Jeanne, Dayle and HOPE after a year of COVID-19!

Featured

This blog post is going to be a bit more personal than recent interviews with school nutrition professionals that I have been sharing. It is about hope after social isolation, friendship that thrives in a pandemic, and the heroic efforts of school nutrition heroes in Maine, Montana and every other state. Jeanne Reilly wrote the original post on TIPS for School Meals That Rock and created the fabulous School Nutrition Hero graphic. I have edited the following text for clarity only.

Friends in Maine

Our Thought for today is HOPE. This past week, we had the pleasure of being together for an in-person visit. Hanging with a friend, hiking around southern Maine, enjoying spring weather , chatting endlessly, and contemplating a new school year with a new round of waivers – everything felt hopeful and we were both refreshed by our visit! 

For Dayle a visit to Windham-Raymond School Nutrition Program and the Mobile Meals van was her first on-site school visit since before the pandemic began. Things were certainly different: We were masked and serving meals out of a van, as well as in our cafeteria and classrooms but the simple act of returning to previously “normal” activities felt good and HOPEful. 

Windham-Raymond School Nutrition Program, Mobile Meals Van

For Jeanne, it felt good to have someone to strategize with about next year, to dig into the newest round of waivers, and someone to laugh and whine and obsess about ALL of it! Nothing like a little lobster, accompanied by a healthy dose of lighthouses, fresh Maine air, hikes and bald eagle sightings to give life and a fresh perspective full of HOPE and anticipation! 

As we look forward to next year, we have HOPE that all, or almost all students will be back to learning in person; HOPE that #HealthySchoolMealsforAll will continue to be available at no cost to students next year and beyond. We certainly know that it will be a long time before things feel 100% normal, but we have HOPE that we are on the road back. 

YOU are our HEROES!

As you know School Lunch Hero Day is next Friday, May 7, 2021. We have set a small goal of getting our TIPS for School Meals That Rock membership up to 17,000 by next Friday! Can you invite some of your friends who are not currently TIPS members? If every school nutrition hero invites one of their “essential” friends, we could meet and exceed 17,000 members in no time at all! There is strength in numbers – and the more members we have the better we can collaborate, share and inspire. We look forward to ALL your posts about your celebrations!

31 Days of #RealSchoolFood: Recipes from Your Colleagues

As 2014 comes to a close, we’re talking #RealSchoolFood recipes that you might want to incorporate in 2015. The overall goal is to offer you some great scratch recipes, saving you the time, money and hassle to creating your own recipes from scratch. Remember the recorded USDA webinar on Finding and Creating School Recipes for Success with USDA Foods (featuring Malissa Marsden and me) is available on YouTube. Several colleagues have suggested that this would make a great (and free) January in-service to share with your staff.

Another wonderful source of recipes is your friends and colleagues in the school food world. Most school nutrition professionals are more than willing to share recipes – just ask nicely and be sure to say thank you! Here are three examples of recipe sources from colleagues you can trust.

The Washington State Schools “Scratch Cooking” Recipe Book is packed with delicious contributions from school cooks across Washington. More than 20 districts contributed recipes to this September 2013 publication (all recipes meet new meal pattern guidelines). The book has lots of interesting main dishes, from basic Chicken Fajitas to Italian Baked Fish w/ Provencal Sauce, as well as grains, fruits and vegetables. 

WA ChildNutritionRecipeBook Cover

Provo School District in Provo, Utah, is an outstanding example of scratch cooking with locally sourced ingredients. They are also incredibly generous with sharing their food art on Facebook – and their recipes as well. In May 2014, they shared six recipes that featured local meat, poultry, veggies, fruits and even mushrooms! You can download them at Provo City School District Recipes with Local Food Items from the National Farm to School Network database (where you can also search for other recipes and resources).

I can personally recommend the Roasted Asparagus, which I once had the pleasure of both eating and serving this recipe to middle school students. Many of them asked how many spears they could have!

Asparagus

 

As a final treat, Windham Raymond School Nutrition Program, RSU #14 in Maine, has been kind enough to share their recipe for the Whole Grain Rolls served at their Thanksgiving meal in November. Here is what Director Jeanne Reilly wrote to go with these yummy photos: “Yesterday was such a great day, with so many of our students and staff taking part in our Thanksgiving Feast throughout our entire district. Our “homemade” school baked rolls were a huge hit and many have requested the recipe. Our rolls (unlike the original recipe) were whole grain and we substituted a portion of the white flour with100% whole grain white flour.” That is district Chef Samantha forming the rolls in the top left.

Thanksgiving Rolls in Windham-Raymond Schools, Maine

Thanksgiving Rolls in Windham-Raymond Schools, Maine

Here is a JPG of the recipe that Jeanne shared with me. If you cannot read it well enough in this format, send an email to SchoolMealsThatRock@gmail.com, I will send the recipe PDF to you. Thanks to Jeanne and all the other directors for being willing the share the goodness of from their kitchens!

Rolls