Southwestern Patties for a Quick Dinner

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I love summer for it’s spontaneity. We can go anywhere anytime.

We are entering our last week of summer here in Portland and I have a pretty good schedule laid out for the week. I’ve decided to go out with a bang – I’m going to be a really fun mom this week; at least I’m going to try. Maybe I should be boring so they actually want to go back to school. I have one that is excited to go and one who is not. I don’t think there’s any way around that. It’s also going to be a new adventure this year because I’ll have my 3-year-old with me all day without the entertainment help of another child.

What I’ll miss: easy mornings, continuous kid crafting, not having a busy night schedule, mid-day adventures, forts all over the house

What I’m excited for: time for some hobbies, watching my kids grow, going grocery shopping with only one child, not hearing arguing throughout the day

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I also love summer for it’s fresh produce. I am seriously going to miss melons in a couple months. I think I just ate the best honeydew a couple days ago! But then honey crisp apples are coming back in, so that gives me a good reason to look forward to fall…and soups…and pumpkin flavored everything…and how my boots died the end of winter so I’ll be on the hunt for new ones.

Regardless of summer, end of summer, or new boots, I love quick meals. Meals are the best that I can make with simple prep, that are customizable, but combine lots of different flavors. This meals is one of our favorites…. 

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Strawberry Salad

Sometimes salad sounds boring to me. That might sound weird since I’m kinda a veggie nerd (totally exists) and my kids could tell you the same. However, this summer I’ve experimented with some sweeter salad ingredients. This has kept me more interested and excited to eat my lunchy greens. On the menu today – strawberry salad.

Strawberry Salad

I’m a sucker for fresh berries, mangos, and melons. Every lunch I’ve been looking around my kitchen and topping whatever greens I’ve had with some sort of fruit. This strawberry salad is juicy and combines the perfect sweetness with crunch. On top of that, my other new favorite salad topping is sliced mushrooms. Seriously the perfect combo of sweet, soft, and crunchy. I’m not a huge raw mushroom fan, so this topping has been a bit surprising for me. The meatiness of the mushrooms has been awesome and I love their soft texture combined with something fruity…. 

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Fruit Flag

Fruit Flag

Independence has meant different things through my life. If my kids glean one thing from me, I hope it’s how to be independently strong, confident, and kind.

I loved cooking in the kitchen by myself when I was younger. It made me feel knowledgable – little did I know that you don’t cook fish chopped up into tiny little shredded pieces rather than a big chunk. My parents very graciously ate that meal. I redeemed myself by whipping up some awesome rhubarb crunch.

For almost four years I got up to play basketball at 6 am before school. This is when I was 11-14. I loved feeling the power to follow through on decisions and see myself get better through dedication. I felt independent in my hard work.

Fruit Flag

I remember at the end of high school I was really excited for college away from home (not unlike most of us – I just might have given my parents a good challenge). I was so looking forward to the independence that would come from being totally in charge of myself. I don’t even want to think about this with my children, watching them out the rearview mirror as I drive away like my mom did, not really being successful at holding in tears.

One time at school (go BYU Cougars!) I saw a girl in the middle of a path standing, crying silently, and not moving. In my independent desire for kindness, I went to her and hugged her. It sounds kinda weird, and kinda weird to be telling you this, but it was a moment. She was a stranger and I was a stranger, but for that moment she wasn’t alone. I honestly don’t remember what devastating news she had just received, she told me through muffled tears. We never learned each other’s names and never saw each other again, but for that simple moment, we declared our ability to independently come together to make each other stronger.

… 

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Creamy Cashew Dip

Cashew Dip / good for veggies and vegan nachos

I really don’t know if anyone can love a homemade ranch dip as much as I do. Forever ago I made cilantro lime ranch that is to die for. But then I kinda went mostly vegan, so that doesn’t work very well anymore.

I’ve tried making a dill flavored dip but haven’t succeeded yet. Just you wait…just you wait.

In the meantime, I’m pretty pro at this dip. I dip my veggies in it, I use it as a sauce on salads, nachos, or enchiladas. It’s creamy, it has cilantro in it, and it holds up to the other flavors and textures in a dish.

Cashew Dip

I’m okay that I use cashews in so many sauces, they are amazing. I love discovering different foodie ideas because I had no idea that this was ever a possibility. Before I went vegan-ish, I never thought about cashews outside of their beany form. The broader I make my food spectrum and desire to experiment, the more I have to learn.

I have  s o  m u c h  t o  l e a r n. But that’s a good thing…. 

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Cashew Kale with Peanut Sauce

Cashew Kale with Peanut Sauce \\ Carrot Bowl

I’m a sun worshipper. I love the feeling of sun-kissed skin and the hint of sunscreen that lingers with us through the day. It’s 90 degrees here today and I finally caved and turned on the air conditioning. I love the hot warmth that makes shade seem so much cooler. With the sun shining so hot this week, the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove. This cashew kale with peanut sauce only requires a short stove time. You could even make it in a cooler morning or evening and save it for the next day as a cold salad.

I love the peanut flavor mixed with the cashews, I love the kale all wilted in the spicy asian flavors, and for some reason the peeled carrots make this dish super exciting to me. You’ll like it and you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to make. Seriously, it’s probably about 10 minutes…. 

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Chickpea Salad with Dill, Celery, & Sunflower Seeds

 

Chickpea Salad with Dill & Sunflower Seeds

I’ve learned a couple things the past couple weeks. Okay, maybe month:

If you feel like you are in a good life rhythm, don’t buy a dog.

If you do adopt a dog, be willing to say it’s too much.

It’s okay to cry, even if the kids don’t, when you give the dog back. We named him Chowder. And yes, I was in the middle of the store crying…feeling like a fool. But it’s okay…. 

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