Independent Living Cooking Classes

ILP1It’s official!

As part of our expanding Outreach Program, hautemealz.com will be partnering with Impact NW’s Independent Living Program to teach an ongoing series of basic home cooking classes for teens coming out of the foster-care system to live on their own. We’ll fund a portion of these classes from our outreach budget (thank you hautemealz subscribers!) and special cooking fundraisers.

We really want to hit the ground running, and build on the class we held last week, with a second and possibly third class in February.

20140130_171443We’re starting from scratch, so our first goal is to equip 10-12 portable cooking stations with a table, syllabus, burners, pans, pots, and various basic cooking implements.

We can’t tell you how excited we are to build a relationship with these amazing kids, while giving them the tools they need to prosper on their own!

Here’s what the program coordinator told us, following the first class:

“You did a fantastic job with the youth, who really benefited from the experience. I saw self confidence grow in individuals who didn’t have any before. They are excited about signing up for future sessions and we could not be more pleased!”


Experts estimate that 45 percent of youth leaving foster care become homeless within a year.

Young people who have spent their lives in foster care often struggle when they leave the system. Impact NW’s Independent Living Program (ILP) helps foster care youth ages 14-21 gain the skills they need to successfully transition out of foster care and into adulthood.  They work with participants to set and reach attainable goals through one-on-one meetings, weekly job readiness classes, and social and skill-building activities and events.

ILP2 Each year, ILP ensures a happy, healthy, independent adulthood for more than 60 vulnerable young adults.

Hautemealz is excited and honored to be a part of this program by hosting this ongoing series of “Kitchen Skills” courses for the youth of the ILP.

ILP4These will not be classes that focus on a career in the culinary arts, but instead it will cover the primary skills and techniques required to plan, shop for, and cook healthy, affordable meals at home, using basic cooking equipment that these young people are likely to have available starting out on their own.

We believe that the ability to cook for oneself is a set of basic skills needed by  everyone, and that the confidence and independence that comes along with these skills will transfer into all other areas of these kids lives. In other words, when they learn that they can cook for themselves, they learn that they can do anything else they want to do in life.

We also want to make sure that Impact Northwest can continue to focus it’s time and resources on the important programs that are already in place, without having to divert monies from those, to our classes. We will have several opportunities in the future for people like yourself to help, including one-time activities, cooking events, and student sponsorships in the program. (There is no cost to the students to participate, nor does hautemealz receive any compensation. Sponsorships would be used for ingredients and materials that each student uses throughout the course of the classes.)

There are three ways you can help us change these kid’s lives for the better: Individual Sponsorships

Please consider sponsoring a student (or two…or ten…) for an entire series of six classes. Total cost per student, per class is around $40.00, so full sponsorship in the program would be just $240.00 per student.

Besides the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping these kids learn life-changing skills, we also want you to know that we’ll be promoting the heck out of each of our sponsors in all of our literature, social media avenues, and live events! Payments will be made to Impact NW specifically for our program. Impact NW is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and will provide receipts for these donations.

Equipment/Ingredient Donations

Most of these students will come to their first class with nothing in the way of cooking gear. If your company has branded cooking hardware (measuring spoons, spatulas, knives, aprons, spices, etc.,) we would love to get it into the kid’s hands. We will also have a lot of quizzes and educational games throughout the course, and if you have small cooking-related items that we can add to the prize box, that will be an ongoing need, as well.

One Time Gifts

Every dollar helps, and is greatly appreciated. If you would like to make a donation to our Independent Cooking Program, payments can be made to Impact NW specifically for our program. Impact NW is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and can provide receipts for these donations.

Thank you very much for your consideration and generosity. We look forward to partnering with you to inspire our next generation toward a healthier, happier, more independent life!


Perhaps the simplest way to contribute to our outreach programs, on an ongoing basis, is to subscribe to our SimplySmartDinnerPlans service.

Our dinner plans are all about helping busy families get back to the dinner table and share delicious, nutritious meals together, by helping you with the research, planning, and list-making that takes so much time…time that most of us just don’t have.

We create and personally test “real food” recipes for every night of the month, provide an easy-to-follow itemized grocery list for every week of the month, and offer constant support and training through our weekly newsletter, interactive blog, and social media sites…all for just $10.00 a month.

A large portion of this subscription income goes directly towards supporting our outreach programs.

So, you get great recipes for delicious meals, while helping kids learn to cook the same for themselves…that’s what we call a Win-Win!

If you have any questions, please comment below, or contact us at hautemealz@gmail.com

Thank you all!

Chefs Perry, Terry, & Chris SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com


Another amazing year of feeding kids at the Impact NW/KOIN6 Holiday Store!

Impact NW Holiday Store

This is the second year that the chefs at hautemealz.com have been privileged to prepare meals for the children and families coming in to the Impact NW Holiday Store.

3The Holiday Magic Store embodies the mission of Impact NW providing an opportunity for families to shop for free from a store filled with brand new items for their children, their household and themselves. Families that have shopped through the store have shared that this form of empowerment has had an immeasurable impact on their life – providing them with a sense of dignity and comfort in knowing that people within their own community truly care about them.

“Thank you, hautemealz.com, for serving three delicious meals to the shoppers and volunteers at our Impact NW Holiday Store! Your generosity and kindness never cease to amaze us!” – Mari Tamiyasu, Impact NW

A BIG thank you to our weekly meal plan subscribers, as a large portion of your subscription fees go to supporting and cooking for these types of outreach programs and events!

View the full slideshow here, on our Facebook page!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Chefs Perry, Terry, & Chris


How we give back: The Amy Roloff Charity Foundation

Little People Big WorldYou probably know Amy Roloff, and her family, from their hit reality-television show, Little People, Big World, on TLC.

Our friend Amy is proof that amazing things can come is small packages…as well as being the leading lady of her own television series, she’s a business professional, wife, mother, speaker, and author.

BTW – “Little People, Big World” just finished it’s eighth season and is currently working on specials, making the show the longest running family reality TV show in history.

But, that’s not ALL Amy does…


“The Amy Roloff Charity Foundation (ARCF) will advocate, inspire and add value to the lives of youth who face personal life challenges.” – ARFC’s Mission Statement

Amy founded the non-profit Amy Roloff Charity Foundation (ARCF) in 2009 and has developed a successful grassroots organization that advocates, supports, inspires and changes the lives of kids facing life challenges.

HT_2010-06_Roloffs1In the first four years, ARCF has raised over $750,000 in donations. Her goals for ARCF’s is to surpass the one-million in giving and donations above and beyond and to be one of the leading non-profits that advocate and impact kids lives in the years to come. Amy and the ARCF team believe and know they are making a difference in the lives of kids one at a time.

A little help for a BIG World leads to little steps for a BIG Change in lives.

The ARFC supports some fantastic organizations, including Bridge Meadows, Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, the Children’s Cancer Association, Generosity Water, Friends of the Orphans, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Special Olympics Oregon, and many many more.

“You do so much for many. Thank you, Chefs…you are an inspiration!” – Amy J. Roloff

We met Amy when she M.C.’d at the first charity auction for Sparks of Hope, another child-advocacy program that is near and dear to our hearts, and we were fortunate enough to strike up a conversation with her.

pulled_pork_sliderWhen we all realized the similarities of our missions and outreaches, Amy invited us to participate in several upcoming charity events, including the 2012 Portland Street of Dreams, and the 2012 ARFC “Starry Night” Dinner and Auction Gala, where we donated all of the ingredients to cook and serve our pulled-pork sliders to guests .

Hautemealz was included in the auction as well, raising $2,800 to cater dinner parties  for two winners.

photoaLater in the year, we had the honor of joining Amy, once again, at Portland’s Metro Holiday Toy Drive, feeding the families who were coming in to pick up gift boxes.

Join Us!

“We are continuing to be a little help for a BIG world,” says Amy, “in taking little steps for a BIG Change in impacting kids lives.”


This year’s event, the 5th Annual ARCF Dinner and Auction Gala will be held on September 14th,  at Portland’s Leftbank Annex, and we will once again be on the auction block!

If you’re interested in joining us, we’d love to see you there! Be sure to reserve a seat (or host a table) at the online reservation page, and help make a BIG change!

“Your support will help us raise awareness for the communities and organizations we support. Help us make this event a success for kids again for the 5th year in a row!” – Amy

Last but not least, we want to extend a BIG “thank you” to all of our meal-plan subscribers…

photo4 (800x592) - CopyEvery month that you’re subscribed to one of our meal plans, you help support, through the Hautemealz Outreach Program,  life-giving organizations like the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation, The Father’s Heart Street Ministry, and the No Kid Hungry project…thank you!

We have BIG outreach plans for the coming year, and we couldn’t do it without you…you rock!

Chef Perry


Spanish Tapas & Wines Class: In Good Taste

Did you know that Spanish tapas started over 300 years ago, when inn-keepers along Spanish coach lines would sell sherry to thirsty travelers, while fresh horses were being hitched to the coach?


When patrons began complaining about the number of flies that were getting into their tipple, the inn-keepers began topping the cups with a slice of bread to keep the pests out. To their delight, they discovered that the travelers bought more wine  when a snack was included, and the simple, local, and unpretentious tradition of tapas (small plates) was born.

Now, tapas is enjoyed on a daily basis throughout Spain, usually around four in the afternoon, and is often a mini “food crawl” to several favorite spots to hold folks over until the traditional dinner at around eleven at night.

In Good Taste Cooking SchoolI enjoyed a fantastic night out, last night, with a focus (as you might have guessed) on all things Spain at a local class: Spanish Tapas and Wines from Spain. 

This 3-hour In Good Taste Cooking School class explored numerous regions of Spain featuring different Spanish wines and small dishes.  It was a demonstration class where the Chef Erika Reagor of Thrive Pacific NW (a local Portland food truck) both entertained and educated ten of us foodies, as we sat back, tasted and enjoyed.

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

Chef Erika Reagor of Thive Pacific NWChef Erika is also a certified Nutrition Educator, Health Counselor and Nutrition Consultant. She teaches cooking classes based on whole food preparations and alternative ingredients.  She has been an in-home chef for the past 6 years, providing the benefits of fresh, whole, and affordable meals for numerous clients.

13 (800x598)This was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken, and the most fun.

The braised ribs in adobo  were absolutely amazing (and I know ribs), and the Spanish octopus was, hands down, one of the best foods I’ve ever put in my mouth.

26 (707x800)If you’re interested in Spanish cuisine, tapas, enhancing you cooking skills, of just sharing some amazing food with some friendly foodies, I strongly recommend taking a class at In Good Taste.

Thanks Chef Erika and In Good Taste for showing us a great time!

-Chef Perry

The Menu:

Open-faced Crab Empanadas

Open-faced Crab Empanadas
Crab simmered in a rich tomato sauce and topped on a savory pastry.
Wine Pairing: Segura Viudas Brut Rererva

Spanish Octopus, Confit Potato, & Smoked Paprika with Romesco Sauce

Spanish Octopus, Confit Potato, with Romesco Sauce
(Pulpo con Patatas)
Tender octopus served with smokey potatoes
Wine Pairing: Tapena Verdejo

Serrano Ham Croquettes with Roasted Pepper Coulis

Serrano Ham Croquettes with Roasted Pepper Coulis
(Croquetas de Jamon)
Fried little balls of ham and cheese.  Yummy!

Tapas-Style Meatballs over Braised Greens

Tapas-Style Meatballs over Braised Greens
(Albondigas en Salsa)
Wine Pairing: 2010 Ergo Tempranillo – This was my favorite wine of the evening, delicious and not at all tannic.

Grilled Lamb Skewers with Salsa Verde

Grilled Lamb Skewers with Salsa Verde
Marinated and Grilled Lamb with a Spanish-style sauce of 10 different herbs and spices.

Braised Pork in Adobo Sauce

Braised Pork in Adobo Sauce
Both pork shoulder and ribs are slow cooked in sherry and spices to create a most tender and flavorful dish.
Wine Pairing: 2009 Las Rocas Granacha

Creme Catalana with Winter Fruit Compote

Creme Catalana with Winter Fruit Compote
A baked custard with spices and orange zest.
Pairing: Dry Sherry


Oil & Vinegar Portland & Chili Chutney Wings

Chef Chris and I have found a new favorite hang-out that we wanted to share. There’s a small oil & vinegar shop tucked away in the Clackamas Town Center, that has everything our foodie hearts could have desire, and more…

Oil & Vinegar is a culinary importer that brings together a wide range of international food and cooking products.

The shop has a distinct Mediterranean flair, and the shelves are stuffed with a cornucopia of imported delights.

Continue reading


International Food Bloggers Conference 2012…dying with a smile on my face

International Food Bloggers Conference IFBCIt’s day three of the International Food Bloggers Conference here in Portland, Oregon, and, if this thing kills me, let it be known that this was how I wanted to go.

Friday and Saturday were wonderful, but very long, days of eating; a bacchanalian onslaught of food and drink, interspersed with intense sessions of  talking about food and drink, with the occasional coffee and snack break tossed in, to tweet about food and drink.

It has been an epic 36 hours that has not just brought me to the wall, but has left in it a permanent impression of my bloated carcass, several inches deep.

Don’t get me wrong, the food has been amazing, the services and classes impeccable and outstanding, and several of the offerings have been among the best things I’ve ever eaten. Course after course, sample after sample, a gastronomic wonderland of non-stop delights…but, like a 60 year old porn star on his 5th honeymoon…I may just be finally losing interest…

No fear, I shall press on…trying to muster excitement for the B.Y.O.B. “all vegan breakfast” this morning. B.Y.O.B = “bring your own bacon”…these instructions are not actually in the convention program, but it just seems like common sense…

Anyway, the highlights of the weekend so far:

International Food Bloggers Conference IFBCFriday afternoon and evening alone were a whirlwind, with a light lunch, a “speed blogging” session (think “speed dating” but with course after course of  delicious, decadent, single-bite offerings instead of desperate 40-year-old virgins. (Okay, there may have been some desperate 40-year-old virgins there, as well, but that wasn’t the point of the session!)

International Food Bloggers Conference IFBCLater came a VERY happy hour of wine tastings, all of which were stellar and without a plastic spout or screw-cap to be seen. I’m not too much of a wine-guy myself, being something of a pour-chug-find-some-more kinda fella, and, though a light-hearted and fun atmosphere, there was a lot of sniffing and swirling going on…I’m pretty sure that any mention of Mad Dog or Boones Farm would have gotten one humanely butchered, roasted, and served as a canape (on a local, artisan bread, of course.)

Want to take the hassle out of meal planning? For super-simple, healthy and delicious dinner recipes, check out our FREE weekly meal plans and shopping lists!  Your free membership helps us teach as-risk youth valuable life skills!

From there we were herded into an arena-size room, ringed with individual food stations handing out everything from elk jerky to fresh sashimi to bbq pork sliders (and about 97 other dishes.)

There was a pig being dissembled, before a hushed and reverent crowd of believers, in one corner (I didn’t stay long enough to see the outcome of that one, they may have just lit candles and eaten the thing raw).

Down the center of the room, to my Western materialistic delight, stood a 100 foot-long table, heaped and groaning with all-imaginable kinds of complimentary foodie swag.

I tore into it like the last pizza at fat-camp.

Later, waddling out into the night, bowed under the weight of my bag of loot, I may have been taken for an inebreated Santa Clause…I’m pretty sure that everything was “shaking like a bowl full of jelly” at least.

A momentarily serious side note – the organizers of this event have treated us attendees like gods. The sheer volume and quality of the gifts we’ve been  given, from beautiful wooden cutting boards, to state-of-the-art slow-cookers, is staggering. The classes and speakers they’ve provided have been of the highest caliber, as well. Whatever our hosts are getting paid…it’s not enough!

Now it’s (very early) Sunday morning…

My eyes are sandy from a serious lack of sleep and the lingering after-effects of trading drinks with a cantina full of overly imaginative foodies (Everclear and chocolate milk, with a splash of Thai fish-sauce? A round for the house, my good man!)

My gastrointestinal system gave up, hours ago, any pretense of functioning correctly, and at 3am I lay staring at the ceiling in a pool of bacon sweat, pouring maalox shooters and creating improvisational whale-song.

These, btw (for those uninitiated) are the conditions under which we food-bloggers typically “find our muse”.

But don’t cry for me Pepto-Bismol, this is the life I have chosen, and neither gas, nor reflux, nor lack of clean stretchy-pants, will keep me from my appointed rounds.  For you, my readers, I do it all for you!

Speaking of which, if you’ll please excuse me, I need to hurry if I’m going to get to breakfast on time…I still haven’t packed my bacon.



Tickets available for the Portland Street of Dreams

Who wants tickets to the Street of Dreams?

This year’s event will be held at The Vineyard in West Linn, high above the Willamette River. The event runs July 28 – August 26th.

The next 5 people who sign up for one of our hautemealz.com menu programs (regular, lighter-side, or diabetic-friendly), or refer someone who signs up, will receive 2 tickets (each) to the 2012 Portland Street of dreams.

That’s a $30 value…or the equivalent of 6 months of hautemealz.com membership!

I just toured the neighborhood yesterday, and it is beautiful. Here’s the link to join, act fast…when they’re gone, they’re gone!