nutrition education in the cafeteria part II

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in cooking with kids, Food for thought, healthy food, local food, lunch time, raising children, Recipes, school food, seasonal, seasonal food of the month | 0 comments

Our cafeteria’s serve not only nutritious lunches, but also nutrition education! Along with our monthly table tops filled with recipes, healthy + seasonal eating tips and nutrition + wellness information for our children to read, we also integrate food labels into the cafeteria. Our labels depict how a certain ingredient grows in nature, along with allergen information (which is also indicated on our school-wide menus). We understand what it’s like to have children with food allergies, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for our children to chose what to eat each day. They love reading our food labels, and have found them to be a useful tool that aids them during their lunch experience.

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Shopping matters

Posted by on May 16, 2012 in cooking with kids, families, Food for thought, food politics, healthy food, home remedies, let's move, news and happenings, raising children, Recipes | 0 comments

slide01For those 501c3’s looking to help educate the public on how to eat healthy on a budget, you should take a look at these available grants. Grant applications end on June 13, 2012, and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to cookingmattersgrants@strength.org

In order to cook at home it’s important to shop well, and wisely. Here are some tips for eating healthy on a budget from Cooking Matters:

  • Compare unit pricing: This is an important step in deciding what goes in your cart and why. By choosing the more affordable option, you can save a lot of money! For example, if you have the option between a 32oz bag of brown rice for 4.3 cents per ounce, or a 16oz bag of brown rice for 7.3 cents per ounce, what would you do? To save money you would chose the first option, as you would get more rice for your buck.
  • Practice reading food labels: Comparing nutritional information can help you make healthier choices. Here is some general information that may help guide you when looking at the nutritional value of foods, and here is some more specific information that will help you learn the percentages of these nutrients that your body needs.
  • Identify whole grains: Whole grains provides us with fiber, iron and B vitamins. Make sure to read food labels, and try to buy products with the least amount of ingredients. Also, when buying breads take a look to make sure that whole wheat is the first on the ingredient list, which means the bread is made up of mostly that ingredient.
  • How to buy fruits & vegetables on a budget: Chose frozen fruits and vegetables with no sugar, salt or fat added. The ingredient list should list the vegetable or fruit only. Look for canned fruit that is only packed in it’s own juices, and make sure to rinse them before eating. Rinse canned beans or vegetables to remove some of the sodium that is added for preserving the food. When buying local, try heading to the farmers market or stand at the end of the day for reduced price items. Even better, if you have access to a garden plot, back or front yard, patio, or even windowsill, try planting your own vegetables and herbs!

For our readers out there, feel free to share your money saving tips for healthy eating all year round.

Photo courtesy of cooking matters

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fresh ricotta cheese at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Gala

Posted by on May 14, 2012 in cooking with kids, families, healthy food, local food, news and happenings, Recipes, seasonal | 0 comments

6283567937_c86f775779We had the honor of participating in the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Gala last Tuesday, May 8th alongside other Brooklyn based food vendors and Children’s Museum friends and supporters. At the gala we put on ricotta cooking demo which turned out to be a huge hit! Those that stopped by our table were surprised at how tasty and easy it was to cook up a batch. We placed a dollop of ricotta on top of our raw garlic crostini and garnished them with fresh basil. Many folks that tried our cheese made sure not to talk while chewing so that they could experience the sheer joy of tasting the ricotta.

Here’s how you can be your very own rockstar-ricotta cheese maker:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of cream
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon + a pinch of salt

Directions:

Place whole milk, cream, and 1 tablespoon of salt in a pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the mixture from the heat and add lemon juice. Leave this mixture to stand for about 20 minutes, then pour the liquid over a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Allow the mixture to drain for about 1 hour, then place in a bowl or jar. Add a pinch of salt and enjoy in your favorite pastas, topped on homemade pizza, spread on crostini, mixed into pancakes, drizzled with honey or just eat it with a spoon!

Since ricotta is made fresh, it should be eaten right away. However, if you end up with too much ricotta you can also place it in a container in your fridge. This fresh cheese takes on a whole new flavor when baked in the oven for a few minutes. Once baked, add a drizzle of olive oil and rosemary, then spread it on toast. Buon appetito!

Photo courtesy of amberdegrace

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, healthy food, local food, news and happenings, raising children, seasonal celebrations | 0 comments

6491264247_3641dbe647This one goes out to all of our mother’s who have given us life, love, energy, protection and joy. We are forever grateful, and wish all mother’s a happy and relaxing mother’s day this Sunday. To honor mom, we have a great gift idea for those moms who love to cook with their kids – a parent and child cooking class! We will be making a seasonal Spanish meal of vegetable paella and refreshing horchata. Join us on Saturday, May 19th in the heart of Park Slope, Brooklyn. Buen provecho!

Photo courtesy of zbigphotography

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so excited for strawberry picking!

Posted by on May 10, 2012 in cooking with kids, families, gardens, healthy food, home remedies, local food, raising children, Recipes, seasonal, seasonal celebrations, seasonal food of the month, summer camp | 0 comments

Before you know it, it will be strawberry picking time. Envision your baskets filled with sweet and tart berries, waiting to be gobbled up en masse, yum! Since our winter here was a mild one, it looks like strawberries will ripen earlier than usual, so be on the look out for these ruby delights at your local farmers market.

Besides the fact that strawberries are incredible delicious, they are incredibly good for you too! Like ruby red beets, they are packed with vitamin C and are great for cleaning our blood, keeping our heart healthy, and our eyes strong.

Check out our class berry jammin’ class that we taught last summer. We can’t wait to make berry jam with our campers this coming July + August, and look forward to watching their excitement when they open up their jars and spread their creation on some freshly made bread!

For those living in the NYC area, check out this site which will help you plan your strawberry picking outing with your family. There is nothing better than a day spent in the fresh air, harvesting nutritious berries and bringing them back home to make lots of fun recipes (pick up strawberries favorite companion, rhubarb on the way too). Happy berry picking to all!

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