The Belmont Center: A Really Cool Place

Last week I traveled across the river to visit the Meals on Wheels People’s Belmont Center! When I got there, I was greeted by a sweet volunteer named Laurence who directed me to the office of Ela Martinez-Moreno, the Belmont Center Manager.

Here’s a photo of Laurence. One of the many friendly faces at the Belmont Center.image

As Ela gave me the tour of the center and introduced me to a few of the volunteers and seniors, I was struck by just how friendly and talkative everybody was! Everyone’s friendly at Meals on Wheels People, and the Belmont Center is a prime example.

What also stood out to me about this center was the community involvement. There’s a ton of it! Ela explained to me about several ways that they are supported by the community. Here’s a few examples:

Gleaners: It may just be me, but I’ve never heard of this group, I think they like to fly under the radar, but here’s the basics of what they do: Gleaners go to farmer’s markets throughout the Portland area and at the end of the markets, the Gleaners request the farmers to donate some of the produce that wasn’t sold, to non-profits such as Meals on Wheels People.

That means that each Monday the Belmont Center gets incredibly large donations of delicious, nutritious produce that was locally grown! Ela showed me a refrigerator filled with ripe, juicy tomatoes which will be used for meals that involve salads or sauces. 

Here’s a picture of some delicious summer squash that was donated to the center. 


Which leads me into another praise for the Belmont Center.

The kitchen staff works hard! The cook makes soups from scratch daily from produce that gets donated to the Belmont center! This means that the seniors there receive healthy meals!

Not only are the seniors at the Belmont center provided with delicious food, but they also have fitness classes such as yoga and Tai Chi offered to keep them active. A favorite of those at the center is Bingo night which happens four nights a week.


Another cool characteristic of the Belmont center is that they have their very own thrift store! The thrift store has been a part of the Belmont center for several years and it generates the majority of their fundraising money!


Once again, the community is very involved; several times a month the Belmont Center has music performances that allow seniors to enjoy all different genres, from classical to bluegrass.

There is an English teacher in the neighborhood who has been stalking up the shelves at the center with all sorts of books!


Ela is a hard worker and works on average 5-6 days a week, often volunteering to take weekend shifts. There are about 12 drivers each day (There’s some openings right now so you should volunteer!) and 20 volunteers working in the kitchen and in the dining area, where 60-80 seniors enjoy a fresh meal every weekday.

Before working with Meals on Wheels People, Ela had other opportunities working with non-profits and those in need. When asked what she loves about Meals on Wheels People is that you have a deep connection with those in the program. She says that there’s a lot of paperwork involved with being a Center Manager, but with Meals on Wheels People you don’t get buried in it and lose connection with others. As a Center Manager, you’re working directly with seniors and get to know them by name and be actively involved in their daily lives, because for many of them, Meals on Wheels People is their family.

Looking to volunteer?

Meals on Wheels drivers are needed on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays - 7 routes to choose from. Phone the center at 503.953.8202 to volunteer.


The Belmont Center is looking for volunteers who speak Russian. Interested? Give Ela a call at 503.953.8202.

Run or Dye

Mark those calendars, because we have an awesome event you don’t want to miss!


Run or Dye – Give Love Tour – is happening September 13th and it is going to be a blast!


Sign up to run, walk or boogie your way through this 5k and have an experience you’ll never forget!  

Not only will you have the best time with friends and family, but you’ll get a super sweet swag bag filled with an awesome tee, bracelets, tattoos, dye pack and of course, a race bib! Now that you’re all decked out in cool Run or Dye swag, you run through a rainbow of vibrant colors every kilometer! You and your friends will become a colorful canvas. So make sure to wear white for the best results!


Once you’ve gone all 5 kilometers, the fun doesn’t end there! You get to be a part of a world-famous Dye Festival! There’s going to be awesome emcees and you’ll get the opportunity to Tie-Dye the Sky with your own dye packs!


You’ll forget that you’re exercising, it’s that fun!

The date is September 13th and the time is 7:30- 1:00pm.

The price: $47 Individual if purchase by 9/3/14, then goes up to $49 up until the event; $42 for Team (4 people); $25 Kids age 7-12; Free for Kids under 6.

Sign up here and you’ll receive $5 off!

Not into the whole race and running thing, consider volunteering!

Sign up here and be sure to enter “Meals on Wheels People” in the slot that says “nonprofit reference id”. 

We’ll see you there! 


Fook Lok-Hollywood Center Visit!

Last Tuesday I got the pleasure of going out to our Fook Lok-Hollywood Center to meet a few of the incredible staff members!

I, for whatever reason am incapable of following directions on a map, was wandering 45th Ave trying to find the center when it was right in front of me the entire time! It’s located in the downstairs portion of Rose City Park Presbyterian Church just off of Sandy Boulevard. Meals on Wheels People began in February 1970 in a church basement where they delivered 14 Meals on Wheels to seniors. The Fook Lok-Hollywood center is the last to remain in a church basement, but it has grown to serve much more than 14 meals in the area!

That’s not the only fun fact that makes the Fook Lok-Hollywood Center unique, another cool characteristic is the great Asian outreach that is offered. Lunch is served Monday through Friday and seniors have the option of an American or Asian entrée made from scratch daily. This delicious meal is made with the help of one wonderful woman named Yu Jun Sun, who goes by Jun, and has been working with Meals on Wheels People since 2006 (when the Fook Lok Center and the Hollywood Center combined) and is dedicated to providing the best meals possible for seniors. Jun reads and writes English and never misses a beat when it comes to loading all the meals into the coolers around 10am for the daily deliveries.


Mary Gagnon, the Center Manager, comes in everyday to manage the awesome events, the sweet volunteers and all the delicious meals. Mary began volunteering with Meals on Wheels People 11 years ago. She discovered Meals on Wheels People at her previous job working with attorneys, who would often have long lunch breaks during the day. Mary noticed that there were people delivering meals to seniors in the area and that’s what sparked her interest for Meals on Wheels People. Mary began volunteering to deliver meals when her daughter was in 3rd grade and the two of them would often volunteer together. Now her daughter is 31 years old and Mary is the Center Manager of the Fook Lok-Hollywood Center after working part time and now working full time with Meals on Wheels People.


Another member of the wonderful staff is Yao Lee, the Outreach Manager who works as an interpreter for many of the Asian seniors who come to the Fook Lok-Hollywood Center. Yao is originally from Taiwan and feels a special connection to those who come the center because she sees them as her family. She is able to speak and relate to the seniors who enjoy the meals because it is a very important part of their lives. Yao explains, that “to me they’re just like my family,” and with that great connection she is able to provide a wonderful experience for those seniors who rarely have any social interaction outside of Meals on Wheels People.


Many seniors that Meals on Wheels People deliver to do not have a lot of social interaction, several only leave their homes for doctors appointments. Meals on Wheels People not only provides meals for seniors, but also a loving and caring environment for seniors. Mary explained to me that many of the seniors look forward to the time of day when the volunteers deliver their meals because that is when they are able to talk to someone.

There are many routes that Meals on Wheels People deliver to and on each route the drivers are able to interact with many of the seniors. Mary said that on one of their routes, there is a woman who without fail will have one piece of candy ready for the person who is delivering her meal that day. She plans it and although she is not able to do much, she makes sure that she has a piece of candy ready for the sweet volunteer. She makes a point to get that candy and like most seniors, the volunteers might be the only person they see that day. She is very grateful and wants to make the most of the time she gets with the volunteers.


Whether working or volunteering with Meals on Wheels People, the experience is great! Food is very important not just from a nutritional standpoint. When people gather together, food is usually involved. Food promotes inclusion and compassion, and when focusing on those who are in need of food, there is so much more that is being satisfied than just hunger. That is why we have an incredibly awesome staff and wonderful volunteers who want to make a difference so that no senior will go hungry or experience social isolation. 



We had a great time on Saturday, learning about Saké and food pairing at SakéOne! Could not have asked for a more perfect day. Our hosts, SakéOne and Caprial + John the Kitchen were wonderful and provided fabulous food and drinks. Doherty Ford underwrote the event for a $1,210 sponsorship! Fantastic! 

Here are some pictures from the event.

Look at them hard at work!


How delicious does this dish look!?


The whole event raised $1,526 which is equal to 386 meals! This all benefits our seniors living in Forest Grove. SakéOne gave Meals on Wheels People of Forest Grove Center 100% of the proceeds. How awesome is that! But wait. There’s more. Not only that, but they also gave $1 for every bottle of SakéOne that they sold! AND Doherty Ford underwrote the event for a $1,210 sponsorship! 


Bonus! Here is a recipe from our event so you can try it at home! 

Grilled Curry Pineapple Shrimp Salad with Lime Dressing

Serves 6 fantastic people!

Lime Dressing:

2 tablespoons lime juice

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons chopped basil 

salt and black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil:

2 tablespoons curry powder

6 whole slices of delicious pineapple

18 shrimp, peeled 

2 bunches of arugula, washed and spun dry to shine! 

Heat a grill until it’s smokin’ hot

Preparing the dressing: Combine the lime juice and garlic in a not too big and a not too small, but just right bowl (medium bowl). While whisking slowly add the oil and whisk until smooth. Add the coriander and basil and mix well. Season with salt and black pepper. Place it aside until we’re ready for it. 

Next….Brush the pinapple with oil then toss with the curry powder. Place on the grill and grill it on each side and then set aside. Brush the shrimp with oil and season with salt and black pepper. Cook quickly! Place a slice of pineapple on each plate then top with arugula and shrimp then drizzle it with that dressing until it looks fabulous! 

Enjoy with friends and family! 

Joint Health

Let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger (unless you’ve found the Fountain of Youth).

As we get older our joints begin to feel a little achy and may even sound like that squeaky door we’ve wanted to get fixed for so long now! Well there are solutions.

Joint health is very important to maintain as one ages. One major cause of arthritis and joint pain is the lack of magnesium in one’s body. Arthritis is the most common type of joint problem as the years increase. About 27 million Americans are affected by arthritis, and half of Americans that are over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with it. Arthritis tends to target the knees, hips, hands, spines and even shoulders.


But don’t stress out, because the best way to prevent joint pain is to relax! One cure is an Epsom salt bath! Epsom salt is rich in magnesium as well as sulfate which are easily absorbed through the skin. Sulfates that are in Epsom salt aid in joint protection.

Take it easy. As we move, we are continually using our joints, and they need a break! Walking down stairs, your poor knees take a force up to five times greater than your body weight!


Remember our last post about food and mood? It talked about those fatty omega-3s, which despite the name are actually really good for you. Turns out that they are also beneficial to decreasing inflammation of the joints.

Not just omega-3, but antioxidants found in berries and other delicious foods help fight against free radicals that damage joints and contribute to their constant discomfort.

Work…but not too hard

Yoga and stretching are great to help ease the tension that joints build up. Don’t overly work your joints but make sure that they are working. Walking, stretching and other low impact exercises are perfect when taking care of you joints.


You use your joints every day, so be good to them. Spend some time relaxing in a nice Epsom salt bath, eat healthy food to prevent discomfort and do some stretching to keep your joints active.  

Food and Mood

No one should:

  • Turn down fresh salmon
  • Say “no” to juicy blueberries
  • Refuse to indulge in a little dark chocolate

Why? Because these foods are not only delicious, but have some serious health benefits and can boost your mood!

With both physical and mental benefits, these foods got it going on.

The Fishy Truth


Fish such as Salmon have an incredibly high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies cannot produce omega-3 fats, which means that we need to have a diet that provides the amount of omega-3s that our body’s need. Besides the physical benefits of preventing heart disease and helping with blood clots, omega-3 fats can help with your mental health as well. There have been studies demonstrating how people with higher blood levels of omega-3s have a more positive outlook on life as opposed to those who have a lower intake of omega-3s. To sum things up, salmon is a super food! 

Berry Good


Berries such as blueberries and blackberries contain a purple pigment called anthocyanin which is considered a mood booster. Anthocyanin is a flavonoid pigment that has been shown to reduce mood-killing inflammation in the brain. Anthocyanin can help decrease levels of stress and help you go throughout your day with a sweeter perspective!

Rich Ideas


It’s true. Dark chocolate is good for you. Dark chocolate has polyphenol in it that helps decrease levels of anxiety. Those who had a polyphenol-rich chocolate drink reported feeling calmer and relaxed than those who did not. Cocoa boosts brain serotonin, a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance. This means that having a small amount of dark chocolate is not a bad thing!

Wrapping up

These three groups of foods have been shown to boost your mood, so next time, avoid the bag of potato-chips and reach for a carton of blueberries!  

Zucchini and Rosemary Frittata with Parmesan

This delicious dish makes about four servings and is perfect if you’re looking to expand your Zucchini recipe knowledge beyond the go-to Zucchini bread.




  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated


One of our employees receives Zucchinis in her mailbox from her neighbors who grow them in their garden.

She decided to try out this delicious looking recipe and took some pictures along the way! 

1. Preheat the oven to broil.

2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic, cook for 1 minute. Do not allow garlic to brown, or it will turn bitter. Add the sliced zucchini.

Cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the zucchini and cook, just until the eggs begin to set, about 3 minutes.

4. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top. Place pan under the broiler for 3 minutes or until the frittata rises slightly and becomes light and settled. The eggs should not be runny. Transfer to a serving plate, cut into pie-shaped wedges, and enjoy!

Peachy Keen for Ice Cream

Happy National Peach Ice Cream Day!

Here’s a recipe that we L.O.V.E.

This is no machine, no bake, and no sweat required ice cream recipe!


Makes 1 quart. Prep time, 15 minutes; cook time, 3 minutes.


2 cups peaches, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream (or whole milk if you want lower fat ice cream, but it won’t be as rich)
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk (nonfat is fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Step 1: Beat the cream, condensed milk, and vanilla together with an electric mixer until thick, about 3 minutes.

Step 2: Fold in peaches (and optional peach-juice syrup)

Step 3: Pour into a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until firm, about 5–8 hours.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Cook’s note: For a more intense peach flavor, strain cut peaches into a small saucepan, adding juice reserved from peeling and chopping. Heat on medium-high and stir frequently until juice is reduced to a thick syrup (about 2 minutes). Allow juice to cool and fold into the milk mixture with peaches. This recipe may also be used with an ice cream maker if you have one.

For a nonfat option, try substituting fat-free half-and-half for the heavy cream and use nonfat sweetened-condensed milk.

Why Volunteer

Why volunteer?

Because it’s awesome and Meals on Wheels need people like you!

Meals on Wheels People has 500 volunteers every weekday that are committed to the mission that no senior will go hungry or experience social isolation.

Why do we have so many volunteers and continually have more that sign up? Because volunteering has a crazy amount of benefits!

When you volunteer you are able to connect with people who are passionate about the same social issues as you. You get to meet cool new people who like the same things you like and this connection has a way of developing into a friendship.

Volunteering can be a ton of fun with family and friends! You already have a bond with them and now you get to share the experience of volunteering at a local organization. You get to be a part of that conversation that starts, “Remember that time when we volunteered with Meals on Wheels and…”

Depending on which department you’re volunteering with there are mental and physical benefits to volunteering.

Volunteering can create a sense of satisfaction when you realize that you are helping your community. Overall you get that warm fuzzy feeling that you’re doing something positive for the community which will result in a boost of self-confidence knowing that you were there to help!

Did you know that helping kindles happiness? There have been many studies done that demonstrate how there was a boost in happiness with those who volunteered in comparison to those who have never volunteered.

Some physical health may be in the works for you as a volunteer. There can be some tasks that can help get you up and moving during your day.

Looking for a little variety on your resume? Volunteering not only helps you get experience in an area that interests you, but it also has the potential to lead to advancing your career. Volunteering develops skills such as teamwork, communication, planning, task management and much much more.

You know what you should do?


Click this link to volunteer with Meals on Wheels People!

Blueberry Recipes that are Berry Delicious

It’s reaching the middle of July which is prime time for Blueberry season. With the barrels of blueberries available, there are a lot of creative ways to put these delicious little guys to good use.

Here are a few favorites! 

For Breakfast!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Granola Pancakes on The perfect breakfast!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Granola Pancakes

Blueberries and Granola. What could be better!

Yield: Serves 6-8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Whole wheat pancakes with blueberries and granola! Our family loves these pancakes!


2 cups Gold Medal whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
1 cup granola (we used NatureBox Wild Blueberry Flax Granola)
Butter and maple syrup, for serving


1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Do not over mix. Gently stir in the blueberries and granola. The batter will be slightly lumpy.

2. Heat a griddle or pan to medium low heat. Coat with cooking spray. Drop about a 1/4 cup of batter onto heated skillet. Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Continue making pancakes until the batter is gone. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup, if desired.


Brain Power Salad (Spinach Salad with Salmon, Avocado and Blueberries) |

Brain Power Salad

(Spinach Salad with Salmon, Avocado & Blueberries)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings


Salad Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, roughly chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 4 cups baby spinach (or mixed greens)
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup light feta or blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • half a red onion, thinly sliced
  • honey chia seed vinaigrette (ingredients below)

Honey Chia Seed Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

To Make The Salad:

Toss all ingredients together until combined. Drizzle or toss with vinaigrette.

To Make The Vinaigrette:

Whisk all ingredients together until combined and emulsified.

This can be considered dinner…because it’s delicious!

Lemon Blueberry quick bread: so fresh and light and perfect for breakfast. Freezes well too!

Zucchini, Lemon& Blueberry Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1 loaf


For the Bread:

  • 2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2/3 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 lemon, zested (save juice for glaze)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup blueberries

For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. milk 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, greased. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients (except for blueberries) for bread, stirring to combine. Fold in blueberries. Pour into greased pan and bake for 60 minutes, until completely cooked. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan, remove from pan and cool completely.
  2. For glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with milk and juice from 1/2 lemon. Drizzle over bread. I enjoyed this bread cold out of the refrigerator! Enjoy!
  3. (adapted slightly from Brandy’s Baking)

Saving the best for last…Dessert!

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake.



  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, careful not to overmeasure*
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk*
  • zest + juice of 3 medium lemons*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or non-thawed frozen (275g)
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour


  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Find more delicious Blueberry recipes at: