Transition Strong: Cooking

Love cooking? Interested in cooking for a career?

A’Delle, the school psychologists at Davis High, suggests reaching out to contacts you already  have in the community. Clubs, neighborhood groups and local businesses have event and services that require food preparation.

Ask: “Who has been doing the cooking for your Fall Harvest event?” [PS: That’s just one example!]  Then, call them for the scoop and skinny.


The Davis Food Coop is a tremendous resource if you think you might have a cooking bug. Go to the events calendar at  to find out what’s hot and tasty. Food preparation, as a field, has a huge range of opportunities from baking to grocery service.  Even the late Anthony Bourdain started as a short-order chef sweating over a hot stove. Then, of course, he became famous writing about other cooks and the fascinating lives they lived.

One good way to explore the diversity of cooking is to join a facebook group sponsored by the Davis Food Coop. You can, for example, hook up to a Vegan facebook group,  a teaching kitchen group or even a very active group that learns to cook for families with infants. This last group, called the Toddler group, has an amazing 314 members.

Don’t forget the Food Coop at 537 G St. in Davis has free patio cooking classes (often on Thursdays) that are free of charge. These classes can be found on the events calendar mentioned above.

Other ideas

Other ideas for cooking experience are almost too many to mention. At you can volunteer to bake a cake for someone’s birthday. The public library at 315 E 14th St. has a kitchen gardening class.

The best idea is to keep networking in Davis and surrounds to expand your cooking passion any  your culinary resume.






Transition Strong: McDonalds Burgers

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting the Hiring Manager at a McDonalds in Sacramento.

Lilly admits that applicants are required to write their resume on line at

However, the key to getting a job at the burger business might actually be to establish a physical contact. “I come in to work on Saturday to review all the applications,” she explains.  When she sees someone she likes she calls them in for an interview. “I keep the application for six months,” she says. Eventually, everyone who gets through the interview will get a job.

According to Lilly, the thing that she looks for in an applicant are basic skills. For example: teamwork, multitasking and dealing with conflicts.  When young people in high school or college can give examples of exhibiting these skills she is almost always impressed.

Work history, moreover, isn’t the story.  Can the applicant give an example of when they used multitasking at home or at school?  Can they give instances when they toggled between helping one person and then, quickly, to helping another person?

Clearly, anyone can go to a McDonalds restaurant to determine if it seems like a safe, orderly and cheerful place to work. Not all of them, of course, are good work environments.

Also, a potential job applicant can go to a McDonalds and ask to see the Hiring Manager. Sometimes, surprisingly, this person isn’t a supervisor or even a veteran worker. Like Lilly he or she might have only worked their a year or two.

In the case of Lilly, she would be an ideal interviewer.  According to her, even successful applicants who might need special help or accommodations would be welcome. Her brother, she says, had an IEP in high school and, because of speech problems, needed help in the work he eventually found.

“Sometimes people might be able to work at the grill or at loading frozen food,” she says. In fact, at her restaurant almost always the people who work in customer service are female.

Finally, the goal of working at McDonalds should be a realistic one. Gaining the trust and skill to operate the cash register is certainly a plus. Another objective might just be lasting a year with a person as honest and seemingly caring as Lilly. That would be a very positive achievement.

Transition Strong: UC Davis Med Center

Locating an interesting volunteer position at UC Davis Medical Center (or other hospitals) might involve different types of explorations. Generally, volunteers at the hospital need to be at least 16 years of age.

If you are a Transition Strong student (or parent) you can always explore your own interests even before you know where you want to work.  Ask your own doctor or school nurse to refer you to a specialist and make an appointment for an “informational interview.” Maybe you are thinking about public health, which can start with keeping your kitchen clean or recognizing a bug trap that the county worker has set in your tree.  Go and meet the health worker in your city or county who works with doctors in these areas.

Not sure about the different medical areas? I like to go to the Mayo Clinic website which is easy to read. It really is a survey of all the different medical fields and services.

If you are 16  and super-eager to apply (I am using UCD as an example), one exploratory path might be to visit and to complete the online application at

With some planning, though, a freshman or sophomore might consider a long-term strategy for exploring and preparing for a solid volunteer placement at UC Davis or at one of its many satellites.

For starters, maybe you know a doctor or hospital administrator who has met you and wants to use your services for, say, four hours a week (which is a standard period of service for Med Center). This person can contact the volunteer services office at 916 734-2401 and request a so-called Individual Placement form so you can begin your application process.

As well, special volunteer programs exist at UC Davis such as volunteer programs such as those offered by the Hospice Program. Best thing to do: explore these programs at the hospital website at

The best advice for any student interested in a strong transition  to the workaday world is to start your first year in high school. Talk to your school nurse, take first aid training, study medical vocabulary in your biology class. Make it fun by getting involved in a community event such as a walkathon sponsored by the Heart Association or the Lung Association or one of many other public service groups In other words, start building a resume around your own medical and volunteer  interests.




Unwanted Flies in Arden-Arcade


Joshua, the security guard who patrols WinCo Foods in the Country Club Plaza parking lot says he has seen “unauthorized use” of the dumpster designated for food waste on the south side of the south side of the store.

Above the reeking food dumpster is a swarm of flies. Inside are decomposing packages of raw Tortilla Land dough.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website, raw dough is a major cause of E.Coli infection, which can cause liver and kidney damage.

“I don’t think they empty this dumpster on the weekends,” says Joshua. He says he has notified the staff at WinCo of the problem of the open dumpster. “It’s up to them to keep it closed,” he says.

Joshua allows me to take a picture of the dumpster contents and then begins to write up another report on his cell phone.

Clearly, I wonder about the many homeless people in this part of the low-income Arden-Arcade area who might be “dumpster diving” to get something to eat.

At the very least, this dumpster should be locked and secured.  Where it is located against the side of the WinCo store where a pedestrian could have easy, unobserved access to its very dubious treats.

Karina’s July “Healthy Drink Tray”

The Perfect Smoothie

With all the warm weather sometimes you just want to eat something cold! Smoothies are a great on the go for breakfast . But sometimes when you buy them at the store they have a lot of hidden sugar and calories. Here’s how you can experiment at home with your favorite ingredients to make your perfect healthy smoothie.

1/2 cup – Liquid: A liquid is needed to mix all the ingredients together. Use a milk of your choice, water, or even coconut water. Try to avoid using juice so you don’t have all the added sugar.

1 cup – Frozen banana: The secret to smoothie making is using frozen banana! This will give you the rich, creamy smoothie texture. If you prefer a more liquid consistency then just use a raw banana.

1/2 cup – Frozen fruit: Choose your favorite fruits – berries, grapes, cherries and more. You can buy fruit already frozen or freeze them on your on your own!

1/4 cup – Protein: Will help you stay fuller longer. Choose from low fat yogurt, cottage cheese or tofu.

1-1/2 cup – Greens: Drink your greens! You can add spinach, kale, arugula, beets, or chard.

1 Tbsp – Additions: Add extra nutrition by adding your favorite nut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, or hemp seeds.

Karina’s June, 2018 Food Basket!




Why is eating fresh, locally grown food better than food from the grocery? Two main reasons that come to mind: fresh foods taste better! And they are rich in nutrients!

Purchasing fresh foods also reduces the consumption of additives like preservatives, pesticides and hormones. These chemicals are used by mass-producing farmers to help food grow quickly and last longer.

But there can also be disadvantages to consider. Since fresh foods do not have additives they have a shorter shelf life and should be consumed quickly. There is also a cost concern. It is commonly found that fresh foods are more expensive than conventionally grown foods. In contrast to fresh foods, conventionally grown foods are still far more popular. Why? (you may ask). Because it is convenient! Conventionally grown food still dominates grocery stores, providing readily available options to consumers at a cheaper price. At any time of the year a person can walk into a grocery and find any fruit or vegetable – whether in season or not. But that doesn’t mean it is more nutritious! Many foods that have been processed have added sodium, coloring, sugars or other chemicals to help preserve and add taste. Consuming these additives may cause your body to react negatively and cause gastrointestinal side effects. Luckily, the public is becoming more aware of the benefits of eating locally and these food are becoming more abundant in grocery stores in Northern California. So, next time you plan your groceries for the week try looking for specials in your local grocery stores. Some stores like Sprouts have weekly specials on local produce at affordable prices. And if you are on a really tight budget try your local food bank. Many food banks have multiple weekly local food distributions for free! No application or personal information required!


Best of Show at Florin-Sears Market

Ryan of Sciabica’s California Olive Oil holds his highly awarded Jalapeno flavored olive oil. “It goes with eggs, popcorn or many other things,” he explains.  His exciting booth is part of the thriving Thursday morning facilitated by Alchemist, a community development corporation, which helps to organize certified farmers markets in the region.

New Sacramento Artist, Bill Laws


Boxed Leaves, Gampi Paper. 2016. William R. Laws III


Welcome to the new Sacramento Artist Expose. Presented by City Colour, the new artist Bill Laws is featured for a Pop-Up show on Friday, November 25 (the day after Thanksgiving).

This first annual Expose will be held at The Brickhouse Gallery, 2837 36th St. in Oak Park.Call 476-1240 for location information. Presentation will be from 4 PM to 9 PM.

Shown above is Bill’s collage Boxed Leaves. It utilizes Japanese art paper with a selection of fall colors against bright sky inspiration. Bill’s development as an artist in watercolor, pastel and acrylic stems from his early preoccupation with imaginary and playful work with collage.

This year’s Artist Expose is sponsored by the nonprofit website Keeping with the season, half of the proceeds from all sales go directly to Food Bank and Family Services.

Curators associated with a Sacramento gallery, with an interest in future shows of this artist, should submit the Key u77y9y  for a restaurant coupon.



4th Annual Farm to Every Fork





The reverend Warren Barnes, pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church, and Monique Stovall,  Director of Nutrition at San Juan Unified School District, share a moment before the celebration of the fourth annual Farm to Every fork event.  The evening event featured a wonderful supper catered by Sa’vory De’lites and its charismatic owner  Jackie Nakapaaahu.

This year’s program highlighted Director Stovall’s insights on the challenges of providing healthful and attractive meals in a school setting tight with regulations and budget constraints.

In comments before her presentation, Stovall indicated that she was aware of the arrival of new immigrants to the Arden-Arcade area which her school district shares with the parish territory of Grace Presbyterian Church.  While her food program, however, does not directly visit the homes of these newcomers, Stovall explains that San Juan Unified School District maintains a community intervention or liaison committee that meets regularly at the site of Garfield Elementary school in Carmichael. This committee,through its contact with adult English language learners (and hopefully, in the future, through home visitations and other interactions  with the new ethnic groups) offers an opportunity for the school food program to learn more about the food needs of both newcomers and veteran residents.





Pop-Up Market Rules the Day


Billie Hale, the tireless nutrition student at California State University, Sacramento, takes a moment from her busy schedule to highlight the twice monthly food pop-up in front of the campus bookstore. The pop-up food table immediately to the right of Billie offers free bags of produce to students who present an ID. However, closer to the bookstore (and out of sight of the picture frame) are cooking demonstrations which model food preparation techniques.

Perhaps just as important as the free bags of food or cooking techniques, the pop-up, which is part of the ongoing Food Pantry program, is a chance to “get the word out” that food for students with low-incomes is available at the Food Pantry on a daily basis. During the day students who need assistance stocking up edibles  can pick up dry, canned and other food stuffs at the permanent food closet in the women’s gymnasium area.

Despite the festive nature of the two tables (one of which is adroitly operated by counseling center staff) Billie indicates that one of her main duties of the day is to train various volunteers serving the growing Food Pantry program. Thanks all around, then, to Billie  and to her vivacious boss Jennifer Campbell, for allowing the time to “demo” the special fresh produce table.