Tag Archives: Cooking

Summer Recipe: Veggie Butterfly Snack

As we  all continue to enjoy this warm weather and everything that comes with it, here is a recipe that you can enjoy with your kids this summer :


Veggie Butterfly Snack


1 Celery

A spoonful SunButter

8-10 Blueberries

2 Pretzels

1 Cherry Tomato

1 Small Marshmallow

2 Tiny Chocolate Chips

(multiply amounts by number of kids)


  1. Wash and slice celery into approximately 6 inch sticks. 
  2. Spread SunButter or any non-allergen that can serve as a tasty adhesive (there are soy butter options as well!) down the middle of the celery stick, then press blueberries into the SunButter. This is the middle of your butterfly!
  3. For the butterfly eyes, cut your small marshmallows in half, and press the tiny chocolate chips into the non-sticky side of your marshmallow half. Take each eye and press it gently but firmly onto a dried cherry tomato. The eyes can be made many different ways, you can even purchase them pre-made.
  4. Now place the pretzel / wings into the SunButter on either side of the blueberries, press the cherry tomato head onto the end of the celery stick and you have a Veggie Butterfly!

You can use all kinds of vegetables for this project, such as raisins, berries, cucumbers, sweet peppers, carrots, as long as you’ve got some goggly eyes to go with it it’s going to be really fun and delicious.

DCYF awards multi-year grant for cultivating healthy youth!


We are so grateful and excited to be awarded a 5-year grant from the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families!

This substantial grant will support our Seed to Mouth Garden Education Program, which teaches environmental and nutritional education using gardens and kitchens as classrooms. Through hands-on, project-based lessons in gardening and cooking, children in K-5th grade practice STEAM-related skills while increasing their physical, emotional, and social health.

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At Community Grows, we aim to support the youth in our community who have limited options for safe and educational in-school, after-school, and summer outdoor programs. We are countering a lack of green spaces, parks, and gardens in San Francisco’s historically underserved neighborhoods — which can make it challenging for kids to engage with and learn about the natural world — by building learning gardens in school and community spaces.


Our classes are rooted in the benefits of experiential learning. Students begin with Garden Classes focused on environmental education, with the garden filling the role of both a classroom and a teaching aid. Lesson plans are customized for each age group and encourage observation, investigation, research, testing and presenting.


As each session goes on, instructors begin to incorporate the science of cooking and nutrition using produce that the youth have grown. Lessons cover the impact of food on our bodies and minds, and basic skills such as reading a recipe and using kitchen tools. Then students put their knowledge into practice in the garden or kitchen for more hands-on learning!


We believe that when youth are healthy, safe and supported they become catalysts for positive, lasting change.

Thank you, DCYF, for supporting this vital work!

Summer Fun: Nutrition & Cooking at the YMCA Hayward Rec

IMG_1123This summer CommunityGrows’ Rec Connect class has met with cooking class coordinator Crystal Leon with a theme of summer simplicity that will also be able to carry students throughout the school year. That theme is: After School Snack.IMG_1128
With the goal of putting together a series of lessons that included all recipes that the kids would be able to reproduce at home without a stove, and ideally without the aid of an adult. We started our short six week series with our own interpretation of the pizza Lunchable, using multi-grain crackers, miniature whole wheat pitas, marinara sauce and an assortment of veggies from spinach and basil, to olives and sweet peppers. IMG_1119Midway through out summer session we explored our creative bandwidth making fruit sundaes (a fruit and yogurt parfait by a far more appealing name). We built our “sundae” with a foundation of fruit, a layer of multi-grain cereal, a dollop of yogurt, and topped them with fresh raspberries. We’ll end our season exploring pasta alternatives with a recipe that has become a CommunityGrows favorite – zucchini noodles and pesto! We hope your summer has been as tasty and nutritious as ours thus far.HappyBoy-with-Snack-Crystal-2017

-Courtesy of the CommunityGrows Seed to Mouth Program

BEETS Cookin’ at AT&T Garden

1.17.17-BEETS-Giants-Cooking_IMG_20170117_164252277_HDROn Tuesday, January 17, 2017 the BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) enjoyed a cooking day at AT&T Park. The park, home to the San Francisco Giants also hosts a beautiful garden. It is a 4,320-square-foot patch, located just under the scoreboard behind the centerfield wall. 1.17.17-BEETS-Giants-Cooking_IMG_20170117_160549585Beyond providing a one-of-a-kind food experience within AT&T Park, the Garden serves as a living, learning classroom that encourages children to live healthier, more active lives. Through hands-on activities, children learn about the importance of healthy eating, see first-hand where food comes from and how it grows, and roll up their sleeves for a cooking class alongside Bay Area chefs. 1.17.17-BEETS-Giants-Cooking_IMG_1132The BEETS enjoyed harvesting the huge stems of kale, chard and broccoli to make pizzas in the kitchen. 1.17.17-BEETS-Giants-Cooking_IMG_20170117_1733021021.17.17-BEETS-Giants-Cooking_IMG_1128They also got to make fruit kabobs which were really delicious!1.17.17-BEETS-Giants-Cooking_IMG_20170117_171613285

Cooking with Crystal at Willie Mays Clubhouse

“Can you see peace and quiet?”
7.31.16-CJ-Cooking-#1This is the question that was posed by a visiting clubhouse member upon entering the Willie Mays Edible Schoolyard Garden for the first time this July. When new members are welcomed into the garden we try to introduce it to them as a place of safety, a place of peace. This summer, opening the garden gates, we discovered that while we as individuals can do well to talk about the garden as a place of peace and almost sanctity, but that the garden is capable of doing this all on its own. In the ESY garden, there is a tone that encourages wonder and exploration, a tone that helps youth to be present there with all of the curiosity that youth allows, but that also helps them to understand that in this space, we protect and respect all living things with the utmost responsibility – a concept that we at the Edible Schoolyard hope is learned and extends into all other areas of our youth members lives. In this space, like the plants and insects – we, as keepers of and visitors of the garden can be transformed.7.31.16-CJ-Cooking-#2
During the month of July with presiding teachers stationed throughout, we allowed free roaming of youth members within the garden; a way for them to navigate the maze of our garden space for a few minutes independently to harvest fruit, vegetables and herbs, as well as to “collect questions” to bring back for our cooking class for the day.

Club members try to guess what fruit or veggie is above their head, using clues given by their peers.
Club members try to guess what fruit or veggie is above their head, using clues given by their peers.

This July all of our cooking classes have started out in the garden and ended in the kitchen, with the hopes of bridging the mental gap between where our food comes from and the effects it has on our bodies. For the duration of the summer and into the new school year, we will continue to find ways of using this format of “seed to mouth” or “garden to table” in our cooking program.7.31.16-CJ-Cooking_IMG_32901
So this summer, as we come to a close, we at the Edible Schoolyard wish you all the calm of being able to see peace and quiet, as you cap another season of teaching and learning, to prepare for a new one.

Hummus & Veggie Pinwheels

1 cup hummus, any flavor
2 large soft tortillas (whole wheat, or spinach)
½ cup thinly sliced red pepper
⅓ cup of sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
½ cup of shredded carrots, radishes, or jicama
1 thinly sliced avocado
4 leaves lettuce or 2 cups of spinach, divided

● Spread a thin layer of hummus on each tortilla.
● Divide the remaining ingredients between tortillas, on one side of each tortilla.
● Starting with the veggie side, roll the tortillas tightly and secure with toothpicks.
● Slice into pinwheels.

*Veggie Pinwheels are a great way to get your balanced spread of daily recommended vitamins & nutrients. Let’s identify the vitamins in your wrap. How could you change this recipe? What would you put in YOUR healthy wrap?
*From the Seed to Mouth Cooking Class*
A program of CommunityGrows

Cooking in June at Willie Mays

Report by Crystal Jones, CommunityGrows Cooking Coordinator:
6.30.16-ESY-SFW-1Summer at the clubhouse has felt much like camp over the past few weeks. Lots of foot traffic around, high energy, and though the days are longer, the assortment of activity has allowed it to feel very fast paced. Amidst the rumble, in the cooking department we’ve been able to start to execute many of the ideas that we were only able to stew over during the school year. One of those being our “Cooking Around the World” series, which in the span of just over a month has allowed youth members to travel to eight different countries – from Japan to Brazil, Ethiopia, (and many places in-between). While in Japan youth members fumbled around with sticky rice and free form sushi rolls, which they rolled all by hand, customizing to their liking with various fruits and vegetables. They also had the option to use hummus on their sushi rolls instead of rice. 6.30.16-ESY-SFW-2
This activity provided the perfect opportunity for youth to refine their knife skills and perfect the “julienne” cut; a popular matchstick style of cutting that proves the perfect size for the stacking and lining up of many different vegetables. Over the month of June, we at the Edible Schoolyard have had the pleasure of inviting other clubhouses to come and join us for garden and cooking class sessions at Willie Mays. This gives clubhouse members a chance to interact with other youth and provide a welcoming space for them, as well as an opportunity to implement leadership skills in assisting with garden tours and helping visitors get accustomed in the kitchen. We look forward to hosting many more and inviting the broader BGCSF network to participate with us in “Cooking Around the World”.
An example of our whiteboard during “Cooking Around the World: Italy”. 6.30.16-ESY-SFW-3The board is normally turned around when youth members enter the kitchen and before revealing our country of the day, students are given a chance to see if they can guess what country we’re in for the day. This is done either through the playing of a tune or by sharing facts indicative to the particular region that we are in.
Next month we will bring our “Cooking Around the World” series to an end with a feast featuring many of the new favorite foods youth members have encountered throughout this food and people educational series.
Challenging you all to explore new & favorite foods yourself this summer! Eat well. 6.30.16-ESY-SFW-4

Cooking Report for May by Crystal Jones

RawBeets-SFW_IMG_2094“Why’s it look so weird? It’s fun to harvest because you don’t know what you’re gonna get!”
“Yeah, it’s kind of like opening a present…”
“Oh my gosh it kind of looks like a hairy creature! Or like an octopus!”
When you’re out in the garden, pulling plants out of the ground, I suppose “legs” are a fair verbiage exchange when referring to the gangly tendrils of root vegetables. If we’ve not given it away yet, these and many more were the exclamations heard in the Edible Schoolyard Garden during our beet harvest last month. The youth at the clubhouse were surprised, delighted, disgusted and everything in between, surveying the wide variety of shapes and odd sizes of the beets growing in our garden. Arrayed in a wide range of colors, from yellow to orange, pink to purple, and white to red and white stripes, on the color spectrum there was something to appease everyone.
More difficult however to appease everyone, was finding a way to hide the robustly earthy flavor of the beet. We spent an entire three weeks with this versatile vegetable. Thinly slicing it and tossing it in herby dressing for salads, cubing it to try it raw, and roasting it with olive oil, salt and pepper… nothing did the trick. That is, until week two, when we began our pickling project. The youth separated the beets into two batches. Red and purple beets in one batch, and the remaining beets in another (this was done so that the second batch of beets would have the chance of retaining their hue, rather than being dyed red).
Beets-twoPhotos-SFW_IMG_2023On the left you can see the brilliantly striped Chioggia Beet (pronounced kee-Oh-gee-uh). Also nicknamed “the candy-cane beet”. Using vinegar, salt, cane sugar, garlic (from the garden) and an assortment of pickling spices proved the perfect combination to win over new beet lovers. It was many of our members first time trying a pickled beet!
Two-Girls-SFWUntil next time, keep exploring exciting new foods. Courtesy of Crystal Jones – Seed to Mouth Program Coordinator at the BGCSF Edible Schoolyard

Cooking at Plaza East in February

Plaza East cooking on Thursday nights has been going well, especially with the addition of our new Seed-to-Mouth Cooking Manager Crystal Jones, and our two CommunityGrows volunteers, Jean Wang and Alana Herro. 2.18.16-Plaza East Cooking_1The small (under 20 individuals) crowd is growing with youth and their families joining the mix. One dad actually came by himself to observe. He has two daughters (7 & 11), heard about the cooking class and wanted to check it out before sending his girls over the next week–which he did. 2.18.16-Plaza East Cooking_2In one of the classes, Crystal set up work stations and divided the class into two groups. One group made mango-banana “frozen yogurt” and the other group made whole wheat pita tostadas. Harvested lettuce & green onions were used in our tostada recipe. 2.18.16-Plaza East Cooking_3Both recipes went over well – even with a technical difficulty of having the food processor break and having to make the frozen yogurt by hand! 2.18.16-Plaza East Cooking_4IMG_0511
In other classes at Plaza East this month we made omelets, taco salads, a bountiful grain bowl, and muffins at the end of the class as a reward. See photos here.

Tortilla Epanola and Arepas at Willie Mays Clubhouse

IMG_0188Crystal Jones, our new Seed-tp-Mouth Cooking Coordinator is already making a big impact at Willie Mays Clubhouse in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. Here is Crystal’s report: The teens enjoyed making the Torilla Epanola recipe very much last week. So much so that they ended up making another so everyone could have seconds, after they all finished off the first :)IMG_0176 This recipe was made using kale from the Edible Schoolyard garden. We discussed briefly, the differences between the American Omelette and the Spanish Omelette (Tortilla Epanola). American omelettes are more blocks of scrambled egg, browned, and fortified with creams (the NY style), milk (Chicago style), butter or oils (Texas style), and baking powder (Portland style). Italian and Spanish omelettes are created by thoroughly heating egg mixtures until set.

We also discussed the importance of protein in the diet not only for muscle building, but as it relates to skin health and tissue repair when one has an injury. Many of the teens are athletes and found this interesting. We continue this conversation next week, discussing ways to get protein from non-animal sources.IMG_0172Here is the Torilla Epanola recipe:

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup precooked diced red potatoes, (see Tip)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
6 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup shredded Manchego, or Jack cheese
3 cups spinach or baby kale, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add potatoes, thyme and paprika and cook for 2 minutes more.

2. Lightly whisk eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Gently stir the potato mixture into the eggs along with cheese, spinach, salt and pepper until combined. Wipe the pan clean; add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and heat over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture, cover and cook until the edges are set and the bottom is browned, 4 to 5 minutes (it will still be moist in the center).

3. To flip the tortilla, run a spatula gently around the edges to loosen them. Invert a large plate over the pan and turn out the tortilla onto it. Slide the tortilla back into the pan and continue cooking until completely set in the middle, 3 to 6 minutes. Serve warm or cold.IMG_0070Later in the week youth from Willie Mays Clubhouse also make Arepas. Arepa is a flatbread made of ground maize dough or cooked flour prominent in the cuisine of Columbia and Venezula. It is eaten daily in those countries and can be served with various accompaniments such as cheese (cuajada), avocado, or (especially in Venezuela) split and used to make sandwiches. Various sizes, maize types, and added ingredients are used to vary its preparation. It is similar in shape to the Mexican gordita and the Salavadorian pupusa.  Arepas can also be found in Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic,  Trinidad and Tobago and the Canary Islands. Delicious! Thank you Crystal!IMG_0153IMG_0156For more photos from the day, check out our Flickr Photostream here.