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Will your child get to be a CHEF for a Day this year?

While families were scurrying to get everyone ready for the first day of school, area teachers were busy preparing their classrooms and mapping out their lesson plans for the entire school year!  We are so excited that the PB&J Fund gets to be a part of that yearly planning for so many teachers.  We offer a free field trip program to select schools in the Charlottesville area.  Our CHEF for a Day program allows teachers to bring their students to PB&J’s teaching kitchen for an enrichment learning experience that directly supports MATH, SCIENCE, HEALTH, and LANGUAGE ARTS concepts, as well as the SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL skills practiced when working together as a team.  Grade levels included in the program are Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and 3rd Grade.  Each recipe/lesson is designed with grade-level Standards in mind.  (Can you tell a former teacher created this? 😊 ) 

Our dream is that students will have the opportunity to participate all five years, thus, completing five different recipes and their accompanying nutritional lessons.  CHEF for a Day programming started with the 2017-2018 school year and saw over 50 classes participate.  Just two years later, we anticipate that we will host more than 80 classrooms during the 2019-2020 school year.  That’s over 1400 students!!  Thank you to all of the teachers who will make PB&J a part of their students’ learning experience this school year!  We can’t wait to welcome you!

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Let’s eat healthy this school year!

Believe it – or not – We’re back to school!

It’s still hot and muggy outside here in Cville. We’re still wanting ice water over hot tea. And we’re all still wearing our shorts and sandals instead of sweaters and scarves. The other day, walking downtown, we saw the first red leaf on the ground, and were reminded that the start of the school year is somehow only one short week away!

That means early morning buses, packing lunches, running around, and generally less time to make a healthy dinner for your family. But fear not! We’re here with our top 5 helpful ideas to get a healthy dinner on the table!

  1. Start a weekly menu. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or even all that detailed, but having a list of ideas and sticking to it will really help! You don’t have to buy all your groceries in one go, or prep everything in a mad freezing frenzy on Sunday, but having a schedule will take the pressure off of you during the week. If you have a few favorites slot them in, then add a few new favorites, or schedule a night of takeout. You’ll have less of those “What’s for dinner?” moments.
  2. K.I.S.S. Method. Keep it simple on weeknight meals! Aim for quick, easy meals, you don’t have to be Chef Gordon Ramsay (all the time). Choose recipes that have a total prep & cook time of under one hour. Try to limit the number of special ingredients you will need. We even think it’s great to pick a protein and a vegetable and just cook them simply. We recommend stir-frys, fajitas, and kebabs as simple options. Cutting up larger cuts of meat or vegetables makes them cook faster, and let’s them take on more seasoning, too!
  3. One pot/pan wonders. We love a good soup or stew, especially as we move into cooler months. They are easy to make healthy, filling, affordable, and can be made in just one pot! Sheet pan dinners are simple to make, healthy, easy to clean up, and provide plenty of food for the whole fam! We love the 5 ingredient method of The Kitchn for sheet pan dinners. The internet is loaded with healthy one pot/pan ideas so search around and find some inspiration!
  4. Leftover remix! We pick some of our meals just for the leftovers. Some are great just reheated, some take on a wonderful new life in a new dish! Those fajitas from the other day? Great filling for quesadillas tonight! Your pesto noodles from Tuesday? Add some vinaigrette and chopped veggies on Wednesday for an instant pasta salad!
  5. Keep some healthy-ish SOS meals on hand. No matter how well we plan, or how fast we are cooking, there are going to be days where it just isn’t working out. We recommend keeping some SOS meal options on hand for just such occasions. We like whole grain pasta with tomato sauce or a frozen pesto, whole grain mac and cheese, frozen lean white-meat chicken nuggets, low-sodium canned soups, and frozen peas or vegetable blends as quick-cooking, low-fuss meal options. We also like breakfast for dinner: whole grain, low sugar cereals with 2% milk, yogurt and granola, or scrambled eggs all with a side of fruit are great options!
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We love the Boys & Girls Club of Central VA!

The PB&J Fund works with lots of partner non-profits to run our cooking classes. Our partners help us to reach participants who may not know about our programs. Over the course of a semester we typically work with 10 partners and hold 14 classes per week. Some of our current partners include: ReadyKids, Piedmont Housing Alliance, City of Promise, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge. 

One of our extra special partners is the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia, who has worked with us to deliver classes since 2010! Before our kitchen opened we held classes inside the Cherry Avenue and Southwood Clubs. (You may have even seen our old kitchen space at Cherry Ave!) Each week we would take food and supplies to the clubs to hold classes. Once the PB&J Fund kitchen opened downtown, it provided us the opportunity to serve more Boys & Girls Club members and is a field trip opportunity for the club members. 

We currently offer classes for the Cherry Avenue, Southwood and Jack Jouett clubs during the school year. Over the summer we hold two classes for the Cherry Avenue club (Elementary and Teens), two classes for the Southwood Club (Elementary and Teens) and one class for the James River Club. Together we’ve served over 550 club members in the last nine years who have participated in 6,600 classes! The Boys and Girls Club is also a huge partner for Holiday Giving, as they allow us to use the Cherry Avenue gym when we sort the food, pack the bags and load the delivery trucks. We wouldn’t be PB&J without our partners like the Boys & Girls Club. We’re grateful to all of our partners for helping us to serve our community! 

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