Dessert, Gluten Free, Summer

CANTALOUPE AND MINT YOGURT POPS

Cantaloupe & Mint Yogurt Pops . Sprouted Kitchen

It may be beach season but our past few weekends have been spent working on the yard. I am hosting one of my best friends' baby shower here next month and while I can't completely overhaul it how I'd like, it has been in need of some sprucing. Curran runs around naked with the hose, Cleo rolls around on a blanket under a striped umbrella, yelling when she's on her tummy for too long but refusing to flip over. Hugh is sore and his back is completely sunburnt from weeding and planting ground cover but the "American dream" or something right? I trim the few plants that I haven't killed yet and water judiciously given the drought situation. Everything looks on the brink of being completely parched - which I am not sure whether to blame on my water conservation or lack of interest in gardening all together. Probably both. Naps. Food. Work. Crying. Laundry. The days are spent so quickly and I go to bed regretting that we didn't do anything "special" today. Maybe it's the news lately or my sensitive spirit but I know that our days are finite. I've been teary over the recent tragedies in Istanbul and Orlando. It could be any of us, really. And while I can't guarantee my people are safe at all times, I want our days to feel rich in love. At the end of each one, I want to feel like that day was marked by something and it's tough to keep in perspective that sometimes those marks are delicate and small and don't necessarily have to take much effort. I want some sort of miraculous balance between fun and new and intimate and social and productive but I know we don't get to have all that in the scope of the day. It is only when I can sit alone and quiet, that I see that even these days in the backyard with the baby buns and sunburns ARE a beautiful part of our finite days. Our memories and photos of these first few years with young kids may largely be at home and I am only recently starting to come to terms with that. I do need a vacation, but watching my boy giggle through the sprinklers and request that his sticky popsicle be cut in pieces because it hurts his teeth is it's own brand of wonderful. 

As a major fan of fruit in desserts, I was so excited to flip through Yossy's new cookbook. It's divided by season and then ingredient but still has adaptations for other fruits within the recipes. It's admittedly on the richer side of my normal fare but I find desserts to be more crowd-pleasing that way anyhow. And sometimes Hugh and Curran are my crowd. She has this pistachio pound cake in there that looks amazing and a super simple looking strawberry tart. It'll be perfect for summer meals outside. Curran chose these popsicles and while I'm sure he would have eaten anything from the book, they were perfect for these warm summer days.  

Cantaloupe & Mint Yogurt Pops . Sprouted Kitchen
Cantaloupe & Mint Yogurt Pops . Sprouted Kitchen

CANTALOUPE AND MINT YOGURT POPS // Makes 6-12 depending on molds
Recipe from Sweeter off the Vine by Yossy Arefi

Yossy asks for a teaspoon of orange-flower water which I do not stock. I went for the zest and juice of one lime which I thought was a perfect substitute with the melon and mint though I am sure the original is wonderful. We have a small, flimsy $1 popsicle mold from Walmart as our freezer is configured in such a way that makes it hard to fit in a full size mold. If you don't have molds, you could churn it in an ice cream maker for frozen yogurt or even just drink it as a smoothie. The sweetness dulls once frozen so keep the mix a little sweeter than you'd like your finished product.

12-ounces seeded and chopped cantaloupe
1 cup full fat greek yogurt
1/3 cup mild honey, to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves, packed
zest and juice of one lime or 1 tsp. orange-flower water

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste the mixture and adjust the level of sweetness if necessary by adding more honey, one teaspoon at a time (I did not find it needed any more). Pour into frozen pop molds and freeze the pops until completely firm, at least 6 hours or overnight. 

Cantaloupe & Mint Yogurt Pops . Sprouted Kitchen
Cantaloupe & Mint Yogurt Pops . Sprouted Kitchen
Cantaloupe & Mint Yogurt Pops . Sprouted Kitchen

Entrée, Summer, Gluten Free, Spring

WEEKNIGHT VEGETABLE CURRY

Weeknight Vegetable Curry . Sprouted Kitchen

Weeknight dinners. These are looking different than they did pre kids. I remember thinking that people with meal plans were inflexible and rigid but I understand the intrigue now. It’s far more efficient and I loooove efficiency. I see now that it does not have to be about creativity, or lack thereof, but rather reducing your market runs. So sensical, you meal planners. I stay pretty adaptable within my plan, but paused are the days of wandering multiple grocery stores grabbing whatever looks good. They say there is a season for everything. I repeat meals far more often than I used to and I take a handful of shortcuts but I am still fumbling through my days with the wee people at my feet (or on my hip and in the cupboards, more specifically). I plan for two easy staples, try two new things and then leave room for something impromptu, going out or having people over. There are usually burrito bowls with lots of grilled vegetables and avocado, a chopped salad night, something in a big pot like tortilla or lentil soup and we’ve started weekly grilled pizzas. It's simpler and that's alright. I have also taken to making more than we need so I am halfway through another meal. For example, the leftover rice and grilled portobellos from burrito night, get blitzed with a few other things in the food processor for veggie burger patties. I find it some sort of personal challenge to use what I have. Anyway, this curry was from one of my big pot situations and I just kept adding vegetables to stretch the great sauce. It is creamy, full of spices and there is just enough peanut butter for richness without making it a “peanut sauce” - I got that idea from the True Food cookbook. I am aware it is not authentic in any sense of the word but it makes for a flavorful bowl of food and a pretty quick dinner.

I don’t get asked frequently about kitchen equipment, but when I do, it is for my opinion on high powered blenders. They are quite expensive and take up a lot of cupboard real estate; I understand wanting to do your due diligence. But until KitchenAid® sent me their new ProLine® model, I actually didn’t own a blender. Well no, I have a NutriBullet which is great and has done everything I’ve needed in a blender, but that’s not the answer people are looking for. So much depends on what you use a blender for, I think. I smoothed this curry sauce in there and good gracious that thing is powerful. I knew I didn’t need to chop the garlic or ginger or worry too much about the size of my onions because the blender would take care of that. And as far making enough for two meals, this sauce was better the second day. I added another handful of vegetables, lentils and a bit more broth to stretch it with success. 

This post was created in partnership with KitchenAid® and their new ProLine® Series Blender.

Weeknight Vegetable Curry . Sprouted Kitchen

WEEKNIGHT VEGETABLE CURRY
Serves 4

The heat here will largely depend on your curry powder. I buy some from Penzey’s but know people are partial to paste versus powders as well. If you prefer paste, sub in about 1 tsp. red curry paste. Long as you use a sweet curry powder, the sambal oelek (chile paste) here should offer enough heat but adjust to your taste. You may add a pinch of cayenne if that is what you have. Taste as you good, I suppose. 

1 Tbsp. ghee or coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 inch nub of peeled ginger
1 tsp. sea salt, to taste
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. muscavado or brown sugar
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1/2 tsp. fish sauce, optional
3/4 cup canned, diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups coconut water or vegetable broth, as needed
1 tsp. sambal oelek (chile paste)
handful of cilantro and basil leaves
juice of one lime 

14-ounce package of extra firm tofu, drained well
3 medium carrots, 1” thick sliced on a diagonal
2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, cut in 2” pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
3/4 lb. snap peas, larger ones halved

cooked brown rice, for serving

whole milk yogurt and cilantro, for topping

Weeknight Vegetable Curry . Sprouted Kitchen

In a dutch oven over medium heat, warm the ghee or coconut oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and salt and saute until softened but not browned. About 5 minutes. Add the cumin, curry powder, turmeric, muscavado or brown sugar and saute another minute. Add the peanut butter, coconut milk, fish sauce (if using), tomatoes and coconut water or broth and stir to mix. Let everything simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add the chile paste and cilantro and basil and transfer sauce to a blender. Run the blender until the sauce is smooth and then transfer it back to the pot. Stir in the lime juice. Taste for seasoning. It should be somewhat thick, but still thin enough that the vegetables will cook in it’s heat. Add broth or coconut water if needed. 

Cut the tofu into 1” cubes and prepare all your vegetables. Add the carrots and shallot to the pot first and cook for 5 minutes, then add the tofu, bell pepper, mushrooms and snap peas and cook another 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are just tender but not mushy. 

For serving, serve each bowl with a scoop of rice and a generous portion of vegetables and sauce. Garnish with whole milk yogurt and cilantro. 

Weeknight Vegetable Curry . Sprouted Kitchen

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CHEWIES

Chocolate Hazelnut Chewies . Sprouted Kitchen

I came across this quote on my friend Stacey's blog this week and I just love it.

In How to Be Here, Rob Bell writes this:

You and I were raised in a modern world that taught us how to work hard and be productive and show up on time and give it our best…

We learned lots of very valuable skills, but we weren’t taught how to be here, how to be fully present in this moment, how to not be distracted or stressed or worried or anxious, but just be here, and nowhere else—wide awake to the infinite depth and dimension of this exact moment.

I have my head down these days trying to keep everyone fed, rested, clean and happy. But I do feel that these days, in our times, stopping and seeing is so encouraged. It doesn't mean I do it, but it may be quote on Pinterest or line from a self help book or a loved one with a terminal illness that puts things back in perspective. It's advice I'm choosing to, or trying to, listen to because I am happier when I do.  The exhaustion, the 3am rocking, the mess and the tantrums, the baby smiles and the toddler phrases that make us laugh. It all feels like too much for my tender heart - both the hard and the really good of it. These are the days. 

I saw those virtuous candy bars on My New Roots a few weeks ago and while they look perfect, I used her general idea to come up with something a little quicker. That cookie layer would be perfect, but these still feel like such a treat drenched in dark chocolate. They remind me of these truffles but without the cocoa and a little nuttier inside. They are soft, so I keep them in the fridge and actually prefer them cold but I am not one to turn down a treat at any temperature. 

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CHEWIES //Makes about 16

You'll have to use your judgement based on the juiciness of your dates. Notes are in the recipe to compensate for dry or super juicy ones. We are going for the texture of a Lara bar inside - chewy and a wee bit crunchy. You can use all hazelnuts, but I wanted to pair them with a fattier nut for creaminess. 

1 cup toasted and skinner hazelnuts
1 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
8-9 pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp. coconut flour

6 ounces dark chocolate

toasted hazelnuts, flaky sea salt and cocoa nibs, for topping

In a food processor, pulse the nuts until just sandy. Add the dates, maple, salt, vanilla, oats and coconut flour and pulse a few more times to combine. The mixture should start to come together in a fall. If it is still too wet, add a few more tablespoons oats or flaxmeal. If it seems dry and crumbly, add a splash more maple or warm water. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Line a baking tray with parchment and spread a thin coat of coconut oil. Dump the nut mixture and form a rectangle about 3/4" thick. Pop it back in the fridge to chill another 15-20 minutes. 
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a large mixing bowl in the microwave or double boiler. Put a baking rack (rubbed with a bit of coconut oil) over a piece of parchment to collect drips. Cut the chewies into 2" squares. Bathe them one at a time in the chocolate bath, coating both sides, and set them on the rack. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of chopped hazelnuts, cocoa nibs and flaky sea salt. Pop them in the fridge to firm up and enjoy. Keep them in a covered container in the fridge.

Chocolate Hazelnut Chewies . Sprouted Kitchen