Archive | February, 2013

lemony kale salad

27 Feb

photo-8We love kale around here!

The all mighty kale is full of vitamin K – important for strong bones, vitamin A – fostering healthy eyes and skin, vitamin C – important for the health of cell activity, among many other nutrients, making it one of the most nutrient-dense veggies around!

Here’s a simple, and lemon-liscious kale salad recipe. Makes for a perfect snack or appetizer.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • Curly leaf kale, 4 or 5 stems
  • Lemon, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed
  • Olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • Sea salt, pinch
  • Pepper, crack or two

Directions: 

1. Prep your kale: Rinse, spin dry or pat dry your kale. Remove the leaves from stems. Line up your kale leaves one on top of the other. Chop the leaves into thin slices.

2. Prep your dressing: Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a small container, add olive oil and whisk vigorously until the dressing looks vibrantly yellow.

3. Finish salad: Add kale leaves into your bowl, drizzle with your dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale, so it’s all coated and rubbed in. Top with a dash of salt and a crack of pepper.

Enjoy and chew well!

meatball sandwich

25 Feb

photo-9

Dinner…pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce? That’s a bit plain Jane.

Let’s get a little creative and find a different medium for the meatballs and sauce. Fresh baguette! Let’s make meatball sandwiches for dinner!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • Lean ground beef (or try ground turkey, chicken), .5 lbs
  • Sea salt, pinch
  • Pepper, pinch
  • Fennel seeds, pinch
  • Olive oil, 1/2 tbsp

Tomato sauce:

  • Olive oil, 1 tsp
  • Garlic, 2-3 cloves, smashed and minced
  • Yellow onion, 1 small, chopped
  • Fire roasted whole tomatoes, 1/2 can
  • Fresh basil leaves, as much as you like
  • Sea salt, pinch

Bread and toppings:

  • Fresh baguette
  • Optional Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, sprinkle

Directions:

1. Prep and brown meatballs: Add salt, pepper, fennel seeds to your ground meat. Roll the meat into small meatballs. Heat up olive oil in medium sized pan, add meatballs. Let brown on each side, flipping them so they are fully browned all around. Remove from pan, set aside.

2. Make the tomato sauce: In the same pan, over medium heat, add a touch more olive oil then your garlic and onions, with a pinch of salt. Cook until translucent and fragrant. Add tomatoes. With a wooden spoon smash the whole tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add in your browned meatballs and fresh basil. Submerge them in the tomato sauce, cover then cook for another 10 minutes.

3. Prep your bread: Cut baguette, toast if you like, or leave it fresh.

4. Assemble your sandwich: Lay out your baguette onto a plate. Add one thin layer of tomato sauce on the bread, then top with meatballs. Finish with another layer of tomato sauce. Top with a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (certainly optional), dash of salt and crack of pepper.

Put out some napkins and enjoy!

packed lunch inspiration

22 Feb

photo-7Packing yourself a nutritious lunch can be easy, as long as you maximize your time, have the tools and sprinkle in some creativity.

Take advantage of the time you are in the kitchen cooking dinner to prepare for lunch the next day. You are already busy in the kitchen, so why not make the most of it?

Here’s how to create a nutrient-rich, protein and fiber filled lunch in a snap.

Tools: Mason Jars (small + large)

Time: Rinsed and chopped kale, hardboiled the eggs and whipped up the vinaigrette while dinner was cooking the night before.

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 4 stems of dinosaur kale, leaves removed from stems
  • 2 eggs, hardboiled
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • pinch of sea salt + grind of black pepper to taste

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • quarter size dollop dijon mustard
  • dime size scoop of honey

Directions:

1. Hard-boil your eggs: Add your eggs to a pot. Submerge them in cold water, then bring to a boil. Once at a roaring boil remove pot from heat, cover and let the eggs sit for 12 minutes. Rinse them off with cold water to stop the cooking, then peel. Sprinkle eggs with salt + pepper, then place them into a small mason jar, then into the fridge.

2. Prep your kale: Rinse, dry then de-stem the kale. Line each leaf on top of the other and chop into thin slices. Add sesame seeds on top. Place in large mason jar and into the fridge.

3. Make your vinaigrette: In a small mason jar mix together your oil, vinegar, mustard and honey. Whisk together, or put the top on and shake vigorously. Place in the fridge.

The next day as your off to work, add your mason jars of goodness into your bag and assemble on-site when lunch time rolls around.

Enjoy!

why I am a lunch lady

20 Feb

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“Scholars – will those of you who are trying tofu for the first time today please raise your hands.”

In a warm, sun-filled lunchroom nearly 100 soft hands popped right up.

With a smile, the teacher said, “Great—give yourselves a pat on the back for trying something new.” Giggles were exchanged and self-kudos dealt where due. “Alright, now will you please put your hand back up if you liked the tofu.”

That is the point at which my heart melted faster than the cheese on the lasagna we served the day before. It seemed that in a room of 100 students, almost every single hand was up, way up.

This—is why I am a lunch lady.

bean-1Butter Beans just opened up in a school that moved into a brand new location in Brooklyn. At the very start of the New Year, teachers and “scholars” (as the students are called), beamed as they entered the building for the first time with a brilliance that rivaled the glimmer of the beautiful new facility.

Serving food here has been truly monumental for both the students and the staff, and I beam with pride and joy every time a teacher recounts another success story about the impression the lunch service is having on the students and the teaching staff alike, and they just keep coming.

One teacher told me that a student said, ‘Ms. A—you have to try the Butter Beans food, it’s so good that even the teachers eat it!” Another time, I overheard a student remark, ‘This milk is so good it tastes like it came straight from the cow!’ Every week since we started serving lunch here, I’ve been amazed to have to increase the amount of vegetables that we order from the kitchen to prep and serve at the cold bar.

Teachers tell me they themselves feel markedly different in their day after being nourished by the well-balanced and love-filled meals prepared by the talented Butter Beans chefs. The principal laughed as he confided in me that one parent said that their child regularly comes home and only wants to talk about how good lunch was that day!

While there are some students who are still adjusting to our foods, like our homemade parfaits (the principal assured me that the students are used to yogurts with higher sugar content) – with a little bit of encouraging, plenty of support from the staff, and with the continuing effort of the Butter Beans team to create meals that are both healthy and tasty, one by one the scholars will come around, and they will undoubtedly feel the difference the taste makes.

This post was contributed by Madison Sheffield, Butter Beans Cooking Instructor, Curriculum Developer & Food Service Supervisor.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Nguyen

take pride in being outside

15 Feb

photo-5Many of us spend our days indoors.

Whether we are teaching, marketing, trading, defending, problem solving, designing, entertaining, creating, consulting, financing, advising or diagnosing we do much of it inside.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. A significant amount of time indeed!

Being indoors can certainly impact your life as most of us sit for long periods of time, and breathe in lots of indoor air.

We are here to help inspire that remaining 10% (if not more) of your time to be spent outdoors, even in winter time. Read below for 5 daily outdoor and wellness tips for each part of your workday:

Before work:

  1. Wake up 30 minutes earlier to go for a walk outside. If you live in the country, take a walk around your yard. City dwellers take a walk to your nearest park. Bring your beloved coffee/tea in a to-go cup, sip as you go.
  2. Take a look at some early morning outdoor exercise programs like an outdoor bootcamp.
  3. If it’s cold out, prepare yourself by layering, and keeping your extremities warm and bundled (hat, scarf, gloves, boots).
  4. When the sun is shining earlier in the day, wake up with the sun for even more time outdoors.
  5. Soak up your vitamin D: try for at least 5-10 minutes of sunlight in the morning, and bask in it’s glow.

During work: 

  1. Get up from your desk every hour to stretch and get your blood flowing. Check out some simple yoga poses you can do while at your desk.
  2. At lunchtime, try to step away from your screen and prepare your lunch while clearing your head. Eat mindfully, focusing on chewing properly. Connect with coworkers, and have a chat/laugh a little! If you are working solo, play some music or daydream. If you must eat at your desk, catch up on some reading.
  3. In cold weather, eat by a cracked window to breathe in some fresh air.
  4. In warmer weather, eat alfresco.
  5. Consider a stand-up desk.

After work: 

  1. When you return home put your clothes, bag, coat etc… away in it’s proper place. Expending the effort right when you get home will save your sanity in the long run!
  2. Hungry? Have a light snack like nuts, hummus + crackers, fruit, crudités.
  3. After you’ve digested your snack it’s exercise time! Get those sneakers on and go outside for a power walk, jog, bike ride. If it’s warm and you like yoga or pilates, bring your mat to the park, your lawn or roof for an outdoor session. If you have a garden, garden away!
  4. Near a nature preserve, go for a hike, or exercise somewhere with a great view.
  5. In the city, chose to exercise away from traffic fumes.

Weekends: 

Plan outdoor activities with loved ones:

  1. Go for a hike
  2. Take a walking tour of neighborhoods
  3. Garden
  4. Play outside
  5. Go ice skating

Take ownership and pride in being outside! Your body, soul and mind will thank you!