Vegan Tapas: Arugula Smothered Polenta

A friend called me a few weeks ago and said, “start typing ‘Cheeky Kitchen’ into the google search bar…then look at what comes up…”

One of the suggested search phrases was “Cheeky Kitchen divorce.” Who knew? I mean, this must be what it’s like to be Kim Kardashian. Without the killer booty and silky locks.

This phone call, coupled with a friend pointing out a forum thread on a site buried somewhere between here and India, full of speculations about what I’m doing now, made me think of a fun little game.  It’s called, “Ask Cheeky Anything.”

I mean, after all, there have been a billion changes in my life over the last two years. There are questions about that. I get that. After all, some of you have been reading this here blog since it was called The Long Name Which Shall Not Be Named, when I was an awkward mom looking for a way to fill the quiet, kidless school hours in my afternoon. That’s not so much my life anymore, and I’d love to share with you any details you find remotely interesting. Because, my life is gorgeous and splendid and I feel so proud of it. And anyway, I took a Buddhist vow on candor some months ago, which has served me quite well in unabashedly speaking the truth whenever it is asked for.

So, let’s eat polenta squares and ask questions, shall we? Quit with the googling, and ask me your burning questions. Nothing is too personal. Ask away. I’ll nab as many questions as possible over the weekend and offer up answers next week. I mean…if you have questions….

Maybe, you’d rather hear about Kim Kardashian. In which case, we’ll eat lots of carbs and rub our ample arses, grateful to have a few extra curves…even if they are all in the wrong places.

Hugs you…


Arugula Smothered Polenta


1 package polenta
8 cups baby arugula
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Prepare polenta according to package directions. Press cooked polenta into 11x7" baking dish which has been coated with nonstick baking spray. Refrigerate until firm, then cut into 3" triangles or 2" squares. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Preheat oven to broil. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the polenta triangles. Salt and pepper lightly. Place under broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven.

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss with arugula.

Serve polenta topped with arugula. Enjoy!


41 Responses to “Vegan Tapas: Arugula Smothered Polenta”

  1. Mayzie says:

    She’s telling the truth, guys. She will tell you the answer to anything you ask. Just make sure you really want to know the answer. :)

  2. Jen says:

    Ok I’ll bite! I’m only asking this because I saw the Mormon Stories interview you participated in- but to what extent did religious issues influence your divorce? Was leaving the church the catalyst? At the time of the interview, did you guys know that’s the direction you were headed?

    P.S. The recipe looks delicious, I’ve been dying to make polenta.

  3. I’d rather NOT hear about Kim Kardashian. I’d much rather talk about that lovely arugula over polenta!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Who is your most favorite sister…EVER??

  5. You’re an awesome person, Brooke and it takes great courage and strength to face the challenges you’ve faced in the last couple of years. Your personality and level head have surely done you alot of good :) I’m happy to have met you and stay in touch since last year.

    PS – this recipe looks delish!! :)

  6. Kendra says:

    I’ve been dying to know – just how do you keep those lovely curls of yours so sexy? :)

  7. trademark says:

    OK my question is also about your divorce because it seemed so sudden and was just there with no information…why did it happen? Watching part of your interview that were mentioned earlier, it seemed part of the reason you “resigned” was because of your marriage and your love for each other. How did that just end? And what is your ex doing now since he quit his S&I job? And what is your relationship with religion now? I remember reading that you were a pastor that married your sister I think and then you just mentioned Buddhism…I feel confused, but maybe you just embrace everything? :)

  8. Jenny says:

    Although I have wondered about what is going on in your life these days, my most pressing question is “what happened to the chocolate cake recipe from your old blog?” (The one you made for Nie Nie.) It was divine and I can’t find the recipe anywhere.

  9. Christa says:

    How are the kids? My sister has a five year old son and her divorce was final about a month ago. Any tips for the newly divorced with kids? Lessons learned?

  10. Shruti says:

    What does “one package” polenta mean? I’m assuming it’s not the prepared version that comes in a tube because you say to prepare as directed. Can you please give the polenta number in another form – maybe how many cups of dry polenta to use?

  11. Liz says:

    Thanks Brooke. Love polenta and will give this a try. Keep your chin up as you are doing fine and keep up the good work!

  12. Skye says:

    I don’t like arugula, but I bet this recipe would be delicious with baby spinach or baby kale!

    Thanks for being so open and honest. I have always appreciated that about you and your blog.

    You keep linking to a post titled “Brown Sugar” but the link does not work. Could you please fix the link? Thank you! :)

    This is a blog question/request- I was wondering if you would consider putting links to previous post/next post. It would make the blog much easier to navigate, since currently I have to go back to the main page and click on each post separately.

    What is it like dating after being married for so long?

    Best wishes to you and those awesome kids of yours!

  13. Skye says:

    Hi Jenny, I found the recipe here :)
    This recipe introduced me to mascarpone and now I love it!!

  14. trademark says:

    another question…I heard you were writing a cookbook? did you finish it?

  15. OK, we’re usually gluten free in my house (thanks to me) so this is just super duper! It’s hard to find healthy polenta recipes, I find. Thanks!

  16. Jenny says:

    Thanks Skye! I’ve got to print that out right now! :)

  17. Debbi says:

    I just want to know how your relationship with your husband is now. Does he live close and do the kids see him often?

  18. anna says:

    you’re so brave! it’s scary to be out on the internet and having people pick apart your life. most have good intentions and we’re only interested because we feel like we know you and we care, but i’m sure others…well. let’s not mention them. but i love your blog and i think you’re great! way to be candid!

  19. MaryV says:

    I have so many questions. Since leaving your religion, how has that affected your relationship with God? Also, how are your kids adjusting to your change in beliefs and religion?

    On a separate note, you have changed the way you’ve been eating several times since I started following your blog over 2 years ago. Are you eating a particular way now? Do you cool every night? If you had yo pick, what is your favorite go-to recipe?

    This is fun!

  20. Becca says:

    I have some questions! I have been following your blog for some time now. I have to say- I love that you are eating healthy and finding a fresh new outlook on life, but sometimes I miss the how the blog was when I first started following it. All the cupcakes with cute captions and frosted berries. So cute and fun. Still love your blog now, just wish there was some old with the new. Still, I think you’re great!

    Now to the questions. My friend and I watched the mormon stories episode featuring you and your (then) husband. We loved it! it’s so nice to hear such transparency and honesty. And most of all you both seemed happy and content… and a bit relieved to say what you needed to say. I was shocked to hear about your (what seemed like) sudden divorce. So what happened? How have you and your ex been since the divorce? How are the kids handling the divorce and change in religion/spirituality? And please do tell us about the new boyfriend that you barely mentioned in prior posts.

  21. Jane says:

    As another recent-ish ex-Mormon … I am a little amazed by all of the changes you have embraced with such joy and readiness in such a short time. While I have too have gone through a lot of changes too (moving, going back to school), I sometimes myself feeling a little rootless and disoriented, trying to get my bearings and figure out if I’m going the direction I want to go. And also, which direction do I want to go anyway? Do you ever feel that way? Because you just seem so driven and happy and ready to go! Thanks for the blog, love reading it for the food and the life tidbits!

  22. Hi. I just found you because I did a google search for messy kitchen pictures and I was wondering if I could use that picture of your messy sink on my blog? I will probably do something to it in photoshop, though, so it would look a little different. Anyways, that’s my question. Not too difficult compared to some of the other questions you’ve been fielding. About that, I just met you and have only read the messy kitchen and this post, and I want to tell you that, gosh!, I think you are pretty brave and very cool. xo, ab

  23. John says:

    Interesting. I have some thoughts and questions. I’ll send those to you privately. I also have a quote for consideration. I’ll share that publicly: “There are two sides to every question, because, when there are no longer two sides it ceases to be a question” (William Shakespeare).

  24. Stephanie says:

    Watched your Mormon Stories episodes – twice. Very reaffirming for me. After leaving the church, I have struggled with staying with a spouse that I realized I had chosen based on the church’s teachings, and not based on common sense or emotion. I am currently with my husband (he is now out too) and am wondering how the idea to divorce came about in your marriage, if it was friendly, and if you have any regrets. Not sure how to proceed in my own marriage. Would appreciate knowing how you and your ex came to that decision. Cheers.

  25. SKP says:

    You are such an inspiration to so many, including myself. It seems you have changed a lot since you left the Mormon religion and got a divorce. But it seems you made the right decision with leaving them both because you seem happier now. Congratulations on your happiness, your continued success (because you are so talented and deserve it!) and with your new boyfriend! Isn’t it nice to finally be with a real man? You are the best! Oh, and the recipe looks Delish!

  26. Britt says:

    I want to see a picture of this cute boyfriend!

  27. Britt says:

    Here’s my hubby’s question: A few times you have mentioned the weight and stress of now being your family’s sole financial provider. Is John contributing? Is he working now? Is he being responsible about paying child support and alimony. I sure hope so.

    And I thought of a few more. :) Where did you meet Steve? Is that getting pretty serious? You sure seem happy with him. How does he get a long with your children?

    Also, I always wondered about that move to California. You were all packed and ready to go, and then something happened. What was it?

    And I second all the questions about the divorce. When you first mentioned it on Cheeky Kitchen you said that you would someday share more about it. I’ve always wondered what happened.

    I hope it’s okay to ask these personal questions, Brooke. It feels like such an invasion of your privacy!

  28. Maren says:

    Wow. You are brave.

    I feel awkward asking questions about your personal life, but since you invited them . . .

    How have your still-mo friends/family responded to all the changes in your life?

    Are you really as happy as you seem on the blog here?

    I admit I’m a bit envious of you. I see the joy and freedom in your life and wish I had the same. I’m still shackled to a religion I don’t really believe in any more.

  29. Tasha says:

    Oh Brooke! I am on the edge of my seat! Ladies and gents- this gal is the real deal. I cannot wait to tune in next time for the Days of your Life!
    Love you!

  30. Melanie says:

    First of all I love your blog. I’ve seen a lot of questions asking what happened to end your marriage and what is your relationship with your ex like now. We see so much of your life in this blog that it begins to feel like you are an old friend. My own marriage failed a few years ago. I would ask any friend of mine what happened….so, what did happen to your marriage? It seemed like one day you were planning a move to California, the next day that fell through, and the next thing we know, you’re divorced. How are the kids adjusting? Mine are finally feeling balanced, but it seems like we all walked a tightrope for a while.

  31. Charlotte says:

    I am real curious if the “John” who commented above is your ex-husband, John. :) Brooke-why do you feel like you have to constantly talk about leaving the Mormon church if you are comfortable and proclaim you “still love the Mormons”? Why was it necessary to record a Mormon stories episode about it and why purpose does it serve to be so public about it? Why not just leave and be done with it?

    Where did you meet your new boyfriend and how do the kids like him?

    Can’t wait to see your post.

  32. trademark says:

    I don’t know if you’re still taking questions…but are you still doing hisXhers? Haven’t seen anything there for awhile!

  33. Britt says:

    Can I ask another question? I’ve already asked more than my fair share. Is there a limit?

    I just read Eldon’s post about your “very ugly breakup” at What happened?!!

  34. Kathy says:

    No questions. I just want to say I love you miss B. and thank you for all the sunshine.

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  36. Brenda says:

    I guess my question is the same as a lot of others. I watched the Mormon Stories and became emotionally invested in you two and your story after watching about 5 hours…. So, it did come as a big shock when there was a sudden divorce soon after.

    I’m just wondering if you knew you were headed for divorce at the time of the interview, or if something just suddenly happened?? Was your divorce due (at least in part) to leaving the church? Like, you guys realized you were only together because of the church and thats all you had in common?

    – another recent Ex-mo

  37. Seraphina says:

    Did this question ever get answered? I would love to make these for a New Years Eve party (I’m a total procrastinator this year) and I want to make sure I have all the ingredients!! Thanks!

  38. Zach says:

    I am just looking for others to talk with that have struggled with LDS faith. I am in the middle of my own leaving the church (for like the 3rd time) and would like to talk with others about it and build new supports. Feel free to email me.

  39. Laura says:

    Where is the recipe for this?? I have made it before and it’s delicious. The food seems to be overshadowed by some sort of personal communication. :(

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