Sloppy Joe baked potatoes

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

These baked potatoes are dressed up with healthier turkey sloppy Joe filling for a tasty, healthy, and easy version of this kid-friendly sandwich.

Take me to the recipe!

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner
Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

M used to love sloppy Joes. LOVE THEM. However, when offered these, he declined saying, “I didn’t order that.” SOMEONE GAVE HIM THE GIFT OF SASS FOR HIS FOURTH BIRTHDAY AND I AM NOT HERE FOR IT.

After calmly explaining that I am, in fact, not his waitress, he proceeded to eat a dinner of pickles, cheese, and guacamole, all of which were the toppings and “safe” options I’d put out with the sloppy Joes. You win some, you lose some.

I’ve explained before how we started serving one family meal and adding lots of “safe” options as alternatives for M so that he can self-direct at dinner. Sometimes that means an apple and almond butter on the table or lots of condiments like pickles, olives, and cheese. Guacamole is usually reliable. But sometimes that means he doesn’t eat a ton for dinner and I’m slowly learning to be okay with that.

So, sloppy Joes, while traditionally a very kid-friendly option, were for the grownups in our house. But I have hope for the future.

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

What tends to appeal about Sloppy Joes is their sweetness, but I find that when the filling gets too sweet (like, when a recipe calls for a cup of ketchup), it can become cloyingly sweet. Also, who needs to eat all of that sugar for dinner?

However, the signature sloppy Joe flavor gets lost when you omit sweetener entirely, so I’ve included the bare minimum of brown sugar (2 tsp!) in this recipe. You can also wait to add it until the very end to decide for yourself if you really need it!

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes

Yield: 3 cups or 23 oz
Time: between 60-75 minutes (35 minutes active time)

4 large Russet potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
Flaky sea salt


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
½ medium white onion, minced (about ¾ cup)
1 medium stalk celery, minced (about ¼ cup)
1 small carrot, peeled and minced (a scant ½ cup)
2 large cloves garlic, minced 
½ cup water, divided
6 oz tomato paste (one small can, about 10 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp malt vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have on hand), plus more for the potatoes
2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
2 tsp flaky sea salt, divided

Optional garnishes: cheese, pickles, pickles jalapenos, guacamole, sour cream, yogurt, coleslaw


  1. Preheat the oven to 400.

  2. Scrub 4 potatoes thoroughly and prick all over with a fork or small paring knife. I usually do 10-12 stabs per potato.

  3. Brush the outside skin with a very thin coating of olive oil. You should have some of the 2 Tbsp left over. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

  4. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the skin is crisp and the potato is fork tender.

  5. While the potatoes cook, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground turkey and chop the meat into small pieces with the end of your spatula or spoon. Stir a few times and reduce the heat to medium low.

  6. Chop the onions and add to the pan, stirring a few times.

  7. Repeat with the celery, carrots, and garlic, letting each vegetable cook while you prep the next one.

  8. Cook and stir until the turkey is fully cooked and no pink remains. The whole process of cooking the turkey and veggies should take about 13-15 minutes.

  9. Turn the flame back up to medium and let the turkey and veggies brown slightly. When they begin sticking to the pan a bit (about 3-4 minutes), pour in ¼ cup of water and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

  10. Add the tomato paste, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp salt, and brown sugar (if using), and mix well. If the mixture seems too dry, add the other ¼ cup of water. If you’ve added all of the water and it seems too wet, let the mixture bubble for a few minutes until your sauce has thickened.

  11. When the potatoes are done, carefully remove the pan from the oven and, using an oven mitt on one hand to steady the potato, cut it open with a sharp knife, being careful of the steam that escapes.

  12. Pour a few drops of malt vinegar and a large pinch of sea salt into each opened potato. Top with 1/2 -3/4 cup of the turkey mixture.

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

Sunflower seed butter with flax and chia

Sunflower seed butter | Me & The Moose. This homemade sunflower seed butter tastes so much better than store-bought and is fortified with flax and chia seeds. #meandthemoose #sunflowerseedbutter #lunchboxideas #lunch #lunchbox #sunflowerseedrecipes #sunflowerseedbutterrecipes #lunchboxrecipes #schoolsaferecipes #nutfreerecipes

Once again, I’m copying Trader Joe’s. They have a peanut butter with flax and chia and it’s a fantastic way to get some extra nutrition into a picky eater. Here’s my school-safe version!

Jump to the recipe!

I have a confession to make: I go back and forth between caring A WHOLE LOT about M’s nutrition and then feeling like there are a million little struggles every day and I don’t want to add food to that list.

And he’s always been a contrarian with FOMO, which means he doesn’t love limits. The “perfect parent” voice in my head constantly beats me up about not being stricter. Don’t get me wrong, I say “no” to things 100 times a day and we obviously set lots of boundaries. But we’ve figured out that M does better when he has choice within those limits and that we have to say “yes” to some things or there will be a meltdown.

Anyway, part of M’s way of gaining control these days is that he has VERY strong opinions about food. What he loves one day, he hates the next. Peanut butter mixed into applesauce has been a constant and lately he’s been really into PB&J’s after watching this silly video.

BUT we can’t send any nuts to school, so sunflower seed butter it is. Unfortunately, a lot of the store-bought ones don’t taste great. I’ve made my own sunflower seed butter before and I do love this recipe. But if M’s eating this for at least one meal per day, I wanted to beef up the nutrition. And it tastes so good, he doesn’t complain!

Sunflower seed butter | Me & The Moose. This homemade sunflower seed butter tastes so much better than store-bought and is fortified with flax and chia seeds. #meandthemoose #sunflowerseedbutter #lunchboxideas #lunch #lunchbox #sunflowerseedrecipes #sunflowerseedbutterrecipes #lunchboxrecipes #schoolsaferecipes #nutfreerecipes
Sunflower seed butter | Me & The Moose. This homemade sunflower seed butter tastes so much better than store-bought and is fortified with flax and chia seeds. #meandthemoose #sunflowerseedbutter #lunchboxideas #lunch #lunchbox #sunflowerseedrecipes #sunflowerseedbutterrecipes #lunchboxrecipes #schoolsaferecipes #nutfreerecipes

A couple of notes about this nut butter:

  • When roasting the nuts, you want them to be mostly brown and golden rather than gray. But watch to make sure that they don’t burn! (See the photos above for a before and after.) Well-roasted seeds are much easier to process than ones that are still partly raw.

  • The grinding process takes a bit of patience. If you let the machine run, the seeds will come together into a paste. There are more detailed instructions for the individual grinding steps in the recipe below. Be sure to read the recipe before starting this butter.

  • Storage: I store this seed butter in the fridge because I’ve read that flax and chia (and seeds in general) tend to get rancid quickly when left vulnerable to moisture and heat in the cabinet). The cold tightens the butter considerably, but 20 seconds in the microwave makes the butter easily spreadable again.

Sunflower seed butter | Me & The Moose. This homemade sunflower seed butter tastes so much better than store-bought and is fortified with flax and chia seeds. #meandthemoose #sunflowerseedbutter #lunchboxideas #lunch #lunchbox #sunflowerseedrecipes #sunflowerseedbutterrecipes #lunchboxrecipes #schoolsaferecipes #nutfreerecipes
Sunflower seed butter | Me & The Moose. This homemade sunflower seed butter tastes so much better than store-bought and is fortified with flax and chia seeds. #meandthemoose #sunflowerseedbutter #lunchboxideas #lunch #lunchbox #sunflowerseedrecipes #sunflowerseedbutterrecipes #lunchboxrecipes #schoolsaferecipes #nutfreerecipes
Sunflower seed butter | Me & The Moose. This homemade sunflower seed butter tastes so much better than store-bought and is fortified with flax and chia seeds. #meandthemoose #sunflowerseedbutter #lunchboxideas #lunch #lunchbox #sunflowerseedrecipes #sunflowerseedbutterrecipes #lunchboxrecipes #schoolsaferecipes #nutfreerecipes
Sunflower seed butter | Me & The Moose. This homemade sunflower seed butter tastes so much better than store-bought and is fortified with flax and chia seeds. #meandthemoose #sunflowerseedbutter #lunchboxideas #lunch #lunchbox #sunflowerseedrecipes #sunflowerseedbutterrecipes #lunchboxrecipes #schoolsaferecipes #nutfreerecipes

Sunflower seed butter with flax and chia

Yield: 2-2¼ cups 
Time: 30-35 minutes

3 cups raw sunflower seeds
4-6 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp flaky sea salt
3 Tbsp each chia seeds
3 Tbsp whole flax seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the raw sunflower seeds out on a large sheet pan. Roast for 5 minutes and shake the tray. Roast for 2-3 minutes more, checking to make sure that the seeds don’t burn. When the seeds are uniformly more golden brown than gray, they’re ready for processing.

  2. Add the roasted seeds to a large food processor and grind for 2 minutes. The seeds will break up and look very dry and like breadcrumbs.

  3. Add 2 Tbsp of coconut oil and the maple syrup and process for 2 more minutes. At this stage, the seeds start coming together in a large slow-moving glacier of seed butter. Scrape down the sides and break up the glacier as necessary. It will still feel dry and crumbly when you break up the glacier.

  4. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and process again, this time letting the machine run. Let it go for at least 3-4 minutes before adding more coconut oil as the heat of the processor and the continued grinding will start to make the butter smoother and wetter. The glacier of seed butter will still be forming, but will be spinning around the food processor much faster.

  5. After that 3-4 minutes, and while the food processor is running, add the other 2-4 Tbsp of coconut oil to achieve a silky consistency. Don’t add more maple syrup or water because it will make the seed butter stick together and clump more instead of smoothing it out.

  6. The whole process of grinding the seeds into a smooth butter usually takes between 15 and 20 minutes (including stopping add ingredients), so patience is key.

  7. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the sea salt, chia seeds and flax seeds and stir well.

Sunflower seed butter | Me & The Moose. This homemade sunflower seed butter tastes so much better than store-bought and is fortified with flax and chia seeds. #meandthemoose #sunflowerseedbutter #lunchboxideas #lunch #lunchbox #sunflowerseedrecipes #sunflowerseedbutterrecipes #lunchboxrecipes #schoolsaferecipes #nutfreerecipes

Sheet pan dinner: White fish with potatoes and fennel

Sheet pan dinner: White Fish with Potatoes and Fennel | Me & The Moose. This one pan wonder dinner is ready in 40 minutes and features fish and veggies dressed up with all the sweet, salty, creamy, briny, and crunchy toppings you could want. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #onepandinner #dinnerrecipes #Mediterraneandiet #fishrecipes #pescatarianrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes

This sheet pan dinner is ready in about 40 minutes (start to finish) and combines mild base flavors with all kinds of dynamic toppings so you can please even the pickiest palate.

Jump to the recipe!

Sheet pan dinner: White Fish with Potatoes and Fennel | Me & The Moose. This one pan wonder dinner is ready in 40 minutes and features fish and veggies dressed up with all the sweet, salty, creamy, briny, and crunchy toppings you could want. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #onepandinner #dinnerrecipes #Mediterraneandiet #fishrecipes #pescatarianrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes

Well hello anxiety, my old friend!

Question for the caregivers out there: Are you able to separate your own happiness from that of your kids? It’s a tough question because if your child is having a hard time in any area of his/her/their life, it can feel weird to say that you’re happy anyway. It’s also hard to actually be happy anyway. But at the same time, it’s a lot of pressure for a kid to have that much impact on their caregiver’s well-being.

We’ve had a couple of good weeks recently. You know the ones: You suddenly realize that the littles are more agreeable, they actually eat the food that you cook, and they can entertain themselves with toys that they already own!

We were on one of those streaks when M suddenly had a really tough week last week. I felt myself getting more and more anxious about it. Then I tried talking to him about a specific situation at school and he wouldn’t tell me because, he said, “I don’t want to make you mad and sad.” CRY FACE EMOJI.

I realized that my sensitive butterfly could tell that I was getting upset about his tough times and that it was stressing him out.

On the one hand, it’s good for kids, especially in these self-centered toddler and preschool years, to know that their actions and words impact others. I mean, it’s our job to teach them about consequences. But it’s also not a kid’s job to make sure that their parents are happy. So how do you balance your kids’ stuff with your own? Do you feel happy even when your kids are having a rough time?

I have no answers. Just putting this out into the universe in the hopes that someone smarter than me has some guidance.

Sheet pan dinner: White Fish with Potatoes and Fennel | Me & The Moose. This one pan wonder dinner is ready in 40 minutes and features fish and veggies dressed up with all the sweet, salty, creamy, briny, and crunchy toppings you could want. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #onepandinner #dinnerrecipes #Mediterraneandiet #fishrecipes #pescatarianrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes

When I feel anxious, as I have this week, I gravitate towards unhealthy food, which always makes me feel worse. So instead, I made this sheet pan dinner and it has done the trick! Every flavor is represented here: Creamy, tangy feta; briny, salty olives; sweet, piquant roasted red peppers; and crunchy, sour pickled onions. Throw on some aromatic fresh oregano and garlic butter and this simple fish, potatoes and fennel dinner is all dressed up in a more interesting package.

The various components cook at different rates, which is the only slightly tricky part of this meal. But good news: You can prep the next step while the earlier one is cooking.

Sheet pan dinner: White Fish with Potatoes and Fennel | Me & The Moose. This one pan wonder dinner is ready in 40 minutes and features fish and veggies dressed up with all the sweet, salty, creamy, briny, and crunchy toppings you could want. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #onepandinner #dinnerrecipes #Mediterraneandiet #fishrecipes #pescatarianrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes

Sheet pan dinner: White fish with potatoes and fennel

½ lb small potatoes, halved or quartered
2 large bulbs of fennel, white part only, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
½-1 tsp salt, divided  
Black pepper, to taste
4 white fish fillets, about 6 oz each, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced  

Toppings (all are optional!):
½ cup green or black olives, pitted and chopped
2-3 oz feta, crumbled
Fresh oregano
Quick pickled red onions (See recipe below)
Roasted red peppers, sliced
Lemon wedges
Flatbreads, Naan, or Pita

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.

  2. Prep the potatoes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 5 minutes.

  3. While the potatoes roast, slice the fennel into 1/8th inch slices. Add the fennel to the roasting pan and toss with the other 1 Tbsp of oil and another large pinch of salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the fennel starts to brown and the potatoes are fork tender.

  4. While the fennel roasts, wrap your fish in parchment packets. Cut a piece of parchment 2-3x as large as your fish filet. Place the filet in the middle and bring the two longer ends together and fold down. Fold up the remaining sides.

  5. Add the fish on top of the veggies and cook until it flakes easily. This will take slightly longer if you’re cooking the fish from frozen. (I check the fish after 10 minutes if thawed, or after 15-18 minutes if frozen. Open up one parchment packet and try to flake the fish with a fork. If it comes apart easily, it’s done.)

  6. While the veggies and fish are roasting, prep your toppings. Set aside.

  7. Mince the garlic. Combine with 2 Tbsp of butter and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute until the butter is liquid. Add a pinch of salt and stir. Set aside.

  8. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and carefully open the parchment packets. Discard the paper and the water that’s collected in the packets while the fish cooked.

  9. Top the fish fillets with the garlic butter.

  10. Top the sheet pan with any of the toppings you choose.

Yield: 4 servings

Quick pickled red onions
1 large red onion, sliced into 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

  1. Combine the onions with the pickling ingredients in a large container and shake a few times. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to 1 week.

Sheet pan dinner: White Fish with Potatoes and Fennel | Me & The Moose. This one pan wonder dinner is ready in 40 minutes and features fish and veggies dressed up with all the sweet, salty, creamy, briny, and crunchy toppings you could want. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #onepandinner #dinnerrecipes #Mediterraneandiet #fishrecipes #pescatarianrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes

Spinach and kale tots

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

One reliable way I could get some greens into M was to present things as a “tot.” He really loved the Spinach and Kale Bites from Trader Joe’s, but our store has been out of them for weeks. So here is my copycat version.

Take me to the tots (recipe)!

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

Note my use of the past tense up there.

M is still in his picky phase that I’ve mentioned before. He’s off of hummus, but full steam ahead with smoothies. One day he loves yogurt and the next he won’t touch it. Some days, carrots are a safe food and other days broccoli is his only vegetable. One day he’ll ask for a bowl of peas (straight up with nothing on them) and another day he’s picking them out of his mac and cheese. It’s maddening.

However, food refusal is a normal part of eating for kids. It’s hard to learn how to eat! Their taste buds are changing, their caloric needs swing wildly from day to day, and part of a preschooler’s job is to push against boundaries, so if there are rules around food in your house, they’ll try to break them. It’s how kids operate.

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

One of my big things is making the same food for the whole family, so the good news here is that I really like these tots and they’re packed with veggies, so they make a good snack for the grownups as well.

Make these tots! One day my kid will eat them, I’m sure. And until then, I’ll eat them.

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

Spinach and kale tots

1 bag frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 bag frozen kale, thawed and squeezed dry
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
¾ cup grated Parmesan
½ cup shredded mozzarella
Heaping ½ tsp sea salt
Heaping ½ tsp onion powder
Heaping ½ tsp garlic powder
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350.

Thaw and squeeze dry a bag of spinach and a bag of kale. To achieve a smoother texture in your tots, pulse the dried greens in a food processor 10-15 times. You may need to squeeze with another towel if more liquid is released.

Place the squeezed dry greens in a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to combine.

Take about 1½-2 Tbsp of the mixture and press into a nugget shape with your palms.

Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until the nuggets feel solid when you push on them lightly.  

Yield: about 24-26 tots 

Spinach and kale tots | Me & The Moose. These “tots” are filled with super greens and come together quickly for an easy side, lunchbox filler, or snack. #meandthemoose #homemadetots #tots #totsrecipe #lunchboxrecipes #veggiesnacks #kidfoodrecipes #kale #spinach #kidseatgreens

Purple kale and cabbage salad

Purple kale and cabbage salad | Me & The Moose. A simple winter salad with greens, cabbage, roasted vegetables, and garlicky pumpernickel croutons tossed with a shallot vinaigrette is as filling and cozy as a salad can be. #meandthemoose #salad #wintersalad #saladrecipes #vegetarian #kale #cabbage #purplefoods

Yada yada yada…take me to the recipe

Do your kids eat salad?

Leafy greens are hit or miss around here, as are all foods these days. M is doing a lot of refusing to eat at meals— and not just healthy stuff, but ALL stuff— and the struggle is real.

I follow @kids.eat.in.color on Instagram and her feed is a sanity saving reminder that kids’ appetites change dramatically from day to day and week to week for a variety of reasons, so I’m trying not to sweat this testing phase. I think it has a lot to do with control and independence because when he gets really hungry, he eats. Last night he took down about 8 homemade dumplings, peanut noodles, broccoli, and scallion pancakes.

I actually talked to a dietitian friend about it and her mealtime strategy is to serve everyone the same main dish, but to also put bread and hummus on the table so that her kiddos have an alternative if they aren’t into the main. If they ask for something else, her response is a gentle but firm, “Sorry, that’s not on the menu tonight.”

I LOVE this strategy and am going to implement it on our table. An apple with almond butter is M’s go-to if he doesn’t like what I’ve made. So instead of letting that be the end point of a power struggle, I’m just going to start putting it out on the table as a way to de-fang this dinner time dance we’re doing.

I just want to make sure that I don’t take the joy out of eating for M, you know?

I recently read the book The Eating Instinct and it was fascinating. The author talks about how we start off using food for comfort and connection when feeding infants, but pivot to a whole different way of looking at food for older kids and throughout our lives. Sure, food is medicine and can be vital to our health, but it’s also love and community and comfort and it should be all of those things.

Another of my takeaways from the book is that our culture’s messaging around food really undermines our ability to trust ourselves to know what and how much to eat. I really don’t want to do that to M. I want to trust him that if he’s had two bites of dinner, he really is done.

I realize what a privilege it is that I get to worry about my kid not eating a kale salad. I mean, it may not get bougier than that, right? So, I also want to let that bit of perspective slow my roll when I start to get worried or frustrated that he isn’t eating.

Purple kale and cabbage salad | Me & The Moose. A simple winter salad with greens, cabbage, roasted vegetables, and garlicky pumpernickel croutons tossed with a shallot vinaigrette is as filling and cozy as a salad can be. #meandthemoose #salad #wintersalad #saladrecipes #vegetarian #kale #cabbage #purplefoods

Anyhoo, when things are working normally, I have a few tricks to getting M to eat salad:
1) Let him help with mixing the salad and tossing in the dressing.
2) Cut everything really small.
3) AAC, or Always Add Croutons: Bread is pretty safe for most kids and the added crunch can be a fun textural element.
4) Deconstruct: If your kids like to isolate textures, you can also deconstruct the salad so they eat each element on its own.

Purple kale and cabbage salad | Me & The Moose. A simple winter salad with greens, cabbage, roasted vegetables, and garlicky pumpernickel croutons tossed with a shallot vinaigrette is as filling and cozy as a salad can be. #meandthemoose #salad #wintersalad #saladrecipes #vegetarian #kale #cabbage #purplefoods

This salad is lovely and complex, but shockingly simple. I made it with just carrots the day I took photos, but it’s better with the roasted radishes and carrots. The carrots are sweet, which is great for kids, but the radishes add a slightly bitter edge that balances that sweetness. Roasting the radishes also takes away about 99 percent of the bite, though, so they’re very mellow.

Purple kale and cabbage salad | Me & The Moose. A simple winter salad with greens, cabbage, roasted vegetables, and garlicky pumpernickel croutons tossed with a shallot vinaigrette is as filling and cozy as a salad can be. #meandthemoose #salad #wintersalad #saladrecipes #vegetarian #kale #cabbage #purplefoods
Purple kale and cabbage salad | Me & The Moose. A simple winter salad with greens, cabbage, roasted vegetables, and garlicky pumpernickel croutons tossed with a shallot vinaigrette is as filling and cozy as a salad can be. #meandthemoose #salad #wintersalad #saladrecipes #vegetarian #kale #cabbage #purplefoods

Don’t skip rubbing the bread with garlic once it’s toasted and before you cut it into croutons. So so good.

And don’t be shy with salt. Salads are so much better with salt.

Purple kale and cabbage salad | Me & The Moose. A simple winter salad with greens, cabbage, roasted vegetables, and garlicky pumpernickel croutons tossed with a shallot vinaigrette is as filling and cozy as a salad can be. #meandthemoose #salad #wintersalad #saladrecipes #vegetarian #kale #cabbage #purplefoods


Purple kale and cabbage salad

1 small bunch purple carrots, peeled and sliced into large chunks
1 bunch radishes, cleaned and trimmed on top and bottom, quartered
3-4 thick slices of pumpernickel bread
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Large pinch of salt
1 bunch purple kale
½ small purple cabbage
½- ¾ cup balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)
1 large clove garlic, cut in half
Aged gouda (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425.

Prep the carrots and radishes. Toss with 1 1/2- 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.

On the same sheet pan, place thick slices of bread and brush with olive oil and top with a pinch of salt.

Roast the carrots, radishes, and bread for 10 minutes. Remove the bread slices and return the carrots and radishes to the oven. Cook, checking for doneness every 5 minutes.

While the vegetables and bread are roasting, chop the kale and cabbage into very small pieces and toss well with the dressing. Set aside.

When the bread is still hot, but you’re able to handle it, rub the raw garlic over the crusty bread. Cut into small cubes and set aside.

(If you plan to make this salad ahead and serve after a few hours, stop assembling at this step. Store your cheese, croutons, and roasted vegetables separately and assemble the components just before serving.)

Add the carrots, radishes, and croutons to the salad and toss. Top with slices or shreds of cheese and serve immediately.

Yield: lots of salad.

Balsamic vinaigrette

1 small or ½ large shallot
1 small garlic clove
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a small blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Check the seasoning. Dressing will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: about 1¼ cups or 9 oz

 

Purple kale and cabbage salad | Me & The Moose. A simple winter salad with greens, cabbage, roasted vegetables, and garlicky pumpernickel croutons tossed with a shallot vinaigrette is as filling and cozy as a salad can be. #meandthemoose #salad #wintersalad #saladrecipes #vegetarian #kale #cabbage #purplefoods