It’s Girl Scout Cookie time!
This might be fun fact you don’t know about me: when I was a little girl in elementary school in NJ, I was a brownie! 🙂 (That’s the name for the group before you become a Girl Scout).
I used to go door to door selling the cookies each year. Meanwhile, all my friends’ parents would just take order forms into their huge offices and sell boxes for their kids. Now I see parents selling their kids cookies online! I feel like an old person saying “I used to walk 18 miles to school, in the snow, uphill both ways!” But it’s true… I would spend HOURS walking (and yes, sometimes UP huge hills!), knocking door-to-door.
It seemed cruel as a little girl. I was nervous before every knock, terrified when dogs start barking or burst out of the door, and dealt with rejection often. But in looking back, I think it actually really helped me become the entrepreneur and driven person I am today. That early experience actually served me well in high school, college and my young adulthood too. (I won’t waste your time with details here but let’s just say I’ve had MANY business’s, lol!). I also think it really helped me deal with all the rejection I received as an actress going on audition after audition in both NYC and LA.
It was really excellent training for life. Do you think everyone who answered the door in West Orange, NJ bought a box of cookies from me? How anyone can tell a super cute little 2nd grader with curly brown hair and cookies “No thanks” and shut the door, I’ll never know. Some people wouldn’t even bother to answer the door, even when they were obviously home! Not easy to take as a 7 year old, but in life we don’t always get what we want. Nor should we! What we ‘want’ and what we ‘need’ could be 2 totally different things.
At the time, I resented my parents for making me trudge through winter time slush or snow after school in suburban New Jersey (did I mention some of it was UPHILL! :)-). I was jealous of my peers who had parents who worked at massive offices in NYC and could sign up their coworkers for dozens of boxes. In retrospect though, my experience gave me some great lessons. I still remember the feeling, decades later, of a random stranger down the street buying 5 … even 10!!!! boxes at once (Woohoo! And I did it ALL by myself!), and knowing that every box I sold was my own hard work!
In one of the books I’m reading now, (The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves & Empowering our Children) the author, Shefali Tsabary, PhD says that,
To be unyielding when required goes hand-in-hand with yielding when appropriate. Setting boundaries, saying “no,” and being firm are as much a part of good parenting as are accepting and embracing our children. She goes on to say,
To parent consciously means you respond to your children’s needs, not cater to them.
This was also recently discussed in my weekly baby group in Santa Monica. Our group leader even sent around an article called “Why Are Kids Impatient, Bored, Friendless, and Entitled?” by Victoria Prooday, OT (I HIGHLY recommend reading it if you are a parent to a young child!!!)
Her assessment boiled down to our over-reliance on isolating technology and instant gratification at the expense of of learning how to have meaningful social interaction. We are all busy, so we give our children digital gadgets and make them “busy” too. Kids used to play outside, where, in unstructured natural environments, they learned and practiced their social skills. Unfortunately, technology replaced the outdoor time.
A few of Victoria’s guidelines are things my cookie sales experience got right:
- Teach your child to do monotonous work from early years as it is the foundation for future “workability”
- Teach social skills
I know a lot of parents probably think this is ‘mean’ but a lot of folks are also saying this is why we have so much of an issue with bullies, poor academics, even school shootings. It’s a huge issue actually. Wow… ok, tangent!!!
So, getting back to those yummy cookies (sorry for the long winded aside! I didn’t realize I had so many thoughts on the topic!)
Anyway, I used to love Samoa Girl Scout cookies, but now I’m not crazy about everything that goes into them. One of my favorite rules is “eat all the junk food you want, as long as you make it yourself!” So here is my version of a home made vegan, gluten free Samoa bar! They taste JUST like a coconutty, caramelly & chocolately Samoa, but with much healthier ingredients. It really hits the spot! What’s not to love? 🙂
And for bonus points, how about making this WITH your favorite Brownie or Girl Scout? (Or even preschooler – they are really easy!) 🙂
Samoa Bars (Vegan & Gluten Free)
- 8 Organic medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- ¾ cup chocolate chips
- 2 tsp water
- pinch salt
- If you have raw coconut flakes or shreds, toast them by cooking in a dry frying pan over medium heat until just browned, or bake at 300F for about 5 minutes until just browned and set aside
- Add dates a pinch of salt and a splash of water to a food processor
- Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides periodically (add a little water if it’s too thick to process)
- Stir in toasted coconut
- Fill parchment-lined 8×8 or 9×9 baking tray with mixture and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes
- In a double boiler, melt chocolate then drizzle over top of the cooled mixture
- Put back in the freezer another 15 minutes (for the chocolate to set)
- Cut into bars and dip the bottom of each bar in melted chocolate
- Let the chocolate harden in the fridge or freezer