Category Archives: Guest Blogger Recipe

Sharon’s White Bean Vegetable Soup

Sharon N’Diaye is my friend who hosts the Cooking with Kids class at The Ajna Center for Wellness here in Croton.  I love Sharon’s approach to getting preschoolers involved in the preparation of their own meals!
This is part two of a two part series on Sharon’s classes.


Our next recipe is for warm, comforting white bean and vegetable soup! We needed 2-3 cloves garlic, 1/2 package of organic spinach, 2 carrots and 1/2 lb (or half can) of white beans. Salt, pepper, your oil of choice (we used olive oil) and 2 cups of broth of your choice (we used chicken broth).
Our little chefs cut up some garlic, and then they cut spinach and (parboiled) carrots and mashed up some white beans. Some used a masher and some liked to squish them with their fingers. Whatever technique you opt for, so long as they get into the pot, it doesn’t really matter taste-wise!


I sauteed the spinach in the garlic and olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, then our chefs helped me put the veggies and beans into the pot. I sauteed them all up together a minute or two then added the broth to cover the bean mixture an inch or two. I boiled for 5 minutes and simmered for 10 minutes. You can simmer longer if you like for a fuller flavor. 
Then, voila! Soup is ready!

Ingredients for White Bean Vegetable Soup:
2-3 Cloves garlic
1/2 Package of organic spinach
2 Parboiled carrots
1/2 lb (or half can) of white bean
Olive Oil
2 Cups of broth (chicken or vegetable for vegan option)

I hope you like these recipes, and even if you don’t make them with neither a roomful of kids or any kids, they’ll still taste good! To find out more about Cooking With Kids, at the Ajna Center for Wellness & Community in Croton, contact We have classes Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:30 am.

Sharon’s Plantains

Sharon N’Diaye is my friend who hosts the Cooking with Kids class at The Ajna Center for Wellness here in Croton. My daughter Juliana has taken several of her classes and loves them. Juliana even added plantains to her list of foods she will eat. Although Juliana has no known allergies, she is a picky eater. I love Sharon’s approach to getting preschoolers involved in the preparation of their own meals!
This is part one of a two part series on Sharon’s classes.


Happy New Year!! We are coming off the high spirits of the holidays and January can seem like a bit of a downer in contrast…and with our snow and frigid temps, it’s just the right time for some cozy, warm recipes!!

These recipes are easy and a lot of fun to make with your kids! In fact, I’ve made these recipes with a whole roomful of kids at our Cooking With Kids class.  And the great thing is that they are allergen-free.
The first recipe to share is fried plantains. There are only two ingredients! Oil, really ripe plantains, and you can sprinkle them with sugar cinnamon or salt if you’d like. Our chefs paired this item with a salad. You can do an oil/vinegar/mustard dressing (vinaigrette) or if you’re not sensitive to eggs, you can make “pink” (Russian) dressing by adding a 1/2 cup of mayo with a 1/3 cup of ketchup!
The kids really enjoyed making the plantains. In fact, one particular small chef added plantains to her list of approved foods!

We started with really ripe (black) plantains, which are available in most grocery stores/bodegas. If you get them when they’re yellow or green, you can prepare them in a similar way, but for our purposes here, use the black ones!

The process was so simple and easy, and the kids enjoyed peeling and cutting the plantains. Once the plantains were cut, all we had to do was to heat up some coconut oil (or the oil of your choice) in a skillet / frying pan. Once the oil was hot, we let the plantains sizzle a bit until they were brownish on one side, then I flipped them over! The kids looked, but I took care of the flipping!

When the plantains come off the pan, you can put them on a paper towel covering a plate to soak up some of the oil. If your small chefs are so inclined, they can sprinkle their plantains with salt or cinnamon sugar. Or, if you’re into non-dairy cheese, that can be fun as a topping!

For more info about Cooking with Kids, or to sign up for a class:  Facebook: Sharon’s Barefoot Books and Small Cooks
Ingredients for Fried Plaintains:
Black plantains
Coconut oil or other healthy oil for frying
Optional toppings: Cinnamon sugar, salt, or non-dairy cheese
Ingredients for Salad:
Mixed greens (organic is best)
Shredded Red Cabbage (Juliana’s personal favorite!)
Fresh Cilantro
Ingredients for Simple Vinaigrette:
3 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil or similar oil
1 part Vinegar (I like raw organic Apple Cider Vinegar)
1 part Mustard
Ingredients for Pink (Russian) dressing:
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise (vegan mayo for egg allergic)
1/3 Cup Ketchup

Claire’s Flaxseed Granola with Coconut and Cranberries

Claire Moffatt is an AADP Certified Health Coach. She is also my friend with 2 adorable young children! She has a great website you should check out about nutrition.



Since the birth of baby number two I’ve been focused on really identifying which foods are creating inflammation for me.  I’ve known for some time that gluten and I don’t get along. It took me years to figure this out and I definitely still cheat! I’m almost always unhappy when I do.  While I can tolerate some versions of spelt, I usually opt for just not including gluten in my diet.

The hardest part? Finding good replacements or options.  I’m not big on gluten free processed foods. They tend to be packed with additives and loaded with empty calories.   At times, meals like breakfast can be challenging.  Typically I’ve been eating oatmeal (naturally gluten free as long as it’s not cross-contaminated) or eggs.  However, I recently came across a recipe for flaxseed granola that I’ve tweeked some.  I’ve made it a few times and this is my favorite recipe so far. Feel free to add in what you like and make it your own.

1 Cup Whole Flaxseed
3/4 – 1 Cup Water
Powdered Cinnamon & Ginger to taste
1-2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Organic Shaved Coconut

Mix flaxseed, water, spices, and vanilla in a bowl. Cover and put in refrigerator overnight or for 6-8 hours.

Once refrigerated,  spread mixture on a baking sheet (no need for greasing it).  The mixture will be sticky. Spread it as best as possible but don’t drive yourself nuts.

Place in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Mix it a few times while baking.

Add in the cranberries and coconut for the last ten minutes.

Serve with coconut milk (or whatever you prefer).

Daughter tested and approved! Play around with adding different things like raisins, sliced almonds etc… the cinnamon and ginger makes the kitchen smell like crisp fall day.



Nicole’s Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

This recipe is from my friend Nicole. Gluten free, egg free, nut free, dairy free – full of love and yummies!

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (I made my flour out of Bob’s Red Mill GF Whole Grain Steel cut oats ground in my kitchen aid blender)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer + 3 TBS water (mixed together)
  • 1 tsp homemade vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (in liquid form)
  • 2 very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
Mix all of the above all together.
Bake on 2 greased cookie sheets for 13 min in a 350 degree oven
Makes 33 mini cookies.
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My note’s on Nicole’s recipe. I’ve never used the Ener-G egg replacer yet, although I’ve heard really good things about it! If you don’t have Ener-G egg replacer, you can use gelled chia seeds or soaked flaxmeal as an egg replacement. Enjoy Life brand is a really great resource for finding allergy friendly foods!