It is a lot of recipes. It sounded manageable in theory; write four recipes each week for Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club, keep up loosely here on the blog, my private chef job, occasional freelance work, try to keep up with instagram content anddddd my little family with two spirited wee people. It’s a lot of time in the kitchen, let’s just say that. I don’t idolize busyness, I try not to use that as a response to “how are you?” because it’s overused and self imposed. Being busy is not a state that makes me respect someone any more nor a flurry in which I wish to reside. I try to honor that, as I schedule activities and social plans for our family, but with two parents who have their own businesses which seem to keep birthing more mini side businesses, “busy” feels like a word I have to try really hard not to use.

I was thinking about how there are likely a number of you who feel the same, perhaps with kids or a demanding job and the hamster wheel feels exhausting. I wanted to share a recent SKCC favorite - this vegetable tagine. It’s a bit of chopping up front, but it simmers away in a just-spicy-enough broth and you ladle it over couscous which sort of blends in and thickens the whole thing if/when you stir it around. The garnishes are important, a little creaminess and crunch. The best part is, that it gets better on day two or three, when the vegetables really soak in the flavor from the broth so leftovers are welcome. Big pots of soup and stews seem to calm me. They speak of comfort and warmth and leftovers that get you out of making yet another meal.

Maybe you’re overwhelmed or lonely or worried or sad or doing super great this week but I just find this stew to be a recipe for all people of any sort of circumstance. Food is special - it connects and heals and nourishes and slow us down in a good way (hopefully), so I hope you take good care of yourself this week! xo.



Serves 4-6

They sell harissa paste at Trader Joes, Whole Foods and larger grocers near the salsas or international foods section. While it will vary by brand, it is spicy, so if you are timid with that, start with one teaspoon and add from there. We use the TJ’s version and while 2 tsp. is definitely warm, it's not burn your face off warm.


In a large dutch oven over medium heat, warm the butter or ghee. Prepare all your vegetables and preheat the oven to 300’. Add the potato, onion, garlic, cauliflower and salt and sauté about 5-7 minutes until there are some brown marks on the edges and they just begin to soften. Stir in the bell pepper, zucchini, cumin, coriander, harissa, honey and tomatoes and all their juices. Stir and cook another minute. Add the can of chickpeas and broth and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and transfer it to the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until vegetables are tender. Let it cool a bit on the stove and then taste for seasonings. 

While the vegetables cook, prepare your couscous. 

Bring 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt and the butter to a simmer. Add the couscous, stir, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes to hydrate. The same can be done in a microwave, instructions are typically on the back of the box. Stir in the apricots and set aside. 

To serve, put a scoop of couscous in the bowl with a few ladles of the vegetable stew on top. Garnish generously with plain yogurt, lots of cilantro and some toasted nuts. 



2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or ghee
1 large sweet potato, 2” dice
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 small head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 tsp. sea salt
1 red or orange bell pepper, cored and sliced thin
2 zucchini, sliced in 1” half moons
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander 
2 tsp. Harissa paste*
2 Tbsp. honey
1 14.5 oz. can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained
1 qt. vegetable stock or broth


1 cup couscous
1 Tbsp. butter or ghee
Handful of dried apricots, chopped small


1 bundle of cilantro, roughly chopped
plain yogurt
toasted pine nuts or almonds

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I am forever and always a proponent of having sauces, dressings and condiments in the fridge to make something out of pantry staples or the end of the vegetable bin. I got into garlic confit after I had a surplus of garlic sometime last year and now I plan for it. It makes a delicious oil that can be used a number of ways. It’s delicious smashed into toast or some of the fragrant oil stirred into soup or a bowl of grains. I have a list going below of the ways I’ve made good use of it - it just makes quick, simple things taste like you spent more time than you really did. Garlic and olive oil are both great for immunity, so cooking aside, it’s legit health food during cold and flu season.

You start with a few heads of garlic and send them for a warm bath in some good olive oil in a low oven. I use the Rich and Robust olive oil from the new Destination Series from California Olive Ranch. You can read more about the Destination Series in that link above. We were able to taste the new blends and learn more about these forward thinking partnerships on our trip with them last month. The olive oil has an assertive and noticeable flavor which works great here. Seeing as I use this confit to flavor otherwise super basic dishes, the great tasting oil is noticeable here. The confit is mostly hands off time, just enjoy that incredible smell wafting through your house. You let the garlicky oil cool down then transfer it to jars so it’s easy to use. It will firm up in the fridge, as olive oil does, but just leave it at room temperature for 10 minutes for it to return to it’s liquid state. It will save for a few months and also gifts beautifully along side a jar of soup.

This post is made in partnership with California Olive Ranch. Thank you for supporting our partners so we can continue to create recipes here. All opinions are my own.

What do I do with it?

- Spread on crostini (before or after toasting)

- Smashed and stirred into a bowl of beans or grains

- Pasta or zucchini noodles

- Sautéed greens

- Flatbread topping

- Smashed into potatoes

- Cauliflower mash


3-4 heads of garlic, peeled
Sprig of fresh thyme and/or rosemary
1 bay leaf
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1.5 cups California Olive Ranch Rich & Robust extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 325’.

Open and peel the garlic cloves and place them in a small, oven proof baking dish. Add the thyme, bay leaf, sprinkle of pepper flakes and then cover everything with the oil. Pop the dish in the oven for 45 minutes. It can be used immediately after this, or cool completely before transferring it into jars and storing it in the fridge.

Note: this is not salted, so when you add it to dishes or crostini, you will want to season it with salt to your taste.

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Bread, Chocolate, Dessert



We went out last night to pick up a tree. The kids were bundled and the packing blanket was in the back to protect the roof. This is the first year both of the kids are super jazzed about the holidays. Curran (4.5) is excited for new toys and allllll the colorful, tacky decor. I am told every day that the white lights we have on the house are NOT festive AT ALL. Cleo is excited about whatever Curran is excited about lately, so anytime we see lights (trees, wreaths, fake reindeer, whatever) squealing ensues. It was cute at first, and now it’s just… loud. But truly, I love it. The first few years of parenting are so much work, with few of those personal connections where you actually get to see your children as a people. The more I get to know them, the more I like them. Even the complicated, emotional parts. Anyway, their excitement is infectious, and their Scrouge McWhite-Christmas-Light-Preferring mother is even considering putting rainbow lights up somewhere… like inside their room ;)

Anyway, the tree. I had this romantic idea about the tradition of picking out a tree and how we would pick up dinner after and decorate it, fireside, with classic Christmas tunes. As it turns out, it was not the romantic vision I anticipated in my head. There was a time this would have wildly disappointed me, but kids have lowered my expectations for the better. We ended up at Costco which I love for many reasons, but rustic tree buying experiences is not one of them. I mean you can’t even see the trees, they are all wrapped in twine in bins and you just take a wild guess. Curran seems to be recovering from a minor concussion so complains and whines frequently, and I get that he doesn’t feel well, but, again, with the Cleo doing everything he does. Our dinner was underwhelming and by the time we got home, people needed to go straight to bed. They both screamed at the reality of needing to take a warm shower (how dare me!), and tucked away they went. There was no decorating, no songs, no fire.

I am not disappointed, this is life. When I think back about getting a tree and decorating it with my family, it was not some Norman Rockwell scene every time. Traditions and memories in their imperfect state are just as nostalgic for me as the ones where everything went ‘right.’ Fighting over whose year it was to put the angel on top, holding the twine down through the windows of the mini van to make sure the tree didn’t fly off, how all the limbs starting breaking off the clay wisemen in the manger scene and no one bothered to glue them back on, or the year a votive candle lit a garland on fire. I would maybe argue that the messy parts, the imperfect parts, are actually more interesting. I don’t think I even remember the moments that went as planned, if there were any. So Mr. Frankie, the bare, unlit, lopsided tree, is sitting in the living room, reminding me that all I want for this month is just to soak in the holidays and stay flexible. Mayyyyybe we’ll even put rainbow lights on him this weekend.



Makes 18

Recipe adapted from Real Simple

I made these a touch sweeter than the written recipe because well, it’s a holiday cookie. You could sprinkle crushed peppermint candies on top while the chocolate drizzle is still soft and that should act as glue for the candies. If you have tried Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies , they are basically shortbread with a bit of baking soda to help them rise a bit. I’ve tried it here, but don’t think it changes them wildly, so it depends how dense or light you prefer your cookie. Add 1/2 tsp. if you want to try. These are snappy day one, and start to become more tender as they sit. Taste great either way, texture changes, just a fyi.


1/2 cup/1 stick plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. natural cane sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour

3.5 oz. bar of dark chocolate
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

flaky salt, for garnish, optional


In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or with an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla, peppermint and beat those in to combine. Add the cocoa, flour and beat until just combined, do not over mix. Roll the dough into a log about 2” across (this is kind of hard, just do your best), wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, or overnight. Alternatively, you can roll it out and use cookie cutters to make shapes.

Preheat the oven to 325’ and line a baking sheet with parchment (maybe two, or work in batches). Slice the cookie log into 1/2” coins and arrange them on your baking sheet. They won’t spread much, but give them an inch between for safety. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just dry on the edges. They will look raw in the center but that’s ok! Pull them, and let them cool.

While they cool, melt the chocolate either in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir in the remaining peppermint extract. Drizzle it on top of the cookies, sprinkle flaky salt or peppermint candies, if using, and let the chocolate set.
Enjoy! Cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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