Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by on Nov 23, 2011 in families, raising children, Recipes, seasonal | 0 comments

It’s Thanksgiving!

Time to give thanks and to create rituals and memories. Our memories are held in fragrance and flavor. As parents in charge of the menu, we get to decide what memories we attach to different occasions for our families – memories that will last a lifetime.

So what’s on the menu? Sweetness is surely a part of it. Roasted sweet vegetables, are super grounding, warming and nourishing. Check out Flora’s recipe here. Have you poached pears yet this season?

Core your pears and put them in enough water to cover. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, a dash of vanilla extract, dried cranberries and raisins. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until your pears are super soft. Serve alone, or on top of crepes. Your house will smell like heaven.

Sweet fruits and veggies are great, but sometimes, you just want a cookie, and better yet if it’s a cookie you can feel good about. This Everyday cookie recipe by the picky foodie is fantastic.

4 simple ingredients: 1 ¾ – 2 cups almond flour (finely chopping almonds in a food processor works well), ¼ cup maple syrup ¼ cup coconut oil, handful of raisins. Sometimes I add coconut flakes for added dimension. Spoon them out onto a cookie sheet and bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees. You can tailor these up with what’s in your cupboard and feel good about serving up good fats and protein in a cookie!

Our first food as babies is milk – sweet nutrition at its best. As we grow, our palate expands to include pungent, salty, sour and bitter. But the nurturing quality of sweetness remains no less important. Celebrate the abundant range of flavors at your table this season, and the harmonious memories that ensue.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, from all of us at Butter Beans.

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after school bread and butter

Posted by on Nov 16, 2011 in cooking classes, raising children, Recipes, seasonal | 0 comments

Bread and butter is such a common snack that it is easy to overlook how each food item is made. Last week many of the cooking class students said they eat bread and butter on a weekly basis. They even claimed that they make bread and butter themselves. However, cooking class would demonstrate that a lot more steps go into actually making bread and butter than simply toasting bread and spreading butter.

It was fun to introduce yeast to the students as an ingredient that is alive. We watched the yeast become active when we added it to hot water and witnessed it spread and foam across the top layer of water. Talking about yeast was incredibly tangible for the students. They now know why bread has so many holes in it!

Making butter continued to teach them about food products they frequently use. I asked the students what ingredients are used to make butter and many thought eggs and yogurt were in butter. While they were on the right track with dairy, the only ingredient we used to make butter was heavy whipping cream. I added the cream to student’s jar and instructed them to shake their jars for 10 minutes. My directions were met with faces of disbelief. The students knew that churning cream made butter, but were surprised to learn that shaking got the same job done. The shaking provided us with the perfect opportunity for a freeze dance party while we turned butter into cream! After several minutes the students noticed small clumps in their jars. After a few more minutes it was difficult to shake their jars since there was no liquid left to shake. The students were somewhat stunned when they learned that there were no more steps.

Many of the comments about the bread and butter were about how fresh everything tasted. Kids are used to hard butter rather than the much fluffier version we made. They also commented that the bread was much denser and flavorful than “normal” bread. Much to my delight, the students left class with a deeper appreciation for an everyday food as well as an appreciation for the distinctive flavors that accompany food when it is homemade.

post contributed by Julia, a Butter Beans after school cooking class teacher

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Salad Walad salad mmm…

Posted by on Nov 10, 2011 in Recipes, summer camp | 0 comments

Last summer during our Food & Garden Summer Camp, a lot of recipes making and cooking went on. In the creation process, we learned about smelling and tasting our ingredients, so that we would know how they would influence the dish at hand. We are currently planning our 2012 summer camp season, and as we go back, are inspired by the memory of the flavors combined. This Salad Walad salad (original name of course) was pretty simple. The magic – in the vinaigrette. Pull out all these ingredients, and make some magic of your own!

Salad Walad Ingredients:

  • your favorite chopped lettuce
  • grated carrots
  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • turmeric
  • annatto
  • cumin
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Chop your favorite lettuce
  • Shred carrots into the chopped up lettuce.
  • Mix the dressing and taste it before coating the salad.
Crunch on!
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Flora’s seasonal food recipe: roasted veggies

Posted by on Nov 7, 2011 in Recipes, seasonal | 2 comments

If you are looking for an easy and delicious way to cook up some vegetables that are sitting in your fridge, look no further!  Roast them up with some olive oil, salt and pepper and enjoy for a nutritious side for lunch or dinner.  Roasting is my favorite way to bring out the sweetness in root veggies.

To roast vegetables, simply cut up some veggies you have in your fridge like beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, fennel, onions, brussels sprouts, squash, whole cloves of garlic (so good on toasted bread) and mix it up with olive oil, salt, pepper.  Place into the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, mixing it from time to time and voila!  You can make a big batch of root veggies that can be eaten over several days and meals, or you can even roast up a smaller batch in your toaster oven! Serve with brown rice and a protein like chickpeas, lentils, tofu, chicken, beef, lamb, fish and enjoy.  Your friends, family or guests will all think you are a serious chef!

What are some of your favorite vegetables to roast?
Post contributed by Flora, School Community Liason at Butter Beans, Inc.
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November – celebrating apples

Posted by on Nov 4, 2011 in seasonal, seasonal food of the month | 0 comments

It’s November, and we are celebrating apples!

Did you know:  In Greek mythology, apples were associated with the healing god Apollo, who was said to be able to heal diseases. Maybe this is the source for the our saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Apple history: The apple tree originated in Western Asia.  Apples are one of the most popular tree fruits in the world with more than 55 million tons of apples grown worldwide. China produces more apples than any other country; the United States is the next highest producer. The apple dates back in history to religious texts, often as an irresistible treat that causes a lot of trouble, the most famous may be the apple that resulted in the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden in the Old Testament.

Why apples are great: Apples have so many wonderful health benefits we may not have room to list them all here! Apples have phytonutrients, which help regulate blood sugar.  They also support the good bacteria in the digestive tract and help with digestion. Thanks to apple’s water-soluble fiber (pectin) content and their mix of nutrients, apples are great for our cardiovascular system. Apples are high in quercetin, a plant derived compound that give us anti-inflammatory benefits. Apples have tons of vitamin C, which helps build up our immune system and ward off colds.  All those benefits in one sweet, crunchy, widely available snack! 

Apples are harvested in New York mid-August to late October. New York ranks second in apple production behind Washington State in the US.  With nearly 700 apple orchards and 41,000 acres of apple trees, New York typically produces an average of one billion pounds of apples every year.  Apple picking is a great family outing in the fall season!

There are many ways to enjoy eating apples.  A simple baked apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon makes an easy, healthy dessert.  A raw apple spread with nut butter is a quick, delicious snack. Instead of the usual Cole slaw for a side dish, simply combine cabbage and apples for apple slaw. Eat the peel! Apple peels have tons of fiber and lots of antioxidants that are great for us. Do give your apple a scrub though – soap and water is great.

How to pick a great apple? You want an apple that is firm to the touch and full of color. Avoid soft or brown spots.  A more round apple, typical of the green variety, can be a little more flavorful than the elongated types. In the coldest part of your refrigerator, apples will hold for over a month! Apples that are starting to get soft can be baked into pie or bread, or stewed as a topping for pancakes.  


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