YUM – IT’S National Grilling Month!

Firing up the grill and enjoying a sunny BBQ with friends and family is a part of American culture. Having a cookout with friends and family is fun and delicious! Grilled steaks, burgers and veggies, when marinated just right, are packed with tons of flavor. Grilling is also a healthy alternative to frying food with oils. We encourage everyone to grill on but to do it safely. Unfortunately, acquiring a foodborne illness is not uncommon in the summer season. The humidity and heat of summer allow bacteria to grow faster in food. Please review and share these food safety tips to keep your friends and family healthy at your next gathering!


Thaw Properly: Use the refrigerator or sealed packages in cold water for slow, safe thawing. For quicker thawing, use the defrost setting in a microwave. Never thaw meats at room temperature.

Marinate in the Refrigerator: Marinate in the refrigerator, rather than the counter. Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated for up to two days. Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to five days. If you want to use some marinade for a sauce on cooked food, reserve a portion in advance. Don’t reuse marinade that’s been used on raw meat.

Keep Everything Clean: To prevent foodborne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry and keep foods separate. Promptly refrigerate any leftovers. The cold temperature will slow the growth of harmful bacteria.

Cook Thoroughly:  Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. Therefore, it is best to use a meat thermometer to check for safety and doneness. Large cuts of beef like roasts may be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F for medium. Poultry should reach 165°F. Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.

Keep Hot Food Hot and Cold Food Cold: Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill. After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served at 140 °F or warmer. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.


Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Sweet and Sour Sauce

July is not only National Grilling Month — it is also National Berry Month! Combine the two with this grilled chicken and blackberry recipe.

Servings: 4      Prep Time: 5 minutes      Cook Time: 15 minutes



4 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup blackberry jam
2 tablespoons cognac
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
6 ounces fresh blackberries
1 teaspoon fresh mint, minced


Preheat grill to high heat. Brush each side of chicken breasts with the cooking oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 3 minutes on each side, then turn the heat to medium-low and cover to cook for an additional 5 minutes or until cooked through.

In a saucepan or skillet over medium high heat, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Smash half of the berries with a fork to release the juices. Let the mixture cook down for approximately 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over grilled chicken and serve immediately.

Recipe options:
-Use thick cut pork chops or salmon instead of chicken.
-If you don’t have cognac, use alcohol of your choice: rum, brandy, whiskey, red wine or white wine. I love cognac the best in this recipe!
-Instead of rice vinegar, substitute with cider vinegar, white vinegar or red vinegar

Recipe by Jaden Hair, SteamyKitchen

thank you, cathy weiss!

Nonprofits who are fortunate enough to have effective boards tend to be successful nonprofits. A good board is made up of diverse, skilled professionals whose expertise helps to guide and advocate for the nonprofit’s mission. The members are volunteers of the highest level, willing to give of their time, resources and passion to see the organization they love succeed. At times, they must also be willing to make difficult decisions in order to help the nonprofit remain efficient, yet productive and impactful. MANNA’s growth in recent years, and its bright future, are due in large part to the efforts of the members of its Board of Directors. They are leaders and champions of nutrition. They are people like Cathy Weiss.

Cathy was originally introduced to MANNA as a program officer at the William Penn Foundation and shortly thereafter became a regular at MANNA’s A Show of Hands art auction. While Cathy and her husband Ed loved the annual event, it was MANNA’s mission that truly stuck with her. So when she had the opportunity to support MANNA again, now as the Executive Director of the Claneil Foundation, she did so enthusiastically. Cathy valued MANNA’s work because it provided a unique service to the region, it is evidence-based, and it addressed a root cause, rather than a systemic dysfunction. “Nourishment is essential to healing and to be able to improve health, reduce medical costs, and provide the opportunity for hundreds of volunteers to contribute to the well-being of their neighbors is the ultimate trifecta,” explains Cathy.

Cathy was asked to join MANNA’s Board of Directors the day she announced her retirement from Claneil Foundation. While she had often remarked that MANNA’s proposals were among the best she had read in her career, she told CEO then Richard Keveaney to “call me in 6 months.” As she recalls, he did just that 6 months to the day. Cathy had been professionally involved with MANNA during its more difficult years and was impressed by the ability of its Board and executive team to make tough decisions while maintaining a focus on the mission.  When the call came, she knew it was time to become connected in a more personal way.

During her 7 years on the Board, Cathy made many contributions to MANNA, but when asked, claimed her proudest accomplishment was advocating for the initial research that has proven the efficacy of the MANNA model. Additionally, she is pleased to have been active in the recruitment of quality board members who truly understand the power of MANNA’s work. Beyond her board work, Cathy has often donated her time by volunteering in the kitchen, speaking at special events and making special monthly “thank you” calls to donors. While her favorite MANNA event is Shut Up & Dance, she told us that she

Cathy, whose term ended in June, hopes that as MANNA moves to its new facility and expands its client base, the Greater Philadelphia community will come to better understand the depth and breadth of MANNA’s work. “MANNA is a national thought leader in the nutrition field, and a jewel in Philadelphia’s crown. I am going to miss being able to say that I sit on the board of this organization,” says Cathy.

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We will certainly miss having Cathy as a Board Member but are so very thankful for her time and for the legacy she has left  behind. We have no doubt we will see her again soon as she has pledged to continue to support MANNA and Food is Medicine. Thank you Cathy!

National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

June is not only a time for warm weather, summer vacation and soaking up the sun, it is also a great time to celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month! At MANNA, we take advantage of all the delicious seasonal produce this month has to offer and you can too. With the change of seasons, you might notice more local farmers markets and produce stands setting up shop in your neighborhood. Purchasing produce in season allows you to savor the flavor and save money as these items do not go bad as quickly compared to produce not in season. The more fruits and veggies the better! So what are the benefits of fresh produce? Let us discuss!

There are numerous health benefits to consuming fresh fruits and vegetables as they are lower in calories and are nutrient dense compared to most processed meal and snack items. More specifically, fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals which help build a strong immune system. They are excellent sources of fiber which is needed to regulate digestion and help lower cholesterol. Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is also linked to maintaining a healthy weight, preventing chronic illnesses such as: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers.

It is never too late to start eating more fruits and vegetables! If this means doubling your portion of vegetables at meal time, trying a new fruit, or packing a fruit or vegetable for a quick healthy snack on the go, the health benefits are endless. The standard serving size of fruit is considered 1 medium fruit (size of a baseball), or ½ cup of chopped fruit or berries. The standard serving of a vegetable is considered 1 cup of leafy greens (size of fist), or ½ cup of any other chopped vegetable. The recommended daily intake for fruits and vegetables varies depending on age, gender, and activity level. For adult women the recommended daily intake of fruits is between 1 ½ to 2 cups per day and men 2 cups per day. The recommended daily intake of vegetables for women is between 2 to 2 ½ cups and men between 2 ½ to 3 cups per day.

Fresh farmers market fruit and vegetable from above with copy space

The produce in season in June includes the following:

  • Apricots
  • Lemons
  • Plums
  • Avocados
  • Melons
  • Carrots
  • Berries
  • Nectarines
  • Cucumber
  • Cantaloupe
  •  Onions
  •  Green beans
  • Figs
  • Peaches
  • Tomatoes
  • Cherries
  • Oranges
  • Sweet corn

While this blog emphasizes the importance of fresh being the best, remember that frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are also beneficial to your health. When purchasing these items make sure to check the front label for products lower in sodium and added sugars. Here’s to fruits and veggies!


Follow the links below for additional resources, tips and recipes:

  • For tips for consuming more fruits and vegetables as well as recipes, click here.
  • For a database to help locate farmers markets near you, click here. Some of these markets are open year round while others are only open on certain days and times. Take notice to Philly Food Bucks on this site and how you are rewarded for using your SNAP card to purchase produce.
  • If it’s in your budget, Philly Magazine did an excellent job summarizing the details of share programs in the city. Click here to view.