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Healthy cooking classes offered Saturday mornings

By Margie Mansure (

Article Published: Sep. 5, 2013 | Modified: Sep. 5, 2013
Healthy cooking classes offered Saturday mornings

For optimal nutrition and favorable food, cooking skills are a must. But sometimes even the most capable cooks don’t know what to do with the plethora of ingredients now available.

In the U.S., it is possible to consume one of the healthiest diets in the world, if you know how.

If you desire to become more whole-food savvy, plan on participating in cooking classes offered on Saturday mornings, Sept. 14 and 21. I’m leading the classes with a friend who’s a cancer survivor and has learned to be creative with a plant-based diet. We both have teen children taking a leading role in the class and are encouraging participants to bring their children, 12 and older, to join in. Children are not required for participation.

On Saturday, Sept. 14, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the theme is creative snacks and lunch ideas. We will cook up homemade bars and cookies and put together dips and stuffed dates. We’ll also come up with creations for lunch, including salads, sushi and wraps.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., we will learn to prepare quick meals featuring seasonal ingredients. Fresh combinations for bowls, burritos and soups will be explored.
Some recipes are vegan and gluten-free.

Charge is $10 per person for each class and includes lunch. Classes will be held at the Agricultural Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road, Boone. Space is limited, so register in advance by calling (828) 264-3061 and paying at N.C. Cooperative Extension, 971 W. King St., Boone. You may send check by mail, made to NCCES. Class size is limited, and you are not fully registered until payment is received.

The most popular bowl combination is probably pasta with sauce and meatballs. We will try a variety of combinations. Here is the technique for you to try at home:

Cook your grain: whole grain pasta, couscous, barley. Gluten-free options for those with celiac disease or intolerance include quinoa, rice, millet, teff and amaranth.

Cook your protein: any kind of beans, meat, seafood, lean sausage, tofu, tempeh and nuts. Cheese is also considered protein, but usually added at the end.

Add vegetables. Some added fruits are delicious.

Add seasonings and/or sauce.

Place in a bowl and enjoy.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D,. is a registered dietitian and nutritionist and an extension agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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