Meet T'Liza Kiel: 2017 Volunteer of the Year!

Volunteer Coordinator
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T'liza farm.jpgWe are excited and honored to name T'Liza Kiel the 2017 Volunteer of the Year for Recipe for Success Foundation. T'Liza connected with Recipe for Success Foundation through her work at Hope Farms with The Mission Continues 4th Platoon. T'Liza immediately connected with the Sunnyside community, which reminded her of La Marque, Texas, her hometown. Sunnyside's similarity to La Marque, as well as the fact that Hope Farms allows access to fresh produce to an area identified as a food desert, increased the significance of her service. As the Veterans Behavioral Health Director for Mental Health America of Greater Houston, T'Liza recognizes the positive effects fresh produce has on physical and mental well-being. Because the subject of mental health still carries a stigma, her work on the farm can serve as a conduit to open conversations with peers and community members concerning how a healthy diet positively influences mental health. For T'Liza, the urban farm exists as "a world of impact in one place".

In 2016, The Mission Continues Platoon learned their team could help make a big impact at Hope Farms. Not knowing the farm wasn't in full production, T'Liza was surprised upon her first visit to the farm to see an open field without crops. She remembers looking at Chief Agricultural Officer, Justin Myers, asking, "Where's the farm?" When he responded, "with that big Justin grin...'You're looking at it' ", T'Liza then understood their team truly had the opportunity to make an impact. She appropriately named their first service project "Breaking Ground". Since then, T'Liza and her team have watched the farm grow to fully operational with Saturday Farmers Markets, cooking demonstrations, and a weekly farm share program.

Aside from the good feelings derived from her service on the farm, T'Liza continues to volunteer because if organizations such as The Mission Continues and Recipe for Success Foundation existed during her childhood, it would have positively affected her life. "Volunteering is a humbling experience and since I am no longer in the Military, this is my continued way to serve my community," she says.

Outside of volunteering, this busy full time working mom of a three year old also cares for her sixteen year old sister and amazingly still finds time to nurture her passion, writing. "I aspire to be a bestselling author one day!" She also enjoys completing home projects with her husband of five years including starting their own home garden.

On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, Recipe for Success Foundation will honor T'Liza for her service to the foundation. As Justin Myers says, her "genuine enthusiasm and passion for service and her work with Hope Farms made a tremendous impact in mobilizing and uniting her fellow The Mission Continues volunteers. She first came to the farm when it was a mere field and over the course the year, she played a critical role in helping to shape and build the farm into the reality of today. Her positivity and commitment to the farm and mission of Recipe for Success as left an everlasting and valuable impact."

Thank you, T'Liza!

Roasted Fall Vegetables

Justin Kouri
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Recipe by Chef Al King

Photo by Justin Kouri

If it's cold in Texas, we're willing to bet it's cold where you are! Warm up with some roasted veggies. The some zesty gremolata, makes this recipe one of our favorites!

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 pound carrots, peeled, halved & cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound parsnips, peeled, halved & cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound turnips, cut into 1-inch wedges

1¼ pound brussel sprouts, halved

½ pound shallots, quatered

3 tablespoon grape seed oil

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, destemmed & minced

1 garlic clove, minced

¾ cup pecans, coarsely ground

¼ cup Romano pecorino cheese, grated

1 lemon, zested & juiced

1 tablespoon grape seed oil

2 tablespoon grape seed oil, for garnish

1 tablespoon lemon juice, for garnish

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with foil.
  2. Place the carrots, parsnips, turnips, brussel sprouts, and shallots in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil, salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.
  3. Place the vegetables on the lined sheet pan and roast the vegetables for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Stir every 10 minutes to ensure even roasting.
  4. Remove sheet pan from the oven. Transfer the vegetables to a large platter to cool.
  5. Prepare the gremolata by combining parsley, garlic, lemon zest and juice, pecans, cheese and 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium size bowl.
  6. Add salt to taste. Mix to combine.
  7. Before serving, drizzle the vegetables with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. then sprinkle the gremolata over the vegetables. Enjoy!

Garden Pesto

Justin Kouri
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Swing by Hope Farms this weekend to purchase some lovely greens. We'll show you how to make a veggie packed pesto, which can be frozen for flavor loaded additional to your favorite fall and winter dishes!!!

Garden Pesto

Photo & Recipe by Justin Kouri

Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients

1 cup basil

½ cup arugula (or other greens)

2 tablespoons oregano

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

¼ cup parmesan, finely grated

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

1 lemon, juiced

To taste salt & pepper

1 cup olive oil

Procedure

  1. Combine basil, arugula, oregano, garlic and walnuts in a food processor. Pulse until fine.

  2. Add parmesan, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until incorporated.

  3. While food processor is running, stream in olive oil until emulsified.

  4. Use pesto on pasta, sauteed vegetables or in scrambled eggs. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Pesto can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one (1) week.

  • Try freezing pesto in ice cube trays for already portioned single servings to use all season. Frozen peso will keep for up to one (1) month

Happy Healthy Halloween Treats

Justin Kouri
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Charred Long Beans

Recipe & Photo by Justin Kouri

These long beans look like witch's fingers. But if you can't get your hangs on long beans, green beans work just as well. Have a fun and healthy Halloween!

Ingredients

1 pound long beans, trimmed & halved

5 cloves garlic, smashed

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons grape seed oil

½ cup yogurt

2 tablespoons sirracha

1 teaspoon ginger, peeled & grated

1 lime, juiced

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 500F.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine long beans, garlic, soy sauce and grape seed oil.

  3. Toss to evenly coat. Transfer to a parchment paper lined sheet tray.

  4. Roast for 15-20, or until bean become darken and shrivel.

  5. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

  6. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, sirracha, ginger and lime juice in a small mixing bowl.

  7. Gently stir the ingredients.

  8. Serve along side the long beans. Enjoy!

Kale Chips

Justin Kouri
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Kale Chips

Photo & Recipe by Justin Kouri

Yields: About 4 cups

Ingredients

1 bunch kale, destemmed and torn into 1-2" pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 lemon, zested

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to evenly coat.

  3. Transfer kale to a parchment paper lined sheet tray.

  4. Season kale with salt and pepper.

  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

  6. Remove kale chips from the oven. Zest lemon over kale chips immediately.

  7. Enjoy!

John Niscavits is October's Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Coordinator
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John N.jpgCongratulations to John Niscavits, our October volunteer of the month. Hope Farms has benefited greatly from John's dedication to farm work assisting with production and post-hurricane restoration. With a personal interest in organic gardening and achieving partial self sustainment by supplementing with home grown produce, John sought out a hands-on experience in urban agriculture. "Recipe For Success' investment into Hope Farms has given me opportunities to enrich my understanding of growing food organically, as well as how to grow more efficiently," he says, adding that he and a fellow friend and neighbor would like to introduce these methods into their Hobby District community. John laughs about his ambitions and comments that his growing enthusiasm for urban farming evokes the desire to till up his front yard and plant rows of corn, joking, "Maybe one day we can write that into our deed restrictions."

When casting aside visions of corn rows, John works as a full-time nurse in neurotrauma intensive care and serves at Neartown Church, playing music and leading Bible studies. He also plays and records music with a close friend and Houston area producer and often collaborates with his wife, a songwriter as well. His family enjoys being outdoors, hiking, camping, and fishing in their free time.

John continues to volunteer at Hope Farms because of the relationships he's built with the Recipe for Success staff, apprentices, and fellow volunteers. Through meaningful conversations and gratifying work, John always learns something new, "whether it's about farming, gardening, or life in general." One of his favorite memories while volunteering was created when he and an intern built the greenhouse doors. It wasn't the construction of the doors that excited John, but the knowledge that he was contributing to a structure that would house all of the farm's seedlings and understanding these seedlings would eventually turn into an abundant harvest.

Chief Agricultural Officer, Justin Myers, along with the rest of the Recipe for Success team, is grateful for John's contribution to the farm through the scorching summer months to our first fall planting. Justin adds, "John's kind nature, authenticity, and positive energy has been a welcome and valuable presence to the farm's growth and success." Thank you, John, for your support of Hope Farms!

Lunchbox Side

Justin Kouri
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Pool Side Veggie Dip

Recipe & Photo by Justin Kouri

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredient

2 cups summer greens (spinach, tetragonia and/or amaranth)

2 lemons, juiced

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

Procedure

  1. Combine greens, lemon juice, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes in a food processor.

  2. Pulse until greens are finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Be sure to periodically scrape down the sides.

  3. Add cream cheese to the processor with the greens and continue to pulse for another minute.

  4. Transfer to a bowl and serve with crudity, pita bread or tortilla chips. Enjoy!

*Note: Can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Order Your Farm Share

Recipe for Success
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Eggplant Street Tacos

Justin Kouri
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Eggplant Taco Filling

Recipe by Justin Kouri

Yields: 4-6 servings

Sometimes we want a vegetarian taco! Try using eggplant. This easy recipe cooks in the oven giving you time to prep the other fixings.

Ingredients

2 eggplants, 1" cubes

1 onion, cut into 1/8s

3 cloves garlic

1 tomato, cut into 1/8s

1 jalapeno, cored and deseeded

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

2 tablesppons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.

  2. Combine eggplant, onion, garlic, tomato, jalapeno, cumin and coriander in a large bowl.

  3. Drizzle olive oil over eggplant mixture, toss to coat. Season with salt.

  4. Transfer eggplant mixture to a parchment lined sheet tray and pop into the oven. Roast for 15 minutes or until vegetables are nicely browned.

  5. Remove eggplant mixture from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.

  6. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until chunky.

  7. Use as taco filling along with other taco fixings. Enjoy!

EatThis! Summer Camp 2017

Volunteer Coordinator
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IMG_3151.JPGThere's no place like RecipeHouse in the summer. Our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs don't end on the last day of school, they just turn the page to a new chapter: summer camps! In our themed camps, kids learn how to easily prepare and enjoy healthy foods, and during visits to Hope Farms they see how their favorite new foods are grown and harvested.

In June, our Eat This! camp, inspired by Marco Polo's journey on the Silk Road, explored the culinary cultures of Greece, Italy, India, and China. Campers earned stamps in their passports for making a delicious dish that celebrated each country With fresh produce from Hope Farms, children cooked up Greek salad, Italian homemade pasta with tomatoes and kale, and Chinese stir fry. Times between meals were used to learn about Marco Polo's journey and the different countries and cultures which he visited. With the help of these stories, the kids learned that these unknown food and cultures were not 'weird' but rather 'different' versions of many things they already loved.

Danielle, a camp helper, says "I'm always surprised at how much the kids love the curry we make. It just goes to show how kids can like all different types of foods if they just try them".

Another camp counselor noticed that kids who at the beginning did not care for tomatoes, were eating the Hope Farms cherry tomatoes like candy!

"The favorite day for our Marco Polo campers was definitely the last day in China", says Danielle. Each kid created their own version of stir fry and all of the campers sat in a circle- traditional Chinese family style. This last meal marks the end of camp and represents the family that the campers have created during the week!

At Recipe for Success we make it our mission to change the way children see and appreciate healthy foods, and camps at the RecipeHouse are no different. For more details about upcoming programs, contact justinkouri@recipe4success.org

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