What the shape and color of produce tells us…

Did you know that fruits and vegetables are often the shape and color of the exact body part that they are the most beneficial for?

Today’s cooking session with the K/1 class was a joint lesson between me and the gardening parent since Arun is out of town this week, and he was going to leave me alone to cook with all the kiddoes. Eek! My husband me this photo while on his terribly boring business trip. I feel so sorry for him, don’t you?

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Arun Frances at Malibu Boats Surf Gate 2014

Not to leave anything to chance, I organized a cooking project that would keep us outside working in the garden, then enjoy a raw foods cooking lesson based on the importance of eating a rainbow of colors when consuming produce.

We started the day with a scavenger hunt in the community garden. The volunteer gardening parent, Katy McKay of Mother Earth’s Children Preschool, created a worksheet that had a color scribbled in a box, then the students had to find something in the garden that matched that color. The colors she used were red through purple to represent the colors of the rainbow, which would tie into my cooking project.

The students returned to plates filled with only one or two fruits and vegetables, each representing an internal or external body part that the particular produce was both shaped like and beneficial for. Here are the samples we used:

 

20140430-145346.jpgRed: Tomatoes – beneficial for, shaped like, and the color of your heart / Kidney Beans – beneficial for, shaped like, and the color of our kidneys

Orange: Carrots – beneficial for and shaped like our eyes if cut into discs

Yellow: Bananas – increases serotonin levels that put you in a happy mood; shaped like our smile

Green: Celery – beneficial for and shaped like our bones

Blue: Blueberries – beneficial for the skin and a favorite snack of the students!

Purple: Garnet Yams/Sweet Potatoes – beneficial for, shaped like, and the outside is the color of your pancreas

Brown: Ginger – beneficial for, shaped like, and the color of your stomach

Grey: Mushrooms – beneficial for and shaped like our ears if sliced into 1/4″ pieces

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We spent 1 1/2 hours outside in the community garden today — the hottest day so far that clocked in at 92 degrees, but there is nowhere else I would rather be — enjoying beautiful, wholesome, and healthy organic foods for which I am able to share my love for with my son’s K/1 class.

 

 

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Dairy-Free Alfredo Sauce

Tuesday night I experienced an amazing moment. I put together a Cauli-Power Alfredo Sauce in the Vitamix, and I took my first taste test. HEAVEN.

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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Alfredo Sauce

I have never tasted anything so similar to the rich, full flavor of dairy, cream, and cheese since eating the real thing. It was crazy because my first taste actually made my brain think “Uh oh, you’re going to pay for this tomorrow” but then I realized there is NO dairy in this full flavor sauce! So I proudly strolled over to my daughter and asked her to try it. She looked at me with caution (as usual), and tasted it. Immediately her face lit up, and she exclaimed how good it was! My allergy-ridden son has never tasted anything like this, and he was overwhelmed. Even the youngest ate it! I was so excited about it that I even made it with my K/1 cooking class the following day and served it over fettuccine, and the students had 3-5 servings each! Good thing I bought two pounds of pasta! The best part is that I had all the ingredients on hand, and it was so fast. I think the most important part is sauteing the garlic in olive oil and adding that to the blender, so be sure not to skip that part — it made the house smell amazing and tasted so good. Be sure to serve it warm, and a little goes a long way. I looked back to find out where I originally found this recipe, and of course, it’s from Angela Liddon — my favorite blogger from Oh She Glows. Be sure to check out her Oh She Glows Cookbook if you haven’t already!

chocolatechipblondies

Chocolate Chip Blondies

I was also in the mood to try a new Chocolate Chip Blondie recipe, but I didn’t love it. The kids enjoyed it, and they put the rest in their lunches for the following day, but I’m still looking for recipe I adore…

On another note, Stanford University’s SAFAR (Stanford Alliance for Food Allergy Research) Program hosts a cutting edge allergy research program that has been extremely successful helping children eliminate the most severe allergies, and they are hosting an upcoming talk entitled All About Food Allergies in Palo Alto on May 22, 2014 at 7pm. Register if you’d like to attend this free informative event about the latest in allergy research and clinical trials.  You can also find out more about screenings for upcoming clinical trials on their website. I have worked closely with the SAFAR  Community Council for the last year, and I do all of the t-shirt printing for their annual Summer Scamper Kids Fun Run/5k/10k  fsummerscamperlogoundraiser on June 22, 2014. Support their allergy-research efforts and donate or walk/run in the scamper and enter code FRIENDS to receive $5 off your registration before April 18th. Hope to see you there!

Tofu Scramble

This week we started our Farm Unit in my son’s K/1 class, and I am so excited about all of the wonderful opportunities I will have to teach them about organic vs. conventional, The Dirty Dozen, GMO’s, and so much more! The best part is that we are working closely with our gardening parents, so the kids actually understand that food comes from farm to table!

Today we made a tofu scramble in class and talked about how people who do not eat eggs or dairy can eat scrambled tofu instead of scrambled eggs, and I overemphasized the need for anything soy-based to be ORGANIC. The kids who are not familiar with tofu were surprised it tasted just like the eggs they know from home! We compared dried soybeans to edamame, then got cooking! Another successful meal that the kids devoured. If I made this again as a class project, I would cut back on the onion and not use bell peppers, as the kids ate around those two things.

tofuscramble

SCRAMBLED TOFU

Recipe adapted from Jolinda Hackett’s Easy Tofu Scramble

Ingredients

1 block ORGANIC tofu, firm

1 T vegetable oil (we used sunflower)

1/4 onion (less if for kids-only)

1/4 red bell pepper (omit if for kids-only)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 T soy sauce

1 T nutritional yeast, or to taste

1/4 tsp turmeric, to color

Directions

1. Prepare the tofu: Drain the water from the tofu package and place a layer of paper towels down on a plate. Place the block of tofu on top, then cover with more paper towels. Gently press down on the tofu to press out as much water as possible. Repeat with clean paper towels until they are no longer soaking wet. Using two forks, crumble the tofu block until it is the texture of scrambled eggs.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers (if using) until softened and fragrant. Add the crumbled tofu, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix for a couple of minutes.

3. Add soy sauce, and continue to mix.

4. Reduce heat to low. Add nutritional yeast to taste (we used less and less with each batch of children), and add turmeric to stain the tofu an egg-color, if desired. Continue stirring until well-combined (a few more minutes).

5. Remove from heat, plate, and enjoy!

See all of our K/1 Cooking Projects here.