Shannon “Peacasso” Seip and Kelly “Pea Brain” Parthen are co-founders of a kid-focused chain of cafes called Bean Sprouts, which are in family destinations such as museums, science centers, zoos and tourist attractions. A dozen of these cafes are across the country, including one that opened in Colorado Springs in March in the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center, 1805 N. 30th St.
The cafe’s goal is to spark kids’ appetites for yummy, good-for-you food and delight grownups with a happier mealtime. Now families can duplicate the eatery’s recipes at home. The founders have just released a new cookbook, “Bean Sprouts Kitchen.”
Parthen and Seip are former college pals turned business partners. Their cafe idea evolved from letting their children play with vegetables and lean meats, creating fun dishes such as “Flutter Bite,” made with red pepper tortillas cut to look like butterflies, and “The Do-Re-Foe-Me,” finger sandwiches made to resemble piano keys.
The cookbook — which Parthen said has been listed as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Month — has 60 creative and wholesome recipes that families will love to prepare and eat together. They are perfect for picky and adventurous eaters alike.
The book has simple, smile-worthy ideas for dishes packed with protein, fruits and veggies. It captures their 10-plus years of insight and their unique approach, including:
• Clean ingredients: All recipes adhere to high-quality ingredient guidelines, meaning no artificial anything — flavors, colors or preservatives.
• Allergy-friendly options: The recipes can accommodate nearly every dietary need, with ingredient alternatives and flexible recipes.
• Kid- and parent-approved recipes: Themes are based on what kids love — from race cars and pets to building blocks and tutus — with healthy ingredients that make parents happy. Some recipes are inspired by Bean Sprouts’ locations, from edible Roller Toasters (ropes of pizza dough shaped to look like a roller coaster rail and baked for dipping into tomato soup) to UFOats energy balls (balls of nut butter, oats and seeds, with chocolate chips stuck around the top third for UFO portholes, and then the ball is positioned in the center of a pineapple ring).
• Child involvement: The authors know that getting kids to try new tastes and eat healthy foods can be tricky and frustrating. But studies have shown that the more playful an item and the more hands-on children can be in the preparation, the more likely they are to try something new. The book’s recipes are simple enough for children to join in the prep.
This isn’t the pair’s first cookbook. That was “Bean Appétit: Hip & Healthy Ways to Have Fun with Food,” published when they had just one cafe. Bean Appétit was named one of the Top 10 kids’ cookbooks by iVillage (now today.com) and has been featured on “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America” and in nearly every major parenting publication and website.
Seip has written several other books too, including two for American Girl, and was a top-ranked contributing editor of NickMom/Nickelodeon, online and on air.
The authors have teamed with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. For each book purchased, they will donate five meals to feed kids in need. The cookbook costs $22.99. In addition to amazon.com and bookstores, you can buy it at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. Make it a play date and plan to lunch at Bean Sprouts cafe and then tour the center. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Visit gardenofgods.com for more information.
Contact the writer: 636-0271.