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2131 Beaufait Street
Detroit, MI, 48207
United States

(313) 923-3535 ext. 202

Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Volunteer Spotlight: Kaylin Krogol



Tell us a little about yourself.

"I am a Registered Dietitian born and raised in the Detroit area. Eating healthy wasn't a priority in my household growing up, but became important to me entering adulthood. I became an RD since I related to the common struggles and wanted to help people like my own family. In 2012 I received my BS in Dietetics from Michigan State University. Then, completed my Dietetic Internship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and passed the RD exam".


"Currently I work for Heart Hospice, serving hospice patients in Wayne and surrounding counties. Hospice is for patients with an estimated life expectancy of six months or less. It doesn't aim to reverse or cure a chronic illness, but instead relieve symptoms and increase patients' quality of life".


Why does a hospice patient need a dietitian?

"Loss of appetite, difficulty chewing/swallowing, and weight loss are expected near the end of life. I explain these nutritional changes to caregivers and make suggestions to maximize food an fluid intake as feasible. I monitor patients admitted on tube feedings. I work with assisted living and skilled nursing facilities to provide diets that adhere to standards for mechanically altered and pureed foods. Above all, I lend a compassionate ear to support patients and their loved ones during difficult times".


"As for future goals, I want to go to graduate school to get a Master's in Public Health or Health Psychology. Doing research to further our collective knowledge of health/nutrition sounds like a dream career to me. I am particularly interested in the relationship between mental disorders and health behaviors (diet, physical activity, substance abuse)".


What led you to the Cooking Matters Program?

"During my Dietetic Internship I was assigned to shadow a Cooking Matters class and tour Gleaners. The particular class I shadowed was the grocery store tour. I was so impressed with how much the participants had learned the weeks prior, and the camaraderie between the participants and instructors. After I was hired as a part-time hospice dietitian, I remembered Cooking Matters and signed up as a volunteer nutrition instructor right away. It helps keep my skills sharp that aren't applicable to a hospice population, all while giving back to the community in my free time".


What is your favorite thing about being part of the Cooking Matters team?

"Contributing to a program that helps people in a practical way. I personally learn best when I'm doing something hands-on, so I really believe in that aspect of the class. At the end of the six-week class, the participants have knowledge they won't forget anytime soon. I learn something every class I help teach, from the other instructors and the participants themselves".


Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share?

"Generally speaking, seeing the excitement of the kids in the CM for kids classes I've volunteered for. When you arrive at the school each week to set up, kids from the class will see you in the hallway and wave. They cheer 'yay!! We have Cooking Matters today!' Children may not have the best attention spans, but with their enthusiasm you can tell you've made a positive influence on their lives".


What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen?

"Onions! I love adding them to many recipes and to me, they make the simplest dishes 100% better. It helps they're inexpensive and stay fresh for a long time. My freezer is stocked with frozen veggies so I can make healthy meals quickly when I don't have fresh produce on hand".


What do you do in your spare time?

"I absolutely love to paint. My grandma painted countless beautiful watercolor and oil paintings in her lifetime. I've taken up painting (watercolors for now), partly in remembrance of her, combined with the positive mental health benefits of a creative hobby. I'm still a novice, but it's exciting to see all I have left to learn and the potential to make better art".


"I am a big bookworm too, and I tend to read a lot of non-fiction. Many of my favorite authors (and painters) are French, so I am in the process of learning the language on my own. I hope one day when I'm fluent (and can afford it) to visit France and experience the culture and cuisine firsthand".


Do you have a recipe you would like to share?

"Honestly, most of my favorite go-to recipes are Cooking Matters ones! Some dietitians are culinary geniuses, but not me personally. I love that the CM curriculum talks about 'recipe frameworks,' because that's what I tend to do myself".

Volunteer Spotlight: Fawezeyeh Sharafi



Tell us a little about yourself. Fawezeyeh volunteers as an Arabic Interpreter for the Cooking Matters program.  She recently shared her skills with a class at ACCESS in Sterling Heights.

Fawezeyeh moved to the United States in 1979 where she met her husband, married, and had four children.  When her son was very young, he spent many months in the hospital.  At the time, Fawezeyeh was still learning English.  In order to communicate with her son's medical team, Fawezeyeh taught herself English during her son's time in the hospital.

Fawezeyeh has always enjoyed preparing healthy, affordable meals from scratch.  After her son was diagnosed with liver disease as a baby, Fawezeyeh learned to adapt her cooking to be even friendlier to her son's medical needs.  She still cooks in a way that supports his medical condition.  Recently, Fawezeyeh began adapting her recipes to be gluten and lactose free; adapting and experimenting until they meet her extremely high standards for both taste and health.

After her children were grown, Fawezeyeh turned her love of caring for children into a business.  Fawezeyeh ran her own day care for 18 years.  She has since retired, but is very proud of the character and accomplishments of the children who spent their first years in her care.

What led you to the Cooking Matters Program?

Fawezeyeh has always enjoyed cooking and baking very healthy meals from scratch.  She was very pleased to find the Cooking Matters Program, as it is very in keeping with her own beliefs that healthy cooking and lifestyle are achievable on a budget.  Fawezeyeh also loves to work with people.

When a friend of Fawezeyeh's learned the Cooking Matters program needed an Arabic Interpreter, she thought of Fawezeyeh, and reached out to make the introduction.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the Cooking Matters team?

Fawezeyeh enjoys helping others!  She says she has had a lot of help from others, and enjoys giving her help to others, in kind.

Fawezeyeh enjoys helping others learn to cook and eat healthier, on a budget.  She enjoys sharing her knowledge, and also enjoys learning even more about healthy cooking, herself.

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share?

Fawezeyeh enjoys Participants very much!  She likes to see the interest in Participants' faces, and likes to help them.  She especially enjoys that the Participants in her class at ACCESS did not want the class to end.  Fawezeyeh also enjoys the Grocery Store Tour.

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen?

Fawezeyeh always keeps lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber in her kitchen, as she loves to make and serve salads.  She also has homemade hummus in her kitchen at all times.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Fawezeyeh enjoys time with her family and friends, especially her grandchildren.  She also loves to cook, bake, and share with others.

Fawezeyeh also loves to volunteer.  She shares this interest with her children, especially her son, who speaks regularly on behalf of organ donation.


Volunteer Spotlight: Ashley Perold



Tell us a little about yourself: 

My husband received a job opportunity here, so we moved to Detroit almost a year ago from Brooklyn. I lived in NY for 14 years working as a fashion designer. It’s been a big change, but we’re loving our new life. Since the move I’ve taken some time from my career and have focused on getting involved in our community, which is what led me to Cooking Matters.

 I was raised in a two-flat just outside Chicago.  The family that lived below us were my parents best friends, and also owned a restaurant. I waitressed and worked in their restaurant when I was in high school. Food was always a large focus for our family. We had sit-down home cooked family dinners every night of the week.  Even though my mom and dad worked full time, it was always a priority for them. I’ve continued the tradition and made cooking and family meals a priority with my husband.

What led you to the Cooking Matters program? 

I knew after our move to Detroit, I wanted to volunteer and get involved in the community. I did online searches and came across the site for Cooking Matters. It fit everything I was looking for.

What is your favorite part of being a member of the Cooking Matters team? 

The last class I volunteered for was a family class. I loved working with the kids. My husband and I are expecting our first child in two months. Being in a room of wild six year olds who couldn’t wait to chop vegetables and help in anyway possible was pretty awesome to see. They also seemed to love all the healthy food we made, which was really encouraging.

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share? 

The first class I volunteered for was at a veterans home.  One of the gentleman came up to me after class and simply said, “Thank you for taking the time to be here. It really means a lot us.” It was a simple message, but I could see how meaningful the Cooking Matters program is for it’s participants.  It stuck with me.

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen? 

You will always find fresh herbs in my kitchen. One of my favorite things about my move from NY to Detroit is that I have a yard, and right outside my backdoor is an herb garden. Fresh herbs add so much flavor and color to food, and the best part is that they’re healthy!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Cook. During the past year, at least once a week, I pick a dish I’ve never made before, usually a cuisine I’m not very familiar, and make an elaborate dinner. I feel really fortunate to have the time and space to be able to experiment with food.

Volunteer Spotlight: Ed Slawinski


ed-s-graduation-cropped Tell us a little about yourself. "I have worked at General Motors for the last 30 years. I have worked for several companies over that time supporting GM, and became an actual employee a little over three years ago. I guess you could say that I'm a geek. I work in the IT department at General Motors. I  participate in the engineering of, and building of the servers at General Motors. I really enjoy what I do.

My first jobs after I graduated from U of M were in the food and beverage industry.  I worked at several restaurants where I held assorted jobs including waiter, cook, and manager.  I worked as food and beverage manager at a major hotel.  After getting married and having a child, I decided to change industries for something in an office setting, working less holidays and weekends. I maintained my love for cooking and food preparation and continued it as a hobby. As an avid hunter I learned how to process and cook wild game.

A few years ago I found myself suffering from numerous ailments. I found myself confronted with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and taking numerous medications for them. One day, I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. Upon learning that these ailments are diet related, I set out on quest to improve the quality of my health.  I started to exercise and eat more healthy. I went from eating processed junk food to making the majority of my food from scratch. I have lost a considerable amount of weight, and have been able to get off the majority of my medications, I still fight every day to become healthier and eat better. I have learned a lot from the research that I have done as a result of cooking matters". 

What led you to the Cooking Mattes Program? "I learned about the cooking matters program on the GM cares website. The GM cares website was established to provide information about different volunteer opportunities in the area.

At the website they recommend that you find a cause that you are passionate about. I do love cooking, and when I found this opportunity, I felt it would be a perfect fit.

I volunteered for one class, enjoyed it so much, that I haven't stopped since".

What is your favorite thing about being part of the Cooking Matters team? "Doing what I enjoy and helping others to change their diets and lives and getting people excited about cooking.

I love it when classes get excited about cooking and trying new things and experimenting with the recipes".

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share? "There really is not one particular moment that stands out. There are a lot of great moments.  I like to make and bring different things for the classes to try.

The look on their faces as they try and LIKE the different healthy grains and vegtables that they have never tried before is fun.

I really enjoy the family classes.  Seeing the kids getting excited about chopping, cooking,  eating healthy and trying new things.

To see the students get excited about cooking is a wonderful thing.  Helping educate others about how easy it is to eat healthy fresh food".

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen? "Since I tend to make the majority of my food, my pantry is stocked full of different spices and ingredients.  I love cooking different styles of food including Asian, Indian, Mexican, Polish, Chinese, so I have a lot of different ingredients. I grow my own micro greens in my kitchen, and maintain an herb garden as well. I am a strong proponent of raw milk and use it to make my own Kefir, yogurt, mozzarella and Farmer's cheese".

What do you like to do in your spare time? "I like cooking the most. I also enjoy hunting and cooking any game that I get.  I am also a do-it-yourselfer around the house and love doing home improvement".

Volunteer Spotlight: Bonnie Green


bonnie-green Tell us a little about yourself. "I'm a senior in Dietetics at Madonna University! My dream is to one day be a dietitian after I complete an internship next year. I love all aspects of my field, but I find a strong draw to nutrition education. I'm also a Detroit native! My family has been involved at the Eastern Market in Downtown Detroit for 90 years. I love all kinds of animals, and I love all kinds of food!"

What led you to the Cooking Matters Program? "I found Cooking Matters when looking for volunteer opportunities through Madonna. It sounded like something I could easily handle as a student, but I could still share my nutrition knowledge with the community".

What is your favorite part of volunteering with the Cooking Matters Program? "My favorite thing is getting to know the class participants throughout the six weeks. Sometimes, their eyes will light up and have that 'ah-ha!' moment where something I say really sticks and makes sense, and that makes the whole experience so much more meaningful".

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share? "My second class was one of my favorites. It was a class for Parents of Preschoolers; on the last day, one of the parents brought in a card for everyone to sign thanking me for teaching them. When I got home and read the card, it said 'You'll be a great dietitian one day!' That card meant so much to me, and it continues to motivate me as a student".

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen? "I love flavorful ingredients! Cumin, bay leaves, pie spice, and lavender are staple dried spices. I have a lot of baking staples, various kinds of teas, dried fruits, and frozen veggies. Having basic ingredients gives you a lot of options when it comes to cooking!"

What do you like to do in your spare time? "When I'm not cooking, baking, or studying, I love to crochet, visit cats at the animal shelter, or instructing yoga on campus. I also love trying new foods and exploring Metro Detroit".


Volunteer Spotlight: Maria Urquidi

Maria U

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I retired to Detroit three years ago because it seemed like an interesting place to live, with an abundance of volunteer opportunities. I have not been disappointed! I have always been interested in many of the issues that impact Detroit today - food justice, transportation, education, affordable housing, urban planning - and being retired gives me the opportunity to get involved in ways I couldn't when I was working and raising a family.


What led you to the Cooking Matters Program? 

I began volunteering at Gleaners shortly after I moved to Detroit because of the important work they do to address food security. I started as a volunteer in the warehouse helping the pantry partners load their orders and I was surprised when they were not enthusiastic about some of the healthy foods that were available FREE to the pantries. Often I was told "The people who come to my pantry don't eat that" (red peppers) or "People wouldn't know how to cook that" (rutabagas)." When I heard about the Cooking Matters Program, I realized that it addressed that problem perfectly, not only by introducing people to healthy foods and the reason to eat them, but also by showing how simply those foods could be prepared. I signed up as a Class Assistant on the spot!


What is your favorite part of volunteering with the Cooking Matters Program? 

As with all of my Detroit experiences, my favorite part of volunteering with the Cooking Matters Program is the people. The instructors, volunteer nutritionists and cooks, are generous with their time and knowledge, and the participants match their enthusiasm. My favorite class was the CM for Families where parents attend with their children. Now when the parent skips a stop for fast food in favor of making turkey tacos at home, their child will not only understand the reason but will be able to help make the tacos.


What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen? 

You will always find olive oil, garlic, onions and carrots in my kitchen; apples, avocados and bananas in my fruit bowl; and bacon ends in my freezer. (I buy them from the fresh pork dealer who sells in Shed 3 at Eastern Market every winter and then freeze them so I can toss a few pieces into some of the healthy things I cook, like kale or collards.) Oh, and pecan raisin bread from the Capuchin's bakery!


What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I love exploring Detroit by bicycle, both on group rides and just as part of my daily routine. One of my favorite things about Detroit are the social bike rides so you will always find me on Slow Roll. I also enjoy the arts and can't believe how lucky we are to have such high quality art and music available here, either free and at low-cost.


Do you have a recipe you would like to share with us?

I discovered Kale Pesto several years ago and now it is a staple in my freezer. I use it on pasta, roasted carrots, pizza. It is easy to make if you have a blender or food processor and it keeps for a long time in the freezer.


½ cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 small bunch (about 1/2 pound) lacinato kale, center ribs removed

⅓ cup toasted pine nuts (or walnuts)

2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped (and/or garlic scapes)

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (important!)

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; have ready a bowl of ice water.

Drop kale into boiling water and cook for 45 seconds.

Use tongs or slotted spoon to transfer kale to ice water. (You can skip this part if it seems like too much trouble)

Drain kale well, then wrap tightly in a dry kitchen towel and squeeze thoroughly to remove any excess moisture.

Roughly chop leaves.

In a food processor, pulse together kale, nuts, garlic, salt and lemon zest until mixture is smooth and salt has dissolved.

With motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until fully incorporated.

Taste and add more salt dissolved in a little lemon juice, if necessary.


Volunteer Spotlight: Richard Grenn


Richard Grenn

We first met Richard Grenn last summer when he began volunteering as a Class Assistant with the Cooking Matters program. His interests, enthusiasm for healthy lifestyle, and positive attitude make him a valuable addition to any class.


Tell us a little about yourself. 

Richard is a native of Metro Detroit. He was born in Detroit, and raised in Birmingham. He enjoys friends, activity, and staying current in his fields of interest: Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Physiology, Biophysics, and Integrative Medicine.


Richard attended Grand Valley State University, where he received a BS in Biomedical Sciences and Chemistry. He then moved to Washington D.C. to attend Georgetown. At Georgetown, he earned an MS in Physiology and Biophysics, with a focus on Complementary and Integrative Medicine.


After Georgetown, Richard returned to the Motor City. He enjoys tutoring his favorite subjects: the sciences. Richard will attend Medical School this fall, though he hasn’t made his final decision where. He is very interested in working with patients holistically; gravitating to diet, exercise, and stress reduction as key prescriptions for health.


What led you to the Cooking Matters program? 

Richard’s friend Katie Costello was aware of Richard’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and belief that diet, exercise, and stress reduction are key determinants of health. As a member of the team at United Way, Katie was aware of Cooking Matters, and suggested Richard might appreciate the opportunity to work with the program. He has been enjoying his work as a Classroom Assistant, supporting a program that provides participants with the knowledge, skills, and support to make the lifestyle changes he believes in so strongly!


What is your favorite part of being part of the Cooking Matters team? 

Richard has especially enjoyed the people he has had the opportunity to work with through the Cooking Matters program. He tells me, “Volunteers and Coordinators are so good at what they do it is very enjoyable! Everyone knows what they want to do, and are PASSIONATE about what they’re doing.”


What ingredient will we always find in your kitchen? 

Ginger is Richard’s secret ingredient. He is impressed by ginger’s many studied health benefits, and also the kick it adds to things like smoothies, dressings, and many other favorites. In fact, he says,


“I add ginger to everything.”


What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Richard is a role model for a healthy lifestyle. In his spare time, he enjoys basketball, rock climbing, wake boarding, running, and volleyball. He recently participated in a triathlon, and 5k.


Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? 

Richard did not have a recipe to share with us. He told me that “All my culinary tricks are things I learned in Cooking Matters.”


Recently when a friend asked Richard his ideas for seasoning baked sweet potato fries, Richard excused himself. He made his way to his car where he found his Cooking Matters book. When he returned, he confidently suggested paprika, cayenne pepper, and perhaps curry powder.


“I do have some tricks, and they all came from the book.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Melanie Wierda


melaniewierda Tell us a little about yourself. Hello! I am registered dietitian, and I currently work with individuals who no longer have kidney function at a dialysis unit in Detroit.

What led you to Cooking Matters? I became involved with Cooking Matters when I was student at Wayne State University and I had the opportunity to complete a practicum with the organization through the Dietetics program. It was a great experience that laid a solid foundation for continued involvement since.

When did you first become interested in nutrition? I became interested in nutrition during my first year of college. At this time, I gained awareness of how crucial proper nutrition is for long-term health.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I enjoy running, exploring farmers’ markets, and spending the day at Belle Isle Beach on hot summer days.

What ingredients do you always keep in your kitchen? No matter the week, I always have nut butter, apples, popcorn kernels, canned black beans and plain Greek yogurt. I like to keep meal preparation simple and easy most days.

Volunteer Spotlight: Steven LaFraniere

Rebecca Blauw

Steve Tell us about yourself. I’ve been cooking since I was 18. I still love it today after 40 years. One of reasons I do it is because I like to see other people enjoy my food and the things that I make. I’ve been working at Capuchin Soup Kitchen for 20 years. I am the assistant chef and prepare all the meals. We serve breakfast and lunch at the Meldrum site. I also work with our volunteers every day and guide them to do the things that needs to be done.

What does the Capuchin Soup Kitchen do as an organization? Capuchin offer services to those in need without charging any fees. We do a lot more than meals – we arrange for showers, clothing, AA meetings, and a garden program. We provide our neighborhood with services. We’re there to serve the people and help make their lives a little easier .

What is your experience with the Cooking Matters program? When I did my first Cooking Matters class, it was called Share Our Strength. I was a resident at Jefferson house, where I teach classes now. Back then we talked about the food pyramid, but otherwise class went the same way. A chef from Union Street a restaurant in Detroit came in and worked with us. I liked the fact that he came in and taught us. It made me want to pay it forward. I left Jefferson House and have been in recovery for 22 years. When Cooking Matters came along later, my boss Allison Costello started doing a class at Gleaners for single mothers. That’s when I became involved as a volunteer. This was my seventh year teaching the guys at Jefferson House.

What do you enjoy about volunteering? I have learned so much from working with volunteers at CSK and how enjoyable it can be.  Two or three guys come from Jefferson House help at Capuchin every day. It’s a nine month program. We get them to come and help work in the kitchen. After I work with them in the Cooking Matters class, things change. I build a better relationship with the group. They have a whole different attitude. Some of the guys are really interested in cooking, but some don’t really care that much. I try to gear the class towards them as much as possible. I want to show them skills they could use if they have a date over or want to impress their families, and how to keep within a budget. Some of the guys have never been in a kitchen before in their lives. It’s fun when you find someone who can’t cook and egg and they get really into it. Because Jefferson House is a residential program, we do the classes a little differently there. We do a competition for final week – one team makes an entrée and the other does dessert and salad. We plan the menu week four, shop for the ingredients week five, and make the food week six. As much as we can, we give them free range to give their input and create the meal.

Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share?

Roasted Vegetables or Potatoes

Ingredients: Vegetables of of choice (I like yellow squash, green zucchini, roma tomatoes, fresh asparagus, red, green & yellow peppers, and  fresh garlic - chopped or bulb, or potatoes)

Directions: Cut veggies into 1/2 inch pieces In a large bowl combine: 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons chopped garlic Fresh or dried herbs Basil Thyme Oregano Marjoram Paprika Sea salt Pepper Place veggies in bowl and toss. Put seasoned veggies on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 mins until tender, or place in foil and put on a grill for 15 to 20 mins. If doing red skin or white potatoes, cook ½ hour to 45 mins until tender.

Volunteer Spotlight: Stacy Miller

Rebecca Blauw

Stacy Miller Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a mother and my children are grown. I have been in the food industry all of my adult life.  A few years ago I watched a movie called A Place at the Table that totally changed the way I think about everything related to food. That’s how I found out about Gleaners and the Cooking Matters program.  I know about food, am good with people, and have time to volunteer, so I was hoping I could make a difference.

When did you first get involved in the food industry?

My first job was at the local Dairy Queen when I was 13 years old.  I saw other kids my age working there and asked how they were able to get a job when they were so young.  They told me to go to the counseling office to get a green card saying my grades were high enough to handle working and studying.   I wanted a job to make money, so I did it.  It’s been a natural progression from there.  I moved on to dishwashing, waitressing, and cooking.  I went to culinary school to study cakes and pastries.  I have one more semester left to finish my degree.  Right now I’m a cake decorator for Costco.  Once I started working around food, I never stopped except to focus on photography for three years – but depending on what you photograph that could be food related too!

What ingredients do you always have in your kitchen?

A wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and Greek yogurt.  I was a vegetarian for several years before I slowly started reincorporating meat into my diet, but mostly we eat fruits and vegetables at home.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with Cooking Matters?

I’m volunteering in my 4th Cooking Matters class and have worked with teens, middle school students, and now kids in the 3rd to 5th grades.  I like seeing kids try to eat stuff that they’ve never seen before.  Some of them are convinced that they won’t like certain things, but when they taste them they get it right away.


Is there a recipe that you would like to share?

One of my favorites is actually a Cooking Matters recipe: Southwestern Black-eyed Pea and Corn Salad.  I like to change it up depending on what I have on hand; it’s so easy.  I’ve started taking this salad to parties when I know that the only food options will be hamburgers, hotdogs, and desserts.


Southwestern Black-eyed Pea and Corn Salad

Serves 10, 3/4 cup per serving



1 medium bell pepper

1 small red onion

2 (15½ ounce) cans black-eyed peas

1 (15¼ ounce) can corn kernels, no salt added

3 Tablespoons canola oil

2 Tablespoons vinegar

1 teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional Ingredients:

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves



Can opener


Cutting board

Large bowl

Measuring spoons

Mixing spoon

Sharp knife



  1. Rinse and dice bell pepper, removing core and seeds. Peel, rinse, and dice onion.
  2. If using, rinse and chop cilantro leaves.
  3. In a colander, drain and rinse black-eyed peas and corn.
  4. In a large bowl, add pepper, onion, peas, corn, cilantro if using, and remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Chef's Notes

Dried black-eyed peas may be cheaper than canned. If using dried, cook according to package directions until peas are soft but not mushy. Drain, rinse, and add 3 cups cooked peas to salad. Use leftovers in other recipes later in the week.

Try chilling the salad. Serve it over cooked spinach or kale.

Use any type of vinegar you have on hand. Try balsamic, cider, or red or white wine vinegar.

Use black beans in place of black-eyed peas if you like.

When corn is in season, use fresh in place of canned. Cook 4 medium ears corn. Remove kernels from cob with a knife. Add to salad.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kelly Voelker

Rebecca Blauw

Fall 2015 Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I am a happily married mother of 13-year-old twin boys.  My husband works for Ford and I am employed by the Livingston Educational Services Agency doing nutrition education with the PE-Nut Program in elementary schools.  We are an active family, doing lots of traveling, hiking, bicycling and geocaching together.  We lived in Salvador, Brazil from 2011-2014, enjoying travel to many parts of South America as well as going on safari in South Africa.  We have a dog and a hamster who have not yet learned how to get along with each other.

What made you decide to pursue a career in dietetics? 

My Grandma (who has passed) was very focused on preventive health and nutrition back in the 70's, before anyone knew the value of good food.  I spent a lot of time with her and picked up her love of healthy, natural, clean eating.  I also worked for 17 years in a pediatric dental office with practitioners who preached a healthy diet to their young patients.  I love how something as enjoyable as food can make such a difference in many areas of body health, actually healing the body the way medicine does, but without the side effects.  I left the dental field in 2003 and returned to school for a degree in dietetics.

How did you find out about Cooking Matters?

We had just moved back from Brazil and I was looking for some experience in my new dietetics career path.  I had done some other volunteer work with Gleaners in the past and thought it was a good organization that fulfilled a crucial need in our community.  I saw the Cooking Matters program on their website and felt it would be a good fit for my interests and talents.   

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with our program?

I love the other volunteers and coordinators I have worked with.  They are great people who have such a passion for helping others.  It is such a fun class for the teachers as well as the students.  Everyone enjoys it. 

Do you have any tips for those who are trying to make healthy lifestyle changes this year?

The biggest thing I have learned about health is that we need to keep moving.  In any way possible.  Your brain, body and emotions are much more fit with regular exercise.  I have stopped trying to make things physically easier for myself.  I take stairs, walk when I can, bike to the store (don't forget a bag or basket for purchases), and do yoga in the house.  Nearly everything I have heard and read in the past five years emphasizes the importance of physical activity.

Is there a recipe you would like to share with us?

I love to make my own applesauce.  It is lower in sugar than the jarred version, and I can use whatever apples are in season or my favorite - Jonathans.  Plus you can serve it warm and add yummy toppings, like curled apple peels, shredded carrots, raisins, chopped pecans, or even granola.  Here is what I do.

Homemade applesauce

8-10 apples, cored and peeled

(If you have a food mill, leave the peel on until finished cooking for a nice pink color)

1 cup of water

1 Tbs. lemon juice (optional)

1/4 cup white or brown sugar (optional)  1 tsp. cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)

  1. Cut apples in quarters or eighths, depending on their size.
  2. (a) If cooking on stove, put water and lemon juice in a large pot and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, add apples and cinnamon, cover and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes, until apples are mushy.  Turn off heat and let apples cool slightly, remove cinnamon if using sticks, stir in the sugar, then smash with a potato masher or food mill. (b) If cooking in a crock pot, add apples, sugar, water, lemon juice and cinnamon.  Cover and cook on low for four hours.
  3. Turn off the heat, let apples cool slightly, remove cinnamon sticks, then smash with a potato masher or food mill.  The potato masher creates a "chunky" style applesauce.  The food mill gives a slightly smoother texture.  If you like it pureed, use a food processor or blender.

You can add this to muffin recipes in place of oil (pureed works best), or use with fruit in a blender for smoothies, or mix in with plain yogurt for some flavor, and even add with drizzled honey on top of ice cream.



Volunteer Spotlight: Deborah Lieder

Rebecca Blauw

HPIM2544 Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Deborah. I have been cooking in the field for 10 years now. I come from a family with lots of women and my grandma was the one who allowed me to spend the most time with her in the kitchen. As I got older, I had the opportunity to nanny for a Greek family, where the wife showed me various traditional dishes and even complied a recipe book for me. Upon leaving high school, I chose to go into the Culinary program though Schoolcraft. I also did a supplementary training in Boulder, CO that was focused on using whole foods and cooking without, i.e. dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, vegan, raw, sugar-free etc. I have worked in every facet of the culinary field, from restaurants to catering and even school lunch programs. I am now in a place where I am developing and growing my own business; I have personal clients that I cater weekly meals to as well as parties. It is very exciting to watch it unfold.

 When did you first become interested in cooking?

 As far as I can remember, I always loved being in the kitchen. I would throw dinner parties for my friends throughout high school so I could test my skills. I have always loved the idea of good food, good people, good conversation and good drink. I love the community that comes from sitting around the table to a good meal. And I have the ability to recreate that every time I cater a party.

What ingredient do you use most?

 The one staple in my kitchen is organic Chicken Stock. I make my own, over a period of about 14-16 hours. It adds such richness and depth to dishes.

What is your fondest food memory?

 Last year, I was able to attend something called Outstanding in the Field. It was a beautiful experience. A group of individuals tour the country, find various farms, have a guest chef come in and prepare a meal based upon ingredients the farm provides. They, then, set up a huge 100 person table, with white linens, in the middle of the farm, and everyone sits to eat what the chef has prepared. It totally encompasses my idea of communing at the table.

How did you end up volunteering for Cooking Matters?

I am a firm believer in that what we receive in life, so must we give back. Because I have experience in the culinary field, and love to teach that which I have learned, Cooking Matters seemed prefect. And it is. J I completely love and feel blessed for the opportunity to be apart of.

Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share?

One dish I am completely loving right now is this:


1 ea. Turkey Breast

1 T. Oregano, dried

1 t. Fennel Seed

1 T. Salt, divided

½ T. Pepper divided

4 T. Olive Oil, divided

1 ea. Celery Root

2 c. Chicken Stock or Water

1 ea. Fennel bulb

Method: Heat oven to 425

Season Turkey Breast. In large sauté pan, heat 1 T. olive oil. Sear Turkey Breast until golden brown. Finish cooking in the oven.

For celery root, peel outer layer. Cut into large chunks and place into medium saucepan. Fill with chicken stock, if using, or simply water. Once celery root is soft, remove from heat and drain liquid.   Place into mixing bowl. Mash with paddle or whisk attachment, adding in 1-2 T. olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.

For the fennel, de-core, and slice in to half inch slices. Toss with 1 T. olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

On a plate, place celery root mash, then turkey breast, and top with fennel. Enjoy!!

Volunteer Spotlight: Omega Headen

Rebecca Blauw

Omega 1 Tell us about yourself.

I am a single parent and have a teenage son. I took an early retirement from the post office a few years ago. I spend most of my time volunteering because it’s what I like to do. I’m a professional volunteer now. I grew up in Detroit and have lived here my whole life.

How did you find out about Cooking Matters?

It was at my son’s school. They did a phone blast to recruit parents who wanted to take a cooking class on healthy eating on a budget. I was a participant, and I really enjoyed it. After class I was so enthused. It thought this was something I could learn to do. I talked to Julie, the chef from Henry Ford, and she gave me Rebecca’s business card. I’ve been volunteering for a little over a year now.

Why do you think it’s important to eat well?

It can help you live longer, for one thing. When you know better, you do better. I never used to think of food as something that was important for health. I always thought of it as more of a hunger pill – something to fill you up. It can be easy to reach of a bag of chips instead of an apple, but you just have to do it. A lot of healthy living is doing.

Do you have any tips for shopping smart on a budget?

I do a lot of my shopping at Honey Bee Market. I go to the reduced shelf at the grocery store and look for fruits and vegetables that have been marked down to a great price. Just because something has been reduced doesn’t mean that you can’t use within the next few days or chop it up and freeze it for later. Sometimes items that are on sale are things I don’t usually use, so I try to buy only what I need. I purchase my meat from Eastern Market. I keep a list of what I need and prices and get it fresh at the counter.

You’ve just begun a term on the Volunteer Advisory Committee. What are you looking forward to about serving on the committee?

I’m looking forward to finding ways to expand Cooking Matters classes so that more people can learn about the it and have the experience that I did. We have a very diverse community in Detroit, and I would like to help reach everyone with this program.

Jessie grad

Volunteer Spotlight: Maxine Edwards

Rebecca Blauw

  Maxine Edwards

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Alabama. I am married and the youngest of six. I started my first career in upstate New York after completing my 1st bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. My job relocated me to Michigan in 2000 where I worked as a Software Engineer until 2009. I am a recent 2015 graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a 2nd Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics. I am currently busy studying for the RD - Registration Examination for Dietitian Nutritionists. I was recently awarded a Community Service Award by my church, Triumph Church, during the 2015 Pastor’s Scholars recognition program. This honor was bestowed upon students who were actively involved in volunteerism and community service while maintaining high academic levels

When did you decide to pursue a career in dietetics?

After spending 24 years in the field of Computer Science, I was looking for something that would really be helpful to others. I wanted to provide information for healthy living through healthier diets for others live longer, quality lives. I enjoy baking and I really enjoy cooking and modifying recipes to make them healthier. We all enjoy eating! We all can do better, sometimes by making very simple changes if we only have the information. When we know better, we can do better. In addition, diabetes has impacted my loved ones - my father, many in his family, and even my husband. Making informed eating decisions are an important part of maintaining a healthy weight, preventing or delaying the complications of diabetes, reducing the risk of other chronic disease or managing chronic diseases, and promoting overall health.

What led you to Cooking Matters?

I learned about Cooking Matters while attending a SEMDA (Southeastern Michigan Dietetic Association) meeting. I was inspired to volunteer with Cooking Matters because the program offers nutrition information to participants to help them make healthier choices and cook meals that are delicious, healthy and affordable, which are exactly some of the reasons I pursued a career in dietetics.

What is your fondest food memory?

I really love fruit. Growing up in Alabama, I loved visiting my grandparents who had a farm. On the farm, my grandfather had all kinds of fruits and vegetables. I can remember being able to pick strawberries, apples, plums, pears, peaches, and figs. He also has watermelon, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, and all kinds of different vegetables and nut trees. My grandmother was an excellent cook who made wonderful dishes out of the harvested produce.

Is there are healthy recipe you would like to share with our volunteers?

While in school I did a demonstration on how to make a dessert pizza that is not only delicious, but full of nutrients and not just empty calories. The pizza is made with a cookie crust that can be made from scratch or you can use a pre-prepared cookie dough or cookie mix. What I really like is that you can make your own cookie crust and that way you can control the amount of butter and sugar that’s used.

The toppings on the cookie crust include a cream cheese mixture as the “sauce” which is topped with fruits of your choice. This is great because you can select your favorite fruits. If you want to save a little money, because fruit can get a little expensive, you can select fruits that are in season which will be cheaper or catch them on sale.


Fruit Pizza

Fruit Pizza

Yield: 12-16 servings          Prep:   35 min. + chilling     Bake: 15 min. + cooling



1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt



4 ounces cream cheese, softened (or reduced fat)

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1 cup whipped topping (or fat free topping)

Sliced fresh strawberries

Kiwifruit, peeled and thinly sliced

Fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries

Or fruits of your choice



  1. In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and beat well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Press dough into a greased 12-in. x 14-in. pizza pan. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. For topping, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Add whipped topping; mix well. Spread over crust. Arrange fruit on top. Store in the refrigerator.

© Taste of Home 2014 – Adapted from Summer Dessert Pizza


Volunteer Spotlight: Angelina Adkins

Rebecca Blauw

Angelina Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I love what I do: cooking and teaching others how to cook. It’s my passion. I love working with children and believe in educating them early on finance, budgeting, shopping, and cooking – basic survival skills that they will need to make their way in the world.

I graduated with my Associates degree in Culinary Arts from Henry Ford College on May 9, and will finish my second degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management next year. I’ve been invited by Henry Ford College to go to China for a 15 day study abroad program next month. We’re going to Beijing, Shanghai, and Qingdao, and will visit the Great Wall and Forbidden City. I am beyond excited!  I am also in the Bake Club, Ice Carving Club and Student Council. In Ice Carving Club, I have been in many competitions, but nothing like Frankenmuth Zehnder’s Snowfest. It is one of the top snow and ice sculpting events in North America. In January 2015, I won two bronzes metals. I am going back in 2016 for my gold.

I am the proud mother of two gorgeous young ladies, Nubiannaa, who is 15, and Brianna, who is 12. Both of them love to cook, but they don’t want to be cooks. They are my inspiration. I love my babies.

How did you first become interested in cooking?

I come from a large family with 13 kids total, and we grew up under the poverty line. I cooked a lot when I was young. We had to get creative to make things last. Sometimes it was hard to get one meal on the table, let alone three. I didn’t know it at the time, but the things I was learning then are the things I am doing and teaching now.

When did you decide to take a more formal approach to the culinary arts?

I had a few jobs in the cooking field, and the last one was at a little mom and pop restaurant. They suggested that I go to school to get my culinary degree because they could see that it’s my passion. At first I enrolled at Oakland Community College, but it ended up being a little too far to drive. I switched to Henry Ford College, which also has a great program. It’s allowed me to participate in some great things and great events. I’ve met some great people, including a few celebrity chefs, and made great connections.

What inspires you as a culinary instructor?

My inspiration is helping others. I want everyone to learn how to feed everyone in their house real well with what they’ve got and not have to cook the same thing all the time. I want to show people that they can have variety and more healthy items.

What tips do you have for eating well on a tight budget?

Use the internet. You can find almost anything on there, even on a budget. Use recipes as a guideline, or look online for recipes that use the ingredient you already have. Always start your shopping trip at the outside of the grocery store.

What do you like about volunteering for Cooking Matters?

I loved all the classes I taught, but I especially like working with children. They have so much enthusiasm and a willingness to try anything.

Do you have a recipe you would like to share?

Spinach Pie


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds spinach, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 sheets phyllo dough
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach and parsley, and continue to sauté until spinach is limp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, and feta. Stir in spinach mixture.
  4. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling.
  1. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.


  • For bite sized pies, layer about 4 or 5 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with olive oil. Cut into 5 Spinach Piestrips. Take 1 tablespoon or more of spinach mixture place on one end, and fold phyllo dough over until you reach the other end. Follow baking time and temp, or freeze for later.  Makes a quick and healthy after school or work snack or even lunch.
  • Aluminum foil or parchment paper can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Read more about Angelina in this Al Jazeera America article.

Volunteer Spotlight: Lee Visci

Rebecca Blauw

Lee VisciTell us a little about yourself.

I am an engineer, a wife, and a mom. I just retired from General Motors after 38 years – 34 of that were spent in Engineering. I am going to enjoy a fantastic Michigan summer while I figure out what to do next. I am married to Don and we just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary last month. I have two daughters, Katharine and Elizabeth. Katharine just graduated from Michigan State, and will do her student teaching in Chicago in the fall. Elizabeth is studying business at Western Michigan.

What is your fondest food memory?

Graham Cracker Pie! This is a dessert that my grandmother made at the holidays, and my entire family went nuts for it. We ate the leftovers for breakfast. It is basically a cooked vanilla custard in a cinnamon-y graham cracker crust, topped with more crumbs. I am now the designated family Graham Cracker Pie maker – and I make 8 of them every Thanksgiving and Christmas, because everyone wants one to take home! It is a labor of love, because I literally dirty every pot and pan in my kitchen in the process.

How did you find out about Cooking Matters?

Before retiring, I started looking at the list of volunteer opportunities that General Motors posts on our company website. The program sounded just perfect for me – and so far, it is!

What are your hobbies?

Cooking, of course! My favorite day is Saturday, when I start at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. I get inspired by ingredients, and then spend Sunday in the kitchen cooking and prepping for the week ahead. I also love to walk, do crossword puzzles, travel (doing the planning is almost as good as the going) and putter in my back yard. Now that I am not working, I would like to see if I can get better at golf. I love to play with my husband.

Why does cooking matter to you?

Cooking is just the precursor to having my family together around the table. It is fun for me to find new recipes and try them out on my family. And cooking is the very best way to make sure that the money I spend on food is not wasted. Again, since I am not working, it has become a game to see how I can use everything in the refrigerator without waste.

Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share?

Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts! I love the Smitten Kitchen blog – and I stole this from there. It has become a family favorite. I just made it yesterday – and the leftovers are great for lunch the next day!

Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts "Please consider this a tale of two recipes, one that’s bare bones (add the raisins, walnuts and crumbs without the extra prep) and one if you’d like to get a little more depth from each. Both work, but the slightly longer prep (toasting the nuts, the crumbs in olive oil, plumping the raisins, etc.) really makes the salad sing and will not be regretted. You can choose your own adventure, too, doing more for some ingredients and less for others.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup (105 grams or 3 3/4 ounces) walnut halves or pieces 1/4 cup (45 grams or 1 1/2 ounces) golden raisins 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon water 1/4 cup panko (15 grams or 1/2 ounce) or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs (from a thin slice of hearty bread) 1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed Coarse or kosher salt 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 bunch (about 14 ounces or 400 grams) tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale; this is the thinner, flatter leaf variety), washed and patted dry 2 ounces (55 grams) pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor, which makes it delightfully rubbly (1/2 cup total) Juice of half a lemon Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions: Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop. Prepare raisins: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid. Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside. Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. I always find removing the ribs annoying with a knife, because the leaves want to roll in on the knife and make it hard to get a clean cut. Instead, I’ve taken to tearing the ribs off with my fingers, which is much easier for me. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise. Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil."

Volunteer Spotlight: Heather Langille

Rebecca Blauw

P1060913 Tell us a little about yourself. I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, and have lived in many places in Canada, from the “far east” in Newfoundland to the far north in the Northwest Territories. My work as a Registered Dietitian with a Masters in Health Education has mostly been in public health and health promotion, with a focus on disease prevention. I moved to Michigan about eight years ago after living in Windsor, Ontario for 12 years. I met my husband who was also a member of an outdoor recreation club here in Detroit. We shared a passion for cycling and many other outdoor adventures. We currently live in the country on a dirt road where we love to explore back roads and hiking paths, on bike and on foot.

How did you first become interested in nutrition? This question definitely takes me back, more years than I care to remember! But, I have enjoyed cooking and baking since I was a teenager. Since then, I spent my summers on my bike, getting me from place to place, in my neighborhood and beyond. When it came time to choose a university education, it seemed like a natural progression for me to learn more about nutrition and health.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for Cooking Matters? Being a part of helping participants demystify nutrition and gain new skills when it comes to making healthy food choices is a real treat for me. I get especially excited when participants share their food experiences and skills with one another in the group.

What is your favorite fruit? As with many of my “favorite” foods, they change with the season. But, right now, with Spring finally here in Michigan, I would say that strawberries are my favorite fruit. I enjoy them in many forms - in a smoothie, with yogurt or vanilla ice cream, as part of a salad with lots of greens and a balsamic vinaigrette , and, of course, strawberry shortcake made with biscuits piled high with sweet, juicy strawberries and a dollop of real whipped cream. I also love them just as they are, with no preparation other than washing. They are like Mother Nature’s candy!

Do you have any good tips for eating well? Understanding that all foods can fit is an important part of eating well. This means there is no such thing as a “good” food or a “bad” food. I like to think about foods to eat “most of the time” and foods to eat “occasionally”. Also, learning how to prepare a variety of meals at home that are quick, easy, tasty and healthy will go a long way in eating healthy foods most of the time. For example, start by trying to make one of the recipes from Cooking Matters at least once per week. Keep in mind that by making one small change at a time, it is easier to develop more and more healthy food habits.

Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? Although I’ve tried and enjoyed several of the recipes found in the Cooking Matters manual, lately I’ve been making some version of the Mango Salsa, especially as we enter the Summer months when I tend to grill more. I sometimes add a can of black beans and some frozen corn, or I will replace the cucumber with chopped jicama for a slightly different texture. The great thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile and goes with many dishes, from grilled turkey burgers or grilled chicken breast to being a sandwich filling in a burrito.

Mango Salsa

Serving Size Serves 6, 1/2 cup per serving

Ingredients 2 large ripe mangoes 1 small cucumber 2 medium green onions 1 medium jalapeño pepper 2 medium limes ½ teaspoon salt Pinch of cayenne pepper

Optional Ingredients 1 medium bell pepper ¼ cup fresh cilantro

Materials Cutting board Measuring spoons Medium bowl Plastic wrap Sharp knife


  • Rinse mangoes, cucumber, green onions, jalapeño pepper, limes, and bell pepper, if using.
  • Peel mangoes. Cut mango flesh from the pits.
  • Cut cucumber in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. If using bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise. Remove stems and seeds.
  • Dice mangoes, cucumber, and bell pepper, if using. Finely chop green onions.
  • Cut jalapeño pepper in half lengthwise. Remove stems and seeds and dice.
  • If using, rinse and chop cilantro.
  • Cut limes in half. Squeeze juice from each half into a medium bowl. Discard seeds.
  • Add mangoes, cucumber, green onions, jalapeño, salt, and cayenne pepper to bowl with juice. If using, add bell pepper and cilantro. Mix well.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Chef's Notes Mangoes usually feel a little softer when ripe. If mangoes are not in season or not in your store, use canned peaches or pineapple, packed in juice. Drain before using.

Serve salsa as a dip with Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips. Or, use as a topping for fresh fish or pork, black bean soup, or tacos.

Voice It!

Rebecca Blauw

As a part of her doctoral dissertation, all-star Cooking Matters volunteer Viki Shayna has spent the better part of the last two years investigating how participating in Cooking Matters changed experience with food for women with diabetes.  Her findings were incredible. "Women living in Detroit who attended the Conner Creek Medical Center programs and who completed Cooking Matters were invited to complete a survey and participate in seven-weeks of follow-up classes that combined photography and discussion. The PhotoVoice method was used to collect data, and a phenomenological framework was used to evaluate the data. A comparison group allowed statistical analysis of quantitative medical measurements.

Statistically significant results indicated that women who participated in Cooking Matters had lower Hemoglobin A1c values than those who did not, and that these values continued to drop over a nine-month time period after the classes ended. Furthermore, participants exercised more, ate breakfast more often and read labels more often than non-participants. Participants suffered from less hunger issues than non-participants. Cooking Matters was found to be a financially feasible means to improve the lives both qualitatively and quantitatively of those who participate in the program."

You can see the photos taken by the women who participated above.