APPLETON – Sarah Ganser got a taste of the presidential treatment on her summer vacation.
“It was really awesome,” she told FOX 11’s Kelly Schlicht over the phone Friday.
After cooking up an award-winning sweet potato stew at home in Appleton, Ganser was picked to represent Wisconsin at the Kids State Dinner.
It’s part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, to teach healthy habits.
Ganser and her mother made the trip to the White House Friday, where they met the White House chef, and the first lady.
“It’s really fun and there are a lot of paintings there which I like and it’s something you’ve dreamed about,” Ganser said, describing the White House.
“We got to go in and talk to her. It was pretty awesome to meet the First Lady. She’s really nice and tall,” said Ganser, with a giggle.
In the few minutes with Michelle Obama, Ganser found out they have that trait in common.
“She said, ‘How old are you?’ And I said, ‘I’m twelve.’ And she said, ‘Wow, you’re tall!’ And she kept saying all this stuff about how it’s good to be tall,” recalled Ganser.
Ganser says the biggest thrill: this moment.
“And then President Obama came out as a surprise, so that was pretty cool. It was like a dream come true. I didn’t even think about how exciting it would be. But when it happened I was really amazed and I loved it,” said Ganser.
Now charged with an important task, Ganser says she is ready to head back home and spread the word about healthy eating habits.
“Serve as ambassadors, okay? Think about how you will pay this forward. And there are many, many ways you’re going to pay it forward. There’s no one right answer on how you’re going to do it,” said Michelle Obama.
Here is a copy of the award-winning recipe:
Sarah Ganser’s Amazing African Sweet Potato Stew
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ cup peanut butter
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” squares
2 15 oz. great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable stock
Heat 3 tbsp. water for sautéing onions and garlic. Add onions and garlic, cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
Stir in brown sugar, ginger, cumin, salt, cinnamon and allspice stirring about 30 seconds.
Add peanut butter, stir to coat.
Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes and great northern beans, stir to coat.
Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
If you like it spicy, add cayenne pepper as desired for a little extra kick.