Thursday, September 30, 2010

The essence of taste: How to give a flavor boost to sweet and savory dishes

(ARA) - The tastes and scents of holiday food are a source of cherished memories over generations. A whiff of grandma's vanilla-infused cookies is enough to put a smile on any face. The holiday table will always have room for time-honored traditions, as well as new interpretations of classic recipes. Chefs at restaurants and home cooks alike often have a secret weapon in their kitchen to give dishes that extra "something." Many times this weapon comes in the form of pure flavor extracts.

Adding pure flavor extracts to dishes can offer convenience and flavor without compromising your dishes. When pure coffee extract is added to cocoa it makes a delicious mocha drink, and you can even punch up the flavor of tea by adding a touch of pure lemon extract. Manufacturers like Nielsen-Massey offer top quality pure flavor extracts that are ideal for both sweet and savory fare.

The most exciting part of working with pure flavor extracts, for many cooks, is finding out how to make new and creative flavor pairings that are unexpected, and delicious. Vanilla and sweetness will always go hand in hand, but the flavor and scent profile of different types of vanillas can vary widely. Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract has a creamy, sweet, velvety flavor that is perfect for a range of products from baked goods to ice creams, salad dressings to barbeque sauces, while Mexican pure vanilla extract is known by its creamy, spicy flavor that has a special affinity for dishes that contain chocolate, cinnamon and other warm spices, and Tahitian pure vanilla extract is especially symbiotic with fruit-based products such as fruited yogurt and sorbet.

It's the variety and complexity that make vanilla perfect to experiment with in new and treasured recipes, from savory breads and meat rubs to soups. Home cooks can also intensify tastes with other pure flavor extracts such as pure chocolate extract that can add a rich character, without sweetness, or pure peppermint extract that can bring the standard pairing of lamb chops and mint jelly up to date.

The change of season is the perfect time to get in the kitchen and prepare delicious cool weather treats. The savory flavors of fall and winter are ideal to accent with extracts like orange, lemon or coffee. Try these recipes for entertaining and you'll introduce your guests to the sweet and savory sides of your cooking repertoire.

Rich Corn Bread
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon each salt and sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12 x 16 inch pan or large cast iron skillet. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and vanilla. Add eggs lightly beaten with milk and beat until the batter is thoroughly blended. Stir in heavy cream and butter. Spread the batter into baking pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until well browned.

Golden Squash Bisque
2 acorn squash, peeled and quartered (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups (or more) organic chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 whole fresh sage leaves
1 cup heavy whipping cream, warmed
1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the squash in a covered baking dish with the water. Bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute until golden brown. Whisk in the flour until blended. Add 1 1/2 cups chicken stock gradually, whisking constantly. Add the squash, salt and white pepper. Mash with a potato masher. Add the bay leaf and sage leaves. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove the bay leaf and sage leaves. Spoon the squash mixture into a blender. Add the warm cream a little at a time, pureeing after each addition. Add the orange extract. Pour into the saucepan and reheat thoroughly. If the bisque is too thick, you may change the consistency by adding additional stock 1/4 cup at a time.
Serves 4 to 6.

Mexican Hot Cocoa
1 cup powdered nondairy coffee creamer
1 cup fine granulated sugar (or powdered sugar)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla powder
1 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. To serve: Add 2/3 cup boiling water to 1/3 cup Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix in a sturdy mug. Stir. Top with marshmallows, if desired.

Any-Flavor Cookies
Any flavor extract can be used in this recipe, or they can be made entirely with vanilla extract. Chopped nuts can be added to the dough, or whole nuts or decorative sugar can be placed on top.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey pure extract (any flavor)
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, beat butter until soft, add sugar and mix well. Add the egg, pure vanilla and pure extracts and mix thoroughly. Add in the flour and salt and mix well. Shape dough into a log, wrap in waxed paper and chill until cold.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Thinly slice the dough with a sharp knife and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Makes 42 cookies.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

St. Christopher Philoptochos Society Offers Greek Appetizers and Pastries For Holiday Entertaining

This is worth driving to get! Every year I buy a LOT and freeze it for later use. I have to confess, company doesn't get to try much of it as it's all about me, me, me. If you're anywhere near Fayette County, say within 200 miles or so, be sure to get your order in and start salivating! Did I say 200 miles? I think it's worth driving from Alabama, Florida... I've loved Greek food since my early New York days, and this is some of the best I've ever had. - jmd

St. Christopher Hellenic Orthodox Church Philoptochos Society (Friends of the Poor) will hold its annual Greek Appetizers and Pastry sale just in time for holiday entertaining. They are offering Spanakopita (filo pastry filled with spinach, feta and onions) and Tiropites (filo pastry filled with cheeses and herbs) for $10.00 per dozen and Baklava (filo and nut filled sweet pastry) for $18.00 per dozen. Also featured this year are Kourambiethes (a rich buttery cookie topped with powered sugar) for $15.00 per dozen. Spanakopita and Tiropites come frozen and may be baked when friends and family want to enjoy mouthwatering appetizers for the holidays.

Order deadline is November 1. Pickup dates are Friday November 19th from 3 -6 pm and Saturday November 20th from 9am – 12 pm at the church at 313 Dividend Drive, Peachtree City.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will be used for Philoptochos charities such as Fayette County DFACS, Fayette Samaritans, One Roof and St. John the Wonderworker Loaves and Fishes program in Atlanta, International Orthodox Christian Charities, St. Basils Academy in Garrison NY and the Children’s Medical Fund. The community’s support is greatly appreciated.

To order please visit or contact or call 770-486-6580.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Georgia Hunters Help Fight Hunger

Since 1993, hunters have been bringing meat to the tables of those in need through the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program. This successful program celebrated serving its one-millionth meal in 2007 and continues to provide opportunities during hunting season for hunters to share their harvest with those in need. Currently, hunters can donate deer at fifteen participating processors through Jan. 15.

“The Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program is one opportunity for hunters to demonstrate their generosity by sharing their harvest with those in need,” said John W. Bowers, Wildlife Resources Division assistant chief of Game Management. “The Division is proud to be a cooperator in this public-private partnership and to work with the many partners who make it possible each year.”

Wildlife Resources, along with the Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Wildlife Federation and the Georgia State Association of Food Banks sponsor the program.

Thanks to these partners, and to the efforts of Georgia hunters and participating meat processors, nearly 30,400 pounds of venison were collected, processed and distributed to food banks across the statein 2009. This meat provided approximately 152,000 meals for needy Georgians.  Since the program’s inception in 1993, more than 288,282 pounds of venison have been donated.

Hunters interested in participating in the GHFTH program can bring field-dressed deer to any designated drop-off location. All hunters who donate a deer during this collection period will be entered into a drawing for a deer rifle, sponsored by the Georgia Wildlife Federation.  

The GHFTH program has extended donation opportunities to include the “Drop Back a Pack” program. This opportunity allows hunters to donate some of their processed venison when they visit the processor to pick up their meat. All participating GHFTH program processors will have a freezer indicating where hunters can “Drop Back a Pack” for the program.

The following fifteen processor locations will accept deer or commercially processed venison from Sept. 11, 2010 – Jan. 15, 2011 during business hours:

Axson – Lee’s Meat Processing, (912) 422-3079
Baldwin – JJ’s Deer Processing, (706) 776-2819
Canton – Mitch’s Archery and Deer Cooler, (770) 479-7004
Columbus – Daffin Meat Processing, (706) 322-8848
Dawson – Mossy Creek Outdoors, (229) 995-4109
Eastman – Barlow’s Deer Processing, (478) 374-5614
Fairmount – Pine Log Processing, LLC, (770) 382-6328
Irwinton – Starley’s Deer Processing, (478) 946-8976
Jefferson – Sealey’s Deer Cooler, (706) 335-9304
Leesburg – Country Jacks, (229) 883-6017
Milledgeville – Wright’s Deer and Wild Hog Processing, (478) 452-4228
Naylor – K&K Deer and Wild Hog Processing, (229) 269-5557
Sparta – Garner’s Grinder, (706) 444-9228
Stephens – Fire Tower #2 Meat Processing, (706) 743-3766
Vidalia – Stewart’s Quality Meat, Inc. (912) 537-9888

The following locations will be available between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.; Nov. 20-21, 2010:

Newnan – Royal Baptist Church, Hwy. 34 Bypass N to Royal Mayo Rd.
Rockmart – Lamar’s Sports Center, 392 Atlanta Hwy.
Rome – Lavender Mountain Hardware, 4065 Martha Berry Hwy., NW

For more information on donating food to those in need during other times of the year, call the Atlanta Community Food Bank at (404) 892-FEED. For more information on the GHFTH program, visit , , contact a WRD Game Management office or call (770) 761-3045.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Hellooooo, Cupcake!

One of the kids in the family suggested that I pick up a copy of "Hello, Cupcake!". After looking at the cover and thumbing through the book I of course added it to the shopping cart. I gained ten pounds walking to the check-out register just thinking about all the cool cupcakes I would be making... and eating!

I haven't actually tried any of them yet, but others in the family have been having fun making some of the whimsical cupcakes. You can make your own cupcakes however you'd like but they give some recipe variations toward the back of the book that not only sound yummy, but per the authors, they're easier to decorate. There are a couple of pages of store-bought mix additions and changes to allow for firmer and more consistent cupcake. They also include 'from scratch' cupcake recipes.

What makes the book outstanding though are all the fun looks they've achieved. They look easy, although I've been told that you kind of have to get the hang of it to make something close to the photos in the book. Nothing major, all were happy with their end products... and have plans to make more.

There's an excellent how-to section at the front that shows how to decorate. The book is by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson. They did a great job of laying it out so that it's easy to follow with no surprises. The authors share a lot of tips and tricks that will help with more than just decorating cupcakes. As they say on the cover - no baking skills or fancy equipment required!

I've noticed that there is at least one follow-up book with more cupcake creations. Depending on how I manage with the cupcakes in this book I may be tempted to pick up another. Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner and I'm going to make some werewolves and pumpkins!

Some of the creations include:

Corn on the Cob (made with jelly beans, fruit chews and decorating sugars)
Spaghetti and Meatballs (made with hazelnut chocolates, strawberry preserves and other treats)
Butterflies, alligators, clowns, party princesses, a circus of animals, sunflowers, Easter eggs, a garden of veggies, a family tree, an American flag, bugs, and Halloween howlers... 
There are all kinds of party animals, too. Westies and other dogs, pandas, fish bowls, penguins and more. There's something for almost every special occasion from baby showers to weddings and April Fools Day.

I bought the book on sale at Home Goods for $10.99. I haven't seen it that low anywhere else and I bought the last copy in the north Atlanta store... I'm sure if you check on-line you'll find a bargain.  If you like cupcakes, this is a must-have for your cookbook collection.

Houghton Mifflin Publisher
Hello, Cupcake
by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dine at Chili's All Day, Monday, Sept. 27 to Help Fight Childhood Cancer

/PRNewswire/ -- Participating Chili's® Grill & Bar restaurants across the country will donate 100 percent of all profits Monday, Sept. 27 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® during the brand's annual Donate Profits Day. Each September during National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Chili's supports St. Jude through the Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign. To date, Chili's has raised more than $30 million for St. Jude, moving the brand beyond the halfway point of its 10-year goal of $50 million. Once completed, Chili's contribution will be the largest donation from a single partner campaign in St. Jude history.

* Sept. 27 is the culmination of Chili's month-long fundraising effort fueled by dedicated team members and restaurant guests. This year marks the first time donations can be made via text message and on Chili's Facebook page.
* In addition to donating digitally and dining at a participating Chili's on Donate Profits Day, guests may also: buy a five-pack of chili pepper-shaped Create-A-Pepper wrist bands for $3; at least 30 percent of the retail price will be donated to St. Jude.
* Use in-restaurant chili pepper coloring sheets to join Chili's e-club. For every new e-club member in September, Chili's will donate $1 to St. Jude, up to $1 million.
* Using a mobile phone, text HOPE to 90999 to make a $5 donation. Visit or for more details.
* Become a Fan and donate on Facebook through the specialized "Create-A-Pepper" tab on Chili's Facebook page.
* Create an e-card at to e-mail family and friends.
* Visit to make an online donation.

"For the past six years, Chili's has been a tremendous national partner for St. Jude by putting our cause in front of their customers and asking for support," said Richard C. Shadyac Jr. CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. "We are thrilled that Chili's—and its customers—have taken our mission to heart and have helped us continue the fight against childhood cancer."

Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer went national in 2004 when the campaign grew out of a local effort in 2002 after seven Memphis-area Chili's raised $14,000 for St. Jude with nothing more than crayons and chili pepper coloring sheets.

"I truly believe our team members gain as much from our annual Create-A-Pepper campaign as they give," said Wyman Roberts, president of Chili's Grill & Bar. "Every year, ChiliHeads look forward to September and know that with each pepper and online donation, a family is positively impacted. It's an opportunity to be part of something bigger than sales and they welcome it."

To learn more or make an online donation to the campaign, visit

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Atlanta's Antico Pizza Napoletana Wins International Award from World-Renowned Italian Authority

/PRNewswire/ -- Molto bene! Known across the Southeast for its unrivaled quality, flavor and ambiance, Antico Pizza Napoletana is very good, indeed – and is quickly becoming known globally. Italy's own Festa Della Pizza, held annually in the birthplace of pizza near Naples, has recognized Antico for its award-winning take on tradition (video: Antico Pizza Napoletana), naming the Atlanta favorite as a Top in Class pizzeria.

The Festa Della Pizza draws thousands of visitors from around the world over a two-week celebration. The organization bestows its Top in Class honor among certified entities across the globe. Pizza crafters the world over work toward the Traditional Specialties Guaranteed certification, given by the European Commission's Istituto Mediterraneo di Certificazione. IMCERT awards STG certification to restaurants committed to using authentic ingredients, including the Italian Molino San Felice flour, to prepare the most quintessential Italian Neopolitan pizza.

This year's event honored pizza makers in Italy, Japan and the United States. Among the eligible certified pizzerias in the United States, Antico was named winner of the Festa Della Pizza's Top in Class award. Along with other winning pizzerias in Italy and Japan, Antico was invited participate in a live, online pizza-crafting event, broadcast at the Festa Della Pizza on September 10.

"To even be considered for this is a tremendous honor for me and my family. This recognition in Naples for pizza is like winning an Oscar in Hollywood; we are beyond thrilled," said Di Palma. Ever the innovator, Di Palma has a healthy respect for tradition and pizza crafters everywhere. He looks forward to propelling Anitco to continued growth.

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Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner With Your Children™

/PRNewswire/ -- Schedule time on the family calendar to create memorable meals and moments on Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ . The J.M. Smucker Company is continuing its partnership with The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, to support the 10th Anniversary of Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ to be held on September 27th, 2010.

Family Day is a day when parents can look forward to eating good food and sharing great conversations with their children and make family mealtime part of their traditions. In her book, The Surprising Power of Family Meals, Miriam Weinstein shows how this basic human institution helps nourish and strengthen our families today. Her book cites research that states families who eat together and share in the preparation of family meals become a stronger family unit with smarter, healthier and happier children. Family dinner also promotes better grades and fosters good relationships with parents: behaviors that The J.M. Smucker Company is proud to be a part of.

"Our company strongly believes in the power of sharing family meals and the tremendous importance that eating as a family can play in our lives," said Maribeth Badertscher, Vice President, Corporate Communications, The J.M. Smucker Company. "Family meals help family members connect with each other, teach children valuable life lessons and establish an important ritual that allows them to grow together."

Successful family meals begin with an idea and a little planning. To help plan a family meal at home for Family Day 2010, parents can also visit where they'll find:

* Family meal time ideas and tips
* Recipes and menu planning
* Conversation starters
* Information on the importance of family meals
* Resources for Family Day

Family Day is a national movement to bring to light the importance of family dinners and the power of family meals. For more information about Family Day and to pledge to be a part of the movement visit Join The J.M. Smucker Company and CASA for the 10th Anniversary of Family Day on Monday, September 27th, 2010.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Direct-Marketing Local Food Course Nov 8th in Macon

Nov. 8, 2010 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Interest in local food is increasing. But producers lack a distribution system for moving the food and are uncertain about regulations that affect local-food production.

A class in Macon, Ga., Nov. 8 will help them figure it out.

"Direct Marketing of Local Food Products" will be held at the Georgia Farm Bureau Building on Bass Road off of I-75. Classes will last from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m.

According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report on local food systems, 1,400 community-supported agriculture organizations were in operation this year. Last year, there were 2,095 farm-to-school programs operating in the country. These programs use local farms as food suppliers for school meal programs. This is 500 percent more than just five years ago.

Topics and panel discussions will include direct marketing of produce and value-added products, including selling directly to retailers, restaurants and school meal programs.

The University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Center of Innovation for Agribusiness and Georgia Farm Bureau are offering the one-day course, which costs $25 and includes lunch. For more information or to register visit
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Mommy & Me Date Night at Truett's Grill in Morrow

On Saturday, September 25th, Truett’s Grill in Morrow will hold its first ever Mommy & Me Date Night from 4-8 pm. This event allows moms and children of all ages to come out and enjoy some quality time together. Truett’s Grill is making this night extra special by having decorations, goody bags, a special craft, interactive games for the moms and children to play and special appearances by Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Chick-fil-A Cow. We will have a photographer on hand to take a complimentary photo and capture these special moments. We hope that you will make plans to join us for this event.

Call Truett’s Grill at (770) 210-0500 to make reservations for this special Mommy & Me Date Night. You can also check out to find out about our other events.
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Friday, September 17, 2010

A Dual Dinner with the Beam Family

A Bourbon Experience!

Enjoy a unique four course dinner where each course is an ingenious combination of exquisite dishes and the finest bourbon around. Meehan’s Public House Downtown, along with Chef Jordan Wakefield and Jim Beam are inviting you to experience premium bourbon like never before. For only $55, guests can enjoy a cocktail reception followed by a savory four course dinner. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting Meehan’s Public House Downtown at (404) 214-9821

When: Thursday, September 23, 2010
Where: Meehan’s Public House Downtown
180 Peachtree Street Atlanta, GA 30303

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Deep Fried Beer? Really?

A man in Texas is going to be serving his deep fried beer concoction at an upcoming fried food competition in September.  Yep, you read that right.  Deep fried beer.

According to a recent news story, the chef took three years to perfect his recipe which also has a salty flavor to it. 

We just can't wait to taste one.  Perhaps, we'll have to try making one ourselves.  After all, if the beer doesn't deep fry to our satisfaction, we will make sure it doesn't go to waste.

Read more of the story:

Let us know if you decide to try this one out.

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Are You a School Breakfast Silent Hero? got breakfast?® Foundation Announces Silent Hero Grants

/PRNewswire/ -- Today the got breakfast?® Foundation announced its third round of Silent Hero Grants to award up to $50,000 in grants to public schools, non-profit private schools and non-profit organizations participating in the national School Breakfast Program. The grant program recognizes, encourages and rewards those silent heroes who help children start their day off right by serving breakfast. The grant monies can be used for such needs as serving equipment, staffing, food, and nutrition education materials.

The Silent Hero Grant Program was created to encourage schools and non-profit organizations to expand the reach of underutilized child nutrition programs, most notably the School Breakfast Program. According to the 2008-2009 Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) School Breakfast Scorecard, on an average day, 8.8 million low-income children participated in the national School Breakfast Program and 18.9 million low-income children participated in the National School Lunch Program. Fewer than 47 percent of children who participate in the school lunch program also receive school breakfast.

Where do those 10 million low-income children eat breakfast? "Clearly, millions of children go to school hungry each day, even though the resources are there to feed them," says Sonya Kaster, R.D., L.D.N., S.N.S., Grant Administrator for the Silent Hero Program. "For some children, the stigma of eating breakfast at school outweighs their hunger. By implementing alternate school breakfast service, such as breakfast in the classroom, it removes the perception that only poor children eat breakfast in the cafeteria. The school breakfast program can help fill the gap many Americans are experiencing today."

In yesterday's USA TODAY, the feature story "Breakfast in class: Fight against hunger starts in school," noted that feeding breakfast to students who can afford to pay helps remove the stigma associated with the cafeteria breakfasts for low-income students and that classroom breakfasts can alleviate other challenges, such as time constraints. The article also included remarks from got breakfast? Foundation founder Gary Davis who hopes the grant program will help increase breakfast participation. He said, "It's a message that really has to be heard: that there is just a simple way that we can improve our society."

Whether the reasons for not eating breakfast are financial issues or lifestyle issues - such as simply not having the time in the morning - research has shown that hungry children don't learn. Children who eat breakfast do better in school: they have higher test scores, less rates of absenteeism, less visit to the school nurse, less behavior problems, and overall better health.

Are You a Silent Hero?

Or do you know one? The got breakfast? Foundation wants parents, school board members, school administrators, and school food service directors to advocate for breakfast programs at their schools. "One of our goals is to help educate communities across the country on the lifelong benefits of eating nutritious meals," says Kaster. "We hope the Silent Hero Grant Program will act as a catalyst for schools to give the breakfast program a try."

Any public, non-profit private school or non-profit organization that participates in the National School Breakfast Program and provides alternate breakfast service options can apply for a grant. The Alternate Service Breakfast Grant helps those who serve breakfast in the classroom, grab-n-go, or any other alternate site meal service outside the standard cafeteria lunch line. Priority selection will be given to programs creating a breakfast program where one did not exist before.

Grants will be awarded up to $5,000. The deadline for submitting the application is November 15, 2010. Applicants will be notified of their award status after January 15, 2011, and winners will be announced by February 1, 2011.

For information about the got breakfast? Silent Hero Grant Program or to obtain a Request for Application (RFA), contact or visit the website.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cook what you love, only healthier

(ARA) - With obesity rates on the rise, there is no better time than now for families to build healthier habits. This includes getting more exercise and eating healthier. Nutritionists recommend eating more whole grains, lean proteins and increasing the amount of vegetables and fruit in their daily diets. While selecting the right foods is the first step, how they are prepared is equally as important. Cooking healthfully includes choosing the right ingredients as well as implementing techniques such as baking, grilling, broiling, roasting and stir frying.

Moms across the country have discovered a new way to cook what they love only healthier with the new George Foreman Evolve Grill. With a large variety of meal options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack times in between, the Evolve Grill paves a time-saving and healthy path to meal preparation and eating right without sacrificing good taste. The grill comes with four plates to grill, bake and even make mini-burgers. Customize the grill by purchasing additional plates for making waffles, omelets, muffins and more, all in one convenient appliance. Moms love that that Evolve Grill not only helps them cook more healthfully, but also it is easy to clean, use and store as well.

What makes the Evolve Grill cook foods more healthfully is its design. It has a patented slope that helps the grease drip out, George Touch non-stick coating so the food doesn't stick to the grill and a grease tray that catches the fat as it slides out of the grill and away from food. The Evolve Grill handles the basics of healthier cooking, making it easier for mom to whip up meals everyone will love.

Get creative with mealtime by presenting healthy choices for the family. Get kids excited about eating lean proteins and more veggies by serving favorites such as grilled chicken in a different yet still nutritious way. Try this recipe for Chicken, Chili and Lime Lettuce Wraps that features grilled chicken, leafy greens and heart-healthy almonds. Kids will find it fun to eat with their hands and mom will love the nutrition and great taste it brings her and her family.

For more delicious recipes and to learn more about other appliances from the George Foreman Healthy Cooking line, visit

Chicken, Chili and Lime Lettuce Wraps

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Cool time: 15 minutes


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened slightly
3 tablespoons each: honey and lime juice
2 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (can be found in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets)
1 1/2 teaspoons each: sesame oil and soy sauce
12 to 16 small butter or romaine lettuce leaves
3 tablespoons sliced, toasted almonds
2 tablespoons torn fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons sliced green onion tops

Preheat grill to 425F. Stir together honey, lime juice, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce in a medium bowl. Remove two tablespoons and brush over chicken. Place chicken on hot grill and cook for eight minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from grill and let cool slightly. Cut into bite-size pieces and stir into sauce; refrigerate for 10 minutes or up to 24 hours. To serve, spoon chicken into lettuce leaves and top with almonds, cilantro and green onions. Makes four main dish or eight appetizer servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving:

Calories: 220, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 300mg, Potassium: 287mg, Carbohydrates: 15g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g, Protein: 24g, Vitamin A: 15 percent, Vitamin C: 10 percent, Calcium: 4 percent, Iron: 8 percent

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Chefs of Area Senior Living Communities Compete for Ultimate Chef America Title; Event Educates Public on Heart Healthy Dining, Aging

/PRNewswire/ -- A dynamic culinary competition among area professional senior living chefs that highlights healthy cooking, wellness and quality of life for older adults is coming soon. During the culinary cook-off, the professional chefs from Brookdale Senior Living, an industry-leading owner and operator of senior living communities, will entertain, educate and showcase their culinary talents to compete for the chance to win the "Ultimate Chef America" title.

On Thursday, Sept. 23 from 4 to 7 p.m., Chambrel Roswell, a Brookdale Senior Living community, located at 1000 Applewood Dr. in Roswell, Ga., will open its doors to the public and host the intense competition and educational event. Seating is limited. Reservations by Friday, Sept. 17 to 770-594-4616 are required.

During the Ultimate Chef America competition, two teams of four Dining Services staff members from area senior living communities will compete during a two-hour cooking competition, focusing on healthy cooking for seniors. They will be charged with preparing four courses, and only able to use a grill for cooking.

Dishes prepared at the event will be tasted by a panel of judges. For this event, the judges are:

-- Leeza Gibbons, media personality, founder of The Leeza Gibbons Memory
Foundation, and author of America's No. 1 book on caregiving, "Take
Your Oxygen First;"
-- Dr. Kevin O'Neil, CMD, FACP of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and
Medical Director of Optimum Life® for Brookdale Senior Living;
-- Dewey McClain - a former member of the Atlanta Falcons, Oakland
Invaders, and Oklahoma Outlaws. In 1981, McClain was inducted into the
College Hall of Fame; in 1986, he won the AFB Community Service Award;
and he was honored with the Gwinnett County Rape Crisis Crystal Angel
Award in 1996. McClain is also actively involved in the American
Foundation for the Blind, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and the Sickle
Cell Foundation;
-- and Colleen Sander, resident of Chambrel Roswell. She grew up on a
small farm and grew vegetables. She calls herself a Purist because she
likes fresh vegetables served alone without additives. Sander loves to
travel and try new foods.

Attendees can join in the Ultimate Chef America event by gaining a close-up look at the competitors and the fast-paced competition. They will have the opportunity to ask the chefs questions, and taste culinary delights, including seafood soups and entrees, beef and pork tenderloin creations and more.

Attendees also will have the opportunity to participate in various educational programs, including a seminar featuring Dr. O'Neil, on the topic of "Food for the Soul," a presentation which taps into the emotional dimension and gives attendees insight into issues such as whether optimism can lead to better health and research behind the mind-body connection; a wine tasting class featuring wines, some of which may be local; and a class presented by the Culinary Arts Institute at Brookdale: "The Art of Seasoning," which addresses sodium-free solutions for declining taste buds as one ages.

To heighten the interest and activity of Ultimate Chef America, Brookdale has partnered with several national partners and sponsors to be included in a vendor expo. Attendees can interact with these vendors during the expo to gain answers, samples and more.

In addition, food inspired art created by residents of Brookdale Senior Living communities across the nation will be auctioned at the Ultimate Chef America event. Proceeds of this auction will go to The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, an organization which elevates the national consciousness of caregiving and fosters a culture of healthy caregivers impacted by chronic illness through programming, universal access to resources, and behavioral research.

"Without a doubt, attendees and participants will achieve fulfillment in the dimensions of wellness," said Joska J.W. Hajdu, Senior Vice President of Dining Services for Brookdale Senior Living, and also an executive chef by trade. "The creativity, ability, and talent of our Dining Services associates will be showcased during this unique competition. Our chefs are masters at creating traditional, heart-healthy meals, and this competition will challenge peoples' notions on healthy food choices for seniors, educate them on healthy choices, and give them a purposeful activity through the auction all in a socially engaging environment."

A way of life offered exclusively by Brookdale Senior Living at its communities for residents and associates, Optimum Life® focuses on six key dimensions - emotional, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and purposeful.

Community tours will also be available, and participants will gain a first-hand view of the variety, styles and sizes of the private apartments and the community areas for socializing, dining and entertaining. Staff will be available to discuss living options, and visitors will learn more about the programs, outings and opportunities offered to residents.

National sponsors include Advanced Foods, E. Sam Jones and Sylvania, Direct Supply, Ecolab, Entegra, Fidelity Print, Gulf South, HD Supply, Nestle Professional, Rocky Mountain, Royal Cup, SCA, Shaw, Sherwin Williams, Simplex Grinnell, Snap Drape, Sysco, Terminix, Tyson, Vitality, Walgreens, World Kitchen, Corporate Imaging Concepts, and IKON.

The Ultimate Chef culinary competition is produced by the Culinary Arts Institute at Brookdale (CAI). The CAI at Brookdale is a professional development program designed to enhance the food preparation and presentation skills of Brookdale chefs. The dining and culinary arts team integrates hands-on training and classroom instructional materials that impart new food preparation skills and cutting edge techniques to enhance Brookdale residents' dining experiences.

More information about Ultimate Chef America can be found at and

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cream Corn Soup (Confetti Soup)

Not sure about you, but as the weather cools I start craving warm, easy-to-make, hearty soups. This is a perfect fall recipe and one of my old favorites!

Cream Corn Soup / Confetti Soup

1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, finely chopped
1 16 oz can of cream of corn
1 16 oz can corn
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP vegetable oil
3 TBSP flour
1 tsp parsely
3 cups milk

Boil the potatoes until partially done (nuke 'em if it's easier). Saute carrots, celery, onion, green pepper in the oil until the onion is light brown. Add the flour then cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.* Slowly stir in the milk Add both corns, salt, parsley, potatoes and milk. Bring to boil, reduce heat. Serve.

*I always use a bit of corn starch mixed with a small amount of milk, then slowly add it to the sauteed veggie mix rather than do what the recipe calls for with the flour. I then add the milk slowly stirring often to keep lumps from forming. If you add the flour, then cook for 2 minutes I'd think you'd get burned flour, but that's just me... 

As with most of the recipes I make I change things around adding different veggies, increasing those I like, leaving out those I don't (like green peppers ;-). Even though this one calls for cream corn, I often leave it out completely and just increase the corn. I don't add salt if I'm using canned corn as it usually has more than enough. I also rarely use canned corn as I don't like the taste. I use frozen corn.

I've also added red peppers, yellow peppers, broccoli, sliced cooked green beans (added at the end rather then the beginning 'cause they'll get mushy if cooked too long) and I always increase the amount of onion and carrots. I've used cream of broccoli soup instead of the cream of corn and it tastes good.

Another spice I like to toss in sometimes is basil. I've also added fish and it's great. Once I substituted macaroni for the potatoes and it worked fine. And, not to drag this on too long (OK, already there ;-) but I've increased the stock by adding a container of prepared vegetable stock. It's not as rich and you need to add more cornstarch, but it's still tasty.

I imagine you'll come up with all kinds of good variations. Let us know!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Oreo Truffles... rich, delicious... easy to make

I went out to Christian City in Union City a while back with the Clothes Less Traveled Thrift Shop to present a check for the Children's Village at Christian City. While touring one of the children's homes I was treated to some of the most decadent, chocolaty treats by the "house mom". These things are so good they are wicked! She was gracious enough to share her recipe with me... and I'm sharing it with you.

One tip: make 'em smaller than the usual truffle because they are so rich. Also, I tried them with an "off-brand" oreo type cookie and they weren't as good as when using the real thing. Of course, I've never found anything that's as good as the original Oreo cookie!

Oreo Truffles

1 16oz package of Oreo cookies
1 8 oz package cream cheese softened
2 8 oz packages of semi sweet backing chocolate, melted

Crush 9 cookies to make fine crumbs in a food processor or by placing in a plastic bag and rolling over with rolling pin. Set aside (for coating the 'truffles'). Crush the rest of the cookies and place in a bowl. Add the cream cheese and mix well. Roll the cookie / cream cheese mix into balls (I suggest 1/2 in but the recipe calls for 1 in).

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler, whatever works best for you. Dip the oreo balls in the chocolate and place on a piece of waxed paper. Sprinkle the crushed cookies over the balls. Refrigerate. Eat. Enjoy.

I've tried putting crushed cookie mix in a bag then put the chocolate covered balls in to coat the entire mix with, uh, mixed results.

I think they'd taste real good with a maraschino cherry in the middle but haven't tried it yet. It might be fun to experiment with adding a few drops of cherry flavor, or mint... hmmm, that sounds good. I'm not much on nuts, but for those who like nuts they may be good with crushed nuts sprinkled on top rather than the crushed cookies. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Southern Snack Producer Spruces Up Mancaves with Contest

/PRNewswire/ -- Southern Recipe, a pork rind leader produced by Rudolph Foods - one of the world's largest manufacturers of pork rinds - is launching their first Win The Ultimate Mancave contest from September 15 through November 30. Entrants in the southeast region are encouraged to share photos or video of their mancave along with a description for the chance to win a "man space" makeover. The contest is being held as a salute to the mancave dwellers that stock up on the tastiest crunch in the south.

Each photo or video and its description will be evaluated based on man appeal, humor and creativity in messaging. Eligible mancaves may be in basements, garages, front porches or anywhere mancave men go to enjoy life. A panel of Southern Recipe judges will select five winners in total. One grand prize winner will have their photo featured on and will win a $3,500 mancave makeover, choosing from prizes such as a big screen TV, Surround Sound Stereo or 'real man' furniture. The second-place winner will receive a kegerator and three third-place winners will win a tailgate kit consisting of Southern Recipe snacks along with a t-shirt, Koozie, bottle opener and mini-grill set.

"The mancave is an everyday macho getaway," says Mark Singleton, VP of Marketing and Sales for Rudolph Foods. "Offering all the pork rind crunchers out there a chance to Win The Ultimate Mancave is a great opportunity for us to tip our hats and say 'hey, every guy deserves an awesome mancave'. Winning a big screen TV, Surround Sound Stereo or a room full of 'Real Man Furniture' doesn't hurt either!"

To obtain additional contest information and to enter the contest, consumers may complete an entry form at, via email at, online at or No purchase is necessary to participate.

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Grecian Gyro Celebrates 28 Years as Atlanta's Best Gyro

Legendary Eatery Introduces New Menu Items and Launches Franchising Opportunities

Grecian Gyro, a family-owned, authentic Greek eatery, is celebrating the 28th anniversary of its original location in Hapeville, Georgia. Opening its doors in 1982, Grecian Gyro now has three locations and has become known for its freshly-made, affordable Greek meals and gyro wrap sandwiches that are made with the finest ingredients and topped with a secret, homemade sauce. In conjunction with the 28th anniversary, Grecian Gyro has expanded its menu and has launched a franchise program in Georgia.

With $50 in his pocket, a dream in his heart, and his secret sauce recipe locked tightly in his head, Nick Koulouris opened the first Grecian Gyro in a “hole in the wall” locale by Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. 28 years later, not much about the iconic location has changed, including Nick’s dedication to serving the best gyros and Greek fare reminiscent of what he grew up eating in Greece. The small, no-frills spot is a throwback to mom and pop restaurants of the 50s and often has a line of hungry diners wrapped around the building.

Enlisting the help of his two sons, George and Pano, Nick expanded the Grecian Gyro concept in 2007 and has two additional locations in Tucker and Forest Park, Ga. Fast service, uncompromising quality, fresh ingredients, affordable prices ($5-$10), and of course Nick’s secret sauce, have helped Grecian Gyro earn its reputation of serving Atlanta’s Best Gyro. Following the success of the first three locations, Grecian Gyro is expanding its family-owned Greek restaurant concept, offering franchise opportunities in Georgia.

Made following time-tested family recipes, Grecian Gyro’s traditional Greek offerings, featuring custom sauces and spices prepared by hand, have been the cornerstone of the business. Produce is bought locally, the traditional gyro meat is carefully selected from trusted sources, and the Koulouris family imports superior ingredients including Feta cheese, peppers and olives directly from Nick's hometown of Kalamata, Greece.

New wraps available at the Tucker and Forest Park locations include Grecian Tuna Salad (white Albacore tuna), Steak (Angus sirloin steak medallions) Crispy Chicken (fried chicken breast tenders) and Fried Cod (beer-battered Icelandic cod fillets).

For more information on Grecian Gyro, please visit Grecian Gyro is located at 855 Virginia Ave, Hapeville, GA; 3989 Lawrenceville Hwy, Tucker, GA; and at 4542 Old Dixie Hwy, Suite 104 in Forest Park, GA.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

A carrot recipe for those who don't like carrots...

I have to admit, I am not a carrot lover. I really, really dislike cooked carrots. I'll eat an occasional raw carrot, but only if there's some dip or I feel the need to be virtuous (or I've just been to the eye doctor ;-). However, I could sit and eat a full bowl of "Copper Carrots"...

Copper Carrots

2 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 sm bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 can condensed tomato soup (I prefer Campbell's)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Cook carrots until just tender (nuke 'em, boil them, whatever works for you, just make sure they're not too cooked). Drain. Cool. Place the carrots, onions, pepper in a layer in a deep bowl (sounds fancy, but I just dump them in the bowl - you can make them look pretty by layering them in a glass dish if you'd like). Combine the remaining ingredients in the blender (or use a hand mixer, I hate to clean blenders!). Pour it over the carrot mix. Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight... if you can wait that long! If you can manage to let them sit for 24 hours, they are at their best.

Over the years I've tasted a variety of different recipes for Copper Carrots. I think everyone who has ever made these adds their own touch. I usually leave out the salt and pepper as it doesn't seem to matter one way or the other, maybe because the soup is already salted. I cut back some on the oil also. I don't like a lot of bell pepper and my version of the moment sometimes leaves them out altogether. I have added yellow, red and green bell peppers, too. Nice color combination!

Let's see, what else have I added? Grape tomatoes once, red onions instead of yellow, broccoli (lightly cooked so it's not too crisp, absorbs the marinade), fresh green beans (blanched)... you can see that this is one of those adaptable recipes! My favorite onion in the concoction is Vidalia as they're nice and sweet.

Now that I'm not using sugar I'm thinking about trying it with Splenda or Truvia. We'll see how that experiment works!

Do you have a favorite version?

This is an old stand-by recipe and it used to show up often at family gatherings and church socials... I'm not sure if it's as popular these days. Who knows, maybe I'll revive the trend by posting it on here. - jmd
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Question: Can you overdose on Greek Quinoa Salad?

Answer: not if you only buy one pint at the Dekalb Farmers Market (A World Market) and live over 40 miles away...

Sadly, it's true. I live over 40 miles from the Dekalb Farmers Market. When I go I always hit the salad deli over in the cheese department area. I take home Greek Quinoa Salad, Tabbouleh, their seafood salad, couscous salad and others. I always try to find one I haven't had before, but that's becoming a rare occurrence since I usually pick up at least five different ones. For days I pig out on a smorgasbord of wonderful and sometimes unusual concoctions.

In case you've never been, it's worth a trip. You will find every kind of food imaginable in the Market. They have an outstanding selection of organic (and non-organic) veggies, one of the best wine selections I've ever seen in a grocery / market, great cheeses, a huge fish market, foods from around the world and beautiful flowers. You can buy most items in bulk, too. I always try to buy one thing that I've never had before, usually something I can't pronounce. I was rushing this trip so didn't get anything unusual, although I imagine many of you would crinkle your nose at some of what I consider 'normal'

Back to my salads: I don't live near any store that carries a similar, or even remotely similar, selection. I'm also lazy when it comes to making my own, especially since I am the only one in the household who'd think about eating a salad that included squid, couscous or quinoa. By the time I buy the ingredients and put them together I could drive to Dekalb and buy an assortment -- without the waste. It's impossible to buy just a little bit of all the ingredients that are needed for some of the more exotic salads.

I honestly think I could overdose on their Greek Quinoa Salad. The combination of quinoa, red onion, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and all the other stuff they toss in is, to use a fancy gastronomical gourmet term, yummy

The only reason I'm writing about the salad is because I'm taking my lunch break while working on finishing off the container of Greek Quinoa Salad. Gone, gone, gone and I could eat more.

OK, lunch break is almost over. If the salads I mentioned don't entice you, the breads probably will. I was lucky on Monday and they had a table set up with samples. Guess who brought home more bread than intended? I always stock up on their muffins, but this time I also grabbed a nice grouping of breads that I had to toss in the freezer. When will we ever eat that much bread? I need a bigger freezer!

What's your favorite at the Dekalb Farmers Market? Do you have a similar store near you? Here's a link if you'd like to check 'em out: For my artist friends, Mudfire is right up the road, less then 5 minutes if you'd like to stop in and see the pottery before shopping! Instead of turning into the Dekalb Farmers Market, turn in the opposite direction, go up the road less than a mile and Mudfire is on the left. Make it an outing - what could be better than great pottery and good food? Which reminds me, they also have a cafeteria at the Dekalb Farmers Market. Here's a link to Mudfire:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

'Renegade Lunch Lady' and Whole Foods Market® Invite Schools to Apply for Grants to Fund Salad Bars at

/PRNewswire/ -- With an ambitious vision to place a healthy salad bar in every public school in America, Chef Ann Cooper's Food, Family, Farming Foundation (F3) and America's leading natural and organic foods supermarket, Whole Foods Market®, announced today that the Great American Salad Bar Project's grant application is now open for schools to apply for a free salad bar kit. The window to apply for the grant at is Sept. 1 through Nov. 1, 2010. Applicants must participate in the National School Lunch Program and demonstrate a commitment to sustaining a healthy cafeteria salad bar. This project is an initiative of which provides tangible solutions for making healthier, fresh and made-from-scratch food available to schoolchildren across the country.

F3 is the granting institution and will collect and approve school applications. Schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and are within a 50-mile radius of any Whole Foods Market are eligible to apply. Parents and advocates dedicated to improving school lunches can encourage their local schools to apply for the grant online at

"The No. 1 one thing a school can do to improve its food is to add a healthy salad bar and allow children to make their own healthy choices," said Cooper, "Renegade Lunch Lady", director of nutrition services at the Boulder Valley School District and founder of the F3 Foundation and "Kids have the right to a wholesome, delicious meal which includes access to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins, every school day."

To fund the short-term goal of donating 300 salad bars to public schools in the communities Whole Foods Market serves, its shoppers have already donated $679,093 only three weeks into the campaign. The funds to date equate to 271 salad bars. Shoppers may continue to donate until Sept. 29 at all stores or may donate online at Schools selected by F3 for free salad bar kits will be announced by Jan. 15, 2011 and salad bar kits will be shipped to schools within a month.

"It is so invigorating to see our shoppers are as passionate as we are about making healthier, fresh food available to school children in one of the most tangible ways. We are so appreciative they have embraced this fundraiser and that children in our communities will soon benefit from their generosity," said Marci Frumkin, executive marketing director for Whole Foods Market. "We have already raised 90 percent of our fundraising goal of $750,000 and we invite everyone to help spread the word to school administrators about the simple grant application at"

Each school that is chosen will receive a portable, five-well Cambro® salad bar complete with utensils, pan inserts, chilling pads and training tools. will provide the necessary training tools and ongoing support to help ensure proper management. Each applying school will need to obtain approval from its district superintendent, school principal and nutrition services director and commit to use the salad bar as part of the lunch program for two school years.

Grant awards will be based on need, potential for impact, commitment to the program and potential for future viability when the grant period has ended.

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