Healthy Eating Healthy Living Blog

  • Recipe: Crockpot Applesauce

    Posted by Michelle Blake on 11/17/2016 12:00:00 PM


    Crockpot applesauce


    Apples are a healthy and versatile snack. Eaten alone, or topped with nut butter or cheese, they satisfy your hunger and are loaded with vitamin C and fiber.

    Apples are abundant in autumn, and will last for several months when properly stored. Extend the life of your apples by making this easy crockpot applesauce, which can be hot canned or frozen.  More information about canning and freezing is available from the University of Maryland Extension.

    Easy Crockpot Applesauce 


    • 9 medium apples (any variety), peeled, cored, and chopped
    • ½  cup water
    • 1 cinnamon stick or ½ tsp ground cinnamon*
    • optional: pinch of nutmeg or other spices such as all spice, clove, or cardamom


    1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for about 2 hours, or low for 4 hours, until apples cook down.
    2. Applesauce will be chunky.  If you prefer smooth applesauce, puree in a blender in batches, or use an immersion blender.
    3. Serve immediately, or follow safe food guidelines for canning or freezing. 

    *Adding cinnamon can help bring out the sweetness without added sugar, and also adds its own unique set of health benefits, including lowering your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease and acting as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, while providing antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties.


    Recipe and nutrition information submitted by Michelle Blake, who has been a volunteer at Great Kids Farm for the past year.  She is a recent graduate of Maryland University of Integrative Health.


    Comments (-1)
  • Food Preservation

    Posted by Grace Santandreu on 11/8/2016 9:00:00 AM

    Canning and food preservation


    This month, Healthy Eating Healthy Living offers tips and tricks to preserve your all harvest.  From dehydrating to freezing, to fermenting and storing, there are various ways to preserve what you and Mother Nature have worked so hard to grow this year.  Benefits of preserving your own fall harvest include piece of mind about the ingredients in your canned goods, providing healthy meals for yourself and your family throughout the colder months, reducing your carbon footprint, and producing less waste from food and packaging.

    Remember to use safe food handling practices when cooking and preserving food at home.  Additional resources are available from the University of Maryland Extension.



    Dry foods are safe at room temperature with the absence of moisture because mold, bacteria, and yeast are unable to grow in such conditions.  Tomatoes are some of the last things to grow at the end of the season.  Here are five steps to dehydrate your tomato harvest from

    1. Cut tomatoes in halves, strips, or slices.  Pieces should be no thicker than 1/4 inch.  Remove seeds for a faster drying time and more flavorful end product.

    2. Place the tomato pieces skin-side down on dehydrator trays, or on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Be sure that none of the tomato pieces touch one another.

    3.  If using a dehydrator, set it to 135F.  Dry tomatoes for 8 to 14 hours. (The time will depend on the thickness of the pieces.)  If using an oven, set it to its lowest setting (generally somewhere between 140F and 150F).  Place the baking sheets in the oven.  Dry tomatoes for 6 to 12 hours.  The amount of drying time will depend on the thickness of the pieces.  Move the baking sheets around at least once during the drying time.  There should be no moisture along the break line when a tomato piece is cut in half.

    4 . When tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven or dehydrator.  Let cool to room temperature.  Transfer to tightly sealed jars or containers.

    5. When ready to reconstitute the dried tomatoes, place them in a heatproof bowl.  Pour boiling water over and let soak for 15 minutes.  Drain and use as desired.  Save the soaking water in the fridge or freezer for soups, sauces, or pasta cooking water.



    Freezing is a cheap and easy way to extend your harvest bounty for several months.  Before freezing, fruits and vegetables should be washed, sliced, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent freeezing in one big clump.  Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours until foods are frozen, then transfer to a plastic bag or freezer container.  Avoid freezer burn by packaging your food in thicker bags with a zipper seal, removing as much air as possible from the bag when you seal it, and placing bags of frozen produce in the back of the freezer to avoid temperature fluctuations when the door opens and closes.

    Liquids and other prepared foods such as tomato sauce, vegetable broth, or applesauce can be frozen in freezer-safe jars.  Make sure they are safely cooked to room temperature before freezing, and leave some space at the top of jars as water and other liquids expand when they freeze.



    Fermenting is another great way to make your foods last. Generally speaking, there are only a few basic supplies and ingredients that are needed for fermenting.  You will need a jar, bowl, or other evenly-sided container.  You'll also need a lid for the container, and a weight for the lid to help keep the food submerged during fermentation.  Common equipment for this process includes a large, wide-mouthed mason jar and a smaller mason jar filled with water for the weight.  Ingredients may include the vegetable you'd like to ferment (such as shredded cabbage, grated carrots, or sliced cucumbers), sea salt or kosher salt, and non-chlorinated water.  It can be as simple as putting the ingredients into your container with th elid and the weight on top!  More detailed fermentation recipes and instructions are available online from Cultures for Health and the National Center for Home Food Preservation.







    Comments (-1)
  • Featured Recipe: Roasted Broccoli

    Posted by Chela Cooper on 10/26/2016 8:00:00 AM

    Broccoli is a member of this month's featured vegetable family - Cruciferous Vegetables.  This roasted broccoli recipe is quick and easy, and makes an excellent side dish for a family meal or potluck gathering. 


    Roasted Broccoli

    Makes 4 servings

    Prep time: 10 mins

    Cook time: 15 mins



    2 ½ pounds broccoli, cut into florets

    2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)

    1 tablespoon minced garlic

    ½ teaspoon sea salt

    ¼ teaspoon black pepper

    1 teaspoon lemon zest

    ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (basil would work well)

    Freshly squeezed lemon juice


    1. Preheat oven to 400°


    1. Put the broccoli, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and toss until the broccoli is evenly coated. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread it in an even layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the broccoli begins to brown and is tender.


    1. Transfer to a bowl, add the lemon juice and zest, Parmesan, and herbs and toss to combine. Serve immediately.


    Recipe submitted by Michelle Blake, who has been a volunteer at Great Kids Farm for the past year.  She is a recent graduate of Maryland University of Integrative Health.

    Comments (-1)
  • Preparing your garden for winter

    Posted by Chela Cooper on 10/24/2016 3:00:00 PM


    Low tunnels at Great Kids Farm


    Preparing your Garden for winter

    Summer time has come and gone here at Great Kids Farm. Our crops are harvested, and autumn has brought both warmer and cooler weather and the hours of daylight shorten and the shadows lengthen. Before the first frost, there are a few things we, and you, can do for our gardens before they are subjected to the winter weather.  The University of Maryland Extension has a Fall Frost/Freeze Date resource which indicates the first hard frost typically happens in the Baltimore area by mid-November, but may happen as early as late October.   
    To prepare your garden for winter, there are a few things that many people would advise you to do. From cleaning and repairing your garden beds to reducing top soil erosion, here are the universal four steps to preparing your garden for winter:
    One: Clean up your garden beds.
    It has been noted that insects will leave their eggs in the stems and foliage of dead or dormant plants over the winter, where they will be ready to hatch in the spring. Avoid this, and disease pathogens, by cleaning up and removing left over crops from your garden beds.
    Two: Weed your garden
    Clear away your garden of unused crops and unwanted weeds. Weeds take away nutrients from your plants and from the soil in which they are grown. It is best to pull them up and remove them from your garden before they go to seed and or establish deeper roots.
    Three: Gather leaves
    As the leaves change color, drop to the ground and crunch under our feet, they have many valuable uses other than just adding to that autumn atmosphere. Gather up those leaves so you can use them for mulch, compost, or to make leaf mold. Using shredded leaves as mulch on your garden over winter suppresses the growth of weeds, and adds moisture as they retain water. Adding leaves to compost means you’re adding a carbon (brown) component to your compost pile. This balances out the nitrogen (green) elements given to the compost pile through kitchen waste. Avoid composting tomato or pepper plants due to the possibility of certain bacteria spreading among your pile. Last but not least, leaf mold is great in providing food for the beneficial soil organisms.
    Four: Cover beds with compost
    Just as you would want to sleep with warm blankets in the winter, your garden is also better off coved up. Two ways to do this would be to plant a cover crop like annual rye, or cover your garden with compost, or both! Planting cover crops adds organic matter and nutrients to your soil. This also prevents soil erosion. Covering up with compost also helps preserve the soil by adding nutrients and maintaining moisture.
    After taking these steps now, you will thank yourself later in the spring as it becomes time to plant once again. Enjoy your time in the crisp autumn air knowing that your garden is well taken care of.
    Photo and article submitted by Grace Santandreu.  Grace is the Program Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator at Great Kids Farm.  She is a recent graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Psychology.
    Comments (-1)
  • 2016 Fall Food and Jazz Festival

    Posted by Chela Cooper on 10/13/2016 8:00:00 AM

    Dunbar High School Jazz Band Fall 2016

    The Dunbar High School Jazz Band performed during the Fall Food and Jazz Fest 2016 at Great Kids Farm.  Joining them on harmonica during the last set was Chef Greg Nalley of Nalley Fresh.


    The fourth annual Fall Food and Jazz Festival was a great success.  Despite the on-and-off rain throughout the afternoon, a large crowd gathered at Great Kids Farm on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 to sample the musical and culinary talents of City Schools students. Great Kids Farm regularly hosts City Schools students from grades Pre-K through 12, reinforcing science, math, language, and other classroom lessons while engaging students in an interactive outdoor classroom setting on the farm. Saturday catered to a different crowd as students from four City Schools CTE Culinary high school programs competed for a Celebrity Judges Award and a People’s Choice Award.
    In preparation for the competition, high school teams paired with chefs from local restaurants to learn new culinary techniques, and create a delicious dish using local, seasonal ingredients.  Chefs from Atwater's Bakeries, Chiapparelli's, McCormick, Nalley Fresh, and Woodberry Kitchen volunteered to partner with culinary students.  Restaurant chef partners also attended the event to help students present their dishes to the judges and serve samples to festival attendees.
    Two local celebrities served as official festival judges, tasting each student team's offerings and asking about ingredients and preparation: Chef Bryce Taylor, a finalist from the first season of The Food Network's "Chopped Junior," and Chef Al Spoler, of WYPR's "Cellar Notes."  Emcee for the evening was Mr. Tom Hall, Emmy Award winner and host of "Midday" on WYPR, who joined the celebrity judges in tasting student prepared dishes.
    Carver High School's team won the Judges' Choice Award for a "Mixed Greens Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples, Almonds & Pumpkin Seeds and Maple Ginger Vinaigrette." National Academy Foundation (NAF) High School's team earned the People's Choice award with "Fig Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Ginger and Leeks, Wrapped in a Fig Leaf; Served with a Fig BBQ Sauce & a Fig & Autumn Spice Mocktail." Teams from Forest Park High School and Edmondson Westside High School also impressed with their delicious dishes and culinary skills.
    From a tour around the campus to festive drinks with friends, the farm was filled with a warm and well-spirited atmosphere. A special moment of recognition was held for the late Jill Wrigley, founding member and first President of Friends of Great Kids Farm Non-Profit Foundation. With her passions for social change, and increasing access of fresh fruits and vegetables to schoolchildren, Jill’s generous and modest spirit will be carried on through the many lives she had touched during her short 52 years.
    The evening concluded with one last set from the Dunbar Jazz Band, and the yellow school bus shuttle carrying the last of the festival guests to their cars down the hill to the parking lot. Special thanks to all the Friends and Farm staff as well as the students, chefs and sponsors that made this event such a wonderful tasty treat!
    Photo and article submitted by Grace Santandreu.  Grace is the Program Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator at Great Kids Farm.  She is a recent graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Psychology.
    Comments (-1)
  • Featured Vegetable Family - Cruciferous Vegetables

    Posted by Chela Cooper on 10/5/2016 7:00:00 AM

    Cruciferous vegetables are some of the most beneficial greens you could eat! Cruciferous vegetables can also be known as “brassica" from the Latin word meaning “cabbage.” Among the 15+ cruciferous veggies, some big-name ones include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and mustard greens. These vegetables are extremely nutritious!

    If you’re looking for vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and fiber for your diet, these veggies are the type for you! Their growing reputation as an impactful antioxidant vegetable group is based on how many vitamins they contain.

    In the way of fiber, when you consume one hundred calories of Cruciferous vegetables, this provides you about 25-40% of your required daily fiber. Recent studies on a healthy diet and good digestive support have increasingly included Cruciferous vegetables. 

    Looking for a way to include these valuable veggies in your life? Recipes and more interesting facts are sure to come! Thanks for visiting – Healthy Eating, Healthy Living!


    Promote your next nutritious posts on Facebook, or Instagram by adding #healthyeatinghealthyliving. Be sure to follow us @greatkidsfarm on Insta! 

    This post submitted by Grace Santandreu, the Program Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator Great Kids Farm. Grace is a recent graduate of the University of Dayton in Ohio, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology. She acknowledges the connection between a healthy diet and a healthy mind.  

    Sourced from:

    Comments (-1)
  • Back to School Peachy Green Smoothie

    Posted by Chela Cooper on 8/30/2016 8:00:00 AM

    Late summer peaches



    There is still time to enjoy late summer fruits, including peaches, which are featured in this easy smoothie recipe that makes a great breakfast or after school snack.


    Peachy Green Smoothie 

    Revised from Megan Gilmore 

    Serves 1 


    This lightly sweetened smoothie has a uniquely clean and fresh taste. 


    1 cup milk, yogurt, coconut water or dairy-free milk of your choice 

    1 cup fresh or frozen peaches* 

    ½ cup fresh or frozen pineapple* 

    1 frozen banana* 

    small handful of fresh parsley* 

    2 dates, pitted (or to taste, for sweetness) 

    1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar


    Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and serve immediately. 


    *If using fresh fruit, you may want to add a few ice cubes to make it thicker and icier. If using frozen fruit, ice isn’t necessary. Ripe bananas can be peeled and frozen in a single layer and always available in your freezer for smoothies!  

    *NOTE: More than just a garnish, parsley is a powerful herb that contains important vitamins and flavonoids, which may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and inflammation in the body. Parsley is also a natural diuretic, helping increase the flow of fluids through the kidneys.  



    Season: late spring to early autumn. Peaches are grown in 36 states

    Taste: sweet to mildly tart

    Uses: pair ripe peaches with cheese and crackers; add slices to yogurt or ice cream, garnish salads or cereal; make a pie or crisp; eat raw or blend into a smoothie (see recipe)

    Buying: select peaches that have a fragrant and warm peachy aroma. A ripe peach “gives” to a gentle squeeze. Keep in mind peaches are on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list so buy organic peaches when possible to limit exposure to pesticides.

    Storing: Once ripened, you can refrigerate a peach for a week to 10 days.


    Nutrition Facts

    • Peaches are a sweet source of a trio of brain-boosting vitamins. Vitamin C can lift your mood; vitamin K can help your memory; and vitamin A can improve your learning skills
    • There’s also niacin (a B vitamin) that may help give you more mental energy
    • Peaches also contain key minerals potassium, calcium and magnesium that may help cognitive functioning and prevent strokes
    • Peaches stimulate digestion and improve the health of the skin
    • Peaches help to build body fluids, making them an expectorant in the case of dry coughs and lubricating for the intestines in the case of constipation


    Recipe and nutrition information submitted by Michelle Blake, who has been a volunteer at Great Kids Farm for the past year.  She is a recent graduate of Maryland University of Integrative Health.

    Comments (-1)
  • Happy New School Year!

    Posted by Chela Cooper on 8/29/2016 7:00:00 AM

    Today is the first day of school for over 80,000 students in Baltimore City Public Schools.  Good luck to all our students, families, teachers, staff, and volunteers!  It's going to be a great year! 

    Comments (-1)
Last Modified on November 15, 2016