Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cooking Matters

I'm back and have so much to write about that it's hard to know where to begin.

Before we left for our vacation I officially accepted a job coaching our local high school's JV dance team. This is important to note because I now have a whole team of girls to share the COD with in addition to my boys. FUN!

Noah had another wonderful experience with the JrNYLC program. He met some great new friends and I swear he was 3 inches taller and his voice was deeper when we picked him up!

Boston was amazing! Adam flew out late on Wednesday evening to meet up with us. We picked up Noah Friday morning and headed into the city to stay for the night. We had dinner at the Ye Old Union Oyster House (I could write 5 posts just about that it was so delicious and fun.)

 and Dane created "Lobster Boy"

We even stopped in Niagara Falls for two nights on our way home. I was happy that I had something to do Monday night or we may never have come back ;)

We arrived home with enough time to unload the minivan, take a quick shower, grab my apron (wasn't sure if I would need it) and make it to Gleaners Food Bank in Detroit. There I attended my first event with Share our Strength's Cooking Matters.

Let me just say, this class and organization was worth coming home for! I truly believe in a healthy balanced diet. This program has found a way to successfully teach people how to make healthy changes.

As I entered the building I was greeted by Jake, one of Cooking Matter's Chef Volunteers. He gave me a brief tour of the space and showed me where the test kitchen was located. The organizers decided to move the mock class from the test kitchen to the main area of the where house because it was so warm.

More people entered and we were able to sample some healthy and delicious snacks. Mango Salsa, tabbouleh and hummus all made from scratch. Along with fresh fruit and low-fat cheeses. Once everyone arrived we took out seats.

On each seat was a canvas Cooking Matters reusable shopping bag filled with some informative material and some really cool signs (I will get to those later).

We were welcomed by Sara Mills, the program's manager. Who filled us in on who they where and what they did.

Cooking Matters provides a series of 6 classes for adults, teens, kids and families. The goal of these classes is to teach families how to eat better for less. It is also through these classes that the participants learn how to prepare certain healthy foods. At the end of each class in addition to the knowledge they just gained, EACH participant leaves with the ingredients to make the meal from class.

Once Sarah briefed us it was time for our mock Cooking Matters class. Vani Sohikian, Gleaners Cooking Matters Coordinator began the class with some nutrition information. So, you know that food pyramid we all know??? Well, (in my best Italian accent) forget about it!

The new national food guideline is called My Plate and looks like this:

I was completely surprised. I had no idea the guidelines changed and am happy they did! I think this is a great way to teach balanced eating.
Well, where do cookies fall in this new guideline? Some, possibly all of them. For example, today I made Banana Walnut Cookies (recipe to follow). This recipe would fall under the grain, fruit, dairy and protein categories. When making things at home you are in charge of the ingredients and the amounts.

We then moved to Jake Williams, our Chef for the evening. After a quick knife lesson, a few of us maned our stations and started chopping veggies.

 Our meal was Barley Jambalaya, and it was very good. Simple fresh ingredients and very tasty!

What I loved most about this class was the chance to see how Cooking Matters works. I love that they teach about balanced eating. Even cookies :)
I am inspired to help and to promote and to do everything I can to get this deserving program the recognition it deserves. I will be attending more events in the near future and will be talking about them often (Disclaimer: this is not a paid affiliation, just think they are awesome!)

Another quick shout out has to go to Dorothy Hernandez. She is putting together a great opportunity for local bloggers to engage in the Cooking Matters Process. She is fantastic!

Now, back to those signs I mentioned above.

I came home excited about the class and was looking through the information provided and found some great signs. I talked to the boys about the program and then had an idea.

Why not treat the signs like Flat Stanley? We are going to have others answer the questions on the signs, take their pictures and share the pictures with #cookingmatters. Follow through twitter or instagram.

If you are in the Detroit area be ready to be asked what's your favorite fruit or why Cooking Matters. These signs will be traveling through out the summer so be ready!

This program is only as good as it's volunteers and they are awesome!
There are many volunteer opportunities available check out the link below. If you have any additional questions feel free to contact me and I will help if I can.

For more information about Cooking Matters click here.
Like Cooking Matters on Facebook
Follow on Twitter.

1 comment:

Cooking Matters said...

Great post and pics, Stephanie! Thanks for sharing your strength by writing about the incredible work Gleaners is doing.