Tag Archives: little_locavores

Summer Cooking Camps & Classes!

Yet more opportunities for me to brandish knives in public! (As if I need any excuse).

Thumbs up for beet green roll-ups with vegan ranch dressing!  (photo Brad Dahlgaard)

Thumbs up for beet green roll-ups with vegan ranch dressing! (photo Brad Dahlgaard)

Firstly, I’ve been hired as the instructor for this summer’s Children’s Cooking Camps at the MN Landscape Arboretum. The sessions are on Fridays from June 12 – Aug 23. Morning sessions for 2nd – 4th graders and afternoon sessions for 5th – 8th graders.  You can sign up for just one, or up to all six Fridays.

Each week features a different topic from Veggie Fritters and Garden Surprise to Pudding and Chocolate. Kids will make 2-3 dishes each day and take a bit home to share with you. We will harvest herbs & veg from the big Children’s Garden outside the Learning Center. And, I will be including vegan & gluten-free dishes in the mix. Hawaiian coconut cream pudding, anybody?

See Arboretum Day Camp list; click on an age group for descriptions and schedules .


Show and tell with samples of whole grains (me on the right). (Photo Brad Dahlgaard).

Show and tell with samples of whole grains. (Photo Brad Dahlgaard).

Secondly, I am teaching 2 classes at Valley Natural Foods Co-op in Burnsville: “Gung Ho for Grains” on Wed Jul 31 6pm – 8.30pm, and “Summery Bean Salads” on Wed Aug 21 6pm – 8.30pm.  These hands-on classes are FREE to co-op members and $5 for non-members. What a deal! (Seriously, the usual fee is $35+).

These sessions are all about taking advantage of the bulk grains & beans on offer at the co-op. They’re good for our bodies and for our pocketbooks. You’ll get to sample several kinds of each, and make 4 different dishes, plus recipes and samples to take home.



My show 'n tell box. How many can you identify?

My show ‘n tell box. How many can you identify? Which row has the gluten-free grains?

Here’s part of the description blurb:  Discover the versatility of whole grains and the ease of incorporating them into many different dishes. From breakfast puddings to chopped salads and interesting pilafs, making whole grains a part of your diet is healthy and easy.

Register Online for Classes at Valley Natural Foods Co-op.  More about Education at Valley Natural Foods Co-op.   FYI, I’ll be teaching another class in late Sept, too.


Finally, I do teach private customized classes in people’s homes, for adults and children. So if you can’t sign up for one of these camps or classes, consider hosting one for yourself and 3 friends. You get to hang out together while learning a TON about cooking in 3-4 hrs. Or, organize a special play date for your kids, and sit back and relax with iced tea while we snip, chop and stir.

Contact me at onedishatatime@me.com to find out about my availability for private lessons!






Teaching Teens & Tweens

As I prepare for my pro-bono teaching gig at East Side (St Paul) Boys & Girls Club tomorrow, I feel like I’ll be stepping into an episode of reality TV.

The Challenge (insert dramatic chords): show a group of tweens & teens how to make healthful food in 50 min from start to finish, with no knives. Cram a little nutrition info in there too. And I’m one of the lucky guest chefs in that the Boys & Girls Club has an actual kitchen and is giving us free rein.

Tracy and kids at North End Teen Center

Tracy and tweens at St Paul’s then-newly opened North End Teen Center in 2011.

This is all being organized by Free Arts Minnesota, an arts non-profit for which I used to volunteer, and whose mission is “Art Heals”. Free Arts coordinates teams of adult mentors to lead weekly arts & crafts sessions w/ disadvantaged children at 40-some facilities in the metro. In a push to emphasize health, it has created a new Healthy Minds and Bodies program and pulled in guest chefs to each lead a series of 3 cooking sessions with these teams. So, instead of painting or collaging, we’re going to make food. The audience and parameters, however, are very dissimilar to the adult cooking classes I’m teaching thru community education in the next 2 weeks (schedule in previous post; more details coming next post).

Fortunately, I’ve taught several classes to tweens & teens before, including St Paul’s North End Teen Center (see 2011 post) and at Plymouth Middle School, but in those cases, we could use knives. Fresh vegetables, even potatoes, require knives.

There are, of course, lots of fairly easy sweet treats that we could make, that are highly appealing to kids and don’t need knives. S’mores, designer popcorn balls, etc. Yet more sweet treats is not our goal. And, there are lots of quick & interesting “healthful” recipes, the kind that I teach to adults all the time. But, these are kids in an urban after-school program. They’re probably not going to run home and make quinoa salad. 

These are not adults who have access to cars & money to shop for ingredients or who have gadgets like blenders, and, neither are they necessarily motivated to take time & effort to make real food. We don’t know what their home situations are. In fact, some may not have regular access to food at home, let alone regular meals  — this is the definition of Food Insecurity.

Source: linda5900 from Photobucket.com.

A recent news report this summer stated that 9.5% of households in Minnesota experience Food Insecurity. That’s 1 in 10 households and 1 in 8 children (source Second Harvest Heartland).  Approx 375,000 MN children depend on the National School Lunch and Breakfast program for free/reduce-priced daily meals (as provided for in the Federal Nutrition Bill). In the summer when there’s no school, 80% of these kids go hungry. The MN Dept of Education’s “Summer Food Service Program” admirably tries to address this gap.  During my back-to-school-year studying Dietetic Technology, I spent a month with co-sponsor Second Harvest Heartland, knocking on doors, leaving flyers and talking up folks in North & South Mpls neighborhoods where 4 pilot programs were being launched. These 4 offered free lunches to both adults and kids — traditional programs offered lunch only to the kids and made the adult chaperones wait outside. Guess which one worked better for the whole family?   Either way, hopefully both the traditional and the new projects continue to grow and serve more hungry folks.

I want to teach these kids — any kids, anybody really — to cook real food they can make easily at home, by themselves or with family, that they like and can be proud of, that use cheap & easily purchased ingredients, and, that happen to be healthful.  

Readers of this blog know that these are the 4 key factors in my entire approach to cooking, ie my mission. Anybody can make nice food with gourmet ingredients and lots of time. And that’s great — when you do, celebrate it, and invite me over!

But, the people who would most benefit from learning healthful ways of eating do not surf Epicurious.com or read “Martha Stewart Living”. They do not peruse blogs about gluten-free and vegan foods. And, it’s not just the lowest-income bracket. The ‘middle’ could also learn a few new things. 8.3% Americans (26 million) are affected by diabetes. Diagnosed cases shot from 1.5 million in 1958 to 18.8 million in 2010; another 7 million are as yet undiagnosed. More stats. 

OK, so I have my work cut out for me.  Back to my 3 cooking sessions at the Boys & Girls Club. 

Given the time constraints and these goals, my game plan is to use mostly plain ie unadulterated packaged foods and teach them to combine and customize. These are mainstream foods that most tweens & teens are familiar with and hopefully already like to eat. I’m channeling Sarah Lee and Readers Digest, I guess. I’ll save the quinoa for next week’s adult classes.

For teens & kids in general, the key is not too many steps = quick pay-off. I’ll divide the kids & mentors into teams and assign them different dishes or tasks.

Session #1:  Custom-flavored cream cheeses like pineapple & cilantro, salsa, cranberry, and herb. We’ll use ziplocs and pipe it into celery & hollowed out cukes a la “ants on a log”, and, make roll-up wraps and possibly quesadillas either in the microwave or on stove-top. Tweens into cuteness can make pinwheels.

Session #2:  Easy Eggs and Tunafish Salad. High-protein snacks and meals that a 10-yr old can make. Hopefully, some of the older teens have knife privileges so I can show them how to dice celery, apples & onion.

Session #3: Graduation Dinner of 2 quick stews and rice. 1) Chicken w/ Mixed Veg and 2) Beans & Greens. The only ingredient to chop is onion & garlic; we’ll use frozen veggies and canned beans and broths.

My goal: happy proud kids.

As mentioned above, a year or so ago, I taught a couple cooking classes at St Paul’s North End Teen Center to tweens & teens. (See posts from mid-2011).We had 2 hours and knives, however, which enabled us to make from scratch such dishes as bean & veg salad, hummus, pico de gallo, chili, and nut-balls. The group was great and very willing; some older teens were excellent choppers. Actually, I didn’t have enough tasks for all the kids to be occupied the whole time. So that requires more strategizing in future.

See me @Farm 2 School Community BBQ

Breaking news:  yes, I will be handing out delish samples at the Farm2School Community BBQ next FRIDAY Sept 21st. Come say Hi!

This celebration of Farm to School month is being held 4pm – 7pm at the Minneapolis Public School’s Culinary & Nutrition Services Headquarters, at 812 North Plymouth Ave. (5 min from exit off Hwy 94 West.)

Enjoy a dinner of Turkey Sliders, Coleslaw, Cucumber Salsa, Roasted Corn!  Meet local farmers!  Fun family activities include farm animals; face painting; gardening & compost demo; corn shucking contest. It’ll be like the State Fair, but free.

This is me, taking a cleansing breath, during a Little Locavores cooking demo at the Mpls Farmers Market. My sous-chefs were so ably snipping away at greens with their craft scissors that I decided to meditate for a bit. Photo by Sharon Ramirez.

As for me, I will be serving up samples of Carrots & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette. A very colorful and tasty dish especially with the locally grown super-fresh veggies I’ll use. Kids will recognize by its bright colors that it’s chock-full of nutrients, too. A mega Vitamin A booster.

It is an easy, versatile dish for both adults and kids to make and cheap to boot.

In fact, I think I will have craft scissors on hand and ask for volunteers to snip kale. With these scissors, kids as young as 3 can help in the kitchen.*

These 6-yr olds in the photo at left were very proud of their handiwork and rightly so. They made a gourmet salad: roast beet, raw beet & beet greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, topped with a chiffonade of basil. Craft scissors are excellent for chiffonade, did you know?

*Youngsters don’t slice & dice as fast as you or I can, obviously, but that is not the point. The point is to get them positively involved.

See you next Friday at the Community BBQ!

Appearing Live, with Knives, Near You!

Aunty Oxidant at Kingfield Market in So Mpls. That’s kohlrabi in front.

You have 2, repeat, 2 chances to see me demo fresh healthful salads at Farmers Markets this weekend!  Come get free tips, recipe cards and, of course, free food samples.

FRIDAY JULY 13TH, 4.30 – 6.30pm at West Broadway market, on Broadway at Bryant Ave North (few blocks from Hwy 94 Broadway exit). This new-ish satellite market is improving food access in a neighborhood that sorely needs it.

SUNDAY JULY 15TH, 10.30am -1pm at Kingfield market on Nicollet (4300 block across from Anodyne Cafe). This one is aimed squarely at kids. My Lil Locavores show features skits about nutrition and invites kids to make salads w/ me, using craft scissors!

Kohlrabi is from the cabbage family and therefore contains particularly beneficial antioxidants.

July 1st’s demo at Kingfield was great!  People enjoyed Raw Beet & Beet Green Salad in 2 different vinaigrettes and Minted Asian Kohlrabi Salad, then went home with recipe cards to make them at home.

Thanks to Erik Brown Realty for sponsorship of Kingfield’s “The Veggie Butcher” demo series, and for kindly stepping in as #1 chopper.

See Recipe page for these dishes & vinaigrettes and more.

Harvesting Justice: Farmworkers, Food and You

Craft scissors are perfect for kids in the kitchen. These sous chefs are making fancy roast beet & beet greens salad.

Come eat a tasty organic dinner & discuss food justice at an Earth Day Dinner & Film Nite next Wed eve, Apr 25th, at First Universalist Church @ 3400 Dupont Ave So, Mpls.  It’s family-friendly w/ kid activities and child care. Kids will see film about Cesar Chavez while adults watch “The Harvest”.  Starts 5.30pm, Dinner at 6pm, Films follow. 

I’m making dinner w/ volunteers, plus, I’m doing my Aunty Oxidant interactive cooking demo@ 5.30pm.  The full show, “Little Locavores”, was developed for the Mpls Farmers Market in 2009. The kids help me make salads and act in skits about Antioxidants and Locavores, and if there’s time, we play games like “Hot Kohlrabi”, “Name That Vegetable” or “Farmer Obstacle Course”.

As usual, my menu is gluten-free & vegan.  Is this hard to plan? No. Will it be wholesome, toothsome yet gobsmackingly good? Yes.

ALL ORGANIC MENU:  Beet Slaw, Quinoa Salad*, Tossed Greens, Pureed Parsnip, White Bean & Celery Soup w/ Parsley Coulis, local bread & Hope butter, gluten-free beet chocolate cake, vegan chocolate pudding, navel oranges. Bean quesadillas available for picky kidlets.

Pureed Parsnip Parsley Soup

Event: Harvesting Justice: Farmworkers, Food and You
Venue: First Universalist Church @ 3400 Dupont Ave So, Mpls
Time: 5.30pm – 8pm.
Childcare: Free.
Cost: Nada (donations accepted)
Cool Quotient: High.

RSVP online at http://firstuniv.org/EarthDay2012


* Variants of Beet Slaw and Quinoa Salad are on my Recipe Page.

Groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon

Yesterday, Kingfield Farmers Market in South Mpls was a buzz with locavores buying and selling and chatting with one another.  It was a perfect summer day to demo Firecracker Slaw, made with veggies bought at the market for only $10.  I‘ve posted the recipe on my Recipes page. It can also be found on the Kingfield Market’s Recipe page.

I started the show with my theme song, “Everybody’s Doin’ the Locavore” (to the tune of the Motown hit “Locomotion”). Sing along with the lyrics below!

Everybody’s doin’ the Locavo-ore, C’mon baby do the locavore!

tracy yue

"Aunty Oxidant" demos fresh raw salads at Kingfield Farmers' Market. C'mon baby do the Locavore!

Fresh veggies make me feel so good, gimme some more. C’mon baby do the locavore!

Everybody’s doin’ a brand new dance now. C’mon baby do the locavore!

Locavore means giving local farmers a chance now. C’mon baby do the locavore!


Meet the farmer who grows the food  you put on your table.

Eating fresh and local means no peeling off labels.

So c’mon c’mon, do the locavo-ore with me!

[with spunky attitude]

You gotta swing your canvas ba-ag,

Come on baby! [clap clap]

That’s right! [clap clap]

Hold tight! [clap clap]

You’re gonna love those veggies when you eat ’em to-na-ite!


So c’mon c’mon, do the locavo-ore with me!

Yeah, c’mon c’mon, do the locavo-ore with me!

Demos & Classes

Aunty Oxidant and kids making salads at Farmers' Market (photo by Sharon Ramirez)

THIS SUNDAY Aunty Oxidant (that’s me) and the Little Locavore show ride again! I will be demo-ing healthful salads at the Kingfield Farmers Market, one of the best markets in town! Come see me at 10.30am down at 4310 Nicollet Ave, Mpls. It’s open every Sun 8:30 am -1 pm.

I am planning to make — with kids’ assistance — Firecracker Slaw, a gorgeous tasty salad of shredded raw beets, carrots, kohlrabi and apples tossed in a chipotle vinaigrette. It’s sweet & spicy, crunchy & filling and very ‘clean’. FULL of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber fiber fiber. 

Firecracker Slaw: the prettiest slaw you've EVER seen! (my photo)

As my clients and readers know, I am all about Fiber. Fiber is the key to a healthful food lifestyle and a healthy body. It improves heart-health by removing cholesterol & fat from your system, cleans out your colon and makes you feel better. Fiber comes from — surprise — natural whole grains, beans, veggies and fruits, which also contain vitamins and antioxidants. So there you go.

This week I taught a cooking class at the new Rice Street Teen Center run by St Paul Parks & Recreation Dept. My audience was St Paul teens and the topic, unbeknownst to them, was Healthful Snacks. It was a little challenging to come up with dishes that I thought teenagers — vs adults — could easily and inexpensively make at home, ie with readily available, cheap ingredients and short prep times.

This was the resulting lesson plan:
  • fresh salsa w/ market veggies
  • “Texas caviar” aka black bean, corn & veg salad w/ pineapple & lime juice dressing
  • pineapple cream cheese & banana quesadillas
  • banana, peanut butter & craisin balls rolled in sunflower seeds.
The nine teens divided into four teams to make the above, which we served with tortilla chips. We diced fresh green peppers, tomatoes & onions, minced jalapenos, garlic & cilantro and then divided these in half to use in both vegetable dishes. Corn (from frozen), fresh diced cukes and 2 cans of black beans made up the rest of the bean salad. Canned chunked pineapples were strained and mashed with cream cheese, while the pineapple juice went into the bean salad. 

It was lots of fun and the teens took many containers of food home. My next class at Rice Street is in mid-Sept. With the same goal of making easy & inexpensive healthful foods, I’m thinking about Seasoned Oven-fried Potato, Sweet Potato, Rutabaga and Zucchini Spears. Roasting is a wonderful & easy cooking method as well as a healthier (low-fat) way to enjoy root veg. Plus root vegetables are cheap and feed a crowd — you can buy 5# of potatoes for the price of a lg bag of Tater Tots.  So wish me luck! 
I’ll be posting soon about a series of cooking classes that I’m offering at Inver Grove Hts Community Center. They are scheduled on Thursdays from mid-September thru October, to coincide with the mini- Farmers’ Market held in the center’s parking lot! 

If you have any suggestions for foods/dishes that appeal to teens and kids, please include in a comment on this blog, or, email me at tracyksyue@yahoo.com. Thank you!