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the smile behind our lunch line

3 Jan
2013-11-29_19-35-03 Happy New Year everyone! We hope you had a wonderful break, are feeling recharged, and are staying safe in the snow. We love featuring our Food Service Staff on our blog. They are so vital to the success of our programs. They are the face, the smile, the nurturing voice behind our lunch lines, helping our students make decisions, encouraging them to try new foods, and making lunch fun for our communities. Which is why we are featuring Vernan Douglas who is our Food Service Utility Attendant at one of our schools where we serve lunch. His enthusiasm for his role within Butter Beans, and love for supporting our students at lunch time inspired us to interview him.

What brought you to Butter Beans? A very good friend of mine was working for the company for over a year at the time. She kept speaking about how exciting and different it was, so I insisted on giving it a shot.

What are some of your highlights from your time working with the students? 

There is a student that always asks me if certain foods are Kosher. I always understood the basics about Kosher foods, but not all of the intricacies. He came up to me recently and asked me to sit down with him at lunch, and he explained to me all about what Kosher means. Our conversation inspired me to read more about it, and now I am much more knowledgeable. I was impressed with his awareness of his dietary restrictions.

Have you noticed a change in the food habits of the students?  Many of our students did not eat vegetables at the start of the school year. Though many of them are vegetarians, they would sometimes prefer to eat nothing over eating vegetables. When some students started choosing vegetables, we would congratulate them on how awesome their plates looked, and slowly their peers wanted some recognition too! Not only are they now consuming more vegetables, but they get so excited when they see the daily veggies that we offer. It feels good to see them walk off with their colorful plates!

What motivates you to do your best each day?

I enjoy feeding people good food, I enjoy smiles, and I am big on great health. The children that I serve on a daily basis are our future; if I can serve them a great meal and they come back and thank me, or tell me how great the food was, that’s enough motivation for me to do what I do everyday without a doubt. What do you like the most about your job? No matter what may be going on in my life, the students are always there for me, genuinely happy, and giving me hugs and high fives…that feeling there is priceless.

What is your favorite Butter Beans lunch to eat? The shepherd’s pie is AMAZING. That is by far my favorite lunch yet. I also enjoy our cheesy broccoli soup, I’ve never had anything like it!

awesome arepas

13 Dec

photo (35)Our CEO + Co-Founder, Belinda just threw us a really fun holiday party at The Gutter, a local bowling alley!

Not only did we get 4 lanes to ourselves, and bowled our hearts out, but we were also treated to delicious Venezuelan arepas from a great local restaurant called Caracas Arepa Bar (since the alley is BYOFood).

Move over nachos and fried chicken fingers, we might have found the best bowling food out there!

4930944474_456a35d523While we can’t recreate the quality of the arepas that we ordered from Caracas, we can certainly try with help from Maribel Araujo, owner of Caracas, and her executive chef, Ilse Parra.

Click here to woo your tastebuds with this amazingly satisfying dish.

Happy Holidays from all of us on The Butter Beans Team!

Photo courtesy of stevendepolo

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!

minty sun-tea

3 Jul

8374057913_8fb2d7c41eWhen you think of a July 4th meal, do you conjure up images of glazed BBQ chicken, juicy burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob with butter, ice cream, and soda?

On this July 4th, let’s think light, healthy and refreshing!

Switch up the usual fare for healthier alternatives like grilled chicken breast, turkey burgers or tofu/tempeh burgers, simple corn on the cob, grilled stone fruit, maybe a big green salad, and some homemade minty sun-tea!

Here’s how to make a refreshing sun-tea that will have your guests asking for more.

Prep Time: 3 minutes Total time: Time in the sun 3-8 hours

Ingredients:

  • Fresh mint leaves, two handfuls
  • Water, enough to fill up your favorite pitcher
  • 1-2 lemons, sliced
  • Fresh stevia, optional (1 or 2 leaves), chopped
  • 1 green tea bag, optional (if you desire some extra flavor)

Directions: 

1. Prep your ingredients: Rinse your mint leaves, rinse and slice lemon, rinse and chop stevia.

2. Assemble: Fill your favorite pitcher with filtered cold water, add mint leaves and optional stevia or green tea bag, then cover.

3. Let nature brew your tea: Place outside, on your windowsill, roof or yard. Let it brew out in the sun for a few hours. Once brewed place in your fridge to chill, or if you’d like it iced, add some in.

4. Serve: With lemon slices as garnish.

Sip and enjoy the fireworks, and toast to a lighter, healthier July 4th celebration!

Courtesy of thirtyseven

resolve to be you

2 Jan

5151718988_6c0a114729It’s easy to get wrapped up in the resolution fever that buzzes around this time of the year.

While writing down your year’s goals and aspirations is a productive exercise, we sometimes lose track of the fact that we are wonderful just the way we are. Of course there are things that we can do better, and striving to change unproductive habits in the new year is useful, just try not to forget that your foundation and your life just the way it is right now is great in itself.

To honor self love, and acceptance we would like to share a simple and sweet new year’s recipe. All it takes is some squash, olive oil, salt and pure maple syrup. Nothing more, nothing less. Just perfect the way it is, like you!

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of salt

Directions:  

  • Preheat your oven to 350F
  • Rinse your squash. Cut in half (work those arms!)
  • Coat the inside and outside of squash with olive oil, then follow with a coating of maple syrup
  • Finish with 1 pinch of salt
  • Add halves to baking sheet, place squash upside down
  • Let cook for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your squash
  • Poke your squash with a knife to test doneness. Squash skin should be soft, and knife should poke through effortlessly
  • Top with a maple syrup drizzle

Here’s to a simple, delicious and nutritious year to come!

Photo courtesy of Bongo Vongo