How we teach our children + how they learn

Posted by on Dec 19, 2010 in featured articles, Food for thought, news and happenings | 4 comments

I want to thank Dr. Susan Rubin for sharing the below you tube clip on her blog. Dr. Rubin is one of the Two Angry Moms who has dedicated countless hours and energy to working for change in our public school cafeterias.

The topic at hand today, has to do with education in general. Times have changed, and are in fact changing so quickly these days. What worked for us even just last year, likely needs an update this year. It’s a natural law actually.

Consider your diet. The fruit juices and salads that make you feel amazing in the summer, would most likely make you feel cold and hungry in the winter. Our dietary needs and cravings change depending on the season, the amount of work and stress, or fun and sleep we are getting. What foods work for me may make you feel terrible – we all have a lot in common, but we also have bio-individual needs. It is true for food. It is also true for education. Some of us work best independently, others require the collaboration of a group to thrive. Some of us need absolute silence to think clearly, others need music to put creative new pieces together.

Shouldn’t this all be taken into account when considering our children’s education?

Check out this YouTube presentation. It’s great food for thought, and the presentation – fantastic.


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Do your kids love to cook?

Posted by on Dec 17, 2010 in featured articles, Recipes | 0 comments

Here at Butter Beans, we love to cook!  We also love to share our favorite recipes, and come up with ways to integrate our food stories into our school lunch menus.  We are intrigued by the way food connects us all, and are creating a cookbook that explores stories of cooking with our children.  If you would like to submit a story please do so by emailing with the subject line “cookbook story.” Thank you for sharing and connecting with us!

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Collard greens – your kids will love them

Posted by on Dec 16, 2010 in featured articles, news and happenings, Recipes, seasonal food of the month | 0 comments

One of my favorite and most fulfilling ways to spend a day is to hang out with kids and enjoy food. This week I got to visit 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders with bushels of collard greens, and 2 dishes of collard greens prepared different ways. Sautéed  greens with garlic and olive oil and sea salt, and a collard slaw with cabbage and carrots, apple cider vinegar, mustard and cayenne.

Many students didn’t know what it was I was holding out in my hands to show them. Some guessed spinach, lettuce, kale, brussels sprouts, others guessed celery and cauliflower. All of their guesses were great, because  collard greens have something in common with all of these vegetables. Their attention was peaked – they really wanted to know.

We did this in science class – where the students are learning about growing and composting foods. They have started to grow some carrots and are looking forward to making a garden. We came to help them consider what they might plant.

The students learned some history about collard greens, how they help our bodies that we stretched and twisted in learning. We talked about chlorophyll and photosynthesis. And then of course the students tasted the greens. At the end, when I asked the students what they had learned they had really great answers:

That I like collard greens! That they could taste so good! That they like the cold and the cold makes their leaves sweeter! That they are good for our lungs and our liver and our bones! That they are good for the whole body! That they feel rubbery but taste great!…

How to make great sautéed collard greens:

Wash the leaves, then cut out the stems. Stack the leaves in a pile, then roll the leaves and slice with a sharp knife very thin strips. This helps to break down the cellulose walls, making them more digestible.

Chop up some garlic if you like it (can you ever have too much garlic, really?), and add to some olive oil in a pan. Add the leaves to the pan. The water on the leaves will help the cooking process and if they get too dry, add more water.

Top with sea salt and saute until soft and wilted. They should be beautiful and bright green.

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Tune in TODAY at 12pm to the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC (93.9FM & 820AM)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2010 in featured articles, news and happenings | 0 comments

Visionary Councilwoman and speaker Christine C. Quinn will be on the air to discuss “FoodWorks” – the report her office recently released outlining a bold, new, doable plan for improving NYC’s food system.

The 59 proposals in the NYC Council’s FoodWorks plan address key issues at every phase of the system – from agricultural production all the way through to consumption and post-consumption.

Listeners will be able to call in to the show, so if you’re near a radio today at noon, please tune in.  The call-in number is (646) 829-3985.  Share your thoughts about the plan!

For more information on FoodWorks, click here or visit us online at


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Our newest Child Nutrition Bill

Posted by on Dec 8, 2010 in featured articles, news and happenings | 0 comments

It is worth celebrating! Schools will be reimbursed 6 cents a meal – which isn’t the 18 cents Michelle Obama requested, but it is the first real increase not due to inflation in  many, many years. A collaborative effort to encourage new standards of what is sold in lunch lines and in vending machines. Who doesn’t want better food for their children? Schools are where our children go to learn about life. They learn history and arithmetic, and they also learn what constitutes a meal – what they are served is understood to be normal and nutritious – otherwise, why would it be served at school?

Fruits and vegetables and grains and lean meats and beans… real food on the table in leu of brightly packaged food stuffs with ingredients no one can pronounce correctly. Thanks to all the supporters who called their representatives. Click here to read more.


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