A few months back, Mr. K and I went to get a second opinion regarding our fertility situation. We had been through four rounds of IVF over the last 2 ½ years, and we were frustrated about not getting any clear answers from our current fertility doctor. We braced ourselves in the waiting room. I pulled out a square of dark chocolate, popped it into my mouth and focused on that until our names were called. The meeting went by quickly. The fertility doctor was warm and yet very direct: we had a 5% chance of success at best if we were to do another round of IVF.
You hear stories all the time about fertility issues tearing couples apart. They shutdown, pull away from each other, resentment builds, and divorce is imminent. In our case, strangely enough, I think the opposite happened. Throughout this horrendous, heartbreaking process we’ve actually grown closer and become stronger as a couple. On the one hand I think, perhaps we were just lucky–although we both agreed that we wanted to have a child, it didn’t define our relationship or our future together. And yet I remember having several discussions with my husband about the possibility that we wouldn’t be able to conceive and what that would mean for us. What would our future look like? What would give our lives meaning? Could we still be happy? Over the last year or so, as we considered this outcome to be more of a possibility, we decided we would use this experience as fuel to lead full and significant lives. We will travel so much more! All over the world! Buy a home in Tuscany while our friends tend to their screaming toddlers!
As we walked home from our appointment, I turned to Mr. K and asked him how he was feeling now that we knew for sure. I was prepared for him to be sad. Of the two of us, he felt more strongly about having children. He turned to me and said, “Actually, kind of relieved. Now we know for sure.” And with those words, 2 ½ years of hormonal mood swings, countless painful injections, and a nightmare hospitalization all melted away. I also felt relieved. And it felt so euphoric to be so relieved! In fact, I became so giddy about our news that I started to question how our lives might have went had we actually been able to have children: we would be raising a child until we were in our late 50’s! We immediately began talking about what we wanted this next year to look like. We were ecstatic that we had come out the other side, thrilled to be with each other.
When I first came across this recipe, I knew it had potential to be delicious, but I was focused more on the healthiness of it. I was in dire need of a salad post-Christmas gluttony, and I thought this would do the trick. Well, I ate this every day for 10 days straight. That’s how good it is. The roasted shallot dressing, in particular, is magical.
Kale and Cabbage Slaw with Roasted Shallot Dressing
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
3 cups diced butternut squash
1 tbsp. olive oil
pinch of salt, smoked paprika and cinnamon
2 bunches Tuscan kale
1/2 head red cabbage
1/2 small red onion
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup grated parmesan
3/4 cup toasted pecan pieces
Roasted Shallot Dressing
2 small or 1 large roasted shallot*
handful fresh chopped chives
1/4-1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and ground pepper
*Roast a shallot like you would a head of garlic. Trim the end, toss it (skin on) in a little olive oil and pinch of salt, wrap it in foil and place in oven for 45 minutes until softened and caramelized. Time will vary by size of the shallot(s). Remove to cool to the touch before squishing it out of its skin.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut cubes with the olive oil, salt, smoked paprika and cinnamon to coat. Spread in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes until just tender but not mushy. Set aside to cool completely.
3. In a blender or food processor, mix all the dressing ingredients together until smooth.
4. Stem the kale and chop it ultra thin.
5. Using a mandolin or knife, shave or chop the red cabbage and onion. Collect these items in a large salad bowl.
6. Add the raisins, parmesan and pecans, drizzle desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. The kale and cabbage can handle sitting in the dressing for 10 minutes before serving.