Spring 2015 Feature Stories

May Get Real Resolution-

May Get Real Resolution: The Crazy Veggie (or Fruit) Quiz


What if you promised your mom you’d try ONE green bean, and she gave you a foot-long one! What if it were a foot-long and red?



Asian “noodle” beans come in both green and red and are just one kind of crazy fruit and vegetable to try. In fact, a lot of those “boring” old vegetables we think we know and have tried come in all shapes and sizes and colors — even different flavors. Not to mention, there are hundreds of exotic fruits and vegetables that don’t even look like something you would eat.

 Here’s a quick quiz to test your “Crazy Fruit and Veggie” knowledge:


1. Potatoes were first grown as a food crop instead of a wild plant over 7,000 years ago. You can find potatoes in all kinds of colors even purple and dark blue! About how many kinds of potatoes are there?

  1. 40
  2. 400
  3. 4000



2. What kind of fruit (often mistaken for a vegetable) comes in varieties called Yellow Pear, Garden Peach, Green Zebra, and Mortgage Lifter?

  1. Apple
  2. Peach
  3. Cucumber
  4. Tomato


3. This vegetable is a math genius! It’s really a type of flowering plant with buds that are arranged almost as a perfect fractal, or a repeating pattern that scales perfectly with each bud made up of smaller identical buds. The pattern of the buds also make them a Fibonacci number, a numeric sequence used in computer and search engine algorithms (mathematic formulas). What is this mathematic veggie?

            a. Algebric Artichoke

            b. Romanesco

            c. Brocco-flower


4. Which of these “scary” pumpkins and squash are edible ones?

            a. Red Warty Thing

            b. Uncle Fester

            c. Ghost Pumpkins

            d. All are edible


5. Which one of these items is a Dragon Fruit? A, B, or C?

Crazy Fruit or Veggie Challenge

 Ready for a food adventure? This is one time everyone in the family — not just the kids — gets to try something new! Head out to your nearest farmers market, ethnic market, or even a good grocery store. Explore the produce available and find the craziest fruit or vegetable you can. Take it home and try it, then answer these questions with some help from your mom or dad and time online:

 What is your fruit or vegetable?

  1. Where does it come from or originate?
  2. What’s one fun fact you didn’t know about that food?
Read More
Get Real Resolution for March 2014-

MARCH (food) Label Madness

You’ve heard of “March Madness,” here’s a different kind of madness that happens every day with your favorite foods. We call it “Label Madness!”

This month’s resolution helps you become a supermarket sleuth so you can spot the madness and understand what all those words on a food package really mean. Ready to investigate?

Let’s pick a food that seems pretty healthy and tastes good, too: blueberry yogurt. It’s got blueberries in it — one of the healthiest foods — it should be good for you! Or is it? What’s on the label?

 Front of the package

The front of the package is the place where food companies want you to look first. The things written on this part of the label are what food companies want you to think about the food so you will buy it.

 You’ll find words like “naturally flavored,” “lower sugar,” and lots of claims about what kind of vitamins and minerals the food has in it.

 Mostly, these claims all sound like good things, but read them carefully. For example, terms like “natural” and “naturally” are not always what they sound like.

 You would think that in order to make blueberry yogurt, you would just add blueberries, right? Because blueberries are expensive, food companies often use a little bit of real blueberries and add extra flavors to make a food taste a lot more like blueberry and colors to make it look more like blueberry.

 The word “natural” is sometimes used when these flavors and colors are not created from chemicals but come from a natural source (which does not have to be a blueberry!). Some foods don’t even have real blueberries in them! Those labels will say things like “blueberry flavor.”

 So, how do you find out the truth about what’s in your food?

The Ingredients List

March Blueberry labelIf you want to know what’s in your food, turn the package over and read the ingredient list. Here is where you can see what’s really in the package.

 For our yogurt, the ingredients list can look like this: Cultured Lowfat and Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Blueberries, Modified Corn Starch, Blueberry Flavor, Natural Flavors, Kosher Gelatin, Colored with Fruit and Vegetable Juice, Vitamin D3.

Ingredients are listed in order of how much is used in the food. This list tells us that our yogurt contains more sugar than it does blueberries!

 For foods like sweetened cereals, companies sometimes use a few different kinds of sugars (maltose, dextrose, corn syrup, fructose to name a few) so that sugar doesn’t show up first in the ingredients list.… Read More

Get Real Resolution – February-




Have you joined The Cleaner Plate Club and Edible Kansas City for the Get Real Resolution yet?

Get monthly activities and fun food adventure ideas for a no-fight, all-fun way to help your whole family enjoy real food.

Most of us are celebrating Valentine’s Day this month with heart-covered cards and boxes of chocolate shaped like hearts. But, did you know February is also Heart Health Month?

Click: February Get Real Resolution for the February installment of the Get Real Resolution.


Next Month: March’s Get Real Resolution explores
food label madness. Kids get to explore the aisles of the supermarket and spot
the difference between a marketing claim and the truth about the food in the
box. Then, they get to be the food marketer and nutritionist to build their own
healthy food label for an item from the produce section!

Read More
Whole Foods Market Partners with Local Food Pantries to Raise $150,000 for Annual Food Drive-

feed4more2feed4more1Whole Foods Market’s annual food donation drive, currently underway, is now a national effort to help feed those in need in the local communities they serve.  The Feed 4 More program is designed to serve the under nourished by providing foods free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives to local non-profit organizations and food pantries for distribution. Generous customers can purchase an all-natural $5 breakfast, $10 lunch or $10 dinner for families of four at the registers to help make a difference. Customers shopping for holiday meals can also donate online this year at: wholefoodsmarket.com/shop

This holiday season, Cross-Lines Community Outreach, Inc. and the Shawnee Mission School District are co-recipients for Whole Foods Market – Metcalf’s Feed 4 More program. And at our 119th Street location Jewish Family Services and Blue Valley Multi Service Center are co-recipients. Customers can donate to the Feed 4 More program until January 1st, and all four recipients will each receive a monetary donation from Whole Foods Market.


The Whole Foods Market Feed 4 More food drive, originally called Grab & Give, began 6 years ago in the Whole Foods Market Rocky Mountain Region as a community effort to help ensure that local families in need have access to healthy meals. This year, Whole Foods Market locations around the US are joining together with the goal of raising meals to support 1 million people throughout the country.   All food from Whole Foods Market including the donated food is free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated fats. 


The Shawnee Mission School District serves as a first response resource for children and families in need by connecting them with local non-profit organizations for further assistance based upon their unique situation.  The need for food assistance is an increasing reality for many families belonging to the 3rd largest school district in the state of Kansas.  During the 2012-2013 academic year the Shawnee Mission School District officially counted 10,111 students who received free and reduced lunches (up from last year), which equates to more than 1 in 3 students in need of nutrition assistance.  Reports also indicate 451 Shawnee Mission students were homeless during the 2012-2013 school year.


Cross-Lines Community Outreach, Inc. helps families and individuals with basic needs, such as: rent and utility assistance, hunger relief, free clean clothing, hot showers, laundry services, emergency medical assistance.… Read More

Grandma’s Apple Crisp-
Apple Barn

Photo by Carole Topalian

4 to 5 apples (Granny Smith, Braeburn or Macintosh) peeled and sliced
1/8 cup flour
1/2 t cinnamon
For Crisp:
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour 
1 cup cold butter cut in slices
1 cup oatmeal
1/8 teaspoon each ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves

Grease a 9×11 baking dish and layer sliced apples on the bottom. Sprinkle the 1/8 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon over the sliced apples

In a bowl add brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.  Cut in 1 cup cold butter.  When this mixture is well blended sprinkle it on top of the apples.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Pull from the oven when oatmeal mixture is light brown and apples are done.  I test my apples with a knife.  


Read More
Much Ado About Apples-
Photo by Pat Teel / www.patriciateelphoto.com

Photo by Pat Teel / www.patriciateelphoto.com

As tomatoes fade, apple season draws nigh. The pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica of the Rose (Rosaceae) family, matures into a scrumptious globe come autumn. The Rose family includes apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, and almonds, many of which are professed “super foods.”

Apples emerge on small, deciduous trees which range from 10’-40’ tall with a broad, dense twiggy crown. The tree originated in southwest and central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found. Apples have been grown for centuries in Asia and Europe and were imported to the New World by European colonists in the 17th century.  It was perhaps the earth’s earliest cultivated tree with hybrids and cultivars developed over time, which yields the nearly 8,000 varieties recognized now.

Looks can be deceiving with apples as well.  Usually supermarkets insist on waxed, buffed, blemish free apples to meet cosmetic standards – yet ugly, gnarly, heirloom, organic varieties are often superior in flavor and texture and are free of pesticide residue.

Apple Lore

The biblically forbidden apple has historically become a symbol for temptation, discord, seduction, sexuality and outright sin. In Latin, the words in singular for “apple” (malus) and “evil” (malum) are strikingly similar, and they are even identical in the plural form. So, apparently it follows linguistically that by eating the malus from the tree of knowledge, Eve likely contracted malum.  

The protrusion at the front of a human throat has been dubbed an “Adam’s Apple” because the forbidden fruit became lodged in his throat.

The Apple of Discord, inscribed with “For the Fairest,” was awarded to Aphrodite by Paris allowing him to elope with the comely Helen, causing a quarrel among the goddesses and helping to cause the epic Trojan War.

In Austrian ruled Switzerland, William Tell refused to bow in homage to a nobleman’s hat placed in the town square. As punishment, he was ordered to shoot an apple off his son’s head.

Sir Isaac Newton’s formulation of the laws of gravity was supposedly prompted by the fall of an apple onto his head.

The Belgian surrealist painter, René Magritte, challenged our perception of reality with his profound and provocative images of the ordinary apple.

The Apple logo has become flatly iconic, appearing ubiquitously on laptops, iPads, iPhones, iPods, on automobile windshields, and in stores across the world.

Apple Health

The nutritional benefits derived from these simple fruits abound and astound.  … Read More

Kiniksu Stew-


This is a rustic dish borne of my time spent hunting in the Kiniksu wilderness of Idaho.



Kiniksu Stew - By George Marler


  • 4-5 pounds of whole rabbit or squirrel
  • 8 medium carrots
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes
  • 2 medium sweet onions
  • Fistfull of whole green beans
  • 1 large head of broccoli (oh yes I did)
  • 2 quarts of vegetable juice cocktail
  • Half stick of butter


  1. There are no added spices or salt required. If you prefer a spicy version, just choose spicy vegetable juice.
  2. Upland game destined for soups and stews should be prepared using one of the methods below. Soaking game in milk overnight in the fridge will give the finished product a less "earthy" flavor.
  3. Pressure cooker method (preferred)
  4. Rinse whole game animal and place on rack in pressure cooker with 3 cups hot water. Process at 10-15 psi for 15 minutes, allow to cool slowly. Remove from cooker to shallow baking pan and allow to cool. Once the game has cooled, hand pick the carcass and cut the larger pieces to bite size portions.
  5. Stovetop method
  6. Bring 1 quart of water to boil. Rinse whole game animal and place in pot. Return to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from pot to shallow baking pan and allow to cool. Once the game has cooled, hand pick the carcass and cut the larger pieces to bite size portions.
  7. In a deep stock pot, add 2 quarts of (V8style) vegetable juice cocktail. Heat to simmer.
  8. Scrub and rough chop carrots and potatoes, leaving the skin on.
  9. Rough cut the onions and green beans.
  10. Cut broccoli florets from stem, nothing bigger than a marble.
  11. Add cut vegetables to pot.
  12. In a saucepan, sauté prepared game in butter. Drain and add to stockpot.
  13. Top off with drippings from game processing if needed to cover ingredients.
  14. Cover pot and simmer until carrots and potatoes are done.
  15. Serve with rustic bread.


Read More
The Sustainable Hunter-


White Tail Deer by George Marler

Photo by George Marler

By  Aaron Prater

I enjoy hunting game, and look forward to it every Fall. Although I am a hunter, that doesn’t mean I’m an evangelist trying to convince everybody to adopt hunting as a way of life. Nor am I such a dedicated enthusiast that I would douse myself in animal urine to hide my scent from my prey. Instead, every November I am just a guy in the woods with a gun, taking in and enjoying the flora and fauna around me.  And that is the main appeal about hunting for me: being outside and communing with nature.

I got back into game hunting about six years ago, and wouldn’t really consider myself a veteran of the woods since I choose to hunt only whitetail deer. I am, however, a part of a recent upswing in the purchase of hunting licenses; an increase I see amongst my friends, stories I have read, and out in the field.  When I started hunting again there was only one other hunter and I on the land we use, but for the past three years we have had to create a schedule of alternate weekends because more and more people want to participate.  It is a novelty to many of the new faces, some are there for the delicious and sustainably acquired meat hunting provides, and for others like me it is a culture I grew up with.

For my 12th birthday, I was given a shotgun to hunt squirrel and rabbit, but at some point during high school I lost my taste for it.  After serving a stint in the military, hunting still didn’t seem all that exciting or appealing.  What brought me back to the desire to hunt was the food.  I don’t like killing simply for the sake of killing, for a trophy to show off. That kind of hunting is something I have never liked, but using the entire animal shows my respect for that animal and that I value its sacrifice.  I honor it by enjoying its taste and by hunting sustainably; without taking more than I need or will use, and preserving the environment around me. I find the act of field-dressing my hunt to be rewarding and the opportunity to enjoy a meal knowing exactly where each part came from is immensely satisfying.

As a chef, I try to use every part of the animal.… Read More

Tibicos (or Water Kefir)-

Words and photo by Emily Akins



This is our new favorite drink. There are lots of names for it; most people call it Water Kefir, but we call it Tibicos. And the cutest thing ever is Julia asking for “teebeecosh!” It’s a probiotic beverage made with kefir grains. Which sounds so weird when I explain it. So I’ve started just saying that it’s like home made soda but it’s good for you instead of bad for you.
It’s good for you the way that yogurt or milk kefir are good for you – because of the good bacteria that grows. You start out with kefir grains (not real “grains” – they actually look like giant salt crystals). You feed them sugar (and a few other things). They grow and grow during the first ferment; then you flavor the tibicos in the second ferment, after you’ve removed the grains. And in just a matter of days you have some lovely and delicious “soda” (so to speak).
Our favorite flavors are peach or apricot (flavored with tea), lemon juice, or ginger. (Oh and we made a black currant one once that tasted just like a Clearly Canadian!)
See below for the “recipe” we received from our friend who got us started in the world of water kefir. We have (miraculously!) kept our grains going for a couple of months now and while we did have to slow down production, we have kept a steady cycle going. And when we’ve gone on tibicos hiatus in order to leave town, I have missed it so much.
Julia likes it pretty well, too. Clara is still deciding. But I’m glad to have some probiotics to give them to balance out the antibiotics we had to give them a few weeks ago. Gotta keep that balance.
We will have extra grains up for grabs periodically. Happy to spread the Tibicos gospel and the grains!


Water Kefir


  • Water Kefir
  • Basic ratio:
  • 1 Tbsp grains
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. First Ferment:
  2. In a jar, add sugar (ideally sucanat/rapidura/turbinado; organic raw cane sugar works), some raisins (about 10), a splash of lemon juice, a tiny pinch of baking soda, and water. Stir to somewhat dissolve sugar. Add grains. Can be left covered lightly with a cloth or a lid. Let sit in room temperature - not in sun - for 48 hours or until brew no longer tastes like sugar water.
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Ratatouille: A Mid-summer Nightshade Dream-

By Beth Bader, author of The Cleaner Plate Club


It’s mid-summer and the heat is on, bringing out summer’s sexiest fruits, the nighshades; tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Few produce items incite our tastebud lust quite as much as a vine-ripened heirloom tomato, once so accurately called the pomme d’amor, or love apple, by the French. But do you really know the dark, sexy truth about that brandywine lying seductively on the farmers market table?

 Nightshade Family Secrets

Nightshades as a whole are fascinating since even their most mundane member, the potato, can be toxic if its leaves, green parts or sprouts are eaten. This is due to the presence of alkaloids that affect nerve-muscle and digestive function. The same toxicity is present for leaves and stems of tomatoes and eggplants and peppers. Nightshade alkaloids are among the most powerful () and are used in many pharmaceuticals such as atropine. Among the nightshade family’s more notorious members are tobacco, belladonna or deadly nightshade, and the mandrake.

Mandrakes, surprisingly, are not an invention of J.K. Rowling’s books, although the real ones don’t have screaming infant faces. The “real” myth attached to mandrake roots does include the lethal scream when the root is pulled from the ground. The root itself is bifurcated, or forked, often appearing like a human figure, hence the common name mandrake.

Harry Potter and crew used a potion made from mandrakes to reanimate those who had been petrified, but the true effects of nightshades are quite the opposite. The plant family’s more lethal members cause hallucinations, coma, convulsions and death. Deadly nightshade, or belladonna, was used as anesthetic before the Middle Ages — if your condition did not kill you, the surgery procedure quite possibly would.

Despite the risks associated with nightshades’ alkaloids, mandrakes were once thought to be the source of a fertility, or love potion, and were used in magic rituals. Perhaps this was the toxic flower that Puck himself sought out in A Mid-summer Night’s Dream that would cause his hapless victim to fall in love with a man wearing a donkey head. That sounds hallucinogenic enough for sure.

Even eggplants are not safe from this insanity.… Read More