Once Upon a Time…

by kathyjeanwelsh

… in a kingdom far, far away…

… every family had plenty of nutritious food, and all the children skipped merrily to school each day toting along a healthy lunch, and…

… oh.  Wait.  *sad face

Wouldn’t it be great if that were a true story instead of a fairy tale??!!  Well, if the amazing people at Share Our Strength and Cooking Matters have anything to do with it, we’ll all be skipping merrily, merrily, merrily ‘cuz life will be even better than a dream!

I found out about Cooking Matters while having lunch with my fabulous – and philanthropic – pal, Merlin.  When I told him I was seeking a volunteer opportunity, he recommended it because he knows how much I love to cook and teach people about healthy eating, and that my foot would be the perfect fit for that little glass slipper!  The focus of the program is to teach families how to shop for and prepare healthy, low-cost meals.  They have series of classes with different focuses, each led by a chef instructor and a nutritionist.  It’s amazing!

Friend and I immediately signed up for the two-hour orientation.  The first part explained how the program works, and the last half was a demo of how a class would run.  Mayra, the lovely Program Director, asked us nutrition questions, and Prince Charming Chef John – a supah-stah volunteer! – led three members of the group through a little knife skills lesson.

He showed us how to hold a knife properly, and also how to quickly and easily chop peppers, carrots, celery, and… something purple I can’t remember….

I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this idea, I am suuuuuper excited about it!  To be an official volunteer (I am going to be a classroom assistant), I needed to shadow a class and I knocked that out last week.  It was SO fun and I truly learned a lot, including the recipe for this white bean dip that is quick, simple, inexpensive and delicious.  I loved it so much I made it to take to a dinner party over the weekend!

Spicy White Bean Dip


2 – cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 – 15.5 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper


Toss it all in a food processor and blend until smooth-but-not-too-smooth.  The End!

I decided to serve the dip with a bunch of fresh veggies, and used a bell pepper as the serving vessel for the dip…

Cute, right?!  And isn’t it good to know that there’s bean dip at the end of the vegetable rainbow?!

If you’d like to know more about being a volunteer for Cooking Matters, go to this link.  You’ll be so happy you did!

I am so inspired by Cooking Matters that I am planning my own healthy cooking classes starting in late September and the first one is going to be Healthy Lunches for Healthy Kids!  When I have the whole story worked out, I will post the details!  Or, if you prefer, read it them to you before you go to sleep some night…!  In the meantime, my carriage is about to turn into a pumpkin… that I will want to roast or turn into a yummy pie.  Of course.  🙂

Until we meet again…

Cheers, Dears!