Congratulations to Riley Sorensen, a 12-year-old from Carver, who will dine at the White House as Minnesota's winner of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, sponsored by Epicurious. First Lady Michelle Obama will host the Kids "State Dinner" on Aug. 20. Riley's entry, chosen from more than 1,200, was for a lunch of stuffed red peppers and banana oat stacks (recipes are at right). "Riley watches all the food shows and is really cognizant of healthy food choices," said her mother, Vicki, who said she never missed an opportunity to educate. "I was always saying, 'Hey, do you know those blueberries are loaded with antioxidants?'" She'll accompany her daughter to the luncheon, where they'll also get a tour of the White House Kitchen Garden. Later this month, the recipes will be posted online as a free downloadable and printable e-cookbook available at, and

In her entry, Riley said this about her recipes: "The Stuffed Red Pepper has chicken (for protein), a red pepper and spinach (for veggies) and I put it on top of brown rice (for whole grains). The banana dessert gives me the fruit I need and more grains (Mom tells me the fiber from the oats and flax is good for digestion and blood sugar). With a glass of low-fat milk, this meal is delicious and healthy!"

Celebrate at the Capitol Mahal

The India Association of Minnesota is hosting IndiaFest, touted as the state's biggest Indian outdoor festival, with more than 10,000 expected to attend. Admission is free, with events from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday on the State Capitol grounds in St. Paul. Highlights include all-day kite-flying, Bollywood music, traditional dancing, henna painting and celebration of India's Independence Day celebrations. And, of course, food, with the best in Indian cuisine from local restaurants. For more info, visit

Love your farmers market

American Farmland Trust, apparently seeking to prod voters like suspect melons, have released current vote counts for each state that denote the top five markets in its America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest. More than 7,000 markets are competing nationwide, and voters can type in the name of their favorite. Voting ends at midnight Sept. 3. Top vote-getters so far in Minnesota include Eagan Market Fest, St. Paul Farmers Market, Mill City Farmers Market, Minneapolis Farmers Market and the NE Minneapolis Farmers Market. To make your choice known, visit www.votemyfarmers The four winning markets, of various sizes, will be lauded and applauded.

Community Garden Day 2012

More than 50 community gardens statewide are hosting free neighborhood celebrations Saturday. Download the directory of participating gardens or view an online map at Event times vary from garden to garden, and gardens are sorted as to their primary focus of food production, beautification, youth or environment.

Got zucchini?

Hunger-Free Minnesota announces a new program, "Good to Grow," as part of its agriculture surplus goal to increase the amount of fresh, nutritious food available to "food-insecure" Minnesotans. If you're a gardener with excess produce, you're encouraged to pledge to donate at least 5 pounds of produce by signing up at The first 200 to sign up will receive a recyclable "Good to Grow" garden bag that can be used to transport produce from the garden to a food shelf or other food-serving agency.