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Chit Chatting with Boddler Bites

Shannon, it is very exciting to Chit Chat with you today!  Hope you’re ready because I’ve got lots of questions for you!  First, let’s start where I always start – the basic intro.  But let’s add a twist, k?  Give us two truths and a lie about yourself.

I grew up in Simsbury CT on a hobby farm.  I used to show sheep in 4-H and plant tons of vegetables with my dad in his enormous garden.  Went on to Virginia Tech where I gave the commencement address.  After college I backpacked around Europe where I had the opportunity to jump off a 30 foot cliff into 36 degree rapid water in Switzerland.   I married my high school sweetheart and we have one adorable son who actually loves broccoli.   (more than two truths, but still just one lie).

Alright Shannon, let’s rewind to a few months back.  I hear you’d been brewing an idea that with a little planning and a little luck, you actually got to pitch to Rachel Ray.  How cool!  Please, tell us all about this chance encounter!

I read in the paper that Rachael Ray was coming to RJ Julia’s in Madison for her book signing. I’d been a fan of Rachael’s for 7 years, when I started watching the Food Network.  Her upcoming event at the bookstore quickly became my final deadline for finishing my flash card cookbook because I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to literally hand her my prototype!  I rallied a couple girlfriends to stand in line with me for two hours that day. When it was my turn to receive her signature for “Look and Cook,” I slipped her my prototype of Boddler Bites, Food in a Flash.  She graciously accepted them, flipped through the set and said, “This is brilliant! Where can I get some more?”  That was an unexpected, albeit, fabulous response.  I told her that was my prototype completed in time to give to her.  She said she’d be giving it to her “people” and they’d be in touch.  Two weeks later I got a call that she wants them as her “Fave” for an upcoming issue of Everyday Magazine.  That became the official launch of the flash card cookbook!

And now here you are, the author of Boddler Bites – kudos!  I do like the way that rolls off my toungue – Boddler Bites :) Tell us about where that name comes from, will you?

Parents do really well when it comes to breast and bottle feeding their babies, and they offer pretty healthy baby foods as well.  However, when it comes to the later stages of baby food and introducing wholesome, chunky finger foods, parents seem to fall off a cliff in to the endless abyss of pre-packaged, processed “kid-foods.”

Parents truly need help on how to establish nutritious eating habits for this stage of life.   That, and I needed a word to describe an older baby and younger toddler.  That’s when I combined the two words – baby / todder – and boddler was born!  Boddler Bites is the perfect title offering parents loads of simple, healthy food ideas they can create in minutes…even seconds.  Plus, Boddlers can also learn to identify these foods because of the fun, flash card format!

You have to know that I’m a huge fan of your concept.  I grew up eating “real” food and am doing my darnedest to do the same for my children.  Let’s talk about this.  Tell us about why you’ve set out to encourage parents to feed their children wholesome, natural, real food?

We’re one of the only countries that have created a “kid-food” category.  Mass manufacturers and marketers have done an amazing job convincing young parents that factories can make better food for their children than parents themselves can.

Sadly, many parents don’t believe children can love real foods so they rely on prepackaged products smothered with baby faces and cartoon characters to fill their children’s bellies. And we wonder why 1/3 of our nation’s youth is overweight and obese?  I accidently started offering my baby a real banana versus one from a jar.  From that day forward, I knew his palate was learning to recognize whole foods and his fast developing body and brain were thrilled to work with all these nutrients.

Sadly, many parents don’t believe children can love real foods so they rely on prepackaged products smothered with baby faces and cartoon characters to fill their children’s bellies

Because I fed my baby edamame, beets and olives he thinks all these foods are normal.  And that should be normal…right?!  With Boddler Bites, I can share with other parents the benefit of my research and best recipe ideas and tips for establishing healthy eating habits for their own children.

As a very busy momma of two, I’ve found that getting good, real food on the table requires a commitment – a commitment to not giving in to preservative-filled, frozen or fast food.  Here’s the thing though, the reason those foods exist is because they’re easy and easy is good.  So, what sort of foods could you recommend to us mommies-of-boddlers to keep stocked in our refrigerators that are easy…and wholesome?

Ahhh, so many to name!  Whole grains, fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, and organic eggs.  Always keep in mind, with most of these foods you can make double or triple to eat the next day.  Quinoa, couscous and pasta should be staples.  You can add any diced veggies, canned beans, boxed soup, and grated cheese to them for an instant meal.  Frozen fruit can be thrown into a blender with some yogurt, kale leaves and juice for a quick smoothie.  Any veggie can be steamed, baked or sautéed.  Frozen organic waffles are great topped with a nut butter/wheat germ/flaxseed and maple syrup.  Scrambled eggs are fabulous with some diced avocado and cottage cheese on top.

And it’s not just about healthy food you have stocked in your pantries and refrigerators.  It’s also about what you DON’T have in your house for your family to eat.  Don’t buy the prepackaged foods and you’ll learn how to quickly prepare whole foods in wonderful ways! (I totally agree, Shannon!)

Now, a little birdie told me you’ve got the best kiddo snacks in town! 2 questions: What is your best, go-to Boddler Bite?  What is your son’s favorite Boddler Bite?

Best go-to is steamed edamame, hand’s down.  I throw an entire bag of frozen, organic, shelled edamame in the steamer pot for 6-7 minutes…let cool and toss pinches of sea salt.  Such a perfect snack in the car or side dish I can use for a few days.  Pure protein and super easy.

My son’s favorite is blueberries.  He’s been eating frozen organic blueberries directly from the package since he could crawl. I’ll defrost them in warm water for about a minute.  He also still loves blueberry and spinach puree. Yup, those two pureed together in the food processor are insanely healthy.  Although it looks like mud, he gobbles it up.  When organic spinach and blueberries are on sale, I buy out the freezer section! Literally.

The key is that so many of these aren’t even recipes, just easy snacks/meals that are just as quick as a package of Goldfish; i.e. sliced apples and cheese, pitted olives, fresh sugar snap peas, diced watermelon, cantaloupe, banana (already in its own package), sliced jicama and hummus, avocado or nut butters on rice cakes, etc…

You’re going to be at RJ Julia soon at what sounds like a fun event.  Tell us about what’s planned that day.

This Saturday, June 18th from 10:30 – noon.  Free event and totally casual.  I’m having an Open House and Recipe Tasting.  Families are welcome and children are encouraged to try a few samples from some of the food ideas in the flash card cookbook.  I’ll be there to offer additional tips and answer any questions you all may have about establishing healthy eating habits for young children.

I’m sure folks want to know, how do we get our hands on Boddler Bites?

Some of the local stores that carry them are RJ Julia, Breakwater Books, Just Hatched, FoodWorks, BookHampton or you can order off my website.…   Whole Foods in Westport will carry them in early July and also Fairway Market in Brooklyn is currently selling them.

Before we go, I’ve got to know – did you really give us a “lie” about yourself way back when we started Chit Chatting?!  Care to tell us which it was?

Married my college sweetheart..Not high school! :)

Thank you, Kim for inviting me to Chit Chat with kidHaven!!

The pleasure was all mine, Shannon!

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Elisa #

    We love boddler bites! quick and easy, and my kids think the food is delicious.

    June 14, 2011
  2. sjbj #

    all went great for us feeding our son, until he hit 3 -3 1/2. he would eat anything and everything we did (we eat extremely healthy, due to husband’s medical issue…don’t even buy junk food at all). when son hit that age, he greatly limited the foods he would eat…still eats only healthy food, but maybe 10 of them and that is it. good luck when you kid moves beyond boddlerhoood!

    June 15, 2011
  3. Yes, it’s great when little ones eat healthy, but to keep it going can pose some hardships. The idea of Boddler Bites is to empower your children to find some new wholesome foods, that they can find at the supermarket and/or help easily prepare at home. Allowing them to select some foods that are then simple to prepare, can help in the later years. For example, adding a can of pumpkin to pancake mix , slicing up some sweet potato fries, adding butternut squash to boxed mac n’ cheese, slicing up frozen, organic cherries and stirring them into yogurt, spreading waffles with nut butter, wheat germ and topped with pure maple syrup, quinoa balls with spinach, and fail-proof kale chips are all ideas in Boddler Bites, Food in a Flash….Children are not going to like every healthy food…Finding several nutritious foods that they will eat into adulthood, now that is the gift!

    June 16, 2011

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