October 2013 Archives

Sweet Potato Super Snack

Jenna White
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SweetPotatoSmoothies.jpgOur Culinary Education Coordinator and S2P Instructor Susie Mullen is mom to three active kids. It's super important to her that between homework, baseball and soccer practices and everything in between that they get wholesome, nutritious foods to sustain them on busy days and nourish their growing bodies and minds. Enter an all-star: this Sweet Potato Smoothie is chock full of nutrients and protein to provide energy and keep everyone going. It's perfect for a sippable breakfast, after-school or post-practice snack or as a guilt-free dessert.

Take a peek at Susie and her daughter Ann-Marie to see how simple it comes together!

See the printable recipe here. Encourage your kids to help you by:

  • Peeling and chopping the banana
  • Scooping and mashing the sweet potato flesh
  • Measuring dry and liquid ingredients!

View our other videos here, and subscribe to Recipe for Success' YouTube channel to keep up with our cooking and gardening videos!

Blue Plate Special Cafe, Nov 19

Jenna White
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BPSinvite.jpgChairs Gracie and Bob Cavnar and the Board of Directors of Recipe for Success Foundation invite you to join us for A Harvest Market and Awards Lunch, Tuesday, November 19, at The River Oaks Country Club.

Join us to honor our 2013 Blue Plate Special Cafe Award Winners.  This year's honorees are:

Honi & Glen Boudreaux / Mayor's Award: Champions of Food Justice

Ryan Pera / Blue Plate Speical Chef of the Year

Olga Abundis / Golden Whisk Teacher of the Year

Brooke Candelaria & Suzanne Williams / Golden Whisk Volunteers of the Year

Join us to celebrate their achievements and efforts to help create a healthier Houston community.  Come early to enjoy this indoor bazaar featuring the best of locally produced small batch foods, produce, meat, cheese and more from area farmers and handmade gifts from a range of wonderful local vendors.  We will also announce the winners of our fantastic raffle prizes!

Learn more and buy your tickets here

Houston's FoodDay Throwdown

Jenna White
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GregGordon-Throwdown.jpgRecipe for Success is the Houston coordinator for FoodDay, an annual nationwide celebration and movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food that showcases a grassroots campaign for better food policies.  Established in 2011, thousands of community events now take place throughout the country each year during the days leading up to October 24th. Read the full story about our recent Houston FoodDay events by Jodie Eisenhardt in CultureMap here.

Food Show Comes Up Short

Jenna White
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FoodShowFlyer.jpgby Sarah Tanner, Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education Program Coordinator

Last week Houston ISD hosted its first-ever, district-wide Nutrition Innovation Food Show.  Allowing students, parents, and community members to have a chance to taste-test new products and ask questions of food suppliers was a step in the right direction.  However, the show left one wondering where all the truly nutritious foods were.  The only product that resembled something grown in the ground was pre-diced white potatoes!  Other fruits and vegetables were freeze-dried, packed in salty water, or pureed into a colorful pouch.  It is disappointing that HISD is reinforcing the idea that children will only accept fruits and vegetables after processing them to an unrecognizable form.

Beyond fruits and vegetables, vendors provided samples of many of the ready-made meals that are served in school cafeterias.  Most foods were touted as low-fat or whole grain, but a closer look at the ingredient lists filled with added sugar and unpronounceable ingredients are still a cause for concern.  Of course, until schools have more money to spend on school lunches, utilizing frozen foods and some level of preservatives is necessary.  However, one vendor was more than ready to explain how chemical dyes are used so their food would more closely resemble the fried food students are accustomed to!  That certainly doesn't seem necessary.

A concerted effort has obviously been made to reduce calories, but vendors (and the schools they sell to) are still missing the point.  Until schools are able to provide whole ingredients and fresh fruits and vegetables, the nutritional needs of students are not being met.

Recipe for Success on News 92 FM

Jenna White
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Glen+Honi.jpgLong-time Recipe for Success Foundation supporters Honi and Glen Boudreaux of Jolie Vue Farms chat with Jodie Eisenhardt on News 92 FM's Livin' Large about the joy they find in helping us teach kids about real food, from seed-to-plate, as well as the upcoming Blue Plate Special Cafe: A Harvest Market & Awards Luncheon, where they will be honored as this year's Champions of Food Justice.

Check out the interview!

Four runway themes, fab bites and...

Jenna White
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ElizabethAnthony-CMstory.jpg"With Leisa Holland-Nelson and Laura Max Nelson heading up this season's Dress for Dinner series benefiting Recipe for Success, they rounded up a posse of fashionistas for the "Fashion in Four Courses" fundraiser that featured four themed-runway presentations of the latest designs in the swank boutique. Before and after the presentations..."

Read the full write-up by CultureMap's Shelby Hodge here.

Festivities for Food Day 2013

Jenna White
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FoodDay-Pledges.jpgFor the third year, Recipe for Success Foundation excitedly supported Food Day, a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, sustainable food and a grassroots movement for better food policies.

In honor of this year's focus on Food Education, this week we hosted activities to educate Houstonians of all ages about our food systems, including a screening of More Than Honey followed by a panel discussion with area bee experts about the decline in bee populations; a field trip for 350 students to view the documentary What's on Your Plate? about kids and food politics; and 70 or so of our regularly scheduled culinary and gardening classes for students in our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs across the city.

Throwdown-Honey-Roshni.jpgWe also partnered with Urban Harvest and the City of Houston to host the Third Annual Food Day Chef Throwdown at the City Hall Farmers Market. Four Houston chefs went head-to-head to create tasty vegetarian dishes using local produce donated by Gunderrman Acres and Atkinson Farms, plus this year's secret ingredient - HONEY (from Bee Wilde)! Food savvy judges voted on their winner - Greg Gordon of La Vista!

Throwdown-Group.jpgRead more about the challenge here and here.

FoodDay-Volunteer-Pledge.jpgDuring the Chef Throwdown, we also asked market patrons why they eat seed-to-plate. You know, why seek out real, whole food to nourish your body and appease hunger pangs? There are plenty of reasons to do so, but we wanted to know why Houston eats real.

Here are some of our favorite answers:

I eat seed-to-plate...

because it tastes better!

because it's healthy and fun!

to support local growers and farmers!

for better health.

because fresh veggies have shown me a whole new world of what food really is.

for our four-year-old daughter.

to feel great!

because it's honest food.

to support my city and its people!

for mental freshness.

because it's delicious and nutritious!

because it's important to know where your food comes from.

because it's creative and yummy!

because it's sustainable!

to save the bees!

because I love veggies!

Read more reasons Houstonians eat real and view our Food Day 2013 photo album here.

Trick-or-Treat Tactics

Jenna White
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GenevieveKids-Halloween.jpgRFS Board Member Genevieve Patterson is passionate about ensuring her seven-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son get all the nutrients that healthy, growing kids need. And while she has a few tricks up her sleeve, sometimes, striking a balance is all about redirection. 

Halloween, for example, with its fixation on the sugary, processed rewards of trick-or-treating, can be challenging to navigate for parents who wish to avoid having their sweet Fairy Princess tranform into The Hulk because they won't let her eat the 5 pounds of candy she toted home in that punkin bucket. But the alternative - caving and allowing kids to gorge on sugary junk until they're sick to their stomach isn't appealing either.

So what to do? Boycott Halloween altogether? No need, says Genevieve.

"You absolutely have to celebrate Halloween," she says, "It's so much fun! No need to deny your kids the chance to dress up!"

Rather than stress about all the candy, Genevieve emphasizes the other fun aspects of the holiday, like fashioning a super cool costume and showing it off to friends, who are also dressed as favorite creatures and characters. Enjoying the silliness and spending time with friends is what Halloween is all about at the Pattersons.

"On Halloween we host a party for our friends with kids and adults, which includes a dinner spread with lots of greens and healthy things to fill everyone up," she says.

The party ends up cutting into trick-or-treat time, too--an added bonus. Before they hit the streets, a time limit is set on how long everyone will go door-to-door. This establishes clear expectations and cuts down on tantrums, not to mention the size of their sugary hauls.

When they get home, Genevieve lets each of her kids pick three pieces of candy to enjoy that evening. The rest goes into the family candy jar and is distributed according to family candy rules, such as a piece for dessert in lunchboxes. Whatever's left after a month gets tossed. (Tootsie Rolls quickly become fossilized, anyway.)

Have your own tactics for a happy, healthy Halloween? Tell us!

Fashion in Four Courses, Oct 22

Jenna White
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Fashion in Four Courses.jpgJoin Recipe for Success Foundation and Dress for Dinner, Season V Chairs, Leisa Holland-Nelson and Laura Max Nelson, for the second round of our annual fashion series. Elizabeth Anthony | Esther Wolf will host Fashion in Four Courses, a runway show of their fall collection, complete with reception and delicious small bites by Arcodoro. We hope you can make it!

All Dress for Dinner event proceeds benefit Recipe for Success Foundation's efforts to combat childhood obesity by changing the way our children eat. Learn more about our annual fundraising fashion series and purchase your tickets here.

Giuseppe Zanotti shares tidbits...

Jenna White
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Laura+Leisa.jpg"Everyone who turned out to see Italian shoe designer Giuseppe Zanotti at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Galleria on Thursday got a rare treat: an intimate chance to meet and talk with a master.

Zanotti strode into the store like a rock star, and the women (and a few men) lined up in droves to have their Giuseppe Zanotti shoes signed and photos snapped with him..."

Read the full scoop by Houston Chronicle's Joy Sewing here.

Tips for a Healthy Halloween

Jenna White
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Gracie-flourkids.jpgThis week, Gracie weighed in on a heavy issue for a cover story in Houston Community News - avoiding processed, sugary treats during the holidays, starting with Halloween. It can be tricky, especially with kiddos, but is not an impossible feat! 

Read the full story by Kim Hogstrom in yesterday's Here Entertainment section of your Houston Community News or online here

Coconut Polenta & Asian Veggies

Jenna White
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Polenta stir-fry.jpgThis recipe is a quick and easy way to take advantage of whatever vegetables you have on hand and infuse them with plenty of flavor. Cooking the polenta in a coconut broth also adds another dimension of aroma and flavor to this dish. Kids will love to help measure ingredients and practice their knife skills by chopping up the veggies.

Coconut Polenta with Asian Vegetables

From the Recipe For Success Chefs Advisory Board
Serves 4-6

Polenta stir-fry-Mis en place.jpg


1 (14 ounce) can of light coconut milk
2 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock, reserve one ½ cup for sauce
1 cup polenta (dry, quick cooking type)
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2-3 cups of vegetables (Green beans, broccoli, bell pepper, mushrooms, etc.)
3-5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, to taste
3-5 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (in Asian section of store)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
Siracha, to taste
Scallions, green portion sliced thin for garnish


  • Bring coconut milk and 1 ½ cups of broth to a gentle boil, and reduce to a simmer.
  • Slowly whisk in the polenta and cook for 5 minutes.  If polenta becomes too thick, just add more broth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat oil in a sauté pan over med-high heat.  Sauté onions for 3 to 4 minutes, then add garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. 
  • Add heartier vegetables, like broccoli and greenbeans and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. 
  • Add ½ cup of broth, soy sauce, sweet chili, ginger and siracha. 
  • Finally add delicate vegetables like mushrooms or greens and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes.  Vegetables should be bright and al dente.
  • For each serving, spoon a scoop of polenta into a shallow soup bowl.
  • Top polenta with sauted vegetables and sauce and garnish with scallions.


  • For additional protein, try adding shrimp, fish, scallops, or tofu to your stir-fry.
  • Add pureed sweet potato to the polenta for a flavor and nutritional boost!

 Ideas for leftovers

  • Make polenta cakes-mold polenta into patties and brown each side in pan with a bit of oil.
  • Wrap sauteed vegetables in a tortilla or stuff in a pita pocket for lunch.

Zanotti makes shoes with...

Jenna White
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Giuseppe.jpg"When Italian shoe designer Giuseppe Zanotti first debuted his own collection, few people knew his name, let along how to pronounce it.

But when Madonna wore a pair of Zanotti's rock-star stilettos, the designer quickly earned a reputation for luxury heels that oozed sex appeal. Suddenly his name rolled off the tongues of shoe lovers.

'Madonna was so famous, and I wasn't" said Zanotti, who visits Saks Fifth Avenue at the Galleria on Thursday for the High Tea & High Heels event for the Dress for Dinner series, benefiting Recipe for Success Foundation..."

Read Joy Sewing's full story on the Italian shoe designer, who will be in Texas for our Dress for Dinner series, in the Houston Chronicle.

Summery Tuscan Flavors

Jenna White
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SquashPasta.jpgWe were delighted to have award-winning rising star chef Patricia Burdette of Crescent Moon Wine Bar take the reigns at RecipeHouse for our October Chef Surpríse dinner. Drawing inspiration from Tuscany, Chef Patty presented dishes that capitalized on robust but light-handed flavors and carefully selected wine pairings.

A perfect example was the second course. Thinly sliced eggplant and yellow squash transformed into elegant wide "noodles" that were piled high and bathed in a creamy white sauce that, which looked like a rich bechamel, but once on the tongue provided a subtle lemony lightness, a perfect farewell to summer produce.

View more photos of October's Chef Surprise dinner here

The Chef Surpríse series is held the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse and features a rotation of Houston's hottest chefs. Learn more and reserve seats for upcoming dinners here.

SNAP, the Farm Bill & Kids

Jenna White
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"Members of Congress are working to reauthorize the Farm Bill, legislation that provides funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, formerly known as food stamps, and for the SNAP education program. Drastic cuts to SNAP are on the table in the Farm Bill and nearly half of all SNAP participants are children. If Congress cuts funding for this poverty relieving program..."

Read the complete post by Clay Dunn at NoKidHungry.org.

Thumbnail image for Infographic-CutstoSNAP.jpg

The Caloric Gap can be closed

Jenna White
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Many of our nation's children dealing with obesity are the very same youngsters who face hunger, as poverty leaves their parents only with the option to stretch food dollars by purchasing cheap processed "junkie" foods that are high in sugar, fat and sodium and low in nutritional value. Learn more about how food policies are shaping the state of hunger in America.

infographic-caloricgap.jpgView original post by Cargil here