CURRIED CAULIFLOWER RICE + CHICKPEA SAUTE

Weeknight dinners. Humpf. Actually most dinners lately. It's tough to not be making two different meals with toddlers whose utensil skills are questionable. Sometimes we all eat the same thing but often times it’s a different version of the same thing. Maybe taco salad for Hugh and I but those goods wrapped in a tortilla for the kids. Cleo just absolutely destroys anything in her path so it doesn’t really matter what form I give it to her. Half will be on the floor (some by default and some intentionally thrown), most certainly clumps in her hair and hopefully enough food in her belly to satisfy. I see how many of you respond to the feeding babies posts and I want to be better about giving you weeknight dinner ideas. I’m bad at it too, hence why there aren’t many here. But as a friend told me as we were talking shop recently, (paraphrased) “there are so so many food blogs and cookbooks now, you need to help people solve a problem.” So I thought of my problem, ironic as it may seem given what I do for work, and what seems may be your occasional problem as well. What are we making for dinner that is wholesome and quick-ish? I’m not of the camp that sells “quick cooking”. I think the recipes I write are pretty simple, but I don’t over sell them as such because I think the process is part of eating well. You don’t get great or even good food without putting in some effort, sorry. People who are selling you otherwise are fooling you. We have to eat. Whole foods keep us feeling well. Yes, everyone is short on time for one reason or another but real food sustains us. It is wellness and community and conversation and necessity - those things don’t always come fast. Maybe they aren’t a homemade croissant whose process spans over two days or a beautiful “buddha bowl” with 8 different recipes within a recipe, those things feed creativity and help us enjoy the art of cooking but they are not peoples everyday regardless of what Instagram leads you to believe. So let's shoot to get dinner on the table - something fresh and at least one vegetable. It is a responsibility and it is not always beautiful but we’re doing the work and that matters. 

This one pan meal is a great weeknight dinner. I love that it makes enough for leftovers too and for the kids, I wrap it up in a soft tortilla because apparently that’s my answer for anything they may push back on. “It’s a burrito, you guys!” You could even replace the chickpeas with shredded rotisserie chicken and it’d be whole30 and paleo and all that. Warm, well spiced, just creamy enough, under 30 minutes and wholesome - I really like it. 

So, Greenpan is celebrating their 10-year anniversary and brought on a few bloggers to share recipes using their cookware. I’ll be sharing another great meal recipe with their products next week as well (we’re doing it!). Traditional non-stick pans are coated with PTFE and PFOA which release toxic compounds once overheated. They are also easily scratched which makes matters even worse with releasing the bad stuff. If yours are scratched, replace them! The ceramic that coats Greenpans is made from natural materials and is naturally nonstick so you can get away with using less oil and butter without food sticking. I use a combination of stainless, cast-iron, and certain foods in non-stick pans. You don’t get as much of a sear or color on foods in the later, but you also don’t have to use as much fat to cook with. This pan has been my morning workhorse for eggs and pancakes. Plus you certainly can’t beat the clean up. 

Thank you for supporting me and this site in doing sponsored work so we can continue doing the work we love here. 

 

Curried Cauliflower Rice + Chickpea Saute

Serves 4

Recipe adapted from A Sweet Spoonful

Most curry blends already have cumin and coriander in them but they vary widely on heat factor. If yours is not super spicy, you can just use more, but exclusively curry powder. If yours is on the warmer side, I’d follow the spice yields below. As a general rule, sweetness cools down too much spiciness as will the yogurt topping, but most store-bought curry powders are pretty mild.

2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger, depending on taste
2-3 tsp. curry powder, depending on heat
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
3 cups riced cauliflower*
2 cups cooked chickpeas (one 14-oz. can, drained, will do)
1 cup vegetable stock
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 cups greens, such as spinach, chard, baby kale etc.
1 cup coconut milk, more as needed

whole plain yogurt, for serving
green onions and cilantro, for serving
toasted cashews, for serving

* Cauliflower rice comes “pre-riced” at most stores now (Traders, Sprouts, Costco. I’m aware different stores stock different things). If yours does not, simply take one small head of cauliflower, break it into florets and pulse in your food processor until it is rice like in size. Do not over pulse and make a puree.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the coconut oil. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt and saute until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and saute another minute. Add the curry powder, cumin, coriander, another pinch of salt and stir. Add the riced cauliflower, chickpeas, stock, raisins and stir until the cauliflower is softened. About 5 minutes.

Fold in the greens and let them wilt slightly and then stir in the coconut milk. I like a stew-ish consistency with this, you can use less if you want it drier, or the entire can of coconut milk if you want more broth. 

Serve the bowls with a dollop of plain yogurt, green onions, cilantro and toasted cashews. 



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Personal, Breakfast, Salad

BREAKFAST SALAD

We’re both pretty exhausted. In an effort to be the “fun mom” and burn up the last of the 3-day So-Cal Disneyland passes we bought to use this spring, I took Curran there on a date last night. I have to be honest with you, I don't love the long lines and droves of people, but I think Curran had fun and we stayed late to watch the electrical parade. Watching him light up and wave at Mickey made it worth it but it is WORK to take this kid anywhere, let alone when there are two of them. They are both "spirited," as they qualify it in all those parenting books. I’m in a really tough phase with Curran. That's what I am surrendering to at the moment. I know there are seasons of parenting - just when you start to feel like you’ve got it, something or someone changes and you feel like you can’t pull it off again. We have good and bad days, on and off weeks. When we're good, it's so good! I can feel the tension in my body release and Curran and I play pretend with the legos and give each other giggly eskimo kisses. But my fuse is so short when he can't kick the whining or after I’ve repeated a direction for the 12th time. I yell often and say I’m sorry a lot. I have never cared for anything like I do my own children, but they simultaneously can put me on (or past) my last nerve. I've been thinking about why lately. On the rare occasion where I am in the car by myself, I don't listen to music or podcasts, I just enjoy the silence and think. Sometimes it's just mental list making, but the other day I was trying to be my own therapist and reflect on why I get so upset, with Curran especially (I haven't figured anything out, in case you want to jump ahead to the recipe).

We are both pretty persnickety and sensitive. Those things manifest differently in an almost 33 year old and almost 3 year old but the basic framework is the same. We like things how we like them and we get ruffled when our realities don't meet our expectations. I can manage those shortcomings as an adult, but to see them in your own kid is strange. How do I help you brush things off, when I know first hand that feels hard? What I have come up with is that we're both in need of more grace and if my job is anything, it is first to give that to him. I'd love to tell you that I've recognized my imperfections as a parent and am a new woman, or offer an easy 3-step solution to not loosing it on your toddler, but I'd been embarrassed by Curran's behavior the day I started drafting this post and already raised my voice before 7am today so I'm here in process, writing anyway. For the past three years as a mother, I have been responsible for keeping little people alive (Hugh is more than helpful, but this isn't about him). I make sure they are fed somewhat nutritiously, clean them and their messes, change diapers, look into preschools, stay up on the diaper stock, organize activities and time with friends, fumble around discipline, make sure they get the rest they need, take them to the doctors and hold them when they're sick. I scrub poop off the carpet and break up fights and literally save lives from someone running in the street or jumping off the top of a playground.

This job is intense and it is every single day and it is all day long. 

So it is all these tasks that I have (some) control of that make me feel like I am doing an ok job. I take good care of them. I think it's ok for me to say that as much as women don't like to admit they are good at things. But my fuse runs out and I see red when it feels like I've failed at some point: taking someone's toy, not wanting to say hello to people, throwing tantrums when things don't go their way. Their behavior feels like a reflection of who I am as their mother. It feels personal. That all feels like my responsibility, when they are really just figuring out their own humanness. The work I put in, how exhausted I feel, there should be something to show for that right? I have been managing so much for these babies, and I can physically feel the fear of raising an asshole. It's the wrong approach, you don't have to tell me. I watch everything going on in our country right now and as small and guilty as I feel for being a person with privilege, the least I can do is put two more humans in this mess who are kind and empathetic. 

So today, perhaps prepping myself for the backlash of last night's 10:30 bedtime, I'm trying to give us both a break. I can step back and see that Sara and Curran and Cleo are three separate people. My job is to guide them and care for them, but I don't get to choose how they react to everything. My toddler will push another kid at a park and life will go on. They are going to be people sculpted by so many influences and experiences besides me. I make mistakes, I say unkind things, and sometimes cry when things don't go how I'd like them to, so for now, all I can do is apologize when I get upset or yell or expect something better than their hands on approach to growing up. I can only focus on myself trying to be kind and patient and gracious and hope that instead of me telling them to be those things, they'll have experienced them. This job, sweet Jesus, it is not for the weak of heart. 

I've learned to be specific with holiday and birthday requests as Hugh, God bless him, isn't huge on celebrations. This year my birthday and Mothers Day are back to back, and I am hoping to get an extra hour of sleep and not have to make food for anyone all weekend with permissions to change my mind day-of if I so please. I'll take one of these breakfast salads, delivered in bed, please. Then maybe we'll head out for a beach walk and I want to be by myself to take a few deep breaths. There will be tantrums and tears and poop anyway. 

// GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Thanks for participating. I do love to hear your answers anyway if you feel so obliged xo //

Stone Cold Fox is offering you lovely readers a 20% off discount code for robes! Just use SPROUTEDFOX at checkout if you'd like to treat yourself to a beautiful silk robe. Don't let my morning frizz bun distract you from the pretty lace. You are doing a great job, so I am giving one away as well. Leave me a comment with something you feel you're doing right as a parent. And if you don't have kids, maybe something you appreciated from your own mother now that you're older. Love you people, and happy Mothers Day to every one of you who are just doing your best. 

BREAKFAST SALAD // Serves 1

This makes enough dressing and croutons for two, but with more assembly than cooking here, I thought writing it for one would make it easier to scale up. I wanted a dish that was easy enough to throw together in the morning without making a whole thing of it. You could make the dressing the night before and honestly it should take you all of 15 minutes if you start first thing with the croutons or even skip them and go for buttered toast instead. 

// vinaigrette //
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
1 anchovy (optional)
generous pinches of salt and pepper
handful of basil and parsley
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

// torn croutons //
day old loaf or baguette, torn into 1"-ish pieces
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400'. Put the olive oil and bread in a mixing bowl, toss to coat. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt and toss again. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until toasty on the edges. Remove to cool completely. Best the day they are made. 
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2 handfuls tender greens
handful of tomatoes, halved
1/2 an avocado
thinly sliced radish

1 egg, poached or fried

sheeps' milk feta cheese, for serving
sprouts, for serving

In a blender, whiz all of the dressing ingredients together. 
Into your bowl, combine the greens, tomatoes, avocado and radish. Poach or fry your egg and place it on your salad. Drizzle the vinaigrette over everything. 
Top the salad with feta cheese, sprouts, croutons or a buttered slice of toast. 

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FUNDRAISER DINNER PART 2

I called my best friend at 9pm Friday evening on my way home from the airport. I wish I could say I was coming home from vacation, but I was picking up 20lbs of wild Copper River salmon that was so generously donated for our fundraiser dinner last weekend. I had had a rough day with the kids, Cleo being clingy and dramatic, Curran having a collection of tantrums and time outs that weren't seeming to make any difference. And then there I was, hustling post bed time as you do, with a trunk packed with groceries, my box of salmon riding shotgun and hours worth of prep work for our fundraiser dinner ahead of me. I wanted to cry, but it was also sort of funny, so I called Shannon, because I knew she'd get it. We had three simultaneous house projects going on too and there is just stuff everywhere so I reached that sort of crazy "laugh-cry" state. "The entire contents of our garage are in my backyard, our grass is dead, we have our house half stucco'd, my kids are wearing me down, and I have 20 lbs. of salmon in my front seat. WHAT AM I DOING?" You need people who can see the laugh-cry and pull you towards the laugh, agree that yes, maybe you did bite off more than you can chew in one week but affirm that you're capable. So I carried on. My salmon and I persisted. 
By Sunday morning I was pretty organized. Each course had it's own section in the kitchen so all the ingredients I would need to prep for that specific dish were in one place. I'd made my dressings and sauces because they could sit and then I started with the desserts because they are least compromised by being made in advance, at least the ones I chose. I made these Brown Butter Brownie Cakes which were a hit and a strawberry rhubarb crumble that I based off a crumble recipe in Tara O'Brady's cookbook, also a success. There is a photo on my instagram of the whole menu if you care to see. I don't have a recipe to post here today, but I made this avocado chimichurri to go along with the salmon that was simply rubbed with some taco seasoning and a little brown sugar and roasted on a low heat. A pretty good dinner idea if you are looking to refresh your salmon preparation.

Today I'm coming down from some adrenaline in my system (the only way I can manage cooking dinner for 20 people by myself) and catching my breath. At a point in the last few days, I regretted this commitment. Only due to my own selfishness of course . I'm tired, this is too much, bad timing, I thought. We instigated these dinners as a way to multiply a donation to a charity we were already planning on donating to, and in that we were successful. How lucky to have people who also see value in this. Between this local dinner and the one in Seattle last month, I have met dozens of new friends that are somehow connected to me through this space and with their generous donations, I gave them a reason to gather around a table with other people for conversation and a meal they didn't have to cook. There is the giving of time and money and resources and energy and hospitality that you can't always measure the worth of. Will the money we donate help someone? Was this even a good way to do something? Did people have a good time? Was the food decent? I think those immeasurable variables can be paralyzing (we need to talk about the enneagram personality test in another post, my chatter may make more sense if you're also a 2). Anyway, we live in a climate where there are so many people hurting and helpless, as there have always been, but social media and the internet just get that information and imagery to us quicker, and I don't want to be a passive bystander. So perhaps I won't know where that money is spent or if it was "enough" to make a difference or if the girls from Pennsylvania thought their trip out here for the dinner was worth it or if the cauliflower salad would have been better warm. But I did something that pushed me out of my comfort zone and I'm pretty sure sometimes, not all the time, but for sure sometimes, that's the only way forward. 

I am most grateful to my parents who worked their buns off to welcome everyone into their beautiful home. They have always been the best cheerleaders for their daughters' projects. I had two wonderful women volunteer to help me, Erika and Claudia, and obviously Hugh who knows what I need without having to say it and always lets me know when things need more salt. Does this sound like a grammy speech yet?

Thank you to these brands who made it possible for us to have a lovely event and raise money for the International Rescue Committee: Moe Paper Co., Drifter FishWhole Foods, Winc, California Olive Ranch.

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