Gluten Free, Salad, Winter, Fall


I read through the entire Dr. Sears baby book cover to cover while pregnant with Curran. I wanted to understand what was going on inside my body. I mean, I was growing a PERSON, and as a glutton for information, I wanted to know what to expect, at least a little, in an albeit unpredictable, amazing and strange situation. I also had a little more time then. The second time around, I have had a hard time even keeping track of what week I am in, let alone the size of this little critter but the emotional and hormonal changes that I breezed over and barely noticed with Curran have been on point this round. They say in the last trimester especially, the need to nest really kicks in. Like other mammals, mothers seek a calm environment, gather food, clean and prep for what’s coming. But we found a slab leak last week, and Hugh and his dad are fixing up an office in the garage and we’re working on stuff in the kitchen so that whole calm and clean thing has reached a point of resistance in our home. These are things that need to be taken care of, perhaps better a couple months ago would have been preferable, but such is life and here we are with a lot of dust and tools around. I am quick to breakdown in the mess as of late, but what I am grateful for, is that babies are resilient, and besides being greedy with your time and boobs, their needs are few. I have a safe place to call home and 1.75 healthy babies so a step back and some perspective is all one really needs to reign it in. 

We’re heading up to Santa Barbara with some of my side of the family this week to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is the first without my aunt and it felt right to do something completely different instead of feel the obvious void of her at home. It sounds both great to get away from the house and the messes but also a little bit stressful as going away with a small child and half your energy can be. There will undoubtedly be tears at some point which Hugh has now come to expect. We plan to cook a simple dinner on Thursday to celebrate. I typically do the vegetables and have a few ideas. I want things to look pretty and love those multicolored carrots to be roasted and topped with some crunchy bits, french green beans with a mustardy vinaigrette and then maybe this slaw I developed for Reynolds Kitchens and their Endless Table campaign. No meal needs a fresh green salad as desperately as a classic Thanksgiving dinner. The kale and brussels hold up well so can be prepared and even lightly dressed in advance, the quinoa makes it filling and I can’t get enough of those juicy and tart pom seeds ever. Anyway. I hope it’s as peaceful and enjoyable of a day it can be for you and yours - remembering that there is always something to be thankful for. Happy day to you. 


This salad is great for the slow, lingering meal that is Thanksgiving because it can sit and stay crunchy for some time unlike other tender greens. It is even still good the next day! The full recipe for this salad and a handful of other recipes by some great bloggers, can be found on Reynolds Kitchens site. 

Breakfast, Feeding Babies


Thank you all so much for the feedback. That was extremely helpful (and affirming, which I wasn't expecting, but was well needed). We've started quite a few house projects, approximately 8 weeks before having a baby, one of which will put me out of a kitchen for a few weeks, so we may fall a little quite over here. I suppose this gives me time to process everything each of you said while we are out of order over here. A handful of you chimed in who say you never comment and I appreciate that! Just know from the other side, the comments are huge, so big hugs.

So our little guy is almost a year and a half and while I am so excited to have a little baby that cuddles and snuggles, I love love love the boy Curran is right now. He is so curious and observant and active and smart. He doesn't really cuddle at all, but he is so engaged and enamored with Hugh and I that it makes me feel pretty special. I have however found this to be the most draining stage so far because he is constant and nothing keeps his attention for longer than 5 minutes. He gets frustrated when he can't communicate something and has learned the art of a tantrum. He's so much little boy but still has plenty of baby in him. Quite the crossroads. 

As for eating, he is totally over mashed things and prefers to always feed himself. His skills are fair with a fork but a spoon is a complete mess which I believe is pretty standard. The thing about this stage at our table, is that we can all eat a lot of the same things, but there are still a large amount of our stand-bys that he can't eat. I keep trying to give him bites of my salad but he acts like there is a hair in his mouth. I find myself having to think harder about meals that will feed all three of us. I don't have the energy to be a short order cook but I'm still learning what that is going to look like. A few of you mentioned last post that you really liked the extra ideas for kids so a few other items I try to keep ready that, in the right combination, suffice as a meal: tortellini, tofu chunks, cut up bbq'd chicken, string cheese, cooked peas, edamame, pomegranate seeds, grapes, raisins, mandarins, fresh dates. I have found that having food ready is the key to avoiding a meltdown, even if it just buys you ten or fifteen minutes to get something else started. It takes a one and a half year old a long time to get the beans out of an edamame pod and that is helpful. 

Even if you don't have little people, or they are of the age that can eat anything, I would make these recipes. They are just easy, versatile snacks or meals.  

MUESLI BARS // Makes one 8x8 pan

I love the Seven Sundays brand of muesli and they have a few different flavors to choose from that I use for these. I use a combo of butter and coconut oil because I like the flavor and moisture both give, but either exclusively as the fat will work just fine. Because these have no wheat or strong binder in them, they are quite tender. If you can let them sit for a day, they'll settle into themselves even more. 

1/2 cup brown rice syrup
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, coconut oil or a mix of the two
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup almond butter
1 ripe, medium banana, mashed
3 cups prepared muesli
2 Tbsp. flax meal
pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350'. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment and coat it well with coconut oil. In a small saucepan, warm the brown rice syrup and butter and/or coconut oil together to melt. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, almond butter and banana and stir everything to mix. It'll be a gloopy mess. 

Put the muesli, flaxmeal and a pinch of sea salt in a mixing bowl. Pour the liquid mixture into the muesli and mix well. Press the mixture down firmly into the prepared pan evenly. Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden but the bars are still fairly tender. Let them cool completely before cutting. These are very tender. Store them in the fridge and cut off pieces as needed.


Curran calls them egg balls and I find that fitting. Here is the thing, the three of us can go through a dozen of these in one day no problem. You could easily make two dozen of these by adding two more eggs to the mixture plus a splash of milk to extend the batter. Potato size varies, but I'm confident you could get two dozen. Or add in cooked and crumbled chicken breakfast sausage if that is your sort of thing. 

1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
1 cup tender greens, roughly chopped
1/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese
4 extra large eggs
sea salt and pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the diced sweet potato and a pinch of salt and saute for 8-10 minutes until tender. Add the greens and saute again to just wilt. Turn off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350' and generously grease a mini muffin tin. Like, really generous. Eggs have a tendency to stick. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs well and then stir in the white cheddar. I put a sprinkle of salt, pepper and dried herbs here but this is optional. Tip the potato and green mixture into the eggs and stir to mix. Spoon the egg mixture into the muffin tin up to the top. Bake on the middle rack for 12-14 minutes until just firm but not overcooked. Cool and then remove them from the tin soon as they are cool to the touch. They can be stored in a covered tupperware in the fridge.


I can remember a specific conversation from high school where some friends and I, then, maybe 15 years old, talked about what we thought our life would look like at 25 years old. You know how some memories seem so crystal clear? I actually, vividly remember my answer. I remember where I was sitting when we had this conversation and how ambitious and confident I felt about what I was going to accomplish in the next ten years. "I will be running a company - like be the lady in charge in a tailored black suit and heels, my hair will be nicely done. I'll be married, have two kids and own my first home." Maybe like an Olivia Pope meets June Cleaver sort of thing but with more Restoration Hardware/West Elm sort of taste, tracking with me? I actually don't think I knew a twenty five year-old person who had necessarily accomplished those things, but it seemed do-able.

A "what are we doing?" conversation seems to be a recurring between Hugh and I lately and I keep recalling that one moment; a little smug at my nievete but also jealous of her self assurance. Isolated, each of those goals are so hard - working, parenting, renting or owning and caring for your own place and honestly, I still can't figure out how to make my hair look nice. I have had a lot of business lady talks about the work we are doing here and what Sprouted Kitchen is going to look like for us over the next year or two and I am both overwhelmed and excited. It is hard to think there will be much left to give after caring for two babies under two but I love that this space is so ironically close but so far from what my 15 year old self thought I would be doing. I may be able to wear whatever I want, but it is ours. The tricky part is, I would love a little feedback from you all. I realize this is a large, perhaps unprofessional survey sample, but I have been wanting a bit more conversation going in the comments anyway so suppose this is one way to start. Why do you come here? I will always keep it some variety of weeknight meals, lighter treats, would like to continue the 'feeding kids' series, travel snippets and maybe a few personal or home posts on occasion, but I need to solidify my thesis. As much as this is my journal, it has also become my work, and I care what makes your visit here feel light and lovely. So, if you feel like throwing in your (constructive) two cents on what sort of things I could keep in mind for you, that'd be just great.

Now I know there have been a few falafel recipes here and I love them mostly because they are a vehicle for lots of veggies and a good sauce. I was reading last months' Bon Appetite magazine and read the tips about keeping the beans coarse and lightly frying them which I intended to do, but I am just not a fryer - I hate how it makes the kitchen smell! I did my best to follow directions, which I soon predictably deviated from, and then lathered the tops in oil and baked them in a hot oven hoping I would still get a crisp crust. It yields nothing as crisp as what frying gives, let's say that, but these fit into a veggie packed sandwich just perfectly. To be honest, often times I am deterred from entertaining because it gets expensive, but this is a perfect solution. It was so easy that next time I'll invite more than one couple over. And toddler/kid friendly too if you keep in mind they're pretty delicate. I served these with a naan or brown rice tortilla option and some matchstick roasted potatoes that I tossed with fresh rosemary and oregano hot out of the oven. Something to consider next time you have a few extra people at your table.


Inspired by Bon Appetite

If you're trying to get ahead on dinner or make these for a party, make the falafel dough in advance and let it sit in the fridge. The flavor and texture actually benefits from a little rest. When ready to cook, prepare your balls and go from there. If you have any leftover, they can be kept covered in the fridge for a week, drying out a tad as they age. 

3 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 serrano chile, roughly chopped
1 tsp. baking powder
3 T. garbanzo or oat flour
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 T. fresh oregano
2 T. fresh mint
extra virgin olive oil, as needed

// tahini dressing //

1/2 cup tahini
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. orange juice
2 T. water
1 clove of garlic, grated on a microplane
1 tsp. real maple syrup
zest of a small lemon
pinch of salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste

to serve: naan or brown rice tortillas, thinly chopped romaine and cabbage, tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber, pickled red onions, feta cheese and toasted sesame seeds. 

Preheat the oven to 425' and grease a rimmed baking sheet with coconut oil. Drain the garbanzos well. Into a food processor, combine the beans, onions, garlic, serrano, baking powder, garbanzo or oat flour, salt, pepper, cumin, parsley, oregano, mine and a dash of oil. Pulse the processor until you get a very coarse paste, about ten times, scrapping the sides down every few times for even texture. You want it to stick together but not resemble hummus.

Form small, ping-pong-esque sized balls and place them on the baking sheet 2" apart. With a brush or your finger, generously oil the top of each falafel. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops are just dry and crisp. Remove to cool. 

While the falafel bake, make your dressing. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, adding orange juice or water to thin if your tahini is really thick. 

Assemble your wrap with a generous swipe of sauce, a few falafel and pack it with vegetables.