April 2013 Archives

May's Volunteer of the Month

Tracy Weldon
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May-VOTM.jpgAngelica Archilla is our volunteer of the month for May!  She was raised in Colombia, but has lived all over the world before moving to and falling in love with Houston!  Angelica has a burning passion for nutrition and fitness.  She loves to try new recipes and competes in triathlons and half marathons in her spare time.  She started volunteering with Recipe for Success 3 years ago with Chef Kendall at Rodriguez Elementary.  Angelica took some time off, but came back to us earlier this year.  Before starting back up, we had a chat about how she specifically wanted to help parents make healthier decisions for their children.  I knew in that moment that she would be the perfect fit for our parent class at Rodriguez.  She thinks the parent class is "right on point" by boosting awareness and education about nutrition and the current obesity epidemic.  She says the class is more like a team because everyone has the same end goal, better health for our children.  They are able to share tips, input, opinions, and recipes with each other. 

Her most memorable experience with Recipe for Success thus far is a field trip to Fiesta Mart.  It was a revealing and enlightening moment for the parents about healthy choices they can make in the grocery store.

We are happy to have Angelica apart of the Recipe for Success team and appreciate all of her hard work at Rodriguez!

Our parent class is taught in Spanish every other Wednesday morning at Rodriguez Elementary.  It follows a similar structure to our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education; teaching parents the nutritional benefits of gardening and cooking through experiential learning.  If you would like to bring a parent class to a school near you, email us at info@recipe4success.org!

Digging Into Garden Planning Software

Jenna White
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GrowVeg.jpgRecipe for Success recently chatted with TechNewsWorld about how we've utilized Grow Interactive's garden planning application and resources at GrowVeg.com to lay out our Recipe Gardens.

Learn more and read the full story here

RFS parents take a trip to Fiesta

Jenna White
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Fiesta-tomato.jpgAt Rodriguez Elementary, our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ students aren't the only ones getting schooled in healthy cooking and gardening. Every other Wednesday, a group of enthusiastic moms attend a class with RFS instructors Chef Claire Olivo and Chef Ruth Riojas to learn how to provide nutritious meals to their families. Recently, the Spanish-speaking class took a field trip to the nearby Fiesta Mart (also a Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ sponsor!) to up their smart shopper savvy, including how to select fresh produce, lighten up favorite dishes, and analyze nutrition labels. Fiesta Mart team members welcomed the group, helped to advise our moms in navigating their offerings and even gave out goodie bags. Thank you, Fiesta, for hosting our successful field trip!

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See more photos of the field trip here. Interested in putting together a parent class of your own with Recipe for Success? Email us at info@recipe4success.org!

MacGregor teachers VegOut!

Jenna White
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TeacherClass-Prep.jpgDuring our VegOut! 30 Ways in 30 Days Challenge, 11 MacGregor Elementary School teachers and their PTO president, Tiffany Spurlock, participated in a cooking class led by Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ instructors Chef Alyssa and Recipe Gardens Coordinator, Justin. The group prepared and enjoyed an impressive and healthy spring feast that inlcuded: sun-dried tomato hummus with veggie dippers, kale salad, coconut milk polenta with stir-fried seasonal veggies, and gluten-free macaroons! All who took part had tons of fun while reinforcing healthy eating habits.

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Kale salad... YUM!

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Bon appetite!

Secrets of a signature dish

Jenna White
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David-steak.jpgAt Churrascos, the offerings are extensive and it's unlikely you'll be disappointed, no matter your selection. However, while demonstrating for Chef Surpríse guests the secret preparation for Churrascos signature plate, Chef David Cordúa confides that half the tickets the kitchen sees include this reknowned cut of meat. We may not dine on steak often, but when we do, we're pleased as punch if it's The Churrasco: Chargrilled center-cut beef tenderloin, seasoned with chimichurri and served with crispy yuca cake, pickled onions and bearnaise sauce.

The Chef Surpríse series is held the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse and features a rotation of Houston's hottest chefs. To learn more and sign up to attend upcoming dinners, visit our website.

Plantains masquerade as noodles

Jenna White
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David-plantaindish.jpgChef Cordúa continued the parade of Latin flavor by demonstrating for Chef Surpríse guests how to make a homemade pasta that relied on a south of the border staple - plantains! The fruit lended the dish a bright yellow hue and a sweet undertone that paired nicely with savory sous vide carnitas, achiote, poblano, citrus and baby arugula.

The Chef Surpríse series is held the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse and features a rotation of Houston's hottest chefs. To learn more and sign up to attend upcoming dinners, visit our website.

A hot designer, spring fashions...

Jenna White
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D4D-CMcoverage.jpg"Applause, applause for Edward Wilkerson, the popular designer for Lafayette 148, who wowed the ladies and a few gents at the Recipe for Success Dress for Dinner fashion presentation at Neiman Marcus. The spring frocks, Capri pants and long shirts with wide belting were hits with the crowd of women who appreciate stylish substance over short-lived, pop trends. The fashion standout in this lively crowd was Bob Cavnar, who wore a black kilt and vintage Muhammad Ali boxing shoes. ..."

Read the entire CultureMap story featured in Shelby's Social Scene section here.

On air with Pat Greer

Jenna White
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EarthDayHouston.jpgLast week, Air Alliance Houston invited us to join them in chatting with Pat Greer on her 90.1 FM KPFT show, Eco-Ology. While at the studio in the wee hours, we engaged with other groups taking part in the Earth Day Houston fun and shared with listeners what activities they could participate in with Recipe for Success in the Healthy Living Zone at Discovery Green.

Listen to our segment of the show here...

School Meal Rules Cut Obesity

Gracie Cavnar
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An Apple a Day.jpg"New federal school lunch regulations that require more servings of fruits and vegetables, more whole-grain content, less salt and fat, and limits on calories could yield a legion of children from low-income families who escape a trend of childhood obesity.

A study published Monday online in JAMA Pediatrics looked at states that cracked down on the content of school meals even before new federal school meal standards, which took effect this school year. A smaller share of students who received free or reduced-price lunches that had to meet these higher nutritional standards--about 12 percent--were overweight than was the case for students who did not eat school lunches." 

Read more in this article for Education Week by Nirva Shah

When two become one...

Jenna White
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David-ceviche.jpgAt Churrascos, Cordúa features a grilled salmon main over shrimp ceviche. At Américas, lush salmon belly carpaccio ceviche is on the menu. So what does he do for Chef Surpríse guests? Combine the two, of course:

David-Salmon.jpgSeared salmon belly over achiote shrimp ceviche, tomatillo broth, creme fraiche and queso fresco, with charred tortilla strip. Drool.

The Chef Surpríse series is held the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse and features a rotation of Houston's hottest chefs. To learn more and sign up to attend upcoming dinners, visit our website.

VegOut! Costume Contest

Jenna White
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VO-costumes.jpgAmong the many community members who stepped up to the plate to VegOut! with Recipe for Success this spring were faculty, staff and students of River Oaks Elementary, who've had tons of fun celebrating veggies, including with a VegOut! Costume Contest. Students got creative and went all out, entering school dressed as their favorite vegetable to compete for fun prizes. 

See more images of these health-minded cuties here.

RFS on Rocket's Jumbotron

Jenna White
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The Houston Rockets selected Recipe for Success as their April Charity of the Month! AND, as part of the NBA's annual Green Week activities in March, Rockets staff and players Carlos Delfino and Donatas "D-Mo" Motiejunas joined Recipe for Success for spring planting in Recipe Gardens at Briscoe and Rodriguez Elementary Schools.  It was all captured for the jumbotron and is broadcasting supersized at April games.

Watch the video on the Rockets site here.

Take a Page From Anti-Smoking

Gracie Cavnar
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stop-smoking.jpgBack in 1956, 57% of American men were smokers, and that year alone, 29,000 of them died from lung cancer. You hear that now and it seems . . . . mindboggling.


In fifty-seven years we have slashed the smoking rate to 18.9%. The fix was multi-layered and hard won over decades: school-based education; reducing minors access; healthcare provider counseling; increased excise taxes; warning labels; restricting or eliminating advertising--especially directed at youth; and establishing indoors as a smoke free zone.  Nowadays all that seems like just common sense.


But, because of the billions of dollars wielded by tobacco companies and their influence on lawmakers and the market, because everyone was in denial about the negative health effects and because the industry's continued to insist that nicotine was not addictive, these rational controls took nearly sixty years to finally get right.
In the meantime, over 22 million Americans lost their lives because of smoking.


We've seen this situation play out time and time again. From controlling drug and alcohol consumption, to mandating seat belts and establishing OSHA, ultimately, after years of needless injury, death and chronic disease, people come to their senses and fix the problem.


And it's time to do just that with the obesity epidemic.

Take a Page From Anti-Smoking

Gracie Cavnar
Vote 0 Votes

stop-smoking.jpgBack in 1956, 57% of American men were smokers, and that year alone, 29,000 of them died from lung cancer. You hear that now and it seems . . . . mindboggling.


In fifty-seven years we have slashed the smoking rate to 18.9%. The fix was multi-layered and hard won over decades: school-based education; reducing minors access; healthcare provider counseling; increased excise taxes; warning labels; restricting or eliminating advertising--especially directed at youth; and establishing indoors as a smoke free zone.  Nowadays all that seems like just common sense.


But, because of the billions of dollars wielded by tobacco companies and their influence on lawmakers and the market, because everyone was in denial about the negative health effects and because the industry's continued to insist that nicotine was not addictive, these rational controls took nearly sixty years to finally get right.
In the meantime, over 22 million Americans lost their lives because of smoking.


We've seen this situation play out time and time again. From controlling drug and alcohol consumption, to mandating seat belts and establishing OSHA, ultimately, after years of needless injury, death and chronic disease, people come to their senses and fix the problem.


And it's time to do just that with the obesity epidemic.

Pasta Primavera

Gracie Cavnar
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Pasta Primavera.jpg Primavera means spring in Italian and this dish was first created to celebrate young spring vegetables, but you can mix and match the veggies to make it with the best that any season has to offer.  Here it is with a little bit of everything. (Recipe from Eat It! Food Adventures with Marco Polo.)

Serves 8 as entrée

INGREDIENTS
½ package fettuccini-style dried noodles, cooked according to package directions                                  
¼ cup olive oil, divided
2 carrots, minced
2 ribs celery, minced
1 small red onion, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 stalks parsley minced
1 green onion, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, julienne
½ bunch asparagus, tough stalks removed and tops cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup broccoli flowers, steamed for 3-4 minutes until bright green
½ cup peas (fresh or frozen)
2 ounces fresh spinach leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces                
4-6 basil leaves, chiffonade
1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Step One: Make a Sofrito
    1.    Collect and measure all of your ingredients to create a mise en place.
    2.    Heat a large sauté pan to medium high heat and add ½ the olive oil; let heat up for 1 - 2 minutes.
    3.    Add minced carrots to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes.
    4.    Add minced celery and continue cooking 2 minutes.
    5.    Stir in the minced onion and cook until it starts to seem clear (about 5 minutes.)
    6.    Add salt.
    7.    Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for about 2 minutes, or until they release their wonderful aroma (smell.)
    8.    Stir in the minced parsley.
You have just created an Italian style sofrito, which if you stopped now, could be used as a great flavor base for soups, stews, and sauces.
Step Two: Layer the Flavor
    1.    Gently add the green onion, bell pepper, asparagus, and broccoli and cook for 3-4 minutes until all the veggies turn even brighter.
    2.    Stir in the fresh or frozen peas and spinach and remove pan from heat.
    3.    Add the pasta and the rest of the olive oil, and toss to coat.
Step Three: Serve it up
    1.    Divide into shallow soup bowls.
    2.    Garnish with basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of cracked pepper.
    3.    Serve immediately.

A Gala in Small Bites Lineup

Jenna White
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SmallBites-invite-cover-square.jpgOn March 20, Chairs Gracie & Bob Cavnar kicked off the We're Cooking Now! A Gala in Small Bites series, with evenings scattered throughout the spring that run the gamut from haute cuisine to hot cookin'--something for every taste and style. 

View the invitation and find more info for the 2013 season.

Cordúa charms with Latin flare

Jenna White
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David Cordúa, of Américas and Churrascos fame, brought down the house Monday with an onslaught of dishes so full of Latin flavor, we wouldn't have been surprised if they'd jumped up and salsa-danced across the table. While his team worked behind him, the ever-charming chef walked our April Chef Surpríse guests through the preparation of each dish.

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The Chef Surpríse series is held the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse and features a rotation of Houston's hottest chefs. To learn more and sign up to attend upcoming dinners, visit our website.