Feeding Babies, Gluten Free, Dessert, Snack

OATMEAL BREAKFAST COOKIES

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We have this “breakfast cookie” recipe going out to our Cooking Club members this week and I wanted to put the recipe here too. The feeding babies section is a crowd favorite, and my kids plow through these. Healthy-ish, grab n’ go, and what not - that’s what ya’ll seem to love about the kids recipes I’ve included around here. It’s tough to find a cookie or muffin that hold together that are both gluten and egg-free, but these work. Report back if you make them, or let me know what you changed. I love seeing your photos!

Our son turned FIVE this weekend. It felt like a big birthday - every increment of five does to me for some reason. My mom always made a big deal of birthdays and I thought it was so fun - I love making him feel like the star of the weekend and the one to make all the calls. We packed the weekend with Legoland, camping with cousins in San Clemente, rocket launching in a field, Chuck-e-Cheese with grandparents, meals of his choice, sprinkle cupcakes etc. etc. It sounds like a lot because it was :)

I feel like we were chin deep in both baby and toddler-hood at the same time for the past few years, and seeing Curran now as an almost-kindergartener is wild. Like we’ve been treading water, and now we can swim. He is thoughtful and emotional and smart and empathetic - LOVES his dad, lights up with the company of friends, is ALWAYS the first person to wake up in the morning with a full tank of energy, very into building things, collector, can recall specific memories in full detail from way before I thought was possible (“remember when I choked on that frozen mango?”…you were one, how do you remember that?!?!). He has figured out that throwing clothes in the hamper is quicker than folding and putting them away which I find both annoying and clever - for some reason it’s a nod from toddler to kid - those little things that feel different.

Curran and I had a tough time with each other during his 2-4 age because he is pretty sensitive, and it would touch on an insecurity of my own - both of us then upset, neither bringing calm to the situation. I thought I was self-aware enough to not ride my toddlers emotions but I did… do, sometimes still. He’s better lately, and I am too, far from perfect, but it feels like we’ve grown in that area together. Perhaps that makes me sound like an immature parent, but little refines us and highlights our weak spots like our own children. Anyway, finding a better rhythm with him has been so special. I used to want time to speed up, I didn’t want to tread water anymore, but the swimming? Now I want to stop time! Curran and I have put together more lego sets in the past four days than I care to have floating around the house but he LOVES them, both the building and the company, so bring on the Legos.

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SIDENOTE: Hugh made a short pdf of quick food photography tips which is now available on our SHOP page. For a limited time, it is available for $1.99, which will be the best couple bucks you’ll spend this week. It is not a full photography course, but the concise and simple tips will absolutely make a difference in the way you capture your food. I’ve learned so much from Hugh, and this guide boils down the handful of important things to think about when you take and edit a photo of your food. Let us know if you have any questions!


OATMEAL BREAKFAST COOKIES

Makes 18 small

These are delicate, as there is no gluten or egg helping to bind them. If you are looking for something to pack in a lunchbox, and can tolerate eggs, add one in to the mashed banana step to help make them more sturdy. Raisins feel slightly more virtuous, but chocolate chips feel slightly more delicious. Take your pick. Keep them small either way.

I do not usually stock quick-cooking oats, but you can blitz old-fashioned oats in a food processor for a similar texture, or I’ve used Seven Sundays muesli with success (Target or Costco sell the big bags). If you need these to be nut-free, I have a report that sunflower butter works fine.

Ingredients

1 medium, extra extra ripe banana, mashed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup smooth, natural nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut)
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (or old-fashioned oats you’ve blitzed in the food processor a few times to get smaller bits)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. flaxmeal
1/2 cup raisins (chop if they’re jumbo), or mini chocolate chips

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana with salt, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut oil and stir to combine. Add the maple, nut butter, chia seeds and stir again until smooth. Let the chia seeds absorb for a moment. 

Stir in the oats, baking powder, flaxmeal, raisins and let the mixture chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350’ and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. 

Roll the dough into balls of about 2 Tbsp. worth of dough. Arrange them on the baking sheet with a little space between, give them a gently press down, they don’t spread much. 

Bake on the middle rack for 12-13 minutes. Remove to cool completely - they’ll hold together better once cooled. 

Store in an airtight container. Cookies will keep for three days. 

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WILD SALMON TACO SALAD BOWLS

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Sprouted Kitchen turns ten this week. TEN! My goodness. I had some Instagram friends tell me their favorite SK recipes and it was so neat to hear what your favorites are. The ones that were on repeat were the pumpkin muffins, lentil meatballs, salads in general, strawberry leek quesadillas, goodness wraps, fiesta kale slaw, enchiladas, lentil soup and the salmon tacos and honey fudge from SKCC, amongst others. I have never considered myself a chef - I am a home cook who chose to be doing her learning and experimenting in a public space. I am so grateful that you’ve trusted me with your dinner plans and feeding your families.

I have always felt a bit outside of the online life - sort of there, but not fully - never putting two feet in, as this business has felt so fleeting. Until Cooking Club, my work with Sprouted Kitchen has never been the one, full-time job I’ve had, it has always been in tandem with x, y, and z other gig. I liked those other jobs, I enjoyed being around real-life people versus just online, it also felt like a safety net while income here has always fluctuated. Hugh made this site as a gift for my 25th birthday and we didn’t make a cent from it for a good three years maybe? Just two people naively working on a passion project in my parents kitchen one day a week. I wrote recipes and shared my ramblings without any knowledge about SEO or ads. Lots of kitchen trial and error. A girl trying to figure out where she stood in her story with food and wellness and love and self-confidence and hospitality - a story I am still very much in, just ten years down the timeline with babies sprinkled in.

I was baffled that people trusted me, or wanted to read about how we were figuring out how to be newlyweds, or funny stories from working the sample booth at Trader Joes . The cookbook deals were both flattering and challenging. I am proud we have those - maybe the most proud of myself I’ve ever been was when I saw the first printed and bound copy. We worked hard, and sure, maybe it was premature in my experience as a home cook, but I needed to say yes to the risk and I’m so glad I did. We learned SO much from that experience and I hope I get another go at it, especially now that my cooking style feels more developed.

We happened to get started in this space before Twitter and Instagram burst into everyone’s lives. I have watched the game change in both of those places. In it, but not with both feet. So what would it look like if I DID say yes to this whole thing? What is my “why?” What is the problem I am trying to solve? Can I (happily) be a worker and a mother? Where would my work live and not feel like the other shoe may drop at any time? I don’t really know what makes someone successful. Is it money or popularity or that you can make a living doing what you enjoy? I don’t really know what we’re all chasing and whose definition we’re using as anchors.

Hugh and I started Cooking Club last September as the last endeavor to see if Sprouted Kitchen had potential to be a career - like a capital “C” Career - one that paid our mortgage and afforded health care and that heavy preschool bill, and ideally some savings. Inspired by my Weekends with Elyse, Brene Brown writings, and a handful of encouraging conversations with friends, and honestly because Hugh and I both couldn’t quite believe in the idea of starting over with a 9-to-5-office-grind kind of thing - we put both feet in.

I have an email folder dedicated to nice notes I receive from readers over these past ten years and the frequency I was filing emails to that folder was notable - this was helping people, I felt useful. I believe in family dinners. I believe in eating and feeding people in a health conscious way. I believe that even with little kids or allergies or zero time, YOU CAN MAKE DINNER! Anyway, I don’t mean to do more evangelizing for Cooking Club, but my point is that I feel like I stepped into the work this whole timeline was leading me towards. I feel confident in this work. I believe it is beautiful and useful and absolutely my voice. I feel like I am in peoples’ kitchens with them - sharing what I’ve learned and trying to give away as much knowledge as I can, so they can make a pretty and practical and wholesome dinner at home too. I don’t think it will be forever, but for this first time in this past ten years, I am not scared about what that means.

“You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”

- Brene Brown

I’m in the arena, as Brene would call it, and it feels right in here.

Thanks to those of you who still read the blog - who have perhaps followed along for all of these past ten years. Thank you for buying our books or looking past a sponsored post when you may have not preferred that or signed up for Cooking Club or have been my friend IRL. Your support is what has allowed us to continue work in and around this space, and we are grateful. Thank you!

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TACO SALAD BOWLS

Serves 4

I called for chili powder, dried oregano and cumin to season things, but I will also use taco seasoning if I have it. The Trader Joes one is fairly spicy for my kids, so I generally use that for adults.

The sauce, original inspiration from Pinch of Yum, can be made a day in advance. The potatoes can be made a day in advance and brought to room temperature before serving.

All these bits can also be stuffed into a tortilla.

Ingredients

For the MAGICAL AVOCADO SAUCE

2 clove garlic
1 jalapeño, partially seeded
2 green onions, trimmed
1 small bundle of cilantro
1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds/pepitas (pistachios work too!)
2 large avocados, pitted
1 tsp. sea salt
juice of 2 large limes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
splash of water

For the Roasted Sweet Potato

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt

For the SALMON

1 1/2 lbs. wild salmon filets
sea salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
juice of one lime

For the bowl

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (1 13.5 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
1 cup cooked quinoa
6 cups greens - cabbage and baby kale
minced red onion

optional salad bits

1 pint baby tomatoes, halved and quartered
corn
shaved radishes
cotija
fresh cilantro

Directions

For the avocado sauce, in a food processor or blender, pulse the garlic, jalapeno, green onions, cilantro and pumpkin seeds until chopped. Add the flesh of the avocados, salt, lime juice, oil, water and pulse until it’s chunky-smooth. We want it to look more like a sauce than guacamole, so taste, and add a splash more citrus, oil or water to taste. Set aside. This can be made up to two days in advance.

Preheat the oven to 425’ and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the diced sweet potatoes on the sheet and drizzle them with the oil, chili powder and salt. Toss everything together to coat, spread them in an even layer and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and just browned on the edges. Set aside the potatoes, but we’re going to reuse that same sheet.

Turn the heat down to 300’. Put the salmon filets on the baking sheet and season the fish with salt and pepper. Rub the olive oil, maple onto the flesh then sprinkle the top with the dried oregano and cumin. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes. Timing will vary based on thickness of the fish. Squeeze lime juice all over the top just out of the oven.

Ok! Let’s assemble these bowls. I start with a big pile of greens tossed in a tiny bit of olive oil, lime juice and salt. Dress or not dress, it’ll be fine. Top the bowl with a scoop of quinoa, beans, sweet potatoes, any other salad bits you want to add. Flake apart the fish and add some of that on top of the bowl and finish it with a big spoonful or two of the avocado sauce and garnish with more cilantro or anything else you fancy.


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PLANE RIDES WITH KIDS

Let me start off by saying that I did not go into this trip feeling easy breezy. I love my children more than anything; they lighten my heart and ask interesting questions and love me unconditionally and say the funniest things but honestly, it is easiest to take a trip without them. Ok? ok. It certainly gets better year by year, but it feels like we are still investing in future trips being better by getting them some experience now. That said, my fondest memories from childhood are trips - camping, drives down to Mexico, weekends away to Palm Springs (all this by car mind you). It was not extravagant or expensive, it was fun to get out of the routine, and I want that for my family, even if it’s hard.

My sister got married in Australia a few weeks ago and I was anxious going into it. Unfortunately, I ride the waves of my kids’ emotions (I’m working on it…), and I knew that them being tired, out of sorts, whiny would pull my overly-sensitive self down with them, so we tried to prepare.

With summer around the corner, I wanted to share a few items we had for the plane, in case you find yourself needing to fill your tool bag sometime soon. At the time of publishing, our daughter is 3 and son nearly 5. The former is a light sleeper, the later loves tv, both are hungry ALL THE TIME so I knew these truths going in. I packed them each a generously filled backpack that had a reusable water bottle, iPad, card games, snacks and two toys from the dollar store I let them pick out a few weeks prior. We also had neck pillows which I’m not sure were necessary because they are so bulky and the plane gives you their flimsy ones anyway which are fine for kids.

The amazon links are affiliated, but all purchases were made by me and I hope you trust I wouldn’t mention it if I didn’t like it.

IPAD APPS

I don’t mind however you feel about screen time, but I believe it has a time and place, and that place is certainly on a 15-hour plane flight. Since everyone has their own screen on a flight that long, the ipads actually lost out to the novelty of their “own tv” but still, having these apps came in handy when we were sitting at restaurants for wedding festivities and such.

Monkey Lunchbox

Daniel Tiger

Duolingo (I have to do this language app with my son, so probs age 5+)

Endless Reader

Starfall

Thomas the Train

GAMES + BITS

Zoob Traveler: If you have a lego loving kid, these were great for keeping my older child busy and they come in an easy-to-pack bag.

Melissa and Doug everything: The tape book, water wow deals and felt pad specifically.

Card Games: Uno, Spot it, Go Fish and Memory

SNACKS

Melatonin Chocolates: I bought these from Good Day. They make a kids version too but it’s the same 1mg dose per chocolate, and the kids eat one and adults eat four so it doesn’t really matter which you buy, just alter the dose. Melatonin is natural and harmless. This from Zarbees is the same dosage and less expensive.

Nut Butter packets: All four of us ate these. I can usually find carrot sticks and apples no matter where we go, and having some nut butter to squeeze on makes those things more exciting for my kids. We buy the ones from Justins or Wildfriends has some. Speaking of, the oatmeal and nut butter packs came in handy too and the plane does have hot water available to cook the oats. Most markets have those on the go deals now.

Cut apples and carrot sticks: These can sit for hours without refrigeration and not get weird. I packed them in reusable bags then was able to reuse these throughout the trip.

Coconut Chips: Trader Joes makes a low sugar one near the trail mix.

New Primal Turkey Sticks: they make kids and adults sizes. You obv can get turkey jerky anywhere, but it was nice to have a protein for them since I brought a lot of carbs and that is what the airline offers them too.

I packed myself a salad on the way over. It was mostly composed of the last bits in the fridge I needed to use up, but if you’re planning ahead: these soba noodles, this salad, or these wraps or oh! or the winter salad from SKCC. I made the kids a turkey and hummus sandwich that got consumed before we even took off but whatever.

Dates, pretzels…yes, my entire personal item was full of food

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