Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts | Sarah J. Hauser #sides #dinner #paleo #easyweeknight

I tend to overcomplicate things. While researching a recipe using bread I thought, “Well, why not just make the bread myself?” That’s all fine and good. Things with homemade bread taste better. But while I daydreamed about the smell of dough in the oven, a pile of laundry sat in my bedroom, dishes from two meals ago filled my sink, I had yet to shower, and I watched my one-year-old running by with a diaper about to explode. I don’t have time for homemade bread—but I bookmarked the recipe for another day. Maybe tomorrow. Or next week. Or when my kids drive off to college. For now, I need to simplify.

In the spirit of simplicity, I thought I’d share what I do most nights for meals. I’ve slowly learned to get more realistic about dinner. Then when I can make the space, I add in a new dish or try an interesting ingredient. But many nights, our menu consists of a green veggie, a starch, and a protein. Tomorrow, we’re doing baked chicken drumsticks, green beans, and corn. Another day, we did baked salmon, rice, and roasted asparagus. Sometimes I’ll follow a new recipe or make a stew or soup on the stove or in the slow cooker. But the formula still stands: beef stew, mashed potatoes, peas (technically a legume, but whatever).

Also, 9 times out of 10, whatever vegetable I make is roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper. That’s it. Keep it simple. In the recipe below, I added a little maple syrup—’cause every once in awhile you gotta’ go wild.

This formula makes it easy to mix and match, and I can gradually introduce new foods to my kiddos. If we’re going to have brussels sprouts, a food not exactly known for being kid-friendly, I’ll make sure the other two parts of the meal are relatively well-liked (although, kids are quite fickle, so you never can know for sure). They have to try at least one bite of the new food. If they don’t like it at least they’re not leaving the meal hungry, and I’m not making a whole separate dinner for them. If I’ve got time for that, I’d rather go back to making the homemade bread.

Everyone has their own methods for feeding their families, and I’m still learning as we go. For now, this seems to work for us more often than not.

How about you? Do you meal plan? What tips and tricks have you found helpful as you’re getting dinner on the table? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts | Sarah J. Hauser #sides #dinner #paleo #easyweeknight
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts | Sarah J. Hauser #sides #dinner #paleo #easyweeknight
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts | Sarah J. Hauser #sides #dinner #paleo #easyweeknight
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts | Sarah J. Hauser #sides #dinner #paleo #easyweeknight

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts
Yields 4-6 servings

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾”-1” pieces
2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (large ones quartered)
2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons maple syrup*
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus another pinch
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the sweet potatoes out onto two large rimmed baking sheets. (If you crowd it onto one baking sheet, the vegetables won’t brown as well.) Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and the maple syrup. Sprinkle with salt. Toss the sweet potatoes to make sure they’re evenly coated with the olive oil, syrup, and salt.

Bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to toss the potatoes. Add the brussels sprouts, dividing them between the two baking sheets. If the vegetables look a little dry, drizzle on an extra tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat and return the pans to the oven.

Bake an additional 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and browned to your liking. (For extra browning, you can also put them under the broiler for a minute or two at the end.)

Serve alongside your favorite protein such as pulled pork or crispy chicken thighs.

*This gives a very slight maple flavor, but in this recipe it’s intentionally subtle since sweet potatoes are already so sweet. If you want, you can increase the maple syrup by a tablespoon or so. You can also leave the maple syrup out entirely if you want to avoid added sweetener.

Note: These vegetables also taste AMAZING with an over easy egg on top in the morning! It’s a great way to get some veggies in for breakfast!


Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser

Happy Tuesday! My kids had their first real day of preschool today. They seemed to have a great time and looked wonderfully worn out when I picked them up a few hours later. It’s a new stage for us, one that makes us all a little nervous but mostly excited. Having twins before our third baby means I’ve never consistently been home with just one kiddo, so that will (hopefully) bring a much needed break!

It's been a while since I've posted here, but I'm excited to get back in the kitchen again. I recently worked with Kizingo Kids, a company that makes products to promote health and independence in kids. I created this recipe for a Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl. I’ve been looking for new breakfast ideas, especially for the mornings we have to get out the door for school. We eat a ton of eggs as well as oatmeal, but adding quinoa in the mix gives us a little more variety and nutrition. You can definitely play around with the recipe to include whatever fruit you like, or sub out the coconut milk for other options like whole milk or almond milk.

To get the recipe, head over to the Kizingo blog! What are your breakfast go-tos? I’m always looking for new ideas, so let me know in the comments below!

Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser
Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser
Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser
Tropical Quinoa Breakfast Bowl - Sarah J. Hauser.jpg

This post was created in partnership with Kizingo. Head over to their blog for the recipe!


Mixed Berry + Cocoa Smoothie [and growing into motherhood]

I watch my son, Josiah, hold onto the old, scratched up coffee table, gripping the edge with his tiny fingers while he shuffles over to the couch. At 10 months, he’s still wobbly, but every day I notice his legs grow sturdier and his confidence stronger.

He also falls. Often. Sometimes his face gets red with frustration when he can’t keep up with his older siblings, and tears well up when he stumbles. But he’s just learning, and stubbornness propels him onward.

I hear the slap of his hands on the hardwood floor as he makes his way to the front stairs. He’s beginning to climb steps now—a milestone I’d prefer to delay. I follow closely behind, because even though he’s gotten quite adept at going up, he hasn’t exactly mastered coming down—or at least coming down safely.

He sets his hands on the first stair and waits for me. The corners of his mouth turn up and his blue eyes squint in excitement. I tentatively “chase” him to the top. He enjoys the game and doesn’t realize I’m actually spotting him. Mama’s not about to let him take another tumble, although it seems to him like that possibility is all part of the fun of it. The threat of falling doesn’t deter him from climbing.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that fearlessness. I started to assume I should be able to walk without ever crawling, to bolt up the stairs without a misstep. In the past, I traveled across the world without the prospect of getting lost holding me back. I applied for jobs without being crippled by the idea of rejection. I jumped into new ventures headfirst simply because I found joy in possibility. But now in the daily work of mothering, I easily forget it’s not only okay to fall, but it's normal, expected, and part of the learning process.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!


Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]

Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]

Almost every week, I show up at a friend’s house with a car seat slung over my elbow and two toddlers in tow. We let ourselves in the back mudroom door, and I try to remember to take my kids’ shoes off—although more often than not, I never bothered to put shoes on their feet in the first place. My twins make their way into the kitchen and I set the car seat in the corner, praying the baby stays asleep a little longer.

My son climbs behind the armchair in the playroom to retrieve the box of trains, and my daughter heads to the white, child-sized table to color. There are four of us that get together nearly every week, twelve kids between us all. A handful of the kids are at school during the day, so only having eight or nine kids around feels almost calm.

We attempt to catch up on life or discuss the book we’re reading together, but of course those discussions are interrupted by refereeing playtime or the crash of crayons being dumped. We can barely speak a full sentence without a baby crying or someone needing a diaper change. (More than once, I’ve changed a diaper only to realize on my drive home I left the dirty one on my friend’s living floor. I’ve considered not saying anything out of embarrassment, but I opt to send a quick text message apologizing and sheepishly asking her to toss the abandoned diaper.)

Once the chaos and noise level come to a head, we gather the tiny humans together for a snack. Maybe that’ll keep them busy enough for us to talk just a few more minutes. We divvy out veggie straws and raisins, crackers and fruit. It’s not uncommon for me to end up staying through lunchtime, in which case out comes the turkey, cheese, and bread.

But I never bring the snacks.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!