Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Soffritto Sister Diaries | A Fremont Garden Tasting - Chermoula

The Summer, this garden tasting, Terri's trip... it's pretty far away now, but at the same time, everywhere for me. 

I don't know when I'll see you again in person Terri, and that's what's so hard about finishing this Summer garden tasting series together today. 

I finished our video this morning after you sent me your completed blog. It was so hard and so wonderful at the same time. The true essence of the mullies isn't it? So hard to jump in but so worth it in the end. Terri's blog today was so beautiful! It made me cry... again.

AND now we are celebrating! The most anticipated garden tasting recipe is finally here! 

Thanks for being so patient with us and we sure hope this tastes as good in your kitchen as it did in our Fremont Community Garden that beautiful, hot day. Terri and I know it will be a new family table favorite!

Enjoy hopping over to Terri's delicious blog for the recipe and please feel free to tag us if you make it for your family table on Facebook or Instagram. We would love to see all the fun you're having with your beautiful food - You inspire us too!

Until we meet again, I'll be keeping up our shenanigans "on the line" - AND thank heavens for Facetime!!! #Supersunite!!!

To the mullies we go...

Cheers to Jamie's Food Revolution for forever connecting us!!! Jamie is up in Canada this week talking to supermarkets, charities and politicians - anyone who will listen - and I'm excited about the good signs coming out of the meetings. In watching his message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I found that he also sent a message to President Obama too! I tweeted to @JustinTrudeau yesterday directly on how I think he can help lead the North American Food Revolution -  Why not? We have nothing to lose and everything to gain... well... except for our countries' waistlines and our childrens' health -----------> JOIN US.

"Everywhere" is a song I fell in love with after watching the movie "Practical Magic" back in the 90s. I bought the soundtrack and played this song over and over... Today, I believe in lots of practical magic in the kitchen. The song begins with the random quote: "Most women and children can perceive higher frequencies of sound than most men." Terri, you and I connect on another frequency and we have found BIG MAGIC together... the kind I thought only happened in the movies:) MUAH!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Join the #RealSchoolFood Campaign!

We want YOU! 

The Chef Ann Foundation is officially declaring October the month of Real School Food, and I am pumped to join the campaign for it's second year! They have lots of fun events and activities planned to get the word out so stay tuned in to Chef Ann's Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages! 

Why do we need a whole month dedicated to raising awareness about real school food? 

It’s ridiculously simple.

"Childhood obesity and diet-related disease are crippling our children’s futures. Over 30 million children eat school lunch every day, and many of their meals are processed, heat-and-serve items loaded with artificial un-pronounceables and mystery ingredients that are contributing to the problem.  Our kids deserve better, and that means real school food, cooked with healthy, nourishing ingredients." - Chef Ann Foundation

This quote hits home for me BIG time.

4.5 years ago I swerved my family swagger van onto the real food highway. I hit my trigger point with concerns about my daughter's social, emotional and academic performance at school. Abbie was performing a full year behind grade level in 1st grade and she could not pay attention, sit still, follow two step directions or get along with her friends in school. I was ready to try anything, have no regrets, so I tried real food first. I kicked out the fake food - preservatives, artificial colors and added sugar. I also kicked out gluten and dairy for awhile. After two weeks of eating more clean, real food, she was symptom free (I know, I still can't believe it) and it changed the course of her life, my life and our family's life forever. Let me be clearIt's not about perfection for us. We eat out and we certainly eat some processed food. Our goal is simple: 80% real food to 20% "whatever" food. Cuz I really love to eat my "whatever" food too. 

The incredible connection between our gut-brain lights up my world like a glorious sunrise and I geek out about the microbiome pretty much everyday. New research is emerging at a furious pace and I try to keep up with "What's New in ADHD" as this information impacts my family's health no matter how well now my children are now functioning in school.

Everyone EATS and it's time we inspire the guts + minds which gather everyday in the biggest restaurants in town - SCHOOL CAFETERIAS! 

Get involved! Here are some ways you can add your support:

1. Snap a selfie with a sign #realschoolfood.
2. Post the selfie to your social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) and use the #realschoolfood hashtag in your comment (Here's a good one to copy: "30 million kids eat school lunch every day. It's time we served them #realschoolfood. Join the campaign now:") 
**Don't forget to make your Facebook post public so that the Chef Ann Foundation can track the hashtag and count the post towards a matching donation!**
3. You can even make your picture your banner or profile pic for the entire month of October (if you're a food education goober like me)!
4. For every person who posts using #realschoolfood from now until the end of October, $1 will be donated towards healthy school food programming for kids across the country. This is an incredible opportunity for Americans to make school food reform a reality, thanks to the generosity of the foundation's sponsors (click here to check em all out!).

To the Mullies we go...

Here is a link to the Chef Ann Foundation's Project Produce Grant. I helped our school district apply for this (fingers crossed!) and perhaps you could help yours too!

Speaking of supporting awesome Food Education... I will be attending the Pilot Light Chefs Feed Your Mind Gala on Friday October 7th - Tickets are running out! One of America's finest chefs will be hosting - It's your chance to meet Chef Tom Colichio! The gala will be packed with Chicago's finest chefs, educators and foodie "movers and shakers." I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Children's Nature Festival | Willow Wood Preschool + Food Revolution Lake County

Come join the Lake County Food Revolution team for a fantastic family friendly event with Willow Wood Preschool! I plan on bringing my family and I hope to see yours there too! Link up here for more information about the event.

There will be so much TO DO!!!

If you and your kids want to play at the park enjoy:

Face Painting  
Bounce Houses 
DJ Entertainment

If you and your kids want to learn at the park enjoy:

Painting garden stones and seeing a live worm farm with Kohl Children's Museum.
Creating Tree Ring Necklaces with The Morton Arboretum.
Making a healthy jam jar dip for fresh vegetables with Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution with me and our Food Revolution Lake County team!

If you and your kids want to grow at the park enjoy:

Making a newspaper pot to plant bean seeds with the Glencoe Community Garden.
Planting organic carrot and kale seeds with The Home Depot at the Glen.
Enjoying complimentary healthy snacks from Mrs. Green's and a Peet's Coffee Bar.
Eating delicious food from food trucks provided by Bake 425 and La Cocinita.

We are so excited to be a part of the fabulous Willow Wood Preschool event and we look forward to inspiring you and your kids to cook + eat more vege our DIY jam jar dip making station! 

1. You will be amazed at how easy it is to make your own dressings.

2. We're pretty sure it'll kick-start a new kid-led dip making tradition at your family table. 

BOOM. Register HERE and we'll see you Sunday! I can't wait to pack up my swagger van and GO!

To the mullies...

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Soffritto Sister Diaries | A Hero Center + Marketplace Tour

Ohhhhhhhhh I can only imagine what these beautiful Fuller Center of Lake County Community Gardens look like now! 

Terri and I went to visit Executive Director Yvette Ewing a few weeks ago and got a grand tour of the facilities that I've been talking about for the past few months. After meeting her at the annual Farmer's Market kick off, Yvette drove us out to the Manna Garden (it was my first time out too!) and we were able to snap some pictures and hear first hand how the initiative continues to impact the community. Check out this quick information video on the Manna Garden - Terri and I were so inspired and quite overwhelmed at the enormous impact of the combined efforts between Fuller Center's Hero Project and the Lutheran Church Charities

Here is the fun quickie video we shot together in the garden. 


Yvette's Hero Kitchen is really shaping up!!! I love keeping up with the progress (Check out Yvette's most recent Facebook post on the new kitchen floor) and I'm looking forward to getting out there again soon (the kids are back in school, yea!) to see the evolution in person. 

I am so honored to be considered a Wellness Hero (anyone can volunteer their time & talents!) and I cannot wait to jump in and help teach food education at the Hero Kitchen someday!

Without a doubt, passion and vision is abundant at the Fuller Center and it's all because of YOU Yvette!! Thank you for fighting for food education in Lake County!

To the mullies we go,

Oh Terri I LOVE the blog you wrote about your trip here yesterday on Jamie Magazine! I miss you so freakin much... it's sure fun to be on the line with you. Love you! 
Read her beautiful blog post here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Soffritto Sister Diaries | A Prairie Farm Corps Reunion in Pictures

Once again, the Prairie Farm Corps lit me up! 

Terri and I were so excited to come for a day and help prep for their annual Celebration Dinner - Terri made several vinaigrettes and a gorgeous hand chopped pesto with the students while I made two batches of homemade ice cream and prepped a bunch of ice cream starters for later freezing + churning.

Veronica, your Celebration Dinner kitchen team rocked out an epic feast and it was crazy fun to help you prep for it all. I am in awe of each one of you and the beautiful spread you shared with your friends and family to honor the incredible Summer you created together. 

Thank you Eric, Veronica, Amanda, Natalie, Shannon, Miya, Karina and Natalie for always inspiring me to cook with more vege and for rocking out a group of incredible students who will continue "waterfalling" out the importance of organic farming and the love of cooking from scratch!

Nurture the soil - Nurture the food - Nurture the soul - Nurture the community

I get goosebumps just thinking about how many people each one of you will inspire after you tell them about your Summer on the farm. We may never know how far and wide our impact will go... so keep sharing and passing down your favorite recipes and the skills you learned!

The Lake County Food Revolution = YOU!

To the mullies we go,

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fresh Start Grill off Champions | A Porked out Waffle + Chutney

More Guts More Glory.

I almost said no. I had never competed in a cooking contest before. Could I pull it off? Would I embarrass myself? Who am I -Just a passionate Food Ambassador and home chef... not professional- to do something like this?

And then, of course, I started thinking about athletic competition... the challenge, the unknown, the thrill, getting to meet new people... and I thought about how I coach my pitchers, how I want them to mentally and physically show up on the mound amidst fear & unknown outcomes...  I thought about how much I love talking to people about food, how many successful market demonstrations I have been a part of (thank you Melissa!!) and my love for spreading awareness of Jamie Oliver's global Food Revolution Campaign.

Well, hell YES I'll do it.

I didn't want to cook alone (It's so much more fun pitching to a catcher!). Enter in Christina Erickson, amazing girlfriend, Lake County Food Revolution teammate and Stevenson High School Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher. Thank you for saying YES and for teaching me how to start a grill with charcoal!

Throw like a girl.
Grill like a girl.

We planned (Christina's husband Kurt was a fellow brainstormer), we tested (Chris and Kurt both about passed out from the gloriousness of our dish), we conquered. 

So without further ado, here she is in her full paper plated glory.

Introducing the Fresh Start Business Incubator's 3rd annual Grill Off Champion Dish! 

A Porked-out Waffle + Chutney 
I try and cook with as many organic ingredients as possible to protect gut health. Veggies are best but sometimes, you need a little comfort food.
Recipe is listed in layered order. 

• A gluten free waffle + bacon

3.5 c Pamela's Gluten free flour pancake mix (Pamela's all-purpose flour mix is awesome too (batter will be much thicker FYI. Just increase baking powder to 2 T.)
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 organic, pasture raised egg yolks (whites separated into another bowl)
3.5 c organic rice milk (regular dairy milk works fine too)
1 c organic butter (avocado or coconut oil works well to make it completely dairy free)
1 package cooked and rough chopped Applegate's Organic Sunday Bacon

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Whisk in vanilla, egg yolks and rice milk. Whisk in melted butter (My Grandma Dorothy's top waffle tip: If using hot butter, do this last as it will clump if you do it before the cold milk!). Let batter sit and thicken up for at least 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, whip up the egg yolks into stiff peaks. Fold in egg whites + bacon bits. (Tip: You should have little clumps of egg whites throughout your batter.)

• 12 hour honey marinated pork tenderloin
(I could only find hormone + nitrate free within my budget. I sure wish I could have found antibiotic free!)

For every two pork tenderloins, marinate them in a plastic gallon bag with the following ingredients:
1/2 c local honey
1/2 c organic gluten free soy sauce
1.5 lemons juiced
4-5 small cloves of garlic

• An organic nectarine, peach and plum chutney (Inspired from this recipe.)

1 cup organic goji berries
1.5 c organic diced onions
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sea salt
6 organic nectarines pitted and diced
6 organic peaches pitted and diced
4 organic plums pitted and diced
1/2 c organic maple syrup
1 c organic lemon juice
1 c organic apple vinegar
4 cloves garlic rough chopped

Dump everything a big stock pot, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is reduced to your desired "chutney" thickness. Christina and I decided to puree this, however you can certainly leave it chunky for your dish!

• Organic apples (sliced into matchsticks)

Sage salt (Christina and I chopped up my fresh kitchen garden sage!)

• Organic maple syrup (just a drizzle)

Big thanks to Mariano's Market (Thank you Manager Gary at the Meat Counter!) for making my shopping so easy, ONE STOP and under budget!

To Rebekka, John, Bruce, Zach, Phillip and David - on behalf of Christina and myself, it was a pleasure to meet + cook + eat with you all!

We'll see you next year, for Christina and I now have a trophy to defend!!!!

To the mullies we go,


Have a dream of starting your own business but need a little help? The Fresh Start Business Incubator program is and here for YOU (Link to their incredible wealth of FREE services here). 


It was the biggest batch of waffles I have ever made;)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Soffritto Sister Diaries | A Fremont Garden Tasting - Lemon Zucchini Ribbons


Zucchini noodles are one of my favorite things to make and eat. And it was certainly one of the favorite dishes at our Fremont Community Garden tasting event! Garnished with garden flowers and pantry item staples from Mundelein's very own Corner Health Foods Store it was truly a work of edible art!

I hope you enjoy Terri's beautiful Lemon Zucchini Ribbon recipe today and we hope you are inspired to eat a little more from the garden each week - "More guts more glory" I say!

Feel free to tag us in your zucchini ribbon creations on Facebook or Instagram - We'd love to see what you make - it lights us up to see YOUR plates!

Zoodles up Terri!!

To the Mullies we go,


After I bought the above zucchinis from the Prairie Farm Corps stand at the Libertyville Farmer's Market, we powered down some of dear Jared's Nomad Food Company pies today... man were they good. And the Aqua Frescas?!?!?  Pure raspberry, farm honey and lemon balm heaven in a jar.