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Eat. Train. Race. Travel.

Welcome to Athlete Food - our continuous adventure to seek out healthy food around the globe and at our own dinner tables. Hope you are inspired to get on a plane or get out the plates and cook a healthy dinner tonight!

A Night at James Beard Celebrating Walmart's Rediscovering America Program

This post is sponsored but all comments and opinions are of my own creation.

In August, I had the opportunity to go to the James Beard House for dinner. I used to live a few blocks away and have walked by the storied culinary landmark on my walk to the subway countless times. Seeing the inside of the brownstone has been on my NYC bucket list forever, so I was super excited to take a break from training camp to come to the city to celebrate Walmart's Rediscovering America program.
As one of America's largest purchasers of organic produce, Walmart has committed to providing a fresh, broad assortment of locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables to its customers. They have partnered with local farms and farmers so that the fruits and veggies are grown and sold right in the same state. Did you know that? I didn't!
One of the ways Walmart is showcasing this commitment to organic, local produce is with the Rediscovering America program. Nine celebrated chefs from around the country have been selected this year to use Walmart's fresh, affordable, organic fruits and veggies to create a limited-time dish for their menu. The idea is to show the importance of supporting local farms and farmers and bringing fresh, organic produce to more homes in America.
I met chefs from Seattle, Phoenix, and Philly, but the star of the show was local NYC-based chef, JJ Johnson. JJ created the menu for the night. He told us about his new restaurant in Harlem called Field Trip - everything on the menu incorporates rice! He gets the rice directly from a farmer in Texas. We got to taste some of his delicious food. My favorite was the shishito peppers. He explained to me how simple they are to make: blister the peppers, add some fresh squeezed orange juice and some orange zest. I can't wait to visit his restaurant! We also sipped on cocktails made with muddled organic raspberries from Walmart and ginger beer and then hung out in the backyard garden - ideal NYC summer night!
At the end of the night we were able to take home some of the fresh produce from a mini Walmart produce stand. I chose some colorful bell peppers, avocados, carrots, apples, and bananas. The peppers and avocado went into a simple salad the next day and I used the carrots and bananas to make Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Carrots. See the recipe below. It's so good—the organic carrots have so much substance and flavor and just melt into the banana bread and add a little sweetness so that you don't need to add a lot of sugar. Don’t forget, you can get all of these ingredients at Walmart!

3 bananas (not overripe) 3 teaspoons cinnamon 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or gluten free flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 medium carrots, grated with a box grater (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash bananas with cinnamon.
In a separate, large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer on medium (or rigorously by hand) until the sugar starts to dissolve.
Add flour, baking powder and baking soda to oil/egg mixture, mixing by hand until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Stir in carrots, mashed bananas and chocolate chips.
Divide mixture into 4 greased mini loaf pans, filling each one about halfway.
Bake 35-40 minutes for mini loaves. If using a regular loaf pan, bake for longer, around 60 minutes. The edges should be golden and a tooth pick inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Make sure to do this toothpick test because oven temperatures may vary.

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James Beard House and Walmart's Rediscovering America Event

James Beard House and Walmart's Rediscovering America Event