Creating MyPlate

I know it’s been a while since my last post but it has been very busy with classes and life!

Currently, we are in the middle of our spring session at Stepney Elementary as part of the Arts & Imagination program. This time we are learning how to create MyPlate using the five food groups. The children are learning all about creative ways of eating their Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Protein and Dairy!

A couple of weeks ago, we learned about the two types of Grains (my favorite subject), the Whole Grain and the Refined Grain. As part of the lesson, the kids read some nutrition labels on the back of cereal boxes, crackers, bread crumbs and frozen waffles. They were all so surprised by the number of ingredients in these products, as well as the fact that they didn’t recognize half of them, neither do I! It is truly important to read those labels so you know what you are putting into your growing body.

We were on spring break last week so when we returned to class yesterday, I was so pleased to hear a story shared by one of my students. He had gone grocery shopping with his mom over break and she picked up some white bread and he pointed out to his mother that white bread is a refined grain and not as healthy as the whole wheat bread so they ended up buying the whole wheat bread. I was so very proud of him and I am so proud of all my students for all their attention and enthusiasm in these classes. Hopefully, these classes will be instrumental in helping them to make better eating choices.

This is exactly why I enjoy teaching these cooking classes. Kids are simply amazing!

Bolognese

One of my favorite Italian meals is Pasta Bolognese! I love the texture and creaminess of this savory meat sauce no matter what pasta comes with it. Believe it or not, I was first introduced to Bolognese on our trip to Italy a few years back and it was love at first bite!

There has only been one other time that the Bolognese has come close to the one I had in Rome and believe me I’ve tried it all. My cousin-in-law’s parents own an Italian restaurant down in Fairfield, Connecticut called Vino & Mare. Everything on their menu is absolutely delicious but the one that stands out the most for me is their Bolognese. When I had my first bite of their Bolognese, the flavors transported me back to our fun days in Rome.

I’ve been meaning to replicate this hearty dish, but since my husband is vegetarian, I thought I’d try a Vegetable Bolognese and see how it compares to the Meat version. Well, I have to tell you that I have found it. This bolognese dish is unbelievably hearty and creamy just like the beef version but so much healthier. (This is not the best photo, but believe me, it is delish!)

Vegetable Bolognese

To all the vegetarians out there or for those who are trying to eat a little more healthy, this one is for you, Vegetable Bolognese!

One thing remains the same

Spring is unfolding here in Connecticut…. the trees and flowers are starting to bloom, the weather is getting warmer, the kids are riding their bikes, even the ice cream truck is already out and about. But one thing remains the same, Julian is still not here.

For those of you who follow this blog, we’ve all been pretty busy with school, work and personal commitments but even through all that “outside cover” of our busy lives, our hearts and our minds keep yearning for Julian to be here with us. There are still reminders of him everywhere, when we watch television, when we go to the grocery store, when we go to the playground, we we go to the library, when we see family and friends. He’s everywhere and our loss is always with us.

This loss has been very sad for us but it has taught us a lot too. It has taught us who our “real” friends are… those that make us still feel like ourselves, even though he isn’t here, those who comfort and support us, those who really care how we are feeling, now and always because the only difference between today and one year ago is the time difference because the feelings and the longing and the loss are still the same. Julian was OUR baby, he was OUR son, he was Lilliana and Lucas’ BABY BROTHER and he is not here with us, he is buried underground in some cold, lonely cemetary. We can no longer touch his soft hands and kiss his sweet face. We can’t watch him grow, walk and smile. All of that is gone and as time goes by, that will remain the same, always.

Lilliana has been expressing her sadness lately and yearning for her baby brother. She has doubts as to where he is, if God really exists, why this happened and why she just can’t have her brother back with her. I find myself helpless because you know what, I FEEL THE SAME WAY! We all miss him and can’t understand it either, we struggle with feelings of anger, sadness and resentment but what I’m trying so hard to also show her is that we can survive it, just one day at a time. We continue to love and support each other, no matter what and be understanding and compassionate to each other and to others. It’s ok to be sad and angry, anyone would be if such a tragedy happened to them. It sucks and life is really hard, even harder now, but we just have to take it one day at a time. That’s all that we can do and no one should expect anything else. We don’t just struggle with it for one day or two weeks but EVERYDAY for the REST of our lives!

Thinking of Julian yesterday, today, tomorrow and always. I love you my handsome man.

Creating Favorite Meals with Food Jules

Creating Favorite Meals with Food Jules starts Sat, 4/14 at Chalk Hill Middle School for kids ages 7-12.

Join Liz Cerrato, owner of Food Jules, as she shares some of her all-time favorite recipes, from savory starters and hearty entrees to decadent desserts. Each week, students will work in teams to create some favorite meals, using simple cooking techniques and wholesome ingredients. Students receive their own cookbook at the end of the session. Ages 7-12.

Dates: Saturday (4/14, 4/28, 5/5, 5/19, 5/26, 6/2)
Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Location: Chalk Hill School Cafeteria
Cost: Resident $125.00 / Non-Resident $138.00
Min: 10 children / Max: 20 children

Register online at http://www.monroerec.org today!