October 2010 Archives

A Day in MacGregor Recipe Gardens by Annabel Fonseka

Guest Volunteer
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It is so satisfying to volunteer weekly at McGregor Elementary in the Recipe for Success Foundation (RFS) Recipe Garden with "Miss Sharon" as all the kids call her. First, she is quite a celebrity around the school.  Faces light and hands go up as they answer her questions. Some students shout "I love tomatoes," "I Love the Garden" or "I Love Turnips".  Their enthusiasm is impressive- and catching. 

Second, it's so fun to see the concentration as they sow their pinch of seeds!  "Miss Sharon"- aka Sharon Siehl, Director of Recipe Gardens for RFS, makes the garden visually interesting by planting a pattern of red and green lettuces or mixing edible Calendula  flowers in with vegetables.  If it is not their turn to plant, I may take a group with magnifying glasses to "discover" bugs or new seedlings. The students are all so excited by the freedom to explore and thrilled by what they find.  

Third, the students make volunteering for RFS a joy by saying the cutest things. I have a British accent and so I say tomato and potato a little differently - much to their delight.  One little boy said to me "You're from London aren't you. That's   where they speak Chinese!!!"  Every conversation is turned into a lesson that expands their knowledge. 

As the seeds grow, the pride the children and MacGregor teachers take in the garden is evident- they even use some recess time to water the plants.  When I first looked into volunteering with RFS, I knew I was interested in helping in the Recipe Gardens.  But, even I was pleasantly surprised with how much of a delight it is to watch those children absorb the gardening lessons.  

Yummy Fruit Smoothies and Bull's Blood Beets

Guest Student
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By: Emely 
MacGregor Elementary School

I had a good day in the Recipe class.  I had a lot of fun cooking with our chef and my group. We prepared smoothies.  It tastes like mixed fruit.  We learned how to make a special smoothie. We smelled the things that were on the table, we mixed the things in the mixer and then we tasted the smoothie. 

At home, I made one with different ingredients. I used 4 things: banana, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. It turned into mixed fruit and it turned into smoothie and it tasted really delicious. I shared it with my family and they said that it was so delicious. 

In the gardening class, we learned the rules and tools to plant.  We planted Bull's Blood Beets, Flash Trout-back Lettuce, Arugula, Amazing White Cauliflower and we planted more stuff. We smelled the plants we grow. We touched the seeds we planted and we tasted some potatoes. Then some days we go out and garden our plants so that they could grow nice and beautiful and straight. 

You wouldn't inject your children with junk, so why are you feeding it to them?

Gracie Cavnar
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Until parents begin to make the visceral connection between food and health, they will continue killing their kids with kindness.  Here is the kind of wake-up call we all need: 
Tough approach by advertising agency in Sydney aims to combat obesity epidemic by likening high-fat food to different kind of junk.
  Read the whole story here.


Celebrate National School Lunch Week With a Boycott!

Gracie Cavnar
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Let Your Voice Be Heard

We can no longer sit by and watch our children's health go down the drain for want of effective nutritional guidelines and quality execution of the school lunch program.  Let the power of the marketplace speak for itself.  I am calling on all parents to send a strong message to administrators and lawmakers by using the National School Lunch Week to boycott school lunches.

Childhood obesity is on the rise, lunch is an important part of a child's daily nutrition, and National School Lunch Week is October 11-15, yet First Lady Michelle Obama's child nutrition bill has stalled in Congress leaving school lunches underfunded and missing the mark on good nourishment. We have every right to expect the providers of our children's school lunches to strive for health, but most fall dreadfully short.  What we get are dismal, monochrome  servings of salty, high-fat, processed food, without an appealing fresh fruit or vegetable in sight.  On top of that, our kids have to run the gamut through an overwhelming array of sweets and junk food that line the checkout isle. Citing funding issues and cost cutting measures, districts poor mouth us and point every way but to themselves.  In the meantime, companies like Revolution Foods are proving that delivering a high quality handmade school lunch with zero processed food is well within the economic reach of most.  

Until school lunches get healthier and competing a-la-carte and vending machine junk foods are removed from the school cafeteria, I am urging parents to send a healthy lunch from home.

The RFS culinary team has provided suggestions for a week's worth of healthy, fun and fresh 
lunches as part of the launch of our "Talking Seed-to-Plate" blog.  These options are affordable, colorful and tasty enough to tempt even the most finicky child.  

Please join in the conversation and share your own tips and frustrations at https://www.recipe4success.org/seedtoplate/, where our team of professional chefs and educators will answer questions, and continue to post new menus and ideas for or engaging children in their own well being through activities in the kitchen and garden.

And plan to attend "Lunch Line" a documentary presented by our friends at  www.thelunchtray.com  in conjunction with Applegate Farms.

We must get control of this situation and save our children's lives.  NOW.

Gracie presents at TEDx

Gracie Cavnar
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Fall Fun for Families

Alyssa Dole
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Creating memories that will last. . . .In the food world, nothing says fall like sweet potatoes and pumpkins. Here is a fun, fresh and fabulous fall recipe for you and your kids to make together.  Celebrate the fall and give it a try!
Sweet Potato Biscuits and Orange Honey Spread
A Recipe for Success Culinary Team original recipe
Download the recipe: Sweet Potato Biscuts.pdf

Culture Map gives Blue Plate Special Cafe & Harvest Market a plug

Gracie Cavnar
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Bob and I just got back from Norah O'Donnell's book launch party in Washington DC.  The people watching alone was worth the trip, but we got to visit with First Lady Michelle Obama's Chief of Staff, Susan Sher about happenings with Let's Move!  And had a long chat with Howard Fineman about his recent hat change from his venerable old media gig as longtime editor of Newsweek to his new role as senior editor of the Huffington Post.  Read about the party here  here and here

Can't wait for you to meet Norah when she comes to Houston for the Blue Plate Special Cafe Lunch & Harvest Market on November 10.  Read all about Norah here.  Buy your luncheon  tickets HERE.

USA is fattest of 33 countries, report says - USA TODAY

Gracie Cavnar
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A new study released by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development notes that the USA must implement real change including the need  for a serious commitment from the food industry to stop advertising unhealthy foods to kids.
READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE