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Cooking With A Baby, Part Two: She's Not A Baby, She's A Food Smart Toddler.

This is my happy place. Well, okay, the couch I'm sitting on is maybe my bigger happy place at the current moment.... but the kitchen, when we're all cooking? That's my happy place too. I'm sure I've said it before, but Alex and I, our relationship was based on food (and cuddles) long before M. Days together were spent in markets and cooking. We don't do much of that anymore. The markets are slim to none in West Palm (I miss you, Miami) and with him doing the chef gig now.... I mean, how much cooking does he really want to do on his day off? Not a whole lot. Either way, this sharing space that is our kitchen, we like it, I like it, and most importantly, M likes it. 

I have a few posts lined up in my head, some are more on the personal side... but I've been procrastinating getting to them. I also have a few (food) links and things to share:

I've been cooking with M by my side for as long as she's been able to. I wrote a post about a year and a half ago now---- cooking with a baby (tips and tricks on how to get it done by yourself). She's older now and it's easier (of course). The biggest difference between now and then? She can (and does) demand to help.... and why would I turn her away from that? (And man, she knows her stuff!) I'll always hand her a toddler knife and give her something to cut. Mushrooms, cauliflowers, herbs, tomatoes, she'll take care of it. And make guacamole? She's a professional now. I think it's really important to get your kids in the process of everything. Not only does it make them feel important and needed to boost their self-esteem, but sometimes it does actually help you out too (emptying the silverware in the dishwasher? check. grabbing ingredients from the fridge? check. licking the mashed potatoes off the whisk? check.), while teaching your kids some pretty valuable things. It makes me really happy to see all the things M has learned in the kitchen with Alex and I.

I've been meaning to write more about raising a vegan kiddo. I wrote a post about my plans with raising a vegan kid, when M was just a few months old. She has had the occasional egg in something.... it's rare, but it's happened. Dairy and meat? Not so much. She knows the difference between her milk, daddy's (and whoever's) milk, and breast milk. She knows sometimes people drink soy milk, but she usually drinks almond milk. It gets tricky with the cheese, since we do sometimes eat fake cheese, but otherwise, it's all been pretty straight-forward. She knows eggs come from chickens (more specifically, hens). She knows that some people eat cows, chickens, pigs, and fish, but she doesn't... not now. I'm tempted to get her this book, but I don't know.

I started up a vegan parenting community. I don't have big plans or goals with this new space. I just wanted to create a place where we could all feel free to share links, ideas, and ask each other questions-- maybe it'll work out to be a really great resource for new parents or people striving to cook more at home, maybe not, I don't know. You can, of course always email me or share things in the comments, many of you do, but after receiving an email last week, I realized that sometimes people fear being 'spammy' about that sort of thing. First of all, don't. If anything is ever somewhat relevant, it's not spam. Please, by all means, feel free to contribute your links. Second, feel free to share them in the community too. I want it to be a place for everyone who cares about food, feeding themselves, and feeding their kids. 

I'd be lying if I didn't say I feel a tad bit weird about starting up a vegan community. I don't feel like I have the credentials to do so sometimes. I mean, yeah, I'm vegan and have a pretty obvious vegan section on the blog (that has helped cut down so many re-asked questions), but we're not the strictest of strict... and we're not the type of vegan that is anti-meat eaters (at this point I'm always pretty shocked when people are anti any personal choice). Sure, I think it would be awesome (and so much better for the earth) if we all gave up meat, but I'm not against eating meat (if it's done properly and consciously). I think it's okay, it's just not something I would do. Speaking of eating meat, I think this video might be my new favorite TedTalks to date: How I Fell In Love With A Fish. If I could summarize into one post how I felt about our earth, it's ecosystems, meat-eating, the power of real-food ingredients, and the changes I'd like to see in this world, into one (amusing) video, it would be that one. Really, watch it. (Strict vegans, be warned, you might not like it. It is about falling in love with eating a fish.)

If you have Netflix, I highly recommend checking out TedTalks Chew On This series. If you don't, I'm sure you can youtube most of the videos, like that fish one^. 

Not food related, my goal is to set up a shop my closet in the next few days, before our family trip. Don't hold me to it, but I'm really going to try to get it up and things shipped out before we go. 

Two more days for our organic blanket giveaway :)
And one more week for the 30% off etsy sale!

Happy Friday, friends! 

22 comments:

  1. so great that M helps out in the kitchen! adorable little helper

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  2. Love it! I sooooo wish that my husband was a foodie. I end up cooking it ALL myself, with a 10-month old. Gets old. Glad its a family event for you. :-)

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    1. Family event one meal a week, but I'll take it ;)

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  3. I love seeing children help in the kitchen. It's just one of the reasons why working at a Montessori preschool was so eye-opening to me. When kids get to help out, they learn responsibility and independence. The children in my classroom would happily get their own snack--scooping, pouring, and cutting. If they spilled something, they learned to clean it up on their own. It was wonderful to watch.

    I'm not Vegan, but I absolutely commend you for starting up a community. People are vegan for lots of different reasons and I'm sure parents would appreciate tips, especially for school-age (or nearly school-age) children.

    The Rambling Fangirl

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  4. glad you mentioned that you give your little one almond milk. i don't have kids yet, but would like to stay away from dairy when i do. we drink only almond milk now, and i didn't know whether or not it was ok for kids to just have almond milk. didn't know if they needed cows milk for health reasons/essential vitamins. guess not!

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    1. well, athirst it's not okay,it's not a suitable substitution for formula or breast milk by any means. But later, ones kids can and eat a balanced diet, theres no need for it. There's not one thing in cows milk that you can't get from elsewhere :)

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  5. I just started cooking/baking with my 18 month old this week. We are having a blast:) This was the first tart we ever made together...http://anappetiteforcolor.com/2013/08/09/summer-cherry-tart-with-my-favorite-little-helper/
    We are not vegan but I am always trying to find or create as many mindful desserts, without dairy, because it doesn't make any of us feel that great. This one I adapted from someone else but it is a new favorite around here. Anyway, I really appreciated and enjoyed this post! Always love what you have to say.

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  6. I've been wanting to buy that book, and her newest one, V is for Vegan, for a few days now but since I don't have any children yet I've held back. But I am a kindergarten teacher so maybe I'll buy them to read to my class? Anyway, thanks for sharing some more tips on cooking with a toddler!

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  7. Just joined the community! Thank you for setting it up. I'm also of the "don't really have the credentials" variety, but whatever. It'll be fun and helpful. :) I'm not a huge google+ user, but when I was on fb I appreciated the private community option so I wouldn't be splashing my posts/comments all over everyone's streams. Not sure if that is an option (or concern?) for google+, but maybe something to consider.

    I looooove cooking with my now 2.5-year old, and she is a wonderful kitchen helper. She started snuggled in the Moby, moved on to sitting in the Bumbo on the counter (I know, I know, but I was always within arm's reach and relocated her to the floor whenever I wasn't) and touching/smelling ingredients, and now she's awesome at measuring, stirring things, and of course working the salad spinner. And hell yeah, she can totally unload the dishwasher! Sure, sometimes we end up with lentils all over the floor, but having her hang in the kitchen with me always gives me the happy goosebumps of "I always dreamed about doing this with my kid and now I AM." :)

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    1. honestly, I'm not too sure how the whole google+ thing works.... I don't spend a whole lot (read: almost any) of time on Facebook tho, so I didn't even think about making a group in there! Like I said, I figured I'd try it out. I think there is a way to make it a closed moderated group though, if need be!


      and I totally hear you.... if I had room on the counter for the bumbo chair in our first place... she would have been up there too :)

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  8. I've always tried to get my son interested in cooking. Him being a fifteen year old, it's even harder. I guess I just need to come up with something new and way more interesting for a teen boy. I even try to say "hey, girls love a guy that can cook." But that hasn't worked... yet!

    xoxo~Heather
    southernnorth.com

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    1. yeah, def. sell the "girls love a guy who can cook" thing. it's true. very true.

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  9. Looking forward to your vegan community and what you will be able to share with us! Don't be shy or scared to share your knowledge, you might be changing someone's life, you'll never know. ;)

    Anw it's great that your girl is helping out, I'm still struggling to get my boy to help out but he always get distracted with everything around him. Lol.

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  10. I think it's awesome that you started a vegan community, and that you involve M in the kitchen. My kitchen is too tiny to have any help in it most of the time, but I'm trying to start more educational/life skill/learning activities with my 2.5 year old so I might have to drag prep out to the table. She's really interested in helping with everything food related: unloading the dishwasher, putting away groceries, grabbing stuff out of the fridge, and seeing what I'm cooking all the time. I think one of the benefits of raising a vegan kid is that they see us taking great care and interest in the food we're eating and they take interest too. Thanks for being awesome and sharing your life here. :)

    Mae @MaeLiveFree

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  11. I almost bought my daughter that book too, but it seemed very... anti-meat eater. I wholeheartedly believe in the message its portraying, but I just dont think my (or any) three year old has the capacity to hear the words of the book and not think that people who eat meat are bad or wrong.

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    1. I haven't looked at the book yet, I've been interested to look at it since I heard of it tho, but you are now the third person (since friday) to give me a negative review.... so there's that. Both it being dark, and putting any negative light on anything is reason for me to not bother with it!

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  12. I almost bought my daughter that book too, but it seemed very... anti-meat eater. I wholeheartedly believe in the message its portraying, but I just dont think my (or any) three year old has the capacity to hear the words of the book and not think that people who eat meat are bad or wrong.

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  13. The only beef i have with that book (i am so punny it hurts) is that i feel like it portrays a very negative light onto meat eaters. I almost purchased it for my little one, and although i wholeheartedly agree with its message, i just dont think my daughters impressionable mind can listen to its words without thinking meat eaters are bad or wrong. It is very honest and i dont ever want to shield her from the truth, but at this point she knows good and she knows bad. The world is so black and white to a toddler. There would have to be a lot of explaining to do by the end of the book, so i figure i'll just take on the topic on my own and let her figure out the rest when she's good and ready.

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  14. I'm really looking forward to cooking with my daughter! Its one of the things I'm most excited about actually. Since she is only one (as of Friday-Yay!) I currently just sit her at the countertop and have her watch and learn as I chop veggies. I think its great what you are doing with Marlowe, you are giving her knowledge so she understands your lifestyle-rather than just pushing it on her. I recently introduced homemade cashew milk to my daughter (as we don't eat any dairy) and I keep getting a lot of grief over my decision from family and friends. No one can understand why I wouldn't give her cow's milk, they think i'm doing her an injustice. Its quite frustrating. I would love to join your group, is this ok since we occasionally still eat meat? I have many recipes to share!

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  15. I love this so much. I am not vegan, but we are a *mostly* vegetarian family (if my husband didn't buy meat, we wouldn't have it in the house). Teaching our daughter about food, healthy food and how it grows and changes when you cook it... has been so important to me. She is 3.5 years old and has never turned food away. She will always try something, and usually enjoy it. I attribute that to making her baby food from whole fruits and veggies and always giving her new things to try. I love that we can share with them the pleasure and the social aspect of food at such a young age. It saddens me (I work in a restaurant) when parents dumb their children's diet down to what they think toddlers want to eat. I have had, on many occasions, people say, "how do you get her to eat that?" or "she is the healthiest toddler I've ever seen!" It makes me feel like I'm doing something right, but I wish people would realize that they, too, could feed their children good, whole foods and that their children will truly like it.

    props, per usual, Drea.

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  16. I was wondering what the two sauces in your photo above are (you have guacamole, salsa, and two more)? They remind me of something I recently ate in Peru and it was delicious.

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