Entrée, Gluten Free, Spring

COLD SESAME CUCUMBER NOODLES

cold sesame cucumber noodles

The postpartum appetite is a moody one. With a super frequent nursing schedule, I was eating like a high school athlete, except not exercising at all, just, you know, keeping someone alive with the food my body is making. Then it slowly starts to balance itself out and my portions have become more reasonable and I just recently hit the phase where I'd like to be eating a more wholesome diet than I was getting away with while grasping for energy and sustenance all day. My grandma told me that you crave sugar when you're tired and I'm not sure how factual that is but it felt very true to me. I still need a lot of food, but I'm trying to clean it up as of late. And it's Spring! How appropriate. Fresh things abound. I mean, look at that beautiful pea pod above. So Jeanine's book came in the mail at just the right time because her whole schtick is colorful and fresh and simple. I made her cold noodle salad for lunch with some crispy tofu bits on top but you could leave those out or add any protein of your choice really. It came together in 20ish minutes and I would guess you have most of these items on hand. It's an everyone sort of salad - open to adaptations, saves well to pack for lunch, crunchy and light but still filling. So good. 

cold sesame cucumber noodles
cold sesame cucumber noodles

COLD SESAME CUCUMBER NOODLES

Adapted from the Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio

Soba noodles can come in a wheat blend or a full buckwheat version, which would make them completely gluten free. The former are a little easier to work with, the later more appropriate for those with dietary restrictions. I like my noodles with LOTS of vegetables, like more salad with noodles in it, so I personally could have gone for two cucumbers but the original calls for one. I use this julienne peeler. 

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1.5 Tbsp. low sodium tamari
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
2 tsp. grated ginger
3 chopped scallions
12 ounces soba noodles
1 large cucumber, julienned
two large handfuls blanched snap peas

for garnish
sauteed tofu cubes
roughly chopped mint and cilantro
avocado
sesame seeds

cold sesame cucumber noodles

In a large bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, tamari, oil, peanut butter, garlic, and ginger. Stir in the scallions. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the noodles according to instructions, cooking until al dente. Drain, then run the noodles until cold water until chilled. Mix the noodles into the large bowl of dressing. Add the cucumbers and snap peas and stir. Add your tofu and lots of herbs and then chill in the fridge for an hour before serving. Garnish with avocado and sesame seeds as desired. 

cold sesame cucumber noodles

PEANUT BUTTER CEREAL BALLS

She’ll be 87 next month. She was an only child of parents from the Great Depression so she has an impressive collection of every take-out tupperware, yogurt and soup containers she uses and hides cash in envelopes in secret drawers. Or most recently, the freezer. She was also a young mother of three kids very close in age so she has opinions and perspective on mothering that she doesn’t waver from. She is both private and loquacious in a way I can’t quite describe but she makes friends wherever she goes and is so, so beautiful. I spent half the day with my grandma last week as she has been going through some unfortunate health stuff with her eye and needed company. She didn’t ask, it was by my moms suggestion actually, and I regret it’d taken me so long to just be with her. Not a holiday, or quick passing through, but to just sit in a big comfy chair in a room full of sewing knick knacks and memories and chat. We stared at Cleo for awhile, I made her scrambled eggs in salted butter and we talked about each member of the family and made sense of what they’re up to and their respective personalities. She may be a bit of a know-it-all but she takes so much in. Perhaps that comes with years of watching. It had been so long since I didn’t feel like I should being doing something or completing a task but being there, I really couldn’t. All she wants is quality time. When I left, she hugged and kissed me three of four times and thanked me for cooking for her. Cooking for her!?! Scrambled eggs felt so trite. But the scary thing about watching someone who has cared so much for you, get older, is that the roles shift ever so delicately you hardly notice. It’s like a tide changing or plants growing, you don’t see it all at once but at a point it strikes you that things are different. She still tells me to sing to calm my babies down and hems my little boys shorts, but needs to hold my hand when she comes downstairs or read her the fine print. There is this gradual giving back that feels so natural but stops you. How we all need each other. It’s sort of magical. 

I dropped off a bag of snacks for her and it got me on a kick of other nibbles. I made her some granola bars which led to these - something richer and more chocolatey but not totally junky. The boys and I polished these off before I could get some over to her but there will be more. They are crunchy but still candy like. I note in the recipe but it’s worth saying here that they are delicate. They need to be kept in the fridge to hold shape but that didn’t seem to slow us down. 

Peanut Butter Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen
Peanut Butter Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Bites // Makes 20

I used the new Kashi GOLEAN Vanilla Pepita Clusters for this specific batch.  It has great ingredients like yellow peas and red beans that add protein and fiber. You can find brown rice syrup at health food stores or online. Almond butter or sunflower butter may be used as an alternative nut butter with a slightly less distinctive taste. 

1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup salted peanut butter
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups Kashi GoLEAN Vanilla Pepita cereal, or something similar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3 ounces dark chocolate
flaky sea salt, for garnish

Peanut Butter Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen

In a small saucepan, heat the brown rice syrup, peanut butter and coconut oil to combine. Once warm, add the salt and cocoa powder and stir to mix. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter mixture with the cereal and stir to mix. Add the chocolate chips and mix again. 

Line a small tray with parchment paper. Rub your hands with a bit of coconut oil and form balls with about 2 Tbsp. of the cereal mixture until it is all gone. They are delicate, be patient. Line them up on the tray and chill the balls for 45 minutes to firm up. They are best stored chilled to hold shape. 

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. When the balls are firm, drizzle the chocolate over the balls and sprinkle them with flaky sea salt. Chill again for the chocolate to set and enjoy.

This post is created in partnership with Kashi. Recipe and opinions are my own.

PB Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen
PB Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen

Entrée, Gluten Free, Side, Spring

SPICE-ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH CHICKPEAS + CHERMOULA

SPICE-ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH CHICKPEAS + CHERMOULA - Roasting

I started a post about my place in the work/life/momming balance and I realized I just don't have much to share on figuring through that yet. I understand you don't ever get it "just right," but I am trying to get close enough to where I feel happy with what I was able to give at the end of the day. I want to check all my boxes and still feel like me at the end of the day, but I don't think I get to have that yet. I am trying to be patient and gracious with myself that I still have an infant that wakes up multiple times through the night, but I can't help but feel like I should be able to keep all the balls in the air. We've made these huge strides with women in the workplace but I think we still feel the pressure to do all the home and childcare tasks as well. Blame the internet if you wish, but it's tough trying to be the everywoman. My juggling skills don't look natural quite yet, and I cry too easily when a ball falls, but I'll check back if I figure something out. 

I've been stuck on vegetarian main ideas that satisfy all three of us and I loved this spice combination on the vegetables from Emma Galloways book. Never mind that Hugh added a grilled sausage to his, making this ever the flexible omnivorous meal, but I liked it just as it was. Warm with cinnamon and honey, spiced with garlic and interesting with paprika and coriander. I repurposed the chilled leftovers over greens the next day with a little feta cheese to make a salad of the dish. Don't skip over this if you don't stock cumin seeds, half a teaspoon of dried cumin is fine. Or I didn't have quite enough coriander and it still turned out great. Again, pretty flexible. 

SPICE-ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH CHICKPEAS + CHERMOULA
SPICE-ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH CHICKPEAS + CHERMOULA - Carrots

SPICE-ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH CHICKPEAS + CHERMOULA

Recipe adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme by Emma Galloway

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, freshly cooked or one 14 oz. can, rinsed well
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro stems
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 lemon
1 bunch baby beets
1 bunch baby carrots or about 4 larger ones
2 small parsnips, cut into quarters
2 baby potatoes
mint leaves, to serve

2 cups cooked whole grains such as quinoa, millet, brown rice etc.

/chermoula/

1 small bunch cilantro
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
sea salt

SPICE-ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH CHICKPEAS + CHERMOULA - Herbs

Drain the chickpeas well. 
Preheat the oven to 375'. Place olive oil, cilantro stems, garlic, spices, honey, salt, pepper and lemon zest in a large bowl and mix well. Cut the beets and potatoes in half so they are about the same thickness as the carrots and parsnips. Add the chickpeas, carrots, parsnips and potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer. Toss the beets in the remaining marinade and tuck them to one side of the baking sheet (beets stain and will turn everything pink so this is for aesthetics, if you don't mind all pink vegetables, by all means toss everything at once). Roast for 35-45 minutes, stirring everything once, until golden and tender.
Meanwhile, cook your grains and keep them warm. 
To make the chermoula, put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until a rough sauce is formed. Season to taste with salt. 
Serve the grains topped with the roasted vegetables and chickpeas, scraping up all the spices left on the tray. Drizzle with chermoula and sprinkle with mint leaves. 

SPICE-ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH CHICKPEAS + CHERMOULA