Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Recipe Earns Appleton Girl a Trip to the White House

First Lady Michelle Obama, the WGBH Educational Foundation, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture recently announced the winners of the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative.

Wisconsin’s winning recipe was submitted by Anna Ganser, age 10, a sixth grade student this fall at Classical School in Appleton. She is the daughter of Dr. John and Jennifer Ganser. Dr. Ganser is a family physician at ThedaCare Physicians-North in Appleton and Jennifer is a registered nurse who works as a health coach at ThedaCare At Work. Last year, Anna’s older sister Sarah submitted Wisconsin’s winning recipe to this same contest, and she motivated Anna to enter this year.

Anna’s recipe, Mediterranean Rockin’ Roasted Vegetables in Cool Cucumber Boats, was inspired by Anna’s favorite flavors and a full day of creating the original recipe in the kitchen with her mom. “I really love roasted vegetables, so I thought we’d make a recipe out of them. To add some more fun, and because I really like them, we added the cool cucumber boats,” Anna said.

Dr. Ganser and Anna will fly to Washington D.C., courtesy of Delta Air Lines and contest sponsor Newman’s Own®, on July 9 and attend the Kids’ State Dinner hosted by Michelle Obama on July 10. Winners representing all U.S. states, three territories, and the District of Columbia will attend the luncheon, followed by a visit to the White House Kitchen Garden. On the day before the White House dinner, Anna Ganser is most looking forward to a private tour of Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian, a special activity arranged just for the young chefs.

Dr. Ganser is particularly excited about the luncheon with Mrs. Obama and respects her work on the national healthy kids initiative. “As a family doctor, I am on the front lines of the struggle against childhood obesity and poor health habits. Childhood obesity is a function of adult obesity. If adults are obese, there’s a very good chance their kids will be, too. Only by modeling healthy behaviors for our children do we curb this epidemic, like choosing and cooking nutritious food, exercising daily, reading food labels, and sharing treats in moderation.”

The recipe competition, in its fourth year, invited a parent or guardian to work with his or her child ages 8-12 to create a lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable, original, and delicious.  Entries had to represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.

Anna Ganser’s winning recipe was chosen from more than 1000 entries. It will be part of a free downloadable and printable e-cookbook of the winning recipes, including nutritional analyses and photos, available in July at the contest site at;,, and

Here’s Wisconsin’s winning recipe, courtesy of Anna Ganser, inspired by flavorful roasted vegetables and accented by cute and cool cucumber boats:


Mediterranean Rockin’ Roasted Vegetables in Cool Cucumber Boats

4 cucumbers, halved lengthwise and seeded

Whole-wheat orzo, 8 ounces

½ lbs. fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup red pepper, cut into ½ inch – pieces

1 cup yellow pepper, cut into ½ inch – pieces

1 small red onion, diced

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

½ cup grape tomatoes, quartered

¼ cup Kalamata olives, quartered

1 (15- ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cooked, shelled edamame

3 canned artichokes hearts, diced

2 tbsp. olive oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup fresh key lime juice

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ cup crumbled garlic and herb feta cheese

1.      Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.      Place asparagus, red pepper, yellow pepper and red onion in a mixing bowl and toss with 2 tbsp. olive oil to coat.

3.      Spread vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Let vegetables cool for 15 minutes.

4.      Cook orzo for 6-7 minutes in boiling water, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

5.      Add roasted vegetable to the orzo pasta. Combine with grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, great northern beans, edamame and artichoke hearts.

6.      In small bowl, wisk together 2 tbsps. olive oil, lemon juice, key lime juice, Dijon mustard, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper.

7.      Toss dressing with roasted vegetables and orzo.

8.      Spoon the roasted vegetable-orzo mixture into seeded cucumbers. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve with homemade whole wheat garlic pita chips. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Garlic Pita Chips

5 pieces whole wheat pita bread

¼ cup olive oil

Garlic powder



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Slice each pita bread into 8 triangles. Place pita bread triangles on a cookie sheet. Brush pita bread with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake for 6-7 minutes until crispy and lightly brown.

Chalk on the Town is an Inclusive Event for All Artists

Kudos to Appleton Downtown for bringing Chalk on the Town to our monthly Art on the Town event. I have watched it grow in participation and talent, and truly enjoy seeing how the creative minds interpret the chosen theme. There are some very talented people who know how to use the chalk medium, that result in beautiful drawings on our downtown sidewalks. On the other hand, the event also draws kids and families and anyone willing to pick up some chalk and get down on their hands and knees.  I appreciate that it is all inclusive.


I wish I could include myself in that pool of experts, but I can’t. Though I have taken part in the event for three years, and will join again next month, my drawing will again be simple. You see, although I have a creative mind and artistic talents, I rarely draw. Once a year to be exact, on the third Friday in July. Talents lacking, it is a challenge, but one I’m up for again this year.


I will park myself in front of City Center and give it a shot. Bob and Meg from the Green Gecko are my cheerleaders and they see to it that I am fed and well hydrated. In return, my drawing always includes their gecko logo. They’re good friends and we make a great team.

See you on the sidewalk.

Judy Culligan

Chalk on the Town 2015
July 17, 2-9pm
Chalk fun for the whole family all day!
2-4pm for kids in Houdini Plaza.  This year’s chalk theme is “Summer In The City”.
No registration is necessary for children.  Adults (& older children who want to have their chalk judged) should register at:

National PBS documentary to feature Juneteenth in Appleton

A new documentary on PBS about the history of Juneteenth and the celebrations surrounding it also features Appleton’s past struggles with racial equality and strides to be inclusive.


Filmmaker Michael Emery examines the history of Juneteenth and the significance of the day that marks the official end of slavery in the United States. In the film Emery looks at celebrations across the country including Appleton.

“I chose to make a program about Juneteenth because no one else was doing that. As much as Juneteenth is worth a celebration, I believe this kind of American heritage is also worthy of sharing,” said Emery. Flores says it’s important for Fox Valley residents to realize and learn from our history of racism.

“As the film shows, we will continue to examine our history of racism as a Sundown Town, and in doing so we must continue have an open and honest dialog directed toward action about the mistakes of our past so that we do not repeat them today,” said Flores.

The just released video can be seen online now at

Park Once and Ride the Downtown Trolley


This free trolley makes a complete loop of Downtown and the Riverfront every 30 minutes with scheduled stops along the way. It departs from the Transit Center (next to the Appleton Public Library) at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.) Look for the black, green and red trolley stop signs! Park in one of the Downtown ramps and then ride the trolley to your favorite restaurant, retailer or nightlife location. Running Thursday – Saturday, it’s the perfect way to get around Downtown and to our beautiful Riverfront. Take the trolley to enjoy the sights, sounds and delicious smells of our great area.

And a ride on the trolley makes Art On The Town, the Heid Music Summer Concertsand the Downtown Appleton Farm Market even more special!

Happy Passengers
Happy Passengers

The trolley brochure with map is available to download now. Or pick up a copy at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel or Transit Center.

The trolley is available June 4-Sept. 26.
Thursdays & Fridays 5-11pm
Saturdays 8am-11pm

If you enjoy riding the trolley and would like to support it, please make a donation in the box on the trolley.

Parking Meter Changes Coming Saturday

Filling the parking meter in downtown Appleton will cost less and be more convenient starting Saturday.


Following a recommendation by a consultant in February and Common Council approval earlier this month, the hours of enforcement at meters downtown will be scaled back by three hours. Currently the hours are from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. but will change Saturday to 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Meters will still be enforced Monday – Saturday with free parking on-street and in ramps on Sundays.

Also as part of the parking restructuring, all on-street meters north of Washington Street will see the rate change from $0.75/hr down to $0.20/hr. The time limit for parking will go from two hours to 12 hours at those meters.

“If people are willing to walk just a little further, they’ll be rewarded with cheaper and longer- term parking which will also help take away some of the congestion in the downtown area,” said Public Works Director Paula Vandehey.

Hours of enforcement in the lot in front of the Appleton Public Library will also end at 6 p.m. while the meter price will remain at $0.75/hr.

Vandehey says the change is expected to cost the city about $100,000 in lost revenue over the next six months. But other parking changes recommended by the consultant will help offset those losses in the future.

Crazy Sweet’s Mile of Music Golden Ticket Giveaway

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams”. These words uttered by Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, could have been written for the upcoming Mile of Music Golden Ticket Giveaway put on by Crazy Sweet, the candy store on College Avenue in Appleton.


Co-owners Dale Ver Voort, and his wife Mary Kelley, have put together a promotion that Willy Wonka himself would be proud of. Coloma based chocolatiers R & R Chocolates hand poured five hundred custom candy bars with the Mile of Music logo imprinted into it. The bars were wrapped in foil and put into a custom package along with hundreds of prizes donated by downtown Appleton businesses.

The “golden ticket” prize is two Music-Maker Festival Badges. Each badge offers the lucky winner one admission pass for the First Songs Kickoff Concert on August 5th, Front-of-the-Line status at some venues, meet-and-greets with Festival performers and much, much more.

“Mile of Music is an event unlike any other, we were looking for a way to be part of the excitement of that weekend” Dale said, “the fact that so many downtown retailers are joining us is part of what makes Appleton one great place”.

Other prizes available in each candy bar include t-shirts, discounts on spa packages, lunch and drink specials, lots of retail gift cards and, of course, candy.

In keeping with the spirit of Willy Wonka, a portion of the sale from each candy bar will be donated to The Mile of Music Education Fund, within the Appleton Education Foundation. This program funds more music opportunities within the Appleton public schools.


“Being able to give something back to the community, especially something that helps fund music education, is important to us. Who knows, some of these kids may be playing at the Mile of Music event one day”.

You can purchase the candy bars starting Saturday, June 20th at Crazy Sweet.