Great Grains Workshop

Looking for some new ways to get your whole grains in? Chef Reva’s winter workshop at the Council on Aging focused on whole grains. Participants sampled a variety of grains – some familiar, some new – learned how to prepare them, shared recipes, and connected over great food and company. Grab a bag of brown rice, wild rice, kasha, quinoa, farro, or another of the many whole and healthy options available at the supermarket and try something new!

Here are some recipes to get you started:

Grain Bowl

Our upcoming workshops at the Council on Aging will be held on:

  • Monday, March 27, 1:00-2:00 – “Not your average greens!” Learn about greens and how to prepare them.
  • Monday, May 15, 1:00 – 2:00 pm – topic TBD

To sign up, call 781-899-7228.


Zap it! Healthy Microwave Cooking

Your microwave is good for more than popcorn and leftovers! This January, Chef Reva created two delicious soups with residents of the Home Suites Inn transitional housing as part of her “Cooking without a Kitchen” cooking series. These workshops teach techniques for cooking healthy meals in the microwave. Her fresh Mushroom and Barley Soup and Pho (Beef Noodle Soup) are proof that you don’t need a fancy kitchen (or even a stove!) to create delicious and nutritious meals from scratch.

Try the workshop recipes below! For more quick meals and snacks, check out the microwave section of our recipe page.


Beef Noodle Soup (Pho)

serves 6


1 small onion or shallot, chopped
1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced thin
1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
3 cups of low-sodium beef broth
3 cups of water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
8 ounces rice noodles
12 ounces lean beef sirloin, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, optional
4 scallions, thinly sliced
½ cup cilantro leaves
½ cup basil leaves or Thai basil leaves
1 cup bean sprouts
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced, optional
2 limes, cut into wedges


  1. Combine onion or shallot, fennel, ginger, beef broth, water and cinnamon in a large microwave-safe bowl or container. Cook on high power for 10 minutes. Remove ginger slices and discard.
  1. Meanwhile, heat 4 cups of water in a microwave safe bowl until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add rice noodles to hot water and cook in high 2 minutes, or until tender. Drain noodles and transfer to a large bowl.
  1. Add sliced beef to hot broth and cook on high 2-5 minutes, until beef is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.

4. Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil to soup. Add cooked noodles, scallions, herbs, bean sprouts and jalapenos, if using. Serve with lime wedges.


Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom and Barley Soup

adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook

serves 6


½ cup uncooked pearl barley
1¼ cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5½ cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock


  1. Place the barley and 1¼ cups of water in a large microwave-safe container with lid. Cover and microwave on medium power for 20 minutes. Stir and repeat for another 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. If the barley is not yet tender, add another half a cup of water and cook another 5 minutes on medium power.
  1. Meanwhile, combine olive oil and chopped onion in another microwave safe container. Cook, covered 2-5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add garlic, mushrooms and salt and cook another 5 minutes, covered on high power.
  1. Add soy sauce and apple cider vinegar and cook another 5 – 10 minutes until mushrooms and onion are very tender.
  1. Combine cooked barley, mushroom mixture, and 5 cups of water in a large microwave safe container or bowl. Add fresh black pepper and mix well.
  1. Cook another 10 minutes on high power until soup is hot.



Waltham Connections

We are pleased to announce our partnership with the Tufts Health Plan Foundation in launching our newest project: Waltham Connections for Healthier Aging! The Waltham Connections program was born from Brandeis University Professor Walter Leutz’s 2015 study using community-based participatory action research to understand and improve healthy aging in Waltham. Along with recruiting and training senior volunteer co-researchers, conducting agency interviews and focus groups, writing reports, Leutz also helped create a senior/agency Steering Group which ultimately created this initiative. The theme of “connections” is at the heart of our work in trying to connect seniors to one another and create a more age-friendly city.

Waltham Connections focuses on community and civic engagement to build on the knowledge
and dreams of local seniors and agencies. Following the World Health Organization’s Healthy Aging model, the Steering Group will lead several working groups focusing on issues ranging from social participation, communication & information, inclusion, and in-home services. The healthy aging movement looks at how seniors can live both physically and socially active lives, and also maintain a healthy diet, and get regular access to health care and support services.

With this initiative, we strive to promote and include lower income, homebound, minority and immigrant seniors in healthy aging. To reach these communities, we are working with agency and senior representatives from these populations to participate in our Work Groups to aid in designing age-friendly programs and policies to benefit all Waltham seniors. We strive to reduce the disparities arising from language, class, and disability.

Agencies we are working with include: Waltham Council on Aging and Housing Authority, Neighbors Who Care, the YMCA, JF&CS, the League of Women Voters, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Brandeis University, Mt. Auburn and Newton-Wellesley Hospitals, Springwell, the City of Waltham, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary. With this partnership, we hope to improve access to supports and services, health and wellness, social participation, better coordination of in-home services, and provide a forum for seniors to have a greater voice in determining needed changes that affect their livelihood.

We are excited to share more healthy aging events as they develop over the course of this project and beyond. We look forward to this endeavor and hope you will join us in making Waltham an example for age-friendly cities. To get involved with this project, please email

Support Our Community!

We’re working together to support the health of Waltham’s neediest residents. Click below to see our video of Healthy Waltham programs in 2016! We could not do this work without your support. But, there is still so much to do. Keep community health a priority for Waltham in 2017 with a year end gift to Healthy Waltham. A small gift goes a long way. Checks can be sent to Healthy Waltham at 510 Moody St., Waltham, MA, 02453, or click on the button at the top of the page to donate securely through PayPal. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, all donations are tax-deductible. Thank you!

Learning about Health Education

We were very lucky to have Annie Fortnow interning with Healthy Waltham this semester! She has been a wonderful addition to our team and a great presence at numerous events and workshops. She shared some thoughts on her time with us. Thanks, Annie!


By Annie Fortnow, Brandeis ’17annie

Interning at Healthy Waltham this semester has broadened my knowledge of food access and education and introduced me to the structure of a small nonprofit organization. So far, my internship has had me working with underserved populations in Waltham to teach them about the importance of healthy eating. During one of the first weeks of the internship, I visited the Greater Waltham Arc, an organization that caters to adults with disabilities, to help lead a healthy cooking demo. We taught how to make healthy pizzas and had our students cut the vegetables for the pizza toppings, roll out the dough, and apply the toppings. Working at this event helped me remember why I became passionate about food justice in the first place. Food and cooking help bring people together. Since everybody eats, food and cooking serve as topics that everyone, no matter their background, can bond over. Encouraging healthy cooking with fresh ingredients both promotes community and helps create healthier individuals in our neighborhood.


Annie and Reva at the Outreach Market

In addition to cooking demos, I have gotten the opportunity to provide healthy food samples at the Outreach Market put on by Waltham Fields Community Farm. The Outreach Market serves as an opportunity for low-income individuals in Waltham to receive subsidized fresh vegetables. Healthy Waltham sets up a table at the market every week with samples featuring some of the vegetables offered. Providing these samples allows the customers shopping at the market to see what they can do with the vegetables they pick out. Educating others at the Outreach Market helps me bring context to the work that I love to do. Access to local, fresh food is an issue that is extremely important to me. Through my work with the rooftop farm project at Brandeis as the Donation Coordinator, I have gotten to see the impact of providing fresh produce to those in need. Without education about how to use this produce, however, individuals who have never had access to this kind of food may not know what to do with it. My experience with Healthy Waltham taught me the importance of giving context to fresh food distribution.

As I continue my internship with Healthy Waltham, I feel excited and honored to work with more individuals within the Waltham community to educate them about healthy eating as well as other health topics. As a senior, I hope to use this experience to determine whether or not health education is a viable career path for me and how I can best use my prior knowledge about food justice and environmental health to help Healthy Waltham.