Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies, Multiracial Adoption Playgroups and Healthier Lunch Box Tips…

Hi everyone! You are probably wondering what that photo of a blood drop holding my zucchini chocolate chip cookies is for? Well, Montclair Kids in Action led by Abby Colen held a bake sale for the Red Cross this week. My kids and I participated and they were able to raise $140.00 which is pretty darn good for a bake sale. I was quite pleased to see that my cookies that came from a recipe from the book Animal Vegetable Miracle proved successful-almost all were sold and eaten, many by kids.

I believe that community activism can go hand in hand with the promotion of healthier eating (unlike the bake sale for “Strong healthy kids ” that I went to today with fruit punch, store bought cookies and DORITOS!-no joke!) It is absolutely possible to incorporate healthier foods in good old fashioned activities like bake sales ….and interviews with local community minded folks like the Groffmans below.

I met Melissa and Laurence Groffman a couple weeks ago and found out about their unique and potentially life-changing playgroups for families with transracial adopted children. Not only did they tell us about their community work but they also share some healthier lunch box tips with us. Enjoy their healthier lunch box additions and the interview below:

But first! Two more things: Save the Date for a PWR show Sept. 12th-more details at www.parentswhorock.com and …

Save the date Sept. 7th for the Slow Food Movement Potluck Day at the Van Vleck House where I will be presenting with other foodies to get healthier foods in our schools and our homes.

To learn more about this nation-wide event visit the Slow Food USA at:
OR, for local events: www.slowfoodnnj.org or call 908-654-3242

For our local one:
Monday, September 7, 2009, 3-5PM
Van Vleck House & Garden
South Lawn (or indoors if raining)
21 Van Vleck St
Montclair, NJ 07042-2358

Hosted by Lisa La Valle-Finan
RSVP: llfinan@aol.com

(Makes about two dozen)
1 egg, beaten
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Combine in large bowl.
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips
Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350°, 10 to 15 minutes

As for our wonderful community minded adoptive family playgroup, you can read below and/or go to their website to learn more and join free of charge: http://www.meetup.com/MMAFam/

1) What made you decide to start this group? Was there a particular moment that inspired you to organize?

We wanted to connect ourselves and our children with other families like ours. We knew it was important for our kids to know other children whose families looked like theirs. We were walking down Bellevue Avenue one day about three years ago and we bumped into a Caucasian woman and her African-American foster baby. We stopped and talked and told her we would like to start a group. She was excited about the idea and soon after we had our first get together with about four or five other families we had met in Montclair. All of them had been foster parents through the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) and had either adopted or hoped to adopt their children. Two of the other families also had biological children like us. This happened soon after we moved to Montclair and that is one of the great things about this town. There are so many families here in Montclair who don’t necessarily fit the traditional model. We don’t feel like we stand out here.

2) Can you give an example of something specific from your playgroups and parent groups that can be beneficial for an interracial adoptive family?

Being able to feel the sense of community that is created by coming together with other families formed through transracial adoption is so special. Just being able to connect with people who face similar joys and similar challenges is a gift. We always leave our playgroups and parent groups feeling uplifted and strengthened from connecting with such great people. We hope that over time our children will form lasting bonds with the other kids and that these connections will help them in the future.

This year we are starting to have some playgroups with cultural themes so we can all come together to celebrate the various birth cultures represented in our group! This was Rachael Quinn Egan’s idea and she is coordinating it for our group.

3) What are some of the activities, if any, in your group that make it different from other playgroups or parent groups?

Our group’s activities are pretty standard. We typically get together at a local playground. The kids play; the parents chat. What makes our events different is just the common thread that connects us all which is adoption and also for most of us adoption outside of our race. In today’s world that adds an additional layer of issues to raising children; we have learned so much about what it means to not be white in America and we have so much more to learn. It is critical that we understand the role race plays in our society so we can properly prepare our kids for life.

4) Can you share an easy and healthy tip for school lunches? (this is part of a series I am doing on the blog so please indulge me if you can!)

An easy and healthy tip for school lunches….well we use Foogo straw bottles and fill them with organic milk – this is good for our kids bodies, good for the earth (no waste) and good for our wallets (no extra costs for individual servings). We freeze yogurt tubes and send them in their lunches – healthy and yummy. Nothing too earth shattering here – we try to send healthy stuff but many times it all comes back home with them at the end of the day…. Usually we just send the drink, a half sandwich (egg, PB & honey or turkey and hummus on whole wheat – COSTCO ORGANIC WHOLE WHEAT), a frozen yogurt stick (Horizon Organic tubes) and/or an organic cheese stick….kind of boring. We have sent veggies but they rarely eat them.

P.S. We are the proud parents of 4 kids. Our oldest is Amaya is 5 1/2 years old and she came to us as a foster baby when she was 2 weeks old. We adopted her when she was almost 2 1/2 years old. Isaac is our biological son and he is 4 1/2 yrs, Samara came to us as a foster baby at 3 weeks old and we adopted her when she was about about 1 3/4 yrs, Caleb is also our biological son and he is 6 months old. Our girls are both African-American. We take every opportunity to connect our kids with families like our own and we are also very committed to connecting them to their birth culture. We want them to be proud of who they are, how they look and of their cultural

Thanks Groffman Family!


2 Responses

  1. Wow thanks for talking about our adoptive group Alma! One easy thing I do for my kids lunches, is I always make extra food for dinner every night, and then I arrange little meals from what I have already cooked for the family dinner, into freezer/microwave proof glass dishes with lids. I do it every time I cook, so I end up with a great supply of ready made meals to pop in the lunch boxes.
    I make your frozen yoghurt for a treat when they get home. Thanks so much for that wonderful recipe!

  2. tasty cookies – thanks for the recipe. the kids continued to eat them even AFTER I told them about the zucchini!
    I'll definitely make this one again. I liked the consistency – more bread-y than buttery.

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