grandparents who aren't always able to provide three meals a day. Hunger is everywhere.
What happens to your blood sugar when you don't eat? How do you feel when you're hungry? I get irritated and cranky, mostly. When children are hungry, you can bet they have a hard time concentrating on what their teacher is saying, so not only are their tummies growling, they're falling behind in the one area that might help them break the cycle of poverty.
If you read your favorite blogs today, you might notice a trend. We're all talking about hunger in South Africa, and a wonderful organization called The Lunchbox Fund that's working to provide a daily, nutritious meal to vulnerable children. It was organized through my website The Giving Table, and today, we're asking everyone to play a small but important role in helping ensure better outcomes for 100 children living in South Africa.
Instead of buying a latte or two this week, feed a child instead. If we manage to raise just $5,000, we will be able to feed 100 schoolchildren for an entire year. (!!). It's as simple as that.
Besides, what good are our words and recipes if we don't get out of our own kitchens once in a while?
In addition to raising awareness and requesting donations, we're also sharing favorite lunch recipes. I get most excited about lunch on Fridays, when I work from home. Monday through Thursday usually involves a container of leftovers from dinner the night before, as well as a variety of snacks throughout the day. But on Fridays, I scrounge through the refrigerator and use up what's left, or test a recipe I've been working on.
This salad has become our tried and true house salad of late, and I've yet to tire of it. Tender lettuce, grated carrots, beans, crispy quinoa, and a balsamic mustard dressing are all you need. I often add an avocado or hard boiled egg if I have them.
Salad for One
One thing about salad that's certain is there is much room for interpretation. You don't even need a recipe for dressing, really. I've given you a general idea of my measurements, but the beauty of composing your own salad is that it can be tailored to your tastes, so don't be shy about testing the dressing and adding more honey or salt, for example.
3 to 4 cups lettuce, lightly packed
1/2 carrot, grated
1/3 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 cup cooked quinoa, toasted in oil until golden and crisp
Handful of sunflower seeds
1 hard boiled egg
Dressing: raw honey, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil
Add all the salad ingredients (except the egg) to a bowl. In a glass measuring cup, add a 1/2 teaspoon of honey, teaspoon of mustard, a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisk in oil until you have approximately 1/4 - 1/3 cup and the dressing is emulsified.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine. Start with half the dressing and work your way up until the salad is perfectly dressed. Nestle the egg into your bowl before serving.