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settling potato leek soup

8 Jan

37548606_e4462264d1Winter is the time for soup to shine!

There is nothing simpler and more satisfying than a creamy (dairy and gluten free) potato leek soup. The combination simply soothes the soul.

Here’s how to make this rich soup in just 20 minutes:

Inspired by epicurious 

Prep Time: 3 minutes Total Time: ~20 minutes

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • Handful of red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces
  • 1 leek, cut into half moons
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 C water (or stock)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Prep: Rinse potatoes and leek. Cut potatoes, remove the top (where it starts to diverge), and the bottom root of the leek, cut down the middle, then into half moons. Take out your pan, wooden spoon, food processor, or immersion blender.

2. Cook: Add olive oil to a deep pan, over medium-low heat cook the leeks with a dash of salt, and cover for 8-10 minutes, until soft. Add in water, cover and bring to a simmer. Add in potatoes, cover and simmer for ~10-20 minutes, or until soft.

3. Blend: In your food processor, puree 1/2 of the soup mixture. Place soup mixture in a big bowl, then mix in the other 1/2 of the soup from your pan. Mix well, then serve. Season with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Photo courtesy of sethoscope

a wish for the holidays

20 Dec

6737778905_b26dbf7dd0With the holidays coming up, we wanted to wish you all a peaceful, and enriching time with family and friends.

Here is a fun way to share with your loved ones: think of someone who will be at your holiday festivities, and has made an impact on your life. Write them a gratitude letter, then read it to them in person. This exercise will not only set the tone, but will also foster a deeper connection to your loved ones during this time of togetherness.

Take a step back from all of the holiday craziness, and try to remain present and positive when celebrating with family and friends, no matter what they bring to the table.

Happy holidays, see you in 2014!

Photo courtesy of Roger’s Eye

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

azuki bean love

4 Dec

IMG_2460So many beans, so little time!

Step out of your comfort zone and try cooking with Japanese azuki (or adzuki, aduki) beans.

They are like wonder beans. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, they are low in calories, and high in nutrition (containing magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, B vitamins), plus they are easier to digest than other beans, how wonderful is that?

Match up your azuki beans with soaked brown rice, and miso dressing, and you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven.

Enjoy this warm, rich, and satisfying meal, with some greens on the side!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 8 hours soaking time + ~45 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. brown rice, soaked and cooked (here’s why you should soak your grains, and how)
  • 1 c. azuki beans, soaked and cooked (add kombu to the pot for extra nutrition, and increased digestibility)
  • 1 T. miso paste
  • 1.5 t. honey
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. rice wine vinegar (or lemon)
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tamari (optional)
  • Green onion (optional)

Directions: 

1. Prep: Soak rice, and azuki beans. Add them to their respective pots filled with water, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer, and cook for 30-45 minutes, or until soft.

2. Create the Dressing: Meanwhile, whisk together miso paste, honey, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt. Use this time to steam up some greens.

3. Assemble: In your favorite bowl, add rice, beans and mix. Top with miso dressing, and garnish with sesame seeds and optional green onion.

broccoli shallot soup

20 Nov

5478500913_a364fe642eBroccoli isn’t just for steaming!

Puree this cruciferous wonder into a simple soup, and be wooed by it’s sweet and earthy flavor, filled with vitamin C, K and folate.

Perfect for the change in season, this soup will help keep you in tip top shape for the holidays.

Prep Time: 2 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large shallots, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 large head of broccoli
  • 2 C. water
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Lemon, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions: 

1. Prep: Peel and slice shallots, rinse and cut broccoli florets into smaller pieces.

2. Cook: In a saucepan, heat oil and add shallots. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until shallots are caramelized. Add water, and insert a steamer basket (or not) and broccoli. Steam for 7 minutes, or until tender.

3. Process: Add caramelized shallots and steamed broccoli into a big bowl, and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Or place shallots and broccoli into a food processor, blending until smooth.

4. Serve: Place soup into bowls. Drizzle in olive oil, squeeze some lemon, and add some salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy this soothing and health promoting soup!

Photo courtesy of sk8geek