Healthy Eating for NJ Kids (and their smart parents) with SmartCookies Cooking Workshops
We parents have more information than ever before about healthy eating, but is that information really transforming our tables? Two Moms are out to make sure that busy families are able to get back in the kitchen, creating delicious and nutritious food in a fun and stress-free way with SmartCookies. The Hoboken-based company conducts kids classes, consultations and healthy cooking workshops all designed to help people to eat well and eat smart. I had the chance to sit down with these Foodie fireballs and find out about their delicious venture (and wheedle a RECIPE out of them—see below!)
Introducing the brains and the brawn behind Smart Cookies: Lisa Cavanaugh, the registered dietician, wellness advisor and nutrition professor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in NYC, and Julie Hartigan, the passionate food lover who left the corporate world to attend culinary school and works as a professional chef for local families and recipe developer for Weightwatchers.com.
Hartigan and Cavanaugh are nothing if not practical and hands-on; their program at the Hola charter school’s community garden comes down to “Here’s what [the vegetable] looks like with the dirt on it, and here it is washed and chopped, and here it is ready to eat!” Their efforts to get timid tongues to embrace new foods and genuinely enjoy trying them are already legendary; Hartigan shared with me a quote from an impressed parent, “You really changed the way my daughter thinks about food. Now trying new things is fun for her.”
Smart Cookies has a three-pronged approach to their savory business: Custom Consultation (“We can show you how to cook and if you don’t want to cook, let us work on your take-out menus”), Children’s Programming (“Kids in the Kitchen” classes, working with local schools to bring in workshops), and Healthy Cooking Workshops for adults (for when “you’re confronted with a head of swiss chard and don’t know what to do with it”.)
Their Healthy Cooking workshop for parents of babies and toddlers, “Hey Baby! Let’s Eat!” is available for playgroups, mom groups, etc. by emailing them at Info@HobokenSmartCookies.com to set up a workshop time and place. (See below for more information about their services and specific workshops.)
Cavanaugh and Hartigan’s skills are considerable and their enthusiasm contagious; I wanted to sign up on the spot and figure out what to do with my own head of chard. And for Mommy Poppins readers, they agreed to share a bit of their magic: a recipe for SmartCookie Little Cheesy Egglets.
Hartigan says “These adorable “egglets” (basically a cute, cupcake shaped frittata) are a hit with kids and their grownups! They're a delicious, on-the-go protein-packed snack, make amazing lunchbox stuffers, and are equally delicious cold, room temp, or warmed. We've even served them at brunch parties - made in mini-muffin tins and fancied up with more “adult” fillings like gruyere, chives, bacon, asparagus tips, smoked salmon, etc. We teach kids to make these in our Kids in the Kitchen program so they'd be a fun rainy day project for your family too!”
SmartCookie Little Cheesy Egglets
1 dozen eggs
½ cup milk (skim, lowfat, or whole)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (any sharpness or % fat is fine)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust oven racks to center of oven. Spray two standard-sized muffin pans with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt. Add cheese. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (use a ladle or 1/3 cup measure to make it easier!) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until center/top is set. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. Yield – ~18 egglets
Healthy Cooking Workshops
These fun, relaxed, and interactive workshops are designed to help you incorporate specific nutritional advice into the reality of your busy daily life. Co-run by a registered nutritionist and professional chef, we’ll cover specific nutritional concepts and give you the practical skills needed to shop for and prepare healthy meals. You’ll leave armed with tools such as shopping lists, prep checklists, menus, and specific recipes to make healthy eating a reality.
Getting your child involved in and excited about cooking is a great way to help a timid eater try new things and encourage a life-long love of food and cooking. Our children’s classes expose kids to a variety of foods and cooking techniques in a super-fun, game-filled, and hands-on way. We’ll cover nutritional concepts, kitchen measurements and math, cooking science, and the cultural significance of foods/foods of the world. Your child will have fun while learning about nutrition, food, and cooking, and leave with a hunger for more!
Custom In-Home Consultations
Are you confused and overwhelmed about where to even begin to change your eating habits? Stuck in a take-out rut, grappling with a picky eater or dealing with food allergies? Our custom in-home consultations will help you jump-start healthy eating - consider it a complete diet, menu, and pantry makeover! We pair targeted nutritional counseling with hands-on shopping, menu planning, and cooking advice for your specific needs. This powerful combination will allow you to REALLY change the way you eat.
Kids in the Kitchen Programs
Our Kids in the Kitchen Programs (Session 1 & 2) are an 8 week series, 90 minutes each week, for elementary school children in grades 1-4. Co-taught by a Chef and Nutritionist, these programs are designed to encourage a natural curiosity about cooking and/or coax a shy eater out of their shell. Each week kids will follow simple recipes, practice basic cooking techiniques, learn about nutrition and eating well, and participate in tons of hands on activities to get them excited about food and cooking.