An Overview of the New Curriculum

Have you been trained in a previous version of the Faithful Families program?  Want to update your training with information about the new curriculum?  We’ve put together a short video that provides some insights about our new curriculum components.  You can view it FF 2016 Updates.

This video is NOT a Faithful Families training.  It is intended for use by those folks who have previously been trained in the program, but who need an overview of the new curriculum components.

Questions? Contact Annie Hardison-Moody at


Farmers’ Market Tours – Resources and Tools

Arnhem Market-049Thank you to those who attended our recent Farmers’ Market Tour training!  We will have the video from that webinar available on the website soon.

The Guide to Farmers’ Market Tours and Recipe Cards will be available on our website very soon, but in the interim, please check out these additional resources to help you partner with Farmers’ Markets in your Faithful Families work.

What other resources do you find helpful in your work with farmers’ markets? Share them on our Facebook page or tweet us @FFESMM!


National Empanada Day!

April 8, 2016

by Hannah Field

IMG_4383Today is National Empanada Day! Empanadas are widely found in Central and South America. They are pockets of dough stuffed with meats, veggies, beans, cheeses, and sometimes eggs and raisins! You can even make dessert empanadas with a variety of fillings. The name comes from the Spanish verb “empanar,” meaning “to wrap or coat in bread.”

Empanadas hold a special place in my heart. I want to be up front that I do not have cultural or familial ties to them, but I have really wonderful memories of making them during my high school Spanish class. We made them both with veggies and black beans, and ones filled with spiced ground beef. We also made ones with a sweet cinnamon-sugar filling.

I love that they are so versatile, kind of like pizza or tacos. They can also be easily frozen after they are made, for wonderfully simple make-ahead cooking. Try these recipes for black bean and sweet potato empanadas, and use the dough to make fruit empanadas for dessert!

If you have little ones in your household, consider letting them help measure out ingredients for the dough, or press the pockets together before baking. You could even talk with them about the importance of different dishes in cultures around the world, or of traditional family recipes.

Enjoy, and happy National Empanada Day!


Black Bean and Sweet Potato Empanadas

Yield: 10 empanadas Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes


For the Dough:

-2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

-1 1/2 tsp salt

-1 stick unsalted butter, cold and chopped into small pieces

-1 egg, lightly beaten

-1/3 cup ice water

For the Filling:

-1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

-2 medium sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and diced

-1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

-1/3 cup chopped green onions

-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

-1/2 tsp. cumin

-1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (if you have it)

-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

-1 egg white, lightly beaten


  1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Combine canola oil, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and egg in a medium bowl. Gradually add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  3. Knead lightly until smooth. Shape dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  5. While the dough is chilling, prepare your sweet potatoes. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat for a minute or two, and then add your sweet potatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and combine your sweet potatoes and the drained and rinsed black beans.
  7. Add the cayenne, cumin, smoked paprika (if using), and salt. Lightly mash the mixture with a fork until it gets a little smoother.
  8. Preheat oven to 400°.
  9. Divide dough into 10 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. Roll each dough portion into a (5-inch) circle on a lightly floured surface.
  10. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), spoon 3 level tablespoons sweet potato and black bean mixture onto one side of each circle.

Moisten edges of dough with egg white; fold dough over filling. Press edges together to seal. 11. Place empanadas on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

  1. Cut 3 diagonal slits across top of each empanada. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from

Fruit Empanadas

Yield: Approx. 8 empanadas Cook time: 30 minutes


For the Filling:

-2 cups frozen or canned fruit (frozen mixed berries or strawberries are great options, so are canned peaches and tropical fruit mix in either their own juice or water)

-1/2 cup brown or regular sugar

-2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or bottled

-1 tsp. cornstarch

-Equal parts cinnamon and sugar mixed together, for sprinkling over finished empanadas

Follow same dough recipe as above, doubling if you want to make both types of empanadas.


  1. Combine all filling ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until the mixture has thickened somewhat.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Divide dough into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. Roll each dough portion into a (5-inch) circle on a lightly floured surface.
  4. Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling onto one side of each circle of dough. Fold dough over filling.
  5. Place empanadas on a baking tray lightly sprayed with baking spray.
  6. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes.
  7. When they are done baking, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar.

Hannah Field is an intern with Faithful Families.  She is a junior at NC State University, majoring in sociology and social work.

Faithful Families Social Media Webinar

March 22, 2016

FaithFamiliesFaithful Families is offering a series of webinars throughout 2016 to grow and enhance your program.  We are excited to announce that the first webinar is available for viewing.

If you are interested in learning how to use social media to build your Faithful Families program, check out this webinar to learn more!

As a reminder, you can see a schedule and register for future webinars here.



We’ve Got the Beets

I never thought I liked beets as a kid, but when I got a bit older I tried them again and they became a favorite vegetable. Beets do take about an hour to roast, so consider making them on the weekend for meal prep ahead, or on a weeknight you have a bit more time. You could buy them at the farmer’s market or grocery store, roast them, chop them up, and use them in recipes all week long! I absolutely love using one ingredient multiple times, especially when it is something as filling and delicious as beets.

This recipe would make an excellent side to a variety of main dishes.



Balsamic Beet Salad

Yield: 6 servings Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes


-8 medium-size beets, tops removed and scrubbed

-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

-1/2 cup olive oil

-2 teaspoons dijon mustard

-4 cups spring mix or (or your favorite lettuce)

-1/3 cup toasted almonds

-1/2 cup feta cheese

-Salt and pepper


1) Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil and place them on a sheet pan. Roast them for 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size, until a small sharp knife inserted in the middle indicates that they are tender.

2) Unwrap each beet and set aside for 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle.

3) Peel the beets with a small, sharp knife over a piece of parchment paper to prevent staining your cutting board.

4) Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and set aside.

5) While the beets are still warm, cut each one in half and then each half into 4 to 6 wedges and place them in a large mixing bowl. As you’re cutting the beets, toss them with half of the vinaigrette (warm beets absorb more vinaigrette), 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Taste for seasonings.

6) Place the spring mix in a separate bowl and toss it with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Top with the beets, almonds, and feta cheese. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette, if desired, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from the USDA Mixing Bowl, available here.