Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lettuce Wraps and Smoothies

Nutrition table at carnival

School carnivals are synonymous with sweets and treats.  This year, Bay View nutrition programs and parent groups were delighted to offer some healthy alternatives at the carnival.  At the nutrition booth, we celebrated the lettuce Harvest of the Month by sharing free Thai lettuce wraps. Students loved the lettuce wraps.  Many students came back for more and the Bay View playground was full of kids munching on lettuce.  

Parents from the Student Nutrition Advisory Committee and Home and School Club provided a bike-powered blender.  Students enjoyed peach and strawberry smoothies.
See below for my recipe for Thai lettuce wraps and for my favorite strawberry guava smoothie (served at bike to school day).

Thai lettuce wraps
 Thai Lettuce Wraps
*1 box of buckwheat soba noodles
*2 grated carrots
*3/4 cups thinly sliced cabbage
*3/4 cups peanut butter
*1/2 cup soy sauce
*1/4 cup orange juice
*2 tablespoons agave nectar
*1 garlic clove peeled and diced
*1 teaspoon grated ginger
*2 heads butter lettuce

*Boil water and cook soba noodles until tender  (Roughly 5-7 minutes).
*Drain and rinse noodles.
*Bring noodles back to pan.  On low heat add noodles to peanut butter, soy sauce, orange juice, agave, ginger and garlic.  Stir until sauce thickens.
*Once noodles have cooled, add carrots and cabbage.
*Rinse lettuce and peel leafs from head.
*Place a noodles on leafs, roll and enjoy fresh.

Bike-powered blender
Strawberry Guava Smoothies at Bike to School Day

Strawberry Guava Smoothies
*2 cups of frozen strawberries
*1 cup of vanilla yogurt
*1 ½ cups of guava juice

*Add all ingredients to a blender.  Blend and serve fresh.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Growing up in Minnesota, my late spring/early summers were marked by the fresh taste of rhubarb sauce.  I’d never miss the opportunity to have a bowl of rhubarb sauce for breakfast, for an after school snack or for desert.  Given my fixation with rhubarb sauce, you can imagine my dismay when few Bay View students had ever heard of the treat or even tried rhubarb.  This week we made rhubarb sauce with a special twist, fresh garden strawberries.  Students harvested strawberries, peeled rhubarb and helped stir the fruit until it formed into a sauce.  We enjoyed the sauce with whole-wheat graham crackers. We even had time to plant bush beans for the summer while the sauce was cooking.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

*8 large stalks of rhubarb peeled and diced into small pieces
*2 cups strawberries cut into small pieces
*Juice of 2 lemons
*1/2 cup of water
*4 Tablespoons agave nectar

Add all ingredients into a pot and stir over medium heat.  Keep stirring until all the fruit has cooked and the sauce is an even consistency (10-15 minutes).  Serve the sauce plain, with crackers, over ice cream, on waffles or as a jam.

Harvesting strawberries
Chopping strawberries
Peeling the rhubarb

Adding the ingredients

Squeezing the lemon
Sauce cooked down and ready to serve

A perfect garden treat

Planting beans
Our finished bed

Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan

This weeks lessons focused on edible stems of spring.  Asparagus was our featured stem.  Asparagus is a perennial plant in the Lily family that can live up to 15 years.  The stem or spear of the asparagus plant is full of nutrition including fiber, folic acid potassium, vitamins B6, vitamin C and vitamin A.   Prior to the lesson, most students had never tried or liked asparagus. After peeling, stir -frying, adding cheese and drizzling with lemon, nearly everyone was a fan of asparagus.

Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan

*25 Asparagus spears (or 1 bunch)
*2 lemons
*1 Tablespoon olive oil
*1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

*Peel the asparagus spears.
*Cut or break spears into pieces.
*Heat olive oil in a pan.
*Add asparagus and cook for 3-5 minutes until tender.
*Turn off heat and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the spears.
*Drizzle with fresh lemon and enjoy!

Peeling the asparagus
Snapping the asparagus into pieces

Asparagus being cooked in the wok
Melting the Parmesan cheese
Drizzling with lemon

Friday Fog

This morning marked the first foggy morning of the summer.  The clouds provided a brief respite from the sun and heat rampant throughout May.  Even under grey skies, the garden was brightly lit with flowers.  My favorites included columbine, lilies, irises, penstemons and violas.
Pineapple Guava flowers.  They are edible and a great garnish to a salad!

Viola flowers.  They are also edible.

Columbine flowers

Iris buds ready to blossom.

Snap Dragon flower. 

Penstemon flowers near the gazebo.