Eating healthy with Dannika Stevenson, owner of Sip.Savor.Soul July 11th, 2019 by Noor Hindi Growing up in Summit Lake, Dannika Stevenson didn’t have access to fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables. Her food source was the corner store or gas station, and as a result, she often struggled with eating healthy. Today, Dannika is a culinary instructor teaching kids and families how to find and prepare healthy food through her business, Sip.Savor.Soul. “I’m trying to create recipes that are easy to prepare,” Dannika says. “We have young kids who are staying by themselves. They’re home alone because their parent or parents are working.” Dannika is targeting neighborhoods in Akron that are “food deserts,” where it’s difficult to buy affordable fresh food. Through partnerships with the Summit Food Coalition and Let’s Grow Akron, Dannika is working on making sure families know about, and have access to, local farmers markets. Many of her recipes, like salads, yogurt parfaits and trail mix, are intentionally designed for kids who can’t use a stove or a microwave. They are also targeted at kids who don’t have many experiences with fruits and vegetables. “I have kids that come and they look at these fruits and vegetables. They smell, they taste, they hold it. And it’s funny, with the kids, you get their reactions. They’re like, ‘this doesn’t look pretty’ or ‘it feels rough.’ But that’s why I want them to explore that,” she says. “I want them to be curious about it. And I tell them, I just want you to close your eyes and take a bite and if you don’t like it, no big deal.” Dannika has been working in the culinary industry for years. She moved back to Akron in 2015 after working in New Orleans, Atlanta and Nashville. In Akron, she worked as a culinary instructor at Hattie Larlham’s Food Hub, which provided fresh produce to Akron residents before closing in 2017. At Hattie Larlham, Dannika enjoyed making Creole food, Mexican food and even sushi with attendees. “What I wanted to do is bring those cultural cuisines to them, because there’s people that have never left Akron. Never left their neighborhood. So, I wanted to bring a different type of flavor, a different type of experience to the class.” Dannika looks at the food she makes as an art form. She says there are many opportunities for families and people to be in community with each other through food. “I like the diversity when people come to the table and we sit and we eat and we share stories, and we talk about what we learned, what we liked and didn’t like. I love that. It’s so fun,” Dannika says. Black-Eyed Pea Salsa (serves 12) 11 oz. bag frozen black-eyed peas, thawed and rinsed11 oz. bag frozen corn, thawed and rinsed1 small red onion, diced1 small green pepper, diced1 small red pepper, diced1 package cherry tomatoes, quartered1 lime squeezed and juiced1 bunch cilantro, minced½ cup olive oil½ cup red wine vinegar½ tsp salt, cumin and chili powder In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, cumin, chili powder and salt. Add black-eyed peas, corn, peppers, red onion and tomatoes. Add lime juice. Stir to combine. Stir in cilantro. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight to blend flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Check out Sip.Savor.Soul. on Facebook @sipsavorsoul. Email Dannika at email@example.com Noor Hindi is The Devil Strip’s Senior Reporter. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo used with permission from Dannika Stevenson. Tell your friends:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.