Last Thursday, I had a very exciting opportunity to present a poster on I Pic My Plate at The New Balance Foundation/Children’s Hospital’s “Turning Science into Care” Childhood Obesity Conference. The Conference was full of forerunners in research in the field, and it was so cool to be able to talk and share some of my work with top professionals and doctors!

Me with my poster and Dr. Robinson!

Me with my poster and Dr. Robinson!

I got some great ideas for my contest. Check it out at www.ipicmyplate.com for more info on how to enter.

 

Cooking Healthy with Kids

Posted by chloe.rosen at 10/6/13 9:02 PM in Service Projects

Last year on Monday afternoons I headed over to the Thoreau School in Concord to work with a mom to help teach a healthy cooking class for kindergarten and 1st graders.  It was called KidsEatSmart and was focused on cooking healthy meals with young kids. I would look forward to it all week!  I loved watching these 20 kids trying new wholesome foods they had prepared themselves–and enjoying it! Some favorites were homemade applesauce (it was pretty and pink because of the skins!) and kale chips! I made so many friends and it reminded me how much I like working with kids!

Fun with Cooking & Science & the Girl Scouts!

Changing the World through STEM: Teen Career Expo

Lunchtime Keynote

Sheraton Tara, Framingham, MA

girl scouts of eastern massachusetts

October 28, 2012

Here’s my talk: Hi. My name is Chloe and I absolutely love to cook. I’m here today to share some cool experiments and recipes with you, ones you can try at home and taste test later too! Science is everywhere around us, but I think the easiest way to see it is through looking at the foods we eat and how they are prepared.

These days, much of our food is prepared with a whole different kind of science, with lots of chemicals that make cakes soft and fluffy and preservatives that make milk and butter last for months. Just take a look at the back of the cereal box—I can’t pronounce most of the ingredients, let alone figure out what they are! What interests me the most is the kind of cooking that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers and great-great grandmothers did, and that’s the food that I think we most like to eat anyway.

I’ve always thought cooking is sort of like magic. Lately I’ve come to realize that most of that magic falls down to science, and I think there’s no recipe more magical than bread. You just take some flour and salt and water and a little yeast and let it sit for a while and all of a sudden you have a bubbly amazing thing called bread.

Bread-making has been going on forever—every single culture in the entire world has some type of bread, and almost all of them use some type of yeast. We don’t really know exactly where yeast came from, but some people think that, in a refrigerator-less age of bread-making, some small micro-organisms climbed into the bread dough and the first type of yeast began to develop. That’s exactly what yeast is, it’s like a little creature. Not an animal, but still a living entity that you have to feed. Today we’re going to make a simple, classic bread—All-American Honey Lunchbox bread. This bread is the most versatile I know, and also the simplest.

There are many different type of yeast, but the kind that we’re going to use today is called Rapid Rise yeast. It’s a sort of dry yeast that is reactivated when added to water and feeds off of the sugar and starch in flour to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol.The carbon dioxide bubbles are what make our bread rise and get all bubbly, and the alcohol is what makes it taste nice and bready.

The first thing we have to do is make a little snack for our yeast. Yeast is sort of like us, it likes a nice warm place to live and grow, but not too hot. We’re going to take some warm milk, and some warm water (the water actually makes the bubbles a little bigger) and put them in this measuring cup. We just heated the liquids up a little bit to make a nice lukewarm environment for our yeast to start growing. To this, we’re going to add a little bit of honey and some sugar, which help feed the yeast and also give our bread a little sweetness. There are two ways to make this dough. If you want to get a workout, you can make it on the counter, but if you want to make it nice and quick you can throw it in a mixer with the dough hook. We’re going to do it on the counter just so you can see it from where you’re sitting.

But we don’t want to make a big mess, so we’re just going to start it in a big glass bowl. We put our flour (this is bread flour, which makes our bread nice and chewy and bready, you can get this when you get the yeast!) and our salt and our yeast in a big glass bowl and stir it around a little bit. There are some theories that salt can deactivate the yeast, but recently they figured out that that’s not true, so we don’t have anything to worry about. We’re going to add our liquids and mix it all up with this wooden spoon. Now, we want it to be nice and sticky, but not like cake batter at all—we’re making bread!

We’re going to turn it out onto this floured counter and knead it for a long time—like 10 minutes. I’m just going to do a little of the kneading now because I don’t think you want to watch me knead for 10 minutes, even though it is kind of fun.

We want to get it all nice and elasticky. Bread flour has a really high gluten content, so when you add water to it and mix it around a lot, it becomes like an elastic band. We want our bread to be super chewy, and that comes from how much gluten we can get in it.

Whenever I knead dough, I feel like I’m back in kindergarten feeding the play dough through a little extractor that makes hair, and so I really love it. It’s also a good way to get stress and anxiety out—just grab a hunk of bread dough and go at it!

Over here I have some dough that I made this morning and already kneaded a ton—see how nice and shiny and pretty it is? That’s exactly what you want! The good thing about bread dough is how instinctual it is. If you think you need a bit more flour, you probably do, and you can just throw some in!

Now, we’re going to let this sit for an hour and a half. I like to design my recipes with my dad in mind, because most of the time he’s the one that gets to do the dishes, so I’m just going to use this bowl from before. Just plop this nice little dough ball into the bowl, and cover it super tightly with plastic wrap. This is so that all the carbon dioxide stays in the bowl. We want big bubbles!

I have one here that’s been sitting for that long, and you can see it’s gone crazy!!! I love making this dough on a Sunday while I’m doing homework. I’ll take breaks every once and a while to come and see how much it’s risen—it’s so fun! Resist the urge to let it keep going, you don’t want a kitchen covered in dough, and you don’t want it to ferment too much. A little is good for the flavor, but too much will make it taste like sourdough gone wrong. Trust me, I’ve done it. SO when it’s all puffy like this, we’re just going to gently pat it out on our floured surface so it’s a nice little square. Now, were going to roll it up. Did you ever wonder why the bread is so fluffy and spirally? Well, this is why. If you want to get fancy, you could throw some cinnamon and raisins in at this step and call it Cinnamon Raisin swirl bread. We’re just going to roll it up like a burrito, and then pinch the ends together so you can’t see the seam. You get this nice little compact log. We’ll just put it in this loaf pan, cover it with plastic and let it rise a little more. Right now we’re developing the structure so we have a super yummy bread.

If you baked it now, you’d have a brick, so you need to let it rise one more time for more C02 to develop and puff up like bread.

This one is all done—see how fluffy it looks?Now we just have to bake it in the oven for 45 minutes until it’s all brown and the inside is cooked through. But first, we’re going to spritz a little bit of water on top, so that we don’t get a hard crust at the beginning. WE want it to rise and get soft and fluffy before anything else.

Right here I have a delish bread I baked earlier. This is the absolute best part of bread making! Let’s slice in and see how we did. We want nice thick slices so that we can taste all of our good work. See that fluffy, fluffy crumb. I think we did well

Alright so now that we have some fabulous bread for the most delicious sandwich ever, we need to make another little snack.

We’ve talked about yeast, which I’m betting most of you haven’t spent too much time with, but now we’re going to talk about another thing that makes our cakes and cookies rise: chemical leaveners! We’re going to look at baking powder and baking soda. Some recipes have one, some recipes have both, and some recipes have neither of them at all!

Baking soda is something called an alkali, a chemical that has a pH higher than 7, which means it’s a base. Baking powder is baking soda with an acid added to it.

Today we’re going to make the recipe for my homemade thin mints, just like you guys sell, but super fun because you get to make them at home.

Of course thin mints have to be chocolatey, and chocolate is very acidic. If we added baking powder to our dough, the acid in the cocoa powder would neutralize a lot of the baking soda (which is a base) in the baking powder, and there wouldn’t be enough Carbon dioxide produced and the cookies wouldn’t rise. We already have enough acid in our cookie dough to react with the baking soda to make C02 bubbles, so we’re going to use just baking soda so that they get a little rise.

Making the thin mints is really easy! We’re just going to make a simple dough with some peppermint extract in it, and then later coat it with a thin layer of chocolate.

To start, we need some butter, which will help the cookies to spread! We’re going to make these in a big bowl with a spoon—no mixer required! We’re going to mix the butter (which we’ve melted) with some sugar, and then we’ll add our vanilla and peppermint extract (which you can find at any supermarket these days)! We have some dark chocolate that we’ve melted to give our cookies a really nice chocolate flavor, and we’re going to add that in now too!

Now we’re going to combine our dry ingredients. I like to do this on one of these plastic mats for minimal cleanup which is always a good thing! We have some all-purpose flour—we know from our experiment earlier that this is a good flour for a cookie that’s sturdy enough not to crumble but not tough like a cracker! We’re going to add some cocoa powder, which makes our dough nice and black like a thin mint, and some salt. Salt brings out all the flavors, and without it, the cookies would seem very bland! We have just a little baking soda, which will make them nice and puffy, so that when we let them cool, they will become delicate and crispy! Stir all this together so there aren’t any little lumps, and we’re good to go.

Now we just stir it in with this wooden spoon and let it sit for an hour or so to firm up a little bit. Then we make it into a log, like this one I did earlier, and we’re going to cut thin little cookie—they’re called thin mints after all. When we put them in the oven, the heat will cause the acid and base to react and C02 will be formed.

If you want to try one of my thin mints, stop by the booth at the trade show later—I have enough for an army!

I hope you’ve learned a little something about how science affects your everyday life. I learn something new every day, and I’ve loved having the opportunity to share this with you.I’m working on a service learning project in my community right now, and would love your help to get your school involved in eating healthy and getting active. If you’re interested, stop by my booth and we can discuss it later!

Thanks so much for listening, and have a fabulous day!

Snap a PIC and Show Us What You're Eating!

WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE?

It’s really easy and fun!!!  JUST snap a PIC of a favorite healthy snack or meal you’ve made, been served or selected from a lunch line at school, and send it in to us via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or to ipicmyplate@gmail.com.  Be sure to include a phrase or sentence describing what’s on the plate and why it’s healthy! The winning entry will receive a $250 Amazon gift card. Other prizes include cool sneakers and other gift cards! Entries cannot include pictures of people or of brands. 
Hurry and Submit! All entries must be received by July 15, 2013.

Check out www.ipicmyplate.com and tell us what’s healthy on your plate!

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A few more details: Kids can enter multiple times. All entries will be judged on a series of criteria, ranging from most diversified to most colorful, healthiest, most creative, by a panel of judges: Jody Adams (award-winning James Beard Chef), Michael Peck (Head of Nutrition Services for the Boston Public Schools), Sally Sampson (Founder of Chop/Chop Magazine) and Dana Roberts (nutritionist). You must be 18 years of age or younger and a legal resident of the fifty United States or the District of Columbia to participate.

Wow!  What an honor to be selected to the Youth Advisory Board (YAB).  My job is to create a local service learning project which helps younger kids in my community exercise more, and eat healthier and more nutritiously.  We got trained at the YAB Academy in Boston in July, and now we’re off to get our project going…major brainstorm sesh called for!

Students (from left) Ruth Shiferaw, 9, Peter Murphy, 9 and me as we listen to Somerville cheesemaker Lourdes Fiore Smith describe how to make string cheese. Photo from Harvard Gazette.

Imagine Science + Cooking + Math + Zoomba – a lot of 4th, 5th & 6th graders, and Homemade String Cheese all wrapped up in one!  That’s what I did the last 2 weeks this summer - working as a camp counselor at a different kind of camp. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard, and healthy kids’ cooking magazine ChopChop got together to create the first ever summer camp which included guest chefs,  professors from the University and students to teach science through cooking.  

Now, I love food, and what better way is there to get kids excited about science than by teaching them the ins and out of cooking — you know pickling, fermentation, the like.  The big idea was that if you could get kids interested and involved in the science behind cooking,  they’d be more likely to like math and science, AND to try new foods which are healthier. And that’s just what happened.  Bill Yosses, the executive pastry chef from the White House came on the first day, and the campers got to use vegetables direct from the White House garden in their cooking.  I even got a camper to try spinach on his pizza and he loved it!  I bet this camp is going to be around for a long, long time!

Watch the video and read the Harvard Gazette article here:   news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/07/feeding-culinary-curiosity/

Pastel Conversation Heart Cookies!

 

Just like the world-famous candies! So incredible it’s literally unreal. Why does writing on things with food coloring pens just get me so excited? There must be something therapeutic about filling in a hundred tiny pastel hearts with romantic sayings…who knew? I’m going to take them to my friends at the Minuteman Arc tonight where I volunteer on Monday nights with my Telem group. We’ll come up with some great sayings, write on the cookies and then eat them. Yum!!!

This Trip to New Hampshire & Vermont was amazing!  We had a fantastic group led by Ms. Guy and Ms. Brennan.  We studied everything about food, and made all our own meals too! We even worked on a farm.

Here was our schedule:

Day 1:

* Keene Farmers Market

* Wichland Woods: Mushroom Grower

* Food shop for the week

Day 2:

* Bo-Riggs Cattle Farm

* Cheshire Gardens

* Picadilly Farm

* Volunteer at Stonewall Farm

Day 3:

* Orchard Hill Breadworks

* Abenaki  Farm

* Stonewall Farm

Day 4:

* Stonewall Farm

* Live Cooking Show with Luca Paris

* Keene visits: Hannah Grimes, Ye Goodie Shop

Day 5:

* Stonewall Farm

* Walpole Creamery

* Alysons Orchards

* Community Kitchen

Day 6:

* Grafton Cheese

* C & S Grocery Warehouse

Day 7:

* Stonewall Farm Final Visit

* Barbeque and Swimming at Granite Lake, but it rained so this never happened!

What an amazing trip! Thank you Ms. Guy and Ms. Brennan!!!

I love to cook, and lately I’ve been baking up a storm — especially since I got a concussion.  I discovered this website called

Chef Chloe Rosen at age 11

http://www.biddingforgood.com where they hold online auctions for non-profit organizations and people donate different things.  So I donated a cooking class for 4 kids to an auction, and someone bid on it. That means that the winner’s money will support kids this coming summer to go to sleep away camp, 4 kids will get a cooking class, and I will both cook and do a good deed.

December 20, 2010.

This past Monday I experienced something really different. The morning began with me meeting up with Joshua Riazi and some nutrition students/volunteers at Kids- Can- Cook http://www.kidscancook.org/ next to the Flower Exchange in Roxbury. There, we prepped 5 possible submission recipes for a contest that is part of Michele Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to improve childhood health and nutrition in the US. We prepared a healthy vegetable-soba noodle stir-fry, chicken soup with butternut squash and barley, whole-grain grilled cheeses, healthy burritos and tomato-carrot-butternut squash soup. They all tasted delicious to me, but it was the kids at the Mission Hill School that we were there to please. We entered the basement cafeteria of the school (shared with a few other local schools) and I immediately saw the need for change, let alone something green, happen here. Kids with deep-fried lunches from a different school walked by as we set up, whispering and pointing and wondering why on earth we would be encroaching on their lunchroom at noon on a Monday. But soon the lunch patrons that would be trying our food entered. Many scoffed and one even had the nerve to say “I don’t need your healthy food,” but there was an undeniable glint of curiosity in each middle-school child’s eye. They came up to grab their samples, filling out a little note card about what they thought about the dish. Many looked skeptically on the more unfamiliar, vegetabley dishes. I found myself encouraging them to try each one, saying that they had full right to hate it, and they could come back and tell me so if they thought so. Standing there for over an hour I finally understood the constant lunch-room struggle: how to get kids to try, let alone eat what doesn’t look normal to them — food that is “healthy!”

The middle-schoolers were a rough crowd, but soon some of the younger 2nd and 3rd graders filed in, and an air of excitement surrounded them at this out-of- the-ordinary occurrence. Sela, my other collaborator in these recipes came to help saute, and things suddenly seemed to be going pretty well. To my surprise, the younger kids were entirely more willing to try weird-looking stuff, and in fact embraced what looked different. There was even a small line forming to try the bright orange soup! Some of the kids from the grades that we weren’t planning on serving snuck up, asking for a taste, and we gladly doled out. I finally understood the saying about old habits dye hard. These kids were little, impressionable, and overall ready to try new things.  So this is where America has to focus — healthier eating and recipes aimed at the younger kids. This is the future.