Author Archive

Volunteer Spotlight: Kaylin Krogol

Tell us a little about yourself.

“I am a Registered Dietitian born and raised in the Detroit area. Eating healthy wasn’t a priority in my household growing up, but became important to me entering adulthood. I became an RD since I related to the common struggles and wanted to help people like my own family. In 2012 I received my BS in Dietetics from Michigan State University. Then, completed my Dietetic Internship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and passed the RD exam”.

 

“Currently I work for Heart Hospice, serving hospice patients in Wayne and surrounding counties. Hospice is for patients with an estimated life expectancy of six months or less. It doesn’t aim to reverse or cure a chronic illness, but instead relieve symptoms and increase patients’ quality of life”.

 

Why does a hospice patient need a dietitian?

“Loss of appetite, difficulty chewing/swallowing, and weight loss are expected near the end of life. I explain these nutritional changes to caregivers and make suggestions to maximize food an fluid intake as feasible. I monitor patients admitted on tube feedings. I work with assisted living and skilled nursing facilities to provide diets that adhere to standards for mechanically altered and pureed foods. Above all, I lend a compassionate ear to support patients and their loved ones during difficult times”.

 

“As for future goals, I want to go to graduate school to get a Master’s in Public Health or Health Psychology. Doing research to further our collective knowledge of health/nutrition sounds like a dream career to me. I am particularly interested in the relationship between mental disorders and health behaviors (diet, physical activity, substance abuse)”.

 

What led you to the Cooking Matters Program?

“During my Dietetic Internship I was assigned to shadow a Cooking Matters class and tour Gleaners. The particular class I shadowed was the grocery store tour. I was so impressed with how much the participants had learned the weeks prior, and the camaraderie between the participants and instructors. After I was hired as a part-time hospice dietitian, I remembered Cooking Matters and signed up as a volunteer nutrition instructor right away. It helps keep my skills sharp that aren’t applicable to a hospice population, all while giving back to the community in my free time”.

 

What is your favorite thing about being part of the Cooking Matters team?

“Contributing to a program that helps people in a practical way. I personally learn best when I’m doing something hands-on, so I really believe in that aspect of the class. At the end of the six-week class, the participants have knowledge they won’t forget anytime soon. I learn something every class I help teach, from the other instructors and the participants themselves”.

 

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share?

“Generally speaking, seeing the excitement of the kids in the CM for kids classes I’ve volunteered for. When you arrive at the school each week to set up, kids from the class will see you in the hallway and wave. They cheer ‘yay!! We have Cooking Matters today!’ Children may not have the best attention spans, but with their enthusiasm you can tell you’ve made a positive influence on their lives”.

 

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen?

“Onions! I love adding them to many recipes and to me, they make the simplest dishes 100% better. It helps they’re inexpensive and stay fresh for a long time. My freezer is stocked with frozen veggies so I can make healthy meals quickly when I don’t have fresh produce on hand”.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

“I absolutely love to paint. My grandma painted countless beautiful watercolor and oil paintings in her lifetime. I’ve taken up painting (watercolors for now), partly in remembrance of her, combined with the positive mental health benefits of a creative hobby. I’m still a novice, but it’s exciting to see all I have left to learn and the potential to make better art”.

 

“I am a big bookworm too, and I tend to read a lot of non-fiction. Many of my favorite authors (and painters) are French, so I am in the process of learning the language on my own. I hope one day when I’m fluent (and can afford it) to visit France and experience the culture and cuisine firsthand”.

 

Do you have a recipe you would like to share?

“Honestly, most of my favorite go-to recipes are Cooking Matters ones! Some dietitians are culinary geniuses, but not me personally. I love that the CM curriculum talks about ‘recipe frameworks,’ because that’s what I tend to do myself”.

February 25, 2017 at 2:22 pm Leave a comment

Volunteer Spotlight: Fawezeyeh Sharafi

Tell us a little about yourself.

Fawezeyeh volunteers as an Arabic Interpreter for the Cooking Matters program.  She recently shared her skills with a class at ACCESS in Sterling Heights.

Fawezeyeh moved to the United States in 1979 where she met her husband, married, and had four children.  When her son was very young, he spent many months in the hospital.  At the time, Fawezeyeh was still learning English.  In order to communicate with her son’s medical team, Fawezeyeh taught herself English during her son’s time in the hospital.

Fawezeyeh has always enjoyed preparing healthy, affordable meals from scratch.  After her son was diagnosed with liver disease as a baby, Fawezeyeh learned to adapt her cooking to be even friendlier to her son’s medical needs.  She still cooks in a way that supports his medical condition.  Recently, Fawezeyeh began adapting her recipes to be gluten and lactose free; adapting and experimenting until they meet her extremely high standards for both taste and health.

After her children were grown, Fawezeyeh turned her love of caring for children into a business.  Fawezeyeh ran her own day care for 18 years.  She has since retired, but is very proud of the character and accomplishments of the children who spent their first years in her care.

What led you to the Cooking Matters Program?

Fawezeyeh has always enjoyed cooking and baking very healthy meals from scratch.  She was very pleased to find the Cooking Matters Program, as it is very in keeping with her own beliefs that healthy cooking and lifestyle are achievable on a budget.  Fawezeyeh also loves to work with people.

When a friend of Fawezeyeh’s learned the Cooking Matters program needed an Arabic Interpreter, she thought of Fawezeyeh, and reached out to make the introduction.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the Cooking Matters team?

Fawezeyeh enjoys helping others!  She says she has had a lot of help from others, and enjoys giving her help to others, in kind.

Fawezeyeh enjoys helping others learn to cook and eat healthier, on a budget.  She enjoys sharing her knowledge, and also enjoys learning even more about healthy cooking, herself.

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share?

Fawezeyeh enjoys Participants very much!  She likes to see the interest in Participants’ faces, and likes to help them.  She especially enjoys that the Participants in her class at ACCESS did not want the class to end.  Fawezeyeh also enjoys the Grocery Store Tour.

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen?

Fawezeyeh always keeps lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber in her kitchen, as she loves to make and serve salads.  She also has homemade hummus in her kitchen at all times.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Fawezeyeh enjoys time with her family and friends, especially her grandchildren.  She also loves to cook, bake, and share with others.

Fawezeyeh also loves to volunteer.  She shares this interest with her children, especially her son, who speaks regularly on behalf of organ donation.

 

February 15, 2017 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment

Volunteer Spotlight: Ashley Perold

 ashley-perold-spotlight

Tell us a little about yourself: 

My husband received a job opportunity here, so we moved to Detroit almost a year ago from Brooklyn. I lived in NY for 14 years working as a fashion designer. It’s been a big change, but we’re loving our new life. Since the move I’ve taken some time from my career and have focused on getting involved in our community, which is what led me to Cooking Matters.

 I was raised in a two-flat just outside Chicago.  The family that lived below us were my parents best friends, and also owned a restaurant. I waitressed and worked in their restaurant when I was in high school. Food was always a large focus for our family. We had sit-down home cooked family dinners every night of the week.  Even though my mom and dad worked full time, it was always a priority for them. I’ve continued the tradition and made cooking and family meals a priority with my husband.

What led you to the Cooking Matters program? 

I knew after our move to Detroit, I wanted to volunteer and get involved in the community. I did online searches and came across the site for Cooking Matters. It fit everything I was looking for.

What is your favorite part of being a member of the Cooking Matters team? 

The last class I volunteered for was a family class. I loved working with the kids. My husband and I are expecting our first child in two months. Being in a room of wild six year olds who couldn’t wait to chop vegetables and help in anyway possible was pretty awesome to see. They also seemed to love all the healthy food we made, which was really encouraging.

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share? 

The first class I volunteered for was at a veterans home.  One of the gentleman came up to me after class and simply said, “Thank you for taking the time to be here. It really means a lot us.” It was a simple message, but I could see how meaningful the Cooking Matters program is for it’s participants.  It stuck with me.

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen? 

You will always find fresh herbs in my kitchen. One of my favorite things about my move from NY to Detroit is that I have a yard, and right outside my backdoor is an herb garden. Fresh herbs add so much flavor and color to food, and the best part is that they’re healthy!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Cook. During the past year, at least once a week, I pick a dish I’ve never made before, usually a cuisine I’m not very familiar, and make an elaborate dinner. I feel really fortunate to have the time and space to be able to experiment with food.

January 23, 2017 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

Volunteer Spotlight: Ed Slawinski

ed-s-graduation-cropped

Tell us a little about yourself.
“I have worked at General Motors for the last 30 years. I have worked for several companies over that time supporting GM, and became an actual employee a little over three years ago. I guess you could say that I’m a geek. I work in the IT department at General Motors. I  participate in the engineering of, and building of the servers at General Motors. I really enjoy what I do.

My first jobs after I graduated from U of M were in the food and beverage industry.  I worked at several restaurants where I held assorted jobs including waiter, cook, and manager.  I worked as food and beverage manager at a major hotel.  After getting married and having a child, I decided to change industries for something in an office setting, working less holidays and weekends. I maintained my love for cooking and food preparation and continued it as a hobby. As an avid hunter I learned how to process and cook wild game.

A few years ago I found myself suffering from numerous ailments. I found myself confronted with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and taking numerous medications for them. One day, I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. Upon learning that these ailments are diet related, I set out on quest to improve the quality of my health.  I started to exercise and eat more healthy. I went from eating processed junk food to making the majority of my food from scratch. I have lost a considerable amount of weight, and have been able to get off the majority of my medications, I still fight every day to become healthier and eat better. I have learned a lot from the research that I have done as a result of cooking matters”. 

What led you to the Cooking Mattes Program?
“I learned about the cooking matters program on the GM cares website. The GM cares website was established to provide information about different volunteer opportunities in the area.

At the website they recommend that you find a cause that you are passionate about. I do love cooking, and when I found this opportunity, I felt it would be a perfect fit.

I volunteered for one class, enjoyed it so much, that I haven’t stopped since”.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the Cooking Matters team?
“Doing what I enjoy and helping others to change their diets and lives and getting people excited about cooking.

I love it when classes get excited about cooking and trying new things and experimenting with the recipes”.

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share?
“There really is not one particular moment that stands out. There are a lot of great moments.  I like to make and bring different things for the classes to try.

The look on their faces as they try and LIKE the different healthy grains and vegtables that they have never tried before is fun.

I really enjoy the family classes.  Seeing the kids getting excited about chopping, cooking,  eating healthy and trying new things.

To see the students get excited about cooking is a wonderful thing.  Helping educate others about how easy it is to eat healthy fresh food”.

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen?
“Since I tend to make the majority of my food, my pantry is stocked full of different spices and ingredients.  I love cooking different styles of food including Asian, Indian, Mexican, Polish, Chinese, so I have a lot of different ingredients. I grow my own micro greens in my kitchen, and maintain an herb garden as well. I am a strong proponent of raw milk and use it to make my own Kefir, yogurt, mozzarella and Farmer’s cheese”.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I like cooking the most. I also enjoy hunting and cooking any game that I get.  I am also a do-it-yourselfer around the house and love doing home improvement”.

December 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

Volunteer Spotlight: Bonnie Green

bonnie-green

Tell us a little about yourself.
“I’m a senior in Dietetics at Madonna University! My dream is to one day be a dietitian after I complete an internship next year. I love all aspects of my field, but I find a strong draw to nutrition education. I’m also a Detroit native! My family has been involved at the Eastern Market in Downtown Detroit for 90 years. I love all kinds of animals, and I love all kinds of food!”

What led you to the Cooking Matters Program?
“I found Cooking Matters when looking for volunteer opportunities through Madonna. It sounded like something I could easily handle as a student, but I could still share my nutrition knowledge with the community”.

What is your favorite part of volunteering with the Cooking Matters Program?
“My favorite thing is getting to know the class participants throughout the six weeks. Sometimes, their eyes will light up and have that ‘ah-ha!’ moment where something I say really sticks and makes sense, and that makes the whole experience so much more meaningful”.

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share?
“My second class was one of my favorites. It was a class for Parents of Preschoolers; on the last day, one of the parents brought in a card for everyone to sign thanking me for teaching them. When I got home and read the card, it said ‘You’ll be a great dietitian one day!’ That card meant so much to me, and it continues to motivate me as a student”.

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen?
“I love flavorful ingredients! Cumin, bay leaves, pie spice, and lavender are staple dried spices. I have a lot of baking staples, various kinds of teas, dried fruits, and frozen veggies. Having basic ingredients gives you a lot of options when it comes to cooking!”

What do you like to do in your spare time?
“When I’m not cooking, baking, or studying, I love to crochet, visit cats at the animal shelter, or instructing yoga on campus. I also love trying new foods and exploring Metro Detroit”.

November 10, 2016 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

Volunteer Spotlight: Maria Urquidi

Maria U

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I retired to Detroit three years ago because it seemed like an interesting place to live, with an abundance of volunteer opportunities. I have not been disappointed! I have always been interested in many of the issues that impact Detroit today – food justice, transportation, education, affordable housing, urban planning – and being retired gives me the opportunity to get involved in ways I couldn’t when I was working and raising a family.

 

What led you to the Cooking Matters Program? 

I began volunteering at Gleaners shortly after I moved to Detroit because of the important work they do to address food security. I started as a volunteer in the warehouse helping the pantry partners load their orders and I was surprised when they were not enthusiastic about some of the healthy foods that were available FREE to the pantries. Often I was told “The people who come to my pantry don’t eat that” (red peppers) or “People wouldn’t know how to cook that” (rutabagas).” When I heard about the Cooking Matters Program, I realized that it addressed that problem perfectly, not only by introducing people to healthy foods and the reason to eat them, but also by showing how simply those foods could be prepared. I signed up as a Class Assistant on the spot!

 

What is your favorite part of volunteering with the Cooking Matters Program? 

As with all of my Detroit experiences, my favorite part of volunteering with the Cooking Matters Program is the people. The instructors, volunteer nutritionists and cooks, are generous with their time and knowledge, and the participants match their enthusiasm. My favorite class was the CM for Families where parents attend with their children. Now when the parent skips a stop for fast food in favor of making turkey tacos at home, their child will not only understand the reason but will be able to help make the tacos.

 

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen? 

You will always find olive oil, garlic, onions and carrots in my kitchen; apples, avocados and bananas in my fruit bowl; and bacon ends in my freezer. (I buy them from the fresh pork dealer who sells in Shed 3 at Eastern Market every winter and then freeze them so I can toss a few pieces into some of the healthy things I cook, like kale or collards.) Oh, and pecan raisin bread from the Capuchin’s bakery!

 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I love exploring Detroit by bicycle, both on group rides and just as part of my daily routine. One of my favorite things about Detroit are the social bike rides so you will always find me on Slow Roll. I also enjoy the arts and can’t believe how lucky we are to have such high quality art and music available here, either free and at low-cost.

 

Do you have a recipe you would like to share with us?

I discovered Kale Pesto several years ago and now it is a staple in my freezer. I use it on pasta, roasted carrots, pizza. It is easy to make if you have a blender or food processor and it keeps for a long time in the freezer.

 

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 small bunch (about 1/2 pound) lacinato kale, center ribs removed

⅓ cup toasted pine nuts (or walnuts)

2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped (and/or garlic scapes)

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (important!)

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; have ready a bowl of ice water.

Drop kale into boiling water and cook for 45 seconds.

Use tongs or slotted spoon to transfer kale to ice water. (You can skip this part if it seems like too much trouble)

Drain kale well, then wrap tightly in a dry kitchen towel and squeeze thoroughly to remove any excess moisture.

Roughly chop leaves.

In a food processor, pulse together kale, nuts, garlic, salt and lemon zest until mixture is smooth and salt has dissolved.

With motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until fully incorporated.

Taste and add more salt dissolved in a little lemon juice, if necessary.

 

August 1, 2016 at 8:39 am Leave a comment

Volunteer Spotlight: Richard Grenn

Richard Grenn

We first met Richard Grenn last summer when he began volunteering as a Class Assistant with the Cooking Matters program. His interests, enthusiasm for healthy lifestyle, and positive attitude make him a valuable addition to any class.

 

Tell us a little about yourself. 

Richard is a native of Metro Detroit. He was born in Detroit, and raised in Birmingham. He enjoys friends, activity, and staying current in his fields of interest: Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Physiology, Biophysics, and Integrative Medicine.

 

Richard attended Grand Valley State University, where he received a BS in Biomedical Sciences and Chemistry. He then moved to Washington D.C. to attend Georgetown. At Georgetown, he earned an MS in Physiology and Biophysics, with a focus on Complementary and Integrative Medicine.

 

After Georgetown, Richard returned to the Motor City. He enjoys tutoring his favorite subjects: the sciences. Richard will attend Medical School this fall, though he hasn’t made his final decision where. He is very interested in working with patients holistically; gravitating to diet, exercise, and stress reduction as key prescriptions for health.

 

What led you to the Cooking Matters program? 

Richard’s friend Katie Costello was aware of Richard’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and belief that diet, exercise, and stress reduction are key determinants of health. As a member of the team at United Way, Katie was aware of Cooking Matters, and suggested Richard might appreciate the opportunity to work with the program. He has been enjoying his work as a Classroom Assistant, supporting a program that provides participants with the knowledge, skills, and support to make the lifestyle changes he believes in so strongly!

 

What is your favorite part of being part of the Cooking Matters team? 

Richard has especially enjoyed the people he has had the opportunity to work with through the Cooking Matters program. He tells me, “Volunteers and Coordinators are so good at what they do it is very enjoyable! Everyone knows what they want to do, and are PASSIONATE about what they’re doing.”

 

What ingredient will we always find in your kitchen? 

Ginger is Richard’s secret ingredient. He is impressed by ginger’s many studied health benefits, and also the kick it adds to things like smoothies, dressings, and many other favorites. In fact, he says,

 

“I add ginger to everything.”

 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Richard is a role model for a healthy lifestyle. In his spare time, he enjoys basketball, rock climbing, wake boarding, running, and volleyball. He recently participated in a triathlon, and 5k.

 

Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? 

Richard did not have a recipe to share with us. He told me that “All my culinary tricks are things I learned in Cooking Matters.”

 

Recently when a friend asked Richard his ideas for seasoning baked sweet potato fries, Richard excused himself. He made his way to his car where he found his Cooking Matters book. When he returned, he confidently suggested paprika, cayenne pepper, and perhaps curry powder.

 

“I do have some tricks, and they all came from the book.”

June 6, 2016 at 11:53 am Leave a comment

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USDA Statement

This material was partially funded by the State of Michigan with federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. This work is supported in part by the Michigan Department of Human Services, under contract number ADMIN-10-99011. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Michigan Fitness Foundation or the Michigan Department of Human Services. In accordance with Federal law and USDA policy, these institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720- 6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more contact the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline at (855) ASK-MICH. Space-Limited USDA/DHS/MNN Credit Statement This material was partially funded by the State of Michigan with federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. These institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. People who need help buying nutritious food for a better diet call the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline: (855) ASK-MICH.