By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
As cute as a pea-shooter

Benson looks and acts like his daddy in a lot of ways. Ever since the moment he was born, people have said he’s exactly a little Brian; although his blond hair and blue eyes are like neither of his parents’ brown hair and brown eyes, Benson is clearly taking after Brian in a lot of ways. The more he stomps around in those rubber boots following Brian everywhere on the farm, the more the similarities deepen between my two favorite dudes.

But when Benson encounters cute things? That’s when unmistakably he looks and sounds like me. It’s not that Brian doesn’t appreciate the cuter things of life, or at least not entirely. But he certainly does not talk about them in a high-pitched voice or get that enraptured look on his face...although it is humorous to consider it. Benson and I, on the other hand, well we’ve got the reaction down. 

Perhaps too well sometimes. I’m sure I’ve gotten on peoples’ nerves before with my “It’s so CUTE” squeal, yet I am quite pleased to have passed that trait on to my son. He’s added his own touch to the cute reaction with a full-body shudder of joy and/or tightly clenched fists as the cuteness overwhelms him, which is typically incredibly cute in itself. 

A problem has arisen in the past few days, however, with the discovery of some kittens. I’ve been on the lookout for this batch of kittens for a couple weeks, since the mother cat clearly was taking care of them somewhere on the farm. Benson is the one who actually found them finally, four foofy little kittens all cozy up in an old steel milk jug under the shelf of the grill. I quickly realized how fortunate it was that we hadn’t found them sooner, since they are old enough to hold now — and hopefully sturdy enough to withstand the zealous love of a toddler. 

His perpetual squeals of delight and expressions of complete bliss at their cuteness is a true joy to behold, and if it stopped there it would be fine. It’s his uncontrollable cute-squeezing and hugging of their tiny fluff-bodies that makes both the kittens and me very uncomfortable. But also, it’s so CUTE.

Foods rarely create such a reaction in me, yet there are a few things that might begin to elicit the cute squeak. Sometimes a cake or decorated cookie (not by me) or tiny prepared dish is so cute, and actually now that I’m thinking about it, often teeny baby vegetables growing in the garden are just adorable. Not baby carrots out of the bag, but actual carrots that are still babies are darling. Tiny just-started-growing eggplants or cucumbers or peppers are so cute; in fact I got “the face” just thinking about them. 

There’s even a whole category of plants grown to be harvested at this mini stage: microgreens. Little sunflower shoots or alfalfa sprouts are so little they can’t help but be endearing, but in my opinion the cutest of them all are pea-shooters/microgreens. They have these tiny little curly tendrils that are just, awww. They are truly just baby pea plants, harvested so young (1-2 weeks old) that the entire sprout is edible, tasting kind of like a cross between peas and lettuce. Microgreens as a whole are impressively packed with nutrition, from essential amino acids to chemoprotective agents, not to mention kind of addictively vegetable-sweet and munchable. 

Oh yes, and very cute. 

Springy Lemon-Honey Dressing

While pea-shooters are tasty enough on their own to snack on as is, I’ve found this bright and zesty dressing to be the ideal addition. You can make a good salad of straight microgreens, but I like mixing them with young lettuces; a few more veg or toppings are good, but I like to keep it pretty simple to let all the spring flavors shine. My microgreens came through Jako Farm, and you can also find them at the Reno County Farmers’ Market. 

Prep tips: While I admit it mars the cuteness a bit, I prefer to chop the pea-shoots along with the lettuce; they are long and slender, notoriously difficult to eat gracefully. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice is best here of course, but it also takes a lot, so I like to “cheat” and use bottled in addition to fresh.

• 2 cups good olive oil

• 1 cup lemon juice

• zest and juice of 1 lemon

• ⅓ cup Dijon mustard

• ⅓ cup local honey

• salt and pepper

Whisk together all ingredients, salting to taste. Pour over everything. 

Amanda Miller lives with her husband, almost-two-years-old son, and whoever else God brings them through foster care on the family dairy farm in Hutchinson. She enjoys doing some catering, teaching cooking classes, and freelancing, but mostly chasing after her kid(s). Reach her at