Why Youth Voices Matter The Farm Bill – Part 2

Here are some big reasons why students may want to become involved in the farm bill process:

Food for hungry children

#1. They believe that no child, regardless of their socio-economic status should go hungry. 

The farm bill provides food to eligible low income individuals and families through a program known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). SNAP replaced the old food stamp program.

Here’s how it benefits kids:

  • The highest percentage of SNAP recipients are children.
  • SNAP significantly decreases the amount of kids that go hungry. Children with full bellies generally can concentrate better at school, get better grades and have a better sense of well-being.
  • These benefits generally increase consumption of healthier foods to help reduce the risk of present or future chronic diseases; such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Local farmers market

#2. They support local foods

Local foods allow youth to know exactly how their food is grown and where it comes from – in other words food transparency.

  • They can visit farms and speak directly to the farmer.
  • The farm bill helps local farmers reach more consumers.
  • Local foods tend to be grown more sustainably and without harmful pesticides.
  • Local foods sold at local farmers markets bring the community together in a meaningful way.

Nutrition Education

#3. They recognize that more people will select nutritious foods if they understand the benefits of choosing them.

  • Recipients are currently receiving nutrition education on the benefits of foods that they are getting through the SNAP program.
  • They receive support on how to cook these foods at home.
  • They may teach recipients how to shop.
  • Nutrition education on healthy foods encourages consumption, which in turn helps reduce the risk of disease.

Fruits and veggies

#4. They believe that fresh fruits and vegetables should be subsidized first over other foods

  • Fruits and vegetables in the farm bill are considered a “specialty” crop (whatever that means??) and are not subsidized. This is why they may not be affordable to low-income individuals and families.
  • However, SNAP’s double up food bucks program does allow recipients to double the value of their SNAP benefits when they purchase fresh fruits and veggies at a farmers market or grocery store.
  • Students can advocate for these “super-healthy” foods to be subsidized first over other not-so-nutritious foods or participate in the double up food bucks program.

The senate bill is proposing establishing a “food is medicine” pilot where facilitators prescribe fresh fruits and vegetables to individuals and families.

Young Farmer

#5. They believe that it should support beginning farmers

  • It’s becoming challenging for young people to become farmers.
  • The startup fees are enormous; equipment alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Land is hard to come by and is often sold to large farming operations.
  • It’s challenging to make a living farming and so many opt out of this as a career.

So what if like me, these food politics make student’s heads spin! They can choose a more grassroots approach to changing our national food system. They may choose to “vote with their fork” and purchase more foods from local farmers, or volunteer at a local hunger organization. They may help raise funds for young farmers to get started, or become involved in local legislation to help them purchase land. They may teach cooking or nutrition classes centered on fresh fruits and vegetables. Really, the skies the limit!

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Why Youth Voices Matter The Farm Bill – Part 1

The farm bill is probably the most significant piece of legislation in our country related to farming and the foods that are served on our dinner tables.  It is reauthorized every 5 years and this is the year – 2018.

The farm bill originated in 1933 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) new deal. It was the direct result of the great depression and also the dust bowl (severe drought on prairie lands in the U.S.) that was happening at the time.

Its original purpose was to balance fair food prices for consumers with a decent wage for farmers. It helped ensure that there was an adequate amount of high-quality, nutritious food for all to eat and to protect our natural resources (air, water and soil).

The farm bill also determines crops to be subsidized (pay part of the cost of producing in order to reduce prices for consumers), which ultimately determines the majority of crops farmers will grow.

Currently, the biggest chunk of it provides food access to low-income individuals and families who cannot afford it (80% of it).

The next farm bill is expected to be finalized in September of 2018 and boy there is a lot of disagreement between the house and senate on what should be included!

The farm bill is a great way for students to begin to recognize that they have a voice in the legislative process and can start to have an impact on the future of food.

So why should young people care about the farm bill?  Because it is everywhere! It impacts everything from food that is offered to low income families, food that is served in their cafeteria (farm to school), food waste, organic food and nutrition research, nutrition education, fruit and vegetable availability and costs, seeds, soil and other conversation efforts.

Tune in tomorrow for some big reasons why students may want to become involved with the farm bill.

Did you know? One of the biggest influencers of subsidies was Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz. Back in the 1970’s he decided that soybean and corn would be heavily subsidized, resulting in A LOT of farmers growing these crops in order to survive. Hence the reason we have corn as fuel, animal feed and high fructose corn syrup. It’s in everything!!!

 

Gen Z – The New Food Movement

Image Source: Classy – https://www.classy.org/blog/gen-z-next-generation-donors/

There has been so much talk about Millennials lately that many have forgotten the next Generation right around the corner – Generation Z.

Generation Z are those born in 1995 or after (some say it’s more like 1996, depending on who you ask).  Some of them are teenagers, while others are in their early 20’s and are in or starting college. Either way, they are starting to shape their own food future.

This generation, even more so then millennials wants to make a difference in the world – especially their food world.

  • 60% want their work to make a difference in the world
  • 76% are worried about the planet
  • 75% of this generation consider themselves foodies

It’s no surprise as many of them are children of parents that were born in the 60’s or 70’s – the decades that started the food revolution. You know, the generation lost in space!

So what do we have to look forward to with this next generation of food enthusiasts?

Sustainable Food

#1. They care deeply about sustainability

  • Gen z’ers are a very environmentally and socially conscious generation
  • They want to know the story of their food from farm to table
  • Gen z’ers want an abundance of sustainable food that has a positive impact on people  and the planet

Heart shaped fruit

#2. They want health supporting foods

  • Gen z’ers love to snack but want healthy snack options
  • They prefer to snack on the go vs. sitting down for a meal
  • Gen z’ers have learned how to set healthy eating habits in school and at home
  • They know that whole, unprocessed foods are the more nutritious choice

They are also interested in boosting energy throughout the day – so energy drinks are on the rise!

Food acceptance

#3. They accept new foods easily

  • Gen z’ers are more likely to have been exposed to new and different foods early in life and are willing to try new ones
  • They have been exposed to foods from all over the world and enjoy them!
  • Gen z’ers are willing to at least try unusual flavors and ingredients

Teen purchasing

#4. They are starting to purchase their own food

  • Gen z’ers want foods that taste good, contain quality ingredients and are a good price
  • They care more about small, local foods vs. the big name brands
  • Gen z’ers buy from companies that share their values
  • They are willing to pay for foods that support the environment and support food companies with a social mission

MCHS Fresh Salsa Fiesta #2

#5. They love to cook!

  • Gen z’ers love to express themselves through the meals they make
  • They like to make their own creations and often do not follow a recipe
  • Gen z’ers may take pictures of their creation and share on social media
  • They generally learned how to cook at an early age

Cooking is very empowering to them!

So… any of you that educate students; you know teachers, parents community members, have this unique opportunity to help shape the food habits of this young, amazingly socially conscious generation.  You can have a conversation with them about sustainable foods or explain the benefits of choosing more whole, nutritious foods. You can bring this information to life by taking them on a tour of a farm or community garden, introducing them to more fresh and local food manufacturers or just helping them learn how to cook – a skill that lasts a lifetime!

Homemade Pickles – It’s a Big Dill!

I never knew how incredibly easy it is to make homemade pickles.  But now that I’ve made them, I want to do it all the time.  I love that you can put your stamp on them by adding your own special ingredients!

Pickling cucumbers to make “pickles” can be traced back as far as 2030 BC from their native roots in India.  Pickling was a necessity back then as a means to preserve food for long periods of time. This was important for sailors who could take them on long journeys and not have them spoil, but also for families needing food to survive over the lengthy, cold winters.

Homemade pickling can be done a couple of different ways.  One is to use salt brine and the other is to add vinegar. The salt brine method is used when you want to ferment the cucumbers.  Cucumbers are naturally found covered in lactobacillus (a type of friendly bacteria or probiotic). Lactobacillus helps with digestion. Fermenting them in salt brine causes this healthy bacterium to grow, while at the same time suppressing any bad bacteria that may cause spoilage or disease. Additionally, salt helps draw the moisture out of the cucumber, so it can be replaced with the salty brine and give them a lot of flavor.

Vinegar negates the fermentation process, so if you’re looking for probiotic benefits, you want to avoid using vinegar.  The benefit to making pickles with vinegar is that it allows you to make a salt-free version without losing the pungent flavor in the process.

Pickles come in wide variety of shapes, sizes and flavors. They can be cut into strips or slices and made into dill pickles, kosher dills, sour pickles, bread and butter chips (sweet pickles) or made hot and spicy.

Generally, store bought pickles are loaded with salt.  For example in one brand, 2 ½ pickle chips contain about 16% of our daily recommended amount of salt.  In another instance the serving size is 2/3rds of a pickle (who eats only 2/3rds of a pickle??? – I don’t know) and contains about 10% of our daily recommended amount of sodium or salt.

These pickles also contain artificial ingredients like polysorbate 80, Yellow 5, high fructose corn syrup, calcium chloride, sodium benzoate and natural flavors.

The homemade versions have simple ingredients and are low in calories. Plus they contain a little bit of nutrition; fiber, protein, iron (7% of your daily recommended amount), potassium and calcium. And they are high in antioxidants, most notably from all of the spices.

Processed with VSCO with fp2 preset

EASY-PEASY HOMEMADE PICKLE RECIPE

Basic recipe – makes 1 pint (about 5-6 spears)

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 3 pearl onions (whole) or a few chunks chopped sweet onions
  • Sprinkle of black peppercorns (about 10)
  • Sprinkle organic black mustard seeds (about 10)
  • 1-2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt-free pickling spice – I used a local spice shop; Savory Spices mix consisting of Saigon cinnamon, Lampong black peppercorns, brown and yellow mustard seeds, ginger, coriander, dill seeds, mace, allspice, juniper berries, cloves, chiles, cracked Turkish bay leaves.
  • 3 mini seedless cucumbers, cut into spears or slices
  • ½ plus 1/8th cup water
  • ½ plus 1/8th cup vinegar (can use distilled white vinegar, white vinegar condiment – with grape must or apple cider vinegar)
  • OR 1 ¼ cup of water mixed with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt (in place of the vinegar if you want to ferment them).

Optional add ins: celery stalks, fresh jalapenos, banana peppers or habaneros, dried chili peppers, fennel, grape leaves, cinnamon, celery seeds, nutmeg, caraway seeds, sprinkle of honey, granulated garlic or other vegetables such as carrots, peppers or asparagus.

Directions:

  1. Add fresh dill sprigs to the bottom of a pint-sized mason jar.
  2. Add in garlic, onion, peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaves, pickling spices and any optional ingredients.
  3. Place 5-6 cucumber spears on top of spices in the jar. They should line up with the top of the jar.
  4. Pour in vinegar and then water.
  5. Cover with a Mason jar lid, tighten the lid and then shake jar to mix in all of the ingredients and spices.
  6. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for 2-3 days or 2 weeks (if you use salt brine and want it to ferment).
  7. Serve with you or your families’ favorite summertime meal.
Nutrition Facts with added salt
1 pint – Servings: 3
Amount per serving  
Calories 28
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.1g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 44mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 4.2g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1.4g 5%
Total Sugars 1.5g  
Protein 1.3g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 36mg 3%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 68mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Recipe analyzed by VeryWell

 

The Whole Enchilada

Yes, I actually made the enchiladas in the picture! I’m not sure why I haven’t made homemade enchilada sauce in the past, but now that I have I am hooked. The sauce recipe I found and tweaked has a deep rich flavor that is tomatoey and spicy and definitely has an authentic feel to it.

It takes a little longer than most of the recipes I recommend, deseeding took me quite a while, but certainly worth the extra effort.  Try and make sure to deseed with the windows open and gloves on as the fierce pepper dust smell overtook my eyes and nostrils.

Searching online for recipes, I came across a lot made with “chili powder.” Some were light in color and didn’t have that dark red color or deep rich flavor. That just didn’t feel authentic to me, so I kept searching to find one made with actual chili’s. Chili’s by the way are spelled with an “e” in the Mexican culture, meaning it’s a pepper.

The word Enchiladas means – seasoned with peppers or chilies. The sauce usually consists of chilies, tomatoes and spices. The green chilies pack more heat than the red ones. Like a lot of Mexican cuisine, they are made by wrapping a tortilla around food. In the case of enchiladas it’s a corn tortilla wrapped around a myriad of ingredients including; beans, corn, spinach, squash, onions, broccoli, possibly meat and a sprinkle of cheese.

The difference between an enchilada and a burrito is that enchiladas require baking as part of their preparation and they are slimmer than burritos. In New Mexico because they often use blue corn tortillas and they are harder to roll, their enchiladas are stacked. They are layered with food in-between each layer which almost gives them a lasagna-like look and feel.

Enchiladas, especially those loaded with cheese are loaded with fat and calories, especially saturated fat.  One enchilada may contain as much as 55% of the daily recommended amount of saturated fat and a bucket-load of salt.

If you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo this weekend (May 5th), think about serving some enchiladas too – it’s National Enchilada Day!

Authentic Enchilada Sauce – Spicier

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 ounces dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 ounce dried hatch or Anaheim chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 medium tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

Directions: 

  1. Add water, chile peppers and cinnamon to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until chile peppers are tender.
  2. Drain the chile peppers in a colander held over a bowl in order to preserve the cooking liquid.
  3. Sprinkle a medium sauté pan with olive oil and warm on medium heat. Reduce to low and add the onions. Cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the tomato, garlic and spices to the mixture and continue cooking over low heat for about 5 minutes longer.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the peppers and most of the water. Puree until smooth. If desired, add the remaining water and/or additional water along the way to thin the mixture.
  6. Add more olive oil to the sauté pan and then the blended mixture. Cook on high heat until mixture comes to a simmer, then reduce to low and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to favorite enchilada recipe.

Adopted from: Foodiecrush – https://www.foodiecrush.com/how-to-make-authentic-enchilada-sauce/

Veggie Bean Enchiladas

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups homemade enchilada sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 bag frozen spinach, slightly thawed
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans or 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
  • Sprinkle of Monterey Jack or vegan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 whole corn tortillas
  • Cilantro for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Lightly grease a shallow baking pan with olive oil.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt.
  3. Reduce to medium low and cook onions until they are soft (around 7-10 minutes).
  4. Add the broccoli and bell pepper and cook covered for 8-9 minutes until broccoli starts to soften.
  5. Mix in the cumin and cinnamon and cook for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the spinach and cook until warm and no longer clumped together.
  7. Transfer the contents to a medium size bowl. Add the beans, a sprinkle of cheese and about 2 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Assemble the enchiladas: Add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of the baking pan.
  9. Heat tortilla over low heat in a sauté pan or warm in a tortilla warmer.
  10. Place on a flat surface and add about ½ cup filling to the center of the tortilla.  Fold right side over tightly, and then repeat for left side. Fold both ends. Place seam side down in your baking pan.
  11. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.
  12. Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas and then sprinkle a small amount of cheese on top.
  13. Bake for 20-30 minutes until tortilla looks golden.
  14. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
  15. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

More Soup for You!

It’s no wonder that one of the coldest months of the year; January is also National Soup Month. The heated broth warms your insides!! Soup actually started as a means to preserve food for a longer period of time and later evolved with the addition of meat and vegetables as a way to keep these ingredients warm.

Now we can enjoy soup homemade in a can (Umm, umm, good Campbell’s soup has been around since 1869), frozen or even dried. We can eat it in a soup bowl, in a cup, the inside of a pumpkin or squash and even in a make-shift bread bowl. Slurping is a given!

Soup is one of those meals that you don’t really need a recipe to make it great.  Start with a veggie broth (low or regular sodium, depending on your preference) and add to it some Colorado beans and as many different kinds of vegetables as you would like from your local grocer.

Potatoes are an excellent addition!

Winter is a great time to make hearty soups with potatoes, especially since they are in-season in Colorado all year long. I recently made a recipe with several of them including; mini yams, purple sweet potatoes and Yukon golds.

Soup is a bowl of nutrition!!

The mini yams are an excellent, excellent, excellent source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium and fiber (20% of our daily recommended amount). The natural chemicals responsible for the bright purple color in purple sweet potatoes, contains the anti-oxidant anthocyanin, which has anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.

I also added a bunch of vegetables including purple kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is a German word; Kohl means “cabbage” and rabi means “turnip.” These are a type of cruciferous vegetables, which means they are cancer-fighters. They also pair well with Indian spices.

One of my favorite winter comfort soups is the potato, leek and corn chowder below. If you haven’t tried leeks before, they are a “blown up” version of a green scallion. Leeks are an excellent source of Vitamin K and a great source of B6, folate, iron and Vitamin C. Plus they contain allium, the same phytonutrient found in garlic that helps boost our immune system. Make sure you include the whole leek and not just the white part as the green part contains the most active nutrients.

Potato Leak Soup

 

Potato, Leek and Corn Chowder

Serve: 6 

Ingredients: 

  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 large leek, chopped (cut off ends of greens)
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (to thicken soup)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (use low or no-sodium if desired)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (can use regular cream or lite coconut milk to lower fat content)
  • 1-2 limes, quartered
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Making the recipe:  

  1. Heat olive oil and a pinch of salt over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and leeks and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add celery, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Sauté for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes and carrots and mix well.
  4. Next, stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add vegetable broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  6. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are softer.
  7. Add corn, return to a boil then reduce heat to simmer again and cook until all vegetables are tender.
  8. Remove from heat and remove bay leaf.
  9. Add the coconut milk and stir well.
  10. Blend ½ of the recipe in a blender on puree setting or use an immersion blender to combine. Add back to the remaining recipe in the pot.
  11. Serve in a bread bowl and if desired sprinkle in ¼ slice of lime.

Creamy and sweet, yum!  Plus it is an excellent source of fiber, potassium and iron!

Want more? Share your recipes below or on our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

2018 Food and Nutrition Trends Clean Meat

Now here’s a very interesting food trend – Clean meat.  When we saw this, we thought – we have to find out more! CM is made from the cells of animals, eliminates the need for animal slaughter and supposedly tastes like the “real” thing.

How are they made? They take a tiny bit of muscle fiber from an animal, isolate the cells that are the precursor to skeletal muscle and start culturing them in a lab. The cells keep dividing and growing until you have an actual muscle that is “meat” ready to eat.

What products are being tested right now? So far, they have made ground meat, chicken nuggets, hot dogs and hamburgers.

Why are they doing this? The speculation is that these foods will be better for the environment, reduce animal suffering, eliminate antibiotic use and can be mass-produced.

Companies that have already jumped on the bandwagon: Hampton Creek, the makers of “Just Mayo” (the vegan mayo), have said they will have a product to market by 2018 while MosaMeat, a ground out of the Netherlands predicts they will have something to market by 2021.

“An inspirational look into a future where the cellular agricultural revolution helps lower rates of foodborne illness, greatly improves environmental sustainability, and allows us to continue to enjoy the food we love.”

 Kathleen Sebelius – former U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services

Source: https://cleanmeat.com/praise/

We’d love to hear what you think about this new trend.  Feel free to share you thoughts below or on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AnOunceofNutrition/.

STUFFED Turban Squash Shell

A great way to “dazzle” thanksgiving guests is by making a turban squash recipe. I like to stuff mine, because it just looks so beautiful when finished.

The recipe below has a few different components to it which makes it ideal for a family to make.  Each person can make a different part of the recipe and then add it all together at the end.  It is a little more complicated than some of the recipes we recommend, so is most suited for those who love to cook!

The Turban Squash is an heirloom winter squash (means its seeds originate from the originals).  It was first mentioned in a publication back in the early 1800’s in France.

The top of the squash is shaped like a “turban”, hence the name.  It comes in a variety of different colors and shapes and has a mild, nutty-like taste.

You can make so many recipes with this squash.  You can stuff it, serve in chunks, make a dip with it or puree to make a creamy soup.

The flesh is an “orange” color which means its high in Vitamin A. It also is an excellent source of Vitamin C and contains calcium and iron.

Stuffed Turban Squash Shell Recipe

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Turban Squash

  • 1 medium-sized turban squash
  • Organic Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon, whole and unrefined

Toasted Sourdough Bread Cubes

  • ½ cup homemade sourdough bread – I used the garlic sourdough bread from Great Harvest Bread Company in Denver, CO – such a hearty and pure tasting bread! https://www.facebook.com/greatharvestdenver/
  • Organic Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • Granulated garlic
  • Coarse ground sea salt

Candied Pecans

  • 1 cup organic American native pecans
  • Maple syrup
  • Coarse ground sea salt

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts
  • Organic Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • Coarse ground sea salt                     

Cranberries sweetened with apple juice

Directions:

Turban Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Carve out the turban part of the squash using a really sharp knife. Pop the top off and save it.
  4. Discard seeds and pulp from the top and bottom portions.
  5. Brush the flesh with olive oil. Place on baking pan, cut side down and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for at least ½ hour.
  7. Scoop out flesh onto a cutting board using a spoon. IMPORTANT: Be sure to keep the shell!
  8. Cut into “pseudo” bite size pieces. Squash will be a little mushy.
  9. Place in medium-sized bowl. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon. Mix together.
  10. Set aside.

Toasted Sourdough Bread Cubes

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Cut sourdough bread into cubes.
  4. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle a line of olive oil around and just above the cubes (not on them).
  5. Sprinkle with granulated garlic and sea salt and mix together.
  6. Spread on baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool. Set aside.

Candied Pecans

  1. Heat sauté pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add pecans to pan.
  3. Lightly coat with maple syrup and sprinkle salt on it.
  4. Heat pecans until liquid is dissolved and pecans start to stick together.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Rinse and then cut off ends of Brussels sprouts.
  4. Add to bowl and mix together with olive oil and sea salt.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet, cut side down.
  6. Put in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check after 10 minutes if you have baby sprouts.

Assembly

  1. Add a big scoop of squash flesh to the shell.
  2. Top with a scoop of Brussels sprouts, candied pecans and a few cranberries.
  3. Continue this process until squash shell is overfilled.
  4. Dab in pieces of the sourdough cubes on top of the mixture. Serve warm.

“Vegilicious” Soup

SOUP is the ultimate winter comfort food. Curling up with a bowl of hot soup and a slice of hot bread is like heaven on a cold day.  And it’s nutritious too!

When I make soup, I love to start with a base of veggie broth and then throw in whatever vegetables are in my refrigerator. It’s fun and you can discover some incredible flavor combinations you’ve never experienced before by making it this way.

Soup’s History: It’s hard to say exactly how soup came to be because it’s been around for so long, but I suspect it was most likely for economic reasons. When food was scarce, you could certainly stretch it a lot further by making a broth and then adding pieces of chopped up food vs. having an entire meal to yourself. Plus, it was more filling to eat it this way too.

I think this kind of sums up the value of it:

In one form or another, soup has been around since 20,000 B.C. and it’s easy to see why. A handful of ingredients on their own will only feed a handful of people, but if you were to cook them with herbs and spices in water, soup can feed a whole community. https://www.gloriousfoods.co.uk/inspiration/a-brief-history-of-soup

“Nutritalicous” Veggie Soup: The recipe below has all of the ingredients you need to make a healthy, nutritious meal.  It has vegetables, protein (beans) and grains (pasta).  You can even sub out whole grain pasta for the gluten-free kind.

And here’s what I love about it!

  • It’s naturally low in calories, fat and saturated fat.
  • It’s an excellent source of fiber!
  • It’s high in protein.
  • It’s also an excellent source of iron and potassium. Two nutrients that Americans can’t ever seem to get enough of.

Most of the protein in this recipe comes from the beans. If you’ve ever heard me speak, chances are I’ve talked about how beans are the most “perfect” food.  They are naturally low in calories, fat and saturated fat and extremely high in fiber! For example, the white beans in this recipe can have up to 19 grams of fiber in a cup and the kidney beans – 16 grams.  Even if you only ate ¼ cup of each of these types of beans in your meal, you would still consume around 9 grams of fiber – still an excellent source!  Beans are also a great source of protein, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate and B6. And not to mention all of the phytonutrients or antioxidants they contain. Very healthy stuff!

This recipe not only has a savory flavor, but also has an added sweetness from the tomatoes that sneaks up on you at the end. I even added an ugly carrot to enhance the sweetness.

Vegetable Soup

Paula’s “Vegilicious” Soup

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4-5 cloves of minced garlic
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 zucchini – diced
  • 1 cup frozen Italian green beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) cannelloni (white kidney beans) – drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) red kidney beans – drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 4 ounces cooked pasta – small shells (about 1 cup)
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Sprinkle of pepper

Instructions

  • Heat oil in large sauce pan over med heat. Add onion and cook stirring occasional for 5 mins. Add garlic and cook 1 min.
  • Stir in broth, zucchini, corn, green beans and seasonings. Bring to boil and reduce to low, cover and simmer 10 mins until veggies are tender.
  • Stir in tomatoes with juice and drained beans. Simmer for 30 mins.
  • Add pasta to bowl and add soup on top with basil and seasonings and serve. I enjoyed this with a slice of avocado toast.  Ummm, ummm good!

A special thank you to Paula Schmelter Koszarek @wagthedogmedia for sharing this incredibly delicious vegetable soup recipe with us.

***If you have a recipe you would like to share with our teachers and students, please send it our way and if we can, we will highlight it, along with its nutritional value on one of our blog posts.

Healthy Halloween – Candy Corn Smoothie

I love candy corn at Halloween!  So when I saw this candy corn smoothie recipe online, I just had to try it – with some adaptions of course.  Adapted from: Toni Dash. It was pretty good.

The wheels are already spinning and I think that next time I will make it with lemon, orange and Greek Yogurt layers.  But still a fun recipe you can make with your students.

Please let us know if you have made this recipe and if so, what you used for the layers?

Candy Corn Smoothie

Candy Corn Taste in a Glass

Yields: 2 smoothies

Ingredients:

Yellow Layer

  • ½ cup fresh pineapple – cut and diced.
  • ½ large banana
  • 2 tablespoons water

Orange Layer

  • 1 cup fresh papaya – I used can since papaya (unsweetened) wasn’t in season and unavailable
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange (no sugar added and not from concentrate)
  • If desired: ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

White Layer

  •  ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • If desired: ¼ teaspoon vanilla

Directions: 

  • Place wide-rimmed martini shaped glasses in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  • While glasses are chilling, blend ingredients in a blender for the yellow layer (pineapple, banana and water).
  • Add a thin layer to the bottom of the martini glass.  Chill 15-20 minutes.
  • While yellow layer is chilling, rinse blender then blend together ingredients for the orange layer (papaya, orange juice and cinnamon).
  • Pour this layer on top of the yellow layer in a thin circular motion so that it does not mix with the yellow layer.  I chilled my yellow layer until it was almost icy, so that it would hold.
  • Chill for 15-20 minutes.
  • While orange layer is chilling, rinse blender and then blend together ingredients for the white layer (coconut milk, coconut cream, honey and vanilla).
  • Pour this layer on top of the orange layer in a thin circular motion, again making sure that it does not mix with the layers below it.
  • Serve as is or chill again and then serve.

 This recipe is a good source of fiber, iron and potassium.