Cooking up Change Inspires a Wisconsin School to Cook with Stars

December 14, 2010

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Parents sample the cuisine of local celebrity chefs at the Cooking with the Stars event in Johnson Creek, Wisc.

Today we're featuring a special guest blog from a school community member who started a project inspired by HSC's signature healthy cooking contest, Cooking up Change!

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By Jennifer Coates

Finding and cooking vegetables for your kids can be challenging at times. Recently I read an
article on Cooking up Change on the Healthy Schools Campaign website and was inspired to create a
similar event in Johnson Creek, Wisc. named Cooking with the Stars.

Cooking with the Stars was a huge success! We had five local celebrities, including a local TV anchorwoman, and each of these celebrities provided a healthy dish that centered around a particular
vegetable. Vegetables included spinach, rutabaga, pumpkin, broccoli, and butternut squash.

A record number of people gathered in the school’s multipurpose room, and children and their families
tasted each of the dishes provided and voted on their favorite dish. Each celebrity contestant had
nutritional information on their chosen vegetable to give moms and dads an idea of how important these veggies are in our diet and what benefits they can provide. It was equally rewarding to hear parents' comments, including how they “never had pumpkin unless it was in pie” or “I remember my grandma growing rutabagas, but I’ve never tasted one until tonight… and they’re good!”

The highlight of the evening was crowning our “celebrity chef” after his dish was chosen as the favorite.
The winning recipe? Butternut Squash Pesto Pizza. A sure winner in my home too!

I would like to give many thanks to everyone involved with Healthy Schools Campaign for inspiring me
to create this fun event. This event allowed us to introduce different types of vegetables in pleasing and easy recipes that can be made at home.

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Parents and families enjoy the delicious competition at Cooking with the Stars.

HSC thanks Jennifer, as well as the parents and participants of Cooking with the Stars, for sharing the outcome of this great event. (P.S. — To read more about Cooking with the Stars, check out this article.)