Some of the residents at the Connections Recovery Residence for Women and Children were a bit hesitant to eat cauliflower for the first time. But when Chong Yi, a Food Bank of Delaware WIC Nutrition Educator, prepared Cheesy Cauliflower Fritters during an educational demonstration, most asked for a second helping.
The Seaford facility, better known as a “Mommy & Me House,” is one of four recovery residences for women and children operated by Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. The house is home to eight mothers for up to 18 months as they complete their first year of recovery from substance use disorders. Each mother is permitted to have two children with her in the residence.
While at the houses, the residents are required to attend 12-step meetings, and to receive treatment in an intensive outpatient program. They learn how to live in a community, gain financial literacy, find employment, continue their educations, as well as learning life skills, which includes how to prepare healthy meals for themselves and their young children.
The residents recently gathered around a dining room table with Chong, who not only showed them how to make the cauliflower fritters, but also offered tips on food preparation and grocery shopping as she was cooking.
All of the ingredients for the recipe can be purchased through the WIC program, which is available for low-income parents with children up to 5 years old.
Chong explained the nutritional value of each ingredient as she warmed the electric skillet. “I always like to crack the eggs in a separate bowl,” Chong said, noting that it is easier to retrieve any pieces of eggshells that way.
The recipe includes chopped scallions or green onions. “Cauliflower by itself is pretty bland, so these give it some flavor,” she said.
Chong use grated cheddar cheese for the demonstration, but told the residents they could use another kind of hard cheese if they used the recipe in the future.
“These are quick to cook,” said Chong as she watched the electric skillet and fielded questions from the house residents.
The fritters received a five-star rating, and, as Chong sautéed a second batch, two of the residents shared their stories of how they arrived at the Mommy & Me House when it opened in September.
Nicole said she and Jamie were homeless for more than a year before moving into the recovery residence. In addition to providing a safe and secure place to live, the women and children also receive the medical care they need from the Connections staff. Case workers help the women navigate government agencies and provide daily counseling. The residents also get transportation to and from work.
Nicole said all of these services add up to her feeling hopeful that will have a better life.
“I’m clean,” said Nicole, who is trying to regain custody of her 10-month-old daughter. “I love it here. I mean, sometimes it’s not easy, but it benefits me, and I think about getting my baby back. Jamie and I have a shared case plan. We’ve been clean for 100 days and we support each other. “
For more information about Connections, go to www.connectionscsp.org. Visit www.fbd.org to learn more about the Food Bank of Delaware.