Thursday, January 1, 2015

It's Fun and Frugal to Find Free Food

Often in the Youth Garden program, students will harvest & cook whole food snacks such as Kale chips, roasted veggies such as beets, parsnips and sweet potato.

Last Wednesday students from the MHC’s youth garden program prepared a meal using some of the sweet potatoes and kale they grew in the garden. As they prepared the food we talked about the differences between whole foods, minimally processed foods and overly processed foods. The students were asked to figure out how many whole foods they used to prepare the meal verses processed foods they used. The hope was that students would experience a tasty meal and recognize that eating whole foods actually taste great. Last we asked the students, “Why they thought it was important to eat more whole foods (real food) and less processed? The students soon began to share answer they had learned from previous weeks, “whole foods have more nutrients in them,” “whole foods give your body energy,”  “our bodies work harder to break down the processed foods,” and last, “processed food will not give you energy that lasts, but whole food will.”

As the students sat down to enjoy the meal they had prepared each student shared the things they were thankful for.  Several students included garden club, the garden and their worm bin to their list of thanksgivings.

The meal was a complete success! Everyone enjoyed all that was prepared with the exception of one student who said he doesn’t like anything that taste like tacos, but he liked everything else. Our meal consisted of Humus Tacos, baked sweet potato fries, Kale chips and an oatmeal apple crisp for desert. Look below for the recipes!

Terms they learned:

Whole food= A fresh grown or raised food that hasn’t been changed from its original form.
Example; Fresh vegetables, fruits, grains such as oats, and rye, eggs

Minimally processed food=a fresh food which has been changed or added to in order to preserve naturally
Examples; butter, milk, whole grain bread (debatable), organic yogurt, juices, cheese

Overly processed food= foods which have been changed a lot from their original form before they are cooked, or foods that have added chemicals or artificial ingredients.
Examples: cereal, most breads, crackers, frozen pizza, boxed mac and cheese, fruit roll ups, frozen prepared meals, fast foods

How many whole foods can you identify in our menu?

Taco Hummus

 Taco Seasoning Mix (spices, herbs and salt)
15oz Chickpeas
2 Teaspoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco cheese

1.     Drain chickpeas, reserving liquid. In blender or food processor, place chickpeas, oil, lemon juice, Garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix and cilantro (optional).
2.     Cover; blend until smooth. Add reserved chickpea liquid, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency.
3.     Spoon humus into corn or flour tortilla, add a sprinkle of cheese and serve cold or warmed.
4.     Toppings idea’s (salsa, spinach, lettuce, tomato
5.     This dish is also nice as a dip with tortilla chips or in a quesadilla.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

 3 large sweet Potatoes (peeled)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ Teaspoon salt
1 Pinch of Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Peel sweet potatoes and slice into thin fries. Toss oil, salt and pepper in fries and mix well. Place fries in a single layer on cookie sheet and bake 20 to 25 min. or until fries reach desired crispiness. 

Cooking Kale chips

1 bunch Kale
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon season salt or regular salt

1.     Wash and spin Kale
2.     Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
3.     Tear Kale into small pieces, remove stems
4.     Sprinkle olive oil and salt over kale and toss to evenly coat
5.     Bake on 350 until edges are browning (10 min.)

As tasty as an apple pie, but much easier to make, and lighter in calories.

4 cooking apples, such as Granny Smith (or use 2 cups of frozen apple slices)
1/8 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg

1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat)
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup uncooked “old-fashioned” oatmeal
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Peel and thinly slice the apples. If using frozen apples, don’t defrost. Mix them with the granulated sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Spoon them into a 9-inch pie plate and press them flat. Mix the flour, brown sugar salt, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knifes until the consistency of cornmeal. Stir in the oatmeal and walnuts. Sprinkle the topping over the apples; press into a flat layer. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the topping is brown and the apples are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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