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spaghetti squash with carrot top pesto

18 Dec

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We are sharing a recipe that we just cooked up in our recent cooking class with our students.

It was such a hit that we thought maybe your kids (or you!) would love it too.

After seeing the ingredients that we were going to use for our class, the students were a bit hesitant to continue.

Carrot tops? Pumpkin seeds? Squash?!

Only after roasting our squash, blending up our pesto, and digging in, did our students realize that they had just created one of their most delicious meals yet!

Here’s how the transformation happened. Who knows, it might open your mind up as well!

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Squash: 

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1/2 T basil
  • 1/2 T thyme
  • ½ T rosemary
  • 1/2 t sea salt

Pesto: 

  • 1 bunch carrot tops = 1 C lightly packed carrot leaves
  • 1/2 C olive oil – add more for a smooth consistency
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 C fresh basil
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 C pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 C parmesan
  • 1 T honey (optional)
  • black pepper, to taste
Directions:

1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut squash in half, place on baking sheet, drizzle oil on each, and add herbs and salt. Cook for 45 minutes, or until soft. You can also steam for 15-20 minutes, until soft. Rinse carrot tops, and basil thoroughly (sand is no fun).

2. Process: While the squash is cooking, blend up your pesto. Add all ingredients into your food processor, and blend until smooth.

3. Assemble: Shred squash into spaghetti strips (you can do this with a fork), add pesto, then mix together. Enjoy!

Meet Flora, the voice behind the blog

16 Dec

headshot2After all of this time, we thought we would introduce you to Flora, our blog writer.

Read our interview with her to learn more about the voice behind the Butter Beans blog.

What is your role within Butter Beans?

I am the Director of Community and Nutrition, which entails liaising with our students, parents, and faculty, ensuring that they are heard and are happy with our program. I oversee the nutritional balance of our menus while also making sure that the food choices are exciting and interesting for the children who participate in our programs. I engage with our community through various outlets, support our schools on their sustainability and greening initiatives, and manage our social media, blog (yay!), and newsletter content. I also support Butter Beans marketing initiatives, and create programming for our food & garden summer camp.

How long have you been with Butter Beans?

I have been working for Butter Beans for 4 years! I started as an intern writing lesson plans and assisting with our food education classes, then I grew into a part-time position as a Food Service Supervisor and taught a few cooking classes. I then grew into a full-time position as a Food Service Supervisor at a new school, while also taking on the role of Food Operations Manager. From there I grew into the School Community Liaison role, and now into my current position. Lots of growth, can you tell why I love my job?

5314344693_2ceda69029Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in New York City, with an Italian mother, and father from Queens, NY, whose parents moved to the United States from Belgium and Poland during WWII. My mothers’ family lived in Italy, so we would travel there to see them during school breaks. We would stay at my mothers’ home in a small town, where we grew our own vegetables, raised chickens, and cooked pizza in a brick oven. We also spent time on Long Island, where we also grew vegetables, and learned more about the natural world, and did a lot of fishing. Now, I have come to see how these childhood experiences have made a significant impact on my career, and life choices, and am ever grateful for it all.

How did you come to be the curator of the Butter Beans blog?

I had been working closely with Felicia, our VP + Co-Founder, who created and managed our blog, and founded our cooking classes and summer camp. After a while she asked me to write draft blog posts for her. A bunch of drafts and edits later, I was given the opportunity to take over the blog and create content on my own. It’s been a really fun adventure!

What inspires your content choices?

I know what it’s like to be a busy professional, juggling a million things at once. Which is why I choose to share quick, family friendly recipes that use good, seasonal ingredients, with easy instructions for all to follow.

What do you hope your readers will get from the Butter Beans blog?

I’d love for our readers to come away inspired to create healthy meals at home with their loved ones. I’d also love for them to feel invigorated by the way that food connects us all, and feel enriched by the knowledge that food can be medicine, which is why I like to include nutritional information into my posts.

What’s coming up for the Butter Beans blog?

We are looking into connecting our blog to our website, and changing the template to something more fresh and fun. We also want to start including more cooking class recipes, and recipes from our commissary kitchen that we know our students love. Maybe someday even create a cookbook!

Where can people go to learn more about children’s wellbeing and nutrition?

On our website we have a section called resources & links – there you will find some goodies. Also, find us on facebook, and look at our “likes” along with our twitter “followers” to engage with other like minded folks. There is so much goodness happening in the name of children’s wellbeing and nutrition!

Thank you all for reading; I can’t wait to continue sharing with you all!

Cheers,
Flora

Photo courtesy of living off grid

kid tested cranberry chutney

25 Nov

IMG_0175Our Thanksgiving cooking class recipe revolved around seasonal fruit like cranberries, apples and pears.

They loved it!

We created a vibrant and fall colored quinoa salad, and to go alongside it, we simmered down a delicious cranberry chutney. A perfect delight for the senses!

Here’s to celebrating the fall harvest, spending time with family and friends, savoring good food, making memories, and giving back to those who need it the most.

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. cranberries
  • 2 c. apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. ginger
  • 4 T sugar

Directions: 

Add all of the ingredients into a pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 1 hour, or until all ingredients are soft and the liquid has reduced.

Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!

blackened tofu

20 Sep

7085699581_411e1ee626This recipe comes from Christina, one of our food service supervisors at one of our schools. She is a passionate lover of good food, nutrition education, and childhood wellness.

She mentioned that she made this recipe with children in the past, and they went crazy for it!

The marinade, and seasoning mix makes this tofu dish extremely flavorful, and delicious, even for kids. Try it out at home and let us know how you liked it!

Serves 5 Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

·       1 block extra firm tofu
·       1/3 C soy sauce or tamari
·       1 tbsp paprika
·       2 tsp black pepper
·       1 tsp salt
·       1 tsp garlic powder
·       1 tsp onion powder
·       1 tsp cayenne pepper
·       1/2 tsp dried oregano
·       1/2 tsp dried thyme

Directions:

1. Prep: Remove water from tofu, and press well to remove extra water. Slice into 1-inch thick pieces.

2. Marinate: Place soy sauce in a bowl, add the tofu. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes (the longer, the better), turning once or twice to evenly marinate.

3. Create your own seasoning: Combine paprika, pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme in a small bowl. Remove the tofu from the marinade, dip each side into your spice mixture, coating the tofu generously.

4. Cook: Place on medium-hot grill for 5 minutes on each side, or pan-fry in a few tablespoons of sesame oil.

Photo courtesy of Angela_Nguyen

Welcome back to school!

4 Sep

6085132797_166fcfe782A big welcome back goes out to all of our students, teachers, faculty and administrators!

What a summer it’s been!

We had a very successful Food + Garden Summer Camp, and also a great summer for serving lunches to other camps in our area.

We have taken on 2 new schools, that we are really excited about, and many more new schools have sign up for our after-school cooking program.

We wish you all a successful, healthy, exploratory, fun, challenging, meaningful, and exciting school year ahead!

Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder