resources for the picky eater

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in cooking with kids, families, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, lunch time, raising children | 0 comments

5516101054_808a211548Oftentimes we work with students who have a limited palate, and are only willing to eat specific foods.

The most common foods that we see students gravitate to are cheese, bread, pasta, and our sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches. These foods provide them with the feelings of comfort and safety, and end up being their go-to choices at lunch.

To help encourage our students to try new foods, we train our food service staff to utilize and pass around our sample cups with items that the students might have overlooked, while also praising them for creating colorful plates.

Sometimes, we even create contests at our schools like “the most colorful plate” or “the most creative taco” or “the most inventive salad,” to get them excited about the countless possibilities available to them.

At lunch, students also observe the food selection made by their peers, and oftentimes will select more diverse items because of this. We also work in concert with their teachers to help support their healthy eating habits at lunch.

To help those parents who have children with picky eating habits, we wanted to share some resources with you that might help you on your quest to expanding the palate of your child.

If you are a parent of a picky eater you are not alone, there are plenty of parents going through the same thing. If you would like any support from us, we are happy to help. Please feel free to contact us!

Photo courtesy of ShardsOfBlue

Read More

in praise of buckwheat

Posted by on Jan 29, 2014 in healthy food, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, Recipes, wellness | 0 comments

photo (38)Having grown up Jewish I was exposed to buckwheat aka kasha through some interesting dishes, but I never recall enjoying the flavor.

Now that I am gluten sensitive and looking for grain alternatives, buckwheat (technically a seed) has re-entered my life.

Recently, I took a leap and gave buckwheat a second chance.

It’s never too late to open your mind!

Here’s what sold me:

  • High in minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium
  • High in insoluble fiber
  • Contains essential amino acids
  • Easy to digest
  • Versatile

I re-introduced buckwheat by soaking it overnight with a dash of apple cider vinegar, to remove the enzyme inhibitors and make it extra digestible, and cooked it on the stove top for about 10 minutes, covered.

I mixed up my favorite vinaigrette, and made a big salad with buckwheat on top. A whole new world had opened up, the possibilities felt endless!

I’ll have it for breakfast the next time, adding in some almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and maybe hemp seeds or thawed out frozen berries.

You live, you learn…

Read More

quinoa stir fry

Posted by on Jan 24, 2014 in fast food, healthy food, Recipes | 0 comments

photo (37)It’s fun to get out of your comfort zone and try something new!

Instead of rice, why not grab your quinoa and use it as the base for your stir fry, and add in some vegetables you wouldn’t normally mix together?

Here’s how:

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: ~30-35 minutes

Serves 3-4


  • 1 C quinoa
  • 2 C water
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 2 T tamari
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 kale stalks, leaves ripped into small pieces
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 large egg
  • handful of fresh/frozen peas
  • sesame seeds


1. Cook: Add quinoa to a pot with water. Bring to a boil, then to a simmer for ~15-20 minutes. Turn heat off, cover and let sit.

2. Prep: Cut carrots, ginger, and rip kale. Take out a deep pan, wooden spoon and other ingredients. 

3. Cook: Over medium-high heat add sesame oil to your pan, then add in your carrots. Turn down to medium, cover and let cook for ~5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in your ginger, then a dash of water, then your kale. Cover and let cook for ~5 minutes. Add in tamari, and your cooked quinoa, stir well. Turn the heat up a bit, and move all items to the side. Add in a bit more sesame oil, then drop in your egg and let it fry. Mix the egg into your mixture, then add in your peas. Stir until your peas are bright green.

4. Plate: Plate your quinoa stir fry, and garnish with sesame seeds, and dash of tamari if needed. Relish in the joys of getting out of your comfort zone!


Read More

“it’s like magic!”

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in after school, cooking classes, cooking with kids, healthy food, home remedies, local food, Recipes | 0 comments

soup collageOur cooking class chefs raved about the butternut squash soup that we made together in class. 

They learned about “sweating” the vegetables, the different types of winter squash, and why soups are the perfect meal to boost your immune system in the winter months.

After smelling the raw butternut squash, one of our chefs remarked on how it smelled like cantaloupe and pumpkin, and when another one of our chefs was running her fingers down a sprig of thyme, she exclaimed, “it’s like magic!”

Here’s how they made their delicious soup:

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves 5 tasting portions


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 butternut squash
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 C water or stock


1. Prep: Add water or stock into a pot. Dice the onions, garlic, celery and sweat in a pan with olive oil. Peel and dice the butternut squash.
2. Cook: Add all the veggies into your pot, add in the thyme. Bring soup to a boil, then down to a simmer. Let cook for 20 minutes, or until squash is soft.
3. Enjoy!

Read More

sustainability at Butter Beans

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in after school, cooking classes, families, food waste, gardens, local food, lunch time, seasonal, summer camp | 0 comments

3384297473_7a5f8e7933This school year has been a green one for us!

We have been collaborating with some of our schools to help grow their sustainability initiatives.

We have helped set up a composting program at one of our schools, and we are in the process of supporting two of our schools in their quest to to create vegetable gardens in a greenhouse and raised beds, along with connecting the garden to their curriculum.

From a food service perspective, how fun would it be for those locally grown, student cared for vegetables/herbs to be included in our lunch service? “A little fresh basil on your pasta, or thyme on your beef stew?”

Not only are we supporting our schools’ sustainability initiatives, we are also making headway of our own:

  • composting all of our food scraps in our commissary kitchen
  • working with schools to ensure that they have dishwashing capabilities so that all kitchen equipment and small wares can be reusable
  • providing schools with compostable small wares if dishwashing is not available
  • sourcing our meat, produce, and dairy products as local as possible
  • educating our school lunch students, cooking class chefs, and summer campers all about the journey of food from seed to plate

And much more to come!

Photo courtesy of

Read More