Saint-Charles School is a small school in the scenic Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. They set up a breakfast program for their 75 students a little more than a year ago. Special education teacher Myriam Servais is the one who got the initiative off the ground, with support from her fellow staff members. “Madame Myriam,” as she is affectionately known, is in tune with the needs of her students. From day one, she has put her all into making the program a success, so that every child can start their morning with a wholesome breakfast.
This year, some extra help was needed to keep everything running smoothly, so the breakfast program decided to reach out to the parent population. Marie-Soleil Aupin-Keighan, a mother of one of the students and a very creative person by nature, responded immediately. As someone bursting with ideas for recipes, decorations, crafts and more, she was the perfect fit for the role of site coordinator. So she decided to take the plunge!
Thanks to the efforts of all the volunteers and the staff members who help out, the breakfast program at Saint-Charles School is a hive of activity every morning. Students from Grades 5 and 6 are also on hand to pitch in with breakfast preps. “Without all these great people, I’d have much less time to plan, organize and cook!” said Marie-Soleil.
It turns out Marie-Soleil is also a wiz at cutting down on food waste: “I work hard to keep waste to a minimum. I’ll inevitably find a way to turn one thing into something else or invent new no-bake recipes to get students to eat food they may otherwise turn their nose up at. I make energy balls and apple sauce popsicles. When yogurt gets close to its best-before date, I freeze it and make yogurt pops. Unopened drinkable yogurt gets put into a blender with frozen fruit to make smoothies. And that’s just the beginning!” This week, she’s testing out a new egg spread. We’re sure that, like everything else she dreams up, it will be a huge hit!
She has generously agreed to share one of the kid-tested recipes she has come up with. Feel like giving it a whirl?
MARIE-SOLEIL’S NO-BAKE ENERGY BALLS
Yield: 32 balls
- 2 c. (500 mL) soy butter* (WowButter)
- 1 c. (250 mL) granola
- ⅓ c. (80 mL) honey or maple syrup
- ¼ c. (60 mL) raisins
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a reusable silicon mat.
- Combine the soy butter and honey with an electric mixer or a fork.
- Add the granola, using your fingers to crumble some of the bigger pieces. Blend together with a mixing spoon.
- Shape the mixture into balls, about 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) at a time. If it is too sticky to handle, try moistening your hands with a little water. Add extra soy butter and honey if needed for the balls to hold together.
- Place them on the prepared cooking sheets, making sure they don’t touch. Chill for at least an hour.
N.B.: For special occasions, drizzle melted chocolate over top, as illustrated.
*You can substitute other nut or seed butters if that’s what you have on hand!