Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Photo via The Goodwin Project
In my younger days, I was an infinite seeker.  I spent a lot of time exploring the meaning of life, the way I wanted to live it, and the idiosyncracies of myself and my society which propelled me to make the choices I made.  I read a lot.  I traveled.  I spent time in Buddhist monasteries and many hours on my yoga mat.  I once sat alone in the middle of the barren dessert of Death Valley and cried about it all for an hour as the wind whipped by my face flinging sand into my tears.  I slept alone by a river in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness for a week, pacing the waterfront and pondering by day, poking at my campfire and pondering some more by night.  I tried a lot of things that scared me, from surfing to veganism to riding a night train alone in a foreign country.  All of the epiphanies that came to me in these years bubbled around me and lived in my mind, in my journals close-at-hand, and, I would like to think, in my day to day movements and choices.

Then life started happening.  I prefer the self-assurance and beauty of family life I've found in my thirties to the chaos of my twenties, no doubt; but I do miss the time for seeking that I once had, and I've recently realized how many of those revelations I gained during that time of my life have been buried in the exhaustion of my current existence, despite the fact that now is when I need that hard-sought knowledge the most.

Parenting calls upon you to be present in literally every moment.  Yesterday I refereed various spats over a certain sought after purple sandbox dump truck for close to two hours.  In the one moment that I took to close my eyes and tip my head up towards the unusually strong February sun, my son pelted an unsuspecting little girl in the head with a Matchbox car.  Minding a toddler really does mean staying completely in the here and now. Many days, just meeting the basic needs of my family and myself seems to take up all the time in the day.  When the serenity of evening falls, my brain grinds to a halt, and I seek solace in John Stewart and Top Chef, or maybe, if I'm really ambitious, a few pages of a book before my eyes droop closed. Each day, I have big ideas about writing projects and pithy conversations and general productivity that will take place after 8pm, and each day, come 8pm, making a full sentence becomes difficult.

So, I'm living in the present, but without the time to ruminate, sort and organize my thoughts, and epiphanize like I used to.  I should meditate, but I don't, as sitting still with my eyes at half-mast makes me fall asleep. I mostly move very quickly and purposefully through my days, covering the basics of food, water and shelter, with some creativity and leisure peppered in sporadically, but none of the luxurious, naval gazing sort I once knew in my other life of my twenties. But this is all okay. I know this stage of life is so fleeting.  Having young children is a challenge and a joy like no other, and while it also seems to reduce you to a mumbling, strange outfit wearing zombie for a few years, I'm more than happy with having made that bargain.  Our family will grow older, and the husband and I will once again have time for seeking on our own and together too.  I know this to be true.  I don't mourn a life of seeking, as I know its time will come around again.

What I am trying to sort out in the meantime is how to take all the lessons I gathered in the seeking of my twenties, and integrate them more fully into this markedly less peaceful and contemplative life that I'm living today.  Every once in awhile, when I'm falling asleep at night mostly, or when I'm walking somewhere, a glimmer of one of those lessons will tumble into my thoughts.  I'll have an instantaneous, crystal blue moment of knowing exactly how I might approach a conflict I'm dealing with or a decision at hand, based on some shell of wisdom I garnered years ago.  Sometimes I have to hop up from bed or stop in my tracks just to jot these crystal moments down, so fleeting are they in my tired mind.  But when I do capture them like some sort of rare butterfly, I'm reminded of how many more lessons and things I know to be true there are lying with them, just below the surface of the day to day.  It stuns me sometimes how easy it is to forget myself, to forget who I was who got me to where I am now, to forget that seeking traveler girl who my husband originally fell in love with, all photo albums and Buddha statues and inspiring quotes hung on the wall.  I'm grateful that that little vagabond has matured into someone who is okay with staying still, but I also need to embrace her knowledge more and keep it right where I can see it.  But how?

How do you grow and move on from one phase of life, but hold close the lessons of the past in a way that is relevant to the present with an eye towards the future?  How to let go and move on while honoring, in a real and daily way, that which you learned along the way?  This is what I am seeking currently.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Beautiful Rice

There are few things we love more in this house than a huge spread of delicious Latin food. Homemade enchiladas, Cuban black beans, tacos, and a variety of recipes we discovered on our travels to Brazil are all favorites in our menu rotation.  So, when I came across this recipe for Beautiful Rice (also known as arroz verde) on Jocelyn Taylor's Raising Foodies blog, I immediately pinned it and knew we had to give it a try.

The recipe was included in a post on the details of a gorgeous homemade Mexican meal: grilled flank steak with salsa verde, pork tamales, beans, and this beautiful rice.  The punch of the cilantro in the recipe makes the rice a natural accompaniment to any Latin meal, but is not so overwhelming that it screams "Mexican".  In fact, the dish is so versatile that it is hard to think of something it wouldn't compliment.  This would be a perfect elegant side for a simple piece of grilled meat or fish, or an ideal way to dress up a vegetarian dinner and make it feel special.

I love the subtle, complex flavor of this rice, the hidden nutrients from the spinach, and the stunning green color on the plate.  There is a tad more mixing and chopping in the recipe than I'd want for a weeknight side, but I made it for Sunday dinner this week and for that it was perfect.  We had friends over and served it alongside Brazilian Muqueca, spicy grilled pork and black beans, and it was phenomenal. However, where it really stole the show was in my lunch today.  I heated up leftover rice and beans and topped them with a fried egg, a bit of grated cheese, and plenty of hot sauce.  
Like so many herbaceous dishes, this one was even better the next day... I'm so thrilled we have leftovers!  Knowing how well the dish keeps now, I'm certain large batches of it are going to make frequent Sunday night appearances, as there is nothing better than a leftover lunch that sings.  Put this dish on your short list of things to try... it is a deliciously unexpected way to give your side some glamour and punch!

Beautiful Rice (or Arroz Verde)
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro
1 cup packed fresh spinach
1 1/4 cups homemade or organic chicken or veggie broth 
1 1/4 cups organic skim milk
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups organic long grain rice
1/4 minced onion
1 clove minced garlic

1) Put the cilantro, spinach, and broth in a blender and puree, add milk and salt and blend until combined.
2) Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy medium-sized pan, when butter is melted, add the rice and saute 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the onion and garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
3) Add the blender mix, stir well, bring to a boil. Turn to very low heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
4) Stir carefully and cook for another 5 minutes.
5) Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes until ready to serve.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Grateful for...

1) Avocado Toast
+ a chilled glass of grapefruit juice and hot French press coffee = my new breakfast obsession

2) The discovery of a long, lost Anthro gift card + some time to myself to peruse the new Newbury store.  I scored the greatest new shirt for spring!  Check it out:
This thin, cotton button down is so airy and much more flow-y and bohemian looking in real life.  I love the slightly mismatched buttons, and the fact that just when you think it is kind of a prim and proper pinstripe number, boom!
The cut out in the back turns that notion on its ear, and shows off that pretty part of your back where your shoulder blades meet.  Sounds wacky, but it really works. I shall be wearing this one to shreds.
Preggo friends: I think this could also be the world's perfect breastfeeding shirt: easy access with the button-down, super flow-y in the tum area to accommodate postpartum smushiness, and the vent in the back would feel so good for those crazy nursing hot flashes. Just a thought. :)

3) Killer, all natural moisturizer
I was out of facial moisturizer and saw Mad Hippie Face Cream on sale for $20 at our local Whole Foods.  An unbeatable price point + incredible ingredient list of natural anti-aging compounds (peptides, acai, argan oil, reservatrol) + name certain to make me smile every time I open the medicine cabinet = sold.  I am really loving this stuff.  It is hard to find natural beauty products that are affordable and effective, and this is most definitely one.  My skin already feels tighter after just a few days of using the face cream, and it absorbs quickly into the skin, saturating even the driest patches of winter itchiness.  They have a line that includes eye cream, serum and a cleanser, and I hope to try it all.  Look for the brand at Whole Foods or your local health food store.

Good food, good clothes, good products. 
Great friends and family.
Life is grand.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Random Friday: Mountain Chick Edition

We're having a warm, gloriously sunny Friday that makes spring feel just around the corner.  I can't wait to get back outdoors on a regular basis for some fresh air and adventure.  With that spirit in the air, here is some wilderness-inspired randomness for your Friday...

This took my breath away and made me ache for California...

Patagonia is having their annual end-of-winter sale with so much great stuff marked down 50%!  And not just the heavy parkas either... they have lovely warm weather dresses and great wicking athletic gear at half price as well until Feb 27!  Check it out!  Here are some of my faves...
Margot Dress, down to $29.50 from $65 and perfect for post-hike BBQs
Cute organic tee, down to $15 from $30 and a percentage of the profits benefit the Save the Waves Coalition
I literally live in these Micro-D 1/4 Zip Tops... they are the comfy coziest and down to $27.50 from $55... perfect for chilly spring nights!

Have you checked out The Dirty Gourmet?
Don't be deterred by the unsanitary-sounding name!  This is a site for "outdoor foodies" and features the most delectable portable cuisine.  You don't need to be planning a multi-night backcountry trip to find their recipes useful either... I'd be just as happy to take down those stuffed peppers above at my kitchen table as I would around a campfire.  They also have their recipes sorted by activity, including picnics and day trips, so us weekend warriors can whip up impressive, on-the-go treats, even if only for a toddler day trip to the beach

Finally, I just got turned on to the gorgeous craftsmanship of the Best Made Company out of NYC.  Tag this one for Father's Day, people, as they have the most incredible camp gear, including these absolutely gorgeous Appalachian hickory axes.
Someday I'm so getting the husband one of these, as a favorite pastime for any mountain girl is sipping a cold one while enjoying the sight of her man chopping some wood.  Oh yessiree.

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Three Kitchen Shortcuts

If I could, I'd make everything from scratch when I cook, but you know what?  Sometimes I just can't.  Sometimes life, time, toddlers, dogs, and winter colds get in the way, and mama needs a shortcut.  Here are three newfound current favorites:

1) Love Beets
I, well, love beets.  I love to eat them, especially chopped over salads with a sprinkle of feta, but I don't so much love the laborious process of roasting and peeling them, subsequently staining your hands, cutting boards, and half your kitchen a bright fuchsia. So, I was especially excited to find these prepared beets at our local Whole Foods.  Unlike jarred or canned prepared beets, these have that same fresh, earthy flavor as if you had just prepped them yourself.  They also come infused in four different flavors (three vinegar variations and a honey ginger).  I bought the mild vinegar infused ones last weekend and have been enjoying them on my lunch salads all week.  I love how much more accessible Love Beets makes this nutrient-packed food, and the little gems are so gorgeous that they add a restaurant-quality element to the plate as well.  And I must add that while prepared food sticker shock usually prevents me from making purchases like this one, Love Beets are very reasonably priced at around $2.50/package... less than what I'd pay for a whole bunch of fresh beets!  Score.

We are fools for Mexican food, and it won't shock you to know that I used to be something of an enchilada sauce snob.  In the pre-baby days, I always prepared it myself from scratch using fresh tomatillos and cilantro.  That sauce is still pretty incomparable, but I just can't pull it off most weeknights anymore, which means we've had an enchilada dry spell, despite the fact that this is one of both of our favorite dinners (I just can't abide by the tinny tasting stuff in the can, I'm sorry).  However, enchie night has now joyfully and deliciously been revived by the adorable Rick Bayless and his incredible line of gourmet Mexican sauces.  His green chile sauce is the closest thing I've ever tasted to my fresh stuff, and makes weeknight enchiladas even easier than ordering pizza.  Nuke a pile of corn tortillas wrapped in damp paper towels, roll your favorite filling (this week we did shredded leftover chicken and black beans, but black beans and cheese would be even easier), stick 'em in a dish, pour a pack of this sauce over the top, and 15 minutes later... enchie night!  We love it.  And at $2.50/pack these sauces are well worth the slightly more than the cheap stuff in the can... the flavor is just night and day.  I'm really excited that we found this product, and would encourage any busy household to give these a try in the weekly menu rotation; they're weeknight gold!

Lastly, this isn't a product, but a genius idea I picked up on Sous Style this week.  Next time you have the juicer out, squeeze a bunch of extra lemon or lime juice and freeze it into ice cube trays.  You'll instantly have a "squeeze of lemon" for your favorite cocktail or mocktail even if your fruit basket is bare.  These would be delicious in a glass of iced tea, or just to have on hand for when a recipe calls for a bit of citrus.  I'd even just serve them in sparkling water for their lovely sunny yellow pop on a winter day.  Beauty.

What's your fave kitchen shortcut these days? 
Share the love...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Inspired by...

I'm finding inspiration in unique places this week and wanted to share.
I'm inspired by...

a true sense of community...
One of my favorite Boston yoga studios was temporarily booted from their space last week for a fire code situation.  This left a small business in a lurch with no place to hold classes until further notice.  I'm inspired by the fact that super-shwanky Harvard Club downtown invited this whole yoga community to hold classes in their space until Back Bay Yoga can regain entry to their normal studio.  I've been inexplicably almost moved to tears by the images of dozens of yogis practicing fireside in the H Club's gorgeous ballroom. There's something about that spirit of community and helping one another when we're down that is truly moving and inspiring.

an athlete's healthy morning ritual...
I've just discovered the coolest online column in the new Bon Appétit. My Morning Routine looks at how various people start their days, food and drink wise.  Not only do I love the voyeuristic quality of this concept, it's also inspiring new morning menu ideas for me.  My favorite piece thus far is about pro-surfer Kelly Slater (sigh), whose brekkie is pictured above: hot water with lemon, coconut water and a green smoothie... fresh and delicious.   
For hilarity's sake, be sure to check out the piece about the BA webmaster, whose morning routine of cigarettes in the shower, a trenta Starbucks (I didn't even know that existed until now) and a quick hot dog from the cart outside the office is a refreshing counter to everyone else's steel cut oats and almond milk.

everyday beauty...
via Heather Taylor
These ranunculus are kind of blowing my mind.

What's inspiring you this fine Monday?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Random Friday

So, I realize that (blog post-wise) this week has been entirely random already... it has just been one of those crazy ones.  But, generally speaking, my Fridays always feel especially random.  The finish line to a usually packed and always frenetic week comes with a morning toddler music class that sets a wacky tone to the day and a giddy anticipation of the weekend that gets my head spinning every time.  Therefore, I've decided to make it official, and declare every Friday a Random Friday on SMJ.  I'll give you a little peak into my highly abstract pre-weekend thoughts, and I'd love to hear your's as well.

What's swimming around in my brain today?
I cooked an old favorite recipe of ours this week... Chickpea and Spinach Stew.  I had forgotten how delicious and virtuous this vegetarian pot of Spanish love always turns out, and it was the perfect thing for our post-Super Bowl sloth.  It would also be the perfect thing to chef up this weekend... highly recommended on its own or served over couscous with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.

In the meantime, I'm about to throw this bad boy into the slow cooker for a Friday at-home date night...
This is a Slow Cooker Lamb, Apricot and Olive Tagine from last month's Real Simple that looks incredible and gets rave reviews.  Can't wait to try it.  Apparently I am on some sort of Spanish/North African kick, but it seems to be working for us.

Outside the kitchen, since we already have a lovely jar of coconut oil in our pantry, and we're due for a snowy, stay-at-home day tomorrow, and my winter hair is feeling a bit parched and crackly, I'm planning on trying a coconut oil deep conditioning treatment.
Supposedly, just working a heaping spoonful of this miracle oil through your mane and letting it sit for awhile has some seriously moisturizing effects.  I'm hoping that the tropical smell and decadent feeling will carry me through a cabin fever afternoon.

Also in the realm of natural foods, I got the most incredible drink this week at one of our local cafes. Called a "Kick in the Face", the drink was made with tons of fresh lemon and ginger juice, brewed hot with honey and yerba mate concentrate.  Damn, it was good!  And it made me feel slightly more immune to the ever present toddler germs, which is a total added bonus.  I got a subtle caffeine buzz from the mate to boot.  I need to try and recreate this at home, and will report back if I have any success.  In the meantime, I'm hoping this stays on their drink menu for the winter... so tasty!

In closing, TOMS has introduced a line of ballet flats.
Please hide my wallet.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


1) My French Press
I've recently had a coffee conundrum.  The husband and I take turns sleeping in and getting up with the toddler each morning (and by sleeping in I mean until 7am instead of 5:45am, most days).  On my early days, I musthavecoffeerightthisveryminute when I wake up.  Truly, that is the case every day, but on my early mornings, it feels especially urgent.  The problem?  Our bedroom adjoins our kitchen, and my coffee making options are mostly LOUD; both the SISHHHHHH of the espresso steamer and the RARRRRRR of the coffee grinder on our drip machine are enough to awaken someone out of their hard-earned slumber.  Not cool.  I sometimes resort to just trudging around the corner for a professional latte, but that is a much more desirable task in the summer, when you just throw on flip-flops and roll.  Getting both myself and little J winter-bundled pre-caffeine is pretty much more than I can bear.  So, I've recently rediscovered my kickass Bodum French Press and I am loving it.
Here is why:
1) Coffee is made in utter silence in four minutes flat.
2) Coffee flavor is unsurpassed.
3) It makes just two cups, which stops me from drinking cup after cup after cup when I make a whole pot of drip coffee (I am, for some reason, physically incapable of brewing less than a whole pot of coffee).
4) The clean up is way easier than with my espresso machine or the drip maker!  Just rinse and into the dishwasher it goes!
5) No shoes, jackets, or wrestling kicking and screaming toddlers into snowsuits required.
Just silent, caffeinated bliss.  Highly recommended.

2) These linen pants
Enza Costa Wide Leg Linen Pants, $124,
I don't own them (yet), but they look to me like the absolute perfect spring/summer pant for my current lifestyle.  I dig the cut of the leg, and what's not to love about an elastic waist, my friends?  They are a little pricey, but I feel they are one of those items that, amortized over cost per wear, more than pay for themselves in the end.  I can see these being serious go-to pants for most days of the warm weather season.  Just looking at them makes me want a morning stroll and an iced coffee.

3)  This article on French parenting: Why French Parents are Superior, WSJ, Feb 4, 2012
This article is making the rounds this week, and for good reason: it makes some phenomenally interesting points about the current American style of parenting, and where we are going terribly awry.  I know many people are tired of hearing how much thinner, chicer, smarter and more vacationed the French are, but people, it stings because it is true.  They eat better, they live better, and it might follow that they parent better to boot (in cuter boots than we have, no less). At the very least, this article is great food for thought.  Check it out.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Peace in Beauty

I'm having a bit of a chaotic and overwhelming week.  Sometimes I find that when I'm stressed and maxed out, simply looking at something beautiful makes me calm down, breathe, and feel peaceful.
Wisteria in bloom, Kawachi Fuji Gardens, Japan
Serene outdoor scene via Elle Decor
Chill poolside mama in the most perfect hippie pants ever, via Veronica Beard
Super cozy, eclectic little boy's room featuring Emerald Elephant Quilt, via Serena and Lily.
Thanks, Meghan, for the quilt tip-off! Love it!
Gorgeous flowers in blue glass.  Did you know you can make your own blue glass mason jars?  Check it out here.
Wishing us all a chill Wednesday...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Random Friday

This week had an absolutely random, mismatched, daydreamy feel to it, and so I thought I'd end the week in this theme, with some little bits and pieces from my camera phone and around the interweb that I've loved...

1) Winter entertainment gratitude.
Doing some reading at our local branch of the Boston Public Library.
I've appreciated and enjoyed our mild weather so far this year, but even with the lack of snow, there have been some freezing days where I'm grateful for all the free indoor fun this city has to offer: the Children's Rooms at our local branches of the BPL, our newly opened neighborhood rec center and its three days a week of open gym time for tots, the local cafes where people are tolerant of a toddlers antics as he takes down a muffin or ice cream cone, and free passes to places like the Museum of Science, available with our library membership.  Truly awesome.

2) I love this meal planning post post from Helen Jane.  She takes my essential formula, but turns it up a notch with an actual, formal system for planning and shopping for her weekly family meals, complete with cute fridge menu for all to admire.  She even has a printable meal planning template on her sidebar!  This truly speaks to all things Type A in my brain.  Fab.

3) I'm excited for the Big Game this weekend!  Go Pats!
I could actually care less about football, but I love the festive spirit in the air and, more importantly, all the incredible winter recipes flying around the land of food blogs.  It's as if everyone has tossed all of the January kale and wheatgrass out the window in an unspoken National Gluttony Pact. Pretzel dogs!  Panini Bars! Wings! Ribs!  Little cookie sandwiches that look like hamburgers! Yes!  Bring it!

4) The little guy is pretty much officially ready to transition to a big boy bed, which means I've been prowling online for options.  Fun!  Currently, there is a tug-of-war happening between my preppy and hippie selves in regards to bedding.
The New England-dwelling, Type A prepster in my brain enjoys these crisp, navy and white stars...
...while the Jerry Garcia and kale loving me thinks this elephant/monkey Indian print quilt is groovy.
For the truly interested, here's a link to my Big Boy Bed Pinterest page.  Yes, I have one. Yes, I love it.

5) My lovely yoga teacher had this on the playlist of our Wednesday yoga session.
I hadn't heard this song before, and I now I can't get it out of my head.  Cheesy though it may sound, it tugs on my heartstrings at it makes me think of my husband and all our moves these past years.  B - home is wherever I'm with you...

Told you it was random inside my head!
Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hippie Food

Yesterday, my energy was dragging.  The night before, I'd stayed up late-ish for a long-awaited girls' night of drinking red wine and watching The Help, only to be up with the little guy at 1, 2:30 and 4am, and then awake for good with him at 6am (we're thinking two-year-old molars are to blame? Not fun.).  Needless to say, the morning found me bleary-eyed, and I overcompensated with a quad latte in a bid to be mentally present for a date we had to spend the morning with friends at Boston's Museum of Science.

The museum date did not disappoint, and a good time was had by all mamas and boys, as we chased our four little dudes past the volcano and into the discovery zone, where they got to check out baby chicks, play with water tables and balance scales, and examine real animal bones.  Awesome.  However, by the time we got home, I was pretty much cross-eyed with exhaustion.  I had an evening yoga date to keep, however, and knew I had to rally.  In this situation, it is tempting to lean heavily on caffeine, but that's a quick fix, and always leaves you feeling worse for the wear in the end.  So I opted for a power nap, a little cup of green tea, and super-nutritous dinner to pick me up.

You see, I've found that when I'm feeling really wrung out, nothing revives me like some good, old-fashioned hippie food.  Kale? Check.  Tofu?  Yes, please.  Sauces made of things like tamari, agave, coconut oil, and miso?  Bring it.  When I'm bone tired, nothing tends to sound better to me than pizza, but that greasy comforting goodness will only give way to more sloth (which is all well and good if you have another movie night planned, but not so much if you need to rally).  If I can pull through and prepare something with all the vitamin and mineral-enriched loveliness of some hippie food, I always feel worlds with my body well-nourished.  

Last night, I chose two recipes that I've been wanting to try for awhile as a light, pre-yoga dinner: Sprouted Kitchen's Wild Rice Salad with Miso Dressing and the Kale Salad from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day. The wild rice salad looked just gorgeous on Sprouted Kitchen, and I've never tried anything from Heidi that hasn't come out amazing, plus my sister and her husband have been making this salad twice a week and loving it, so I had to give it a try myself. One side benefit of this menu plan?  It allowed me to take in and appreciate what a glorious natural foods pantry we've stocked over time...

This dinner was so delicious, and completely reviving.  I felt ready for my little yoga night, and had a great practice.  I feel one thousand times better today.  The husband also really enjoyed this flavorful feast.  The light, Asian flavors in the rice salad make the wild rice, edamame, carrots and tofu shine.  I love having miso in the fridge, as it makes meals like this one taste restaurant-ready.  And the kale salad was everything my sister said it would be: salty, savory, sweet, crunchy, chewy, toothsome, and completely unlike any kale preparation I've made before.  Also, it was incredibly quick and easy to prepare, so you can bet it is getting a spot on the regular menu rotation.  

Since this rice salad is pretty much my dream lunch, I actually tripled the recipe, and we now have fabulous lunches awaiting us for the rest of the week.  It's worth noting that a single batch probably wouldn't make enough for leftovers at all, so consider multiplying the recipe... it keeps beautifully, and would be the perfect thing to make on a Sunday night and scoop over greens for lunches all week long.  For the record, I used two blocks of tofu in my triple batch, but only one shallot per the original recipe, to avoid onion-y overload.  We loved the combination of the two salads together.

For extra points, play some bootlegged Grateful Dead while you cook.


Wild Rice Salad with White Miso Dressing 
Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as a side
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
For the Salad:
1/2 cup wild rice (I had a coupon for Whole Foods brand Red Rice, so I used that, but black forbidden rice or any other blend would work as well)
1 block extra firm tofu
2 tsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
fresh ground pepper
1 heaping cup shredded carrots (from 1 large or two medium carrots)
3/4 cup cooked, shelled, organic edamame
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
Handful of Chopped Cilantro 
For the dressing:
2 Tbsp. white miso
2 Tbsp. agave nectar or brown rice syrup
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 shallot, minced
Juice of half an Orange
1) Cook the rice according to package instructions. While the rice cooks, prep the rest of the salad:
2) Wrap the tofu between a few layers of paper towel  and set it aside to drain for 10-15 minutes. Cut it into a 1/2” dice. 
3) Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the tofu and sauté for about five minutes.  Sprinkle the soy sauce and a few grinds of fresh ground pepper over the top and sauté another few minutes until the edges are browned. Turn off heat and set aside.
4) Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together.
5) In a large bowl, combine the rice, tofu, sliced carrots, edamame. Toss everything with the dressing. Add the sesame seeds and cilantro and give it another toss. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Kale Salad
from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons shoyu, tamari or soy sauce
3 1/2 lightly packed cups chopped kale, stems trimmed, large ribs removed
1 1/2 cups unsweetened large-flake coconut (if you can only find finely shredded coconut flakes, which are much more common in stores, reduce the amount to 1/2 cup)
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with two racks in the top third of the oven.  
2) In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the olive oil, sesame oil, and shoyu or soy sauce.  Put the kale and coconut in a large bowl and toss well with about two-thirds of the olive oil mixture.  
3) Spread the kale evenly across two baking sheets.  Bake for 12-18 minutes, until the coconut is deeply golden brown, tossing once or twice along the way.  If the kale mixture on the top baking sheet begins to get too browned, move it to a lower rack.
4) Remove from the oven and transfer the kale mixture to a medium bowl.  Taste.  If you feel it needs a bit more dressing, add some and toss. Serve warm.