This 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.
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. Midway 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.
-Courtesy of the CommunityGrows Seed to Mouth Program
On Friday, July 15, 2016 CommunityGrows BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) joined other neighborhood partners to celebrate the Hayward Rec Connect Carnival, sponsored by the Buchanan YMCA. Kids got to enjoy being outdoors, dancing, hanging out with friends and also learn about water conservation. They played a game answering questions about why water is important and got to throw balloons into a board with buckets. The reward was either delicious watermelons or wash-on tattoos. Lot of fun all day!
On June 23rd and July 7th CommunityGrows took their summer partners and youth to Green Gulch Farm. On June 23rd the Village Project and the Buchanan YMCA and on July 7th Hayward Rec Connect and Booker T. Washington youth got to go to Green Gulch thanks to CommunityGrows. Some of the highlights were eating Sorrel leaves with honey, looking at the bees, eating plums from the trees, and raspberries from the bushes, smelling lavender, mint and lemon verbena.
They got to see a blue heron standing just ten feet away from them before it flew off. They got to pet a horse grazing in the field too. A highlight was putting their feet in the ocean at Muir Beach. Two great trips and one more this summer.
On Monday, April 18, 2016 the kids at Hayward Rec Connect after-school made delicious Vegetarian Tacos. The students learned about the beauty of vegetables when slicing into a beet, and the healthy benefits of combining foods, like beans, rice and salsa with other vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach, to name a few. After cutting and prepping the vegetables, everyone got to assemble their own tacos. Linda Saenzpardo, one of our Spring cohort BEETS, assisted Crystal Jones, Seed-to-Mouth Coordinator with the class. In the corner of the room sitting contently, was a new addition to the Hayward Rec Connect named Hippity Hop. The rabbit seemed well adjust to the excitement of after-school activities.
This past February CommunityGrows staff and the afternoon Buchanan YMCA youth were cooking up a storm at Hayward Rec Connect thanks to a grant from Aetna and Kaiser-Permanente Foundations. In one class we made veggie burritos and fruit and yogurt parfait. During this afternoon, we were joined by Talia Matau, one of our BEETS interns who read the story, We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past by Jacqueline Woodson. This story turns to a tale for the younger set with this bouncy story about an annual family picnic. Teeka, the young narrator, accompanies her grandma to the park with a basket of fried chicken and biscuits. Soon her best friend Paulette and various family members arrive, bearing bowls and bags of home-cooked food and desserts. Each is introduced through Teeka’s eyes: Reverend Luke, who wields a Bible, “can eat like the devil–strange, since he’s such a holy man” and “Moon Pie is really Joseph, but don’t he look just like a Moon Pie?–came empty-handed, too.” But where is Cousin Martha and her infamous, dried-out apple pie? Everyone chows down, and when Martha finally does show up–with a store-bought cake (“No time to bake”)–Grandma greets her with a little white lie: “Oh, but Cousin Martha, all year long, I’ve been thinking about your pie.” The snippets of dialogue help keep this story lively, but it’s Greenseid’s (When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba) effervescent illustrations, done in candy-bright acrylics, that inject the pizzazz. One hilarious spread shows Auntie Sadie’s shocked face when she finds her corn cobs covered with flies (plastic flies, contributed by naughty Cousin Terrance, whom readers see fleeing his parents in the background). In another, roly-poly Moon Pie literally spills across the spread. Readers will enjoy the gentle fun poked at family gatherings here. Diane Greenseid’s exuberant artwork bring to life the humor, love, and of course, the wonderful food of the quintessential family picnic.
Hayward Rec Connect and the Buchanan YMCA kids were abuzz on Monday, November 16, 2015 with excitement to cook with Chef Chauncy Yarngo. Chauncy Yarngo is from the Kpella tribe in Liberia who came to America at a younger age and has become a professional chef in the United States. Chef Chauncy currently works part time at Facebook Headquarters and full-time with the 2nd largest catering company on the West Coast, Best Beverage Catering. He will be taping a reality show called Bringing It to the Table on the Food Network soon. He has cooked for some famous people, including President Obama, Steph Curry, Danny Glover and Janet Jackson, to name a few.
On this day though, it was all about the kids! He started out by preparing a plate with grapes and pears in the shape of a turkey for Thanksgiving and passed it out to the youth to enjoy. Then he prepared a delicious Brussel Sprout stir-fry that everyone gobbled up. He started by showing how the Brussel Sprouts grow on a stem and how to harvest them. Then he halved the Brussel Sprouts and stir-fried them with coconut oil, salt and blue cheese crumbles, topping them off with a sauce of balsamic vinegar and honey and macadamia nuts. Such a delicious and nutritious treat! Later in the hour everyone got to enjoy a non-sweetened smoothy made with apples, strawberries, coconut milk and bananas. Thumbs up all around! Chef Chauncy is looking forward to taking his experience back to his native land, Liberia. “I’m good at bringing people together and making them feel good about themselves through the food I cook. I like donating my time helping people less fortunate than me, like the homeless. I have a great wealth of experience in cooking international cuisines but I love cooking Liberian food and favorite to eat is fufu and pepper soup.”
For more photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
On Friday July 10, 2015 the BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) took their water conservation summer theme to the Hayward Rec Carnival in San Francisco. Thanks to a grant from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the BEET have been studying water conservation, especially in the Bay Area where there is a drought. The BEET created a few displays to test the younger youth participants about different bits of knowledge on water conservation. One poster allowed people to write up different ideas of how to save water. Another poster was a jeopardy board where youth were asked questions and answers were revealed. Succulent plants were also available for the taking. Many officers from the Police Academy joined the BEETS and met Adrian Castano-Romero and Ivan Galdamez who are interested in a career in law enforcement. When the participants passed the challenges, they received a delicious piece of watermelon. Here are three of our fabulous staff members, Melissa Tang, Adrian Almquist and Serena Padilla.For more photos, see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
On Thursday, March 12, 2015 the after-school youth at Hayward Rec Connect in San Francisco made healthy ranch dressing and cut carrots, broccoli, and celery to enjoy it with. As you can see everyone did enjoy eating their vegetables!
Here’s the recipe:
Ranch Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Combine all ingredients and mix well
2. Pour on salad or use as a vegetable dip and enjoy!
Here are more photos from the day on our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.
On February 23, 2015 our after-school program at Hayward Rec Center made carrot muffins. As usual, we began our class with reading the rules and washing our hands. We went through the ingredients and everyone got a chance to find out where they came from: vanilla from a flower, cinnamon from a bark, ginger from a root, raisins from grapes, etc. One of our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens), Vincente Rivera had everyone smell the different ingredients–vanilla was the favorite! Everyone participated in measuring out the ingredients and putting the batter together.
While they waited for the muffins to bake, Serena Padilla, our CommunityGrows garden educator read a book about Eating the Alphabet-Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert. Then outside to get some exercise before the muffins were ready. Umm.. Umm.. Good! For more photos from the day, please visit our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
Here’s the recipe! (makes 12 muffins) Ingredients:
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare muffin tins by greasing with vegetable oil or butter and sprinkling lighly with flour. Shake out excess flour.
2. Mix eggs, applesauce sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, ix flour, salt, baking powder, and spices.
4. Mix flour mixture into wet ingredients.
5. Add carrots, raisins, and nuts
6. Fill muffin tins three-quarters full and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
On February 16, 2015 the youth at Hayward Rec Connect after-school program in San Francisco made banana splits.
CommunityGrows staff was joined by Nora Brereton, former Director of Programs, who stopped in to say “hello”. After cutting their bananas, the youth chose what they wanted on their splits: Greek yogurt, raspberries, peanut butter, shredded coconut, and/or chocolate chips. It was a great afternoon pick-me-up and ask you can see everyone enjoyed it!
AFterwards, Adrian Almquist read a story about Will Allen Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table. Will Allen works with Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has helped revolutionize urban farming. Thousands have learned from him how to grow food using raised beds, fish-farming, even “worm-farming” with the hardworking red wiggler worms. He taught city farmers to make tons of compost using food wast generated in cities. And he has shown that urban farms can be the source of good jobs for underemployed urban residents.
For his work, Will Allen was given a MacArthur “Genius Grant” in 2008 and the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the highest honor given by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 2012. Will Allen’s life reminds us of the power of one person with a vision.
More photos from the day can be found on our Flickr Photostream here.