airdrielife recently caught up with Meghan West, who joined the Airdrie Food Bank team this past summer as co-ordinator of the Airdrie Rotary Community Kitchen.
“I am so grateful for the unique opportunity to weave together my passions for creative programming, food accessibility and healthy eating,” says West, who has a master’s degree in education from the University of Victoria and an undergraduate degree in nutrition from the University of Guelph.
West explains the Community Kitchen was developed to enable Airdrie Food Bank to extend its services beyond emergency-only support, by empowering community members and clients through kitchen programs that not only build food skills, but strengthen support networks.
“My hope, and the hope of the Airdrie Food Bank team, is that the Community Kitchen Programs will inspire the community to come together to celebrate cooking and connection,” says West.
“Building skills and sharing meals in the kitchen are an opportunity not only to make new friendships, but also to reconnect and do something new with an old friend.”
For more information about the wide variety of Community Kitchen classes and workshops offered, visit airdriefoodbank.com
Recipe: Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
Makes 8 large cookies.
“I love this recipe because it is so versatile. The oat-banana base gives you a hearty start to add your favourite flavours if you feel like experimenting. Sweeteners can be swapped out to make them vegan, and choosing certified gluten-free ingredients gives you a gluten-free cookie!” -Meghan West
3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp or 2 pinches salt
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 cups large-flake oats
⅓ cup applesauce
⅓ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup strawberry jam (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Chop dates and set aside.
Mash bananas and set aside.
Combine oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and coconut in a large mixing bowl.
Combine applesauce, honey and vanilla into a small bowl.
Add bananas and wet ingredients into the large bowl with the oats; gently stir until combined.
Fold in chopped dates and jam (if using).
Pack the dough tightly into a large ice cream scoop or spoon out in lemon-sized balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then press down gently.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until the bottoms are browned.
Remove and let cool on the cookie sheets completely before moving.
Cookies will keep best if stored in the fridge. Eat within a week.