July 2015 Archives

August's Volunteer of the Month

Emily Paul
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We are proud to recognize Alicia May as our Vounteer of the Month! Alicua volunteers at MacGregor Elementary and Briscoe Elementary and at our RecipeHouse Summer Camps. We asked Alicia a few questions about her experiences and the things she loves about volunteering with Recipe for Success.  

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 What sparked your interest to volunteer with Recipe for Success?

Alicia: Recipe for Success jumped out at me because it's everything I love. I'm a retired teacher so it gets me back into the classroom. I love to cook, I love to garden, so it just encompassed everything I enjoy. Being new to Houston, it was a nice way to meet people.

What keeps you coming back week after week? You're our summer camp MVP signing up every week. What about what we're doing gets you jazzed?

Alicia: It's just how happy the children are. A lot of kids don't like vegetables. I know parents are sending their kids to the camps so they can learn more about food, and maybe the kids are hesitant to try new foods, but Recipe for Success is doing a great job of getting them to try their vegetables and making it fun. There's the odd child that pouts in the back once in a while, but most of the time they all have smiles on their faces the entire time. They're happy at camp. I'm doing what I love, it's a small classroom setting, and I don't mind doing the dishes, because interacting with the great instructors and the children - it's a positive thing during my day. 

There are also no electronic devices. It's good old-fashioned learning, hands on, touching, feeling, smelling! During the school year, they're in the classroom all day -- smelling is not part of learning in the classroom. This brings a whole new dimension to their learning.

 What's your favorite memory / story thus far? 

Alicia: For all the school classes, you can see the weight off their shoulders in the classroom. It's completely different, no pressure, they're using a completely different part of their brain, and you can just see the, ''ahhh" on all of them. There was even a child who obviously had tactile issues - it was at Briscoe - and some of the food he couldn't touch. You could see his anxiety level rise and he would go sit down. But he still participated and it still flowed even though you could see he was stressing out. He would gently go sit down compose himself, come back and no one would make a big deal about it.

It's Recipe for Success' 10th Birthday: where would you like to see the organization in another 10 years?

Alicia: Ideally, in every school. The children get so much from this. The US has become so international and it just comes together over food. The best diplomacy has been conquered over food. Food brings everyone together. It's great to see all these new tastes for the children and it opens their world. A certain smell will remind them, oh this is India! Or this is Greece! They don't even have to be eating the food, they can just walk past a restaurant and they'll say, "hmm, I know that smell!"

Thank you, Alicia, for your consistent commitment and support!

Interested in volunteering with us? Email us! 

Third and Goal

Gracie Cavnar
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Healthy Lunch.pngIn June, the Texas State Ag Commissioner rolled back progressive rules to support healthier lunches in Texas citing complaints by lunch providers that it was too difficult to meet the standard and that students rejected healthier options.  Well, that's not what the rest of the country is reporting, according to a recent survey by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Hopefully Texas schools will stay the course and help our kids grow up healthier by rejecting poor nutritional options offered by the big food manufacturers.  But, it will be up to parents and concerned citizens to ensure this outcome.  We have seen ever and over again, its the squeeky wheel...

Picnic Shish Kebabs

Emily Paul
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July is National Picnic Month! Now is the time to enjoy the warm summer weather with friends and family united by a plateful of the season's best produce. 

Two key attributes to a perfect picnic dish: ease and portablitiy. Our Veggie Shish Kebabs & Dipping Sauce are fast to prepare and can be eaten with a frisbee in hand. Bon appétit!

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Veggie Shish Kebabs & Dipping Sauce


Skewers:                                Dipping Sauce:                               

1t cumin                                1c greek yogurt                                  

1t coriander                           2T parsley

½t sumac                              2T mint                                                                                                                

½t fenugreek                         1t red curry paste                             

1 eggplant                             2 lemons, zested & juiced                

2 zucchini                              Salt & pepper                                     

2 summer squash 

1 pint cherry tomatoes

Salt & pepper


Preheat grill to high, or if using a grill pan, heat over high heat.

Combine yogurt, mint, parsley, curry, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. 

Combine cumin, coriander, sumac and fenugreek in a large bowl. Cut the eggplant into 1" cubes. Cut zucchini and squash in half long-wise, half again long-wise and then slice into 1" pieces.  Toss vegetables with spices.  Skewer. Grill over high heat until charred, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with sauce on side.

Yields: 4 servings

Prep time: 10 min

Active cooking time: 12 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Original recipe and photograph created for Recipe for Success by Chef Justin Kouri. 

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What is your favorite picnic spot?