Bite of Brainfood Blog

Sodexo Youth Service Grant Approved!!

From guest blogger Carolyn Panzarella....

After hours of working to perfect  answers for the Youth Service America grant, our hard work has paid off!  We were granted our full budget for a workshop with Homeless Children’s Playtime Project.  The grant is meant to address the issue of childhood hunger with the hope that all the programs/projects granted funding will take place around Global Youth Service Day (April 20-22, 2012).  We received a shining report from the YSA staff in our approval letter: “We received many wonderful applications but yours stood out as one of the best.”   We were also mentioned in an article posted on Market Watch with regards to the upcoming project.



Cooking Alfredo on Classroom Desks: MVPs teach Workshop #2


Chicken.  Broccoli.  Alfredo.  This trifecta of ingredients has long caused Brainfood students to swoon (and sometimes drool) in anticipation of learning how to cook the much-beloved pasta dish.  The only catch to the traditional version dish is the jaw-dropping quantity of cream and parmesan cheese that go into the sauce.  The thick, creamy sauce that we all love often has enough sodium and saturated fat to send a small child into instant food coma – which is to say, the sauce severely compromises the nutritional value of eating the lean protein and fresh vegetable in the dish.  And yet, like any unhealthy food relationship, we just can’t say no.  And that’s exactly why Brainfood MVPS chose this recipe as the perfect candidate for a healthier makeover.

Kitchen All Stars having fun while cooking!

It’s been a great year so far for us. We have cooked so many great recipes.  A few we recipes we have prepared are oven baked mayo chicken, fake flaked chicken, James’ Honey BBQ wings, Spanakopita Chicken and Meatballs, Stuffed bell peppers, Yams with toasted spice rub, cobb salad, and a delicious chicken and strawberry salad just to name a few.

A Food Gallery Walk with Brainfood

From guest blogger Ibti Vincent, Weekly MVPs Classroom Assitant.... 

Last week marked Brainfood's first ever Community MVPs Open House and Food Fair, and boy was it a fun (and delicious) event! Though the group taught their first workshop at Walker Jones Elementary this fall, for many in attendance this was their first opportunity to see the peer nutrition educators hosting food demos and leading a special event.

Elevator Speeches, Super Bowl and Valentine's Day

From Guest Blogger Carolyn Panzarella, Community MVPs Intern....

The Community MVPs classroom has been bustling with activity in the last few weeks.  As always, we have been continuing practicing public speaking.  All this practice will be put into use in the coming months when we will be putting on more workshops. 

The students have been practicing their elevator speeches:  a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition.  We have done a number of exercises to perfect their speeches including volume practice in the big hall downstairs, as projecting voices is always a difficult task, and writing out the speech and pitching it to the class.  

A Valentine's Treat & Guest Chef visit!

From Guest Blogger Cara Oslager, Brainfood intern....

Hey Brainfood Fans! This is Cara, the intern from Kitchen All Stars on Mondays and Wednesdays.  This past Monday, we were very lucky to have our first guest chef come in!  Her name was Chef Lisa Biedrzycki, a pastry chef living here in DC.  She used to be a lawyer and then decided to follow her passion to become a chef and graduated as valedictorian from the Culinary Institute of America!  As a pastry chef, she has lots of experience making Petit Fours and this is what we were going to learn how to assemble.  We were lucky enough to have Chef Lisa bring in the pre-made layered cake so all we had to do was cut out shapes, put together a thick glaze, and learn how to pipe chocolate for designs!  Each group was given a rectangular cake of either chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream in the middle or a pound cake with blackberry preserve in the middle.  We then cut either the classic square shape or fun Valentine’s Day shapes for our petit fours.  Then, each group made a glaze consisting of powdered sugar and milk without a recipe.  It was a tough process in order to get the glaze to be the right thickness, but Chef Lisa was there to check out all of the groups.  She then let us use highly concentrated food coloring to create fun and bright colors for the icing.  Each group iced their petit fours while some group members focused on learning the design techniques using melted chocolate. 

The New Year with Brainfood Community MVP’s

From Guest Blogger Carolyn Panzarella, Brainfood MVPs intern....

The New Year has brought a whirlwind of new projects and recipes to the MVPs kitchen.  We have made homemade poptarts, turkey tacos and a delicious baked potato soup to name a few.  A highlight cooking session was our breakfast day when we made a scrumptious breakfast pizza topped with fried eggs and potato latkes with cinnamon apples.  Thank you to the Deb of the Smitten Kitchen blog for providing the recipes.  

It’s party time at Brainfood!

After 12 fun filled weeks of baking, mixing, chopping, sautéing and skill building, Brainfood students got to show off their talents right before winter break at the annual Brainfood Holiday Party. It was a busy week of preparation but was a great opportunity for our participants to display all they have learned in the kitchen. For the party, Brainfood students prepared their favorite recipes: oven baked fries, cheddar biscuits, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, mini Pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes, corn chowder, and 10 different types of pizza for their family and friends to taste and enjoy. They also made delicious sugar cookies that we decorated and then donated to THRIVE DC, our community service partner. 

Bubble Tea and Teacher Training at the Grand Hyatt

The Community MVPs rang in December with a fun field trip to DC’s lovely Grand Hyatt.  Staff from the hotel’s restaurant, Cure, and from the human resources department helped to make our experience very enjoyable.  Four lucky ladies were chosen to stay behind to do a “secret” workshop with managers from Cure while the rest of the group was led on a tour of the hotel. 


Stir Fry, Second Graders, and the first Community MVPs workshop

Brainfood MVPs set off for their first workshop Thursday, November 3rd.   Our plan was to go to Walker Jones Elementary school and work with second and third graders to harvest some vegetables from their huge school garden and then incorporate those vegetables into a healthy version of Asian take out food. 

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