Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sustainable Sea Cliff

I have been very busy getting our vegetable garden set up for a productive first season, with my newly walking one year old daughter and teaching yoga in all sorts of places (including Sea Cliff School!). Forgive me for my less than prolific posts. There is so much happening in terms of food reform at our school. I hope that you have noticed some improvements in the cafeteria.

Many of you have tuned in to Jamie Oliver's television program, The Food Revolution, if you haven't, please do. He is a strong leader in bringing this issue into the consciousness of Americans, the story of Huntington West Virginia, is a metaphor for the rest of the country and sadly, much of the western world.

I have heard rumors of a grant for 40 fruit trees in the North Shore School District. Could this be true?

Imagine an edible school yard in Sea Cliff. The very promise gives me goosebumps!

If you haven't attended one of the meetings for the newly founded, Sea Cliff Sustainable Food Co-op, consider attending the next information session in May. The Co-op is committed to bringing local, organic and biodynamic produce, meats and grains into our community. A working member Co-op based on the amazing Park Slope Food Co-op, it aims to bring our community together around farming, food and grassroots connectivity. I am an active member of the Co-op and would be very happy to speak about our fledgling efforts and the great food we have been sourcing. It looks like we will have a working farm and store very soon.

Please check out the Ning site (you can find a link on our Sites of Interest list), there you will be able to read the mission statement and learn a little more about the Sustainable Sea Cliff Co-op.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gluten Free and Loving it!

We have recently adjusted our diets based on the recommendations of a Doctor we are working with to increase our health and well being.  We no longer eat gluten (I have been Gluten Free for years but now my family is joining for their own reasons) dairy, casein or refined sugar.   

With a little preparation and foresight we are able to indulge in almost any type of food we wish.  I keep a well stocked larder at home with various grains which can be turned into flour, dried fruits and nuts and dried beans and legumes.  We make our own baked goods with protein rich flours such as chick pea, brown rice, coconut and Quinoa.    

There are many wonderful resources for special diets,  but I wanted to share a few that have become a part of my daily life.

BabyCakes NYC--
The Flying Apron Bakery Cookbook--

You can link to these and other sites of interest on the links list on the bottom right hand corner of this blog.

This morning I made a coconut bunt cake for my fathers 64th birthday.  I'm going to see if he can detect the absence of sugar, gluten and dairy.  He was raised in a gregarious food centric Italian home, so his flavor receptors are pretty sensitive and he doesn't generally opt for "health food".

I'll post a photo after I ice the cake.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oswald Chili

You might remember that a few weeks ago there was a chili contest to introduce a new recipe to the Sea Cliff School lunch repertoire. By all accounts it was a great event. Susie Oswald kindly sent me the winning recipe. Congratulations Oswald family!

The Oswald Chili
3lbs ground turkey
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 bell pepper (not green)
1 Diced Jalapeno pepper
1 small can paste
2 28oz puree tomato
1 28oz diced tomato
2 2lbs kidney beans
2 T cumin
2 T chili powder
Brown turkey and set aside
Saute onion and garlic and bell pepper until soft
Add Paste and cook for 5 min.
Add all canned tomato, Jalapeno pepper, spices and turkey
Cook together
Add beans cook till tender

Monday, April 12, 2010

What are you reading?

We returned from the Sea Cliff Children's Library with some wonderful books on food, cooking and gardening.

Lunch Lessons, Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper and Lisa M. Holmes

Real Food for Healthy Kids
Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel

Grow It, Cook It: Simple Gardening Projects and Delicious Recipes

Saturday, April 10, 2010


My son Ezekiel loves smoothies.  It's a delicious way to introduce a wide variety of plant based nutrients and proteins.  We have so much fun experimenting with berries, nut, rice or coconut milks, omega 3 oils, probiotics, flax or hemp seeds, bananas, avocados, various dark greens, pineapple, papaya, mango and nut butters to name a few of our favorite ingredients.  Sometimes we fill a metal thermos with a smoothie for snack time at school.  The possibilities are endless.  

Smoothies are preferable to juices in many instances because the fiber is included in the beverage for greater absorption and digestion.  Ideally, you would use a high powered blender, but stick blenders work very well also.  

Change is Good

Even if you pack lunch for your child, it is important to know that much is being done to improve the quality of school lunch for all children at Sea Cliff Elementary.   Thanks to the work of dedicated community members, staff, faculty and parents alike there is also an effort to improve the quality of the labeling and accuracy of the menu descriptions so that you can make an educated choice for your child.

Look for these new options on the April Lunch Menu!

April 14 - New Item: WG Rotini Marinara w/ chick peas

April 20 - On Sliders day, you also have a choice of a Veggie burger (These are Dr. Praeger's brand)

April 23 - New Item: Cheesy Brown Rice and Broccoli

April 26 - Our Pizza bagels are made in house and contain far fewer artificial ingredients than the cheese pizza slices which arrive frozen from a large manufacturer

April 29 - On Taco Day, you can now choose a Veggie taco option with beans, corn and salsa if you'd like to avoid the commodity meats in the tacos.

Please make sure you check out the labels and nutritional information or yourself when helping your child make choices about lunch. All labels are available at:

If you need a copy of the menu, please see:

More changes to come in May!

- The apples and oranges will be sliced more often to encourage kids to eat more fruit

- We'll get a new Veggie Wrap option on a few days

- The Chili contest winner will debut! (Details to follow soon!)

Please note: The menu for April still reads "WG Baked Chicken Nuggets" -- this will change in May to say simply "WG Chicken Nuggets". Tyson has indicated that the nuggets are flash-fried before they are baked. Likewise, green beans and other canned vegetables will not say "steamed" next month as the manufacturer has indicated they are primarily boiled in the can.

It's Time to Call Congress! Help us improve school lunch across the country by reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act - more information on our websites.

Chili Cook-Off

Sea Cliff Elementary School Chili Cook-Off Contest

The Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee is sponsoring a chili recipe contest. Our goal is to provide our food service with healthy and delicious alternatives to some of our current menu selections. The winning recipe will be named after the family submitting the recipe and featured on the lunch menu for a one month trial period. Please email your recipe and entry form to Denise Rieger at HYPERLINK "" by Monday, April 12th .

When: Wednesday, April 14 at 6:30 pm

Where: Sea Cliff School Cafeteria—after Dr. Melnick’s scheduled budget presentation

Judging: Entries will be judged, anonymously, by Sea Cliff students.

Recipes: We would like to focus on simple whole foods but we have to consider what’s available to our food service. Below is a list of available items that might be found in chili. If your recipe calls for an ingredient not listed, you can email Marge McCarrick, Director North Shore Food Service, to inquire about availability, at:

Possible Ingredients:
Beans--Black, red, white, or chick peas
Canned Tomatoes
Vegetable oil, e.g. olive oil
Spices, e.g. cumin, chili powder, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder
Lean ground turkey

Possible Toppings:

Low fat mozzarella cheese
Low fat or fat-free sour cream
Low Fat or fat-free plain yogurt