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

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

maple cinnamon kabocha puree

11 Dec

5112078128_c56cb4b869 (1)We keep on ranting and raving about kabocha squash, and for good reason!

It gets such great reviews due to its versatility, and nutrition – high in beta carotene, vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, and calcium. Along with it’s comforting flavors to help warm you up on cold winter evenings.

This time we are transforming our kabocha into a delectable puree, as a perfect side dish to accompany your other dinner components, or maybe even for breakfast topped with some chopped nuts!

Pre Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kabocha squash, diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 t. maple syrup
  • 2 dashes of cinnamon
  • sea salt to taste

Directions:

1. Prep: Rinse, cut squash in half, and remove all seeds, then dice your half into 2 inch thick pieces.

2. Cook: Add water to the bottom of a small pot, line with a steamer basket. Add squash, set heat to medium – high, cover and let cook for 15 minutes, until soft.

3. Blend: Add cooked squash to your food processor. Drizzle in olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Blend well, until pureed.

4. Serve: Scoop your puree onto your dinner plate, or breakfast bowl, top with a sprinkle of salt for dinner, and chopped nuts for breakfast. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of wikioticsian

simple taco salad

9 Dec

IMG_2459Tacos are a great go-to dinner when time is of the essence.

But what if you don’t have any tortillas on hand?

Pull out some tortilla chips and make a taco salad!

Feel free to use beans vs. turkey, make your favorite salad dressing, and season with the right amount of spices to suit your palate.

You’ll have a delicious dinner in no time!

Prep Time: 2 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • A few handfuls of arugula (or any lettuce you have)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 package of ground turkey
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced (or bell pepper, add jalapeño if you want)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 1 t. cayenne
  • 1 t. paprika
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1/2 lime (or your favorite salad dressing)
  • Handful of cilantro

Directions: 

1. Prep: Place lettuce on plates. Dice pepper and onion, pluck cilantro leaves.

2. Cook: Add oil to a pan, sauté onions for 5-10 minutes then add in pepper, and cook until soft. Add turkey meat, and spices, salt and pepper. Let cook for 8-10 minutes.

3. Assemble: Place ground turkey mixture on top of your lettuce bed. Squeeze lime juice on the meat, or your favorite salad dressing. Top with crushed tortilla chips and cilantro.

PS: If you have avocado, tomatoes, or red onion on hand feel free to add!

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.