Two Simple Recipes for All Ages


You can probably tell by the look on my face that I was enjoying myself a lot at my recent cooking demonstration. I love to cook and prepare meals, as you well know, but I have to say, it’s even more fun sharing my love for cooking with others. See what I made at the demo and get the recipes by reading on.

Silvia Martinez from and Kurt A. Eichsteadt from

In collaboration with SCAN Health Plan, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans, serving more than 200,000 members in California. #GatherAndShareWithSCAN

What I Learned While Hosting a Cooking Demonstration for Local Seniors

Recently, the lovely folks at SCAN asked me to stop by the Long Beach Senior Arts Colony to demonstrate some fresh and easy recipes with the community there. I was joined by Kurt A. Eichsteadt, beloved local food writer at Long Beach’s own, The Grunion, along with a wonderful audience who actively participated by asking questions and tasting the food.

Seniors at the Long Beach Senior Arts Colony

Many of you may have older members of the family living with you or visiting from time to time, so I wanted to share a couple of recipes that I presented during the event, that are both flavorful and senior friendly.

Two Easy Recipes

The first recipe I shared was for a sweet potato salad with a Mexican twist, featuring black beans and other favorites. For the full Mexican sweet potato salad recipe, click here.

Cooking demonstration at the Long Beach Senior Arts Colony

Kurt added colorful background commentary, foodie insight, and acted as my sous chef while I presented the recipes to the audience. He mentioned that he liked the idea of adding black beans as a source of protein to the salad.

Squeezing lime juice on a Mexican sweet potato salad

Quick tip: Lemon and olive oil make for a light and vibrant dressing in salads, and they balance nicely with sweeter ingredients like sweet potato and corn.  

The second recipe, a Mexican Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho, combined fruit, spices and juice together.

I happily shared with the audience how well Tajin chili seasoning goes with fruit. It surprised me to see that about ⅓ of the group already were familiar with it. The rest got to try it for the first time.

Ladies looking at a Tajin bottle

Prep Tip: The ingredients in the gazpacho may be blended instead of chopped for those who find chewing more challenging.

Silvia Martinez from and Kurt A. Eichsteadt from

I enjoyed the whole day tremendously, especially at the end when, while everybody was tasting the dishes, I had the chance to visit with and talk to some wonderful people. These are some things I learned from this community of seniors:

  • They are definitely not afraid to try new flavors.
  • Many prefer softer dishes, like the sweet potato salad, because it is easier to eat.
  • They liked the chili as a spice in both dishes.
  • They were very interested in learning about new ingredients. We had a great conversation about jicama, for instance.

Most of all, it filled my heart to hear that most of them plan to replicate my recipes at home!

Silvia Martinez from talking to a senior from the Long Beach Senior Arts Colony
Two big bowls of Mexican sweet potato salad

Thanks again to SCAN for inviting me to share my recipes with this fun-loving community. Be sure to check out my other posts in this series featuring ideas about living with and caring for seniors in your own homes and neighborhoods.

  1. On Holiday Traditions and Important Conversations with Family
  2. Nourishing and Caring for Family During the Holidays
  3. 3 Fun Activities for Connecting the Generations in Your Family
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Follow the conversation on social media with the #GatherAndShareWithSCAN hashtag.

Silvia Martinez
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