Curiosity at the Creek

As a homeschooler growing up in central Oklahoma, I spent the majority of my time outdoors. My neighborhood backed up to a creek that ran for several miles in either direction. My brothers and I would spend hours exploring the slick clay banks collecting golf balls and jumping into murky pools as we went. It was here that I first experienced the pleasure of having over a dozen ticks on me at once and where I first fell through a sheet of thin ice on a cold afternoon. It was also where I learned about water currents, trees, animal habitats, geology, and as neighborhoods began springing up around it suburban sprawl. Through these experiences I gained a curious mind, an appreciation for the outdoors, and a passion for sharing it with others. I am especially passionate about sharing these experiences with the homeschool community, the community that helped form my passions.

In the past year YMCA Camp Lincoln has offered monthly programs to the homeschool community covering topics from migration and forest ecology to winter survival. My goal with these programs is to create a community of curious individuals that have a desire to go home and learn more. Learning through doing (experiential education) is the basis for each program, with students touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, and listening. We explore and discover our natural world.

I remember being a shy kid who was able to open up in the outdoors and feel at ease with others around me. I have seen this very thing happen in YMCA programs. I am excited to continue working with our homeschool community and hopefully our programs and interactions with families will make the same kind of positive impact that I experienced. My life’s direction started by spending a little time outdoors and my hope is to inspire a few others.

-Geof Harris
YMCA Camp Lincoln Program Director

Make A Splash For Youth!

Nearly 6,000 school-age children throughout southern New Hampshire are engaged in Southern District YMCA programs each year. More than 100 kids from 95 families receive financial assistance so they can attend before and after school programs, as well as summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln. No one is ever turned away from the YMCA for inability to pay.

Financial assistance is supported through generous community donations and fundraisers such as the 5th Annual Paddle Plunge on April 11 from 10AM – 1PM. Paddle Plunge participants will don their best costumes and take a freezing dip in Kingston Lake to raise money to send local youth to camp and safe after school programs.

Community members are invited to join a team, donate online at www.crowdrise.com/ymcaplunge and attend FREE Family Fun Day, which will be held during the Paddle Plunge. Guests can participate in FREE activities like face painting, playing carpet ball and camp games, s’mores and a free lunch!

Some local organizations are hosting their own fundraisers. Parishioners at Stratham Community Church recently raised $400 to help a camper in need attend summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln. Donations like this make it possible for the Y to offset the costs of child care and summer camp for families in need.

WHAT: 5th Annual Paddle Plunge and Family Fun Day

WHEN: Saturday, April 11 from 10AM-1PM

WHERE: YMCA Camp Lincoln, 67 Ball Rd, Kingston, NH 03848

WHY: No one is ever turned away from the Y for inability to pay. More than 100 kids from 95 families receive financial assistance so they can attend before and after school programs, as well as summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln. The Paddle Plunge is a fun way to celebrate the end of winter and raise money to support financial assistance.

DONATE: Join a team or support an existing one at www.crowdrise.com/ymcaplunge

Sweet Potato Fries

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are sharing simple, healthy, delicious, and fun recipes for you to try all week!

Sweet Potato Fries [full recipe here]
Serves 8

Ingredients
6 whole Sweet Potatoes, Peeled And Cut Into Thin Sticks
1 stick Salted Butter
2 cloves Garlic, Pressed (optional)
1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt (optional)
1 teaspoon Chili Powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper (optional)
Salt For Sprinkling

Preparation Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Melt the butter. If you want to season the butter, add garlic, seasoned salt, chili powder, and black pepper. Stir with a fork.
3. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes in the butter/seasoning mixture. Arrange on two baking sheets and bake in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes, shaking the pans halfway through, until the fries are sizzling (watch so that the edges don’t burn). Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the pan for 5 minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt.

Note: Sweet potatoes will not be overly crisp, but they should be firm…and, of course, scrumptious!

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Grain-free Berry Cobbler

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are sharing simple, healthy, delicious, and fun recipes for you to try all week!
Very Berry Cobbler [from the Wellness Mama blog]
Serves 4+
A simple berry cobbler that is grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-optional and sweetener-optional.

Ingredients
4 cups of assorted berries: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or a mix (fresh or frozen)
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup of coconut oil or butter
1 tsp vanilla
optional: stevia, organic honey or maple syrup to taste
optional: organic whole cream, whipped with vanilla (for topping)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a 8×8 or larger baking dish with coconut oil or butter.
  3. Place berries in baking dish.
  4. Combine almond flour, coconut oil/butter and vanilla with your hands until it makes a crumbly topping. You may need to adjust the almond flour up or down slightly, depending on the texture of the brand you use. If using stevia, you can add a small amount to the topping at this point.
  5. Using your hands, sprinkle/crumble the topping over the berries.
  6. Put dish into oven and cook for about 20 minutes (fresh fruit) to 30-40 minutes (frozen fruit).
  7. When done, drizzle with organic honey or maple syrup if using (optional)
  8. Top with whipped organic cream/vanilla if using.
  9. Enjoy!

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Oven-Baked Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are sharing simple, healthy, delicious, and fun recipes for you to try all week!
Oven-Baked Zucchini Parmesan Crisps [from The Kitchn]
Serves 4
2 medium zucchini (yellow or green, or both!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg white
1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 450°F and lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

Using a mandolin slicer (or a handheld knife), slice the zucchinis into 1/4 inch rounds. Transfer the zucchini coins to a bowl and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Drizzle the olive oil and the egg white over top and toss to coat evenly.

Mix the panko crumbs and parmesan together in a shallow tray. Working with a few coins a time, dredge the zucchini in the panko-parmesan mixture and transfer to the greased baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the zucchini are golden brown and crispy. Allow them to cool slightly (about 5 minutes) on the baking sheet before transferring them to a serving tray with a spatula. Serve warm or room temp with your favorite salsa or dip.

Did you try this recipe? Let us know how you like it!

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Dig In’s Creamy Tomato Leek Parmesan Soup

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are sharing simple, healthy, delicious, and fun recipes for you to try all week!

Creamy Tomato Leek Parmesan Soup [from the Dig In blog]

1 stick butter
2 spanish onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 leeks, split in half & thinly sliced
¼ cup gluten free flour blend
4 cups whole milk
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cup parmesan, shredded
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
½ bottle Very Veggie Juice( Knudsen)
¼ cup fresh basil, sliced
1 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper, to taste
A touch, ½ capful of maple syrup if needed

In a heavy bottom soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the chopped onions and sauté , sprinkle with salt saute until onions are translucent.

Next, add the minced garlic and leeks. When the leeks are tender add the flour, stirring constantly, to make a roux.  Slowly add the milk, while stirring, one cup at a time. Bring the mixture to a slow bubble and add half the white wine.

Add the parmesan and stir constantly until melted, about 2 minutes.

Slowly add the crushed tomatoes until fully incorporated.

Slowly add the Very Veggie juice, heavy cream and rest of white wine and slowly bring up the temp.

Add the fresh basil to finish and season with salt and pepper to taste.

If the soup is tangy, add a touch of maple syrup.

Enjoy! Let us know if you try this recipe!

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Jessica Prentice’s Whole Roast Salmon

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are sharing simple, healthy, delicious, and fun recipes for you to try all week!

Whole Roast Salmon [from Jessica Prentice’s Full Moon Feast]
Serves about 3 people per pound of fish

A whole roast salmon is a great meal for a feast-it is special when the whole party is fed by a single fish. Accompany with almost any starch and vegetable you like. To roast a whole salmon, you have to make sure it fits into your oven and that you have a sheet pan big enough for it! You might want to start with a smaller salmon.

Ingredients:
Whole wild salmon, gutted and scaled
Olive oil
Lemon
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
2. Rinse the salmon and pat it dry with a towel. Lay it on a sheet pan that has been coated thinly with olive oil.
3. Make a series of parallel diagonal slashes into the salmon at 2-inch intervals, about 1 inch deep and 2 to 4 inches long, depending on the size of the fish. Do not make the cuts so deep that they touch the bone.
4. Rub olive oil and lemon juice all over the fish, including into the slashes and the cavity. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the surface of the fish and into the cuts and cavity. Make sure you do this on both sides of the fish.
5. Place the sheet pan with the salmon into the oven and roast until just cooked through, about 12 minutes per inch of thickness of fish. A 4-pound salmon should take about 25 minutes; an 8-pounder, 35 minutes; a 12-pounder, 45 minutes. You can use a sharp knife to cut into the deepest part of the fish to check whether it is done.
6. Use two huge spatulas to transfer the salmon to a platter.

Enjoy! Let us know if you try this recipe!

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