Friday, March 25, 2011

Spinach and Fresh Fruit Salad

Photo source
A quintessential Spring salad--and beautiful to behold before enjoying!  Strawberries are already at the Farmers' Markets and avocados are still to be found in supermarkets at reasonable prices. 
If you follow the directions for this recipe, you will not have a low-fat salad.  Reduce the calorie count by applying the dressing to taste instead of using the full amount.  Left over dressing can be used on other salads or as a marinade.  Another suggestion is to substitute another cheese for the brie.
Cleo, Food Bank volunteer


2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil, extra-virgin
5 ounces baby spinach
1/2 cup cranberries, dried
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced fresh
4 ounces brie cheese
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 small avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup walnut halves

  • In a small bowl  combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.
  • In a large bowl, toss the spinach, bell pepper and strawberries with 1/4 cup of the dressing.
  • Top with slices of brie cheese, avocado, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and walnuts.
  • Pour the rest of the salad dressing on top when nearly ready to serve.
Recipe source:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poached Eggs over Spinach and Mushrooms

Photo source
This is a great recipe for a Sunday breakfast/brunch or for lunch or dinner. Cook and prep time is only 20 minutes. 
Some tips on this recipe: make sure there is enough water in the pan to poach the eggs and do not add salt as it dissolves the whites; keep the poaching water at a steady simmer, not boiling; remove eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and place them on a towel to remove excess water.
I found this recipe on  It is a great source of nutritional information and healthy cooking techniques.  If you are concerned about getting nutritional needs met through your diet, please check it out .
Cleo, Food Bank volunteer


4 large free-range chicken eggs
1 tsp light vinegar (rice, white wine, or apple vinegar)
1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
1 medium tomato, seeds and excess pulp removed, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and excess water removed
salt and black pepper to taste


1.  Chop onions and garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting properties.
2.  Bring water to a high simmer in a 10-inch skillet with 1 tsp vinegar.
3.  In a separate skillet heat 1 TBS broth.  Healthy Saute* onion and mushrooms in broth for 3 minutes over medium heat stirring frequently.
4.  Add tomato, garlic, spinach, salt and pepper and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
5.  When water comes to a high simmer poach eggs for about 5 minutes, or until whites are firm.  Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place over spinach mixture.

*Heat broth in a stainless steel skillet over medium heat until it begins to bubble, add onions and sauté stirring frequently.
Recipe source

Monday, March 14, 2011

National Ag Day: Agriculture is Amazing

Photo Source
Here in Yolo County, we are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by agriculture (607,232 acres) in all directions. In honor of National Ag Day, we are tipping our hats to those in our community who grow our food and raise livestock—their jobs are essential components of our history and economy.

Ever heard the expression, “Hug a farmer”? National Ag Day pays homage to the men and women who work hard to enable that food is ultimately available for our plates and to remind us that agriculture is a part of our lives.

Photo Source
Though National Ag Day is a celebration of abundance, we are also reminded of our neighbors who are unable to join in the benefits that many of us are accustomed to. This is why we at the Food Bank of Yolo County are grateful to the local farmers who donate some of their products including eggs, rice, and produce. We also receive produce donations from Yolo County residents who contact local gleaning organizations to pick fruit or vegetables from their yards.

Thank you to all of our local farmers and everyone involved in getting food to our tables.

Learn more about agriculture in Yolo County.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spinach Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

Photo source
This is a recipe for one serving of a very colorful and flavorful salad.  You can vary the ingredients to meet your own tastes and preferences or for seasonal availability of fresh produce.  And, of course, you can increase the amount of the ingredients for additional servings.

Cleo, Food Bank volunteer

  • A couple handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 roasted golden beets, chopped (click here for recipe)
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • 5 strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 10 raspberries, halved
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sliced almonds
  • Shavings of your favorite cheese
  • Honey vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Place baby spinach on a dinner plate.
Top with roasted beets and orange segments.
Arrange strawberry slices on top of oranges and beets.
Sprinkle on raspberry halves.
Toss toasted almonds over the salad.
Decorate with cheese shavings.
Drizzle with dressing.
Dig in!

Honey Vinaigrette

  •  1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 champagne or rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Pour vinegar and honey into a food processor bowl.  Start the food processor and slowly add oil while processor is running.
The dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Recipe source

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March's Volunteer of the Month: Cleo Opera

We can’t always count on the weather, but we can always count on Cleo, our Friday morning receptionist. Since August of 2009, she has been a crucial member of our volunteer team. Cleo provides a warm and welcoming environment for those who call or stop by the Food Bank of Yolo County.

Cleo first heard about our volunteer opportunities while she was shopping at the Davis Farmers Market. She noticed that the Food Bank had a table full of information about our programs including gleaning, which she was particularly interested in because of a fruitful orange tree in her yard. Unfortunately, Cleo had been laid off that year, but she decided to keep herself busy by donating her time to the Food Bank.

When asked what her favorite part of volunteering with the Food Bank is, Cleo said with a smile, “Being here.” She elaborated that she loves working with our staff, volunteers, and clients, and that she feels like everyone appreciates her. Volunteering is important to Cleo because it allows her to be resourceful, give advice, and be helpful to those in need. As someone who is always eager to take the next step, Cleo explained that she has enjoyed taking on new responsibilities and that she has really grown with her volunteer position. One of Cleo’s recent assignments has been to research and post recipes including our Veggie of the Month on our blog. This has allowed her to merge her love of research and cooking, as she frequently tests out the recipes at home and later posts feedback. Cleo has mastered the art of being a receptionist, and hopes to continue learning more about blogging and computers.

At a very young 68 years old, Cleo doesn’t consider herself retired, rather “independent.” When she’s not with us, she’s volunteering with the Davis Food Co-op or the Yolo Hospice Thrift Store. Cleo likes to garden, is a very creative person, and has been a vegetarian for over 40 years. Cleo has a goal of one day owning her own business, incorporating her fondness of textiles and paper. A mother of two and grandmother of three, Cleo is also writing her life story which she hopes will inform future generations of her family.

Thank you Cleo for all of your hard work!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spinach with Chickpeas

Photo source
This recipe, served on bruschetta or toasted bread, would make a wonderful appetizer for a party. It can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days, then brought to room temperature or reheated on medium-low heat before serving..
If you wish to serve it for a family dinner, reduce the ingredients by half.  Serving size is about 1/2 cup.
Cleo, Food Bank volunteer


  • 2 pounds baby spinach
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 - 19-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

1. Rinse spinach and let drain in a colander.  With water still clinging to it, place half the spinach in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Cook, tossing with tongs and adding the remaining spinach by the handful until all is added and wilted, 6 to 8 minutes.  Drain in the colander.  Let cool slightly, then coarsely chop.

2.  Carefully wipe out the pan, then heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is tender and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in chickpeas, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt and paprika.  Using a potato masher, mash some of the chickpeas, then cook, stirring for 3 minutes.  Stir in the raisins and broth, scraping up any browned bits.  Add the chopped spinach and stir gently to combine.  Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes.  Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil just before serving.

 Recipe source