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Public invited to upcoming Cancer Center Kitchen Therapy session at St. Rose
lif MCA kitchen therapy
Gloria Siefkes, R.N., serves up samples at a recent Cancer Center Kitchen Therapy presentation at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

              Gloria Siefkes, R.N., has been involved in Cancer Center Kitchen Therapy for only a short time but already is impressed.

          Kitchen Therapy is a monthly Midwest Cancer Alliance (MCA) program offered at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center to provide healthy cooking tips for people whose appetites are being affected by cancer treatments and other chronic diseases.

          However, Siefkes noted, the information in the interactive television (ITV) setting is valuable for anyone.

          The next session is set for noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 20 in the basement-level St. Dominic Room at St. Rose. The public is invited to the free presentation.

          “The main presenter does a really good job,” said Siefkes, St. Rose facilitator for the classes. “She is not a flashy cook; she just gives good, basic cooking tips. And since she is a dietitian, she has the expertise to teach us how to eat a healthy diet.”

          Leigh Wagner, a dietitian at The University of Kansas Medical Center, leads the ITV discussion. Randy Evans, another KU Medical Center dietitian, helps her in the kitchen.

          St. Rose is member of MCA, the outreach arm of The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

          Siefkes also noted that she and a few local cooks have brought samples of the recipes to the previous events and will do so again. “You can then decide if you like it before cooking it,” she said.

          Those who try the recipes could win a prize such as a cookbook, apron or $25 Walmart gift card. To enter the contest, let MCA know how the creations turned out and post photos on its Facebook page - - or send an email to

          The following recipes were shared at previous Kitchen Therapy events. For more recipes, visit

Vegetable Chips

Your favorite vegetables… Examples are sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, etc.
1. Slice vegetables. *Slicing the vegetables thinly will allow them to cook faster and to retain more color.
2. Place parchment paper in a sheet trey or use coconut oil to line the trey.
3. Place the individual slices in the trey and season with sea salt, herbamare, or be creative and make your own seasoning. Remember baking will cause the vegetables to shrink so the seasoning or flavor will be concentrated.
4. Place into a preheated oven at 300 degrees for approximately one hour.
5. Check on the chips every 10 to 15 minutes and bake until desired crispiness. Turning the veggie chips over at 30 minutes will speed the baking process.

Recipe created by Randy Evans MS, RD, LD

Walnut & Cranberry-Studded Greens

2 bunches (about 6 cups) Swiss chard, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, cut into quarter moons (about 1 cup)
Pinch of sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
*2-4 tablespoons water, vegetable broth or apple juice (to deglaze pan)
1. Cover chard with water until ready to use.
2. In a large, deep sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3-5 minutes. Decrease the heat to low and cook slowly until the onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, just until aromatic. Add the cranberries and stir for about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of water or vegetable broth or unsweetened apple juice to loosen the flavors from the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the greens to the pan with a pinch of salt, continuing to add as many greens as will fit.
5. The water that adheres to the greens will be enough liquid to wilt the greens. Taste the greens, add an additional tablespoon of water or broth of juice, if needed, cover the pan, and cook the greens until tender, 2-3 minutes. Taste again, adding a pinch of salt, a drop or two of maple syrup, if necessary.
6. Sprinkle on walnuts, and pour cooking juices over the greens before you add the nuts to add nutrients!

Recipe by Leigh Wagner, MS, RD, LD

Vegetable Chili with Portobello Mushrooms
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, organic butter, ghee
1 medium red onion, chopped (Option: reserve some for topping prepared soup)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and diced
2 portobello mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
2 cups frozen corn (preferably organic), thawed
2 14-ounce cans no-salt-added pinto beans
1 14-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
¾ teaspoon Sea salt, or to-taste (may use Herbamare* seasoning salt, if you have it)
½ teaspoon black pepper, or to-taste
Optional additions: Greek Yogurt, Diced Fresh Tomato and/or Cilantro
Optional: Serve with warmed corn, teff, rice tortillas
1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add all but a few Tablespoons of the chopped red onion. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the poblano, mushrooms and corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 3 more minutes.
3. Add beans, tomatoes, 1 ½ cups water and ¾ teaspoon salt or Herbamare & ½ teaspoon pepper.
4. Bring to a boil then stir and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and the chili thickens, about 20 minutes. If needed, adjust salt/pepper.
5. Divide chili among bowls. Top with desired toppings
Recipe adapted by Leigh Wagner
*Herbamare is an herb blend created by Alfred Vogel who was a Swiss phytotherapist, nutritionist and writer. It’s sold at Whole Foods, online or other natural foods stores.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

4 large sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons organic pasture butter or ghee or coconut oil ¼ - ½ cup coconut milk (canned)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pepper

½ - ¾ teaspoon sea salt pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon and/or cayenne pepper


1. Peel (unless organic) and cut the potatoes into chunks and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and let come to a boil. Turn down to medium-high and let cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.

2. Drain water and add potatoes back to the pot. Add butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper, vanilla and nutmeg. Whip with a whisk, mashed, fork, or immersion blender. You can also put them in a stand mixer and blend 3. Add more ingredients or additional spices to your liking. Yield serves 4-6

Recipe by Leigh Wagner, MS, RD

Berry Tart in Raw Pecan Crust
1 cup raw pecans (or half pecans & half walnuts)
1 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried apricots, rehydrated by soaking in water for an hour or ½ cup medjool dates
Fresh berries of your choice (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, etc.)
1. Grind the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Then add the lemon zest, cinnamon, and apricots (drained) or dates and process until mixture becomes sticky and pulls together.
2. Press into a small tart pan or 2-3 individual tart bowls. Fill with fresh berries and serve immediately, or refrigerate the crust for a few days until ready to eat and then fill and enjoy.

Recipe adapted by Leigh Wagner, MS, RD from