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.