vegetarian

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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Gluten Free, Entrée

SPICED CAULIFLOWER STEAKS WITH WALNUT SAUCE

More cauliflower! Oops. But I do love it and it didn't cross my mind we had cauliflower on here for the last post as I was thumbing through Laura's new book. I have dozens of recipes bookmarked but I am looking for new veg mains in our rotation lately and this one popped out at me. I was shocked at how short the ingredient list was and how quickly it came together given how beautiful it looked. I'm an easy sell on pretty food. Especially quick, pretty food. Next up is her homemade coconut creamer with dates, a warm balsamic mushroom salad, and a second round of those brownies I made months ago when I first saw the pdf draft of this book.

I've been a long time fan of Laura's, both for her easy going disposition and plant-based food that is magically wholesome, creative, all while still being something you can whip up easily for dinner. I don't always see those things going hand in hand but she is extremely good at what she does. She's responsible for the arugula cashew sauce I've made three times already that goes on pretty much everything. I like vegan food and an ice cream sundae all in the same breath, so a book that doesn't feel lacking is a keeper. You'll have to flip through a copy yourself or better yet, add it to your collection. Clearly forever a First Mess fangirl. Congrats, Laura!

SPICED CAULIFLOWER STEAKS WITH WALNUT SAUCE // Serves 2
Recipe from The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright

I am putting Laura's recipe here verbatim. The only thing I did different was up the garlic and lemon a bit and added a pinch of cayenne to the spice blend for heat. Those are personal preferences. The recipe is so concise you can add here to taste. This serves two well after roasting the extra bits of cauliflower. You could easily double it if you have a large enough pan or even do it in shifts and keep the cauliflower warm. 

Walnut Sauce
1/2 cup raw walnut halves, plus a few more for garnish
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Spice-Crusted Cauliflower
1 medium head of cauliflower
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350'

Make the walnut sauce: In a large, ovenproof skillet, toast the walnuts over medium heat until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a blender. Return the skillet to the stove and heat 1 tsp. of the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic. Saute until edges of the onion soften, about 2 minutes. Scrape the onions and garlic into the blender. Add the almond milk, lemon juice and generous pinches of salt and pepper and whiz on high until you have a creamy sauce. Keep warm while you prepare the cauliflower. 
Cut two 1" thick "steaks" from the center of the cauliflower (you'll loose pieces on the sides that don't stay intact but just roast those up in an oil and spice mixture and enjoy them on the side). You should have a nice cross section of the vegetable that holds together. Moisten the steaks with water and season both sides with the paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. 
Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add the cauliflower steaks and sear until evenly browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the cauliflower over and transfer the skillet to the oven. 
Roast the cauliflower in the oven until the center core or stem section is tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. 
Serve the cauliflower with warm sauce and garnish with parsley and chopped walnuts



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Fall, Gluten Free, Salad, Side, Winter

MUSTARDY BRUSSELS SLAW

There have been no resolutions made in writing yet. I'm pretty used to things happening belated around here and hoping Hugh and I will get to our New Year accountability date sometime this month. There are ideas, thoughts and intentions brewing but I haven't found the time to make my categorized list. I did start the Sweat with Kayla fitness app that in a few days of sorry looking push ups, has moved "getting stronger" towards the top of my list. I've chatted with a few people about helping me put on plated dinners to raise money and awareness for a few charities I'd like to contribute more to. Potentially in our backyard which scares me but sometimes you just have to jump in. Hugh and I also agreed we'd let the posts here be more casual if they need to be - less photos, maybe me not writing much if I am not in the mood, could even just be an idea for a salad dressing. It doesn't always need to be such a thing. You may not even notice a difference but for me, us, it takes a bit of the pressure off of having to try too hard and just allowing this to be...easier.  I'll get that all down on paper by the end of the month.


Cleo turns one next week so it feels like a fresh start for all of us in some way. This past year has been largely consumed by learning how to function as a family of four with two self employed people working from home. The chasm between wanting to be present and engaged as a parent and focused and motivated to make your own living. All I know so far is that you can't do a good job, or stay happy, trying to be everything to everyone at all times so I'm looking forward to letting go of some expectations.

Onward, 2017.

MUSTARDY BRUSSELS SLAW // Serves 4

I use a careful hand and a mandoline in shaving the brussels sprouts because I feel like they get more feathery than a food processor or the prepackaged ones ever get. This could be an inefficient, high maintenance call. The alternative is totally fine, I would just let them sit in the dressing a little longer to soften up slightly as they'll be thicker. 
We can deconstruct this into a warm side dish if you're not feeling salad. You can half the brussels, toss them in the vinaigrette, and roast them at 400' in a large rimmed baking dish for about 35 minutes or until just browning on the edges. While still hot, stir in the shallots and apples and then top the dish with the walnuts and cheese. Shop once, cook twice.

// mustardy vinaigrette //
2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. whole grain mustard
2 tsp. agave nectar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. dried Italian herbs

1 lb. brussels, cores trimmed
1 small bunch of kale, stems removed
1 medium shallot, minced, about 2 Tbsp. 
1 crisp apple, cored and diced small
1/2-3/4 cup toasted walnuts pieces
1/3 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish

To make your vinaigrette, put all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake to mix. Season to taste.
Using a mandoline or the grater blade on a food processor, shave your brussels thin and put them in a large mixing or salad bowl. Chop the kale well (should have about 2 cups) and add it to the brussels along with the shallot, apple and half of the walnuts and cheese. Toss with desired amount of dressing to coat and serve with remaining walnuts and cheese on top.



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