Archive | June, 2012

Flora’s seasonal recipe: zucchini season is upon us

29 Jun

3318366098_397809619ePopping up at farmer’s markets are those familiar long green, yellow, or striped summer squashes ready to be transformed into various culinary creations like crudites, lasagna, salads, quick breads, and my flavor of the season, carpaccio!

What is this fancy sounding food? Well, it’s from Italy, like my heritage, and was coined in 1950 by Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. A countess who was dining at his restaurant was advised by doctors to eat raw meat, so Giuseppe came up with a dish of thinly sliced raw beef with a creme sauce. This dish was named Carpaccio after the celebrated 15th century Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio, who was known for his use of vivid color.

Zucchini comes from the Italian word “zucca” which means squash, and “zucchini” means little squash. Vittore would be proud of this seasonal zucchini carpaccio, as it’s hues are indeed magnificent!


  • 2 medium zucchini
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt


With a mandoline, or with a sharp knife, slice your zucchini as finely and as straight as possible, either length-wise or width-wise. Keep the peel on, as it holds most of the nutritional content. Lay your slices down on a plate, and squeeze your lime juice over the carpaccio, then add your olive oil. Finish with a sprinkle of salt to taste and top with some bright green lime zest.

Cheers to seasonal summer eating!

Photo courtesy of graibeard

power of positive thinking

27 Jun

672223175_899f3b1482I love you, you are beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, strong, as lovely as sunshine after a rainstorm. You make me happy, I just want to give you a hug. Thank you!

I hate you, you are mean, ugly, stupid, incompetent, you’re a fool, and I really don’t like you at all. You make me mad.

How did you feel when you read the “I love you” section? Elated, light, happy?

How about when you read the “I hate you” section? Sad, heavy, stuck?

In Dr. Masaru Emoto’s book “The Hidden Messages in Water” he describes how positive or negative energy affects water crystals. Dr. Emoto believes that since we are made up of 70% water, and the Earth is made up of 70% water, we can heal our planet and ourselves by consciously expressing love towards water.

With our food & garden campers this summer, we will participate in Dr. Emoto’s rice experiment, which has an amazing impact on both children and adults alike.  The rice experiment starts with freshly cooked rice, divided into two containers. On one container you would place a note that says something positive like “I love you” or “thank you”, and on the other container you would place a note that says something negative like “you fool” or “stupid.” Everyday you would talk to the rice, and provide the “I love you rice” with lots of praise, thankfulness and celebration. You would then talk to the “you fool” rice and say negative and mean things to it, with all of your intention.

After a few days, you will notice some changes in the rice. We don’t want to ruin the surprise, so we suggest trying this yourself. It is a real testament to the power of words and energy.

What sort of energy are you giving out to the world?

Photo courtesy of lonleypluto911

Vote For Butter Beans!

25 Jun

For all of you wonderful blog followers out there, we have a short and sweet favor to ask of you.

We have entered a contest to obtain a $250,000 grant to help grow our company, and would love your support! In order for us to be considered for this grant, we will need 250 votes by Saturday, June 30th.

As of this morning we have a grand total of 162 votes, so our goal is indeed reachable. Feel free to spread the word to your respective blog communities, friends, family and colleagues. Thank you for your support in our vision of improving children’s lives through healthy eating and nutrition education.

To vote, visit, and click on the bottom right “Log In & Support” to log in through your facebook account. Search for “Butter Beans” and click on us.

Your vote will help support Butter Beans by increasing the number of children that participate and have access to our nutritious school lunches and snacks, along with growing our nutrition & wellness programs in schools, providing scholarships for our food & garden summer camp, and so much more!

zesty bean burgers

22 Jun

3197378063_e15444e570 for a dinner that will satisfy your hungry family, and is just as filling as a regular burger? Try making these zesty and protein packed bean burgers for dinner. You will be so distracted by their tastiness that even an avid meat eater will forget they are eating beans. A true crowd pleaser!


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1.5 cups black beans
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • Zest of one large lemon
  • 1 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or canola


Cook 1 cup of lentils in 2 cups of water for about 30-45 minutes, test for doneness. Chop the cilantro, onion, zest your lemon and put to the side. You can make your own breadcrumbs by toasting 1 large slice of bread, or 2 regular slices, and placing them in your food processor until finely chopped. Combine cooked lentils and black beans (from BPA free can, or you can soak and cook them too!), eggs and salt in your food processor. Puree until the consistency is thick, but dip -like. Pour your mixture into a mixing bowl, and add in your chopped cilantro, onion and lemon zest. Stir, and add your breadcrumbs. Stir again and let the mixture sit for a few minutes. Start forming your burgers into 12 –  1.5 inch thick patties (or feel free to make them bigger).

Heat olive oil or canola oil in a pan over medium low heat, add a few patties at a time, cover and cook for 7-10 minutes until the bottoms turn brown. Flip them and cook on the other side until golden. Enjoy on a bun with your favorite toppings, or on its own with a verdant salad.

Adapted from Heidi Swanson.

Photo courtesy of Maggie Hoffman

whimsical whipped cream

20 Jun

Want to elevate your everyday strawberry experience? Whip up some homemade whipped cream! Start with organic whipping cream, then pull out your manual mixer, or your whisk and put your kid(s) to whisk! Turn on some music, and while your child(ren) are whipping, prep dinner while they prep dessert. First some bubbles will form, and eventually you will get peaks, and perfect cream. As you go, add a small amount of maple syrup for a touch of sweetness, and serve with your ready-to-dip berries. Yum!