Archive | May, 2012

children asking for seconds on raw kale

30 May

6025692440_543276b369We taught a cooking class at PS 261 during their wellness week, and made a quick and tasty strawberry, banana and kale smoothie using greek yogurt and honey.

We started our class with a big stretch and a few jumping jacks to get us in the smoothie mood. Then we tasted kale raw, and asked for feedback from our students. Most of them didn’t really like the taste, they said it tasted like grass and other not-so-delicious things. We then explained all of the health properties of the fruits and vegetables we were blending, and stretched some more. We blended up the ingredients, and passed around smoothie cups for all.

They couldn’t wait to dig in! As you can expect, they all loved it. So we asked them if they could taste the kale in the smoothie? Some said yes, others said no. Then we asked if anyone wanted to bring back some raw kale to their classrooms as a parting gift. They all showed an enthusiastic amount of hands and fingers, and we passed out cups full of kale leaves. Some even asked for seconds, and we snacking on the leaves!

It’s a true gift to be able to spread the message to children that food has healing properties, and by eating well we become stronger, brighter and more brilliant!  Thank you to PS 261 for hosting us, we had a blast!

Photo courtesy of photofarmer

Llapingacho, a traditional Ecuadorian dish

25 May

Inspiring families to cook together was one of the driving forces that prompted our Co-Founder and VP, Felicia Desrosiers when creating our Butter Beans food & garden summer camp. Cooking is a wonderful way to connect to others, have fun, spread creativity and take a step back, slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.

Llapingachos are a typical Ecuadorean stuffed potato patty that can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are super fun and easy to make, and even better, your kids will enjoy making them too!

Felicia offers us a recipe for these delicious potato patties, which are a staple in her Ecuadorian family. When she makes them, she remembers how her great aunt used to make her llapingachos every time she visited her. Felicia was always impressed that her great aunt had them ready to be put on the stove, and how thoughtful she was to anticipate her visit and cook one of her favorite foods.

Making food that takes time requires a shift in tempo. It inspires turning on some music, and pulling up a chair to share stories about the day or days passed. It is this kind of food prep that makes memories and kitchen tables a magnet for family. All of us have stories like this, whether from personal experience or stories of ancestors yet revealed.

Here is Felicia’s recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs of Russet potatoes
  • 2 cups of grated queso fresco
  • Achiote for some color, or paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil

Directions:

Steam potatoes until they are soft. Save 1/2 cup of the water from the potatoes. Peel the potatoes (skins come off easily). Mash them, add a few pinches of salt and your saved 1/2 cup of water. The potato water has a lot of starch in it which will make the patties easier to form. Let sit for up to 3 hours covered.

Here comes the fun part, forming the patties! Make golf sized balls with the potato dough, and press into the center to add your cheese, cover the cheese with the potato dough and then smooth out to form a 1/2 inch thick patty. Place your pan over medium heat, and add sunflower oil. Once the oil is hot, add your patties, and flip once golden brown. Best if eaten hot, and served with a refreshing side salad.

“Let food be your medicine, and medicine your food”-Hippocrates

23 May

8148396856_ff1ac2601aFood has many therapeutic properties. It is the medicine we take three time a day, like Hippocrates alludes to in his quote.

After a two year long case, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has maintained POM Wonderful’s right to claim health benefits of its popular pomegranate juice, as long as POM “shall not make any representation, in any manner, expressly or by implication, including through the use of a product name, endorsement, depiction, illustration, trademark or trade name, about the health benefits, performance or efficacy of any covered product, unless the representation is nonmisleading.”

POM has invested millions of dollars in scientific research to confirm the health properties of pomegranate juice. However, many of their advertisements claim that pomegranate juice is a one stop cure all, and the FTC alleges that many of these claims are false and not backed up by science. Marion Nestle,  professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at NYU states, “This makes it clear why everyone should be suspicious of the results of sponsored studies.“POM-sponsored studies produce results favorable to POM.”

POM Wonderful’s chief legal officer stated in the New York Times,”We can’t make claims for treatment, prevention or cure of diseases.” The judge of the case stated, “The greater weight of the persuasive expert testimony in this case leads to the conclusion that where the product is absolutely safe, like POM Products, and where the claim or advertisement does not suggest that the product be used as a substitute for conventional medical care or treatment, then it is appropriate to favor disclosure.” The judges ruling becomes final after 30 days, and it’s looking like POM will not appeal.

Photo courtesy of le living & co

bountiful butter beans

21 May

For those of you familiar with our blog, you may know how we got our name. For those of you who are new to our blog (welcome!), we are happy to share our story with you. Our co-founder and CEO, Belinda grew up on a farm in North Carolina. She used to shell butter beans with her grandmother (say that 5 times), and this experience stood out to her as one of her fondest food memories.

Don’t have much time to head to the farm and shell butter beans? Don’t fret, here are some great options that will make it easier for you to include these delightful beans in your diet. BPA free canned butter beans are delicious, all you need to do is drain and rinse them, then you can add them as the protein component to your salad (or other meals), like we did in our photo! Looking for another alternative? Buy them dry and soak them overnight. Simmer them in water on your stove top for about 1 hour to 1.5 hours, and they are all ready to eat. With your canned or home cooked beans, try making a butter bean dip:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of butter beans (which makes about 2 cups)
  • 2 medium sized garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper
Directions:
Rinse your butter beans, and peel garlic cloves. Place beans and garlic into food processor, add the olive oil and lemon juice and process until you have reached a dip like consistency (if too thick add a bit of water). Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning. Scoop into a bowl and finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper. Enjoy with pita, crudites, tortilla chips, on bread to make a sandwich…the possibilities are endless!

nutrition education in the cafeteria part II

18 May

Our cafeteria’s serve not only nutritious lunches, but also nutrition education! Along with our monthly table tops filled with recipes, healthy + seasonal eating tips and nutrition + wellness information for our children to read, we also integrate food labels into the cafeteria. Our labels depict how a certain ingredient grows in nature, along with allergen information (which is also indicated on our school-wide menus). We understand what it’s like to have children with food allergies, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for our children to chose what to eat each day. They love reading our food labels, and have found them to be a useful tool that aids them during their lunch experience.

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