2017 Archives

Bruce Simon is Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

Bruce Edit.jpgWhile on summer break from his three year stretch as a substitute teacher, Bruce was in search of a volunteer opportunity in which he could positively impact children's lives. He learned of Recipe for Success Foundation through Volunteer Houston and jumped in feet first, engaging in summer camp, hope farms work days, and office work dedicating over 150 hours this summer alone. In the office, Bruce singlehandedly organized a mailing list for an upcoming event and helped convert hundreds of documents into electronic files. Chief Agricultural Officer, Justin Myers, commented on Bruce's "dedicated and positive presence on the farm throughout the heat of the summer. His calm nature and hard work have allowed the farm to navigate through epic weeding and make a successful transition into preparations for the fall planting season."

No matter the task, Bruce feels that his work serves a purpose. Though he may not always directly interact with children, he understands that the work performed ultimately helps them. Introduced to gardening during childhood through time spent at his grandmother's Houston home, Bruce had access to fresh okra, tomatoes, and corn. It wasn't until he joined the army that he learned the retail cost of these vegetables and understood one of the benefits of growing one's own produce. Since then, Bruce has hoped to have a garden of his own one day. His time spent volunteering during summer camp this year helped develop a new appreciation for a variety of veggies. "Paola has turned me into a kale freak," he adds, commenting that he now substitutes kale where he once ate lettuce. Outside of volunteering and when not acting as a hero in the classroom as a sub, Bruce enjoys nature and particularly likes to take road trips with his two sons.

Chronicle Reports on Hope

Recipe for Success
Vote 0 Votes

Chron image of Justin.jpgNonprofit Recipe for Success brings produce, jobs to Sunnyside as reported by John D. Harden / Houston Chronicle, August 7, 2017

By mid-morning, Justin Myers' hands were covered with dirt, his stubble dripped with sweat and his clothes smelled like the dark soil he was using to plant the upcoming season's crops.

He and six other volunteers arrived in Sunny-side at 6 a.m. Wednesday to tend to the okra, cabbage and peppers planted through winter and spring and to prepare for the farm's first autumn production. <<Read the entire article.>>

The Students of Monarch School and Institute are our July Volunteer Stars!

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

Monarch.jpg

In late 2016, Montia Murray, Professional Educator at The Monarch School and Institute, contacted Recipe for Success Foundation, hoping to form a partnership in the hopes of establishing an opportunity to introduce the school's adult learners to the practice of serving others. Our office welcomed the new year and smiling faces of a select group of Monarch students who visited RecipeHouse to serve as office angels. These energetic individuals assisted with event mailings, press kit assembly, and inventory updates. It was always a treat to welcome their enthusiasm into an otherwise quiet and standard office day; their efforts helped improve office efficiency and decreased turnaround time for a mass event mailing.

Students at the Monarch School and Institute are diagnosed with neurological differences, primarily Autism. The program works on a Four Core Goal model that includes Self-awareness/Self-Regulation, Relationship Development, Executive Functioning, and Professional Competence. Montia felt the Office Angel opportunity matched with the program's four core goals and the students were "able to practice all of their goals while making a meaningful contribution to the community."

Thank you to the students of Monarch School and Institute for dedicating your time to help us combat childhood obesity. We hope to see you in the fall!

Chef Justin featured in Eating Well May/June 2017

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

The editorial team at Eating Well are ramping up their veggie intake and challenging each other in VegOut! this month. They praise the work of Recipe for Success in their most recent publication and feature Chef Justin Kouri, along with his recipe that gives a spin to the "humble" radish. Get out your mixing bowl and give Chef Justin's Grilled Green Beans with Watermelon-Radish Salsa a try!

Eating Well May:June 2017.pdf

Eating Well.png

Meet Mary Goodman: June Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

IMG_0691.JPGSince joining the volunteer team, Mary has lent her time and talents helping to improve our foundation's office systems, increasing our everyday efficiency. Whether its data entry, research, document scanning, or stuffing and sealing event invitations, Mary offers her eagle eye and sharp wit to each project and contributes solutions to make a process better. "I really enjoy my work as an office angel," she says, "The work is not complicated...I find it very satisfying and the effort is always appreciated."

Born a first generation American in Newark, the most populated city in New Jersey, Mary embraced the city life, later living in Milwaukee and eventually settling in Houston. While working toward her Masters in Science at the University of Houston, her student office also served as an aquaponics garden. A city girl at heart, Mary was unfamiliar with farming and gardening. However, her close proximity to the garden peaked her interest in urban agriculture, leading her to experiment with growing oyster mushrooms in recycled coffee grounds. Mary's interest in urban agriculture lasted long after earning her Master of Science. While feeding her fascination with hours of research at the public library and online, she learned about Hope Farms. She was immediately enticed by the concept of increasing access to local fresh produce within identified Houston food deserts and training veterans as future urban farmers. "I knew I wanted to be a part of [an] organization that had the vision to do something like that!"

Having earned two undergraduate degrees and two masters degrees, Mary considers herself a "lifelong learner". She continues to nurture her curiosity about urban farming, setting up a small culinary garden at her 1930s Hyde Park home where she and her husband, Harvey, reside. "This is a real learning curve for me," Mary says about their front lawn converted to an edible garden that produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, including kumquats, apples, kale, and a variety of herbs all growing from raised or vertical beds. She and her husband now enjoy the benefits of a personal produce section just a few steps away from their kitchen and plan to create an indoor hydroponics space to allow for annual access to their favorite leafy greens.

Outside of developing her green thumb, Mary presently works as a psychiatric consultant. Several years in the healthcare industry including ten years working in healthcare regulatory compliance and risk management have helped her develop strong analytical and problem solving skills that carry over to her work as an office angel at RecipeHouse. Mary does not limit herself to weekly visits at the office but has assisted in event operations at our 2017 Dress for Dinner at Neiman Marcus and helped with event set up and décor for the 2017 Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet in April. In the future, she hopes to dedicate some time at Hope Farms, appreciating that the organization offers a variety of ways to contribute. "No matter what you volunteer to do, whether it is office tasks or working on glamorous fund raising galas, the staff always makes you feel your contribution is needed and appreciated. It just plain feels good to spend your time there."

It feels good to have you on board our volunteer team, Mary. Thank you for your dedication!

Tiffany Mathews is Volunteer of the Month!

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

Tiffany.jpgWe are thrilled to feature Tiffany Mathews as our May Volunteer of the Month. Since 2014, Tiffany has brought her cheerful personality to summer camp and Girl Scout classes, sharing her love for cooking acquired at age ten. "A lot of my family's social interaction took place in the kitchen," she recalls. And because her mother didn't like cooking, learning and enjoying how to cook was a natural step for Tiffany. Today, she considers one of her specialties mac n cheese, made predominately with cheddar and is "currently working on a recipe that has no processed cheese."

A Missouri native, Tiffany joined her two older sisters in Texas nearly eight years ago after graduating from University of Pittsburg. She is currently working a second degree in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Houston. Once she conquers the GRE, Tiffany will roll these undergrad credits toward a Masters in Dietetics. Once gradated, Tiffany hopes to relocate once again, possibly to Seattle. With several years of teaching experience, including six years as a tutor for HISD, Tiffany currently does administrative work for Jazz Education, a non-profit that introduces jazz music to children, and loves how the organization empowers young members of the community.

Despite her full plate and busy schedule, Tiffany continues to volunteer for Recipe for Success Foundation, building relationships with new and returning campers. One of her favorite memories occurred during her first year volunteering at summer camp when the campers were charged with producing a video for a granola recipe they'd created. One camper was inventive enough to write a parody to a familiar commercial jingle and Tiffany remembers being particularly impressed with this youth's aptitude and imagination.

Recipe for Success feels fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented volunteer onboard. Paola Tello, Volunteer Coordinator, adds "Tiffany's dedication to our mission has been outstanding...Her ability to jump right into any situation makes her an exemplary volunteer, but Tiffany's genuine love for teaching children is what makes her a star. I love seeing how children feel at ease with her while cooking and sharing stories."

We appreciate all that you do for Recipe for Success Foundation and the smallest members of our community. Thank you, Tiffany!

Cavnar a Top Mom

Recipe for Success
Vote 0 Votes

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 10.22.35 AM.pngThe May issue of Family Circle Magazine featured Recipe for Success Founder, Gracie Cavnar as one of the country's 20 Most Influential Moms in recognition for her work. Follow this link for the online version. Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 10.22.59 AM.png

Top Chefs Cook a $2,500 Dinner

Recipe for Success
Vote 0 Votes

0207_RecipeForSuccessDinner_041917_MCW.jpgPaperCity Social Columnist Shelby Hodge reports: "Houston's Top Chefs Cook a $2,500 Dinner for a Fancy Crowd -- and a Beloved Foodie Charity Force Wins For the second annual "Delicious Alchemy" evening, Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar rounded up a stable of the city's top toques to create an unforgettable meal for an audience of 101." Read the whole story here. OR check out event coverage from The Houston Chronicle and CultureMap

Delicious Alchemy Banquet Smashing Success

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

BanquetBlogPhoto.jpgNearly $200,000 Raised to Support the Foundation's Mission!

We are thrilled to announce our second annual Delicious Alchemy Banquet was a run-away success! The energy in the room was buzzing and not just because the wine and spirits were flowing freely (because they were)! There is such joy from a sharing a meal and scintillating conversations with friends old and new. To finish it off with a sweet note, we are delighted to report that we raised nearly $200,000 to help fight childhood obesity and food injustice! This couldn't have happened without wonderful guests, our hard-working chair, Karina Barbieri, our gracious hosts, Becca and John Thrash, our amazing chefs, and generous sponsors, including Bonneté, Beviamo International, Sysco, DR Delicacy, D'Artagnan, Lexis Florist, Socialite Entertainment, and Chopard. You can check out all the fabulous photos!

The splendid evening was hosted in the exquisite Thrash home, and one hundred special guests were treated to ten delicious courses from chefs all committed to the mission of Recipe for Success. Martha de León of Pax Americana; Ryan Pera of Coltivare, Eight Row Flint, and Revival Market; Kevin Naderi of Roost; Justin Kouri of Recipe for Success; Bryan Caswell of Reef, El Real, and Little Big's; Wayne Nguyen of Maba Pan-Asian Diner; Kiran Verma of Kiran's; Greg Martin of Bistro Menil, Robert Del Grande of Cafe Annie; Barbara McKnight of Culinaire; and Claire Smith of Shade and Canopy all crafted course designed to tantalize the guest's palate and then shared heartfelt stories on why partnering with Recipe for Success is so important to them.

Thoughtfully paired with each course were beautiful Italian wines from Jack Fassetta's Beviamo International, and elegant French wines and cognacs from Jean-Francois Bonneté. Guest raved over the opportunity to compare delicious wines from two renowned wine regions.

In the transition from dinner to the el proste presentation, complete with dry ice swirling around three delectable desserts, a live auction featured four unique items. Our winners included, Marnie Greenwood who will soon be sipping on vintage Bache Gabrielsen Cognacs with twenty of her closest friends; Bill Baldwin who walked away with artwork by Kermit Oliver thanks to Hooks Epstein Gallery, Robert Tijerina who snatched up the gorgeous Chopard necklace, and Bo Collins and Rene Carson who will soon be sipping and supping their way through Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Cognac, France, thanks to the generosity of Jean-Francois & Nathalie Bonneté.

Completing the evening, Gracie Cavnar unveiled her plans to plant a lasting tribute to her dear friend Mickey Rosmarin, at the Foundation's Hope Farms. Rosmarin was an early champion of the Foundation's mission to combat childhood obesity, so it's only fitting that Mickey's Grove surrounds Hope Farms with gorgeous fruit trees to provide not only nutritious food for the community, but a beautiful and peaceful walking path. Guests were given the opportunity to plant a tree in Mickey's Grove for $1,000 in his honor.

This memorable evening was a huge success and brought into focus the important aspects of Recipe for Success, friends, good food and a commitment to providing accessible fresh produce to all communities.

We received lots of great press--read all about it!

Houston's Top Chefs Cook a $2,500 Dinner for a Fancy Crowd -- and a Beloved Foodie Charity Force Wins

10-course banquet with 20+ wines is the Recipe for Success at gourmet dinner party for a delicious cause

Recipe for Success' 'Delicious Alchemy' makes a splash

Delicious Alchemy for Recipe For Success

Meet Judy Reed Wells, our Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

Judy.pngA resident of Sunnyside, Judy was encouraged to learn more about Recipe for Success Foundation after a posted Hope Farms sign caught her eye. She stopped to have a conversation with Justin Myers, Chief Agricultural Officer, learning how the farm would positively impact her community, bringing "fresh fruits and vegetables...at low cost". Judy was inspired to call the RecipeHouse office and learn about volunteer opportunities. She quickly spread the word about the work of Recipe for Success amongst her neighbors and friends, encouraging several Sunnyside residents to promptly attend the next available volunteer orientation, ready to dedicate their time and energy at the farm. Since first zealously recruiting volunteers, Judy has seized every opportunity to be involved, working on the farm, assisting in Girl Scout cooking classes, and helping fundraise at our exclusive events. No matter the task, she always brings her infectious energy and passion for the organization.

With little baking experience, Judy finds volunteering with the Girl Scout cooking classes particularly beneficial and interesting, feeling she learns "just as much as the girls". She especially looks back fondly on her time working at the Dress for Dinner event this past March. She had the opportunity to speak with event host, Tammie Johnson, who spoke passionately about the negative effects improper eating habits can have on the whole self and was touched to learn about her personal experience. Judy feels Tammie embodies the efforts of Recipe for Success and is proof that learning to cook and eat properly promotes great health and self-esteem.

Because of the multidimensional impact the organization has on surrounding communities, Judy is inspired to continue volunteering. She enjoys being a part of a dynamic organization that affects positive change, understanding healthy delicious food is "a vital link to maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit". An added reward is the chance to work with a motivating team of staff, volunteers, and supporters who share a sincere love for the community, health, and the environment.

When she's not devoting several hours of personal time to Recipe for Success Foundation, Judy spends time with her husband, Robert, owner of Wells and Son Carpet Cleaning and Floor Care, and substitute teaches at Carnegie Vanguard High School for gifted and talented students. Hope Farms is developed on the land where the former Carnegie High School was located. She and other Sunnyside residents are happy the land is now utilized for a purpose that will enhance the community and feels the farm can be a source of pride for her Sunnyside community. "I smile when I drive past the corner at Scott and Airport," she says. You make us smile, too, Judy! Thank you for your heart and dedication!

Health & Bohemian Fashion

Recipe for Success
Vote 0 Votes

IMG_0953.jpgRecipe for Success hosts Haute Hippie at Neiman Marcus for VIP dinner party Annual "Dress for Dinner" bash celebrates healthy eating and bohemian fashion during two-part bash Reported by Amber Elliott for The Houston Chronicle on March 3, 2017

"When I heard about Recipe for Success, it really touched my heart," [chair Tammie] Johnson said in between courses. "Young children need to understand that their brain, heart, and body all function best with good food."

The whole story from Amber: "Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar is usually all about the food. On Thursday evening, however, she invited mother/daughter duo Tammie Johnson and Brittany Randolph to chair an evening in celebration of another popular f-word: fashion.

Neiman Marcus hosted the party-in-two parts located on the Galleria department store's third floor. There, a stylish crowd gathered for Haute Hippie's bohemian-chic runway show; Neal Hamil models sashayed down the catwalk in gunmetal-accented, vintage-inspired pieces - a timely presentation for last minute Houston Livestock and Rodeo-wardrobe shopping.
Afterward, select VIPs slinked away for an intimate dinner at in-house eatery, Mariposa. Most got the "intimate" memo, anyway. One particularly raucous table brought Steak48-level energy to the private soiree, though Cavnar handled their revelry in stride.

"We manage to teach kids that healthy foods can be delicious, easy, and fun," she said above the noise, concisely explaining her organization's MO. "Now I invite you all to pull out your phones and search for an app called 'VegOut.' Vegetables are the new black."

The digital tracker helps "VegOut! 30 Ways in 30 Day Challenge" participants try 30 different vegetables in 30 days during the month of March. In keeping with the theme, Union Kitchen's chef Henry Hopkes served minestrone soup, zucchini and mushroom stuffed lasagna, and a berry tart to dinner-goers.

"When I heard about Recipe for Success, it really touched my heart," Johnson said in between courses. "Young children need to understand that their brain, heart, and body all function best with good food."
Good food will be the focal point of the organization's signature spring fundraiser, Delicious Alchemy, a 10-plate dinner event held at Becca Cason Thrash's legendary party pad next month. Only 10 seats (out of 100) remain.
Haute Hippie's newly appointed creative director, Cady Vaccaro, won't be at the April bash, though she made sure to get her fill of local flavor during this - her first - trip to the Bayou City. A knowledgeable server at Pax Americana gamely wrote recommendations on a napkin the night prior. His top suggestions? The Pastry War, Bad News Bar, and Anvil all came highly endorsed.

Thursday's attendees walked away with buzz-worthy swag. In addition to Aerin rose oil and body cream, guest Theresa Roemer placed copies of her new book, "Naked in 30 Days: A One-Month Guide to Getting Your Body, Mind, and Spirit in Shape," inside each bag.

After a month of healthy eating, one would hope to be in peak physical shape, right?"

READ IN THE CHRON

Summertime Fun for Kids

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

S2P_SummerCamp knife skills.jpgThere's no place like RecipeHouse for the summertime!

Imagine this scene at home - kids in the kitchen preparing a deliciously healthy snack for the family to enjoy. Making it a reality is easy if you register for one of our fun-filled Summer Camps at RecipeHouse or Hope Farms. Campers spend the week learning about cooking and gardening.

Choose from the original Eat This! Camp combination of cooking and gardening and product development; Eat it! Food Adventures with Marco Polo discovering cuisines from Italy, Greece, Turkey, India and China; Super Foods bringing super food heros life; Farm Camp exploring urban farming, art, worms, and more; or Sow What? Girl Scout Camp celebrating food, the planet, and sisterhood.

Enrollment is open to all children ages 8-12. Find camp dates and program details on our EatThis! Summer Camp site page and check out additional details in our Summer Camp Flyer below.

Summer Camp Flyer 2017.pdf

FEB Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

MikeAdencopy.jpgOur Volunteer of the month for February is Mike Aden. Born in Florida and raised in the Houston-Baytown area, Mike has worked for Keeping Houston Beautiful for 12 years. His grandparents introduced him to gardening at their plant nursery in Florida and he continues to enjoy the outdoors, especially when camping. While he normally cooks for himself only when camping, "I enjoy a good salad, fresh garlic, and onion." Through frequent conversations with Justin, our Chief Agricultural Officer, Mike learned more about the ongoing efforts of Recipe for Success and appreciates how Hope Farms will provide fresh produce for families to enjoy. "It's a really good thing, what you're doing!" Recently, Mike devoted several hours of his time at Hope Farms. Stopping by the farm to drop off items in preparation for an upcoming work day, Mike noticed Farm Manager, Amy, putting up a post for a greenhouse. Alone in her project, Mike decided to help. "He generously shared a full day of work on his weekend", says Amy of his contributions. "His experience and good sense of humor helped ensure that this big project started off on the right foot. We're so grateful to have him as a resource and a friend to the farm." Thank you, Mike!

Linda Orrick is January Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Coordinator
Vote 0 Votes

Linda.jpgSince coming on board as an office angel, Linda has devoted several hours of her time on a weekly basis, assisting with tasks to keep us organized and mission-focused.  She tripped across Recipe for Success Foundation during a web search and felt connected to our mission to combat childhood obesity.  With twelve grandchildren, this connection is personal for Linda and she hopes they all develop and maintain a healthy relationship with food.  Most attractive to Linda is our offering of office work opportunities because she wishes to serve and share her talents where needed.  

No matter the task given, Linda completes it with precision and positivity.  Even monotonous jobs such as scanning a bank box full of documents, Linda accepts with a smile, understanding completion of such tasks helps us operate more efficiently.

Outside of her service to Recipe for Success, Linda also volunteers with The Lighthouse of Houston, providing transportation for blind adults to and from medical appointments.  A favorite pastime is reading motivational and inspirational books; she is currently reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams.  Linda also spends time traveling to visit her grandchildren divided amongst four states - Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Texas - and visiting her husband who resides in Trinidad for business.

Linda recently opened her home to her niece who relocated from Iowa to Houston to pursue her degree. Linda's healthy lifestyle of preparing delicious food at home and maintaining regular gym visits has influenced her niece to create healthy habits of her own.  Since living with Linda, her niece has celebrated a steady weight loss and now incorporates healthy foods into her diet.  This inspirational story is an example of what drives the team of employees and volunteers at Recipe for Success to help make the world a place where healthy eating is the norm and nutritious food is appreciated and celebrated.  Thank you, Linda, for helping lead our cause and giving so much of your time!

Back to School

Justin Kouri
Vote 0 Votes

Hot Sandwich.JPGTired of leftovers yet? Send the kids to school with what's sure to be the coolest sandwich in the cafeteria. Maybe pack an extra for your lunch too!

 

Hot Turkey Sandwich

Yields 4 servings

Additional Cost: $4.32

 

Ingredients

8 slices whole wheat bread

2 cups leftover turkey breast, sliced thinly

8 slices provolone cheese

½ cup leftover cranberry sauce

1 cup arugula

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

 

Procedure

1.) Preheat oven to 350F.

2.) Place 8 slices of bread on a sheet tray, 1 inch apart. Each sandwich will be comprised of 2 slices of bread.

3.) Put sliced turkey on top of 4 slices of bread. Make sure to cover the slices evenly. Each of these 4 slices will be the base of a sandwich.

4.) Arrange 2 slices of cheese on top of sliced turkey. 4 slices of bread should have nothing on them.

5.) Place the sheet tray in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until the turkey is warmed throughout and the cheese is melted.

6.) Remove from oven. Spread 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce over each sandwich half with melted cheese.

7.) Spread 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard on each toasted slice of bare bread.

8.) Divide arugula among the halves with turkey and cheese on them.

9.) Close the sandwich with the Dijon mustard side of the remaining slices face down. ENJOY! 

Start 2017 by Vegging Out!

Justin Kouri
Vote 0 Votes

Frittata.JPG

It's good for your mind to take what you did in 2016 into 2017. It's good for your health to VegOut! Start the new year right and download the app! Take the challenge!

www.vegoutwithrfs.org

A New Beginning Frittata

Yields 4 servings

Additional Cost: $1.30

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup left over turkey

1 cup left over Brussels spouts

6 eggs

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Procedure

1.) Start your oven's broiler. It will take 10-15 minutes for it to heat completely. Position one of your oven rack's just below the coils/flame.

2.) In a medium non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.

3.) When oil begins to simmer, add turkey and Brussels sprouts. Cook until completely warmed.

4.) Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

5.) When leftovers are warm, add egg mixture to skillet.

6.) Continue to cook stovetop while stirring until the eggs thicken and become clumpy.

7.) Transfer skillet to the oven, just below the broiler. Keep in mind that the frittata will rise - make sure that there is enough space between the rack and the heat source. 

8.) Do not take your eyes off the frittata, it will cook quickly. Once the top is golden brown, remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

9.) Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from the pan and slide onto a clean cutting board.

 

10.) Divide among guests. ENJOY!