And They Called it Monkey Love: A Cookie Story

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If you could spend an afternoon making a difference in your community, what would you do?

And, would you actually enjoy it?

Today, I got the wonderful opportunity to teach kids and their parents how to bake cookies.  Healthy cookies.  And they loved it.

A brief background: I have been volunteering for the past couple months with a local organization called Grow2BFit, which helps families understand how to be healthier and live better.  They have been around for three years and still make their events and classes fun and fresh for the K-12ers and their parents. 

The volunteering I have gotten to do with them so far is a great example: Imagine teaching Zumba for a class of 30, where the average age is eight; the kids are screaming like preteens at a Justin Bieber concert and rocking out with dance moves to “Party Rock Anthem."

Two words.  In. Credible.  You call that work? No way, but the effect is profound.  If those kids grow up thinking it’s fun to move and jump around, and their parents follow suit – which, they did, asking me where to take classes, and one dad showing up later to one of mine – that makes a huge impact on their lives.

So, one of Grow2BFit’s projects is to get healthy living classes out to people all over the city, and guess who got to use her favorite hobby to teach them this time? Oh, yeah.

This is the second time I have gotten to be part of said awesomeness, the first time being a pre-Halloween pumpkin cookie lesson...

...but today I decided, enough with the pumpkin, I'm gonna play with the recipe a little.

You know. Like ya do.

But before I get into the particulars of creating these small bites of Nirvana, I think it’s really worth a few words on just how much fun kids can have (and be!) in the kitchen.

They really love hands on projects. They all want to help.  When it smells good, like chocolate or peanut butter *hint*, they go nuts.  They actually know things that they can apply to baking, like the fact that baking soda can bubble up – hence the rising factor in cookies.  It really was fantastic to see kids from ages 6 to 16 wanting to get in on mixing, measuring, and scooping.  Not to mention how they put a smile on my face when they said how delicious it was and couldn't even tell it was supposed to be "healthy!"

There’s a few words of my own, now here’s over a thousand more:


Time for the cookie part! (The kids liked this part, too!)

One might say they are a delicacy of the chocolate-peanut butter-banana-oatmeal variety, but I call them Monkey Love.


My new recipe!

  • 2 c. rolled oats (note: it's 1/2 c. in the recipe picture below)
  • 1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. melted butter
  • 1/4 c. non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. apple sauce
  • 1 c. pureed ripe or overripe banana
  • 1/4 c. all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 lg. egg or 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. pure honey
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. pure cocoa powder
  • Chocolate chips/raisins/nuts etc.

(For a batch of about 33 cookies, they will be 100 calories each! Feel free to play with the amount of sugar and peanut butter if you want the same cookie for even less calories!)


And it was Monkey Love at first bite.

So, how do you like to make a difference in your community?

And/or: Tell me your stories about cooking with kids! (Bet there are some GREAT ones!)




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