Broccoli, Raisin + Sunflower Salad

Broccoli, Raisin + Sunflower Salad



I’ve had a whole line of early summer recipes to share, which I tested on repeat until getting just right. Inevitably I never got around to photographing and sharing, and then the ingredients in question were past their season and the moment was gone.


It’s been that sort of summer. I’ve been trying to just go with it.




The Recipe Redux challenged us to Beat the Heat with the Slow Cooker/Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker this month instead of turning on the oven or stovetop. But the god’s honest truth? I wiped out//not invited in as many appliances as I can, in the name of less clutter, open space, and more peace of mind. So I don’t have too many kitchen appliances to cook with in lieu of the oven and stove, save our tiny countertop grill.

And also, If you read my last post about eating more soup in the summer (a practice that is still going strong), you’ll know I’m okay with a little summer heat. I’ve been delving more into eating in the way that serves me best these last few years and warm, cooked foods are generally better for me. Our climate is also fairly mild and I’m enjoying being outside as much as possible in this season; the warm days are particularly pleasing. Chameleoning, I call it.

I worked outside in the shade for most of the day earlier this week, and though it was easily in the low 80’s, I had a long-sleeve on for most of it. Later, at a meeting in an unairconditioned house, I put those longsleeves back on and was super comfortable while around the table, everyone else was in shortsleeves and tank tops. The sameish story is true when I work from home, until the end of the day when William walks in the door and must-have-fan/AC. In the evenings, I don my sweaters and socks!

So super cold person here. And summer is my season.




But to keep with the theme for this month, I did turn off the oven/stovetop and I made one of my favorite broccoli salads. It’s a rendition of that mayonnaise, bacon, and sugar-infused potluck dish I remember from summers long ago, but this is one I actually enjoy eating.

Plus, it’s keeping the broccoli forest in my backyard in check!

Paired with easy grilled tofu and some slices of rustic whole-grain bread, or whatever else you’ve got on hand and sounds nice, it’s a dish for these warmer summer evenings.




Broccoli, Raisin, and Sunflower Salad, serves 3-4
I’ve been growing Apollo Broccoli from Territorial Seeds for the last couple years and this variety is a broccoli cross, which has tender side shoots/sprouts that grow continuously from May through December. It looks extra leafy because when harvested and used fresh, the tender buds, stems, and leaves are all sweet and delicious. Make this with the broccoli you have available, but try to limit the from garden/farm/store-to-plate timeframe because some of broccoli’s best nutrients are depleted rapidly by light, heat, and long-storage!

a big bunch of fresh broccoli
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, toasted*
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt
1/2 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

  • Cut the broccoli florets and stalks into small, bite-sized pieces. Place them in a big serving bowl along with the raisins, toasted seeds, yogurt, and salt and pepper. Use your hands or a large spoon to mix everything until the broccoli is coated with yogurt to your liking.
  • Serve right away along with the sides/mains of your choice.

* To toast your seeds, put them in a small saute pan over medium-low and heat until just beginning to smell toasty and turn golden, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into this salad.


Sprouted Buckwheat Granola



I listened to a disgruntled parent on the phone yesterday. Because she was disgruntled about something completely unrelated to me, she was quite open with the details of her discontent.


I listened to a couple teachers rant last week. In what started as a discussion of what I could do for their students, our meeting soon became what I could do for them in that moment, to be a good ear.


I listen to students in my high school group share their insecurities almost every Wednesday and Friday. Their fears and self-doubts are usually thrown into the middle of sentences so subtly that if I weren’t paying close attention, I might miss them.


When I was teaching, I regularly had students come into my classroom to sit and talk at me before or after school, to share their tough lives beyond the school walls, to ask me personal questions that I wanted to feel comfortable enough to answer sincerely because I knew they needed an adult to look up to and have their back.




These are not isolated incidents. From day to day, I listen to people share feelings of frustration, of isolation, of shame. Certainly, not everything I listen to is negative. I hear plenty of good experiences and fun stories too. But I hear the tough ones more loudly. Sometimes in those circumstances, I offer my input. More often, I prefer to listen or ask a question or two to keep from having the conversation come back on me, to swirl back around to how I am doing.




I remember growing up that it was often stated to me, no one likes a complainer. No one wants to hear the negativity. And I think that is true. But we also need someone to hear us, especially on the days that don’t go so well. In my own home, I’m often told that I’m not a good listener. I cringe each time I hear that statement and I immediatly wonder how, if I’m so terrible at listening to the one that loves and knows me best, can anyone else feel like I’m good enough to confide in?


We so often want to shut out the negativity, to cut off the complainers mid-vent because we know just how to fix their crazy, mental, nutty lives. I am a complete victim of this in my own home. I flap my wings all over William’s sharing like a distraught mother bird and I manage to cut him off mid-sentence repeatedly with unhelpful questions because if I’m busy focusing on fixing him there is less room in my crazy brain to focus on what is wrong with me.


When I take a step back and give myself a break, just as I so often give everyone else one, I realize we are all just trying to figure out how to live and be and manage ourselves in this experience we’re given. And many of us are struggling daily through life’s heap to peel back enough layers—in a conversation, in a relationship, in ourselves—to find the voice that is ours.


Each one of us has one. Each voice is distinct and has something to say. Each voice deserves to be heard. But it requires the act of listening. 

– Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds




Sprouted Buckwheat Granola

Chalk it up to roots that run real deep to the British Isles, but I’m in the habit of enjoying teatime around 4pm as often as possible, complete with a hot cuppa and snacks, and all the better if there is good company and conversation to be had. Growing up, I always ate a bowl of cereal as a snack on days I came home right after school. To this day, I favor crunchy cereals and fruit rather than the traditional mid-afternoon sweets. Today just happens to be National Nut Day. I’m not acutally sure if the day is meant to celebrate all the nutters like me, or if its more of a day to enjoy eating nuts, but the Recipe Redux is celebrating with a nutty theme this month. So it was timely that my garden-neighbor handed me a big box of fresh-off-his-tree walnuts last week. I contemplated making all sorts of elaborate walnut concoctions. But then it was teatime and I was out of crunchy cereal. So I made granola.

This sprouted buckwheat granola is inspired by a completely raw, sprouted one that I purchase in tiny amounts at my local co-op as a treat. Sprouting seeds, nuts, and grains helps them to release enzyme inhibitors which make them more difficult to digest their beneficial nutrients and makes them more nutritious to eat. Making sprouted granola in a food dehydrator is the best way to make sure those released nutrients are still around in the final product. I do not have a food dehydrator though so I baked my batch in the oven at the lowest possible setting overnight. If you want to add a little honey or maple syrup in the mixing process to sweeten this up a touch more, go ahead. I find the applesauce and raisins to be lightly sweet enough.

2 cups raw buckwheat groats

2 cups puffed millet

1 cup raw walnuts

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

3/4 cup applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup raisins

  • Soak the buckwheat in a large dish for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well until the water runs clear and all the slime is gone. Drain thoroughly. Return the buckwheat to a large jar and cover with cheesecloth, a thin towel, or paper towel, and set upside down. Rinse at least twice per day until it just starts sprouting, about 1-2 days. Meanwhile, soak the nuts and the seeds in a jar for 4-6 hours. Rinse and drain them thoroughly.
  • On a large baking pan, pour out and mix the slightly sprouted buckwheat, soaked and rinsed walnuts and pumpkin seeds along with the remaining ingredients, except for the raisins.
  • Set the pan in the oven at the lowest possible temperature setting and allow to dry overnight for 6-8 hours. Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature, and then stir in the raisins.


Thankfulness Brings Increase + Parsnip Carrot Cake Oats



I cozied up with the first of the year baking dense loaves of rustic pumpkin + rosemary bread and drinking a good, strong pot of tea. I had a plan to identify main themes from the old year and move forward with a new vision and sense of putting 2014’s dis-ease to rest.


Though I know it’s not so simple as wiping the slate clean on New Year’s Eve and waking up in the new year free from the baggage that has accumulated, the introspective process of looking back at the bigger picture of the year helps me move foward into the new. From this practice, one particular message from Ryan Hall, an elite runner I follow, came to the surface and has since been floating around my consciousness. Nearly a year ago, Ryan shared about thankfulness, being thankful for what you have in the moment.


I can measure 2014 by the swinging polarity between connected and dis-connectedness, of being ready for life’s battles and feeling broken down and unworthy. I’ve often felt a sense of discontent, not-enough-ness, of missing out on living, especially when I look to social media. These feelings of inadequacy have been a catalyst for many negative behaviors in the past, and they were certainly a theme that stands out this past year.




On Thursday past, I was looking to shed light on what I can achieve in this new year to be more satisfied, to measure up. Instead, Ryan’s words came back and reminded me of what I can be. This winter season is one for filtering out the clutter, the noise, the comparing and measuring, to simply be thankful. What I have to offer–what I bring with me into 2015 that is less than I thought it should be by now–is exactly what I can be thankful for in the present.


When I get quiet, I know my truth is that everything I need will be provided at exactly the right time. There will be room for big achievements and worthy mountains to climb in the coming months. But for now, I am focusing my energy on looking for the good in each situation. This year, I plan to live more fully by Ryan’s words. Thankfulness brings Increase.




Parsnip Carrot Cake Oats, serves 1-2

We began the new year with a baked-version of these oats, but this is the one I’ve been making lately. It smells like the holidays are still with us, with the addition of spices and orange peel, but tastes oh-so-January with the hearty duo of carrots and parsnips. Use any type of oats. Sometimes I mix in a combination of old-fashioned and Scottish-style. Old-fashioned oats can be ground semi-fine with a coffee grinder or food processor to achieve the Scottish style consistency. 

1 1/2 cups water
1/8 tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. ginger
Pinch of nutmeg
1 small carrot (50 g), finely shredded
1 small parsnip (50 g), finely shredded
1/4 cup raisins or dates
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats 
orange zest
1-2 Tbs. ground flax seed

  1. On the stovetop, put the water, salt, spices, raisins, and shredded roots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Once it comes to a boil, turn down to medium and let cook until it is soft and nearly all the water has been absorbed, about ten to fifteen minutes.
  3. Take off the heat, and zest about 1/3  of an orange over the mixture. Stir in the ground flax.