Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Deborah. I have been cooking in the field for 10 years now. I come from a family with lots of women and my grandma was the one who allowed me to spend the most time with her in the kitchen. As I got older, I had the opportunity to nanny for a Greek family, where the wife showed me various traditional dishes and even complied a recipe book for me. Upon leaving high school, I chose to go into the Culinary program though Schoolcraft. I also did a supplementary training in Boulder, CO that was focused on using whole foods and cooking without, i.e. dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, vegan, raw, sugar-free etc. I have worked in every facet of the culinary field, from restaurants to catering and even school lunch programs. I am now in a place where I am developing and growing my own business; I have personal clients that I cater weekly meals to as well as parties. It is very exciting to watch it unfold.
When did you first become interested in cooking?
As far as I can remember, I always loved being in the kitchen. I would throw dinner parties for my friends throughout high school so I could test my skills. I have always loved the idea of good food, good people, good conversation and good drink. I love the community that comes from sitting around the table to a good meal. And I have the ability to recreate that every time I cater a party.
What ingredient do you use most?
The one staple in my kitchen is organic Chicken Stock. I make my own, over a period of about 14-16 hours. It adds such richness and depth to dishes.
What is your fondest food memory?
Last year, I was able to attend something called Outstanding in the Field. It was a beautiful experience. A group of individuals tour the country, find various farms, have a guest chef come in and prepare a meal based upon ingredients the farm provides. They, then, set up a huge 100 person table, with white linens, in the middle of the farm, and everyone sits to eat what the chef has prepared. It totally encompasses my idea of communing at the table.
How did you end up volunteering for Cooking Matters?
I am a firm believer in that what we receive in life, so must we give back. Because I have experience in the culinary field, and love to teach that which I have learned, Cooking Matters seemed prefect. And it is. J I completely love and feel blessed for the opportunity to be apart of.
Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share?
One dish I am completely loving right now is this:
1 ea. Turkey Breast
1 T. Oregano, dried
1 t. Fennel Seed
1 T. Salt, divided
½ T. Pepper divided
4 T. Olive Oil, divided
1 ea. Celery Root
2 c. Chicken Stock or Water
1 ea. Fennel bulb
Method: Heat oven to 425
Season Turkey Breast. In large sauté pan, heat 1 T. olive oil. Sear Turkey Breast until golden brown. Finish cooking in the oven.
For celery root, peel outer layer. Cut into large chunks and place into medium saucepan. Fill with chicken stock, if using, or simply water. Once celery root is soft, remove from heat and drain liquid. Place into mixing bowl. Mash with paddle or whisk attachment, adding in 1-2 T. olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.
For the fennel, de-core, and slice in to half inch slices. Toss with 1 T. olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
On a plate, place celery root mash, then turkey breast, and top with fennel. Enjoy!!
Tell us about yourself.
I am a single parent and have a teenage son. I took an early retirement from the post office a few years ago. I spend most of my time volunteering because it’s what I like to do. I’m a professional volunteer now. I grew up in Detroit and have lived here my whole life.
How did you find out about Cooking Matters?
It was at my son’s school. They did a phone blast to recruit parents who wanted to take a cooking class on healthy eating on a budget. I was a participant, and I really enjoyed it. After class I was so enthused. It thought this was something I could learn to do. I talked to Julie, the chef from Henry Ford, and she gave me Rebecca’s business card. I’ve been volunteering for a little over a year now.
Why do you think it’s important to eat well?
It can help you live longer, for one thing. When you know better, you do better. I never used to think of food as something that was important for health. I always thought of it as more of a hunger pill – something to fill you up. It can be easy to reach of a bag of chips instead of an apple, but you just have to do it. A lot of healthy living is doing.
Do you have any tips for shopping smart on a budget?
I do a lot of my shopping at Honey Bee Market. I go to the reduced shelf at the grocery store and look for fruits and vegetables that have been marked down to a great price. Just because something has been reduced doesn’t mean that you can’t use within the next few days or chop it up and freeze it for later. Sometimes items that are on sale are things I don’t usually use, so I try to buy only what I need. I purchase my meat from Eastern Market. I keep a list of what I need and prices and get it fresh at the counter.
You’ve just begun a term on the Volunteer Advisory Committee. What are you looking forward to about serving on the committee?
I’m looking forward to finding ways to expand Cooking Matters classes so that more people can learn about the it and have the experience that I did. We have a very diverse community in Detroit, and I would like to help reach everyone with this program.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Alabama. I am married and the youngest of six. I started my first career in upstate New York after completing my 1st bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. My job relocated me to Michigan in 2000 where I worked as a Software Engineer until 2009. I am a recent 2015 graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a 2nd Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics. I am currently busy studying for the RD – Registration Examination for Dietitian Nutritionists. I was recently awarded a Community Service Award by my church, Triumph Church, during the 2015 Pastor’s Scholars recognition program. This honor was bestowed upon students who were actively involved in volunteerism and community service while maintaining high academic levels
When did you decide to pursue a career in dietetics?
After spending 24 years in the field of Computer Science, I was looking for something that would really be helpful to others. I wanted to provide information for healthy living through healthier diets for others live longer, quality lives. I enjoy baking and I really enjoy cooking and modifying recipes to make them healthier. We all enjoy eating! We all can do better, sometimes by making very simple changes if we only have the information. When we know better, we can do better. In addition, diabetes has impacted my loved ones – my father, many in his family, and even my husband. Making informed eating decisions are an important part of maintaining a healthy weight, preventing or delaying the complications of diabetes, reducing the risk of other chronic disease or managing chronic diseases, and promoting overall health.
What led you to Cooking Matters?
I learned about Cooking Matters while attending a SEMDA (Southeastern Michigan Dietetic Association) meeting. I was inspired to volunteer with Cooking Matters because the program offers nutrition information to participants to help them make healthier choices and cook meals that are delicious, healthy and affordable, which are exactly some of the reasons I pursued a career in dietetics.
What is your fondest food memory?
I really love fruit. Growing up in Alabama, I loved visiting my grandparents who had a farm. On the farm, my grandfather had all kinds of fruits and vegetables. I can remember being able to pick strawberries, apples, plums, pears, peaches, and figs. He also has watermelon, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, and all kinds of different vegetables and nut trees. My grandmother was an excellent cook who made wonderful dishes out of the harvested produce.
Is there are healthy recipe you would like to share with our volunteers?
While in school I did a demonstration on how to make a dessert pizza that is not only delicious, but full of nutrients and not just empty calories. The pizza is made with a cookie crust that can be made from scratch or you can use a pre-prepared cookie dough or cookie mix. What I really like is that you can make your own cookie crust and that way you can control the amount of butter and sugar that’s used.
The toppings on the cookie crust include a cream cheese mixture as the “sauce” which is topped with fruits of your choice. This is great because you can select your favorite fruits. If you want to save a little money, because fruit can get a little expensive, you can select fruits that are in season which will be cheaper or catch them on sale.
Yield: 12-16 servings Prep: 35 min. + chilling Bake: 15 min. + cooling
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (or reduced fat)
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup whipped topping (or fat free topping)
Sliced fresh strawberries
Kiwifruit, peeled and thinly sliced
Fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
Or fruits of your choice
- In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and beat well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Press dough into a greased 12-in. x 14-in. pizza pan. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- For topping, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add whipped topping; mix well. Spread over crust. Arrange fruit on top. Store in the refrigerator.
© Taste of Home 2014 – Adapted from Summer Dessert Pizza
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I love what I do: cooking and teaching others how to cook. It’s my passion. I love working with children and believe in educating them early on finance, budgeting, shopping, and cooking – basic survival skills that they will need to make their way in the world.
I graduated with my Associates degree in Culinary Arts from Henry Ford College on May 9, and will finish my second degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management next year. I’ve been invited by Henry Ford College to go to China for a 15 day study abroad program next month. We’re going to Beijing, Shanghai, and Qingdao, and will visit the Great Wall and Forbidden City. I am beyond excited! I am also in the Bake Club, Ice Carving Club and Student Council. In Ice Carving Club, I have been in many competitions, but nothing like Frankenmuth Zehnder’s Snowfest. It is one of the top snow and ice sculpting events in North America. In January 2015, I won two bronzes metals. I am going back in 2016 for my gold.
I am the proud mother of two gorgeous young ladies, Nubiannaa, who is 15, and Brianna, who is 12. Both of them love to cook, but they don’t want to be cooks. They are my inspiration. I love my babies.
How did you first become interested in cooking?
I come from a large family with 13 kids total, and we grew up under the poverty line. I cooked a lot when I was young. We had to get creative to make things last. Sometimes it was hard to get one meal on the table, let alone three. I didn’t know it at the time, but the things I was learning then are the things I am doing and teaching now.
When did you decide to take a more formal approach to the culinary arts?
I had a few jobs in the cooking field, and the last one was at a little mom and pop restaurant. They suggested that I go to school to get my culinary degree because they could see that it’s my passion. At first I enrolled at Oakland Community College, but it ended up being a little too far to drive. I switched to Henry Ford College, which also has a great program. It’s allowed me to participate in some great things and great events. I’ve met some great people, including a few celebrity chefs, and made great connections.
What inspires you as a culinary instructor?
My inspiration is helping others. I want everyone to learn how to feed everyone in their house real well with what they’ve got and not have to cook the same thing all the time. I want to show people that they can have variety and more healthy items.
What tips do you have for eating well on a tight budget?
Use the internet. You can find almost anything on there, even on a budget. Use recipes as a guideline, or look online for recipes that use the ingredient you already have. Always start your shopping trip at the outside of the grocery store.
What do you like about volunteering for Cooking Matters?
I loved all the classes I taught, but I especially like working with children. They have so much enthusiasm and a willingness to try anything.
Do you have a recipe you would like to share?
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds spinach, rinsed and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 8 sheets phyllo dough
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9×9 inch square baking pan.
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach and parsley, and continue to sauté until spinach is limp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, and feta. Stir in spinach mixture.
- Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.
- For bite sized pies, layer about 4 or 5 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with olive oil. Cut into 5 strips. Take 1 tablespoon or more of spinach mixture place on one end, and fold phyllo dough over until you reach the other end. Follow baking time and temp, or freeze for later. Makes a quick and healthy after school or work snack or even lunch.
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.
Read more about Angelina in this Al Jazeera America article.
I am an engineer, a wife, and a mom. I just retired from General Motors after 38 years – 34 of that were spent in Engineering. I am going to enjoy a fantastic Michigan summer while I figure out what to do next. I am married to Don and we just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary last month. I have two daughters, Katharine and Elizabeth. Katharine just graduated from Michigan State, and will do her student teaching in Chicago in the fall. Elizabeth is studying business at Western Michigan.
What is your fondest food memory?
Graham Cracker Pie! This is a dessert that my grandmother made at the holidays, and my entire family went nuts for it. We ate the leftovers for breakfast. It is basically a cooked vanilla custard in a cinnamon-y graham cracker crust, topped with more crumbs. I am now the designated family Graham Cracker Pie maker – and I make 8 of them every Thanksgiving and Christmas, because everyone wants one to take home! It is a labor of love, because I literally dirty every pot and pan in my kitchen in the process.
How did you find out about Cooking Matters?
Before retiring, I started looking at the list of volunteer opportunities that General Motors posts on our company website. The program sounded just perfect for me – and so far, it is!
What are your hobbies?
Cooking, of course! My favorite day is Saturday, when I start at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. I get inspired by ingredients, and then spend Sunday in the kitchen cooking and prepping for the week ahead. I also love to walk, do crossword puzzles, travel (doing the planning is almost as good as the going) and putter in my back yard. Now that I am not working, I would like to see if I can get better at golf. I love to play with my husband.
Why does cooking matter to you?
Cooking is just the precursor to having my family together around the table. It is fun for me to find new recipes and try them out on my family. And cooking is the very best way to make sure that the money I spend on food is not wasted. Again, since I am not working, it has become a game to see how I can use everything in the refrigerator without waste.
Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share?
Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts! I love the Smitten Kitchen blog – and I stole this from there. It has become a family favorite. I just made it yesterday – and the leftovers are great for lunch the next day!
Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts
“Please consider this a tale of two recipes, one that’s bare bones (add the raisins, walnuts and crumbs without the extra prep) and one if you’d like to get a little more depth from each. Both work, but the slightly longer prep (toasting the nuts, the crumbs in olive oil, plumping the raisins, etc.) really makes the salad sing and will not be regretted. You can choose your own adventure, too, doing more for some ingredients and less for others.
1/2 cup (105 grams or 3 3/4 ounces) walnut halves or pieces
1/4 cup (45 grams or 1 1/2 ounces) golden raisins
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup panko (15 grams or 1/2 ounce) or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs (from a thin slice of hearty bread)
1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
Coarse or kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch (about 14 ounces or 400 grams) tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale; this is the thinner, flatter leaf variety), washed and patted dry
2 ounces (55 grams) pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor, which makes it delightfully rubbly (1/2 cup total)
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.
Prepare raisins: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.
Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.
Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. I always find removing the ribs annoying with a knife, because the leaves want to roll in on the knife and make it hard to get a clean cut. Instead, I’ve taken to tearing the ribs off with my fingers, which is much easier for me. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.
Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.”
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, and have lived in many places in Canada, from the “far east” in Newfoundland to the far north in the Northwest Territories. My work as a Registered Dietitian with a Masters in Health Education has mostly been in public health and health promotion, with a focus on disease prevention. I moved to Michigan about eight years ago after living in Windsor, Ontario for 12 years. I met my husband who was also a member of an outdoor recreation club here in Detroit. We shared a passion for cycling and many other outdoor adventures. We currently live in the country on a dirt road where we love to explore back roads and hiking paths, on bike and on foot.
How did you first become interested in nutrition?
This question definitely takes me back, more years than I care to remember! But, I have enjoyed cooking and baking since I was a teenager. Since then, I spent my summers on my bike, getting me from place to place, in my neighborhood and beyond. When it came time to choose a university education, it seemed like a natural progression for me to learn more about nutrition and health.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering for Cooking Matters?
Being a part of helping participants demystify nutrition and gain new skills when it comes to making healthy food choices is a real treat for me. I get especially excited when participants share their food experiences and skills with one another in the group.
What is your favorite fruit?
As with many of my “favorite” foods, they change with the season. But, right now, with Spring finally here in Michigan, I would say that strawberries are my favorite fruit. I enjoy them in many forms – in a smoothie, with yogurt or vanilla ice cream, as part of a salad with lots of greens and a balsamic vinaigrette , and, of course, strawberry shortcake made with biscuits piled high with sweet, juicy strawberries and a dollop of real whipped cream. I also love them just as they are, with no preparation other than washing. They are like Mother Nature’s candy!
Do you have any good tips for eating well?
Understanding that all foods can fit is an important part of eating well. This means there is no such thing as a “good” food or a “bad” food. I like to think about foods to eat “most of the time” and foods to eat “occasionally”. Also, learning how to prepare a variety of meals at home that are quick, easy, tasty and healthy will go a long way in eating healthy foods most of the time. For example, start by trying to make one of the recipes from Cooking Matters at least once per week. Keep in mind that by making one small change at a time, it is easier to develop more and more healthy food habits.
Do you have a recipe you’d like to share?
Although I’ve tried and enjoyed several of the recipes found in the Cooking Matters manual, lately I’ve been making some version of the Mango Salsa, especially as we enter the Summer months when I tend to grill more. I sometimes add a can of black beans and some frozen corn, or I will replace the cucumber with chopped jicama for a slightly different texture. The great thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile and goes with many dishes, from grilled turkey burgers or grilled chicken breast to being a sandwich filling in a burrito.
Serves 6, 1/2 cup per serving
2 large ripe mangoes
1 small cucumber
2 medium green onions
1 medium jalapeño pepper
2 medium limes
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 medium bell pepper
¼ cup fresh cilantro
- Rinse mangoes, cucumber, green onions, jalapeño pepper, limes, and bell pepper, if using.
- Peel mangoes. Cut mango flesh from the pits.
- Cut cucumber in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. If using bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise. Remove stems and seeds.
- Dice mangoes, cucumber, and bell pepper, if using. Finely chop green onions.
- Cut jalapeño pepper in half lengthwise. Remove stems and seeds and dice.
- If using, rinse and chop cilantro.
- Cut limes in half. Squeeze juice from each half into a medium bowl. Discard seeds.
- Add mangoes, cucumber, green onions, jalapeño, salt, and cayenne pepper to bowl with juice. If using, add bell pepper and cilantro. Mix well.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Mangoes usually feel a little softer when ripe. If mangoes are not in season or not in your store, use canned peaches or pineapple, packed in juice. Drain before using.
Serve salsa as a dip with Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips. Or, use as a topping for fresh fish or pork, black bean soup, or tacos.