Two Fall Kale Salads with Roasted Sweet Potato

Kale. MomsicleBlog

One of these statements is true:

  1. My children eat kale salads while wearing organic cotton track suits.
  2. My children eat grilled cheese sandwiches while watching television.

Yet I just bought four heads (bunches? leaf packs?) of kale at the farmers market Saturday. They’re just for me. I will single-handedly eat them by the end of the week. I know foodies have moved on to other nutrient-packed greens like collards and nasturtiums, but I’m still figuring out kale. (Here‘s my smoothie recipe.)

Keys to kale salad success:

  1. Remove the biggest, most sinewy parts of the stems and shove everything else through the food processor’s slicer attachment (you can thinly hand chop if you don’t have a food processor).
  2. Add tons of fall veggies and fruit, then finish with bacon or sausage.
  3. Drench in creamy dressing (coconut creaminess for me, because I currently don’t do dairy or eggs).

Texture in a salad, for me, is paramount. It’s amazing how thinly chopping those leathery leaves changes the gustatory experience. I was looking for an excuse to use “gustatory.”

For the kale and roasted veggies, I prepare giant batches and then pull from them all week.

Kale Salad with Fennel, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pear, and Bacon

Kale Salad Sweet Potato Pear Bacon. MomsicleBlog

  1. Using the slicer attachment on the food processor, thinly slice sweet potatoes (I don’t peel them because that’s extra work). Toss sliced sweet potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.*
  2. Place bacon on a baking tray and cook while the sweet potatoes are roasting–about 12–18 minutes.*
  3. Throw kale and fennel into the food processor using the slicer attachment (remove only the largest, most sinewy stems), and then put some of each into your bowl. My friend Sara brought over some fennel she didn’t want, and I was surprised how great it was in the salad. I didn’t use much of the hairy heads, but those are pretty fun to add in if you want.
  4. Thinly slice a pear and add that to the salad.
  5. Chop bacon and add it, along with sweet potatoes.
  6. Drench in creamy dressing (recipe below).

*Times are all approximate because I have a 1964 oven that’s a furnace. Also I like things crispy. Also I often cook by smell instead of time. Never trust me.

Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Sausage, and Croutons

Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sausage, Apples, Croutons. MomsicleBlog

  1. Using the slicer attachment on your food processor, thinly slice kale.
  2. Cube sweet potatoes, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. (Remember that note on times.)
  3. Place sausage on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes, until cooked through. I use Lonely Lane Farm’s original pork sausage. Lonely Lane sells through the Beaverton Farmers Market, and I order their sausage by the case. Any sausage you like will work.
  4. Cube an apple and add it to the salad.
  5. Add roasted sweet potatoes and sliced sausage to the salad.
  6. Drench in creamy dressing (recipe below).
  7. Toss croutons on top. (I’m gluten free, so I go to New Cascadia Gluten Free Bakery and grab day-old bread, then chop it up, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes, and then store in a Tupperware on top of my fridge.)

Creamy Herb Salad Dressing (Vegan)

My process is to steal parsley from my backyard neighbor, cut rosemary from another neighbor, and then pillage my own yard for oregano. But I hear herbs can be bought at the store. Which is what I used to do before I became the Herb Burglar, a trashier and marginally less pretentious version of the Barefoot Contessa.  The Herb Burglar calls this dressing Three Yards Vinaigrette.

  1. Procure herbs and throw them into a blender or food processor. Rosemary, marjoram, parsley, oregano, chives, thyme–they all work. About a cup total, though I like to get up to two cups.
  2. Add a can of coconut milk (I get mine at Trader Joe’s), 1/4 cup vinegar, salt, pepper, and 2 or 3 cloves garlic.*
  3. Blend until smooth and then add a steady stream of olive oil while the blender is running (about a half cup or more, to taste).
  4. Store in a jar in the fridge after you pour over your salad.

*The liquid measurements are very flexible. I mix based on how I’m feeling that day. You can use mayo I imagine instead of coconut milk, but it won’t be an apples-to-apples substitute. Basically you’re going for a consistency that pours nicely and coats the kale really well.

I Want to Give You Permission to Be Mad at Your Kids

There’s this form of mom bullying that’s impossible to be angry at. It’s the hug-your-kids-a-little-tighter-because-I-can’t one.

I’ve done an experiment over this past summer and fall. It’s less experiment and more postpartum hormones ripping my emotional armor off and then adding in sleep deprivation. I’ve been signing my way through hundreds of compassionate petitions and I’m on too many action-for-justice mailing lists. I’ve been reading the news, which is a terrible idea.

It’s bad out there.

School shootings, kids with cancer without access to experimental drugs, refugee families watching children die, boys being sexually abused.

I have boys. I look at them and think I would kill anyone who ripped their innocence away. I hug them a lot, praying that we can continue to give them the gift of a carefree childhood, that they will stay healthy, that they know how much we love them.

I’m constantly looking at my children and thinking about how grateful I am that they are simply here. I’m always asking them, “Do you know that I love you so, so much?” They say yes. Or more likely, K-Pants growls.

Living like this is breaking my heart.

There’s this pall of sadness that I’ve taken on from the world. And I need to untether myself from it for a bit. The sadness is always there, and I will always have access to it. Sometimes it will find us without us looking.

But I need permission to go on about living my daily life for a while. I need permission to get frustrated when my four-year-old whines all day. I need permission to feel overwhelmed and isolated spending my days with a baby. I need permission to acknowledge my blessings and then have a few bad days of parenting. The kind of days where other parents look at me and think that it all goes by too fast and is too precious and if only they could let that angry mom over there know what they know.

And if you need this permission, I want to give it to you, too.

Be mad. Get frustrated. Just do this day, in whatever way gets you through it. On balance, hopefully you’ll look back and feel like you were a good parent through the crap life threw at you. Hopefully your kids are here, and they are independent and kind. Hopefully you don’t stop moms in the grocery store and say, “That age was my favorite. I hope you’re savoring every moment, because it goes by so fast.”

But let’s be real, I’m totally going to stop parents in the grocery store. And I’m going to exhort them to enjoy every moment, and not let the little things bug them, because they just don’t matter. But for now, just do this day, be it terrible or wonderful. Don’t beat yourself up. I’d like to give you permission.

K-Pants’s Halloween Scare Fest, Part 2

We probably already horrified you by insisting on the optional “s” at the end of the possessive K-Pants. K-Pants’s, K-Pants’s, K-PANTS’S! MUAH HA HA HA HA. But hold on to your seats, friends and foes. There’s more horror to come…


Words and pictures by K-Pants. Abysmal photography by Evelyn.

The Eevol Skelatin by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

You will remember from our previous installment that Anakin Skywalker is taking his lightsaber to the Eevol Skelatin’s exposed pelvis.

The Eevol Skelatin by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“The skeleton went to steal all of the candy at Halloween night.” I think the skeleton is squishing himself into candy places, but the photographer on this project is really terrible. It’s hard to tell.

The Eevol Skelatin by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“And the skeleton took off the kids’ costumes.” That’s the skeleton wearing a stolen ghost outfit. Since this is Portland, I think the kids have really sad handlebar mustaches.

The Eevol Skelatin by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“And the skeleton braked the scary stuff that the people set up on their porch.” Seriously skeleton?! I hate going to Michael’s. Now I’m going to have to hit up their after-Halloween porch-stuff sale.

The Eevol Skelatin by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“And Anakin came to kill the skeleton and he did kill him and Anakin (something something) off the things.” Man, this photographer is terrible. But that’s Anakin on the right, with a gigantic lightsaber, once again aiming for the skeleton’s family jewels. Or maybe his femurs. And that’s the skeleton shooting his red and black laser gun.

The Eevol Skelatin by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

THE END (A collaborative page between Kanan and my sister Chloë.)

Happy Halloween, friends. Enjoy your six million candies.

K-Pants’s Halloween Scare Fest, Part 1

K-Pants has been churning out books at the speed of Mercedes Lackey. It’s hard to keep paper stocked and chubby pencils sharpened. I’m pretty stoked because last year I was like, “Literacy may not be his thang.”

There are two Halloween titles in his library. Today we bring you the first:


Halloween by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

A mysterious guy gets pulled apart by happy guys. Or so you think…

Halloween by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“Was it was Halloween so the pumpkins went trick-or-treating.” (Was it was the best of times. Was it was the worst of times.)

Halloween by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“And then the pumpkins saw a ghost and the pumpkins dropped their candies and they were so sad.” (Note the droopy stems of sadness.)

Halloween by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“But the pumpkins got their candies back.” (Wahooo!!! Viagra pumpkin stems.)

Halloween by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“And the pumpkins ate six million candies and they wanted more.”

Halloween by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“And the pumpkins got trick-or-treating but after the pumpkins got back they didn’t have any candy and they didn’t want any candy.” (Probably because they ate six million candies.)

Halloween by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

“The end” (A collaborative page with my sister Chloë.)



The Eevol Skelatin by K-Pants. MomsicleBlog

Yes, that is a jedi taking his lightsaber to the groin of the eevol skeleton. But I don’t want to give away too much…

Let’s Talk About Postpartum Depression, Six Years Down the Road

Recently I told a friend that if I don’t write my mental health goes downhill and she said thoughtfully, “I didn’t know that about you—your mental health looks superb from the outside.”

I’m doing really well, and it’s because I’m six years in and my husband and I attack my mental health like it’s a full-contact sport. I’m guilty of posting adorable pictures on Facebook, showering every day, and wearing cute clothes I feel good about because I like to see myself as a happy, put-together person. But I struggled with anxiety during pregnancy and can smell the symptoms of a panic attack hours before it starts. I know the darkness, and I’ve written about it here before.

Postpartum depression is not a stigma in my circles—it’s something we talk about. But there’s this idea that you magically grow out of it. You go into a dark cave, you imagine terrible thoughts, you give up self-care, and then someone—your spouse, a parent, a support group—helps to drag you into the light. You’re exhausted and changed by the experience, but slowly you start to do cartwheels in a wildflower-filled meadow with your newly functional child.

That’s not true.

[Note: As I write, in this moment, the Fairy Pig wakes up and starts crying. I’ve finally moved away the clutter of my space and mind to sit and do my special thing, and she’s crying. It fills me with a sinking feeling and resentment.]

Maybe for some the darkness leaves just a faint scar. But for me it’s an open wound that needs to be carefully tended—always there, always trying to suck in more light. A friend whose wife died shared this metaphor with me and it fit perfectly into my soul place.

[Note: She’s still crying, but I’m going to write.]

I want to open up my first-aid kit and show you the tools I use to tend my wound.

I challenge you to change from thinking “How could she struggle when she gets so much support?” to “How can I care for myself better?” Our culture of parenting martyrdom encourages us to thrive on the least amount of support possible, and to see others with more tools as lucky and indulgent.

I see these tools as the spoils of a hard-fought battle, and the golden eggs that will hopefully take me deep into adulthood. They are long-term investments in myself and my marriage and my family.*

My Postpartum Depression First Aid Kit

1. Here’s my therapist. She was recommended by my midwife. Sometimes I go to her once a week. Sometimes I go to her every few months. I know where to find her when things get bad. That was the most brilliant idea I had: asking someone I trust for a recommendation.

2. Here are my friends who have intense kids and who don’t try to be perfect. They are funny and incredibly empathetic. They have no dignity. They are free some days after bedtime and they like ice cream. Sometimes we have play dates and our kids fight while we try to say full sentences. I can count on them to take my kids or help me out in an emergency.

3. Here are my friends who don’t have kids. They are free on evenings and weekends, and I can talk to them about things that are not children. They love me and they love my kids. They like to hike. When I’m out with them, they always hold the baby. They can’t get enough of her. It’s weird.

4. Here’s the doctor who did my physical a few years ago. He said, “Are you getting four to eight hours of time for yourself every week?”

5. Here’s my Saturday free time. I hung on to the idea that we should do meaningful family activities on Saturdays for a long time. After a few activities were crushed under the weight of my expectations, my husband shoved me out the door. I’m a much, much better mom during the week if I get away on the weekend.

6. Here’s my extended family. A big reason we moved to Oregon was to be closer to family. Someone is at my house or my kids are at their house or I’m talking to them every day. It’s really awesome to have a big family because three kids six-and-under is a lot to handle and they all help out in different ways.

7. Here’s my naturopath. She is dogged about helping me figure out solutions to ongoing health issues like bronchitis, fatigue, allergies—whatever I bring in.

8. Here’s my acupuncturist. I started going to her when I was mentally in a good place. Then when I had prenatal anxiety, I went to her once or twice a week. Now I go to her and she holds the Fairy Pig while I get my treatment. It really helps to build relationships with your practitioners.

9. Here’s my blog. And here’s my Facebook page. When I write and reach out, I get support back. And when I publish a post, I feel really happy. I look back over the last five years and I think, “I kept something meaningful to me going.” I’m proud of that.

10. Here’s the Montessori school where Boy Woww goes to preschool four full days per week. We changed schools so that he would be in school longer because we knew that having the baby and Boy Woww at home all the time–in theory–would be a magical kid wonderland, but in reality would be a lot of yelling and tons of TV.

11. Here’s the list of babysitters we use for date nights and daytime relief. We like the babysitters list to be at least three or four deep. Any less and I start shaking.

12. Here’s our housekeeper who comes every two weeks.

13. Here’s the income that we use to pay for the Montessori school and the babysitters and the housekeeper.

14. Here’s my husband. He’s collaborative and willing to make calls to insurance or set up babysitters. He doesn’t think I’m crazy. He handles logistics. He gets the kids ready in the mornings and puts them to bed at night. In exchange I feed people, fix stuff, coach soccer, handle homework, and all the other things.

15. Here’s Baby Blues Connection, a free support network that has a hotline, a Facebook group, and in-person support groups in the Portland metro area. Check them out for resources even if you’re not in Portland.

*I also know that for many of these tools, ample income and good healthcare create a privileged base to work from, and that in our country meaningful support for postpartum and mental health care is difficult to come by. I’ll be signing every petition I can get my hands on regarding these issues. I may even call a congressperson. But I have a phone phobia. Letter-writing it is.

Momsicle In Portland MetroParent Magazine

Portland MetroParent Mag. MomsicleBlog

My fifteen minutes of fame have arrived, people. I’m the featured Portland Metro–area blogger for October 2015 in MetroParent magazine. I’ll be referring to myself from now on as Miss October. That’s me under the coats.

If I see you on the street this month, you might be like, “Evelyn! I totally meant to read your paragraph in MetroParent. Shucks.” No problem. I’m putting it here for you:

If you want Instagram perfect pics of fantastically coiffed kids or kid-product reviews, look elsewhere. Momsicle: Something to Suck On is not that kind of blog. What you will find on Evelyn Shoop’s site is lots of great writing. This mom from the Northwest Hills is sometimes humorous, sometimes deep, and often a combination of the two. Posts touch on everything from how to hook up a “promance” (aka parent romance) to the magical conception of her third child dubbed the “fairy pig” to baking the ultimate rainbow/Voodoo Doughnut birthday cake.


“Momsicle is where I fight the cult of parenting perfection. This is where I connect with my tribe,” writes Shoop.


Momsicle, we get you and would totally sign up to be your parent BFF. –D.C.


Yes, Denise Castañon (D.C.) we are totally BFFs now. You asked for it!

And if I see you on the street and you’re like, “Evelyn! Damn. I don’t have electricity or Internet. But I totally meant to read your paragraph.” No problem! I will pull a copy of the magazine out of my trench coat.

Be polite and take the magazine. You can use it later for kindling in your off-the-grid lifestyle.

Wait. Glossy pages. Don’t burn it. Toilet paper? Decoupage? Take the magazine. Oh, you want me to sign it? Wow! I have six permanent markers in my trench coat.

And while you still have electricity, do Miss October a solid on Facebook here.

Or sign up for an email subscription, because Miss October doesn’t promote herself very well on Facebook, so sometimes posts get buried by The Man.


You can find Portland MetroParent magazine and their PDX kids calendar here.

And you can find them on Facebook here.

The Pink Shoes Stand Alone, At Home

Earlier this year I wrote about how I struggled to let K-Pants—then five—pick pink, bedazzled light-up shoes.

Pink Shoes. MomsicleBlog

I was worried about the world making fun of him for wearing girl shoes, but we decided that was not a good reason to say no. And those pink shoes have been worn everywhere.

K-Pants Six, Voodoo Doughnuts. MomsicleBlog

Pink Shoes on the Road. MomsicleBlog

The pink shoes post inspired my good friend Kelly to let her preschool son pick out a My Little Ponies sweatshirt he craved. This picture is of him and his sister blissed out with their new shirts.

MyLittlePonies. MomsicleBlog. Photo Credit: Kelly

I was so proud to see this—to know that we can walk these paths together.

But this past weekend I found myself back in the shoe aisle with K-Pants, looking for a pair of bright sparkly shoes that weren’t girl shoes. It only took one day at his new, big elementary school for K-Pants to be made fun of. I was heartbroken.

I watched him get on the bus for school wearing the most awesome rock-star shoes, and I picked him up embarrassed, having been pointed at by other kids, telling me he didn’t want to wear the pink shoes again. He wanted “bright, light-up shoes that they would think were boy shoes.” But he still wanted them to be pink. I was crushed. These shoes don’t exist.

I wanted to report back to Kelly that K-Pants was paving the way. That making the decision to wear the thing that’s not normal emboldened and armored him, and that her son, too, would be fine. I wanted K-Pants to say to those kids, “I’m a boy and I can wear pink shoes because I love pink things. And shiny things. And if mostly girls like pink things that’s fine, but I can like them, too. And I love football and baseball and Iron Man, and girls can like those things, too.” And then I wanted him to keep wearing his pink shoes, and to have tons of friends, and be the champion of all the other kids who don’t fit the mold.

I didn’t want him to give in.

I didn’t want to buy new shoes just so he could fit with everyone who teased him. They won, I thought. They’re shaming him and he’s changing who he is.

We talked to the teacher and kids at Boy Woww’s Montessori school, where they feel like kids can wear anything they want and there are no “girl” and “boy” colors. They have the power to enforce this in their magical, forested bubble.

We talked to our neighbor who taught K-Pants martial arts two summers ago. “Do you like your shoes?” he asked. “Yes,” K-Pants said. “That’s what matters. Now you have to decide if what other people say is important to you.”

We saw the elementary school principal the next day and told her what happened. “You should be able to wear whatever color of sparkly shoes you want!” she said; and she promised to talk to K-Pants’ teacher and the school counselor, who likes to talk to classes about inclusiveness.

We looked at pictures of boys wearing pink shoes that our friend Mana found. I’ve never been so grateful to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for getting athletes to wear pink.

Every day I casually bring up something related to the pink shoes. But they still sit at home.

And so I am reminded: nothing is simple. Allowing your son to choose bedazzled pink shoes does not magically arm him to deal with criticism and feeling singled out. Even the nicest kid might ask, “Are you wearing girl shoes?” They’re not trying to bully. K-Pants would say the same thing about something else to another kid. I thought the hard part was making the initial decision to let him get the pink shoes. But I wasn’t thinking about the bigger context: How do I raise this kid to be resilient and tenacious? How do I teach him to notice and be kind to others in similar situations? It’s an advanced emotional intelligence course, and the kid is six.

I don’t think he’ll ever wear the pink shoes to school again.

My friend Ali had this wonderful message for K-Pants when I asked about the pink shoe problem on the Momsicle Facebook page:

I’m sorry those boys laughed at you on the bus. The bus is hard. Maybe you will want to wear your awesome shoes to church or to the playground with your family. It’s okay to choose different things for certain situations. I’m traveling for work right now and wearing some shoes that I only wear for work things when I have to show a certain side of me. But at other times I choose to let it all out.

And my friend Anne gave me this advice:

He may be strong enough to just shrug and say “Whatever” if he gets teased, or he may decide to have different shoes for different moods. For sure his shoes are a twinkly sparkly announcement that he is his on his way to being his own man. This will not be the last time he will have to decide whether to run with the pack versus howl at the moon.

So the pink shoes may not be the fight he chooses to live and die by.

But he has still worn them to church. And he got off the bus a few days ago and said to me, “I saw a boy with a My Little Ponies backpack in another class.” “Did you tell him it was cool?” I asked. “No. He was older. But it was cool. It was shiny.” K-Pants is evolving, and beginning to put situations like this into a file in his mind. He may not have been paying attention if it weren’t for the pink shoes. If it weren’t for the pink shoes, he may have thought, “Why’s that kid wearing a girl backpack?” So even though the pink shoes are shelved for school, they still have some magic in them.