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When Chocolate Chip Cookies Are More Nourishing Than Kale

by Elise Museles

My kitchen is the place to be in our house. At a typical meal, there are several burners lit, cutting boards spread out across the counters, and the sound of veggies being sliced and diced. My younger son, Daniel, finds his way to the bar stool to sit and assume his role as the official family taste tester.

You see Daniel never learned to cook on his own. Why would he? After all he has two personal short order chefs: his older brother, Noah, (remember he appeared on the teen episode of the cooking show, Chopped), and his mother (who is a huge believer in the value of home cooked meals). So for fifteen years, Daniel hasn’t had to lift a finger in the kitchen except to move his fork to his mouth.

While this sounds like a rough life, it began to bother Daniel that he was relying on others to “feed” him. He realized that his big bro will be going to college soon, and since Daniel is a pretty independent guy, he started asking me where to begin in the kitchen. My Kale Salad and Turkey Burger suggestions didn’t exactly fly. Smoothies were a consideration…and then without thinking, I just blurted out, “how about some cookies?” He liked that.

Daniel took his role quite seriously, rummaging through our library of cookbooks to come up with the perfect cookies to make. He worked diligently, weighing the chocolate to be precise and forming neat circles with the dough before putting the finishing touches on as he made indentations on top with the fork. Impressive.

Within 45 minutes start to finish, our house smelled of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Butter. Sugar. Eggs. White flour…and all. Yep. I allowed him to make “real” cookies, as my kids call them. (Okay…I tried with the vegan, gluten free and sugar free versions, but only one person in the house ate them…and that happened to be me.)

As Daniel pulled out his gooey hot cookies, you could sense his pride. While making delicious homemade baked treats may not necessarily be a big feat for a teenage boy, it encouraged Daniel to feel like there was hope for him in the kitchen and inspired him to explore further.

The chocolate chip cookies became quesadillas, which became a post-workout smoothie, which became a snowstorm lazy breakfast of eggs topped with black beans, fresh avocado slices and a dash of hot sauce. Suddenly, Daniel felt empowered being able to feed and take care of himself on such a basic level. By making his own healthy meals and snacks without relying on anyone else to do it for him, Daniel gained confidence and independence, both in and out of the kitchen.

EMBRACE BABY STEPS

Do you ever have a desire to do something but feel like it is too daunting or just not attainable? Maybe, like Daniel, you want to become more adept in the kitchen but get overwhelmed with the thought of grocery lists, recipes and food prep. Maybe you want to write a book but the only thing you write now is your long to-do list. Perhaps you want to run in a race but the last time you set foot on a trail was back in the days of the Sony Walkman. It doesn’t matter what outcome you desire, you just need to break it down into bite-size pieces to get there. And with each small step, you get closer and closer to that vision.

When you only focus on the “big goal”, you not only miss out on the process of attaining it, but you also potentially set yourself up for failure. When you break it down into “mini goals”, you feel empowered and encouraged along the way. And you also experience the joy in the small victories.

Am I holding my breath for a tray of kale chips next? Not really. That first batch of chocolate chip cookies provided more nourishment than any amount of green smoothie, bowl of broccoli or colorful kale salad could ever deliver.

Question of the day: Do you ever set mini-goals as you work towards a bigger vision? As always, share your strategies & insights below.

 

4 Responses to When Chocolate Chip Cookies Are More Nourishing Than Kale

  1. Mary March 17, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    I read the post ” when chocolate chip cookies are more nourishing than kale.” I was so impressed by the way Daniel progressed from cookies to gourmet. Yes I said gourmet! As well, I was impressed with the way Elise allowed those baby steps. Sometimes if we just get out of the way, things will happen as they should. Great post

    • Elise March 20, 2013 at 5:59 am #

      Mary,
      I love your comment about getting out of our own way and letting things unfold as they should. Wise advice!
      I am so glad that this post resonated with you:).

  2. Yolan March 27, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    Baby steps is the best way to go. It’s easier to fix little mistakes you make along the way rather than having to fix a big one… or even start all over again. It’s like the story of the tortise and the hare.. slow and steady wins the race!

  3. Helene April 6, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    I loved this post too. I think it also provides a great lesson in parenting. We need to step back sometimes and allow our children to progress at their own pace. But with diplomatic encouragement for every baby step.

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