Mixed vegetable frittata
Seasoned hash browns
Avocado/tomato toast on homemade bread
Berry peach mango smoothie
Peanut butter banana smoothie
The boys weren’t available for this week’s class, so we went right to the shelter to start cooking with the girls. The first order of business was to make smoothies, and the girls eagerly jumped on that job. We sampled the smoothies while prepping the food for the main course. I think they get better every class, and I like that we are in the habit of enjoying a “fancy” drink while we prepare the meal. A healthy decadence. The dishes this week shared many common ingredients, so we worked together cutting and chopping onions and peppers, and we talked about how just a few ingredients can be combined in many different ways. We collected a whole bowl of beautiful micro greens from the aquaponics tower in the multi-purpose room and seeded more vegetables in the empty pods to make sure that we have a constant supply of fresh greens for our upcoming recipes.
Back in the shelter, Jan and A. started sautéing the vegetables that would go into the frittata, while P. and I shredded potatoes and sautéed the peppers, onions, and spices for the hash browns. At one point, P. wandered over to see what Jan and A. were up to and said, “You guys are doing such a good job!” before popping back over to give the hash browns a stir. It is wonderful to see how supportive they are of one another, and how much confidence they have gained in the kitchen since the classes started. It often feels like we are just cooking a family meal together, and I quickly forget where we are and why we are there. I hope that the girls also get lost in these pleasant moments.
While the frittatas baked in muffin tins in the toaster oven*, we set the table for the meal. Jan brought silverware from her house as a break from the plastic cutlery we typically use and throw away. Setting the table is another ritual of Cultivating Change that I’ve come to love. Each week we put more care into the table, making sure that it looks beautiful, that the food is presented well, that we set a place for everyone. Jan said that she wanted to bring real silverware so that the girls know that they are worth it. That they matter. Next week I’ll cut some dahlias from my garden for the centerpiece. The girls had us each sit at the head of the table, Grandma Jan at one end and Auntie Heather at the other. Their AHHAH family. And we enjoyed another wonderful meal together with delicious food and heartfelt conversation. Just as we’ve learned how to put a kitchen on wheels, we are also learning how to take home on the road.
*It is amazing the range of foods that can be made without a proper kitchen—“cooking on a cart” as Jan always says—and we could absolutely dedicate a whole blog to that alone. We only use an electric skillet, air fryer, or toaster oven to cook everything we make.
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Heather Leach is Cultivating Change's facilitator and Program Director!