Friday, December 16, 2011

Carrot Orange Salad

Carrot Orange Salad

With the onset of winter, we are cooking with more citrus fruit to fight off colds and germs.  Citrus fruit like oranges, lemons and grapefruits are in season during the winter in California.  The tasty fruit is rich in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system.  Similarly, citrus fruits contain an acid, called citric acid, which helps energize the mind and muscles.  Students in class are using ph paper to test mandarin organes for citric acid.  Students love watching the ph paper change color!  Students are practicing using graters and are grating carrots to make a tart and sweet carrot orange salad.  The salad makes a perfect side to any winter feast. 

Carrot Orange Salad
 Serves 4


·      1 ½ cups of grated carrots
·      2 mandarin oranges peeled and finely chopped
·      ¼ cup craisins
·      ½ or 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
·      1 Tablespoon agave nectar


1. Comine all ingregidents and enjoy cold.  

Ingredients for Carrot Orange Salad
Student grating carrots for the salad
The finished product

Apple Oatmeal

Apple Oatmeal

In the Nutrition kitchen, students have been studying the importance of eating a healthy breakfast.  Coined as the “most important meal of the day,” eating breakfast can increase a child’s focus, a child’s energy and a child’s academic success in school.  Students cut apples and helped prepare the apple oatmeal.  The meal was one of the most popular meals of the year and it only took 5 minutes to cook!  See the recipe below to enjoy apple oatmeal at home. 

Apple Oatmeal:

Makes 4 servings.
·      1 3⁄4 cups 100% apple juice
·      1 cup quick cooking oats
·      1 large apple, cored and cut into bite-size chunks
·      1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·      1⁄8 teaspoon salt (optional)
1.     Combine all ingredients in a medium, microwave safe bowl.
2.     Place in microwave uncovered and cook on high for about 2 minutes.
3.     Stir and let cool for
1 minute before serving.
4.     Oatmeal could also be prepared on medium heat on a stove stop.

Student practicing knife safety
Apple Oatmeal cooking on the stove top

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stuffed Apples

Stuffed Apple

November’s Harvest of the Month is apples. Students learned about apple trees while working in the garden orchard.  Each class planted fava beans around the apple, peach, plum and persimmon trees.  Fava beans are nitrogen fixers and take the usable nitrogen in the air and convert the nitrogen the soil.  Fruit trees use the nitrogen in the soil and the nutrient helps the trees stay strong.  After working in the garden, students celebrated their hard work by making stuffed apples.  Students cored apples and added sunflower seed butter, craisins, coconut and granola to make a high-energy afterschool snack.  

Stuffed Apples

*1 Apple
*2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
*1 tablespoon craisins
*1 tablespoon coconut
*2 tablespoons granola
*Lemon water (1 squeezed lemon mixed with ¼ cup water)

1.     Cut off the top of the apple.  Soak apple in lemon water.
2.     Cut around the core of the apple with a knife.
3.     Spoon out the core of the apple.
4.     Put sunflower seed butter on top apple and in the core.
5.     Add craisins, granola and coconut.
6.     Place the top of the apple on the bottom.  Eat the apple immediately or save it for later. 

Student coring an apple.

Cored apple.
Student preparing the apple.
Student taking home the apples.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rainbow Quesadillas

Ingriedients for rainbow quesadillas.
The nutrition kitchen has come alive with a rainbow of colors.  Nutrition students have been studying the value of eating a rainbow of colors and learning about nutrients in each color of food.  Red foods are good for the heart and the memory.  Beta Carotene and Vitamin C, generally found in orange fruits and vegetables, are great for eyes and the immune system.  Yellow foods are great for healthy skin.   Dark leafy greens are rich in calcium, which helps bones.  Purple foods are great for the brain.  Lastly, white and brown foods help boost the immune system and prevent against sickness.  Students combined colorful fruits and vegetables to make rainbow quesadillas.  The quesadillas were a bit hit with the kids.  See the recipe below for an easy nutrient filled meal.

*Whole Wheat Tortillas
*1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
*1/2 diced red bell pepper
*1/2 carrot grated
*1 yellow summer squash grated
*3 tablespoons finely cut cilantro
*1/2 cup grated purple cabbage
*1 clove diced garlic
*Oil for pan

  1. Put oil in a frying pan. Combine all the ingredients between two quesadillas.
  2. Fry quesadilla over medium heat. 
  3. Makes 2-3 quesadillas.
Rainbow quesadillas ready for fying.
Cooked quesadillas ready to enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pico de Gallo and Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce

Heirloom tomatoes from Happy Boy and Fogline Farms

      October’s Harvest of the Month is tomatoes.  Students in nutrition have been observing a variety of tomatoes.  Over the last two weeks, students learned about heirloom seeds and explored giant heirloom tomatoes generously donated from Happy Boy and Fogline Farms.  For many students, it was their first time seeing giant sized and different colored tomatoes.   Students were also introduced to the nutrition knives and nutrition knife safety.  Student’s practiced their knife safety while cutting cherry tomatoes for Pico de Gallo (2nd-4th) and Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce (5th).   Both recipes were huge hits with the kids.  I invite you to try the recipes at home!

  Pico De Gallo

*1 basket ripe cherry tomatoes
*1/4 cups diced onion
*1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
*2 padron peppers seeded and diced
*2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime
*2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*Blue corn chips for dipping

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Serve with blue corn chips.
Students chopping cherry tomatoes for Pico De Gallo.

Padron pepper growing in the garden.

Student enjoying Pico De Gallo with blue corn chips.
Garden Tomato Sauce

*4 baskets of cherry tomatoes
*1 lbs of whole-wheat pasta cooked
*12 large basil leaves
*2 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
*1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*1/4 cup diced onion
*1 teaspoon of salt to taste
*Parmesan cheese to taste

1. Wash basil and tomatoes.
2. Heat oil in the skillet over medium heat.  Add in garlic and onion.  Cook for 3 minutes.
3. Remove tops of tomatoes and chop cherry tomatoes
4. Rip basil into small pieces.
5. Add in tomatoes and basil and cook for 8 minutes or until tomatoes become saucey.
6. Serve sauce over warm pasta.
7. Shred fresh Parmesan cheese on top of pasta to taste.

Chopped tomatoes and ripped basil.
Tomato sauce cooking.
The finished product!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kabobs and Wraps

For the past two weeks in Nutrition, students have investigated My Plate, the new guide for healthy eating.  Students played a fun game to learn the food groups represented in My Plate and made snacks including all the food groups.  2nd-4th graders made pretzel kabobs with fruits and vegetables.  5th graders made veggie bean wraps with a mango salsa.  Below are the recipes.

Pretzel Kabobs
(Adapted from Champions for Change)
*12 long whole grain pretzel sticks
*1 avocado, seeded peeled and cut into 12 pieces
*12 cherry tomatoes
*1 large red bell pepper cut into 12 pieces
*1 banana cut into 12 pieces
*1 cucumber cut into 12 pieces
*1 ½ ounces Cheese cut into 12 pieces
*2 red apples, cord and cut into 12 chunks.
*Ranch for dipping

  1. Use a wooden skewer to poke holes in the center of each ingredient.
  2. Thread pieces of fruit, vegetable and cheese onto pretzel stick through the holes made with the skewer.
  3. Repeat step 2 with all the ingredients.
  4. Dip kabobs in ranch if desired.

Ingredients for kabobs

Student assembling the kabob

Bean Wrap with Mango Salsa
(Adapted from Champions for Change)

*2 red bell peppers seeded and chopped
*1 onion peeled and sliced
*1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
*2 mango chopped
*2 avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
*1 limed juiced
*1/2 cup fresh cilantro minced
*1/2 cup grated cheese.
*4 whole wheat flour tortillas

  1. In a nonstick pan, sauté bell peppers and onion for 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add beans and stir.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. In small bow, combine mangos, lime juice, cilantro, and avocado. 
  3. Fill warmed tortillas with ¼ bean mixture, ¼ mango mixture and ¼ grated cheese.
  4. Fold ends of the tortillas over.  Roll up end to make wraps.

Students chopping mangoes

Student enjoying the wraps

Monday, September 19, 2011

Creole Green Beans

Harvest of the Month green beans at Open House
     Welcome back to another exciting year in the Bay View’s Nutrition kitchen.  Summer has finally hit the Life Lab garden in September and our programs are back in full swing.  Our kitchen is alive with the smell of good cooking.  This week, students are spicing up the kitchen with Creole cooking from Louisiana.  Students are adding Harvest of the Month green beans to peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes to make delicious feast.  Below is a simple and easy recipe to enjoy at home. 

Creole Green Beans
(Adapted from Champions of Change)

*2 teaspoons of olive oil
*2 small cloves of garlic chopped or 2 teaspoons pre-chopped garlic
*2 cups cut green beans 
*1 ½ cup chopped tomatoes
*1 cup chopped red bell pepper
*1/4-cup onion chopped
*1-2 tablespoons soy sauce (Add as needed.  This takes the place of hot pepper).

*Snap off end of beans and snap into small pieces.
*Heat oil in large skillet over low heat.
*Sauté garlic and onions in oil for 2 minute
*Add tomatoes, peppers and onions and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Stir as needed.
*Add green beans, lower the heat and cook for 3-5 minutes until beans are tender.
*Serve and enjoy

Nutrition student snapping green beans
Nutrition student adding green beans to the wok of creole ingredients
Nutrition students writing adjectives about the taste
Nutrition student writing adjectives about the taste

Students collecting beans seeds from this summer's green beans

Nutrition students will plant the bean seeds this spring

Monday, June 20, 2011

Black Bean Burgers with Gorgonzola and Peach Salsa

Black bean burgers with peach salsa

It was a beautiful day in Santa Cruz.  I spent most of the day digging out soil and rewiring the gopher wire on the garden beds.  The task proved to be backbreaking and hot in the sun.  After all the work, I wanted something light and fresh for dinner. I decided on black bean burgers and salsa.  Dinner was ready in less than 40 minutes and the summery taste was a perfect way to end a good day. 


Black Bean Burgers (Serves 2-3)
*1 can of black beans drained
*4 tablespoons of sour cream
*3 small cloves of garlic peel and diced
*1 cup of grated carrots
*1 cup of grated sweet potatoes
*1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola

Peach Salsa
*3 peaches diced
*3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
*1/2 small red onion diced
*2 limes juiced
*1 ½ teaspoons agave nectar
*Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mash drained black beans and sour cream together until half of the black beans are broken.
  3. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic, salt and whole wheat flour to the bean mixture.
  4. Oil a baking sheet.  Form and flatten 6 small burgers and place on the tray.  Bake burgers until slightly brown.  Add crumbled gorgonzola and take out burgers when the cheese is melted.
  5. In a separate bowl, add peaches, cilantro, red onion, lime juice, agave nectar and salt.  Mix with a spoon.
  6. One burgers are cooked, serve salsa on the burgers and enjoy. 

Grated sweet potato and carrots with diced garlic.

Black bean mixture
Forming burgers

Peach salsa

Carrying dinner to the porch

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Chocolate avocado mousse with fresh strawberries.
Today was my last day student teaching 4th grade. I wanted to thank the rm. 25 Bay View students by making an exciting treat with their June Harvest of the Month avocados. I found the recipe for avocado chocolate mousse on the Internet and had to give it a try. I topped the mousse of with fresh strawberries donated by Fogline Farm. Judging from the thumbs up and chocolate smeared smiles, the avocado mousse was a big hit. Below is the recipe I used in class. The recipe includes brown sugar (I was too nervous to experiment with my first batch). After some research, I did find a recipe for a vegan sugar free mousse, which I have listed below.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

*12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
*2 tsp ground cinnamon
*1 large, ripe Hass avocado, pitted and peeled
*3/4 cup light brown sugar
*6 egg whites
*1 ½ cups of chopped strawberries.

Melt the chocolate with the cinnamon in a double boiler over hot water and set aside. Purée the avocado and brown sugar in a food processor until the mixture is smooth. With the machine running, pour in the chocolate mixture. Using a stand mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Pour the mousse into 6 small serving bowls or wineglasses and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or covered overnight. Top with chopped strawberries.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

*4 Ripe Organic Avocados
*1 Cup of Sweetener (Agave Nectar or Evaporated Cane Juice)
*1 Tbls of Pure Vanilla Extract
*1 Cup of Organic Fair Trade Cocoa Powder (or Carob)

Slice each avocado open and scoop out the insides. Place the inside in a food processor or blender. Next add the sweetener, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Blend or process the mixture until fully blended. The mixture should be smooth and the color of chocolate. You can instantly serve the mousse, however we recommend you let it cool in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve in cups with fresh fruit or mint.

Fogline Farm strawberries
Chocolate avocado mixture
Egg whites fully beaten and ready to add to the chocolate avocado mixture.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Local food, something to sing about

I just stumbled across this amazing video out of Missoula. Sometimes, kids say it the best.

Bye Bye Food Pyramid, Hello My Plate

Michele Obama unveiled a new guideline for eating today, my food plate.  The act made the long criticized food pyramid obsolete. This news is a welcome announcement to our nutrition classroom.  For years, educators have struggled to make sense of the food pyramid with kids.  My plate offers a simple and easy to understand guide for parents and families. 

The basic guidelines provided by the USDA:

“Balancing Calories
  Enjoy your food, but eat less.  
  Avoid oversized portions.  

  Foods to Increase  
  Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.  
Make at least half your grains whole grains.  
  Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.    

Foods to Reduce  
Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose the foods with lower numbers.  
Drink water instead of sugary drinks"

For more information, check out the My Plate website:

Watch My Plate in the news

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Avocado Dressing and Guacamole Bowls

Avocados are the June Harvest of the Month

Avocados are the Harvest of the Month in June.  In the Nutrition classroom, we used the avocados in a creamy salad dressing for 2nd-4th grades.  5th graders made their own guacamole bowls with the avocados.  Avocados are rich in protein, in vitamins and a great source of monounsaturated fat (the healthy fat).  You can find locally grown avocados at any of the Santa Cruz farmer’s markets.  

Lettuce Salad with Avocado Dressing:
Makes salad for 4+ people


*2 heads of lettuce washed and ripped
*1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
*2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
*3 small to medium avocados
*1 shallot
*1 lemon
*4 tablespoons red vine vinegar
*3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*3/4 teaspoon salt
*4 tablespoons cream
*3/4 cup croutons (homemade or store bought)


*Chop herbs and avocado.
*Peel and finely dice the shallots.  Place the shallots in a small mixing bowl.
*Cut and juice the lemon into the mixing bowl.  Add the vinegar, the salt and the black pepper into bowl.
*Add the avocados and mash into the vinegar mixture. 
*Add the herbs, the olive oil and the cream.  Whisk the dressing slowly.  Taste the dressing and add more slat, lemon juice or oil as needed.
*In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, add the croutons and mix the dressing.  
*Serve salad and enjoy.

Student harvesting lettuce from the garden.
The bowl of mixed greens.  Students had a great time washing the lettuce with the garden hose.
The finished product.

Guacamole in a Bowl
 Makes 1 small serving of guacamole. Increase recipe for a bigger serving size.

*1 large avocado
*1/2 lime
*1 tablespoon chopped garlic. Add more garlic to taste.
*2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
*Salt to taste
*5 large blue corn chips.


*Slice the avocado in half. Remove the avocado pit. Remove the fruit from the peel with a spoon. Place the avocado in a small bowl.
*Dice the cilantro and add to the bowl.
*Peel and dice the garlic clove. Add the garlic to the bowl.
*Squeeze lime into the bowl to taste.
*Add sprinkle of salt into the bowl to taste.
*Mash the ingredients together with a fork until creamy. Add more lime, garlic or salt if desired.
*Eat with blue corn chips.

Student removing avocado from peel.
Student chopping cilantro
Student adding diced garlic
Student squeezing lime.
Student sprinkling salt and mashing with a fork.
The finished guacamole in a bowl.