Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's Cooking Matters Celebrates Families with AHA and Energize

Congratulations to all those who graduated from our most recent Cooking Matters course! The program, which began six weeks ago as part of a collaboration between Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Advocates for Health in Action, and Energize, gave five families the opportunity to take advantage of free CSA memberships coupled with cooking and nutrition classes. Led by IFFS’ UNC nutrition interns, Katrina and Maria, and Chef Lynn Edgar, participants were taught how to create nutritious and tasty meals using ingredients from their own CSA boxes.

This past Tuesday evening marked the final Cooking Matters course for this program, and families arrived to find their CSA bags filled potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, swiss chard, cucumbers, bell peppers, and a special gift from Tarheel Foodie, Susan Sink - , sundried cherry tomatoes.

As students arrived, they formed into two teams. Chef Lynn supervised one group in the kitchen as they chopped basil, garlic, onions, and chard, than moved to the stovetop where the vegetables were sautéed and where two different tomato sauces simmered away. All these toppings went onto lightly toasted whole-wheat pita rounds, along with some shredded mozzarella cheese, and three trays full were placed in the broiler so that the cheese could melt.

Meanwhile, in the dining room, Katrina and a handful of students in charge of the evening’s dessert, shredded zucchini, measured flour, sugar, and cocoa powder, and lined muffin tins with cupcake wrappers. A couple of tweaks to the original chocolate cake recipe (substituting apple sauce for some of the oil and adding zucchini to the batter) made these cupcakes low in fat, nutritious, extra moist, and so good that almost everyone went back for seconds.

Low Fat Chocolate Cake Recipe

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

¾ cup sugar

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp canola oil

3 tbsp apple sauce

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup cold water

1 cup shredded zucchini

non-stick cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, sugar and salt together in a mixing bow.
  3. Mix oil, vinegar, vanilla, applesauce, and water together in a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Mix in zucchini.
  5. Coat an 8-inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into greased pan.
  6. Bake 30-40 minutes on middle rack of oven, until the center is firm, and a toothpick inserted and removed comes out clean.


Over dinner, Maria discussed various nutritional topics with the families and shocked us all with a compilation of nutritional facts from various fast food joints (turns out, a large milkshake from Baskin Robbins can have as many as 1,900 calories!).   Maria also introduced MyPlate, a helpful way to visualize the correct amount of servings from each food group should be present at each meal.

Though last night marked the last Cooking Matters class, the families will continue to receive CSA shares for the next two weeks. IFFS was happy and proud to be able to partner with these families and organizations and produce yet another successful series of Cooking Matters classes! We would especially like to thank Ben’s Produce and New Grass Gardens for supplying the CSA shares and AHA for helping make this happen.