moroccan-ish sweet potato sunshine salad // thefirstmess.compin it!moroccan-ish sweet potato sunshine salad // thefirstmess.compin it!moroccan-ish sweet potato sunshine salad // thefirstmess.compin it!
I follow a lot of the fluffy and typical cute animal Twitter/Facebook accounts. I love stuff like this. I also get in a good half cry about every other day when I see a photo or video of an animal being reunited with a sibling or its favourite human, or stories of an abandoned/mistreated animal finally finding peaceful refuge. Frequent contact with any number of species helps you understand some of the more important tenets of humanity, I think.
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  • Kathryn01/07/2015 - 8:29 am

    I totally admit to not being a huge dog person (mainly because I’m absolutely terrified of them) but even I have to admit that Cleo is one cute pup and you guys have done a great thing in giving her such a loving and stable home. Like Cleo, I have a soft spot for sweet potatoes although I tend to neglect them in the warmer months. Loving the summer vibes of this dish and can’t wait to make it.ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well01/07/2015 - 8:36 am

    Your words were so touching in this post, Laura <3. I love your connection to your pup and this organization. Totally voted for you, girl! And this salad? How do you do it. Always, AMAZING. <3ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey01/07/2015 - 8:47 am

    Yes, the sweet pups in this world could definitely teach us humans a thing or two! I totally feel you on getting choked up thinking about where Cleo came from and all the hardship she had to endure; our pup came from the streets of LA and ended up in NY by way of an animal rescue org, but that’s about all we know about him. That’s so awesome that you guys were able to know more of her backstory, and how she came to be in your sweet home :) Loving this salad big time – date vinaigrette!? Too good! xoReplyCancel

  • Tori@Gringalicious.com01/07/2015 - 9:04 am

    Gorgeous salad and I love the ish in the title, so awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Anna01/07/2015 - 9:10 am
  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan01/07/2015 - 9:21 am

    Gah. The animal stories KILL me. Our kitty came from a shelter and whenever I think about all those animals I just want to rescue ALL of them! Let’s start a farm and rescue all the animals, ok?ReplyCancel

  • Alexa [fooduzzi.com]01/07/2015 - 10:01 am

    OMG! I could eat this every day! What a beautiful summer salad!ReplyCancel

  • Sydney | Modern Granola01/07/2015 - 11:55 am

    This salad is so beautiful! What a heavenly mix of flavors! I can’t wait to try this!
    xx SydneyReplyCancel

  • reeve01/07/2015 - 1:17 pm

    Hey There! This looks amazing. I will be trying it asap. Can you suggest something to use instead of ginger. I love ginger but I’m allergic to it…ugh, so sad.ReplyCancel

    • Laura01/07/2015 - 2:22 pm

      Hey reeve, If you can find it, I would recommend subbing about the same amount of lemongrass. And if lemongrass isn’t available, I’d use just a little extra lemon juice and some of the zest as well, about 1 teaspoon. You could also use a garlic clove instead and take it a different direction entirely!
      -LReplyCancel

      • Reeve01/07/2015 - 4:15 pm

        Thanks SO much! I love lemongrass…yea! And garlic, sadly that’s a no-no for me as well. But that keeps me trying new herbs and spices all the time;)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full01/07/2015 - 1:23 pm

    Laura, I can’t tell you how much I admire and respect you for rescuing your little pup, Cleo! I rescued my own baby in September 2013, after she was found abandoned and starving in Arkansas. She was in such bad shape when I got her that she still suffers from minor medical issues to this day. But she is the sweetest little ray of sunshine, and I can’t imagine my life without her. She really is my baby! I wish I could give every abandoned, neglected dog a happy home. In a perfect world, right? But I can’t commend you enough for advocating such an amazing cause. Much love to you and Cleo, from Ivy and me!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily | Gather & Dine01/07/2015 - 1:56 pm

    Oh these colors! I want this for lunch now. :) I always love seeing what you come up with. Just voted for you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Paula01/07/2015 - 2:00 pm

    Again, a colorful and delicious salad. It looks great. It’s so inviting to taste and enjoy..ReplyCancel

  • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats01/07/2015 - 4:09 pm

    Hehe me and my sister are the queen of baby animal Instagrams. She cried when one of the bunnymama’s rabbits died. I hope you follow the baby hedgehog and baby goat instagrams.

    P.S. rescue pets are the only way to go, Cleo is adorable :DReplyCancel

  • Abby01/07/2015 - 4:46 pm

    Oh, Laura, you are so talented! I adore this. <3ReplyCancel

  • Amanda | Pickles & Honey01/07/2015 - 6:54 pm

    I loved reading this post. Anything with animals is so close to my heart. <3 Just voted and it looks like you're in the lead! This salad is beautiful, as always. My dogs will be pumped when I make it because like Cleo, they adore sweet potatoes (and chickpeas!).ReplyCancel

  • Jacqui02/07/2015 - 12:19 am

    Love it! Just voted and this salad has so many of my favorite things!ReplyCancel

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood.com02/07/2015 - 9:11 am

    your story of cleo is heartbreaking. i am so glad she found you guys… but who would leave her and her siblings like that? My heart. Fingers crossed and votes cast for your smoothie. Also that dressing….yes. yes. yes! xoReplyCancel

  • Bridget02/07/2015 - 12:14 pm

    Such a lovely recipe. And you’re right, it is like a salad version of a Moroccan stew. I’m always looking for more ways to use sweet potato so will give this a try. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Emily02/07/2015 - 12:33 pm

    I think salads are where you really shine through. This is such a cretive mix of flavors and textures. Also, not fussy at all! Easy peasy. A lot like your last post, which was equally fabulous. I look forward to making it!ReplyCancel

  • Grace02/07/2015 - 3:40 pm

    Cleo is the cutest! I love seeing pics of her, you should totally submit her pics to cuteoverload.com And I voted for your smoothie! Hope you win!ReplyCancel

  • […] weekend could do with some sunshine in a bowl with this sweet potato […]ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw02/07/2015 - 11:29 pm

    Agh that date vinaigrette sounds insane! I can’t wait to make it. Gave your treat a good solid vote because DUH great cause, great lady, great smoothie (win-win-win)ReplyCancel

  • Sherrie03/07/2015 - 4:22 pm

    Aww little Cleo is the cutest, I can tell from the way you talk about her and her photos that she has such a soft, sweet soul. This post is wonderful Laura, and that salad is pretty magical. I love how saturated the colors and flavors are, so good, xo!ReplyCancel

cool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.compin it!cool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.compin it!cool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.compin it!
I have about a hundred notebooks and every colour of pen all over my house. Add to that a solid presence of loose leaf scrap paper with all caps notes and no titles to indicate what the lists of ingredients/directions amount to. This might explain why I can’t find the blueberry cardamom crumble muffin loaf recipe that I had worked on 4 times for my book and why I’m a bit rattled. I’m almost positive that it went out with the recycling when I did a mass clean up of the entire house about a month ago. I’ve since made a spreadsheet and taped it up to an area of the house that I’m calling, rather unceremoniously, the cookbook wall. I check off when things have been tested once, tested twice, documented, and photographed. Once I start getting to the photos in earnest, there will be pictures of food all over that wall too. View full post »

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  • Michelle @ Hummingbird High25/06/2015 - 5:45 am

    Yum!!! This is all sorts of delicious and gorgeous looking! Good luck in the competition; you have my vote!ReplyCancel

  • Anna25/06/2015 - 7:43 am

    this looks devine!!! Can’t wait to try it at home :D yumm

    https://aspoonfulofnature.wordpress.com/ReplyCancel

  • Tori@Gringalicious.com25/06/2015 - 8:16 am

    This looks divine and your photos are, as always, gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Becker25/06/2015 - 10:34 am

    Why is tofu a once-in-a-while treat for you? Is there something unhealthy about it?ReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 10:44 am

      Hi Sarah,
      If I eat too much soy–typically in the form of tofu, soy milk or some of the more refined soy foods, I tend to break out. So I definitely take steps to limit my consumption. For a lot of people it’s totally fine to eat on a regular basis though.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth25/06/2015 - 10:48 am

    Yep. I feel like I’ve had that exact pie crust experience already the summer. I’m taking notes (on your notes?) here – and taking to heart your smart words about staying organized and slowing down. I try to stop and remind myself to enjoy things, but the lure of whatever’s next is hard to push aside. Happy anniversary! And here’s to a summer of productive times and good times, or working hard and then not working at all. I’m so excited to see that book you’re creating and am positive it’s going to be amazing. Cheers, friend.ReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 2:08 pm

      Pie-related failures are some of the most crushing.I think we both deserve some chill and enjoyment time ;) xoReplyCancel

  • Sydney | Modern Granola25/06/2015 - 11:36 am

    This is gorgeous! When summer kicks in, everything must be chilly or room temperature. It’s the kitchen code! Congrats on all of your success. Fingers crossed on that delicious-sounding smoothie!
    Happy belated blogging birthday!
    xx SydneyReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 2:02 pm

      Thanks so much, Sydney! I totally agree with that kitchen code, except for maybe the odd cookie ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Amanda | Pickles & Honey25/06/2015 - 12:39 pm

    That second photo with all of the ingredients laid out is so dreamy! I’m digging all of the flavors and textures you’ve got going on here, especially the peaches!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full25/06/2015 - 1:55 pm

    I love how you use natural lighting in your photos and don’t try to edit it away. It really makes your food photography stand out :)
    Also – good luck on the So Delicious competition! I voted for you :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 2:01 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words on my photography, Sarah! And thanks for that vote, too ;)ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough25/06/2015 - 2:04 pm

    Gorgeous salad! But it doesn’t stand a chance of making it to any potluck or picnic this summer, as I’d put the whole thing in my belly right away. ;)ReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 2:09 pm

      You’ve got your priorities straight ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Stephanie25/06/2015 - 2:26 pm

    I have yet to put seared tofu on a salad, but this recipe might push me into doing it. The peaches look like an unexpected, but beautiful, burst of sweetness. Can’t wait to try it this weekend for a friend’s potluck. That is, if I don’t eat all of it first… :)ReplyCancel

  • Nina25/06/2015 - 7:44 pm

    Wonderful! This sounds perfect in every sense, I need to make your almond butter sauce with lime (heart symnol :D) !!ReplyCancel

  • Abby25/06/2015 - 9:38 pm

    What a lovely post, Laura! This noodle salad looks delicious; so perfect for a summer lunch. And your photos are GORGEOUS! <3ReplyCancel

  • Erica25/06/2015 - 9:48 pm

    Your photos are some of my favorites, I love the lighting and the beautiful colors. This noodle salad is definitely something I shall be bringing to this summer’s potlucks. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel MacKay25/06/2015 - 10:19 pm

    Thanks for the shout out Laura :) the salad looks DELISH!ReplyCancel

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood.com25/06/2015 - 10:25 pm

    this is such a crazy beautiful salad and could agree more with other comments about the lighting! killed it!! Also so much love on all those links. xoReplyCancel

  • Kathryn26/06/2015 - 4:30 am

    I think sometimes we/society/the internet puts so much pressure on us to make the most of every single moment of summer and tick off our bucket list items which is all well and good until you’re trying to balance that with working and blogging and all the other general stuff that people need to do in life and you can just end up in this crazy cycle of stress. All of which is to say, I’m all for slowing down and just enjoying the hell out of the season. Summer hugs to you Laura + thank you for providing a salad recipe that I know I’m going to enjoy all season long.ReplyCancel

  • […] First Mess shared a Cool Vegan Noodle Salad with Seared Tofu and Zingy Almond Butter Sauce that looks perfect for a hot summer […]ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}26/06/2015 - 4:52 pm

    This is for sure the perfect potluck food for a summer day. Love the almond butter dressing. I have yet to experiment much with nut butters for dressings, but I am going to have to get on that.ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well26/06/2015 - 6:00 pm

    I feel like I was right there in your mess with you while reading this! I hope you can get some time away to reset through the crazy cookbook process and soak up some rejuvenating summer vibes soon. Adventures have a way of bringing us back into the world as better people, don’t you think so?! I’m excited to see what your summer has in store and am gonna be your little adventure cheerleader mmmk!? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Ami@NaiveCookCooks27/06/2015 - 4:40 pm

    Laura so many good happy things happening in your life!! Best of luck and yes ENJOY LIFE! This salad is on my to make list asap!ReplyCancel

  • Emilie M.28/06/2015 - 2:28 pm

    Eating this at the moment. MIND : BLOWN.ReplyCancel

  • steph29/06/2015 - 12:32 pm

    happy blog birthday! what an awesome way to celebrate! cold noodle salads are exactly what i want to be eating when the weather is all hot and soupy…i can just imagine the flavors of this one with the thai basil and tofu. YUM
    xoxo

    ps – totes voted for you lady!ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw29/06/2015 - 8:44 pm

    What a great post, Laura. This recipe is the best (I love easily adapted yet endlessly delicious summer foods!) and the photographs are SO. fricken. lovely. When your career matches your passion, aka it’s what you also have done for enjoyment most of your life, it’s important (yet feels so hard) to sit down and make just for the hell of it. Here’s to practicing patience with passion.ReplyCancel

  • Kate29/06/2015 - 10:16 pm

    Hi, this looks delicious! Do you think I could substitute peanut butter for the almond butter? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/06/2015 - 1:33 pm

      Hey Kate, I think you could definitely sub peanut butter for almond–with delicious results too :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Corey Cananza30/06/2015 - 5:46 am

    I’ve tried all three diets- veganism, vegetarianism, and a meat diet and I’ve always felt the healthiest with a vegan diet. Eating meat always made my energy levels decline and milk and eggs did the same but to a lesser degree. Plenty of protein can be found in so many natural vegan sources so the myth that vegans don’t get enough protein is wrong too. Keep up your good work.ReplyCancel

  • […] just want to be Laura Wright‘s roommate so I can eat like this all the […]ReplyCancel

vegan strawberry milk // thefirstmess.compin it!tools for dealing with fresh coconuts // thefirstmess.compin it!strawberries // thefirstmess.compin it!
The last thing I can remember being reasonably afraid of in terms of food preparation was young Thai coconuts. All the raw food books that I would pore over like bedtime reading material used them. The flavour, texture and functionality appeared to be unmatched. But knifing a coconut seemed like one big YES to blood everywhere in about 3 seconds. The photos used to illustrate how easy they were to breakdown didn’t help to calm my fears either. One of them shows the cook with one hand seemingly tied behind his back with a barely contained grimace taking over his face. GUESS HE WANTED THAT RAW CHOCOLATE PUDDING REAL BAD, HUH? View full post »

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  • […] Why Drink It? – Chelsea CrockettPodcast: Hemp juice, the new contender to coconut water?on dealing with fresh coconuts + strawberry milk9 Insanely Refreshing Popsicles {that you and your kids will love!} — Traditional Cooking School […]ReplyCancel

  • valentina | sweet kabocha10/06/2015 - 4:56 am

    I love so much young coconut! I used to eat it when I lived in France, I could find it at the supermarket there! Here in Italy unfortunately is pretty unknown, therefore stores doesn’t sell it. So sad. And if you think “hey, you live in Italy, you have wonderful veggies and weather, would you change that for young coconuts?” I would say “yes!”. (I live in the northern Italy, where the weather is cold in winter and hot in summer, but always moist and best veggies are cultivated and sold only in the south!) You make me want a coconut right now so badly!! :(ReplyCancel

  • Libby10/06/2015 - 10:08 am

    This looks completely incredible.ReplyCancel

  • Alissa | The Solstice Table10/06/2015 - 10:17 am

    You’ve instilled me with confidence! I’m going to go buy a young coconut on my lunch break and get after it. I’ve done mature coconuts before but never a young one so wish me luck!ReplyCancel

  • Anna10/06/2015 - 10:31 am

    loove this!! thanks for sharing :)

    https://aspoonfulofnature.wordpress.com/ReplyCancel

  • Erin10/06/2015 - 11:46 am

    Your step by step illustration is super helpful! Gorgeous photos :)ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well10/06/2015 - 2:20 pm

    YES – this has always terrified me but its one of those things I’ve been itching to do. Love your words on overcoming your fears – you gots to believe! Going to try this one day when Scott’s not home to spare him the freak out. As much as he loves me I know he likes me best with fingers still attached ;). Extra awesome points for the Leslie Knope fist pump, and strawberry milk for the WIN! I was all about that horrible syrup growing up too – yikes!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica DeMarra10/06/2015 - 6:12 pm

    I definitely lack the confidence, wimp out and make my boyfriend do it with his giant cleaver. On a resort, there was a man with a machete opening coconuts everyday for the guests. It was paradise! Loving these instructions and confidence boasters, I CAN do this!ReplyCancel

  • Tamanique10/06/2015 - 8:27 pm

    Thanks! This is really helpful. I’ve always wondered what a fresh coconut would taste like, versus all the canned stuff. And that strawberry milk looks and probably tasted so much better than the grocery store stuff!ReplyCancel

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood.com11/06/2015 - 6:42 am

    oh i have never attempted this, but i feel like i need to get a belly full of confidence (like you said real or not- maybe some liquid courage?) and just go for it! love your step by step photos!! xoReplyCancel

  • Becca | Spices and Spatulas11/06/2015 - 7:59 am

    Thank you SO much for these instructions. I’ve always been so intimated by fresh coconuts, but you’ve given me the confidence (and the step-by-step photos) to just go for it..and then make some strawberry milk for a victory sip!ReplyCancel

  • Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth11/06/2015 - 9:47 am

    Fear of the coconut has kept me away from tackling it head on, so thanks very much for these instructions! Summer is looking much brighter now!ReplyCancel

  • Abby11/06/2015 - 11:49 am

    I love, LOVE this post, Laura! What stunning photos. And I agree… there’s just something about strawberry drinks. That color! <3ReplyCancel

  • Nicole11/06/2015 - 12:42 pm

    Is Munchies the best or what!?!!? Every time I watch an episode, I’m always mad that all food tv isn’t that good.ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw11/06/2015 - 10:14 pm

    Agh, the self-manifested eff-up – a little too familiar with that one! Love all the positive vibes here, and the photos are gorgeous as always. I feel ready to tackle some wild culinary goals with confidence :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full12/06/2015 - 12:27 pm

    Your photos are so consistently stunning. And now I’m really craving strawberry mylk :) :)ReplyCancel

  • renee (will frolic for food)13/06/2015 - 4:25 pm

    there are no words to describe my obsession with young coconuts. the water, the meat. it’s in my top 5 favorite foods. my man and i are going to be selling fresh coconuts and coconut water at Floydfest here in Virginia and we’re really excited! there are almost 20k attendees. so you know i love this tutorial! and i just KNOW this recipe is bomb! fun fact, you can also open coconuts by puncturing the top with a sharp paring knife in just the right spot. in unshaved green coconuts you puncture one of the “eyes” at the top of the coconut. it’s a lot easier than shaving it down, surprisingly! then you just chop it in half with a machete. haha. and trust me i have dreams of blood spatter, but thankfully we know what we’re doing. xoReplyCancel

  • Stephanie15/06/2015 - 5:12 pm

    Do you think this would freeze well into a popsicle?ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/06/2015 - 3:23 pm

      I think that would actually be amazing :DReplyCancel

  • Paula16/06/2015 - 4:53 am

    It took you some time to prepare everything! But they all look amazing, especially in the final photos on the grass, amazing. I find it difficult to prepare, I don’t know if I have the patience.ReplyCancel

  • Susanne16/06/2015 - 4:26 pm

    That must taste a-ma-zing. I ‘ve never tried opening a coconut but I might just after seeing these pictures :)ReplyCancel

  • Diana19/06/2015 - 4:57 pm

    Hi Laura,
    I have tackled young cocnuts many times, motivated the first time by the desire to feed my dairy-intolerant son something akin to yogurt (add some probiotics, and it really is yogurt! :).
    But I still have one question, and maybe you know this: how can you tell a good one from one that has gone bad? Some say if the water is pinkish in hue, the coconut is spoiled. Other say brown spots on the outer husk are bad news. Or moldy spots on the husk. Any insight on this?ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/06/2015 - 3:27 pm

      I’ve heard that thing about the pink water/flesh as well. But I’ve also read that the pink hue just indicates a much younger coconut, which makes sense because the flesh always seems to be thinner when it’s pink. I’ve never discarded coconut water/flesh for being pink and I’ve never been sick outright. A company that I buy fresh coconut water from sometimes (Harmless Harvest) has pink-ish hued bottles in the mix, so I’m assuming this is perfectly fine.

      In terms of picking a good one though? I’m not sure. I’ve had good luck with coconuts when I try to pick the heavier ones in the mix, but that’s about all I can say for sure :)ReplyCancel

  • Heghineh21/06/2015 - 12:54 am

    Love your food photography and details, really helps,
    thank you so much for sharingReplyCancel

  • Crista26/06/2015 - 12:51 pm

    This post takes me back to a time when I sat on a beach in Costa Rica trying to open coconuts with a pocket knife, blood dripping down our fingers but quickly washed away by the ocean water…. In other news, I haven’t had strawberry milk in forever, forever – I see a coconutty weekend project in my future…ReplyCancel

  • […] The prettiest photos ever! […]ReplyCancel