Playing with our food! - Capital Area Food Bank
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Playing with our food!

By Admin May 19, 2008

by Becky Handforth, Operation Frontline DC Coordinator
Last week we decided to mix up class a bit. Instead of planning recipes to teach the participants, we had the participants choose what they wanted to make. I collaborated with Kaitlin, our volunteer chef, to pick a variety of ingredients that would function for numerous recipes. The theme: breakfast.

First, we split into two groups. With some brainstorming help from our volunteers, Kaitlin, Sapna, and Ellen, the participants decided to make breakfast burritos, fruit salad and muffins.
Ellen worked with the burrito group. They decided to make the burritos with peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, garlic, cheese, sausage and of course, eggs. We have used cumin frequently in the series, so the participants decided to add a hint of that to the egg medley too. The funniest part of the evening was when the participants found out the sausage was actually a vegetarian variety. While they were cooking, Ellen told the participants it was turkey sausage, which was an honest mistake. It wasn’t until they were eating the burritos that I happened to mention it was made of soy. Despite the fact that they were a bit weirded out by the thought of eating soy sausage, they still enjoyed the flavor of the burritos. Even our pickiest participant ate a burrito…her first taste of Operation Frontline food and a big accomplishment for us!

The other group was in charge of the fruit salad and the muffins. We only had a recipe for pumpkin muffins, which the participants didn’t want to make. So Kaitlin, being a true Operation Frontline volunteer, was flexible! Using the pumpkin muffin recipe as a guide, we took what we had on hand to make what I like to call experimental muffins. As you all know, baking takes precision. But along with a dash of faith, we added lemon yogurt, applesauce, bananas, raisins, strawberries and almonds to the bowl of basic ingredients. Kind of crazy, but the muffins actually turned out well. All of us, volunteers and participants, were proud of our recipe’s success. Amidst all the excitement of muffin experimentation, I forgot to take photos! Of course, I’m regretting that now.

Ever since that class, I’ve been debating whether or not we just had good luck or if our strawberry banana muffins might actually be something worth repeating. If anyone wants to test it out for us, please take a stab at our “recipe” and let us know what happens. Here is the approximation of what we put in the muffins along with some side notes:
Strawberry Banana Muffins
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (I would love to cut this down)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 large egg white
½ cup applesauce
2/3 cup low-fat lemon yogurt
3 Tbsp canola oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 banana sliced
1 cup strawberries sliced
1/4 of raisins (omit if you think adding them is too weird)
¼ cup slivered almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Combine egg white, applesauce, yogurt, canola oil, and vanilla in medium bowl and mix well.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over mix!
  5. Gently stir in banana, strawberries, raisins and almonds.
  6. Bake muffins for 25-30 minutes, until muffin tops are lightly browned.
  7. Cool and Enjoy!

Tonight is our graduation celebration! Throughout the series, this group has mentioned traditional southern food such as greens, mashed potatoes, cornbread, fried chicken and pie as their favorite cuisine. So, we’ve decided to create a “down home cookin’” night. The feast will include flaky baked “fried” chicken (still using chicken but not frying it), sesame collard greens, cornbread and berry cobbler. I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering.
It’s true that Operation Frontline emphasizes being open-minded about trying new foods, but it is fun to show participants how to put a healthy twist on their favorite recipes too.
Time to run to class!