Meal planning has gone out the window of late. You can find me walking through the supermarket like a zombified hungry teenager scavenging for anything that looks and sounds appealing at that moment. If a hungry teenager liked produce more than chips and always wanted ice cream.
Instead of chaotic shopping, I like to think I’m playing a week-long game of Chopped: Tired Mama Edition. Once Lucas gets home from work, I get 30 minutes to put the random ingredients together to make a dish. This lemony roasted asparagus and cauliflower salad comes together with the things you’ll find in my fridge at all times for the past month: asparagus, cauliflower, lemons, pine nuts, and parmesan. Tossed together for a perfect springtime Memorial Day potluck salad.
On our first evening away from our new babe, we snuck off to Gather to celebrate my birthday just the two of us and ordered way too much food – as though it’d been over a month since we’d eaten dinner at the same time (it had). We spoke a love song to the platter of cashew hummus topped with harissa snap peas and sunflower seed za’atar we ordered. For at least 10 seconds before transitioning to talking about how much we love Zoella for the rest of the meal and rushing home to our love bug lickety-split.
On our first night home from the hospital though (the second time) a month earlier, when we were finally beginning to figure out what it means to be a family of three, I worried that I didn’t love her enough. Spoiler alert: We’re about to dive into the emotional junk that came with becoming a new mom, but if you’re like “woah woah woah, I just came for a recipe! x out! x out!” feel free to just skip ahead to the snap peas. They’re killer.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had popcorn and ice cream for dinner because the thought of figuring out what to eat, going to the store, and coming back to cook it was enough to make you need a nap. Real talk. That’s basically mealtime with a new baby in a nutshell. (Also: when can I get that nap?). What if I told you someone would do the recipe planning and shopping part for you and you’d spend only 30 minutes in the kitchen before chowing down on these healthy salmon tacos?
You’d probably get that nap. That’s what.
Today I’m stoked to share about my collaboration with Sun Basket – what kept us nourished for the month after Zoella was born and brought these salmon tacos into my life. But first: let me paint the scene in our house.
This morning I found a pint of vanilla ice cream in the fridge when I reached for the yogurt. That’s what kind of day it was. A melted ice cream kind of day. (For the record that was a midnight #dadfail – not a #momfail). You know what that vanilla ice cream would be great on top of right now? Strawberry rhubarb pie.
Lucky you, my friend Lisa from Healthy Nibbles & Bits is popping by today to share her rustic crumb-topped strawberry rhubarb pie with you. I’m hoping to be back in the kitchen soon, but I’m super stoked (and grateful!) to have Lisa filling in for me while I figure out my groove with the little but ferocious boss babe. Lisa and I became fast friends over a to-be-continued attempt at hibiscus macarons (we’ll get that right eventually!). She makes clean bright gluten-free recipes and breathes so much life into them with vibrant photos (my current obsessions: Jamaican jerk tofu stir fry & sushi burritos). But guys, her newest side project is proof that this girl is busting with artistic creativity: art on toast, folks (and she takes requests *wink*).
Let’s all ogle over this juicy strawberry rhubarb pie now, which is making me want to bake up the strawberries and rhubarb in my fridge…aaaaaand binge-watch Pushing Daisies. Take it away, Piemaker Lisa.
These warm olives are like a giant warm hug from my friend Amanda at Heartbeet Kitchen. Amanda is one of the most creative flavor masters I know. This girl infuses flavor into her clean healthy recipes and isn’t afraid to push the envelope with new unique ingredients to create dishes like ghee braised radishes and thyme and fluffy gluten-free tigernut flour pancakes. And if Amanda hadn’t already won me over with her cooking, baking, photography, and cat-whisperer ways, she came to visit in the middle of one of the most stressful weeks of my life – the week before I filed my dissertation – and she’s STILL my friend.
The kind of friend who keeps my baby stylish with the sweetest kicks and steps in to guest post while I’m over here putting on a 24-hour circus act (holding a 12lb baby over my shoulder, while patting her back, singing the chorus to Ingrid Michaelson’s You & I, and dancing in circles around the kitchen island with the lights off and the KitchenAid stand mixer running) with only brief intermissions for things like restroom breaks and laundry. And she’s sharing this post with a broken hand. So basically: she’s the best kind of friend. When she was here, Amanda made dinner while I stood by and ate olives. I now only wish they were warm olives with citrus, rosemary, and a splash of gin.
We’ve been eating a lot of quick meals since Zoella was born. And we’re doing a killer job of cleaning out our pantry, fridge, and freezer, all while trying to avoid going to the store with a baby who hates the car. This chopped kale salad with shredded apples, carrots, and allofthenuts/seeds/grains satisfies both those demands.
If you ever need a relaxing exercise to calm the nerves (like, say, after you finally get the baby down for a nap after 1.5 hours of blood curdling can-you-see-my-tonsils-yet screams), I recommend making a batch of matcha horchata. Or really: blanching almonds and sitting over a bowl popping them out of their skins one-by-one. There’s something seriously satisfying about the pop of an almond leaping out of its skin into a bowl. pop. pop. POP. Once you’ve gone that far, though, you might as well finish the job and turn them into creamy horchata.
This creamy pan of cardoon mac and cheese comes to you from my good friend Alanna over at The Bojon Gourmet! We’re 3.5 weeks in to this whole parenting thang and I’m still trying to figure out how to feed myself in the fleeting moments from one baby Zoella-feeding to the next (and she’s currently eating 12x a day). One breastfeeding forum suggested pumping 10-12 times a day to increase my milk supply – doing that would def turn me into a human milk factory. I can’t imagine people who do that have time to eat.
Fortunately for me, I’ve got rad friends like Alanna in my corner who show up with a boatload of vegan Mexican food and healthy brownies for the whole family right when we brought the babe home from the hospital, with promises to deliver homemade cardoon mac and cheese soon after. With my cheese cravings on high alert, I’ve been dreaming of this cardoon mac and cheese since she served it to me at a dinner party. Let me assure you, one bite and this stuff will make regular appearances in your dreams too. 1. Cheese – um…HELLO! 2. Cardoons, which, when mixed with cheese, mimic artichokes – aka the tastiest vegetable on the planet (don’t even argue – this is unequivocally true). 3. All of this made into creamy gluten-free mac and cheese? I can’t stop. I won’t stop. Alanna is my go-to recipe consultant for most any dish, but she’s a goddess with mac and cheese. Other notable things she’s an expert at? Gluten-free cookies, tarts, and cakes (and photographing allofthefood). If you haven’t already, you should probably go pre-order her Alternative Flours cookbook RIGHT NOW. Well, after drooling over this mac and cheese with me. Without further ado…Here’s Alanna: