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Thursday
Jun122014

FIG BARS

Fig Bars . Sprouted Kitchen

We took the teeny snuggle bug for a picnic at "our spot" yesterday. He doesn't do much yet, but he does throw (be they accidental) smiles every now and then so we're going to assume he likes it there too. I've eaten on that hill dozens of times and have yet to pack as simple a meal as I did last night. Things have changed, we keep telling each other that. It didn't matter that the salad only included greens, dressing and parmesan, we needed out of the house. Curran is 18 days old, just tipping the scale somewhere over 8 lbs., so strangers are quick to come and look at him and coo. Two ladies, moms themselves, came over to our blanket as we were packing up and told me how proud they were of us for leaving the house with such a wee one. They wanted to know how I was doing, commiserated about how painful the healing part is, assured us that eventually it won't take an hour to pack a simple picnic and get out of the house. Or maybe it will, but it will become normal. I love where we live, but strangers don't engage in conversation all too often around here. It's sad, really, that it surprised me how friendly these ladies were. I was taken back at first and then so grateful. So grateful for their honesty and enthusiasm and friendliness. It was a small gesture but it reminded me of our need for community, our need for other people to draw from our humanity and be warmed by chatting about what we have in common. Be it motherhood for 18 days or years. Noted: talk to strangers. 

Don't think of these bars as a healthy Fig Newton. They taste nothing like them in a very good way. They taste light and barely sweet. I've been enjoying a larger bar for breakfast with some yogurt or packing up smaller pieces for running errands...yes, I pack snacks for errands. I imagine you could make a puree of dried apricots for the filling or another dried fruit you fancy. Either way, I am always collecting snack bars recipes and this is a keeper. 

Fig Bars . Sprouted Kitchen

FIG BARS // Makes 8 large or 16 small

Recipe adapted from The Vibrant Table by Anya Kassoff

These make for a perfectly sweetened snack or breakfast option. They are delicate and tender, so don't travel quite as well as your typical granola bar but are no less delicious. They are subtly sweet, not overly so which I really liked, but if you want more of a treat, simply add another few tablespoons sugar to the dough. These are wheat, dairy and egg free so work great for people with allergies. 

Figs come in two different colors, same goes for the dried variety. I used the lighter shade for these and it's the same color as the dough. Next time I will use dark ones so the contrast shows up. Tastes great either way but I'd prefer seeing the line of fig in between.

 

  • 1 1/2 cups dried figs, soaked overnight in water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, divided
  • 5 Tbsp. coconut sugar, plus more for sprinkling (turbinado works as well)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

 

Fig Bars . Sprouted Kitchen

Drain the figs, reserving the soaking liquid on the side. In a food processor, blend the soaked and drained figs with the honey and half the lemon juice. If your paste needs more liquid, add the soaking liquid 1 Tbsp. at a time. You want it thick, like jam, so use the liquid sparingly. You can make the fig puree up to three days in advance. 

Preheat the oven to 400'. In a mixing bowl, combine the oat, brown rice and almond flours along with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine. Add the remaing lemon juice and zest, almond milk, almond butter, half the oats, coconut sugar and vanilla and stir everything together to combine well. 

Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper extending up the sides. Crumble half the dough into the bottom of the pan and press it down with clean fingers. Spread the fig puree on top in an even layer. Crumble the remaining dough on top of the fig puree and press it down so it sticks together, being careful not to disrupt the fig layer. Sprinkle the remaining oats on top and sprinkle with desired amount of coconut or turbinado sugar. 

Bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes. Remove to cool completely. Remove the bars with the parchment and gently cut into bars with a sharp knife (I found mine to be quite soft. Put them in the fridge for an hour to firm up for a cleaner cut).

Cover and keep stored in the fridge for up to a week. 

Fig Bars . Sprouted Kitchen

Wednesday
Jun042014

WELCOME HOME BABY CURRAN.

I'm tempted to not say anything of this experience because I still can't really wrap my head around it. Giving birth to your child, a new LIFE, is simultaneously being intensely present in what is happening while somehow being swept up in the current of it at the same time. He has changed my life, he has changed my relationship with Hugh, and I've only known him ten days. How does one write about this? I won't go into the long story. I don't know if it was particularly interesting, but it was very long. It was crazy and beautiful and overwhelming and humbling and emotional. I felt shocked, physically wrecked, and also like I had accomplished this huge thing I was made to do. I can't explain it. Hugh has exceeded my expectations as both a husband and father in this and I am immeasurably grateful for the partner I have in him. I am home with my boys now and I know little Curran Elliott was always meant to be ours. I still can't believe we get to keep him. <3

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Welcome Baby Curran . Sprouted Kitchen

Thursday
May222014

CHARD + LEEK FRITTATA

Chard & Leek Fritata . Sprouted Kitchen

I am supposedly having a baby today, though I'm aware that date is flexible. It has been the strangest week of waiting for this huge thing to happen. I made sure the plants got extra water, haven't left the house without my phone, washed my hair a little more frequently because I will have this first picture of us forever. I wanted to prep a lot of food for us to have at the ready or in the freezer but I just couldn't do it. It felt like I was writing off all signs normalcy by hoarding food for when life changes maybe tomorrow or maybe in a week or so. All I could muster up this week besides a loaf of berry flecked banana bread was this frittata. I hesitate to post it as I know I am not showcasing anything particularly creative or unique here, but when you are waiting for something huge to happen, all you can really do is normal - the tasks or food or errands you don't even have to think about, and for me, that includes frittatas and banana bread. I sauté up what looks egg-friendly from the crisper drawer, whisk a few eggs and whatever cheese needs to be used and it's the perfect little protein cake to warm up with a piece of toast. Something simple and predictable - just about all we're up for until not given the choice. 

There will be a bit of silence around here but we'll pop in with a few pictures of the wee one when he decides he's fully cooked. Big hugs. 

Chard & Leek Fritata . Sprouted Kitchen

CHARD + LEEK FRITTATA // Serves 4

I used chard and leeks because it was what I had, but any green or onion could work here. I prefer a thicker frittata slice, so I go with eight eggs in an 8" pan. You could get away with six eggs but note it will be even more veggie packed. 

 

  • 1 leek, halved and cleaned
  • 1 small bunch swiss chard, stem and ribs removed (or 5 cups chopped dark leafy green of choice)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • sea salt + pepper 

 

Chard & Leek Fritata . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 375'. Warm 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil in a pan over medium heat. Slice the leek into thin half moons and add it to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes until well softened.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and cream well with the cayenne and generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add the leeks into the bowl. 

Warm another 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil and sauté the greens with a small pinch of salt until wilted, about 3 minutes. Allow them cool slightly, releasing the steam pockets. Add the greens to the egg bowl along with half the feta and stir everything to mix. 

In an 8" pan, preferably non-stick, warm the remaining Tbsp. of olive oil over low heat. Add the egg mixture to the pan, sprinkle the top with the remaining feta and cook for about 5 minutes until the edges start to look cooked. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes until you jiggle the pan (with a mitt, it'll be hot) and the center of the frittata is slightly soft. It will set as it cools. Slice the frittata into wedges and serve with warm buttered toast. 

Frittata will keep covered in the fridge for a week. 

Chard & Leek Fritata . Sprouted Kitchen

Thursday
May082014

VEGETABLE QUINOA BURGERS

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

I don't typically click over to articles that people post on Facebook, Twitter etc. but every now and then a title catches my eye. It was a piece in New York Magazine recently called The Day I Started Lying to Ruth - written by a cancer doctor husband who lost his wife to cancer. We know a few close people struggling with the disease themselves and when I read things like this, I'm both sad and shocked that there are countless people fighting this fight. It may not be mine personally, but it is always someone's mother or child or parent and it's gut wrenching. The article was thoughtfully written, he draws you into his story. There is a line in the beginning that made me think, and not even about cancer or illness like the article leads. "It was a warm night for early June, the beginning of the winter in Argentina. People crowded the sidewalks, returning from work, stopping for dinner. All the everyday stuff that fills our lives, neither adding particular meaning or taking it away." And I thought about what most of my days are composed of - it isn't really a routine, but something similar to one. Not everyday can be filled with moments like dream travel, getting married, job promotions, the birth of a child, or achieving some huge goal and the like... but is everything between not adding or taking away meaning? I know he was speaking in general terms, but it just made me think of the in-between and how I actually truly value that time when I give it due credit. Hugh and I stayed up late hanging some things in the baby room last night  (I am a recent fan of these wall appliques, I'll post a picture on IG when the room is slightly more finished). I'd consider it an "in-between" evening, nothing particularly special happening, but I will remember us trying so hard to make a special room for the wee ones arrival. Hugh was using a level to place the stickers and my non-crafty self was making a mobile out of a lucky dream catcher I was gifted. The in-between of the big stuff is still good stuff, you just have to pay closer attention, make note of it. In reading the article, his story was marked by all sorts of "normal" moments, the details that make the whole piece interesting really. I don't want to forget that next time I feel in a rut. The in-between has it's own subtle remark.

I have a little extra time this week and wanted to put together some freezer meals for when the babe is here and I don't have time nor want to cook. I ripped out this recipe for a quinoa burger out of the local paper and figured it'd be worth a shot. I'm aware veggie burger recipes are not hard to come by, which is why I think they interest me, like a chocolate chip cookie, always being changed just a little bit to be different or better. I threw this one on a bun with avocado and cheese and a generous slather of mustard. Ask me in a few weeks and it will likely be back on a big mound of salad with an egg on top while I am trying to get back into my pre-baby clothes. Either way, a general veggie burger recipe is always nice to have on hand.

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

VEGETABLE QUINOA BURGERS // Makes 6

Adapted from The Los Angeles Times from Cafe Pasqual, New Mexico

These are not veggie burgers to be grilled - they are delicate and moist and could not handle a flip on grates. I make a note at the end of the recipe, but they are best pan seared or baked. They would be adorable small and on mini sliders. 

Nutritional yeast can be found at health food stores or online. It is a vegan alternative to a somewhat cheesy flavor. It offers depth of flavor here, but you could certainly make these without it. These are a very basically seasoned burger which I like - add flavor in sauces, spread, slaw, cheese etc. as you wish. 

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cups broth or water
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 a yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce, tamari or Braggs aminos
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup coarse ground oats or breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. flaxmeal
  • 2/3 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
  • sea salt and pepper

avocado, cheese, mustard, greens and buns of choice for serving

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. Bring the quinoa and broth or water to a boil in a pot. Turn it to a gentle simmer and cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked, about 13 minutes. Stir, leave the lid ajar and set aside to cool. 

While the quinoa cooks, grate the zucchini. Spread it on a kitchen towel and ring out the extra moisture. 

In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot or onion and sauté for 3 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, generous pinches of salt and pepper and sauté another 5 minutes until cooked down and much of the liquid has been cooked out. Stir in the oregano, cayenne and soy sauce and turn the heat off to cool. 

Transfer the quinoa to a bowl, add the nutritional yeast, oats or breadcrumbs and flaxmeal. Once the vegetables are cool, add them to the bowl as well and stir everything to mix. Mash in the cooked sweet potato and another pinch of salt and pepper and stir everything to mix. If it looks super dry, add another drizzle of oil or more mashed yam, but if it is *too* wet, they won't stay together. I know we are making veggie burgers, but you want it to be the same sort of thickness or texture or ground beef or turkey, not wet. 

Heat a layer of oil in a large skillet (I find non-stick works best for delicate things like this). Make patties about 1 1/2'' thick, and cook until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Alternatively, you may form your patties, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle a little oil on top and bake them at 375' for 20 minutes. Put your cheese on one side after you flip the patty. Prepare your buns with mashed avocado, spread, greens or whatever you wish and serve warm. 

* I overdid it on the yam and mine were very soft throughout. I find that when I do this with veggie burgers, baking helps dry them out better so they stay together better between a bun. If you're eating it plain and you want a crispy crust, pan works great, for something in a sandwich, I prefer to bake them for a sturdier result. You're preference on texture. 

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

Tuesday
Apr292014

TO MY SWEET BOY.

We've been writing letters to the wee one in a notebook so one day he can read about what we were feeling during this season. When cleaning out an office at my parents house, my sister and I stumbled on letters my mom had written us when we were babies, letters I don't know if she even remembers she wrote, and it was so special to read them. I consider this site somewhat of a general journal of our life, at least in the snippets of writing, so I am including my letter from today just so I have it in this place as well.

--

My sweet boy, 

Three-ish more weeks. Give or take. Your arrival comes in a very full season for us, but it feels like the only thing that matters. We have tried to be working on our new home, finishing up our second cookbook, celebrating the plethora of May birthdays that you will also be contributing to, and staying present with friends and family, but you are what I think about in and through it all. Our life has changed with you in my belly - you've slowed me down, I don't cook as much and I'm blaming you for my grocery basket being filled with chips and ice cream instead of green vegetables; my wardrobe is extremely limited and we're trying to furnish a tasteful and understated nursery for you down the hall. Life has looked different these past nine months, but nothing compared to what is around the corner for us. Our whole life will change in the matter of a day, hours really. You can read and prepare and talk about that, but I don't think we really have any idea.

I tear up when I imagine you being laid on my chest for the first time. I am so fearful of the process but so anxious for you - to hold you and know you. Your dad and I just lay in bed and watch my belly at night, your most active time, and guess what body parts of yours we're feeling. We pat your buns (which could be your head and if so, we're sorry) and tap your legs (or arms, who knows), trying to guess if you're going to be tall like your dad. I think you are but that's just a suspicion based on the appendages I feel you jabbing into my rib cage. You will be lucky to acquire traits from your dad - I know I repeat that in these letters, but may it further convince you of how madly in love with him I am. He is such a wonderful person. My favorite. You will grow up to admire and trust him, and oh, will he make you laugh. He will teach you things and care for you deeply, so I just ask that you respect him. I now share his heart with you and it is our duty to love him well. We are so lucky to have him. 

I have two close friends who are in the throws of medical appointments and surgeries with their sick babies. It breaks my heart, and while I desperately pray for their families, for miracles and healing of these babies, I am so hopeful that you are healthy in there and getting everything you need. The truth is, and what I have witnessed from these brave mothers, is that you are not my own, and I will not always be able to protect you. I have learned that hurt and sickness and disappointment and terrible things happen and that is part of the world we live in, unfortunately. I believe we are called to live faithfully here, to be gracious characters in our own story and live generously even when things don't seem 'fair.' You'll realize soon enough that things rarely are but life is incredibly better when you get over that and see how special and beautiful it can be anyway. I hope to live a life that sees the beautiful and positive - to be a good example of that for you. I imagine you will make that easier for me as I get to bear witness to your life. Gah, I can't wait!

Your room is not done and I don't think we have enough socks for you but we are as ready as we'll ever be. We're imperfect people who are going to love you like CRAZY.

Hope you're well and snuggled and snoozy in there. Enjoy your alone time. You're a few short weeks away from so many people who are dying to hold you. You're really in for something great, my sweet boy. 

I love you, 

Mom