Archive | October, 2013

Our pastry chef

30 Oct

2012-10-22 09.21.12We sat down with our Pastry Chef, Allison Chung who bakes our delicious Friday desserts every week, along with other goodies like our delectable muffins and pizza dough, that we serve to our students.

Here is our short, but *sweet* interview with Allison, we hope you enjoy!

BB: What inspired you to become a pastry chef?

Allison: “I knew I wanted to be a baker ever since I was little, when I set my sights on an easy bake oven.  Then seeing all of these pastry chefs create such delectable and aesthetically pleasing works of art reaffirmed my decision to pursue a career in pastry.”

BB: Where did you learn how to bake?

Allison: “I learned to bake professionally at the French Culinary Institute.  From there I launched my career at Kyotofu where I learned a lot about gluten-free products.”

BB: How did you learn to bake for such large volumes?

Allison: “I started off as a pastry cook at the restaurant and moved onto becoming the sous chef for the large production of pastries for Whole Foods. Baking large amounts of muffins, brownies, cookies, and desserts at Kyotofu has also prepared me for baking the large volume at Butter Beans.”

BB: Why do you like working for Butter Beans?

Allison: “Working at Butter Beans has been a great experience.  Everyone has one goal in mind, and that is to create healthy and tasty meals for growing children.”

BB: What do you think about us serving dessert to the students once per week, and serving them fruit for dessert for the rest of the week? 

Allison: “I think its great to eat healthy and have fruit four days a week and be given a special treat on Friday.  It gives the children something to look forward to.”

BB: What makes our desserts stand out?

Allison: “All of the ingredients I use are natural, and do not contain any preservatives.”

BB: What motivates you to do your best everyday?

Allison: “Not everybody gets to go to work and create products that people get to enjoy, and that is what motivates me.”

Thanks Allison for creating homemade, delicious desserts for our students!

tips for picky eaters part 3

25 Oct

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We’re back with our last installment of Melissa d’Arabian’s “Picky Eaters Project.”

We’ve learned a lot along the way! For a quick recap, click here for part 1, and here for part 2.

Here is our summary for you all to enjoy:

Healthier meal makeover:

  • Bridge from kid food to adult food with gradual transitions. Start with the chicken nuggets your kids love, then create a homemade version of them. From there, go onto a  homemade chicken milanese, then onto a baked breaded fish stick.
  • Other examples include: transitioning from white bread to wheat bread, then to whole wheat bread. Same goes for pasta (regular – whole wheat), or juice (regular – to diluted with water).

Menu planning strategies:  

  • Include your kids in the menu planning process, so that you’re involving them in creating a family meal. On your night, use that as an opportunity to introduce new dishes, making sure theres at least one thing that your kids will eat.

Master breakfast and snacks:

  • Swap out the sugary stuff, and develop two or three easy breakfasts that you can rotate like mini muffins, whole grain cereal with milk, fruit, or green smoothies. For snacks try something nutritious like whole grain crackers, apples, almond butter, string cheese, or berries.

Don’t forget the fun:

  • Do something fun and physical with your kids whether it’s bike riding, walking, dancing, or playing. Make  up recipes with your kids. Cooking can then become even more of a family activity mainstay.

Take stock of where you are:

  • Review the binder that you created at the beginning of the project, and see how far you have come. Celebrate your small victories, “its about progress, not perfection.”

We hope that Melissa’s tips will continue to inspire your family meals for some time to come!

Photo courtesy of blog.landofnod.com

weekly family dinner plan

23 Oct

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This week’s family dinner plan is inspired by: super-foods!

“What’s for dinner?”

Starting up the new school year has been an exciting and busy time for our family.

It is hard to believe that we are in mid-October, but managing the meals for eleven schools plus my own two children’s makes the days fly by. I am sure I am not alone in settling into the cooler weather and busy soccer and dance schedules for our children which makes what we serve for dinner more important than ever. Packing in nutrition so that everyone has strong days with energy is easier when we plan ahead.

TWalnutshis week, I am incorporating a few ‘super’ foods into the menu. They include beans, greens, yams, garlic, tomatoes, and whole grains. You may need to adjust some recipes to suit your family’s tastes, but these items will surely give you a base for a satisfying week at the dinner table.

While making my list of super foods, I also came across a list of foods you may want to add to your shopping list for breakfast. They include berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), yogurt, oats, eggs, flax seeds, nuts (especially walnuts), and oranges (or orange juice).

The last super food I will share this week is tea. I am excited to try caffeine-free herbal varieties (like chamomile) to serve to my children and myself, and look forward to the enhanced moods in addition to the flavonoids as we prepare for bedtime.

Enjoy dinner and I look forward to your comments and suggestions on our Facebook page. If you or your children have a favorite recipe you want me to include in the weekly menu, please share it there. Have fun!

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Our menu this week is:

Monday:  Chicken legs with a side of tomato and herb white beans

Tuesday: – One pot:  Yam and black bean burritos with a side of sautéed greens

Wednesday – Kids’ Choice Night:  Mac n cheese with a side of salad greens and roasted carrots

Thursday: Baked fish and veggie fries with a side salad

Friday: Pan crusted tofu with a side of broccoli and quinoa chard pilaf

Click here for this weeks grocery list for a family of four.  

Here is your personal Sunday prep list for the week as well as your nightly prep and cook steps that will take the guess work out of every night.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and let us know how it went!

Photo courtesy of Pauline Mak and oprah.com

decorate with food

21 Oct

photo (28)Love the fun selection in the bulk section, but don’t have that much storage space?

Display your bulk items in canning jars, and find ledge for a perfect solution to your bulk section dilemma!

If you don’t have a ledge, or empty shelf that warrants some color, you can always store your dry goods using canning jars, and place them in your pantry, fridge, or freezer.

Not only do they add visual vibrancy to your kitchen, they also serve a real purpose by keeping your bulk items dry, airtight and uncontaminated.

They are the perfect vessel for keeping your dried legumes, grains, dried fruit, pasta, cereals, and herbs fresh. These items can stay out of the fridge for ~3-6 months, depending on the specific item. While flours do best in your freezer, and nuts and seeds are best placed in your fridge.

Canning jars come in all different sizes, so find the ones that work best for your kitchen, and have some fun!

tips for picky eaters part 2

18 Oct

Melissa-dArabian-and-her-daughters-on-Ten-Dollar-Dinners-784x1024Welcome to our second edition of tips for picky eaters, thanks to Melissa d’Arabian’s “Picky Eaters Project.”

We hope that her advice has been helpful to our readers who have children, grandchildren, or are caretakers of children, educators, or anyone who is interested in childhood nutrition.

Here is our quick summary for this week:

Create food awareness: 

  • Foster a basic understanding of nutrition, where food comes from, and how it affects your body. Go shopping at a farmers market, or go visit a farm. Have your children chose produce, and bring it home to cook with. Review the importance of nutrients with them, and make it easy for them to remember: vitamins (make us grow), proteins (build muscle), fiber (scrubs your insides), carbohydrates (give you energy).

Food presentation: 

  • Have your children present the meal to the table, reviewing what each food item is and how it benefits your body.

Play the sugar game: 

  • Melissa’s children love sweets, so she wanted to educate them on the amount of sugar present in their favorite treats. She accomplished this by measuring out the teaspoons of sugar in those desserts, providing them with a memorable visual of the sugar content of these foods (1 tsp of sugar = 4 grams of sugar). You can do this with fat or salt, depending on what your family eats too much of, or has a sweet spot for that is not necessarily healthy.

Swap in healthier options: 

  • For dessert, try swapping out full sized brownies for one bite brownies, then serve more open quantity dishes like yogurt, and chopped fruit. That way they will get their brownie fix, while filling up on more satisfying and healthier options.

Other tips: 

  • For vegetables, instead of serving just one veggie per night, serve two and offer them a choice.  This will give them a voice at the dinner table.
  • Work on their crutch foods, like Melissa’s daughters’ passion for shredded cheese. She serves it to them in pre-portioned ramekins to control portions, and she won’t serve it two days in a row.
  • Get your kids involved in the cooking process. Have them pick a recipe or two of vegetables, and have them take the lead and make it for dinner.

We have one more post in store, so stay tuned!

Photo courtesy of askmissa.com