Kids and Climate Change Class

The purpose of the Kids and Climate Change Class was to educate kids about aspects of climate change, and then empower them with information so that they know that what they do to help matters. This happened while they learned how to make Minestrone Soup with Farro. Kids always enjoy cooking, and love knife skills. They especially loved eating their delicious, nutritious soup at a communal table. Such a great class!

Tips. Recipes. Anatomy/Digestive Lesson

Whether you’re a teacher to other people’s kids, or you want ideas for your own, here are some ideas for you.

Introduction:

Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives is the mantra for this program.

When you understand the foods that support your health, and then you learn to create sumptuous meals for you and the people in your life, you feel satisfied and contented.

In the Kitchen:

Kids, like most adults, simply want to jump in and make homemade pizza, but there are basics that need to be learned first, for safety and sanitation reasons, of course, but also so one knows how to measure properly, what size and type of pan to use and other basic information needed for a successful kitchen experience.

Safety and Sanitation:

Before you enter the kitchen, tie your hair back if you have long hair, and if you’re sick, stay out of the kitchen altogether. Next wash your hands in warm, soapy water. If you have any cuts or sores, be sure to cover with a bandage. While you’re in the kitchen, if you sneeze, cough, touch your hair, nose or any other body part, or eat, please wash your hands again. You obviously wash your hands well after you use the restroom. If you handle raw meat or fish, please wash your hands before touching any other food. Ideally your clothes and aprons should be clean.

Here are some very important tips to always keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

When you work with food, keep raw foods away from cooked foods.

Keep food away from cleaning products.

Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before preparation.

Rinse off your meats and fish as well, pat dry and leave in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. Raw and thawing meats and fish should always be kept on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to avoid dripping and contamination.

Do not thaw foods at room temperature; thaw in a proper container in the refrigerator. Do not refreeze food after it’s been thawed.

Food needs to be held at proper temperatures to avoid the growth of bacteria that can make you sick. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Stuffed meat and reheated leftovers should be kept at 165 degrees, beef and other hot food, 140 degrees, fish and poultry, 145 degrees and cooked pork, hamburgers and eggs, 155 degrees.

Kitchens can be dangerous places, with sharp equipment and hot stoves! It was my experience when I had my cooking school that, in order of accidents, potato peelers, graters, knives, and hot stoves and ovens, were the major culprits. With some very basic and very important rules, well learned, accidents rarely happen.

A tip for adults working with kids in the kitchen is to try not to hover. I understand the nervousness about watching an eight-year hold with a knife, but hovering only makes them nervous and makes the kitchen a stressful place, when it should be a warm, nurturing place. When they understand basic kitchen safety and the proper use of equipment such as knives, they’ll be fine.

The importance of pan sizes:

You just made your favorite brownie recipe, which calls for a 9” X 9” pan. If you cook brownies that call for a 9” X 9” pan in a 9” X 13” pan, the batter will be thinly spread across the pan and the brownies will end up more like a cookie. You’ll be disappointed in the results. Pan size is a very important part of baking and cooking.

As an example of how to alter some-not all- recipes; if you are making a cake and it calls for a 11 X 4 1/2 X 2 ¾” pan, which by the below chart is 50 square inches, and you don’t have such a pan, then you can use the 8 X 1 ½ “ round pan as it is the same square inches. Cooking time might have to be adjusted, as a greater surface area would take less time to cook. Pans are measured across the top of the pan between the inside edges.

Square and rectangular pans

7 ¾ X 3 5/8 X 2 ¼”…….28 sq. inches

8 X 8 X 1 ½” ……64 sq. inches

9 X 5 X 2 ¾” ……45 square inches

9 X 9 X 1 ½” …..81 sq. inches

11 X 4 ½ X 2 ¾” …….50 sq. inches

11 X 7 X 1 ½” …..77 sq. inches

13 X 9 X 2” ….117 square inches

15 X 10 X 2”….150 sq. inches

15 ½ X 10 ½ X 1”……163 sq. inches

16 X 5 X 4 “ …..80 sq. inches

Round pans

8 X 1 ½”…….50 sq. inches

9 X 1 ½”……..64 square inches

10 X 1 ½”…….79 square inches

Another note regarding cake pans is that the type of pan it is has an effect on the end result. A glass or enamel pan or pans of a dark color will hold more heat and make for a browner crust. If you have these pans, but do not want the darker crust, you can reduce the heat by 25 degrees, but use the same baking time. If you have shiny metal pans, your crust will be thinner and less brown.

Oven temperatures:

Remember to always pre-heat your oven at least 10 minutes before baking to allow it to come up to temperature.  High temperature recipes can take 20 minutes for the oven to reach the required temperature.

Very slow …250 degrees or below

Slow …300 degrees

Moderately slow….325 degrees

Moderate ….350 degrees

Moderately hot…375 degrees

Hot….400 degrees

Very hot…425 degrees or higher

Lastly, you need to know how to measure dry and liquid ingredients.

Dry ingredients:

With dry ingredients, you scoop up the flour (or whatever) and level the top of the measuring cup with a knife. Do not press ingredients down before leveling.

3 teaspoons=1 tablespoon=1/2 ounce

2 tablespoons=1/8 cup=1 ounce

4 tablespoons=1/4 cup=2 ounce

5 1/3 tablespoons=1/3 cup=2.6 ounce

8 tablespoons=1/2 cup=4 ounces

12 tablespoons=3/4 cup=6 ounces

16 tablespoons=1 cup=8 ounces

32 tablespoons=2 cups=16 ounce

Liquid Ingredients:

Place the measuring cup on a flat service to make sure the liquid is at the proper line on the measuring cup.

2 tablespoons=1 fluid ounce

¼ cup=2 fl.oz.

½ cup=4 fl.oz.

1 cup=8 fl.oz.

1 ½ cups=12 fl.oz.

2 cups or 1 pint=16 fl.oz.

4 cups or 1 quart=32 fl.oz.

1 gallon=128 fl.oz

Ready to begin!

You are almost ready to begin, but before you do so, read the recipe completely to make sure you have all the ingredients. Next mise en place your ingredients, get out all necessary equipment and you’re ready!

Recipe Tips:

  • Read through the recipe carefully to make sure that you understand the ingredients and directions. Make sure all ingredients meet your dietary needs.
  • Make sure that you can perform all the techniques.
  • Look at the recipe yield and decide if the number of servings is what you need. Check that you have all the necessary equipment and ingredients.
  • Make sure that you have adequate time to prepare and cook, if needed, the recipe.
  • Check whether you can (or need to) make any part of the recipe ahead of time.
  • Check whether an ingredient is divided, so that you don’t make the mistake of using that ingredient all at once.
  • Find out whether you need to preheat the oven.

Recipe grammar is important! One cup chopped nuts is not the same as 1 cup nuts, chopped.  Sometimes you measure an ingredient and then prepare it and sometimes you prepare the ingredient and then measure it.

Ghee or Clarified Butter

We’ll use this for various recipes this week.

Take 1 pound of organic, unsalted butter and melt in over medium-low. Skim the white foam off the top. Let simmer over low heat until the milk solids on the bottom have turned a light brown; about 15 minutes. Filter though a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a jar. Ghee does not burn like butter. It’s often used in Indian cooking. This will keep for approximately 1 month.

 

A Tip for ‘quick breads’:

Carbon dioxide is necessary for leavening, or causing tiny air pockets in, the pancakes or muffins. Excessive blending of the batter causes early formation and escape of carbon dioxide gas. Over-mixing can overdevelop the gluten (a protein) in the flour. While some of this protein is necessary for the normal texture of pancakes, too much gluten can produce tough, chewy pancakes and muffins. For best results, stop mixing the batter before all the tiny clumps of flour are gone.

Oat Bran Muffins

Serves 12

2 cups oat bran (not oatmeal)

1/2 cup sugar*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup milk or other liquid. I used Chai once.

3/4 cup applesauce or pumpkin puree or prune puree

2 eggs

1 cup apple, grated

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped

1/3 cup almonds, chopped

1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil the muffin pan or use paper muffin cups.

Mix together first 5 ingredients. In a small bowl mix together the milk, applesauce and egg; stir well and add the grated apple. Stir briefly into the dry ingredients with the pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins.

Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.

Notes:

* Use non-refined sugar such as Sucanat or Rapadura

You may use walnuts instead of almonds and dried apricots, cranberries or cherries instead of raisins. I have also added 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of chopped sunflower seeds.

A bite of food and you:

Where does digestion begin? Let’s use a slice of pizza as an example. Digestion begins in the brain when you first notice that beautiful crust topped with all your favorites—sight, perhaps sound and most acutely smell all kick in to begin the digestion process of that first bite.

Is your mouth watering? It’s supposed to! The salivary glands in your mouth produce saliva that contains an enzyme, salivary amylase, which moistens the food and begins the chemical digestion of carbohydrates.

Next your teeth chew the food, hopefully very well, as that affects digestion and nutrient absorption. So far you have been in control, you voluntarily bit into that slice of pizza and also chose to chew well. That chewed piece of food you’re about to swallow is now called a bolus. After you’ve swallowed the bite, everything else is involuntary.

Swallowed food is pushed first into the pharynx, a tube-like structure behind the nasal cavities and the mouth. Air must pass through the pharynx on the way to the lungs and food on the way to the stomach. Next, that masticated (chewed) bite of pizza passes into the esophagus, which connects the throat above with the stomach below. At the junction of the esophagus and stomach, there is a ring-like muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter that closes the passage between the two organs. As food approaches the closed sphincter, the sphincter relaxes and allows the food to pass through to the stomach.

Next is the stomach, a muscular bag, with three main parts. The top is called the fundus. The middle is called the body of the stomach. The bottom is called the antrum or pylorus.

The lining of the stomach contains glands, which make and secrete stomach juices. The stomach juices contain an acid and a digestive enzyme called pepsin. These began to flow as soon as you saw and smelled that slice of pizza, well before food entered your stomach. The enzyme starts to break down (digest) proteins in the food so that the body can absorb them. The acid is needed for the enzyme to work properly. It also helps to kill bacteria that might be in the food, protecting against food poisoning. Stomach acids sterilize your food.

That bite of pizza you took looks nothing like a bite of pizza anymore, especially after it hits the stomach and stomach acids. First the muscle of the upper part of the stomach relaxes to accept the swallowed material. Next the muscles of the stomach wall begin powerful contractions, which pass over the stomach in waves. This movement of organ walls, which propels food and liquid through the system from one organ to the next, is called peristalsis. These muscle contractions mix up the food, liquid and digestive juices and break it down until it is a thick liquid. The third task of the stomach is to empty its contents slowly into the small intestine.

Some foods stay in the stomach longer than others. Carbohydrates spend the least amount of time in the stomach, while protein stays in the stomach longer, and fats the longest.

The stomach makes another chemical (the intrinsic factor) that is needed for the body to absorb a vitamin called vitamin B12. This vitamin is needed by the body to help make red blood cells and to helps to maintain a healthy nervous system.

So why doesn’t our stomach eat itself with all these acids? There are other glands in the stomach lining that make thick mucus. This mucus helps to protect the stomach lining from being damaged by the acid and protein-digesting enzyme in the stomach juices.

After the stomach empties the food and juice mixture into the first part of the small intestines, the duodenum, the juices of two other digestive organs mix with the food that is now called chyme. One of these organs is the liver, which produces bile, a digestive juice. Bile is stored in the gallbladder. It is squeezed out of the gallbladder, through the bile ducts, and into the intestine to mix with the fat in food. The bile acids dissolve fat into the contents of the intestine. The other organ is the pancreas, which produces pancreatic enzymes that break down the carbohydrate, fat, and protein in food.

The next small intestine section is the jejunum, followed by the ileum, which leads to the large intestine. These two sections absorb nutrients and water more than they break down food. The intestinal wall contains blood vessels that carry the absorbed nutrients to the liver through the portal vein. The intestinal wall also releases water and mucus, which lubricates the intestinal contents, which dissolves the digested fragments. Small amounts of enzymes that digest proteins, sugars, and fats are also released. The mucosa of the small intestine contains many folds that are covered with tiny fingerlike projections called villi. In turn, the villi are covered with microscopic projections called microvilli. These structures create a vast surface area through which nutrients can be absorbed.

Once all the nutrients are taken from the food, the indigestible parts are transported to the large intestines. Like the small intestines, the large intestines have three parts. The first is called the cecum. Next comes the colon, which has three sections: ascending, transverse and descending. In the first two sections, salts and fluids are absorbed from the indigestible food. Billions of bacteria that live in the colon help to ferment and absorb substances like fiber. The products of this process include cells that have been shed from the mucosa and undigested parts of the food, known as fiber.  While these tracts absorb, they also produce mucus that helps feces move easily through the descending colon and into the third part of the large intestine: the rectum. Your feces or stool is approximately thirty percent bacteria, thirty percent indigestible matter like fiber, and forty percent inorganic waste like chemicals from processed foods and bodily waste like old red blood cells. Lastly, feces is excreted through your anus in your bowel movement, triggered by nerves that tell you it’s time to go!

That’s it! Your digestive system, like the rest of your body, is truly amazing.

Digestive System

 

Carrot Apple Walnut Muffins

Carrot Apple Walnut Muffins

No sugar and non-gluten

These muffins contain stevia, which is the dried powder of the Stevia plant. Be careful to purchase Stevia without artificial sweeteners.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Makes 12 muffins

2 eggs

¼ cup olive or coconut oil

1/3 cup mashed banana

1/8 cup dried stevia See Note: *

1 medium apple, grated

1 cup grated carrot

½ cup milk-dairy or non-dairy, unsweetened

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup old fashioned oats- See Note*

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour- See Note*

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

 

In a large bowl, place the eggs and whisk slightly. Add the mashed banana, stevia, apple, carrot, milk and vanilla and mix well. Next stir in the oats and let sit for 2 minutes. Combine the flour, baking soda and spices and add to the bowl, stirring briefly. Lastly stir in the walnuts and poppy seeds.

Place in well-greased (use olive oil or coconut oil) muffin tins or use muffin tin liner. Even with liners, I recommend greasing the bottom slightly as non-gluten flour seems to stick a bit more than other types of flour. Bake in preheated 375 oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before trying to remove paper liners.

*Note: Use non-gluten oats if you are making this as a non-gluten recipe. Use non-gluten flour mix or flour made from the ancient wheat, Einkorn. To make this a vegan recipe, use egg substitute and nut milk. If you don’t want to use Stevia, use ¼ cup non-refined sugar such as Sucanat or coconut sugar.

Creativity: Feel free to change spices. Chinese 5-Spice is a nice choice. Perhaps add nutmeg or cardamom. You could use raw almonds instead of walnuts and use almond extract instead of vanilla.

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Homemade Pasta

It’s so much fun teaching a bunch of thirteen year-old girls at a birthday party! The request by the birthday girl was to learn to make homemade pasta, and ice cream sandwiches.

The birthday girl didn’t consume dairy as she was aware that dairy made her allergies worse. Pretty great that she was able to listen to her body and figure out this connection.

Fresh Pasta

By Patty James
Makes about 1 pound.

3 cups unbleached or whole-wheat pastry flour plus additional for dusting
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 to 3 tablespoons water

Special equipment: a pasta machine (or you may roll out by hand on a lightly floured board)

To make dough in a processor:
Blend flour, eggs, salt, and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor until mixture just begins to form a ball, adding more water, drop by drop, if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Process dough for 15 seconds more to knead it. Transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.

To make dough by hand:
Mound flour on a work surface, preferably wooden, and make a well in center. Add eggs, salt, and 2 tablespoons water to well. With a fork, gently beat eggs and water until combined. Gradually stir in enough flour to form a paste, pulling in flour closest to egg mixture and being careful not to make an opening in outer wall of well. Knead remaining flour into mixture with your hands to form a dough, adding more water drop by drop if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with an inverted bowl and let stand 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.

Roll pasta:
Divide dough into 8 pieces, then flatten each piece into a rough rectangle and cover rectangles with an inverted large bowl. Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting.

Lightly dust 1 rectangle with flour and feed through rollers. (Keep remaining rectangles under bowl.) Fold rectangle in half and feed it, folded end first, through rollers 7 or 8 more times, folding it in half each time and feeding folded end through. Dust with flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Turn dial to next (narrower) setting and feed dough through rollers without folding. Continue to feed dough through rollers once at each setting, without folding, until you reach narrowest setting. Dough will be a smooth sheet (about 36 inches long and 4 inches wide). Cut sheet crosswise in half. Lay sheets of dough on lightly floured baking sheets to dry until leathery but still pliable, about 15 minutes. (Alternatively, lightly dust pasta sheets with flour and hang over the backs of straight-backed chairs to dry.) Roll out remaining pieces of dough in same manner.

• Dough can be made (but not rolled out) 4 hours ahead and chilled, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. • Fresh-cut pasta sheets can be chilled in large sealed plastic bags up to 12 hours.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

We made ice cream sandwiches using this recipe with the butter substitute since the birthday girl couldn’t have dairy. After the cookies were cooled, we used coconut milk ice cream. They were a big hit!

  • 1 1/2 cups non-refined sugar
  • 1 cup butter or butter substitute (non-hydrogenated)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose or whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons non-refined sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix 1 1/2 c. sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, and soda. Chill dough. Roll dough into balls the size of walnuts. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Roll cookies in this mixture and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

Note: If you use a butter substitute such as EarthBalance the cooking time is increased to about 15 minutes.

 

 

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Physical Fitness

If you’re teaching a class in the winter months and perhaps it’s pouring rain, you might do what we do. Make a nice pot of soup, and while it’s simmering, have the kids stand against the wall, and see who can last the longest. We’ve had many a laugh over this one!

What is physical exercise?

Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy. Most experts agree that there are five basic components of fitness:

1) Aerobic Exercise

The definition is the ability to do moderately strenuous activity over a period of time. It reflects how well your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your body during exertion and exercise.

2) Muscular Endurance

This is the ability to hold a particular position for a sustained period of time or to repeat a movement many times. This could be the capability to hold a push-up for five minutes, or to do fifty sit ups.

3) Muscular Strength

The ability to exert maximum force, such as lifting the heaviest weight you can move, one time. It is possible to have muscular strength in one area, say your arms, while lacking the strength in another area such as your legs. Please do not try to lift heavy weights without someone advising you!

4) Flexibility

This is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion showing the elasticity of the muscle. This is how limber you are.

5) Body Composition

The proportion of fat in your body compared to your bone and muscle.

The above five are the most recognized, but there are other components as well, below.

 

  • Speed – How fast a distance can be traveled, whether it is the whole body or just a part of the body like the hand.
  • Power – Is the strength and speed combined, as in a punch, a fist has no power without speed.
  • Reaction Time – Amount of time to initiate an action.
  • Agility – Ability to move under control.
  • Coordination – Ability to synchronize movement of different body parts.
  • Static Balance – Ability to balance while not in motion.
  • Dynamic Balance – Ability to balance while in motion.
  • Fun! If it’s fun for you, you’re more likely to make it part of your lifeMovementWalking, running, climbing the stairs, playing soccer and dancing are all good examples of being active.Moderate physical activities include:
    • Walking briskly (about 3 ½ miles per hour)
    • Hiking
    • Gardening/yard work
    • Dancing
    • Golf while walking and carrying clubs. Do kids golf?
    • Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)
    • Light weight training

    Vigorous physical activities include:

    • Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)
    • Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)
    • Swimming (freestyle laps)
    • Aerobics
    • Walking very fast (4 ½ miles per hour)
    • Heavy yard work, (yeah, right)
    • Weight lifting (vigorous effort)
    • Basketball (competitive)

    Some physical activities are not intense enough to help you meet the recommendations and do not count toward your total exercise. These activities can include grocery shopping and light housework, something kids don’t often do anyway!

Life on a Farm

Life on a Farm is part of DirectionThree: how our Earth’s health affects our health and vice versa.

Kids love this Life on a Farm lesson. If we teach this in the morning, we might make a veggie scramble with farm fresh eggs. If this is part of a farm tour that’s even better; purchase some goods from the farm and have a no recipe- recipe when you return to class.

Life on a Farm: Then and Now

In the 1930’s, a family farm raised several kinds of animals, selling some and butchering a few to feed their family. Other animals were a source of income and food. Cows provided milk and meat, while chickens provided eggs and meat.

Horses and mules were used to plow, plant and harvest the crops. Tractors were beginning to replace horses, but even by 1940 only 23 percent of the nation’s farmers had tractors. As more farmers traded their horses for tractors, they planted their rows of corn and other crops closer together. Instead of rows that were wide enough for a horse to walk through (42 inches), the rows were 30 inches apart. Production increased.

In 1900, almost all farms – 98 percent – had chickens, 82 percent grew corn for grain, 80 percent had at least one milk cow, and pigs. Most of the farms were diversified, growing multiple crops and raising various animals.

By 1992, only 4 percent of farms reported having chickens, 8 percent had milk cows, 10 percent had pigs and only 25 percent were growing corn.

Grasshoppers were picked by hand in the fall. Farmers used manure from farm animals, gypsum, ground animal bones and crop residue to fertilize their fields.

Today, more than 98 percent of the U.S. farmland planted in corn is chemically fertilized.

Pesticide residues from industrial agriculture enter our bodies through food, water, and air, and they raise risks for certain cancers as well as reproductive and endocrine system disorders

1 billion pounds of pesticides are used per year in the U.S.

35 percent of food is contaminated with pesticides

5 billion pounds of pesticides are used per year worldwide

Federal agricultural programs launched during the 1930s changed how and what farmers planted by paying them to plant certain crops or paying them not to produce a crop at all and allow the land to rest or lie fallow. Farmers who signed up for federal programs agreed to limit the number of acres planted with corn and wheat which depleted the soil, and increased the number of acres with legumes and grasses which helped renew the soil.

Farmers began rotating their crops on a regular basis in the 1930s, but the practice lost popularity as farms got larger and specialized equipment became more expensive and needed to be kept in use. Farmers now concentrate on growing just one crop such as corn, soybeans, or wheat.

In the 1940’s, America entered World War II. More and more farm workers left for the cities or serve in the military, and a tractor became the only way to get things done on the farm. The beginning of the war coincided with the end of the 1930s drought, but farmers remembered the dry years and irrigation systems were built.

There was greater demand for farm products; American farmers were feeding the world. The war effort produced new technologies that revolutionized agriculture and effected urban and rural life. New technology created a dramatic increase in productivity as farmers could do much more work in fewer hours.

  • Post-WWII fertilizer production has increased yields, but also nitrogen and phosphorous pollution.
  • High resource use (soil, water, energy, etc.)
  • Environmental consequences and changes include land and water degradation, pollution by fertilizers and pesticides and soil loss.
  • Artificially inexpensive fuel and water
  • Agricultural subsidies (the farm bill)
  • USDA has dueling roles:  To promote U.S. agricultural products and to offer nutrition education.
  • Threatened biodiversity

One of the continuing themes of American agriculture in the 20th century was a decline in the number of farms, farmers and rural residents coupled with an increase in farm size and specialization.

In the 1950’s to the 1970’s the number of farm declined by half before leveling off. More farms were consolidated or sold during this period than in any other period in our history. The number of people on farms dropped from over 20 million in 1950 to less than 10 million in 1970. The average size of farms went from around 205 acres in 1950 to almost 400 acres in 1969.

  • ·      In 1900, 41 percent of workforce employed in agriculture
  • ·      In 1930, 21.5 percent of workforce employed in agriculture;
    Agricultural GDP as a share of total GDP, 7.7 percent
  • ·      In 1945, 16 percent of the total labor force employed in agriculture;
    Agricultural GDP as a share of total GDP, 6.8 percent
  • In 1970, 4 percent of employed labor force worked in agricultureSource: Compiled by Economic Research Service, USDA. Share of workforce employed in agriculture, for 1900-1970, Historical Statistics of the United States; for 2000, calculated using data from Census of Population; agricultural GDP as part of total GDP, calculated using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Land in farms peaked in 1950 at 1.2 billion acres. Today, land in farms has dropped to around 0.95 billion acres. Most of the lost farmland was converted to suburban and urban sprawl. However, land that is devoted to actually raising crops has remained relatively constant. In other words, as some farmland is taken out of production, farmers convert other land from pasture or lands once considered marginal for crops into cropland by installing irrigation systems, and applying fertilizers and pesticides.

Garden Cake

We all know that kids eat way too much sugar, so at DirectionFive, we encourage healthy eating, with desserts being an occasional treat. When we do have desserts we ‘tweak’ recipes so that they contain healthier ingredients. That said, we don’t beat anyone over the head with a carrot, and kids love to pipe frosting on that beautiful cupcake they made. It’s all about balance.

Garden Cake

This delicious cake is full of vegetables.

Serves 12

1/2 cup walnut oil

1/2 cup applesauce

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup raw grated carrots

1 cup raw grated zucchini

1/2 cup raw grated beets

1 cup chocolate chips, optional

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13″ pan.

In a large bowl mix the oil, eggs and sugar, beating well with a hand mixer or whisk for 3-4 minutes.

Wash the vegetables well, but there is no need to peel any of them. Grate all the vegetables and set aside. Place the beets in a separate bowl so the other veggies don’t turn pink.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into wet ingredients.

Add shredded carrots, zucchini, beets, chocolate chips and walnuts. Stir until blended and pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Basic Sauce and Biochemical Individuals

Béchamel Sauce with Variations
The sauce everyone should know how to make

Serves 4
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup warmed milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch nutmeg, freshly ground, optional

Heat the butter or oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, mixing thoroughly as you go. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in a small amount of milk to form a smooth paste. Continue until all the milk has been whisked in and the sauce is thick. Add sea salt & nutmeg to taste.

Variations:
Mornay Sauce
Add 1/2 cup grated cheese to 1 cup of hot sauce; stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Season with a little mustard or Worcestershire sauce to taste.

Velouté Sauce
Substitute chicken, beef, fish, or vegetable broth for the milk.

Herb Sauce
Add 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped herbs or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs to 1 cup of hot sauce. Cook for a minute or two longer to get more flavor from the herbs.

Cream Sauce
Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of heavy cream to the finished sauce. For an onion flavor, add an onion slice to the milk when heating; remove onion slice before adding milk to flour and butter mixture.

Mustard Sauce
Combine 1 teaspoon dry mustard to flour used in sauce. This sauce is especially good with fish and chicken.

Biochemical Individuals:

We are all biochemical individuals and therefore nutrition information as well as exercise programs and health advice should be altered to suit your particular needs. The intake percentage for fats, carbohydrates and proteins are estimates based on the “average” person of good health. Some people need slightly more protein to feel their best, some need less. An individual with, for instance, diabetes, might consume fewer carbohydrates.

Growing children might require increased protein and good fats, etc. Most food guides use a base of a 2,000-calorie a day diet though an individual’s calorie requirements depends on their stature, level of physical excursion and any health anomalies. Recommended portions are based on this caloric number. Portion sizes have increased dramatically over the past 20 years and a portion of brown rice might now be 1-2 cups, when, for most, it should be 1⁄2 cup. Do be cognizant of your portion sizes.

There are certain constants for all
; antioxidants, natural body chemicals that reduce the oxidative damage caused by free-radicals, are necessary for everyone’s health. A free radical is an unstable molecule with an unpaired electron, which can cause oxidative damage to cells or tissues. Antioxidants scavenge and destroy free-radicals and are found in leafy green vegetables such as kale and chard, as well as the carotenes such as carrots, yellow squash and sweet potatoes, etc. Free-radicals are created by such health-diminishing activities as smoking, alcohol consumption and exposure to toxins, to name a few. Vitamin and mineral supplements can be a useful tool to help maintain health and a good-quality multivitamin is recommended to boost anti-oxidant levels and other important nutrients.

A whole food is a foodstuff that is in its natural, unaltered state, unrefined state, i.e., brown rice, not white rice. Whole foods offer the health-supporting nutrients required for optimum health and should be a part of everyone’s diet. Avoid processed foods and consume nutrient-dense whole foods.

The glycemic index is a system, which measures the extent of which various foods raise blood sugar levels. The benchmark is white bread, which has a GI (Glycemic Index) of 100: the higher the score, the greater the extent of the rise in blood sugar. A starchy vegetable such as a potato or yam has a higher GI score than that of a non-starchy vegetable such as kale or spinach. Diets full of high-glycemic foods can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, unhealthy levels of blood fats and possibly adult-on-set diabetes.

Whole-grains, as an example, have a lower GI than their refined counterparts (again, the example of brown rice to white rice) as the fiber in the whole grain slows the absorption of sugar into the system.

creamy mushroom stroganoff

Safety and Sanitation. Oat Bran Muffins

Safety and Sanitation:

Before you enter the kitchen, tie your hair back if you have long hair, and if you’re sick, stay out of the kitchen altogether. Next wash your hands in warm, soapy water. If you have any cuts or sores, be sure to cover with a bandage. While you’re in the kitchen, if you sneeze, cough, touch your hair, nose or any other body part, or eat, please wash your hands again. You obviously wash your hands well after you use the restroom. If you handle raw meat or fish, please wash your hands before touching any other food. Ideally your clothes and aprons should be clean.

Here are some very important tips to always keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

• When you work with food, keep raw foods away from cooked foods.
• Keep food away from cleaning products.
• Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before preparation.
• Rinse off your meats and fish as well, pat dry and leave in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. Raw and thawing meats and fish should always be kept on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to avoid dripping and contamination.
• Do not thaw foods at room temperature; thaw in a proper container in the refrigerator. Do not refreeze food after it’s been thawed.
• Food needs to be held at proper temperatures to avoid the growth of bacteria that can make you sick. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Stuffed meat and reheated leftovers should be kept at 165 degrees, beef and other hot food, 140 degrees, fish and poultry, 145 degrees and cooked pork, hamburgers and eggs, 155 degrees.
Kitchens can be dangerous places, with sharp equipment and hot stoves! It was my experience when I had my cooking school that, in order of accidents, potato peelers, graters, knives, and hot stoves and ovens, were the major culprits. With some very basic and very important rules, well learned, accidents rarely happen.

A tip for adults working with kids in the kitchen is to try not to hover. I understand the nervousness about watching an eight-year hold with a knife, but hovering only makes them nervous and makes the kitchen a stressful place, when it should be a warm, nurturing place. When they understand basic kitchen safety and the proper use of equipment such as knives, they’ll be fine.
There is one basic rule when working in the kitchen-stay focused on the job at hand! If you are grating or chopping, your eyes are on that knife and cutting board and nowhere else. When this is learned, accidents rarely happen.

A Tip for ‘quick breads’:
Carbon dioxide is necessary for leavening, or causing tiny air pockets in, the pancakes or muffins. Excessive blending of the batter causes early formation and escape of carbon dioxide gas. Over-mixing can overdevelop the gluten (a protein) in the flour. While some of this protein is necessary for the normal texture of pancakes, too much gluten can produce tough, chewy pancakes and muffins. For best results, stop mixing the batter before all the tiny clumps of flour are gone.

Oat Bran Muffins
Serves 12

2 cups oat bran
1/2 cup sugar*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup milk or other liquid. We used Chai once.
3/4 cup applesauce or pumpkin puree or prune puree
2 eggs
1 cup apple, grated
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil the muffin pan or use paper muffin cups.

Mix together first 5 ingredients. In a small bowl mix together the milk, applesauce and egg; stir well and add the grated apple. Stir briefly into the dry ingredients with the pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins.
Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.

Notes:
* Use non-refined sugar such as Sucanat or Rapadura
You may use walnuts instead of almonds and dried apricots, cranberries or cherries instead of raisins. I have also added 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of chopped sunflower seeds.

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An Easy Breakfast….

Here’s an easy breakfast that we’ve found all kidd like! You-or better yet the kids- can put together in about one minute at night, for an easy breakfast.

Oats and Chai Breakfast

For one serving, place in a Mason jar or bowl:

2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon old fashioned oats
10 raw walnuts, or other nuts, lightly chopped
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of sea salt
1 cup almond or other milk

Stir together, place in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours, or over night.

In the morning, stir in fresh berries.

Enjoy!

Oats and Chia