Maybe you can be a winner in the Back to School Edible Art Photo Contest

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Use tortillas to make creative alternatives to sandwiches this school year. Experiment with combinatons and folding methods and then enter the photo contest on Facebook.

You might have heard about Audrey Russell, the Riverdale fifth-grader who was named Oregon’s winner in the national Healthy Lunch Challenge sponsored by Epicurious.

She and her mom were invited to attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House in July, where winners from the rest of the 50 states and four territories gathered for the dinner. This is the second year of the competition in which kids and their parents create an original, healthful lunch based on the USDA My Plate guidelines. Audrey and her mother, Laura Russell, met President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Pretty neat prize for being creative.

Audrey couldn’t have won if she hadn’t entered.

And you can’t win the Back to School Edible Art Photo Contest unless you enter. Sponsored by La Tortilla Factory, the contest is intended to get kids into the kitchen, get creative and avoid ho-hum lunches when school rolls around. Contest organizers believe that if kids are encouraged to cook and make edible art, they will be more apt to try new food combinations and make better choices about what they eat.

La Tortilla Factory was founded in 1977 by Jose and Mary Tamayo and is now under the leadership of the third generation of the Tamayo family. They are credited with instigating a national shift in eating habits by creating healthier, better-tasting products. They debuted the first fat- free flour tortillas in the world and then five years later, the first low carb/low fat tortillas.

They were the first to bring gluten-free tortillas, extra virgin olive oil wraps, fiber and flax corn tortillas and mini wraps. They’ve transformed the simple tortilla into an icon of good living and a better-for-you way to eat anything.

Why don’t you encourage your kids to enter La Tortilla Factory’s competition? Get creative with fillings and folding methods and then take a picture of your creation and post the photo on La Tortilla Factory’s Facebook page. The contest continues through Sept. 27. Ten semi-finalists will be selected and their entries posted on Sept. 30. From that date until Oct. 6 fans may vote for their favorite edible art photo and one grand prize winner will be announced on Facebook on Oct. 8. The grand prize winner will receive a $250 Office Depot school supplies gift card for a teacher, stylish bento-style lunch boxes for the entire class and cookware for the family.

To prime your creativity, the good folks at La Tortilla Factory offers a list of combinations, but use your imagination and visit the USDA My Plate website for healthy eating suggestions. Consider this contest a trial run for the next Healthy Lunch Challenge. Remember you are making edible art — that means add lots of color. And what foods come in a variety of colors? Right-o — fruits and veggies!

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Try these combinations in La Tortilla Factory tortillas:

Peanut Butter Spring Roll — blueberries and peanut butter

All American — American or cheddar cheese with raisins and apple slices

Turkey-molay —turkey, tomato, guacamole or avocado

TBLT — turkey bacon, sliced red bell peppers, lettuce and tomato

Halloween Roll — nonfat refried black beans and grated cheddar cheese

Cinnamon Toast Roll — low-fat cream cheese, cinnamon and honey

Audrey Russell shared her recipe for Salmon Fried Rice. I bet you could think of a way to put it or some of the ingredients in a tortilla.

“We eat a lot of salmon in Oregon because it is a super healthy and delicious local fish,” said Audrey. “Fried rice makes a great lunch because it combines protein, grains and veggies all in one meal. I can even take it in my lunch box! My favorite thing to make with it is Caprese salad. My mom lets me cut cherry tomatoes in half and mix them with fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil to serve with the fried rice. We don’t have dessert at lunch, but Greek yogurt, honey and berries would be good.” Audrey Russell, age 10

Salmon Fried Rice

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon minced ginger or garlic

2 medium carrots, diced

1 cup chopped fresh vegetables such as red bell pepper, broccoli, asparagus or snow peas

2 cups flaked cooked salmon

3 cups cooked and chilled brown rice

2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce or tamari

Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

In a large nonstick sauté pan over moderately high heat, warm the oil. Add the ginger or garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until sizzling. Add the carrots and vegetables of your choice and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the salmon and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and soy sauce and continue to cook until the rice is hot. Top with cilantro, if using, and serve.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 100, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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