It’s no secret that in the Chatelaine Kitchen, we promote eating fresh food whenever possible. Last week, I was invited to visit the renowned farm-to-table restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in New York for a cooking event hosted by Frigidaire. Blue Hill chef Adam Kaye and Jennifer Garner were on site to promote their Eat Fresh campaign, benefiting Save the Children. Garner is an ambassador for Save the Children and is committed to encouraging Canadian families to eat fresh, local and in-season produce. As a mother of two girls, Garner feels it’s important to get kids cooking and learning about food at a young age in order to develop healthy eating habits. Garner believes that gardens, local farms and farmers’ markets are a great way to educate both kids and adults. “Nothing makes me happier than a farmers’ market,” she exclaims.
Chef Adam Kaye and Jennifer Garner cook up a storm.
Summer is a great time to challenge yourself and your family to eat fresh, local produce. For every person who commits to eating fresh at Make Time for Change this summer, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children Canada. (Bonus: You’ll also be entered for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Professional French Door refrigerator). Not only will you be committing to a healthier you, but you’ll also be committing to a very worthy cause. We’ll also help get you started with these summer fresh recipes/
-Make the most of your barbecue with this hearty grilled Italian bread salad with summer vegetables.
-Whip up this colourful fresh pepper and zucchini pasta in 15 minutes.
-Spice up mealtime with a dish of summer vegetables with spicy coconut curry.
My one-on-one with Jennifer! (p.s. Loved her on Alias)
Here are some of Jennifer Garner’s thoughts on favourite meals, family food influences, and her trick to getting her kids to eat their vegetables.
Did your upbringing influence the way you think about meals now for your family?
Jennifer Garner: “Definitely. My mom was a great – is a great – family cook. She made dinner every night. It wasn’t always a five-course meal, but it was always healthy, always fresh, and always made with love. She was very much in charge of feeding her family and I loved that.”
As a parent, how would you encourage kids who aren’t interested in food to eat healthy?
Jennifer Garner: “You make things they like…and you grow things! Kids, even if they think they don’t think they like sugar snap peas, when they’re picking them fresh off the vine, cannot help but eat them. It’s just fun to sit together and snap away. You can grow them in a tiny pot – you don’t even need any land. You just grow them! Also just going to farms like this [Blue Hill], or any kind of ‘you-pick’ farm close to you where your kids can get dirty and play in the ground and pick strawberries or raspberries. I’m really lucky in California – there are so many opportunities for my kids to pick raspberries straight off the vine and eat them. There’s nothing better.”
Do you have a garden?
Jennifer Garner: “Yes! I do. We have corn growing, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, squash. We’ve got all kinds of stuff. We planted them together.”
What are some of your favourite things to prepare for your family?
Jennifer Garner: “Well I’m really into the grill right now, because it’s so fast. While you’re prepping your chicken and vegetables or whatever it is you’re doing, you can have your grill heating up. I’ll take a chicken breast, cut it in half and I’ll just quickly marinate it in lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, a little garlic, a few red pepper flakes – not for the kids, but for me –and 3 minutes a side and it’s done. And it took no time at all. It’s so, so fast. Cooking is one of those things the more you do it the easier and faster it becomes.”
Tell us a bit about your cause, Save the Children.
Jennifer Garner: “Kids growing up in poverty are more inclined to obesity, which of course leads to childhood diabetes and to all different kinds of health-related and confidence-related problems. And the kids growing up in poverty also are just starting school on their heels instead of starting school at a run because they’re so far behind developmentally that by the time they get to kindergarten, they’re starting kindergarten without a real shot at success. Save the Children is trying to bridge that gap. We get kids and moms from birth to five years old, we’re in their homes, we’re giving them books and toys – developmental toys – to play with, and just connecting the parents to their children helping [to] reinforce that bond. And once the kids are in school, we’re giving them healthy snacks, making sure they exercise, and lots and lots and lots of literacy.”