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!
TACO SALAD BOWLS
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.
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
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.