A new school year begins...

We started a new school year  this week, and  I wanted to take a minute to look back over all of the great things that happened throughout  2012/2013 at our beloved Burlington Children's Space.

Let's see. We had 6 incredible family dinners including a huge Thanksgiving feast!

We discovered some new favorites at lunch...curry chick peas (recipe at the end of this post!) and kale gratin (and kale salad, and kale chips!) were big this year.

The kids made amazing investigations of textiles with quilting, sewing and needlework projects. They also investigated maps, clay, kindness, and beautiful things.
They baked bread, granola bars, and muffins, and worked on many other "experimental" cooking and baking projects with their brilliant and dedicated teachers.

We ran!! The 2nd annual BCS Fun Run raised $300 with staff, parents, kids and friends participating. We love our Intervale, and this great community-building event.
The first ever BCS Key Bank VT City Marathon teams raised over $3000 to put toward our long term playground renovation! The staff is working on a collaborative model to design the last phases of the playground transformation this Fall.

We received 2 grants to help expand our food program and make our school - including the kitchen - more energy efficient. A new stove, refrigerator, freezer, storage spaces and more are coming our way for the new school year!

And finally, earlier this month Sarah helped me run a workshop for the Child Nutrition Summer Institute put on by CACFP and Hunger Free Vermont. We shared recipes, tips, challenges and successes with cooks from around the state. It was so much fun to cook with so many fantastic folks, and inspired me to do more of the same. Cooking class for parents, perhaps??

So here we go! Fall is almost upon us. Apples, pumpkins, changing colors, and new explorations!

Here are a few pics from the staff in-service week. Icebox pickles from a recipe by Deb Perelman of the Smitten Kitchen

Cheddar scallion biscuits

Kale salad with walnuts, percorino, and lemon juice (among other things). Another piece of genius from Smitten Kitchen.

And some small, but important and deeply appreciated bits of work on the kitchen. Sarah and Jed cut and refit some ceiling tiles that had been missing for some time, and longtime teacher Sheila brought me some new pot holders and towels for the new year.  Thanks friends!
New ceiling tiles!
Pot holders and dish towels!

And finally, our first lunch of the new school year. Ham and cheese rolls, roasted red potatoes, and honeydew.

If you had a "first day back" at anything today I hope it was terrific. Let's hear it for Fall.

p.s. super easy and fast recipe below!

Curry chick peas
6 cups chick peas (drain them if you're using canned)
 4 cups crushed tomatoes
3 Tbsp mild curry paste
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the curry paste and stir well. Add the rest of  the ingredients except the chick peas and stir over medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble. Add chick peas and lower heat a bit. Simmer over low heat for as long as you can, I usually manage about 30 minutes when I’m making lunch. Taste before serving and adjust seasonings, you may feel it needs a bit more salt, pepper, (or even a tsp of brown sugar if you like things on the sweeter side). Serve over rice, cous cous, quinoa, with roasted or stir fried veggies, etc. It's filling and really tasty, and little kids love it. Really.

Child Nutrition Program Summer Institute

Sarah and I had the best time leading a workshop on Nutrition, Healthy Eating Relationships and Menu Planning at the St. Johnsbury Academy yesterday! 12 ladies from around the state participated and made 14 great lunch and snack dishes from scratch. They were incredible! Everything came out perfect and everyone left with a lot of ideas. Sorry the pics are a little blurry, things were moving fast in that kitchen!

It was so inspiring  to connect and cook with folks from near and far who are passionate about making super healthy food for kids in schools and programs.

Food, and shared meals, are such a powerful way to show love, care for folks, and work on all kinds of big ideas. A quote from Sarah's letter to the editor set the tone of the workshop and nicely summed up our philosophy at BCS...

For our program, food is one of the languages with which children are welcomed to school in the morning and sent home satisfied at the end of the day. It has helped us create an atmosphere of abundance, respect and generosity.

Thanks so much to everyone who cooked with us, and thank you for the work you do for kids everyday!