Shamika’s Crazy Croutons

Posted by on Nov 9, 2016 in cooking with kids, fast food, healthy food, lunch time, Recipes | 0 comments

5583144074_c81f2cb217Have some bread ends that you don’t want to throw away?

Learn how to make croutons from Shamika, our supervisor at PAVE Academy and create an added value product from the least desirable part of the loaf, while curbing your food waste.

The students love when Shamika’s crazy croutons make their way onto the salad bar!

Here’s how you can make them at home:

Ingredients:

  • whole wheat bread ends
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil to grease a sheet pan

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350F
  • Cut the bread into cubes
  • Place bread on a large sheet pan, sprinkle salt & pepper on top
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown

 

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early fall roasted tomatoes

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in fall recipes, healthy food, Recipes, seasonal | 0 comments

fullsizerender-16There is always inspiration to be had when faced with the bounty of late summer – early fall vegetables.

One such vegetable, shall we say fruit (!), the juicy and refreshing tomato was the perfect suspect for a seasonal food transition from warm to cooler weather.

Instead of chopping it up into a salad, it was time to turn on the oven and bring out the deep sweetness that comes from roasting these gems.

What came out on the other end, was a mouthwatering, caramelized treat that lends itself useful in many dishes.

The versatility and pure deliciousness of this humble roasted tomato allowed for the seasonal transition to be that much sweeter!

Ingredients: 

  • End of summer tomatoes
  • Olive oil, drizzle
  • Salt, to taste

Directions: 

1) Prep: Preheat your oven to 325F. Quarter your tomatoes, and arrange on a sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with salt.

2) Cook: Let them cook and bubble for 20-25 minutes, until nicely caramelized and fragrant.

3) Eat: Enjoy on fresh bread with avocado and grilled chicken (as seen in the picture), make into a sauce, use on pizza, add to frittatas, puree and use as a sandwich topping…the possibilities are endless!

This post was written by Flora McKay, Director of Community & Nutrition

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summer camp reflections

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, healthy food, summer camp | 0 comments

13882634_1141748522550748_7682930224653544935_nOne of my favorite recipes I’ve made with the young chefs during summer camp was Chipotle stuffed sweet potato skins.

They loved to scoop out the baked sweet potato from its skin. They jumped at the opportunity to squeeze lemon, shred kale and cilantro and cut the Chipotle pepper and radish. When it was time to add the cumin, salt and pepper, they all would jump at the opportunity to pinch the spices and sprinkle it over the dish. They added the corn and took turns mixing the sweet potato mixture, putting it back into the skin, sprinkling cheese and putting it on the sheet pan.

While it was in the oven they would quickly clean up their station to prepare for lunch. The counselors would put the sweet potato on the campers’ plate and we served ourselves.

From my first spoonful, I loved the dish.

The balance of the saltiness of the cheese with the sweetness of the sweet potato mixture, the corn that added a crispy texture to the creamy sweet potato and the freshness that the cilantro added was nirvana.

We asked the young chefs how they felt about the dish, I saw a couple of stuffed mouths nodding their heads and putting their thumbs up. But then I saw a few thumbs sideways and we asked what can we do to make it a thumbs up. Some children said that they don’t like spicy foods. The one comment that stuck to me the most was, “I like the flavor, but not the textures, there is too much going on here.”

13887077_1145480382177562_4024558246028311134_nDuring my time at summer camp I loved to see the campers curious to learn the different components of a dish, even if they know what is in it they love to see it separately. I can very much relate this to food service. When working at schools, I see kids enthusiastic to go to the cold bar after they get their flavorful hot food item, because it is their chance to create their own, or in other words, be a chef.

I love seeing them pick and choose different items to make a vegetarian wrap or make a yogurt parfait. It shows that kids love to make their own meals from an early age, which can help expand their minds and allows them to express their inner passion and creativity.

This post was written by Kelly Laurent, Food + Garden Summer Camp Counselor & Food Service Associate  

 

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easy steps to create a pollinator garden

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in agriculture, gardens, healthy food, pollinators | 0 comments

unnamed (2)The Churchill garden is a buzz!

Did you know that pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat everyday?

There are 430 different bee species in New York State alone, but sadly they are in trouble due to pesticides and losses in nesting habitats. Many colonies are lost to colony collapse disorder a problem whose cause is not fully understood.

Through our pollinator workshop, the students at the Churchill School & Center did their part to protect their native city dwelling bees. As pictured, their flower pots show that you don’t need a lot of space to start a pollinator garden. Here’s how they did it:

Step One: Go native with your flowers. Plant flowers that are pesticide free and local to the area. Good plants for pollinators include: aromatic herbs, colorful nectar rich flowers, and wild grasses. The students planted spearmint, violet luscious grape, blue supertunia bordeaux, orange luscious citrus blend, and local Sunset Park wheatgrass by Union Square Grassman. Bees are particularly drawn to blue flowers. The Churchill students being as pollinator inclusive as they are, also planted orange luscious citrus blend to attract red loving hummingbirds and butterflies. The orange luscious citrus blend has quickly become a yard favorite because of its amazing citrusy nectar scent.

unnamed (3)Step Two: Add water to the mix. Bees use mud to build their homes. Butterflies sip at shallow pools, mud puddles, and birdbaths. Here the students created “landing pads” by digging shallow holes outlined by a few stones. Butterflies especially love lighter colored stones. We have spotted quite a few perching themselves on the stones to cool off these past hot summer days.

Step Three: Materials for home improvement. Create small piles of twigs and brush. Bees and birds will use these materials to build their nests.

Follow these steps, and like the garden at Churchill, and you will have a beautiful garden that delights your senses and supports our garden helpers, the pollinators.

This post was written by Gisselle Madariaga, Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp Assistant Camp Director 

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roasted fiddlehead ferns

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in healthy food, local food, nutrition, Recipes, seasonal | 0 comments

IMG_1747Fiddlehead ferns may not be on your top list of things to eat this spring since they look somewhat prehistoric, but we suggest that you give them a try!

For those of you who are new to these funny looking vegetables, they are the edible fronds of young ostrich ferns, which grow wild in the Northeast.

These spring delicacies are high in iron, helping to build red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.

A delicious way to eat these fabulous fronds are to roast them. They come out tasting crispy, umami and quite addicting!

Here’s how:

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves 2-4

Ingredients: 

  • 4 oz. fiddlehead ferns
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions: 

1. Prep: Preheat your oven to 450F. Clean fiddleheads well. Place in a colander, and rinse under cold water thoroughly. In a large bowl, toss together the ingredients.

2. Cook: Place them on a sheet tray in a single layer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until crispy and tender.

This post was written by Flora McKay, Director of Community & Nutrition

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this is school lunch?

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in healthy food, lunch time, nutrition, raising children, school food | 0 comments

FullSizeRender (9)I am a Registered Dietitian with an MS in Nutrition.  Prior to joining Butter Beans I was employed by the public school system.  My job was to teach “Healthy Living” to after-school students grades K – 5.  

Initially I was impressed with the NYC school food program.  Whenever bread was served it was whole wheat.  Fresh fruit was always offered.  Milk was low-fat or skim.  Meals were served on biodegradable plates.  But as I looked closer I realized that although all the meals included a protein, starch and vegetable the choices were not always representative of these food groups.  There was a heavy focus on carbohydrates, i.e., potato or corn as vegetable often paired with an entree of pizza or a burger.  A typical example:  Cheeseburger deluxe or fish and cheese sandwich.  Deluxe toppings.  Sweet potato wedges (frozen).  Accompanied by milk (mandatory) and a fruit (fresh or frozen).  The lack of fiber, micronutrients and vitamins is obvious.  Some schools provide a salad bar.  The school where I was placed did not.  The food waste was off the hook.  

Then I met Butter Beans.  

FullSizeRender (10)On that exact same day the Butterbeans menu was BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches or herbed tofu (so delicious!), steamed kale, herbed roasted potatoes, and carrot ginger soup. All made from fresh ingredients.   

Plus the salad bar which is always available and includes at least two fresh fruits, a spread, a specialty salad, two crudités, two meats, cheeses, eggs, lettuce and greens, yogurt, granola, pickles or olives, sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches, and pita.  Milk is offered but the kids can choose.  

The immediate differences were obvious.  

Even if a child doesn’t want any of the hot food options s/he could still create a great lunch from salad bar alone.  Most make choices from both.  But equally important, in my opinion, is the minimization of food waste.  Kids are not forced to take a milk and a fruit.  They are offered the choice.  They are encouraged to “take a taste” of something they may not be sure about.  

How important is that?  

Studies have shown that even if kids are on a “food jag” or “picky eaters” that they will intuitively balance their nutritional needs over a week or so.  They just know what their body wants.  

Choices are key.  

Butter Beans offers choices to any child who may be hesitant to try a new or unfamiliar food.  We don’t require a child to take a food, instead we help them choose, educating them in the process.  

I am so proud to be a part of this food revolution!

This post was written by Tammy Chalala, Food Service Supervisor for Butter Beans

 

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