Category Archives: Green Island Grrrl

Chef Joey parked in Rose’s space! Thanksgiving cookin’ heats up!

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Chef Joey = Too Cute!

Quinoa is the latest rage!

Text and recipes by Chef Joey

Daylight savings has officially “darkened the day,” but we have several holidays, and the festive time of year to help migrate us to the spring. Veterans Day is more of a sale kick off pre-Thanksgiving, with focus on furniture, cars and other items and the new “Black Friday” slogan being moved up by slick marketing maneuvers. The real holidays for me involve food, of course, and visits.

I just got a Facebook message post from my friend Terry now living in New Zealand. He was reminiscing about how on his first Thanksgiving in the states, we dressed up fancy, and I drove to 56 or 57 of my friends’ houses and we sampled their turkey and the fixings. As he blogged, he said it was great to see so many different households sharing the same holiday with different foods!

I personally try and mix things up each year. I remember when “Green Beans Linda” was all the rage or sweet potato and marshmallow bake came to destroy our waistlines. Now our focus is headed to more organic, hormone-free and GMO-less foods that remain affordable. These items have always existed. I have mentioned them before – they are beans and grains.

Quinoa is the latest rage; it is related to spinach and beetroot versus a grain like wheat. And, if you buy it plain, it is incredibly inexpensive and good for you! And loaded with important dietary fiber.

Quinoa is a complete source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids – and iron, zinc and magnesium that is key in digestion. The average portion of cooked quinoa is about 120 calories. You can make it like a risotto, as a side dish plain, with fresh parsley and cilantro. It is great cold mixed to mimic tabbouleh with chopped tomato, parsley, mint and onion with fresh lemon juice.

It is a great substitution for rice or potato because of the vitamins it packs. It also has several varieties, so it is not just a bland “white dish.” It can be lighter in color, or green, red and even purple-ish black!

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A quick Black Bean and Quinoa Salad:

Cook the quinoa, drain and let cool.

Add 2 cups quinoa and a can of black beans …

… one chopped red pepper

… a small red onion and fresh parsley.

I sometimes add corn, as well.

Next make a homemade vinaigrette and mix together and serve! It is great as a cold side in the summer or a room-temp side dish. This dish can also be served hot by adding a few items you can make a “Quinoa Enchilada” or Burrito!

A basic recipe with a little help from some supermarket products:

Take one cup cooked quinoa, ½ cup each of corn and black beans …

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Back at Rose’s shack: black beans

… a chopped chili pepper for spice (optional).

Mix in fresh cilantro (never too much in my opinion)

Add a little ½ teaspoon of chili powder, salt and pepper.

Here comes the fun part: ¾ cup each of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese – and a 10 oz portion of enchilada sauce, you can pick mild to hot.

Mix all the ingredients with 1 cup total combined cheese and place into a greased baking dish.

Top with the rest of the cheese and bake 375 degrees for 15 minutes, until the cheese melts and bubbles.

Garnish with chopped parsley and tomatoes! Easy fast and healthy and serves 4 – double the recipe as needed!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Michael parked in Rose’s space: IMPEACH TRUMP!!‬

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Did you know the Trump administration scrubbed all cruelty-to-farm-and-circus-animal reports from govt websites? pic: R.T.

By filmmaker Michael Moore

It is time to remove this dangerous man from office.‬

I have just signed the “Need To Impeach” petition initiated by Tom Steyer of California. Over two million other Americans have also signed it. And that number keeps growing every hour. We — all of us — must not wait a minute longer to act.‬

Trump has sent a fleet of our ships into the waters off North Korea in order to provoke the unhinged leader of that country to make the mistake of attacking us. This, plus Trump’s reckless taunts at Kim Jong-un, is being done for one reason: to begin some sort of conflict so that America will rally behind him and forget about the impending criminal indictments he, his family and his cohorts now face. He has put us all in danger, and he may get a lot of people killed.‬

‪The Founders of this country were worried that, from time to time, we would have a President who would behave in such a manner that would put our nation in jeopardy, or a President who would try to profit off being in office, or a Commander-in-Chief who might not be right in the head (King George III gave them a good example of that). They feared we could end up with a President who might be a traitor to our country. They even knew that we might get stuck with someone who committed not just “high crimes” but also “misdemeanors.” They wanted to make it easy for us to fix a mistake we’ve made.

‪My friends, we have the most colossal mistake in our history sitting right now in the Oval Office. And there is only one way to rectify it: TRUMP MUST BE IMPEACHED. We can NOT wait until November of 2020 for that to happen. We won’t make it til then. The country we know as the United States of America will not be the same after three more years of Trump. You know it and I know it. Turning the TV off and trying to avoid the daily insanity won’t make him go away.‬

‪Donald J. Trump has proven himself to be completely unfit for office, a threat to our country and an imminent danger to this world.‬

‪He is also not well. He is a malignant narcissist and an active sociopath. Because he holds the codes to, on his own, launch nuclear weapons, he is a singular threat to humanity.‬

‪He has no fidelity to this country, to the constitution or to his oath of office.‬

‪He tried to coerce the director of the FBI into ending the investigation of him — and when the director wouldn’t, Trump fired him. It’s only a matter of time before he fires the Special Prosecutor.‬

‪He has lied about his finances, his campaign’s dealings with Russia and just about everything else that has come out of his mouth. It is stunning to see how many untruths he speaks in a single day (this site keeps track of all of them on a daily basis).‬

‪But here’s something even more stunning than Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors:‬

‪NOT ONE Democrat in the U.S. Senate has stood on that floor and called for his impeachment! Not one! Rep. Maxine Waters and other members in the House have not been afraid to do so. This morning, Rep. Steve Cohen was joined by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Marcia Fudge, Rep. John Yarmuth, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat in introducing five Articles of Impeachment against Trump. But no Democrat in the Senate has yet to say this man must be impeached!‬

‪This petition I’m asking you to sign isn’t just a challenge to the Republicans to clean house, it is a demand to the Democratic elected officials you and I voted for to DO THEIR JOB. Many of these Democrats have even said they are opposed to impeachment. They need to hear from us! Now! If recent history has proven anything, it’s that Democrats only act when we tell them to.‬

‪When you were opposed to George W. Bush getting ready to begin a massive war in Iraq (when Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11), the majority of Democratic Senators voted to send us to war.‬ Most didn’t change their votes until the citizenry went to the polls in the Democratic primaries in 2008 and rejected the Democratic candidate for President who had voted FOR the war. These Democratic candidates became anti-war because of YOU.

‪For decades, when you believed our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be able to get married, the establishment Democrats (including the Clintons and Obamas) said NO and used their religion as an excuse to say that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Only when the polls showed that a majority of Americans backed this basic civil right did Democratic leaders begin to “evolve.”‬

‪Although the majority of Americans have favored a single-payer universal medical system for some time ,  it took until last month for 16 Democratic Senators to finally back such a bill.‬

‪The cautious and often-frightened Democratic leaders will usually, eventually, finally come around and do the right thing. And they do so because they are good at (sooner or later) listening to the will of the people.‬

‪That’s why they need to hear from you and me right now. Give them the backbone and support they’re looking for. Sign the Need to Impeach petition and let them see that the majority of us can’t wait any longer to remove this dangerous man from office.‬

‪Let’s not wait until he turns another million acres of federal land over to the oil companies. Let’s not wait until he and Betsy DeVos dismantle what’s left of our once-admired-around-the-world public schools. Every day at his EPA, at his ICE headquarters, at his FDA and elsewhere, his cronies are literally taking apart our American way of life, piece by piece — and it will take years to rebuild after all the damage they are doing.‬

‪Can you really take one more day of this?‬

‪Please, I appeal to you, join with me and millions of your fellow Americans and sign this impeachment petition now: www.needtoimpeach.com‬

‪I did. You must.‬

‪Thank you for helping to save this country and this planet.‬

‪Michael Moore‬

Edith parked in Rose’s space!

But first …

Moore – just as sick and predatory as Trump. Learn the facts:

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My, how things have changed!    pic: Rose T.

Go, Worcester Public Schools, go!

By Edith Morgan

Now that parents are breathing a sigh of relief, and children are firmly ensconced in their respective schools, getting ready for Thanksgiving vacation, we can all breathe out and get onto other things. How about a little reminiscing? We all know the jokes about grandparents telling their grandchildren that they walked miles uphill through wind and snow, and if you’re old enough, maybe there are tales about having to sweep out the one-room schoolhouse, bringing in the wood for the pot-bellied stove, and sharing slates, books and notebooks with younger children.

The whole idea is to share how MUCH schooling has changed in the last few decades, and still is changing constantly.

Not all the changes are for the best – the incessant drilling to learn useless stuff to answer inane questions on standardized tests so that schools, children and teachers can be rated and berated, for rather murky reasons, for the benefit of people who have ulterior motives – all that time and expense could be better spent on meaningful testing to improve or correct learnings. But that is a topic for another time … .

At this point, we need to look at how far we have come from the one-size fits all model of yore and how much closer we are to tailoring the school so that EVERY student can learn and achieve his/her highest potential.

We breathed a sigh of relief this year, as the teachers’ contract was ratified, and our busses also started out on time. Now we are concentrating on our students and meeting their needs.

It is no longer true (generally, anyway) that the child has to be ready for school – we have gradually little by little moved over to a philosophy that the school needs to be ready for the student, at whatever level he/she comes to us.

Worcester has made giant steps in that direction. This fall we opened a new, state-of-the-art elementary school at Nelson Place; we have gradually replaced or refurbished many older buildings, and we are planning constantly for newer, better buildings.

And while great new buildings with many facilities are a big help, there are many things that our schools are now offering to students that were strictly the responsibility of parents or neighborhoods.

Research has shown us that children need certain minimal support s to be able to take advantage of all that is offered to them so they can succeed.
We can no longer assume that there is a level playing field out there and that every child has access to a good breakfast, clean clothes and a quiet, stress-free place to study. Children who have all these things can profit from all that the curriculum the teachers offer. But over the years, teachers and principals have noticed children who come to school tired, bedraggled, worried and hungry. Of course there have been the critics who say that it is not the job of the school to remedy these deficiencies. But the cost of ignoring these problems is too great, and the waste of potential too costly, for us to wait for others to take up the slack.

So, in a number of instances, schools have stepped in to properly equip our children to be really ready to learn.
We have, in addition to free lunch for all our WPS students, we have some breakfast programs where needed; several of our Worcester high schools have food pantries where students can take home extra (donated) food – and some take bags to get through the weekend for their families. “Andy’s Attic” at South High School is one example of how schools see that students have appropriate clothing (we all can probably remember how painful it was to be improperly dressed and suffering the taunts of fellow students)

Not all our students come from homes that have washers and dryers, and sometimes they have to wear the same soiled outfits for days. So our schools are trying to help by installing washers and dryers in selected schools – like those at Worcester East Middle School.
I applaud these additions, as they enable students to be comfortable, clean and accepted by their peers.
Of course, a sick child also is really handicapped as far as learning: if you hurt, feel awful, or are otherwise not running on all cylinders, much of your time I class is wasted. So the Worcester Public Schhols have student health clinics where most needed in the city.

Recently, we have also begun to notice that we have students who fall asleep in class, or are unable to keep their eyes open. This seems to be true especially among pre-adolescents and adolescents.

And finally, now that we are doing many things to be sure that all our children are in school ready to learn what we believe they should know, we can fully concentrate on the main purpose of education! And there is much to be done yet in the area of curriculum, if we really mean to turn out mature, thinking individuals who can succeed in a rapidly changing society.

There has been much lamenting about the fact that we do not read books like we once did. And while our many gadgets require some ability to read and spell, they do not require the ability to really delve deeply or sustain attention page after page. But even there, with the competition from the electronic media, great efforts are being made to put books into the hands of our children. We are, after all, “The City that Reads” – and Worcester School Committee member and retired WPS principal John Monfredo and his wife Anne Marie, retired Nelson Place Elementary School teacher, have for years collected children’s books and put them into the hands of our students. They collect tens of thousands of children’s books and distribute them.

And finally, we are very fortunate that we have a superintendent who has been involved in these ventures, supports teachers and folks in the community who create new opportunities for our children, and always looks for ways to be sure that every child has the opportunity to realize his/her full potential.

Parlee in Rose’s space!

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Parlee Jones!

Our Story

By Parlee Jones

Peace Worcester People! As many of you know, I have two little side entities through which I share knowledge. One of them is Peaceful Pleasures, my incense and oils business. Along with other products for body, mind and spirit. The other is OurStory Edutainment. OurStory Edutainment is a multi-cultural learning institute which teaches Black History through Education and Entertainment. We use music, documentaries, spoken word and life experiences as the vehicles through which we do this.

The reason I came up with OurStoryEdutainment was because I wanted my children to have knowledge of who they were from the cradle. It is imperative that children know from the cradle that they are loved and valued. Knowing their history and ancestry is also important.

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Black History

There was not and still is not anyone else celebrating Black Culture on the regular. I chose this as my task. The symbol I use for OurStory is the Sankofa symbol.

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Sankofa

The Sankofa symbol is an adinkra symbol which means “go back and fetch it.” You must know your past in order to move towards the future. Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Akan of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa that represent concepts or original thoughts.

The mission of OurStory Edutainment is to develop self-awareness, social awareness and global awareness to the history, accomplishments, oppression and rebuilding of Black People. By providing this knowledge, we seek to wake the sleeping people to what is happening around them and how these destructive situations were created in our communities and how to heal them by bringing people of all cultures together to learn our shared human story. Knowledge of self to better yourself.

The goal of OurStory Edutainment is to provide a better understanding of Black Culture. To provide a greater sense of personal identity as people from the Diaspora by showing our history and how we continue to keep our traditions and ways of life alive throughout the years.

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Here is a listing of the activities I have scheduled for the rest of this year to celebrate and learn more about a history that has been buried or twisted or just plain left out of our history books.

Through our celebrations we will learn together what they never taught us in history class.

If you would like to help sponsor an event or make a donation towards the food and goodies we will be giving away, please feel free to contact me at 508-410-1209.

OurStory Edutainment / Peaceful Pleasures Event Schedule ~ Please mark your calendars accordingly!

Classic Reggae ~ Roots and Lovers Rock

Reggae Music in Conjunction with Satalite Music and LB Fitness.

Saturday, November 11, 2017 ~ Part 4

Saturday, December 9, 2017 – Part 5

WCUW Radio Station, 910 Main Street, Worcester, MA

8 pm to 1 am. $10. BYOB

Come and join us for a laid back evening of your favorites in Classic Reggae with Music by I~Lox (Lennox) and J Wonder!!! Nice, easy and laid back vibes. BYOB. Respect a must!

Black Culture Matinee ~ Join us as we explore Black Culture through the lens of movies, documentaries and other art forms.

Saturday, November 25, 2017 ~

Saturday, December 30, 2017~ Celebrating Kwanzaa

Saturday, January 27, 2018 ~

Saturday, February 24, 2018 ~ Black History Month Celebration

Worcester Public Library, Three Salem Square, Worcester, MA

2 pm to 4 pm Free

Worcester Kwanzaa Celebration 2018 ~ Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates, family community and culture. Celebrated from December 26 through January 1, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 ~ Umoja – Unity ~

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 ~ Kujichagulia – Self-Determination

Thursday, December 28, 2017 ~ Ujima – Collective Work & Responsibility

Friday, December 29, 2017 ~ Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics

Saturday, December 30, 2017 ~ Nia – Purpose

Sunday, December 31, 2017 ~ Kuumba – Creativity

Monday, January 1, 2018 ~ Imani – Faith

All events at WCUW Radio Station, 910 Main Street, Worcester, MA

6 pm to 9:00 pm

Bob Marley Birthday Bash Weekend

Our 11th Annual Celebration of the words, music and life of Robert Nesta Marley.

Friday, February 2, 2018 9 pm to 2 am $10.

Electric Haze, 26 Millbury St., Worcester

Live Reggae Bands celebrating Bob’s music.

11th Annual Bob Marley Bash – Family Friendly

Saturday, February 3, 2018 1 pm to 5 pm

Worcester Public Library, One Salem Square

Documentary ~ MARLEY

Sunday, February 4, 2018 2 pm

WCUW Radio Station, 910 Main St., Worcester

Lots of fun stuff!! Hope to see you around the town!!!

Revised! … Next Tuesday Worcester VOTES … Carpet Baggers Mike and Coreen Gaffney MUST stay true to their word and GO

By Rosalie Tirella

Next Tuesday, let’s not let the sinister  Michael Gaffney, a Worcester city councilor who’s skulked down the august corridors of our City Hall for far too long, make monkeys out of us voters. Let’s not allow Gaffney to continue wreaking havoc on the Woo polity, with his lies and manipulations, leaving the good people of Worcester emotionally drained and angry.

Gaffney is an expert when it comes to dividing people along racial and socio-economic lines. He’s all about creating this dynamic: Society’s insiders vs its outsiders – outsiders being refugees, immigrants, the homeless,  poor people, people of color. Just like  Prez Donald Trump, Gaffney is at his Best – we mean Worst – when he is diving into the cultural wedge issues of America/Worcester. And blowing things apart.

No more. Let’s not allow this demagogue to poison our city any longer. Go away, Joe McCarthy!

WE MUST MAKE SURE GAFFNEY HOLDS TO HIS WORD: HE said he IS EXITING WOO POLITICS. He will not accept a seat on the Worcester City Council – even if re-elected by his supporters.

Let me recap: Two weeks ago Gaffney and his wife, Coreen –  a couple of carpet baggers if ever there were a pair – expressed disgust that most people here rejected their brand of toxic politics and said they were pulling out of their respective political races – mayor and D 4. Lately, during his video show, Mike Gaffney seemed mentally deranged. Watching the last segment, with Gaffney sporting a black eye from a tumble on a cement floor, growing more strident by the second, his arms flailing, complaining that Mayor Joe Petty is covered in crumbs, a viewer couldn’t help being repelled by the guy…fearing the guy’s … insanity… Why would anyone want this mentally unhinged person representing our city in any official capacity? Leading the second largest city in New England???

But we fear Gaffney may stick around – not keep his promise to Worcester.  He may have decided to fake bow out of the council race to  take the media heat off his weirdo refusal to act like a proper mayoral candidate. When they were running for office, Gaffney (and Coreen for District 4) refused to be interviewed by the media, refused to attend any candidate forums or answer any surveys/ q and a’s. Insane! How would voters know where they stood on certain issues? And they were making the game unfair for their political opponents, who subjected themselves to all of the above. The rigors of the race. No fun.

Also, by taking a fake break for himself the Gaffer was able to lull his opponents into complacency. All their seats were safe now that he pulled out of the race. They did not have to campaign against Gaffney. Or run as hard, if he were running against them.

Fast forward to the Day after Election and Gaffney has made the cut. Been re-elected by his supporters because his name was still on the ballot. He could think to himself: “Yay! I just pulled an Ed Augustus. Ed PROMISED he would not take the City Manager’s job – gave lots of compelling reasons why he was returning to his job at Holy Cross – but when the city council came a calling he said YES!”  

Gaffney could then decide to gift himself to his adoring fans – hundreds and hundreds of fellow hate mongers – and say to them YES! I WILL BE your CITY COUNCILOR once again!  Sow racial hatred, lie about my fellow councilors, lead odious crusades…

(An aside:

We did not know Worcester had so many haters! But, hey, look who’s defiling the Oval Office and leading us into the sewers?! Hater and liar in chief Donald Trump!)

The local and state election commissions must not let Gaffney get away with this shit.

THEY MUST VETO THIS MANIPULATIVE move – not allow Gaffney to hold office. He knowingly misrepresented his intentions, affecting the shape of the mayoral and councilor at large races.

Gaffney has pulled garbage like this on Worcester since Day #1.

Yes, the Gaffneys could still get the hell outa Dodge: Coreen has been let go from her high-powered and high-paying job at Hanover Insurance. They have put their Main South condo (in Coreen’s name) up for sale. Now that she is not running for the district’s council seat, they are hightailing it out of District 4. So much for their much ballyhooed, self-professed commitment to the urban core! It was just a pose. Just a political move so Coreen could run for political office. Against Gaffney’s nemesis on the city council – D 4 incumbent Sarai Rivera. Like I said: Gaffneys = CARPET BAGGERS.

And, yes, the polls were showing Mike Gaffney being rejected by a ton of Worcester voters this election cycle, people sick and tired of the Gaffney dramas that through the years have dragged so many members of so many Worcester communities straight into the mud.

And the local media has not been fooled by the Gaffneys’ shenanigans. Called them out at every turn. If Mike Gaffney wants to stay on for another term, if he is indeed reelected, THE LOCAL MEDIA WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE GAFFER WITH SHARP EYES – AND ELBOWS.

All this smells fishy.

Out of bounds.

ILLEGAL.

The Gaffneys are an embarrassment to themselves and the City of Worcester.

Next Tuesday, Election Day, let’s put an end to Worcester’s misery. Vote the Gaffney bum out and re-elect Sarai Rivera to District 4, refusing to endorse in any way the bum’s wife, Coreen.

Chef Joey parked in Rose’s space! … SNACKS!

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Remember this cutie?! These days Chef Joey writes GOURMET TAKES for CECELIA! This column ran in issue before last! Chef Joey: so talented!!

SNACKS!

Text, recipes and photos by Chef Joey

We all know that having a good breakfast is the foundation to a good day. Well the roof is a healthy afternoon snack. The British call it High Tea. You figure we eat between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., then four hours later it is lunch, then maybe seven hours later it is dinner. So in between a snack is in order!

Afternoon snacks were an integral part of my youth. My mother made cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, sugar sandwiches, which is bread with butter and a little honey or maple syrup drizzled on it, or she simply gave me a piece of chocolate! Having no Internet and just one household television, we were active, so calories were not a consideration.

Nowadays, with working parents, computers, games and smart phones, one can keep busy and snacks can be dangerous and full of hydrogenated oil and empty calories. For smart snacks, I buy the “go-gurt,” basically yogurt in a tube, and I freeze them as a healthy Popsicle.

HUMMUS!!

Hummus is always a great snack with carrots and celery! Hummus is always on sale at the supermarket … OR you can make some. It is very easy to make! You need chic peas, tahini, which is sesame paste, garlic and lemon juice.

Simply drain the chic peas, add to a blender

toss in 1 clove garlic

¼ cup lemon juice

and ¼ cup tahini … and blend.

If it is too thick, add a little more liquid from the can.

Add a pinch of salt, if needed.

You can put into a container and refrigerate – this snack lasts up to two weeks … and it costs less than $2 a batch.

CHOCOLATE!

If your craving is chocolate, take a small bag of white chocolate morsels, a bag of dark chocolate morsels, 1 cup of dried cranberries (craisins) and ½ cup slivered almonds.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler

Add the craisins and almonds

Mix well and drop by the teaspoonful on a cookie sheet and refrigerate – or freeze for instant bonbons!

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Joey’s Gigi, right, snacks on cashews and other healthy yum yums!

High tea has interesting little snacks, especially the tea sandwiches: egg salad, cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon, tuna and chicken salad, to name a few.

These are all incredibly easy to make, and cut into four triangles, they make a tasty bite-sized, hand-held snack for that kid on the go.

We never really had chips and dip growing up: the European instinct is definitely to make something fast and nutritious.

BANANA MILKSHAKE!

My really favorite snack was a banana milkshake that my mother would make when the bananas were a little too brown to hold.

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Ripe banana at Rose’s shack. pic: R.T.

She simply put 1 banana into a blender, 1 cup milk and 1 teaspoon sugar, if needed, and blended. She said she added an egg if she felt we needed a protein blast – we never knew! Other smoothies can be made with any fruit really, and the milk can be eliminated and lemonade or simply water added for vegans. Fast and easy.

Snacks should not be complicated.

I have a 2 ½ year old and her snacks of choice are raisins, dates and deluxe mixed nuts – cashews being the preferred nut! She also loves grapes cut up into small pieces mixed with blueberries and strawberries. Small crackers and peanutbutter or cashewbutter are another quick fix that will not break the bank.

If we all took a few minutes to get back to basics, we would save money, get reconnected with our kitchens, and “grow” strong, healthy children. Remember: we are teaching them healthy habits that last a lifetime.

We never had sweetened carbonated beverages (soda) when I was growing up, and I can honestly say that I have not had any soda for 45 years or so. It is horrible for your bone marrow and can promote osteoporosis, as it is not a natural beverage you would find in the wild. That’s why water is your best bet.

Now that we have access to the Internet there are hundreds of easy to follow recipes and snack ideas to look up. But remember the easiest ones are the simplest ones!

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Chef Joey makes homemade snacks for his critters!

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PETA.ORG

Julius moves on! We love you, Julius!

From Worcester Roots:

Julius Says Goodbye to Roots and Worcester

“As I bid farewell to Worcester, I am also sad to announce I am leaving Worcester Roots. Worcester has been my home almost 20 years, and Roots has been a big part of my experience. I am grateful for my time in the organization, hopeful about the future of Roots, and faithful in the work that’s done here.

“The Power of Cooperation is greater than the power of dominance, and just as sure as that will be tested in the years to come, it is assured that we who establish, support and believe in cooperatives will win the day!

“Thank you to my colleagues on the staff and board, for all the camaraderie and support these past three years.”

– Julius Jones

Sunday wrap-up starring Mass. Farm to School … Sunny Funnies … and more

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pics: R.T.

Come celebrate Massachusetts Farm to School Month!

Join us at our First Farm to School Awareness Day at the Massachusetts State House on Thursday, October 26, at 11 a.m!

Join fellow farm to school advocates and partners from around the Commonwealth to celebrate all things farm to school.

This day will be a great opportunity to meet with your legislators (make an appointment!) and share the exciting farm to school activities happening in your community, as well as visit with other farm to school organizations, and congratulate this year’s Kale Blazer Award recipient.

Speaking Program:

At 11 a.m. we will hear from a few of the key farm to school supporters on how farm to school is currently impacting their area of work.

Speakers include:

Senator Anne Gobi, Chair, Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (and 2016 Kale Blazer award winner)

Representative Robert DeLeo, Speaker of the House

Commissioner John Lebeaux, MA Dept of Agricultural Resources

Rob Leshin, Director, Office of Food and Nutrition Services, MA Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

Erin Healy, Farm to School Director, USDA

2017 Kale Blazer Award Winner (to be announced)

Planning to Attend?

The event is open to everyone.

Meeting with Your Legislator:

Let you local Representative and Senator know about the great farm to school activity taking place in their district. Show them how these programs are promoting student and community healthy and local economic development.

Share Your Community’s Story!

We will also provide you with materials to capture your thoughts about farm to school, as well as the thoughts of your students for you to share with your legislators.

…You can order our “Farm to School is important to me because …” postcards. Please email dena@massfarmtoschool.org (20 max. per order please).

You can deliver these to your legislators either by mail, or in person during Farm to School Awareness Day!

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Pear
Produce of the Month: PEARS!!!

Recipe from the Lowell Public Schools!

Pear Ginger Parfait

Ingredients:

2 lbs of Pears
1 cup of Orange Juice
1 TB of Ground Cinnamon
1 TB of Ground Ginger
Steps

Pear Compote:

Add pears, orange juice, ginger, and cinnamon to a pot
Simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes

Set aside, let cool
Once cool, puree

Building the Parfait:

Place 4oz vanilla yogurt in a 9oz cup
Add 2 TB of pear compote
Add 1/4 cup blueberries
Add 1 oz granola

To visit the MASS. FARM TO SCHOOL website and learn more CLICK HERE!

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Imalay parked in Rose’s space: Back to School – the Hustle and Bustle!

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Imalay, left, and her mom and little girl.

By Imalay Guzman

The best season has finally arrived, with crispy cool air and warm afternoons! Fall season is everyone’s favorite; from adding layers to your wardrobe and preparing for back to school, it can be both exciting and oh so dreadful!

Parents who enroll their kids in school can relate to the hustle and bustle. It’s dreadful because of all the work that needs to be put in, but once the mayhem is over, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment.

As a mother, I like to shop early for back-to-school supplies and clothing because that way I find things I need without any hectic wardrobe issues. However, many people wait for the back-to-school sales to hit so they can get more for their money. From school supplies, clothing and shoes, shopping in one store is impossible. The more kids you have, the more running around you have to do. It’s all about the prices and the convenience of the store.

The hardest part of the shopping is trying to meet everyone’s sense of style. My children each like different things and dress differently. My oldest daughter likes for me to dress her the way I would dress myself; on the other hand, my son wants anything and everything that has to do with super heroes!

All of the back and forth from store to store gets aggravating and tiring, but in the long run it’s worth seeing how happy your kids are. Knowing they will be neatly put together for their first day of school gives them a boost in their self-esteem. As a parent, making sure my child has the proper school material is essential. I want to make sure they are prepared for school. If they are prepared, then the school year should ultimately be successful.

The back-to-school routine can be more than running around shopping. It has a lot to do with sitting down and having very important conversations with our children, which can help them during the school year. For this generation, before you send your kid to school there has to be several talks, talks that vary between ages. If your children are going into elementary school, the bully talk needs to happen. They might be young and you may think they don’t understand – they completely do. Making sure they don’t become victims to bullies and knowing how to identify when someone is bullying them is so important.

If your child is attending middle school, the sex talk is practically mandatory. Teens as young as 13 are already having sex nowadays. Another good thing to talk about is peer pressure and safe sex — a must. It can be difficult to imagine having this talk with your child who you view so innocently, but with the way upcoming generations are growing up, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The truth is it’s best to try and have an open line of communication with your kids. That way they feel comfortable coming to you for help whenever anything happens to them. There are a lot of kids who don’t feel comfortable speaking to their parents and close themselves up, which is something no good parent likes seeing their child go through. Try to be understanding because we were all young and dumb at some point. The way we learn in life is through our mistakes.

Let your child develop the way you would’ve liked to have been given the chance to grow, while being the adult they need, as well.

Edith parked in Rose’s space! Back in school – and what’s new now?

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It’s back to school time! photos by Imalay Guzman

Back in School – and What’s New Now?

By Edith Morgan

Now that parents are breathing a sigh of relief, and children are firmly ensconced in their respective schools, we can all breathe out and get onto other things. How about a little reminiscing? We all know the jokes about grandparents telling their grandchildren that they walked miles uphill through wind and snow, and if you’re old enough, maybe there are tales about having to sweep out the one-room schoolhouse, bringing in the wood for the pot-bellied stove, and sharing slates, books and notebooks with younger children. The whole idea is to share how MUCH schooling has changed in the last few decades, and still is changing constantly.

Not all the changes are for the best – the incessant drilling to learn useless stuff to answer inane questions on standardized tests so that schools, children and teachers can be rated and berated, for rather murky reasons, for the benefit of people who have ulterior motives – all that time and expense could be better spent on meaningful testing to improve or correct learnings. But that is a topic for another time …

At this point, we need to look at how far we have come from the one-size fits all model of yore and how much closer we are to tailoring the school so that EVERY student can learn and achieve his/her highest potential.

We breathed a sigh of relief this year, as the WPS teachers’ contract was ratified, and our busses also started out on time. Now we can concentrate on our students and meet their needs.

It is no longer true (generally, anyway) that the child has to be ready for school. We have gradually, little by little, moved over to a philosophy that the school needs to be ready for the student, at whatever level he/she comes to us. Worcester has made giant steps in that direction.
We have just opened a new, state-of-the-art elementary school at Nelson Place; we have gradually replaced or refurbished many older buildings, and are planning constantly for newer, better buildings.

And while great new buildings with many facilities are a big help, there are many things that our schools are now offering to students that were strictly the responsibility of parents or neighborhoods. Research has shown us that children need certain minimal supports to be able to take advantage of all that is offered to them so they can succeed. We can no longer assume that there is a level playing field out there and that every child has access to a good breakfast, clean clothes and a quiet, stress-free place to study. Children who have all these things can profit from all that the school curriculum and the teachers offer.

But over the years, teachers and principals have noticed children who come to school tired, bedraggled, worried and hungry.

Of course, there have been the critics who say that it is not the job of the school to remedy these deficiencies. But the cost of ignoring these problems was/is too great, and the waste of potential too costly for us to wait for others to take up the slack.

So, in a number of instances, schools have stepped in to properly equip our children to be really ready to learn. We have, in addition to lunch programs (some at reduced price, some free), we also have some breakfast programs where needed; several of our Worcester high schools have food pantries, where students can take home extra (donated) food – and some take bags to get through the weekend for their families. “Andy’s Attic” at South High School is just one example of how schools see that our students have appropriate clothing (we all can probably remember how painful it was to be improperly dressed and suffering the taunts of fellow students). Not all our students come from homes that have washers and dryers, and sometimes they have to wear the same soiled outfits for days. So our schools are trying to help by installing washers and dryers in selected schools – like those at Worcester East Middle School.

I applaud these additions, as they enable students to be comfortable, clean, and accepted by their peers.

Of course, a sick child also is really handicapped as far as learning: if you hurt, feel awful, or are otherwise not running on all cylinders, much of your time in class is wasted. So our schools have a health clinic where most needed.

Finally, now that we are doing many things to be sure that all our children are in school ready to learn what we believe they should know, we can fully concentrate on the main purpose of education. And there is much to be done yet in the area of curriculum, if we really mean to turn out mature, thinking individuals who can succeed in a rapidly changing society.

There has been much lamenting about the fact that we do not read books like we once did. And while our many gadgets require some ability to read and spell, they do not require the ability to really delve deeply or sustain attention page after page. But even there, with the competition from the electronic media, great efforts are being made to put books into the hands of our children. We are, after all, “The City that Reads” – and Worcester School Committee member and former Belmont Community School principal John Monfredo and his wife Anne Marie, a former Nelson Place Elementary School teacher, have for years collected children’s books and put them into the hands of our students. Every year they collect tens of thousands of children’s books and distribute them to Worcester kids, especially those from poor families.

And, finally, we are very fortunate that we have a school superintendent who has been involved in these ventures, supports those who create new opportunities for our children, and always looks for ways to be sure that every child has the opportunity to realize his/her full potential.

With a local election on the horizon, we can show up to vote for school committee members who best exemplify the goals I have described above!

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Go, WPS students, go!!