Lopez is a Bent on Learning board member and teaches yoga to children in classrooms throughout the city. She also founded Look Up Yoga, a DVD series for kids, and Five For Kids, a curriculum that teaches kids about healthy eating and cooking.
Oh, and when we found out she had a wood oven installed in her Greenwich Village backyard, we wanted to know more. “I love the idea of stoking the fire and cooking food right there,” says Lopez. “It’s a process—almost a meditation—as you have to prep the oven a few hours before. But the work is well worth it and a true pleasure.”
We peeked inside her fridge to find out what she’s cooking:
You have lots of nutritional powders. What do you use them for? I am a huge fan of the smoothie. It’s a fantastic way to pack nutrients into a tasty meal that takes a few seconds to make. Kids love them and have no idea they are consuming the equivalent of a bowl full of veggies and a steak. A smoothie with frozen blueberries, Billy’s Infinity Green Powder, protein powder, sunflower-seed butter, and vitamin C powder, with a coconut water base, sets me up for the day. For my kids, I add bananas, acai, and only add a small amount of powders.
Speaking of kids, that birthday cake is impressive. Did you make it? I did not make that cake and cannot imagine trying—it was quite a masterpiece! It was made by a wonderful woman named Anja Riebensahm who created www.sugarsnapnyc.com. She uses all organic ingredients, can substitute dairy/wheat/sugar or make a vegan cake; all with spectacular designs and very delicious. It’s a splurge, but the kids are so much about the cake that it seems like a good place for one.
You have almond, hemp, and regular milk. Do those reflect the tastes of different members of the household? Yes, my son Cosimo can drink whole milk, but my daughter has eczema and we have been told to avoid dairy. My husband also avoids dairy.
What’s in the big red pot in the middle? Split pea, Cosimo’s favorite soup. I substitute tempeh bacon for ham and use a cauliflower base instead of potato. We always have some soup in the fridge. Like smoothies, they are an excellent way for kids to meet their nutritional needs.
Now to the pizza oven! How often do you make pizza and what are your favorite kinds to make? We usually have people over for family dinner on Sundays. This past Mama’s Day, I made a salmon with ramp pesto over wilted radicchio, a margarita pizza, an anchovy, arugula, and cherry tomato pizza, and a pizza with vegan cheese and pesto for the vegan friends. I make a crazy dough with sprouted whole wheat and Guinness. Once you get going, the pizza options are legion; I have even made chocolate pineapple pizza for Ara.
Wow. So do your kids have refined, healthy palates (in addition to being budding yogis)? My kids are well versed in what is healthy, but that does not mean that they don’t love pizza and cupcakes. It just means that they know they will have to balance them with veggies. I am also a huge fan of cooking with your kids and teaching them to cook for themselves. —Lisa Elaine Held