2014 Archives

Green Garden Gifts

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Hooray, the holiday season is here! Families are gathering, joyful music is playing, kitchens are warm with baking, and of course, people are frantically shopping. Last minute shoppers, don't stress about finding (not to mention affording) the perfect presents for loved ones and take a page from our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ garden classes.


At MacGregor Elementary, our students collected rosemary, oregano, sage, and bay laurel stems to create aromatic, herb bouquet gifts. Unlike a Christmas tree, this gift is still useful even if it dries out! Whether the recipient likes to cook or not, the bouquet can be used as rustic décor, freshening any room with it's warm woody fragrance.


If you can only get your hands on rosemary, an herb that is particularly prolific in Texas I've quickly learned, try making rosemary wreaths or ornaments tied together with twine or ribbon. These handmade gifts are fun for kids (and adults!) to make, not to mention affordable and environmentally friendly.

Look outside and let your imagination do the gifting!   

Recipe for Success Foundation also has gifts that give - place your order by noon on December 22  for delivery by Christmas Eve!


Let It Go: Monarch Edition

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Recipe for Success takes full advantage of our Recipe Gardens, utilizing their bounty in our culinary classes. However, it's not just students and school staff who love our homegrown harvest. The week before Thanksgiving, students caught countless monarch caterpillars munching away on the Mexican milkweed in our Recipe Garden at MacGregor Elementary. 


A hard freeze in Houston was in the forecast, and the kids were worried about the future of all these soon-to-be butterflies. Sympathizing with their anguish, I was talked into becoming a foster parent of four caterpillars, which I was informed, was not nearly enough. Evidently, our garden caterpillars faired just fine. When we returned in December, the once very lush milkweeds had not a leaf in sight!


Over the following weeks, my classes observed these caterpillars turn into chrysalises, from dewy green to black and orange. One reflective Pre-K student commented that the chrysalis was like the butterfly's sleeping bag, a perfectly apt (and adorable!) association for their curious minds to grasp.


Kindergartener watches a butterfly emerge in its makeshift habitat.

Never before had I held captive chrysalises and I found myself being just as rapt with their life cycle as the kids, particularly when the butterflies emerged! One particular kindergarten class squealed with delight as the emerging drama unfolded before them. A couple hours later, the fifth graders released the butterflies from their netted cage. Shy to start flying at first, they were serenaded by the class singing "Let It Go" and "I Believe I Can Fly" in complete earnest and support of these tiny creatures.

When finally the radiant orange wings took off into the wind, the class erupted in cheers. One student asked, "Can we plant more milkweed?" Absolutely. 


Benihana to the Rescue!

Helen Bow
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RFS Board Member Helen Bow is passionate about healthy eating and exercise.  With one son who's an adventurous eater (Greyson) and one who's a selective eater (Miles), it is always a challenge to please everyone at the dinner table. Often, it requires a little creativity.

teppanyaki.jpgMy 13-year-old son Miles has been selective about what he consumes from the get-go.  When he was old enough to start drinking milk from a cup, he refused to do so.  The kiddo hasn't had a full serving of milk in 12 years.  I'm not kidding.  That includes ice cream.  Yes, that's right.  My son will not even eat ice cream; and yet will opt for sorbet or gelato. To make sure he's getting the nutrients that milk provides, I've learned to compensate, offering him lots of cheese or sneaking milk or cream into mashed potatoes or mac and cheese.

Oddly, Miles loves onions and will eat them raw and cut up like an apple.  I'm always at a loss on what to cook to please the kiddo, to get him to eat healthy foods.  Last weekend, I decided to capitalize on the fact that he loves onions and drew inspiration from a recent trip to Benihana, famous for its teppanyaki-style cuisine.  Miles loves the place and gobbles up the soup, chicken fried rice, shrimp and beef.  So at home, I decided to make him chicken fried rice and included onions, carrots, peas and red and green bell peppers--and he loved it!  I also boiled carrots, onions and green bell peppers, cayenne pepper with soy sauce in organic chicken broth to create my own version of the Benihana soup and he devoured it, veggies and all.

What's more, the leftovers were plentiful so we could enjoy it for a few more days.  Thank you--or arigatou--for the inspiration Benihana!

Have you ever re-created one of your children's favorite dining experiences at home? Tell us in the comments! Or try this healthy stir-fry that uses a surprising technique!

TV Magic with Chef Randy Evans!

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ChefRandyChopsticks.jpgChef Randy demonstrates how to use chopsticks. 

Chefs in Schools™, which matches celebrity chefs as guest instructors for fourth-grade classes, is one of the most exciting aspects of our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ program.   Our volunteer chefs are getting a kick out of putting their own unique stamp on this year's curricular theme: Eat It! Food Adventures with Marco Polo.  Just yesterdayChef Randy Evans took fourth-graders from MacGregor Elementary on a culinary adventure to China. On the menu for the day were Far East Cauliflower Bowls, a revamped version of the ultimate take-out comfort food champion, Chinese fried rice.

Chef Randy showed students how to make "rice" with cauliflower, upping nutrient levels and lowering calories, all while sending the tastiness factor off the charts.  Kids were impressed that with only a few pulses of the food processor this wonder veggie could be transformed into a better version of the grain. 

Since 2006, Chef Randy has volunteered in our classrooms, charming and educating students with restaurant secrets and the finest culinary skills. Thursday was no different, except for one detail: the kids' beloved chef is now a TV star! As Chef Randy led students on the epicurean exploration, he regaled them with stories of his Kitchen Inferno episode "Milk and Cookies: Get Ready to Crumble", which debuted this past week on the Food Network. He even divulged a TV magic secret - it took 8 days to film the one hour episode.  The kids were delighted to get the inside scoop!

Baked Veggie Fritters

Jenna White
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The holiday season means plenty of celebrating centered around sharing favorite food traditions with loved ones. But after the big meal's been eaten and the party fun's been had, you may find yourself drained of inspiration to create but one more inventive meal.

In a kitchen just like yours, in circumstances just like this, is how the veggie fritter was born. At least we assume so since its simple genius is perfect for such an occasion. 


This month Chef Jon Buchanan of Trevisio baked veggie fritters with Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ students at MacGregor Elementary, inspiring him to recreate the dish in technicolor for a family meal with his staff (pictured here).

In Britain, fritters take the form of "bubble and squeak", so called due to the sounds they emit as they sizzle in a hot pan, and take advantage of what remains from Sunday supper. Roasted root vegetables, soft and sweet, are lazily mashed and combined with some egg and flour before being dropped into a pan and refashioned into beautifully irregular savory pancakes. It's exactly the end your holiday meal leftovers dreamed of. And requires the tiniest bit of effort, lucky for you.

Of course, fresh vegetables work swimmingly, as well. Whatever you have on hand, really, no matter the season, just shred, mix with back bone-providing elements, liven with herbs and aromatics, then into the pan they go.

To lighten up this version, we send forgo pan frying and instead send our "fritters" into the oven to finish the transformation from humble ingredients to humble yet satisfying comfort food. While you wait, whip up a tangy, bright sauce that will awaken the whole dish, as well as your house guests.

Baked Veggie Fritters


For the fritters:

1 cup zucchini
1 cup carrot
2 cup potato (russet or sweet), cooked
2 eggs
½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs 
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ cup mint, chopped
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt 
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the yogurt sauce:

1 cup plan, lowfat yogurt
2 tablespoons yellow mustard (or whichever kind you have will do)
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, mint, cilantro or a mix)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste


To make the fritters:

  • Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside.
  • Scoop cooked potato out of skin and mash with the back of a fork. 
  • Cut zucchini into small ¼-inch cubes (or grate). Add to bowl with potato.
  • Peel and grate carrots. Add to bowl with potato and zucchini.
  • Crack eggs into a separate bowl.  Whisk with a fork before adding to bowl.
  • Add chopped mint and parsley, bread crumbs, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Measure 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture, roll into a ball and place on baking sheet oiled baking sheet. Repeat until all of the mixture is used.
  • Using the bottom of a glass or cup, flatten each ball until about ½-inch thick.
  • Bake at 450° for 6 minutes, flip each fritter and bake another 6 minutes.

To make the sauce: 

  • Peel and mince garlic, chop herbs and combine with yogurt, mustard and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
  • Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Thin with a small amount of water if needed.
  • Serve each fritter with yogurt sauce and enjoy!

Find even more ideas for healthy, delicious recipes for any occasion on our Pinterest boards.

'Tater Takeover!

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Move over Pumpkin Spiced everything, it's sweet potato season! Since school has started, the kiddos in our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs have been ripping up verdant vines and submerging their small hands in soil. It's the ultimate treasure hunt, sifting and clawing through the deep unknown of our garden beds, sometimes unearthing a host of interesting living things from "alien" looking moth pupas to red onions from seasons past.  When sweet potatoes are found they are notoriously plump, disfigured giants, delighting the young discoverers. It's no easy feat hoisting batatas like these from such deep depths.

GiantSweetPotato.jpgStudents hold up a monstrous sweet potato harvested from their Recipe Garden at Rodriguez Elementary School. 

After all this hard work, the bellies began to growl. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and so many kids have marshmallows and mashed sweet potatoes on the brain. But here at Recipe for Success, we are digging deeper with our recipes.

In our showcase culinary classrooms we motivate kids to step away from the candied nuts and sticky melted 'mallows by instead making a flavorful Turkish dish called Sebze Müscveri, or Baked Veggie Fritters, as part of our Marco Polo curriculum, adapted from the Eat It! Food Adventures with Marco Polo cookbook by RFS Founder, Gracie Cavnar. Traditionally made with russet potatoes, we utlized our harvest bounty to boost the vitamin punch. To balance its sweetness, the kids made a yogurt-garlic sauce to drizzle on top and then added a garnish of garden fresh radish slices for extra crunch. YUM!

Let us know how you are healthily enjoying the sweet side of this season's best ingredient!

10 Tips for Healthy Holidays

Michael Pearce
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2014 has been a fun and crazy year.  We can hardly believe we are already heading into the holiday season. It seems like we were just putting out Easter eggs. Still, we need to face the inevitable; the holidays are upon us. Facing this realization also means dealing with the dinners, parties and gift baskets of food. Thanksgiving alone can put you in a food coma through the next holiday.

With holiday cards to write, presents to buy and parties to attend, we all need to remember to try to eat healthy during the holidays or face the sluggish effects of our bad choices. I'm not kidding. Last year, I dove into the candy dish at a holiday party and just woke up to write this post.

ElvesPie.jpgSo, to learn from my mistakes, I've compiled this list:

10 Healthy Eating Tips to Survive the Holidays

  1. Trim Back The Trimmings - Unlike a Holiday Tree, you don't need to trim out your plate with everything. A little discretion here can save you pounds of guilt later. Avoid empty calories in cookies, chocolates and processed foods. 
  2. Don't Be A Scrooge - At the same time, don't be afraid to indulge in your sweet treat, be it fruit, nuts or even a chocolate truffle, if that's your thing. Moderation is key. Food, like life, is meant to be enjoyed, especially around the holidays. Just remember that gluttony will not look pretty come summer.
  3. Be A Food Snob - It's the one time it's okay to be a snob at a party.  If you don't love it, don't try it. Only fill your plate with food you love. If you don't see anything you like, grab a glass and raise a toast to your host. You don't need to bend your elbows at the buffet.
  4. Fuel Up For The Festivities - Just like you don't go to the grocery store hungry, don't go to a holiday party that way. You'll find yourself better able to resist temptation if you aren't imagining the other guests as a crunchy treat.
  5. Be Merry, Drink Then Eat - Before you head for the food, grab a drink, circle the room and mingle. You may find you won't even end up at the food trough.
  6. Step Away From The Chocolates - If sweets are your trigger, then don't stand next to them. Out of sight, out of mind has been a winning mantra for years. If it's in front of you and you can reach it, you'll be eating it. Treat those sweets like an ex that owes you money. You don't even want to see it!
  7. Walk Don't Skip - If you over-indulge in one meal, up your daily exercise and/or lessen the next, don't skip meals. Surviving the holidays is about making healthy choices. Don't fall into unhealthy practices. 
  8. It Isn't All About The Cookies - There are lots of fun activities we can do with the family that don't involve baking cookies and pies. You can make wreaths and cards, but if you are going to make cookies, then check out some of our healthy recipes.
  9. Fill Your Home With Good Goodies - Instead of having bowls of sugary treats out on display for the family and guests, keep healthy, nutritious alternatives around. Eating several meals a day can be healthy provided the options are healthy.
  10. Enjoy What You're Eating - Nutritious food is meant to be shared, appreciated and celebrated. Savor it and enjoy the experience. Don't cram it down in between anecdotes. Treat your standing cocktail party the way you would a lovely sit down. Don't rush, stop to enjoy, savor and celebrate.

Have more tips to add to the list? Share them below!

Michael Pearce is one half of the amazing duo completed by husband Matt Burrus. They round out their happy home with daughter, Estelle, age three, and newest addition, baby Winston. Michael and Matt share more of their adventures in parenting over at the Gayby Boom blog.

VOM FASS Grand Opening

Jenna White
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VOMFASS-Grand-Opening-Agenda.jpgThere's a new spice shop in town, and they want YOU to join them for the grand opening of their Rice Village location. We want you there, too, since VOM FASS has generously offered to donate FIVE PERCENT of sales from their entire opening weekend to Recipe for Success Foundation, starting Thursday. Even better are all the FREE activities and tastings going on for the celebration. Check out the lineup and plan to stop by and doing some holiday shopping for your favorite food lovers, Thursday, November 20 through Sunday, November 23... See you then!

Learn more about VOM FASS here.

Q&A with My Favorite Holiday Food Writing Contest Winner

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I recently sat down with My Favorite Holiday Food Writing Contest winner David Gallegos, a fourth-grader from MacGregor Elementary School. His essay about his grandmother's fried cauliflower, a New Year's Eve tradition in his family, captured the heart of the storywriting contest's official judge, Houston's own Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda. She said that out of all the essays, David's had the best "flow and tone."  Each year the winner gets to play chef for the day at The Houstonian with Chef Neal Cox. Read David's thoughts on winning this prestigious prize and prepare to be charmed by this little chef! 

When did you start taking RFS classes?

First grade.

When you are out in the garden, what do you like to do?

Water the plants.

What is your favorite plant to grow in the garden?


Yum! Do you like to make any special recipes with watermelon?

I like the taste of it plain, but sometimes I like to it eat it with this hot powder. Me and my grandmother call it, "pica."

You've been cooking for a while now, what is your favorite recipe to make in this class?

Beet brownies!

What is your favorite food in the whole world?

(Without missing a beat) Fried cauliflower.

davidgallegosedited.jpgDavid Gallegos with Chef Neil Cox at the Blue Plate Special Awards Luncheon on November 5, 2014. 

How did it feel to receive the My Favorite Holiday Food Writing Contest award at the Blue Plate Special Luncheon?

Nervous and exciting.  I liked the lunch. The pecan-crusted chicken was good, but I would have changed the sweet potato mash to cucumbers instead.  (In the S2P culinary classes, we encourage students to say what they like about a dish and things they would change about it. Let the creativity fly!)

What do you think about spending an entire day with Chef Neal? You're going to learn and cook so many yummy things!

I am excited. Hopefully I don't get a stomachache!

Is there any particular dish you'd like to make with Chef Neal at the Houstonian?

I want to try and make my very own recipe with Chef Neal. Not sure if it it's going to be a dessert or a main meal.

Do you think you could teach Chef Neal how to make fried cauliflower?

If my mom shows me the right ingredients to use first, then sure!


What a fun day is ahead for this budding chef and writer! Stay tuned to hear what good food David cooks up with Chef Neal Cox at the Houstonian in January!

Want your kids to participate in the 2015 My Favorite Holiday Food Writing Contest next fall?  Follow us on FB and Twitter to stay up to date on contest registration announcements and other fun RFS activities.

'Food desert' thing of past

Jenna White
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Chron-HopeFarms.jpg"Seeds of change have been planted in the Sunnyside neighborhood, where healthful eating has long been inhibited by a lack of grocery stores and fresh food.

Sunnyside is one example of Houston's food deserts, where the nearest grocery store is almost twice as far as the nearest convenience store or fast-food restaurant.

Gracie Cavnar, founder of Recipe for Success, knew something had to be done, so she created Hope Farms, a food-access project meant to empower Sunnyside's residents to provide healthful foods to their children."

Read the full story, published in the Houston Chronicle Star section on November 7, 2014, at Chron.com.

Composting Mr. Fuzzy

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This year was the first time in eight years I decided to carve a jack-o-lantern. Goodness, was I proud of it. The days leading up to Halloween, I let the sinister eyes and bat-shaped mouth sit a glow on my stoop, lighting up my inner childlike glee.

jackolanternrevised.jpgPromptly on the morning after Halloween, there they were -- the darkening spots, the little fuzzy hairs of mold.  October was over and November wasted no time in getting rid of the past.

compost.jpgFortunately, this month in our Seed-to-Plate curriculum is the time we teach our students about composting.  I brought in my proud yet somewhat slumping, jack-o-lantern into MacGregor Elementary to show my students.

"What should I do with my pumpkin now that it's old and moldy?" I asked my first graders. One young girl raised her hand "You need to throw Mr. Fuzzy in the trash." Aha! The teachable moment, all of us teachers hope for. Off to the compost area we went. 

Students learned that Mr. Fuzzy would eventually break down into a crumbly,  "chocolate" looking mixture, rich in nutrients, for healthier, bigger veggie plants in our Recipe Garden.  Healthy soil makes healthy crops, which ultimately means healthy us!


At the end of the lesson, it was a little bittersweet for the students (and me!) to bury Mr. Fuzzy under decomposing vines. Yet, the event energized students to bring their own jack-o-lanterns from home to put in our school compost. Sad pumpkins can make some very happy plants and kiddos.

I challenge you all to do the same with your leftover pumpkins this holiday season!

For pottage and puddings 
and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips
are common supplies.
We have pumpkins at morning
and pumpkins at noon.
If it were not for pumpkins
we should be undoon. 

Pilgrim verse (c.1633)

Food Day Plant-a-Palooza!

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KIPP carrots.jpg

People have been gathering over food for millenia. It should be no surprise then on October 24 every year thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate Food Day, a day to enjoy and support the movement for affordable, sustainable, real food.

 Official Food Day Houston organizer Recipe for Success Foundation added an event to the list of celebrations with #HoustonDigsRealFood, a citywide plant-a-palooza. What better way to appreciate real food than by planting, growing, harvesting and preparing vegetables yourself?

 Houstonians of every age were encouraged to plant veggie seeds in patches of soil located in offices, window boxes, yards, community gardens and, of course, school gardens. Thirty-five Houston-area schools participated in the event!

Check Presentation, group with kids.jpg

 MacGregor Elementary hosted the grand finale of the festivities. In a public ceremony with the Mayor's office and local dignitaries, Wells Fargo presented a grant of $200,000 to Recipe for Success Foundation in support of their Hope Farms™ urban agricultural project. After the ceremony, participants including councilmembers Steve Costello and David Robinson, the City's Director of Sustainability Laura Spanjian, planted beet seeds in the school gardens. I see beet brownies in our future!

 Farmers MarKIDS stand.jpg

During the event, MacGregor fifth graders prepared and served crispy sweet potato fries with homemade zesty ketchup to entice guests to shop for school-grown veggies like bok choy, mustard greens, herbs, and sweet potatoes at their farmers marKIDS™ stand. It was quite the garden party!

 Did you plant seeds for #HoustonDigsRealFood? Share what you planted in the comment section below! 

Learn more about farmers marKIDS here.


The Trick-or-Treat Toy Test

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This year health-conscious, sugar-avoiding Houston mama Becky Flechsig decided to test the trick-or-treating waters and see whether Halloween would sink or float without the focus on candy. See how it went...

mermaid.jpgI used my trick-or-treaters this year. I started to wonder what a non candy Halloween would look like and the next thing I knew I was on Amazon buying mini gliders, spider rings, glow in the dark bugs, glow stick  bracelets, and mini bubbles. And I was excited like a nerd about it.

I had a lot of apprehension about the possibility of an old fashioned egging or making small children cry, so on October 30th I went out and bought a mixed bag of mini M&Ms, Snickers and Skittles. The candy lived inside of the ghost (a decoration my grandmother made with paper mache, a balloon & a milk jug) and the toys were in an open bowl. 

halloweencandy.jpgAt the end of the night the candy was gone, but I will have no problem with the possibility of not buying it next year. EVERYONE was nuts over the glow bracelets. I didn't make them into bracelets, just kept them straight like little sticks. Kids were running around with them and when we handed them out, the reactions were fantastic.

The runner up non candy giveaway was the mini bubbles. Everything else was kind of meh. The reason the candy was gone is because after they picked a toy, I was like "and take some candy, too" because I did not want that stuff lying around the house. But next year, we'll probably skip the candy without regret.

This post was originally published on Becky's blog over at Raising Texas.

How do YOU handle the trick-or-treating debacle? Any successful ideas you've tried or seen? Share in the comments!


High Fashion with Sachin & Babi

Jenna White
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D4DSaks-SachinBabi-Invite.jpgOn October 29, join chairs Leisa and Laura in launching our first runway show of  Dress for Dinner, Season VI, featuring personal appearance and fashion presentation by Sachin & Babi, followed by an exclusive VIP dinner with the designers.

Tickets for runway show and reception are $50; dinner is an additional $300.

Season show tickets are available for a special Early Bird rate at 10% discount through the night of the event. All season ticket holders will be included in a drawing to win two tickets to Houston Fashion Week.

Learn more about VIP packages and purchase tickets here.  

Homemade Granola

Jenna White
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Granola.jpgWe welcome the cooler breezes that autumn brings, but with the reprieve from the sweltering summer heat comes the frenzy of back-to-school, holidays and an inevitably overflowing schedule. Ensuring your family stays fueled means packing a few nutritious, energizing recipes in your back pocket. This one, you'll love.

If you've never made granola at home, you'll be  surprised at how simple it is, not to mention cheaper than storebought varieties. Granola from scratch also means you control what goes in; skip the refined sugar, corn syrup and preservatives and customize flavor combos to the whims of you and your favorite snackers, who will love helping make this snack.

Granola, of course, is good on the go as a pick-me-up snack, but it's also a filling way to start the day - simply add your favorite milk or top with yogurt and fresh seasonal fruit. 

Easy-peasy Homemade Granola
Yield - 3 ½ cup (Approximately 14 ¼-cup servings)

2 cup rolled oats
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
3 tablespoon canola oil
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line 2 quarter sheet pans or 1 half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Place oil, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Chop the pecans with a knife and place in a medium bowl.
  • Place oats, almonds, and sunflower seeds into the bowl with the pecans and mix until combined.
  • Pour the honey mixture onto granola mixture and mix with a spatula until well coated.
  • Turn out granola onto the prepared cookie sheet(s).  Spread the mixture evenly on the cookie sheet in a thin layer.
  • Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Stir the granola. Return the pan to the oven. Cook for 10 more minutes or until golden and crunchy.
  • Remove from the oven. Let cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Have your own favorite granola flavor combinations? Share in the comments!

Seed-to-Plate on PBS!

Jenna White
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PBSspecial.jpgRecipe for Success Foundation's Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ was featured in an excellent PBS special about reviving school lunch and connecting students with healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Take a look!

(The whole segment is well-worth the watch, but if you're antsy to see us, skip to 10:00!)

This episode aired on PBS and was originally published here.


Jenna White
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School is back in swing and cooler days are on the way, which means it's also nearly time to for national Food Day. Founded by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. Since its inception Recipe for Success Foundation has coordinated a variety of engaging activities each year centered around Food Day on October 24.

This year, we've cooked up a fun and easy way for all of Houston to get involved: Houston Digs Real Food. On Friday, October 24, 2014, folks citywide will show their support of fresh, sustainable produce and eating local by planting their very own veggie seeds. Our friends at Botanical Interests have even donated seed packets for everyone who wants to participate. Get your school, company, family or group of friends together to be a part of the first annual Houston Digs Real Food planting! And don't forget to share with us on social media: #HoustonDigsRealFood.

For more details and to take part in Houston Digs Real Food, email [email protected]


Kudos for Berry ES

Jenna White
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berry.jpgRecipe for Success Foundation is fortunate to partner with amazing like-minded organizations who help us make our vision to establish healthy eating as the norm become a reality. James Berry Elementary is a perfect example. Thanks to sponsorship from the Aetna Foundation and Healthy Living Matters, we were able to establish our gardens and Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ as a vital learning tool of this new LEED-certified environmental science campus.

We are honored to have played a role in helping Berry earn the 2014 Development of Distinction Award from Urban Land Institute Houston for their success in creating a dynamic, green-concsious campus in a community that has greatly benefited from the revitalization.

After a year of support by our S2P Instructors, Berry has now spread its wings to become a sustainable RFS Affiliate Partner, with classroom teachers having completed training to be certified S2P Instructors and implement our program.

Congrats to Berry and thanks to everyone who helped in our mutual success. Onward and upward!

Watch this ULI video about the campus here: 

D4D Kickoff with David Peck

Jenna White
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DavidPeck2.jpgSummer's sipped its last gasp, so wave goodbye to ice-drowned drinks, barely dressed salads bursting with juicy market finds and the breeziest of sundresses to focus our sights instead on the season of respite. In particular, we are thrilled to celebrate fall fashion with you.

Please join us on Tuesday, September 2, to ring in the season with style and kickoff our SIXTH season of the annual Dress for Dinner fashion series. They party, which includes light bites, will be hosted by homegrown designer David Peck in his brand new David Peck USA showroom.  The design house is generously donating 20% proceeds from sales during the soft opening soiree to Recipe for Success Foundation, so come prepared to shop.

Fresh Chef Surpríse Season

Jenna White
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Jonathan LevineWE'RE BAAAAAACK. RecipeHouse took a brief hiatus from our chef-led pop-up dinners this summer to make room for Eat This! Summer Camp, but this fall, we're back in action!  Helping us kick off the 2014-2015 season is talented chef Jonathan Levine of Jonathan's The Rub on Monday, September 8.  As always, following a reception, Chef will serve up a multi-course wine dinner, complete with culinary demonstrations, in our intimate dining space in the Museum District.

This year, we're offering the chance to lock in your seats for the whole season with a special early bird rate. Purchase your Fall Season Tickets at $350 per person, which secures you a seat to all four of our monthly dinners this fall: September 8, October 6, November 10 and December 1. Individual dinner tickets are $99 per person and include, reception, wine and seated dinner.

We look forward to seeing you this fall at RecipeHouse!

Chef Surprise occurs on the first Monday of every month (excluding holidays) at RecipeHouse in the Museum District and features an intimate evening with some of Houston's finest chefs, benefiting Recipe for Success Foundation. For more information and to reserve seats, click here.

Prohibition Test Kitchen

Jenna White
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testkitchen.jpgWe're pleased to announce that our friends at Prohibition Supperclub & Bar will soon open a  downtown location.  Before they kick things into full swing, the 1920's-inspired venue will host a pop-up dinner at Kraftsmen Bakery in the Heights on Thursday, August 14 at 7pm.  Guests will enjoy a sneak peek at new menu offerings by Prohibition's chefs Ben McPherson and Matt Wommack. The downtown Prohibition location will feature a raw bar, tasting menus, fresh seafood and classic dishes.  All proceeds from Prohibition Test Kitchen ticket sales will generously be donated to Recipe for Success Foundation to support our efforts to make healthy eating fun and easy. 

Purchase your tickets at ProhibitionHouston.com.

True Food Kitchen Sneak Peek

Jenna White
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True Food Kitchen Charity DinnerWe're excited to share with you that a new healthy food concept will soon call Houston home: True Food Kitchen has set down roots on Post Oak at San Felipe, providing a delicious and nutritious option for dining near the Galleria. Even more exciting, we're honored that True Food Kitchen has selected Recipe for Success Foundation to benefit from a special pre-opening charity dinner.

Please join us for this special event on Friday, July 25, for a taste of the healthy, delicious dishes on offer. Attendance is free, but any donations will directly benefit our efforts to educate kids about healthy eating and combat childhood obesity.

Please note that seating is limited. To RSVP for your preferred seating time, email [email protected].

Getting Kids to Eat Healthy..

Jenna White
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HoustonMatters-IronChef.jpg"A few months ago we had a discussion about efforts to get kids to eat healthier. And while there are many programs and efforts within schools to teach kids where their food comes from - by doing things like starting a small garden on the school grounds - not all those programs take the next step and teach the kids what to do with those healthy ingredients once they have them.

So we sent Houston Matters' Michael Hagerty out to see a program called Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ from the local non-profit Recipe for Success Foundation, which teaches Houston-area kids how to cook healthy meals, all while incorporating some elements of a popular reality cooking competition show..."

Listen to the segment by Michael Hagerty of KUHF's Houston Matters: "Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Includes Teaching Them to Cook".

Trouble listening? Hear the podcast on the Houston Matters page here.

Happy Campers on the Hunt

Jenna White
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This week kicked off our first week of Eat This! Summer Camp at RecipeHouse. Campers cook, garden and learn about nutrition and food marketing, applying their new knowledge through hands-on lessons and even creating their own food.

One of their favorite activities? Spending time in our garden hunting for insects!

CampCollage-InsectHunt.jpgLearn more about Eat This! Summer Camp and how to sign up your adventurous food and garden explorers here.

Wine & Food for Good

Jenna White
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Bruliam Wines will join Chef Monica Pope at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop on Tuesday, June 24, for a four-course dinner with exclusive wine pairings.

Bruliam Wines is a boutique producer of vineyard designated wines. They source their fruit from California's finest vineyards to provide world-class wines. Then they donate 100% of those profits to the charities that you choose. If you're lucky enough to live your dream, it's most satisfying when everyone shares the harvest.

For this special event, Bruliam Wines will be auctioning off two large format bottles (1.5 L).  Auction profits will be matched up to $500, with all funds donated to Recipe for Success Foundation.

Curious about Bruliam Wines? Find out more about their unique nonprofit wine concept here.

Learn more about the event and purchase tickets for the sure-to-be fabulous dinner here.

RFS Loves Greenling!

Jenna White
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GreenlingSpotlight.jpgGreenling Founder and Cookie Monster Mason Arnold chats with Recipe for Success Foundation at RecipeHouse about why Greenling loves supporting our programs. Their mission to support local farmers and food producers and to help connect their customers with fresh, quality, local food makes them a terrific match with Recipe for Success. Their team provides much of the produce for our full calendar of RecipeHouse classes, camps and chef dinners, as well as for special events and community outreach activities. We are grateful to have such a fun and gung-ho partner to help us GROW our message and programming! Thank you, Greenling!

Having trouble viewing? Watch this video and more on our YouTube channel.

Worm Composting with Kids!

Jenna White
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Recipe Gardens Coordinator Justin Myers and Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ students at MacGregor Elementary built a vermiculture bin, or worm composter, to create nutritious compost to nourish the plants in their edible garden. Once the bin is built and worms are added, simply feed them food scraps to produce sustainable compost.

Watch how simple this project is, and then grab supplies and do it with your own kids for!

Trouble viewing? Watch this In Our Garden video and others on our YouTube channel.

Oh so easy Lemon-Garlic Hummus

Jenna White
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Recently Recipe for Success volunteer and Raising Texas blogger, Becky, channeled her inner hippie for some awesome homemade granola (something we do often with students in our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ kiddos and RecipeHouse campers, to much applause). You can read all about Becky's experience and get her recipe here. But she didn't stop at granola, so we decided to share her second hippie epiphany of the day: that hummus is SUPER easy to make in your very own kitchen. (It makes a rockin' pick-me-up snack, too. But you already knew that.)
Later in the day after granola was finished, my inner hippie wasn't done. (She had a big day.) I made my own hummus, which was so easy, I was able to make a last minute decision to do it. There are tons of different versions and ways, this is what I did:
Lemon-Garlic Hummus
2 cup canned chickpeas (also called Garbanzo Beans) drained and rinsed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice (I had two really juicy lemons and used them up.)
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini (found usually in the Asian food section of your store. It's sesame seed paste.)
3 cloves garlic
Put it all in a food processor (I did mine in the medium-sized Ninja Pro canister) like so:
Oh so easy lemon-garlic hummus

Then you pulse it, and this happens:

lemon-garlic hummus

BOOM! HUMMUS! And it was SO GOOD. I'm never buying hummus again. 

I have lots of Facebook friends who make their own lotion. Hummus, granola & chicken stock are just child's play. You can totally do this. Or you can still buy it all at the store. No judgement here. But this tastes so much better. Just saying. 
Peace, Love & Granola,
Read more from Becky at RaisingTexasBlog.com.

HISD Fruit & Veggie Fests!

Jenna White
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VegFest-GiggleGirls.jpgThis May, Recipe for Success Foundation teamed up with the Houston ISD Food Services Nutrition Team for the International Fruit and Vegetable Festival! Students at Berry, Briscoe and Rodriguez elementary schools traveled through the world of fruits and vegetables to learn not only the origin of each food, but how each tastes and the value of eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily.

VegFest-Blindfold.jpgStudents enjoyed trying some new and exotic produce and playing games like Veggie Bingo, Brussels Sprouts Toss and guessing what they were eating while blindfolded (blackberries tastes sweet-tart!) or touching (kiwi is so fuzzy!).

View an album showcasing more of the fun here. Read more about the festival and school nutrition in the Houston Chronicle article and on HISD eNews.

Common Bond at RecipeHouse

Jenna White
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Before opening their doors to the public the following week, acclaimed chef Roy Shvartzapel and the Common Bond crew hauled  dishes, tool kits and a whole mess of decadence to RecipeHouse for our May Chef Surprise. With the lofty goal of becoming "America's best bakery", Chef Roy and team gave the evening's guests a real treat - a sneak peek of their much anticipated offerings. 

CommonBond-Bread.jpgAnd while they will without a doubt have some of the best bread and pastries you've ever encountered, their savory lunch and dinner fare is nothing to scoff at. 

CommonBond-VitelloTonnato.jpgThe talented team's precision and care resulted in thoughtful, indulgent dishes that were both appealing to the eye and the palette. 

CommonBond-PistachioCake.jpgGuests were provided with parting gifts, including their soon-to-be signature kugelhopf pastry: a sweet gesture and sign that Houston's earned itself another must-taste dining spot.

Click through for a glimpse of the masterpieces crafted by the well-oiled machine that is Common Bond.

Chef Surprise occurs on the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse in the Museum District and features an intimate evening with some of Houston's finest chefs, benefiting Recipe for Success Foundation. For more information and to reserve seats, click here.

Photos by Dragana A. Harris

Eat This! Summer Camp

Jenna White
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SummerCamp-ChefHats.jpgSign up your lil' foodies to join us this summer for Eat This! Summer Camp! During five-day sessions offered in June and July, campers, age eight to eleven, learn to become savvy food consumers through fun hands-on activities at RecipeHouse, our cozy home in the Museum District. 

Campers cook, garden and learn how food is developed and marketed. They culminate the week by turning their summer bounty into a healthy and marketable food product. Through hands-on learning, we prepare young consumers to navigate manipulative marketing tactics used to sell unhealthy foods. Plus, we make it TASTY and tons of FUN! 

Even more fun? One kid-created food product will be selected by Revival Market to sell on their shelves this fall!

Find dates, more info and registration forms here or email Marisol Castro

Help us #SaveSchoolLunch

Gracie Cavnar
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Over the past few years, the spiraling rate of childhood obesity has thrust the issue of school nutrition into a national spotlight. Nineteen million American school children, including 78% of Houston ISD students, receive free and reduced priced school meals, which are often their only meals of the day.  Until the new nutritional standards were mandated, the typical fare, bursting with sodium, fat and sugar, practically guaranteed poor health for the kids who depended on it. Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 with bipartisan support to help ensure that every American child has access to the nutrition they need to grow into healthy adults.  

Unfortunately, all of these efforts will be destroyed on Thursday if a House appropriations bill is approved that guts the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. It includes a waiver to allow schools to opt out of complying with all school meal standards if they are able to show any decline in revenue over six months, no matter what caused the decline. 

Rather than ensuring that lunch trays are loaded with fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grains and menus are low in sugar and sodium, we will throw the door open to invite junk food and high-calorie beverages right back into our school cafeterias, along with all the chronic poor health those foods guarantee.

This is unacceptable.  We want a healthy future for all American kids.  

Tell Congress to stop playing politics with our children's health. 

Photo credit: http://www.fns.usda.gov/.

Cookin' on Great Day Houston

Jenna White
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GreatDay-Camp.jpg2013 Eat This! Summer Campers Nylah and Nadia joined Recipe for Success on Great Day Houston to talk with Deborah Duncan about their winning Chocolate Kale Cookies and whip up some Quinoa Rainbow Veggie Stir-Fry with Chef Ruffy Sulaiman.

Take a peek, and then check out the recipe for our Rainbow Veggie Stir-Fry here.

Trouble viewing? Watch the video on our YouTube channel.

Junk Food Marketing a Niños

Jenna White
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The Center for Digital Democracy has created a new infographic that shows how food and beverage companies target Hispanic youth with digital marketing for unhealthy food and beverage products. Think on these unappetizing numbers, then share with your networks! 


Leek & Goat Cheese Frittata

Jenna White
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Frittata.jpgThis frittata comes together in a jiffy and can be served warm, room temperature or cold. Serve with a simple arugula salad, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. It's a great quiche substitute, as it is both carb and gluten-free. Experiment with different fillings - the sky is the limit!

Leek, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Frittata
Serves 8


12 large eggs OR 6 whole eggs + 10 egg whites
¼ cup skim or 2% milk
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 leeks, white and light green parts halved, thoroughly washed of dirt and cut into thin slices
¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Add eggs, milk, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to a bowl, whisk until combined and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in sauté pan over low heat and add leeks. Cook until tender.  Add to egg mixture.
  • Add ¾ of the crumbled goat cheese and chopped parsley to the egg mixture. Stir to combine.

 There are two baking options:

  • Place an oven-safe sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Once pan is very hot, pour in the egg mixture and let cook for 2-4 min.
  • Top with the rest of your goat cheese, prosciutto, tomatoes and parsley.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the frittata does not jiggle when you shake the pan.


  • Pour egg and leek mixture into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with goat cheese, prosciutto, tomatoes and parsley.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the frittata does not jiggle when you shake the pan.

Chantal and Dragana

Tracy Weldon
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Chantal and Dragana-cropv1.png

I am pleased that Chantal Duvall and Dragana Harris are our volunteers for the month of May!

Chantal Duvall is originally from Belgium, but moved to Virginia in the 70's to marry the love of her life.  Chantal received her first cookbook at the age of 10 which sparked her love for food and cooking.  She taught French pastry and cooking in Kingwood for 15 years and owned her own catering company. She lived the charmed life in a small village in Provence for ten years before moving back to the States. 

Dragana Harris brings a diverse background to our organization. She is Serbian, but grew in South Africa and attended college in Toronto, Canada.  She loves to travel, photograph, and write - all about food.  Her talents are showcased in one package through her writing and food styling for My Table Magazine, and her personal food blog "Prijatno!"

The duo met as senior docents 26 years ago at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  Together they attended culinary events around town before running into Molly, RFS' Director of Operations. When Molly told them about our mission, they immediately hopped in to volunteer at Rodriguez Elementary.  They have since helped with programs such as Chef Surprise and Dress for Dinner.   The Chef Surprise series has been a favorite of Chantal and Dragana's because it allows them to support the best chefs in Houston, and also learn a few new tricks of the trade!

While Chef Surprise is Chantal's beloved RFS series, our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ classes have had the most impact on her.  She loved it when the students at Rodriguez Elementary snacked on lettuces that they grew in the school's garden.  Chantal says, "The students are great examples for my grandchildren.  I've taught them how to eat better using some of the tips I learned in the classroom." 

Dragana loves the teamwork and excitement of our students while they prepare healthy meals sourced from their Recipe Garden.  She keeps a collection of RFS recipes, including Eat It! Food Adventures, that she refers to often.

When Chantal is not helping with one of our programs, she is typically traveling and discovering new foods and wines.  In 10 years, Chantal sees herself living in a small village in Provence enjoying the slow life, good wine, and fresh vegetables and cheeses.  Dragana, on the other hand, hopes to continue to volunteer with Recipe for Success Foundation, which she predicts will be a well-known national organization!

Chantal's and Dragana's friendship extends outside of Recipe for Success Foundation.  They are owners of a small chocolate business and love to experiment with sweets.  Check out some of their tasty treats here: http://cdgourmethouston.com/


Learn more about our Chef Surprise dinners here.        

Chef Garth & RFS on KRBE

Jenna White
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garth-krbe.jpgLong-time Chefs Advisory Board Member Chef Garth Blackburn of Sub-Zero & Wolf joined Recipe for Success Foundation to chat on air with KRBE's Mary Kennedy, host of Around H Town. We discussed the 2014 We're Cooking Now! A Gala in Small Bites dinner series and our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs in schools that the series supports. Have a listen!

Trouble listening? Find the podcast here.

The Fashion Gene Awards

Jenna White
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FashionGene 2014 Invite.jpgJoin chairs Leisa Holland-Nelson and Laura Max Nelson and Recipe for Success Foundation at Tootsies on May 7 for the season finale of Dress for Dinner and the 2014 Fashion Gene Awards! We'll be celebrating mothers and daughters whose style sense is to be envied with a very special fashion show, followed by an exclusive dinner catered by Chef Barbara McKnight of CULINAIR.

Reserve your tickets today!

Signs of a Healthier Future

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Briscoe-Garden Signs.jpgStudents participating in our after-school program at Briscoe Elementary used their artistic abilities to decorate these signs for their Recipe Garden.  At Recipe for Success we strive to integrate all areas of education to foster a healthy lifestyle.  We work closely with schools to align our lessons to their goals for a healthier, well-educated student body.

In observance of National Poetry Month AND National Gardening Month, our Seed-to-Plate instructors are discussing poetry with students and encouraging them to participate in our Garden Haikus Earth Day Contest.  During class students explore the garden to get inspiration for acrostic and free verse poetry.  Students channel their creativity while observing the growth and life cycle of fruits and vegetables.  Some are familiar with poetry but others are being exposed to this written art form for the first time and are excited to create new masterpieces.  This poem was shared by S2P Instructor Emily Paul this month and was met by giggles all around.

Mashed Potatoes on the Ceiling
by Ken Nesbitt

Mashed potatoes on the ceiling.
Green beans on the floor. 
Stewed tomatoes in the corner.
Squash upon the door.

Pickled peppers in my pocket.
Spinach up my sleeves. 
Mushrooms in my underpants with 
leeks and lettuce leaves.

Okra, onions, artichokes, 
asparagus and beets;
buried neatly underneath the 
cushions of our seats.

All the rest I've hidden in my socks 
and down my shirt.
I'm done with all my vegetables.
I'm ready for dessert!

© 2001 Kenn Nesbitt 'The Aliens have landed at our school'

Cooking with Kids: Tamale Casserole

Jenna White
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Houston mom Becky Flechsig, blogger behind Raising Texas, strives to feed her family real food and teach her two little ones that eating healthy is both important and tasty. Like us, she knows kids who get their hands dirty in the kitchen are more likely to embrace new foods. Today, she gives us some insight into how she lets daughter "L" help out.
RaisingTX-TamaleCasserole.jpgDid you know that weight patterns and food attitudes are very difficult to alter after age 11? And by "very difficult" I mean nearly impossible. It's the difference between knowing what is healthier, but still turning to the foods you grew up with. Emotional food ties. A tough nut to crack. 
One thing I am trying to do with my kids to create a healthy relationship with food is getting them in the kitchen helping as early as possible. It started with non cooking tasks like handing out the silverware from the dishwasher and just watching. That led to stirring and whisking and dumping and holding pans still. Recently L has been very eager to help more, which I love. I just have to get used to not caring about things looking too pretty. 
We are having casserole season at our house. Lots and lots of babies being born, lots of baking being done. This is one of my favorite recipes that we recently adapted to make it more organic and real food friendly. You can link to the original Chicken Tamale Casserole from Cooking Light Magazine HERE.  Below is a breakdown of the original recipe and what we did differently. Either option is easy to make with a little helper and tastes great. 
Chicken Tamale Casserole
Originally posted at Raising Texas blog
1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided (We use organic cheese)
1/3 cup fat-free milk (We use organic milk)
1/4 cup egg substitute (I don't believe in egg substitute. One egg = 1/4C)
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper 
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn (I couldn't find organic cream style corn. Here is an easy way to make your own. One recipe = one can.)
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (if you want organic you can find it at whole foods)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained 
Cooking spray (I rub the pan with an empty butter wrapper)
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (there are a few organic options, but you can also make your own. This is a little more complicated at home) 
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (two breasts will do it and shredding is a great job for kids too!)
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream (fat free just means more chemicals and sugar. I use full fat)
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. 
  • L was great at this. I took the ingredients out and put them into measured cups and bowls and she poured them all into the big bowl for mixing.
  • Pour mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  • Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. L was great at this step, too. Pour enchilada sauce over top. We did this one together. 
  • Top with chicken (another great kid job!) sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. (and she loved this step, too)  Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.
I also think this tastes wonderful with fresh avocado. It's very easy and very delicious. When we know Landon will be eating it, we eliminate the red pepper because she sometimes will complain that the corn part is "spicy". I put spicy in quotations because she says this even when things are not spicy by definition. It means there is something extra flavorful about it. That's a good thing, right? 
Follow Becky's Instagram feed for daily inspiration and motivation to keep up the real food fight! And while you're at it, follows ours, too.

An Artful Meal with Uchi

Jenna White
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This week RecipeHouse's kitchen was taken over by one of the must talked about Houston food destinations: Uchi. True to form, the Uchi team delivered meticulously crafted and artfully presented culinary delights that exhibited the kitchen's creativity and love of what they do.

Unsurprisingly, fresh seafood played a prominent role in the evening...


Hamachi, spinach, dill, garlic

... and understated veggies highlight fresh flavors of the season...  




Asparagus, potato, mushroom, tomato

... a dessert almost too pretty to eat... 


Grape, curry, granola

... but the most intriguing dish was the unexpected jet black silkie chicken (a nod to Uchi's Asian influence), leg presented with foot and all, a rare treat oddly reminiscent of something you might imagine fitting for a witch's cauldron.

Click through for a glimpse of the silkie and more photos from our evening with Uchi.

Chef Surprise occurs on the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse in the Museum District and features an intimate evening with some of Houston's finest chefs, benefiting Recipe for Success Foundation. For more information and to reserve seats, click here.

Photos by Dragana A. Harris


Next Stop: A Healthier Generation

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The road to providing healthy foods in our nation's schools began in 1946 and continues today.  From its origin in the 40's, the legislation concerning school foods has been developed to regulate what schools can and cannot feed students to ensure maximum health. 

FoodMarketing-VendingMachines.jpgCracking Down on Junk Food in Schools
In 2010 the
Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act was passed, which allowed further regulation of school meals as well as a way to regulate snacks offered in schools.  The "All Foods Sold in Schools" standards released in addition to the 2010 Act mandated that vending machines and other sources of "junk foods" be unavailable to students during the school day.  Any food available to students must meet several nutrition requirements including being "whole grain-rich"; having a fruit, vegetable, dairy product, or protein as the first ingredient; containing 10% of the Daily Value of one nutrient of public health concern; and limiting calorie, sodium, fat, and sugar levels. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act also requires schools to implement a local wellness policy to oversee healthy practices. Recently, the USDA proposed further guidelines for implementation of these wellness policies. 

Embracing Wellness on Campus
Under the proposed rule, each local educational agency participating in the school lunch program must create a written wellness policy detailing specific goals for nutrition promotion, nutrition education, physical activity, and other activities to promote student wellness. Each agency must establish leadership for the wellness policy including school officials and members of the general public must be permitted to participate in the process. The policy must ensure that each school is abiding by requirements stated under the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and the Smart Snacks in School standards. 

Next Up: No More Junk Food Marketing in Schools
Additionally, the rule limits marketing in schools to only that which promotes foods that meet the nutrition standards discussed above.  Until now, marketing has not been regulated which, some say, can undermine parents' attempts to encourage healthy choices by kids.  The idea here is to "ensure that schools remain a safe place where kids can learn and where the school environment promotes healthy choices," states USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. 

The proposed rule is currently open for public comment specifically concerning this marketing component. The USDA wants to hear our thoughts and ideas about this.  If you wish to join the fight for a healthier school environment please make your voice heard.  The comment period will end April 28. 

Speak out about this critial issue hereLearn more about the proposed policies at FoodMarketing.org.

Rockets Get Dirty with Us

Jenna White
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This March, Houston Rockets selected Recipe for Success Foundation for the second year as a Charity of the Month, raising over $6,000 to support our efforts to create healthy lives for children. In April, they also got their hands dirty volunteering with us as one of their Green Week projects. Staff members came out to work alongside Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education students and instructors to help prepare the Recipe Gardens at Berry Elementary School for spring planting.

Take a look!

Rockets at Berry-Wheelbarrow.jpg



Rockets at Berry-Snack.jpgOh, you know, just munching on a post-gardening snack of freshly harvested salad greens.


Rockets at Berry-Group.jpgThanks for your support, Rockets!


Check out a video of the action during Houston Rockets Green Week here. Plus, more photos here.

Fashion & Foodie Fun

Jenna White
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SmallBites-JonathanBlake.jpgOn April 22, Great Gatsby meets Earth Day when this spectactular Lazy Lane private garden sets the stage for a runway presentation of fashion designer Jonathan Blake's Spring and Fall Collections, followed by an equally sophisticated seated dinner styled by Chef Clark of Ibiza, Coppa and Brasserie 19. Join us in the home of Kristy Phillips and Rob Taylor for "A Garden of Earthly Delights" for a whimsical evening of fashion and food! 

We're Cooking Now! A Gala in Small Bites is an annual series in which Houston's most gracious hosts throw dinner parties featuring gourmet meals, cooking demonstrations and exquisite food and wine celebrations, showcasing Houston's finest chefs in fabulous homes and fun venues, sprinkled throughout the spring to benefit Recipe for Success Foundation. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

It's a VeggieRiot!

Jenna White
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veggieriot.jpgDid you hear about the calamity that broke out in Houston this March? The 2014 VegOut! Challenge caused quite a ruckus!

Trouble viewing? Watch this video and more on our YouTube channel.

SNF chats with Gracie Cavnar

Jenna White
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Gracie-flourkids.jpg"In December of last year, we reached out to the Recipe for Success Foundation in Houston, Texas to learn more about their Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ program. RFS invited us to observe garden education and culinary/nutrition classes at the program's flagship school, MacGregor Elementary. We also sat down with RFS founder, Gracie Cavnar, to learn more about why these programs are so important... "

Read the two-part interview with Gracie by School Nutrition Foundation writer Christina Uticone at BeyondBreakfast.org.

Part 1: Recipe for Success Foundation Founder Gracie Cavnar: "It's not a secret that we have to eat healthy."

Part 2: Recipe for Success Foundation Founder Gracie Cavnar: "Kids drive the behaviors of so many families!"

Sautéed Okra with Onions

Jenna White
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Shubhra Ramineni is a culinary instructor, busy mom of a veggie-loving girl and award-winning cookbook author of Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People and Healthy Indian Vegetarian Cooking, Easy Recipes for the Hurry Home Cook. Shubhra's no-fuss cooking style recreates authentic Indian flavors using easy techniques and fresh and easily available ingredients. Below, she's shared one of her favorites for you to try at home with your family...

shubhra okra.jpgOkra, known as "lady's fingers" in India, has a beautiful bright green color and looks wonderful on the table. This simple and easy way to cook okra will leave you with a delicious dish, without any of the okra "slime!" When buying fresh okra, avoid the flimsy, flexible ones. Look for crisp ones in which the tail end can be snapped off. Avoid the very hard okra that are over-ripe with brown seeds instead of the ideal white seeds. I also never cover okra when cooking because doing so will darken its color. Okra can be eaten with Indian flatbreads, such as Naan or Chapathi, and goes well when paired with lentil dishes. - Shubhra Ramineni

Sautéed Okra with Onions (Bhindi Pyaz)
Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes (15 minutes if using fresh whole okra)
Cook time: 35 minutes
Refrigerator life: 3 days
Freezer life: 1 month
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted okra in a microwave and stir periodically. Or, place them in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir periodically until warmed.

1 lb (500 g) fresh okra or frozen, precut okra
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Juice of ½ lime
1 small onion,  sliced into half moons
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • If you're using frozen okra, do not defrost. If you're using fresh okra, wash the okra and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Trim the tip and head and discard. Slice each okra into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces.
  • Pour the oil into a large nonstick skillet and place over medium heat. (Place over high heat if using frozen okra.) When the oil is heated, add the okra and lime juice. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion, turmeric, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Sauté until the okra is tender and onion becomes transparent, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later!

Okra has a peculiar, slimly substance to it that is released when the okra is cut and washed. The first time I cooked okra, I washed it after I chopped it and had slime everywhere! That is why it is important to wash it and pat dry before chopping to reduce the release of the sticky material. If you're using frozen okra, it is best not to defrost it first, as it will become flimsy and release a lot of slimy substance. When okra is cooked with lime juice, any slime disappears as the okra cooks.

Recipe from Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People by Shubhra Ramineni. Learn more about Shubhra, her cookbooks and upcoming events and classes at enticewithspice.com.

Sautéed Okra with Onions

Jenna White
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Shubhra Ramineni is a culinary instructor, busy mom of a veggie-loving girl and award-winning cookbook author of Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People and Healthy Indian Vegetarian Cooking, Easy Recipes for the Hurry Home Cook. Shubhra's no-fuss cooking style recreates authentic Indian flavors using easy techniques and fresh and easily available ingredients. Below, she's shared one of her favorites for you to try at home with your family...

shubhra okra.jpgOkra, known as "lady's fingers" in India, has a beautiful bright green color and looks wonderful on the table. This simple and easy way to cook okra will leave you with a delicious dish, without any of the okra "slime!" When buying fresh okra, avoid the flimsy, flexible ones. Look for crisp ones in which the tail end can be snapped off. Avoid the very hard okra that are over-ripe with brown seeds instead of the ideal white seeds. I also never cover okra when cooking because doing so will darken its color. Okra can be eaten with Indian flatbreads, such as Naan or Chapathi, and goes well when paired with lentil dishes. - Shubhra Ramineni

Sautéed Okra with Onions (Bhindi Pyaz)
Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes (15 minutes if using fresh whole okra)
Cook time: 35 minutes
Refrigerator life: 3 days
Freezer life: 1 month
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted okra in a microwave and stir periodically. Or, place them in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir periodically until warmed.

1 lb (500 g) fresh okra or frozen, precut okra
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Juice of ½ lime
1 small onion,  sliced into half moons
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • If you're using frozen okra, do not defrost. If you're using fresh okra, wash the okra and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Trim the tip and head and discard. Slice each okra into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces.
  • Pour the oil into a large nonstick skillet and place over medium heat. (Place over high heat if using frozen okra.) When the oil is heated, add the okra and lime juice. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion, turmeric, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Sauté until the okra is tender and onion becomes transparent, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later!

Okra has a peculiar, slimly substance to it that is released when the okra is cut and washed. The first time I cooked okra, I washed it after I chopped it and had slime everywhere! That is why it is important to wash it and pat dry before chopping to reduce the release of the sticky material. If you're using frozen okra, it is best not to defrost it first, as it will become flimsy and release a lot of slimy substance. When okra is cooked with lime juice, any slime disappears as the okra cooks.

Recipe from Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People by Shubhra Ramineni. Learn more about Shubhra, her cookbooks and upcoming events and classes at enticewithspice.com.

Lemon Pasta & Turnip Soup!

Jenna White
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ParkPlace-LemonPasta+TurnipSoup.jpegSeed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ students at Park Place Elementary were thrilled to make lemony pasta from scratch to add to the turnip soup, which included turnips from their Recipe Garden!

Roasted Turnip Soup
Makes 8 servings

Turnips are not terribly popular, as they have a tendency to become bitter and watery if not cooked properly. The key to cooking turnips is to roast them! Like radishes, turnips become sweet and creamy when roasted, and when paired with leeks, garlic, they produce a fantastic soup.
- S2P Instructor, Chef Priti

2 pounds turnips, cut into large dice
1 tablespoon oil
2 leeks, dark green part cut off, sliced in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss turnips in oil, place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the butter with coriander seeds and caraway until fragrant. Add leeks, garlic and salt and cook until soft.
  • Add the turnips and stock, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the hot mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Tip: To add a little bit of texture to the pureed soup, you can garnish with toasted walnuts or rye bread croutons.

School Nutrition Foundation on RFS

Jenna White
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SNF-garden.jpg"Here at Beyond Breakfast, we've been following the work of the Recipe for Success Foundation since 2010, when SNF blogger/consultant Christina saw R4S founder Gracie Cavnar speak at TEDxHouston. "Every powerful idea starts with a flicker of inspiration," Cavnar told the TEDxHouston crowd that day, and she went on to outline how her foundation translates research into action to reduce childhood obesity. "We put kids in touch with their food from seed to plate--and it's working ... We invade the schools; we garden, we cook, we build a culture of health, campus-wide." Recipe for Success gardens and cooking classes are supplemented by lessons in other classes--from science to math to language arts--that help reinforce the healthy messaging. "The gardens touch everything," says Cavnar with a smile."

Read School Nutrition Foundation's three-part series about Recipe for Succes Foundation and their visit to one of our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs at BeyondBreakfast.org:

Part 1: Houston-Based Recipe for Success Foundation Brings Gardening, Cooking to Life in the Classroom

Part 2: Recipe for Success: From Seed to Plate (and Beyond!)

Part 3: Recipe For Success: Day Two at MacGregor Elementary

Sunchoke Cha Cha Cha!

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Bustling schedules and picky palettes can make the task of nourishing a family an uphill battle, so how do you get your brood to eat 30 different vegetables period, much less within one month?

Houston mom Amy Anton has stepped up for the challenge and is sharing her anxieties, discoveries and successes along the way.

rootveg.jpgHave you ever had a sunchoke? I hadn't even even heard of them until yesterday. And you probably don't care, but I cook A LOT. I read cooking magazines all of the time. But still, I had no idea what a sunchoke was. Until yesterday, that is.

I was wandering through the produce section at my local H-E-B, when I saw a basket marked "Sunchokes". Say what? "They are also known as Jerusalem Artichokes" Hmm, so obviously, they are some exotic version of an artichoke, I think... Not so! They are brown tubers, or root vegetables that look like a cross between ginger root and a small potato. Crazy!

I grabbed a bag of them and headed home, triumphant that I had a new vegetable for our Veggie Log. The story gets better, though, as we were having company for dinner. Perfect, I thought, they can all try sunchokes! Well, when I announced to my guests I had roasted sunchokes for them, you should have seen the look on their faces. I am sure they were thinking, she's making us try some weird food... my husband looked disgusted... and the seven boys looked at me like no way, no how. It is spring break, and I am NOT eating anything weird!

Determined, I cut the sunchokes into bite-size pieces, tossed them with olive oil and salt, and roasted them in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. I snuck a bite of one before I served them, and WOW. Like a potato, but nutty, and not as starchy. And when I dished them out to everyone, you know what? They ALL loved them. They ate every last one! They asked for more! Boy, did I feel vindicated.

SO, if you are running out of new veggie ideas for your VegOut! Challenge (or your sanity), grab some sunchokes! They are in season right now, and I have seen them at Kroger, H-E-B, Central Market, and Whole Foods Market.

Kale Caesar Salad

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For the 2014 VegOut! Challenge, Amy Anton, Houston mom of three boys, shares a favorite recipe of her oldest son, which is a perfect method to check kale off of your family's Veggie Log.


When I picked my twelve-year-old up from camp last year, the first thing he asked for was a Kale Caesar Salad. Wow, you might think, what an enlightened child, what a lucky mom. In some ways yes, in others, I just chuckle.

Kale is the super food of the year, on every menu in town, and, really yummy, but that is not why he loves it. He loves kale because it is a hearty leaf that can stand up to a serious Caesar dressing with a flurry of cheese, and still have fortitude. There's no limp, watery lettuce here. It's just stiff greens with briny anchovies, tart lemon, and the nutty goodness of parmesan. If that's what it takes for him to inhale an entire bunch of kale, so be it. There are a couple tricks we have learned along the way that make the salad the success that it is.

First, hold the rib of the kale in one hand and, with a sharp knife, just cut down the rib to remove the leaf. The rib is too bitter and hard to eat most of the time. Then chop chop chop all of the kale into fine pieces.

The recipe for the dressing is below, but we have a couple pointers. For one, mellowing the garlic in the lemon juice is a good thing, as it removes the raw garlic taste you would have otherwise. Also, don't be shy with the anchovies. Ashton has been known to slip in 6-8 anchovies! He likes strong flavors.

And last, massage the kale. Kids love to get their hands dirty, so this is fun for an idle child begging for dinner now. Massaging the dressing into the leaves with your hands really makes a difference. The kale needs to be persuaded into accepting the dressing, melding the flavors into one.

There are also endless possibilities for add-ins: tart cherries, avocado, pepitas, slivered almonds, thinly sliced radish... you name it.

Ashton's Caesar Salad


For dressing: 

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of 1-2 lemons

Dash Worcestershire sauce

1 T Dijon mustard

2 anchovy filets

Yolk of 1 egg

1/2 C grape seed oil (or other mild flavored oil)

1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese

For salad:

1 head kale

Add-ins (optional)


  • Juice the lemon, mince the garlic and combine, letting them sit in a small mixing bowl while you chop the kale.
  • Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, anchovies, and egg yolk.
  • Slowly add the oil while whisking constantly.
  • Whisk in the the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour desired amount of dressing over kale and massage it into the leaves.
  • Let dressed salad sit, covered, in the fridge for about 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  • Top with desired add-ins, if using, and serve! 

Bon appetit!

Dress for Dinner at Neiman's

Jenna White
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D4D-NeimanMarcus-Invite.jpgOn Wednesday, March 26, chairs Leisa Holland Nelson and Laura Max Nelson invite you to join us for posh fun at Neiman Marcus for next up in Dress for Dinner, Season V. The fashion show will feature collections and a personal appearance by designer Nanette Lepore, followed by an exclusive Dinner with the Designer by Chef James Ashley in Mariposa.

We hope you'll join us!

Learn more and purchase your tickets here.

CultureMap on VegOut!

Gracie Cavnar
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VegOut-CultureMap.jpg"At a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Annise Parker joined Recipe 4 Success founder Gracie Cavnar to announce the second annual VegOut! 30-Day Challenge. Participants in the program sign up online and pledge to eat 30 different vegetables over 30 days. 

"Veggies are tasty. Veggies are healthy, and having a little competition around eating your veggies is fun," Parker said. "There are lots of places we can find appropriate fresh fruits and vegetables." The mayor cited the weekly Wednesday farmers market at City Hall as one place and proudly displayed a bag of Brussels sprouts she purchased there. ..."

Read the full story by CultureMap's Eric Sandler here

Health Tied to Success

Gracie Cavnar
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5-a-day winner celebrates.jpg Fitness, nutrition, proper sleep and TV restrictions appeared to make a difference at school according to a study of city kids

SATURDAY, Feb. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and being physically fit are important for students' success in school, a new study suggests.

When students' home and school environments support their physical health and well-being, they perform better academically, the researchers found, so programs in and out of the classroom to promote healthy behavior may be a smart investment.

The study looked at survey results and district test scores of 940 fifth- and sixth-grade students attending 12 randomly selected schools in New Haven, Conn., a poor and ethnically diverse city.

Researchers also assessed the students' physical fitness three to six months before they were tested and again after the scores of the standardized tests were released.

Students with environments that supported their physical health were more likely to reach their target scores in reading, writing and math. They were more than twice as likely to achieve this academic success than students whose environments supported their health the least, the investigators found. However, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study, published online recently in the Journal of School Health, revealed health factors that were linked to improved test scores in the children, including the following:

  • Not having a television in the bedroom
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Being physically fit
  • Having access to healthy foods
  • Rarely eating fast food
  • Not drinking sugary drinks, such as soda
  • Getting enough sleep

"Many urban families sadly face the harsh challenges of persistent poverty," study lead author Jeannette Ickovics, a professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University, said in a Yale news release.

"Health and social disparities, including academic achievement, are increasing," said Ickovics, also director of the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, a research program at the Yale School of Public Health.

"One way to reduce disparities and close the equity gaps in health and education is to coordinate community and family-based efforts with comprehensive school-based approaches," she concluded in the news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about the link between health and academic success.

SOURCE: Yale University, news release, Feb. 17, 2014

VegOut! on ABC-13 this March

Jenna White
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VegOut!-SharronMelton.jpgCould your kids learn to love veggies? That's the question posed by Channel 13's Sharron Melton, who found out that Recipe for Success Foundation and its supporters whole-heartily believe that YES, THEY COULD! She joined me to see Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ students in action and has taken an interest in our 2014 VegOut! Challenge, encouraging Houstonians citywide to eat 30 different vegetables within 30 days this March. 

Stay tuned for more VegOut! coverage to come, but catch a snippet of her story here:

Video clip originally posted here.

30 Days!?

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This March, Recipe for Success Foundation will host its second-annual VegOut! 30 Ways in 30 Days Challenge, motivating folks to eat 30 different vegetables in 30 days during National Nutrition Month. Bustling schedules and picky palettes can make the task of nourishing a family an uphill battle, so how do you get your brood to eat 30 different vegetables period, much less within one month?

Houston mom Amy Anton has a plan.

AmyAnton-Fam.jpg30 Ways in 30 what!?! There is no way I can do it again this year. I have three boys who will eat some veggies, but certainly not thirty, and we have school, and homework, and lacrosse... and busy lives!

But this is important.

OK, breathe, and make a plan of attack.

March is busy with sports and we have a whole week off at spring break, during which we will be eating out a lot. I think I will frontload to get as many veggies as I can in during the first two weeks. That way, I can relax and we can have fun with the Challenge in the second half of the month. After all, it's "an easy, delicious food adventure", it's supposed to be fun!

So, what to start with? Salads. Remember, salad dressing can be a friend, and if I make a yummy dressing or grate in some parmesan, they will usually eat it all. Possibilities are endless there. If I am really in a pinch, I can run to the salad bar and load up on already chopped goodies.

Then, I can alternate with a huge pan of roasted veggies - squash, zucchini, cauliflower and bell peppers. Just toss with some olive oil and a roast in a 375 degree oven, and there's four more to add to the Veggie Log.

Add my oldest child's favorite, Kale Caesar, to the list, maybe even with sliced radishes, and we're on our way! Stay tuned for Ashton's recipe for Kale Caesar. It's a keeper!

How will YOU tackle the 2014 VegOut! Challenge? Tell us in the comments!

BFD loves RFS

Jenna White
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BFD-Opening.pngOne of the best kept secrets - that Houston has a positively fantastic food scene - is getting around, bringing some of the most talented chefs to set up shop in our hometown.  One of the newest spots set to open March 15 is Bradley's Fine Diner

Two-time, James Beard Award-winner Chef Bradley Ogden and his son Chef Bryan Ogden will host the Grand Opening Celebration for Bradley's Fine Diner, 191 Heights Boulevard, from 6 pm until 9 pm on Saturday, March 15, 2014, which will benefit Recipe for Success.

The evening will begin with a private wine and hors d'oeuvre reception with Chef Bradley Ogden, during which he will sign his latest cookbook, Holiday Dinners with Bradley Ogden, then progress to a grand reception which will feature a silent auction of three items: Chef for the Day at Bradley's Fine Diner (includes a Chefs Tasting Menu with Wine Pairing for Six, a Wine Dinner for Six, and a Wine Tasting for Six.  Ticket Cost: $150 for Private Reception with Chef Bradley Ogden, which includes an autographed cookbook; $50 for Grand Reception.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle's food blog here.


REAL Food for REAL Families

Jenna White
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Monica-MollyShattuckFundraiser.jpgMonday, February 17, 4-7pm, to celebrate healthy living, veteran Recipe for Success supporter Chef Monica Pope of Sparrow Bar + Cookshop has joined up with healthy living expert, mother and author Molly Shattuck for a FREE family-friendly event. 

Stop by for cooking demonstrations with Molly and Monica, plus complimentary tastings and a book signing! 21% of sales from her book Vibrant Living will benefit Recipe for Success Foundation and our efforts to combat childhood obesity by changing the way children eat.

RSVP is free, but tickets are required. Snag them here!

Sox, Love and Rock & Roll in CultureMap

Jenna White
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MPenner-CM.jpg"Victoria's Secret angels had nothing on Penner's winged parade of six packs and bulging biceps that had the ladies swooning Tuesday night. This Recipe for Success "Men Dress for Dinner: Sox, Love and Rock & Roll" event was a first for the obesity-battling non-profit."

Read the full story about our showstopping event by CultureMap's Shelby Hodge here.

Full house for Max's Wine Dive

Jenna White
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This February, Chef Michael Pellegrino of MAX's Wine Dive joined us in the RecipeHouse kitchen to provide a full house of guests with a classy spread of classed-up comfort food, reminiscent of the cuisine served in the group's establishments. And true to the restaurant's concept, each course was completed with chef-selected wine pairing.

Take a peek at the mouth-watering offerings cooked up expressly for the of guests of our sold-out Chef Surprise pop-up dinner.


Pot Roast / Roasted winter vegetables / 8th Wonder gravy

Pellegrino-Dessert.jpgCreme Brulee French Toast / Lemon honey cream

Top: Warm Mushrooms / Shitake, baby bella, roasted cauliflower, haricoverts, cognac cashew emulsion

See more photos from the evening 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.

Volunteer of the Month, Vicki Kuzma

Tracy Weldon
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vicki kuzma.jpgI am happy to announce Vicki Kuzma as our Volunteer of the Month for February!  Vicki has volunteered with the organization since Fall 2012 at KIPP SHINE.  As a mother of four children and a former home economics teacher, the opportunity to volunteer in one of our Seed-to-Plate classrooms was a natural fit. She currently helps Chef Emily with the 2nd grade culinary classes to expose young children to fresh healthy produce and gives them the opportunity to be able to prepare their own meals.  For her, it is an eye opening yet rewarding experience to see so many students who refuse to try to vegetables at the beginning of the year, but, by the end, become food adventurers and leaders of their families to improve their diets.

When asked how she envisions her life in 10 years, Vicki replied, "No different".  She has a very fortunate life where she is able to spend time with her family and volunteer with organizations that she is passionate about.  We thank Vicki for her continuous support to Recipe for Success Foundation and we hope to keep her around for many years to come! 


KIPP SHINE has been a Seed-to-Plate Nutrition EducationTM campus since 2010.  We love our relationship with the school and the healthy community they uphold.  Click here to learn more about KIPP SHINE.