Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Girl Effect

Shumi, 19, Bangladesh

“I would tell the girls of the world, whatever you do, even if it’s small, you will see a brighter future.  I would tell big companies and big people, if they could help a poor person like me, that person can do good in the world.”

I grew up in a strong family in an upper-middle class town in suburban Connecticut.  Girls there competed in academics, sports, the arts – we were taught to fight for the brightest future we could dream for ourselves.  We were taught to respect our minds, our bodies, and what we had to give back to the world at large. 

I also went to college with strong, fascinating women who have dedicated their lives to their varying fields, to creating safe and prosperous homes for their own families, and to contributing to the communities they choose to live in.

Not that I don’t have incredible male role models in my life as well, but in my generation I’ve noted an incredibly passionate energy in women, specifically, who use their own success to educate and lift up others.   

For the past few years I’ve kept my eyes on micro-loan programs that empower women to receive an education and open their own businesses, increasing the income of their families and communities by putting other women to work in their various fields.  By and large these programs see incredible results – loans are paid back directly and reinvested in others in their community.   The resounding effect is that neighboring women are educated in how to independently earn and invest their income, and the community as a whole sees a point of prosperous growth rather than generational stagnation.

According to The Girl Effect, women receive less than 2 cents of every dollar of aid relief given.  In cultures where women have no political voice and live solely reliant on their male relatives – especially when they’re illiterate and completely unaware of their rights – it often only takes one woman to start providing for herself to open the floodgate for other women to do the same.

Shumi is one such young woman.  She resisted pressure in her native Bangladesh to marry and opened a salon, employing other women and building her business independently.  In turn, she heads the local girls’ center, teaching that small steps can make a huge impact.

By supporting organizations such as The Girl Effect – Global Giving, we can provide basic means of survival that snowball into helping communities climb out of poverty: 

Giving access to identification papers – a simple thing that many girls lack – means that child-labor and marriage laws can be questioned when needed.  Educating a girl to read makes her infinitely more likely to be able to work and understand her political rights and protections, especially those guarding her from unwanted marriage and pregnancy. 

Educating a girl on the transmittal of HIV gives her the ability to avoid contracting it.  And as girls are statistically more likely to reinvest their aid money and income into their communities, they deserve to be given more than 2 cents of their dollar in aid relief.

This post is part of a yearly global blogging campaign to spread the word about The Girl Effect.  Please watch a few of the videos below, and head to The Girl Effect to learn more and find out how you can give your support.  If you’re a blogger yourself, check out Wise Living to find out how you can join in the campaign.

I’ve made my donation – will you please make yours?

Millet Coconut Breakfast Pudding

Millet Pudding

Mmm, sweet things for breakfast.  Definitely not the norm in my little kitchen: I’m usually a coddled eggs over avocado and greens kinda breakfast girl.  When I’m visiting my family I’ll whip up some gluten-free waffles (I have a thing for waffle makers – thanks Rae!).  With guests in town weekend brunch means French omelets, really good bacon and some sort of roasted veggies, maybe with a side of GF blueberry cornbread.

But when I got this month’s recipe from All-Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground for the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap, my mind immediately went to breakfast for some reason.  And from savory to sweet.

From All-Day Singin' and Dinner on the Ground

Not that I don’t love a good slaw.  In fact, it’s one of my favorite restaurant sides as (a) it contains in its original recipe nothing that I’m allergic to, (b) I love cabbage and (c) I’m usually missing something that comes with the main dish it’s paired with, so slaw makes my meal feel more authentic.

But I honestly just don’t have room for a big thing of coleslaw in my fridge and no one to eat it with this week.  It’s a busy one in Dusty Bakerland (which is a little northwest of Candyland and because you don’t get a sugar crash you never slide down, only climb up).

So, what to swap?  I’ve been cooking for friends and baking like crazy lately, and didn’t want to go back to the grocer’s for a fifth time this week for something new.  A little pantry combing and… millet.

I’m a big fan of this little grain.  It’s gluten-free, easy to digest and contains high levels of magnesium (amongst other things), so it’s good for people who suffer from asthma or anxiety or are watching their tickers.  It has a little more bite than quinoa if you toast it first and then cook it to an al dente sort of doneness, but will also mash well and make a smooth porridge if you’re nursing someone back to health.

I figured by making a millet breakfast pudding – similar to the coconut milk rice pudding recipe I love and haven’t posted yet – I could try out the quick stovetop custard technique in this recipe (I’d usually do it a bit differently).

Because I wanted to make this an only slightly sweet breakfast recipe, I stirred in only a tiny bit of maple syrup and threw in some cracked tricolored pepper and grains of paradise – I’m actually a huge fan of pepper in sweet dishes.  And once again it brought me closer to the swapped recipe.

And for some protein – stirred in some crushed walnuts.

Result?

This is the perfect breakfast pudding and an incredible alternative to oatmeal (in general I find millet easier to digest than oats).  You can easily vary sweetness to suit your taste and throw in whatever you have lying around – protein powder, some chopped dates or prunes, raisins, almond butter… your pantry’s the limit.

If you make it sweeter and stick it in the fridge, you’ve got a delish alternative to dairy-free rice pudding.

But right now I’m gonna grab this glass and go eat my breakfast in bed.

Please check out Burwell General Store for info on the swap and see what other awesome bloggers have created at their links below.

Happy Sunday.

Recipe.  Swapped.

Sweet, creamy, filling, warm... breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or oil
  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten slightly
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (honey works too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rockin awesome cinnamon (I should do a post about my cinnamon obsession soon)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (grab a microplane and jar of nutmegs, you won’t be disappointed)
  • 4 grinds of a pepper grinder
  • 8 grinds of a grains of paradise grinder (about 1/8 tsp)
  • Nuts and dried fruits to taste
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • In a large heavy pot, melt butter or bring oil up to heat.
  • Add millet and stir to combine.  Cook until toasty and just starting to brown.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pot with a tight lid bring 2 cups of water up to boil.
  • When toasty, transfer millet to boiling water, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes until done – this should be about 5 minutes after you no longer see any water bubbling.
  • Meanwhile, put coconut milk, beaten eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and spices into the now empty pot and set it over low heat.
  • Whisk all ingredients together fully.
  • As the mixture heats, whisk constantly until it forms a light custard.  Once the millet is done cooking you can bring the heat up on the milk mixture a bit – just make sure to whisk constantly so that the egg doesn’t curdle as it cooks.
  • Add cooked millet to coconut custard mixture and mix to combine.
  • Toss in any added extras, jump into bed with a good book and maybe hum a song or two.

Please click on this cute little blue frog to see what the other swappers have created and get their recipes!

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