Common Threads teams up with the Miami Dolphins and local chefs for a Wellness Extravaganza

By Common Threads | Jan 30, 2020

MIAMI | January 30, 2020 – In advance of Miami Super Bowl LIV, Common Threads teamed up with Miami Dolphins of the National Football League for a Wellness Extravaganza at one of its flagship schools in Miami, Carrie P. Meek/Westview K-8 Center.

The participants included 20 third, fourth and fifth grade students who are enrolled in Common Threads’ Cooking Skills & World Cuisine after school program. On this memorable day, students were treated to a special appearance by Miami Dolphins’ team director of sports nutrition, John Parenti, who led a physical activity session to warm up before the hands-on cooking and nutrition class in which they prepared a nutritious, delicious ethnic meal.

When asked about the importance of educating youth about nutrition, Parenti shared, “Cooking and nutrition education is not something that a lot of grade-school kids get enough exposure to and many aren’t aware of the impact that food and nutrition can have on your everyday health. Even if they do know, they may need help implementing these practices at home. It all goes back to understanding the how’s and why’s of nutrition.”

Parenti also surprised the young budding chefs with his very own dark chocolate and almond butter energy bite snacks (recipe below)!

Local chefs Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s, Cracked and Red Fish Grill and Jon Nguyen of Tran An joined Parenti at the Wellness Extravaganza, delighting students with tasty dishes they prepared, including a healthy apple and peanut butter snack by Chef Adrianne and Chef Jon’s shrimp and avocado cocktail, served with chips to scoop the delicious dip (see recipe below).

Afterwards, all three special guests rolled up their sleeves and joined the young cooks in the kitchen for lesson nine of ten in the Cooking Skills & World Cuisine series led by Common Threads Chef Instructor, Victoria Nieto. The class traveled to China and prepared orange beef, vegetable dumplings and sweet and sour ginger dipping sauce.

Chef Jon Nugyen, who provided a bottle of his Grandma Sauce to each participant, was particularly impressed with Ricky Dixon, a young man who previously participated in Common Threads programming and is now a volunteer. “That to me was pretty special,” Chef Nguyen said.

Check out photos from the class on Common Threads’ Facebook page.

Makes 2 dozen (12 bites)


  • ½ cup of Almond butter
  • ½ cup of Dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of Old-Fashioned Oats
  • ½ cup of Chia seeds
  • ⅔ cup of Honey
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract


Mix all ingredients into a large bowl thoroughly until combined. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Using a 2 Tbsp scoop, roll with palms until smooth. Chill until service



  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
  • 3 green onions (scallions), chopped
  • 4 ripe avocados, medium diced
  • ¼ cup crispy shallots or onions (store bought)
  • ½ cup Grandma Sauce (store bought)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season water with salt (should taste a bit like sea water).

Lay shrimp flat in a casserole pan (1 layer).

Pour boiling seasoned water over shrimp and let sit until shrimp are cooked (approx. 8-10 minutes) Note: if water is not boiling when poured over shrimp, they will not cook. Once water is poured on the shrimp, they can sit in water for up to 30 minutes without over-cooking.

Once shrimp are cooked, drain water and dry off shrimp with a paper towel. Dice shrimp to preferred size and have the rest of the ingredients ready.

In a mixing bowl, gently toss all ingredients with Grandma Sauce. Season with salt to taste.

ENJOY this light and refreshing snack with your favorite cracker, bread or chips!

Common Threads was founded in Chicago in 2003 by CEO Linda Novick O’Keefe, celebrity chef Art Smith and his husband, artist Jesus Salgueiro, as a way to bring under-resourced children together, help them celebrate different cultures and teach them about healthy nutrition. From its humble beginnings in a church basement, Common Threads now services children and families in 12 markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Pittsburgh, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, El Paso and Erie. For more information, visit or search #CookingForLife on social media.