August 2016 Archives

Put A Patch On It

Gracie Cavnar
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Girl Scouts_1.jpgWe have special classes at RecipeHouse for Girl Scouts to earn requirements toward GSUSA Badges.  Girl Scout troops can learn cooking skills alongside professional chefs, or design their own badge or journey workshops.  We even have a special VegOut! patch.  Contact Justin Kouri to plan a class for your troop or meeting, or visit the San Jacinto Girl Scouts Council Information Network to register for one of the already scheduled classes beginning September 10.

Exploring the World through Food

Gracie Cavnar
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Marco Polo Passport.jpgEvery year our Seed-to-Plate Team fine tunes a new year-long lesson plan with 20 integrated culinary and gardening classes designed to be embedded into an elementary student's regular school day, or delivered in an after school format or even adapted for summer camp.  Each lesson plan has a comprehensive step by step guide for teachers and beautiful collateral materials that incorporate complementary learning activities for the kids to do in their homerooms--or at home--to amplify our healthy messaging.  All of this is painstakenly aligned with TEKS and Common Core grade level deliverables for math, science, language arts and social studies as well as health.  Together these units present a powerful engagement tool to inspire kids to eat healthier as well as give them the life skills they will need to support their healthy inclinations.

This fall begins our students' year-long adventure with Marco Polo spiced up with culinary explorations that take them from Italy to Greece, the Middle East and China. Besides amazingly delicious and easy to prepare, healthy recipes based on the produce in thier gardens, they will absorb cultural insights and learn that there is more to unite us than divide us.  For instance, every country has a great noodle dish!

Children engaged in our signature Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ are changing their habits and attitudes, after just one academic year eating 30% more produce.  It's easy to become a Recipe for Success Foundation Affiliate Partner and recieve training, content and support in providing our program to your students.   Explore how to bring our award-winning Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs to your school. Details here.

Powerful Messages

Recipe for Success
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foodmarketing.jpgThe very creation of Recipe for Success Foundation stemmed from Gracie Cavnar's anger at the powerful marketing dollars being levered to pedal junk food to kids.   

To help parents and teachers inspire their kids to resist the lure of junk food marketing, we created farmers marKIDS, a free curriculum that teaches children about the whole food chain from farm to grocery store and nutures their entrieprenurial spirit by guiding them through the process of turning their fresh garden produce into a market stand business.  Read more about farmers marKIDS and get your free curriculum.

And as part of our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs in schools, we created an in-depth curriculum called Eat This!, designed to teach kids exactly how food is marketed to them, so that they could become discerning customers.  Our Affiliate Partners in Houston and across the country can provide Eat This! as an after school, in school or summer camp program and we offer it at RecipeHouse each year. Read More about our Eat This! Summer Camp.

So we spend a lot of time making sure kids understand the power of marketing.  Now Recipe for Success has teamed up with the Center for Science in the Public Interest to take a look at U.S. standards for advertising food to kids.  Food marketing to children affects their preferences and diets, which is why 18 companies participate in the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. But how successful are those efforts to protect children from unhealthy food ads? To find out, Recipe for Success Foundation is collaborating with the Center for Science in the Public Interest to compare American nutrition standards for food marketing to those recently adopted by the WHO for Europe.

Working with Margo Wootan, CSPI's Director of Nutrition Policy, and Jessica Almay, Senior Nutrition Policy Counsel, the Recipe for Success team, with assistance from our Dietetic Interns analyzed more than 200 kid-oriented food products to see whether they would meet new WHO nutrition standards for advertising to children. Our goal is to publish the results in a leading peer-reviewed journal.

"It can be hard for kids to eat well in America today--and all the ads on TV don't help," says Jessica Almy. "Companies believe that Frosted Flakes, Happy Meals, and Fruit by the Foot are healthy enough to advertise to American kids. Our study looks at whether foods advertised to kids in the U.S. would meet WHO nutrition standards for Europe.

Recipe for Success Foundation is a valued partner in our shared efforts to protect children from unhealthy food ads," says Almy. "We are happy to have this opportunity to collaborate on this research project."  Visit the Center for Science in the Public Interest at

"Pie", a poem by Rich Levy

Recipe for Success
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Dinner Convo2 post #1.jpgHow mollifying, late afternoon, when one is alone
and lunch is long over, to stop at the cafeteria

for a slice of key lime pie. You take a table
by the window and turn your back to the room

as if you have much to think about, when in reality
you are staring blankly at an almost rainy blank

sky and the windblown gestures of trees. You don't
linger, eating deliberately, carving each forkful

into equal parts topping and filling, which
together create tiny bifurcated hillocks of cloud

and meadow with a sandy crust below,
the topping the color of fine creamery butter,

the filling a green so pale, so diluted, its hue
is almost invisible. The ice water you sip

with your pie lends an appropriate austerity
to the occasion. There are others here:

the tall bleached blonde and her mother stirring
their coffee, the khakied group from an office

overearnestly eating a late lunch, the cashier
leafing through her newspaper. When you rise,

brush off your lap, and pause to take stock
of the one untouched dollop of cream

on your plate (obeisance to the pie gods),
your crumpled napkin, fork, and the old

airport parking tag you fished out of your
wallet when you paid the cashier, it is as if

you were never here, you never ate this slice
of pie, you never sat in this chair, chewing

and watching nothing out the window, thinking
of nothing except how finite pie is.


Recipe for Success
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Diane Wardfor blog.jpegMEET OUR AUGUST VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH! Diana read about us last spring in The Houston Chronicle's special Houston Gives issue spotlighting our city's wonderful charities and the state of philathropy (read story) and decided we were a perfect fit for her passions. "I can identify with eating the right kinds of foods from my own journey to better health." Cheerful and hardworking, we love the way she connects with our EatThis! summer campers. Now she is scheduling her fall around volunteering in our school classrooms to help us deliver Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ to elementary students. Thank you Diane for helping us change the way children eat!  Find out more about how to volunteer HERE.

Kids' Newsworthy Snacks

Recipe for Success
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Leather Jackets at Revival 1 copy.jpgOur Eat This! Summer Camp sparked the interest of several media outlets in August. Dozens of enthusiastic 8-to-11 years olds learned about the food business with us, especially how food is marketed to them, so that they will always be able to discern the difference between promotional language on the front of the box and the facts on the side.  The kids spent their camp week at RecipeHouse developing a great-tasting healthy food product to sell at Revival Market.  Ryan Pera and his team at Revival selected a winning product to produce and feature on their retail shelves throughout August and September with all proceeds donated to Recipe for Success.

A BIG thank you to Chef Pera for supporting our campers and the Foundations efforts to change the way kids eat! The "Fruit Leather Jacket" (roll-ups made of peaches, honey, carrot and lemon juice), won out over "Melony Mist" (a sparkling watermelon aqua fresca).  Stop by Revival Market to pick yours up and read some of the great coverage in Culture Map and The Houston Chronicle.

Start the Day Healthy

Recipe for Success
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Granola.jpgYep, its that time of year again SCHOOL DAYS.  The morning hustle of rousting sleepy heads from bed, getting dressed, throwing down breakfast, finding the backpack and out the door to beat the bell.  But in the flurry of activity, we encourage you to pay some attention to breakfast.  According to a 2005 study published in "Physiology and Behavior," eating a healthy breakfast in the morning has beneficial effects on memory -- particularly short-term -- and attention, allowing children to more quickly and accurately retrieve information. Children who eat breakfast perform better on reading, arithmetic and problem-solving tests. Eating breakfast also positively affects endurance and creativity in the classroom, reports Abdullah Khan in his 2006 dissertation for Murdoch University on the relationship between breakfast and academic performance.

Here's our idea of a healthy start to the day that you and the kids can make together over the weekend and enjoy all week long.  If you're running behind, throw the granola in a paper cup to eat on the way.

GRANOLA (Yield 3 cups)


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon honey


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Combine oats, seeds, dried cranberries, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large bowl.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together coconut oil, brown sugar, honey and vanilla. Add to oat mixture and stir until coated.
  • Pour the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan. Spread the mixture evenly on the sheet pan.
  • Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Stir the granola. Return the pan to the oven. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven. Let cool completely.

Have an entire week of healthy breakfasts:

  • Try it plain
  • Over Greek yogurt
  • OR...microwave your favorite fruit for 2 minutes and top with this awesome granola!!!

Art of Food-a Tasty Party

Recipe for Success
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greg-small-portrait.jpgOn September 27th, Greg Martin of Bistro Menil (pictured here) along with 20 more of Houston's delicious chefs, 20 remarkable artists, and a dozen delectable boutique wines, sprits and craft beer makers, will gather at The Four Seasons Houston to dazzle the senses of party goers at the final celebration of our 10th Anniversary.  Tickets from $250 per person and tables from $1500 are available by CLICKING HERE.

Introducing Amy Scott

Recipe for Success
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Amy Scott.jpgOur new Hope Farm Manager, Amy Scott started volunteering at the food pantry in Pasadena, California, right out of college.  Because she thought the pantry should offer healthier choices, Amy decided she needed to learn how to grow fresh produce and improve their offerings. Little did she know, that her deep concern about food security issues would propel her to seek greener fields and better produce--first in northern California, then east in New York and New Jersey where she discovered the secret to coaxing maximum productivity from small scale farms using organic methods, as well as a new beau who was a Princeton lad. When that Texas boy  managed to lure her to the Third Coast to try her hand in our East Texas gumbo, she tripped across Recipe for Success Foundation's new Hope Farms project as if it was her predetermined fate. Highly committed and driven by the pursuit of perfection, Amy has learned in dealing with Mother Nature's whims that having a well-developed sense of humor is very important.  She is most excited about this new challenge of building a farm from the ground up and empowering the surrounding community with fresh food.  "I've come full circle from the Food Pantry," she muses.  Welcome Amy!