Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Joes and Boats
This week so far, as seems to be the trend lately, both lunches have been meals we had not done before, and both breakfasts were popular repeats. And everything has met with popular success!
It can be discouraging at meal time; after bustling around all morning doing our best to create a meal that is tasty and nutritious and just overall something we can believe in, we dash into the cafeteria with eager smiles on our faces, ready to share with the kids that day's culinary victory! During the first few weeks of camp, there was many a time where our enthusiasm was met with blank stares at best, and lots of untouched meals at worst. Over time, though, the kids have risen to meet our enthusiasm (some days - Monday mornings, everyone is usually moving pretty slowly no matter what. . .), and they are really chowing down. Food waste has decreased so much. It still isn't perfect, but it's worlds away from the beginning of camp. Hence why I still call meals successes!
Monday for lunch, like I said, we tried something new again - Sloppy Joes. This was a favorite of mine growing up, and I remember my mom making it both with meat and without, so I was a little excited. We cooked a bunch of soft, hearty brown lentils and mixed them in with a sauce made from fresh tomatoes and plenty of savory spices. Piled on a fresh Crumbs roll (they were so generous as to make us a special order of kid-sized sandwich buns! Thanks guys!) and sprinkled with grated cheddar, they were a perfect comfort-food lunch.
Rounding out that lunch, complete with summer's bounty, we had chunks of fresh watermelon, crisp green beans, and a carrot-cabbage coleslaw in creamy dressing. Fed Hock Superintendent George Wood was in the building that day, and he got to try a plate, too - lucky him! We are so grateful to have his support.
For breakfast today, we made another batch of cinnamon-raisin-nut muffins using that wonderful Shagbark spelt flour. We got another few pecks of peaches from donation, so each muffin was served with peach slices and, as a special bonus (time to clean out the freezer from all that fruit we've been freezing all summer!) everyone got a small smoothie, as well.
When I say "summer's bounty" in late July, many gardeners and farmers know precisely which vegetable, more than any other, I am referring to. Zucchini! Everyone's favorite! Well, at least it becomes everyone's favorite, whether or not they have any say in it. Like most of you, we have also been forced to get creative to use up all the zucchini that has been flowing to us from the school garden.
Today's lunchtime creation: Zucchini boats. These boats floated in filled with oceans of flavor - brown rice cooked with fresh onions and peppers, then blended with fresh tomatoes and plenty of cheese to stick it all together before loading it onto the zucchini boat (some looked more like zucchini rafts). We sprinkled a bit of breadcrumbs on them before baking - and they were delicious! A teacher and a few students actually asked me for the recipe for these, which could easily be stuffed with any other grain or combination of vegetables you have handy! We served them with peanut butter and apples on Crumbs honey-wheat bread, which is always a crowd favorite.
Speaking of recipes, we have been working very hard over the last week to compile all the recipes we have been using this summer. They will be assembled into a cookbook that we'll send home with the students on the last day of camp. I'm excited to put this tool into their hands; even if each family only makes one recipe from the book, that's fifty more delicious, healthy meals being made in Athens County.