Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Red Beans and Rice

Wondering what you, your family or your church can do to remember people suffering from drought and hunger in east Africa?

One way is by eating a simple meal—a meal of toast and butter, or a ration meal, similar to what is provided in refugee camps—then donating the funds saved to help people in that region.

It’s a meaningful way to symbolically identify with people in that region, help children learn about hunger, and make a contribution to help people who don’t have enough to eat.

You can do it once, once a month, or once a week—however it suits you, your family, or your church.

Beans and rice are eaten daily around the world. Here is a simple variation to try at home.


  • 2 cups dried red beans
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 3 cups rice


  1. Soak the beans overnight in cold water; drain.
  2. Heat the beans in about a quart of water, add all ingredients except salt, and boil for at least 2 hours.
  3. When beans are tender, mash them up with a tablespoon of oil.
  4. Serve on boiled rice.

All the information you see today and much more can be found on the Canadian Foodgrains Bank Website.

Did you know that until September 16/11 the Canadian Government is matching dollar for dollar donations to the famine in Africa? Please go check out this page for more information. Every dollar counts!


  1. As a proud recipient of signed copy of your cook book I'd like to add that my father - C. Wilbert Loewen - started the Canadian Foodgrains Bank back in '83, as an off-shoot of the MCC. And, in addition to the Canadian government matching donations, CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) always matches donations 4:1. So in this case, every dollar is matched 5:1. Good on you girls, my father will be very proud!

    Rick Loewen

  2. Lovella, thank you for posting this! We have so much! We grew up with being told to finish our food because there are many children who have nothing to eat, which may not really make sense to kids .. but I think that this idea of making a simple meal of beans or toast could mean more than well intended threats.
    The needs feel so overwhelming that we wonder how much we can really do, but, like the idea of recycling, we practice until it becomes a lifestle. Maybe another idea would be to try not to throw out any food for a week, rather using it up in creative ways.
    Just some of my thoughts....

  3. Earlier this year we ate a bean dish that looked much like the slums of Kenya. We were visiting a school sponsored by MCC...and they insisted on sharing with us despite their poverty. We also saw first hand how Canadian Foodgrains Bank worked hand-in-hand with MCC in addressing the needs over there. They are doing a good work!

  4. I remember C. Wilbert Loewen..thanks Rick for the memory. I think Anneliese had a great idea about finishing leftovers and not throwing food out. I rarely do, but then we love leftovers.
    Let's get that money donated while there is the best deal on the dollar matched by the government.
    I like the idea of eating simpler.
    Great post Lovella.

  5. There are a number of charitable organizations besides MCC and the CIDA collecting for the Horn of Africa right now. (World Vision is one that comes to mind) The government is also offering to match any donations for many of these agencies. Please donate to your favourite charity's appeal.

    It does us so much good to remember those who do not have the basic necessities of life.
    Anneliese - I like your idea of trying not to throw any food away. We often dispose of food rather than think creatively about how to use it for another meal. Thank you for that practical suggestion.

  6. I appreciate this recipe for red beans and rice and the call to awareness for so many in our world who are suffering from starvation.

  7. Rick. .thanks so much for sharing that about your Dad. What a wonderful idea he had that has multiplied over the years. You must be very proud of him.


  8. Rick, I also appreciated you sharing with us. How wonderful that he pursued the burden on his heart for those who go hungry.
    When growing I'm sure most of us heard of those in need of food, and we talked to or children about this need......and they talk to their kids.
    Poverty is is abundance. May we give generously, and take this need seriously. We can make a difference....and with the matched is the time. Great post!

  9. Rick, I too thank you for sharing about your father. It is so important for us to be mindful of the ones who don't have the abundance or choices that we do in the western world. This recipe is a perfect reminder for us.

  10. That looks good! I think I would really enjoy it ! and it is naturally gluten-free!


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