Get cooking with your kids at these two Staten Island places where you can explore healthy and fresh ways to cook and eat!

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I am the first to admit it: Before I got married, my idea of preparing a meal was heating up Chinese take-out food in the microwave. Eventually, at the behest of my newlywed husband who wanted a “home-cooked meal on the table every night,” I tried my hand at cooking pasta. My fatal flaw was that while the pasta was boiling in the pot, I took a shower and conveniently forgot about it — until the smoke alarm went off and a mini fire erupted in the kitchen. Suffice it to say, I am not one of those moms who can whip up vegetable baked ziti or bake raisin scones.

Picture courtesy of kitchenfunwithmy3sons.blogspot.com

Despite my lack of cooking skills, my daughter’s been asking me recently if we can start cooking dinner together. So, I’m slowly inching my way back into the kitchen and we’ve actually prepared some tasty meals together.

The best part about cooking with my daughter is that while we’re working together, dicing vegetables or measuring out condiments, we manage to have the best conversations — talking about things I’d usually have to beg her to share with me, which is exactly what this post is all about- finding experiences and activities that parents and kids can take part in together, rather than attempt forced conversation

So, whether you’re an experienced cook or just getting your bearings in the kitchen, check out these local  places where you and your kids will come to appreciate the joy of cooking and eating healthy foods.

THE GREENMARKET AT ST. GEORGE

There is a world of difference between shopping with your child at the farmer’s market as opposed to the grocery store. At the 12-year-old Greenmarket at St. George, you’ll be outside in the fresh air stocking up on colorful, organic produce and baked goodies such as melons, apples, ginger cookies, French breads, beans and carrots. And you’ll get to meet the farmers who planted the seeds and took care of the food you’ve purchased.

What will kids go gaga for

Learning from the farmers about how their foods are grown, where they come from and how they got to Staten Island. Rummaging through the selection of children’s library books which sell for just a dime apiece. (The St. George public library is right across the street.)

Parent perks

Helping support local family farms and the preservation of open green spaces while providing your kids with foods that haven’t been heavily altered by pesticides. Exchanging recipes with your neighbors at the community affairs table and when you’re done, spending time at the library.

A great way to get your kids interested in healthy fresh-food alternatives, which you can also use in the dishes you prepare together.

Information http://www.grownyc.org/saintgeorgegreenmarket

DECKER FARM

Kids who visit New York City’s oldest continually farmed site can put their hands in the soil, pick out their very own pumpkins, and check out the locally grown crops (which are sold at the St. George Greenmarket). They’ll also get to re-enact old-fashioned farm chores, and this weekend August 12 you can  Bring the kids and enjoy a family friendly style breakfast menu, fresh from-the-earth ingredients using wonderful recipes by our renowned Farmer and Chef himself, David Cavagnaro. Scrambled eggs, flap jacks, farm house sausage, hash browned potatoes, breakfast bakery basket, and juice & coffee. Two seatings! 9am and 11am Adults $10 Children $7 For reservations call (718) 351-1611 ext 236

Address

Park at Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave. and take a shuttle bus to the farm.

What kids will go gaga for

Hay rides, pumpkin-picking, attempting the old-fashioned chore of carrying a yoke and bucket.

Parent perks

Using Decker Farm’s 19th-century recipes, adapted for 21st-century taste buds, to create dishes like pies and toasted pumpkin seeds with your kids.

Overall

You don’t have to leave Staten Island to give your kids a taste of farm life — and an appreciation for how the healthy foods they eat came to be.

Information

718-351-1611, extension 281; www.historicrichmondtown.org.

And by the way I have FINALLY finally perfected my macaroni and cheese, which my daughter  and I prepare with whole-wheat pasta, low-fat milk and organic soy cheese. If you’d like to share some of your kids’ favorite healthy recipes– PLEASE leave me a comment below!

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