Since November a few teen parents at Blackburn have been exploring new foods, expanding their palates and learning food preparation techniques with staff from No More Empty Pots. The first session was new to everyone and featured whole wheat wraps with hummus and sauteed kale. Kale was new to all the students. We discussed the nutritional value of all of the ingredients and demonstrated how to saute kale with onions and olive oil. They liked the session so much that we were asked to return.
The second session was full of firsts. The students requested kale smoothies for the featured dish. Nancy and Shelby brought organic kale, organic Greek yogurt, organic mango juice, and a mix of fresh and frozen fruit that included mango, pineapple, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. The students made and tasted smoothies made of different combinations of kale, yogurt, juice and fruit. The teen parents also made yogurt parfaits with fresh fruit, yogurt and granola made from oatmeal, spices, and vanilla. During the session we discussed how to share food preparation with their kids and how to prepare natural whole foods for them using many of the same ingredients. The teens also discussed business ideas for natural food products.
At the third session, the teens were in for a surprise. They had requested tacos as the featured dish. What they did not expect was veggie tacos. The young ladies created flavorful, nutritious and inexpensive tacos with vegetables and grains: black beans, brown rice, quinoa, onions. One of the students asked ‘what about the protein.’ We read the label for the vegan chorizo; it had a whopping 23 grams of protein per serving. To their surprise the chorizo cooked like ground beef and turkey. The vegan chorizo had really good flavor and was super spicy. The teens added cheese, a sour cream substitute made from Greek yogurt, lime juice and seasonings, and chopped mixed greens to their chorizo and black bean tacos. Each student commented favorably on their creation after eating their tacos.
We can hardly wait to see what the students request next. We know that it will be nutritious, inexpensive and so intriguing that they will be eager to participate.