POTATO LATKES – 4 ingredients to goodness

Posted by on Nov 30, 2010 in cooking classes, featured articles, Recipes | 0 comments

December is upon us, holidays and parties and gatherings are lined up. It doesn’t matter what holidays you celebrate, it only matters that we do, in fact celebrate. The days are shorter, the nights are longer. It is time to pull out our best recipes, our most flavorful mulled spiced drinks, and a good story for the fireplace – or the kitchen table.

Yesterday in cooking class, we made potato latkes. It always amazes me how much kids love potatoes. They feel good in the hands, they feel good in the belly. And grated, mixed with eggs, scallions and salt and dipped in hot oil – makes fantastic latkes.

4 ingredients: potatoes, scallions, eggs and salt. Mixed together and then pressed to get rid of as much water as possible. Canola oil for frying in a saute pan, a spatula and 10 minutes or so and you’re set. (you can of course mix it up adding garlic and other favorite spices)

We served ours up in a traditional fashion with homemade applesauce and sour cream.

We ate them in class, at breakfast and a few even made their way into my daughter’s lunchbox.

Happy December to all.

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How do I get my kids to WANT to eat healthy food? – 10 tips

Posted by on Nov 22, 2010 in featured articles, lunch time | 1 comment

I often get asked, from dedicated, loving parents that want the best for their children – how to get their children to want to eat healthy food, once convenient processed food has made its way slowly but surely into their lives?

Maybe you can relate – as new eaters, you only gave your children real fruits and vegetables, pureed and served with love. They got older, birthday parties at school, and snacks away from home started to happen. Afterschool snacks went from sandwiches, hummus and veggies or fruit to consistently something sweet. A treat- Just this once!, turned into a daily habit.

It happens to the best of us.

What to do to change the course:

  1. Take an honest look at your own diet and habits. Children do as we do, not what we say. If this is hard for you – share your own process with your children.
  2. Get the junk out of the house. We all have plenty of access to processed junk food outside of the home. Make your kitchen sacred.
  3. If it’s sweets you crave – start introducing sweet vegetables into your family’s diet daily. Sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, beets, carrots, corn (really a grain – but sweet enough to work), onions, turnips, yams, plantains, etc. They will start to change your taste buds – making food stuffs with added sugar taste too sweet. These sweet foods are also great for your bowels and your spleen and pancreas.
  4. If it’s salt you crave – know this is your body’s way of asking for minerals. Green leafy vegetables are the best. If your family turns their nose up at the thought of eating green leaves – start with kale chips. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like them.
  5. Water – we often go to food when we are really thirsty. Teach your children to check out the color of their pee. Pale yellow is good. Dark yellow means they need more water!
  6. Eat at regular intervals. The body loves consistency most. It is much easier to introduce new foods and habits if there is already a structure in place around eating.
  7. Take your kids to a green market, and let them pick out their dinner. Let them pick a new vegetable to try. Go online to find a recipe if you don’t know what to do with it. Then share your recipes with us.
  8. Teach your children to read food labels. Even those of us who prefer to eat mostly food that doesn’t come with labels (because it’s fresh), inevitably we have labels to read, so we need to know what to look for.
  9. Cook with your children. Have them help in the kitchen. Whether their job is to set the table, pour the water, stir the soup, chop the veggies or wash the dishes, involving our children in the process of eating offers awareness of the good work involved in putting good food on the table, and gives them the opportunity to feel ownership and pride about this work on a regular basis.
  10. Start small – meet your kids where they are. Creating a struggle around food isn’t good for anyone. Be persistent, patient and sweet. Your children will reap the benefits their whole life long.
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Child Nutrition Act – Call now – Last chance

Posted by on Nov 15, 2010 in featured articles, news and happenings | 5 comments

Please read the following letter from Amie Hamlin of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food (NYCHSF), and click on the link to reach your representative. The NYCHSF is a statewide nonprofit that works to improve the health and well-being of New York’s students by advocating for healthy plant-based foods, including local and organic where possible, farm to school programs, school gardens, the elimination of unhealthy competitive foods in all areas of the school (not just the cafeteria), comprehensive nutrition policy, and education to create food- and health-literate students.
They work in all of our best interest!
Dear School Food Advocates,
Congress is reconvening today for the “Lame duck” session. We’ve heard from DC that the House may not return for the last week of legislative session after Thanksgiving, and so they will likely vote on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (the Child Nutrition Bill) as part of an omnibus bill during the first days of this week. In light of this, it is important to contact your Congressional Representative right away.
We recommend that you ask your Representative to “Please pass the child nutrition bill along with a restoration to the SNAP (food stamps) cut.” The SNAP cut is part of how Congress plans to pay for the Child Nutrition Act. We don’t want to diminish children’s ability to access good food at school or at home. You can find your Representative’s contact information here.
While we are very disappointed at the low amount of funding for this bill (it adds only six cents more per meal, when First Lady Michelle Obama requested 18.5 cents and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand requested 70 cents), it will still make many positive changes to the school food environment, and thus we do want to see it pass. Will chicken nuggets be banned?The answer is no, so even after the bill passes, we still have a lot of work to do. Ultimately, it will take each of you at your district level to create the change we want to see.
We will keep you informed of any relevant news from DC through the week… and look forward to celebrating a hopefully positive outcome for students at school and at home!
Best wishes,
Amie Hamlin
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three bean salad – dinner party favorite

Posted by on Nov 10, 2010 in featured articles, lunch time, seasonal food of the month | 2 comments

After school cooking

Teaching children to cook, really is a gift that lasts a lifetime. This is Titan – he is one of our after-school cooking class students. His family was planning a dinner party for friends, and he decided to prepare the three bean salad and caprese bites that he had learned to make in class, for his family’s friends.

Here is the recipe:

Three Bean Salad

2 cups green beans

2 cups butter beans (or garbanzo beans)

2 cups kidney beans

1/2 cup red onion

2-3 Tablespoons chopped chervil (parsley also works)

Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Remove the tips from greens beans, and shell butter beans. Prepare cold water bath for the beans. Blanch beans in hot water, and once they are cooked, shock them in cold water. Mix the beans together with the vinaigrette, and enjoy!

Titan’s father: We are great fans of both the class and the lunch menu.  It is certainly a fabulously innovative and healthy way for our children to eat, and learn more about food. Titan is very much enjoying the classes. In fact Titan’s mum, Elissa, is also learning – now knowing how to blanch tomatoes, and poach pears.

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