Rainbow Pasta

The Kids Cook Monday is a campaign that encourages parents and kids to start their weeks off right by making Monday family night. Each week, the campaign provides an easy weeknight recipe and all the tools families will need to enjoy a fun cooking and dining experience on Monday nights. To have The Family Dinner Date Newsletter delivered to your inbox each Friday, sign up here.

This dish is like the seasons, ever changing! Pair your favorite pasta with whatever you find in season at the market. This recipe comes to us from Kids Cook Monday Ambassador Teeny Tiny Foodie

 Serves 6-8



  • - 1 pound whole wheat pasta such as penne, shells or farfalle
  • - 3/4 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • - 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • - 1-2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • - 3/4 cup corn, drained if canned, thawed if frozen, or cut from 2 ears fresh
  • - 3/4 cup purple cauliflower, finely chopped*
  • - 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut or torn into 1/2-inch chunks
  • - 2 ounces parmesan or locatelli cheese, grated or shredded
  • - Small handful fresh herbs, finely chopped (basil, chives and/or parsley)
  • - 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • - Salt, pepper, garlic powder, to taste
  • - *substitute white cauliflower if not available


Adult: Fill a large, lidded pot with water, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 2 pinches of salt to the water, cover and bring it to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Once it is cooked, drain it and pour the pasta into a large bowl.

Kid: Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil, a few pinches of salt and garlic pepper and a pinch of black pepper to the pasta.

Kid: Mix together. Add in the vegetables and the remaining olive oil, if needed, and mix it all together. Add the cheeses and herbs and mix again.

Together: Taste, adjust spices and herbs as desired and enjoy!

Food for Thought: A great way to get kids excited about trying new foods is to involve them in the process. Let your children pick out the colors in this rainbow pasta and they are more likely to want to eat it with you! Summer is a great time of year to get started since the stores and markets are at their most vibrant. Feeling adventurous? Plant your own garden this year!


Cooking Tip of the Week: If it’s too hot outside to think about eating a warm meal, you don't have to! Chill the pasta for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal and serve as a cold pasta salad.


Corn on the Cob Tip:

Summer Gardening:

Cook Up Conversation

Launch fun family conversations with imaginative ideas. 


Educate and Entertain

Download this puzzle about shopping at the farmers market!


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Lincoln Digs in the Dirt to Help Feed the Hungry

"Mom, can I take this cucumber home and eat it?" - Lincoln, five-year-old volunteer at The Giving Field




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Fall 2015 REAL Food Drive Campaign Post

Announcing the Fall 2015 REAL Food Drive Campaign


Amp Your Good is thrilled to team up with Food Day and many other partners to organize the first REAL Food Drive Campaign.

The campaign will run this fall as a Food Day 2015 project from September 15, 2015 to November 25, 2015 with Food Day (October 24) right in the middle. 

The purpose of the campaign is to enable groups to run food drives that raise REAL Food - fruits and vegetables, locally grown produce, whole meals and other healthy food - instead of what traditional food drives raise - cans and boxes of non-perishable, processed food.

Nearly all of us are familiar with the good old fashioned food drive.  Most of us have donated canned or boxed goods at one time or another - to a drive sponsored by our company, our church, our school or some other organization we are connected with.  In fact, in the US, people make billions and billions of food donations each year, making it one of the most popular forms of giving.  All of those donations have one thing in common - they are non-perishable.  They need to be because they are going to sit in a collection box for awhile before they get to help someone.

Amp Your Good has reinvented how food drives work with an online giving model called Crowd-feeding.  Organizations use our crowd-feeding website to run their food drives. People who want to support a drive do it by purchasing the food they want to donate right at our website.  We deliver the food for them directly to the food pantry, shelter or soup kitchen they are supporting.  There’s no collection box so no chance of food donations spoiling.

And that means something radical - it means that instead of donating non-perishable food, people can donate perishable food -  REAL Food - fruits and vegetables, whole meals and other healthy food.  It means organizations can sponsor REAL Food drives with very specific goals - to raise organic food, locally grown produce, restaurant quality food and other types of REAL food.  It also means that food drives can be used to support other good causes - things like local farming, reducing food waste or protecting the environment.  

But most of all, it means that food drives can be used to ensure that people struggling with hunger get the food they really need.  It’s a sad fact that the rates of diet related disease and conditions among the 50 Million people (US) facing hunger are astronomical - diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer are rampant.  While there are many contributing factors, lack of access to healthy food is the biggest one.  REAL Food Drives can help move the dial on this problem in a big way.  

If your organization is interested in running a REAL food drive this fall, let us know - there’s no cost and it’s easy to do.  We’re also looking for ambassadors who will help us spread the word that there is now a way to have more impact with food drives by making them REAL.  Visit www.RealFoodDrive.org for more info.

Patrick O’Neill is the CEO and Founder of Amp Your Good. Amp’s pioneering Crowd-feeding platform enables people and organizations to Amplify their impact in the fight against hunger by raising perishable food - REAL food - via online food drives. Amp's vision is to turn the billions of canned goods donated to food drives each year into billions of apples, carrots, bananas, sweet potatoes, fresh greens, whole meals and other healthy food items. You can check out the upcoming REAL Food Drive Campaign here.  Pat can be reached at Patrick.ONeill@AmpYourGood.com or @poneill1982.


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Stewed Italian Beans

We used red and white (cannellini) kidney beans for color, but you can use any kind. If you prefer fresh herbs, triple the amount to 1½ teaspoons.



  • - 2 stalks celery, diced
  • - 1 carrot, diced
  • - 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • - 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • - ½ tsp. dried rosemary or thyme
  • - 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • - 2 15 oz. cans no-salt-added kidney beans
  • - ½ tsp. salt
  • - freshly ground black pepper
  • - 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar


In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the celery and carrot in the oil until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. 

Stir in the garlic, rosemary, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the beans with their liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Season with up to ½ tsp. of salt, plenty of black pepper, and the balsamic vinegar. 

Serves 4.

Per serving (1 cup):

  • Calories: 280
  • Sodium: 340 mg
  • Total Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbs: 34 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 11 g

Kate Sherwood is the culinary director and executive chef for NutritionAction.com® and Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, D.C. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Kate has been a freelance food stylist at The Food Network, Discovery, “The Today Show,” and Martha Stewart, where she worked with many television chefs, including Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Rachel Ray, Giada de Laurentis, and Alton Brown. Prior to joining CSPI and NutritionAction.com®, Kate worked as a researcher for Dan Barber at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, where she focused on sustainable food systems.


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The Water Footprint of Food

You might be surprised by how much water it takes to grow and make food. The food we eat makes up more than 2/3 of our total water footprint, mostly because of all the "virtual water" needed to produce that food. In the US, agriculture is responsible for 80 percent of all water consumed.


In the US, at least 80 percent of beef cattle are "conventionally" raised. It takes about 147 gallons of water to produce one pound of corn, and a beef steer or heifer can eat 1,000 pounds or more of feed over a few months. All that grain and water really adds up!

Diets that are made up of highly processed foods also take a lot of water. Take, for example, the potato chip. After growing the potatoes – which takes the biggest portion of water – potato chip-processing takes additional water to clean potatoes and machinery, produce cooking oil for deep frying, produce the fuel for delivery, produce packaging, and so forth. The water use accumulates above and beyond what it would take to produce and eat a whole potato.

In short, the more meat, dairy and processed foods we eat, the more water we consume. The next time you're thinking about what's for lunch, you might also want to appreciate how much water it took to make that meal.

For the full article, please click here.

GRACE Communications Foundation develops innovative strategies to increase public awareness of the critical environmental and public health issues created by our current food, water and energy systems, and to promote a more sustainable future.

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Chickpeas with Arugula-Lemon Pesto

This bright, peppery pesto is also delicious tossed with a combination of white beans, string beans, and tuna. Or mix it into 2 cups of cooked whole wheat couscous or bulgur.



  • - 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • - 1 clove garlic
  • - 2 cups arugula
  • - 1 cup fresh basil
  • - 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • - freshly ground black pepper
  • - 1 15 oz. can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained
  • - ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • - 8 butter lettuce leaves


Combine the lemon juice, garlic, arugula, basil, oil, and pepper in a food processor. Process until the herbs and garlic are finely chopped.

In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with the pesto and season with up to ½ tsp. of salt. Serve on the lettuce leaves.

Serves 4.

Per serving (¾ cup):

  • Calories: 210
  • Sodium: 270 mg
  • Total Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbs: 20 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 7 g

Kate Sherwood is the culinary director and executive chef for NutritionAction.com® and Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, D.C. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Kate has been a freelance food stylist at The Food Network, Discovery, “The Today Show,” and Martha Stewart, where she worked with many television chefs, including Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Rachel Ray, Giada de Laurentis, and Alton Brown. Prior to joining CSPI and NutritionAction.com®, Kate worked as a researcher for Dan Barber at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, where she focused on sustainable food systems.

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Do I Have to Go Vegetarian to Be a Responsible Eater?

Imagine a standard sheet of paper—8.5 x 11 inches in size. Now imagine that that’s the only space you get to live your entire life. You can’t get out to use the restroom, so you live among your own waste. You probably can’t see sunlight either, let alone experience fresh air. You can barely move, because, even if you aren’t in a tiny cage, you’re packed in tightly with thousands of others in similarly minuscule, filthy quarters.

This bleak life is reality for more than 300 million egg-laying hens in the United States who live in battery cages on factory farms. Factory farms are aptly named; they’re less of a habitat for animals and more akin to a tightly oiled machine, designed to squeeze every last efficiency out of the livestock business. That assembly line mentality may work for producing steel or cars, but when the raw materials are living, breathing creatures, it creates extraordinarily inhumane living conditions.


The inhumanity isn’t limited to tiny, squalid living spaces. Our agricultural policy makes corn feed artificially cheap, so cows eat corn despite the fact that their stomachs are designed to process grass, causing digestive problems. Pigs often have their tails removed and males are castrated, usually without painkillers. Sows live in tiny cages where they are artificially inseminated continuously until they become less productive, at which point they are sent to slaughter.

Factory farms also wreak havoc on the environment. Take the Delmarva Peninsula, where chickens outnumber people 1,000 to 1. The waste generated by these millions of birds contributes to the heavy nutrient pollution creating dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay. To make sure that living in all this waste doesn’t keep animals from going to market, they’re pumped full of antibiotics, an overuse crisis that’s speeding the rate at which many common bacteria become antibiotic resistant – putting us all at risk.

Going vegetarian is an easy way to take a stand against factory farms, and as a lifelong vegetarian, I know it’s not hard to be healthy and to get the nutrients you need without meat. But several flirtations with veganism showed me how hard it is to give up the foods you eat often, learn new recipes, and reshape your diet. I cannot, in good conscience, support an industry based on cruelty, environmental degradation and flagrant disregard for protecting future generations from bacterial infections. The good thing is, we all don’t have to eliminate cheese, eggs, or even meat to take a stand against factory farming.


While it’s true that most animal products worldwide come from factory farms (an estimated 65 billion animals worldwide suffer in these conditions), there are a growing number of farms that reject cruel treatment to drive profits. Humane Farm Animal Care, a Virginia-based nonprofit, manages the “Certified Humane” label. To earn this designation, farmers must meet a rigorous set of criteria around animal welfare. In addition to buying humane, you can exercise your political muscles by starting a petition that asks your grocery store to carry more humane products or that asks the USDA or EPA to better regulate factory farms. You can even start small by joining Meatless Monday, where you don’t eliminate meat, but just reduce the amount you eat to lower your environmental impact and support for inhumane farming. Each small step we can take makes a difference and helps create a movement to end farm animal cruelty and protect the environment from destructive industrial farming.

 Emily Logan is Director of Acquisition and Retention at Care2, where her team works with member activists to spread the word about their petitions on ThePetitionSite, builds petition campaigns into full-scale organizing efforts, and helps keep current Care2 members happy and engaged. In her time at Care2 she has also worked extensively with hundreds of nonprofit organizations to help recruit activists and donors and build out their online strategies. Emily has a B.S. in journalism and a B.A. in music from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and currently lives in rainy Portland, Oregon with her cat Ostrich. 

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