Tubers and Mashes!

Lesson 6 of A Taste Of African Heritage Plant Based class with The Boston Project Ministries youth: Tubers and Mashes!

We learned about the different types of tubers—Cassava (also known as manioc, mandioca or yuca and can be poisonous if eaten raw—so cook them!)which is used to make tapioca flour and pudding as well, Taro (a potato-like starch that is either white or purple inside) and some Asians use it to make a dessert like rice pudding, sweet potatoes, and yams that are usually longer and harder than sweet potatoes. We also discussed ways to cook plantains (boiling or baking) as well as adding nuts and nut butters to yam/sweet potato stews. We did not have time to make the African peanut stew but I think I will be making it at home for sure.

Guess how many varieties of sweet potatoes there are? 600! And guess how many uses George Washington Carver found for sweet potatoes and peanuts—100 and over 300 respectively.

We made sweet potato fries adapting the regular baked potato fries recipe from Brand New Vegan then made my recipe of homemade ketchup from page 34–35 of my book. We used Garnet Yams and white fleshed Japanese Sweet Potatoes which the students ended up preferring. The students went back with a large mason jar full of ketchup and the ingredients to make more when they re-make the recipe independently on Thursday.

Since it was over 90 degrees, I surprised the students with banana-strawberry ice cream which they loved! They were surprised that the only two ingredients were frozen bananas and strawberries mixed in my Vitamix blender. Everyone had seconds.

Next week’s lesson is fruits and vegetables and will be our final class for the summer. I promised them another tasty surprise from my Plant Based dessert repertoire. We’ve had a lot of fun and I’m going to miss them!


Got this from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority yesterday:

“Cease The Grease. Fats, cooking oils, and grease are not water-soluble. They coat household pipes and public sewer mains, causing nasty clogs. To dispose of household fats, oils, and grease, carefully pour them into an empty metal can. Let it cool, then throw it in the trash,”

If butter and oil is doing that to our household and sewer pipes, what do you think they are doing to our internal pipes? Watch a youtube video of surgeons pulling out these cholesterol laden fats out of heart arteries (I believe there is a clip of this too in the documentary Folks Over Knives) to find out. Eat WHOLE, unprocessed fats (nuts, seeds, avocados…) along with whole plant foods to avoid this clogging. Heart disease is no joke. My community is more affected by it (along with other chronic disease) than most others and we don’t have to suffer needlessly like this anymore. Our lives are worthy.

Beans and Rice Lesson

Beans and Rice Lesson

Today’s A Taste Of African Heritage plant based cooking class was on beans and rice. Students learned about the various types of rice—brown, wild, red, pink, black, etc.—and their origins from various parts of Africa. They also learned about how the rice that grew in America was originally brought to America by Africans who brought the rice and their knowledge of growing rice when they were enslaved. The Gulluh people of South Carolina were particularly known for growing rice.

We also talked about various types of beans. Do you know how many different varieties of beans there are in the world?…….13,000 (yes, thirteen thousand)! We were all surprised to learn this.

Finally we made two recipes using rice and beans including my easy rice pudding (using brown rice and coconut milk) from page 35 of my book. The students were pleasantly surprised that the pudding was only sweetened with fruit and that it was so tasty.

Looking forward to Lesson 6 next week—Tubers and Mashes!

Out in The Yard Solo Running

It was MUCH less humid this morning so I left the little air conditioned gym indoors with my treadmill and went to run in the yard. I’ll be honest, half way through I missed the gym 😂 but I was still happy to be back in the yard, in fresh air moving. I don’t run fast at all. Some people can walk as fast as I run. But it doesn’t matter. I run prayerfully and meditatively and it keeps my body feeling pain free and my mind more relaxed (that and whole plant foods of course).

P.S. My running partner Nini was at her summer program already. She was my walking partner Saturday with our neighborhood walking group.



Whole Grains Lesson

Whole Grains Lesson

Today’s lesson using the A Taste of African Heritage curriculum with the youth at The Boston Project Ministries was on whole grains! We learned about the three parts of a whole grain—the bran which is the outer part with a lot of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals; the endosperm which is the starchy inside part that after refining is what is left consisting of protein and vegetables; and the germ which is the grain’s seed and high in essential fats, antioxidants, and B vitamins. We discussed and looked at several types of grains including millet, sorghum, teff, fonio, brown and wild rice, quinoa, and couscous made from millet or wheat.

We learned how the full fiber in the grains help to prevent diseases and that “A scientist named Dr. Dennis Burkett found that people in Africa who eat more whole grains and fiber are less likely to get certain diseases that Americans typically get, like heart disease and diabetes.” We talked about people we know who had some of these diseases. We discussed how the rice grown in the US was brought through the middle passage when Africans were brought to the US and enslaved and how a lot of African peoples who knew how to grow rice were brought specifically to the Carolinas. We did not get to watch the video linked here but discussed briefly how a lot of the foods that are popular in the South originally came from Africa ( it is a video of a Senegalese chef cooking fonio and discussing this).

Finally we did a Millet Porridge

Sweetened with bananas, dates, and raisins. We had two versions—the porridge and then the pudding which we blended in the Vitamix. Millet is an ancient grain that comes from both the continents of Africa and Asia. Millet is so old that some have been found in tombs in Egypt. It has a nutty aroma when toasting and a fluffy but chewy texture.

We finished off the day with a fun dance challenge.

Next week lesson is on Beans and Rice! We are going to learn about various types of beans and pulses and also make a dish with brown or red rice.

Running Girl is Back

Felt good to be back in the home gym with my running partner Nini who also did my squats with me afterwards. She took the initiative this morning to say she needed a run. I was impressed. I thought if a teen with autism and intellectual impairment can cover up the oatmeal she already made and spontaneously announce she’d rather run 🏃🏽‍♀️ now then eat later, the rest of us don’t have a lot of good excuses.