the cost of a home cooked meal

Posted by on Apr 26, 2011 in Food for thought, news and happenings, Valentine's Day, pink lemonade, cranberries, recipes | 2 comments

There was an article in the NY Times this week, about the rising cost of food. Climate change (drought, flooding, and unexpected weather), the rising cost of fuel (to get our food from where it grows, to our homes), and a growing demand for food around the globe, are all factors. This morning on public radio, it was announced that gas prices are up to a record high across the country. It’s hard not to feel the difference on food shopping day. Some people’s grandmother’s used to save tinfoil (rather than throw it away), and used old bread for bread pudding, or canned their backyard garden harvest to last them through the cold winter.  We can learn a thing or two from those days!  Since fuel costs are so high, now is a great opportunity to turn to whole foods, along with food that is grown nearby, or in your backyard or windowsill.  Spring has officially arrived, which means that you have a larger variety of fruits and vegetables at your fingertips, making it the perfect time to get into the habit of eating less processed foods.  Growing your own spring garden will help your budget, along with your body and it’s not too late, you still have time!

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Celebrate Earth Day

Posted by on Apr 21, 2011 in news and happenings | 1 comment

Earth day IS every day, but once a year, everyone says it together with events, concerts, and gatherings in honor of our Earth and her care. If you are in NYC tomorrow, and are looking for inspiring happenings food related, come to Earth day panel: “Earth to table / Table to Earth.” 

Marion Nestle, Michel Nischan and Karen Karp will speak on a panel, chaired by Mitchell Davis. Come learn what corporations are doing to address sustainability issues, engage in discussion about current trends in food, sustainability, and public health across the board.

The details: Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (212) 645-0298

If you are going to be near Central Park, stop by Earth Day at the Time Warner Center filled with businesses and organizations sharing their green initiatives. Most people think of toxic chemicals when they think about pest control, but there are alternatives. Assured Environments is a great example of a company with sustainability on their agenda. You can stop by their booth at Time Warner for a free sample of their recently developed “Cimex Rest Assured,” an all-natural bed bug killing spray, which kills on contact and lasts for weeks. If you know anyone who has dealt with bed bugs – you can appreciate this development! Gowanus

If you are in Brooklyn come Saturday, to help raise the Giant Floating Earth Ball at Brooklyn Earth Day Celebration at IKEA Erie Basin Park in Red Hook Brooklyn. All will gather to raise a giant helium Earth Ball 100 feet in the air to symbolize 100% commitment towards mitigating climate change and for the sustainable and ecological restoration of the Canal.

There will be live music, a chance to recycle old batteries, and various environmental recreation stations. It is meant to be a family affair so come on down! There will also be tours of the Traveling Nature & Maritime Museum.

The Traveling NATURE & MARITIME MUSEUM on wheels. a project of the Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy (UDEC)- a 501c3 Not for Profit environmental and cultural organization based in NY; providing quality and innovative public engagement programs in Environmental Literacy and Maritime Cultural

The details:
One Beard St, Red Hook Brooklyn SATURDAY April 23rd, 11am- 3pm

Wherever you are, make time to take pause. What can you do in your everyday life to support our collective home and environment? Getting outside to stretch our legs and exercise, is a great way to take such pause. It’s also great for our personal healthy spring initiatives.

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quick spring pickles!

Posted by on Apr 20, 2011 in Food & Farm program, Recipes | 2 comments

We are planing on our second round of the Butter Beans Garden & Food Experience, offering camp throughout the month of July! We will visit farms and gardens and local sustainable projects and markets, and learn to make our bown butter, pickles, jams, ice cream and more.

To inspire your palate in your kitchen, try these quick spring pickles we made at our spring Food & Garden Experience. We made ours with carrots, beets and dill. You can use any vegetable though.

Quick pickles:

You will need your veggies and seasonings – in this case carrots, beets and dill (enough to fill the number of jars you have), 1 cup of sugar, salt and vinegar (apple cider or lemon juice), mason jars with lids, a stock pot, and tongs to pick up hot jars out of water. These are fun to make, delicious and great for you. If you are new to this, make sure to eat them within a week.

How we did it:

  1. Begin by washing any dirt away from out tasty freshly farmed carrots and beets. Root vegetables work very well as pickles as they absorb a lot of flavor.
  2. Take the lids off of our mason jars and set them aside.
  3. Chop the ends off of our beets and carrots, removing any excess root.
  4. Chop the beets and carrots into roughly 3in. sticks.
  5. Take a bunch of fresh dill (and seed if available), tear off the ends and put aside. (should be about a cup)
  6. Take out a stock pot and place two cups of water into it, and bring the water to a low boil.
  7. Add 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of brining salt, 1 cup apple cider vinegar (or lime juice), and the fresh dill (and 1 TBS of dill seed if available), and bring back to low boil.
  8. Now take the beautiful carrots and gently, with tongs, lower them into the brine that you have created.
  9. Let the carrots par-boil (slightly soften) for 3-5min and remove them carefully with tongs, placing them gently into your mason jars. Add a bit of brine with a ladle from the pot, then immediately seal the jars with their lids tightly.
  10. Follow the sam sequence with your beets. Then bring 1-2 inches of water to a rolling boil in a stock pot, and place the jars into the stock pot,  cover, let them *process* for 10-12 minutes, keeping the cover on to allow suction to occur within the jars that *preserve* our pickles!
  11. Then use your tongs and carefully remove the jars one by one out of the processing pot, and let cool and rest.
  12. You will hear the lids *pop!*  Enjoy the next day!


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new website!

Posted by on Apr 19, 2011 in news and happenings | 1 comment

We have a new website for Butter Beans! It is a work in progress, but one we are happy to share with you. We will continue to post to the blog here, but soon enough, it will be transported entirely to the new site. Thank you for your patience and for your support!

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Ask schools to promote plain, white milk or water

Posted by on Apr 14, 2011 in Food for thought, news and happenings | 0 comments

Yesterday we received a letter from Jamie Oliver asking us all to sign a petition to only allow white milk in schools. Flavored milk has as much sugar as a can of soda! Soda has only added sugar, and milk, has the sugar naturally found in milk (lactose) and added sugar on top, not to mention color dyes to make strawberry milk pink. This added sugar contributes to childhood obesity and to type 2 diabetes. Limiting school lunch beverages to milk or water, seems like an easy way to cut back on sugar intake, but there is a lot of resistance here.

If you already know that you want to sign, here is the link.

If you want to read compelling research that sheds light on why sugar not only makes us fat, but can make us sick, click here to read an article published in the NY Times yesterday: Is Sugar Toxic?

Jamie’s letter:

Dear Food Revolutionaries,

Too much sugar is threatening the health of our kids and we’ve got to do something about it.1

Flavored milk, the chocolate and strawberry milk which is served for breakfast and lunch at school, is sweetened with sugar that kids don’t need and just adds extra calories to an otherwise healthy drink.

The facts deserve to be taken seriously. According to the National Dairy Council, flavored milk contains about 4 teaspoons of added sugar; plain white milk2 doesn’t have any added sugar. It also contains colors, flavors and artificial sweeteners that don’t add any nutritional value. Check out the label and you’ll be able to see for yourself.

Many parents don’t realize this, but chocolate milk has the same amount of sugar as a soft drink (that’s the added sugar plus the natural sugar contained in all milk). Just one additional soft drink per day increases a child’s obesity risk by 60% and is a major contributor to Type 2 diabetes3.

But there is something we can do. Join me in asking schools to promote plain, white milk instead. Help spread the message that wholesome, plain milk is best and that sugary, flavored milk should only be enjoyed as an occasional treat.

Support the Food Revolution campaign to bring back plain milk in schools:

Big Love,

Jamie and the Food Revolution team


1.The Harvard School of Public Health has shown that there’s strong evidence that sugar-sweetened drinks contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

2. The National Dairy Council says that on average, an 8 ounce serving of chocolate milk contains about 4 teaspoons of added sugar. You can read their Flavoured Milk in Perspective reporthere.

3. There’s been a 10-fold increase in childhood diabetes in the last 20 years; and one additional soft drink per day increases a child’s obesity risk by 60%, according to the Harvard Public Health Review.

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