Garden Club Plants Pizza Garden

Week 2 – Planting our Earthboxes

Garden Club with Pizza Gardens in Earthboxes

This week our 4rth grade garden club students planted tomatoes and herbs into two Earthboxes that will be harvested and used to make pizza for all to enjoy!

After planting two different varieties of organic tomatoes, these little gardeners also learned that the tomatoes will be staked so they can crawl up and reach for the sun so they don’t cast shade on their neighboring herbs in the box that do not grow as tall.   These plants will require a minimum of 8 hours of full sun each day to thrive and produce plenty of food for our garden club pizza feast!

planting herbs around the tomato

The black cover on top of the box, attracts the sun and heat and holds in moisture.  The kids likened it to a shower cap for the plants, however this shower cap helps keep moisture in rather than out.  🙂

The kids gave the seedlings a little drink to get them started, but the Earthbox contains a reservoir at the bottom to hold water, so the plants always have access to it as they naturally reach down into the soil to drink from it.

A big shout out to Dustin and the rest of the team at Sloat Garden Center in Danville for their continued support of our school garden project!

Next week we will will plant our Living Wall!


Sycamore Elementary Spring Garden Club

sprinkling water while preparing the Earthbox

On Thursday April 19th, science teacher Kim Lawrence joined me and 24 fourth graders at Sycamore Valley Elementary School to kick off the Spring session of our Garden Club that meets on Thursdays at lunchtime. We have 6 weeks of fun planned to teach these eager little gardeners about where their food comes from, the power food has to make them healthy and strong, and how to care for the earth to grow more nutritious food.

During our time together, we will be growing tomatoes & herbs in Earthboxes, learning about worm composting by feeding scraps from the kids lunches and planting a living wall to adorn our school with live art!

While the kids ate their lunches, I talked to them about the different parts of a plant and each of them shared examples of some of their favorite foods of these parts – root (carrot), stem (celery), leaf (spinach), blossom (cauliflower), fruit (strawberry), seeds (sunflower seeds).

adding soil to the Earthbox

After eating, we assembled the two Earthboxes that the fourth graders will plant tomatoes and herbs in next week. The kids then took turns filling the Earthbox with handfuls of organic soil, dolomite and organic fertilizer. In our last few minutes together, they learned about how the plants will get their water from a reservoir at the bottom of the box rather than from water sprinkled on top of the seeds. More on watering and developing a watering schedule in a couple of weeks!

making garden club sign

The kids finished up by decorating and signing their name to our Garden Club sign that will hang above the Living Wall we will be planting outside the MPR.

creativity displayed on school campus using recycled materials to celebrate Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day this week, I couldn’t help but post this photo of all the terrific artwork displayed on the school grounds.  It really brought to life how colorful life can be when we teach our children how to honor and care of our Earth.

Next week – planting the pizza garden!

Review-Vally Medlyn’s, Danville, CA

by Angela Stanford

This morning my family enjoyed breakfast at Vally Medlyn’s on Hartz Ave. in Danville, CA. We have eaten here several times before for breakfast and thought it was about time to share with you how accommodating they are serving guests with special dietary needs.

I ordered the breakfast scramble on special  – scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon, spinach and avocado served with choice of toast. I don’t eat dairy, pork or gluten, so I asked them to hold the cheese, swamp out the bacon with half the amount of chicken apple sausage in addition to swapping out the toast for fruit at no additional charge.  Our server Zack was happy to do so at no additional charge.  Here is a photo of my delicious meal.

Breakfast Scramble Special – Angela’s Way

Check out Vally Medlyn’s at 330 Hartz Avenue, Danville, CA 94526 for breakfast.


Owner: Hamid Cortland

Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Bites

by Angela Stanford

I am so grateful that a friend passed this recipe along to me.  I have made these bite sized morsels of deliciousness now several times with rave results from adults and children alike!  Originally called Nikki’s Cookies after the mom that was making them, I have renamed them after adding two tablespoons ground flax seed to boost omega 3′s and cut the salt back to 1/4 tsp.  They are packed with fiber and no added sugar, and if you make them with gluten-free oats, you also have a treat for a wide range of folks including those who eat gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free for allergy reasons and the vegan crowd as well.

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm – so it isn’t solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 – 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips. The dough is a bit looser than standard cookie dough, don’t worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect – just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

 Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.

You can use unsweetened carob, or grain sweetened chocolate chips, or do what I did and chop up 2/3 of a dark chocolate bar of greater than 70% cocoa. You can make your own almond meal by pulsing almonds in a food processor until it is the texture of sand – don’t go too far or you’ll end up with almond butter. And lastly, the coconut oil works beautifully here, just be sure to warm it a bit – enough that it is no longer solid, which makes it easier to incorporate into the bananas. If you have gluten allergies, seek out gluten-free oats.

Recipe by Angela Stanford, RD from Vital Nutrition & Wellness  March 2012

Inspired from a recipe on


Curly Kale Chips

by Angela Stanford

These tasty little bites of green crunch are addictive. You can’t eat just one!  So easy to make, and packed full of calcium, folate and fiber.  Made these for the Prenatal Mamas at my Prenatal Yoga & Nutrition Workshop this weekend, and again received rave reviews.  I have served these to kids as young as 3 and grown ups as old as 70, and they all beg for more. The little ones get intrigued when I call them “Green Lantern Chips” or “Green Giant Chips.”    What a great side to your lunchtime sandwich! Move over Ruffles, there’s a new chip in town!

1- bunch Curly Kale
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt

1. Remove rough center stems and tear each leaf into 4-5 pieces (roughly 6 cups)
2. Rinse kale pieces and spin dry in a salad spinner
3. Place torn kale in large bowl and toss with olive oil and salt
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
5. Place kale pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheets
6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until crisp (watch closely so they don’t burn)
7. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes to cool
Munch and enjoy!
*Store uneaten chips in airtight container.  To refresh the next day, throw them under the broiler for 1 min.
**Use organic ingredients when possible.

Deliciously Decadent Vegan Truffles

by Angela Stanford

Vegan Truffles

Vegans and non-vegans rave about these delicious chocolate truffles!  Make them for your holiday party and watch them disappear faster than you can say “Happy New Year!” These decadent morsels are a great example of how dessert doesn’t have to be filled with empty calories.  These truffles are made with cashews and bittersweet chocolate (vegan), rolled in unsweetened cocoa powder and raw, toasted coconut.  They are very low in sugar, and packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants.   Simple to make by yourself our with your family.  Enjoy!


    • 3/4 cup raw cashews
    • 3/4 cup cold water
    • 1 lb bittersweet chocolate
    • cocoa powder


  1. Put cashews and cold water in a blender and blend at high speed for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Scrape the sides down and blend again until the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream.
  3. Meanwhile, in a double boiler heat the chocolate until it’s all melted.
  4. Cool the chocolate until it’s comfortable to work with (about 5 minutes) and fold in the cashew cream (making sure not to stir too fast or you’ll create bubbles).
  5. Cover and cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set.
  6. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a small ball and roll in cocoa powder. Repeat until all has been formed into balls.
  7. If not eating right away, store truffles covered in refrigerator.  Remove about 20 minutes before ready to serve to bring to room temperature.

Yield: 50 truffles

Inspired by a recipe I found on the internet by Zeke Koch.

Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Spread

by Angela Stanford

This delicious spread is easy to make and gets rave reviews at holiday parties. Tastes great on whole grain crackers or romaine lettuce leaves.  It also makes for a great sandwich spread with veggies and 2oz of lean turkey or chicken or layer the spread on thicker, skip the meat on stack up more veggies between slices of whole grain bread.    Packed with protein, healthy fats, omega 3’s, and micro-nutrients not found in commercially processed ketchup or mayo.

1-12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and patted dry with paper towel
1/4 cup whole wheat cracker crumbs
1 cup walnuts (4 ounces), toasted
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red-wine or balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor in order listed
2. Puree until smooth.

Yields 3 cups

Cooks’ notes:

  • Spread is delicious on whole grain crackers, romaine lettuce leaves toasts or used as a veggie dip
  • Spread can be made up to 2 days ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Use organic ingredients when possible
  • For gluten free option, toast a slice of gluten free bread, cool and crush into small breadcrumbs or crush up gluten free crackers between sheets of waxed paper with a rolling pin.

Almond Banana Smoothie

by Angela Stanford

Here is a recipe that will give you something to do with all those black-spotted bananas on your counter, rather than putting them into yet another loaf of banana break.  With only 7 simple ingredients, it is a quick and easy way to start the day!

 It is a good source of vitamin E, fiber, protein and potassium. Plus it is packed with energy from healthy fats (from the almonds) and high quality carbohydrates (from the bananas, natural sweetener and non-dairy milk). Choose a fortified non-dairy milk and you should be getting some healthy, essential vitamins like vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Plus those bananas are easy on your tummy, for some quickly digested energy.


2 cups non-dairy milk, vanilla flavor
2 frozen bananas, ripe
2 Tbsp raw almond butter
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
1 cup ice
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more if you’re a big fan)
optional: a few dashes of cayenne
garnish: roasted almonds

1. Place all ingredients in a high power blender. Blend on high until smooth and thick.
2. Pour into glasses and garnish with roasted almonds.

Drink and enjoy!

Cooks Notes:

  • jarred almond butter works find also, but fresh tastes even better
  • peel and cut each banana into 4 pieces and store in container in freezer, so they are ready whenever you want to make your smoothie.  4 pieces = 1 banana

Inspired by Kathy at