Today’s post is an interview with Molly Chassen, Owner of Orange Tree Lane, a website that helps busy moms cook healthier for their families through education, menu planning and support. Thanks for sharing your passion and insights here, Molly!
Q: What ignited your love for healthy cooking?
My mother. I had to relearn the details as an adult, but she taught me that there was a powerful connection between what I ate and how healthy I would be based on the nutrients in food.
Q: What is the vision behind your company?
I homeschooled my kids for 8 years. When the youngest went to jr. high, my husband and I went out to dinner and he said, “What are you going to do with your life now?” With one getting ready for college and two to follow, I knew it needed to involve an income.
I decided that if I got to decide what I wanted to do with myself, then I would want to be for other moms what I always wished I had as a very busy mom of young children; help in the kitchen! Not the “Here’s how to make the most meals quickest and easiest” because I know that nutrition often is lost when that is the main goal. But I really wanted a good dose of that convenience while at the same time striving for nutritional excellence.
“The vision I have for Orange Tree Lane is to inspire busy, tired mothers to make planning and cooking healthy meals a regular part of their life by helping them in every way possible short of coming over and cooking for them myself!”
Q: What is your favorite recipe?
That is always changing because I try multiple new recipes every week… my taste buds go through fazes. Right now I would make the Fish and Greens recipe on the site… white fish fillets covered with bread crumbs and a little butter, lots of dark, nutrient rich kale simmered until very soft in beef or chicken broth, and I would replace the rice with delicious Quinoa and Peas.
Q: What is hardest for you to cook or incorporate in meals?
Probably dark green leafy vegetables, because we need to eat them every day… I like a challenge, and this is an ongoing one for me.
Q: How do you overcome the issue of getting kids to
even look at eat healthier foods?
By tricks and deception. I sneak vegetables here and there, to the point where they may not see anything but they know its there and say, “Mom, couldn’t you make something without kale in it, just once?” So to throw them off, I do, and make sure they know it, then quietly keep adding things where they wont really notice.
I also display fruits and vegetables as beautiful…a glass bowl on our eating table filled with green apples, a three tiered dessert server on the counter which is always filled with a forever changing collection of fresh produce. I also make it a point to cut things up and leave them on the counter for picking, which they do simply because it is there, and I make sure that those kinds of snacks have a limited amount of competition in the cupboard. I’d have to write quite a bit more to tell it all, but you get my point.
Q: What are some of your kids’ favorite recipes?
They love desserts, they’re kids…Sweet Potato Pie, Champion Cookies, a chocolate chip version with peanut butter, cranberries and walnuts, On-the-Go Energy Balls, and for an entrée, any kind of Shepherd’s Pie and Feta Chicken Pasta. (Note: All of these are available on Molly’s website)
Q: If you could say one thing to encourage and motivate moms in their journey to cook better for our families, what would it be?
I would say that you can do it, and it gets easier the longer you try..it really does. Anything that is new or different is stressful for anyone, but like I said, if you keep going it becomes so normal and all the stress about cooking differently than you always have just disappears.
BOOK GIVEAWAY! Molly’s offering a free copy of the book Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. Come by and leave a comment to enter the giveaway at Moms Together on March 18!
To your health!