Archive for April, 2011

Visit to the State Capitol

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano was represented in Sacramento last week for the California Association of Food Banks Annual Legislative Day! Our Executive Director Larry Sly and I visited all nine of our Assemblymembers’ and Senators’ offices that represent Contra Costa and Solano counties.

We joined over 30 representatives from 20 California food banks asking legislators to support programs to improve access to healthy food and simplify the CalFresh Program. You can check out our 2011 Public Policy Agenda for more info /give-help/advocate/state.html.

Bunny Bucks

Give your special someone Bunny Bucks this Easter and help the Food Bank! Exclusively sold by California Pacific Federal Credit Union, your $3.50 Bunny Buck purchase includes a gift card, envelope and $2 bill Bunny Buck. This is real spendable currency. Proceeds to benefit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Available only at California Pacific FCU, 4075 Nelson Avenue in Concord. Surprise the kids and grandkids! Limited supply – hop to it today!

Day of Fasting

Yesterday was the national day of fasting — a fast in opposition to the proposed federal budget cuts to nutrition assistance and other safety net programs.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it all day without eating, but I did eat substantially less than I usually do. Even making it to lunch without eating wasn’t easy. But that’s the point. For the thousands of people we serve every month it is not a choice of “will I eat or not” rather “how am I going to eat or how am I going to feed my family”.

Please contact your members of Congress and tell them the federal budget must not be balanced on the backs of low-income Americans. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121 and ask for your representative and senators.

To learn more about the proposals, please visit our advocacy section of our website.

Freshy Awards

Guest post by Juan M. Orozco, Food Stamp Outreach Coordinator: At the 11th Annual CalFresh Forum in Sacramento, Solano County received the “Best PAI in Class-Medium County” award for providing food stamp benefits to eligible low-income residents. California Food Policy Advocates presented the “Freshy Award” to honor individuals and organizations, such as the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, for their efforts to increase participation in CalFresh, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano supports educational and informational efforts to promote the federal nutrition program to potentially eligible persons. The Food Bank raises awareness of CalFresh by hosting trainings for community-based organizations and by going to low- income communities to help individuals get CalFresh benefits.

2011 Freshy award

2011 Freshy award for Solano County

Food Stamp Outreach has made a positive impact in Contra Costa County and in Solano County.  Outreach is helping reduce hunger and is helping to educate healthy eating.  For more information about the CalFresh/SNAP/Food Stamp Program, please visit /get-help/food-stamps.html.

Weekly Challenge Recipes

Cookies for breakfast?  Of course! We promise not to tell your inner-child that it’s actually a nutritious way to jump-start your day.

Healthified Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies


86% less sat fat • 71% less sodium than the original recipe—see the comparison. Finally, give into your cravings and enjoy a peanut butter and oatmeal dessert for breakfast.
Prep Time:20 min
Start to Finish:50 min
Makes:12 Servings

Healthified Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies
Healthified Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies


Nonstick cooking spray
1/2    cup mashed banana (about 1 large)
1/2    cup chunky natural peanut butter (unsalted and unsweetened)
1/2    cup honey
1    teaspoon vanilla
1    cup rolled oats
1/2    cup Gold Medal® whole wheat flour
1/4    cup nonfat dry milk powder
2    teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4    teaspoon baking soda
1    cup dried cranberries or raisins


1.    Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat two cookie sheets with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together banana, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, milk powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir the oat mixture into the banana mixture until combined. Stir in dried cranberries.
2.    Using a ¼-cup measure, drop mounds of dough 3 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. With a thin metal or small plastic spatula dipped in water, flatten and spread each mound of dough to a 2¾-inch round, about ½ inch thick.
3.    Bake, one sheet at a time, for 14 to 16 minutes or until browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months; thaw before serving.
Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 220 (Calories from Fat 60); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 35mg; Total Carbohydrate 38g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 22g); Protein 6g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 2%; Vitamin C 2%; Calcium 4%; Iron 8% Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 2 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Rotini with Lentils

Rotini with Lentils
Rotini with Lentils


1/2 cup lentils,
1 1/2 teaspoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or a pinch dried
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 14-15oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 cups (1/2 bunch) coarsely chopped dark green leafy vegetable like kale leaves, spinach or swiss chard
Salt & ground pepper to taste
8 oz whole-wheat rotini
1/4 cup grated cheese


1.    Place lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water; bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2.    Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic and sauté until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth, lentils, rosemary and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and dark green leafy vegetable, return to a simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and vegetable are tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
3.    Meanwhile, cook rotini in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender,10 to 12 minutes. Drain and place in a large, shallow bowl. Add the lentil sauce and toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings and serve immediately with cheese.